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Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) Rodney Bingenheimer Hollywood Rock Scenester

Rodney Bingenheimer Riot House

The Rodney Bingenheimer of today seems always to be smiling through a deep sadness. He is a small man who still has the youthful cuteness that must have won him friends in his early days. His hair is still combed in the same tousled mid-1970s rock star style, and his T-shirts are the real thing, not retro. He lives now in an inexpensive apartment jammed with records, tapes, discs, and countless autographed photos of his friends the stars. And, yes, they are still his friends; they have not forgotten him, and David Bowie, Cher, Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Nancy Sinatra and Mick Jagger all appear in this film and seem genuinely fond of Rodney.

Rodney Bingenheimer Riot House

Well they might. He introduced some of them — Bowie in particular — to American radio. He was known for finding new music and playing it first: The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Nirvana. Stations all over the country stole their playlists from Rodney. “Sonny and Cher were kinda like my mom and my dad,” he says wistfully at one point. He ran a little club for a while, featuring British glam rock, and the stars remember with a grin that it was so small the “VIP Area” consisted simply of a velvet rope separating a few chairs from the dance floor.

Rodney Bingenheimer English Disco

The story of how Bingenheimer entered into this world is apparently true, unlikely as it sounds. As a kid he was obsessed with stars, devoured the fan magazines, collected autographs. One day when he was a teenager, his mother dropped him off in front of Connie Stevens’ house and told him he was on his own. He didn’t see his mother for another five or six years. Connie wasn’t home.

Rodney Bingenheimer n Jimi Hendrix

He migrated to the Sunset Strip, but instead of dying there or disappearing into drugs or crime, he simply ingratiated himself. People liked him. He hustled himself into a job as a gofer for Davy Jones of the Monkees (they looked a little alike), and then became a backstage caterer; a survivor of a Doors tour remembers a Toronto concert where Rodney had enormous platters of fresh shrimp backstage. But the Beatles were backstage visitors, and Rodney gave them the shrimp, so there were only a few left for the Doors, who had paid for them. Challenged by The Doors, Rodney shrugged and said, “Well, they’re the Beatles.”

Rodney Bingenheimer English Disco

Wherever Bingenheimer went in the music and club scene, his face was his passport. Robert Plant says, “Rodney got more girls than I do.” We hear a little of his radio show from the old days, and what comes across is not a vibrating personality or a great radio voice — it’s kind of tentative, really — but an almost painful sincerity. He loves the music he plays, and he introduces it to you like a lover he thinks is right for you. The road downhill was gradual, apparently. We get glimpses of Rodney today, repairing his mom’s old Nova with a pair of pliers, shuffling forlornly through souvenirs of his glory days. He seems very even, calm, sad but resigned, except for one moment the documentary camera is not supposed to witness, when he finds that another deejay, a person he sponsored and gave breaks to, is starting a show of new music — stealing Rodney’s gig. He explodes in anger. We’re glad he does. He has a lot to feel angry about.

Rodney Bingenheimer-and-joan-jett

The film was directed by George Hickenlooper, who made the classic doc “Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” (1991), about the nightmare of Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” and the wonderful fiction film “The Man From Elysian Fields” (2001). Why did he make this film (apart from the possibility that someone named Hickenlooper might feel an affinity for someone named Bingenheimer)? Hickenlooper has been around fame at an early age. He was 26 when he released the doc about the Coppola meltdown. He cast Mick Jagger and James Coburn in “Elysian Fields.” He was aware of Rodney Bingenheimer when the name still opened doors. His film evokes what the Japanese call mono no aware, which refers to the impermanence of life and the bittersweet transience of things. There is a little Rodney Bingenheimer in everyone, but you know what? Most people aren’t as lucky as Rodney. – Roger Ebert

rodney mayor

File under Blast From The Past, Music, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB, Sex

Black Vinyl Shoes (1977) Power Pop Perfection

 

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Shoes

Shoes

Shoes

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Shoes were formed in Zion, Illinois, in 1975 by Jeff Murphy, John Murphy, Gary Klebe, and Skip Meyer, with the Murphys and Klebe all sharing songwriting duties. After one self-made and extremely limited album (only 300 were pressed), 1975′s Un Dans Versailles, and the unreleased Bazooka (1976), they recorded their true debut for national consumption, Black Vinyl Shoes, in Jeff Murphy’s living room and released it on their own label, Black Vinyl Records. Though it was barely distributed, enough critics and key people heard the record to start a word-of-mouth buzz. Eventually, Greg Shaw, the head of Bomp! Records, heard the record and arranged for the band to release one single, the brilliant “Tomorrow Night”/”Okay,” on his label. A contract with Elektra Records soon followed, and the label released the group’s next three textbook power pop albums: Present Tense (1979), Tongue Twister (1981), and Boomerang (1982). Despite the instantly accessible, catchy quality of the songs, the band was unable to achieve mainstream success — among specialists, however, these albums, along with the debut, stand as the high points of the era.  -Allmusic

File under Music, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG

We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Stars.

