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‘Monotony Maker’: International Times parodies Melody Maker, 1973
02.22.2018
10:31 am
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Issue number 145 of the legendary London underground newspaper International Times was the first published in 1973, and it’s a wonder to behold.

For starters, on the cover is an interesting creation by an artist named George Snow, a self-referential image highlighting the means of production involved in ... creating a cover for IT. The image is craftily “pixelated” in a way that suggests (of all things) desktop publishing of the late 1980s, and a font card for 42-point Aachen is also featured as a design element.

The issue also included a two-page installment of “Fritz the Cat” by R. Crumb, and there’s an additional bit of Crumb art tucked elsewhere in the issue. There’s a wonderful advertisement for “Climax Books” (a Danish publisher of smut), and an incredible subscription offer—anyone willing to shell out £4.80 for a year’s worth of IT would also receive Hawkwind’s new album Doremi Fasol Latido.

The cover blandly promises a look at “How Melody Maker Hit Rock Bottom,” which is scant preparation for the savage four-page parody of the UK music rag to be discovered in the pages within. They call it “Monotony Maker”.....

It would take someone with a clear memory of the Melody Maker of the 1970s to unpack the myriad of now-forgotten references. On Twitter, Syd Barrett biographer Rob Chapman refers to the parody as “libellous,” which we’ll get to in a minute. The cover featured a fanciful tale of David Bowie becoming the first male rock star to give birth, while also reporting on a forthcoming Moscow production of the Who’s Tommy in which “guest soloists are believed to include everyone in the Soviet Union.”

In a tweet I can no longer find, Chapman also draws attention to the wicked wit involved in the otherwise innocuous-seeming cover headline “Beatles to Split?” which in 1973 addressed the deep-seated denial in the UK music press. On the parody’s second page there is a scurrilous gossip column called “The Raver” that is surely the item IT’s attorneys would have scrutinized most carefully, seeing as how it contains references to an Ian Anderson tax exile in Switzerland, cocaine shenanigans with Jimmy Page, and Marc Bolan’s likely stint in a looney bin.
 

 
The “Payolagraph” item affords an opportunity to engage in some takedowns of Ono/Lennon, Neil Young, and the people trying to wring the last quid out of Jimi Hendrix’s legacy.
 
Read the whole thing after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.22.2018
10:31 am
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LeRoy Neiman’s legendary Femlins and his racy artwork for Playboy magazine
02.21.2018
10:12 am
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One of artist LeRoy Neiman’s famous Femlins on the cover of Playboy magazine.

“I‘m not a scene painter; I‘m the scene painter.”

—American artist LeRoy Neiman in an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine.

Whenever the Olympic Games roll around, I am often reminded of one of my favorite artists, LeRoy Neiman, who was the official painter for the Olympic Games for several years and widely painted and illustrated vibrant images of nearly every sporting event known to man. Neiman has also painted a massive number of portraits of celebrities and sports superstars such as Frank Sinatra, golfer Arnold Palmer, and boxer Muhammad Ali. Neiman’s exuberant, colorful take on American culture was everywhere during the 70s and 80s and beyond—including in the pages of Playboy magazine.

In 1954 Neiman joined forces with Hugh Hefner after running into him while he was strolling around Chicago (the pair had previously met while Neiman was an illustrator for the Carson Pirie Scott department store chain where Hefner was a copywriter). Neiman would go on to provide paintings and illustrations to the magazine for decades, including the cheeky creation of the Femlins—an adorable group of illustrated girls with black hair, clad in long gloves, thigh-high stockings, high heels—and nothing else. The Femlins came to be in 1955 after Hefner proposed that Playboy’s regular feature Party Jokes needed some visual stimulation to go along with the feature’s bawdy giggles. Eventually, Neiman’s naughty nude pixies would become twelve-inch clay models with high-gloss paint jobs which were photographed for the magazine including its coveted cover. Then, in 1963, Playboy published a pictorial called “The Femlin Comes To Life” which featured a well endowed, naked Femlin model.

