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When Keith Haring painted the heavenly body of Grace Jones


Artist Keith Haring painting Grace Jones in 1986 on the set of ‘Vamp.’
 
Grace Jones was 36 in 1984 when she, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, and pop artist Keith Haring all converged in Mapplethorpe’s studio in New York City. The reason for the epic get-together was to shoot photos of Jones covered in body paint done by Haring in his distinctive style. The session lasted a marathon eighteen hours during which Jones was photographed by Mapplethorpe adorned by Haring’s body paint, a towering headdress and an ornate “skirt.” Orchestrated by Warhol—who had introduced Haring to Jones a few years prior—Andy had been wanting to feature Jones on the cover of Interview magazine and believed that an artistic collaboration between Haring and Jones would be awesome. And he wasn’t wrong. However, Mapplethorpe and Warhol didn’t exactly click despite Mapplethorpe’s desire to be among Warhol’s ever-growing gang of muses, friends, and hanger-ons. In fact, during the photo shoot, it has been alleged that Mapplethorpe attempted to sabotage Warhol while he was taking photos of Jones by requesting Andy not use his flash in his studio. Meow.

Haring’s handiwork on Jones’ magnificent bodyscape was not the first time he used a live human as a canvas. In 1983 Haring painted Bill T. Jones, the legendary Tony Award-winning dancer, choreographer and cofounder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. This session was photographed by Tseng Kwong Chi, a prominent figure in the downtown NYC art scene.

Getting back to Haring’s work with Grace Jones, he would get to paint the Jamaican goddess more than once, including when Grace performed live at the Paradise Garage before the much-loved gay-club closed its doors. Perhaps most memorably Haring would use Jones’ body as his canvas when she landed the role of Katrina the Queen of The Vampires in the 1986 film Vamp. The look Jones cultivated for Katrina is said to be based on the character played by actress Daryl Hannah in the 1982 film Blade Runner—at least when it comes to Jones’ startling red wig and face makeup. For Jones’ 1986 video for the song “I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You),” Haring was enlisted to paint the massive 60-foot white skirt Jones wears in the video. The video also includes time-lapse footage of Haring painting the giant skirt and a brief appearance by Andy Warhol—one of his very last before he passed away three months later on February 22, 1987.

I’ve posted images of Jones “wearing” her famous body paint done by Keith Haring as well as photos of Bill T. Jones looking like her muscular male doppelgänger. You can also watch footage of Grace Jones stripping down to her Haring body paint in a clip from Vamp and the video for “I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You).” Much of what follows is NSFW.
 

Jones in body paint and adornments by Haring, photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe in his NYC studio in 1984.
 

Another shot of Jones by Mapplethorpe.
 

A cheeky shot of Haring and Jones.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.30.2018
01:29 pm
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The superstars of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’
12.28.2017
08:56 am
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The Portuguese release of ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ (via Discogs)

In 1993, the BBC documentary series Arena devoted four episodes to “Tales of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The third of these focused entirely on the real-life figures in Lou Reed’s most famous song, “Walk on the Wild Side,” collecting footage of and fascinating biographical detail about each superstar sketched in the song’s verses—Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, “Little” Joe Dallesandro, Sugar Plum Fairy and Jackie Curtis.

I don’t know how the producers managed to keep Bono out of this documentary, but somehow they were able to limit the show’s interview subjects to people who actually had some business talking about this scene, such as Factory resident Billy Name, photographer Leee Black Childers and Reed/Warhol biographer Victor Bockris. Their perspectives are interesting. For instance, where many sources now identify the Sugar Plum Fairy as Joe Campbell, the former boyfriend of Harvey Milk whose character in My Hustler was called the Sugar Plum Fairy, Billy Name says this is too narrow an interpretation:

If you’re in the world of music or drugs, there is always a Sugar Plum Fairy: the one who delivers, who brings the stuff to you. Now, during this time, from ‘64 to ‘70, there were two individuals I knew who were called the Sugar Plum Fairy, as a nickname. Neither of the individuals who were the Sugar Plum Fairy were important to remember. Their only significance is that they became that character at that point. Lou, in “Walk on the Wild Side,” took poetic license. The Sugar Plum Fairy. The man, like in “Heroin” or “I’m Waiting for the Man.” The guy who delivers to you, the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Certainly there are worse ways to spend the holidays than lounging in bed with Holly Woodlawn and Andy Warhol.

Watch it, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.28.2017
08:56 am
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Andy Warhol and Nico dressed up as Batman and Robin, 1966
12.19.2017
09:24 am
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Seriously, the wealth of batty—pun intended—images from the 1960s never ceases to amaze me. Here we have the foremost pop artist of the era and the foremost German avant garde chanteuse of the era posing as Robin and Batman for Esquire magazine in 1966.

The Batman TV series had taken to the airwaves in the start of 1966. Before the year was out, it would spawn a feature movie. Almost certainly the caped crusader was on everyone’s lips that year; as we all know, the show is simply a supreme example of kid-friendly absurdism that even something like Pee-wee’s Playhouse can’t quite touch. Warhol was interested in Batman as a subject of pop art. In addition to the image above, there was also his 1964 movie Batman Dracula, which is said to be the first camp treatment of Batman.

