One photographer’s amazing firsthand look at the 1980s Jamaican dancehall scene
by Rian Dundon
Riddim on the rise
your only frame of reference for reggae and Jamaican culture is Bob Marley or Snoop Lion rolling papers, prepare to learn something.
The artist who brought us Redemption Song was only one stop in a long progression of musical genres and styles. Originating from ska and rocksteady in the 1960s, reggae gave birth to more progressive, populist genres like dub, dancehall, and ragga through the 1970s and 1980s.
Emerging parallel to hip hop in America and electronic dance music in Europe, Jamaican dancehall was made possible by the introduction of digital audio production technologies in the early 1980s. By the time King Jammy and Wayne Smith dropped the fully computerized Under Mi Sleng Teng in 1985, it was game over for instrumental roots reggae in Kingston. The era of samplers and Casio keyboards had arrived, along with the streetwise lyrical stylings of musicians like Yellowman and Eek-A-Mouse.
Odd Fasion Contests
The Tribe That Inspired Frida Kalho
The Tribe That Inspired Frida Kalho
That unapologetic unibrow, the halo-crown of jet-black centre-parted flower-adorned plaits, rouged cheekbones and russet lips frame a fearless stare. Her Mexican torzal necklaces, silver filigree earrings and onyx beads you and I could only hope to collect over a lifetime of scouring obscure artisanal markets. No prizes for guessing who she is. But let’s drag ourselves away momentarily from the artist and icon that is Frida Kahlo and turn our attention to the extraordinary Zapotec tribe that was instrumental in her making.
Let’s go way back to the Aztecs, Mayans and Zapotecs of South America who built vast cities of pyramids and palaces, rich with elaborate architectural and decorative pattern work. Stretching across what is now Mexico, this was a world apart from western knowledge until the fateful arrival of the Spanish conquistadors at the end of the 15th century. ‘Mesoamerica’, the twisting ribbon of land between North and South America, was a diverse and thriving cultural hub at the time of the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The central part (what is now Mexico) was fertile and lush, supporting the Aztecs to the west, the Mayans on the Yucatan Peninsula to the north and the Zapotecs to the south. They constituted a loose confederation of city states whose power and influence upon each other had come and gone, waxed and waned over the centuries. The ruins they left are encrusted with decorative religious and cultural carvings: icons, hieroglyphs and complex decorative geometrical patterns. Described as ‘pre-Colombian’ (a rather colonialist reference) these societies were agricultural, militaristic and advocated a definitive calendar that predicted the end of the world.
In the 1930s, Frida Kahlo came to see the Zapotecs and Aztecs as wholesome and earthy cultures, living in harmony with nature. The Zapotecs traded and worked shells, sponges, gold, amber, salt, feathers, furs cotton, spices, honey, cocoa and other naturally occurring materials that were readily available from their immediate environment. They were the most productive goldsmiths in the region, a complex and organised trading society expressing itself through distinctive art and decoration, from clothing to architecture. The stylings of these ancient artefacts survived the test of time and were transferred to other mediums such as textiles and fashion design – the boxy blouses with their distinctive bordered panels Frida so adored, being a good example of this.
Here’s a Bunch of Science Fiction Books with Cats on the Cover
Saluting Del Jones, Civil Rights Leader and Funk Phenom By John Morrison
On June 23rd, 1988, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article giving a detailed account of a student protest held at Temple University’s Center City campus at 16th and Walnut. Led by the school’s Black Student Union, the protest was organized in response to the firing of Yosef A. Ben-Jochannon, historian and professor of the university’s Pan-African Studies department.
Pictured alongside the article yelling into a megaphone was the late Del Jones, a student, writer, and musician from West Philly. When asked about the university’s motives behind firing Ben-Jochannon, Jones did not mince words, stating that Temple’s Black students “are under siege at Temple because Temple cannot stand the truth that Dr. Ben teaches.”
Jones speculated that, by firing radical Black professors like Ben-Jochannon, the university was attempting to de-fang and ultimately abolish the department altogether. “Dr. Ben has been forced out of the department after a year’s appointment, which we feel is a way of beginning to eliminate the entire department,” Jones said.
Already in his early 40’s by that time, the 1988 protest was not Del Jones’s first political action. In fact, he brought a lifetime of grassroots activism along with him when he enrolled in the university. Jones had been lending his voice to the struggle for life and dignity for Black folks in Philadelphia for decades, and he continued that fight until his death in 2006.
Del’s younger brother, percussionist and record executive Wayman Jones, describes his brother as a passionate orator who spoke to the perilous condition of Black folks living in a world that is deeply anti-black: “We named him ‘The War Correspondent,’” he says, “because Africans in America were at war, and Del was a documentarian of the skirmishes.”
Del Jones, who grew up in West Philly with his seven brothers, reached adulthood just as the Civil Rights movement crested in the mid-1960s. Like many cities throughout the U.S., Philadelphia in the ’60s was marked by protests, violent uprisings, and political organizing around the question of Black liberation. Music played an inextricable role in this revolutionary wave, as musicians created songs designed to amplify the movement’s message. Black folks were not only fighting on the frontlines of electoral politics, housing, economics, and labor, the struggle played out on the cultural front as well, growing in intensity and sophistication throughout the decade. Thousands of Black students staged strikes and walkouts over the lack of Black Studies courses being offered at area colleges and high schools, and in the spring of 1969, the Black Panther Party formed its Philadelphia chapter.
It was in the wake of this vast revolutionary mood that Del Jones formed Positive Vibes, a fiery ensemble that blended spoken-word poetry, jazz, funk, and traditional West African drumming. Mixing up these great African American musical styles with the sound and rhythms of the motherland and timely political messages, Del Jones & Positive Vibes was a band designed to imbue Black folks with a sense of deep cultural pride and a sense of self that had been ripped away under the brutal regime of chattel slavery in the U.S.
Court Is Closed is the 1973 debut album from Del Jones & Positive Vibrations. The album’s funky grooves, big brass arrangements, and Jones’s fiery polemics—along with its scarcity—have made it a sought-after record for collectors around the world. Arrangements were written by the Jones brothers’ uncle, Herbie Jones, a respected jazz trumpeter who was a close collaborator with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Court Is Closed was recorded at Regent Sound Studios on South Broad Street (the former home of legendary R&B label Cameo-Parkway and the future home of Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International), with additional sessions held at Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland studio in New York.
Wayman Jones remembers the sessions well, saying that the band were tight when they entered the studio after hours spent rehearsing at local cultural hubs like the African Tea Room and The Church of The Advocate in North Philly. “We rehearsed a lot because we didn’t have a lot of money. In the studio, we had to get it down,” he says.
Developing an extended metaphor where he brings charges against the U.S. for its centuries-old crimes against Black America, the album’s opener, “Court is Closed,” is a driving, political tune propelled by Jones’s bold, rhyming vocal delivery. His performance on “Court is Closed” pre-figures the rhythmic rapping style that took hold in the Bronx during hip-hop’s early years. “Inside Black America” begins with a dramatic horn intro before launching into a tight, triplet-based groove, the song’s lyrics painting a dramatic vision of poverty, unemployment, and resilience. “Times Are Hard And Friends Are Few” ups the stakes, calling for interracial solidarity and revolutionary action. Over Benny R. Mitchell’s rich, staccato bassline, Jones raps to his audience, pleading with them to stand up and unite in the fight against oppression: “Times are hard, and friends are few/ I scream in pain, brother, where are you?/ No time for jiving, there’s a job to be done!”
With tunes like the gnarly psychedelic funk jam “Cold Turkey,” a cautionary tale on the heroin epidemic, and the anthemic “Soul Of Black Folks,” Court Is Closed offers a clear snapshot of the attitudes and aesthetic timbre of Black America during the Civil Rights and Black Power era. As can be seen in both his music and political activism, Del Jones was committed to telling the truth about his people’s condition. Wayman Jones remembers Del as a mouthpiece for the revolution, using his voice and music to uplift the oppressed and challenge the oppressors, as many revolutionaries before him had done.
