Welcome. Glad to see you here in our world of strange fascinations. What do we find so strangely fascinating? Well, a lot of things, really. To sum it up...we're predisposed to the paranormal, attracted to the anachronistic, responsive to retro, passionate about pop culture, captivated by kitsch, orgasmic over the odd. This is our warehouse. Stay as long as you like. Scrawl something on the wall (we'd really like that). Just don't open that door over there behind the life size cardboard cut-out of Agent Dale Cooper. Why? Never mind. Just don't. Unless, of course, you've always wanted to be the subject of a "weird news" headline.

Velkommen. Glad for at se Dem her i vores verden på en mærkelig hensyn. Hvad ser vi så mærkeligt Fascinerende? Godt, en masse ting, virkelig. Til sidst det up...we »ad været tilbøjelig til at se, tiltrukket af det utidssvarende, lydhør over for refleksanordninger, lidenskabeligt om POP kultur, påtage ved kitsch, orgasmic over mærkeligt. Det er vores lager. Ophold så længe man vil. Scrawl noget på væggen (vi fortsat virkelig gerne høre).

Yeah, she's definitely creepy with that unsettling gaze trained on the camera courtesy of those big, googly eyes, but from the moment we saw her pallid mug in the musty pages of "Wisconsin Death Trip", Michael Lesy's 1972 cult classic compendium of death, disease, disaster and degradation in 1890s Black River, Wisconsin, we knew that this nameless vixen of yore would forever have a stranglehold on what passes for our heart. And, of course, she's perfect for this dark and shamelessly skewed blog. If we had the time and the focus, we'd have T-shirts made that said "I suck the life out of Cheeseheads, Go Packers!" But, luckily, we have adult ADD and will never do it. Including her eerie little face in our blog is the best we can do. We just hope that our readers appreciate our creepy little friend as much as we do. In fact, we feel a poll coming on...

Oh, yeah....we have a theme song. Two, in fact. And a whole lot of back-up possibilities. (Videos are down below.)

Our Theme Song


Enhance Your Viewing Pleasure



How To Make A Pink Squirrel

How To Make A Pink Squirrel
Why wait? Get in the pink. Click on the rodent for the recipe for a classic Pink Squirrel cocktail..

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Strange Fascinations: Silent Film Star Scandals: The Sad Saga of Roscoe ...

Strange Fascinations: Silent Film Star Scandals: The Sad Saga of Roscoe ...: The inimitable Roscoe 'Fatty" Arbuckle You've probably heard of the big names. Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, et...

Silent Film Star Scandals: The Sad Saga of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle

The inimitable Roscoe 'Fatty" Arbuckle

You've probably heard of the big names of silent film. Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, et al. But the world of silent film was populated by many other leading men and ladies, comedians and comediennes who, in their time, were every bit as famous and popular as their more iconic counterparts. And none more so than Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, the avuncular star of such silent screen shorts as "The Iron Mule", "The Fighting Dude", and feature films like "Brewster's Millions" (remade in the 80s with Richard Pryor in the starring role) and "Out West", the film in which Arbunkle advised a character played by a young and unknown Bob Hope to "go west."
    Like many other luminaries on the Tinsel Town galaxy., the Kansas-born Arbuckle hailed from humble beginnings, but in Arbuckle's case, those humble beginnings were underscored by profound mistreatment at the hands of his father. Because Arbuckle was large from birth, a trait that set him apart from the rest of his family who were all on the slim side. Arbuckle's singular size troubled his father, who was convinced that Arbuckle was not his legitimate son and made a point of  not only treating him with disdain, but beating him at the slightest provocation. Despite this mistreatment, Arbuckle possessed enough confidence and self esteem to enter aan "audience-judged" talent contest, in which he sang and danced and did some clowning around. When he somersaulted into the orchestra pit to avoid a hook intended to drag him off the stage, the audience went wild and his fate was sealed. A few years later, he began his career as a professional comedian.
    From 1913 until 1921, Arbuckle (his friends never called him "Fatty"; it was just a stage name) enjoyed a status and prestige reserved for the upper echelon of the new Hollywood royalty, at one point commanding an annual salary of one million bucks, making him one of the highest paid stars in the film industry. Essentially a physical comedian, Arbuckle was surprisingly graceful for a man of such considerable girtht, allowing him to transcend mere "slapstick" and create his own specialized niche within the genre. That niche included a close friendship and working relationship with fellow comedic genius, Mabel Normand, with whom he created the "Fatty and Mable" label, under which the duo made a series of shorts, the most well-known of which is probably "Fatty and Mable Adrift", released by Triangle-Keystone in 1916.
Mabel Normand, comedic siren of the silent screen
A couple of cut-ups: Mabel and Roscoe in character
    Arbuckle was also one of the first of the silent comedians to direct his own films, starting with "Barnyard Flirtations" in 1914, eventually making a permanent shift from comedic shorts to feature films entirely. Rich, famous and popular with the ladies despite his substantial weight, Arbuckle seemed to have it made in the early Hollywood shade. So what was the scandal, you ask? Well, for those who don't know....
Silent starlet, Virginia Rappe

