Vintage Photos of Celebrities and Their Pets
HILARIOUS & CRINGEWORTHY KNITTED SWEATERS OF THE 1980S
’s November, and the temperature in my neighborhood in northern Ohio reached 77 just two days ago. It felt like the start of September really, just a lovely day to be outside. Not at all cold.
One of the benefits of the balmy winters brought on by catastrophic climate change is that there’s no risk someone will trick us into donning one of the absolutely amazing sweaters featured in a remarkable book of knitting designs from the fashionable 1980s. Wit Knits, which presented “lively and original” knitted sweater suggestions by George Hostler and Gyles Brandreth, came out in 1986, and the photographs showing off the finished designs are simply jaw-dropping in their silliness.
There’s a website devoted to these pictures, but its proprietor, rightly sensing that the visual impact of these doozies is the primary appeal, therefore “won’t post patterns, buy the book if you want to make them.” Harrumph. The book is, like everything else, available on Amazon.
The really peculiar thing about Wit Knits is that virtually all of the models are well-known figures from 1980s British television. I don’t know how Hostler and Brandreth were able to sucker such famous personages into agreeing to be involved with this, but perhaps it was simply a paid gig like any other. Maybe they got to keep the sweaters?
For instance: I can remember watching, on WNET Channel 13 in New York back around when this book came out, a delightful British show called Good Neighbors (it was known as The Good Life in the U.K.), and Richard Briers, here wearing the light blue sweater with the “wee Scottie” on it, was the lead actor on that show. Meanwhile, Joanna Lumley—then perhaps best known for her stint in The New Avengers, who later became an icon of decadence in Ab Fab—here is shown wearing a ridiculous sweater with a horsey; she also has a different one with what is most likely an owl on it. Lizzie Webb, who presented morning exercise routines on TV, is wearing a sweater with a kittykat on it. Most of the people here are like that.
The most important black woman sculptor of the 20th century deserves more recognition
Augusta Savage started sculpting as a child in the 1900s using what she could get her hands on: the clay that was part of the natural landscape in her hometown of Green Cove Springs, Florida. Eventually her talents took her far from the clay pits of the South. She joined the burgeoning arts scene of the Harlem Renaissance when her talents led her to New York.
Her work was lauded, and she was consistently admired by contemporary black artists, but her renown was transient. And much of her work has been lost, since she could mostly afford to cast only in plaster.
Like other key figures of the 1920s such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Savage skillfully challenged negative images and stereotypical depictions of black people. One of her largest commissions, for instance, were sculptures for the World’s Fair of 1939, inspired by “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song often described as the black national anthem. “The Harp,” another work in the commission, depicted black singers as the ascending strings of that instrument. Regrettably, both pieces were destroyed when the fairgrounds were torn down.
Born in 1892, Savage would often sculpt clay into small figures, much to the chagrin of her father, a minister who believed that artistic expression was sinful. In 1921, she moved to Harlem, where she enrolled at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A gifted student, Savage completed the four-year program in only three and quickly embarked on a career in sculpting. During the early to mid-1920s, she was commissioned to create several sculptures, including a bust of NAACP leader W.E.B. Du Bois and charismatic black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey — two key black leaders of the period who were often at odds with each other.
Both pieces were well received, especially in black circles, but the racial climate at the time hampered wider recognition of her work. Savage won a prestigious scholarship at a summer arts program at the Fontainebleau School of the Fine Arts outside of Paris in 1923, for instance, but the offer was withdrawn when the school discovered that she was black. Despite her efforts — she filed a complaint with the Ethical Culture Committee — and public outcry from several well-known black leaders at the time, the organizers upheld the decision.
The Beautiful Men of Goth and Post-Punk
The men of goth and post-punk are undeniably some of the most beautiful male specimens to have graced a stage or have played an instrument. In fact, some of them wear more makeup than the many talented women in which they share a scene that overall embraces androgyny, while defying gender norms and sexuality.
We’ve compiled a list and gallery dedicated to some of the most iconic musicians and singers making the best music to come out during the late 70s and 80s, some of which who inspired boys and girls to spend a fortune on cosmetics and hairspray in attempts to achieve the varying looks made by their heroes listed below.
GORGEOUS CAST PORTRAITS FROM TOD BROWNING’S ‘FREAKS’ (1932)
Freaks has earned its place in history as one of the all-time great cult films, though it wasn’t always beloved. The film was reviled by both critics and audiences upon release in 1932. It was a career-killer for Tod Browning, who had previously been a Hollywood golden child with a string of Lon Chaney hits under his belt and who had just come off the enormous success of Dracula.