“His birthday was the same day as Malcolm X’s birthday, and he loved that. Malcolm was one of his favorite heroes of struggle, but also people like Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sékou Touré. He was always focused on the fact that music could bring forth a message.”
Amazing photos of Iggy Pop taken by his girlfriend Esther Friedman from 1976 – 1982
Iggy Pop born James Newell Osterberg, is one of the pioneers of punk rock in the U.S.A. Pop is top notch American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. He is the vocalist of influential proto-punk band The Stooges, who reunited in 2003, and has been known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics
Began calling himself Iggy while working with his first high school band, “The Iguanas.”
Now famous for his crazed behavior in the late 60s and 70s, much of Iggy’s craziness was fueled by his addiction to heroin. Iggy would often mutilate himself, roll around in peanut butter or broken glass, throw himself offstage (and once down a flight of stairs), bend his body like a pretzel, hump his amps, go naked, and insult the audience. Offstage, he did little else other shoot heroin and have promiscuous sex. In the late 70s, he quit heroin to save his own life and lost interest in sleeping around.
Iggy Pop met Esther Friedman while he was living in West Berlin with David Bowie, where the two Rock Stars, were supposed to rehabilitate, after a period of heavy drug use. Esher Friedman was Pop’s girlfriend for seven years. She took this amazing and candid photos of the famous rock star.
Vintage photos of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970
It marks the anniversary of what is considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970, according to earthday.org.
Earth Day's founder was Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. senator from Wisconsin, after the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif.
"Senator Nelson announced the idea for a 'national teach-in on the environment' to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land," according to earthday.org
‘We got shot at’ – the outrageous life of Jayne County, the first trans rock’n’roller
She partied with Warhol and fronted a band called The Electric Chairs who were too shocking even for punk. As her extraordinary tell-all memoir is republished, Jayne County relives one of music’s most astonishing sagas
Jayne County is explaining the term “wrecking”, which was a popular pastime among the more confrontational drag queens of Atlanta, Georgia, in the 60s. “Just deliberately trying to freak out the regular people, the solids as we called them,” she laughs. “Shaking people out of their normality, just trying to see what nerves we could push. They need their nerves twisted once in a while.
“We used to do things like go into department stores and ride up and down the elevators just screaming, you know, holding up women’s clothes and saying, ‘Look at this! He’s going to adore me in this!’ One of our big wrecks was going into the men’s room at the Greyhound bus station, a bunch of us queens, maybe four or five. The men were at the urinals with their you-know-whats out and we’d start screaming, ‘Ooh, look how big it is! Look at that one! Oh my God, I think I had that one last night! How is your wife in bed, darling? I’d be a lot better!’ The guys would be rushing to get their zippers up, so uncomfortable with us in there.”
Clad in a dress made of condoms, she sang You Gotta Get Laid to Stay Healthy (and I'm the Healthiest Girl in Town)
Perhaps understandably, wrecking was not an activity without its risks in the deep south of the 60s. “It’s a wonder we didn’t get killed, a wonder we didn’t get in more trouble than we did,” she says, speaking by phone from Atlanta. “We did get shot at. They would actually come by in their trucks and shoot at us for the fun. You could hear the bullets flying past your head – shhhhhhw! Oh yeah, they wanted to kill us. But I think, because people were so shocked, they usually didn’t have time to think about hurting us. They were just too busy being shocked. By the time they got over it, we were gone and they’d be wondering what the fuck happened.”
It was all a long time ago, when Jayne County was still Wayne County, formerly Wayne Rogers, the son of working-class parents, who took to wearing makeup at school and graduated wearing lipstick. “I can’t really hide what I am very well,” she says. County’s story subsequently took her from Atlanta to New York; from the Stonewall riot to the transgressive demimonde that gathered around Andy Warhol’s Factory; from glam rock to punk, where Wayne eventually became Jayne, the world’s first transgender rock’n’roller. It’s one of the most extraordinary sagas in rock history: you read her recently republished autobiography Man Enough to Be a Woman with your mouth hanging open, not least because, throughout it all, County never really stopped wrecking. No matter where she fetches up, she somehow manages to end up shocking not just the solids, but the other people intent on shocking the solids.
It took some effort to emerge as the outrageous one in Warhol’s late-60s circle, but County managed it. New York’s absurdist fringe theatre company the Theatre of the Ridiculous had already staged plays featuring necrophiles and a character based on John Wayne who apparently “gave birth to a baby out of his asshole while doing poppers” – but even they balked at staging County’s play, which came with the thought-provoking title Wanker: Fascist Rhapsody. The glam scene was big on decadence and ambiguous sexuality, but it clearly wasn’t prepared for County singing You Gotta Get Laid to Stay Healthy (And I’m the Healthiest Girl in Town) while clad in a dress made of condoms.
Punk dealt in wilful offence, but at least some punks seemed to draw the line at County’s band the Electric Chairs and their signature song (If You Don’t Want to Fuck Me) Fuck Off. During a performance at CBGBs music club, one of County’s fellow musicians began shouting homophobic insults at her, an action he presumably regretted when County broke his shoulder with a microphone stand in response. Record companies, she sighs, “had no idea what to do with me at all. It was just too beyond their understanding.”
Madalena Schwartz - Photographer
Budapest, 1921 – Sao Paulo, 1993
In 1934, after her mother passed away, Schwartz traveled with her father to Argentina. 26 years later, married with two children, she moved and settled with her family in São Paulo, Brazil, where she lived until her death. She started late with photography; she was almost fifty. She was a member of the Foto Cine Club Bandeirante and the so-called Paulista School, along with other photographers such as Marcel Giró, José Yalenti and Gaspar Gasparian. Schwartz began a series of portraits of personalities from the world of theater and television, such as singer Ney Matogrosso, and others less famous, known in the city’s nightclubs. She also portrayed Brazilian artists, musicians and intellectuals, such as Sérgio Buarque de Holanda and his son Chico Buarque, Clarice Lispector, Jorge Amado and Carlos Drummond de Andrade.
Heads Together: Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965–1973
Edited with text by David Jacob Kramer. Text by David Jacob Kramer, Rembert Browne, Melania Gazzotti. Oral histories by John Sinclair, Ishmael Reed, Marjorie Heins, Mariann Wizard-Vasquez, Abe Peck.A glorious design herbarium of marijuana ads from the great underground magazines of the 1960s and '70sThe youth uprising now simply known as the Sixties was fed by one of the greatest booms in publishing history. The Underground Press Syndicate (UPS) began as a loose confederation of five papers in 1966, and within a few years swelled to over 500 across the world, including Kaleidoscope, International Times and the East Village Other. They "spread like weed,” said the UPS director, weed dealer and eventual founder of High Times Tom Forcade. The metaphor was apt: the UPS spurred the legalization movement, and weed became its totem—and a helpful means for government agencies to crack down on the UPS, since weed permeated UPS pages, with gaps in text crammed with weed-inspired “spot illustrations.”
Heads Together collects these drawings, shining a light on lesser-known names in the stoner-art canon, and many who weren’t names at all since no signature was attached. It also compiles guides for growing weed from the period that were treated like contraband by the CIA. Activist-oriented, psychedelic rolling papers are showcased too. As pot now fast-tracks toward legalization in the US and beyond, its once-incendiary status is brought into odd relief. Pot’s contemporary corporate profiteers do not reflect those who fought for legalization, or the Black and Latino populations strategically criminalized for pot well before hippies were targeted and long after. The art in this book speaks to a time when pot was smoked with optimism, as something capable of activating transformation in the face of corrupt and powerful forces.
Odd Book Covers
Meet the Waldos: the true story of the Marin stoners who coined ‘420
“Today we have an interview with the J. because 47 years ago, we smoked a ‘j.’ ”
So says Steve Capper, one of five former San Rafael High School students who coined the term “420” (pronounced “four-twenty”), which became synonymous with cannabis culture and is today an unofficial holiday celebrated on April 20.
