a look at canines past…
The Alpine Mastiff is an extinct Molosser dog breed, the progenitor of the St. Bernard and a major contributor to the modern Mastiff (through such dogs as “Couchez”), as well as to other breeds that derive from these breeds or are closely related to them. The names “Alpine Mastiff” and “Saint Bernard” were used interchangeably in the early 19th century, though the variety that was kept at the hospice at the Great St. Bernard Pass was significantly altered by introducing other breeds, including Newfoundland and Great Dane, and it is this composite breed that now carries the name St. Bernard. Inevitably these dogs filtered through to the wider population, and the original variety dwindled in its pure form, though a rare breed, the “Cane Garouf” or “Patua”, found in the part of the Alps formerly inhabited by the Alpine Mastiff, may also descend from the extinct breed.
No one seems to have full knowledge as to how the Blue Pauls were bred or from where they originally came. There was a story that John Paul Jones, the Scottish born American sailor, brought them from abroad and landed some when he visited his native town of Kirkcudbright about 1770. The Gypsies around the Kin Tilloch district kept Blue Pauls, which they fought for their own amusement. They were game to the death and could suffer much punishment. They were expert and tricky in their fighting tactics, which made them great favorites with those who indulged in this sport. They maintained that the breed originally came from the Galloway coast, which lends support to the Paul Jones legend. The first dogs to arrive in the United States with the English immigrants in the mid-19th century were the Blue Paul Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The Bullenbeisser (also known as the German Bulldog) was a breed of dog known for its strength and agility. The breed was closely related to the Bärenbeisser (some believe that the two breeds were the same (the names mean “bull-biter” and “bear-biter”), and the Boxer. There were two regional varieties, the Brabanter Bullenbeisser and the Danziger Bullenbeisser. The Bullenbeisser became extinct by crossbreeding rather than by a decadence of the breed, as happened with the Old Time Bulldog, for instance. In the late 1870s, German breeders Roberth, Konig, and Hopner used the dog to create a new breed, today called the Boxer. Some 30 Bullenbeissers were already crossed by the Boxer Kennel Club of Germany at 1900 in with Bulldogs brought from the British Isles. The blood composition was 50/50 at that time, however, the German owners started crossing their dogs with all kinds of Bulldogs and Boxers, which produced an undistinguishable breed after the World War II. One reason why such quantity of German blood was used to create the Boxer dog was the wish to eliminate the excessive white color of the breed, and the necessity of producing thousands of dogs for one of the most popular breeds in the world.
The Cordoba Fighting Dog originated in Córdoba, Argentina. The breed had such strong aggression toward other dogs that the males and females would rather fight than mate. In addition, many members of this breed died in the dog fighting pits, contributing to the breed’s extinction. The Cordoba was capable of hunting in a small pack of a male and female, otherwise they were more likely to turn on their packmates. The Cordoba was used as a contributing breed to create the Dogo Argentino.
Among the breed’s ancestors, the most notable is the Bull Terrier, which at the time was still used in England for dog fights – at the same time Bull Terriers were being exported to the Indian subcontinent where today their lineage includes the Gull Terr.
Dogo Cubano or Cuban Mastiff or Cuban Dogo or Cuban Dogge is an extinct breed of dog from Cuba. It was of Bull Mastiff type. This breed of dog was used for dog fighting.
This breed of dog was introduced in Cuba to capture runaway slaves (cimarrones). After the abolition of slavery it became too expensive to feed and the breed ceased to exist with time.
It is thought by some that the breed originated from cross-breedings between native Tahltan dogs and dogs brought to the North American continent by Viking explorers during the Norse colonization of the Americas, as it bears strong similarities to Icelandic breeds in appearance and behavior, such as cat-like body rubbing to express affection. Though originally spread over most of the northern regions of North America, the breed fell into decline after the introduction of firearms made its hunting abilities redundant. It gradually intermingled with other breeds such as the Newfoundland dog, the Canadian Eskimo dog and Mongrels.
Kurī is the Māori language name for the Polynesian dog. It was introduced to New Zealand by Māori during their migrations from East Polynesia sometime around 1280 AD. It was used by Māori as a food source and the skin and hair was used for making dog-skin cloaks, belts, decorating weapons, and poi. The kurī became extinct in New Zealand some time after the arrival of European settlers. The last known specimens, a female and her pup, are now in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
The Paisley Terrier was a breed of terrier type dog from Great Britain, bred primarily as a pet and showdog version of the Skye Terrier, and was the progenitor of today’s Yorkshire Terrier. The Paisley Terrier was described in 1894 as “an excellent house dog, and most suitable for a lady who wishes something more substantial than a toy”, but the care requirements for the coat made it less desirable than some other popular breeds as a pet.
