Story of the man who became Playgirl's Playmate of the Year 1979

There have been many scenarios post the fall of the second temple for a young Jewish boy to try and get out of studying for his Bar Mitzvah, but in his debut book, my friend Lou Cove tells a story that seems almost as big of a fiction as the bible itself. The book is called Man of the Year, and it's a memoir about 12-year-old Louis’ swapping Hebrew study to spend time on a campaign to help his father’s friend become Playgirl’s playmate of the year in 1979, all while living in provincial Salem, Mass. And what is more, the candidate, Howie Gordon, not only wins but goes on to become one of the great male adult film stars during the golden age of pornography.

Lou went on to raise millions of dollars for non-profit organizations, using this experience as a formative guidepost.

For those of you unfamiliar with Playgirl, think about Playboy magazine, but for women and filled with photos of guys showing their junk. When Howie Gordon posed for the magazine, he was the first to break the erection-barrier…posing fully-masted in his Mr. November 1978 pictorial. By the time he and his wife came to Salem, he already had bigger (harder?) ambitions of winning the competition for Playgirl Man of the Year. All he needed was a campaign manager.

And while Howie’s story is so very compelling, Man Of The Year is definitely Lou’s story. He shares his experience of moving with his family from exciting New York to a seemingly more-boring Salem, how his father’s friend Howie and new bride Carly moved in with them and shared with the family (at the Thanksgiving table) Howie’s Playmate ambitions, Lou’s excitement of having Howie take on the role as XXX Mary Poppins (with his more modern take on spoonfuls of sugar), hand watching his parent’s marriage collapse as he hit the campaign trail to help Howie. Read the rest

Meet Jerry Foster, colorful pilot who brought helicopters to TV news

Jerry Foster came back from Vietnam with extensive experience piloting choppers. How he turned that into one of the pioneering careers in aerial coverage of local news is a terrific longread brimming with 1970s nostalgia.

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Cars parked on the mean streets of mid-1970s New York City

Cars: New York City, 1974–1976 collects over 100 of Langdon Clay's creepy shots of cars parked overnight on the streets of New York at its lowest ebb. The scenes evoke Taxi Driver, The Warriors, even a little Snake Plisken. Read the rest

1970 film: "Military Etiquette and Grooming For Women in the Army"

This crazy, groovy flick from the US Army was made in 1970 and features a Army Captain giving great fashion advice to a young soldier.

Army Captain: Say, that's a beautiful dress. Where did you get it?

Soldier: Where did I? Oh... I, uh, bought it at Lorman's last Thursday.

Army Captain: You know, I wish I could wear one of those. They're really cute, but... well, I guess they're a little young for me.

Soldier: But I thought, that, well, you didn't dig -- oh, excuse me ma'am, that you didn't like miniskirts and clothes like that.

Army Captain: No, now that's not exactly right. We do have certain ideas about how you should look in your uniform... and I guess sometimes we do express these feelings rather strongly. How you dress in your off-duty hours is another matter… Now we do expect a girl to show good taste… but that shouldn't keep you from expressing your own individuality… take miniskirts, I think they're great, and you look good in them…

If you aren't in the mood to watch all 20 minutes, here's the 3 minute highlights reel:

[via] Read the rest

Drummer Buddy Rich hated country music

I played this video to watch Buddy Rich say mean things about country music (at 9:46 in) ("Anybody could play it on one string"), but his drum solo was a lot more fun.

Incidentally, here's Buddy Rich's classic dressing down of his band. Obviously the inspiration for the abusive band teacher in Whiplash. Read the rest

Cool cover for a 1974 hobbyist electronics magazine

I'd not heard of Elektor magazine until today, when I came across this photo of the cover from a 1974 edition. I assumed it was fake. Everything about it seemed like it was created this year - the typeface, the names of the projects, the tagline ("up-to-date electronics for lab and leisure"). Someone has uploaded the issue in PDF format.

Such a groovy magazine!

Joint smoking transistors:

Trippy traces:

Elektor is still around, but the design is vastly different:

From Wikipedia:

Elektor is a monthly magazine about all aspects of electronics, first published as Elektuur in the Netherlands in 1960, and now published worldwide in many languages including English, German, Dutch, French, Greek, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian) and Italian with distribution in over 50 countries. The English language edition of Elektor was launched in 1975 and is read worldwide.

Elektor publishes a vast range of electronic projects, background articles and designs aimed at engineers, enthusiasts, students and professionals. To help readers build featured projects, Elektor also offer PCBs (printed circuit boards) of many of their designs, as well as kits and modules. If the project employs a microcontroller and/or PC software, as is now often the case, Elektor normally supply the source code and files free of charge via their website. Most PCB artwork is also available from their website.

