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‘Kool Thing’: Kim Gordon’s 1989 interview with LL Cool J that inspired the Sonic Youth song
01.04.2017
09:14 am
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In the September 1989 issue of SPIN magazine, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon interviewed LL Cool J to get a feminist perspective on the male-dominated world of hip-hop. The result was an awkward and unintentionally hilarious conversation that served as the inspiration for the 1990 song “Kool Thing” (which was Sonic Youth’s first major label single). At the time, LL was promoting his third studio album, Walking with a Panther, the cover which depicted the rapper posing alongside a cuddly and adorable black panther sporting gold chains.

“I had a thing for male Black Panthers, I also loved LL Cool J’s first record, Radio, which was produced by Rick Rubin.” Kim recounts in her memoir Girl in a Band. She had said publicly that Radio was one of the albums that turned her on to rap music, and that “Going Back to Cali” was one of her favorite music videos because as someone who grew up in L.A. she appreciated “the humorous way it made fun of the 1960s archetypal Southern California sexy white-girl aesthetic.” LL’s publicist couldn’t believe that anyone in Sonic Youth knew about LL Cool J and happily granted an interview which took place during a rehearsal break for an upcoming tour. “I’ve never interviewed a pop star before, and having just seen LL on The Arsenio Hall Show I’m nervous.” Kim prefaced in the SPIN magazine interview titled “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy.”

“When I — the Lower East Side scum-rocker, feeling really, really uncool — arrive at the rehearsal studio, the dancers are taking a break. They’re real friendly; we talk about my shoes for a second. They are three girls — one of whom, Rosie Perez, is in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing — and a young boy. A bunch of other people are just hanging out. LL is preoccupied talking to some stylists, gesturing about clothes. Occasionally he shoots a look my way; I have no idea if he’s expecting me or he’s just looking at my out-of-place bleached blonde hair. LL slowly approaches, checking me out but stopping to talk to friends. I jump up, walk over, grab his hand, introduce myself and say, ‘Can I shake your hand?’ He’s aloof. I marvel how boys who’re tough or cool to cover up their sensitivity keep attracting girls and fooling themselves.” Kim and LL sat down at a nearby empty studio and she began the interview by asking him to sign her Radio CD. She then gave him a copy of Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album (a pseudonymous side project of Sonic Youth and Minutemen/Firehose member Mike Watt). When she told LL Cool J that The Whitey Album sampled beats off his records he laughed out loud and said, “I got a CD in a couple of my cars, I’ll play it.”

They began discussing sports cars and LL’s newly purchased home he called “Wonderland,” as LL flipped through The Whitey Album CD packaging. He pulled out and unfolded an insert which featured a photograph of a young girl with dozens of black & white flyers for hardcore shows plastered all over her bedroom wall. “Who’s this girl? It must have been a long time ago for it to say The Negroes.” LL mistook a flyer he noticed for Necros (a punk band from the Detroit music scene.) “That’s the Necros, an early hardcore band. Are you familiar with the early hardcore scene?” “Uh-uh, what is that, like heavy metal?” “No, not at all! It was basically kids talking to other kids. The Beastie Boys were part of that. I remember when they were a hardcore band.” LL processes the information and then quips, “The Young and the Useless?” (referring to an early 1980s punk band that included future Beastie Boys member Ad-Rock, and so, cool points for LL Cool J). “That was another band. The Beastie Boys had their same name when they were a hardcore band. Hardcore was so fast that if your ears weren’t attuned to it you couldn’t understand it. It wasn’t meant for anyone outside the scene. Like rap music, some of it is so fast, unless you’re familiar with the slang you can’t get it. That’s why so many people who were into hardcore listen to rap. It’s something that excludes white mainstream culture.” Gordon explained. “That’s interesting, I never really knew anything about that.” Cool J said.
 

Photo from Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album CD insert fold-out
 
While Kim Gordon’s connecting the dots between hip hop and the early hardcore music scene made for a great start to the interview, things then took a dive when she asked him about the females fans who admire him. “What about women who are so into you as a sex object that they take a picture of you to bed with them and their boyfriends or husbands start freaking out?” “It’s not my problem,” LL responded. “The guy has to have control over his woman.” Gordon plays along without confronting LL Cool J about his misogynist comments. “Are there any female sex symbols that you relate to?” Kim asks, “Oh yeah, every day on the way to work.”

