Sex Sells #24: The Look of Love


The "Sex Sells" principle doesn't just mean you put a pretty lady in an advertisement or throw in some subliminal sexual imagery. Sometimes, products are just marketed by bombarding you with pictures of men and women about to make sweet, sweet love.

Not only does this make the man or woman think "I will get laid if I buy this product", but it also puts an unconscious link in your mind between the product and lovemaking.  Not a bad strategy.  There's a reason this technique has been used for decades across the globe - it works.  Let's take a look at some great examples of this time honored technique.  

Note: Due to the fact that there's simply too many examples out there, I'm only going to show you one specific trope: like the picture at the top of this post, each has the chick on the left, the guy on the right, both giving each other "the look of love".


Vintage Reads #26: Hang On, Groupie (1966)

Here is a complete article from the March 1966 issue of Cavalier on how to pick up a groupie, written like you'd expect a deer hunting manual would read.  References to The Beatles and Stones and other pop icons abound.  And the advice seems to be completely ridiculous, as if written by a 1950s hep cat trying to make his way in this new world of rock and roll (yet, it's actually written by a woman).

So you want that girl. The chick with the long, straight, blonde hair and all-eyes-no-face kind of makeup. Yeah, that leggy one in the "poor boy" sweater, bell-bottomed pants and little white boots. The one who knows how to do the wildest combination of Frug, Twine, Swim, Jerk and Watusi without smiling at all or sweating a drop.

Her? Forget it. Also forget that girl with the very short Vidal Sassoon haircut, pierced ears, short-short dress, white stockings and soft baby-look shoes. Forget it unless you have a Beatle haircut and play amplified guitar (bass, six or twelvestring) or drums in a rock'n'roll combo which has now, has had recently or everybody knows is about to have a record listed in Billboard's Top 100. The only exceptions are if you're Bobby Dylan, or like Mick Jagger and you sing lead and play with a tambourine in a group that's always in the Top 100, or you're a New Misty Crintzel and nobody else is in town.

First of all, she's not a chick; she's a bird. And if you're still going to come on to her, don't call her "baby." Call her "Iuv." Then again, don't call her "luv."  Only pop stars can comfortably use that term of endearment (they soothe 15,000,000 frenzied teens with it); she'll know if you aren't one; and she'll immediately hate you for knowing what she's accustomed to hearing and using that knowledge to try to score with her. Those two war babies and God-only-knows-how-many-others-like-them are what a Kink, an Animal or a Beau Brummel would call a groupie. They hang out for groups. They'd part with maidenheads in a minute for an hour with a Mindbender, a Beach Boy, a Byrd, etc.

Magazines #23: Spice of Life Magazine 1972

Don't ask me what Spice of Life magazine is.  I picked it up at a used bookstore, and it appears to be an adult oriented rag circulated around Topeka, Kansas.  There's a little bit of nudity in the magazine, but then this was the 1970s, and even McCall's was prone to showing some skin - so, I don't think it necessarily qualifies as a girlie mag.

Anyway, I decided to scan it because it has some nice things between its covers that I thought I'd share.... namely, this incredible piece of 70s advertising...

I dare you to click on this picture and stare into this man's eyes.  He is all business.  No woman is immune to his gaze.  He has what it takes, but can you take what he has?


Music Lists #13: The Top 25 Songs Ruined by Classic Rock Radio

Can any of you out there even remember how you felt when you first heard "Stairway to Heaven"? It's been played so many times by classic rock stations that I can't bear to hear it any more.....  I take that back.  I no longer hate it; instead it has become almost a "non song" - no surprises, every note tired and stale.

The tragedy is that this has happened to so many other brilliant songs which have been literally played to death over the decades.  Sadly, it doesn't have to be this way.  Oftentimes, these artists have huge catalogs of songs to choose from, but the stations pick the same shit over and over.  Why? Will people turn away if they hear a song they aren't instantly familiar with?

I understand, you can't just play obscure B-sides and expect big audiences.  But would it kill these classic rock stations to slip in Steely Dan's "Any Major Dude" instead of "Do It Again"?

Regardless of the reason and who is to blame.  There's a plethora of songs rendered unlistenable.  Here's my top 25.


Vintage Men's Mags #15: Girlie Magazines A to Z (Part 3)

I imagine this series of posts will be complete somewhere around 2017.... provided the Mayans weren't right about our collective arrivederci in 2012. It's a daunting task, but one that hopefully posterity will thank me for.  I've been requested by several of you to hand out an A-Z zip file of all the covers.  Patience, dear readers. Patience.

In the meantime, this post is brought to you by the letter "C".

Found Photos #6: Portraits

My mother-in-law's house is wall to wall pictures like this.  To her, these pictures are wonderful memories of when her kids were young... to her kids, it's a blood curdling gallery of shame.  There's just something about those professional portraits from this era that just exudes "seventies-ness" in its rawest form.

