May 4th - Signed Cards for Fans by Mark Hamill
Assorted Posted Images
13 Fly Infomercial Products From the '90s That We Totally Regret Not Buying
For all our love of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel Original Movies, we all know that infomercials were the true stars of '90s TV. Billy Mays in a blue button-up and the phrase "But wait! There's more" are two things forever burned into our memories -- and we have infomercials and the strange products they were trying to sell us to thank
But for all the UroClubs and TiddyBears, infomercials gifted us with some truly ageless products -- and sadly, many are off the market for good. Here are the 13 infomercial products we saw in the '90s that we really, really should have bought when we had the chance.
All Things Vinyl
THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF PULSATING PAULA PART II | 1980S DAYTONA BEACH BIKE WEEK
The last time TSY posted the epic Photography of Pulsating Paula the interwebs superhighway stream was so strong it blew the plastic housing clear off my Commodore 64. I’ve since upgraded to a refurbished Apple III and am ready to roll. With Daytona Bike Week fresh on everyone’s mind, let’s go back to a time before many of you were born– the 1980s. Not the strongest era in terms of aesthetic, but these are bikers. And luckily for them they’re largely immune to vapid societal fashion trends and fancy pants grooming. What you get is straight-up lettin’ it all hang out, livin’ the life Daytona. You don’t like it, stick it.
Vintage VHS Screens and Such
Garbage Pail Kids
These women ran an underground abortion network in the 1960s. Here's what they fear might happen today
By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
(CNN) The voice on the phone in 1966 was gruff and abrupt: "Do you want the Chevy, the Cadillac or the Rolls Royce?"
A Chevy abortion would cost about $200, cash in hand, the voice explained. A Cadillac was around $500, and the Rolls Royce was $1,000.
"You can't afford more than the Chevy? Fine," the voice growled. "Go to this address at this time. Don't be late and don't forget the cash." The voice disappeared.
Dorie Barron told CNN she recalls staring blankly at the phone in her hand, startled by the sudden empty tone. Then it hit her: She had just arranged an illegal abortion with the Chicago Mafia.
'All of a sudden they were gone'
The motel Barron was sent to was in an unfamiliar part of Chicago, a scary "middle of nowhere," she said. She was told to go to a specific room, sit on the bed and wait. Suddenly three men and a woman came in the door.
"I was petrified. They spoke all of three sentences to me the entire time: 'Where's the money?' 'Lie back and do as I tell you.' And finally 'Get in the bathroom,'" when the abortion was over, Barron said. "Then all of a sudden they were gone."
Bleeding profusely, Barron managed to find a cab to take her home. When the bleeding didn't stop, her bed-ridden mother made her go to the hospital.
At 24, Barron was taking care of her ailing mother and her 2-year-old daughter when she discovered she was pregnant. Her boyfriend, who had no job and lived with his parents, "freaked," said Barron, who appears in a recent HBO documentary. The boyfriend suggested she get an abortion. She had never considered that option.
"But what was I to do? My mom was taking care of my daughter from her bed while I worked — they would read and play games until I got home," Barron said."How was either of us going to cope with a baby?
"Looking back, I realize I was taking my life in my hands," said Barron, now an 81-year-old grandmother. "To this day it gives me chills. If I had died, what in God's green earth would have happened to my mom and daughter?"
Few rights for women
Women in the 1960s endured restrictions relatively unknown to women today. The so-called "fairer sex" could not serve on juries and often could not get an Ivy League education. Women earned about half as much as a man doing the same job and were seldom promoted.
Women could not get a credit card unless they were married — and then only if their husband co-signed. The same applied to birth control — only the married need apply. More experienced women shared a workaround with the uninitiated: "Go to Woolworth, buy a cheap wedding-type ring and wear it to your doctor's appointment. And don't forget to smile."
Marital rape wasn't legally considered rape. And, of course, women had no legal right to terminate a pregnancy until four states — Alaska, Hawaii, New York and Washington — legalized abortion in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade became the law of the land.
