1980s Honky Dancing (A Primer)

As Eddie notes in the clip above, it’s long been known that people without colour lack rhythm. It’s a given. For as long as Chinese people have been smart, black people have had big lips and Latino’s quick tempers, white people couldn’t dance.

For shit.

Particularly in the 1980s it seemed, where white dancing was more pervasive than ever due to the golden age of MTV, and the desire of movies to include dance scenes was consequently more prevalent more than ever before.

I feel somewhat maligned.  While few white people turn out to be Rudolf Nureyev, we’re not all Lewis Skolnick’s either. Though media in the 1980s seems to have given others little choice in visualising us in any other way as the following examples ably illustrate:

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Molly Ringwold at the 25 second mark is exactly what Eddie Murphy refers to above.

Dancing In The Streets (1985)

So, as you can see it wasn’t all great tunes like Ashes to Ashes from the now dead icon. It was also ravaged Motown covers with dreadful dancing and mutual screaming thrown in. Surely, these two could have afforded choreography? Jagger in particular looks like someone’s hitting him from behind with a cattle prod. Laughing in the streets would be a more appropriate title.

Madonna Holiday (1983)

Holy fucking shit! How bad is this? The choreography is out of sync significantly and all three participants are not in time. Particularly Madonna’s brother Christopher on the left hand side.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (1984)

If there was a visual dictionary for archetypal 1980s white boy dancing it would be this clip. Although in all fairness George Michael had Cypriot heritage.

Ant Music (1982)

The origins of atrocious white dancing may be possibly traced back to this catchy slice of pop. On the heels of $5,000 worth of advice from Malcolm McLaren, Adam Ant created his highway man persona, two successful albums and this jaunty primer on how not to dance. That being said, this is one catchy tune and somehow, retains some of punk’s ‘fuck you’ spirit.

Dancing In The Dark (1984)

Apt title. Pretty much sums up awful honky dancing with shit music to boot. I don’t care what anyone says, Springsteen sucks. Never understood any level of his appeal.

Flashdance (1983)

This, along with Jane Fonda started some kind of honky dance/aerobics zeitgeist and whilst I can understand the appeal of a pretty girl in tight pants, both the music and dancing are terrible.

Footloose (1984)

Oooooh so much angst… manifested in some of the gayest dancing this side of Glee. Seems 1984 was a great year for honky dancing. How this film became a classic for some people I’ll never know.

Faith (1987)

Probably seems wrong in light of his very recent death, but yes, this too deserves to be here. And when I see or hear this, I am reminded of the brillance of the movie version of The Rules of Attraction (2002). The only good Brett Easton Ellis adaptation.

Rock Me Tonite (1984)

This is everything Louis Farrakhan warned us of in the 1980s, and with good reason. Skip in to the 30 second mark to see moves that’ll put your drunken uncle to shame.

You Spin Me Round (1984)

Got the basic honky arm moves from 18 seconds onwards. It may be fucking terrible, but it’s undeniably upbeat.

Turning Japanese (1980)

Pretty archetypical honky dancing from the period. Bad dancing and vaguely racist to boot!

 

With evidence like this, it’s no wonder the rhythimically challenged white boy stereotype remains entrenched until this day. One day we will rise up on a dance floor and prove that not all our feet are left only. Perhaps.

 

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Great Homes You Wish You’d Visited Part Three: 23 & 120 Mount Street, Mayfair, London

street-view-as-at-2016

“Robert was the hippest person I ever met. Every night at 23 Mount Street there was some pop star, movie star, artist, whatever. You couldn’t keep up with that. You just had to be yourself, because you couldn’t keep up”.

Jim Dine (American Artist)

 

Between 1960 and 1972, Robert Fraser’s flat(s) on Mount Street were a contemporary salon for the rich, famous and talented of the 1960s. Dennis Hopper visited there, Andy Warhol went there, Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg stayed there, Paul McCartney watched 16mm movies and tooted cocaine there, Michael Cooper and David Bailey took photos there, Donald Cammell and Kenneth Anger hustled films there, Christopher Gibbs talked art and antiques, John Paul Getty Jr. and Tara Browne were aristocratic within its confines, Allen Ginsberg, Tony Curtis, Terry Southern, William Burroughs hung out, as did Fulham footballer Bobby Keetch and Tom Wolfe.

Fraser, generally described as an aristocratic, thin dandy with a sometime stutter and an artificial aloofness, owned and ran an art gallery in nearby Duke Street Mayfair. Here, he exhibited British pop artists like Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton, and gave space to American artists such as Jim Dine, Dennis Hopper, Roy Lichtenstein and Claus Oldenberg, all the while hosting guests / potential purchasers like Marlon Brando, Marianne Faithful and members of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. He also sponsored the 1966 exhibition by Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery where she first met John Lennon, encouraged the Beatles to use his friend Michael Cooper to photograph the collage design of his artist Peter Blake to create the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, and ensured that another of his artists – Richard Hamilton – designed the cover for 1968’s The Beatles.

sgt-peppers-cover

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)  – Stolen From Web

fraser-at-sgt-pepper-cover-shoot

Fraser at Sgt Pepper’s Cover Shoot – Photograph by Michael Cooper

beatles-1968

The Beatles (1968) – Stolen From Web

indica-gallery-exhibition-1966

Yoko Ono Indica Gallery Exhibition Handbill (1966) – Stolen From Web

Quite often the openings at his gallery would evolve into parties at his apartment at 23 Mount Street, Mayfair. Located on the third floor of the building, above the fabled Scott’s restaurant, which had moved there in 1967, and was most recently in the news when Nigella Lawson was throttled by her then husband Charles Saatchi there in 2013, his apartment provided a refuge and a meeting place for those in the know. The apartment had a very big room, which contained an Yves Klein sculpture, a couple of chaise lounges and a bunch of cushions on the floor. Keith Richards describes it as “… full of fantastic objects. Tibetan skulls lined with silver, bones with silver caps on the end, Tiffany nouveau lamps and beautiful fabrics and textiles everywhere. He’d float around in these bright coloured silk shirts he’d brought back from India. Robert really liked to get stoned, ‘wonderful hashish’, ‘Afghani primo’. He was a weird mix of the avant-garde and old fashioned”.

