SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND | REST IN PEACE ROBIN WILLIAMS GENIUS OF MANKIND

Robin Williams in 1978

Actor & comedian Robin Williams outside the Comedy Store, 1978 – photograph by Wynn Miller for Time & Life Pictures

The news of Robin Williams’ passing yesterday hit me unexpectedly hard. A lot of cultural icons have come and gone during my lifetime, but none in recent memory have felt as close and raw as this. All at once I was overcome with shock, disbelief, confusion, loss, and grief. I’ve always loved Robin Williams, but I now know that I didn’t truly appreciate all that he meant to me until suddenly he was gone.

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THE TOWERING 5’10” BEAUTY IRISH MCCALLA | 1950s QUEEN OF THE (PINUPS AND) JUNGLE

irish mccalla pinup legs chest

Irish McCalla, the towering beauty who posed for Vargas, and then found fame as “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” was tough to measure-up against. She grew up humbly, forever the athletic tomboy, and even did her own vine-swinging and tree-climbing with her pet chimp, Chim, on “Sheena” until the day she misjudged a vine swing and crashed into it tree, smashing her knee. After that, the producers did the only thing they could do (due to her size), they hired male stunt men, and dressed them in leopard skins and blond wigs.

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VARGAS PINUP MODEL IRISH MCCALLA

5’10” beauty, Irish McCalla, posing for famed Peruvian pinup artist Alberto Vargas. Since she was born on Christmas Day, McCalla posed nude for the December page in a Vargas calendar. McCalla’s attention-getting measurements were reported as 39-24-38 in her heyday.

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SPEED FREAK | HARLEY HELL-RACER STEVE HUFF ON THE FASTEST RACETRACKS ON EARTH

Friend, Todd Blubaugh, is behind the camera chasing Steve Huff (former top fuel Harley-Davidson racer, land speed record holder, and custom bike builder) from the garage to the world’s fastest race tracks on his quest to claim more land speed records. Speed Freak highlights Huff’s massive racing brains and balls. His technical prowess and unnerving passion are equally matched– the perfect chemistry for creating timeless stories that speak to the indomitable human spirit and our hunger for adventure. I’d definitely be stoked to see this on-air as a television series as I just don’t see anything of this caliber out there.

“Racing is beautiful but it destroys men. Trying to capture the passion of land speed racing is like trying to catch a tornado. The men and women who make the year round sacrifice to race on the salt yield at NOTHING to beat their last record. But even under the pressure of the setting sun, I watched these people remain encouraging and thoughtful to one another no matter their status or reputation. There is a spirit of communion at this church of salt because everyone knows that the gods of speed lift some men up, but destroy others.

There is nothing like this on the planet and I consider myself blessed to have witnessed these people giving themselves to the pursuit of something that they find meaningful. The passion  and tenacity of these men and women have forever changed my understanding of hard work and excellence and we hope this show will do the same for others.”

–Todd Blubaugh

Steve Huff Harley Speed Freak Todd Blubaugh

NEALE BAYLY RIDES | CHECK IT OUT ON SPEED NETWORK JUNE 9TH, 9PM EST

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Neale Bayly a couple weeks ago in Brooklyn through mutual friends and got to hear firsthand about his very cool new show Neale Bayly Rides (that he’s been busting his ass on for quite some time…), and now all Neale’s blood, sweat, and tears is about to finally payoff when the show debuts on Fox Sports’ Speed Network on June 9th, 9PM EST.

This isn’t just a show about tearing across the planet on a BMW– which would be cool enough for me to watch all day long. Neale has a real humanitarian heart, and the causes he believes in are truly the end game for him. The tagline for the show sums it up well– Adventure. Travel. Adrenaline, Storytelling. All on motorcycles. (BMW’s, at that.) 

“Neale Bayly, renowned motorcycle journalist and philanthropic adventure rider, takes three average riders on the trip of a lifetime to Peru. They face unbelievable challenges through the deserts and mountains…but find it’s all worth it when their journey leads them to an orphanage…”

neale bayly rides peru speed show

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WHO THE F*CK IS RETRO MOTO? | THE SHOW FOR TRUE MOTORCYCLE LOVERS

Matt Smith Norton Manx Retro Moto TV

Matt Smith (Smoke and Throttle) is the host of Retro Moto TV– here with a vintage Norton Manx.