Her name was Virginia Rappe, and she was an early Hollywood prototype of the proverbial "model-slash-actress" that we've come to accept as indigenous to Tinsel Town. Rappe made several now forgotten films during her short career and would most likely have been forgotten by movie historians as well had she not attended a party thrown by Arbuckle on Sept. 7, 1921 in his hotel room in San Francisco. Exhausted after completing three films simultaneously, Arbuckle had driven to San Francisco with two friends for a three day respite which he hoped would rejuvenate before he began his next project. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Four days later, on Sept. 11, Arbuckle was arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with Rappe's death from peritonitis, which prosecutors claimed was the result of Arbuckle having sexually abused her with a champagne, Coke or milk bottle (the type of bottle differs in various accounts). 
The Hollywood Scandal of 1921
Roscoe Arbuckle's mug shot

The evidence against Arbuckle was flimsy at best, not to mention that the prosecution's star witness happened to be a Hollywood hanger on known for setting up stars and blackmailing them. There was also the disturbing fact that Virginia had languished for four days before expiring, during which time no one seemed to feel the need to call a doctor or the police. Even so, the press had a field day with the formerly popular comedian, creating such a hostile environment that it seemed impossible that Arbuckle would ever receive a fair trial. However, after two trials which ended in hung juries, Arbuckle was finally acquitted by a third jury in a matter of minutes and exonerated of all blame in Virginia Rappe's unfortunate death. Sadly, the damage to the silent star's career was not so easily undone. For the next eleven years, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was persona non grata in Hollywood, working sporadically as a director and writer, but always  under cover of a psuedenym.  Despite efforts by good friends Mabel Normand and Buster Keaton to help him rebuild his shattered career, Arbuckle retreated into a morass of alcoholism and depression, during which period his second wife, Doris Deane filed for divorce, citing allegations of desertion and cruelty.

Blacklisted: Roscoe Arbuckle's film career hit the skids following
his acquittal in connection with Virginia Rappe's death.

      It wasn't until late in 1932 that things began looking up for Arbuckle, when Warner Brothers offered him a contract for a two reel film to be made under his own name. Following the completion of the two reeler, Warner Brothers offered Arbuckle an additional contract for a feature length film. Arbuckle seemed poised to make a long awaited comeback and had no compulsions about expressing his joy. over the fact. On the day on which he signed the new contract with Warner Brothers, he reportedly exclaimed, "This is the best day of my life!" 

  That night, while sleeping, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle died of a massive heart attack at the age of 46. 
His body was cremated and his ashes scattered into the Pacific Ocean...far away from Kansas and the sad beginnings that had driven him to seek his fame, fortune and approval elsewhere.
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Monday, September 26, 2011

Strange Fascinations: Rock and Roll Remainders

Strange Fascinations: Rock and Roll Remainders: Short post this week because we're uber busy, profoundly exhausted, and convinced that we may very possibly die before finishing this po...

Rock and Roll Remainders

Short post this week because we're uber busy, profoundly exhausted, and convinced that we may very possibly die before finishing this post, and we'd like to get to our next shot of peppermint schnapps before we expire. So, then, the following are what we consider some of the more interesting and, in some cases, unsettling images from our personal storage vault of rock and roll remainders.
These milk bottles have nothing to do with rock and roll. We just
really like old milk bottles and want to see more of them in as many irrelevant
posts as possible
. We feel the same way about old fashioned ice cream parlor things.
And yet we would rather die than let a drop of milk touch our lips!