The photographer who took the pics was Frank Bez. One of the images was used in an interesting little feature called “Remember the Sixties?” It seems likely that this was the introductory page for a series of photographs. The point of the feature was how incredibly much of note had been squeezed into just six years of our nation’s history, which is the exact thing that we all think when we think about that era. The really strange thing is that from our perspective, they were just getting going, the next five years or so would be incredibly active on the cultural front.

By the way, here’s the text. It’s by David Newman and Robert Benton, and it’s very good indeed:
 

What? Has it really been just six years, or are we all going crazy? It seems like it’s been the Sixties forever. Otherwise why is everybody so exhausted all the time? The Sixties have been so packed with hysteria, so intense and frenetic, so rocking and rolling, so pop and so op, that they have well nigh obliterated all that came before. Of course, one of the reasons for this is that nothing came before.

Nothing was known as the Fifties. It had…uh…Ike, remember? And…uh…J.D. Salinger…and, er…West Coast Jazz…(yawn)...come to think of it (pace Joe McCarthy), nothing happened in the Fifties. That’s why it seems that everything’s happening, baby, in the Sixties. Luminaries come and go faster than a speeding bullet. Fads and fashions flame up and burn out in a week. The last six years have been so filled with people, places and things you have already forgotten about that this seems like a good time to call a halt. We have had enough! Enough!

And so we benevolently announce that the Sixties are over. Let six years be a decade. Let the next four be a vacation.

 
It’s a very refreshing aspect of Warhol’s personality that he could so easily let Nico be the one in the Batman suit. Warhol was manipulative as all get-out and he certainly was interested in power, but the side of power that required him to be seen as the masculine rule-maker (and therefore Nico’s master) just didn’t interest him in the slightest, and the comfort with which he inhabits Robin’s duds is palpable.

On the Internet they are almost always identified as having been taken in 1967, but they weren’t, they were taken in 1966.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.19.2017
09:24 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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Buy your very own Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup can chess set
11.10.2017
11:11 am
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According to Hans Ree’s book The Human Comedy of Chess, there was an occasion in the mid-1960s when Marcel Duchamp played a game of chess against Salvador Dalí in public, to a soundtrack provided by the Velvet Underground, at the behest of Andy Warhol. The context for this remarkable event was the display in 1965 of a work of Duchamp’s called “Hommage à Caïssa,” a readymade featuring a chessboard. The incident merits direct quotation, so here it is:
 

At the vernissage on the roof of the building on 978 Madison Avenue, Duchamp played a game of chess against Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol had the band Velvet Underground sent to provide background music. After the game, chess pieces were sent into the air by balloons.

 
It’s notable that Warhol himself didn’t play in the game—I can’t find a reference to Warhol playing chess anywhere, which doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

An early work of Warhol’s dating from 1954 is entitled “The Chess Player”—it looks like this:
 

 
It’s speculated that the work was executed at one of Warhol’s coloring parties, which were hosted at the trendy Serendipity 3 café.

After having been bombarded with multiple factoids involving Andy Warhol and chess, you will surely be primed to purchase the Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Can Chess Set, which has recently been made available by Kidrobot and The Andy Warhol Foundation:
 

This chess set features Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans as chess pieces on a pop of color chess board complete with felt accents. Each vinyl 3-inch Campbells soup can is labeled and printed on top with its corresponding piece to bring a pop art look to any game room.

 
Because the pieces are very difficult to distinguish from one another, they have little labels on the top with the words “ROOK” and “KNIGHT” or whatever.

Those on a tight Christmas budget will be disgusted to learn that the groovy plaything has a price of $499.99. Surely your landlord/mortgage officer will cut you a break this Christmas season?
 

 

 
More after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.10.2017
11:11 am
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Punk, Patti Smith, William Burroughs & capitalism: A ‘conceptual conversation’ with RE/Search’s Vale


Vale with William Burroughs

This interview with V. Vale was conducted by Michael Lee Nirenberg, director of the 2014 documentary Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story

Early in my conversation with publisher and writer V. Vale he called me a “conceptual conversationalist,” although that moniker really belongs to Vale himself. Vale has had an interesting life. He was born in a Japanese-American internment camp in 1944, moved to Haight-Ashbury at the height of the 1960s counterculture movement, joined the original lineup of Blue Cheer, went on to publish punk zine Search and Destroy while working at beatnik bookstore City Lights, and then made his serious mark on the emerging post-punk culture with RE/Search.

For me, the seminal RE/Search journals which Vale has been publishing since the 1980s are a snapshot of culture at its most vital and ideas at their most radical. RE/Search was like early Interview magazine but the interviews were largely unedited, ran long, and each volume more or less tackled a particular subject. Some of the more well-known ones are: Pranks, Incredibly Strange Films, and The Industrial Culture Handbook.

Needless to say Vale’s work has been an influence on me. I met Vale at the New York Art Book Fair last year and interviewed him by phone on April 2, 2017. Below is that conversation edited lightly and segmented because Vale is a stream of consciousness type guy and you have to just roll with him. Enjoy.
______________________________
 

 
On interviews and conversations

VV: So I invented a phrase for you while I was waiting for you to call; “conceptual conversationalist.” How’s that?