The year was 1971. The Marin County high school was typical of many California schools of the era, with long-haired hippies, jocks, cheerleaders and greasers roaming the campus. But at San Rafael High, so did the Waldos, a group of guys who could be found off to the side, sitting against a wall near a Louis Pasteur statue. Joining Capper were Mark Gravich and Larry Schwartz (all three of them Jewish), plus Jeff Noel and Dave Reddix.
“There was a strong element of the early ’70s, which was an extension of the late ’60s — the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane — they all moved to Marin County. The counterculture evolved from there,” Capper said. “There was definitely a cultural explosion of music, arts and crafts, marijuana and other drugs.”
Pot smoking aside, the Waldos did not see themselves as typical stoners but rather as “motivated, creative, active … and educated,” according to their website. And, above all, they were social satirists who really were interested in one thing.
“We were comedic desperados,” Reddix said. “We made fun of everybody, but not in a malicious way. We just cracked each other up. Our main goal was to make each other laugh.”
The Waldos reunited
Then one day a friend gave Waldo Steve a treasure map, which reportedly led to a small crop of marijuana growing on federal property. Once the map fell into the hands of the Waldos, they decided to meet at 4:20 p.m. every day after school, get high and search for that patch of land.
“It was like the Jews running around the desert, except we weren’t in Israel. We were running around the windswept Point Reyes Peninsula,” said Capper, whose parents were members of San Rafael’s Congregation Rodef Sholom for nearly 60 years (and whose mother was a local matchmaker).
The secret code “420” entered the Waldos vernacular, and before they knew it, everyone else’s. It was one of many catchphrases they have coined over the years. Others include “Zoit,” which represented the sounds Capper would hear from behind the shop classrooms where he went to get high, and “Eyot,” which came to mean “Isn’t that weird?”
“420 was the tip of the iceberg,” Capper said.
Unfortunately, as the term “420” spread, so did “420 claimers” who sought to take credit. Some Photoshopped 420 onto pictures in an attempt to revise the date of the term’s creation, while some spread other falsehoods about its origins. The most common myth: that it was police code for a marijuana bust.
Gary Monroe - Photographer
Gary Monroe, a native of Miami Beach, received a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1977. Upon returning home, he photographed the old world Jewish community that characterized South Beach. Since 1984 he has photographed throughout Haiti, and later looked at tourism across Florida, especially the "rite of passage" of vacationers at Disney World. He also "wanders aimlessly" to photograph in other countries – Brazil, Israel, Cuba, India, Trinidad, Poland and Egypt to name a few. Recently he has been looking at the landscape, especially the transformation of place due to corporate-driven planning.
Old School Hip-Hop Flyers 1980's
The Many Lives of Judee Sill by ANGIE MARTOCCIO
One night in 1971, J.D. Souther stopped by a small club on Melrose Avenue at the urging of David Geffen. “I was just complaining about how stupid most pop artists are and how most songwriting doesn’t really get much beneath the surface,” Souther, who co-wrote several of the Eagles’ biggest hits, recalls with a laugh. “And he said, ‘Go see this girl I just signed, Judee Sill.’”
Souther found a seat in the crowd, and placed his eyes on a 27-year-old musician with long honey-blond hair and round wire-rim eyeglasses holding an acoustic guitar. Someone in the audience yelled out a request for Judy Collins’ “Both Sides Now.” “First of all, Judy Collins didn’t write the song, get that straight,” she curtly replied. “Second of all, if you want to hear her sing it, what are you doing here?” Souther was blown away: “I thought, ‘Wow, I must know this woman.’”
For a brief moment in the early Seventies, Judee Sill was one of L.A.’s most promising artists. She was one of the first musicians signed to Asylum Records, a label David Geffen started with Elliot Roberts that became famous for its roster of the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, and others. Sill was produced by Graham Nash, and her songs were covered by the Turtles, the Hollies, and Cass Elliot. But unlike her labelmates, she never found fame and success. When the decade of the singer-songwriter ended, she ended with it, dying on November 23rd, 1979, of a drug overdose.
Sill remained obscure for years, a cult favorite for those who discovered her rare, out-of-print records or bought Japanese CDs on the internet. But that all changed at the turn of this century, when a posthumous release and a few reissues made her music accessible again. She’s had ripples of recognition over the years — Lin-Manuel Miranda has gone on record as being a Sill fan, while Greta Gerwig sang Sill’s “There’s a Rugged Road” in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg — but a full resurgence could be on its way thanks to Soldier of the Heart: The Judee Sill Story, an upcoming documentary that’s been eight years in the making
Whether it’s the religious imagery in her lyrics or her ornate, Bach-influenced orchestral arrangements, there’s a mystical force that draws listeners to Sill; rarely are her fans casual. It’s easy to fall down an online rabbit hole while reading about her fascinating and tumultuous life. She robbed liquor stores and gas stations as a drug-addled teenager. She learned to play the organ in reform school, and even spent time in prison, where she fantasized about becoming a songwriter. She was openly bisexual at a time when even Freddie Mercury was firmly in the closet. She was injured in car accidents, one purportedly involving White Christmas actor Danny Kaye. She died alone in her apartment, one day after Thanksgiving. All of this was a stark contrast to her delicate, enchanting music — or maybe the songs were her refuge from the chaos of her life.
Souther waited for Sill after her set that night, and she drove to his home, following him on his Triumph motorcycle. “It was like watching two dogs meet in the park and just go, ‘OK, we’ll go for a walk together,’” he remembers. “A perfect beginning to what turned into a really electric and very strange relationship.”
Judith Lynne Sill was born on October 7th, 1944, in Studio City, Los Angeles. Her father, Milford, was a sound technician for Paramount Pictures. When Sill was a child, he relocated the family to Oakland, where he owned a bar. Sill spent her early years at Bud’s, where she learned to play the piano and sing. “It was so seedy in the bar,” she told Rolling Stone’s Grover Lewis in 1972, in what turned out to be her definitive interview. “People were always fightin’ and pukin’, there was illegal gamblin’, and my parents drank a lot, too.”
Still, these were happy times for the family — photographs show Sill and her brother, Dennis, smiling, having birthday parties, and riding bicycles. But all that changed with the first of many family tragedies, when Milford died of heart failure in 1952. Her mother, Oneta, moved the family back to Los Angeles, where she worked on the Betty Boop cartoon series.
Before Instagram and Hipstamatic: These Antonio Lopez's Instamatic Snaps of the 1970s Fashion World Are Amazing!
Antonio Lopez (1943-1987) was a fashion illustrator whose work appeared in such publications as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Interview and The New York Times. Several books collecting his illustrations have been published. In his obituary, the New York Times called him a "major fashion illustrator." He generally signed his works as "Antonio."
For fun, he bought an Instamatic camera to capture his famous social swirl — Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Divine, Grace Jones, Paloma Picasso, Jessica Lange — thus keeping a kind of visual diary of the era.
With the Instamatic style of imagery made ubiquitous by today's Instagram and Hipstamatic, Lopez's snapshots seem fresh and contemporary despite the fact they were taken almost 40 years ago. Lopez was not content to merely record these faces and bodies; he elaborated each into a sequence, and then explored the potential fantasy within each series. He arranged these pictures into photo albums.
Antonio Lopez died of AIDS in 1987, aged 44, although he would surely have devoured social media were he alive today.
The Original Ladies of Wrestling 1989
Season 1 free here.
The story of Roger Sharpe, GQ journalist and real-life pinball wizard who in 1976 helped overturn New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball
SYNOPSIS An unsettled writer with a fantastic mustache, ROGER SHARPE, finds solace and confidence in one thing he has mastered: pinball. When a police raid destroys the only machines he can find in 1970s New York City, he learns the game is illegal. Roger reluctantly joins forces with the Music and Amusement Association to overturn the ban while falling in love with ELLEN, an artist and single mother. Roger’s path to save pinball ultimately rescues him. He and Ellen overcome their pasts and take a shot at love. Roger learns what it means to take a chance—and that commitment is the most rewarding gamble of all. Based on a true story.
In select theaters and on-demand March 17, 2023.
