John Waters Introduces ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’

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The Girl Can’t Help It is the gar­ish acme of Cin­e­maS­cope and DeLuxe Color, mon­u­men­tally loud and bla­tantly exploita­tive —a ver­i­ta­ble Parthenon of vul­gar­ity and a supremely unfunny com­edy that is pure eau de Fifty-Six. This satire of Elvis and Mar­i­lyn (or rather, of their clones) shim­mers with radioac­tive pinks and cobalt blues; at once stri­dent and sta­tic, the movie defines the atomic-Wurlitzer chrome– tail­fin Fontainebleau-lobby look. Producer-director-co-writer Frank Tash­lin is one of the very few Hol­ly­wood direc­tors who broke into movies as an ani­ma­tor and, like the Dean Martin–Jerry Lewis come­dies that pre­ceded it, The Girl Can’t Help It is some­thing like a live-action Looney Tune.

Appro­pri­ated by John Waters some 15 years later as the only suit­able way to intro­duce his 300-pound gender-blur Divine in Pink Flamingos.

Grotesque stereo­types col­lide with billboard-sized car­i­ca­tures. This proto Pop Art pathol­ogy might be too painful to con­tem­plate were it not for the exotic life forms flour­ish­ing around its periph­ery. Cli­max­ing with a rock show per­formed for an audi­ence of teenage white zom­bies, The Girl Can’t Help It is pop­u­lated by all man­ner of failed honkers and would-be cool cats—as well as Fats Domino, the Plat­ters, a gospel-shouting Abbey Lin­coln.

The coolest pres­ence ever recorded by a Hol­ly­wood cam­era may be Lit­tle Richard, first seen stand­ing entranced before a piano—as if won­der­ing whether to pul­ver­ize or incin­er­ate it.

In Alba­nia, is any­thing so bad it’s good?” “Lit­tle Richard was “…the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.“
Here, our beloved Pope of Trash intro­duces Frank Tashlin’s gem­stone for every­one to enjoy.…

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Liberace — Behind The Candelabra

Steven Soder­bergh is in the midst of his final jaunt behind the cam­era, in pro­duc­tion on the Lib­er­ace biopic “Behind The Can­de­labra”, with Michael Dou­glas as the famed per­former and Matt Damon as his young lover. Lib­er­ace was famed for being the world’s highest-paid enter­tainer at one point, and enjoyed his for­tune with an extrav­a­gant lifestyle. Soder­bergh revealed that while plans are still com­ing together for the movie, which is set up at HBO, he hopes to take it to Cannes on May 2013.

The movie is based on the book “Behind the Can­de­labra: My Life With Lib­er­ace” writ­ten by Liberace’s lover Scott Thor­son who met him when when he was sev­en­teen in 1976. Lib­er­ace had promised Thor­son, who was raised in fos­ter homes, that he would adopt and care for him and even­tu­ally the per­former incor­po­rated his lover into his lav­ish Las Vegas stage performances.

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Liberace’s story is tragic and his rela­tion­ship with Scott Thor­son was not less extrav­a­gant than some of his out­fits. Lib­er­ace always pub­licly denied that he was homo­sex­ual and insisted that Thor­son was never his lover. He went to great lengths until his dead from AIDS to cover his sex­u­al­ity. To get an idea of how eccen­tric their life was, read the fol­low­ing excerpt from an inter­view with Scott Thor­sonon on Larry King Live that aired on August 12, 2002:

Thor­son: Well, he brought the sur­geons in. I picked him up in my Rolls-Royce. I drove. They were in Las Vegas. I picked him up and brought him to a Las Vegas man­sion on Shirley Street. And Lee was intro­duced to the doc­tor and he says, “I want you to come with me.” And Lee walked him through — went into the — you know, into the bed­room and said — there was a pic­ture of Lib­er­ace. Oh, I guess he was prob­a­bly in his 30s, Larry. He says, “I want you to cre­ate Scott to look like me when he was younger; so he looks like my son.” He wanted me as his son. But at the same time, he wanted me as his lover.

The romance ended due to the pianist’s sex­ual promis­cu­ity and Thorson’s drug addic­tion, which led him to con­tract Hepati­tis C. In 1982, Thor­son filed a $113 mil­lion law­suit against Lib­er­ace, with the pal­imony suit being the more famous part. But in 1986, the pair report­edly set­tled out of court for $95,000, two cars, and two pet dogs.