“It was totally ridiculous for me to assume that we had anything in common” Gordon later admitted in a 1991 telephone interview with the Phoenix New Times. “That’s why I tried to make the article show how elite and small the downtown scene that I come out of is. I was trying to make fun of myself. I don’t know if that came across.” Six months after the interview was published, Sonic Youth recorded the song “Kool Thing” at Sorcerer Sound Recording Studios in New York City. Although LL Cool J’s name is never mentioned, the song’s lyrics contain several references to the rapper’s music. Kim Gordon sings “Kool Thing let me play it with your radio” (a reference to LL Cool J’s single “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”). The lyrics “Kool thing walkin’ like a panther” are a reference to the LL Cool J album Walking With a Panther. She repeats the line “I don’t think so” over and over again which is also a repeating line in the LL Cool J hit “Going Back to Cali.”

Elissa Schappell, author of the short-story collection Blueprints for Building Better Girls, perfectly summarizes the clash between Gordon and Cool J in an essay she wrote for the anthology book Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives:

“Kim was able to take the disastrous interview and elegantly turn it into something much larger than its parts. Working at SPY I was used to putting myself into the path of trouble, and when it found me I took notes. Kim had taken notes and then transformed the experience into a sharp and witty social critique of gender, race and power that you could dance to. ‘Kool Thing’ is more than Kim’s assault on LL Cool J’s ego, but a self-mocking jibe at her own liberal politics. The sarcasm in her voice when she addresses ‘Kool Thing’ (Public Enemy’s Chuck D) in the breakdown is self-mocking — the female voice inflated by privilege and naïveté. (‘I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me? I mean, are you going to liberate us girls from the white male corporate oppression?’)

More after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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01.04.2017
09:14 am
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Sharks, stingrays, snakes & other nasty beasts, all made from hubcaps
01.04.2017
08:58 am
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An Englishman with the excellent fortune to bear the wonderful name Ptolemy Elrington has hit upon an idea that’s far from new—he makes sculptures out of found materials. Since the novelty value of that method hovers closely around zero, such work succeeds or fails on the work’s merit, and Elrington succeeds wildly. His M.O. / gimmick / hook / whatever is that he sculpts animal forms from hubcaps, and they’re quite remarkable.

Hubcap creatures are made entirely from recycled materials. All the hubcaps are found, usually on the side of the road, and therefore bear the scars of their previous lives in the form of scratches and abrasions. I believe these marks add texture and history to the creatures they decorate.

Elrington keeps his web site and Facebook page constantly updated with new work, and his Instagram is heavily laden with extremely cool work.
 

 

 
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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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01.04.2017
08:58 am
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New human organ discovered by scientists
01.03.2017
02:23 pm
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Leonardo da Vinci described it, but it took until a few years ago for scientists to begin to take seriously the possibility of an organ in the abdomen that had not previously been classified as one—just a couple months ago, two biologists have declared it to be an organ according to the prevailing standards of anatomy, and it looks like their claim will likely stick.

The new organ is called the mesentery, which is Latin for “in the middle of the intestines”; unsurprisingly, it can be found in the middle of our intestines. Until around 2012 it was thought to be a series of separate structures keeping the intestines attached to the abdominal wall, rather like a series of support girders.

In the November 2016 issue of The Lancet, Calvin Coffey and Peter O’Leary from the University of Limerick published “The Mesentery: Structure, Function, and Role in Disease,” which purported to examine “distinctive anatomical and functional features” that “justify designation of the mesentery as an organ.”

The classical anatomical description of the mesocolon is credited to British surgeon Sir Frederick Treves, surgeon to Queen Victoria, in 1885, three years before he became the first man to perform an appendectomy in England. If that name is familiar to you, it might be because he was featured as a character in Bernard Pomerance’s 1977 play The Elephant Man as well as the 1980 movie directed by David Lynch (Anthony Hopkins played Treves in the movie).
 

 
Coffey and O’Leary used complex microscopy work to confirm that the relevant structures of the mesocolon are in fact interconnected, in other words part of a single overall structure. The mesentery has now been added to the famous Gray’s Anatomy textbook and described in this new paper.

In a statement, Coffey asserted that “in the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn’t been acknowledged as such to date.”