Holding a conversation with the enigmatic Jan Terri is sometimes like having a dozen tennis balls fired at you at once. Try to hit as many balls back as you can, and try not to get pummeled. No one ever knows what joke the ’90s Chicago underground cult icon is going to tell or what non sequitur she’ll use to bring up her dog, Denny, or the time she said she got hit by a semi truck on North Avenue, or that unreleased video she made where she got drunk and imitated Britney Spears doing the Coyote Ugly dance at Medusa club in the loop about a decade ago.
What we do know is that the much-loved, sometimes maligned, viral video legend has made a bit of a comeback. Terri, a 1983 Columbia College grad from Franklin Park, made her way around the Chicago country and karaoke bars scene on her and her parents’ dime in the ’90s promoting her campy, country-rock albums Baby Blues and High Risk. She hustled her tunes to labels and dropped off press kits to any A&R rep she could find. Eventually, her nose-to-the-ground approach worked, and a press kit, which included a blue teddy bear to promote Baby Blues, landed in the hands of Marilyn Manson. He let her open for him at the Aragon Theatre in 1998, and she can be seen on his God Is In The TV collection. However, Terri is most known for her grainy, low-quality VHS videos on YouTube, which are chock full of unintentional comedy and irresistible charm. Terri has been relatively quiet since she stopped performing and recording music to take care of her mother from 2000 until she passed away in 2008. But thanks to YouTube, including the more than 1.5 million hits her video “Losing You” has received, she’s back to remind Chicago’s underground music followers of her bizarre and catchy tunes.
She plans on releasing her third studio album, The Wild One, sometime this year as part of a documentary and book compilation made by her friend and former bass player, Darren Hacker. She also has a fourth studio album, No Rules No Boundaries, on the shelf in Nashville, ready to be mixed and mastered.
Mojo Nixon Became a Cult Hero Singing About Anarchy, Sex, and Elvis. At 65, He Still Won’t Shut UpMojo Nixon Documentary
"If I don’t run a few people off, I haven’t done my job," says the motormouthed songwriter, whose unlikely career is recounted in the documentary The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon
IT’S WELL AFTER midnight somewhere off the coast of Florida, and Mojo Nixon is leading a cruise ship full of lubricated and rowdy country-music fans in a bawdy singalong of a song titled “Tie My Pecker to My Leg.”
We won’t get into the lyrics here, but the verses touch on everything from barnyard sex to fornicating at a county fair. “This guy just heard the song for the first time,” Nixon, 65, and dressed in his customary Hawaiian shirt and uneven denim cutoffs, says, pointing to a man in the front row. “He’s grinning ear to ear!”
If there’s a safe space for Nixon and his unfiltered brand of worldly-redneck commentary and rambunctious cowpunk songs, it’s probably in international waters, free from any laws that may impede his ability to spout off. “It’s a real divider. If you can’t handle ‘Tie My Pecker to My Leg,’ you’re not gonna like the rest of the show,” Nixon says a few weeks later, back on dry land at his home in Cincinnati. “But if I don’t run a few people off, I haven’t done my job.”Nixon, a shouting singer, button-pushing songwriter, unrepentant shit-stirrer and, since 2004, on-air personality for Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel — which is what finds him aboard the 2023 Outlaw Country Cruise — has been making a career out of both entertaining and appalling audiences since the early 1980s. That’s when he and washboard whiz Skid Roper formed a duo and began releasing songs like “Jesus at McDonald’s,” “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin,” and “Burn Down the Malls.”
His 1987 video for “Elvis Is Everywhere,” low on budget but big on go-karts and sideburns, made the 30-year-old Nixon a staple of the MTV era. Soon, he was performingthe frenetic tribute to Elvis Presley’s die-hard fans on Arsenio Hall’s talk show, casting Winona Ryder in his music videos, and filming a series of promos for MTV in which he sang just-shy-of-dirty harmonica ditties and smashed television sets on a beach.
But around 1989, he and Roper (the Silent Bob to Nixon’s loquacious Jay) went their separate ways and Nixon set out on a solo career. That’s where The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon, a new documentary now available to stream, picks up. Directed by Matt Eskey, the film opens with Nixon, riding high on a wave of what would today be called “viral” fame, entering a Memphis studio with producer Jim Dickinson to make his 1990 solo debut, Otis.
“That’s when things got really crazy. I wanted to have a band and I wanted to compete with the Replacements and the Blasters and Los Lobos,” Nixon tells Rolling Stone. With what he estimates to be a $100,000 budget, he hired Dickinson to produce, formed a “cowpunk supergroup” with friends like Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers and John Doe of X, and, to piss off the accountants, bought a go-kart with record-label money. “We wanted to have ‘go-kart’ in the budget. Some accountant with a green visor has to see it and go, ‘What the hell is this?’”
The go-kart tale, recounted in the movie by Nixon’s manager of 37 years, the chrome-domed “Bullethead,” is one of the highlights of The Mojo Manifesto, a long-in-the-works documentary that premiered last year at South by Southwest. At just 88 minutes, it somehow covers all the Mojo bases: his upbringing in Danville, Virginia, where he was born Neill Kirby McMillan Jr.; his “Road to Damascus” transformation into the Mojo Nixon character; his devotion to what he calls “raw, primitive rock & roll”; and his unexpected rise to, well, really just a cult hero. That’s as far as Nixon got.
From the Dangerous Minds archive, a post about John Sex on what would have been his 59th birthday
John Sex was a New York City-based performance artist, male stripper and disco singer who was a standout personality of the East Village art scene of the 1980s. He’d sing schmaltzy Vegas numbers in glittery smoking jackets, shiny Ziggy Stardust-esque zip-up jumpsuits, 10-inch platform heels, and assless leather pants. His trademark was his bleached-blond hair which stood straight up on his head in an exaggerated pompadour which he said was held aloft by “a combination of Dippity-do, Aqua Net, egg whites, beer, and semen.” He also had a pet python, named “Delilah,” and a suit made of 500 light bulbs. In his X-rated version of the Sinatra standard “That’s Life,” he’d sing “I’ve been a hustler, a hooker, a honcho, a hero, a dyke and a queen.”
The “character” of John Sex was not all that much off from the “real” John Sex, but more of a mythical version of himself as an omnisexual rockstar parody or phallocentric version of Tom Jones. He couldn’t turn it off if he wanted to, which I can assure you, he did not. He would often claim that his parents were immigrants who “Americanized” their original Irish surname “Sexton” to “Sex” so they would fit in better, then adding “and if you believe that one…” The real story is that during a period of “rampant promiscuity,” Joey Arias and Klaus Nomi renamed art student John McLaughlin, the nice Catholic boy from Long Island who was everything his mother never wanted him to be, “Sex” and for obvious reasons, I think the name just stuck!
John Sex was a smart, super creative, fun, funny and endlessly inventive guy. Everyone loved him. There was absolutely no reason not to. John was a total sweetheart, a great raconteur and he always had the best showbiz stories and gay gossip you ever heard. He is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. There was constant laughter when he was around. You can see a little bit of what John Sex was like in this clip shot by video artist Nelson Sullivan. John and his friend Craig Vandenberg (who often played John’s washed-up showbiz loser father in shows they’d do together) trade lines in the basement of the Pyramid Club, warming up before a performance there. His boyfriend, Willfredo, the guy with sunglasses, is seen taking pictures about 2:45 in. You can see the performance itself here.
With his female backing singers, The Bodacious TaTa’s (Wendy Wild, April Palmieri, Micki French, Myra Schiller and others) and wearing his exaggerated showbiz finery courtesy of his friend (and sometime TaTa) fashion designer Katy K, John Sex played to nightclub audiences at venues like Club 57, the Pyramid Club, Danceteria, Limelight, The Palladium and The Saint. Many of his shows would end with him stripping down to a glittery jock strap, or beyond, during a song called “Jet Set.” Some of his other notable numbers were “Hustle With My Muscle” (see clip below), “Sex Appeal,” “Bump and Grind It” and “Rock Your Body,” a song he did with noted hip hop producer Man Parrish, that I made a music video for in 1988 (see bottom clip).
Hustle With My Muscle” directed by Tom Rubnitz, This was shot at the Area nightclub in 1986 when the theme of the decor was something like “rednecks” or “trailer trash.”
