Milwaukee is the heart & soul of American Iron, and the builders there are often overshadowed by the big dogs on the East and West coasts. There’s a different edge to the Midwest scene. These guys don’t have the advantage of being in the lap of the media, and don’t seem to be the type to give a shit, actually. These guys are shop rats, toiling away in the dark, cold, solitude of winter with the will to out-design, out-build, and out-perform all comers. Now there’s a show to highlight the hardcore & headstrong talent of the Midwest–
MAMA TRIED MOTORCYCLE SHOW | FEB. 22 | 408 W. FLORIDA ST. | MILWAUKEE, WI 53204
“The Midwest guys, all winter they’ve been coming up with their own deal– and they’re kinda outside the loop a little bit. So that downtime that you have– it’s a chance that you can get pretty creative…You created something, and you’re riding it, and it might not be perfect– but it just really doesn’t get much better than that.” ~Noot (Charles City, IA)
Scott Toepfer, a guy I’m humbled to call my friend, came to the Jersey Shore to shoot the second annual The Race of the Gentlemen organized by Mel Stultz (OCC) and put on by the legendary Oiler’s Car Club. It’s an event that can only be adequately described by someone who was actually there in the thick of it– and Toepfer was kind enough to share his personal thoughts with TSY on the sights, sounds, and experiences had by a California boy in Wildwood, Jersey. Great stuff, Scott!
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) remains one of my favorite teen / high school films of all time. It brilliantly captures the cultural touchstones of a generation, and the glory days of youth long gone by– before we were slaves to technology and all this social media bullshit.
A young Cameron Crowe, then a freelance writer for Rolling Stone magazine, went undercover as a student at Clairemont High School in San Diego, CA to write a book (of the same name), which he also adapted for the film. In Fast Times we get to witness a bevy of young Hollywood stars already in the making– Sean Penn (who totally stole the film, and birthed an army of Spicoli wannabes in high schools across the country), Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh. There are also early appearances by relative unknowns at the time who would go on to major stardom– Nicolas Cage, (then Nicolas Coppola), Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, and Anthony (Goose) Edwards. Fast Times’ soundtrack was also groundbreaking, featuring a quintessential blend ’70s & ’80s rock & roll artists, that to me, will forever be connected with the film. I mean, who can hear “Moving in Stereo” by The Cars without instantly thinking of that hot, hormone-raging pool scene? Epic.
Haters gonna hate, but eat this– In 2005, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. If you’re of this era it’s definitely a film that still resonates and makes you want to roll a fat one, throw on your Vans, hit the arcade, grab some tasty waves, and meet some babes.
“Niki Lauda had raised concerns about the safety of the track at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, but couldn’t convince other drivers to join him in protest. Due to a reported rear suspension failure, coupled with a wet track, his car swerved off course, hit an embankment, and burst into flames. Trapped inside the car, Lauda inhaled toxic gases and suffered severe burns to his entire head, including his scalp and eyelids. Lauda lapsed into a coma and nearly died. Yet just six weeks later, he was back on the track—and on James Hunt’s tail.” via
This past week, Lee Raskin (motorsports historian, author, and vintage racer) wrote and said he’d recently gotten some racing friends together for a Rush viewing night in Baltimore. He shared his educated theory on a deeply intriguing scene that seems to nod to an old school racing superstition. So with all due respect, esteemed Director Ron Howard, there’s a question that begs to be asked here…
So there’s this little festival called Chopped put on each year in Country Victoria – Australia. The guys were kind enough to send TSY a note as they thought we would appreciate the madness that they create down under… Enjoy!
Drag racing where it started– in the dirt!
A throwback in time to a 1950s – ’60s Hop Up Carnival! Hundreds of cars and bikes rattled by the sounds of 25+ bands belting the roots of rock music to thousands of Rockers, Petrol Heads, Hipsters & Greasers! This is Chopped the only festival of its type it in the world!
*HIPSTER ALERT* Ray Gordon and crew are back at it again! You call this working, Ray? Fucksake. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes film Ray shot with friends from Stetson, Hurst Racing Tires, and a couple of my favorite people in the world– Thor Drake, and Tori George at See See Motor Coffee.
