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Watching ‘The Prisoner’ with ‘Repo Man’ director Alex Cox
11.12.2018
06:34 am
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It turns out leaving your house still pays sometimes: if I hadn’t stepped into a bookstore last weekend, I would be unaware of Alex Cox’s latest volume, I Am (Not) A Number: Decoding the Prisoner. Kamera Books published it in the UK last December to mark the series’ 50th anniversary, and the book came out in the US this May.

Like his introductions to cult movies on Moviedrome—like his interpretation of his own Repo Man, for that matter, a movie Cox insists is really about nuclear war—the director’s reading of The Prisoner is idiosyncratic and ingenious. Even though I don’t buy them yet, the solutions he proposes to the series’ riddles are brilliant and original; I won’t spoil them here, but it’s safe to say you’re unlikely to have come up with them yourself.
 

 
The 17 episodes of The Prisoner were broadcast in a different order in the UK and the US, and their correct sequence has never been settled. The Wikipedia page on the subject compares the production order (“not an intended viewing order,” the alt.tv.prisoner FAQ of blessed memory asserts) with four plausible running orders advanced or defended by fans over the years, based on the original broadcast or on different kinds of internal evidence in the shows: dates mentioned, logical sequence of plot developments, etc.

Cox has no use for any of these. Along with the series’ call sheets and screenplays, his interpretation is based on watching the episodes in the order of their filming—i.e., the production order most cultists reject as totally unsuitable for viewing. While this sequence is as reasonable as any other, it radically shuffles the narrative. For instance, “Once Upon a Time,” which is the second-to-last episode in every other programming of the series because it seems to lead directly to the finale, is sixth in Cox’s.

I’ve just started rewatching the series as Cox recommends. It’s too early to say whether the production order supports his conclusions, but I’m enjoying the shake-up so far. Below, the director discusses his book in a short promotional video.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.12.2018
06:34 am
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Nirvana, Mudhoney, and the audience battle shitty security guards during Sub Pop’s ‘Lame Fest,’ 1989
11.02.2018
09:51 am
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Lame Fest poster
 
Sub Pop is one of the most important and influential American record labels. Started in 1988 by Jonathan Poneman and Bruce Pavitt, and based in Seattle, Sup Pop put out early recordings by such groups as Mudhoney, the Afghan Whigs, the Flaming Lips, Soundgarden, the Screaming Trees, and Nirvana. Poneman and Pavitt not only have good taste and a keen sense for what will sell, but are also masters at branding and marketing. For example, their Sub Pop Singles Club, in which subscribers willingly fork over their money with no prior knowledge of the participating bands, was a game changer, and the label came up with a t-shirt with the word “Loser” emblazoned across the front, and the Sub Pop logo on the back. The shirt is now iconic.

On June 9, 1989, Sub Pop’s “Lame Fest” was held at the Moore Theater in Seattle. Nirvana, Mudhoney, and another young Sub Pop group, TAD, were on the bill. It was a wild night, with the bands and the crowd battling the security guards.
 
Marquee
 
Dangerous Minds has an excerpt from the upcoming Gillian G. Gaar book, World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story, in which details of the event are told. The passage also gets into the second Lame Fest, as well as the Nirvana contract, insisted upon by the band, that would one day benefit the label. The text begins with reference to the recent attention Sub Pop acts had received in the British press.

Sub Pop’s profile was further heightened stateside at the label’s first “Lame Fest,” held on June 9 at Seattle’s Moore Theatre, featuring Nirvana, TAD, and Mudhoney and billed as “Seattle’s lamest bands in a one-night orgy of sweat and insanity!” Initially, there had been doubts that the show would make any money; local bands played clubs, not a fifteen-hundred-seat theater. But the concert ended up selling out.

“Booking the Moore was an epic gesture, which is how we did things,” Bruce Pavitt notes with pride. “The bands were killing it live, so we knew Seattle would go o if we could get people there. The theater’s manager let most of his security staff go prior to the show, thinking that nobody would show up. And there was complete pandemonium. Google those YouTube videos, kids, it’s an epic moment!” The show doubled as a release party for Nirvana’s first album, Bleach (the first thousand copies on white vinyl).