The St. John’s Water Dog, also called the St. John’s Dog or the Lesser Newfoundland, was a naturally-occurring dog breed from Newfoundland. Little is known of the breeds that went into its creation, although it was likely a random-bred mix of old Irish, English, and Portuguese working breeds. This breed is the ancestor of the modern Retrievers; including the Flat Coated Retriever, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Golden Retriever, and the Labrador Retriever. The St. John’s Dog was also the founding breed of the large and gentle Newfoundland dog, likely as a result of breeding with mastiffs brought to the island by the generations of Portuguese fishermen who had been fishing offshore since the 15th century. The St. John’s dog was made extinct in its homeland by a combination of two factors. In an attempt to encourage sheep raising, heavy restrictions and taxes were placed on dog ownership during the 19th century.
Raised by the Tahltan Natives to hunt bear, the Tahltan Bear Dog was a mighty power in a small package. The Tahltan Bear Dog had the courage to face a bear, but was friendly and gentle with smaller animals and with humans. They lived in the tent with the family, sharing bed and board. Descended from pariah-type dogs that had come with prehistoric migrations, the Tahltan Dogs were centralized in the remote mountainous areas of northwestern British Columbia and the Southern Yukon. Their usual diet was small bits of birds, meat and fish, and they flourished in the bitter cold. Outside their native environment, they succumbed to distemper, heat prostration and problems due to dietary changes. As white explorers came into the territory, bringing a variety of other dogs, the Tahltan Dog became diluted.
Ancient Egyptians gave the name Tesem Tesem ( = tsm) to curly tailed dogs that resembled a sighthound such as a Greyhound. These dogs were featured on monuments, and in wall paintings that showed their tall, lean body with the noticeable prick ears. They had a greyish-yellow coat, with long legs and a broad prominent forehead. Their size exceeded the Pariah dogs of the time. Their structure of their skeleton was closer to the modern terrier than that of the modern greyhound.
The Turnspit Dog was a short-legged, long-bodied dog bred to run on a wheel, called a turnspit or dog wheel, to turn meat so it would cook evenly. It is also known as the Kitchen Dog, the Cooking Dog, the Underdog and the Vernepator. This took both courage (to stand near the fire) and loyalty (not to eat the roast). Due to the strenuous nature of the work, a pair of dogs would often be worked in shifts. This may have led to the proverb ‘every dog has his day.’ The dogs were also taken to church to serve as foot warmers. Just as the invention of the spinning-jenny abolished the use of distaff and wheel, which were formerly the occupants of every well-ordained English cottage, so the invention of automaton roasting-jacks has destroyed the occupation of the Turnspit Dog, and by degrees has almost annihilated its very existence.
six years that almost changed the world…
New York City in the 1970s was a place and time of new possibilities—a Renaissance of sorts. A natural extension of the artists, writers, and musicians that came to fruition around Andy Warhol in the 1960s, the decade brought together a group of like-minded individuals aiming for something new. “Let me dream if I want to,” sang Mink DeVille, leader of one of the original house bands at CBGB’s . It was a call shared by many of those who gathered at the nightclub—a group that included future legends the Ramones, Television and Pure Hell. Pure Hell?
“We were always there, doing the same thing as all those guys,” remembers Kenny “Stinker” Gordon, singer of Pure Hell. As the first all black band in the white-dominated punk scene, they are now noted, if at all, merely for their skin color. It was never the band’s intentions to make social change with politics of race. Rather, it was their brand of music—and attitude—that made them notables alongside the myriad of characters in the scene.
Formed in 1974 in Philadelphia, the band consisted of Gordon on vocals, Preston “Chip Wreck” Morris III on guitar, Kerry “Lenny Steel” Boles on bass and Michael “Spider” Sanders on drums. “We were all downtown kids, listening to bands like Mothers of Invention, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper,” Gordon says. “[We] had similar influences that created good chemistry.”
