Femmes Fatales Jul 23 2023
UP A CROOKED STAIR
Oh, don't be such a chicken. I'm a nice girl, I promise. Now get that sweet ass of yours up there.


Ukrainian actress Anna Sten looks so femme fatale in this promo image made for her 1934 movie Nana that you could easily think it's satirical. In fact, she reminds us of the unknown model from Whitey Schafer's famous polemical image “Thou Shalt Not.” Maybe the photo even influenced Schafer a little, considering it predates his by six years. You never know about stuff like that. In any case, Sten may look shady but bad girls need love too. See a little more of her here and here.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 21 2019
A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER
Vintage men's magazine stands at the threshold to a new era.

In many countries during the late 1960s the newsstands were still dominated by nudie mags that bore classical, studio nude-style depictions of women, but the transition toward magazines recognizable as modern porn was well underway. Knight, from Sirkay Publishing out of Los Angeles, is one of those transitional magazines. It debuted as Sir Knight in 1958 with a focus on fiction, humor, and demure photo features. The above issue published in 1967 is a bit racier, but still middle-of-the road for the time period. In another few years pubic hair would be on display in American men's magazines. Soon after that the pearly gates would appear, and in short order they'd be wide open. Did we really write that? Sorry—it's the booze talking.

On the cover here is Rita Rogers, touted as the next big thing, but who made only a few magazine appearances as far as we can tell. Inside you get William Holden, Turkish bellydancer Kiash Nanah, aka Aïché Nana, whose impromptu strip in a Rome cafe we talked about a while back, and actress Joi Lansing, whose age resistant DNA we talked about here. And you get some fantastic art, much of it with a psychedelic edge. There's also an article on psychedelic music, so that seems to have been a theme with this issue. We love these old nudie publications. They're so innocent by today's bizarro standards that if you caught your kid looking at one you'd probably hug him and go, “You've made me very, very happy!” Scans below.
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Intl. Notebook Sep 18 2019
DANCE HALL NIGHTS
Japanese brochures hearken back to a legendary venue.


It's been a while since we've done anything extensive on burlesque, so today we have something unique—the covers of Japanese brochures printed during the 1950s and 1960s to promote the famed burlesque show at Nichigeki Music Hall in Tokyo. The building that hosted those shows—the Nichigeki Theatre, below—was an architectural wonder located in Yurakucho district near Ginza. The multi-level structure welcomed music acts as well as burlesque, and had its concert stage graced by Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Krupa, and Oscar Peterson. But it is remembered, first and foremost, for its fifth floor burlesque hall.

Nichigeki Music Hall's burlesque shows began during Tokyo's grim postwar years in March 1952. It showcased both local dancers and foreign stars, often from the Folies Bergère. The program changed often, and always had evocative names like “Devil Vamp Missile Glamours” or “Aqua Girls Bottom-Up Mambo.” The clientele at these shows was international—largely U.S. soldiers from Japan's occupying forces, and tourists. Indeed the Hall advertised specifically to attract that crowd. Interestingly, the shows were produced by Toho Company, the movie studio behind the Godzilla franchise, as well as quite a few softcore movies.

Frontal nudity in entertainment was illegal in Japan, so Nichigeki's extravaganzas featured feather boas, fans, frilled mini skirts, g-strings, and the like, all designed to dazzle the audience and obscure thedancers' naughty bits. As time went by public tastes veered toward the explicit and attendance at the Hall began to decline. It closed in 1981 and the brilliant art deco influenced building was demolished, another sad architectural loss on a list so long it's pointless to even contemplate it.
 
But at least the brochures survive. They're amazing, front and rear, as you'll see below, with a mix of stunning paintings by Noboru Ochiai, and lovely photos. Make sure you note the titles of the shows. Our favorite: “The Lady was a Stallion,” but “A Snail's Rhapsody” is good too. On a related note, you may want to check out the post we did on archetecturally significant cinemas. You'll see some real beauties there, including another shot of the Nichigeki Theatre. We'll get back to Nichgeki Music Hall's amazing brochures a bit later.
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Intl. Notebook Mar 26 2019
KIZI FACE
Nana gives Turkey something to be thankful for.


We don't often find stuff from Turkey, but we ran across this item and thought it was worth a share. It's the cover of a pop culture magazine called Peri Kizi, which translates into English as “fairy,” as in a mystical creature from ancient folklore. The reason this caught our eye is because the cover star, billed as Nana Aslanoglu inside the magazine, is famed Lebanese born bellydancer and impromptu Rome stripper Kiash Nanah, who was also known as Aïché Nana. The photos feature her sporting a top added by censors, sadly, but the images are still quite nice. Almost forgotten in this millennium, Nanah was quite the sensation in her day. What did we mean by impromptu Rome stripper? Check here, uncensored.