 
Nirvana 1
 

Nirvana had also recently become the first act to sign a record contract with Sub Pop. Earlier in the year, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic had turned up at Bruce’s house one evening, demanding a written contract; previously, Sub Pop had only made verbal agreements with its artists. Jon [Poneman] hastily drafted a one-year contract, with options for two further years; the contract was signed on June 3 but backdated to January 1, 1989. “Righteous heaviness from these Olympia pop stars,” was the Sub Pop catalog’s assessment of Bleach. “They’re young, they own their own van, and they’re going to make us rich!”

 
Nirvana 2
 

The success of the first Lame Fest led to a second one being held overseas. “Jon and I had very little resources but a lot of enthusiasm at that time,” Bruce recalls. “And we were constantly brainstorming and trying to piece together strategies that would help convince the rest of the world that Seattle had an amazing rock scene. Once we saw that model work in Seattle, we were really dead set on getting all three bands playing in London and getting as many press people and photographers there as possible.”

With Nirvana, TAD, and Mudhoney all touring the UK and Europe that fall, a Lame Fest date was arranged for December 3 at London’s Astoria Theatre. Bruce cites the concert as “a true turning point in the international stature of the Seattle music scene.”

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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11.02.2018
09:51 am
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Indie rock and new wave hits reimagined as pulpy 1950s ephemera


 
There’s a fellow out there named Todd Alcott who has put together an enchanting series of prints reimagining popular songs by some of the most vital musical artists of the 1970s through the 1990s as various graphical items mostly dating from before the rock era—e.g., pulpy paperbacks, “men’s life” mags, lurid sci-fi posters, and so on. They’re quite wonderful and you can procure them for yourself in his Etsy store. Each print will run you £19.78 (about $26) for the smallest size and prices escalate from there.

One endearing thing about Alcott’s images is that they are so clearly driven by the most beloved albums in his own collection—and his taste is excellent! So he transforms multiple songs by King Crimson, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, the Stones, David Bowie while also hitting a bunch of other faves (NIN, Nirvana, Fiona Apple) just the one time.

Alcott told Ayun Halliday of Open Culture that “these are the artists I love, I connect to their work on a deep level, and I try to make things that they would see and think ‘Yeah, this guy gets me.’”

My favorite thing about these pop culture mashups is Alcott’s insistence (usually) on working in as many of the song’s lyrics into the art as possible. That does admittedly make for busy compositions but usually in a way that is very true to the pulp novel conventions or whatnot.

According to his Etsy site, Alcott is also available for custom jobs should inspiration strike you! Here
 
More of these marvelous images after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.10.2018
08:57 am
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Before they were Black Flag: New book unearths shots of Panic in 1978
09.21.2018
05:30 am
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Forty years ago, the ink was still wet on Bomp! Records’ deal with a South Bay punk band called Panic. Several months would elapse before the group played its first real show at a Moose Lodge on the Pacific Coast Highway, but Panic had already committed eight well-rehearsed songs to tape, and Bomp! had agreed to release half of these on a seven-inch record before Thanksgiving. “Nervous Breakdown,” “Fix Me,” “I’ve Had It,” “Wasted”: all pure expressions of the Southern Californian desire for an immediate, total brainectomy.

Bomp! sat on the Nervous Breakdown EP. The 60-day period stipulated in the contract came and went. By February ‘79, when guitarist Greg Ginn released his band’s debut record through his ham radio mail-order company, SST, they had changed their name to Black Flag. But in October ‘78, when they were still called Panic and still expecting Bomp! to bring Nervous Breakdown into the world, Ginn sent the label a packet of photos and negatives for promotional purposes. These sat in a filing cabinet until about 2007, when they turned up in the excavation of the Bomp! warehouse that followed the untimely death of label boss Greg Shaw. Now, Ryan Richardson has collected them in the handsome hardcover volume PANIC!
 

