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Light Up The Sky: A treasure trove of live Van Halen recordings from the late ‘70s appears online
05.25.2018
08:45 am
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Music Life 1979
 
During 2016 and 2017, a bootleg label, Mad Hatter Records, put out five Van Halen vinyl releases that featured previously uncirculated live material from the late 1970s. The LPs were only available in super-limited quantities. How limited were they, you ask? At the most, twelve copies were offered for sale, and as little as nine. Van Halen fans FREAKED OUT when digitized versions of these LPs were recently posted online.

The earliest show was recorded in 1978 during their first trek, when Van Halen was brand spanking new. There’s a 1979 rehearsal for the tour supporting their second record, and three stereo soundboards (!!!) from that outing. This is a young and hungry Van Halen, and they were never better on stage than during this period.
 
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The 1978 recording was captured on April 3rd at a Wichita club called Pogo’s. The set is filled with songs from their first album and also includes a tune that can’t be found on any of their official albums—a cover of “Summertime Blues.” They open with the punk-metal number, “On Fire,” and it’s a burner, for sure; Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing is positively sick. When EVH plays his groundbreaking “Eruption” solo, you can tell the audience is stunned into silence.

Much more, after the…er… jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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05.25.2018
08:45 am
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Can tears up ‘Dizzy Dizzy’ in their last TV appearance, 1977
05.25.2018
08:34 am
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YouTube user Bruno S. has taken a lot of killer TV footage of Seventies bands and cleaned up the sound and picture. (Listen, for instance, to his Captain Beefheart live at Beat-Club.)

I particularly like what Bruno S. has done with Can’s appearance on WDR’s Musik Extra, recorded in January 1977, a few months before they ceased to exist as a live band. It’s the five-piece lineup that played Can’s last shows: Jaki Liebezeit on drums, Michael Karoli on guitar, Holger Czukay on tapes and effects, Irmin Schmidt on keyboard and Silver Surfer jacket, and Rosko Gee on bass. Music does not get much better than their jam on “Dizzy Dizzy,” the first track from Soon Over Babaluma, and “Don’t Say No” is pretty good, too.

Bruno S. omits the interview Can gave Musik Extra.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.25.2018
08:34 am
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Jerry Lewis: The Day the Clown Shredded…
05.24.2018
10:22 am
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Mean-spirited? Perhaps—okay, alright, sure, it’s downright nasty—but it’s also hilarious and surreal. I think it’s a masterpiece, personally. It’ll make you laugh, it will make you cry. I was a mess!

Jerry Lewis is still big in France, you know…

(Runs away)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.24.2018
10:22 am
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John and Yoko’s bananas art hour on late-night public TV, 1971
05.24.2018
10:05 am
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“Why is Johnny Carson?”

Free Time, a series on New York City’s public TV station WNET, devoted its October 14, 1971 broadcast to Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Jonas Mekas’ performance of excerpts from Ono’s “Of a Grapefruit in the World of Park.” The title was significant. It had been the name of a short story she published in the student newspaper at Sarah Lawrence, and it was very close to the name of her first musical performance in 1961. And then there was Grapefruit (“The greatest book I’ve ever burned”—John Lennon), Yoko’s small-press, limited-edition book of instructions from ‘64, reprinted by Simon & Schuster and stocked, I imagine, in every B. Dalton and Brentano’s in ‘70 and ‘71.

Shortly before this aired, the New York Times reported Free Time was about to return in a “new format.” Perhaps this meant more bohemian, radical fare; another episode from around the same time featured Allen Ginsberg with Bob Dylan, Peter Orlovsky, and Gerard Malanga. All I really know about the show comes from former WNET president James Day’s description in The Vanishing Vision: The Inside Story of Public Television:

[The] original concept was an open studio—anyone with the desire to be seen and heard would be welcome to drop in—but that gave way to the more practical concept of a thrice-weekly, late-night (10:30 P.M. to midnight) live show with a minimum of structure and maximum of provocation. Abbie Hoffman “moderated” a panel on the press; the consuls general of India and Pakistan debated the war in Bangladesh; and Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda aired their unpopular views on the Vietnam War. The show’s tissue-thin budget produced lots of talk: open-ended discussions by Bronx street gangs, New York cabbies, black film producers, women writers, domestic help, telephone operators, and other denizens of a world rarely glimpsed on the tube. [...]