Bashing out in a style that was miles away from the smooth, predisco sounds of Philly Soul, the band felt a closer affinity to the rawer, “street-smart” sounds from its neighbors to the north. “Philly was like a suburb in New York City,” Gordon remembers. “It was like sharing the same underground scene.” So it was not long before the lure of the cit y convinced the band, still in their teens, to make the 95-mile move to NYC.
Soon after arriving, the band found a supporter in Johnny Thunders who, having met Spider in Philadelphia, offered to put them up at the New York Dolls’ loft. Managed at the time by future Sex Pistols Svengali Malcolm McLaren, the Dolls in 1975 held a mentorly presence over many of the young groups in the scene. Patti Smith and bands like Television and Blondie often gathered at the loft, where they met and eventually shared bills with Pure Hell. Says Gordon, “The Dolls helped us out a lot. We were a popular item to share the bill at their Max’s Kansas City appearances.”
While their peers aligned themselves with major labels like Sire and Arista, Pure Hell signed on to a management deal with Curtis Knight, a former bandleader who claimed to have discovered Jimi Hendrix a decade earlier. He soon branded them with the tagline “The World’s First All Black Punk Band.” Says Gordon, “I never liked that moniker. It made us seem like a novelty act.” In late 1978, just before Pure Hell departed for a European tour, the scene suffered a dramatic blow: Nancy Spungen died, and Sid Vicious, who had been backed on several occasions by Pure Hell during his New York residency, was arrested. Much like how Altamont and the Manson murders brought a close to the freewheeling idealism of the hippie era, the Sid and Nancy case put an end to the idealized anarchism of the punk scene. “A lot of things died with it,” Gordon says.
Once in Europe, Gordon says, Pure Hell was greeted with excitement “on the same level as the Clash.” This was in part due to Knight, who had helped generate media buzz prior to their arrival. Typical in his efforts was a fabricated quote printed in the U.K.’s Sounds magazine: “Hi we’re Pure Hell—we’re an all Black punk rock group from Philadelphia, and we’ve been playing punk for five years.” The band’s name was spread across giant London subway posters alongside such disparate acts as Dolly Parton, WAR and the Kinks, with whom they shared the same PR firm.
While in Holland, the relationship between Pure Hell and Curtis Knight began to sour. Knight began to wield too much control over the band. “He wanted to rein us in,” Gordon says. At the end of their tour of the Netherlands, Gordon recalls, “[Knight] threatened to interrupt the remainder of our show dates. This was due to me screwing him out of a Dutch girl that he wanted.”
Before continuing on to the U.K., the band squeezed in a gig in California. Gordon remembers, “We played a show in L.A. at a place called the Masque with the Dead Boys, the Cramps, the Germs and a host of others. Stiv Bators hung himself from the lights in order to top us as part of the act. Luckily, they got him down in time!”
Back in the U.K., the papers called them “a minor triumph,” comparing “Stinker ” Gordon’s stage act to that of David Johansen and Mick Jagger and guitarist “Chip Wreck ” Morris’ skills to that of Knight’s old band mate Jimi Hendrix. It was during this tour that their one single w as released on Knight’s own Golden Sphinx label: a cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots Were Made for Walkin’,” backed with an original “No Rules.” When the single made the charts in several publications, Knight took the band into a studio to record their full length album, Noise Addiction. A s with the single, Knight had hoped to release the album on his own label—a move that, Gordon now believes, may have hindered Pure Hell’s chances of success on a wider scale.
At a party thrown for the band in London, Knight molested an under aged fan. This was enough to put the already strained relationship to an end. On the day they were due to fly back to the U. S., the band went into hiding. Knight was left alone at the airport, forced to fly back on his own. He took the Noise Addiction master tapes with him.
Roy Fisher, who had helped arrange Pure Hell’s European tour, took over management, and immediately sent the band back into the studio. Produced by Tony McPhee of underground legends the Groundhogs— whom Fisher had once managed—the three new songs did not attempt to recapture the recordings they had made with Knight. “[That] was old stuff,” Gordon says. “We were so young when we recorded them.” Despite their efforts for a fresh, new start, these tracks failed to capture interest. Upon their return to New York City, they played one of their final gigs at the famed Max’s Kansas City with old cohort Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys joining them on stage. By 1980, the band w as finished.