23-mount-street-courtesy-of-kenwood-blog

23 Mount Street (Circa 2013) – Photo Courtesy of Kenwood@Blogspot

23-mount-street-courtesy-of-kenwood-blog-2

23 Mount Street (Circa 2013) – Photo Courtesy of Kenwood@Blogspot

robert-fraser-in-his-gallery

Robert Fraser At His Duke Street Gallery – Stolen From Web

Fraser having met members of the Rolling Stones at a restaurant called Mrs Beaton’s Tent, became associated with their social scene, notably Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones.

“He was where you went to to tell what was happening”, recollected Marianne Faithfull. “Robert was a serious conductor of lightening”.

Keith Richards remembers, “Robert was someone who owned this apartment where you’d sit around talking and now and again you’d have a chat, without really being interested that much. Ten slowly it became more and more of a friendship. Robert was never one to push… He would talk about ideas, then say, ‘Why doesn’t everybody shut up and listen to Booker T.’ Some Turkish coffee and a pipe”. Fraser liked “… his soul music, loved Indian music – was wide open on everything”.

“He’d say, ‘Come up to my place for lunch, I’ve got some new records.’ So you’d get up for it, pop around to Robert’s pad, the mint tea, nice pipe and some great new sounds. From anywhere, Morocco or Memphis”.

“You’d see Robert go from this wonderful Saville Row suit to his jellaba and his little Turkish slippers.

As Mick Jagger recalls, “He was always trying to sell me Magritte, which would have been a fantastic buy. I just didn’t have the money. If I had known they’d be worth millions I could’ve raised it. Robert was a taste guru for both bands, but Paul was someone he could sell a Magritte to”.

According to Paul McCartney, “Robert’s Flat was like a second gallery… There was no dour art talk. It was much more razzy, loose, lively discussion with him. He was the best art eye I’ve ever met”. Later Fraser would sell McCartney a Magritte painting of an apple that the Beatle’s Apple logo would be based upon.

magritte_the-listening-room-1952

Magritte – The Listening Room (1952) – Stolen From Web

apple-corps-logo

Apple Corps Logo (circa 1968) – Photo Stolen From Web

The British pop art artist Peter Blake who was exhibited by Robert notes that Mick Jagger learnt a certain sophistication from Robert Fraser by hanging about the apartment. Robert was “…very glamorous. He was handsome, incredibly well dressed. He kind of tutored them in a way”.

tk

tk

Robert Fraser (Circa 1967) – Photo Stolen From Web

Chris Jagger (Mick’s brother) similarly recalls, “I remember being Robert’s flat with Jim Dine… I must have been about nineteen and I remember him having impenetrable conversations and apparently they were about scoring dope. I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. I wasn’t included in those conversations, I was just ‘there’. But there was a lot of hustling going on. He was very good at that.

“We all knew he was gay but he didn’t flaunt the boyfriends too much. He was homosexual but not at all camp – you’d never have known he was gay really. He was theatrical but not camp.” Mick Jagger notes, “But he was the one who invented Spanish Tony, Tony Sanchez [Keith Richards later drug dealer]. He’s a ghastly person. Why did he invent him? He did provide drugs but, but there was more than one drug dealer around.”

Paul McCartney first tried cocaine within the walls of 23 Mount Street having seen Fraser snorting lines through a rolled up pound note. McCartney himself describes that he “…felt very lucky, because he introduced me to it a year before most people were doing it. That was ’66, very early. I did a little bit with Robert, had my little phial… It didn’t seem too bad. I started to find though, I had a big problem with numbness in my throat. Some people quite like that, but occasionally I’d think that I was dying.

mccartnet-may-1967

Paul McCartney (Circa 1967) – Stolen from web

Acid too made its first appearance in the lives of people in Robert’s flat as antiques dealer Christopher Gibbs remembers, “The first acid trip I ever took was around at Robert’s. There were a lot of hip Americans there – Sid Caesar, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Connor, Kenneth Anger… For all of us it was pretty nearly our first time. It was a great levelling thing, making a new camaraderie”.

christopher-gibbs2

Christopher Gibbs (Circa Late 1960s) – Photo Stolen From Web

Donald Cammell was often there talking about his film ideas which turned into Performance, whilst Kenneth Anger, similarly meeting Mick and Keith there, roped Mick Jagger into making music for Lucifer Rising and filmed thensome parts of their free concert in Hyde Park to be used in his 1969 film Invocation of My Demon Brother.

kenneth-anger-set-of-lucifer-rising-london-1970

Kenneth Anger On The Set of Lucifer Rising (1970) – Photo Stolen From Web

The atmosphere of Mount Street is described by Nigel Waymouth, “You’d go round to Robert’s of an evening and you’d get stoned, but there wasn’t an awful lot said. You weren’t allowed to be nervous. Sometimes you’d get a bit restless, a bit bored, but: can I be bothered to move? The joint would cool you out. It was a great time. People would just be sitting there, listening to music, passing the joint. You felt comfortable being quiet.”

Susan Loppert, who helped run his gallery, provides the flip side to this atmosphere, “You’d go round to Mount Street and here’d be people sitting around all this awful smell of incense and grass. You could never get a drink, nobody drank anything, and they’d all be sitting around uttering these pseudo-profundities which were all rubbish! Unless you were part of it, you were completely out of it. I’ll never forget one time – he had ceramics at one point, one of Robert’s phases of collecting things, he would be continually changing his furniture around – these people were sitting around on his floor and one said, ‘Like get a hold of that red pot, man’. And everyone said, ‘Yeah, man yeah’. I’ve never forgotten that.

dennis-hopper-friends-circa-1966

Dennis Hopper at 23 Mount Street Circa 1966 – Scan by author

Paul Trynka’s book, Sympathy for the Devil gives an account of Brian Jones being in attendance whilst messed up on Mandrax, “I was at Robert Fraser’s apartment one day, at 23 Mount Street, we were discussing what was happening, and Brian came up to see me there. And he entered through the doorway and, attempting to cross the room, he hit every piece of furniture, bouncing from one to another like a ping pong ball. It was a dreadful sight.”

brian-jones-wine-fork

Brian Jones Reflecting Upon His Benzo Intake – Photo Stolen From Web

In May 1967 23 Mount Street hosted Andy Warhol, his acolytes and an associated swinging people to watch the interminable bore of Chelsea Girls.  Fraser’s friend “Stash Klossowski” aka “Stash De Rola” aka “Prince Stanislaus Klossowski de Rola,” who was also a friend to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, recalls bringing Paul McCartney’s 16 mm sound projector to Fraser’s flat so they could project it on two screens.

chelsea-girls-poster

Chelsea Girls Poster – Stolen from web

“Robert called and asked me to bring Paul’s 16mm sound projector, because Chelsea Girls needed two projectors used simultaneously. So I took it over, arrived at 23 Mount Street and found about fifty or more people crammed in, lying all over the floor, all the Warhol entourage. We showed the movie and someone complained about the noise and the police came.

chelsea-girls-creenshot

Chelsea Girls Screenshot – Stolen from web

Robert had this amazingly arrogant attitude towards the police which stopped them coming in. They tried. They were pointing to people passed out on the floor, saying, ‘Is he all right?’, but Robert just ignored this and ordered or pushed them back out on to the landing.”