“We went out and had one of the best days of our lives on Parsons Farm on Sauvies Island in Oregon. Yeah, it was a planned shoot but the fun was as authentic as it gets. It wasn’t a job. No money changed hands. Every summer I like to do a big self-promotion shoot. This was me being selfish and cramming all of my likes in one fun day. Incredible day with great friends! Thor & Tori from See See Motorcycles, Cody Adams from Hurst Tires, Kenny Wright from Motogalore, Jimmy 2Bottles, Casey, Meredith, Charity and the Parson brothers, John and Paul who own the farm.”
It was great being a part of 1st Annual NYC Motorcycle Film Festival in Brooklyn last week. Lots of great films and filmmakers were exposed to fresh eyes hungry for inspiring motorcycle art, culture, and history on the screen. An interesting after-film Q & A brought up a seminal motorcycle film of the 1960s, “The Leather Boys”, not just necessarily for the striking “Ton-Up Boys” and bikes– actually more for it’s place in history for being the first British film to be rated ‘X’ for having homosexual themes than actual nudity of a graphic nature, per se.
I was first exposed to “The Leather Boys” as a teenage fan of The Smiths (it was a very influential and transforming film for Morrissey, and many young gay men in England). Clips and images of the film and it’s stars were used in The Smiths’ video “Girlfriend in a Coma” and their single, “William, It Was Really Nothing.” In a 1988 NME interview at the Cadogan Hotel (where Oscar Wilde was arrested), Morrissey even said, “I’m almost quite speechless now, it’s a very historic place and obviously it means a great deal to me… to be sitting here staring at Oscar’s television and the very video that Oscar watched “The Leather Boys on.” (The ‘Oscar’s television’ comment, obviously an impossibility, is Moz being snarky and insulting the intelligence of the NME reporter…) Hearing “The Leather Boys” being referenced all these years later by filmmaker Eric Tretbar (Girl Meets Bike), and Paul d’Orleans of The Vintagent made me want to take a closer look at the historical influence of “The Leather Boys”, of which there is several layers.
Rita Tushingham and Colin Campbell in the iconic British film, “The Leather Boys”, 1964.
A behind the scenes film produced by Lanakila MacNaughton exposing the creative inspiration, intent and process behind the shooting of her Women’s Motorcycle Exhibition.
“I mean, I know so many beautiful women that can ride, you know? And so, I just wanted to like show who these women are, not just models. And it’s not even like I’m trying to bash men, or trying to create a ruckus, or like piss people off. I’m just expressing what I see, in a different way. And, just trying to share that with people. If they enjoy it, great. If they don’t, great. You know?” –Lanakila MacNaighton
James Hunt on the winner’s podium (L to R): Patrick Depailler (FRA) Tyrrell, second; race winner James Hunt (GBR) McLaren; John Watson (GBR) Penske, third. French Grand Prix, 1976. — Image © Phipps / Sutton Images / Corbis
I’m stoked to see Rush this weekend– the much anticipated film by Ron Howard on one of Formula One’s most talented and notorious drivers ever, James “The Shunt” Hunt. The seemingly insatiable ladies’ man was estimated to have had 5,000 trysts in his lifetime. History tells of a wicked weekend where buddy and fellow (motorcycle) racing legend Barry Sheene tallied 33 BA stewardesses lined-up at the door of their Tokyo Hilton suite. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Hemsworth is able to capture his wit and charm, and if he can keep his muscles from overshadowing the memory of Hunt’s lean, lanky frame hard-earned by a physical exercise regiment consisting largely of driving, and shagging. The perfect primer for Rush is the documentary When Playboy’s ruled the World which accurately and colorfully takes you back to the glory days of Hunt & Sheene when driving was dangerous, and sex was safe. More epic photos of James Hunt in action after the video…
The Motorcycle Film Festival is happening THIS WEEK! Come check it out, kicking off the festivities on Wednesday! There are loads of more details on the film screening schedule and tickets HERE. Lots of event festivities and giveaways too! Follow @motofilmfest on IG.