“It wasn’t until 1986 that Spider and I started to reform Pure Hell,” rues Kenny Gordon. While Gordon had moved on to new projects— collaborating with the Buggles’ Bruce Woolley, among others— Spider had tried to keep Pure Hell ’s name alive, at one point getting an offer from Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy to manage the band. When Spider relocated to California and urged Gordon to join him, Pure Hell was reborn. Initially joined by original members Chip Wreck and Lenny Steel, they have since made recordings with musicians like Lemmy from Motorhead, Mick Cripps of L.A. Guns and Charlie Clouser, formerly of Nine Inch Nails.
Mike Schneider, owner of the Connecticut-based label Welfare Records, had heard of Pure Hell via punk’s vernacular history and a small handful of articles. In 2004, he caught word that Curtis Knight had passed away and that his widow was having an estate sale. Schneider quickly drove down from his base in Haverhill, Massachusetts, to the Bronx, where he scooped up Pure Hell’s original master tapes. Schneider then had to track down the band members, who had never heard the album, to discuss its release.
“I was totally shocked and surprised that people would still be interested in a recording that took place over 20 years ago,” says Gordon. It was not the first time there had been talks of releasing the album, however. Gordon recalls a time when Spider ran into Curtis Knight, shortly before his death. Knight asked for Spider’s help in releasing the tapes he had run away with all those years before. Spider refused.
Now released for the first time, 28 years after it was originally recorded, Pure Hell’s Noise Addiction can be heard in all of its young, loud and snotty glory on Welfare Records. It will never be known what Spider, who passed away in 2002, would have thought of the album’s release, but Gordon is much appreciative: “Mike has done a great thing by making us known to the new generation of fans.”
But more so than the release of the record, Gordon is excited about new possibilities that have opened up with the renewed interest in Pure Hell. “I don’t want to be flogging a dead horse,” he says, refer ring to the old recordings. “I’ve got all these people getting in contact with me now—Syl Sylvain [of the New York Dolls], [ex-Misfit] Jeff O’Hara, [Sid Vicious biographer] Alan Parker—they all want to do something with me.”
“Anything can happen in my world!” “Stinker” Gordon had once sung on Pure Hell’s anthemic scorcher “No Rules.” Almost 30 years later, it seems this phrase rings truer than ever.
Best Feature: BLACK SWAN
Best Director: DARREN ARONOFSKY for BLACK SWAN
Best Screenplay: STUART BLUMBERG & LISA CHOLODENKO for THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Best Female Lead: NATALIE PORTMAN for BLACK SWAN
Best Male Lead: JAMES FRANCO for 127 HOURS
Best Supporting Female: DALE DICKEY for WINTER’S BONE
Best Supporting Male: JOHN HAWKES for WINTER’S BONE
Best Cinematography: MATTHEW LIBATIQUE for BLACK SWAN
Best Foreign: THE KING’S SPEECH
Best Documentary: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
Best First Feature: GET LOW
Best First Screenplay: LENA DUNHAM for TINY FURNITURE
John Cassavetes Award: DADDY LONGLEGS
Robert Altman Award: PLEASE GIVE
Acura Someone To Watch Award: MIKE OTT for LITTLEROCK
Truer Than Fiction Award: JEFF MALMBERG for MARWENCOL
Piaget Producers Award: ANISH SAVJANI for MEEK’S CUTOFF
Joshua Abraham Norton 1819-1880…
Joshua Abraham Norton, the self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco, California, who in 1859 proclaimed himself “Emperor of these United States”and subsequently “Protector of Mexico”. Born in London, Norton spent most of his early life in South Africa. He emigrated to San Francisco in 1849 after receiving a bequest of $40,000 from his father’s estate. Norton initially made a living as a businessman, but he lost his fortune investing in Peruvian rice. After losing a lawsuit in which he tried to void his rice contract, Norton left San Francisco. He returned a few years later, apparently mentally unbalanced, claiming to be the emperor of the United States.Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented.
Though he was considered insane, or at least highly eccentric, the citizens of San Francisco celebrated his regal presence and his proclamations, most famously, his “order” that the United States Congress be dissolved by force and his numerous decrees calling for a bridge and a tunnel to be built across San Francisco Bay. On January 8, 1880, Norton collapsed at a street corner, and died before he could be given medical treatment. The following day, nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage to Norton. Norton’s legacy has been immortalized in the literature of writers Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christopher Moore, and Neil Gaiman who based characters on him. In December 2004, a resolution was made to name the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge in honor of Norton, but the idea did not progress further.
Many of the “decrees” attributed to Norton I were fakes; written in jest by newspaper editors at the time for amusement, or for political purposes. Those “decrees” listed here were, we believe, actually issued by Norton.
