DJ SeMeN SPeRmS
July 12 2018
Lower East Side
New York City
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on July 11, 2018
Lui (French for “Him”) is a French adult entertainment magazine created in November 1963 by Daniel Filipacchi, a fashion photographer turned publisher, Jacques Lanzmann, a jack of all trades turned novelist, and Frank Ténot, a press agent, pataphysician and jazz critic.
The objective was to bring some charm “à la française” to the market of men’s magazines, following the success of Playboy in the USA, launched just a decade before.
France, indeed, in the first half of 20th century had an outstanding reputation for erotic publications, feeding also foreign market and inspiring also ersatz French-flavoured magazines abroad, when, for example, US publishers used French-sounding titles like Chère and Dreamé or placed tricolour flags on the covers, attempting to attract the casual buyer. It was anyway a semi-clandestine circulating material, not allowed to be freely displayed or openly bought. In this sense Playboy changed the way ‘soft-pornography’ (become more respectfully ‘adult entertainment’), can be publicly circulated.
This magazine was particularly successful from its origins to the early eighties, afterwards it began a long decline. It was published regularly till November 1987 (the final issue of this first series was the number 285). After 1987 there was a further attempt to relaunch the title but the publication ceased again in 1994. Passed into the hands of the media group of Michel Birnbaum, after a transient stimulus, it became a pornographic magazine with episodic dissemination. It was published every three months.
After the purchase of the title by Jean-Yves Le Fur, it has been relaunched on September 5, 2013 as a high-end magazine with Frédéric Beigbeder at his helm.
First series (1963–1987)
This magazine successful recipe was combining content with depth articles and beautiful naked women, featuring many B-List but also celebrities, often prominent French actresses, such as Brigitte Bardot, Mireille Darc, Jane Birkin or Marlène Jobert.
It featured a monthly pin-up by Aslan. The first girl to pose on the cover was Valérie Lagrange (the number 1 appeared on 11 January 1963)) photographed by Francis Giacobetti, future director of the soft-core movie Emmanuelle 2.
The magazine hosted also a cartoon by Lauzier: Les Sextraordinaires Aventures de Zizi et Peter Panpan. Among the first collaborators are Jean-Louis Bory, René Chateau, Philippe Labro, Francis Dumoulin, Francis Giacobetti, Siné, Michel Mardore, Gilles Sandier and many others.
The magazine motto was Lui, le magazine de l’homme moderne (The Magazine of the Modern Man). In the beginning, it had also a mascot, a cat’s head, similarly to the magazine Playboy Bunny, but it disappeared in the early 1970s.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on June 18, 2014
Story of a Junkie is a 1987 drama film directed by Lech Kowalski and starring John Spaceley. Distributed by Troma Entertainment. Filmed in documentary-style, the film follows the character of Gringo, a young man looking for fortune in New York, only to fall into heroin addiction.
The movie has amassed quite a reputation in certain circles for its depictions of hard drug usage in New York City’s East Village area. Many of the cast members, including leading man John Spaceley, are actual junkies. The numerous shooting-up sequences are reportedly entirely real, as are many of the drug dens and their denizens. Perhaps even more notable than the cinema verite structure is the almost total lack of moralizing on the part of the producers or its characters.
Lead actor Spaceley died in the early 1990s, reportedly from AIDS, which he contracted through intravenous drug use. His final moments are chronicled in yet another Lech Kowalski film, “Born to Lose: The Last Rock & Roll Movie”, a documentary about deceased former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders.
Troma Entertainment hails Story of a Junkie as one of the company’s best films; it’s one of the most well-known outside of the films directed by Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz.
A harrowing, bloody story of heroin addiction that puts films like Trainspotting to shame, Gringo mixes documentary footage with staged scenes to show the life of addict John Spacely.
Perhaps you’ve seen him somewhere and just can’t remember his name. The face is about an enigmatic as they come: classic Roman features topped by a greasy dyed matt of slicked back blond hair, pirate-style patch covering his right eye and cigarette dangling from an ever-present smirk. Or maybe you’ve never really noticed him and could frankly care less who he is or was. To you, John Spacely is just another loser, a human being throwing their life away by indulging in the most shameless of self-satisfactions: drug abuse. The minute you learn he’s a card-carrying member of the Riders of the White Horse, you’re thoughts turn to how selfish and stupid he is, how addiction is for the weak and lazy. You now no longer wish to know anything about him, his life, or how he ended up strung out in New York City. Instead, you sneer down your self-righteous nose and blame him (and his kind) for all the problems of the world. Maybe it would help you to learn a little about who John Spacely is. Perhaps your perceptions will change when you learn what drove him to drugs and what he has to do on a daily basis to survive. One thing’s for sure, the minute you see the horrifying docudrama Story of a Junkie, you will think twice about ever attempting to use drugs. This film is as successful a PSA warning about the terrors of dependency that you will probably ever see. It makes the Hollywood glamorization of such struggling souls that much more laughable.
