Thursday, November 27, 2014

An open love letter to ROCTOBER magazine


An open love letter to Roctober editor Jake Austen:

 
Hi Jake.

Y’know, it’s too easy for me to say what I’ve been saying for more than 20 years – that Roctober is possibly the best zine ever published – so I won’t this time. Rather, I’ll say that Roctober is an institution and essential for the preservation of “outsider”/obscure art, not just in America but around the world.
On a personal level, the zine – and, really, it’s a MAGAZINE, not a zine – has been a spirit guide for me during the past two decades, exposing me to the bizarre greatness of a wide range of performers including Sammy Davis Jr, Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Jobriath, Andre Williams, The Monks, Ernie Kovacs, Atom & His Package, Neil Hamburger and so many more.
If you want to sum up what Roctober is about, then #50 does it with both Jonathan Poletti’s very personal, slightly off-key investigative piece on the rise and fall of glam rocker Jobriath, followed by a feature on only-in-the-80s creation New Monkees and an interview with its drummer Dino Kovas. Considering I didn’t even know there WAS a New Monkees, this article was nothing short of a revelation.
As for #51, it’s the “Comedy and novelty records issue”, which again demonstrates what Roctober does best. While Tom Lehrer is a glaring omission, it’s still an extensive look at this oddball sub-genre of records.
Who knew I’d be sucked into reading features on obscure performers like “The Funky Tramp” Jimmy Lynch, a comedian who gained some notoriety for being the first artist to use “motherfucker” on a recording. Plus dancer Mr Lee and James Wesley Jackson. Country singer and rassler Sweet Daddy Siki, plus a review of Jimmy Walker’s autobiography, Dyn-O-Mite! Ood Times, Bad Times, which almost made me want to buy it.
And then Poletti resurfaces with a deeply subjective, extensively researched, ultimately flawed bio on the first sex-change patient Christine Jorgensen
Speaking of Poletti, his review on the new doco, Jobriath A.D., is deliciously bitchy. It’s as if he’s saying, “How dare someone produce a documentary on MY Jobriath – and come to a completely different conclusion than I did?” Hysterical. Jake, you summed up Mr Poletti perfectly when you wrote that he tells us more about himself than his subjects in his novella-length articles.
But I think what I love most about Roctober – beyond its quirky subject matter and sheer enthusiasm for those oft-overlooked, hidden gems in the world of entertainment – is that each issue leads me to expand my musical horizons.
My kids love wild music – eefing, punk, Wall of Voodoo – and I can’t wait to show them copies of Roctober when they’re older to fill their heads with more wonderful musical craziness and inspire them to explore their musical boundaries.
For all this I say, THANKS, JAKE. May Roctober continue to fascinate, educate and inspire me for another 50 issues.

Love,
Dann


Roctober #50, #51 (2012-13)
Roctober, 1507 E. 53rd St #617, Chicago, IL, 60615, USA; www.facebook.com/RoctoberMagazine [US$5, 148-152 x A4 pages, reading time: 2+ hours each]

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Up! (1976)



 Raven de la Croix
I’VE seen a few Russ Meyer films and while I liked the maverick director’s 60s style - the over-the-top macho-sexist bullshit of MOTOR PSYCHO and the tough-gal violence in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! – I think he’d lost the plot by the 70s. His final REAL film, 1979’s Beneath The Valley Of The Supervixens, is confusing but at least it’s funny. The same can’t be said for 1976’s Up!
It’s a total mess, held tentatively together by the “narration” by a naked Kitten Natividad (the clear highlight of the movie), but it’s the rampant misogyny that bothers me. I know the film is set in some fantasy macho version of rural America that only existed in Meyer’s head, but the way every woman is depicted as a slut and every man an animal driven solely by his dick gets real old, real soon.
Russ’s dismissive attitude to rape was reveal as far back as 1965's Motor Psycho. But in Up! there are THREE rapes and they’re all treated like nothing out of the ordinary. Margot (Raven de la Croix) is raped twice, the second time by a hulking lumberjack in a crowded bar and it’s treated as comedy. Both times, it’s understood in the narrative that Margot led the man on and it’s HER FAULT. Hell, during the second assault, the other bar patrons hold her down. Meyer himself makes a cameo appearance, slapping the attacker on the bum as he urges him on, then apologising to the lumberjack when he accidentally knocks him off the table mid-thrust.
Maybe this is what passed for humour in sexploitation back in the 70s. Or maybe Meyer was a woman-hating fuckwit. Either way, it doesn’t make for pleasant viewing.
But Up! is unpleasant on all sorts of levels. It’s BAAAAD – badly written, badly acted, badly filmed, badly edited. And because Meyer was losing the war against hard-core porn, he compensates by…ahem, upping the perversion stakes. The opening scenes feature an old guy, who we’re supposed to think is Adolf Hitler, as he’s whipped and humiliated by several women, then butt-fucked by a guy before sucking him off. It’s not really played for comedy. I can only imagine how uncomfortable hetero wankers felt watching these scenes in the cinema.
Meyer’s movies were always much more than just soft-core titty films. There are deeper sub-texts going on.
That said, I don’t think they’re particularly profound, underground, radical or maverick as some fans believe them to be.
And in the case of Up!, it’s just a load of shit.
Janet Wood