The film shocked audiences with its use of actual sideshow “freaks” as actors:
Among the characters featured as “freaks” were Peter Robinson (“the human skeleton”); Olga Roderick (“the bearded lady”); Frances O’Connor and Martha Morris (“armless wonders”); and the conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. Among the microcephalics who appear in the film (and are referred to as “pinheads”) were Zip and Pip (Elvira and Jenny Lee Snow) and Schlitzie, a male named Simon Metz who wore a dress mainly due to incontinence, a disputed claim. Also featured were the intersexual Josephine Joseph, with her left/right divided gender; Johnny Eck, the legless man; the completely limbless Prince Randian (also known as The Human Torso, and mis-credited as “Rardion”); Elizabeth Green the Stork Woman; and Koo-Koo the Bird Girl, who suffered from Virchow-Seckel syndrome or bird-headed dwarfism, and is most remembered for the scene wherein she dances on the table.
The film had only a short cinema run in the United States before it was pulled by MGM due to audiences’ revulsion. It was not even allowed to be shown at all in the UK for thirty years.
Some argue that the film was a crass exploitation of the mentally and physically challenged, while others believe the film is sympathetic to the disabled stars and was therefore an empowering vehicle, showcasing their struggle. It has remained controversial to this day.
Thanks to the excellent blog Decaying Hollywood Mansions, we have this stunning gallery of promotional cast photos from the film, featuring the unusually beautiful stars of Tod Browning’s 1932 masterpiece.
Licenses and Passports of Celebrities
The Krystal Counter Code: A 1954 Fast Food Server Guide
In 1954, Krystal Company presented a breezy educational film detailing how staff at its Krystal restaurants should behave and dress. Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 24 1932, Krystal was keen to embrace the staff, aka ‘The Krystal Family’, and have them do things ‘the Krystal way’. This was ‘The Counter Code’.
Zelda, who we see in the lead photo, was breaking rules. Tutored in the Krystal way to ‘act natural’, she soon stowed her cigarette, set her disagreeable eyebrows free and her unblinking gaze on producing the great American burger; fighting the good fight against salmonella and starvation. Zelda’s not smiling in the portrait because she’s not sure about cameras and the kind of men who operate them and process amateur film in their home basement darkrooms. But she’s a happy girl and ready to serve.
All shots are delivered in a before and after fashion. We’d like to see the after that followed the ‘before and after’, say, a year later. But there’s an element of mystery with all fast food, so let this be no exception.
Vintage Puffy Stickers
HAPPY HARVEY MILK DAY - Harvey Milk, Activist and Politician, Led a Revolution for LGBTQ Rights
Overlooked History is a Teen Vogue series about the undersung figures and events that shaped the world.
BY LEXI MCMENAMIN
JUNE 7, 2021
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to hold public office in California. Elected in 1977 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he was assassinated at age 48, in 1978, by an ex-coworker, barely a year into his first term as an elected official. Ten days before his assassination, Milk recorded himself saying goodbye in case this grim scenario ever played out. “I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, becomes the target or potential target for a person who is insecure, terrified, afraid, or very disturbing,” Milk said in the tape. “Knowing that I could be assassinated at any moment, at any time, I feel it’s important that some people know my thoughts, and why I did what I did. Almost everything that was done was done with an eye on the gay movement.” Politics
Milk had real clarity about what it might mean for him to become a martyr to this cause: “All I ask is for the movement to continue, and if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” His barrier-breaking has undoubtedly played a role in the strides the LGBTQ+ movement has made since the 1970s, and served as inspiration for how marginalized communities can build solidarity.
“I have no doubt that, had he lived, and had he survived the AIDS epidemic, I have no doubt that he would have been in [Pete Buttigieg’s] position, for instance,” Lillian Faderman, author of Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death, told Teen Vogue. “I know he would have run for statewide office... I’m sure he would have run for federal office. He was hugely ambitious, and he should have been, since he was so charismatic. I think he would have been an icon not for his martyrdom, but because he was so eloquent and so charismatic, and he would have been in the public eye, and not just in San Francisco.”
Born on Long Island in 1930 and raised in a tight-knit Jewish community, Milk knew from a young age that he was gay, but spent much of his adult life figuring out how out of the closet to be. Milk lived several lives before moving to San Francisco full-time in 1972: He was in the Navy, worked in finance, was a teacher, and was even a Republican, volunteering on Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign.
“Harvey Milk offers us a story of political transformation over the life course,” said Marc Stein, a historian of LGBTQ urban history and a professor at San Francisco State University. “[He] had contact with the early gay movement of the 1960s [...] but he distanced himself from it and rejected the idea of being out and proud in the pre-Stonewall era, and was pursuing a business career. But then, like so many, he was really transformed by everything going on in the country in the late ’60s and early ’70s.”
FULL DECK OF AWESOME JAPANESE MONSTER PLAYING CARDS
This pack of Japanese playing cards features a selection of pachimon kaiju or “imitation monsters” lifted from various hit TV shows and movies. These monsters range from fire-breathing gorillas to flying creatures from outer space and giant electrocuting humanoids. The set was apparently manufactured as a promotional pack for kids by a Japanese brand of mayonnaise called Kewpie.
I’d have surely eaten my egg-mayo sandwiches without complaint if I’d been dealt a hand of these fun little beauties.
