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David Lee Roth and Ozzy Osbourne’s insane ‘cocaine challenge’ of 1978


 
In 1978 Van Halen and Black Sabbath teamed up for a tour to end all tours. Van Halen shared bills with a bunch of big acts in ‘78 during their first world tour, all of whom immediately regretted the decision because VH was next to impossible to upstage. I mean, how do you follow a band that shows up to a gig by parachuting from a plane, then catches a ride from a van waiting for them on the ground, and starts playing the show still wearing the jumpsuits they jumped out of the plane in? Oh, and they just happen to be Van fucking Halen, no big deal. Of course, the members of VH didn’t actually jump out of a plane in California just so they could play their set at the Anaheim Stadium Summer Fest in September of 1978, they had stuntmen do it, so they didn’t miss out on happy hour before the show. Priorities, Van Halen has ‘em.

In getting back to VH’s tour with Black Sabbath, Sabbath quickly learned their choice of opening bands might have been a mistake. Ozzy told writer Greg Renoff (author of the fantastic book, Van Halen Rising) that he and Sabbath were “stunned” after witnessing Van Halen’s set during the start of the tour in Europe in May of 1978. 1978 had been a rough year for Sabbath, and their collective drug and alcohol consumption was at an all-time high. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but this was especially true for Ozzy.

Ozzy was so messed up he actually quit the band, briefly forcing Sabbath to replace him with Dave Walker (Fleetwood Mac/Savoy Brown). Ozzy would return, and the tour rolled on through Europe, eventually wrapping up in the U.S. for the second leg of their North American shows. The night before the tour stopped in Nashville, Tennessee, Roth and Ozzy decided to stay up until nine in the morning doing blow to see which one of them would faceplant first. Score one for DLR for having the balls to challenge Ozzy to a competition involving drugs without dying in the process. Somehow, both Roth and Osbourne made it to the airport, got to Nashville, and checked into their hotel. Later on when it came time to head off to sound check, Ozzy didn’t show up. The tour manager had never given Ozzy the key to his room which would explain why Ozzy wasn’t found there either.
 

A photo of Dave Walker, a Brummie pal of Tony Iommi, during his short time with Black Sabbath. On January 6th, 1978, Black Sabbath appeared on the British TV show ‘Look Hear’ performing “War Pigs,” and an early version of the song “Junior’s Eyes” penned by Walker. Listen to it here.
 
Things got frantic quick given Ozzy’s less than stellar track record of not being a responsible human and it had everyone thinking the worst—the singer had been kidnapped or was lying dead somewhere in Nashville. At some point when it became clear Ozz wasn’t going to materialize in time for the show, Roth said members of Sabbath asked him if he could sing any of their material, but he didn’t know any of their lyrics. Van Halen would play their opening slot, but Sabbath would have to cancel for obvious reasons. By this time the hotel and surrounding areas were now swarming with the local police and the FBI, all searching for Osbourne. At the center of it all was David Lee Roth, as he was technically—as far as anyone knew—one of the last people to see Ozzy alive. Searches for the singer turned up no clues, no sightings, nothing. Then, as things were starting to seem quite bleak Roth recalls Sabbath had been hanging out sitting on a carpet in the hotel lobby, grim as fuck waiting to have their worst fears confirmed. What actually happened was a very out-of-it-Ozzy headed up to what he thought was his room, #616, as he still had the key from the previous night’s hotel in his possession. The room was being cleaned and Ozzy told the housekeeper to beat it so he could crash for eighteen hours or so after doing blow for half a day with DLR. According to the police report, when he woke up, he realized he was in the wrong room and toddled off to his real room where he picked up a call from a Nashville detective. Dave remembers at around 6:30 in the morning a not dead, maybe only half dead Ozzy walked out of the hotel lobby elevator. Here’s a hilarious quote from Lt. Sherman Nickens of the Nashville, Tennessee PD on the incident. Oh, Lt. Nickens, if you only knew!

“Ozzy Osbourne may have been kidnapped or been the victim of some other form of foul play. Here’s a man who makes a lot of money and has never missed a show in ten years. He doesn’t drink or use dope. He disappears and his people are so frantic. So it was possible that something had happened to this man. While all the time he’s sleeping.”

Let this be a lesson to you folks: never challenge David Lee Roth to a cocaine duel—you will lose.

