Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Art of Packaging: Pulps – All Women are Bad

According to these novels women are “So young, so wanton, so wise in the failings of men”, “Lovely, Willing and Wanton” and their “… pagan desires violated even the loose moral code of the marshlands”. They’re either a “Bitch” an “Office Hussy”, “Office Tramp”, “Nympho Librarian” or a “Cracker Girl”. You’d think these dames didn’t stand a chance, but by the looks of things (and personal experience), they are totally in control and, as always, totally drivin’ the bus.  These probably were written as a reaction to womens’ rights in the 50’s and 60’s – remember, if you can’t understand something, the best thing to do is call it a name or insult it. Why else would there possibly be a book called The Bitch or Office Tramp. Also, apparently, women are even more dangerous dead than alive – according to Spider Lily by Bruno Fisher, so be careful.

The Bitch

The Wild One

Nympho Librarian

Wayward Nymph

Swamp Bred

Cracker Girl

Office Hussy

Office Tramp

Fly Girl

The Spider Lily

Private Eyeful

The Doctor's Woman

The Persian Cat

Style: 1976 Soo Catwoman

My waiter at the Thai restaurant where I had lunch today had the greatest haircut; short on the side but swooped up with a flat top. I knew I’d seen it before, albeit almost 40 years ago. That would be punk scenester – Soo Catwoman.  Born Soo Lucas in London (year unknown), Soo quickly made a name for herself with her extreme style. Punk was booming and Soo fit right in as part of The Bromely Contingent – a tight group of friends, among them Siouxie Sioux, Steve Severin, and Billy Idol who surrounded and supported the Sex Pistols. Soo would become one of the faces of the early punk scene, appearing on flyers, T-shirts and bags.

From her web site – “Soo Catwoman is a highly influential and inspirational figure, whose image has loomed large in public consciousness for the past 35 years.   She has pushed forward the frontiers of fashion with her handmade clothing and accessories, her striking make up and of course her  signature ‘Soo Catwoman’ hairstyle.  She remains a huge inspiration in  the worlds of music, art and fashion, her image is timeless and as striking today as it was in 1976”.

Soo Catwoman

Sex Pistols Tour Flyer

Siouxie Souix, Soo, Marco Peroni (Adam and the Ants) Photo Bob Gruen

Paul Cook, Soo, Johnny Rotten, Siouxie, ?

Soo and Joe Strummer

The Bromely Contingent

Soo on TV

Without the Haircut

Soo Today

With the family


Painters: Howard Finster

Howard Finster(December 2, 1916 – October 22, 2001) was an American artist and Baptist Minister from Summerville Georgia. His mission was to spread the word of god through his paintings – over 46,000 of them. In 1976 Howard said he had a vision to paint sacred art – “one day I was workin’ on a patch job on a bicycle, and I was rubbin’ some white paint on that patch with this finger here, and I looked at the round tip o’ my finger, and there was a human face on it… then a warm feelin’ come over my body, and a voice spoke to me and said, ‘Paint sacred art”. His images range from pop icons like Elvis and Hank Williams, to historical figures like George Washington to religious images like ‘The Devils Vice’ and ‘John the Baptist’ to his own visions. His paintings are colorful and detailed; they use flat plane without perspective and are often covered with words, especially Bible verses. Every painting also has a number: God had asked him to do 5,000 paintings to spread the gospel and Finster wanted to keep track.

He finished the 5,000 a few days before Christmas in 1985, but continued painting and numbering until the day he died. By 1989, he was already numbering in the ten thousands.

Finster first came to mass public recognition with his paintings for the covers of REM’s Reckoning and Talking Heads’ Little Creatures. He was responsible for introducing millions to what became known as outsider art, but even with his fame, he remained focused on religious outreach. He said of  Talking Heads LP album, “I think there’s twenty-six religious verses on that first cover I done for them. They sold a million records in the first two and a half months after it come out, so that’s twenty-six million verses I got out into the world in two and a half months”.

Seven Devils

Hank Williams


Talking Heads LP - Little Creatures

Thomas Edison

Four Presidents

Elvis Presley

The Devils Vice

Coke Bottle


Howard Finster: Stranger From Another World

Jesus Coming in the Clouds

St. Luke

Youth of Abraham

Night Before Christmas

Finster's Brain

God Bless Lili St. Cyr

Lili St. Cyr (June 3, 1918 – January 29, 1999), Born Willis Marie Van Schaack – (Billed as the “Anatomic Bomb”), St. Cyr started her professional career as a chorus line dancer at the Florentine Gardens, in Hollywood, CA in the early 40’s. She would make her stripping debut at a burlesque house called the Music Box, 2 years later (when she found out that the strippers made the most money). Her act by all accounts was a disaster. Instead of being fired the owners decided to put together an all new – more exciting and sexy act for her. At the end of her big dance, a stagehand would pull a fishing line attached to St. Cyr’s G-string. It would fly into the balcony and BAM – the lights would go dark. This act became known as “The Flying G”, and would become St. Cyr’s trademark (along with her bubble bath routine). After that she was a hit. Throughout the 40’s and 50’s Lili, along with Gypsy Rose Lee, was the highest paid dancer in the country. She tried her hand at a couple of movies, most notably Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead” –  and Irving Kral’s Teaserrama, but that was about it. After hanging up her G-string she started a mail order sexy underwear catalog “The Undie World of Lili St. Cyr”. Lili married 6 times and died in obscurity on Jan. 29, 1999 at the age of 80.

Photographers: David Arnoff

David Arnoff – In his own words – “Born in Cleveland, raised in L.A., lives in London. No felony convictions thus far.” A pretty good bio line – so much more than that, though. It’s cool to see the originals of some of the best LP covers from the late 70’s-early 80’s. The Cramps first 2 LPs, The Dead Boys, X., etc.  Live shots of the impossibly gangly Joey Ramone and  smokin hot Debbie Harry, early shots of big-haired Nick Cave and seemingly evil Bryan Gregory. It seems that he took shots of every US punk band worth a damn at that time. As he says, he now lives in London, hopefully still with no convictions to his credit. Check out his old and new stuff at

Stiv Bators - The Dead Boys

The Birthday Party - Mick Harvey, Roland S. Howard, Nick Cave & Tracy Pew

Joey Ramone

Bryan Gregory - The Cramps

Lydia Lunch

Sonic Youth

Debbie Harry - Blondie

Jeffery Lee Pierce - The Gun Club

The Cramps - Bryan Gregory, Nick Knox, Lux Interior & Poison Ivy Rorsach

Excene Cervenka (X) & Lydia Lunch

The Dead Boys

Devo - Booji Boy

Nick Cave & Lydia Lunch

The Cramps - Poison & Lux

Film: The Fall – 2006

The Fall directed by Tarsem Singh starring Lee Pace, Justine Wadell and Catinca Untaro. Without giving to much away, The Fall is a story within a story. Lee Pace (Pushing Daiseys) plays an injured turn-of-the-century stuntman with a suicidal streak who, while in the hospital, tells a tale of adventure and violence to a young patient (the fabulous 6 year old, Cantinca Untaro) to help pass the time. Beautifully shot – in over 20 countries over 4 years, each scene resembles an oil painting, with its bold and vivid colors and perfect composition. Those that would argue that this is all style with little substance need to see it again. This is a beautifully created and creative film.