Pretentious art films weren’t the only flicks shown at Robert’s flat however, as apparently Ringo Starr was fond of screening the Ray Harryhausen epic Jason and the Argonauts again and again, whilst Paul McCartney showed The Wizard of Oz on another occasion.

In 1967, Fraser, along with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger was arrested and given a prison sentence for being caught in possession of drugs at Keith Richards Country home in West Wittering.

fraser-and-others-the-day-of-redlands

Fraser (at left) And Others On The Day of Redlands Bust – Photo From Web

He was photographed shackled with Jagger in a famous photo, which was subsequently turned into a more famous painting by one of his artists in some kind of meta play. He was sentenced to time at Wormwood Scrubs Prison with Richards, whilst Jagger was sent to Brixton Prison. According to Keith Richards, Fraser “… never lost his cool in any of those type of matters”. Unlike Richards and Jagger however, who thanks to a now famous Times newspaper editorial got off within a day or two, he did hard time, three months in all and understandably didn’t come out the same as he went in.

fraser-and-jagger-cuffed

Fraser & Jagger At The Mercy Of The Law – Stolen from web

Fraser’s gallery was placed in receivership whilst he was in prison and closed permanently at the end of the decade, providing another metaphorical nail in the coffin of the 1960s. The scene makers that he hosted at his apartment however, went on to both define and outlive their era and as the lease was coming up at 23 Mount Street, Fraser took another down the road at 120 Mount Street. A larger apartment, it reportedly had lots of light, silk hangings and a four poster bed, where Keith Richards wrote You Got The Silver in the company of Anita Pallenberg, Fraser and Marianne Faithful. The lounge room was used by Keith in a similar fashion to write Gimme Shelter as he looked out the windows on to a storm outside, whilst he, Fraser, Faithful and Pallenberg got ever deeper into a heroin quagmire. According to Pallenberg who was filming the movie Performance at the time, ‘Keith and Robert were both so cynical and sarcastic, slagging of the movie [Performance] every day. “The bathroom was the most important place. First you’d shoot up, then you’d puke, then you’d feel great”.

Keith agrees, noting that, “At the time of Performance I was living in Robert’s flat in Mount Street. That film was probably the best work he ever did, except for shooting himself”.

pallenberg-and-cammell-peformance-set-1968

Anita Pallenberg & Donald Cammell on the Set of Performance 1968 – Stolen from web.

Indeed, the darkness that seemed to envelop the end of the 1960s was illustrated at 120 Mount Street in microcosm. While Pallenberg and cohorts shot themselves up with smack, Kenneth Anger staked a claim on this new version of Mount Street by making a temple filled with books and trinkets. In his autobiography, Richards recalls that, “Robert was into smack. He had a cupboard full of double breasted suits, all superbly made, with great fabrics, and his shirts were often handmade bespoke shirts, but the collars and cuffs were always frayed. And that was part of the look. And he used to keep spare jacks – a sixth of grain – loose in those suit pockets, so he’d always be going to the cupboard and going through all the pockets to find he odd spare jack.”

It seems prison affected Fraser for the worst, and he was noticeably grouchier and moodier in social settings afterwards. He went to India along with everybody else in 1968 but saw no recuperative affect, and following the closure of his gallery in 1969 he essentially disappeared, re-emerging almost two decades later to relaunch another gallery to reduced effect. He died in 1986 of AIDS, one of the first celebrity cases in Britain.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 4 – Dirty Harry (1971): Filming Locations

Northern California is known for many things… Hippies, Zinfandel wines, as the birthplace of both the Beats and the Black Panthers, tremendous scenic beauty, devastating earthquakes and the Symbionese Liberation Army. For me however, it’s Clint Eastwood’s domain, and synonymous with both the man and his fictional characters.

Dirty Harry Logo

The character that is traditionally most associated with Eastwood is of course, Dirty Harry. Starting life as a script entitled Dead Right. It was initially to feature Frank Sinatra and be directed by Sidney Pollack, however the script was eventually acquired by Warner Brothers, filtered to Eastwood and his Malpaso production group, who in turn hired Don Siegel to direct it. The film came in on a relatively low budget and under schedule and benefitted from Eastwood’s desire to do most of his own stunts, most notably the jump from a railway trestle bridge onto a speeding school bus.

Eastwood Bus Jump...

Eastwood Doing His Own Stunts – Photo Stolen From Web

Detailing the desperate attempt to bring to justice a maniacal sniper (played Andy Robinson), who is black mailing city authorities by killing successive victims unless a huge ransom is paid, in a similar manner to Death Wish (1974) (see https://theeasternterraces.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/culture-snappin-usa-part-3-death-wish-1974-filming-locations), the film shows that a responsible lone individual is a more effective instrument of law and order than the apparatus of the state, and the toll that maintaining such a thin blue line rests upon those weary and foolish enough to maintain its imprint.

DH City Hall

City Hall – Lower Photo & Diptych By Author

By modern standards, Dirty Harry may seem somewhat tame, however at the time of its release it garnered significant notoriety due to the fact that the cop played by Eastwood, fought violence with violence and played by his own rules. In the eyes of a wider public who were fed up with increasing crime, this made him a hero. In the eyes of certain critics – notably New York Times’ Pauline Kael – this made him a fascist, and at the 1971 Academy Awards there were protests outside the auditorium by left wing elements holding signs proclaiming ’Dirty Harry Is A Rotten Pig’.

Eastwood, not one to hold back on his opinions, responded to Kael’s criticism in a contemporary interview by commenting, “I’d say she’s crazy.”

Don Siegel when asked about the level of violence in the film said, “I dimly remember that at the end of Hamlet there are five bodies lying around, so that’s balderdash. This constantly plainted ditty against violence – if people didn’t want it, they wouldn’t go to the movies.”