If you’re acquainted with the history of Playboy and their exhaustive marketing, then you might also know there was a time when you could purchase twelve-inch Femlin figures in various poses as well as other Femlin-themed merchandise. If you are lucky enough to come across one of the figures these days, obtaining one for your collection will likely run more than a grand depending on their condition. Original Femlin artwork done by Neiman won’t come cheap either; paintings routinely sell more than ten grand and simple Femlin illustrations signed by the artist list for nearly a thousand bucks. I’ve included some fantastic images of Neiman’s work for Playboy below, pretty much all of it is NSFW.
 

A collectible Femlin figure and a cocktail glass.
 

 

A painting by LeRoy Neiman of two Playboy Bunnies playing pool.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.21.2018
10:12 am
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This man created a miniature video store because he misses the 90s so much
02.06.2018
07:42 am
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Much like the record shop, independent movie house, college radio station, and DIY venue, the video store has long been threatened by extinction. The age of streaming has brought down the colossus of the Blockbuster movie rental giant and now only independent video shops are left to fend for themselves. Accessibility may have advanced our culture, but nothing will replicate the real experience of home video. For sake of preservation and patronage, I’d like to name-drop my local video stores Vidéothèque and Cinefile. I’m sure one comes to mind for you as well, unless you’re really young. So what did you miss?

The 90s video store doesn’t need much of a description. Faded cult film posters on the walls, ragged carpeting, piles of VHS tapes everywhere. Lots of cheap, [ress wood shelving. You know, where Randal works in Clerks. FX designer Andrew Glazebook hoped to replicate that warm feeling of nostalgia, a task that must’ve required hours of immensely-patient concentration and a revisitation to the darkest corners of film history.
 

 
Working on 1/25th scale, Glazebook’s miniature video store will remind you of the days before you could get a movie from a machine outside 7-Eleven. There are over 200+ unique titles available to “rent” and the movie poster homages to The Evil Dead and Killer Klowns from Outer Space indicate good bad taste. There’s even a handwritten “Be Kind Rewind” sign, an old cash register, and a know-it-all video clerk (sold separately). Now, all we need is an old gumball machine full of stale gum and dead insects.
 
Take a look at some photos of Andrew’s miniature creation below.
 

 

 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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02.06.2018
07:42 am
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Photoplay Editions: A forgotten generation of movie tie-ins and novelizations


 
Everyone loves paperback movie tie-in novels. If you don’t, you really should. From their accessible prices and lurid covers to their not-always-screen-accurate content, this literary genre has provided joy for its fans for many decades. Reaching its peak in the 1970s as mass-market paperbacks along with genre novels of the romance, horror and sci-fi variety, the popular conception of media tie-in literature has been that it belongs to the more contemporary era of film and television work. Pop culture fandoms and collector advocacy have accelerated the idea that film novelizations are a recent phenomenon. Due to the observable vividness of their covers and the familiarity (or fucked-up bizarreness) of many of their titles,  the movie tie-in paperbacks published from the 1950s onwards have become the standard by which we define the “movie novelization” or “movie tie-in” paperback.

A few useful definitions: a novelization is a book based on a cinematic property. The writer uses an early version of the script or screenplay and, like movie tie-ins, these works are active parts of the film’s marketing. Tie-in novels are re-publications of previously written literary properties that films have adapted but with a “tie-in” feature to the upcoming movie. This could be a new title, a star on the book cover, etc. If a studio has changed the name of said book, the tie-in will carry the new name, not the original literary title (although the original name might be there as a “formerly known as”). A tie-in will also refer to books written after a film’s release in order to continue making money off the film property but have no connection to previously written literature. Both novelizations and tie-ins are pretty interesting. Obviously, some are more faithful to the, uh, original material than others. 