Richard Simmons VHS Covers
More Vintage Buttons
Vintage Record Covers
Inside the Improvised World of Christopher Guest
Four of the faux-documentary master’s leading players dish out their favorite memories of working on Guest’s movies as his latest, Mascots, hits Netflix
It’s been 20 years since Waiting for Guffman—a story set in a small, Midwestern town about small-time community theater—became an instant cult classic. The film, Christopher Guest’s directorial debut, was also his first to feature a stable of actors who would become regulars in Guest projects for decades to come—including Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Fred Willard. Four years later, Guest added John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Ed Begley Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, and Michael McKean to his caravan of characters via Best in Show. Though two more faux documentaries followed—they’re not “mockumentaries,” a term Guest is known to loathe—it’s now been a decade since Guest last re-united his reparatory company. But that will change with this month’s release of Mascots, a fictional inside look at the very real world of professional mascots—directed by Guest, and starring his signature corps of actors. The film began streaming on Netflix Thursday.
Watching a Christopher Guest movie is like “being a fly on the wall,” as Lynch described it to Vanity Fair. Or maybe, as fellow regular Bob Balaban says, it’s more like “spending time with a bunch of really funny and totally harmless mental patients.” We sat down with four members of this merry band of players to talk about their favorite memories over the last two decades of working with Guest.
“My weirdest moment with the Guestian players was actually a compendium of many moments that happened over and over when we went on our five-city A Mighty Wind tour,” says Balaban, who often finds himself playing figures of authority who don’t really have any actual authority. (Think dog-show head honcho Dr. Theodore Millbank in Best in Show, or Wind concert organizer Jonathan Steinbloom.) “Shortly after the movie opened, our characters put on a folk concert in some medium-sized and some really big halls. We’d pull up in our tour bus and schlep into our dressing rooms wearing our street clothes. And mostly nobody had any idea who we were. Half an hour later, we’d walk out onstage in costume and the crowd would act like we were Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, and the Beatles all rolled into one, screaming, jumping around, throwing stuff, insanely happy.
(1895 - 1967) Josep Baqué
"Josep Baqué was born in Barcelona in the late19th century. He was a municipal police officer and during his lifetime never declared himself as an artist. Since early 1930s and for the following decades he produced more than 1500 drawings of "monsters, wonders and rare events" made in ink and gouache on paper, some embellished with gold and silver. He created army of imaginary creatures, strange and unusual, mixing human and animal traits or characteristics of different types (cats, primitive men, bats and insects, giant spiders, snakes, snails, octopus, cuttlefish, seafood, fowl, fish...) Baqué died in 1967 and left his niece, his sole heir, his fantastic bestiary isolated away from light for nearly 40 years. In 2007, the famous College of Pataphysics organized an exhibition of 160 monsters and published a lengthy article in the journal of pataphysicians Viridis Candela." - quote source unknown
Inside Nadia Lee Cohen’s New Book of Chameleonic Self-Portraits
The British photographer’s latest publication Hello My Name Is … sees her transform herself into 33 different characters, inspired by name badges belonging to unknown individuals
DECEMBER 14, 2021
Photography by Nadia Lee Cohen. Courtesy of Idea
Nadia Lee Cohen is surely one of the most exciting image-makers working today. Born in London but based now in Los Angeles, she released her first book Women last year – a staggering study of contemporary womanhood created over a period of six years. Published by Idea, bound in gold cloth and featuring 100 cinematic portraits, it was a groundbreaking debut. And now she’s back.
Today Cohen releases her second book, Hello My Name Is … , which, also published by Idea, sees the photographer transform into 33 different characters. Each one is inspired by name badges belonging to unknown individuals that she’s collected over the years. It’s a masterpiece not only of photography but of the process of transformation; of styling, hair, make-up and prosthetics. She even collected objects for each persona, making them into fully realised characters. There’s Jackie, the shaggy-haired Barbara Streisand fan; Mrs Fisher, the floral-festooned British royalist; and Jeff, the plush, portly and Nixon-supporting cowboy. Martin Parr and Paul Reubens AKA Pee-wee Herman have provided texts for the book, which is published in a limited edition of 1,000, just in time for Christmas.
Here, Cohen delves into the process of creating this publication and explains why she dedicated it to “the 99¢ store manager”.
Ted Stansfield: I’d love to start by talking about Los Angeles, where you live. What is your relationship to the city? And how did your fantasy of it compare to the reality when you first arrived?
Nadia Lee Cohen: I still feel like a spectator even though I’ve been in Los Angeles for over five years. I hope I always view it like that. Before I came here I had that British naivety towards Hollywood and assumed it was a very glamorous place filled with palm trees, movie execs and Lindsey Lohans. I drove to Hollywood Boulevard on one of my first nights, in a car I had bought for $800 (which turned out to be the body of a BMW with the engine of a Nissan – very apt for what I am about to describe) and was so excited to see the Walk of Fame in the flesh. I remember asking someone if I was actually in Hollywood and they told me to fuck off. I had arrived to discover bad lookalikes, filthy streets and gawping tourists. On the sad side there was also homelessness, chronic mental illness and prostitution, all lit up and sparkling with the neon lights of Hollywood; the fairground of American decay on parade and no sign of Lindsey Lohan. The discovery of this underbelly might not sound all that appealing; and even though it wasn’t what I expected, it turned out to be the reason I love Los Angeles and why it became a sort of dysfunctional muse.
