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Rare behind-the-scenes photos of Alex Cox’s gritty f*ck Reagan masterpiece ‘Repo Man’


Emilio Estevez on the set of ‘Repo Man.’
 
Alex Cox was thirty-years-old when he took on the task of directing his first feature-length film, 1984’s Repo Man. It’s a film which seems to perfectly encapsulate gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s apocalyptic quote “Too weird to live, and too rare to die” as it nears its 35th anniversary this March.

Unlike what the ravages of the aging process does to most of us mortal types, Cox’s film endured and remains as defiantly DIY as does its equally angry soundtrack, containing venomous jams from the Circle Jerks, Iggy Pop, and Suicidal Tendencies. However, Cox faced an uphill battle while trying to shop Repo Man around because nobody outside of actor and writer Dick Rude understood what the fuck the film was supposed to be about. Rude had approached Cox with his short story Leather Rubbernecks, hoping to make it into a short film but ultimately Leather Rubbernecks would become a part of Repo Man, as did Rude in his role of sushi chew and screwer Duke in the movie. At some point, the Repo Man script would end up in the hands of former Monkee and visionary in his own right, Michael Nesmith. According to folklore, Papa Nez was instantly impressed and stepped into the role of Executive Producer for the film because, as we all know, Papa Nez gets it and helped Cox (a former repo man in real life) bring Repo Man to the big screen.

Wild stories surrounding this timeless film have been discussed and dissected by writers, film historians, and scholars since its release. A few weeks ago I cracked open my copy of Criterion’s impeccable 2013 release of the film and rewatched it in all of its pissed-off glory. Of the film’s vast merits, which are too numerous to lay out in this post (all of the repo men are named after domestic beer brands, and so on, and on), let’s focus on what many consider to be Harry Dean Stanton’s best acting performance as unhinged repo man Bud (a play on the gross suds known as Budweiser).

Stanton was 58 when he took on the role of Bud (which almost went to Dennis Hopper) and had long since established his alpha hangdog status in Hollywood starring in films with elite actors like Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and Donald Sutherland. Stanton didn’t waste any time letting everyone know, especially Alex Cox, what he was and was not going to do during filming. Within a few days, he was already refusing to learn his dialog for the film. Stanton supported his decision by citing actor Warren Oates who Stanton claimed read his lines off of cards stuck to a car dashboard while filming 1971’s Two-Lane Backdrop. All of Stanton’s complaints finally set Cox off and the director began to think it might be easier to cut their losses by writing Stanton out of any future scenes. With Nesmith’s support he shut down Cox’s quest to make Bud disappear and eventually, Stanton delivered his lines without skipping a beat. But that didn’t mean Stanton suddenly became some sort of fucking choir-boy after almost getting ghosted by Cox. And this time his bad-boy behavior involved baseball bats.
 

Stanton and his trusty baseball bat.
 
For a scene involving Otto (played by a 22-year-old Emilio Estevez), Stanton pitched the idea of using a modified baseball hand signal used in a scene to tell Otto where to park a car. Cox said no, and Stanton went off telling Cox that other “great” directors he had worked with like Francis Ford Coppola let him do “whatever the fuck he wanted.” Later in a scene where Stanton was to act aggressively with a baseball bat at competing repo dudes the Rodriguez brothers, Stanton requested he be able to use a real baseball bat claiming he could do the scene in one take. The film’s cinematographer, Robby Müller, didn’t get behind the idea of arming Stanton with a baseball bat for the scene and was afraid the combination of an unruly Harry Dean Stanton and a baseball bat equaled bad times for someone’s head or worse. When Stanton was told he would have to switch out his Louisville slugger for a plastic version he went batshit and allegedly screamed the following in response:

“Harry Dean Stanton only uses REAL baseball bats!”

The quote “Harry Dean Stanton only uses REAL baseball bats!” is on par with Dennis Hopper’s terrifying endorsement in Blue Velvet for Pabst Blue Ribbon and it’s regretful at best that no footage of Stanton screaming these words seems to exists. In closing, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the Criterion release of Repo Man as, in addition to a fantastic booklet full of illustrations by Cox and Mondo artists Jay Shaw and Tyler Stout. I’ve included all kinds of cool visual artifacts from Repo Man below including rare photos taken on the set, vintage German and Japanese lobby cards and posters, and some of the gritty neon artwork from the Criterion release.
 

Michael Nesmith and Harry Dean Stanton on the set of ‘Repo Man.’
 

A candid shot on the set of ‘Repo Man’ of Emilio Estevez, his father Martin Sheen, Harry Dean Stanton and Alex Cox.
 

Estevez, Stanton, and Cox.
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.05.2019
09:21 am
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Courtney Love, then just 20, fronting Faith No More in 1984
09.28.2017
07:59 am
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Courtney Love performing with Faith No More in 1984.
 
I’ve said it before—the 80s were a weird fucking time man. A perfect example of the WTF the 80s routinely served up to us is the time that Courtney Love became the vocalist for Faith No More for approximately six months beginning sometime in February of 1984.