Novelizations and tie-in paperbacks are still some of the most widely available of such items due to their large publication runs. You could buy them anywhere, put them in your back pocket, and they were cheap (in quality and in price). These titles, from the most cultish to the most famous, are the most talked about, well-known and collected movie-related books. Some of the older titles have even been reprinted. But these works were not the first in movie tie-in history. For that, you’ll have to start in the silent film era.

From the 1910s into the 1940s, Grosset & Dunlap and A.L. Burt were two of the main publishers of what are known as Photoplay Editions. This title came, of course, from the fact that they were designed to be released in tandem with the photoplays (aka films) that they were connected with. Yes, these were the first novelizations and movie tie-ins. These hardcover volumes had a similarity to their paperback brethren: they were rather plain on the inside. There was no gilding, no special binding, no ribbon bookmarks or dignified artwork, unlike many books of the time. On the other hand, they did include pictures from the film!!! Cool, right? These books were a brilliant marketing concept and the money the publishers saved on the fancy binding and silk endpapers? That got spent on the MIND BLOWING book jacket art.
 

 

 
The most incredible part of these Photoplay Editions is that many still exist whereas the actual films they were promoting are considered lost. As a film archivist, I get the same tired jokes about finding Tod Browning’s London After Midnight (1927) all the time. Look, if it happens? You’ll be the first to know. But it won’t. The closest we may get is the beautiful Photoplay Edition that was released in conjunction with the film. And London isn’t the only lost film that we still have the book for. Murnau’s Four Devils (1928) also exists. And many more. Photoplay Editions are a virtual treasure trove- for movie tie-in fans, for film nerds, for art lovers. Enjoy these images!
 

 

 
More movie tie-ins and novelizations, after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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01.16.2018
04:29 pm
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Cult Movies and Big Screen Idols: Covers to ‘Films and Filming’ magazine
01.11.2018
12:35 pm
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Joe Dallesandro, April 1971.
 
Films and Filming was a middle-brow, high-quality monthly movie magazine published in the UK between October 1953 to March 1990. It was a special interest magazine for film-lovers who thought “Picturegoer unsatisfying and Sight and Sound unintelligible.” Set up by publisher Philip Dosse Films and Filming was a stablemate to his other mags like Books and Bookmen, Dance and Dancers, Plays and Players, Art and Artists, and so on. It was, in many respects, one of the best and most subversive film magazines around as Dosse had an agenda of promoting difficult and controversial subject matter, in particular, homosexuality which was then a criminal offense in Britain punishable by imprisonment or chemical castration.

Films and Filming or rather F&F’s first editor was Peter Brinson, a smart young man who made no attempt to disguise his sexuality. He successfully edited the magazine to woo the gay market by including pictures of beefcake actors and personal ads for lonely bachelors to hook-up. It was the magazine’s second editor, Peter Baker, that moved F&F away from a coded gay film zine to a thoughtful, glossy, and well-written magazine that became the must-read of every serious cinephile.

I knew fuck all about any of this fascinating backstory when I picked secondhand copies of F&F up in the seventies and eighties from Bobbies Bookshop. I bought the magazine because it featured the movies, writers, and directors I liked: Ken Russell, Lindsay Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Fellini, Derek Jarman, and Martin Scorsese. It also boasted several great photospreads per issue usually lifted from some of the strangest movies on release that month and some very good writing by the likes of Raymond Durgnat—though there were some reviewers who always seemed to focus on every movie having a homosexual subtext whether it was valid or not. F&F’s covers eschewed the usual box office fodder—though occasional they did feature the odd one like Star Wars—and instead focused on gay/cult films like Myra Breckinridge, The Night Porter, Lisztomania, Loot, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Last Detail, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Salo: 120 days of Sodom.

I have a stack of old F&F’s stored away, and have previously shared some of the magazine’s photospreads of my favorite films/directors, but the following largely comes from the Twitter feed of Films and Filming, which I suggest you follow if you have an interest cult and classic films, big screen stars and memorabilia from a golden age of movies.
 
