Archive for the ‘Boxing’ Category

Movie Millisecond: Raging Bull

January 24, 2011

Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980).


via.

See? Joey La Motta has his own two cents to add about that clock in today’s Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day. (Reference is to the image in the below entry.)

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 21 — Working hard for The Wrecking Crew

August 21, 2010


via beetlebum on the fotolog.

In 1968, Sharon was cast in The Wrecking Crew (Phil Karlson, 1969), the latest entry in a series of “Matt Helm,” spy-spoof films, based on the 1960 Donald Hamilton novel of the same name. There had been three previous Matt Helm movies, all starring singer and comedian Dean Martin. Sharon had the pressure of being a featured new player in an established franchise, and critics then were like critics now: they love to bash comedies. So it was a big deal.


via coolnessistimeless on the blogger.

Starring opposite Dean Martin, Elke Sommer, and Tina Louise, Ms. Tate got to make friends with some big names and show audiences her playful, comedically well-timed, blithe side. Though she had played a pivotal role as Malibu in the comedy Don’t Make Waves, the emphasis in that part had still been mainly on her beauty.


via the touching and well-curated SensationalSharonTate blog.

“My dear. You must be very dedicated to your work, to wear such an atrocious wig as that.”

“How very common of you to mention it.”

Wearing glasses and a series of wigs, Sharon got to have fun and be silly on the set of The Wrecking Crew, which must have been an especially welcome respite after the tough work she did for Valley of the Dolls (and the kind of trial-by-fire nightmare that set experience was.) With The Wrecking Crew, Sharon finally got the chance to delve in to the type of light comedy for which she hoped to become known in the industry.


via geminichilde on the tumblr.

The role also required some action and stunt work, another familiar feature to Sharon after working with former Mr. Universe Dave Draper in Don’t Make Waves (trampoline scene coming soon). In The Wrecking Crew, she was called to do fight scenes. None other than superfly jam-master BAMF to beat all BAMFs, a one Mister Bruce Lee trained Sharon for her part as Freya Carlson, Mr. Helm’s comically nearsighted and klutzy assistant. Joe Lewis was also a consultant on set and Chuck Norris had a cameo in the picture.


via geminichilde on the tumblr.

Playing Freya Carlson really was a departure for Ms. Tate, and one she was proud of. Tina Louise (Gilligan’s Island) and Elke Sommer (A Shot in the Dark) nailed down the voluptuous vixens — though they, too, gave great comedic lines — and Sharon got to shine in a chiefly buttoned-up, jokey ingenue role.

“Sharon Tate reveals a pleasant affinity to scatterbrain comedy and comes as close to walking away with this picture as she did in a radically different role in Valley of the Dolls.”

(The Hollywood Reporter, review of The Wrecking Crew, 1969.)


Judo … chop! Nancy Kwan as Yu-Rang takes an elbow to the head.

“It just so happens that I know where Yu-Rang hangs her kimono!”

” … I bet you do.”

Dean Martin raved about Sharon’s performance in all the on-set promo interviews, making it clear to one and all that he considered her not only a close friend but a major upcoming talent.


also via coolnessistimeless; more candids of Sharon and Dean there with lovely commentary.

Mr. Martin had played Matt Helm in a total of four movies to rocky critical acclaim but decent audience numbers (typical comedy reception), but, after Sharon’s death, he emphatically dropped out of The Ravagers, a planned fifth installment in the series whose title even appeared in the end credits for The Wrecking Crew. The film was shopped around but eventually abandoned and never made. The Wrecking Crew is the last in that series.

Daily Batman: Big Chief Talks-With-Fists

July 5, 2010


via batmanpunchingpeople on the tumblr.

If you know the provenance of this panel — like, its backstory and the issue in which it appeared, etc — please, please don’t tell me. I want it to stay exactly like this. Because this? Is gold.

PSA: Talking politics socially

June 9, 2010

PSA: It was actually once considered rude to hound people about political issues instead of letting them make private, independent, informed voter choices and not descend in to pointless partisan debate (which often eclipses the issues entirely, creating ever-greater time-and-breath-waste) even and especially with people you claim to call friends. A high level of closeness was required before sailing in to such conversational and public discursive waters, once upon a time. We did not post bulletins and douchey status updates about it, even. Did You Know? Oh, the bygone era of manners.


Via comicallyvintage on the tumblr.