A decade ago or so, laypersons the world over became outraged at the subtraction of Pluto from our solar system on the grounds that it was too small to be counted as a planet. One hopes that those same people will take solace in the addition of an organ to our bodily systems.
 

 
via IFL Science!
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.03.2017
02:23 pm
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‘What’s The Matter With Helen?’ (or remembering Debbie Reynolds the DM way!)
01.03.2017
02:09 pm
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Okay, where do I begin?

First my respects to the amazing and kooky Miss Debbie Reynolds, a great and truly iconic Hollywood star.

Although most obituaries chose to skip over this (in every sense of the word) incredible moment in Reynolds’ career, What’s the Matter with Helen? is definitely worth a look. The film was directed by the bizarre Curtis Harrington, who began and ended his career by making the same short film version of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. The first when he was just sixteen years old in 1942, and the second at age 73 in 2000. Like Kenneth Anger, Harrington started making short experimental films in his teens in the 1940s. He befriended Anger and was featured in his 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome playing Cesare, the Somnambulist. Harrington would later shoot Anger’s Puce Moment.

The young Curtis Harrington was a charter member of the Hollywood underground which revolved around people like Anger, witchy artist Marjorie Cameron (the subject of Harrington’s short film “The Wormwood Star”), silent movie actor Samson De Brier and other druggy, gender-bending, rule-breaking free thinkers. Satanists, homosexuals, witches, freaks, drag queens, artists, murderers, millionaires and bums, the whole gamut of Hollywood Babylon as we know it today long before things of the sort became popular in the sixties. In the 1950s this was as far underground as Hell itself. The most amazing part of this is, of course, that so many of the biggest stars of the day were enamoured with these people, had to have them at their parties and had different levels of social (and sexual) involvement that will provide facts, info and weird stories to obsess on for decades to come. Unlike Kenneth Anger, Curtis Harrington headed for the hills (Hollywood, that is), and had a decent career making mostly odd horror films (and TV shows like Dynasty) while continuing to do his short experimental art films. What’s The Matter With Helen? is one of the best of his feature films.
 
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By 1971 there was a already an established trend in Hollywood horror films, dubbed the “Grande Dame Guignol Cinema,” it’s something that has also been called the “hagsploitation” or “psycho-biddy” genre. I refer to films like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?. Although Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard could technically be said to be the first, the advent of the hag genre exploded of course with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? starring the aging Bette Davis and Joan Crawford letting their hair (and their faces) down. Way down. Which was the entire professional requirement other than being a former leading lady. Since Curtis Harrington knew so many big stars from the 1930s and 40s who were growing into their fifties and wondering what to do with their careers, he made a few hagsploitation movies himself.
 
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Another thing Curtis Harrington had in his pocket by 1971 was his choice of the cream of the crop of old Hollywood’s wildest, weirdest and campiest actors, as well as some of new Hollywood’s most annoying child freaks, especially since the plot of What’s The Matter With Helen? included Reynolds playing a children’s tap dance teacher in 1930’s Hollywood. So many cheese-eating hamster hambones in this one.
 

 
To quote Shelley Winters:

It’s about two women during the thirties who run a school to turn out Shirley Temples, and in my next scene I have to stab Debbie Reynolds to death. Poor Debbie — they’d better not give me a real knife.”

Harrington’s cream of the crop, being the eccentric that he was, was just incredible. A who’s who of a pop culture obsessive’s dreams. On the top end of What’s The Matter With Helen?‘s credits we have, of course, Reynolds, Winters and future McCloud actor Dennis Weaver joined by the very old time super actor Michael Mac Liammóir (whose name had at least three different spellings), described in a IMDB bio as:

... a theatrical giant who dominated Irish theatre for over 50 years. Actor, designer, playwright and brilliant raconteur he was very much his own creation. He cut an imposing figure under the spotlight and in real life dressed flamboyantly wearing full make-up at all times and a jet black hairpiece. When he died in 1978 aged 79 The Irish Times wrote that ‘Nobody can assess the contribution that Micheal MacLiammoir made to Irish theatre’....Sir John Gielgud commented “Designer, wit, linguist and boon companion as well as actor, he was a uniquely talented and delightful creature.”