MN: That’s pretty good, man. All of a sudden I feel like I’m in a RE/Search interview.

VV: (laughs) Well that’s proper. It’s all useful. Conversations are two-way streets.

MN: I agree and I think that’s what attracted me to RE/Search throughout the years, and why I return to the volumes. I wrote out a dozen or so question but that doesn’t mean I have a script I’m going to follow. As you know a conversation takes you elsewhere.

VV: The holy grail of a conversation is when suddenly there appears a concept or an idea that neither person has contemplated before.

MN: Yeah. I agree with that and I think that’s when it’s the most successful.

VV: Whatever. I’m not a success or failure guy, I just observe what’s happening but that’s kinda rare and when it happens it’s a mini cause celebre.

MN: I think that’s a good point. I was wondering if everyone who has ever interviewed you has attempted to do a RE/Search interview on some level.

VV: I don’t really call them interviews, I call them conversations. That gives you a lot more latitude to go into some unexpected direction. Play and humor are like the supreme goal I suppose. I don’t know. I suppose I don’t know how to answer that one (laughs), I just try to have fun with whoever I’m talking to.

MN: Yeah, I think I do the same thing.

VV: Good! Hooray we’re on the same wavelength.

MN: Yeah, it seems obvious that humor is the thing that makes life bearable. And ideas.

VV: Well yeah… ideas. Especially ideas. Yeah, humor of course.
 

 
On Capitalism

VV: Oh yeah, ideas especially. The main idea always (laughs) is the overarching theme of how do we make this world a better place? How can we conceptualize a better world? How do we visualize a better world? For example I don’t understand why there aren’t more young artists making films about how life ought to be and dare I say a future that’s post-capitalism. I’m sure you know who (Slavoj) Žižek is and I think the best thing he ever said was, “You can imagine the apocalypse, you can imagine the end of the world, but you can’t imagine a world after capitalism.”

MN: Oh, that’s good.

VV: I’m a capitalist. I make books and hope someone buys them and I obviously need to make a profit so I can pay my rent, but I can’t imagine another system. Boy, if you can you will be the first!

MN: I struggle with this too. For all its flaws, the critiques don’t offer a way out. Look at the countries that went all in with socialism and communism. They started off as such high-minded concepts until they became religion.

VV: Even worse than religion (laughs). I think it’s all patriarchy, but yet I like most ideas of feminism which are actually the same ideas found in anti-racism i.e fighting privilege. There’s that famous saying you probably know which is “privilege confers blinders.” A lot of times if you have privilege you don’t feel it. It doesn’t even exist within the world you’re conceptualizing.

I always said my goal in publishing was (and I stole it from Hegel), “if you’re working, work for more freedom, more consciousness (that’s a great word) and more justice for more people.” The hard thing is the justice because then you get into the grimy world of lawyering and criminality and it’s just so much. Can you imagine if you were a heterosexual seeking a relationship with another heterosexual of the opposite gender. Let’s say complementary gender. I’m not a fan of opposite. I’m a fan of complimentary.

MN: Yes and relativity.

VV: Yes. Can you just imagine a world in which you try to act in perfect justice with another partner? I’m a huge fan of having a partner for a simple reason which is the hardest thing you can do. I’ve never had a job and I managed to support myself mostly and the hardest thing to do is guess what? Make next month’s rent.The other person (your partner) has to worry about the same thing. Take my word for it. It makes life a helluva lot easier and bearable.

More with Vale after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.15.2017
05:44 pm
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Oh, you pretty thing! Polaroid portraits of Andy Warhol in drag
04.20.2017
09:07 am
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Andy Warhol in drag taken with a polaroid camera.

Back in 2013 auction house Christie’s sold off 62 of Andy Warhol’s Polaroid photos for the tidy sum of $978,125. Fifteen of the Polaroids were of objects such as shoes and Absolute Vodka. Another 37 of the shots in the group were portraits taken by Warhol that he would then use to create silkscreens of his famous friends and muses like Grace Jones or Jean-Michael Basquiat. In a fascinating (at least to me) analysis done by Exhibition Inquisition, it appears that Andy’s Polaroids of women sold for vastly less than their famous male counterparts—by an approximate margin of $7,000. Even in the art game, us girls can’t seem to get a fair shake. Who knew?

Exhibition Inquisition also broke down Warhol’s “top ten” selling Polaroid portraits which included some of the artist closest acquaintances like Debbie Harry and Dennis Hopper. Farrah Fawcett also made it into the top ten as well as former governator of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muhammad Ali.

Now let’s discuss the topic of this post—Warhol’s drag self-portraits which were taken in the early 80s. In this series, we see Warhol in full make-up and bombshell red lipstick wearing a variety of different wigs from a smart, short black bob to full-on, teased-up heavy metal hair and black eyeliner. Here’s more on the creative process that got Andy ready for his closeup as a girl from the Getty Museum’s website:

Andy Warhol enjoyed dressing for parties in drag, sometimes in dresses of his own design. He admired “the boys who spend their lives trying to be complete girls,” so in 1981 he and a photographic assistant, Christopher Makos, agreed to collaborate on a session portraying Warhol in drag. In many ways, they modeled the series on Man Ray’s 1920s work with the French artist Marcel Duchamp, in which the two artists created a female alter ego name Rrose Sélavy for Duchamp.