Damn, gorilla! You ain’t got to get punchy. A simple “I disagree” would’ve probably sufficed. But that’s how it is today. Keep your elbows out and your powder dry, kids.

Daily Batman: Wings of imagination

May 27, 2010


“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

— Muhammad Ali

Spring Fever!: Inaugural Edition feat. Gwen Wong, Miss April 1967

April 13, 2010

I’ve fallen down completely on the job of keeping up the journal, mainly because I’ve got so many dogs in the fire that I don’t know where to begin to express my feelings about them. Besides being an outlet for emotions, this so-called thought experiment was supposed to be a project that would force me to write something every day, and I have not been doing so. I’ve let feeling Ways About Things totally overwhelm me and paralyze my writing. That changes today.

The one thing that can always get some creative and otherwise positive juices flowing for me is writing about the Playmates, so welcome to Spring Fever! They say April is the cruellest month, but I am going to do my best to make it the kindest every ding-dong day. Starting ……. now.

Venus in argyle.


Photographed by Mario Casilli and Gene Trindl.

This adorable cardigan and knee-socks sporting model is Miss April 1967, the lovely and talented Gwen Wong. I think her photoshoot was really a great one.

Just well-lit, and done so with a striking ambience, not with a lot of artificial lighting, with makeup and styling that is kicky but not overly fetishistic, just a very fun and natural shoot — and, most admirably to my mind, I think it is delightfully and matter-of-factly progressive given the time and place (Cold War America at the end of the Korean War, heightening of the conflict in Vietnam, pitch of the Red Scare, a time when there was still a lot of “otherization” of the unfamiliar, etc) in which it appeared. I wish I could say the same for the text which accompanied the shoot, but overall it is not so bad that Edward Said is calling out hits or anything.

The credit of first Asian-American Playmate of the Month is sometimes erroneously given to Gwen Wong. While Ms. Wong has many awesome merits of her own, she is not, in fact, the first Asian-American gatefold model.

That honor belongs to Margaret “China (rhymes with Tina)” Lee, who was Miss August 1964 and performs the memorable striptease which runs over the credits for Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily?. As further old school and timeless comedy cred goes, China was married to the great Mort Sahl from 1967 to 1991. She also dated Robert Plant.


I think this is as “typical” as the photoshoot got. That’s pretty cool in my book, all appropriate due given to the temporal setting.

But enough about Ms. Lee. I should give her her own entry one of these days, and we’ll cover that then. Don’t let me forget. Back to Gwen Wong, who justly deserves the attention.


Born in Manila during the latter part of World War Two … Miss Wong is, in fact, a startlingly beautiful blend of six nationalities: Chinese, Scottish, Spanish, Australian, Filipino and Irish.

(“Spice From the Orient,”
(groan) Playboy, April 1967.)

As you can see, Ms. Wong lists Filipino among the handful of her ethnic identities and it’s clearly stated she was born in Manila, which dramatically undermines the claim to the title of first Filpino-American Playmate made by Playboy in the lovely and talented PR (Miss November 1988, name removed at model’s request)’s write up some twenty-one years later.

If you followed NSFW November, you may remember [model’s name removed at request] as the lovely lady whose entire entry I accidentally spent describing the Thrilla in Manila fight (aka Frazier-Ali III) instead of talking a single bit about the naked girl in the pictures around the text.

I promised then, after I was done gushing about the greatest boxing match in history, that I would try and mention the other another day. That day is now and once again, this is probably not how she’d have hoped that to go — citing someone else as the real titleholder of her one noteworthy (at that time) characteristic. Sorry, kiddo, but who can deny the awesomeness of Ms. Wong?

So when I’m done with this entry on completely radical Gwen, I’ll try and work up some brief copy on the other’s bummer choices in dudes with which I can totally emapthize to appear later in the week because it turns out she’s all kinds of a quite interesting in a glass-ceiling-busting, con-man-choosing kind of way (we ladies must trailblaze). Yet again, most likely not the way anyone would’ve like to be immortalized in google’s search returns, but what can you do!


An expert cook, Miss April is equally adept at whipping up wor shew opp, scungilli or boeuf Bourguignonne. “Cooking has almost become a mania with me,” she says. “I collect cookbooks the same way people collect LPs.” Before becoming a Bunny, Gwen studied painting and ceramics at California’s El Camino Junior College. (Ibid.)