 
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As What’s The Matter With Helen?‘s credits roll they further reveal a string of incredible characters: Agnes Moorehead (who had an unforgettable Hollywood career but is mostly remembered as Endora on Bewitched), wild fifties (very) bad girl Yvette Vickers (Attack of the Giant Leeches, Reform School Girl, Juvenile Jungle, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and more), and Timothy Carey (possibly the single most out there Hollywood actor in the history of film, who saved his money from movies like The Wild One, East of Eden, The Killing, Naked Gun, Rumble on the Docks, Poor White Trash/Bayou, Beach Blanket Bingo, Head and so many more, to make his masterpiece, The World’s Greatest Sinner with soundtrack by a young Frank Zappa. [Carey spent his later years going on TV talk shows and shooting a movie with his son Romeo called The Devil’s Gas about the importance of farting. Yes that’s what I said]. But beyond them, it also features Pamelyn Ferdin, the most annoying fingernails-on-the- blackboard child actress of the sixties and seventies (who turns up in odd films like The Christine Jorgensen Story and was seemingly on every TV show ever made back then such as My Three Sons, The Monkees, The Paul Lynde Show, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and too many more to mention.)

What’s The Matter With Helen? was written by Henry Farrell who wrote both What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (most of these Hollywood hag films had titles that were full sentences or questions) the plot concerns a Leopold and Loeb-type thrill murder committed by the sons of two women who are drawn together by these horrible events. Destroyed by the trial, the shame and being attacked mentally and physically, they decide to run away to Hollywood, where they can change their names, reinvent themselves and start all over. There are quite a few amazing twists and turns in the story, gory murders (even a few bunny murders, the shame!), plus beautiful and weird cinematography that make it worth seeing more than once.
 

 
The insanity of some of the goings on behind the camera are legendary and hilarious. At first they couldn’t find a big name star to take the lead, but Debbie Reynolds eventually took the role of Adele. To quote her biography Unsinkable:

Eventually, Debbie Reynolds took the role of Adelle. She had a contract with NBC to be an uncredited producer of a film, so she chose this, taking no salary. “They put up $750,000 and hired Marty Ransohoff to be on the set, but I actually produced it.”

Incredibly—or not so incredibly considering who we’re talking about—Shelley Winters was in the middle of a nervous breakdown:

According to Reynolds, Winters’ psychiatrist advised her not to portray “a woman having a nervous breakdown because she was having a nervous breakdown! But nobody knew that, and so all through the film she drove all of us insane! She became the person in the film.” Reynolds witnessed Winters’s questionable mental status off of the set. The two had been friends many years before, and Reynolds offered to chauffeur Winters to and from the set. “I was driving one morning on Santa Monica Boulevard and ahead of me was a woman, wearing only a nightgown, trying to flag down a ride,” recalled Reynolds. It was Winters, who claimed, “I thought I was late.” According to a Los Angeles Times article published while the film was in production, Winters was so difficult on the set that the studio threatened to replace her with Geraldine Page.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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01.03.2017
02:09 pm
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‘Listen to Me Now’: John Belushi’s high school garage band was actually not half bad!
01.03.2017
11:26 am
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Last summer DM told you all about the time that the late, great sketch comic/actor John Belushi sat in on drums with The Dead Boys at CBGB in the ‘70s. We noted in that post that Belushi’s best known connections to the music world were his creation of that most transcendent of all wish-fulfillment projects The Blues Brothers, and his championing of the notorious punk band Fear as musical guests on Saturday Night Live. A commenter on that post helpfully pointed out that Belushi’s interest in music didn’t just strike him when he became known, he had a history in the ‘60s garage rock scene, and there’s a collectible artifact to prove it.

In 1965, Belushi was the drummer for a band called the Ravens, who made the 40-minute trek east from Wheaton, IL to Chicago to record a single. The A side was an original called “Listen to Me Now,” and the flip was a Kingsmen cover, “Jolly Green Giant.” Online sources vary in this estimate, but as few as 40 and as many as 200 copies may have been pressed. It’s unclear how popular the band was—they’re mentioned in Dean Milano’s The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s, but judging by the brief and modest description, that noteworthiness is clearly a product of Belushi’s later fame moreso than the band’s contemporary following:

Before he became known and loved by the world through his comedy, John Belushi played drums in a rock band called the Ravens in his hometown of Wheaton. The band played the local youth center and area high school dances. Members included Belushi, Phil Special, and Dick and Mike Blasucci. Eventually Belushi’s drums were sold to a local music store where they were used to give drum lessons to aspiring rock and rollers.