Sabbath returned to Tennessee with VH a few days later to make up the gig and by most accounts it wasn’t great, as Osbourne’s voice was shot. What follows are photos of VH and Sabbath (one is NSFW) taken during their massive tour in 1978. Also included below is footage of Sabbath’s incredible performance at the Hammersmith Odeon on June 1st, 1978, and equally impressive bootleg audio of Van Halen’s set the same night. Your speakers are about to get a well-deserved workout.
 

A collage of amusing headlines and articles about Ozzy oversleeping in the wrong hotel room in Nashville.
 

 
More coked-up mayhem and mischief after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.19.2018
08:42 am
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Billy Idol and Dr. Timothy Leary jamming in the studio
09.13.2018
08:30 am
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“Outlaw Tech. Rebel Science. Information is the ammunition, your mind is the target.”

Cyberpunk entered the world borne on gusts of hype. Billy Idol’s previous three albums and the greatest-hits comp Vital Idol had all been certified platinum, and the term “cyberpunk” was strained by heavy use in 1993, invoked to explain such disparate cultural phenomena as Ministry, Freejack, the Bomb Squad, white-guy dreads and the 14.4K modem. Maybe Mr. “Eyes Without A Face” could square this circle. Who better to explain cyberpunk’s continuity with paleopunk? After all, hadn’t his first band been called “Generation X,” another buzzword of the day? If you’re a record executive, you’re going to let Billy have all the binaural recording equipment, Stan Winston special effects and rails of GHB he wants.

Except for those nine dance versions of the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin,” Idol’s instincts were solid. The CD and its accompanying interactive press kit on 3.5-inch floppy incorporated the talents of some heavy hitters. However, despite the cover art by bOING bOING’s Mark Frauenfelder, the bass playing by Doug Wimbish, the remake of Blue Pearl’s “Mother Dawn,” and the participation and blessing of arch-cyberpunk Timothy Leary, Cyberpunk sank like a Macintosh Performa tossed on a leaky waterbed. (Don’t let anyone tell you it’s Billy Idol’s worst record, though.)

A couple GHB overdoses later, Billy lost the white-guy dreads and returned to his former shtick; a decade passed before he issued a new LP.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.13.2018
08:30 am
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Hang ‘em high: The story of John Edward Allen, Ozzy Osbourne’s “personal dwarf”


The gatefold image from ‘Speak of the Devil’ featuring Ozzy and John Edward Allen as Ronnie the Dwarf (also sometimes called Ronnie the Midget). For what it’s worth, this photograph was unapologetically taken of the author’s original U.S. pressing of the album from 1982.
 
While on tour in support of both Diary of a Madman (1981-1982), and his follow-up live album, Speak of the Devil (1982-1983), Ozzy Osbourne‘s live show included actor and dwarf John Edward Allen. You may recall Allen not only participated in the live shows but also appeared on the inside of the infamous gatefold (pictured above) of the Speak of the Devil album, made up to look like a bloody, undead disciple of Ozzy clad in a hooded black robe. My young mind could barely handle the image when I cracked my copy open on Christmas of 1982 (proof my parents are the coolest ever). I even got to see Ozzy “execute” Allen on stage by hanging him as he did nightly, typically when it came time to perform “Goodbye To Romance” from Osbourne’s first solo record, Blizzard of Ozz. During the band’s set, Allen would periodically come out on stage during the banter breaks, bringing his employer drinks and towels while Ozz regaled the crowd with his never-ending demand to let him see their “fucking hands.”

John Edward Allen was born on March 27th, 1950, in Southampton, Hampshire, England. He found work as a tailor in Southhampton but always had his sights set on acting. He would fulfill his dream performing live theater in London first, then heading to New York’s off-Broadway scene—even performing for President Jimmy Carter at the White House in the late 70s. Allen landed parts in several Hollywood films starting in 1978 with his minor role in the super-creepy John Carpenter-penned film The Eyes of Laura Mars. Other roles would follow, including his memorable portrayal of Kaiser in 1982’s Blade Runner. While all this sounds like a pretty charming existence for Allen, he was a pretty troubled guy. Allen, as it turns out, loved to drink, about as much as Ozzy himself liked to drink—which in itself is an alarming claim to make about anyone considering Osbourne’s track record with booze.

Initially, Ozzy was hell-bent on adding a dwarf to his live show and gave Allen the gig giving him the name of Ronnie the Dwarf—a direct swipe at Black Sabbath’s new vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Between Ozzy’s epic use of party favors and Allen’s love of drink, things often ended badly for Allen after the show was over.
 