Dirty Harry was a major success. It quickly out grossed all of Eastwood’s previous films and ushered in an era of Vigilante flicks such as Walking Tall (1972) and Death Wish (1974). If critics were divided, audiences weren’t. They stood in line in huge numbers to see Eastwood kick some ass.

Washinton Square Logo

Washington Square Park – Lower Photo & Diptych By Author

It was the fourth collaboration between Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood. In their first project Coogan’s Bluff (1968), the two skilfully relocated Eastwood’s man with no name to an urban setting. Dirty Harry is an elaboration of that idea and character. He now has a back story of a dead wife who was lost in an accident and years of police work have hardened him and made him reckless to both himself and his partners. Callahan is not the superhero that he became in the subsequent sequels, and the ambivalence of the character often comes to the fore. Therefore early on, he approaches a robbery with his gun drawn and not taking cover, whilst later he climbs aboard a cherry picker without thinking to grab a jumper from a roof.

Robbery Shootout

Harry Callahan With a Chip On His Shoulder – Screenshot Stolen From Web

Andy Robinson is perfect as the antagonist. Originally rejected by Siegel due to the fact he looked angelic and attractive, it was later realised that the killer would be far more frightening if indeed he was the antithesis of a screen villain and he was cast accordingly. The choice was a wise one and Robinson essayed one of the most memorable screen villains of all time.  From doing a huge flip on the football field, ad-libbing the line “my that’s a big one” in response to Callahan’s 44., showing a neon Jesus sign who’s boss or letting out a scream that would put Fay Wray to shame, he is the incontestably the best screen crazy ever committed to celluloid. So much so, he apparently put himself out of work for about a decade or so, as people could not imagine him as anything else or were too frightened to work with him. He didn’t re-appear on the silver screen much again (1973’s Charley Varrick not withstanding) until the 1980s when he was cast as a police chief in Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra (1986) – coincidentally featuring  Dirty Harry’s Rene Santoni  – or against type as the most normal person in Clive Barker’s Hell Raiser (1987).

Scorpio Scream

Scorpio Screaming For America – Photo stolen from web

Huge props must also be given to the composer Lalo Schifrin who was on a streak in the late 1960s to early 1970s. A classically trained conductor from South America with a passion for jazz, Schifrin provided a number of seminal scores for Hollywood golden era movies such as Enter The Dragon (1973), Bullit (1968) and Cool Hand Luke (1967), whilst also finding time to provide the distinctive theme music for the Mission Impossible television series (1966). In Dirty Harry, Lalo showed the world the power of a hi-hat breakdown and conducted some of the best kick drum sounds ever recorded to wax.

Lalo Schifirin

Lalo Schifrin – Photo stolen from web

Dirty Harry was filmed on location in San Francisco, with the only studio based scene being the opening bank robbery sequence which was shot on the Universal back lot. Siegel reportedly complained that the location shooting put enormous strain on him. One problem being that night sequence filming was usually limited to a few hours due to resident complaints that all the filming activity was keeping them awake.

Don Siegal & Eastwood

Don Siegel & Clint Eastwood On Set – Photo Stolen From Web

I visited these locations in early 2015, and as much possible, attempted to view them at a similar time of day to when they were filmed. Due to time constraints and my own fears however I visited Mt Davidson around 4pm in the afternoon rather than at night-time, as I had no wish to be solicited by Alice or his modern day contemporaries.

The Cross Logo

The Cross – Photo By Author

Surprisingly, in our current CNN terrorist contrived environment, no one seemed to give a shit about what I was doing. I stood at the Marina around 12.30am filming the boats near a construction crew and no one asked me what I was up to.

Marina Logo

The Marina – Photo By Author

Similarly, I filmed the entrance to the Fort Mason Tunnel (which is now blocked off) in front of a Safeway – itself briefly featured in 1968’s Bullit – around 1am and no one seemed to care.

Tunnel 1 LogoTunnel 2 Logo

The Tunnel – Photo By Author

At the other side of said tunnel, near the now defunct hamburger stand, my only competition for the space was a drop bear squirrel (which frankly scared the shit out of me when it fell from the top of the tunnel exit to my feet) and what I can now only assume was a drug dealer who sat in black Lexus with all his lights off, but engine quietly running at about 1:30am.

Tunnel 3 Logo Hamburger Stand_Logo

Tunnel Exit & Hamburger Stand – Photos by Author

Interestingly, the marina and the tunnel are super close. It is demonstrative of Scorpio’s meanness that he asked Harry to go from the Marina, to Forest Hills Station and then back to Aquatic Park. The Marina, tunnel and hamburger stand are within extremely close proximity, and whilst Forest Hills Station and Mt Davidson are very close, they are nowhere near these locations

Speaking of which, special thanks must be given to the kind ticket master at Forest Hills Station. I walked in and said I was there only for Dirty Harry nostalgia and not a BART ticket, and he was awesome enough to let me though the gates, film what I needed and then let me out again. He even looked slightly perturbed when a homeless guy started accosting people (including me) near the turnstiles.

DH2 DH3

Forest Hill Station – Photos By Author

The Alley that was the location for Hot Mary and her boyfriend, was only occupied by a Chinese Chef at 11pm when I filmed it.

Hot Mary 1 LogoHot Mary 2 Logo

Hot Mary Alley – Photos by Author

Conversely the location at the corner of Turk and Polk Street where Harry convinces a jumper to come down, was absolutely loaded with crazy homeless people around 2am. I literally had to wait for the all clear before leaping out of my rented Mustang and taking the footage as quickly as possible while a basehead looking guy (reminiscent of Flava Flav’s lean years) repeatedly circled the block screaming ‘What time is it’ at the top of his lungs.

Jumper Lobby Card

Jumper Logo

Jumper Building – Photo By Author

Columbus Avenue is cool whatever time of day and North Beach in general was my favourite part of San Francisco. City Hall was no problem and the China Town / Downtown area where you can locate both the Hilton Hotel (where the opening death was filmed) and the building on 555 California Street (the vantage point from where Scorpio shoots this first victim) are easy enough to find.

Scorpio 555 Opening Shot

Scorpio’s View From 555 Building – Screenshot Stolen From Web

555 Building Logo

Building Where Scorpio First Shoots From – Photo By Author

The thing is though, unlike the other locations, if it weren’t for the film, you wouldn’t want to go there. 555 and The Hilton are either downtown business city until 5pm, or absolute fucking freak show central after 8pm. Either way, I had to give them a pass.  I did visit the Hall of Justice featured briefly in the film, however as this was at approximately 4:45pm, I found myself unable to stop and was soon bundled onto a freeway that lead me out to Oakland. If you choose to visit, I suggest you do it between 11am and 3pm.