If you’re interested in that detail about the afterlife of Belushi’s drum set, it’s related in more depth here.

In 2011, the Chicago-based garage/psych/punk label Alona’s Dream reissued that lone Ravens single, which had the amusing unintended effect of making John Belushi posthumous labelmates with Rights of the Accused and The Necros. The reissued 7” was pressed in an edition of only 200, so it’s still a scarce item. YouTube was unaccomodating of our wish to share “Jolly Green Giant” with you, but thanks to the reissue, “Listen to Me Now” is easy enough to hear. It’s a first-person account of a guy with a new girlfriend who’s nonetheless still pining for his ex.

Guys can be dicks like that, sometimes.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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01.03.2017
11:26 am
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Cinemetal T-Shirts: Iconic film directors remixed with band logos
01.03.2017
11:20 am
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Werner Herzog / Danzig
 
I feel like such a dum-dum for not knowing that these clever remix t-shirts of iconic film directors meeting band logos existed! In fact, they’ve been around since 2005! How the hell did I not know about this? Shame on me. A few of my Dangerous Minds colleagues even own a few.

Anyway, if you, like me, didn’t know about these film-geek meets “metalhead” shirts, they’re called Cinemetal T-Shirts and they’re manufactured in Los Angeles.

Before there were Cinemetal T-Shirts, film-lovers had no means of expressing their favorite auteur directors and musical tastes at the same time.

Well I guess now they do, huh? I really dig the Alejandro Jodorowsky / Judas Priest t-shirt, below.

Each one sells for $29.00 through the Cinemetal T-Shirts website.


Alejandro Jodorowsky / Judas Priest
 

Stanley Kubrick / Kraftwerk
 

Brian De Palma / Def Leppard
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.03.2017
11:20 am
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Apocalypse from now on: Haunting paintings that depict a world during the end of days
01.03.2017
10:40 am
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‘Paradise Lost,’ a painting by Dariusz Zawadzki.
 
According to his bio at the Morpheus Gallery, Polish artist Dariusz Zawadzki sees himself following in the footsteps of another surrealist Polish painter, the great Zdzislaw Bekinski. Zawadzki started painting when he was just eleven and when he expressed interest in pursuing formal training in art school he was told that his eyesight wasn’t good enough for him to become skilled in his chosen medium. This opinion didn’t deter Zawadzki and the young aspiring surrealist instead taught himself how to paint, developing unique methods along the way that helped him work around any issues he had with his vision.

In an interview Zawaszki said once said that most of the images he paints come from his dreams and his desire to discover “unreal worlds.” Zawadzki is also fascinated with birds and the symbolism they represent and will often incorporate aspects of bird-like features such as beaks and the suggestion of feathers.

In addition to his incredible paintings, Zawadzki is also a skilled sculptor and uses metal materials to create three dimensional futuristic works of art. I’ve included a few of Zawadzki’s sculptures along with many of his grimly beautiful paintings below. Zawaszki’s work is also the subject of an upcoming book that presents his large catalog of artwork in chronological order, The Fantastic Art of Zawadski which is due out in 2017. Some of the images that follow are slightly NSFW.
 

‘Leviathan.’
 

‘Follow the Violin.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.03.2017
10:40 am
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That time Grace Jones tried to ‘kidnap’ Dolph Lundgren from his hotel, at gunpoint
01.03.2017
10:23 am
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Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren. Photographed by Helmut Newton, 1983.
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until I can’t remember that far back—the 80s were a weird, wonderful decade. And a perfect example of how wonderful it was is the unexpected coupling of 6’5” actor Dolph Lundgren and enigmatic Jamaican-born powerhouse, Grace Jones.

Born in Stockholm, before he got into acting Lundgren was an accomplished scholar who by the time 1982 arrived had already received a scholarship to fulfill his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia. While he was in Australia, Lundgren worked security detail for musicians like Joan Armatrading, Dr. Hook and Grace Jones—and his chance meeting with Jones would turn into a four-year love affair. In 1983 Lundgren was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to the equally prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston. According to Dolph he would arrive on the legendary campus on his motorcycle with a leather-clad Jones in tow. At Jones’ urging Dolph soon switched gears and headed to New York to study drama. He worked security at the Limelight nightclub until Limelight boss Peter Gatien caught him eating a sandwich in a stairwell and fired him. But thanks to Jones’ deep connections in the world of entertainment he landed his first acting gig with his exotic paramour in the last James Bond film to star Roger Moore, 1985’s A View to a Kill