You wish you were invited to Grace Jones' 1978 birthday
Partying with Grace Jones
She pulls up to the bumper with a drag queen and a child star.
On May 19, 1978, Jamaican-born model and singer Grace Jones turned 30.On June 7, she released her second studio album, Fame. Five days later, she celebrated with a combination birthday/album release extravaganza at LaFarfelle Disco in New York.She was joined by Divine, a frequent John Waters collaborator and People magazine’s "Drag Queen of the Century.”Numerous other celebrities and artists were in attendance, including Andy Warhol and Elton John, Julie Budd, Jerry Hall, Nona Hendryx and 16-year-old Jimmy Baio, cousin of Scott Baio. The fun and debauchery were captured on film by notorious paparazzo Ron Galella, who was famous in his own way for relentlessly pursuing celebrities and getting his teeth knocked out by Marlon Brando.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s we all had our fun, and now and then we went really too far. But, ultimately, it required a certain amount of clear thinking, a lot of hard work and good make-up to be accepted as a freak. - Grace Jones
I go feminine, I go masculine. I am both, actually. I think the male side is a bit stronger in me, and I have to tone it down sometimes. I'm not like a normal woman, that's for sure. - Grace Jones
He Was An Architect Little Richard and black queer grief
Little Richard called himself, over and over again, the architect of rock and roll. Many take this assertion to mean that he thought of himself as an influence in the genre, but as Tavia Nyong'o argued this spring after the artist's death, influence is "perhaps too weak a word." Others think Little Richard meant he created the genre, but that is a misunderstanding of architecture. Architects don't create sui generis: They gather and create ideas based on what's already there, even if what's there is emptiness — because that emptiness, that nothingness, is full with the capacity to be imagined otherwise. They take what is in the world, its land and air and sea, and let the mind dance and play in order to think through space and place differently. Architects are not originators, or even builders, but they are innovators. They attempt to figure out "the human condition in all of its complexities," as philosopher Rossen Ventzislavov says. They project, fundamentally, ideas of what could be.
Like an architect, Little Richard advanced new directions in American music and culture — toward what was for him, and remains for us, possible. But sometimes the possible is also the occasion for sadness. Sometimes the possible, and even the implemented, is the occasion for grief.
Born Dec. 5, 1932, Richard Wayne Penniman was reared in Macon, Ga., one of 12 children of Leva Mae and Charles. His people were religious: His father's family were members of Foundation Templar AME Church, his mother's, the Holiness Temple Baptist Church. As a child, he imagined preaching and pastoring as his future. "I wanted to be like Brother Joe May, the singing evangelist, who they called the Thunderbolt of the West,"2 he says in the 1984 authorized biography The Life and Times of Little Richard. He especially liked to see folks in the Blackpentecostal church get happy, shouting and speaking in tongues — the capacity to be moved, and to be moving. It's this energetic movement that was the basis of his musicianship to come.
Recounting the sonic atmosphere that made his audiovisual career possible, Little Richard discussed the way songs would be constructed, with a kind of casualness and ease, on the streets where he grew up. "You'd hear people singing all the time," he said. "The women would be outside in the back doing the washing, rubbing away on the rubboards, and somebody else sweeping the yard, and someone else would start singing, 'We-e-e-ll ... Nobody knows the trouble I've seen ...' And gradually other people would pick it up, until the whole of the street would be singing."3 That a song could be picked up meant it could be carried. That it was carried by and through and with one another, as a social practice, meant anyone could participate and be a necessary, integral part. And to participate was to have an imagination for things, to see houses and streets as pulsating with interior possibility for the picking up and carrying together of sound and song.
The fact that street singing and Blackpentecostal praise provided Little Richard a structure from which to think musically is both miracle and cause for grief. Miracle because, years later, he would redeploy both in order to practice a blackqueerness he truly enjoyed. Grief, because he would eventually renounce that form of joy — not once, but over and over.