September 17, 1859 – Joshua A. Norton, who lost his money in an attempt to corner the rice market, today declared himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
July 16, 1860 – Decree from Norton I dissolved the United States of America.
October 1, 1860 – Decree from Norton I barred Congress from meeting in Washington, D.C.
February 5, 1861– Norton I changed the place of his National Convention to Assembly Hall, Post and Kearny, because Platt’s Music Hall had burned.
September 17, 1861 – A new theater, Tucker’s Hall, opened with a performance of “Norton the First,” or “An Emperor for a Day.”
October 1863 – Death of Lazarus, Emperor Norton’s dog.
November 11, 1865 – Mark Twain wrote an epitaph for Bummer, the long-time companion of Lazarus.
January 21, 1867 – An overzealous Patrol Special Officer, Armand Barbier, arrested His Majesty Norton I for involuntary treatment of a mental disorder and thereby created a major civic uproar. Police Chief Patrick Crowley apologized to His Majesty and ordered him released. Several scathing newspaper editorials followed the arrest. All police officers began to salute His Majesty when he passed them on the street.
July 25, 1869 – Decree from Norton I that San Franciscans advance money to Frederick Marriott for his airship experiments.
August 12, 1869 – Decree from Norton I dissolved and abolished the Democratic and Republican parties because of party strife now existing within our realm.
August 1, 1870 – Norton I was listed by the Census taker with the occupation of “emperor,” living at 624 Commercial St.
September 21, 1870 – Decree from Norton I that the Grand Hotel furnish him rooms under penalty of being banished.
March 23, 1872 – Decree by Norton I that a suspension bridge be built as soon as convenient between Oakland Point and Goat Island, and then on to San Francisco.
September 21, 1872 – Norton I ordered a survey to determine if a bridge or tunnel would be the best possible means to connect Oakland and San Francisco. He also ordered the arrest of the Board of Supervisors for ignoring his decrees.
January 2, 1873 – Decree from Norton I that a worldwide Bible Convention be held in San Francisco on this day.
March 18, 1873 – David Belasco made his stage debut at the Metropolitan Theatre playing Emperor Norton in the play “The Gold Demon.”
January 8, 1880 – Norton I dropped dead on California St. at Grant Ave. He was on his way to a lecture at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
January 9, 1880 – Headline in the Morning Call: “Norton the First, by the grace of God Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, departed this life.”
January 10, 1880 – Norton I was buried today at Masonic Cemetery. The funeral cortege was two miles long. 10,000 people turned out for the funeral.
June 30, 1934 – Emperor Norton I reburied in Woodlawn Cemetery by citizens of San Francisco.
January 7, 1980 – The city marked the 100th anniversary of the death of its only monarch, Emperor Norton, with lunch-hour ceremonies at Market and Montgomery streets.
for a detailed history of the Emperor’s life go to Encyclopedia of San Francisco…
how Godard and Truffaut changed film…
In Emmanuel Laurent’s new documentary, “Two in the Wave,” the “two” are the filmmakers François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. The wave, needless to say, is La Nouvelle Vague, a journalistic name that not only stuck to Truffaut, Mr. Godard and their colleagues, but that also changed the way film history is understood. Since the days when that Gallic wave crashed ashore, critics and cinephiles have scanned the horizon looking for the next one, while groups of young directors and critics, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, seek to replicate the daring and self-confidence that bubbled up in France in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
Mr. Laurent, for his part, dutifully combs the beach, gathering wonderful bits of detritus from that much-mythologized moment. The surviving members of the New Wave — Truffaut died in 1984 — are by now venerated members of the old guard. (Mr. Godard, at 79, showed his new film at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday.) But “Two in the Wave” wisely resists the temptation to invite them to share memories of youth. Rather, it gathers newspaper clippings, newsreel footage and movie clips to assemble a present-tense essay that is both time capsule and collage. Instead of featuring talking-head retrospective interviews, the movie frames its backward looks with images of the actress Isild Le Besco reading old magazine articles and occasionally visiting a historically significant spot in Paris. Her presence is puzzling for a while, until you begin to absorb some of the images that surround her — Jean Seberg in “Breathless,” Anna Karina in “A Woman Is a Woman” — and recall Mr. Godard’s axiom that all he needed to make a film was “a girl and a gun.” Mr. Laurent displays no firearms, but Ms. Le Besco’s silent presence suggests a corollary, namely that any movie can benefit from a beautiful woman with an interesting face.