John Sex only released two records during his lifetime. His sole non local news or NYC cable access TV appearance might have been on the short-lived talkshow hosted by comedian/actor Richard Belzer in the 80s, but I could be wrong about that. He was in the Cars video for “Hello Again” directed by Andy Warhol. He did a notable ad for LA Eyeworks that was widely seen in a lot of magazines in the mid-80s. He was also included, with a very memorable performance of “Hustle With My Muscle” featuring ejaculating prop penises, in the underground film Mondo New York which is often still seen on IFC and the Sundance Channel late at night. This is how most people hear of him these days. There was not exactly a large body of work left behind when John died in 1990.
In 1981, I visited New York on a 36-hour long school trip to see Broadway plays (two matinees, two evening performances). I saw two very striking, very fashionable people (John and Katy K) walking down St. Marks Place. There I bought an issue of the Village Voice that I *studied* for the next year, because the back pages and apartment rental listings told me everything I needed to know to be able to make my way from my hometown back to the Big Apple. In that issue was an Amy Arbus portrait of the two of them. I recall thinking “Hey it’s THAT GUY!“ the first time I saw John in a nightclub. He was one of those people who was a celebrity, but only in lower Manhattan. The whole Warhol “Superstar” glamor also rubbed off on John, who was friends with the artist.
I don’t really recall how John and I met, but when his “Rock Your Body” record came out, I proposed that I direct a music video for it and he enthusiastically accepted. This was another of the videos I co-directed with my friend Alan Henderson, and in fact it was the first one we did together. [I’ve posted about the one for Bongwater’s “Power of Pussy” here and the one for The Beme Seed’s “God Inside” here.]
John had a lot of fun ideas (surfing on the wave of his own hair, the flying carpet bit were his) and this spurred Alan and I on, too. Since we were shooting everything on “green screen” we were able to attempt many of these ideas, despite the budget essentially being pretty much nothing. It was shot and edited at Windsor Digital, the high tech video post production house where both Alan and I were employed at the time. We had a limited amount of time to shoot this, so certain things worked out better than others.
Mary Quant, British Fashion Revolutionary, Dies at 93
Known as the mother of the miniskirt, clad in her signature play clothes and boots, with huge painted eyes, fake freckles and a bob, she epitomized London’s Swinging Sixties.
Mary Quant, the British designer who revolutionized fashion and epitomized the style of the Swinging Sixties, a playful, youthful ethos that sprang from the streets, not a Paris atelier, died on Thursday at her home in Surrey, in southern England. Known as the mother of the miniskirt, she was 93.
Her family announced the death in a statement.
England was emerging from its postwar privations when, in 1955, Ms. Quant and her aristocratic boyfriend, Alexander Plunket Greene, opened a boutique called Bazaar on London’s King’s Road, in the heart of Chelsea. Ms. Quant filled it with the outfits that she and her bohemian friends were wearing, “a bouillabaisse of clothes and accessories,” as she wrote in an autobiography, “Quant by Quant” (1966) — short flared skirts and pinafores, knee socks and tights, funky jewelry and berets in all colors.
Young women at the time were turning their backs on the corseted shapes of their mothers, with their nipped waists and ship’s-prow chests — the shape of Dior, which had dominated since 1947. They disdained the uniform of the establishment — the signifiers of class and age telegraphed by the lacquered helmets of hair, the twin sets and heels, and the matchy-matchy accessories — the model for which was typically in her 30s, not a young gamine like Ms. Quant.
When she couldn’t find the pieces she wanted, Ms. Quant made them herself, buying fabric at retail from the luxury department store Harrods and stitching them in her bed-sit, where her Siamese cats had a habit of eating the Butterick patterns she worked from.
Profits were elusive in those early years, but the boutique was a hit from the get-go, with young women stripping the place bare on a near-daily basis, sometimes grabbing new clothing from Ms. Quant’s arms as she headed into the store. She and Mr. Plunket Greene ran it like the coffee bars they frequented: as a hangout and a party at all hours, with a background of jazz.
And they made their window displays a performance, too, with mannequins designed by a friend to look like the young women who were shopping there — “the birds,” in Ms. Quant’s words, using the parlance of the times — figures with sharp cheekbones, mod haircuts and coltish legs, sometimes turned upside down or sprayed white, some with bald heads and round sunglasses, clad in striped bathing suits and strumming guitars.
Amateurs at accounting, along with everything else, the couple stashed their bills in piles, paying from the top down. Vendors were often paid twice, or not at all, depending on their place in the pile.
A decade later, Mary Quant was a global brand, with licenses all over the world — she was named an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1966 for her contribution to British exports — and sales that would soon reach $20 million. When she toured the United States with a new collection, she was greeted like a fifth Beatle; at one point she required police protection. Newspapers eagerly printed her aperçus and declarations: “Quant Expects Higher Hem,” The Associated Press declared in the winter of 1966, adding that Ms. Quant had “predicted today that the miniskirt was here to stay.”
There was a Mary Quant line at J.C. Penney and boutiques in New York department stores. There was Mary Quant makeup — for women and men — packaged in paint boxes, eyelashes you could buy by the yard, and lingerie, tights, shoes, outerwear and furs. By the 1970s, there were bedsheets, stationery, paint, housewares and a Mary Quant doll, Daisy, named for Ms. Quant’s signature daisy logo.
“The celebrity designer is an accepted part of the modern fashion system today, but Mary was rare in the ’60s as a brand ambassador for her own clothes and brand,” Jenny Lister, a co-curator of a 2019 retrospective of Ms. Quant’s work at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, told The New York Times. “She didn’t just sell quirky British cool, she actually was quirky British cool, and the ultimate Chelsea girl.”
“I grew up not wanting to grow up,” Ms. Quant once said. “Growing up seemed terrible. To me, it was awful. Children were free and sane, and grown-ups were hideous.”
Barbara Mary Quant was born on Feb. 11, 1930, in Blackheath, southeast London. Her parents, John and Mildred (Jones) Quant, were Welsh teachers who came from mining families and were determined that their two children, Mary and Tony, should follow conventional career paths.
But Mary wanted to study fashion. When she received a scholarship to the arts-focused Goldsmiths College (now Goldsmiths, University of London), her parents made a compromise: She could attend if she took her degree in art education (she studied illustration). There, she met Mr. Plunket Greene, a well-born eccentric (the philosopher Bertrand Russell was a cousin, as was the Duke of Bedford) who wore his mother’s gold shantung silk pajamas to class on the rare occasions he attended and played jazz on the trumpet — a character straight out of an Evelyn Waugh novel (Waugh was a family friend).
THE STORY OF JOHNNY H: THE MUSICIAN, BODYBUILDER, ACTOR AND HIS BIZARRE CONNECTION TO ELVIS PRESLEY
I’m going to cut right to the chase here and tell you about Jesse Haemmerle—aka Johnny H/John Haemmerle and his connection to Elvis, as it’s too weird to wait for. You may know Elvis’ mother Gladys Garon was set to deliver twins at home in Tupelo, Mississippi when tragically Elvis’ brother Jessie arrived stillborn just before Elvis was born. The loss of his twin weighed heavily on Elvis psychologically for his entire life. Gladys has said she and her husband Vernon gave Presley the middle name of Aaron (an adaptation of the family’s last name of Garon), so he would always feel as though his brother was there with him. Even before his own death, it was said Elvis would have meandering conversations with his deceased brother while traipsing around Graceland. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a kid named John Haemmerle would learn he had been adopted from a family in Tupelo, and his actual date of birth was January 8th, 1935, just like Elvis.
Elvis-association aside, John Haemmerle was a pretty interesting cat on his own. He served in the Air Force and worked as a police officer for several years. Haemmerle dedicated a large portion of his life to bodybuilding and became good enough to participate in the Mr. America competition in 1968. He was also a member of the impressive sounding organization, the Federation of Arm Wrestlers and built the first opposing grips arm wrestling table in 1969. He scored some television roles and an uncredited bit part in the 1973 film Serpico, but was most successful musically and put out a number of singles under different names including Johnny H in the 50s and 60s, which you could classify as Doo-Wop. He was also known for the creation of his unique space rocket-inspired hollow body V acoustic guitar (pictured at the top of this post).