After leaving the home at 14, he went to New Orleans. He began performing as a drag queen named Princess Lavonne, and played in blackqueer night clubs throughout the South in the 1940s and early '50s. "Tutti Frutti," one of his signature songs, carried an explicit energy — not only in overtly queer lyrics about the pleasures of "good booty," but also in the expression of those lyrics through a kind of Blackpentecostal spirit of enraptured delight. As NPR's Ann Powers says, "What Little Richard did on 'Tutti Frutti' ... was to eliminate the double entendres and make matters much more direct. Most bawdy R&B songs pointed toward sex, albeit sometimes with a giant foam finger. Little Richard's vocalizations enacted sexual excitement itself."
By 1953, he had traded the princess's sparkly dresses for tailored suits, though he still "retained her sequins, her makeup, her pompadour." As historian Marybeth Hamilton writes, the artist announced himself as Little Richard, "King of the Blues ... and the Queen, too!"4 He sent an audition tape to Specialty Records, which led to his discovery by Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, a talent scout for the company looking to expand its audience with race records. The two met for a session in 1955, when Richard was 22. But something wasn't working — his performance in the studio disappointed Blackwell. They decided to grab lunch at the Dew Drop Inn. Richard, feeling right at home, jumped on the piano, and began to sing "Tutti Frutti." Blackwell loved what he saw, but decided the lyrics needed to change.
The version of "Tutti Frutti" that Little Richard recorded that autumn rose to No. 2 on Billboard's rhythm and blues chart, and No. 21 on the pop chart. Richard had found a bigger audience — but in doing so, he had left some of his directness behind. "Good booty" was gone from the chorus, swapped for the colloquialism "aw rooty." Princess Lavonne faded into memory. You could say that these changes produced a coherence and stability for his career, that muting the queer desire of his early years allowed him to settle into the concept of Little Richard, the persona we've come to know best. But this settlement was the beginning of a broader renunciation of blackqueerness in all its possibility — its relationality and joy and explicit sexual delight. The new lyrics functioned as a kind of surface. A surface that veiled depth.
It wasn't just the music industry that wasn't quite ready for a presence like Princess Lavonne's. In America's 1950s postwar moment, the idea of queerness as deviance was finding its full expression, as patriotism to the nation was equated directly with a normative family ideal, and a renunciation of sexualities that were not productive for the political economy. More than that, though, the artist had found his love for performance in church, and the church world's doctrinal commitments and theological convictions were stringent and strident in their castigation of queerness as sin. Richard's relationships with men delighted and gave him joy and pleasure, but he also consistently thought they were sinful — and in thinking his behavior sinful, he thought he needed to transform himself over and over again to be normal.
Banned Book Week
September 27, 2019 Written by James Keeline
The last week in September is considered to be Banned Book Week. In 2019 this is Sept. 22-28.
While you will see lists of many books that have been “challenged” or “censored” over the years, most of the time our juvenile series books are not listed. Yet, the librarians who wanted to impress fellow librarians, were active in removing these books from public library shelves and preventing young people from accessing them.
Often this was done on the complaint that the books were poorly written, improbable, or they didn’t have enough space and funds for other books.
Librarians Judge Series Books
We are told that we should not judge a book by its cover but what can be said of the notion of judging an entire genre based on a few examples?
Like anything else, there are good and bad and they should be evaluated on their individual merits and flaws rather than tossing them all out just because they happen to be issued in a series with stories about the same group of characters.
This problem goes back to the 1890s and is still a factor today in some circles. Edward Stratemeyer encountered this and pushed back where he could. More detail on this was part of one of my PCA presentations
In some ways, the library ban on series books did not reduce the demand but instead it caused more families to buy the books that the libraries would not stock.
I’ve said many times before that one of the reasons that I collect books is that I cannot rely on libraries getting or keeping books that interest me.
Anthony Comstock and Traps for the Young
The warnings about literature for children were made by people like Anthony Comstock in his book Traps for the Young (1883). Dime novels, nickel libraries, and story papers were just some of the popular media he warned about.
