Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Tuesday, Dec 28, 2010
Here’s a look at gifts from over 50 years ago.

Now that the Christmas season has passed and the gifts have already been received, let’s take a nostalgic look at popular gifts through the years. The 1950’s marked the beginning of mass TV advertising, making the following items popular gift ideas.


Remco Electronic Transistor Radio: It was the iPod of the 1950s. Brand new transistor technology made radios so inexpensive that children could put one together as a science lesson.


 

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Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010

Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar documents the short life of the transsexual actress whom Warhol’s POPism memoir described as “the most striking drag queen I’d ever seen”. Oscar-nominated actress Chloe Sevigny supplies the voice of the Superstar, who grew up on Long Island being entranced by silver screen legends like Kim Novak and Lana Turner. After moving to Manhattan, her role in Glamour, Glory and Gold, written by Jackie Curtis, served as the entryway into Warhol’s orbit. In addition to appearing in major underground films like Paul Morrissey’s Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), Darling inspired the Velvet Underground song “Candy Says” and is mentioned in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”. After dying from cancer in 1974, her Upper East Side funeral drew the presence of icons like Julie Newmar and Gloria Swanson, a fitting tribute to a young actress whose dreams of Hollywood stardom were left unfulfilled.


The legacy of her gender-bending brand of blond ambition has been transmitted to newer generations of glam-pop performers. In 2005, Madonna herself was rumored to be playing Candy in a film project that never actually materialized. Candy has also been a key inspiration for Darian Darling, a make-up artist and New York nightlife persona who used her blog to offer “love, respect and fascination” to her Superstar namesake. In July 2010, Lady Gaga named Darian as one of her fellow “Golden Girls of Rocknroll,” alongside Justin Tranter of Semi Precious Weapons and her longtime collaborator, Lady Starlight. Gaga tweeted a photo of the quartet to her millions of fans. Another fitting caption for this picture might be the question posed by Candy during her memorable scene in the Warhol-produced Flesh: “Don’t you want to learn to be glamorous?”


The Golden Girls of Rocknroll: @preciousweapons, @ladystarli… on Twitpic


Director James Rasin and producer Jeremiah Newton will be present at the documentary’s screenings at the Hamptons International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival, both in early October.


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Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

It’s common knowledge that innumerable college students have spent countless hours fantasizing about how awesome college life would be if it in any way resembled any select scene from Animal House. Well, it appears that college professors might do the same. Meet, if you dare, the University of New Mexico’s Mistress Jade.


Go ahead. Split your infinitives. I dare you.


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Monday, Sep 13, 2010

Rabbis will tell you there are no Jewish ghosts. Just like heaven, the concept of ghosts cannot be found in the Torah (the Jewish Bible). Gentiles have the Holy Ghost, but not Judaism. Christianity and Judaism have less in common than many Americans would like to believe. But in Jewish culture—ghosts abound. This is especially in the writings of the great Yiddish Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. Ghosts, imps, demons, the spirits of the departed and such inhabit the world of his fiction. Who knows, he might be right? During this High Holiday season, it is good to be reminded of those departed whose spirits still live within us. These glimpses of Singer offer a pleasant reminder of his humanistic joy. And if decides to come back and haunt us, like Casper, he will be a friendly ghost.



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Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010
These days, beer drinkers in Washington, DC can be guaranteed that the cascades in their pints of Guinness will not be settled before three or four new “microbrew” bars spring fully-formed from the city sidewalks.

These days, beer drinkers in the Washington, DC area—as well as in so many other American cities—can be guaranteed that the cascades in their pints of Guinness will not be settled before three or four new “microbrew” bars spring fully-formed from the city sidewalks. The trend is getting pretty expensive, and pretty tired. The trend is, also, not without its fair share of irony.


Witness BrewDog’s music-themed line of beers, some of which have migrated to Washington in recent months.


Here’s BrewDog’s Punk IPA.


And here’s BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA.


And here is the band Minor Threat performing their famous song “Straight Edge”, a track that found the architects of (DC) hardcore denying the imperative to mix alcohol with rock and roll:


Whether or not the latter should inspire us to protest the former is up for all of you to decide in the handy comments section below. No matter where we all come down in that debate, can’t we all agree that this whole End of History thing is a truly ghastly idea?



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