“Frankly,” she says, “most modern art confuses me, although I wouldn’t classify myself as a traditionalist. I try not to be swayed by other people’s opinions when visiting a gallery, but that’s not always easy. I like to think if a canvas is good I’ll know it — because, well, I’ll feel it.” (Ibid.)

So true.

Special K and I were at her Humboldt orientation this weekend and it happened to be the Arts! Arcata night on Friday, so while she was attending a mixer for incoming freshmen, I slipped from the campus downtown to the Arts! events so as not to be That Guy hanging around outside waiting for the kid they are chaperoning and embarassing the crap out of said kid.

The work being shown at various galleries and makeshift exhibitions inside boutiques and bars was a real mix of media as far as form, but the content and thrust of the work was generally what I think can be termed “modern” art. Some of what I saw really resonated with me, while there was other work to which I felt zero connection. But I don’t think subjectivity alone can explain why some people buy certain modern art.

I’d like to think that everyone who buys a piece buys it because they love it, but I doubt that’s so. I think there is a combination of snobbery and peer pressure, too, from other collectors and from people in the business. I hope to never buy something because I’m told it’s cool. So what I’m saying is, I understand where Ms. Wong is coming from with her statement.


Miss Wong is also a jazznik and prefers the singing of Morgana King and Ella Fitzgerald among at least a score of recording artists she admires. (Ibid.)

“Jazznik.” That is somehow quaint. Besides being a textbook great in jazz history, Mo King would also go on to feature in the Godfather movies as Carmella Corleone, second wife of Don Vito Corleone and mother to Fredo, Connie, and Michael (and I guess kind of, you know, a foster mom or whatever to Tom Hagen), positively double-cementing her perpetual place in my heart. Well-called, Ms. Wong!

According to the wiki, Ms. Wong is an artist these days. She specializes in body-casting. The wiki entry on her calls it that, but I’m more familiar with the term Lifecasting. Body casting makes me think of, like, broken hips and stuff. Bad scene.

Anyway, this has been your inaugural edition of Spring Fever! and I hope you enjoyed it.

NSFW November: Lindsay Wagner, Miss November 2007

November 30, 2009

Do not confuse Miss November 2007, Lindsay Wagner, with the 1970’s-era Bionic Woman star and mattress spokesmodel of the same name. This one hails from Nebraska and was a ring girl for the Omaha Fight Club (she’s not in it, so it’s okay for her to talk about it, I guess).


Photographed by Stephen Wayda

I think this may be the first Miss November we’ve seen with a total and complete lack of hair, you know, Down There. Gosh. Pubic alopecia in one so young (barely legal at the time of this shoot) is a tragic thing to see. Breaks the heart. Maybe next time you get a haircut, you could sweep it up and send her a little merkin? Just to keep her warm. Hardwood floors get cold in the winter, y’all.


This Lindsay can’t bend steel, but she’s got a straight right that will have you seeing stars. “We have an Omaha Fight Club,” she says, “and I’m a ring girl when my brothers compete. I don’t fight, but I train in self-defense and practice with a lot of guys.” (“Nebraksa Knockout,” Playboy, November 2007)


“I thought I’d never make Playboy in a million years,” Lindsay says. “I’m confident in the way I look, but you know how girls sometimes have the feeling they’re not good enough to accomplish something?”

I think a shade of that concern shows, but only a shade. I don’t know what these girls think that Playboy is, that they get so nervous. Unless it’s the money that freaks them out — I mean it is a big shot at some pretty good cash if you don’t blow it. I guess that could be spooky. Still, it’s not like a firing squad: it’s just a camera.

The only shot that I think in this spread has any merit, composition-wise, is the centerfold up top. It’s pretty hackneyed at this point to have the girl in men’s clothing like she has just come from raiding your closet, but it’s still cute. And she manages to make it look fresh. The best thing about all these pictures is that she has a nice smile and good eye contact. She doesn’t look frozen or fearful or dramatic. Just friendly and fun-loving. That’s appropriate for her age and how she’s been styled and sold in the interview. Good stuff all around, just not, like “great,” which is totally outside of her control. Her end of the quality is solid. And that is me being really strong and not crazy, because the truth is, she looks to me like my dear friendoh the Cappy’s ex, who you need to know is a no-good slack-cunted slagwhore cumdumpster, and I am battling to keep the strong association I have with her appearance out of my opinion of this nice girl, here, and be fair and not let my head get hot and melt my brain. (I get really, really protective of my friends, to the point that if I find someone has injured them in some way I can turn on that person on a dime *snap* and try to set them on fire with my thoughts.)