A lovely portrait of Allen in his dressing room in 1985. Photo by author and photographer Mary Motley Kalergis.
 
On one particular occasion, Ozzy was chatting with a journalist outside the band’s tour bus when a seriously blotto Allen came stumbling by. This pissed off the Prince of Darkness and once Allen was within arms reach, he grabbed him and threw him inside the luggage compartment of the bus, leaning on the door so Allen couldn’t get out. The journo recoiled in shock (which I find hilarious, because OZZY), then stammered at Osbourne telling him his treatment of Allen was uncalled for.  Ozzy allegedly responded by telling the journalist he could do “what he liked with him” because he was “my dwarf.” Following this bizarre proclamation, Allen’s voice arose from the luggage compartment saying:

“He’s right, you know. I’m his dwarf, and he can do what he likes with me…”

During the North American leg of the Diary of a Madman Tour, tragedy struck when guitarist Randy Rhoads (and four other people including the pilot) was killed in a plane crash on March 19th, 1982. This devastating event sent Ozzy into an even more downward spiral. He upped his consumption of liquor and drugs, shaved his head, and constantly threatened to quit the music game forever. Of course, as we all know, the threats never came to fruition and Ozzy would keep going. Allen would continue to be ceremoniously hanged for the duration of the Speak of the Devil Tour. Following the tour, Allen was dismissed by either Osbourne, a member of his crew, or perhaps just moved on—it’s a little murky. Allen would appear in a few more films before his OD suicide in 1999 at the young age of 49. I’ve posted some behind-the-scenes images of Allen on tour with Ozzy, as well as a video of Allen on stage with Ozzy in 1982.

And now, you know...
 

A photo of Allen preparing to be hung on stage during his time touring with Ozzy.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.12.2018
11:20 am
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That time Robert Fripp and Peter Hammill played in the Stranglers
08.24.2018
08:44 am
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JJ Burnel, Richard Jobson and John Ellis on the cover of ‘The Stranglers and Friends Live in Concert’
 
Busted for possession of various drugs late in 1979, Hugh Cornwell was tried the following January and sentenced to an eight-week stretch in Pentonville. The sentence was bad news for Hugh, and it was bad news for ticketholders to the Stranglers’ upcoming engagement at the Rainbow with opening acts UB40 and the Monochrome Set (night one) and Joy Division and Section 25 (night two).

The Stranglers rallied. Instead of canceling the Rainbow dates, they put together a special set with guests from the Cure, the Members, Steel Pulse, Hawkwind, Stiff Little Fingers, Dr. Feelgood and the Vibrators. Hazel O’Connor, Toyah Willcox, Ian Dury and Richard Jobson took turns at the mike, and the missing singer and guitarist was hung in effigy to mark his absence. 

Best of all, they got Peter Hammill to sing two songs from The Raven, the title tune and “Shah Shah A Go Go,” along with the crowd-crushing first track from Black and White, “Tank.” On the second night’s performance of “Tank,” they managed to reunite Hammill with his sometime collaborator, the good, great and excellent guitarist Robert Fripp. “Tank” was the only number to feature both men; Fripp also played on the evening’s versions of “Threatened” and “Toiler on the Sea,” the latter sung by Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels.
 

JJ Burnel and Ian Dury onstage at the Rainbow (via Aural Sculptors)
 
There are fewer photos of these shows floating around than I would have thought, considering how many and how vivid are the images they conjure before my mind’s eye. One concertgoer remembers that when Billy Idol tried to join the company onstage for the second night’s encore, he “was promptly put on his arse by JJ Burnel.”

Highlights of the second night at the Rainbow appeared (at least semi-officially?) on the CD The Stranglers and Friends Live in Concert, and a bootleg with additional tracks exists. Cornwell wrote about his time behind bars in the booklet Inside Information, which is reprinted in his autobiography, A Multitude of Sins. Below, hear the angelic sounds Hammill and Fripp made as short-term Stranglers.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.24.2018
08:44 am
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‘I went straight to Hell’: Philip K. Dick did NOT like LSD
08.03.2018
08:25 am
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‘The cross took the form of a crossbow, with Christ as the arrow…’
 