Assorted Images Posted as Stories and Single Posts and a few extras
East Los Angeles Gang El Hoyo Maravilla (1983)
In 1983, British photographer Janette Beckman was in Los Angeles documenting the burgeoning West Coast punk scene. Browsing through the LA Weekly, she became fascinated with an article about El Hoyo Maravilla (HM), a Mexican American street gang based in East LA. “There were no photos to illustrate the story,” Beckman recalls. “After reading the article in the LA Weekly I tracked the writer down and persuaded him to take me to the ‘Hoyo Maravilla Park’ and introduce me… I just wanted to document the East LA culture and style. It was a part of Los Angeles that no one seemed to acknowledge. Back in the day, before the internet, if you thought of LA it was Hollywood, the movies, Beverly Hills, and the music scene.”
Bad To The Bone! Portraits Of Vintage Female Pro Wrestling
When I moved to Georgia as a youngster, I got turned on to wrestling and all of the characters that made up the sport. What I did not see a lot of at the time were women wrestlers. Don’t get it twisted – women have been brawling for decades. If you don’t believe me, check out all of these rad vintage photos of women wrestlers kicking ass. If you are living in the UK, there is a show up called WOMEN OF WRESTLING at the Doomed Gallery in Dalston.
Rennie Ellis and the decadent '80s
A new collection of photographs by Rennie Ellis captures the excess of the '80s and '90s. 'Decadent' documents the seedier side of life in an Australia that had not yet seen anti-binge drinking or skin cancer awareness campaigns.
Was Australian social culture more freewheeling and outrageous in the ‘80s and ‘90s? It’s often said that life now is a lot more conservative than it was just a couple of decades ago.
Perhaps some hard evidence can be found in a new book of photographs by late Melbourne photographer Rennie Ellis. Called Decadent, the selection of images taken between 1980 and 2000 captures the the wilder side of life at the end of the twentieth century.
When Ellis died from a brain haemorrhage in 2003 at the age of 62 he left behind a priceless legacy: hundreds of thousands of photographs documenting the lives and lifestyles of ordinary and extraordinary Australians.
‘Between 1980 and the end of the twentieth century, Rennie Ellis documented what were, in retrospect, seismic changes in Australia,’ writes fellow photographer Robert McFarlane in his foreword.
Ellis captured a brief period of ‘behavioural candour’ in Australian society.
‘It could easily be argued that we have retreated into a more modest, conservative Australia since these pictures were made.’
The images were taken in public locations: beaches, pubs, sporting events and in the demimonde of Melbourne’s nightclubs and strip clubs.
William Yang describes Ellis as a ‘good perv’ who was charming and non-judgmental. While Yang, also a noted and prolific photographer, was documenting Sydney’s social scene—from celebrities to sub-cultures of the gay community—he met Ellis and the two became friends. They shared a passion for capturing the era’s exuberance in their respective cities.
‘[There was] a feeling of liberation and freedom; a collective social euphoria where people threw off the shackles of polite society,’ says Yang.
‘That window of social history where "anything goes"—all those parties and of excess, the fun, the defiance and the sex, both flaunted and actual—had closed.’
Manuela Furci, director of the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive and Ellis’ former assistant, says that he was obsessive about taking photos.
‘What I loved about Rennie, apart from his child-like curiosity, was that he treated everyone with respect ... he just loved stories.’
What Decadent captures, Furci believes, is a mood that existed before skin cancer awareness campaigns, when smoking and drinking alcohol were seen as a guilty pleasures. In the earlier years, the dreadful gravity of the HIV/AIDs epidemic was not fully comprehended.
It was also before social media, when risqué behaviour and dress did not come with the fear of becoming an unwitting Facebook sensation.
‘People felt a lot freer in expressing themselves ... they felt less inhibited,’ Furci says.
Long Lost Personals Instagram
You know how you were just scrolling and said, "Hang on, did I just see a post of Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, and Neil Gaiman all with cats?"
Vintage Photos of Ladies with Bird Hats - credit - Vintage Everyday
Contort yourself! The mutant disco mayhem of New York’s Ze Records
Disgusted with Britain’s ‘cruel’ aristocracy, Michael Zilkha left to champion a generation of party-starting punk-funk bands. As he returns as a book publisher, he remembers that wild scene
John Peel once said that Ze Records was “the best independent label in the world”. The Face magazine called it the “world’s most fashionable”. Between 1978 and 1984, the New York record company’s incredible roster included Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Lydia Lunch, Was (Not Was), Lizzy Mercier Descloux, James Chance and Suicide, who were mostly rather extreme characters.