Scott rec­on­ciled with Lib­er­ace on his death bed, and a year later pub­lished the book Behind the Can­de­labra: My Life With Lib­er­ace on which the film is based.

Watch below a short clip of Liberace’s Entrance to a las vegas show, fea­tur­ing all the glam­our and glit­ter only Lee Him­self could pull off.… Frea­tur­ing Scott Thor­son as the lim­ou­sine Driver.

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Art Spiegelman on the Birth of Garbage Pail Kids

These images come from Garbage Pail Kids, by the Topps Com­pany, a col­lec­tion of the first five series of the pop­u­lar par­ody cards. The text is excerpted from the intro­duc­tion by Pulitzer-winning car­toon­ist Art Spiegel­man, who worked on GPKs, as well as many other projects, in his 20 years work­ing for Topps.
I don’t think I even remem­bered that we had already done a Cab­bage Patch Kids par­ody called “Garbage Pail Kids” as part of an upcom­ing Wacky Pack­ages series, although Mark New­gar­den, who had been respon­si­ble for writ­ing and draw­ing a rough for it, brought out John Pound’s ren­der­ing. We took one sketch: a kid lit­er­ally going nuclear, with a mush­room cloud com­ing out of his head. It even­tu­ally became Adam Bomb (No. 8a). We knew from expe­ri­ence that if we could find two exam­ples, we could find 200. But if we could only come up with one, we were in trouble.
Maybe it was No. 29a, the skele­tal Bony Joanie, or maybe the kid climb­ing out of the toi­let bowl (potty humor, short of depict­ing actual turds, was a nat­ural) that became the sec­ond pro­to­type. One way or another, we stum­bled to the start­ing line and were on to some­thing that we could turn into a series.

Through­out, Len was the friendly voice of rea­son, say­ing, “No, you can’t show a tam­pon!” After a while we started to get punchy. We’d go into a trance try­ing to fig­ure out, say, what we could do with some poor kid’s ears that would be graph­i­cally com­pelling. Or how the kid would react to being stabbed. We’d have these ses­sions in which we would all sit around this tiny imitation-wood table in a small room with junk all around it, com­ing up with jokes about some­body crawl­ing out of a toi­let look­ing like he just ate something.

We all worked anony­mously, since Topps didn’t want the work pub­licly cred­ited, pre­sum­ably so we could eas­ily be replaced by other hands. I was annoyed at the time, but my book pub­lisher, Pan­theon, was very relieved. The first vol­ume of Maus was being pre­pared for pub­li­ca­tion while the GPKs were near the height of their popularity.

In 1986 it was chal­leng­ing enough to get peo­ple to accept the idea of a seri­ous work about the Holo­caust in comic-book form with­out hav­ing to reveal that the artist also cre­ated those noto­ri­ous stick­ers for the pre­pu­bes­cent set. “Please keep it quiet,” my edi­tor insisted. “If this gets out, they’ll review your book and call it ‘Garbage Pail Jews!’

”Even­tu­ally, Garbage Pail Kids became as big a phe­nom­e­non as Cab­bage Patch Kids. Garbage Pail Kids offered some­thing that was not so benign and parent-friendly; rather, it pro­voked: “Oh, my god, what is that? Where did you get those? Your allowance is cut off! And you’re grounded!”
The dolls were pricey and had to appeal to adults. The stick­ers were avail­able for chump change and appealed to the inner beast in all kids. This was Topps, after all.

Izabela Kaczmarek-Szurek’s Extreme Knitting

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Izabela Kaczmarek-Szurek is a Polish-born graphic designer whose work ranges from poster art to illus­tra­tion to tex­tile design. How­ever, it’s her knit­ting illus­tra­tion (we think she may have invented this) project enti­tled ‘Extreme Knit­ting Cal­en­dar’ that has us mak­ing faces of awe.

She explains: ‘This cal­en­dar present an idea to knit­ting your favourite idol. This is my sub­jec­tive selec­tion of famous peo­ple. For these illus­tra­tions, I took 3rd place in the famous graphic com­pe­ti­tion “GRAFFEX”, orga­nized by pol­ish lifestyle mag­a­zine EXKLUSIV.’


Design for Dreaming, General Motors’ Futuristic High Camp

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Set at the 1956 Gen­eral Motors Motorama, this is one of the key Pop­u­luxe films of the 1950s, show­ing futur­is­tic dream cars and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.”