The results of my explorations my be seen in another shakily filmed clip below:

 

San Francisco, is a beautiful city for the most part, and two of my best times within its boundaries were sitting at the apex of the hill at Kearny Street (one street over from Romolo Place where Scorpio limps up after being busted by Harry at Roaring 20s). The view from here is fantastic, no one ever bothers you even late at night, and you have a great view of San Francisco, the Trans America Pyramid and its surrounds.

Favourite View Logo

My Favourite Place in San Francisco – Photo By Author

I’ll close this post in the same way I closed my Death Wish one… With some selected panels from the Mad Magazine satire of this movie published around 1971 or 1972. Again, I have to note that the writers and publishers of Mad Magazine were on totally on point in the 1960s, 1970s and up to the mid 1980s. One of the greatest streaks of modern publishing in this author’s opinion. To think that they were churning out stuff like this before video, DVD and digital downloads and just using studio stills or their memory to turn out hilarious parodies like this month after month. My proverbial hat is forever tipped in their direction.

Mad 1

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 2

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 3

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 4

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

JAPAN 1970: The Future Was Then

Expo Splash

Japan was flying high in 1970. With the swift modernisation that came in the face of crushing world war defeat and the ever increasing GDP accrued from their manufacturing and patenting successes of the 1960s, the future must have seemed bright.

The Tokyo Olympics of 1964 placed an international seal of approval upon their direction / capital city in the classic tradition of the IOC anointing up and coming countries with money.  Osaka – no doubt with a significant chip on its shoulder (which still survives today) – sought their own recognition and solicited the Bureau of International Expositions to allow Osaka to host a world exposition, finally succeeding in 1965.

Organisers show Logo in 1966

Let The Kickbacks Begin. Photo stolen from web.

World expositions sadly no longer have the cache they once did. In a globalised world, connected by the internet, the opportunity to find out anything about another country is limited by only one’s imagination and typing capabilities. However in the mid 1960s they were still big business and showcased new ideas, technologies and ideologies in equal measure to a populace that may not otherwise have seen them.

For example, the preceding world fair held in Montreal in 1967 gave the first wide exposure to split screen film technology which would shortly be utilised and celebrated in 1968’s Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen. Similarly Buckminster Fullers geodesic dome of the same fair gave hippies and forward looking architects everywhere the opportunity to imagine and create badly built commune styled buildings for future lifestyle choices.  Whilst in 1970, the Fuji pavilion demonstrated the first ever use of IMAX and early mobile phone and MAGLEV train technology was showcased elsewhere within the same Expo.

Thus, it’s of little surprise given the technological advances between 1960 and 1970, that most people of that time imagined that moon colonies and hover cars would be a reality by 2005. That obviously (and sadly) failed to happen. Countries got lazy, funding dried up and technology in the succeeding years seems to have only been measured by the ability to make something smaller and perhaps add a clock to it.

Despite the fact that such progress was temporary at best, opposition to the Expo from left wing students and environmentalists at the time was rife. Demonstrations were staged in Shinjuku and Kyoto by a group known as Expo70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group. Unlike Japanese student demonstrations of 1968 however, the protests – whilst theatrical – were nonetheless also relatively peaceful and were limited to participants collectively holding hands and running towards buildings or standing in the streets shouting slogans at passersby.

Furthermore, the majority of antipathy was directed towards the destruction of natural land in order to create the expo site itself, and as such, may be seen as primarily ecological in nature and anti-governmental only as a secondary objective.

World expositions are traditionally known for their outlandish architecture and design, and as the first exposition to be held in Asia, the host country and its participants were seemingly determined to be as bizarre and forward looking as technology and time would allow. As Gunhild Borggreen states in the essay, ‘Ruins of the Future: Yanobe Kenji Revisits Expo ‘70’, “…Designed and built as a unified entity from the beginning, the site of Expo ’70 came to signify a large scale model of the city of the future…”

Structures 1970

Overview of Festival Plaza and Official Time Clock. Scan by author.

Australian Pavillion

Australian Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Bulgaria Pavillion

Bulgarian Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Iasma Nogushi Fountain

Fountain designed by Isamu Noguchi. Photo stolen from web.

Gas pavillion

Gas Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Swiss Pavillion

Swiss Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Toshiba Pavillion

Toshiba Pavilion. Photo stolen from web.

Ricoh & Kodak

Ricoh & Kodak Pavilions. Photo stolen from web.

Expo Pavillions

Other Pavillions. Photo stolen from web.

Insides 1970

Insides II 1970

Inside Pavilions. Scans by author.

At the time, local design was running wild too. Kenji Ekuan (who designed the ubiquitous Kikkoman soy sauce bottle and Japan’s Nerita Express train), was throwing down future metropolis designs like the prototypical Dwelling City 1964.

Kenji Ekuan, Dwelling City, 1964

Dwelling City 1964. Photo stolen from the web.

Which in this author’s mind was later plundered by the designers of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Kenji Ekuan, Evanelion Ramiel Angel

Kenji Ekuan, Evanelion Ramiel Angel2

Neon Genesis Evangelion. Screenshots stolen from the web.

Similarly forward thinking architects Kenzo Tange and Uzo Nishiyama were appointed to produce the master plan for the 1970 Expo site and a number of other architects were drafted to make individual contributions to certain buildings, features or pavilions, including Kenzo Tange’s protégé Kisho Kurokawa who designed the Takara Beautillion which was a capsule based residential design.

Takara Beautillion2

Takura Beutillion

Takara Beautillion. Photos stolen from the web.

For Kenzo Tange and his acolytes had recently created one of the twentieth century’s newest architectural styles which would feature heavily in this master plan. Based around the idea of living cities and flexible design, they had launched ‘Metabolism’ is 1960. The name ends with an ‘..ism’ in order to be congruous with other major 20th century architecture forms (such as ‘modernism, ‘internationalism’ etc.) and the base word correlates with the idea that modern buildings were to be dynamic and interchangeable. Each building was to contain a central core of services (access, water, electricity and sewage) and the remainder of the structure detached, re-attached and altered as per specific (or individual) needs.

Metabolism Poster

Metabolism Poster. Photo stolen from web.