 
It’s a mystery who shot these photos of Keith Morris, Greg Ginn, Chuck Dukowski and Robo. The letter Ginn enclosed with the pictures in ‘78 indicates they are the work of two different photographers, but Richardson tells me none of the band members recalls who they were. Producer and shutterbug Spot disclaimed the shots, Richardson says; Morris guesses that Ginn’s then-girlfriend (and co-writer of “Thirsty and Miserable” and “Room 13”) Medea Jones might be responsible for some of these pictures, or maybe not.
 

 
A few more shots, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.21.2018
05:30 am
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Animated children’s stories by Nick Cave, Gary Numan, Will Oldham, Tom Waits, Laura Marling & more!


Cover illustration by Daniel Nayeri

Stories for Ways and Means is a new book that features original “grown up” children’s story collaborations by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art. It’s being published by the long-running indie record label Waxploitation run by entrepreneur and photojournalist Jeff Antebi. The Stories for Ways and Means project lends support to several non-governmental organizations and nonprofit groups aiding children’s literacy causes around the world including Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National and many more.

Some of the featured musicians contributing to the project include Frank Black, Laura Marling, Del the Funky Homosapien, Gibby Haynes, Alec Empire, Kathleen Hanna, Devendra Banhart, Nick Cave, Alison Mosshart, Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof, Will Oldham, Gary Numan and ska great, guitarist Ernest Ranglin.

You can order the Stories for Ways and Means book at SFWAM.org
 

“The Lonely Giant,” narrated by Andre Royo (The Wire), written by Nick Cave, illustrated by Anthony Lister.
 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.12.2018
08:44 am
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The extraordinary work of Frank Kelly Freas, the Dean of Science Fiction Art
09.10.2018
07:08 am
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“Just Around the Corner” by Frank Kelly Freas. This painting appeared on the cover of Fantastic Universe Science Fiction in 1955.
 
Frank Kelly Freas was known as the “Dean of Science Fiction Art,” and was the second artist to be inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. For fifty years Freas’ work appeared in all kinds of science fiction publications beginning with his first sale to Weird Tales in 1950. In 1957, Freas would hook up with MAD magazine painting nearly every cover of MAD until 1962. His spectacular artwork has appeared on the covers of books by some of sci-fi’s most celebrated authors such as Poul Anderson, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov. He has been nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award twenty times—winning eleven—more than any other artist in history. In addition to his work in sci-fi, Freas also contributed to another organization obsessed with outer space—NASA—and many of Freas’ posters done for NASA hang in the Smithsonian. Lastly, if you still need to be convinced of Freas’ impact to the art world, he also collaborated with Queen in 1977 at the request of Queen drummer, Roger Taylor.

According to Taylor, he pitched the idea of using Freas’ artwork of a giant robot called “The Gulf Between” from the cover of an issue of Amazing Science Fiction published in October of 1953. After reaching out to Freas, the artist agreed to paint the cover for the band’s 1977 album News of the World with a few modifications. For the album cover, the robot, named Frank, naturally, is clutching the lifeless, bloody bodies of Freddie Mercury and Brian May, while poor John Deacon and Roger Taylor (Taylor is pictured on the back of the album) fall to the ground. In addition to the iconic album cover, Freas also created the poster artwork featuring his menacing robot for the News of the World Tour. And since I’m a special kind of Queen nerd, I should mention, to help further promote the record in the UK, EMI created a small number of four-and-a-half-foot Franks to be used as record displays in high-end record stores. In 1997 Sideshow Collectables put out a God Of The Robots Model Kit based on Frank—which is, sadly, nearly impossible to find just like the record store promotional Frank.

Much of Freas’ extraordinary work has been published in two books, 1978’s The Art of Science Fiction, and the 2000 book Frank Kelly Freas: As He Sees It.
 

1959.
 