The next three B&W portraits simply cry out for recognition on Retrospace.  You don't need color to exhibit that seventies flair, and here is the proof.  Is it possible to be both amazingly awful and amazingly awesome at the same time? I think these pictures will answer that question for you.


Comic Books #30: Terror Illustrated (1955)

After Dr. Wertham delivered a near fatal roundhouse kick to the jugular of EC comics in 1953, comic book publishers were on high alert to not piss off the Grand Inquisitors at the Comics Code Authority.  I'm guessing this is why EC specified this comic was an "adult tale" of terror; not for those impressionable kids corrupted by Tales from the Crypt in the past.  I'm also assuming this is why the comic is essentially black and white (a loophole in the guidelines that would be wonderfully exploited in the 60s and 70s by Warren and Skywald).

All that aside, what came out of this mess is a damn fine comic book..... er, um, excuse me - "picto-fiction". According to EC picto-fiction is the combination of the art of writing and the art of illustration.  In other words, it reads like a short story but looks like a comic book - and I think the results are outstanding.


Vinyl Dynamite #32: The New Ventures - Rocky Road (1976)

The New Ventures - Rocky Road (1976)

Virtually no recording artists were able to escape the 1970s unscathed by the power of disco.  People were actually shocked and appalled when Rod Stewart released a disco record; he'd been straight up guitar rock until then. Karen Carpenter tried her hand at a disco LP, but her brother suppressed its release (even to this day).  Kiss went disco, as did Blondie, Ethel Merman, Diana Ross, Queen, and ELO.

Among the throngs of musicians clamoring for a buck and desperate to still seem "with it", were The Ventures (now calling themselves The NEW Ventures).  These superordinate surf rockers had ridden the wave of beach music, and somehow lived to tell the tale.  Their guitar vibes were translated to vinyl God knows how many times, recording classic hits with that distinctive Ventures flair. But even they weren't strong enough to survive disco.

Universally regarded as their worst LP in a career that spanned four decades, Rocky Road was a f***ing train wreck.  Their trademark guitars are drowned out by horns, strings, a throbbing disco beat, and Kim Carnes (yeah, you read that right - she was a backup singer).

Here's their disco rendition of "Moonlight Serenade".  Glenn Miller would not be amused.


Cinema #20: Killer Lobby Cards (Part 5)

Friday Foster actually began as a comic strip and ended up one badass movie. "Wham! Blam! Here Comes Pam!" In addition to the mighty Grier, this movie had Scatman "Hong Kong Phooey" Crothers, Ted "Isaac the Bartender" Lang.  Can you say Hell Yes.


The Vintage Home #13: Funky Places to Sit

You get the feeling, when looking at pictures of 1970s homes and fashion, that designers took a deep bong hit and let'r rip.  Sometimes you ended up with something special and innovative.... other times you ended up with something laughably horrible.  "Conservative" and "Traditional" were not in their vocabulary.  Even the chairs were wild.

And that's where this post comes in.  Let's have a look at the various wild and and wonderful places people put their asses in the seventies (wait, that doesn't sound right). You know what I mean.

Mini Skirt Monday #77: Minis of '71

The year was 1971, and miniskirts were omnipresent in the U.S.  The Swingin' London era of the mini had been going on for years prior, but it took a few years for the States to latch on to the trend.  You started seeing them in colleges and in trendy metro areas in 1968; but, by '71 they were in full swing everywhere you looked - from the boob tube to the high schools. Even bridal dresses were often super short.  Those were the days.

Let's take a look at the year that was one big leg show - 1971. Enjoy.


Spend a Minute with Redd Foxx

I don't care how bad a day I'm having, Redd Foxx takes me out of it.  His jokes are funny; however, there's something about his delivery and demeanor that just catapults his routine into the stratosphere. Sanford & Son is one of my all time favorite shows, but even better are the albums he put out in the sixties and seventies. I'd love to have been in a club where Redd Foxx was holding court; however, these old records will have to suffice.

Take a listen to some old school Foxx.


Retrospace Podcast Roundup

In case some of you are latecomers to the existential experience that is the Retrospace Podcast, I thought I'd consolidate all episodes 1-17 in a single post. Download them all, or just listen to them while you pretend to look busy at work.

I must say, I've been been pleased with the gradual increase in listeners to the podcast.  Thousands have downloaded episodes, and tens of thousands have played them (although, only a hundred or so subscribers). So, give a few a try - they're only about fifteen minutes each. Enjoy!

Download Podcast 1


Vintage Reads #25: Even More Trashy Books

click all images to view full size
Time to look at some more vintage paperback debauchery, starting with the book above.  The story sounds thrilling enough, but I just can't get past the tiny foot stool these lovebirds are sitting on.  Were the couch and the bed both taken? The title is "The Empty Bed" - sounds like the bed is wide open.  And is he holding her arm lovingly, or is he about to fall on the floor? One ass cheek is already overboard.


