Halloween season, time to summon up all that is ghoulish and macabre and tooth-decaying. In keeping with that theme, I hope you will enjoy our seasonal selection of spookiness. To start things off: winsome 1980s witch Morgan Fairchild bids you trick or treat.
I think I have a fetish for obsolete technology. As an artist, my job description has not changed much in the last 500 years, apart from a slightly different client list. I drive an 80-year-old car, and I'm building another one. I have a new car, too; it's only 43 years old. I spend stupid money on old wristwatches that aren't as accurate as a cheap Swatch watch. I have a room full of vinyl LPs that I've been collecting since I was 13 or so. If it's old, rare, and hard to find replacement parts for, I probably own one. Or several.
Then there's Polaroid cameras. Now considered obsolete in the digital age, I didn't even get interested in them again until Polaroid announced they were no longer manufacturing film for their cameras. Luckily, Fujifilm still makes the pack-style instant film, for now at least.
I already had a Polaroid Pro Pack with flash in the closet, purchased about 12 years ago, mainly to take period-correct photos of my old cars. After I started spending more time shooting photos again, I found the Pro Pack, and started bringing it along whenever I was going to do a shoot.
I fell in love with this obsolete technology all over again. The photos just have something about them, an instant nostalgia, that is incredibly compelling to me.
Using this big clunky old camera creates an interesting relationship with the subject, too. It makes the whole thing seem more official somehow.
Shooting naked and mostly-naked girls with this old camera makes the resulting photos somehow more dirty, like a secret stash found in an uncle's sock drawer.
After I scan every photo, I put them in an old cigar box. Eventually the box will be full. At that point, I will put it in a closet somewhere in the house and forget about it.
Time for you uncivilized dirtbags to culture your sorry asses! That's why I'm proud to introduce Bolus's newest contributor, Professor Jonathan, as your guide to highbrow enlightenment. A native of Chicago, former steamship stowaway, rock journalist, poet, and hippie bon vivant, PJ now resides in Paris where he teaches university English and haunts the cafes of Montparnasse. He'll be dropping in occasionally with free lessons on the finer points of culture -- like today's topic, the surprising link between avant-garde French composers and pole dancing.
Thanks, Jonathan! and remember, "absinthe you, in all the old familiar places..."
The following series of apparently pointless
digressions was inspired by a track that randomly popped up on my cheap-ass
Chinese iPod clone over a cup of four-buck espresso at one of our favorite
(Burge and yours truly) Montparnasse bars, the good old fucked-up Café
Other Montparnasse landmarks like the tonier Closerie des
a big deal about having had the whole starving-but-later-famous artist and
writer crowd as patrons (mainly because back then, the plonk was dirt cheap and
the joint well-heated in winter), but the Select's attitude always was and still
is basically not to give a shit for anything but the bottom-line: Jesus
himself could have been a regular, and the only thing the owners of the Select
would have said about The Dude was that he was bad for business: "The
fucker was always changing water into wine, so we finally 86'd
That said, I'm going to have to go back nearly one
hundred years to give some context to a story that no one here is going to give
a rat's ass about anyway. Some of you might be a bit interested in the
visuals, but that's your affair: during what must have been a particularly nasty
bender, Burge invited me to contribute here, so like it or not, gentle readers,
suck it up.
So where were we...ah yes: it's the ass-end of
a hot August afternoon in 1919, and a little goateed man in a worn-out dark
velvet suit is making his way back on foot to a shabby room in the working-class
suburb of Arcueil- some three or four miles outside of Paris and still a lively,
attraction-filled place to this very day.
As he paused in
the twilight at the intersection of the Boulevards Port Royal and
Montparnasse, a trolley
past the empty tables in front of another favorite Burge & Prof.
the above-mentioned Closerie des Lilas.
But on this particular
evening, there's nary a Man Ray, a Hemingway, a Debussy or a Jean Cocteau in
sight. August in Paris was for the poor, the friendless and the unconnected:
people like our little man. Everyone else had fled the city for cool and leafy
retreats at the seaside or in the country.
As the trolly continued
up the line, the little man crossed the boulevard and began walking south on
Avenue Denfert-Rochereau - almost precisely perpendicular to the spot in the sky
from which Man Ray would later suspend the magnificent crimson lips of his
former model and lover, Lee Miller in his Surrealist masterpiece,
that's practically the end of the story. It's a French story, so there's
no happy ending. Anyway, a few years later, the little man
would expire from a multitude of health problems - the cumulative
effects of neglect and poverty. One notable fact concerning his demise: at the
last minute, he was saved from a solitary and anonymous death in a run-down
hotel by the intervention of a wealthy patron of the arts, the Viscountess
Marie-Laure de Noailles, who had him transfered to a Parisian
remained nearly forgotten for decades after, only to be rediscovered in the
1960s - around the time I myself first heard Gymnopedie No. 1, which
many consider to be the most perfect composition for piano ever written:
Hey, where did everybody go?