There is also a third man in “Two in the Wave”: Jean-Pierre Léaud, the actor who worked frequently with both directors and who became the on-screen embodiment of their attitudes and styles. For Truffaut, Mr. Léaud served as a frequent alter ego, appearing as Antoine Doinel in a series of autobiographical films, beginning with “The 400 Blows” in 1959. That movie and “Breathless,” Mr. Godard’s first feature, occupy much of Mr. Laurent’s documentary, which was written and narrated by the film critic Antoine de Baecque. The triumphant arrival of “The 400 Blows” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959 and the release of “Breathless” a year later feel almost like a single event, one of those epochal moments that divide time into before and after.
Before, there was a group of young movie buffs, haunting the Cinémathèque Française and the offices of Cahiers du Cinéma, disciples of two high priests of postwar cinephilia: the archivist Henri Langlois and the critic André Bazin. They absorbed everything they saw, forming particular affinities with the American directors we now regard (thanks partly to the Cahiers gang) as idols of classic Hollywood. These Hitchcocko-Hawksians, as they were sometimes known, set out to change French cinema, and in assessing their campaign, “Two in the Wave” becomes frustratingly vague. The grandiose rhetoric of revolution and reinvention is certainly there — mostly courtesy of Mr. Godard, a fount of aphorisms on the nature of “le cinéma” — but apart from a few remarks about hand-held cameras and jump cuts, there is not much in the way of concrete analysis. So the audience is left to guess at what exactly made Truffaut’s and Mr. Godard’s work so transformative.
And yet the evidence provided by the films themselves is a powerful reminder of just how exciting that work remains. “Two in the Wave,” while it provides plenty of biographical information, is above all interested in the artistic personalities of its subjects. It was, after all, the shared love of film that brought them together, despite their differences in temperament and background. And it was partly their divergent ideas about what cinema should become that drove the two men apart.
After their initial triumphs, with “The 400 Blows” and “Breathless,” Truffaut and Mr. Godard continued to work closely together through the 1960s. But as Mr. Godard’s work became increasingly politicized, and as his always uncompromising and prickly personality grew even more so, a schism emerged that would become irreparable in 1973. That year Mr. Godard wrote a letter to Truffaut attacking his film “Day for Night” and enclosing an equally venomous letter to Mr. Léaud. Truffaut returned that letter, along with one of his own — 20 handwritten pages condemning the selfishness and pigheadedness of his longtime friend. And that is where Mr. Laurent’s story ends, as so many tales of artistic camaraderie do. But “Two in the Wave” honors that collaboration by carefully recounting its details and arguing for its significance. The films of Truffaut and Mr. Godard stand or fall by themselves, but together they made history.
“TWO IN THE WAVE” (2009) directed by Emmanuel Laurent
“We were riding on the absurdity of the situation, that we were three nobodies, had no money, had no fame, and didn’t know anybody in the art world. But it was perfect, we were totally free.” — Edit deAk 1974
Edit Deak and Walter Robinson may shudder to hear it, but talking to them recently about Art-Rite I accidentally thought of the olde movie Babes in Arms, in which Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, teenaged and rural, stage a Broadway-type musical in a barn: “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” But since the magazine Deak and Robinson published and edited, and wrote and designed and typeset and distributed, out of their downtown-Manhattan lofts between 1973 and 1978 was so open, democratic, and fresh-faced, they may think the parallel fine, or at least poetic justice: they and a third editor, Joshua Cohn, staged an exhilarating deconstruction (if an exhilarating deconstruction isn’t a contradiction in terms) not only of art but of art writing, so they must take what they get. In any case, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney could really dance.
“An important aspect of Art-Rite,” says Deak today, “was a whole new tone and attitude. It was unheard of to have a sense of humor at the time, or not to be talking about ‘the problem’ of art – the problem of this, the problem of that. A few years later the punk magazines came along, and I realized that’s what I’d wanted – I loved those fanzines. That’s not what we were, we were much more formalist, but we were a very different sound than what was around us.”
