Depending on one's point of view,
Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works.
You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube
, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 26, 2014 -
In 1968, Agnès Varda was living in Los Angeles with her husband, director Jacques Demy, who was there to begin filming his first Hollywood film, Model Shop (1969).
Although initially hesitant about living in the United States, the couple quickly became caught up in the wave of dissent sweeping the country in the late 1960s. Indeed, amid the finger pointing in France about the perceived failure of the events of May ’68 to bring about revolution, many members of the French intelligentsia looked across the Atlantic for alternative models for political change. Varda became part of a growing contingent of French artists and intellectuals, including sociologists Edgar Morin and Jean-François Revel, and writer Jean Genet, who were attracted to the ways in which cultural revolt, social criticism and political contestation were intertwined in the United States. These French thinkers were attracted to the expansiveness and creativity of the American counterculture as opposed to the political deadlock that many believed was the undoing of the events surrounding May ’68. A revolt against American hegemony was taking place within the United States itself, and many leftist French thinkers were enthralled. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Jul 13, 2014 -
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture
and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May
(1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler
(1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Jul 4, 2014 -
Hundreds of newsreel and publicity films from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s -- the golden era of instructional, scientific, government, and industry films -- are now available on YouTube via users like Ella's Archive
(focusing on transport and technology), Val73TV4
(British Council portraits of English towns & more), NuclearVault
(war and diplomacy) and others.
How about starting with The Big Delivery Wagon
(1951) a Heinz-sponsored spot about nationwide food distribution? Or Native Foods: Commandments For Health
(1945), a U.S. Navy animated training film featuring Private McGillicuddy, who neither likes Vienna sausage nor seems to know that local foods are full of "poison more treacherous than a Jap warlord." Maybe Choosing For Happiness
(1950) has some choice dating tips for even today's women? Or show your kid Defense Against Invasion
(1943) in which a doctor explains to a fearful child exactly why he ought to get immunized.
posted by spamandkimchi
on Feb 15, 2014 -
About fifty years ago, the governor of Indiana received a letter complaining about obscenity in the lyrics of a rock'n'roll song, and passed that letter on to the FBI. For the following two years, FBI agents examined potential lyrics of the song (which were incomprehensible on the recording, partly due to the singer's braces) to find grounds for an obscenity prosecution. They ultimately failed, but produced a 140-page report, listing numerous possible obscene readings of what the lyrics could be, and in doing so, turned Louie Louie by The Kingsmen from a footnote into a bona fide rock'n'roll rebel anthem
. [more inside]
posted by acb
on Jan 23, 2014 -
What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 16, 2013 -
TV's longest-running World War II drama, Combat!
aired on ABC between 1962 and 1967. "It was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow [US Army King Company's travails during the invasion of France, starting with the landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. It's] a gritty, ground-eye view of infantrymen trying to salvage their humanity and survive." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 2, 2013 -
The Seeburg 1000
was a phonograph designed and built by the Seeburg Corporation to play background music in offices, restaurants, retail businesses, factories and similar locations, cycling through a stack of non-standard 16-2/3 RPM vinyl records provided by Seeburg in one of three different libraries of music: Basic, Mood and Industrial*.
And now, it has its own Internet Radio Station!
*in the 1960s, that meant "medium-fast tempo music of a lively nature, to induce workers to be more productive."
posted by oneswellfoop
on Nov 7, 2013 -
Painters on Painting
- 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive
on Sep 2, 2013 -
For years, there have been rumors among car people about a bunch of unbelievably low-mileage 50's and 60's cars in a barn or warehouse in the upper Midwest. It's true
, and they'll be auctioned off this fall. Not Safe for people with a propensity to drool over old metal. [more inside]
posted by pjern
on Jun 30, 2013 -
Forgotten 1960s 'Thunderbirds' projects brought to life.
The "Multi-Unit Space Transport and Recovery Device" (MUSTARD), the "Jumping Jeep", and the "Intercity Vertical-Lift Aircraft". "British arms company BAE has recently been through its archives and publicised some of the projects dreamed up in the glory days of the 1960s, when designers' imaginations were allowed to run riot with little consideration of practicality or budget." From The Economist magazine,
which has period sketches of the designs.
posted by alasdair
on Jun 22, 2013 -
"In 1961, Phyllis Richman applied to graduate school at Harvard. She received a letter asking how she would balance a career in city planning with her 'responsibilities' to her husband and possible future family. Fifty-two years later, she responds
." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri
on Jun 8, 2013 -
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey
on Jan 4, 2013 -
From 1967-1968, Dr. Bill Podlich took a leave of absence from Arizona State University to join UNESCO, teaching in the Higher Teachers College of Kabul, Afghanistan. He took many photographs
posted by ChuraChura
on Sep 19, 2012 -
"The Big Train"
and other classic 1950s and 60s publicity reels from the New York Central Railroad. Lots of footage of trains, railroad infrastructure, well-dressed office minions, teletypes, punchcard machines, men in white lab coats, bubbling beakers, and even an "atomic signal light." [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048
on Jun 19, 2012 -
When Captain America
throws his mighty shield, all those who chose to oppose his shield must yield. Doc Bruce Banner, pelted by gamma rays, turns into The Hulk
; ain't he unglamorous? Tony Stark
makes you feel; he's a cool exec with a heart of steel. Cross the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard, where the booming heavens roar, you'll behold in breathless wonder the god of Thunder, mighty Thor
. Stronger than a whale, he
can swim anywhere; he can breathe underwater and go flying through the air. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on May 17, 2012 -
What you see here is a prime example of what happens to film that is neglected and improperly stored.
This is an original reel from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that is now untouchable. The film has turned acidic, sporting the strongest and most foul vinegar-like odor I have ever smelled. In fact,
Robert Harris told me a story of how his contact lenses were singed by the fumes the film produced, causing temporary retinal damage to his eye. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Apr 27, 2012 -
Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune
- excellent 90-minute documentary of the trenchant folk performer who chronicled civil rights, politics, and the Viet Nam War until death by his own hand in 1976. Although he never achieved widespread popular acclaim, many found him to be the true voice of his generation - with themes that are sadly still relevant today. Just a musical taste to whet your appetite: Love Me, I'm a Liberal
. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive
on Feb 26, 2012 -
In 1962, the Mansfield (Ohio) Police Department stationed officers armed with a movie camera behind a two-way mirror in a public restroom known for its "cruisy" atmosphere. With the help of the footage shot, dozens of men were arrested, prosecuted, and convicted on sodomy
charges, which at the time carried mandatory minimum sentences of a year in prison. In 2007, the original surveillance footage was obtained by filmmaker William
. He's screened the unedited 56 minute film as Tearoom
at festivals and museums the world over, providing a clandestine look at the scrutiny small-town Midwestern gay men faced in the 1960's. [warning
material lies beyond most links] [more inside]
posted by item
on Feb 9, 2012 -