I guess the secret of presenting high
culture to a bunch of hooch, hooptie and hooter-loving um....gentlemen....such
as yourselves is to present it in a more palatable form. Fortunately for
the readers of Bolus, another inspired Satie aficionado had the brilliant idea
(he really must have had youse guys in mind) of pairing Satie's composition with
Kate Moss.... doing a pole dance.
Ah, I sense the
interest-level rising, so without any further obfuscation on my
that's the end of my story, dear readers - presuming that anyone is still
actually reading this interminable nonsense. And all because of the
musical genius of an eccentric creator, perhaps not unlike some of Bolus' own
contributors, whose mp3 file (not yours, Satie's) popped up unexpectedly
this afternoon. Anyway, what else would you expect from Professor
Jonathan? Surely not some obscure but sublime track from Goats Head Soup,
Though Robert Siodmak's 1946 version of Ernest Hemingway'sThe Killers is superior, I love Don Siegel's 1964 TheKillers. I love the cars, the Cassavetes, the Clu Gulager (oh, how I love him in this movie), the cool Lee (that's the endlessly cool Lee Marvin), the cruel Reagan (as in future president Ronald, and a man with a great head of hair), the kind Claude Akins, the cretinous Norman Fell (as in future "fairy" teasing landlord Mr. Roper) and the comely, comely Angie Dickinson.
Having just watched the picture on the big screen (and meeting the charming Miss Dickinson) while presenting at the Palm Springs Noir Festival, I'm still thinking about Siegel's fast moving auto-erotic slap fest. And Angie gets slapped -- a lot. But according to her, Reagan would forever apologize for the smack -- he was a nice guy. That being said, he sure knows how to lay one on her. And is it just me or is it kind of hot that JFK slept with Angie while RWR slapped her? Maybe it's just me.
From there we do a short photo-op at the Broken Spoke, the venerable Austin cowboy honky tonk and home of the world's greatest chicken fried steak.
Then back to the Expo center to catch Day 2 of the Lonestar Round Up car show, and the joint is packed to the gills. Plenty of good stuff right at the gate, including a display of vintage drag strip warriors from the Texas Timing Association, who indulge the crowd by occasionally firing up the old nitro cacklers. Nearby is a row of kickass customs including Mercury Charlie's Nadine and an array of Gary Howard customs, including the '54 Ford and '62 Coupe de Ville he built for Jimmy Vaughn.
Jimmy is there, along with Billy Gibbons who has brought along his Rudy Rodriguez built roadster. Here it is, facing off against Von Franco's "Lightning Bug" T-roadster.
After that, a blur of nice machinery. Plowboy's Atomic Punk and Lunar Lander:
A ('52?) Mercury M-1 pickup custom (yes, Ford sold trucks in Canada under the Mercury name from '46 to '68)
Panel-laced '55 Chevy custom painted at West Coast Choppers:
Satin crayon box:
Contrast in eras -- '60s, '30s, '50s.
Nice bass boat sparkle.
The farmer in me dug this little One Shot decoration.
On the way out we run into our friend Reggie Hill and his family. A former UT football player turned tech industry exec, Reggie is a member of the Kontinentals Car Club who throw this little shindig. On the side he works on his incredible stable of traditional style Ford hot rods, and cooks the best homemade BBQ you'll ever taste. If that weren't cool enough, Reggie's sons Dax and Kerrington are nationally-ranked high school swimmers at Round Rock High and U.S. Olympic Team hopefuls. So now you know why they call this corner of Texas "Hill Country."
Front: Reggie's folks Mr. & Mrs. Don Hill of Taylor. Back: wife Marilyn, Reggie, Dax, Kerrington, and nephew Jamal.
Speaking of barbecue, on the way out of the show we buzz over to Donn's on Decker Lane for the brisket, as recommended by Bolus reader "Donnie Darko." Verdict: outstanding. Head back to the hotel to wash off the fairground dust, big doin's tonight.
En route to your local newsstand: Garage Magazine#17, adorned by the lovely personage of Dita Von Teese perched gracefully upon the ribbed fender of Jay Leno's Bugatti Atlantique. Inside you'll find a smorgasbord of automotive amusement, including a story that almost (literally) killed me: the bizarro lost Mexican treasure epic of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Orbitron. More on that below, after you have a few minutes to enjoy the cover.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the Orbitron story. Snag a copy and join me as I travel to Mexico to trace the Orbitron's 40-year lost journey from glory to ignominy to redemption; along the way find out how I escaped electrocution, evaded angry gun-toting sex shop clerks, got drunk at a drive-in whorehouse, broke my ancient family curse, and became El Sapo, the honorary Mexican outlaw biker toad. Also involved: Montezuma, Billy the Kid, Hells Angels, fightin' roosters, Pancho Villa, Black Jack Pershing, and intergalactic aliens. And all of it 99 and 44/100% true. A wee snippet of video:
Anyhoo, it's a pip. I'll be in Austin this weekend with the Garage Mag crew celebrating the issue wrap, and the fact that I lived to see it.