Tonight, on Halloween, hordes of us will do what humans have done for eons and herald the coming of the dark, cold months with a celebration. Though it’s been untold generations since our fall festivals were softened into a vestigial superstition, Halloween’s roots lie deeper than playing make believe. They grow from our inborn compulsion to gain some measure of understanding, of control, about the things we spend the rest of the year trying to deny. Life is tenuous. Pain is constant. The world is frightening. These are ineluctable truths. And so is this: Black Sabbath matters.
Black Sabbath was the first rock band to get over on trying to scare the shit out of you. Others (Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer) were making sinister, heavy music before singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward got together in Birmingham, England in 1969. None of those other bands were as committed or singular in their bleak vision. From the start, Sabbath emitted no light. That was for others to do. The band’s self-titled first album was released in 1970. In sickly and unnatural colors its cover shows a witch-like figure in front of a desolate country house. The eponymous first song opens to whispering rain, a tolling bell, and a slow, creeping guitar riff. Then Ozzy enters. He sings as if he has no soul to lose. He could be the dead-eyed henchman in some Vincent Price movie. He could not wail virtuoso-style like Robert Plant or Ronnie James Dio. Instead, Ozzy sounded plainly human. Or as if he remembered what it was to be one.
TV giant Don Francisco celebrates 50 years of ‘Sabado Gigante’
An entertainment institution in the Spanish-speaking world, Don Francisco aims to stay on top of the game with his long-running variety show ‘Sabado Gigante.’
By Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times
MIAMI — Don Francisco is running late to his own party — peculiar, considering he arrived six hours before it started.
One of Latin America’s top entertainment personalities is holed up in his dressing room at Univision‘s studios as frenzied fans just outside line a red carpet where celebrities are slowly making their way into the big show. As he quietly watches the procession on his dressing room monitor, his longtime assistant begins the intricate ritual of preparing his pre-show meal that includes branzini fish with rocoto chile paste and a tossed salad.
“After the break,” announces one of the hosts from the red carpet, “Don Francisco!” The adoring throngs scream in delight as the ringmaster of the longest-running variety show in TV history squeezes a lemon over his salad and chuckles. After a half-century in show business, he knows they can wait a little longer.
At 71, Francisco is an institution in the Spanish-speaking world as the unmistakable and singular host of “Sábado Gigante,” which means “Giant Saturday.” The sturdy Chilean-born showman is the enduring attraction in a weekly three-hour cavalcade famous for its bikini-clad models, slapstick sketches and madcap contests, and which has become a welcome weekend siren call to the Latino diaspora.
Steward’s name has been long associated with the Kronk gym in Detroit, where his fighters trained in sweltering heat and as hard as if they were in fights. Steward, who would dance on his feet showing fighters moves, to this day, showed a perspicacity inside and outside the ropes.
He had won 94 of 97 fights as an amateur and was the US bantamweight champion in 1963. In the seventies, he started the Kronk sweat house.
Steward’s first world champion, in 1980, was Hilmer Kenty, the first world champion the motor city had celebrated since the great Joe Louis – and that success was followed quickly in the same year by the then ferocious welterweight Hearns.
Steward was instrumental in helping the welterweight super-fight between Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard come together in 1981. “It was simple. We met in an airport, it was done in an hour,” he told me last year. Hearns also went on to have one of the most exciting fights in history, against Marvin Hagler.
Steward would go on to become trainer, mentor and in is latter years, a guru to a total of 43 world champions. Steward talked a lot, he talked to everyone – journalists, boxers, fighters, managers – and he talked sense. He had enjoyed an analyst’s ringside role on television for over two decades in the United States.
ALBANY, N.Y. – Lap dances are taxable because they don’t promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York’s highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.
The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between “highbrow dance and lowbrow dance,” so the case raises “significant constitutional problems.”
The lawsuit was filed by Nite Moves in suburban Albany, which was arguing fees for admission to the strip club and for private dances are exempt from sales taxes.
The court majority said taxes apply to many entertainment venues, such as amusement parks and sporting events. It ruled the club has failed to prove it qualifies for the exemption for “dramatic or musical arts performances” that was adopted by the Legislature “with the evident purpose of promoting cultural and artistic performances in local communities.”
If ice shows with intricately choreographed ice-dancing routines to music haven’t been regarded by lawmakers as qualifying, then it was “surely … not irrational” for a court “to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status,” wrote Judges Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Victoria Graffeo, Eugene Pigott Jr. and Theodore Jones Jr.
The Numero Group has become the world’s greatest reissue label by tirelessly chasing dead-ends, following every detour, and ringing doorbells at their own risk. DAVID PEISNER trails the label’s founders through Louisiana as they sniff mold, rifle through trash, and maybe expose a few lost geniuses.
This is what it’s come to. When a man isn’t listed in the phone book, when he doesn’t respond to emails or letters, when nobody seems to know how to find him, sometimes you just have to roll up to his last known address and holler at him. Literally.
“Mr. Gibson! Mr. Gibson!”
It’s 11 o’clock on a Thursday morning and Ken Shipley is standing on the sidewalk outside a tidy, one-story brick house in the Carrollton section of New Orleans. Hands cupped around the sides of his mouth, he’s trying to summon Joe Gibson from what may or may not be his home. Shipley surely would’ve preferred knocking on the door or ringing the bell, but the small home is separated from the street by not one, but two, locking wrought-iron gates.
“Mr. Gibson! Anyone home?”
In the early 1970s, Gibson wrote and produced two 45s by a group called the Soul Emotions, which featured his three young daughters. Not many copies of either record were pressed, not many of those were sold, and by the time Gibson’s eldest daughter was a junior in high school, the Soul Emotions had quit performing. The records quickly went out of print and just about disappeared from the Earth entirely.
