NORM GRABOWSKI’S CUSTOM CORVAIR BIKE | SICK-AS-HELL SIX-PACK ON 2 WHEELS

norm grabowski

“Norm Grabowski”s monster– the Corvair-powered “Six Pack”. Neil East (another rodding icon), owned AutoBooks in Burbank, CA, and Colorado Carbooks here in Denver told me that Norm used to come to L.A. Roadster club meetings on the Six Pack, and he said Norm had no problem kick starting this bike, when it was time to leave. It had no electric starter!” –Irish Rich 

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norm grabowski corvair motorcycle

Norm Grabowski’s epic “Six Pack” — an air-cooled, flat-six Corvair engine mounted on the frame of a ’41 Indian shaft drive with no transmission, just a clutch. Another future Kustom Kulture legend pin-striped the bike– Dean Jeffries. Irish Rich (whose website is the authority on old school builders, and is due a ton of respect for his own incredible work) saw this impressive bike himself back in ’65, and has chronicled it well. Norm actually built 2 Corvair-powered “SIx Packs” — the other mated with H-D tranny called “PP ‘n’ Vinegar.”

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1966 BARRED OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINE | BRUTAL! FRANK! VIOLENT!

barred outlaw magazine

From the archives of Nostalgia on Wheels comes this lil’ peek at Barred Outlaw Motorcycle magazine– a biker exploitation rag written not for riders, but for voyeurs looking for what makes those bad boys tick. Think of it as a primer for squares on bikers. There’s just enough laughable, inaccurate and hyperbolic writing that when they do actually mention the true 1%’er  MC’s it kinda lacks any sting. Hell, they can’t even get the year right for when The Wild One (the Godfather of all biker exploitation flicks) was filmed… ca. 1960??? What I do love about the magazine is the use of images, the layouts, fonts, etc. It is pure gold for the design-minded among us. It’s kinda refreshing compared to all the stripped-down aesthetic out there right now.

barred outlaw motorcycle magazine

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BARRED OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE SPECIAL– ANGELS FROM HELL! Today’s rebels on wheels, living a legend of violence and excitement. Their love is hate…for everything and everyone– but each other!

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PULP FICTION | VISUALLY GRIPPING PAPERBACK ART OF THE ’50s & ’60s

In case you missed it over on the TSY facebook page I’ve been obsessed with the below piece of work for quite some time, and finally posted it up and asked the beloved The Selvedge Yard clan for help in identifying the artist. It took about all of 2 seconds.

As a kid, my healthy diet of Happy Days, Sha Na Na, and flicks like The Lords of Flatbush deeply engrained a love of greaser culture and style that will surely remain until I die. “Bad Girls” by James Alfred Meese slays me with every viewing. Obviously the cover art was intentionally as lurid and enticing as possible to get you to part with your money and buy the “pulp” paperbacks that were named after the cheaply produced paper they were printed on. Here are a few other fine examples of pulp art, which really peaked in the ’50s & ’60s, in my humble opinion.

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James Alfred Meese Bad Girls 900

Bad Girls — paperback cover art by  James Alfred Meese, 1958

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bad girls james alfred meese pulp fiction art

Bad Girls– They prowl the fringe of the underworld for kicks – cover art by  James Alfred Meese, 1958

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UNITED STATE — SELECTED WORKS BY CONRAD LEACH | FEBRUARY 9TH @SUBVECTA MOTUS GALLERY

united state poster

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English artist and motorcycle fanatic Conrad Leach is having his first solo exhibition in the US– happening February 9th at Subvecta Motus Gallery in LA. His graphic Pop style is instantly iconic, and not to be missed– especially when you have the rare opportunity to be face-to-face with the large-scale punchy paintings. Leach’s work will knock your socks off. –Curated by friend Stacie B. London of Triple Nickel 555 & ESMB.

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LUCKY13

Lucky 13 by Conrad Leach

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NORTON JACK

Norton Jack by Conrad Leach

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PEACE ON EARTH | BING & BOWIE’S EPIC AND TIMELESS HOLIDAY CLASSIC DUET

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“Peace on Earth” has long been one of my all-time favorite Holiday tunes. Even more so when I learned about the odd and magical pairing of David Bowie & Bing Crosby many years ago. It was an epic moment in music history that almost didn’t happen– in more ways than one.

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Bing Crosby & David Bowie taping the TV special “Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas” back in 1977.

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When the producers of Bing Crosby’s “Merrie Olde Christmas” TV special asked Bowie to sing “The Little Drummer Boy” with Bing in 1977, he flatly refused.

Ian Fraser, Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman left the set and found a piano in the studios’ basement. In about 75 minutes, they wrote “Peace on Earth,” an original tune, and worked out an arrangement that weaved together the two songs. Bowie and Crosby nailed the performance with less than an hour of rehearsal. Bowie liked it.