Warhol and Makos made a number of pictures, both black-and-white prints and color Polaroids, of their first attempt. For the second round of pictures, they hired a theater makeup person. This stage professional better understood the challenge of transforming a man’s face into that of a woman. After the makeup, Warhol tried on curled, straight, long, short, dark, and blonde wigs.

Warhol might not have been the most attractive fella (or dame) but he knew how to give great “face” and his drag self-portraits are absolutely mesmerizing. Curiously, they are not as covetable to collectors as one might think. Warhol’s selfies out-of-drag have sold for far greater sums that his drag portraits. And it seems that the most covetable Polaroid images of Andy are the ones that were taken of the pop culture icon in his famous “fright wig” (you know, this look) which have sold at auction for $50 grand apiece. I’ve included the drag Polaroids of Andy below for you to check out. Warhol’s Polaroids can be seen in the wonderful, well worth owning 2015 book, Andy Warhol: Polaroids.
 

 

 

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.20.2017
09:07 am
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Fierce and provocative vintage artwork & images from New York’s infamous Fiorucci store
03.30.2017
10:18 am
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A vintage 80s ad for Italian fashion brand, Fiorucci featuring Divine. Art by Richard Bernstein

“Went to Fiorucci and it’s so much fun there. It’s everything I’ve always wanted, all plastic.”

—Andy Warhol diary entry for December 21, 1983

Although Fiorucci was a global brand, it was the NYC store where Elio Fiorucci’s visionary day-glo retailing vision was best realized. Everyone from Jackie O to Andy Warhol spent time hanging out and shopping at Fiorucci—a glammy New York store that was fondly referred to as the “daytime Studio 54.” From the late 70s and most of the 80s the clothing brand founded by Elio Fiorucci in Milan was a fashion trendsetter and can be credited with many looks that defined the era. Like primary colors and “neon” fabrics, form-fitting “stretch” denim jeans and the accessories that were worn by a young Madonna, thanks to Fiorucci’s art director, jewelry designer Maripol who styled her iconic look. (Ms. Ciccone even performed at the store’s 1983 anniversary party). Maripol also dressed the likes of Grace Jones and another New York fashion icon, Debbie Harry. Keith Haring would draw on the walls. Kenny Scharf did his first art show there. Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine had office space in the store for a while, too, and it was pretty difficult to turn up at the store—across from Bloomingdale’s flagship on 59th and Lexington Ave—and not see someone incredibly famous.
 

Madonna and her dancers
 
And since this is New York we’re talking about, one of the store’s most popular employees (he was the manager) flamboyant performance artist Joey Arias appeared with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi on what would become one of the most infamous episodes of Saturday Night Live on December 15th, 1979. Because everybody was somebody in New York back then. Fashion designer Betsey Johnson

I was recently made aware of the fact that earlier this month high-end UK retailer Selfridges debuted a pop-up shop where you could actually purchase items from Fiorucci’s classic clothing catalog. Everything from the brand’s famous denimwear to an accessory I have been obsessed with since I was skating around the roller rink to Sister Sledge (who sang about the store), Fiorucci patches. Selfridges even provided a service where you could have a vintage patch, which were created in 1984, affixed to the item of your choosing. If you missed that, like I sadly did, the store is now carrying a number of new Fiorucci items including some cool, vibrantly colored t-shirts with the brand’s neon, zig-zagging logo on the front. Below I’ve posted an array of images from Fiorucci ad campaigns, marketing posters as well as a few of the vintage patches sold at the Selfridges’ pop-up store.

Sunglasses are encouraged to protect your eyes. Some are NSFW.
 

The famous Fiorucci logo
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.30.2017
10:18 am
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Banana: After 50 years the ultimate Warhol Velvet Underground mystery is finally (almost) solved!!

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It was fifty years ago this week that the future began with the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, and his banana. The destruction and rebuilding of rock ‘n’ roll music as it then existed commenced. This was all taking place even though only a few people knew about it at the time. The right few, as always. I have to think that anyone reading this knows the history of the Velvet Underground so I’m not going to rehash it here.

In the thirty years since Warhol’s death, the human race has bought and sold more “Andy” than Andy himself could possibly have dreamed of and more. Much more. Too much even. Year after year there are more Warhol books, toys, giant banana pillows, clothing lines, shoes, Andy Warhol glasses, movies, action figures (or maybe inaction figures, this being Warhol), pencils, notebooks, skateboards—literally everything ever! There’s been more most post mortem Warhol merchandising than for practically anyone or anything you can name. Even more than for Elvis, Marilyn or James Dean who had head starts.

Warhol and his entourage were infamous speedfreaks—speedfreaks with cameras, tape recorders, and movie gear who talked a lot and didn’t sleep much—and his every utterance was recorded, long before museums, historical posterity and millions of dollars were the reasons.