Held between March and September 1970, the Expo attracted over 60 million people and over 70 countries participated in the event. In case people required further entertainment, a full amusement park was built adjacent to the site and christened as Expoland.

Expo & ExpoLand Panorama 1970

Expo (LHS) & Expoland (RHS) Before the Opening 1970. Scan by author.

Not much of the Expo ’70 site remains. Within a year the majority of these crazy pavilions had either been demolished or fallen into a precarious state of semi-ruination that prohibited their re-use. Nowadays, all that is left is the Japanese steel pavilion which currently houses the Expo ’70 museum. I visited in late 2012 and you can get the feeling of the minimalist (indeed brutalist) architecture and pay homage to the remaining colourful costumes of the participants and the eerie splendour of remaining empty space which 40 years hence had previously housed so many people and their futuristic dreams.

Expo Remaining Pavillion_ET

Expo Pavillion Inside_ET

Expo ’70 Site Circa 2012. Photos by author.

Statue Front Then & Now_ET

Tower of the Sun designed by Taro Okamoto. Lower Photo and Diptych by author.

Fountains Then & Now_ET

Fountain Area. Lower Photo and Diptych by author

[Also imagine building an entire monorail line to only be used for 6 months and then scrapped].

FrameworkThen & Now_ET

Festival Plaza Tubular Framework. Lower Photo and Diptych by author

Statue Back Then & Now_ET

Back of the Tower of the Sun. Lower Photo and Diptych by author

ExpoLand_ET

Expoland Circa late 2012. Photo by author.

ExpoLand_Lines_ET

Expoland Ticket Booths Circa Late 2012. Photo by author.

After the Expo, a real estate company president who had admired Kurokawa’s Takara Beautillion, commissioned him to build an apartment tower for single salary men (business men) in central Tokyo based upon the capsule idea he had exhibited.

Constructed on the border of Ginza near both shopping areas and a railway station in 1972, the Nakagin Capsule Tower has been an icon of the area for more than 40 years. It contains 140 capsules serviced by two cores of varying heights. Each capsule measures approximately 10 square metres in floor area and originally featured a bed, desk, calculator, tape deck, television and plastic moulded bathroom typical of any Japanese business hotel.

Elevations_Domus Magazine March 1973

Nakagin Elevations. Drawing taken from Domus Magazine March 1973.

Nakagin Interior Circa 1972Nakagin Interior 2

Interior Views. Photos stolen from web.

Nakagin-Capsule-Tower-Bathroom

Nakagin Bathroom. Photo stolen from web.

Predominantly built off site and then assembled on location, the tower was completed within a short time and every capsule was independent from another and able to be attached / detached as required.

Nakagin Construction

Nakagin Construction2

Construction of the Tower Circa 1972. Photos stolen from web.

The exterior is reminiscent of a pile of washing machines and actually draws comparison with another famous World Expo item, Habitat 67 designed by Israeli / Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for the 1967 Montreal Expo.

Habitat 67

Habitat 67. Photo stolen from web.

The capsules (like virtually all Japanese architecture) were made to be replaced every 25 years and detached and renovated as necessary. Alternatively, the capsules could be detached and moved to other Metabolist building structures, which although envisioned, sadly failed to ever materialise I shape or form anywhere else in Japan.

Nagasin Capsule 2Nakagin Bathroom

Nakagin Interior Views. Photos stolen from web.

Consequently,  a building that was meant to be refreshed every 30 years or so, has lasted for more than 40, and while too young to qualify for architectural preservation (being less than 50 years old), has nonetheless outworn is usefulness and lifespan. At the time of my last visit in late 2015, the building was encased in netting ‘lest it drop debris on passersby, 60% of the circular windows were piled high with garbage and the front doors wore a vehement ‘if you don’t live here – fuck off’ notice.

Nakagin Exterior_ET

Nakagin Exterior Circa Late 2015. Photo by author.

Nakasin Enterance 2

Nakagin Entrance_ET

Nakagin Entrance Circa Late 2015. Photos by author.

The windows originally contained a paper window screen that rotated in a clockwise manner to provide shade and privacy which fell apart within a few years. This has thus left the few current residents to find make shift methods of providing similar facilities including curtains and blinds. The insulation that lay between the inner and outer layers of each capsule was made of asbestos which has deteriorated and now the capsules are both too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Furthermore, they are a potential health hazard too as the asbestos fibres may get in the air conditioning ducts and travel throughout the building.

Nakagin Exterior Closeup_ET

Various Window Shade Solutions. Photo by author.

Interior Ruined

Ruined Capsule Interior. Photo stolen from web.

Partially for this reason, the central air conditioning is now permanently turned off, as is the hot water, which was disconnected in 2010. Current residents now only have the choice of a common area shower on the ground floor, utilising whatever public sentos [baths] remain in the area or cold water bathing in their own cubicle bathrooms.

Nakagin Exterior 6_ET Nakagin Exterior 4_ET Nakagin Exterior 2_ETNakagin Exterior_3 ET

Exterior Views Circa Late 2015. Photos by author.

Other than this fairly amazing piece of Metabolism, few others were created. Kiyonori Kikutake later designed the Aquapolis for the 1975 Okinawa Expo which is essentially a James Bond villain lair tethered to a coastline. It was allowed to stay there until 1993 and then was unceremoniously towed towards Shanghai and scrapped.

Aquapolis Okinawa 1975_2Aquapolis Okinawa 1975_3

Aquapolis. Photos stolen from web.

Another Metabolist named Kisho Kurokawa would go on to design further capsule orientated design including the Sony Tower in Osaka as well as the Kuwatii Embassy in Japan.

Kurokawa, 1976 (demolished in 2006)

Sony Tower Osaka 1976. Photo stolen from web.

Kuwait Embassy (stolen from Flickr)

Kuwaiti Embassy 1979. Photo stolen from web.

After the seventies though, the concept essentially died – arguably much like the imagination and hope of the post 1960s dreamers that designed and implemented both it and the 1970 Expo. The Sony Tower was torn down in 2006 and in 2016 fewer people take chances, the world is smaller and money is less likely to be spent on physical testimonies to utopian philosophies. Indeed, if money can’t be made by appealing to the widest array of people for the cheapest possible cost, it won’t get constructed.

You know you are living in a shitty time when hope can only be found in the past.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

RESOURCES:

Scans were taken from the book EXPO’70 驚愕! 大阪万国博覧会のすべて and elevation drawings from Domus Magazine March 1973.

