FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
Manson, Larry Flynt, Abbie Hoffman, O.J. and other infamous folks depicted by court sketch artists

Abbie Hoffman’s Viet Cong flag tug-of-war with deputy marshal Ronald Dobroski during the Chicago Eight trial as depicted by Howard Brodie.
Courtroom sketches in the United States date back to the 17th Century Salem Witch Trials, and were a necessary staple of reporting on court cases up until recent years when the courtroom was off-limits to photographers and television cameras. It wasn’t until 2014 that all 50 states allowed cameras in the courtroom, though by the late ‘80s most states already had. 

As portraits that exist solely out of the necessity for historically documenting legal proceedings, such sketches have never been considered high art, but a current exhibition of sketches housed at the Library of Congress shines a spotlight on some of the talents behind these documents.

The Library of Congress’ exhibition, “Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations,” features a selection of the Library’s collection of more than 10,000 courtroom drawings, many of which were donated to the library by the estates of the artists themselves.

From the Library of Congress’ website:

The exhibition begins with the work of Howard Brodie, who popularized reportage-style courtroom illustrations with his documentation of the Jack Ruby trial in 1964 for CBS Evening News.  Brodie supported and encouraged the first generation of artists who created the artwork for television and print media.  Brodie donated his trial drawings to the Library of Congress, which spurred the development of the courtroom-illustration collections.

In addition to Brodie, the artists represented in the exhibition include Marilyn Church, Aggie Kenny, Pat Lopez, Arnold Mesches, Gary Myrick, Joseph Papin, David Rose, Freda Reiter, Bill Robles, Jane Rosenberg and Elizabeth Williams.

The exhibition is being held in the South Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. It is free to the public.

Enjoy, below, a gallery of some of the more interesting pieces in the collection:

The New York Black Panther trial as depicted by Howard Brodie. Twenty-one members of the New York Black Panther Party faced charges of conspiracy to bomb several sites in New York City. They were acquitted of all 156 charges on May 12, 1971.

Bobby Seale, sketched by Howard Brodie, taking notes while bound and gagged at the Chicago Eight trial.

John Hinckley, failed assassin of Ronald Reagan, shown by artist Freda Reiter in front of a television broadcasting his obsession, Jodie Foster.

Many more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel
06:04 am
Shocking Pink: ‘Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story’

Subversion. Such a tasty word tied the fine art of discovering the hidden in unlikely places. The finest treasures are always the ones you have to sift and work for. It’s one of the best perks of delving into any type of fringe entertainment that resides completely outside the county line of respectability. Fewer publications wear that description like a well tailored latex suit better than Hustler Magazine. Even to this day, people have a strong reaction to the name Hustler. Visions of crude cartoons, anatomical close-ups of assorted labia majora and minora and an overall commitment to bad taste in general usually comes to mind. Of course all of these are correct assertions but even better is that in addition to the obvious there is much more beneath the surface and for that, thank goodness for Michael Lee Nirenberg and his fantastic documentary, Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story.

Unlike your typical documentary, Back Issues is a double story. It begins partially as Nirenberg’s own journey, with his father Bill, who was the magazine’s art director during its golden era of the late 70’s and off and on during the early to mid 80’s. The film opens with the two talking about one of Hustler’s more ridiculous covers, featuring a glammed out blonde and one very excited German Shepherd. Their interaction is humorous and revealing in a sweet-but-non-treacly sort of way.
Mount Rushmore of Smut Magazines
The other journey is that of the magazine itself. Founded by nightclub owner Larry Flynt in 1974, Hustler was originally a mini newsprint publication. It soon was expanded into a full fledged, glossy magazine. Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! author Mike Edison talks about the Mount Rushmore of the skin rag publishers which includes the staid Hugh Hefner, the vasaline-covered-lens loving Bob Guccione, the original subversive ground breaker Al Goldstein and the man himself, Larry Flynt.

The film delves into the origins of Hustler, which could not have taken root without Al Goldstein and his own equally infamous, legendary magazine, Screw. We’re talking right down from the latter’s “Shit List,” which begat Flynt’s “Asshole of the Month” column. There are some great interviews here with Goldstein, shot over a year before he passed in December 2013 and adult film star, Ron Jeremy, who jokes about “the Slime Pack,” which consisted of Flynt, Goldstein and himself.
Bill Nirenberg, Dennis Hopper & Larry Flynt
Dennis Hopper, Hustler’s Bill Nirenberg and Larry Flynt