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SHAWN DICKINSON ILLUSTRATIONS | SOCAL KUSTOM KULTURE KARTOONS

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“Ghost Rider” by Shawn Dickinson

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A product of SoCal, Shawn Dickinson grew up inspired by the surrounding counterculture of custom Hot Rods, Surfers, and the iconic art that was produced by the legends before him– you see the classic Rat Fink and Tiki influences that, in his hands, are at once timeless and fresh.  He got his chops as a cartoonist for the underground Untamed Highway, which was chock full of 1950′s Kustom Kulture. Dickinson went on to illustrate posters for Rockabilly and garage bands, not to mention numerous comic projects and commissioned works. 

I’m a big fan of the guy’s work.  As he describes it, Dickinson’s creations and medium are a throwback fusion of, “Imagery stylistically inspired by 1930′s cartoons (what I feel was the craziest era for cartoons), mixed with iconic imagery inspired by 1950′s & 1960′s rock n’ roll, cars, bikes, etc. (what I feel was the craziest era for all those things). And I still paint with watercolor and India ink.”  Love it.

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Shawn Dickinson featured in Car Kulture DeLuxe Magazine

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“Smooth” by Shawn Dickinson

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PSYCHEDELIC COWBOY IN SWEDEN | THE LONG ARM OF LEE HAZLEWOOD

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“Lee came to Coolidge (AZ) while I was still going to high school, and he had just gone to a disc jockey school… a broadcasting school, I guess they called it– Columbia School of Broadcasting in Hollywood. He graduated that, and he got his first job.  And it happened to be as a disc jockey– and it happened to be in Coolidge, Arizona. So, I had a friend who wanted to be a disc jockey at the time, and he said, ‘You gotta come out and meet this new guy– he’s really a hoot. Ya know, really funny and all this, and he’s playing Country music.’  So, I went along with him, and I met Lee Hazlewood the first time.”

“At that time, uh, I used to sing… and play too.  And I sang with this other guy, Jimmy Dell.  We sang together– we did up-tempo Country things… just around town there, you know, mostly.  Lee heard that, and like it, and we went in and tried to make a record of that… the two of us with some songs that Lee wrote– his first attempt at songwriting. His first attempt at producing, we went up to Phoenix to someone’s studio… in the back of their house, and well– it was the only studio we knew of.  It was, like, 1954– late ’54 or ’55. And uh, we made a couple of tracks.”

“Lee was gonna put it out on his own label, but Jimmy went and got ‘saved.’  And uh, came in one day and said, ‘I’m saved!’ and I said, ‘Saved from what?!’ And he says, ‘No, in church!’ And I said, ‘Oh, great! Congratulations.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, well, it’s not so good.’ and I says, ‘what’s the matter?’ Jimmy said, ‘I can’t sing with you no more.’ And I says, ‘Oh. Why not?’  He said, ‘Because I can’t sing worldly music no more.’ And I said, ‘oh, oh, well you get to tell Lee that then– he’s just invested all this money in these records.’ So they ended-up sitting in Lee’s garage– and never did get out…”

“So that’s how I met Lee.  Later that year he moved to Phoenix, and got a job at a Country station up there, KRUX. And it turns out he was the first one to ever play Elvis Presley in Phoenix, on the Sun label.  A guy there, brought these records from  down in Texas, a local Country artist who got on a show with Elvis, and he brought these records back and played them for Lee– and Lee thought they were great. So he scheduled them, and started playing them, and it caused all kinds of ruckus! He almost got fired over it… It was a big change!  You know, Elvis doing ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ like that, and all…”   –Duane Eddy

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From DJ, to producer, to songwriter/lyricist and singer– Lee Hazlewood would produce a striking string of hits over his career– first with the young guitar legend, Duane Eddy, and later with the down-on-her-luck daughter of a true American icon, Frank Sinatra.

Nancy and Lee were an oddly powerful duo. His thinly-veiled lyrics of drugs and decadence were delivered with such wooden stoicism that nary a soil thought twice. But when Nick Cave himself cites you as one of his biggest influences– you must have been doing something wrong, oh so right. Hazlewood created a signature moody sound– filled reverb, space and mood a-plenty.  Phantasmagoric, at times.

And while his sound had psychedlic elements, he was anything but a hippy, or even Rock ‘n’ Roll. It filled a void in radio that no one else could. Brought up in Oklahoma, and ramblin’ ’round Texas, Arkansas and Arizona in his early days– he had little chance of running into anything remotely hip or forward– he truly crafted his own niche unlike what anyone else was doing.  In fact, he was so unhip, that he was truly ahead of the times. He made “uncool” cool. The Beck of his day, but without the looks and moves.

That’s right– Beck.