1954.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.10.2018
07:08 am
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Undead, Undead: John Coulthart’s beautiful illustrations for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’
09.04.2018
08:50 am
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dracula01.jpg
 
We all know what Dracula looks like. Bela Lugosi and innumerable Hammer horror movies starring Christopher Lee have fixed the Count in our imagination. He’s tall, gaunt, interestingly pale, with slicked back hair, and a set of unfeasibly large canine teeth. He sports a cloak, and what appears to be an evening suit which can often make him look like a nightclub doorman or a shifty croupier at a Mayfair casino dealing from the bottom of the pack. When commissioned to provide the illustrations for a new edition of Bram Stoker’s enduring tale, artist John Coulthart decided to keep his work faithful to the source material.

Coulthart had previously been commissioned by the same publisher to illustrate Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with which he had similarly “opted for fidelity to the text and period details “:

Despite its epistolary form, Dracula is much more readable (in a contemporary sense) than Frankenstein, so more people will have read Stoker than Shelley; but the sheer scale of cultural mauling that Dracula has been subject to means that—as with Frankenstein—even the allegedly faithful adaptations often deviate from the novel. The lounge-lizard vampire that everyone knows was a creation of Hamilton Deane’s 1924 stage adaptation, the success of which led to Tod Browning’s film and Bela Lugosi’s performance (which I’ve never liked); film and theatre may have made Dracula universally popular but the Lugosi stereotype has overshadowed the more powerful and violent character that Stoker gives us, with his bearded face, hairy palms and glowing eyes. So that’s who you see here, although the restrictions of time and brief (one picture per chapter) meant that some of the moments I’d have liked to illustrate had to be forfeit. Poor old Renfield gets short shrift, and some of the minor male characters are out of the picture altogether.

Regardless of the constrictions of time and remit, Coulthart’s illustrations for Dracula are among the very best ever produced, as his detailed work fully captures the intense, eerie, menacing, and almost dreamlike atmosphere of Stoker’s novel where you can “believe in things that you cannot.”

See the complete set of John Coulthart’s marvellous illustration fro Dracula here.
 
dracula02.jpg
 
dracula03.jpg
 
dracula04.jpg
 
See more of John Coulthart’s superb illustrations for ‘Dracula,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.04.2018
08:50 am
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The Baker Street Regulars: Obscure ‘70s band that featured former members of Big Star
08.17.2018
08:56 am
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Big Star
Big Star’s original lineup. L-R: Andy Hummel, Chris Bell, Alex Chilton, and Jody Stephens.
 
Being a big fan of Big Star, I was excited to receive an advance copy of the oral history book, There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of Big Star. I started flipping through it and was immediately drawn to the story of the Baker Street Regulars. The band existed for a brief period in 1976, and featured two former members of Big Star, Chris Bell and Jody Stephens. Considering this was a seldom discussed part of the Big Star story, I asked HoZac Books if we could run the Baker Street Regulars passages in the book. They not only said “Yes,” but provided us with the majority of the images here—many of which have rarely been seen before. There Was a Light author, Rich Tupica, has even written an introduction just for us.
 
Chris Bell in Ardent Studios
Chris Bell in Ardent Studios, pre-Big Star.

Often overshadowed by his iconic Big Star bandmate Alex Chilton, the genius of the late Chris Bell wasn’t truly uncovered until years after he was tragically killed in a car wreck in December 1978. The 27-year old remained in obscurity until 1992, when I Am the Cosmos, his posthumously released solo album was finally released to much praise.

Today, Beck and Wilco cover the enigmatic songwriter’s works, while members of R.E.M. still praise his work when asked about their favorite bands—yet at the time of his death, Bell was anything but a rock ’n roll legend. After the release of 1972’s #1 Record, Big Star’s debut LP on Ardent/Stax Records, Chris suffered a bout a clinical depression and heatedly exited the Memphis-based group—the band he masterminded from the ground up. He also had a falling out with Ardent Studios owner and Big Star producer John Fry. His life was in shambles and he realized his dream of breaking Big Star into the mainstream wasn’t going to happen.

