Bold and brassy, cult figure Cherry Vanilla first came to the public’s attention playing a necrophilliac nurse in Andy Warhol’s freaky London stage play, Pork. Back in her hometown of New York City, she became David Bowie’s publicist during his Ziggy Stardust-era, working beside fellow Pork cast-member Leee Black Childers (who was the VP of Mainman, as Bowie’s then management company was called).
Later she moved to London, where RCA Records marketed her as “The First Lady of Punk.” Sting and Miles Copeland played in her backing band. Later, she went to work for composer Vangelis, running his US office, which she still does to this day. Cherry Vanilla’s memoir, Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla will be published in November by the Chicago Review Press. Lindsay Lohan would be a good choice to play Cherry in the film version!
Below Cherry Vanilla performs “The Punk” on Germany’s Music Laden television program in 1977:
In 1983 Dennis Hopper went to Rice University in Houston, Texas ostensibly to screen his latest film Out Of The Blue. But little known to anyone, other than Hopper and a handful of his buddies, he had another agenda entirely. While he did indeed screen his movie, Hopper had actually come to Houston to blow himself up.
After screening Out Of The Blue, Hopper arranged to have the audience driven by a fleet of school buses to a racetrack on the outskirts of Houston, the Big H Speedway. Hopper and the buses arrived at the speedway just as the races were ending and a voice was announcing over the public address system “stick around folks and watch a famous Hollywood film personality perform the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. That’s right, folks, he’ll sit in a chair with six sticks of dynamite and light the fuse.”
Was famous Hollywood personality Dennis Hopper about to go out with a bang?
Hopper apparently learned this stunt when he was a kid after seeing it performed in a traveling roadshow. If you place the dynamite pointing outwards the explosion creates a vacuum in the middle and the person performing the stunt is, if all goes according to plan, unharmed.
After bullshitting for awhile with the crowd and his friends, a drunk and stoned Hopper climbed into the “death chair’ and lit the dynamite.
Rice News correspondent describes the scene:
Dennis Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he looked like Wile E. Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own petard. Then billowing smoke hid the scene. We all rushed forward, past the police, into the expanding cloud of smoke, excited, apprehensive, and no less expectant than we had been before the explosion. Were we looking for Hopper or pieces we could take home as souvenirs? Later Hopper would say blowing himself up was one of the craziest things he has ever done, and that it was weeks before he could hear again. At the moment, though, none of that mattered. He had been through the thunder, the light, and the heat, and he was still in one piece. And when Dennis Hopper staggered out of that cloud of smoke his eyes were glazed with the thrill of victory and spinout.
In this video footage shot by filmmaker Brian Huberman, we see Hopper in all his intoxicated glory before and after his death defying stunt.
Huberman on the film clip:
The large guy making the sign of the cross is the writer Terry Southern and the jerk threatening to blow up my camera is the German filmmaker, Wim Wenders.
Ridiculously catchy late-70s disco single by future Phantom of the Opera star Sarah Brightman, then a teenager, and the Hot Gossip dance troupe from The Kenny Everett Video Show. Not exactly sure what a bunch of dancers had to do with the recording of this ditty, but I can sure see why they were in the video. From the Wikipedia entry about the song:
The song is a lightweight space disco track that cashed in on the media hype surrounding the original Star Wars film: the lyrics include the lines “And evil Darth Vader has been banished to Mars” and “Or are you like a droid, devoid of emotion”. The song also samples music from Star Wars and Thus Spoke Zarathustra (from 2001: A Space Odyssey). Many of the lyrics contain mild sexual innuendo; for example, “Take me, make me feel the force”. Other television and film science fiction references are “Flash Gordon’s left me, he’s gone to the stars”, “What my body needs is close encounter three”, and “Fighting for the Federation” and “Static on the comm - it’s Starfleet Command” (both Star Trek, or the Federation from Blake’s 7; alternatively, “the Federation” and “Starfleet Command” are evident references to Starship Troopers).
Two cool Andy Warhol items came to my attention today that I wanted to share here. First of all, the charming letter sent to the artist in 1964 by William MacFarland, the Product Marketing Manager of the Campbell Soup Company, congratulating him on the success of his then young career and offering to send over a couple of cases of tomato soup.
The video below is a 90 second condensation of the 23 minutes Warhol spent painting a BMW M1 race car. Roy Lichtenstein and Alexander Calder also painted “art cars” for the German auto giant.
Vogue Italia‘s Mariuccia Casadio provides some details:
A man of few words, this fascinating former actor who still takes care of his appearance first filmed the settings for his film “Missoni”: mostly locations near bodies of water in the Sumirago countryside and part of Rosita and Ottavio’s garden. For the indoor sequences, he built a set in the Council Room of the Sumirago Town Hall, a basement room with a vaulted ceiling. The mood of the film and the poses and movements of Margherita, Jennifer, Angela, Rosita, Ottavio, Ottavio Jr. and all other [Missoni] family members are reminiscent of Sergei Parajanov’s “The Color of Pomegranates”, a 1968 film that inspired Anger to create his Chinese box-style storyboard.
Do yourself a favor and go full-screen with this one. And if you’re unfortunate enough to not be familiar with Anger, do yourself another favor and click one or both of the links below. You’ll be glad you did.
In keeping with the LSD theme here at Dangerous Minds, I present a lysergic episode from The Twisted Tales Of Felix The Cat. The series aired on CBS from 1995 to 1997.
In this episode, Felix gets psychedelized in Pittsburg! There’s a shitload of rock references in this trippy little mindbender, from Chuck Berry and Elvis to Dylan, grunge and Led Zeppelin. Dig the Rick Griffin eyeballs, the reference to cheeba and the scene where Felix lands in a melting landscape and says “well, hello Dali.” This is out there stuff for network TV.
Detroit techno soldier Monty Luke hepped me to this rather remarkable clip from an unnamed American music show in 1969. It seems apropos since last week marked the 39th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death, and his ghost still haunts what once was the Doors Workshop in Los Angeles. Below, the LizKing notes that music in the future “might rely heavily on electronics and tapes” and feature performers “using machines.”
You think he figured that electronic music geniuses like John Oswald a.k.a. Plunderphonics would have such a blast blowing out the Doors, as shown in the fan video after the jump?