With the advent of the Warhol Museum, Andy’s every movement, thought, and influence has been discussed, dissected, filed and defiled ad nauseum. Every single piece of art he ever did can be traced back to an original page in a newspaper, an ad in the back of a dirty magazine, a photograph, a Sunday comic, or an item from a supermarket shelf and they’ve ALL been identified and cataloged.

Except for one.

Just one.

Probably the second most popular of Warhol’s images, standing in line right behind the Campbell’s soup can, is the banana image found on the cover of the first Velvet Underground album. Thee banana! But where did it come from? Everything else was appropriated from somewhere. What about this one?

I KNOW where it came from and I have known for around thirty years. Oddly enough it only just now occurred to me (when I looked up Warhol’s death date) that I found this thing, which I am about to describe, mere weeks before Andy’s untimely demise.
 
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I grew up in the sixties and I’ve loved the Velvet Underground since even before the advent of punk. And I love Andy Warhol, too. Just look at my Facebook profile photo. I have shelves of books on Warhol and all things Velvets and have amassed quite a collection of Warhol and Velvets rarities. My favorite book of all time is Andy Warhol’s Index from 1966, a children’s pop-up book filled with drag queens, the Velvets, 3-D soup cans and even a Flexi disc record with Lou Reed’s face on it with a recording of the Velvet Underground listening to a test pressing of their first LP. The one with the BANANA.
 
dvbjcdg
The author’s Facebook profile pic. Duh.
 
Andy Warhol’s number one right-hand man in the sixties and the person who turned the Factory silver (among many many other things including being the primary photographer of the Factory’s “silver years”) was Billy Name (Linich). An online comment described him this way:

You can’t get more inside than Billy Name in Warhol’s Factory world. In fact he lived in the Factory - and to be more specific he lived in the bathroom at the Factory - and to be even more specific he stayed in the locked bathroom without coming out for months (years?).

 
And so to quote this definitive “insider” Billy Name on the history of the banana:

...bananas had been a Warhol theme earlier in the Mario Montez feature film Harlot mostly as a comedic phallic symbol. In the general hip culture, Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” was going on [mellow yellow; roast banana peels in an oven, and then roll and smoke them]. The high was called “mello yellow.”

The specific banana image Andy chose came from I know not where; it’s not a Chiquita banana or Dole fruit company, because Andy’s banana has ‘overripe’ markings on it, and the fruit companies use whole yellow bananas on their stickers. Anyway, Andy first used this particular banana image for a series of silk-screen prints which he screened on white, opaque, flexible, Plexiglass (sort of like 2 feet x 5 feet). First an image of the inner banana “meat” was screened on the Plexi in pink, and then covered by the outer skin screened on and cut out of a glossy yellow sticky-back roll of heavy commercial paper (ordered from some supply warehouse). Thereby each banana could be peeled and the meat exposed and the skin could be replaced a number of times, ‘til the sticky stuff wore out. Naturally this was intentionally erotic Warhol-type art.

When thinking of a cover for the first Velvets album, it was easy for Andy to put one of his own works on the cover, knowing it was hip, outrageous, and original and would be “really great.” Andy always went the easy way, using what he had, rather than puzzling and mulling over some design elements and graphics for cover art that don’t really work. His art was already there, hip, erotic, and cool. The Plexi silk screen art definitely came first, in 1966. The album came out in ‘67. I do not recall any other design being thought of or even considered. The back of the album cover was a pastiche amalgam of photos from Andy’s films, Steven Shore, Paul Morrissey and myself and was messy and mulled over too much.

 
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So here we are on the fiftieth anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico and its mysterious banana cover art, and I felt that I have held this secret for way too long. I always wanted to use this in a book or something but it never happened.

This thing was hanging on my kitchen wall for three decades, in New York and LA and is now in secured storage for reasons which are about to become obvious. This is how I found it: One day in the mid 80s I was cruising around the Lower East Side aimlessly—as I had done most of my life up to that point—running into friends, looking at stuff people were selling on the street, stopping into Manic Panic, Venus Records, St. Marks Books, and any junk shops that caught my eye. There was one on Broadway that I had never seen before right down the street from Forbidden Planet and the greatest place ever, the mighty Strand Book Store. I went in and there was a lot of great stuff for me. I found some old records, a huge stash of outrageous and disgusting tabloid newspapers from the sixties which I kept buying there for a couple months afterward, and some cool old knick-knacks. I knocked into something on a crowded table full of junk and heard a big CLANG on the cement floor. I bent down to pick it up. It was one of those cheap triangular tin ashtrays that usually advertised car tires or something mundane. I picked it up (it was face down) and when I turned it over I was surprised to see…THE BANANA!!

It was an ad for bananas printed on a cheap metal ashtray.
 

Don’t you like a banana? ENJOY BANANA. Presented by WING CORP. designed by LEO KONO production”

 
I thought wow, this is cool! But over time I realized that I had quite literally stumbled across a true missing link. I figured I’d use it for something big one day, but I never did. UNTIL NOW. Ladies and germs, Andy Warhol and Velvet Underground fans and scholars, without further ado I bring you THE MISSING LINK! A true Dangerous Minds mega exclusive! (As Jeb Bush would say “Please clap.”).