 
Chilton's bedroom
Big Star in Alex Chilton’s bedroom, posing for a ‘#1 Record’ promo photo. (Courtesy of Carole Manning)

With Bell out of the picture, Alex Chilton and John Fry took the reins and kept Big Star going for two more equally acclaimed albums, Radio City and Third/Sister Lovers—but with little financial successes, the band fully dissolved.

Meanwhile, Bell not only became a devout born again Christian, he also attempted to launch a solo career. He even moved to London with his older brother David Bell for much of 1975 and pitched his reels of solo material to any A&R rep who’d meet with them. They were ultimately turned down by every label. By 1976, America’s Bicentennial, Chris was back in Memphis living at his parent’s upper-class estate in Germantown.

For money, Bell flipped burgers at his successful father’s fast food chain, while in the evenings he played as a sideman guitar slinger alongside fellow Memphians Van Duren in a short-lived band called the Baker Street Regulars. The band would never record a single track, but its short list of dates at low key Memphis bars would be the only time a full band would ever play Chris Bell’s solo material in front of an audience. 

The following excerpt is a portion of Chapter 20 from the new oral history book, There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of Big Star (HoZac Books), details this transitional period of Bell’s life.

 
Chris Bell on stage
Chris Bell on stage during a Baker Street Regulars gig. (Courtesy of Van Duren)

Chapter 20: Baker Street Regulars: 1976
Within weeks of his return from England, Chris connected with Van Duren and promptly formed the Baker Street Regulars—a Memphis-based bar band named after the Sherlock Holmes characters. The group—which also comprised former Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and guitarist Mike Brignardello—played Van’s and Chris’s original tunes along with some semi-obscure covers. For the first time since his pre-Big Star days, Chris played music just for fun.

Mike Brignardello — Bassist, Baker Street Regulars, Nashville session player: I grew up in Memphis, then hit the road immediately after high school in the early ’70s. I was in a little club band and learning about being a musician, then I came back in the mid-’70s. Big Star had come and gone in my absence, but I heard about them when I got back. They were local heroes, already a semi-cult band. One of the first guys I met when I came back to Memphis was Van Duren. We hit it off and started playing together. He was the guy who hooked us up with Chris and Jody.

Van Duren — Musician, songwriter, solo, Baker Street Regulars: The Baker Street Regulars was the name when the band first started—Chris thought of it. In December of ’75, we started to get together and rehearse, but we had been kicking around the idea of forming a band for months before that. The first time I went out to the Bells’ house, Jody took me over there for our first rehearsal. We turn off down this street and it turned into this winding driveway. You couldn’t even see the house from the street, the property was so huge.

 
1977
Chris Bell poses in front of his parents’ home, Christmas 1977. (Courtesy of Bell Family Archive)

Mike Brignardello: Chris lived in, to my eyes—at least back in the day—a full-blown mansion. I remember turning down the driveway and driving, and driving, and driving and thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me! He lives on this estate?” I had grown up as a poor kid in Memphis. He had us set up and play in the living room because his parents were overseas for like a month. I was like, “Who goes overseas for a month?”

Van Duren: Chris was different, obviously upper crust. I come from a blue-collar background, so that was a new world for me. He was from privilege and he acted that way sometimes, but he could also be quite humble. He always had a twinkle in his eye, much like Alex in a way. Sometimes you couldn’t tell if he was putting you on or being serious.

Mike Brignardello: We practiced in a corrugated-metal storage room—it wasn’t insulated or anything like that. We’d just roll the door up on hot, humid Memphis days and rehearse. My girlfriend got that photo of us in there. I thought it perfectly summed up where we were at. We were hungry to play. We sweat through those rehearsals.

 
The Baker Street Regulars
The Baker Street Regulars in the metal storage unit. L-R: Chris Bell, Mike Brignardello, Jody Stephens, and Van Duren. (Courtesy of Beverly Baxter Ross)

Van Duren: It was pretty miserable in that twenty-foot-by-ten-foot mini storage—those things were brand-new in 1976. It was on Lamar Avenue and was the first of its kind in Memphis. One day, Chris showed up two hours late for rehearsal out there. He walks in wearing these tennis togs with the sweater wrapped around his neck and says, “Sorry I’m late, Tommy Hoehn and I had a vision on the tennis courts.” I didn’t know if it had to do with his religious beliefs, or if I was supposed to take him seriously or not. I was a little bent out of shape, but I just laughed when he said that. It wasn’t the first or the last time he was late. He operated on Chris time. Even so, by January of ’76, we were out playing.