Design for Dream­ing (1956) is a musi­cal spon­sored film about a woman (played by dancer and chore­o­g­ra­pher Tad Tad­lock; real name “Thelma Tad­lock”) who dreams about a masked man (dancer and chore­o­g­ra­pher Marc Breaux) tak­ing her to the 1956 Gen­eral Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.” The entirety of the dia­logue is sung, though the actors do not move their lips to their char­ac­ters’ pre­re­corded voices.

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Design for Dream­ing has gained a small cult fol­low­ing, with some enjoy­ing it for its per­ceived camp value, and oth­ers enjoy­ing it for nos­tal­gic rea­sons. One promi­nent show­ing of the film was as a short fea­ture in a fifth-season episode of Mys­tery Sci­ence The­ater 3000 (MST3K).

The BBC doc­u­men­tary series Pandora’s Box by Adam Cur­tis made exten­sive use of clips from Design for Dream­ing, espe­cially in the title sequence. Some footage was also used in the music video for Peter Gabriel’s 1987 sin­gle “In Your Eyes”, Rush’s 1989 music video for “Super­con­duc­tor”, a 1989 com­mer­cial for the Nin­tendo Game Boy game Super Mario Land, a 1994 com­mer­cial for Power Mac­in­tosh, and in brief clips on an episode in the 2nd sea­son of Penn and Teller: Bull­shit. Clips were dis­played dur­ing Nine Inch Nails con­cert per­for­mances. Part of the film, with dia­logue, is played dur­ing the open­ing titles for The Hills Have Eyes. Some snip­pets (with­out dia­logue) are played in the video watched by Michael Dou­glas dur­ing his phys­i­cal in The Game and in the open­ing titles for The Step­ford Wives.


Hello Kitty Airlines!

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The Taipei-based air­line Eva Air is tak­ing adorable to the skies. Eva Air has had Hello Kitty-themed jets since 2005, but they debuted three new jets this win­ter (the first flight launched on Decem­ber 26, 2011, fly­ing from Taipei to Tokyo) in cel­e­bra­tion of the airline’s 20th anniversary.

The three jets in the lat­est fleet, all A330s, each have a them: apple, magic and global. Not exactly self explanatory.

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Along with the paint jobs, there are over 100 in-flight ser­vice items pas­sen­gers get when tak­ing a Hello Kitty jet. At check-in, pas­sen­gers get Hello Kitty board­ing passes and bag stick­ers. There are also head­rest cov­ers, uten­sils, snack, hand soap and lotion all in accor­dance with the theme. Did we men­tion the flight atten­dants? They all wear Hello Kitty aprons and insignia. The air­line also boasts an entire Chinese-language Hello Kitty web­site for extreme fans.

Even the food is in the shape of the fuck­ing Kitty. You’ll be puk­ing pink after try­ing the Happy Meal.

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The Incredible Chesty Morgan

One thing we like at ‘The Remains’ is a good pair of Juggs. And no one deliv­ered more in that field than Chesty Mor­gan. A tiny (around 4 foot 8inches) but sur­pris­ingly attrac­tive woman, for many she rep­re­sents the epit­ome of the big-tit pinup queen.

Chesty didn’t have it easy in life. Born around 1928 in Poland, as Lil­lian Wilczkowsky (now Lil­lian Stello), los­ing both her par­ents when she was a child in the Nazi inva­sion in 1939. Mor­gan mar­ried an Amer­i­can and moved to the United States in the 1960s; her hus­band was later killed in a robbery.The police told her that armed rob­bers herded her hus­band and two employ­ees into a refrig­er­a­tor and shot and stabbed them to death. Tabloids call the crime “the ice­box murders.”She began her career as an exotic dancer in the early 1970s.

Her billing title boasted that she had “The World’s Largest Nat­u­rally Occur­ring Bosom”. At one point, she had a poster enti­tled “The Spirit of 76 (Inches)” She was immensely pop­u­lar on the striptease cir­cuit in the 60’s, known for her 73-inch bust size. How­ever, at some point, she came to the atten­tion of the incred­i­bly film­maker, Doris Wish­man. And in 1973, Doris cast Chesty in the role of Krys­tal in the film Deadly Weapons. This was fol­lowed in 1974 with Dou­ble Agent 73.


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Deadly Weapons (1973) and Dou­ble Agent 73 (1974) — are among Wishman’s best-known and most out­ra­geous work. The two films have become cult movies, due to their highly uncon­ven­tional plots, which were writ­ten by Wishman’s niece, Judy J. Kush­ner. In Dou­ble Agent 73, for exam­ple, Mor­gan plays a secret agent who has both a cam­era and a bomb installed in her breasts. Such a thing might not seem wholly out of place in a com­edy, but these films are played straight — the tone is more seri­ous than a James Bond movie.