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Monica Vitti, April 1966.
 
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Donald Sutherland, May 1975.
 
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Bridget Bardot and Jeanne Moreau, March 1966.
 
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Batman and Robin, October 1966.
 
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Sophia Loren, September 1966.
 
More classy covers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.11.2018
12:35 pm
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Negativland’s four-and-a-half-hour mix of ‘Helter Stupid’


The cover of the original ‘Helter Stupid’ album, 1989

It seems unlikely that Negativland’s catalog will get the “super deluxe edition” treatment during my lifetime, so I have to make do with the super deluxe editions of their work that are already hiding in plain sight. Twenty-eight years ago today, Negativland’s Don Joyce dedicated a five-hour episode of his long-running Pacifica radio show Over the Edge to the group’s latest album, Helter Stupid, and its subjects, the Satanic panic and the related hysteria about backward masking in rock music.

The broadcast supplements the “Helter Stupid” side of Helter Stupid with hours of Negativlandized evangelical, tabloid, and crackpot nonsense from the PMRC years, along with a few phoned-in complaints from the Weatherman about “sewerage water.” (Not included: side two of the album, Dick Vaughn’s “The Perfect Cut,” a preemptive strike on the coming Seventies nostalgia craze. Who, other than Negativland, was working to prevent that?)
 

Ian Allen and Don Joyce of Negativland (via WFMU)
 
The germ of Helter Stupid was a bogus press release Negativland issued to announce the cancellation of a planned 1988 tour. It falsely implicated the band’s music in the real-life case of David Brom, a 16-year-old from Minnesota who murdered his parents and siblings with an axe. News reports indicated that Brom had argued with his father about a tape the teenager brought home; this, Negativland claimed, had been their own Escape from Noise, featuring “Christianity Is Stupid,” a song unloved by parents. From the detailed timeline of events in the album’s liner notes:

3/10/88    Negativland cancels the tour when it becomes apparent that the tour will lose money. The group decides to send their American label, SST Records, a phony press release for distribution which attributes the cancellation of the tour to pressure from “Federal Official Dick Jordan” who has advised the band not to leave town pending an investigation into the Brom murders. The press release implies that David and his parents had been arguing about Negativland’s song “Christianity Is Stupid” just prior to the murders. The NY Times article is distributed with the press release.

Listen after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.21.2017
09:20 am
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Legendary Bay Area industrial zine UNSOUND available in full online
12.17.2017
09:36 am
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In the middle of the 1980s, the cool kids spent their time at Tower Records, where all manner of bizarre and scurrilous self-published zines would materialize on the shelves of the magazine section. Those of a certain ilk would exult on the 2 or 3 days a year that a specific black-and-white number called UNSOUND would arrive, for they knew that they would be able to access reviews and interviews covering exhilarating experimental bands like Swans, Test Dept., the Birthday Party, Sonic Youth, Psychic TV, Borbetomagus, Nurse With Wound, Coil, Whitehouse, and many others. It wasn’t many zines that could withstand the prospect of being placed alongside the legendary Industrial Culture Handbook edition of Re/Search, but UNSOUND was up to the challenge.

UNSOUND was a fanzine, founded in San Francisco in 1983, that focused on the first wave of industrial music but covered a wide range of experimental, post-no wave music as well. The co-editors of the zine were William Davenport and Chris Rankin, who were members of the band Problemist. UNSOUND lasted for four years and ten issues, but glorious issues they were.

Most of the issues of UNSOUND concentrated on artist interviews and cassette reviews, but a notable standout feature of the periodical was the detailed discographies of the artists covered therein—during a time of rampant EPs and tape-swapping, useful information indeed as well as hard to compile. Each generous issue of UNSOUND—always presented in vibrant black and white—presented aspects of the industrial music scene, cassette culture, mail art, and so forth.