Iggy Pop's audition for Burger King?
Debbie Harry: Black boots and black roots, circa 1980

Look at Stephen Still's shirt. Now, be honest. Could you love the one you're with...if  it was him? In that shirt? Wonder if his taste was always this bad, or if getting older has somehow claimed his better judgment,

Two Girls and a Cup: Debbie Harry and a young Joan Jett
discuss Joan's bad taste in beer.
Tina Turner and Janis Joplin belt it out before
heading to Nutbush in their Mercedes Benz
Debbie and Joan give The New York Dolls tips on nail
polish and other feminine nuances that, ultimately, will
not keep the Dolls from breaking up a year or two later,'
just as the music trend they started becomes huge and
their imitators reap big bucks while they are reduced
to footnote in history status.

Chrissy Hynde, singer and guitarist for the Pretenders, a self-righteous vegetarian, and the sexiest woman and man in rock and roll..
Chrissy Hynde as Steven Tyler with less thick lips

Currently playing: Chrissy and Debbie as old chicks
with still youthful licks.
Jimi Hendrix explaining to The Monkees all of the reasons
that he feels ridiculous performing as their opening act.

Jimi Hendrix explaining to The Who all of the reasons
that they should find a new hairdresser.

John Taylor, bassist for Duran Duran and our absolute
number one hearthrob from the annals of rock and roll.
Even now, with less hair and a grimace.

Lita Ford, heavy metal rock goddess showing us some
things we can do with a guitar while not playing it.

Such as this....
Ach! Mein Gott...get a room, Lita.

You, too, Tricia...

Lovely Linda Ronstadt in her salad days
And now...in her cheesecake days. Oh, Linda. We loved you.

And last but not least, classic Stevie Nicks....

.......as we like to see her...... 

08/26/2011 - Stevie Nicks -
....and now.

                                Remember.......we love you, even if your mother doesn't.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remains Of The Daze

Our last post on the ageing of Keith "Keef!" Richards made us wonder about the effects of age on some other iconic figures in the rock and roll world. So we dug up some photos. Here they are. It's not as bad as it could be, but probably a little worse than you wish it was. (No idea what that meant. But you get the idea).

                                                      THE DAZED AND DISABUSED

                                                                  IGGY POP

 Cutting edge Iggy Pop, circa 1977
And he still wants to be your dog

Yup, it's official. Iggy Pop, aka Jim Osterberg, the man who wanted to be our dog back in the heady early days of the punk movement and was willing to cut himself on stage to prove it,  is now an old guy. He's 64, to be exact, but of course, being Iggy, he's still out there doing what he's always done, and still does better than a lot of performers half his age. His band, The Stooges, took a major hit two years ago when guitarist Ron Asheton died shortly after Iggy and the band reunited to record "The Weirdness", their first album in over twenty years. But even though the Stooges are no more, Iggy seems poised to continue indefinitely, inspiring new generations of fans who may or may not have seen this strange, surreal joint appearance that Iggy and fellow rock icon, David "I love nihlism" Bowie made in 1977 on...of all things...The Dinah Shore Show.

                                                                   GRACE SLICK

Surrealistic Pillow Daze: Grace Slick with Jefferson Airplane

Amazing Grace? From White Rabbit to white hair.
The former lead singer for San Francisco-based The Jefferson Airplane and its later (and much lamer) incarnation Jefferson Starship, Grace Slick never really achieved the iconic status that fellow 60s female rockers Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell enjoyed. But she earned her place in rock history with powerful vocal performances on classic psychedelic anthems like "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love." But it was her extra curricular activities and personal life that seemed to draw the most attention from the rock press, which honed in on her out of control drinking binges (she once insulted an entire audience during a concert in Berlin by swearing at them and yelling, "Who won the war?"), her ballooning weight, and her marriage and subsequent break-up with band founder, Paul Katner (they initially named their daughter "god"). Things seemed to even out for Grace in the eighties, though, when she finally quit drinking, lost weight, and Jefferson Starship clawed its way back onto the charts with a string of mainstream hits, including the saccharine, so-bad-it-makes-you-want-to-kill-puppies "We Built This City." These days, Grace is focusing on her visual art, animal rights activities, and "spirituality." To see Grace in action, go here.