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One man's incredible plan for humanity to migrate into space

In the early 1970s, Princeton University physicist Gerard O’Neill became a space activist touting plans to build human colonies in outer space. He argued that humans could escape (while helping alleviate) the environmental damage we are causing on Earth by migrating to space habitats housed in cylinders that would be suspended 250,000 miles from Earth at LaGrange Point 5, a spot where the gravitational forces enable objects to just hang there. O'Neill's ideas, while controversial, were mostly sound from a scientific and engineering perspective.

After the New York Times published a front page article about O'Neill, he became a media sensation and quickly developed a very vocal following of space geeks, (some) environmentalists, heads, and future-minded scientists. NASA even jumped in, supporting studies based on O'Neill's research and commissioning the incredible illustrations seen here. O'Neill's specific concepts influenced countless science fiction books and movies and were the seed of bOING bOING patron saint Timothy Leary's plan for humanity's future, SMI2LE (Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, Life Extension.)

His book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space is still in-print and captures the wonder and sense of possibility that permeated our culture after the first moon landing and into the 1970s. It's my hope that today's myriad private efforts to make space accessible will re-ignite that desire in everyone to explore and experience what lies beyond our home planet.

The fantastic podcast 99% Invisible told O'Neill's story in an episode titled "Home on Lagrange":

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Donny & Marie Osmond sing Steely Dan's "Reelin' In The Years" (1978)

The animated graphics before the song starts are the best thing about this 1978 video. Donny and Marie's outfits are the second best thing. Their dancing is the third best thing. Their puffy hair-dos are the fourth best thing. The dancers with the giant bunny tales are the fifth best thing. The song is the second worst thing. The comedy routine at the end is the worst thing.

[via]

The only Osmonds song I really like is "Chilly Winds": Read the rest

Watch David Bowie get down on Soul Train (1975)

On November 4, 1975, David Bowie performed "Golden Years" on Soul Train. Sure, he was lip-syncing, but who cares. The Thin White Duke's got soul.

The Bowie Golden Years site has more background on the appearance.

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Groovy 1970s Japanese psychedelic orgy anime

Jen Yamato of The Daily Beast describes Belladonna of Sadness (Kanashimi no Belladonna) from 1973 as a "long-forgotten X-rated psychedelic animation gem about one woman’s violation, persecution, and sexual awakening produced over four decades ago by the makers of Astro Boy." Read about the film here and watch the NSFW "psychedelic orgy of sexual liberation explode" in the clip above.

Now Belladonna of Sadness has been brought to vivid new life by a group of L.A.-based cineastes who have given the 1973 gem a 4K restoration and added eight minutes of explicit footage back in. After its unveiling late last week at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, Belladonna will be released stateside for the first time next year.

The stunning rediscovery, adapted by anime veteran Eiichi Yamamoto more than 40 years ago from Jules Michelet’s 19th century French proto-feminist text La Sorciere, tells the tragic tale of a blissfully happy peasant bride in feudal France.

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Funky Friday: “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” Elvin Bishop, 1976

A seventies country cock-rocker soft-bluesy ballad that you may know best from the soundtrack for the movies “Boogie Nights,” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

"Weird" albums that Rolling Stone dug in the 1970s

Rolling Stone's Gavin Edwards posted a list of ten experimental, outré, outside, or otherwise curious albums that the magazine's critics raved about in the 1970s. I know and love most of them, especially John Cale and Terry Riley's "Church of Anthrax" and "The Art Ensemble of Chicago With Fontella Bass," but several of the selections are totally new to me. Read the rest

Nazis train giant ape to destroy Wonder Woman

TV shows were much more realistic in the 1970s

[via] Read the rest

Nude Psychotherapy (vintage seventies magazine ad)

"Be the first on your block to know about nude psychotherapy." A 1970s-era magazine ad, scanned and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by Boing Boing reader v.valenti. Read the rest

How to build a trippy meditation chamber, from PopSci 1970 archives

"The Meditator," a personal isolation tank fashioned from 12 pentagons decorated with photo collages. "You may find the sensation akin to that mystical communion with nature that you experience when alone in a forest," according to Popular Science writer Ken Isaacs in November 1970. At popsci.com, they've republished a photo gallery with enough detail that serenity-seeking DIYers in 2012 can once again roll their own. Read the rest

Ad, 1970: Use Dixie Cups, ladies, and you will never grow old

"Think of it. You'll have more time on your hands (...) to make a pantsuit. To live a little."

Shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by vintage ad archivist MewDeep, and larger size here. Read the rest

Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Shusei Nagaoka (NSFW '70s sci-fi illustration)

View larger size here. Lovingly scanned and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by reader v. valenti. Art by Japanese illustrator Shusei Nagaoka, whose sci-fi illustrations were popular during the 1970s and '80s, and graced album covers by ELO, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Deep Purple. There's an awesome little archive of his work here. Read the rest

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