According to Billy Gould, one of the founding members of Faith No More, Love was very “extroverted” and had no problem getting confrontational with the band’s fans during live gigs—which according to FNM’s bassist, was one of the reasons people hated her. But the band didn’t hate it, they ate it up and let that rage coagulate with their music to achieve a more aggressive sound. Here’s Gould on Love’s time with FNM:

“We really wanted to be aggressive, make ambient music that was totally aggressive. This girl Courtney came along, and she saw us play and made the huge pitch about knowing what we wanted and being able to do it. She stayed for about three or four shows, and she was good because she was annoying as hell and really aggressive.”

That all sounds about right, doesn’t it? Here’s more insight on the FNM era of Courtney Love from keyboardist Roddy Bottum who also dated Love for a brief time:

“She sang with us for probably six months. She was an awesome performer; she liked to sing in her nightgown, adorned with flowers. We were switching around singers a whole lot at that point, but she was really good. She did a lot of screaming stuff, and we had a lot of slow melody stuff too. When she sang with us, she was punk rock: now she says she’s always been punk rock, which is not true at all. After she left our band (Faith No More) she was totally into—I mean, with a sense of humor, but really hardcore pop sorta stuff. We all were at that point. I mean, we used to do a cover version of Van Halen’s “Jump.”

Well, there you have it, whether you want it or not. Following Love’s departure from FNM San Francisco musician Paula Frazer joined the band for what is said to be a total of two shows and was then replaced by Chuck Mosley who stuck with the FNM until 1988 when he was fired following a string of incidents involving booze and bare-knuckle brawls. Now that we cleared all that up, let’s address what Courtney Love sounded like fronting FNM when she was just twenty? As you know, I have many thoughts on many things, and this topic is no exception. Even though I’ve heard through the grapevine that Love is NOT a fan of her work with FNM, I’m going to keep my opinions to myself for a change and leave the final verdict up to our DM readers who are brave enough to hit “play” after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.28.2017
07:59 am
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Hiding from Big Brother with style: Make-up tutorial to confuse facial identification software
12.16.2014
09:09 am
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Photo via Anti-Surveillance Feminist Poet Hair and Makeup Party
 
As facial recognition technology makes the transition from dystopic science fiction boogie-man to modern Big Brother reality, folks are becoming understandably concerned about being tracked and recorded without their permission. In many cities, including New York, it is at least unwise if illegal to wear a mask in public, so completely obscuring your face is out of the question. As an alternative, artist and designer Adam Harvey has developed a make-up technique—CV Dazzle—that hides from facial recognition software but falls well within the parameters of legal fashion. Confusing the machines is surprisingly simple:

The name is derived from a type of World War I naval camouflage called Dazzle, which used cubist-inspired designs to break apart the visual continuity of a battleship and conceal its orientation and size. Likewise, CV Dazzle uses avant-garde hairstyling and makeup designs to break apart the continuity of a face. Since facial-recognition algorithms rely on the identification and spatial relationship of key facial features, like symmetry and tonal contours, one can block detection by creating an “anti-face”.

“Anti-Surveillance Makeup Parties” have made waves with a subset of young feminists, but I don’t see CV Dazzle actually catching on in our highly aesthetically-minded urban centers. The source pattern, “Dazzle” is most relevant in today’s culture as the inspiration for an ugly-ass, Jeff Koons-designed yacht. The look is bad enough on a boat, but it certainly runs counter to what most people consider attractive on a female face. Meanwhile most men stubbornly refuse to even try mascara (even though you’d look so pretty!)

Still, while the practical applications of CV Dazzle may be limited, especially as facial recognition becomes more and more accurate, as an art project this dystopic raver of an “anti-face” is a fascinating take on privacy. Check out the makeup tutorial from artist Jillian Mayer below to get the basics—your life may depend on it, enemy of the state!
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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12.16.2014
09:09 am
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‘Pop Quiz’ with Phil Lynott versus Morrissey, 1984

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Here’s a little curio from the BBC’s back catalog, an episode of the early 80s pop music quiz show “Pop Quiz’, featuring Morrissey and Phil Lynnot on opposing teams, presided over by uber-cheesey radio DJ Mike Reid (I’m loving his shirt). Phillo seems quite relaxed and in good spirits on this program, while unfortunately the same cannot be said for Steven Patrick “Life Of The Party” Morrissey. From the Slicing Up Eyeballs blog:

In an interview with The Face published in July 1984, Moz said, “‘Pop Quiz’ was unbearable. I realized it was a terrible mistake the moment the cameras began to roll. … I just squirmed through the program. I went back to my dressing room afterwards and virtually felt like breaking down, it had been so pointless. I felt I’d been gagged.”

Oh dear. Life is just so fucking hard for poor old squirming Moz. 
 
Pop Quiz, featuring Phil Lynnot, Morrissey & Kim Wilde pt 1:
 

 
After the jump Pop Quiz, featuring Phil Lynnot, Morrissey & Kim Wilde, pt 2…

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Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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01.09.2012
05:42 am
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