A primitive, pounding Moe Tucker drumroll please for the reveal of THEE BANANA…after the jump

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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03.14.2017
12:01 pm
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The Andy Warhol episode of ‘The Love Boat’
02.10.2017
09:14 am
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Jack Jones sang the theme song to The Love Boat from 1977 until 1985. Love was life’s sweetest reward; all was right with the world. But before the show’s ninth, terminal season, while the crew of the Pacific Princess was making ready for her 200th seafaring voyage, a hole opened in history. Bonzo went to Bitburg, police beat new age travellers and their infant children at Stonehenge, and after adulterating the national beverage, Bill Cosby called the result “a new explosion of wonderfulness in your mouth.” Sensing that some catastrophe had rent the very fabric of reality, Dionne Warwick seized the mike from Jack Jones and bellowed his signature song into the yawning mouth of Hell. I like to imagine that when they recorded this version of “Love Boat Theme,” Warwick was standing in a doorway during an earthquake, astride a widening abyss in the studio floor, after spending a few months listening to Diamanda Galás records.

So apocalypse and mutiny hung in the air when Andy Warhol joined the lovely Love Boat Mermaids aboard the Pacific Princess in October ‘85. From the Paley Center synopsis of the episode, “Hidden Treasure / Picture from the Past / Ace’s Salary”:

An all-star cast, including Andy Warhol, Andy Griffith, and Milton Berle, helps the crew celebrate the ship’s two-hundredth voyage. In “Picture from the Past,” Warhol, as himself, offers to select a passenger as the subject of his next portrait. Marion Ross plays a former Warhol superstar who fears the artist will recognize her and reveal her secret past to her disapproving, conservative husband, played by Tom Bosley.

According to Victor Bockris’ biography, Warhol was enjoying the benefits of a new health regimen in which chiropractors, shiatsu, a dermatologist, raw garlic, crystals, and an internist all figured. The health kick complemented a new look Andy showed off on The Love Boat. Photographer Christopher Makos:

He wore black Levi 501s or Verri Uomo, a black Brooks Brothers turtleneck sweater, an L. L. Bean red down vest, a black leather car coat by Stephen Sprouse, white or black Reeboks, a big crystal around his neck and big black-framed glasses, and his hair was huge, jutting out wildly. He was like a cross between Stephen Sprouse and Tina Turner. Andy’s look always made a statement, and it was usually about not looking perfect. His last look was as chic as ever, although the overall effect had a lot to do with his general aura: it was as though he’d accomplished everything imaginable in his lifetime.

Not that Andy was always as enamored of celebrity and showbiz as he seemed. Bockris:

After The Love Boat episode was aired, he complained to a friend that people in Hollywood were “idiots.” They didn’t buy art, he said. They stank.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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02.10.2017
09:14 am
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Andy Warhol’s ‘Chelsea Girls’: The druggy draggy morally-bankrupt cult film that scandalized America
01.23.2017
03:46 pm
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The iconic movie poster by famed illustrator Alan Aldridge. Warhol once remarked that he’d “wished the movie was as good as the poster.”

Chelsea Girls was Andy Warhol’s first “commercial” success as a filmmaker. Co-directed by Warhol and Paul Morrissey, the film consists of twelve improvised vignettes (two were semi-scripted by playwright Ronald Tavel) featuring the druggy, draggy, seemingly morally-bankrupt freaks who constituted Warhol’s entourage and inner circle.

The film was shot in summer and fall of 1966 in the Hotel Chelsea, at Warhol’s “Factory” studio and in the apartment where the Velvet Underground lived on 3rd Street. Brigid Berlin (“The Duchess”), Nico, Mario Montez, Ondine (“The Pope”), Ingrid Superstar, International Velvet, Rene Richard, Eric Emerson, Gerard Malanga, filmmaker Marie Menken, Ari Boulogne (Nico’s son), a gorgeous young Mary Woronov—who danced with the Velvet Underground as part of “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable”—and others are seen in the film’s three and a quarter-hour running time (the film unspooled on 12 separate reels). Most cast members are listed by their own names as they were essentially playing themselves.

Chelsea Girls was booked into a prestigious 600 seat uptown cinema in New York and actually distributed to movie theaters across the country. In 1966, it’s unlikely that middle America had any idea that people like this even existed. Film-goers in Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, San Diego and yes, even, Kansas City probably got their first exposure to actual drug addicts, yammering speed-freak narcissists, homosexuals, drag queens and a dominatrix when they watched Chelsea Girls. To Warhol’s delight, the film was even raided by the vice squad in Boston. The theater manager was arrested and later fined $2000 when a judge found him guilty of four charges of obscenity.
 

 
Movie critic Rex Reed said “Chelsea Girls is a three and a half hour cesspool of vulgarity and talentless confusion which is about as interesting as the inside of a toilet bowl.”

Tell us how you really feel, Rex!

The film was presented as a split screen, running simultaneously on two projectors (examples below) with alternating soundtracks. It was a mixture of B&W and color footage. Edie Sedgwick’s vignette was removed from Chelsea Girls at her insistence, but was later known as “The Apartment” or “Afternoon.” A section originally screened with Chelsea Girls called “The Closet” (about two “children” who lived in one, with Nico and Randy Bourscheidt) was cut and later shown as a separate film.
 