                                                                      JIMMY PAGE

When he was fab...and hot

There was a time when we used to be absolutely ga-ga over Jimmy Page, best known as the hedonistic, wip-toting lead guitarist of The Yardbirds and Led Zepplin. He had it all, at least in our estimation:. He was tall, whippet thin, dark-haired and he played the guitar like he was making love to a woman. Sometimes it was acoustic strumming, other times it was electric licks, but it was always passionate and even transcendental. Our ardor has waned over the years, as that particular kind of ardor is wont to do, but there's no question that, back in the salacious 70s, Jimmy Page was the dark Lothario of rock and roll, going through groupies like Lady Ga Ga goes through fishnet body stockings.. (His long-term relationships, though rare during that period of the Jimmy Page Story, included a year with fourteen-year-old Lori Maddox and an extended bout with Groupie author Pamela Des Barres)/  The other members of Led Zepplin weren't exactly Bobby Brady either, but Jimmy Page was the one that the girls openly and unabashedly salivated over, as chronicled by  Pamela De Barres in her groupie tell-all book, I'm With The Band: Confessions of a Groupie.. "He was beautiful. I'm sure that anyone he ever touched fell in love with him," she gushed. (What about the ones he whipped, though? But that's another post.)  Jimmy's well-documented interest in black magic and black arts only seemed to make him more intriguing to women, cementing his place as the go-to bad boy of 1970s rock and roll.

 Been a long time since you rocked and rolled: Jimmy with Led Zepplin. 
And these days? The man who gave us "Black Dog" has gone grey, of course, as have the groupies who used to squirm their way backstage for late night guitar lessons. But he's traded trashing hotel rooms for elder statesman of rock and roll status, a role with which he seems very comfortable, as he did when he made a surprise appearance at a Donovan show at Royal Albert Hall in June of this year. Rust never sleeps, rock and roll will never die, and Jimmy Page will probably always turn heads, if, these days, it's more likely to be as a result of his musicianship. To see some of that old Jimmy Page black magic, slither here.
Jimmy Page joins Donovan on stage at Royal Albert Hall, London, June 3, 2011.
Jimmy and Donovan at Royal Albert Hall last June

So, that's it for this edition of "Even Rock and Rollers Get Fat And Old.." Hope it hasn't been too frightening. Perhaps it's even been inspiring. All we know is that we'd rather belong to Rock and Roll's "Over the Hill Club" than to its sister organization,  the "27 Club."  Skol.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strange Fascinations: The Strangely Fascinating Case of Keith Richards

Strange Fascinations: The Strangely Fascinating Case of Keith Richards: Keith Richards, Rolling Stone, recovering addict, chain smoker, general hard ass and quite possibly the man destined to be the sol...

The Strangely Fascinating Case of Keith Richards

Keith  Richards, Rolling Stone, recovering addict,
 chain smoker, general hard ass and quite possibly the
man destined to be the sole survivor of a future Apocalypse. 
Portrait of the artist as a young man

Was there ever a man who looked like a less likely candidate to still be alive than Keith Richards, the iconic and apparently indefatigable lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones? Nope. Don't think so. Just look at him, for God's sake. Go on. Take a good, hard look (DON'T BLINK) and then tell us if this is the face of a man who should still be walking around, smoking fags and chatting up women. Of course it isn't. And, yet, inexplicably, it is. Because while some of the most famous and influential performers in rock and roll have succumbed to tragically early deaths as a result of drug use, alcohol abuse, car crashes, plane crashes, gunshots, stabbings, suicide, and illness, Keith Richards, the man who did so much heroin that his teeth turned black and whose legendary drinking binges have produced so much vomit over the years that his DNA is probably ingrained in hotel room floors and concert stage floorboards all across the world,  still lives and thrives. Not only is he still kicking inimitable ass on guitar, he's become a best selling author since his memoir, Life came out last year to great accolades and stadium-sized interest from Stones fans who learned, among other things, that a certain crucial appendage connected to Keith's anatomy is vastly superior in size to that of Stones front man Mick Jagger. We, personally, are not surprised, having once seen Mick Jagger and former girlfriend Geri Hall in close proximity while walking in Manhattan and finding ourselves astounded by the disparity in their height. And they were both wearing heels. (It was the mid-eighties.) Not to mention that strutting cock walk, Napoleon-complex shtick that Mick has made his trademark on stage.