The fanzine image carries, since Art-Rite had a loving relationship with the art world and particularly with its own generation. Distributed free, it was “given away,” according to an undated grant application, “in recognition of the community which nurtures it.” The application goes on to describe the magazine’s “close relationship with the art community” and its reflection of “the younger generation’s view. For its collective audience, Art-Rite represents a restless but friendly, constantly evolving entity.” In a statement Deak and Robinson wrote for Studio International in 1976, the editors admitted to “some nasty comments about a few ‘major’ artists,” but those artists “were famous and successful and because they were safe we couldn’t hurt them and since we spent the rest of our life defending babies, we had to attack someplace.” Even when the magazine went negative it did it amicably.
Deak, Robinson, and Cohn met in 1972, when they were all in their early twenties and the three of them took an art-criticism class taught by Brian O’Doherty at Barnard College in New York. Under another hat O’Doherty was the editor of Art in America, which he wanted to make new, and he liked to ask his strongest students to write for it. He extended this invitation to Cohn, Robinson, and finally Deak, who, however, was puzzled: “I thought, aestheticism must be in trouble if they want baby blood – I mean, what do we know? We were in the last year of undergraduate work. I had come from Budapest, didn’t even speak English when I started school. We started giggling; there must be some weird void – what’s wrong with the system that they want us?” She and the pair she still calls “the boys” did write for O’Doherty, but they also began to fantasize about producing a magazine of their own, perhaps as a newsprint insert in Art in America – “piggybacking on the establishment, having the establishment distribute the enemy, our voice. This was the period when people talked about things like that.” The insert idea died but the larger idea stuck, and to make it happen they enrolled in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, for which they proposed to publish a magazine as their class project. Robinson meanwhile had gotten a job as a typesetter and designer for a Jewish weekly newspaper, and, he says, “We stole all the type from there until they caught me and I got fired.” And that’s how Art-Rite began.
remembering the magic that was public access television — PART I…
Colin Malone’s had an interesting ride so far. He dropped out of UCLA in 1990 because there weren’t enough Iron Maiden fans there. Plus, he thought the whole place was bullshit anyway. So he started doing stand-up and improv comedy. While performing at night, Colin was working during the day at various video stores. Eventually he wound up at 20/20 Video in Hollywood where he met Dino, his future co-host of the cult sensation “Colin’s Sleazy Friends”.
Dino hated everybody, except Colin for some reason. And as Dino became more frustrated with his band, and as Colin gave less of a shit about doing stand-up comedy, they decided to do a TV show together. However, no one in the television industy shared their enthusiasm, so they headed to the local cable access station in Van Nuys, CA.
In their first episode, Colin and Dino basically showed some porn clips and joked around. While it wasn’t a huge hit at first, they knew they were on to something. By the next episode, they somehow got legendary porn star Ron Jeremy to take a break from humping, and drop by to do an interview. The next show featured Tiffany Millions naked in a hot tub, and from then on, “Colin’s Sleazy Friends” snowballed into an underground smash in Los Angeles. You got to love a town that lets naked porn stars discuss their sexual escapades on local television.
People from the porn industry were the only guests on the show until Colin received a call from actress Janeane Garofalo. Her appearance opened the door to interviews with other comedic actors like Jack Black, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, and Sarah Silverman. Mixing these celebrity guests with porn stars made “Colin’s Sleazy Friends” even more popular, and it wasn’t long until members of famous bands like Anthrax, Korn, and Weezer were stopping by as well.
At one point, Colin got a call from the casting office at “Seinfeld” to make a guest appearance. Being the genius he is, he turned them down. He didn’t want to join SAG because of the dues he would have to pay. After “Seinfeld” offered to pay his dues for him, Colin was surpirisingly cast as “Sleazy Guy”. He also made appearances on David Cross and Bob Odenkrik’s cult hit “Mr. Show“, as well as an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. When “Angel” wanted to cast him, Colin came in a few times and went over his lines, but turned down all their offers. He thought the show sucked, and was only going in because the girls that worked at the casting office were hot.
After 240 episodes of “Colin’s Sleazy Friends” on a cable access channel, Colin finally had enough. In his words, “There’s only so many times you can ask a porn star what they like most about fisting.” Besides, FOX had already given him the green light to shoot a pilot episode of a new talk show – “Colin After Dark“. It didn’t contain nudity, but it was still edgy for network television. The show never made it to TV though because shortly after filming it, Janet Jackson showed her tit at the Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show, and FOX didn’t want to take any chances with the FCC by putting Colin on the air. So Colin walked away from the scene for a few years to lay low. But now he’s back and ready to spread the di-sleaze all over again.