On one memorable evening, Free Time featured the spiritually inspired films of Yoko Ono, including a film consisting only of the movements of a fly on the nipple of a woman’s breast. The attention to the film was broken, however, when her husband John Lennon put in a surprise appearance, set up a ladder, and invited the studio audience to join him in “flying” off the top rung. One hapless “bird” sustained a broken arm.

Several of the broadcast’s pieces—the peeking, the flying, the wrapping—are straight out of Yoko’s 1967 performance in Liverpool. The flying routine (which goes from the 12-minute mark to about 15:40) does not develop quite as Day remembered it. The startling thing is that the broken arm comes early; long after the ladder topples, people are lining up to jump into John’s arms. “Every one a winner,” he says, as he tries to catch them. “Except the one.”

If PBS was still like this (i.e., live, unpredictable, insane, morally instructive, revolutionary), I might even contribute money during the pledge drive. But when they were hard up, it seemed “Dr.” Wayne Dyer was always bloviating, and I was always donating my scorn. How much scorn gets you the tote bag?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.24.2018
10:05 am
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Tom Adams’ macabre, surreal, and unsettling covers for classic crime novels
05.23.2018
01:52 pm
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Tom Adams is an artist best-known for his cover artwork for books by Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Kingsley Amis, and John Fowles during the 1960s and 1970s. He also produced posters for the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Soft Machine and album covers for Lou Reed and Iron Maiden. You may not know the name but you will certainly recognize one of the many book covers he has designed, in particular, those for Christie and Chandler.

Adams’ covers for Christie’s classic whodunnits? were usually painted as collages that featured key scenes (and sometimes clues) from the book. These paintings were macabre, unsettling, and very often surreal. Adams continued this style with his covers to Chandler’s novels where two or three storylines are woven into one dream-like image. Lou Reed was such a fan of Adams’ Christie covers, he asked him to provide a painting for his self-titled debut solo album.

Born in in Providence, Maine, in 1926, Adams studied at the Chelsea School of Art and then Goldsmith’s College where he graduated with a diploma in painting. Adams went onto work on a variety of comics including Eagle where he wrote and illustrated Regimental Histories. In 1958, he co-founded a design company producing murals for various institutions and then furniture for the likes of Harrods. In 1962, he was asked to design the cover for Christie’s A Murder is Announced, which led to Adams designing covers for Christie’s back catalog. However, it should be noted that Adams’ covers for the UK print run differ considerably from the US editions. UK publishers Fontana allowed Adams free reign to create his own designs. PocketBooks in the US commissioned Adams to produce only one scene for the cover. Prints of Adams “alarmingly realistic’ covers are available here.
 
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More dark and disturbing covers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2018
01:52 pm
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‘Garry Marshall, why didn’t you hire me?’: Singing puppeteer still irked he wasn’t cast as Mork
05.23.2018
11:36 am
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We’ve discussed the odd performer David Liebe Hart on this blog before. Hart is a man of many talents about whom it’s not possible to feel at least a certain amount of genuine sympathy. He is also at least a little bit “off.” Hart is a man of some sensitivity/thin skin for whom slights and rejections seem to carry more weight than they do for most of us. He is a Christian Scientist, a puppeteer, a singer and songwriter, a street musician and “outsider artist” (whatever that means) whose rambling songs, to quote Wikipedia, are about “religion, aliens, women, trains, and his tragic love life.” He appeared on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! several times and Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.

Hart is a creature of Los Angeles—a few years ago Richard Metzger, well aware of Hart’s unusual status in L.A., told of a couple encounters he’d had with the man. He’s been on public access for much of the last couple of decades. With Adam Papagan assisting, he put out four self-released albums about a decade ago; song titles include “Women Today,” “Dicksboro,” “Ellen DeGeneres,” “I Don’t Need a Psychiatrist,” and “All My Friends Like Asian Girls.”