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Femmes Fatales Oct 20 2018
NAKED AND UNAFRAID
No person is truly nude who is lethally armed.


In this shot that appeared in the Japanese magazine Eiga no tomo Nana Asana eschews all but the most essential worldly possessions—a seat to rest her body when it wearies, a hat to protect her from UV rays and rain, and a pistol to make her arguments crystal clear. She acted in only three movies but this photo cements her legacy, at least as far as we're concerned. It's from 1977.

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Intl. Notebook Sep 7 2017
NANAH NAH NAH, HEY HEY HEY
Kiash Nanah shows Rome how they shake it in Asia Minor.


Above you see a photo of Lebanese born Turkish bellydancer Kiash Nanah, aka Aïché Nana, and below she shakes up a Rome supper club called Rugantino with a strip tease. It was reported as an impromptu spectacle, but was in reality a publicity stunt, and we're sharing the photos because the event was mentioned in a 1963 issue of On the Q.T. we uploaded a couple of months ago. The story dealt not only with Nanah. It talked about the many crazed moments famously captured on film by paparazzi and the sensation their photos caused in magazines around the world.
 
Shots of most of the incidents described—for instance Jayne Mansfield being attacked by Italian dancer Alma del Rio—were unavailable online, despite the infamy of the incidents. It serves as a reminder that the internet is merely an aperture and at least 99% of information and imagery hasn't made it through to us sitting at our computers. Most of it never will. But we did find this series of of Nanah shaking her moneymaker and thought you'd enjoy it. Our favorite photo is the next-to-last one. The guy on the right looks like he's summoning the waiter: “Get that woman another drink, quick!”

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Vintage Pulp Jul 7 2015
NANA HEY HEY
If you’re going to have an empty life, at least make it a beautiful one.

La poupée d’amour played in the U.S. by the silly title Take Me, Love Me, but was originally released in Sweden as Naná, after the Emile Zola novel from which it’s adapted. Director Mac Ahlberg and cinematographer Andréas Winding deserve credit for making the film look fantastic, star Anna Gaël is certainly beautiful, and the cabaret numbers are entertainingly staged, but on the whole we found this one a bit tedious. The movie is basically ’70s arthouse porn and, thanks to some coupling by Gaël’s body double, still qualifies today as adult cinema, but only barely. Zola’s Naná ended up covered with pustules and dying in agony; this movie wouldn’t dare harsh on its own groovy high to that extent, but Gaël does find happiness elusive, as do her lovers. If you watch the movie you may find enjoyment elusive, but in purely visual terms, it’s a real treat. The Belgian promo poster, also a treat, was painted by Loris, an illustrator whose online presence is small, which means we can’t tell you anything about him/her—not even a full name. But he/she did paint other nice promos, and we may dig some of those up later. La poupée d’amour premiered in France/Belgium today in 1970.

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Musiquarium Apr 9 2014
SUPER BAD
If the song had been anywhere near as good as the cover art it would have sold millions.

Today we’re back to the recently deceased Aslan, aka Alain Gourdon, bringing another of his album sleeves to light. Unlike the amazing Cure bootleg we posted before, this appears to be licensed usage of Aslan’s work by the French group Super Nana for their 1987 maxi single “Lachez les chiens.” The title has something to do with dogs, apparently, which is appropriate, because this song is a bag of flaming poo. Even our fine appreciation for dance music can’t help us enjoy this awful electro disco effort. Just our opinion, though—you can listen for yourself here, if you’re inclined. We’ll have more from Aslan soon. 

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Vintage Pulp Jun 22 2009
MAFE FLESH
X-rated flicks used to have A-rated promo art.

Since we got on the subject of x-rated films this weekend, we thought we’d continue the theme today. Back in the 70s smut often had beautiful promotional material, usually painted by extremely talented pulp-style artists. Here are two prime examples. Italian illustrator Mafé painted both of these, and as you can see, they’re a far cry from the gynecological tab A into slot B collages of modern porno art. We’re too young to know, but we hear there was a time when porn was considered liberating rather than exploitative. It was considered a way for women to throw off the shackles of male domination by taking control of their own sexuality. But somewhere along the way the form became a perfunctory and semi-violent money mill, extremely profitable, of course, but completely sans art or passion. Though we disagree here on the eternal bush/no bush question, we’re unanimous that the old porn was better.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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