Wishman’s films are filled with con­tra­dic­tions, par­tic­u­larly about sex. Rather than erotic, many of her movies could actu­ally be described as anti-sexual. In 1976 Fed­erico Fellini is in New York to pro­mote his lat­est movie, Amar­cord, and catches a glimpse of Chesty. He invites her to be in his upcom­ing film, Fellini’s Casanova.

She dyes her hair black and flies to Rome. Casanova, played by Don­ald Suther­land, chases Bar­ba­rina, played by Chesty, around and around a table. Fellini cuts her part from the film, but her scene remains in a doc­u­men­tary that still cir­cu­lates on the Internet.

Ms Morgan’s film career began again in the 1990’s. In 1994, film­maker John Waters used footage of Chesty from the film Dou­ble Agent 73 in his 1994 film Ser­ial Mom. Addi­tion­ally, Waters wrote a role for her in his (never made) sequel to Pink Flamin­gos (Flamin­gos Forever).

You can watch here a com­pi­la­tion of clips of Miss Chesty in all her Glory. Loves to Chesty.


Is Bad Art For Bad People ?: The Chapman Brothers

Aristotle’s propo­si­tion that art must be moral and edu­ca­tional; non-beautiful art can be both these things. When we say that art has an edu­ca­tional qual­ity about it, we mean that it con­tains some knowl­edge. That is, a true work of art has the capa­bil­ity of teach­ing us some­thing. Dis­turb­ing or dis­gust­ing art can con­tain a great deal of knowledge.

The Chap­man Broth­ers look at the his­tory of shock­ing art and try to find the most shock­ing piece of art ever, and also to find out what artists who cre­ate such works think of other artists who cre­ate shock­ing works of art.


Seapunk

There’s a new sub genre emerg­ing from the remains of Grunge-punk, which goes by the name “Sea­punk”. It is hard to say where exactly it came from as it started on the Inter­net; but the clues seem to trace back to a DJ named Lil Inter­ent in Brook­lyn, NYC… most street fash­ion does trace back to NYC so I would say it’s a safe bet (Seat­tle may have given birth to grunge-punk but New York made it cool).

Now you’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing what in hell is Sea­punk exactly and how is it dif­fer­ent from nor­mal punk. Well (and I am not jok­ing, I did men­tion this was a sub genre; like MICRO sub) it is quite lit­er­ally punk with a nau­ti­cal theme.Started online last year by a tiny sect of social media geeks, sea­punk gath­ered momen­tum as it echoed on Twit­ter, Face­book and espe­cially Tum­blr. It has occa­sion­ally sur­faced, in the real world, with seapunk-themed par­ties and bands, but the real joy remains in tag­ging and shar­ing the trippy nau­ti­cal images.

That’s right, so think the Japan­ese Kawaii mixed up with the bad ass, shock of punk.

The sur­pris­ing thing is that it really was cohe­sive,” Lil Inter­net said by iChat; he declines to use his legal name, say­ing he is now known solely by his Twit­ter han­dle. He also described seapunk’s vibe as “Venice Beach Acid Rave 1995,” and cited surf-wear logos, yin-yang sym­bols and round holo­graphic sun­glasses as part of its look.

Sea­punk has also given rise to a tiny music sub-genre, although the “punk” ele­ment would not be rec­og­nized by Joey Ramone. The spacey elec­tronic dance music bor­rows from Witch House, Chip­tune, Drum & Bass and south­ern rap. Some tracks remix songs from R&B acts like Bey­oncé and Aaliyah.

Musi­cally, artists like  Zombelle and Grimes and Coral Records Inter­nazionale. If you go on the Zombell face­book page (which is where my link leads) you can get a free stream to their album, which is actu­ally pretty rad.Embrace your inner mer­maid and see where the cur­rent takes you – why not turn that fish­ing net you got for your 14th birth­day into a sea-worthy dress? New Age fairs are great places to plun­der for booty – I mean, crystal/seashell jew­ellery – and your lit­tle sister’s dolphin-print pil­low­case would make a great pair of sea­punk shorts! If you’re REALLY keen, you can always take a trip to the beach and embrace nature’s bounty – just don’t be sur­prised if you get com­plaints about the smell com­ing off your new sea­weed dreads…