As Hart will be the first to tell you, he was a standup comedian at the Comedy Store scene in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Somewhere in there Garry Marshall must have made some entreaties to Hart, which Hart took to be a promise that he would be the star of the new show he was developing, and…. well, another actor got the part. Hart tells it all in his song “Gary [sic] Marshall Blues.” The song was released in 2008, which tells us that Hart has a very, very long memory, on this topic at least. I’d relate some of the lyrics but you really just have to listen to the whole song to believe them.
 
Watch Hart’s unforgettable Garry Marshall song after the jump….....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.23.2018
11:36 am
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Who was the real ‘Girl from Ipanema’?
05.23.2018
10:21 am
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“The Girl from Ipanema” is one of the most covered songs of all time—second only to “Yesterday”—and an “elevator music” cliché the world over. The story behind the bossa nova standard is so well-known to most Brazilians that our readers there might find this a really obvious thing to write about, it’s not so well-known anywhere else, I don’t think.

Ipanema is trendy, beach district in south Rio de Janeiro. Near Ipanema Beach was Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim’s favorite hang-out, the Bar Veloso. Every day, the married musician would await the arrival of a “tall, and tan, and young and lovely” young girl who would pass by the bar on her way to the beach, never making eye contact with the bar’s patrons, even when she came in to buy cigarettes for her mother.

Jobim invited his friend, a writer and poet named Vinicius de Moraes to come by the Veloso to see this girl.  Eventually, after several days had passed, she walked by. Jobim said to his friend, ““Nao a coisa mais linda?” (Isn’t she the prettiest thing?) and de Moraes replied, “E a coisa cheia de gracia” (She’s full of grace).  Moraes wrote their banter on a napkin and this exchange became the seed from which the original Portuguese lyrics of “A Garota de Ipanema” (“The Girl from Ipanema”) grew.
 

 
A few years later, “The Girl from Ipanema” as performed by Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz, from album Getz/Gilberto became one of the top-selling records of 1964. Only the Beatles outsold the song and it was nominated for, and won, several Grammy awards.
 

 
But who was this beautiful girl from Ipanema?

From Stan Shepkowski’s “The Girl from Ipanema”:

Heloísa Eneida de Menezes Paes Pinto was a born and raised Rio de Janeiro girl – a true carioca.  The daughter of an army general from whom her mother divorced when Helô was 4, she grew up on the Rua Montenegro, some blocks up from the Bar Veloso.  At age 17 she was shy and quite self-conscious: she had crooked teeth, she felt she was too skinny, she suffered from frequent asthma attacks, and she had an allergy that reddened her face.  And on her way to and from school and on her treks to the beach, she had to walk by the Bar Veloso.

Although the song had been around since 1962, it wasn’t until 1964 that Helô learned the truth.  Friends introduced her to Tom Jobim, who still hadn’t worked up the courage to talk with her.  But with the ice finally broken, he set out to win her heart.  On their second date, he stated his love for her and asked her to marry him.  But she turned him down.  Two things got in the way.  Helô knew Tom was married and that he was “experienced,” whereas she was inexperienced and would not make him a good wife.  The other was that she had been dating a handsome young lad named Fernando Pinheiro from a prosperous family in Leblon since she was 15.  Undaunted by her refusal, Tom told her that she was the inspiration for the song.  This confirmed the rumors she had heard from others and, of course, thrilled her beyond imagination, but she still turned him down.

The world would not learn the truth until 1965.  Tired of all the gossip and particularly concerned that a contest was going to be held to select “the girl from Ipanema” Vinicius de Moraes held a press conference.  In a detoxification clinic in Rio where he was undergoing treatment (you’ve got to love poets), and with Helô at his side, de Moraes told the world.  And he offered her one more testament:

“She is a golden girl, a mixture of flowers and mermaids, full of light and full of grace, but whose character is also sad with the feeling that youth passes and that beauty isn’t ours to keep.  She is the gift of life with its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow.”