Ruins of the Future: Yanobe Kenji Revisits Expo ‘70 can be found at: http://www.performanceparadigm.net/index.php/journal/article/view/22/19

 

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 3 – Death Wish (1974): Filming Locations

“We were driving to Kennedy airport in 1973 to shoot the last scene of The Stone Killer, the third film we made together, when Charlie asked me what we should do next. I told him I had this script about a man whose wife and daughter are mugged and then the man goes out and shoots muggers. I mentioned that I’d had it for five years but no one seemed interested. Charlie said, ‘I’d like to do it.’ I said, ‘What, you mean you want to do this movie?’ And Charlie replied, ‘No, I’d like to shoot muggers”.

Michael Winner – Director of Death Wish

Splash

Michael Winner’s 1974 film ‘Death Wish’ rarely sits upon any film guide’s top ten and yet it is one of the more referenced and controversial films of its era. Providing the same kind of view of the big apple that the Dirty Harry films had of San Francisco, the film shows muggers, hoods and rapists lurking around every corner and the thin blue line too powerless or apathetic to make any difference.

Enter one lone individual with a loaded gun and a sense of frontier justice and a franchise is born.

Following on from both the amazing Dirty Harry (1971) and the frankly pretty shit, Walking Tall (1973), Death Wish helped usher in a wave of vigilante films and was based upon Brian Garfield’s identically titled 1972 novel. Garfield reportedly having left a party on the upper west side of Manhattan (coincidently where Bronson’s character lives in the film), came back to find his car window broken and his coat stolen. Thinking to himself how he would’ve killed the perpetrator if he had caught him in the act, Garfield conjured the idea of a twisted avenger, an accountant no less, taking revenge on any scumbag that crosses his path in the wake of his wife’s murder.

Like the protagonist of First Blood by David Morrell, which was later turned into the first Rambo movie, this character was damaged and becomes increasingly more so though out the course of the story. The film’s main character Paul Kersey however, like the cinematic version of John Rambo, was seen as a hero at the time of the film’s release with his psychopathic actions ignored or downplayed. Echoes of the psychosis may be seen in Bronson’s stony faced performance, but whether by Winner’s design or Bronson’s lack of ability, they remain only that.

Winner & Bronson(Ronald Grant Archive)

Michael Winner & Charles Bronson On Set. Ronald Grant Archive

The book was purchased by a film production duo, who after commissioning several drafts, on sold it to the Italian movie magnate Dino de Laurentiis, who hired Michael Winner, who in turn cast Charles Bronson with whom he had previously worked. Filmed on location in New York City in January 1974, Bronson, as Vincent Carnaby memorably describes in his contemporary review, “…roams the night time streets of New York, which… are so filled with vandals, would-be muggers, rapists and the like that Charlie never goes home without scoring. On streets, in parks, on subway platforms, in subway cars. It’s like shooting ducks in a bird sanctuary”.

In the face of such criticism, producer de Laurentiis stated, “Violence is not typical of New York alone. All big cities are jungles. New York is a symbol of all the metropolitan areas of our planet”.

Certainly, along with the previously noted The Warriors (1979), Taxi Driver (1976), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Coogans Bluff (1968) and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 (1974), this was a film that perversely made me want to visit New York City. An urban nightmare on the edge of insanity, an asphalt playground where anything went, New York seemed a million miles away from where I grew up watching it from the comfort of a VCR. Thankfully though, it was not like that when I visited and I was able to walk in Paul Kersey’s footsteps without fear of having to clock a mugger with a sock full of pennies.

Bronson Sock Full O Pennies

Charles Bronson And His Sock Full o’ Pennies. Screenshot by Author

As it was filmed in winter, many of the places I visited looked much the same 41 years later. The night before searching the locations, I watched a copy of the film from my base at the St James Hotel, itself featured in a number of films, notably Maniac (1980), Big (1987) and Cruising (1980).

St James Hotel

St James Hotel. Diptych by author

Over the course of the next afternoon/evening, I managed to find the D’ Agostino market featured prominently in the film, Kersey’s uptown apartment, the stone steps he walks down to shoot his first mugger (coincidently also used in The Warriors) and the midtown café where he lures two heist men to their doom. The café, although shuttered, still has the same neon sign it had in 1974, but midtown itself no longer has the scary vibe shown in Taxi Driver or Maniac. The closest thing I saw to crime was when some guy tried to sell me weed on the street.

Death Wish Credits

72nd Street Station. Diptych by author

Death Wish Apt Building1

Kerseys Building/ Sidewalk. Diptych by author

Death Wish Apt Building2

Kersey’s Building / Sidewalk. Diptych by author

Death Wish Service Entrance

Apartment Service Entrance. Diptych by author

Death Wish Steps

Riverside Park Steps. Diptych by author

Death Wish Bus Stop

Where Kersey Gets Off The Bus. Diptych by author

Death Wish_Subway

8th Avenue Subway. Diptych by author

The results of this exploration may be seen in another shakily filmed clip below. In my own defence, it was freezing when I shot this footage and every removal of my gloves almost resulted in frostbite.

 

Almost a decade later Winner resurrected Paul Kersey for the incredibly scuzzy Death Wish II (1982) and the so bad, it’s downright awesome, Death Wish III (1985). Indeed Death Wish III has to be seen to be believed. Its cardboard characters are so caricatured as to almost be rendered as a live action cartoon.

Speaking of which, the 1974 Mad Magazine satire of Death Wish is pretty funny and I’ll close out this post with some selected panels. New York based William Gaines & Co. were on a streak between 1965 and 1985 that no other publication has ever matched.

Mad Panels 1

Death Wishers – Copyright E.C. Publications 1974

Mad Panels 2

Death Wishers – Copyright E.C. Publications 1974

 

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 2 – The Warriors (1979): Filming Locations

Eastern Terraces_ The Warriors Logo

As previously posted in February, I took an opportunity to visit the United States earlier this year and whilst there indulged myself in tracking down the locations of some of my favourite twentieth century cultural moments in an attempt to match the present with the past. (See: https://theeasternterraces.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/culture-snappin-usa-part-one/)

One film above all others had long incited me to visit New York City… Walter Hill’s 1979 gang opus ‘The Warriors’.

ConeyBridge

Wonderwheel and Bridge. Diptychs by author.

Having first seen it at the tender age of ten and some sixty times since, its power to entertain, thrill and delight me has certainly not diminished over the years. Scripted by Hill from Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel of the same name, the film elected to discard much of the social commentary and depressing reality of the original story to instead distil it down to the more photogenic tale of one gang crossing turfs in a bid to “make it back” home after being unfairly blamed for a rival gang leaders death.