 
A young Roger Ebert reviewed it for The Chicago Sun-Times:

For what we have here is 3 1/2 hours of split-screen improvisation poorly photographed, hardly edited at all, employing perversion and sensation like chili sauce to disguise the aroma of the meal. Warhol has nothing to say and no technique to say it with. He simply wants to make movies, and he does: hours and hours of them. If “Chelsea Girls” had been the work of Joe Schultz of Chicago, even Warhol might have found it merely pathetic.

The key to understanding “Chelsea Girls,” and so many other products of the New York underground, is to realize that it depends upon a cult for its initial acceptance, and upon a great many provincial cult-aspirers for its commercial appeal. Because Warhol has become a social lion and the darling of the fashionable magazines, there are a great many otherwise sensible people in New York who are hesitant to bring their critical taste to bear upon his work. They make allowances for Andy that they wouldn’t make for just anybody, because Andy has his own bag and they don’t understand it but they think they should.

 

 
Ebert hits the nail squarely on the head. Chelsea Girls is actually a fucking terrible “movie.” If you view it as “art” or as an important cultural artifact of the Sixties (it’s both) or even as a historical antecedent to Keeping Up with the Kardashians, then you can give it a pass, and probably should, but if you’re expecting to be “entertained,” well, hold on, you’ll need to recalibrate your expectations. Only a few parts of the film are actually engaging (Ondine’s speed-freak monologues; Brigid Berlin poking herself with speed; the “Hanoi Hannah” section with Mary Woronov) the rest of it is… boring.

It looks good and parts of it are “interesting” because you can only hear what’s happening on one side of the split screen and so the silent side becomes somehow more intriguing, but, oh yeah, this is a boring thing to watch. It’s still very cool, but it’s still very boring, if that makes any sense.

Chelsea Girls used to be next to impossible to see since its original release—at least until it got uploaded to YouTube—usually screening just a few times a year around the globe. I caught it myself in the (appropriately) sleazy surroundings of London’s legendary Scala Cinema in 1984. There were probably six people there, including me. I admit to falling asleep for a bit of it, but I think everyone probably does. Thank god that was when you could still smoke in movie theaters!
 

 
Pssst, don’t tell anyone I told you this, but the entire film can be seen here. Probably the best way to watch it is to hook your computer up to your flat screen and do something else, sort of half paying attention—maybe clean?—while Chelsea Girls is on in the background.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.23.2017
03:46 pm
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Lou Reed and John Cale’s soundtrack to Andy Warhol’s ‘Hedy,’ 1966


Andy Warhol and Mario Montez filming Hedy (via Continuo)
 
On the night of January 27, 1966, the actress Hedy Lamarr was arrested for stealing $86 worth of merchandise from the May Company department store in Los Angeles. She was not driven to crime by a condition of need: police told reporters she had $14,000 in checks when she was arrested.

Andy Warhol and screenwriter Ronald Tavel knew a good story when they saw one, and Hedy (1966)—with Lupe and More Milk, Yvette, part of the “Hollywood trilogy” about movie actresses Warhol made that year—advanced down the Factory’s film production line. The lovely Mario Montez starred in the title role, while on the soundtrack, Lou Reed and John Cale dramatized Hedy’s inner life with an ominous, bottomless noise.
 

via Toronto International Film Festival
 
Richie Unterberger’s authoritative White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day by Day files the Hedy soundtrack under February 1966:

Only Lou Reed and John Cale are heard on the soundtrack to Hedy, a Warhol film inspired by press reports of the arrest for shoplifting of 30s and 40s actor Hedy Lamarr. None of the Velvets appear in the film, but the cast does include the two most celebrated dancers of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable – Gerard Malanga and Factory newcomer Mary Woronov – as well as another EPI dancer, Ingrid Superstar, and Cale’s old friend Jack Smith.

The Hedy score is closer in spirit to the avant-garde recordings Cale and Angus MacLise appeared on during 1963-1965 than anything The Velvet Underground are currently playing. The music builds around an instrumental storm of shrieking, rumbling viola, guitar, and a rickety piano that sounds like it hasn’t been played since doing time in a 19th century saloon, while Cale’s ‘thunder machine’ – the sound made by the head of a Vox Super Beatle amp being dropped on the floor – occasionally cuts through everything else with hair-raising, high pitch bursts of feedback. This might be the closest approximation of how the nascent Velvet Underground sounded when they played, with Angus MacLise, behind the screen at Piero Heliczer’s ‘happenings,’ but those days are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Hear ‘Hedy’ after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.22.2016
08:45 am
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Marc Bolan, Andy Warhol, Joan Jett & other famous folk with their dogs, for your election 2016 blues
11.07.2016
09:35 am
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A young Joan Jett and an adorable dog. Jett has gone on to dedicate much of her life to animal advocacy.
 
If you’re a jittery bag of nerves with questionable sleep patterns thanks to the fucking fiasco that is the Presidential Election of 2016, then I hope this post will help restore some of your faith in humanity. At least temporarily.