In getting back to Haemmerle’s (maybe) Elvis connection, there are many accounts which have been shared over the decades—here are a few.
Sometime in 1964, Haemmerle claims to have met Elvis and somehow got to lay the story on him he was his brother Jesse apparently speaking to the big E for “hours.” In an interview with truth-champion The Sun, Haemmerle recounted strange Elvis-related experiences such as seeing an image of Elvis materialize on his cellar wall, and a session with well-known psychic Ann Fisher which conjured up memories of his days in Tupelo prior to his adoption. Haemmerle’s Myspace page contains other ramblings about his psychic visions, including one concerning a recurring dream where he traded clothing with his “twin brother” as he died. Haemmerle also had regular dreams about his custom hollow body V getting ripped off—which it did. Luckily, according to his son, he made two just in case his nightmare came to fruition. At some point along the way, Haemmerle changed his name to Jesse Garon Presley. In 1990 an article published on September 19th in New York newspaper The Reporter cited Jesse for winning a first-place award (as well as several others) at the National Creative Arts Festival in Albany in rhythm/blues/religious category for his interpretation of Elvis’ 1970 hit, “Kentucky Rain.”Now, I’m sure you (maybe) might be thinking “whatever happened to Jesse Haemmerle?” I have a bit of an unexpected twist for you. According to Haemmerle’s 2003 obituary, he was, in fact, adopted and raised by Oscar and Felicia Albarea Haemmerle in the New York/New Jersey area. He is referred to by name in the obit as Jesse G. Presley noting his place of birth as DUN DUN DUN! Tupelo, Mississippi. This all reads like an old episode of In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy, and since the all-knowing Nimoy isn’t around to help me figure this one out, I’m going to wait on passing any judgment regarding the truth behind this very strange story.
Here are some images of Haemmerle during his bodybuilding days as well as his musical ones. Also included below are some of the musical stylings of the mysterious Johnny H.
OXZ were the first Japanese punk band to take on the patriarchy Mika, Hikko and Emiko on confronting their country's conservative values and paving the way for women punk rockers in the 80s
OXZ were the first Japanese punk band to take on the patriarchy
Mika, Hikko and Emiko on confronting their country's conservative values and paving the way for women punk rockers in the 80s.
G.I.S.M, Gauze, The Stalin, Guitar Wolf; these are some of the bands responsible for exposing Japanese youth to punk music in the 80s. All of them had a familiar taste for chaos that closely aligned with hardcore punk in America — hard, fast and heavy riffs formed the basis of their music. Nudity, nihilism and violence were often part of their live performance. You can see it for yourself in some of the grainy archival footage that’s been uploaded to YouTube. But among those early pioneers of Japanese punk was another group, OXZ (pronounced Ox-Zed), whose legacy you might be less familiar with. That’s because they were a band of three women, who weren’t offered the same social capital as their male counterparts at the time.
Formed in Osaka in 1981 by Mika (vocals/guitar), Hikko (bass) and Emiko (drums), OXZ was one of the first bands to challenge the mechanics of Japanese punk and ensure it wasn’t simply defined by machismo and the male gaze. Mika and Hikko went to the same high school, they met Emiko at a venue in Osaka, and soon realized they all had the same desire to play in a punk band. However, at the time it was almost unheard of for women and young girls to embrace the more aggressive style ascribed to punk. While they often played in high school cover bands, there were few allowances for women who wanted to write and perform their own original music, especially during the boomer-era. It simply wasn't acceptable to trade having a family and keeping a tidy home for the looks, lifestyle and ideals of punk rock.
In a booklet that accompanies Along Ago: 1981-1989, a new retrospective of the band’s material that’s being released this month by Captured Tracks, music historian Kato David Hopkins writes of the band’s beginnings: “there were very few women in the underground music scene at that point, and none of them dressed like punks or dyed their hair, or showed much interest in declaring complete independence from the usual rules. So in 1981 when Hikko, Mika, and Emiko first appeared together as OXZ, they were an intentional shock.”
While they often played with many of the country’s leading hardcore bands, that tag is perhaps a little misleading when applied to OXZ. The trio had a more melodic, beat-driven and often shaggy sound that leaned more in the direction of bands that were big in Britain at the time — X-Ray Spex, Sham 69 and The Raincoats provide clearer points of reference — though they also incorporated elements of grindcore, no-wave, psychedelic rock and what would later become known as grunge. OXZ was not only one of the primordial Japanese punk bands, but they were also one of the first to transcend the genre.
Musicians Wearing their own T-shirts
The surprising afterlife of a ’70s L.A. cult: How the Source Family became hot IP in 2023
“Father Yod just gave me a thought for you. He wants me to tell you, ‘Camelot.’”
On a Zoom call in March from her home in Oahu, Hawaii, Isis Aquarian recounted her time in the Los Angeles spiritual commune the Source Family, which she — through telepathic messages from the group’s leader — likened to the romantic symbol of the Arthurian world.
In the 1970s, dressed in stylish, flowing gowns, caftans, robes and headscarves, she all but resembled Guinevere. “It was pure Camelot for all of us. For those who experienced it, it was something else,” she added. For Isis, the Family was tantamount to utopia.
Known for its pioneering in California lifestyle staples like health food, yoga, psychedelic rock and hippie fashion, the group’s leader, Father Yod, née Jim Baker, “left the body” in 1975, after a hang gliding accident in Hawaii, where the Family relocated in 1974. But Isis, now 80, said their union — she was one of Yod’s 14 spiritual wives — never ended. “He’s still the big guy to me, still my man,” she said. “When you live in both dimensions, the veil is very thin.”
To an outsider, Isis’ casual references to telepathy and interdimensional existence may sound delusional. But for members of the Source Family, a group that some call a cult, it’s a way of life honed over decades of study and ritualism based in Western esotericism. Their beliefs amalgamated principles developed by Kundalini yoga progenitor Yogi Bhajan; the astrological concept of the Age of Aquarius; the teachings of Manly P. Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz; the freemasons and others. Father Yod bestowed each member with a first name; they changed their middle and last names to the Aquarian. Like many religious and spiritual groups, the Source Family placed their faith in things invisible to nonbelievers.
Most recently, in November, Isis, curator Charlie Kitchings and filmmaker and publisher Jodi Wille, who has previously worked with Isis on a book and a feature documentary, released “Family: The Source Family Scrapbook” in conjunction with the independent record label Sacred Bones. The book includes previously unpublished photographs and ephemera from Isis’ archive and detailed captions that contextualize the images. Isis also moved her archive, around 50 boxes of materials, to the American Religions Collection at the UC Santa Barbara library. In conjunction with the book’s release, a series of Source Family events took place in Santa Barbara, Los Feliz, Malibu and Culver City in late March.
And now, Hollywood is getting involved.
At a private dinner in Malibu on March 25 sponsored by the media company Atlas Obscura, guests including actors Patricia Arquette and Mark Ruffalo, music producer Rick Rubin, actor and producer Ben Sinclair, original Source Family members and other curious parties were invited on “a journey into the cult roots of health food.” The menu, inspired by dishes at the original Source restaurant, featured seven courses including “psychedelic toast,” “multidimensional soup” and a re-creation of the restaurant’s “aware salad,” served by staff engaged in Source Family cosplay, dressed in flowing white frocks and wigs. Isis and fellow Source Family members Venus, Zerathustra and Galaxy Aquarian blessed the meal with a ritual they performed in the Family. “As above, so below, and around, we go, YaHoWah,” they chanted with corresponding hand gestures, as if guiding energy around the 40-person table decorated with poppies, dill flowers, wheat and cut papaya, a flower child’s rendering of a medieval banquet.
Michael Rougier - Japanese Youth in Revolt
The teenage years can be hard anywhere. That said, in very few societies is the idea of youth as fraught as it is in Japan, with its culture of conformity. In 1964, LIFE photographer Michael Rougier and correspondent Robert Morse spent time documenting one Japanese generation’s age of revolt, and came away with an astonishingly intimate, frequently unsettling portrait of teenagers hurtling willfully toward oblivion.