The interview with Philip K. Dick embedded below, recorded in Santa Ana on May 17, 1979, touches on many of the author’s experiences and obsessions—the combat his father saw in World War I, how he came to join the Episcopal Church (“My wife said if I didn’t, she’d bust my nose”), the dying rat who shook his faith, the coming of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point, contemporary attitudes towards homosexuality, compulsory ROTC at the University of California, the time he got pancreatitis from using “bad street dope” cut with film developer, the constant threat posed by authoritarian movements—but I’ve cued it up to this vivid description of a bad, bad trip he had in 1964:

I only know of one time where I really took acid. That was Sandoz acid, a giant horse capsule that I got from the University of California, and a friend and I split it. And I don’t know, there must’ve been a whole milligram of it there. It was a gigantic thing, you know, we bought it for five dollars and took it home and we looked at it for a while—looked at it, we were all gonna split it up—and took that, and it was the greatest thing, I’ll tell you.

I went straight to Hell, is what happened. I found myself, you know, the landscape froze over, and there were huge boulders, and there was a deep thrumming, and it was the Day of Wrath, and God was judging me as a sinner, and this lasted for thousands of years and didn’t get any better. It just got worse and worse, and I was in terrible pain, I felt terrible physical pain, and all I could talk was in Latin. Most embarrassing, ‘cause the girl I was with thought I was doing it to annoy her, and I kept saying Libera me domine in die illa. You know, and Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi [...] and especially, Tremens factus sum ego et timeotimeo meaning “I’m afraid”—and I said Libera me, domine! Whining like some poor dog that’s been left out in the rain all night. Finally, the girl with me said “Oh, barf” and walked out of the room in disgust.

It was a little bit like when I rolled my VW. I mean, it was all very messy and strange. The only good part of it was when I looked in the refrigerator, and I hadn’t defrosted the refrigerator for a long time, and there was nothing in the freezer compartment. I looked in, and I saw this giant cavern with stalactites and stalagmites, and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Ashtray, with cigarette butts in it? Most horrible smell I’d ever smelled! But music sounded very beautiful.

About a month later, I got the galleys for Three Stigmata to read over, and I started reading the galleys, and I thought, “Oh dear, I can’t read these galleys. They’re too scary.” Because all the horrible things that I had written about in Three Stigmata seemed to have come true under acid. So I used to warn people then, that was ‘64, and I used to warn people against taking it. I begged people not to take it.

 

 
Dick put one of the characters in A Maze of Death through the same religious bummer, and he wrote about the ways the psychedelic experience resembled mental illness in two mid-sixties essays, “Drugs, Hallucinations, and the Quest for Reality” and “Schizophrenia & The Book of Changes.” The latter includes a passing reference to the eternity he spent in Hell one night:

Yes, friends, you, too, can suffer forever; simply take 150 mg [sic] of LSD—and enjoy! If not satisfied, simply mail in—but enough. Because after two thousand years under LSD, participating in the Day of Judgment, one probably will be rather apathetic to asking for one’s five dollars back.

Biographer Lawrence Sutin reports the eyewitness account of Dick’s friend Ray Nelson, who remembers the author “sweating, feeling isolated, reliving the life of a Roman gladiator, speaking in Latin and experiencing a spear thrust through his body.” Sutin also quotes this portion of a 1967 letter Dick wrote to Rich Brown, which discloses a few more details of the acid vision of God:

I perceived Him as a pulsing, furious, throbbing mass of vengeance-seeking authority, demanding an audit (like a sort of metaphysical IRS agent). Fortunately I was able to utter the right words [the “Libera me, Domine” quoted above], and hence got through it. I also saw Christ rise to heaven from the cross, and that was very interesting, too (the cross took the form of a crossbow, with Christ as the arrow; the crossbow launched him at terrific velocity—it happened very fast, once he had been placed in position).

Listen to what the man says, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.03.2018
08:25 am
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That time two scientists killed an elephant with a massive overdose of LSD because…science

02tuskolsd.jpg
 
There are times when the best advice is ignored by those its intended to help even when it’s given by example. If only Tusko the elephant had taken the hint from Nellie and packed his trunk and waved goodbye to Oklahoma City Zoo, then maybe dear old Tusko could have avoided his untimely and unnecessary death on August 3rd, 1962, from a massive overdose of LSD injected by two scientists, Dr. Louis Jolyon “Jolly” West and Dr. Chester M. Pierce, and Mr. Warren Thomas, head honcho at the city zoo..