  • A TSA agent allegedly allowed a suspected ‘drug kingpin’ to pass through security at Buffalo Airport under an alias so he could buy cannabis.

    Minnetta Walker, 43, a behavioural detection officer, is also accused of helping other drugs traffickers evade scans and searches to take cash – but not drugs – through the airport in Western New York.

    She was charged yesterday along with Derek Frank, the alleged dealer prosecutors say she worked with.

  • The Selva Pascuala mural, in a cave near the town of Villar del Humo, is dominated by a bull. But it is a row of 13 small mushroom-like objects that interests Brian Akers at Pasco-Hernando Community College in New Port Richey, Florida, and Gaston Guzman at the Ecological Institute of Xalapa in Mexico. They believe that the objects are the fungi Psilocybe hispanica, a local species with hallucinogenic properties.

    Like the objects depicted in the mural, P. hispanica has a bell-shaped cap topped with a dome, and lacks an annulus – a ring around the stalk. “Its stalks also vary from straight to sinuous, as they do in the mural,” says Akers.

    This isn’t the oldest prehistoric painting thought to depict magic mushrooms, though. An Algerian mural that may show the species Psilocybe mairei is 7000 to 9000 years old.

  • This amazing interview was done back in 1985 with a former KGB agent who was trained in subversion techniques. He explains the 4 basic steps to socially engineering entire generations into thinking and behaving the way those in power want them to. It’s shocking because our nation has been transformed in the exact same way, and followed the exact same steps.
  • French police have found jewellery worth €18 million hidden in a sewer in Paris, three years after one of the most audacious robberies in French history.

    The jewels were stolen in 2008 in what the New York Times called a “brazen and meticulously planned robbery” from a store just off the Champs Elysee, involving four or five thieves – two of them dressed as women – who walked off with €80 million worth of jewels as Christmas shoppers milled around

  • Greenpeace recovered 20 boxes of documents. They included confidential employee details such as email passwords, Social Security numbers, donor payments, privileged attorney-client conversations and strategic plans to fight climate change, ocean pollution, genetic engineering and other campaigns. The boxes also had BBI work logs, plus documents sent to defendants and clients such as Wal-Mart, Halliburton, the National Rifle Association, the Carlyle Group and Monsanto. The documents, many posted on the Greenpeace USA site, make intriguing reading.
  • This mountain of shredded paper taking over several rooms was found inside the Egyptian Secret Police’s headquarters in Cairo last Saturday. About 2,500 angry demonstrators invaded the building in what Egyptians are now calling their Bastille Day, finding documents and tapes that may soon send shockwaves around the world.
    Inside the dark quarters of Mubarak’s terror police, an enraged population liberated prisoners still in their isolation cells, which were no larger than phone booths. In the process, they found torture devices, mountains of shredded documents, dozens of computers stripped from their hard drives and a stash of video tapes showing famous people—from actors to politicians, both Egyptians and from other countries—having sex. The videos were recorded by the secret police in hotel rooms. Nobody knows who stars in them yet, but I’m sure we will know about it very soon.

  • In March 2006, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Protective Service (FPS) issued a “Protective Intelligence Bulletin” from the “Intelligence Branch” of its “Threat Management Division.” The bulletin contained a “Civil Activists and Extremists Action Calendar” that identified dozens of peaceful advocacy groups and provided the details for over 70 demonstrations, almost entirely peace, environmental and social justice rallies and marches. With the exception of a single entry referring to a radio host’s call for “militant, pro-White rallies,” there was not a single item suggesting that criminal activity or violence was expected at any of these events.
  • After a year online, the DHS undercover site may have fallen victim to its own sleazy, overt come-on. As seen at right, the site’s front page carried three symbols that an FBI intelligence bulletin has identified as being used by pedophiles. Additionally, the site’s acronym, PTHC, is an allusion to “preteen hardcore” pornography. The site’s carefully misspelled motto–“We Help Make Your Fantasy’s Come True!”–also does little to mask its illicit intentions.
  • the U.S. government is absolutely brimming with idiots, incompetents and incredibly corrupt politicians. Today it is very rare to come across a politician that still has any integrity left. Washington D.C. has become such a cesspool that it seems to corrupt even most of the politicians that originally go there with good intentions. We have created the most complicated government in the history of the world and we have hundreds of thousands of pages of laws, and yet nothing seems to work right. Our economy is dying, our relationships with the rest of the world are a mess and we have accumulated the largest debt in the history of mankind. Meanwhile, our politicians openly hand out our money to their friends and to those that have donated money to their campaigns and they waste our money on some of the stupidest things imaginable. Have we now gotten to the point where our system of government has become so corrupted that it is almost impossible to repair it?
  • Donald Rumsfeld has resurrected a bizarre gift from Saddam Hussein: a video that purports to show female Syrian soldiers biting the heads off snakes, and a male comrade stabbing a puppy to death.
  • Actor Al Pacino is now the target of US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for his alleged failure to pay taxes. The IRS has filed tax charges against the A-list actor for reportedly not paying an estimated amount of $188,283.50 of taxes.
  • cute animated commentary on the absurdity of thinking we have to follow the commands of a bunch of buffons in DC.
  • The administration that promised more openness with government information has instead taken a tougher stance on whistle-blowing than any other White House in the last four decades.