“It felt more like a repertory company than a record label,” says the co-founder Michael Zilkha. “We’d have these crazy showcases, with everyone except Lydia, who was outside picketing because she felt I hadn’t given her enough tour support.”
‘I wanted to start again in an immigrant city’ … Michael Zilkha in 1981. Photograph: Michael Putland/Getty Images
Four decades on, Ze is back, but as a book publisher. The idea was triggered in January 2017, when Zilkha was visited by an old friend, Glenn O’Brien, who had cancer. O’Brien was a staunch Ze champion when he edited Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine in the late 70s, and in 2000 worked with Zilkha on Downtown 81, a film featuring the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and several Ze acts.
“Glenn was down here having treatment,” says Zilkha, 68, on a video call from Houston, Texas. “We were sitting in my garden and he said: ‘Michael. Do you think I’m a good writer?’ I told him he was a great writer – I loved his writings on Basquiat, Patti Smith and Trump. But he’d never been a part of the literary establishment, so I knew what he was asking.”
O’Brien died a few weeks later, by which time Zilkha had promised his friend that he would publish a volume of his writing. In 2019, Intelligence for Dummies: Essays and Other Collected Writings became the first Ze book. “I told him that he would be properly recognised and I’d get it reviewed in the New York Review of Books, which it was.” Now, Zilkha is launching Ze’s backlist in the UK alongside two books: the former Life magazine photographer Bud Lee’s powerful 1967 Newark riots monograph The War is Here; and Adele Bertei’s Twist: An American Girl. This extraordinary memoir details her troubled path to forming the first gay all-girl band, the Bloods, and playing in early Ze signing James Chance and the Contortions.
40 years of Japanese rockers Shonen Knife: ‘Nirvana looked wild – I was so scared!’
With songs about jellybeans and feline transformations, the Osaka band brought joy and fun to a serious punk-rock scene. After decades of cult hits, frontwoman Naoko Yamano explains why she wants to end up the world’s oldest rock star
Fri 3 Dec 2021
Very few rock bands make it to 40 years. And for Shonen Knife, this landmark seems all the more unlikely – there haven’t been many all-women rock bands from Japan who turned their obsession with junk food, cute animals and Ramones into an international career.
Their breakthrough came with 1992’s Let’s Knife, released in Britain by Creation Records shortly after a career-changing tour with Nirvana. It was a punk album like no other, featuring lyrical observations on the envy frontwoman Naoko Yamano felt for exotic American girls with blond hair and blue eyes, alongside pontification on life’s more frivolous joys: eating jellybeans, riding a bicycle, fishing for black bass, and – rather less relatably – becoming a cat and growing whiskers.
“I was too embarrassed to write songs about love,” says Naoko, 60, as we sit in the Tokyo office of Shonen Knife’s Japanese record label to reflect on the past 40 years. “Instead, I wanted to write about the topics that were important to me, like sweets and delicious food, or cute animals. I’m not really a very deep thinker, so I just want to write music that will make people feel happy.”
Shonen Knife formed in 1981 when Naoko and her schoolfriend Michie Nakatani cemented their love for the Beatles, the Jam and Ramones into something of their own. With Naoko on guitar and Nakatani on bass, they enlisted Naoko’s younger sister, Atsuko, on drums.
The trio entered a tiny room at the Rock Inn rehearsal studio in Osaka for the first time on 29 December 1981. “It felt good to hear the guitar and bass coming through the amplifiers, and the loud drum sound,” recalls Naoko of that first rehearsal, where they played covers of songs by British punk and pop bands such as Delta 5, Buzzcocks and Mo-dettes. Then, in March 1982, they played their first gig at a small Osaka venue, where young Atsuko became so overpowered by nerves that she broke out in a rash.
Among the seven or eight songs they played that night was Parallel Woman, the first song Naoko ever wrote. Later released on their 1983 album Burning Farm, Parallel Woman set the template for Shonen Knife’s approach to songwriting, with detailed observational lyrics about Naoko’s experience of working in a factory while dreaming of revealing her true identity as a rock’n’roll superheroine – the mundane writ fantastic. In a punk scene where bands snarled lyrics about class war, drugs, sex and violence, Naoko and Nakatani wrote songs that were overwhelmingly positive, innocent and fun, making their music all the more disarming.
When Richard Pryor Sang The Blues
Best known for his comedy, Richard Pryor performed a moving blues standard on TV in the 1960s.
While these days Richard Pryor is known for his many outrageous comedy antics, he was a lot less controversial in the early 1960s and often appeared on TV variety shows.
During 1966 Richard worked as a writer and regular performer on The Kraft Summer Music Hall, a music and comedy variety show which ran as a spinoff from the long running Kraft Music Hall. Of the eleven summer episodes, Richard appeared in five.