Davenport finally had to shut the zine down because he had no desire to compromise on the content it was presenting. As he commented last year: “UNSOUND stopped because we were tired of being so poor and I had to make a choice. Did I want to make the magazine more commercial, to put bands on the cover? Not really.”

The final issue of UNSOUND (vol. 3, no. 2) included a cassette compilation with input from bands like Controlled Bleeding, Psyclones, Hunting Lodge, Negativland, the Upper Austrian combo Monochrome Bleu, and (of course) Problemist.

You can view all 10 issues at the Internet Archive.
 

 

 
More images from UNSOUND after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.17.2017
09:36 am
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Ho ho ho! Here’s Andy Warhol as Santa and Truman Capote with a lollipop on the cover of High Times


 
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that the December 1978 issue of High Times went with a holiday theme. More surprising might be the identity of the two models masquerading as Santa Claus and one of his elves, those being, respectively, Andy Warhol, the most dominant artist of the postwar period, and Truman Capote, one of greatest literary writers the U.S. produced in the same timeframe.

Especially in 1978, Tru and Andy were more or less synonymous with the fabulous goings-on at Studio 54 and elsewhere. Both men were known to hang with an illustrious and sparkly group of personages, and both were public figures at a moment when TV had deepened its clutches on the middlebrow slice of America—hence, more creative and bizarre media opportunities for everyone.

The cover was supposed to feature Capote wearing a “little girl outfit,” but he was drunk and not in the mood to go drag that day. In The Andy Warhol Diaries, for the date of September 26, 1978, we find this:
 

Truman was coming to the Factory at 3:00 for the High Times Christmas cover photograph of him and me. Truman was early, 2:30.

...

Paul Morrissey was down, and he and Truman talked all afternoon about scripts and things. Then Toni arrived four hours late, she had a Santa costume for me and a little girl outfit for Truman. But Truman wasn’t in the mood to go into drag, he said that he was already dressed like a little boy. Truman was really drunk, hugging around.


 
Toni Brown is the “Toni” mentioned in the diary that day; she was the art director for High Times, whom Warhol had met in the spring of 1978. According to Victor Bockris’ biography of Warhol, Brown and Warhol fell into cahoots for a stretch in 1978:
 

[Warhol] had also become friendly with the art director of High Times magazine, a powerful woman named Toni Brown whose overt, humorous personality fitted his needs. Soon a lot of people at the Factory were throwing up their hands in dismay over the amount of time Andy was spending with Toni.


 
In Warhol’s diary, Brown pops up in just a handful of entries, and her appearances are entirely limited to 1978. The folks at the Factory needn’t have worried so much—Warhol’s diary entry from late September documenting the cover shoot is actually the last time her name appears in the book.

By the way, here is the final cover:
 

 
Warhol shows surprising equanimity after being made to wait for four hours—I’d've been arranging a contract hit, myself—although that may have factored into their not being as close after that; either Brown paid a price for being cavalier about Warhol’s time or else Warhol’s usefulness to Brown evaporated the moment that she had secured the desired cover photo. Or both!

Four years ago the Warhol Museum ran a note about that day on its website, in which the possible identity of the pooch is discussed:
 

An artist as prolific as Andy Warhol was bound to have their share of bizarre media coverage. In December of 1978, he and his good friend and collaborator Truman Capote appeared on the cover of an issue of High Times. Warhol is wearing a Santa suit, and is holding a dog, possibly one of his dachshunds Amos or Archie.

 
More pics from this bizarre and merry photo shoot after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.14.2017
11:06 am
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Bizarre and amusing list of reasons people claimed they were fired from work in 1905
11.28.2017
08:34 am
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An article in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois, on October 15, 1905, supplied a list of reasons given by people as to why they had been fired from their jobs. The list included such bizarre reasons as tearing a hole in an employer’s pants, having a nosebleed which stained a pair of socks, and perhaps best of all getting sacked for laughing at the boss when he was kicked by a cow—which is something worthy of inclusion in anyone’s resume.