GRINGO Story of a Junkie is about as close to pure European neo-realism as an American movie is ever likely to get. It is also a stunning example of the cinema vérité style of filmmaking, the capturing of events as they happen without concern about continuity or performance. Part documentary, part confessional, this occasionally brilliant but always brave movie is an incredibly searing indictment on the use and abuse of drugs.
Whereas Tinsel Town tripe likes to romanticize the ritualistic intake of mind and or mood altering substances as a photogenic character flaw, Story of a Junkie tells it like it really is. Never once white washing or trivializing the life of a heroin addict, director Lech Kowalski and his cast of real life drug users draw us directly into the warped urban war zone where the vast majority of pusher and partakers exist. Never cringing from the sights, the sounds, the smells and the surreality of the real drug culture, the desperation is palpable and the danger, predominant. From how fixes are “cut” to the hierarchy in a shooting gallery, you’ll be hard pressed to find another film that tackles this terrible subject with more authenticity. It is drug abuse as slasher film, a frightening, sometime funny and often fatalistic representation of people living a life with a maniacal monkey on their back.
It’s impossible for us non-addicts to understand the struggles and the will to survive (if only for the next score) of the person hopelessly obsessed with using. But for some reason, we are no longer a society that accepts brutal honesty. Everything needs to be sugarcoated with a small fraction of hope inserted to keep us feeling safe and secure. Frankly, the plain truth is all that Story of a Junkie has to offer. Without its integrity, its desire to get to the very heart of this corrupt cosmos, all we’d have is a carnival sideshow, a scandalous showcase of pure exploitation. But because of the tales it tells and the people who tell them, Story of a Junkie transcends its trappings to become a work of astounding power.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on May 25, 2014
A German film crew for station NDR [Norddeutscher Rundfunk] picked the perfect time to visit New York City for their street gang documentary, LEFTY – ERINNERUNG AN EINEN TOTEN IN BROOKLYN, as the area sweltered through a brutal summer heatwave and the infamous 1977 blackout. For five weeks, director Max H. Rehbein and his crew actually lived in the basement of a Brooklyn house owned by the parents of ‘Brother Lou’ [Louie Morales], the leader of ‘The Sex Boys’ (named after the street they hung out on, Essex — after dropping the first two letters), filming many of that gang’s most private moments and digging even deeper than the aforementioned ABC special. Unfortunately, the print’s narration is in unsubtitled German, but their footage alone makes this an astonishing, 88-minute artifact…
‘Lefty’ [Charles ‘Carlos’ Valentine] is the latest ‘Sex Boys’ casualty, first glimpsed in the Kings County morgue after being stabbed to death near Greenpoint’s McCarren Pool. Tempers within the gang are running hot, with Lou trying to keep his soldiers under control. The filmmakers follow them as they strut past razed buildings in their gang colors, leap subway turnstiles, convene a rooftop gang meeting, share brews and joints, perform some general vandalism, and celebrate Lefty’s truncated life with street fireworks.
That’s intercut with Sgt. Frank Santangelo, from the 75th Precinct’s youth gang task force, as he patrols the neighborhood, attempts to ‘rap’ with gang members and ventures into one of their boarded-up-building clubhouses, in hopes of quelling tensions with ‘The Crazy Homicides’ from Coney Island. Sometimes helping their community (aiding neighbors during a late-night apartment fire), other times prepping for war (a meeting with ‘The Ghetto Brothers’ to purchase pistols) and often just having everyday interactions (Louie’s gravedigger day job, arguing with girlfriends, getting seriously-ugly tattoos), it’s an intimate, unfiltered peek into ‘The Sex Boys.’
Without question, the most striking moments occur an hour in, because even a crime-ridden blackout doesn’t stop these crazy Germans from venturing into the war-zone-style streets with their cameras — filming Molotov-tossing kids, ransacked stores, looters fighting each other over an armful of clothes, and the overwhelmed police precinct…Rehbein adopts a fly-on-the-wall approach, with German narration and some bizarre synth soundtrack music added in post, and they must’ve been pounding back shots of Schnaps in the editing room when their tripped-out Halloween-party/haunted-house finale was conceived. From the shocking desolation of the South Bronx, to the bustling Coney Island boardwalk after dark, to Rikers Island — it’s all captured with an outsider’s inquisitive eyeand an almost TAXI DRIVER-esque amount of nighttime urban imagery. LEFTY is sprawling and unfocused, but also absolutely fascinating. – Shock Cinema
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on May 13, 2014