On August 8 1966, the show featured standup comedy routines by Richard and ends with him joining the cast to sing a medley about rivers. The episode isn’t available online, but Vulture previously wrote about it in detail, noting, “Based on his enthusiasm I can’t tell if he was forced to do it or if he requested it. Either way, hearing Richard Pryor sing was the last thing I expected from the Kraft Music Hour.”
Although it was unexpected, he did perform at least one other song, and that has thankfully been shared on YouTube.
In the episode from August 1, host John Davidson introduces him as follows:
There’s a funny thing about show business. Many times singers want to be actors or serious actors just dying to be comics, you know to say a funny line. And sometimes comedians want to sing. Now take Richard Pryor for example. He’s been a guest many times on the show and he’s always a clown, right? We all know him for being a clown. But we found out that Richard's secret desire is to be a singer, is to sing. Well there’s no secret anymore because here is another one of the many talents of Richard Pryor.
Following a burst of applause, Richard appears on stage clicking his fingers along to a double bass and sings Nobody Wants You When You’re Down and Out.
Nobody Wants You When You’re Down and Out was written in 1923 by pianist Jimmie Cox and made famous by Bessie Smith after she released her own rendition in 1929.
Later Nina Simone took it to the charts in 1960, and Richard Pryor may have learnt the song from her as he opened for Nina in the early 60s as he started his comedy career.
In his autobiography Pryor Convictions, and Other Life Sentences, Richard wrote about possibly his first appearance on stage at the start of the 60s. After telling a club owner he could sing and play piano, Richard was hired. The problem was he barely knew four chords, as he wrote:
“For my nightclub debut, I sat at the piano and improvised using the three or four chords I knew. I sang whatever words popped into my head. I saw that people didn’t know whether I was putting them on or weird…Afterward, I tried to look cool, but…I still had sweating pouring off me.”
Rather than fire him, the club’s owner gave Richard a job filling the intermission time between sets. It became his first paid job as a comedian.
According to Scott Saul’s Becoming Richard Pryor, the next time Richard was on stage singing was his performance for the The Kraft Summer Music Hall in 1966. Then one year later, he changed his comedy act into something less family friendly.
Filled with swearing which shocked his audiences and drew many complaints, the infamy around his act meant he has remained one of America’s most well known comics decades after many of his contemporaries had called it quits.
Now that he was best known as a comic, any later musical appearances on TV were mostly played for laughs. Such as in 1974 when Richard played drums with Sly Stone, and when he sang There’s No Business Like Show Business on his own TV special in 1977.
The lone recording of Richard Pryor really singing appears to be from that one episode of The Kraft Summer Music Hall in 1966. It’s a beautiful and moving performance, and it’s unfortunate he didn’t record any more.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
What really got to me was the walk.
Early in the film Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, we see the Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy award-winning performer trying to walk down a city street. Even as his equilibrium is severely distorted by the effects of Parkinson's disease, Fox energetically launches himself into the task — moving forward with a lurching gait that seems as if he might spin off into an unpredictable direction at any moment.
Behind him, an aide who is also a movement coach gently reminds him to slow down and reset himself before every step. An admirer — a woman in a face mask — walks by and says hi; as Fox turns to acknowledge her, he gets caught in his own legs and falls down.
As the aide helps him get up and the admirer asks if he's all right, Fox drops the punchline: "You knocked me off my feet."
That's the kind of intimate drama which knits together the best moments in Still, a portrait of a talented and widely-admired performer who keeps fighting, even as Parkinson's slowly takes away many of the things he values most.
At times it is a showy film, knitting together re-enacted footage and clips from Fox's wide body of TV and movie work to recreate key moments in the actor's life. It begins with the instant in 1990 when Fox realized he had a tremor in his pinkie finger he couldn't control.
In that scene, director Davis Guggenheim (an Oscar winner for An Inconvenient Truth) melds footage of a body double in a hotel bed who's grabbing his own hand with clips from fight scenes in other Fox films to build a montage showing the feelings flooding the actor as he watched this digit which seemingly had a mind of its own.
Despite the fact that he was one of Hollywood's hottest actors at the time, "I was in an acid bath of fear and professional insecurity," Fox says in voice over. "The trembling was a message from the future."
Telling a painful truth without pity
Still accomplishes something amazing – it draws viewers into the painful reality of Fox's life with Parkinson's without turning him into an object of pity or martyrdom.
‘SIMPSONS’ CREATOR MATT GROENING TELLS THE STORY OF THE RESIDENTS, 1979
The Residents, 1972
The Residents’ first fan club, W.E.I.R.D. (We Endorse Immediate Residents Deification), was founded in 1978, and one of its charter members was Life in Hell and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. As a member of the Residents’ second fan club, UWEB, I am bound by the most solemn oaths never to discuss any of the secret handshakes, passwords, ciphers, rituals, buttons, bumper stickers or T-shirts of the inner sanctum, but I can point seekers to this exoteric document: Groening’s “The True Story of the Residents.” This phantasmagoric bio of the group, first published in 1979’s The Official W.E.I.R.D. Book of the Residents and reprinted in 1993’s Uncle Willie’s Highly Opinionated Guide to the Residents, gives a wild yet relatively concise account of the band’s founding myth.