 

 
Although Helô became an overnight sensation, Brazil was a very conservative country at the time and she did not take advantage of the modeling contracts and movie roles she was offered, opting instead to become a mother and housewife, marrying Fernando Pinheiro the following year.

That might have been the last the world would have heard of Helô Pinheiro, but in the late 1970s Pinhero’s companies fell on hard times and Helô gave birth to a handicapped son. Although reluctant to do so her entire life, faced with the situation she was in, Helô decided to capitalize on her identity as “the girl from Ipanema” and became a successful model, gossip columnist and television host. She endorsed over 100 products.“You move mountains, when it comes to providing for your children” she said.

In 2003, at the age of 58 and still quite lovely, Helô Pinheiro appeared with her own daughter, supermodel, actress and reality TV star, Ticiane Pinheiro in the pages of Playboy magazine, making her their oldest model, ever…

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.23.2018
10:21 am
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Kate Moss models David Bowie’s outfits
05.22.2018
01:15 pm
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Style homages to David Bowie tend to be a dicey affair, if only because Bowie himself was such a master at adopting new visual looks for himself. Bowie always seemed to follow his own radar on such matters, and his particular genius lay in concealing the effort to such a considerable extent. Attempts to mimic the same vibe necessarily come off looking labored. Having said that, when you’ve got a top model and a man who photographed one of Bowie’s own album covers involved, your chances of success are better, but even then, not assured.

Obviously, 1973 was a huge year for Bowie as an authentic groundbreaker in fashion. He spent the first half of the year touring the Ziggy Stardust material, he released Aladdin Sane—in the same stroke introducing his lightning bolt face to the world, probably his most enduring stylistic element—as well as Pinups. It was also the year he reached out to Kansai Yamamoto, who crafted some of Bowie’s most bizarre and memorable outfits, most notably the “‘Tokyo Pop’ vinyl bodysuit” and the “Asymmetric knitted bodysuit.”
 

David Bowie and Kansai Yamamoto, 1973
 
In 2003 the fashion magazine Vogue got ahold of some of Bowie’s most iconic outfits and—with Bowie’s blessing—enlisted photographer Nick Knight, the man responsible for the cover shot on Bowie’s 1993 album Black Tie White Noise, and noted supermodel Kate Moss for the assignment.

In 2016 Knight reminisced about the gig:
 

I was delighted to do it. [Moss] was the exact same size as he was, she fitted his clothes really well—more than just in terms of size. Some models would just not look right in them, you can’t imagine putting some of the clothes on Linda Evangelista or Nadja Auermann or whoever would have been on the scene at the time. So Kate had both the attitude and the physical side of it which made her perfect for it and she loved it, she was incredibly good. Her talent is bringing out the narrative that’s in the piece of clothing—that’s why she’s such a good model. She can put on that pale blue suit and suddenly bring out the same narrative that Bowie would have brought out when he wore it.

 
After the jump, Moss-as-Bowie….......
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.22.2018
01:15 pm
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Sodomy, sake, murderous monsters & sketches straight from Hell: The art of Kawanabe Kyōsai
05.22.2018
09:14 am
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“School for Spooks” by Kawanabe Kyōsai 1864. A larger version can be seen here.

 
Born 1831 in Koga, Japan, artist Kawanabe Kyōsai (sometimes noted as Kawanabe Gyosai) had the distinction of being a highly influential artist during both the Edo period (1603-1867) and the Meiji period (1868-1912). Another distinction Kyōsai earned during his career was being known as “the demon of painting” most likely a nod to the volume and diversity of work Kyōsai produced which was admired by influential creatives not only in Japan but in France and the UK while he was active. His work during the Meiji period was known for its infusion of politics and satire as well as his use of caricature which got him in trouble with the authorities. What exactly ticked the cops off is a bit murky. Some cite following a night of pounding sake with his fellow artists and writers, Kyōsai was arrested for creating works which were critical of Japanese political figures and the police. One of Kyōsai’s paintings “Instructions for Drinking Parties” (1870) has also been named as a culprit in this caper as it was suspected of portraying Westerners and Japanese engaged in acts of “sodomy” and sent him to the slammer. Kyōsai spent three months in jail and received 50 lashes just for creating art.