Patrick D. Pagnano
An inveterate street photographer, Patrick D. Pagnano ventured out daily with his camera after moving to New York from Chicago in 1974, Pagnano developed a practice rooted in a kind of stream of consciousness, following what he describes as "visual clues" to guide him to his subjects. He immerses himself in the subject, shooting individuals in either the same space or type of event over time, a reflection of his belief in the importance of the existing environment and its role in affecting the people within.
Patrick Pagnano (b. 1947, Chicago, IL) holds a BA from Columbia College. photographs have been included in exhibitions at venues such as the Brooklyn Museum; New York Public Library, NY; and Mois de la Photo à Montreal, Montreal, Canada, amongst others. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the City of New York, The New York Public Library, all NY; the Brooklyn Museum; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Helmut Gernsheim Collection, Switzerland. He published a book, Shot on the Street, featuring 60 color images of his work, in 2002. He sadly passed away in 2018
Connie Converse Was ‘the Female Bob Dylan.’ Then She Disappeared
In an excerpt from his new book, To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse, journalist and musician Howard Fishman examines the singer-songwriter's talent and mysterious lif
BY HOWARD FISHMAN
APRIL 28, 2023
Connie Converse singing at Gene Deitch’s home in 1954 COURTESY OF KIM DEITCH
IN 2010, I was at a friend’s party when a song came up on the house speakers — one that sounded both entirely new to me and as familiar as my own skin. A woman was singing in a plaintive tone about “a place they call Lonesome.”
I couldn’t place the song. It had the openhearted, melodic feel of an old Carter Family recording, but there was also some gentle guitar fingerpicking that reminded me of Elizabeth Cotten, and harmonic movement that seemed to echo the songs of Hoagy Carmichael. The traditional elements seemed so finely stitched together, with such a sophisticated sensibility, that the whole sounded absolutely original — modern, even. The song swallowed me. The room disappeared.
Eventually, I sought out the host, and asked what we were listening to. “Oh,” he said. “This is Connie Converse. She made these recordings in her kitchen in the 1950s, but she never found an audience for her music, and then one day she drove away and was never heard from again.”
In 2009, her 1950s recordings resurfaced on an independently produced album called How Sad, How Lovely. It ignited a slow burn that has now become a brush fire. How Sad, How Lovely has been streamed more than 16 million times on the Spotify platform alone, and her songs have been covered by the likes of Big Thief and Laurie Anderson. “I have dozens of fans all over the world,” Converse quipped, her humour a mask for her disappointment that no one seemed to want what she had to offer. If only she knew.
I HAVE SPENT THE LAST 13 YEARS chasing Converse’s ghost, trying to nail down details from her shadowy story with the hope of gaining more attention for her extraordinary work.
She was born Elizabeth Eaton Converse in 1924, in New Hampshire, the second of three children. Their father had been a minister and was head of the local temperance society. Their mother had been an accomplished pianist. Only religious and classical music were allowed in the house when they were growing up. Dancing, alcohol, card playing, and mention of the word sex were forbidden.
Bizarre 1959 ‘Cigarette Psychology’ Article Explains 9 Ways People Hold Cigarettes And What It Says About You
We all know the dangers of smoking cigarettes these days, and we don’t condone it. However, the 1950s were a different time, where the advertising and cultural pressure to smoke was intense. Smoking was seen as the epitome of cool and sophistication, and people were largely unaware of any negative consequences.
This article, from a 1959 issue of Caper Magazine, shows a few examples of what psychoanalyst Dr. William Neutra hypothesized after observing the ways people chose to smoke. According to his psychoanalysis, the body language of the method an individual uses to hold the cigarette shines a light onto their character traits, exposing their personality type, moods, and insecurities. If you are a smoker, perhaps you recognize some of these yourself?
Scroll down below to check the character analysis as vintage magazines saw it for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments!
(h/t: Vintage Everyday)
A psychoanalyst in the 1950’s believed that the method an individual uses to hold a cigarette shines a light onto their inner selves, exposing their character type, moods and insecurities