The Baker Street Regulars landed shows at now-defunct venues, like Aligahpo’s on Highland Street by the University of Memphis, Procapé Gardens in Midtown on Madison, and the High Cotton Club, just south of Overton Square.

Van Duren: We played those three clubs about three times each, but the first gig was in the springtime in Oxford, Mississippi at Ole Miss at a fraternity party. We did originals and some cover material—but the covers were Beatles, Bee Gees and a lot of fairly obscure things at the time, like Todd Rundgren. We played things nobody had picked up on yet, especially in Mississippi. We threw in my songs, some Big Star songs and a few of Chris’s songs. We’d do “I Am the Cosmos,” “Make a Scene” and “Fight at the Table.” We learned Chris’s songs by listening to what he was calling demos—what later emerged as his solo album. It was a wonderful experience, even though when we played gigs we were pretty much ignored. That’s probably why we didn’t play much in the six months we were together.

 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.17.2018
08:56 am
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Scary stories and super creeps: The illustrated nightmares of Stephen Gammell


A catchy tune and one of Stephen Gammell’s illustrations from Alvin Schwartz’s trilogy, ‘Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark.’
 
If you look at the unassuming photo used by publisher Simon and Schuster of illustrator Stephen Gammell, you will, in no way, perceive the smiling, white-bearded and spectacled man was responsible for creating images which have terrorized the minds of children since 1981. But he is, and I hope this helps reinforce the golden rule one should never judge a book (or a person) by their cover. Unless one of those books happens to be Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. In this case, I’d recommend you let your initial impressions be your guide because Stephen Gammell’s instantly recognizable artwork is as sinister as the tales of terror spun by author Alvin Schwartz within the pages of the three-book-series.

Gammell has led a private life during his career which started in 1972, and is notoriously humble about the impact his insidious illustrations have had on generations of people. Gammell’s father was an art editor for a major magazine and would bring home art supplies for his son to help feed his appetite for art and develop his distinctive, entirely self-taught style. Here’s Gammell expounding on his very early days tapping into his gift growing up in Des Moines, Iowa:

“Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of lying on the floor in our old house in Des Moines, books, and magazines around me, piles of pads and paper, lots of pencils…and drawing. Just drawing! I was four at the time thinking that I really didn’t want to go to school next year…I just want to do THIS.”

As I mentioned, Gammell is a private person and historically has scarcely spoken about his most notorious work with Alvin Schwartz—the word-writing creep behind the trilogy Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. Starting in 1981, the spine-tingling tales of Scary Stories hit the shelves with Gammell’s terrifying cover artwork. Schwartz’s inspiration for much of the trilogy was found in vintage books archived by the American Folklore Society (housed at the Library of Congress). They were, of course, a runaway hit, especially with kids. And being popular with “impressionable” kids seemed to be the number one reason Gammell and Schwartz collectively became public enemy number one with parents and educators. When Schwartz passed away in 1992, his books were already being submitted to the Office For Intellectual Freedom (OIF) in the hope they would be added to the list of “challenged books” maintained by OIF and eventually banned. Complaints regarding Schwartz’s tales accused the writer of being cool with various nefarious activities including cannibalism, necrophilia, and the occult. An article from 1993 published by the Chicago Tribune notes one particularly angry parent likening Schwartz to the serial killer and actual cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer because of the short story “Wonderful Sausage” where a butcher converts his wife into a bratwurst. Here’s a quote from the article by Sandy Vanderburg, a mother of two, and one of Schwartz and Gammell’s biggest haters:

“If these books were movies, they’d be R-rated because of the graphic violence. There’s no moral to them. The bad guys always win. And they make light of death. There’s a story called `Just Delicious’ about a woman who goes to a mortuary, steals another woman’s liver, and feeds it to her husband. That’s sick.”