1985 would be a pretty big year for the couple. Jones and Lundgren were immortalized together in a stunning photographic series by Helmut Newton that appeared in the July issue of Playboy magazine. Lundgren would then land the role of “Ivan Drago” in the 1985 film Rocky IV that would propel him to stardom. Sadly it wouldn’t be long before things got weird between the gorgeous duo and according to her 2015 book I’ll Never Write My Memoirs Jones’ recalled the moment when her beautiful union with Lundgren would begin to dissolve: after she showed up at his hotel in Los Angeles with a gun. Here’s more from Jones on how that went:

I actually had a gun. It seemed very natural that I would go and fetch Dolph holding a gun. I did so out of desperation — we had been together for years and had made this move to L.A., a place I absolutely loathed, against my better judgment, and then he comes back from being away and Tom [Holbrook, Dolph’s manager] blocks me from even saying hi. What is going on?

We turned up at the hotel, not to shoot anyone, but to make sure he came with us. We banged on the door of his room. Bang, bang, bang! I’ve got a gun! I’m screaming, “Let him out, you bastard!” It was as though Tom was holding him hostage and we had come to rescue him, hair flying, legs flailing, breasts heaving, guns flashing, music pumping. This was the kind of hysteria that took place in Los Angeles. In one of the many lives I never got to live, another Grace (one who never came true) shot Dolph there and then… And that was the end of the ballad of Grace and Dolph.

Later in the book Jones also tells the story of setting Lundgren’s clothes on fire. The couple called it a day before anyone got killed sometime in 1986. I’ve included images from the former power couple’s Playboy shoot as well as a nice assortment of other photos of the two canoodling back in the day that will remind you that love doesn’t follow any kind of rules, and should never have to be subject to them. Some of the images are slightly NSFW.
 

 

A photo shot by Helmut Newton of Jones and Lundgren that appeared in Playboy Magazine in July of 1985.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.03.2017
10:23 am
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Rare Frank Herbert ‘Dune’ calendar from 1978 works for 2017!
01.03.2017
10:15 am
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This is actually kind of cool if you can find one on eBay or Amazon: A Frank Herbert Dune calendar from 1978 that totally works for 2017. The illustrations for the calendar were done by artist John Schoenherr. Now this is a pretty great find, so I highly doubt you’d want to muck it up by actually using it as wall calendar. Maybe you might? I’d say this is more of a collector’s item.

According to I09:

...these images were commissioned for the 1978 Dune calendar and wound up in the book The Illustrated Dune. These forgotten illustrations and paintings were given to Omni to print in their July 1980 issue (along with 2 that were never printed in the book).

I looked online and found a few for sale. They’re not cheap. Here’s one on eBay with a “buy it now” for $125.00. I found another one here on eBay selling for $129.00. And here are few on Amazon.


 

 
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Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.03.2017
10:15 am
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Is ‘The Tourist’ the ‘Greatest Screenplay Never Made’?
01.03.2017
09:27 am
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01tourgig.jpg
 
Hollywood is where writers go to watch their screenplays die.

If they’re lucky their scripts will have a short, painless life: They’ll get made, the writer will get paid and then the results will get quickly buried which will allow the writer to move on to something better. If they’re unlucky, then they’ll waste their lives writing screenplay after screenplay that will never get made and see their best ideas plundered by studio execs to make yet another Hollywood monstrosity. Whichever fate, no writer comes out unscathed from Hollywood and the damage done can destroy lives.

Yet every screenwriter is a deluded optimist who believes that they’re going to be the one who will buck the system and be the next Anita Loos or William Goldman or Paul Schrader or Nora Ephron or Robert Towne or Quentin Tarantino. Even the next Shane Black. Writers who create their own autonomy with powerful, original and unique screenplays. It rarely happens, as producers and Hollywood execs do not understand the value of writing and think of scripts as something to be bought off the shelf and used for whatever the hell purpose they like.

When film critic Pauline Kael spent eighteen months working for Warren Beatty’s production company, she was shocked to discover that 98% of the best ideas never made it from page to screen but were thrown out like used Kleenex.