As the title indicates I’ve culled some images of famous people and their dogs that I’m quite sure will get you to your “happy place” pretty quickly. At the very least it will briefly distract you and keep you from checking the latest statistics over at Fivethirtyeight or wherever it is that you happen to be getting your political updates these days. Until this all blows over (if in fact it ever does) I’d keep this post close by for when you need to talk yourself out of moving to Canada, moving underground or perhaps relocating to the fucking moon. Honestly, if photos of Marc Bolan and David Bowie cradling adorable canines doesn’t help restore your pulse to a more reasonable rate, I’m not sure anything will. Hang in there kittens, it’s almost over!
 

Marc Bolan.
 

David Bowie and a wee little Scottie, 1980. Photo by Duffy.
 

The band Queen and their four-legged canine pal.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.07.2016
09:35 am
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Tiny Andy Warhol-themed vinyl toys
07.11.2016
09:59 am
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Here’s a delightful Andy Warhol-themed series of Dunny figures by Kidrobot. I’m sure most of you already know this, but if not, a Dunny is a type of vinyl art toy created by Paul Budnitz and Tristan Eaton and produced by Kidrobot. They’ve been in production since 2004 and are widely traded.

According to the Kidrobot website, each Dunny comes packaged in a blind box style “so each and every box is an incredible and creative surprise!” (And if you want to “collect ‘em all” this also means you’ll inevitably have lots of duplicate “traders.”

Each quantity equals one blind box. To order a case pack, please order a quantity of 20 units. 

The first 50 people to order a case pack (20 units) will receive a special Limited Edition Gift with Purchase Warhol Dunny! Customer Service will not be able to tell you if you are one of the first 50 orders nor will you be notified if you are one of the first 50 people. You will simply receive the gift with purchase in your order.

I’m blogging about this a little late, so you’re probably not going to be one of the first 50 people. However, there’s a slight chance I could be wrong.


 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.11.2016
09:59 am
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Dennis Hopper gives a tour of his art collection

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Dennis Hopper bought one of Andy Warhol’s first soup-can prints for seventy-five bucks. It should have been a good investment but then Hopper lost it to his first ex-wife—part of the divorce settlement. She also picked-up a Roy Lichtenstein that Hopper had bought for just over a thousand dollars. The ex-wife sold it for $3k. If she’d kept it she could have made a cool $16 million. But it was never about money for Hopper:

My idea of collecting is not going and buying bankable names, but buying people that I believe are really contributing something to my artistic life.

Hopper was a “a middle-class farm boy” from Dodge City, Kansas. He was born on May 17th, 1936. He had Scottish ancestors—which might explain some of his wild temperament. His mother was a lifeguard instructor. His father worked for the post office.

Hopper fought “the cows with a wooden sword…hung a rope in the trees and played Tarzan”—all the stuff kids do. He swam in the pool his mother managed. Fired his BB gun at crows. Once looked at the sun through a telescope and went blind for five days. Hopper was smart, creative, arty—went to Saturday morning art classes. But growing up on a farm he felt a childhood angst about missing out. He felt desperate. To get away from this feeling he went to the movies. He came home and sniffed gasoline. He watched the clouds turn into clowns and goblins. He sniffed more gasoline wanting to see what else the clouds were hiding. He OD’d. He thought he was Abbott and Costello and Errol Flynn. He wrecked his grandfather’s truck with a baseball bat.

The family moved and moved again—ending up in San Diego. In high school Hopper was voted the one most likely to succeed. He had a taste for theater and wanted to act. He went out to Hollywood and became an actor.

It was Vincent Price who first hipped Hopper to art. He told him “You need to collect—this is where you need to put your money.” But it wasn’t about money—it was “a calling.”

I always thought that acting was art, writing was art, music was art, painting was art, and I’ve tried to keep that cultural vibe to my life. I never wanted to don a tie, or go into an office.

Hopper was eighteen performing Shakespeare in San Diego when he was introduced to James Dean—“the best young actor in America, if not the world, when I met him.”

Jimmy arrived, and I saw him start to act, and I realized I was nowhere near as good as him. I’d never seen anyone improvise like that. I was full of preconceived ideas about when to make a gesture, how to read a line. I considered myself an accomplished Shakespearian actor. And he’d do this improvising, and I’d check the script and think, “Where the hell did those lines come from?” He taught me some basic stuff. “If you’re going to drink something in a film, drink it. If you’re going to smoke something, smoke it. Don’t act as if you’re drinking or smoking, just do it as you would off-set.” That was such good advice. He taught me to live the moment, in the reality, not fill my head with presupposed ideas, or anticipate what may or may not happen.

Hopper signed to Warner Bros. Started making movies. Worked with Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Hung around art galleries—became a “gallery bum.” When Dean died, Hopper was devastated. It may have led to his “I’m a fucking genius, man” behavior that eventually got him blackballed from Hollywood.

He moved to the east coast. Hung around the art scene. Became friends with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Ruscha. He still collected art—but it was never about the money.

Dennis Hopper would have been eighty this year. He died in 2010—three years after his mother died. She made it to ninety. Hopper left a vast collection of artwork—paintings by Warhol, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Julian Schnabel and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hopper saw himself as a custodian—keeping the art until he died and it was given over to a museum.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.14.2016
09:39 am
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