 

An illustration by Gammell for Schwarzt’s short story “Wonderful Sausage.”
 
For the love of Sweeny Todd and those meddling kids, Hansel and Gretel, get a fucking GRIP, Sandy. Given the outrage over Scary Stories, it’s important to be clear about the Schwartz/Gammell/Scary Stories success story. As nutty as Schwartz’s fables were, what any “reader” remembers most are Gammell’s illustrations of ghouls materializing through the mist, and unfortunate characters like Harold—the impaled scarecrow. Gammell’s impact on Scary Stories fans was magnified in 2011 on the occasion of the series’ 30th anniversary when Harper’s Collins decided to replace Gammell’s original artwork with toned-down images drawn by artist Brett Helquist. With respect to Helquist, the publishers’ actions made absolutely no sense, seeing that their support of the books never wavered despite consistent, decades-long efforts to have them banned. In 2017 Harper’s came to their senses and re-released the series with all of Gammell’s diabolical illustrations intact.

2012 saw a television adaptation of the books, and in 2017 a documentary on the legacy of Scary Stories was released. In April of this year (2018) director, Guillermo del Toro confirmed he had the backing to make the film version of the trilogy, and plot details of the flick finally were revealed in early August. In addition to his chilling work for Scary Stories, Gammell’s art has appeared in 50 other non-nightmare inducing children’s books, the most recent of which tells the story of a kid who loves mud. Right on.

I’ve posted Gammell’s eerie illustrations below from the Scary Stories series. Maybe keep the lights on until you’ve seen them all (some are slightly NSFW).
 

 

 

 
Many more macabre illustrations from Stephen Gammell, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.13.2018
07:51 am
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William S. Burroughs’ time-traveling experimental flexi disc, ‘Abandoned Artifacts’
08.10.2018
07:04 am
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Talk Talk Vol. 3, No. 6, cover art by William S. Burroughs

The Lawrence, Kansas label Fresh Sounds had a long-standing relationship with William S. Burroughs. In ‘81, owner and proprietor Bill Rich introduced Burroughs to Fresh Sounds recording artists the Mortal Micronotz, to whom the author gave his song lyric about child-chewing, “Old Lady Sloan.” Burroughs later read his Civil War tale, “Death Fiend Guerrillas,” for a Fresh Sounds compilation, and he recorded his own interpretation of “Old Lady Sloan” for a 1995 Mortal Micronotz tribute album.

Bill Rich also edited a magazine called Talk Talk, some of whose numbers came with Fresh Sounds flexi discs. One such issue was Vol. 3, No. 6, published in September ‘81, with cover art by WSB and, inside, a square, six-inch disc of the author reading from the first chapter of The Place of Dead Roads (page 10 in the Picador paperback)—or, more precisely, three Burroughses reading the same text at three different points in space and time. Abandoned Artifacts superimposes recordings from performances in Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco, and it is downright spooky when they match in cadence and tone. Percussion by one Martin Olson juices the passage’s weird, incantatory power.

The interview with Burroughs from Talk Talk Vol. 3, No. 6 helps make sense of the title Abandoned Artifacts, especially if you don’t have The Place of Dead Roads handy:

Mr. B.: We are squandering time and time is running out. We must conceive of time as a resource. That is one of the concepts central to this book. Another is that people are living organisms as artifacts made for a purpose, not cosmic accidents, artifacts created for a purpose.

TT: What are some of the purposes?

Mr. B.: Space. Leaving the planet. We are here to go. This first chapter shows you the concept of living beings as artifacts which is developed much more in the rest of the book. Artifacts created for a purpose, just like arrowheads.

TT: Have you decided on a title?

Mr. B.: Oh, yes, Place of Dead Roads… The planet earth, place of dead roads, dead purposes.

Leaving the planet? Yes, please!
 
Have a listen after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.10.2018
07:04 am
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