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BLAZE STARR & TEMPEST STORM | BUSTY BAD GIRLS OF BURLESQUE

September 1955– American burlesque performer Blaze Starr poses for American painter Joseph Sheppard in his studio as he finishes a 4′X6′ portrait of her. Starr wears a semi-transparent bra and panty set with high heels. –Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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TEMPEST STORM BUST CHEST BREASTS

(Above, left) 1954, San Francisco, CA– Designer James Berry strips tape and jersey form from the body of Burlesque queen Tempest Storm in preparation for a mannequin of the buxom striptease in San Francisco, where a celebration will mark the 1,000,000th dollar she has drawn through box offices to date. The completed mannequin will adorn the theater marquee where she appears as part of the event.  (Above, right) ca. 1954, Hollywood, CA– United Press Hollywood correspondent Vernon Scott muses over his tape measure after checking the dimensions of stripper Tempest Storm’s curves.  Scott interviewed the 24 year old strip queen in regard to the one million dollar insurance policy she has taken on her body with Lloyd’s of London. She said she took the policy, “to protect my million dollar income.”  She claims she amassed the million dollars in only four years of shedding her clothes on burlesque stages. Also, she is afraid she might injure herself as she did recently. For Lloyd’s of London, she listed her measurements as follows– neck, 16 inches; wrist, 6; ankle, 9; bust, 41, waist, 24; and hips, 34. She shed a sweater for her press conference but when gawking reporters asked if she’d ever visited a nudist camp, she blushed. “I shouldn’t say not,” she exclaimed. “That wouldn’t be nice at all.” –Images by © Bettmann/Corbis

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Legendary stripper and burlesque dancer “Blaze Starr” was born Fannie Belle Fleming in 1932, in West Virginia. She ran-away when she was fifteen yrs old, and ended up in Washington, D.C., where she was discovered working as a hat-check girl by her first manager Red Snyder– who convinced her to strip. It was Snyder who gave her the stagename “Blaze Starr.” Their time together would be short lived after he tried to rape her. With her fiery red hair, and voluptuous 38D-24-37 figure, and sultry, energetic and captivating stage presence (her stage routines included a comedic exploding coach gag and having a large trained black panther untie a ribbon on her costume which made it fall to the floor), Blaze became a major headliner at the “Two O`Clock Club” in Baltimore, Maryland and earned the nicknames “Miss Spontaneous Combustion” and “The Hottest Blaze in Burlesque.”

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VERONICA LAKE | THE PEEK-A-BOO PINUP OF HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE

The Selvedge Yard did a (very) little piece for DETAILS magazine’s online blog– The Daily Details here.

There was something about those lips, the flirty peek-a-boo eye, and that sexy, sweeping hair that’s seductive beyond words.  Yes, Veronica Lake just had “it.”

Other pinups of her day may have been more racy (Bettie Page), more leggy (Bettie Grable), or more busty (Jane Russell), but in my book none of them can touch her stunning beauty, poise and indelible mystique. Standing a scant 4’ 11’ and weighing only 90lbs., Veronica Lake deftly filled the camera’s lens with more sex appeal in her little left eye than most beauties managed wearing half as much, and trying twice as hard.

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“I will have one of the cleanest obits of any actress. I never did cheesecake like Ann Sheridan or Betty Grable. I just used my hair.”  –Veronica Lake

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Sadly, Her story was a tragic one.  Beset by a troubled childhood, broken marriages, schizophrenia, and drinking woes (most likely in an attempt to self-medicate)—Veronica Lake was washed-up in Hollywood too early, and with little to live on besides her fading looks.

When one-time lover Marlon Brando heard she was working as a barmaid, he promptly had his people deliver her a check for $1,000.  Too proud to cash it, Lake instead chose to have it framed as a memory of days gone by, and a not-so-subtle notice to others that she was once Hollywood’s reigning sex symbol.

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“I wasn`t a sex symbol, I was a sex zombie.”  –Veronica Lake

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“Hollywood gives a young girl the aura of one giant, self-contained orgy farm, its inhabitants dedicated to crawling into every pair of pants they can find.”  –Veronica Lake

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THE BROODING BAVARIAN BOMBSHELL | ’60s & ’70s SEX ICON– USCHI OBERMAIER

Keith Richards with German model/actress Uschi Obermaier during the Rolling Stones’ 1975 Tour of the Americas. –Photo by Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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The sexy German model was with the Rolling Stones on their ’75 tour, and bedded both Mick & Keef. Uschi later rated the boys, saying, “Mick is the most charming man in the world, but Keith is the better lover. He just knows the anatomy of women…”

When Anita got word of Keef’s tryst with Uschi, she furiously charged at him, and grabbed him by the hair and screamed, “You f*cking messer, You’ve been messing with this bird!”

Uschi makes it clear that she and Keith loved each other– and that while Anita often lamented over Keef’s lacking libido, Uschi, by her account, had no problem keeping her man in bed for days at a time. “With me, there was never a problem.”

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December 18th, 1968– The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards with Anita Pallenberg in a departure lounge at London’s Heathrow Airport. –Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

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