As far as Kyōsai’s early life, there are a couple of different historical accounts regarding the artist’s father. Some sources indicate that Kyōsai was the “son of a samurai” while others note his father was a rice merchant in Koga. What is not in dispute is that Kyōsai’s father noticed his son’s talent at the tender age of three before enrolling the child in formal art training at the Kanō school at the age of six or seven, later moving on to the Surugadai branch of the Kano School. During this time in Kyōsai’s young life, it has been documented that he traveled down to a river and pulled out a human head (noted in the book Yurei: The Japanese Ghost), which he proceeded to use as a model of sorts before being discovered and told by his family to toss it back where he found it. At the age of 21, Kyōsai’s work was already legendary, as was his unhinged behavior and epic consumption of sake. Allegedly Kyōsai would have 1.8 liters of sake delivered to his house every morning, often downing three or so bottles before noon. Perhaps this bit of history regarding Kyōsai might make you wonder how the fuck does one paint with the deft and precision of a master while getting bombed on rice wine? Here’s more from a friend of Kyōsai, Japanese journalist and writer Kanagaki Robun on Kyōsai’s “creative process:”

“At about 11 o’clock in the morning on 30 June 1880, the renowned Japanese painter Kawanabe Kyōsai started work on his great curtain for the Shintomi theatre. It was to be a version of the classic subject the One Hundred Demons, and as Kyōsai wielded his huge painting broom, their faces began to take shape. But there was something different about them. These were not the elegant forms of the Ukiyo-e painters. They were wild-eyed, manic creatures who moved across the picture in a frenzy of diabolical abomination. This was Kyōsai “crazy painting.”

Perhaps it was the booze which brought the best out of Kyōsai; it was also likely instrumental in elevating the artist’s more ribald works, including one you have probably seen before—his bizarre “Fart Battle” (1867) which was a form of political protest meant to address the encroachment of Western influence in Japan and its impacts on Japanese customs and lifestyles. This was a theme/sentiment he incorporated into his art for the majority of his long career. I’ve posted images of Kyōsai’s work below which include his famous series Sketches of Hell commissioned in the 1870s by surgeon and Japanese art collector William Anderson. Much of what follows is NSFW.
 

A vision painted recalling the severed head Kyōsai fished out of a river as a child.
 

“A Comic Picture” 1864.
 
More Kawanabe Kyōsai after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.22.2018
09:14 am
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When nature calls: Pay a visit to the bathroom full of living spiders
05.22.2018
09:00 am
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If you have a fear of spiders, cave critters, creepy-crawlies, or maybe even restrooms, then, I guess this one’s not for you.

This could be Peter Parker’s bathroom. Or maybe Arachne’s. Or possibly the john of one of those half-human-half-arachnid kinda creatures born out some nuclear catastrophe. I suppose most people are just shaking their heads right now and saying “Uh-uh. No way am I going to drop a deuce anywhere near these eight-legged freaks in case they crawl up my butt.” I guess we can agree this is an unusual bathroom,

These photographs first appeared on Facebook post headed “Such a cool bathroom idea!!!” As you might surmise, this was on a page for those with a liking for insects, bugs, and spiders. The bathroom is (apparently) functional although it has been decked out to house several whip spiders or tailless whip scorpions—or amblypygi which is “an ancient order of arachnid chelicerate arthropods.” These amblypygi have eight legs but only use six for walking. The front two are used as “antennae-like feelers, with many fine segments giving the appearance of a ‘whip’.” They have pincer-like chelicerae which are used to hold and grind prey before digestion. They have eight eyes, are non-venomous to humans, and don’t weave webs. Some of you may recall seeing one of these critters on Ron Weasley’s head in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They’re quite shy and harmless though maybe not the most comforting of things to find when, er, “spending a penny.”
 
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More toilet critters, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.22.2018
09:00 am
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