Catalogs #10: 1979 Victoria's Secret Catalog

I hate the way models look in catalogs and magazines today.  They are so Photoshopped, they literally do not look like living breathing human beings. A real person has some kind of imperfection or blemish, be it razor burn, a zit, or a wrinkle - something! Their skin looks like it's made of polypropylene, and don't look directly at their gleaming bright teeth, it may cause retinal damage.

Take me back to the days when, if you wanted to touch up a picture, you had to use an actual airbrush.  The 1970s airbrushing looked good on the side of a van, but like shit when applied to a photograph.  So, it was used sparingly - most of the time it was au naturel.

So, let's have a look at the entire 1979 Victoria's Secret catalog, back when skin looked like skin, not a high performance grade polyvinyl chloride.


On Vacation

Yes, it's true. I'm going on vacation - a two and a half week vacation.  I'll have a laptop with me, so this site won't completely grind to a halt; however, posting will be much less frequent in the upcoming two weeks.  As much as I hate to take a hiatus from Retrospace, I think it's vital to get away at least once a year from the godless rat race.

Where am I going? Hint: It's where shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.


Vinyl Dynamite #31: Plantasia

Say what you like about the seventies, one thing is for sure - they loved their house plants.  Ferns, one of the hardest plants to keep alive, were friggin' everywhere - primarily hanging from burnt orange macramé.  Talking to plants actually was a popular fad - I mean there was some serious plant love going on in the 1970s (and not just the kind of plants you smoke).  In fact, there were a number of records released throughout the decade which specifically were designed for plants to "hear".  Sure, geraniums don't have ears; but, they can feel the groovy vibrations, man.

Here's a track from the insanely mellow album Plantasia (1976).  The artist here is Mort Garson, the dude that composed the epic lounge hit "Our Day Will Come" (1963) and dabbled in the dark arts of the moog. He was also a wicked game show theme composer.

So, pull up your Boston Ferns and other green friends around the house.  Especially, you Spider Plant - this one goes out to you.

"Symphony for a Spider Plant"


Deep Thoughts #4: The Gallery Is Closed. Long Live the Paperback.

The Counterfeiter's Knife
A Nero Wolf Mystery by Rex Stout 1961
I am not alone in the opinion that the only real art left standing after the 1960s is commercial art such as paperback covers, album covers, comic books, movie posters, etc. Maybe it sounds uncultured, but there's some validity to this statement I think.

With the advent of film, photography and, now, computer graphics, the days of the traditional museum artist are largely over.  Watch Exit Through the Gift Shop and see exactly how embarrassingly laughable the art world has become (and after than, watch My Kid Could Paint That). It's so erudite, exclusive and removed from the world that contemporary gallery art has become insignificant at best. It seems, also, that the only way an arteest can get noticed these days is by resorting to cheap tactics like sensationalism (i.e. Virgin Mary in a bottle of urine) or gimmicks (i.e. Bansky style urban art). Warhol recognized it for what it was and milked it for everything it was worth.


Retrospace Podcast #18

Look what I picked up at the yard sale down the street: episode 18 of the Retrospace Podcast. What a find! It was underneath a broken Mr. Microphone and behind a Harvest Yellow rotary phone. It pays to be thorough - this is going to go for big bucks on ebay. Sure, it isn't exactly in mint condition, but it still sounds quite good.  Take a listen.

Mini Skirt Monday #76: Black & White

Mark Twain once said,"A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever." Well, the ladies in these B&W photos can hold their heads up high for providing posterity with glimpses back to the heyday of the mini.

Renowned photojournalist Ted Grant once said, "When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls."  Well, that may be true, but today we are actually looking at their clothes. In fact, we'll be looking at about everything except the soul.  Sorry, Ted.


Opinions and Rants #34: News Channels and How Awful They Are

What the hell happened? Headline News is now nothing but a snarling Nancy Grace.  Fox News is basically a Republican megaphone.  CNN does absolutely no journalism; it specializes in senseless conjecture and witless talking heads.  MSNBC is just more talking heads trying desperately to counter Fox, and failing miserably.  If they were at least failing flamboyantly a la Keith Oberman, things might get interesting.

Sure, you dig deep enough, watch long enough, you're bound to come across some kernels of real investigative hard hitting reporting that doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence.... right? Don't answer.

How did we go from Cronkite to Glenn Beck at a chalkboard? Say what you will about Cronkite's political views, it was still "just the facts" with very little in the way of gimmicks and sensationalism.


Important Things to Know #9: Parents & Other Relatives of TV Stars

10-8-2010 3-36-43 PM

For some reason, the careers of parents and relatives of famous people always interests me. Exactly why I find the fact that Abe Vigoda's brother drew for Archie comics insanely interesting is beyond me. It just is. If you find the fact that both of John-Boy Walton's parents were ballet dancers even remotely interesting, the following list of TV celebs and their relations may be worth a read...