Explore vintage magazines and films through timeless pieces from our archives.
"'Bizarre.' The magazine for pleasant optimists who frown on convention. The magazine of fashions and fantasies fantastic! 'Bizarre' is for those who have the courage of their own convictions." John Alexander Scott Coutts, AKA. John Willie
November 1st, 1947 It was raining in the Borough of Trees. A hard rain. The kind of rain that washes the grubby scum from the gutters of Bay Shore down to drown in the teeming, fetid waters of the East River. A crash of thunder woke me up as I was lying there, passed out on my kitchen table. The stub of the Chesterfield cigarette I vaguely remembered lighting was still hanging out of the corner of my mouth. It was wet and sticky, and I had no idea why, so I tried to push myself up into what I hoped would at least pass for 'sitting'. As I did, my head felt like it weighed fifty pounds, and there were explosions inside my skull as if there were a dozen grenades all going off in there at the same time. My eyeballs felt like a coupla fuzzy grapes, and my teeth felt like they were wearing little sweaters. Dirty sweaters.
When was it that rotting flesh devils who sucked a person dry of blood until their lungs rasped out their last became sex objects? Vampires and sex seem intertwined together. Before Twilight, before Anne Rice, and before Dracula, vampires were seen as devils or demons. Soulless husks who preyed on the living.
Her iconic role as Mrs. Robinson was an older married woman that tried to seduce the much younger Benjamin Braddock. Her role in The Graduate set the standard for what every cougar would be judged by: sexy, seductive, smart and mature. Although Anne Bancroft starred in dozens of movies throughout her career, the award-winning actress kept to a very private life away from the camera. As one of three sisters in a modest and close-knit Italian family, she centered her world around her family. Up until her death in 2005, Bancroft spent her personal time with her husband–the iconic Mel Brooks–and their son, away from the paparazzi. In a vintage interview with Viva magazine, she opened up about her beliefs, her career and why she decided to stay away from the spotlight after marriage. In the 21st century, age has become more of a perception than reality. Words such as cougar have become terms of endearment for a culture that has an enlightened notion of age and the role it plays in relationships. Anne Bancroft’s progressive view is as relevant today as when she originally spoke to Viva in the mid 1970s.
Before the sexual revolution enabled pornography to go mainstream (do Penthouse and Playboy sound familiar to you?) adult magazines, or ‘girlie mags’, were already in successful circulation. Now, all of these years later, you might infer that the precursors to mainstream distribution were tamer than their successors; no nipple means less suggestive, right? However, the titles and overall aesthetic of vintage porn are in some ways more lewd and crude than their modern counterparts, more akin to so-called ‘hardcore’ porn which often highlights specific sexual fetishes.
Christmas 1878 was a day of snow and rain, the landscape of Victorian south London darkened by heavy skies. Adeline Tanner, an attractive eighteen-year-old, left the house in Dulwich where she worked as a maid, and walked to Tulse Hill station on her way to visit her sister. The walk to the station was enough to soak her "waterproof" but fortunately Victorian railway waiting rooms had coal fires even on Christmas Day. As Adeline stood in the warmth, drying her cloak, a well-dressed man approached her and told her that the back of her waterproof was scorching. She thanked him, and they chatted politely until her train drew in.
She is the original blaxploitation queen. Part of a small group of women who defined the genre. They set the tone for much of African American urban cinema in the 1960 and 1970s. Pam Grier has been steaming up the screen for decades. After blaxploitation went out of style and urban African American culture moved beyond stereotypes, she starred in defining roles like Steven Seagal's 1988 classic action film Above the Law, Quentin Tarantino's homage to blaxploitation; Jackie Brown, and then re-defined herself on Showtime's ground breaking The L word. It is hard to find groundbreaking women like Pam in the saturated world of contemporary pop icons. The juxtaposition of her blaxploitation rolls during a critical decade for women and the civil rights movement make her a career a unique example of the fundamental changes in Hollywood for women and minorities.
I have heard it said (most recently at the He's Not Here Lounge in Bayonne) that the 17th century was the span of transition from the medieval to the modern world. Indeed, it is lamentable that many of the heroic minds of that great and forth-beaming age have been forgotten. We are familiar with the names of Galileo, Descartes, and Newton, but I doubt that many, even among those of us who guess all the answers on The Joker's Wild, recognize the name of Venette, who was to sex what Newton was to apples.
What follows is far more than the personality profile of publisher Ralph Ginzburg. It is the recap of an outrageous incident of governmental persecution, in which Ginzburg ultimately served time in prison for having exercised his Constitutional right of freedom of expression. The trial, conviction, and incarceration of Ralph Ginzburg, for publishing an artful, erotic magazine named Eros—a magazine which today would be considered tame and tasteful—was a last-ditch effort by the forces of censorship to repress the sexual revolution which was burgeoning in the early 1960s. The plot against Ginzburg boomeranged, because his persecution was such a blatant violation of Constitutional freedoms that the government was shamed into expanding sexual liberty even beyond Ginzburg's dreams at the time he first published Eros in 1962.
Filthy Gorgeous tells the story of a self-made billionaire who used his first success, Penthouse, to build a media empire that included over 100 publications. Guccione was a crusader for freedom of speech, an outspoken advocate of Vietnam Veteran’s rights, and the man who cost former Miss America, Vanessa Williams, her crown. Guccione also exposed the hypocrisy of the religious constituents who attempted to destroy him while hiring prostitutes for their own pleasure.
Beneath the glamorous surface of a Penthouse Pet’s life in the mansion lies a dark and often scandalous story. For the first time in the history of the iconic adult magazine Penthouse, the curtain is lifted on life in Bob Guccione’s famous mansion. No One’s Pet: The Autobiography of Sheila Kennedy reveals the inner workings of the media magnate’s private sanctum.
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,” wrote W. B. Yeats, a prescient Irish poet must have unwound a cingulum or two before we thought to do so. And judging from the undraped magnificence of this most charming sorceress, witches are not the hawk-nosed hags that we once were taught to shun.