One of the strongest qualities about Hustler was that it was a blue collar magazine with a strong intellectual streak that could border on surreal. Among the many quotable gems of Chairman Flynt is “I’d rather have ten truck drivers reading Hustler than one college professor.” What a perfect thumb up the bum of the bourgeoisie pretensions of magazines like Playboy. Even with that or maybe because of that attitude, Hustler still managed to get interviews and contributions with writers ranging from Charles Bukowski to Norman Mailer (whose finest work will forever be getting one-upped via hammer and insane LSD-laced brilliance courtesy of Rip Torn), among others.
Larry Flynt
Hustler got a taste of its first big infamy when they published nude paparazzi style pics of Jackie Onassis. (Screw, naturally, had published them first a few months before.) But that was only the beginning, as the film delves into the assorted trials and tribulations of both the magazine and its founder, ranging from assorted and legally important 1st Amendment fights, religious conversions, involving Larry having the entire staff watch the Oscar-winning documentary Marjoe detailing the activities of huckster traveling preacher and future character actor Marjoe Gortner, presidential campaigns and of course, the assassination attempt on Larry’s life that left him paralyzed. In one impressive and disturbing coup, the film interviews white supremacist, serial killer and the man who attempted to murder Larry, Joseph Paul Franklin. Franklin, who was later on executed in November 2013 and was in fact, never even convicted for trying to murder Flynt, talks about being incensed by an interracial pictorial in the magazine. This may surprise you, but Franklin is every bit as creepy and damaged as one would expect! Central casting couldn’t have picked someone to fit the multiple-murderer/racist/bent-case better than him.
Paul Krassner
The film then goes into the Paul Krassner years. A founding member of the Yippie movement who also got to work with the great and equally anti-establishment Lenny Bruce, Krassner was a fascinating, if not always popular fit for the magazine. Some of the most infamous covers came out during his tenure, including the crucified Easter bunny and the eternally misinterpreted “woman in the meat grinder” issue. Nirenberg goes into perfect detail about this particular issue, revealing the actual intent behind it. In a way, it perfectly represents the magazine. Crude irreverence inter-spliced with brutal social commentary, with the balls-out equal opportunity offensive attitude always putting the magazine at risk for misinterpretation.
Huster Infamous June 1978
One of the best things about Back Issues is that it highlights perfectly that there were no dummies at this magazine. Quite the reverse. Bill Nirenberg, Krassner, Dwayne “Chester the Molester” Tinsley, Stephen Sayadian, whom while not in the film, did work on the Thing Fish-themed spread for Frank Zappa (with 80s punk porn process Lois Ayres) and directed such legendary surrealistic skin flicks like Cafe Flesh and Dr. Caligari, and of course, at the helm, Larry and Althea Flynt. This is just the tip of the iceberg but the strong undercurrent of creative brilliance, working class ethos and a healthy disrespect for authority all shine sweet and strong in Back Issues. Even the soundtrack, which is a beyond stellar compilation of punk songs from legends like The Circle Jerks and The Adolescents, reflects the beautifully anarchic nature of Hustler and its merry band of smart misfits.

Featuring great interviews, spectacular editing and pulsating with plenty of heart, humor, piss and vinegar, Back Issues is a fine and very much needed documentary. In a cultural climate that is more conservative now than back when Hustler was still a little newspaper from a stripclub owner, we need to be reminded of the people that took a chance, that offended and that cared enough to never bullshit us. That is the heart-core of Back Issues.

Posted by Heather Drain
12:24 pm
Larry Flynt will pay one million dollars to anyone who can produce Mitt Romney’s financial records
11:55 pm

My favorite pornographer Larry Flynt is offering $1 million to anyone who can provide him with Mitt Romney’s financial records.

The Hustler publisher has bought full page ads that will appear in Sunday’s Washington Post and Tuesday’s USA Today.

This is what makes America great. Flynt once again puts his money where his mouth is.


Posted by Marc Campbell
11:55 pm
Larry Flynt tells Obama: You’re toast
01:21 pm

I think Larry Flynt speaks for many of us with his open letter to President Obama, published today at The Daily Beast:

The people who supported you in 2008 wanted someone who would fight for them. They wanted real health-care reform, real banking reform, an end to the expensive wars we’re waging and the restoration of our civil liberties.

On issue after issue you’ve caved. Renewing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is the final straw. This was a fight you could have won without suffering any collateral damage—and you didn’t even throw a punch.

I was delighted when you were elected. Now, like many other Americans, all I see is an ineffectual wimp. If you want a second term in office, you must win back the respect of the American people. From my vantage point it’s hard to see how you can do that.

If you can’t trust a pornographer to tell the truth, who can you trust?

Below, Larry Flynt speaking the truth in 1984.

Posted by Richard Metzger
01:21 pm