But one made it into the hands of Rob Sevier, a partner of Shipley’s at the Chicago-based reissue label, the Numero Group. Sevier thought one song — a charming pop-soul nugget called “It’s Time for Love” — would fit perfectly on a compilation called The ABCs of Kid Soul, which documented the post-Jackson 5 explosion of such groups. So he tried to find Gibson. That was more than five years ago. The ABCs came out in 2007, but now Numero has decided to do a second album, The 123s of Kid Soul. Which is what has brought them here to the doorstep of this mini-Fort Knox in Carrollton.
R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe to Judge Animated GIF Contest
BY RYAN BORT
What has Michael Stipe been up to since R.E.M. called it quits last year? Well, we haven’t heard much, but it was recently announced on the band’s website that the former frontman will be judging an animated GIF contest called, appropriately, “Moving the Still.”
And these aren’t your typical cat-falling-off-a-treadmill GIFs; there’s certainly some artistic integrity attached to the contest, and joining Stipe on the judging panel will be author James Frey and a number of other celebrity fashion designers and photographers.
Rodrigo Corral is the darling of the literati—even though he’s not a writer, agent or publisher.
Over the past 15 years, Mr. Corral has designed more than 500 book covers for works such as Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club,” Jeffrey Eugenides’s “The Marriage Plot” and Gary Shteyngart’s “Super Sad True Love Story.” He draws inspiration for his bold, memorable illustrations from lines in the books, his personal experience and other, more peculiar places.
The idea for the cover of James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces”—an outstretched hand covered in a rainbow of sprinkles—came from a Nasonex nose spray commercial that showed medicine traveling through a human body, coupled with his spotting the tiny decorative balls at an industrial cake shop on West 25th Street.
Mr. Corral’s next design will debut Tuesday, for Junot Diaz’s short story collection, “This Is How You Lose Her.” To create its multi-colored image of a broken heart, Mr. Corral looked inward. “It is a classic example of how I bring my own experiences to a cover,” he said. “I was going through a bad relationship and it was my ‘don’t think about what I am doing right now’ way of distracting myself.”
It’s true. Richard Prince and Arizona have teamed up on a new drink. It is called Lemon Fizz, and according to Bevnet — ”The Beverage Industry’s Source” — is “a slightly carbonated beverage that contains natural lemon flavor and is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and sucralose.” Sounds delicious.
In a cinematic era marked by burgeoning sexual frankness and a more fluid acceptance of movie eroticism, Sylvia Kristel was at the forefront of a cresting wave.
The Dutch actress, who starred in a string of mainstream ’70s erotic films including Emmanuelle and its sequels, died Wednesday in the Netherlands after a long battle with cancer. She was 60.
The actress was just 22 years old when she shot to fame in the 1974 French hit Emmanuelle, which told the story of a restless housewife and her sexual escapades in Thailand.
The film was notable for being one of the first erotic films to be shown in mainstream theaters, even though it was slapped with an X rating in the U.K.
At the time, the zeitgeist was ripe for Emmanuelle, nipping at the heels of more hard-core films like Deep Throat, which was released two years earlier.
Although that film was unabashedly sexual, it tempered the cinematic climate enough for the arrival of films like Emmanuelle — with its provocative yet velvet-soft approach to erotica—and for stars like Kristel.
Jeff Koons is having his first exhibition in Brussels in 20 years; it open[ed] Oct. 6 at Almine Rech gallery. And that is news! But far more impressive than that news is the following sentence in the exhibition’s press release which may, as indicated in our headline, be the best sentence in any press release ever released in the history of press releases released to the press.
“Neither Koons nor his art can ever stay static: his oeuvre is like a quivering organism, ceaselessly buzzing with life, producing ever new and more surprising, vivid forms.”
Remarkable! According to this sentence, Jeff Koons’s art is, pretty much, that cavernous, gothic outer space WMD chamber in Prometheus, packed with obsidian vials leaking dark ooze that turns into—well, any number of quivering, buzzing, surprising organisms, such as slickly-fanged worms that invade people’s bodies via the mouth and, in turn, giant mouth-like creatures with countless tentacles and what you might call a violent lust for regeneration (talk about vivid; this is why going to outer space in the first place is a bad idea).
Elsewhere in the press release mention is made of “high points,” “intimate juxtapositions,” the “pulse of humanity,” “the libido and the core of our humanity” and “a permanent state of tumescence”; a sailboat is called “an erotic visual double entendre” and a statue has “a perfectly callipygian rear,” as in ass.
Dyed and curled, slicked-back or straightened, tied in tight little buns or floating out in the breeze like a windsock, human beings have been cutting and styling their hair for an extraordinarily long time.
Cheveux Cheris or Beloved Hair is a new exhibition at Paris’ Quai Branly museum that brings together anthropology, art, fashion and philosophy to explore how individuals and societies express themselves through hair.
“People think prehistoric men and women had wild hair,” says the curator, the aptly-named Yves Le Fur.
The reality was very different from the caveman image – as some of man’s most ancient artworks testify.
Hair, he says, is something that differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Animal fur looks great with the occasional lick. For human hair to look good, it requires effort.
Looking like a behemoth out of a Hollywood film, space shuttle Endeavour makes its way down Manchester Boulevard.(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
By Kate Mather, Andrew Khouri and Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times
The space shuttle Endeavour arrived in Los Angeles last month with an air of majesty, soaring over ocean and mountains, swooping past the Hollywood sign and Disneyland, and dazzling crowds gazing up from the ground.
Endeavour lost a little of that grandeur Friday, towed by four trailers, inching down city streets from Los Angeles International Airport toward its new life as an exhibit at the California Science Center. But it was greeted with fanfare by large crowds who marveled at its sheer size against the city backdrop.