You can hit Ms. Wagner up on the myspace (current mood: “sad :(” — that is no good at all, maybe you could send her a glittery graphic or something, okay?), but I cannot, as she breaks my Movie Dating Rule: she was born after the release of Mannequin (1987). She can throw me a wink in a couple years, when I’ve once more lowered my standards! I’m thinking next stop, The Sandlot (1993).

Ugh, thanks Playboy cover, for reminding me that, besides being a cheating fuckface in his sporting life, Barry Bonds is also a cheating fuckface off the diamond. He even bought That Woman a house in Scottsdale so he could boff her during spring training while his wife was home with their daughter. Meanwhile, he drug his first wife through a humiliating series of court battles to keep her from getting his earnings, which she wanted to continue to sock away in savings for the education of their two sons. Gar, what a dishonorable goddamned waste of a human being all around he is. Such potential, so many opportunities handed to him, and such terrible choices he has made. Terrible choices. That is so weak. Ugh! Now I’m in a bad mood.

NSFW November: Jeana Tomasino Keough, Miss November 1980

November 28, 2009

Keeping up with the lovely and talented Jeana Keough (nee Tomasino), Miss November 1980, is purely exhausting. I will try to give you the highlights and just link to more in-depth explanations, because, holy heck, this woman has been one busy bee in the past few decades.


Photographed by Richard Fegley

Okay, first things first. She was married to Matt Keough, former All-Star pitcher for the Oakland A’s and, until four years ago, Billy Beane’s righthand man (read Moneyball. read Moneyball. read Moneyball.). After he was involved in a near-fatal drunk-driving hit-and-run accident in 2005, wherein he struck a pedestrian and fled the scene in a drunken daze, Keough was incarcerated for three months down in the sunny OC.

He and Ms. Tomasino parted ways not too long after that; in fact, according to this article (which calls her “Jenna” and quotes him as saying they are “fine”), it was a big “family fight” that lead him to leave the house after heavy drinking to begin with.

I actually didn’t know that about Keough, or forgot if I did hear about it. What I always think about with him is how he almost got killed in Arizona during Spring Training in the early 90’s. He got hit in the head by a ball. He survived, but it was really lucky. And thinking of that, despite that he was the pitcher and the batter almost struck him, always makes me think of the time in the early years of ball, when a spitball thrown by Carl Mays hit Earl (edit 7/17: Ray, not Earl) Chapman in the head and killed him outright, making him the only player in the history of ball to get killed by a pitch, and how the spitball is now outlawed because of that and some other stuff … Keough’s situation was totally different, though — in fact, I actually am embarassed and wish I hadn’t run off on that tangent, but I got a shitload of pictures so at least there’s that.

Okay, so what has she done for us lately? Ms. Tomasino has continued to act — oh did I forget to mention she was in Mel Brooks’ History of the fucking World: Part I? because she WAS! amazing! She played the Vestal Virgin. Pretty rad, huh?!— but she is now playing a role more suited to her than that of a virgin: herself.

She was until last summer one of the women featured on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County. Here is her official site as a realtor, including a blog which is mainly just updates from her account on the twitter.

She is also an official co-spokesperson for Düzoxin, a duty she shares along with fitness model and infomercial poser Ali Sonoma; mixed-martial-artist and athletic products spokesmodel Jessica Pene (what the what?! HECK, YEAH! She sounds awesome! I am following up on her or my name is not Sportsy McViolentpants); and homemaker and makeup developer Ramona Singer, who stars on Real Housewives of New York.

Disclaimer: This post and the links I threw up just now to the spokespersons’ sites do not translate to an endorsement of the weight-loss product Düzoxin. First of all, never trust a product with an umlaut in it. I’m a big anti-umlaut guy from way back. Second, I think we all know crazy crash diets and pills are not a safe, sane, or lasting way to get fit.

The only healthy way to lose weight is diet and exercise, and the best way to get started is with the help of a qualified nutritionist or professional trainer. Orrrr you can do like I did and eat lots of Funyons and ready-cooked bacon straight out of the fridge, sit on your ass drinking Newcastle and watching ball all day, head out to pick up some teriyaki chicken bowl between games, hit a gypsy child with your car, get cursed by his grandma, and suddenly find the pounds are literally melting off.