In Rougier’s photos—pictures that seem to breathe both reckless energy and acute despair—we don’t merely glimpse kids pushing the boundaries of rebellion. Instead, this generation of lost boys and girls seem to be trying to tell us something something reproachful and perplexing about the world we’ve made.
The teens and other young adults portrayed in Rougier’s pictures, Morse noted in a 1964 LIFE special issue on Japan (where some of these images first appeared), are “part of a phenomenon long familiar in countries of the Western world: a rebellious younger generation, a bitter and poignant minority breaking from [its] country’s past.”
All through that past, a sense of connection with the old traditions and authority has kept Japanese children obedient and very close to the family. This sense still controls most of Japan’s youth, who besiege offices and factories for jobs and the universities for education and gives the whole country an electric vitality and urgency. But as its members run away from the family and authority, this generation in rebellion grows.
In notes that accompanied Rougier’s film when it was sent to LIFE’s, Morse delved even deeper into the lives, as he perceived them, of runaways, “pill-takers” and other profoundly disengaged Tokyo teens:
Nowhere in the world does youth seem to dominate a nation as they do in Japan. They are overwhelming and everywhere, surging, searching, experimenting, ambitious at some times, helpless and without hope at others. Isolated on a tight little island, they have not, except on the surface, become international like their counterparts in freewheeling Europe.
Seeing the well-scrubbed faces of the black uniformed male students and middy-bloused girls swarming through Tokyo, physical-fitness minded young men galloping through the Ginza, and the bright young things clamoring after a teen-age idol, it would seem to the casual observer that here is a country with a youth as wholesome and happy as a hot fudge sundae.
This is not true at all.
A large segment of Japanese young people are, deep down, desperately unhappy and lost. And they talk freely about their frustrations. Many have lost respect for their elders, always a keystone of Japanese life, and in some cases denounce the older people for “for having gotten us into a senseless war.”
Having sliced the ties that bind them to the home, in desperation they form their own miniature societies with rules of their own. The young people in these groups are are bound to one another not out of mutual affection in many cases the “lost ones” are incapable of affection but from the need to belong, to be part of something.
Both the article in LIFE and the story told in Morse’s ruminative and, in some ways, far more devastating notes make clear that this “lost generation” was not even remotely monolithic. While they might, to varying degrees, have shared a genuinely nihilistic outlook toward their own and their country’s future, the runaways, rock and roll fanatics (the “monkey-dance, Beatles set,” Morse calls them), pill-poppers, “motorcycle kids” and innumerable other subsets of Japan’s youth-driven subculture attest to the breadth and depth of teen disaffection to be found in 1964 Tokyo.
That Michael Rougier, meanwhile, was able to so compassionately portray not only that disaffection, but also captured moments of genuine fellowship and even a fleeting sort of joy among these desperately searching teens, attests to the man’s talent and his dedication to share the story of what he saw.
Vintage Japanese Pop Records
Vintage Bad Record Covers
Vintage Burlesque Matchboxes
An Artist Reversed The Gender Roles In Sexist Vintage Ads To Point Out How Absurd They Really Are
An Artist Reversed The Gender Roles In Sexist Vintage Ads To Point Out How Absurd They Really Are
"Show him it's a woman's world."
Eli Rezkallah is a 31-year-old visual artist/photographer who recently created a photo series entitled, "In a Parallel Universe" that reimagines sexist ads from the mid-20th century with the gender roles reversed.
1967 Cookbook Features Recipes by the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand & More
1967 Cookbook Features Recipes by the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand & More
Am I alone in thinking that the “dozens of nutty, turned-on, easy-to-prepare recipes” in 1967’s Singers and Swingers in the Kitchen bear more than passing resemblance to the festively photographed dishes in Betty Crocker’s 1965 New Boys and Girls Cook Book?
Could Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, and Herman’s Hermits – to name a few of the “top scenemakers” Singers and Swingers author Roberta Ashley designates as the “grooviest gourmets happening” – really shared a common palate with Betty and her child-chefs?
It’s hard to imagine 1967’s rock stars” eating this stuff, let alone making it. The Rolling Stones’ “Hot Dogs on the Rocks” sounds more suited to Mick Jagger’s hot pot at the London School of Economics than the back of a “Ruby Tuesday” era tour bus. I don’t recall Keith Richards mentioning them in Life.
(Though take away the recipe’s three middle words, and you’re left with the title of a certain multi-platinum double hits album. Coincidence?)
Moving on to Singers and Swingers’ salad course, Monkee Peter Tork’s “Mad Mandarin Salad” (click here for ingredients) sounds like it would taste quite similar to the New Boys and Girls Cook Book’s “Rocket Salad”, above. Canned fruit features prominently in both, but “Rocket Salad” is way more phallic, and thus more rock n’ roll.
“Barbra Streisand’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream” sounds sophisticated, mayhaps because coffee, like alcohol, has no place in the Betty Crocker New Boys and Girls’ realm. It seems like it would uphold the Singers and Swingers’ mandate by being “easy-to-prepare”. Dare I say “easy enough for a child to prepare”? So my own mother told the Indianapolis Star sometime in the late 60’s. The evidence is below. Just like Barbra’s, my mother’s recipe required marshmallows and a blender.
'May I have the pleasure of seeing you home?' The 'flirtation cards' 19th-century men used to woo ladies (but they had to be returned if she wasn't interested)
Long before mobile phones came along - allowing single men and women to flirt behind the comfort of a glowing screen - shy love-seekers had to resort to other tactics.
In the case of late 19th-century America, it was the 'escort card' - not to be confused with the explicit sort you might imagine today - but rather a comical printed card men would hand to women they found attractive.
Collector Alan Mays has unearthed a treasure trove of these vintage ice-breakers, which bear phrases such as: 'May I be permitted the blissful pleasure of escorting you home this evening?'
According to The Encyclopedia of Ephemera, there were two types of cards used in the 1870s and 1880s.
One was referred to as the 'calling card' and would be used by gentleman to formally introduce themselves to new acquaintances - much like the modern business card.
The second, as seen in Mr Mays' collection, was a novelty variety reserved for more casual encounters, namely men seeking the company of women, known as an 'escort card'.
Sexual Innuendo in Vintage Comics
Easter Was Better in the 70s Photos by Meryl Meisler
Easter Was Better in the 70s
Black and white photos of the annual New York City parade by acclaimed photographer Meryl Meisler.
On Easter Sunday 1977, while humming the words to a classic Irving Berlin song, I pretended to be Judy Garland:
In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.
There I was, in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral's in New York, attending—and photographing—my first Easter parade. Even though I wasn't brought up as Christian (I'm Jewish), I've always been interested in how other people celebrate their holidays. Adults and children (and even some pets) showed up wearing their best hats and bonnets. Many were walking in and out of the cathedral, while others looked like they had been partying since Mardi Gras.
I took their pictures, and now it's 40 years later. Looking back, it's easy to see that things change—that styles come and go, that traditions take new forms. But we're still one community, one people, one planet.
Meryl Meisler is an artist based in New York City. She is author of the internationally acclaimed photo books A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwickand Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY 70s Suburbia & the City. Meisler is working on her third book in a trilogy about the 1970s.
Tons of Vintage Buttons
Vintage Computer Ad's
Tons of Vintage Easter Photos
Photos by Arlene Gottfried
Vintage Celebrity Mugshots
Vintage Photos of Philadelphia
See Striking Posters Created by a 1970s Feminist Art Collective
In 1974, a group of London art students founded the feminist print collective See Red Women’s Workshop. They taught themselves plumbing and carpentry skills while transforming a derelict building with no electricity into a fully functional screen-printing studio and meeting space. For the next 16 years, the more than 40 women organized consciousness-raising sessions, designed graphic posters railing against the division of labor, and educated youth groups about sexual and reproductive health.