Conclave 1Conclave 2

Conclave. Diptychs by author.

People have tipped their hats to it more times than anyone could likely remember in the thirty-five years since its release. From being extensively sampled in any number of electronic and hip hop tunes (such as Schoolly D’s Run or PWEI’s Can UDig It?), referenced (NWA’s 100 Miles & Running) or just plain ripped off in a slew of early 80s gang movies that tried to copy its flavour (such as 1990: The Bronx Warriors), the film has gone on to become enshrined in a certain segment of the world’s memory. Certainly, having been released at the beginning of what was expected to be a big gang film cycle in 1979, The Warriors has gone on to vastly outlive its progeny which included Boulevard Nights, The Wanders, Walk Proud and Defiance.

Conclave Gate72nd Street Swan

Conclave Cops and 96th Street Station. Diptychs by author.

Walter Hill, like all great directors who have made a magnum opus, kind of shot his wad on this one. And after creating it, he sadly never did anything to equal it. In much the same way that Orson Welles struggled to follow Citizen Kane or Francis Ford Coppola dropped nothing but turkey’s after Apocalypse Now. Sure, he subsequently created some good flicks such as the prototype buddy comedy 48 Hours or the Vietnam War parable Southern Comfort, but this remains the high water mark from which his career receded rather than developed. Which is a shame, because earlier efforts such as the Charles Bronson vehicle Street Fighter and 1978’s The Driver, featuring somnambulist / actor Ryan O Neal showed great promise and were influential in their own right too. The inspiration of the latter being most obviously seen in Nicholas Winding Refen’s 2011 virtual homage Drive.

72nd Street Chase100th Street

Baseball Furies Chase. Diptychs by author.

The Warriors continually walks an interesting line between surrealism and reality. The Koch era big apple is portrayed as some kind of neon lit playground and the beautiful – if eerie – blinking lights of cityscape contrasted with the litter strewn streets and subway platforms. Similarly the use of real locations (primarily Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Coney Island), is juxtaposed with Sam Peckinpah style slow motion and fast cuts which creates a heightened tone which feels unique to the film.

FM1FM2

Baseball Furies Chase. Diptychs by author.

Upon its release, it was met with a mixed critical response and some violent incidents in the theatres in which it was shown. A shooting at a drive-in, brawls between actual gangs during showings and a fatal stabbing were just some of the stories reported. Whether the film itself was an incitement to violence, or more likely, actual gang members realised they were sitting across from their enemies in the aisles and chose to throw down, it nonetheless caused citizens groups to stage protests and ultimately forced distributor Paramount Pictures to pay for cinema security and tone down their advertising campaign.

FM3Cyclone

Baseball Furies Chase and Cyclone. Diptychs by author.

Having promised myself after my first viewing all those years ago, that one day I would soldier those same streets and see that Wonder Wheel close up, it was a happy (albeit incredibly cold) day when I finally managed to give it a shot. The results are in the shakily filmed video below.

P.S. Special thanks must be given to the Scouting New York blog (http://www.scoutingny.com/) which helped me to find many of these locations and which is an excellent blog in its own right.

P.P.S. I certainly did not sign up to display advertisements on youtube. The powers that be likely notice the use of third party music or clips and spam accounts accordingly.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part One

Recently I had the good fortune to be able to go to the United States. Time was limited at just under 2 weeks and I elected to go to the places that interested me the most, primarily New York and northern California.

The reason for wanting to go to those cities so much is that I was weaned on 1960s / 1970s movies and pop culture and wished to make an effort to see many of the places I had either seen in movies or only read about in books. Whilst there, I frequently attempted to match the reality with the image… something I call Culture Snappin’ (trademark pending).

Obviously this has been done before, and certainly more successfully. However, to the best of my knowledge, no one calls it Culture Snappin’ and frankly, I’d like to see the name stick. [Click on pictures for larger view].

DH1

Dirty Harry (1971)

Orphans

The Warriors (1979)

DH4

Dirty Harry (1971)

DH2

Dirty Harry (1971)

Sudden Impact Logo

Sudden Impact (1983)

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Misty

Play Misty For Me (1971)

Subway

Death Wish (1974)

The Enforcer

The Enforcer (1976)

Physical Graffitti

Physical Graffiti album cover (1975)

Lost Boys Bikes

The Lost Boys (1987)

Magnum Force Gusman

Magnum Force (1973)

Bullitt Crossing

Bullitt (1968)

DH3

Dirty Harry (1971)

Regrettably, culture snappin’ isn’t always easy. For example, trying to match up a famous photo of Steve McQueen with the exact corner he stole a newspaper from in Bullitt, necessitated me squatting in the middle of the street. This was literally impossible at 5.15 in the afternoon and I nearly had my ass removed by car bumpers in the attempt before giving up and taking this flawed version seen below:

Bullit Market

Bullitt (1968)

Similarly, the site of Ricca’s bloody death from 1973’s Magnum Force posed a problem as it is located right near a Freeway exit ramp and similarly requires a middle of the street low angle to pull it off. No easy feat at 3.30pm on a weekday, so this picture doesn’t match as I’d like either.

Magnum Force Ricca

Magnum Force (1973)

The building featured in Dirty Harry where he pulls a potential jumper from a building, was surrounded by homeless / crazy people at 1.30am when I took this picture. I literally had to wait for the all clear before leaping out of my car and taking the photo as quickly as possible while a basehead looking guy (reminiscent of Flava Flav’s lean years) repeatedly circled the block screaming ‘What time is it’!

Polk Logo

Dirty Harry (1971)

While this photo of the Cost Plus store used in Magnum Force (1973) is slightly flawed, I plead circumstance as I was fearful of waking the homeless guy who lay sleeping on the other side of the picture I am holding up.

Magnum Force Robbery

Magnum Force (1973)

My culture snappin’ was not limited to films either. I also managed to find cultural landmarks such as where John Gotti held meetings, album covers (such as those of Paul’s Boutique and Physical Graffiti), artistic touch stones in Greenwich Village, punk landmarks in The East Village/Bowery and places where Mafiosi met their ends, such as Joe Gallo in Mulberry Street.

Umbertos

Suffice to say, I got 28 GB of photos/video to sort out, so more to come as time and inclination permits. This is also dependent upon people not stealing my shit and claiming it as their own (see post below).

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.