Gypsy curse/diet and exercise. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Though she has quit the Real Housewives, people who care about her show have hinted that she will be coming back, so don’t go breaking out the noose just yet if you’re a big fan.

“I have to work and the summer is the best time for selling real estate.

“After four years of doing this, I really needed to focus on work and doing college searching with Colton and flying off to see Shane’s games. I needed to focus on me.”

She added: “I’ve been really busy working on a book and possibly doing another show because I am kind of missing it a little bit!” (“Housewives‘ Keough hints at new show.” Martin, Lara. DigitalSpy, 27 November 2009.)

I just bet. I have a feeling that as long as she has breath in that lovely body, Ms. Tomasino will be using it to her advantage. You keep on keepin’ on, girl!

NSFW November: Miss November 1988

November 24, 2009

The lovely and talented Miss November 1988, was reported in her interview to be the first Filipino model to appear in Playboy.

“I am an ethnic jumble,” says [name]. … “My parents had their Filipino friends — my Mom was always cooking this smelly fish — but I grew up like a white suburban kid. I played lacrosse, basketball and tennis. (“Thrilla from Manila,” Playboy, November 1988)


They called her article, “Thrilla From Manila,” but actually she grew up in Havertown, Pennsylvania. In case you don’t get the title (which makes you absolutely no son of mine), it is a reference to the third and final fight between heavyweight boxers Cassius “Muhammad Ali” Clay and Joe Frazier for the title of Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, which took place in the Philippines on October 2, 1975.

The fight finally brought to a conclusion a bitter rivalry that had been going since 1971, that for my money is one of the best stories in the history of sports (where is its movie, Hollywood???). This one’s got it all, guys: draft-dodging, personal jealousies, the backdrop of major historical events, the freaking President getting involved, even. And through it all, two very different but very contentious personalities, Frazier and Ali, duking it out verbally and physically, in the press and in pre-fights. In the Thrilla in Manila, they went fourteen grueling, brutal rounds, both fighting to the point of almost total physical exhaustion before boxing official Eddie Futch declared Ali the victor (he said at the time it was to spare Frazier’s life, although really either could have gone).

Frazier protested stopping the fight, shouting “I want him boss,” and trying to get Futch to change his mind.

Futch simply replied, “It’s all over. No one will forget what you did here today”, and signaled to the referee to end the bout. Ali was therefore declared the victor.

He would later claim that this was the closest to dying he had ever been, and also stated, “Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.”

In a brief post-fight interview with one of the commentators, Ali announced, “He is the greatest fighter of all times, next to me.” (the wiki)

Do you even understand how major all of that is? Boxing is not as violent as you think, and it’s not always just big fat guys hugging (I always say, “Get a room or start punching”), not when you have two men in the ring as skilled as Frazier and the Greatest. Though you seldom see it at the heavyweight level, you see it more often with middle and welter (not bantam as much cause they’re so quick it’s like the cockfight from which their category’s name comes), it’s a graceful and carefully plotted series of moves, like a bloody ballet, it’s like … like art. It’s a dance. And you have these two combatants who are so equally matched that they are like hell-soul-mates, made to fight each other. That’s just, it’s just — like… god… oh, man, I honestly get misty just thinking about that event. That is some great motherfucking sports right there. I wish I had been born to see it firsthand, but I’ve watched clips of it on ESPN classic. (Boy, I miss having that) Le sigh.

\

As an epilogue, this story gets even better, in my opinion, because dig this: In June of 2001, guess who met for a grudge match on the Thrilla in Manila fight? Their freaking daughters. The fight was re-enacted, sort of, in New York by Laila “She Bee Stingin'” Ali and Jackie “Sister Smoke” Frazier-Lyde in what the press called Ali/Frazier IV. Laila, sixteen years younger than Jackie and with a little more training under her belt, took it in eight. But I love that both of them went for it! What a great story.

Finally, dig the Jessica Rabbit cover! God bless ya, Roger Rabbit and all of 1988. And to Miss November 1988, about whom this entry is not even at all remotely concerned, sorry. It’s not your fault that I think boxing is more interesting than whatever your little turn-ons and ambitions were. I feel kind of badly now. How about this? I will try to make it up to you another day, I swar to gar. You will get more attention from me later. Unless I forget.