The book See Red Women’s Workshop, published February 28 by Four Corner Books, traces the collective’s evolution in archival photographs of the printing process. The collection features correspondence letters with bookstore distributors, meeting memos, and preliminary sketches of poster designs.
Some prints are calendars riddled with blunt one-liners about workplace barriers (example: “Over 40, promotion given to younger man, go back to 29.”) or expectations at home (“Housework in the evening, exhausted.”) In 1979, one year after a coalition of black and Asian women put out the newsletter FOWAAD! to highlight how the women’s liberation movement often ignored issues affecting women of color, a See Red member created a poster that read, “Black Women Will Not Be Intimidated.”
In other illustrations from See Red’s early years, disgruntled women are shown scrubbing dishes and ironing clothes with subversive or irreverent text. One print with the slogan “Sisters! Question every aspect of our lives” shows women vacuuming, grocery shopping, and applying lipstick. While much of the group’s early work focused on attitudes toward marriage and domestic chores, later campaigns targeted equal pay, reproductive freedom, gay rights, and more racial inclusivity. Other campaigns targeted the closure of a women’s hospital in South London; the imprisonment of women in Armagh, Ireland; and the use of public money in funding Queen Elizabeth’s Silver jubilee celebration.
Printing was a male-dominated profession in the U.K. in the 1970s. See Red members graduated from art schools where less than a third of the students were female, and the instructors were all men. “The male students took up all the studio space,” one member explains in the book, and “there was little respect for our ideas: the assumption often was that we were probably only doing art as a hobby.”
The National Front, a far-right political group, frequently attacked See Red’s workshop space — pouring ink over the presses, cutting phone wires, posting neo-Nazi stickers on doors, urinating on their mail, and in one instance throwing bricks through a window.
In addition to external conflicts, there were also significant fissions within the group. As member Sue Field Read explains, “There were quite a few downs, mistakes and mis-printings, high emotions and disagreements — but then I suppose this happens whenever there is a group of people working very hard, with little financial support, with the serious aim of spreading important ideas in an uncaring selfish world.”
In 1982, See Red was awarded a government grant that allowed them to pay some members regular wages. This led to a series of irreparable divisions, as some members advocated that the paid positions should be filled by black, working class, and gay women, while others wanted the original collective members to assume paid positions. Buoyed by donations, calendar sales, and various commissioned print projects, See Red remained active until 1990.
Click through to see how the group deconstructed social expectations and fought for wage equality.
All-girls rock band entertained troops in Vietnam
In 1967 members of an all-girls band answered this nation’s call to entertain the troops in Vietnam.
But they had to get their parents’ permission first.
“We were surprised to get their approval right away,” Dianne Reardon Cameron, founder and leader of the Pretty Kittens, said.
She started her four-member rock ‘n’ roll group in California in 1965. They toured throughout the United States. And they heard the U.S. government wanted entertainers to go to Vietnam.
“You know Bob Hope was going over there,” Cameron said. “We were just four American girls and we were young and we decided it was just the right thing to do. And back home we were working up and down the coast of California and in Hollywood.
The members appreciated when the service members told them they liked the show. “That meant so much that they enjoyed what we were doing and they recognized all of the songs we were playing,” Cameron said.
Cameron, who was born in New Jersey, spent many years in Gardena, California, before moving to Rochester Hills, Michigan, where she resides. She started playing the drums when she was about 11. The Pretty Kittens disbanded in 1968 when she moved to Michigan.
She was interviewed in a 2009 documentary, “Our Vietnam Generation,” by Visionalist Entertainment Productions LLC which was mostly about Michigan veterans. Keith Famie was the producer/director.
“We enjoyed being in Vietnam,” Cameron said. “We went all over the place in Vietnam. Our biggest thrill was the helicopters.”
For several years, she has worked on a memoir titled “The Pretty Kittens Band Vietnam Tour 1967” which she hopes to finish within another month or so. “I joined a writers group at the library and they’ve been very encouraging about my story,” she said.
Cameron, 78, works part time in the office at American House Senior Living in Rochester Hills. She and her husband of 35 years, Thomas, have a combined four children and nine grandchildren. Her son, Anthony Paolucci-Cameron, a former sergeant, served four years in the Army and was deployed to Iraq. He resides in Macomb, Michigan.
She belongs to several veterans groups on Facebook. Whenever she posts something about what she did in Vietnam, she gets hundreds of hits. “The veterans thank me for my service,” she said. “And the first time I saw that, I was in tears.”
The band members didn’t know how long they would tour Vietnam. But they had to sign an extension with the Vietnamese government while they were there. After 150 shows, “we were ready to come home. We’d had enough,” Cameron said.
She shared her thoughts on this nation’s commemoration of 50 years since the Vietnam War.
“I think the nation should recognize the Vietnam War every year,” she said. “It would be good to honor those who served.”
Editor’s note: This is the 349th in a series of articles about Vietnam veterans as the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
Japanese Vintage Stuff
An essential part of learning history is questioning it, asking what has become part of our cultural memory and what might have been left out. When it comes to the history of punk music, there are few bands who have been as overlooked as Pure Hell.
The band’s story began in West Philadelphia in 1974, when four teenagers – lead vocalist Kenny ‘Stinker’ Gordon, bassist Lenny ‘Steel’ Boles, guitarist Preston ‘Chip Wreck’ Morris and drummer Michael ‘Spider’ Sanders, set out to follow in the footsteps of their musical idols. A shared obsession with the sounds of Iggy, Bowie, Cooper, and Hendrix inspired them to create music that was louder, faster and more provocative than even those artists’ most experimental records. Pure Hell’s unique sound led them to New York, where they became characters in a seminal subculture recognised today as punk. As musicians of colour, their contribution to a predominately white underground scene is all the more significant. “We were the first black punk band in the world,” says Boles. “We were the ones who paid the dues for it, we broke the doors down. We were genuinely the first. And we still get no credit for it.”
The title of the ‘first black punk band’ has, in recent years, been informally given to Detroit-based Death, whose music was mostly unheralded at the time but has since been rediscovered and praised for its progressive ideas. But while Death were creating proto-punk music in isolation in the early 1970s, Pure Hell was completely entrenched in the New York City underground scene, living and performing alongside the legends of American punk. Arriving the same month that Patti Smith and Television began their two-month residencies at CBGB and leaving just after Nancy Spungen’s murder, Pure Hell’s active years in the city aligned perfectly with the birth and death of a dynamic chapter of music history. “I don’t want to be remembered just because we were black,” says Kenny Gordon. “I want to be remembered for being a part of the first tier of punk in the 70s.”
Being just 155km from Greenwich Village, Philadelphia was somewhat of a pipeline of New York subculture – Gordon remembers his teenage years at the movie theatre watching John Waters films like Polyester and Pink Flamingos, and hanging out at Artemis, a spot frequented by Philly scenesters like Nancy Spungen and Neon Leon. “I heard (The Rolling Stones’) ‘Satisfaction’ and knew it was the kind of music I wanted to play,” recalls bassist Lenny Boles. “I was too poor to afford instruments, so if someone had one, I would befriend them.”
The quad quickly gained notoriety on their home turf. “Growing up in West Philadelphia, which was all black, we were some of the craziest guys you could have possibly seen walking the streets back then,” says Gordon. “We dressed in drag and wore wigs, basically daring people to bother us. People in the neighbourhood would say, ‘Don’t go into houses with those guys, you may not come out!’”
Pure Hell swan dove into the New York underground scene in 1975, in pursuit of the people, places, and sounds they’d read about for years in the pages of Rock Scene and Cream magazine. The band moved into the Chelsea Hotel, the temporary home of a long list of influential characters, including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Edie Sedgwick, Patti Smith, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Their first gig in the city was hosted at Frenzy’s thrift, a storefront on St. Marks place, where guitarist Preston Morris “rather memorably caught the amplifier on fire due to a combination of maximum volume and faulty wires”, says Gordon. Drummer Michael Sanders’ friendship with Neon Leon led the band to the New York Dolls, who were acting as mentors for younger artists like Debbie Harry and Richard Hell at the time. Pure Hell was soon invited to perform for the Dolls in their loft.
The Pretty Kittens