AND HERE IS MY ORIGINAL, MORE BENIGN REVIEW OF "UP!", PUBLISHED IN PEOPLE MAGAZINE A FEW WEEKS AGO:
 
If these big boozzies can’t get you up,
then you may already be dead!
YOU could never accuse legendary soft-core porno writer/producer/director Russ Meyer of being a big plot man. He was more what you’d call a BIG TIT MAN.
The ex-WW2 GI made a fortune in the 60s and 70s making dumb-as-fuck sex comedies that lacked coherent storylines but made up for it in giant-hootered babes.
While Meyer fans tend to focus on his better efforts like Supervixen (1975) and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), we’re gonna direct our goggle-eyed attention on the brain-meltingly stupid Up!
Basically, it’s a murder mystery surrounding the bizarre death of an Adolf Hitler look-alike in a Californian castle.
But it’s really just an excuse for top-heavy strippers like Raven De La Croix, Candy Samples and Foxy Lae to run around in public with their bosoms bouncing majestically in the breeze.
Confused viewers have to rely on Russ’s girlfriend, Kitten Natividad, who appears every few minutes as a naked narrator to explain what the hell is going on.
It’s as if good ol’ Russ is giving a wink to the audience as if to say, “Yeah, I know this is a load of crap. But check out the massive boobs on these dames!”

Up! (1976)
Starring: Kitten Natividad, Raven De La Croix
Directed by: Russ Meyer
Country: USA
What’s the guts? Nazi fugitives, murder, bare bosoms and…um, we’re not really sure. It’s pretty bloody confusing, to be honest. But hey! TITS!

Kitten Natividad

Monday, September 01, 2014

REVIEW: "You, Baby" by Ike Reiko (Bamboo Records)


OR IS it You, Baby by Reiko Ike? Either way, this is one of the strangest, most embarrassing, yet compelling CDs I’ve ever heard. And I can ONLY ever listen to it at work or on my iPod while wearing headphones – it’s about as pornographic as music gets (so eat shit you wannabe gangsta rappers – you ain’t got nothing on Ms Ike) and should NEVER be played in polite company (or in public at all).

I’ve never watched “pink films” – the action pornos produced in Japan during the 1970s – but Reiko was apparently a huge star in them. She was only 17 – and already the lead actor in flicks with titles such as The Insatiable and Queen Bee Strikes Again – when she recorded this album in 1971.

All I can say after hearing this highly charged mix of Japanese lounge, cool jazz-rock and orgasmic groaning is that I really, really, really would have liked to have met Reiko, possibly had a few drinks with her, then taken her back to my lava-lamplit groovy pad for some solid bonking.

Come to think of it, this a near-perfect album for lovemaking, although Reiki’s vocal antics can be so off-putting that maintaining an erection would probably be difficult. At times her sexual growls sound more like a baby badger crying or possibly a whale calling to the rest of its pod.

The rest of her orgasmic squeals and moans make Jane Birkin’s antics with Serge Gainsbourg on 1969’s Je t'aime...moi non plus seem positively church hymn-like in comparison.

To fully appreciate the insane greatness of Reiko, check out the first track on the album on YouTube. Type in “Ike Reiko - Kokotsu No Sekai 1971“.