Before they let it bleed: former couple Geri and Mick 
You don't see Keith hamming it up like that. Doesn't need to. Not with that guitar slung like a metal phallus around his waist. There's a certain theory (at least among many of the lead singers, bassists and drummers with whom I've worked over the years) that lead guitarists choose to become lead guitarists because they're attention whores who are basically just masturbating on stage. If that's true, Keith Richards has taken the concept one step further and invited the audience to participate in a grungy, grinding, hedonistic orgy over which he and his superior instrument (we mean that in all possible ways) preside. Makes us wonder if that's what Mick was thinking of when he first sang "I can't get no satisfaction" all those years ago. Sort of his own personal Altamont.

The five original Stones with the late Brian Jones
But we digress. As usual. So, now, back to the man with the cigarette-holding, three chord progression classic song playing hands.

1960s hottie
21st century grottie
Back in the days of the British music invasion, there was this stupid little sensibility war among music fans in Great Britain, which was immortalized in the 1963 Beatles film, A Hard Day's Night when a reporter asks Ringo Starr if he's "a mod or a rocker." Ringo jokingly replies, "I'm a mocker!"  But out there in the real world, the distinction between mods and rockers was actually quite a big deal and was often the cause of violent rows among the two factions. Our friend, Tasha was once beaten up in a school bathroom because she aligned herself with the Beatles instead of with the Stones. We never suffered that fate, but if we had been asked to choose sides in a school bathroom, we would have proudly taken a bullet for the Beatles. As a musician, we have always appreciated and loved the Stones as well, but as a woman, well, let's be real here. Aesthetically, the only Stone who we can even imagine kissing (let alone doing anything else of that nature with) has always been Keith Richards. He was pretty good looking before the heroin blackened his teeth, in the thin, lean, angular-featured way that we love to see in an English guitar player. Compared to dwarfish, lippy Mick, horse-faced Charlie Watts, and the almost inanimate Bill Wyman, Keith Richards is a dark-haired Adonis. Seems to be quite the devoted family man, too, despite having children by multiple partners. The only other original Stone who came close to looking like a normal person was Brian Jones, but there was just a little too much Syd Barrett in those intense blue eyes for our tastes.
Keith and former muse Anita Pallenberg 
Oh, Anita, what a drag it is getting old!
Of course, in terms of romance, Keith's most famous relationship was with German/Italian muse-at-large and fellow heroin addict, Anita Pallenberg, who left Brian Jones for him (she claims that Jones was beating her, Keith walked in on it, grabbed her and took her home with him), giving new meaning to the old adage, "Leave no stone unturned."  As far as the aging process goes, Anita and Keith seem to be pretty much neck-in-neck (pun intended).  Decades of decadence have etched deep lines into the former hippie chick's face and erased that rock and roll muse mystique that made her the go-to girl when it came time for the two most talented Stones to get their ya-ya's out. But even gray-haired and wrinkled, she can't compete with the crevices that have taken over Keith's face  so completely that it's almost impossible to imagine him as the sexy, lean, fag-hanging-rakishly-from-his-lips, too cool for words, born-to-play-rock-and-roll young guitar god that he once was. And yet the man who seemed destined to become the president of the "27 Club"before we even knew there was going to be a "27 Club" still possesses that innate Keithness which has kept him relevant all these years despite the decreasing relevance of the Stones themselves. Don't ask us to define it. We can't. We just know it's there. And although we may marvel at the fact that  Keith Richards still walks among us, we find the fact strangely inspiring somehow. Because if Keith Richards still lives and breathes and eats and drinks and plays guitar and travels the globe with and without the Stones, well, it just proves that anything is possible. Skol.

Mr. Keith Richards...
A hard ass for the ages

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Strange Fascinations: Our Endless Fascination With Film Noire

Strange Fascinations: Our Endless Fascination With Film Noire: Our Endless Fascination With Film Noire Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in "Double In...