I can’t help but think if Beavis and Butthead had ever by some miracle of fate graduated from high school and then somehow majored in sciences at the local community college, then they may have come up with the idea of injecting an elephant with humongous dose of LSD just to see what would happen. Not that West, Pierce, or even Clark were random knuckleheads. They were highly qualified science guys with impressive resumes who just wanted to know what would happen if a fourteen-year-old Indian elephant tripped out on acid.

LSD was the new wonder drug. Doctors, scientists, psychiatrists, and the CIA were all fascinated at the potential use of the drug in altering behavior, helping mental illness, possible brainwashing, and as a potential military weapon. What West and Pierce were keen on discovering was the drug’s use in determining the cause of episodes of temporary madness in male elephants called musth. During these phases of aggressive behavior, male elephants secreted a fluid from their temporal gland which, on occasion, could be seen oozing out of their ears. Musth caused male elephants to go on a rampage, stomp the shit outta stuff, kill people, and generally cause havoc. West and Pierce hoped a dose of LSD would provoke a psychotic reaction in Tusko which would cause musth to occur. If it did, then LSD could be used in the research of psychotic behavior in elephants and humans—as it was thought the elephant’s brain was similar, if considerably larger, to ours.

But here was the BIG problem: no one had ever given LSD to an elephant before, well, at least no one had owned up to it, and West and Pierce had no knowledge as to what dosage would provide a suitably effective hit of the drug. They consulted zoo-guy Thomas, who noted that African elephants were often resistant to drugs. It was therefore decided to roughly estimate the dose to be administered to Tusko on calculations based on the size of dose given to humans and increasing the dosage proportionally to the elephant’s size. Somehow this ended up multiplying Tusko’s dose by approximately 3,000 percent—which is the largest known dose ever given to animal.

On Friday, August 3rd 1962, West and Pierce watched as Thomas injected Tusko with 297 milligrams of LSD. Tusko quickly started tripping balls. The elephant became very distressed and lost control of his bodily movements. Tusko ran around his pen trumpeting. His mate Judy tried to comfort poor Tusko, but it was to no avail. Believing they may have injected him with waaaay too much acid, West, Pierce, and Thomas quickly administered an antipsychotic drug—-2,800 milligrams of promazine-hydrochloride. It didn’t do much. His eyes rolled back, his tongue turned blue, and the elephant showed signs of seizures.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.25.2018
08:13 am
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Ray Manzarek and Danny Sugerman identify ‘Johnny Yen’ from Iggy’s ‘Lust for Life’
06.29.2018
08:23 am
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In 1995, the Doors’ keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, and biographer, Danny Sugerman, appeared on the Australian music video program rage, smoking cigs on the couch and telling stories about Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop.

In the first clip below, Sugerman describes sharing his home with Iggy in the Seventies (“sort of like staging the Vietnam War at Grauman’s Chinese Theater”) and checking him into the mental hospital after a Quaalude overdose. He credits the quick thematic transition from “Death Trip” to “Lust for Life” to Iggy’s personal growth under the care of Dr. Murray Zucker.  In the second clip, “Iggy’s Homosexual Ballet Dancing Heroin Dealer,” they reminisce about “Gypsy Johnny,” the real-life heroin dealer immortalized as “Johnny Yen” in “Lust for Life.” Sugerman:

His black Porsche said “Gypsy” on it, and he wore a scarf around his head. He used to be a ballerina, and he was homosexual, and very hot for Iggy’s parts—body parts—and “yen” is a term that William Burroughs uses a lot describing the craving for heroin. So in “Lust for Life” there’s a line, “Here comes Johnny Yen again, with liquor and drugs and a sex machine,” and that’s Gypsy Johnny coming up to Wonderland Avenue with his scarves and his drugs and his motorized dildos and whatever else he had, his balloons full of Mexican heroin that was killing all of us.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.29.2018
08:23 am
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The British neurologist who uses William S. Burroughs’ ideas to treat Parkinson’s disease


 
Though he never met William S. Burroughs, the British neurologist A.J. Lees credits the author as an important teacher in his recent book, Mentored by a Madman: The William S. Burroughs Experiment.

The expert in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases first encountered Burroughs on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. During the 1970s, after reading Naked Lunch, Lees began experimenting with apomorphine, the substance Burroughs advocated to cure junk addiction, as a treatment for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

In 2013, again following Burroughs’ example, Lees traveled to the Amazon rainforest to take yagé, or ayahuasca. He told the Guardian that taking the drug “broke down certain rigid structures that were blocking innovations in Parkinson’s disease research.”