 
 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

REVIEW: Unbelievably Bad #13



Unbelievably Bad #13: I’m glad I read this comprehensive Hard-Ons tribute after seeing the Aussie legends' two most recent gigs, as they gave me a much greater appreciation of the band and where they’re coming from. This high-quality mag is packed with interviews with all current band members (and ex-member Keish), along with collaborators like Neil Hamburger and Jerry A. Plus there are oodles of flyers, record covers and photos, supplied by fans of the band from all over the place. And then there’s the flexi-disc: a new track called Darth Vader Pretends. Wow! This labour of love by Matt, Glenno and friends is a must-buy for any fans of the Hard-Ons or Aussie underground music in general. It’s that fucking good. And yeah, waaaaaay better than UB #12. Good to see Reekie back in top form.

Unbelievably Bad, c/- Von Helle, 9 Ross Street, Dulwich Hill, NSW, 2203, AUSTRALIA; unbelievablybad@optusnet.com.au; http://unbelievablybadmag.com/ [AUD$13 or e-mail for details if from overseas, 68 x A4, 60+ minutes]

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

REVIEWS: Conspiritus Muppetus and Kamuke #7



 
Conspiritus Muppetus: The fact I love this gorgeously produced art book has nothing to do with the fact that Glenno is a friend. Or that the launch was held in the Young Henry’s brewery in Newtown, where I proceeded to get hammered on delicious boutique beer. No, this book rocks my socks for all sorts of aesthetic reasons. Glenno – one of the premier underground artists in this country – has written short essays on various aspects of conspiracy theories and married them to painfully detailed B&W illustrations that pervert the relative innocence of The Muppets. So you see Sesame Street’s The Count reimagined as Vlad The Impaler, laughing uproariously as he counts the spiked victims in his kingdom. Or Gonzo performing satanic ritual abuse. Or Pigs In Space reborn as Scientology. It’s so very wrong and so very beautiful. Conspirtus Muppetus is a flipbook, the other half containing a portfolio of Glenno’s posters that will inspire and disturb you, possibly at the same time. Support this genius artist by buying this book. You’ll never look at Grover the same way again.
Glenno; retardmetal@hotmail.com; www.glennoart.com [email for price, 76 x A4 pages, reading time: 30 minutes]


 


Kamuke #7: This zine on ukulele culture falls into an unusual zone: too “inside” to capture the interest of casual readers, yet too light in content to appeal to hardcore fans of the popular musical instrument. I wish editor Cameron Murray went balls to the wall and did in-depth interviews with Janet Klein, Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee (instead of the short chats seen in this ish). And the features on Tiny Tim and the George Formby Society could have really gone somewhere if given more than a few pages to breathe. If you’re aiming for hardcore uke fans, then go hard. That said, this mag is beautifully produced by a guy who knows his ukes.
Cameron Murray; editor@kamuke.com; www.kamuke.com [email for price, 36 x A5 pages, reading time: 20 minutes]

Friday, June 27, 2014

EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY HARSH ZINE REVIEW: Unbelievably Bad #12




Unbelievably Bad #12: The problem with pumping out a few quick issues of a magazine of the magnitude of UB is that inevitably there's gonna be the dreaded throwaway issue that lacks a bit of substance. To me, #12 is THAT throwaway ish - it's not bad, but was it necessary? Especially with #13 just around the corner. The problem for me is that this ish is overloaded with interviews with a bunch of local heavy metal/hardcore bands that left me cold as I'm not into the scene. Plus there's another instalment of the never-ending interview with gore film director Herschell Gordon Lewis which, to use an MMA reference, had me tapping out years ago. Of course, there ARE highlights in #12 including a round-up of quotable quotes from Charlie Manson acolyte Bobby BeauSoleil, an indepth look at one man's controversial attempt to do a GG Allin tribute band show in Melbourne (pretty funny, actually), and a Favourite Freaks feature on one-armed MMA tough guy Nick Newell. Any average issue of Unbelievably Bad is streets ahead of most other publications, but I look forward to UB hitting better form next time around.
Unbelievably Bad, c/- Von Helle, 9 Ross Street, Dulwich Hill, NSW, 2203, AUSTRALIA unbelievablybad@optusnet.com.au [AUD$8 or e-mail for details if from overseas, 68 x A4, 40+ minutes]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Football Metaphysics: World Cup 2014 book - BUY IT!


Kate Upton- Cat Daddy *ORIGINAL*


Kate Upton ...has nice boobies



 


Here's a blatant attempt to up the hit count on my blog. Let's see if it works. :)
Please comment if and why you like Kate's breasts. :)