There are also some of the usual no-nos like being drunk, running away, laziness, carelessness, and being impudent, as well as a few unexpected and definitely odd entries like “refused to marry boss’ sister,” “told ghost story,” “joined the wrong church,” and “too good for job.” This list shows how work was shifting from predominantly land-based agriculture to town and city industry/white collar employment. It also suggests work back in those days was very much dependent on the whims and prejudices of the employer. So nothing has changed?
 
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Thanks to Steve Duffy, via Vintage Blognook.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.28.2017
08:34 am
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Patti Smith would have been stoked to pose nude in Playboy
11.15.2017
02:11 pm
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Patti never made the Playboy scene, but she was a CREEM Dream at some point in the late 70s

Bebe Buell was one of the most famous rock and roll girlfriends of the 1970s (she doesn’t like the term groupie, calling Pamela Des Barres’ scene in L.A. “West Coast crap”). Her first relationship with a rock star came when she dated Paul Cowsill of the Cowsills; she was 16 at the time. During the 1970s she also had romantic involvements with Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and Jimmy Page. Famously, she gave birth to Steven Tyler’s daughter but knowingly named her with the “wrong” name Liv Rundgren to shield her from Tyler’s addiction problems. Although Todd Rundgren and Buell were breaking up around around the time of Liv Tyler’s birth, Rundgren committed to the deception and for years did not divulge that he wasn’t Liv Tyler’s biological father. Liv Tyler herself didn’t know the truth until she was nine years old.

One of the major turning points in Buell’s life was becoming the Playboy Playmate of the Month in November 1974. She didn’t need Playboy to date Rundgren, whom she’d already been seeing for a couple of years. (In her Playmate Fact Sheet, she lists “My boyfriend, Todd Rundgren” under “Favorite Performer.”) While posing in Playboy probably didn’t help her recording career any, it did have the effect of elevating her status among the rock elite—as she said, after “I did Playboy ... the rock stars came-a-hunting.”
 

 
Another notable woman living in NYC at that time was Patti Smith, who had yet to record any music under her name. She also had some fairly serious dalliances with Rundgren, and was also friendly with Buell. According to Buell in the essential oral history of punk Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, it was actually Smith who convinced Buell that she should say yes to Playboy.

More interestingly, Smith would have been totally down with posing for Playboy herself.

Here’s Buell on the subject:
 

The person that talked me in to posing for Playboy magazine was Patti Smith. At the time I was doing well as a cover-girl model for Revlon, Intimate, and Wella. I had four or five big accounts. But my role models weren’t models. I admired girls like Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull, those were the girls I looked up to and aspired to be like.

So when Playboy asked me to pose, Patti said, “I wish Playboy would ask me, I’d do it.” Patti had really big boobs, a lot of people don’t realize that. She was extremely well-endowed and she always thought that kind of stuff was really cool. She showed me pictures of Brigitte Bardot, Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch, and all these Playboy pictures. She’d say, “Being in Playboy is like Coca-Cola. It’s Andy Warhol. It’s American, you know, it’s part of America, this magazine.” She said, “Do it. It’ll be great. It’ll fuck up that fashion thing.”

-snip-

Patty’s idea of feminism seemed to me to be about not being a victim–-that women should make choices in full control of their faculties and make a rebel stand.

Posing for Playboy was a rebel move. It almost ruined my career as far as legitimate Fashion work went. The only magazines that ould book me after that were like Cosmopolitan and stuff. I lost all my bread-and-butter clients. I lost Avon and Butterick. All the straight fashion magazines stopped booking me.

But how could I regret it?

 
So there you have it. Patti Smith, of course, did not end up ever posing for Playboy but instead released Horses in 1975 and eventually became an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.15.2017
02:11 pm
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