Ep 33: Flo Fox (Photographer/Designer/Activist)
Ep 33: Flo Fox (Photographer/Designer/Activist)
Flo Fox began her career as a photographer in New York City in 1972.
For the better part of her career, Flo Fox has been legally blind, as a result of multiple sclerosis that she contracted when she was thirty. She is Totally disabled from the neck down and has been confined to a wheelchair since 1999, Flo now shoots with an automatic camera and directs friends, attendants or people in the street to take pictures for her.
Throughout her career and with an archive of over 130,000 works, Flo photographed various subjects that chronicled the rich ironies of street life in New York City. During the early 80s she hosted her own show called the Foto Flo Show. Despite blindness, multiple sclerosis, and lung cancer, photographer Flo Fox continues to shoot the streets of New York City and never goes anywhere without her camera.
Flo Fox is the coolest person, artist, photographer, activist, designer you probably have never heard of. We talk about her early career making costumes for Broadway productions in the 1970's including "A Chorus Line". We talk about her Dicthology Project in which between the 1970's and 1990's she took creative Polaroids (with film Polaroid gave her) of penises all the men who entered her apartment over 23 years. (Vintage Annals will be putting out this book by late September) I want to be clear that neither Flo nor I want anyone to think her life, or this episode, is meant to be Inspiration Porn in any way. Flo would be ok with the porn part as she has always been a sex positive photographer and artist, and even did a Playboy shoot in 1976 that she designed and photographed. Flo has also been an activist and fought for the rights of disabled people for years. Lastly she is one of the funniest, and at times, raunchiest 77 year old jewish females I have ever met, which is also why I enjoy interviewing her for this episode, and why I am working with her now. Thank you to @twobytwomedia and @karengottfried2 for helping make this happen.
Woman Discovers A 1986 Costume Book Thrown Away, And It Has Some Of The Weirdest DIY Costumes
Jonas Grinevičius and Ilona Baliūnaitė
Halloween’s still more than half a year away in the distant, mysterious, and far-off realm of Late 2021 (I wonder what that’s going to be like?), but some internet users are already thinking about what costumes they’ll be wearing and gathering intel early. And it’s all because of one little Twitter post that went viral.
Twitter user Alina Pleskova found a book all alone, abandoned, and lonely on the curb and decided to rescue it, bringing it back home with her. She couldn’t help but share the photos from Jane Asher’s ‘Fancy Dress’ book that has dozens of brilliant, wild, and hilariously bizarre costumes for kids and adults alike.
Check out the photos below! And, I don’t want to sound too cheesy but, ready your cheeks for smiling way, way too much. Remember to upvote your fave pics, too! And be sure to drop us a few comments telling us how you feel about the most outrageously awesome costumes featured here.
Meet the Godfather of Voguing
Willi Ninja did far more than “strike a pose”. Before Madonna was Voguing for the masses on MTV in 1990, the niche dance form was being created by black and latino drag queens during the ballroom era of 1960’s Harlem, New York. It was Willi Ninja, an ambitious young dancer, who pioneered Voguing, and used it to create a safe-haven for members of the LGBT and Black community as it moved from the underground dance scene to mainstream media.
In the late seventies, you could find Willi, born William Roscoe Leake, in Washington Square Park, mastering and teaching his art. His unusual influences for dance included hieroglyphics, olympic gymnastics, and Asian culture, mixed with the greats, like Fred Astaire.
He was a fixture on the Harlem’s gender-bending ball culture, which drew inspiration from the glamorous world of haute couture and the fabulous supermodels of the 80s, as seen in Vogue magazine– hence the name.
he dance was also a means a pacifying the often-agitated community, and became a way for rival dancers to battle out their differences peacefully on the dance floors.
Houses were formed within the subculture in the late seventies, which served as surrogate families form black and latino youth. Ninja, became “the mother” of the House of Ninja, empowering his community encouraging nonconformity. Unprecedented numbers of black and latino men were finding themselves on the streets in the midst of the 1980s AIDs epidemic, if they were not already disowned by their families for being gay or transgender. Voguing houses offered the support that the city didn’t.
In 1991, a documentary told the subculture’s story in Paris in Burning, directed by Jennie Livingston who had met Ninja in Washington Park Square while he was Voguing in his early days.
The documentary captured the subculture’s golden age in New York City started a conversation on race, class, gender, and sexuality in America that hadn’t been brought to the table before.
After travelling the world, dancing for Janet Jackson, modelling for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler in Europe and teaching Voguing in Japan, all the while supporting his community, particularly during the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s, Willi Ninja had earned his title as the Godfather of Voguing. But in 2006, his life was cut short when he suffered an AIDS-related heart failure in New York City at age 45.
‘Private Birthday Party’: Rare Photos From Kansas City’s 1960s Drag Scene
Photo: Courtesy of Private Birthday Party
In 2006, artist Robert Heishman was poking around a Kansas City salvage yard, looking for material for an undergraduate documentary class, when he stumbled upon a slide carousel labeled “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City.”