Lees has also used apomorphine and Brion Gysin and Burroughs’ Dreamachine to investigate visual hallucinations in Parkinson’s patients.

Below, in an interview at the Beat Hotel, Lees talks with Andrew Hussey about Mentored by a Madman. He’s also spoken about the book on Erik Davis’ Expanding Mind podcast and in a video for ACNR Journal
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.14.2018
07:08 am
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‘The Flicker’: The legendary (and potentially) mind blowing underground film where nothing happens
05.15.2018
04:40 pm
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Since he was both a Harvard math major and a member (along with John Cale and Angus Maclise from the Velvet Underground) of La Monte Young’s drone ensemble the Theatre of Eternal Music (aka “The Dream Syndicate”) it makes sense that artist/musician Tony Conrad would produce a hypnotic film that combined his studies in mathematics and structure with his interest in the psychoactive effects of repetitive or prolonged intervals of pure sound.

The result is “The Flicker,” a film legendary from being mentioned in dozens upon dozens of books on underground film, “expanded cinema” and the Velvet Underground. Few have seen it since the 1960s.

It begins with a message:

WARNING. The producer, distributor, and exhibitors waive all liability for physical or mental injury possibly caused by the motion picture “The Flicker.” Since this film may induce epileptic seizures or produce mild symptoms of shock treatment in certain persons, you are cautioned to remain in the theatre only at your own risk. A physician should be in attendance.

A frame then reads “Tony Conrad Presents” followed by a stylized quasi-Fluxus looking title card. The screen goes white. The screen goes black. When it starts to speed up, the stroboscopic effects are not just similar to—but in my opinion far superior to—the internal visions created by Brion Gysin’s psychoactive kinetic sculpture, Dreamachine.
 

 
Conrad told Hyperreal:

When I made the film “The Flicker” in 1965-66 my principal motivation was to explore the possibilities for harmonic expression using a sensory mode other than sound. The experience of “flicker” - its peculiar entrapment of the central nervous system, by ocular driving - occurs over a frequency range of about 4 to 40 flashes per second (fps). I used film (at 24 fps) as a sort of “tonic,” and devised patterns of frames which would represent combinations of frequencies - heterodyned, or rather multiplexed together. I was interested to see whether there might be combination-frequency effects that would occur with flicker, analogous to the combination-tone effects that are responsible for consonance in musical sound.

I don’t think he was whistling “Dixie” when it came to that warning, btw. If a strobe light can set off an epileptic seizure, surely “The Flicker” could. If I haven’t already scared you off, sit with it long enough and you can get a high that’s similar to bed spins without the nausea (I mean that in a good way!)

Here’s an excerpt from “The Flicker” on YouTube. Although it’s a little ratty-looking, you can still more or less “get” the effect. There is a clean version (that compensates for film to video conversion) that you can find floating around on torrent trackers and various “artsy” film blogs. I highly recommend looking for it, it’s really neat.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.15.2018
04:40 pm
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Tricia Nixon’s wedding travestied by the Cockettes, 1971


via IMDb
 
Tricia’s Wedding, a 33-minute dramatization of the solemn rite that joined Patricia Nixon and Edward Cox in holy matrimony, was the first movie the Cockettes made. Per Kenneth Turan, it premiered at the Palace Theater in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco on the very day of the happy event, June 12, 1971. Not only is the Cockettes’ movie much livelier than the televised ceremony, it includes the all-too-brief screen debut of Tomata du Plenty, some five years before he formed the Screamers in Los Angeles.

Incredibly, the Cockettes’ movie was screened in the Nixon White House. In Blind Ambition, John Dean mentions watching it in the president’s bomb shelter underneath the East Wing, John Ehrlichman’s favorite spot for “monitoring” protests. There, Dean saw Tricia’s Wedding on the orders of H.R. “Bob” Haldeman:

I knew I wouldn’t use the shelter for monitoring demonstrations, although Haldeman had told me that that would be one of my responsibilities. The only time I ever returned there was for a secret screening of Tricia’s Wedding, a pornographic movie portraying Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Cox, in drag. Haldeman wanted the movie killed, so a very small group of White House officials watched the cavorting transvestites in order to weigh the case for suppression. Official action proved unnecessary; the film died a natural death.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.10.2018
08:28 am
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