    Since taking office, President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice has filed criminal charges in five separate cases involving unauthorized distribution of classified national security information to the media. Before Obama, the government prosecuted a total of three cases during the previous 40 years.

  • A lil’ old, but it’s strange to watch how mainstream media reacts to him. Check out the one reporter callin’ him ‘Bankski’ and the other reporter just sayin’ ‘Banksy’ at the end with a smug look on his face. More street art protected by security guards.
  • You thought that youth culture began after the Second World War, but it didn’t. In fact, the story goes back to the late 19th century, when urban gangs in American and Northern Europe began to attract outraged press attention through their behavior and dress: the Hooligans in London, the Apaches in Paris, the Scuttlers in Manchester, and the Hudson Dusters in Manhattan.
  • Stile had a suggestion: What if he dug out the gunk and replaced it with the “fresh” tissue of a cadaver? Sure, the procedure had been used for cosmetic purposes, but never for athletic performance. And if Stile’s hunch was correct, the stronger, reinforced skin might be better than Diaz’s baseline — as good as someone who had never been cut at all.
  • When we wrote a few weeks ago about Eric Holder, Wikileaks and Bank of America, we focused on the irony of the U.S. Attorney General threatening to prosecute an organization (Wikileaks) that possibly holds the very information on which he might draw up his very first indictment of a major bank or Wall Street executive.

    Why hasn’t Eric Holder asked to see the evidence, which Wikileaks claims to have, that executives at one of our largest banks may have committed serious crimes?

  • Sometime around the summer of 1988, the program directors at every local T.V. station in the country must’ve gotten together in their war room and decided to stop showing B-movies on Saturday afternoons. “Why should we beg Crazy Eddie and that wheezing old man from Carvel to peddle their insane prices and Fatty the Whale ice cream cakes during THE GLORY STOMPERS or THE POM POM GIRLS,” some young suit surely sneered, “when we can sell off 30-minute blocks of time to spray-on hair and turtle wax infomercials instead?” And just like that – poof! – those glorious days when a person could crash on the couch for 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon and click through a half-dozen programs like 9 in the Afternoon and Morgus and Commander USA’s Groovy Movies were gone.
  • Something called THE BEATLES MEET STAR TREK opened November 5th, 1976 at the Uniondale Mini Cinema in Uniondale, N.Y. — “Long Island’s answer to the 8th Street Playhouse,” according to the Cinema Treasures website. Normally I’d see a listing like this and just assume the theater owners or programmers ran a couple of Star Trek episodes with some Beatles footage and came up with the title on their own, but no, THE BEATLES MEET STAR TREK was apparently something that was in distribution in the mid-to-late 1970s, at least in the New York tri-state area. Why? Because now there’s a second sighting of this oddball title.
  • Two fetuses will be presented as witnesses before an Ohio legislative committee that is hearing a bill to outlaw abortions after the first heartbeat can be detected inside a woman’s womb.

    The fetuses will appear live and in color before the committee on a video screen projecting ultrasound images taken from their pregnant mothers’ bodies. Janet Folger Porter, head of Faith2Action, an anti-abortion group, said the fetuses will be the youngest witnesses to ever testify when they come in front of the House Health and Aging Committee Wednesday morning.

  • Transit police say they have arrested an 18-year-old Sunset High School student caught on video placing feces on a TriMet bus driver’s seat last week at the Sunset Transit Center, The Oregonian’s Joseph Rose reports on commuting blog Hard Drive.

    About a dozen tips from people who saw a photo of the woman on Hard Drive and other websites led police to to Gloria C. Soto, 18, who has been charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor interfering with public transportation.

    Last week, Rose reported that someone wiped dog feces all over the steering wheel and operator’s seat of a No. 62 bus while the driver was a taking a break at the Sunset Transit Center.

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