“The first image I looked at was this picture of a man in a kimono that was incredibly colorful — it was just a stunning image to behold,” Heishman told the Cut. “There were family photos, and then I hit this line of images that were all people dressed in drag, predominantly standing in front of this beautiful mosaic outside a bar.” Intrigued, Heishman purchased the slides — for $2. “I didn’t really know what I was purchasing, but I wanted to have time to sit with them a little longer,” he explains.
Two years later, Heishman’s longtime friend Michael Boles was helping a friend move into a new house in Kansas City — which, as he describes it, was right around the corner from the drag clubs that were vibrant in the ‘50s and ‘60s. He came across a shoebox of slides that turned out to be quite similar to the ones Heishman had found at the scrapyard. “When we got them together and paired them up, it was kind of amazing,” Boles reflects. “Some of them are even from the same parties.” The resulting collection — titled “Private Birthday Party,” after the signs that used to appear on club doors when drag balls were taking place — includes over 200 images and provides a vivid glimpse of Kansas City’s early drag-ball culture. Heishman and Boles have since brought on Emily Henson to help with background research; together, the three believe they’re close to identifying the photographer.
The Cut spoke with Heishman, Boles, and Henson about the history of the drag scene in Kansas City and what stood out to them about these photographs.
When you were first comparing the two sets of photographs, was it obvious that they were taken by the same photographer?
Heishman: Yeah — as we started comparing the photographs, it began to strike us as being the same hand.
Boles: Robert’s collection is definitely from an earlier time. Those photos start in 1958; the ones I found start in 1964.
Henson: But throughout both parts of the collection, there are images taken against the mosaic wall, and they’re all shot in the sort of same way, over the years. There are photographs of people dancing together, laughing, posing for the camera, and then a handful that feel a little different — you can tell that the photographer is just photographing events as they’re happening.
Foreign John Waters Movie Posters
Manic Panic Isn’t Just a Hair Dye Brand: It Was the First Punk Store in America
Tish and Snooky Bellomo have always been cool.
BY SARAH LASKOW NOVEMBER 4, 2016
In 1977, Tish and Snooky Bellomo opened a store at 33 St. Marks Place, in New York’s East Village. It was called Manic Panic, and as far as anyone knows, it was the first punk store in America. The Bellomo sisters were singers themselves, but they’d always had enviable style, too. At their tiny store, they sold stilettos, sunglasses, gloves with a bit of glam to them, the vintage clothes that they loved—or tore up until they did, and the product they’d become famous for, hair dye.
Almost 40 years later, to visit Tish and Snooky, you have to head to Long Island City, in Queens, where Manic Panic has been headquartered since 1999, in a warehouse-like building sitting along Newtown Creek. “We’ve always been underground,” says Snooky—a sort of “secret society.”
The headquarters still has that vibe: inside the 14,000 square foot space where boxes upon boxes of extra bright and bold hair dye are stacked, there’s a tiny, hidden boutique, about the same size as the original store, full of hair dyes, rainbow-colored hair extensions and eyelashes, lipstick in pink, orange, purple, blue, and green, and the rest of their iconic line.
Manic Panic is going through a bit of renaissance right now, as pop stars from Rihanna to Katy Perry decide to dye their hair bright blues, red, pinks, greens, and more. Tish and Snooky talked to Atlas Obscura about the place where the company got its start—the store on St. Marks Place.
How did you first even get into music and decide you want to be singers?
Tish: That was easy. We just decided it, and we were.
Snooky: Yeah, we were sisters, we would always sing and dance and put on little shows for our mother, make her watch our shows.
Tish: And for the neighbors and stuff.
Snooky: Oh, yeah, we put on puppet shows.
Tish: We did puppet shows, and then during intermission, we would sell Kool-Aid.
Snooky: We made all the money on the concession stand.
Tish: Yeah, the show was free. But the concession was separate. We’d make Kool-Aid, and we’d sell it. We’d make it in all different colors, very similar to Manic Panic colors. More below....
More VHS Tape Cover Images
This Week in Texas Amazing Archive
Deep Dive - Schmigadoon! (Patreon only)
"Schmigadoon!" streams on Apple TV+. It stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple who try to repair their relationship by taking a hike in the woods. They get lost, cross over a bridge and suddenly find themselves in a small town called Schmigadoon, which looks like a stage or movie set from the early 20th century. The women are wearing prairie dresses with long petticoats, and the men are dressed like they're in a barbershop quartet. It turns out that in this town, life is a musical. People sing their feelings and dance, too.
This is initially charming for the Cecily Strong character, but Keegan-Michael Key's character hates musicals. Soon they realize they're trapped in a musical. And like it or not, their conversations will be interrupted by people breaking out into song. In this scene, they've just entered Schmigadoon and are totally disoriented. When the townspeople break out into song, see if you know which musical inspired this particular number.
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