So let’s imagine what it would be like to write a screenplay that nearly every producer who reads it thinks it is the best script they’ve ever read. Now imagine those feral Hollywood execs fighting over it. And artist H. R. Giger creating designs for it—and let’s say Francis Ford Coppola optioning it with Hanna Schygulla or Kim Basinger or Kathleen Turner or even Madonna suggested as its star. Everyone loves your script. Everyone thinks it’s gonna be a hit. Then you realize these fuckers only want your script to cannibalize it into some other film. They’re too scared to make your movie because it’s too original, too clever, too damned good and too fucking weird. And then suddenly, the big hullabaloo stops. No one gives a shit about you or your script anymore. The calls stop. Hollywood is off after its next quick fix and you’re left wondering what the fuck that was all about?

This is kinda what happened to writer Clair Noto and her sci-fi screenplay The Tourist.

Everyone loved Noto’s screenplay—but no one had the guts to actually make it. Instead they wanted to make it into a “product” like every other homogenized piece of shit that comes out of Hollywood.
 
02tourhir.jpg
One of H. R. Giger’s alien designs for Noto’s ‘The Tourist.’
 
Begun in 1980, The Tourist tells the story of an alien who calls herself “Grace Ripley” stuck on Earth with a bunch of other extraterrestrials. Grace has morphed into human form and works by day as a high-powered business executive in New York.  By night she hangs out with her fellow aliens at a club called The Corridor where they have beautiful strange interplanetary sex and bemoan their lives exiled on this third rock from the Sun.

Noto’s inspiration for The Tourist came from fifties sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, the story of alien coming to Earth with an ultimatum. Noto liked the idea of an alien walking among us, as she later explained:

I loved the whole idea of a man who could walk around in a boarding house in Washington, who was from another planet and you didn’t recognize his alienness. The idea of a human being who wasn’t a human being had been in my mind for a long time.

Noto’s script was a grown-up science-fiction story with strong female characters.

Grace Ripley, the determined alien fighting her private battles on a male-oriented world; Spider O’Toole, the alienated New Wave human; and even the guards of the Corridor, depicted as strong yet sexy women whose sensuality belied not only their true purpose, but their underlying strength.

 
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When the film was picked up by Hollywood, Brian Gibson was set to direct. Gibson had made his name directing BBC TV dramas like Dennis Potter‘s The Blue Remembered Hills and the Hazel O’Connor new wave movie Breaking Glass. Noto soon found she was to have no input in the film based on her screenplay:

When they took it away from me they were very nasty; like, ‘Fuck you. We’re going to put it together,’ and they couldn’t do it [Gibson] always looked like a jerk. To my face he was really nasty. I think he regretted it later on. I also think it damaged his career for along time. He couldn’t do anything.

Gibson went on direct Poltergeist II and The Juror. He died in 2004. As Noto later said:

The Tourist didn’t do anybody any good. It hurt me, it hurt a lot of people. [Producer] Renée Missel destroyed herself. You cannot do what people did with that material and not have some fallout. I couldn’t get Renée Missel on the phone. It was terrible, just terrible. She kept belittling the project saying, ‘Nobody’s even going to want to make this movie. Or if they would, it would be a cult movie that would play at midnight like Rocky Horror. Totally insulting about it. She would say things like, ‘I was the only person in town who didn’t like Star Wars.’ My feeling was that this is not a good situation.

 
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Artist H. R. Giger—the man who created the xenomorph for Alien—was brought into design the exiled extraterrestrials. Giger produced a series of illustrations. But Noto wasn’t even allowed to see any of Giger’s suggestions for her characters. As the situation became untenable, Noto used a get-out clause in her contract to call a halt to the project.

The script was then picked up by Francis Ford Coppola and director Franc Roddam—best known for the films Quadrophenia, Lords of the Discipline and devising the TV series MasterChef—was called in to give his input. Roddam loved Noto’s script, but he also understood how “a producer will take a piece and just say, ‘I own it and I’m going to do what I like with it.’”

Sometimes people have bought scripts and just said, ‘We’ll do the Paul Robeson story, but does he have to be black?’ I’ve actually heard that before. The real story of this piece is Clair’s attempt to protect her vision.

Clair is an extraordinary person. I often think of Clair as being one of the greatest cinematic talents who one doesn’t hear of.

More on the ‘greatest screenplay never made,’ after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.03.2017
09:27 am
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