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Through authentic content and the tenacious dedication of four single-minded PA motorcycle enthusiasts (John Lawless, Ed Buffman, Matt Smith, and Sheldon Brown), Retro Moto has garnered a lot of exposure, and gained strong interest. Motorweek —  the longest running automotive show in America — aired the first segment in January, and will run another in April. The ultimate goal is to launch Retro Moto as a full-blown program, that Ed Buffman would say — “…is truly about the love of vintage motorcycles, and celebrates the people that love them, work on them and ride them, without any phony stuff tied into it. Retro Moto hasn’t found a home yet because of the nature of reality television. They have all these shows, that we all know aren’t real. They have made-up scripts with somebody being stupid, somebody being smart, to create this made-up drama. That’s not what we’re about.”

Let me just say — This show is going to happen. The time is right, and it’s just too damn good a concept. This is a show for us, the people. We are the primaries, and we are the audience. So if you want to get involved, reach out to me. You can partner in Retro Moto’s success by becoming a sponsor. We’ll build this thing together — it’s about community — always has been in our world. That’s who we all are, and it’s what we do. We go out and make it happen ourselves — we don’t wait for the mainstream world to bless us and pat us on the head. No thanks — Fuck that.

Buy me a beer and talk to me at The One Motorcycle Show Friday or Saturday, or email me at info@selvedgeyard.com — I’ll tell you more about it, and how easy it is to get involved. I’ll then put you in touch with the guys and we’ll get this thing rollin’.

Cheers, JP

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RETRO MOTO | ABOUT CLASSIC BIKES & THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO RIDE ‘EM

Matt Smith & JP check out a ’65 Triumph Bonneville T120C rebuild at Matt’s shop Quaker City Motor Works in West Chester, PA. –Image by Ashley Smalley

My Friend, Matt Smith, vintage Brit bike restorer at Quaker City City Motor WorksSmoke and Throttle, has joined forces with some very impressive talent–  avid motorcycle collector and racer John Lawless, ex-dirt bike racer and experienced filmmaker Ed Buffman, and former director and editor at NBC Shel Brown. The result is this great little trailer for a television show being pitched that Matt would host, called– “Retro Moto”. I’m really excited about it because it’s exactly the kind of show I’d want to watch– all about classic bikes, their history, and the people who love to ride ’em. Check it out after the jump and let us know what you think.

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SHEL SILVERSTEIN | FREAKIN’ AT THE FREAKERS BALL IN THE SKY

Shel Silverstein– the late, great, cartoonist, poet, author, playwright, singer, songwriter, musician… photo by Alice Ochs

“Sometimes he wears a beard, and shaves his head.  Sometimes he shaves his beard, and wears his head.

Sometimes he’s writing articles, and drawing cartoons for Playboy magazine.

He’s in Hollywood working on movies.  Sometimes, he’s lonesome.

But wherever he is, he’s the one and only Shel Silverstein–

and one of the most talented guys I’ve ever met.”

–Johnny Cash quoting one of America’s most prolific and revered songwriters, Harlan Howard.

Shel Silverstein– Songs and Stories

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THE BRUCE LEE HOLLYWOOD POSSE | TINSELTOWN’S ELITE UNDERSTUDIES

 Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, circa 1972.

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There are certain moments in life that you never forget.  Oddly, I still remember the evening when as a kid I got a glimpse of Bruce Lee on the tube in Game of Death. It was the immortal scene where Lee, at all of  5′ 7″, squares-off against 7′ 2″ basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his unending Plastic Man-like reach. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the sinewy, screaming, leaping Bruce Lee– I’d never seen anything so crazy and exciting in all my short life. He seemed more full of life, energy and determination than anyone I’d ever seen– yet, I was watching a man onscreen who had already passed away. It seemed almost unbelievable that he was gone– I think that pretty much sums up the effect he had on a lot of people.  He was so skilled, entertaining and charismatic that you couldn’t take your eyes off him, because if you did– you might quickly miss out on something that’s never been seen before. You were sure there was no one person in the world that could take Bruce Lee out. He seemed to be invincible onscreen– which makes his mysterious passing all the more ironic.

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Bruce Lee Kato Green Hornet

Original caption from 1966– Bruce Lee, who plays Kato in ABC-TV’s Fridays, (7:30-8 P.M., EST) springs into three of the basic positions of Kung Fu, the ancient Oriental art of self-defense of which Bruce is a master.

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There’s an interesting bit about Bruce Lee’s relationship with another Hollywood icon he hung out with– Steve McQueen. Among the many stars that Bruce Lee counted as his pupils and friends (James Coburn, James Garner, etc.) none were bigger than McQueen. Obviously both were highly competitive guys, so when Bruce Lee’s star began to rise it caused notable tension between the two that almost destroyed their friendship.

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