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.

James Alfred Meese Bad Girls 900

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

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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THE ART OF THE CLASSIC AMERICAN HAIRCUT | TOMCATS BARBERSHOP

Our friends over at  R E L I C  put together a nice little short on the guys that run Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s own Tomcats Barbershop. It’s a place where you can roll up on your Harley, and step in for a period-perfect ’40s or ’50s barbershop haircut by a guy who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

The film was produced in collaboration with the Harley-Davidson Ridebook and pays tribute to the great American brand that, “…impacted the early identity of American culture in everything from the way people began to dress to how they wore their hair…” Amen.

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CHOSEN FEW & EAST BAY DRAGONS | AMERICA’S BLACK BIKER SET REVISITED

chosen few black motorcycle club

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

Soak in the retro soil & oil biker shots from the Chosen Few, and East Bay Dragons motorcycle clubs… In 1959, the Chosen Few MC officially formed out in LA on the cusp of the chaotic 60s.  As they tell it — “The 60s was a hell of a time. With the Civil Rights Movement, The Viet Nam War, Flower Power & Free Love. Sex, Drugs, and  Rock & Roll. Also the Crazy World of the Outlaw Bikers.”

If this sounds as foreign to you as it did to me, a kid who grew up in the world of white biker culture — well, consider the cultural stereotypes around bikers.

TAKE NONE, GIVE NONE – THE CHOSEN FEW DOCUMENTARY FILM

From the Chosen Few history–

“When you talk of the Outlaw Bikers you automatically think of ‘Them Crazy White Boys’ doing what a lot of folk wish they could do. Live Life Like You Want & F*ck You And Your Rules. Well Guess What? There was some crazy Black bikers who felt the same way, and didn’t give a F*ck. Thus was born the Black Outlaw Bikers!”

Black motorcycle clubs emerged throughout Cali in the 50s & 60s, and fought against racism and stereotypes of the day for their right to live the outlaw biker lifestyle — like the East Bay Dragons, Fresco Rattlers, Outlaw Vagabonds, Defiant Ones; down South in LA were the Choppers, Soul Brothers & of course, the Chosen Few.

Chosen Few motorcycle club

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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SURF, 60’s PSYCHEDELIA & BORN AGAIN | THE TRINITY OF ARTIST RICK GRIFFIN

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Artists Rick Griffin and Anton Kelly at the poster art exhibit at the Psychedelic Poster shop in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, 1967.  -- Image by Ted Streshinsky

Artists Rick Griffin and Anton Kelley at the poster art exhibit at the Psychedelic Poster shop in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, 1967. -- Image by Ted Streshinsky

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Rick Griffin– surfer, cartoonist, psychedelic poster artist, legend.  Born near Palos Verdes in 1944, Griffin took-up surfing at age 14.  During the 50s while he was in high school, Mad magazine heavily influenced his comic stylings– but he soon found his own voice, creating his own surf style that would become iconic.  Through his undeniable talent and connections, Griffin was soon working for surf legend, Greg Noll, among others.  After leaving high school he joined Surfer Magazine as a staff artist– creating the legendary California surf scene character Murphy, and working his way up to Art Director by the time he was of 20. But by 1964, Griffin decided it was time to move on and see what the world outside of So Cal’s tight-knit surfer scene had for him.

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ICONIC AMERICAN IMAGES BY DANNY LYON | THE BIKERIDERS AND BEYOND

ohio river danny lyon

“Crossing the Ohio River” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966

In the 1960s & 70s, writer and photographer Danny Lyon made a name for himself covering the Southern Civil Rights movement, and  went on to give the world 3 incredible works– The Bikeriders, in which he chronicles his travels as a member of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, documenting the large-scale demolition of our country’s greatest city back in 1967, and Conversations with the Dead in which he photographs and writes about Texas inmatess in 6 different prisons, Billy McCune in particular, over 14 months time. Danny Lyon’s images are iconic, and he is considered by many as the gold standard for motorcycle photography to this day.

“If ‘The Wild One’ were filmed today, Marlon Brando and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would all have to wear helmets. I used to be afraid that when (Hells) Angels became movie stars and Cal the hero of the book, the bikerider would perish on the coffee tables of America. But now I think that this attention doesn’t have the strength of reality of the people it aspires to know, and that as long as Harley-Davidsons are manufactured other bikeriders will appear, riding unknown and beautiful through Chicago, into the streets of Cicero.” –Danny Lyon

Danny Lyon The Bikeriders

“Cal, Elkhorn, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Route 12, Wisconsin" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon.

“Route 12, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1963

from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon

“Racer, Schererville, Indiana” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

"From Lindsey's room, Louisville" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1966.

“From Lindsey’s room, Louisville” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966

"Racers, McHenry, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Racers, McHenry, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Goodpaster, Hobart, Indiana" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Goodpaster, Hobart, Indiana” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Field meet, Long Island, New York" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Field meet, Long Island, New York” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66.

"Racers, McHenry, Illinois" from the Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Racers, McHenry, Illinois” from the Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

"Broken gear box spring, New Orleans" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Broken gear box spring, New Orleans” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Torello Tachhi's back, Loudon, New Hampshire" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Torello Tachhi’s back, Loudon, New Hampshire” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

"Seventeenth Annual World's Largest Motorcycle Blessing, St. Christopher Shrine, Midlothian, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon.

“Seventeenth Annual World’s Largest Motorcycle Blessing, St. Christopher Shrine, Midlothian, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon

"Corky at home" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Corky at home” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Jack, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Jack, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

New York Eddie's, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“New York Eddie’s, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Andy, meeting at the the Stoplight, Cicero, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa

“Andy, meeting at the the Stoplight, Cicero, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Memorial Day run, Milwaukee" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon   --circa 1965-66.

“Memorial Day run, Milwaukee” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Brucie, his CH, and Crazy Charlie, McHenry, Illinois"  from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Brucie, his CH, and Crazy Charlie, McHenry, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Cal, Springfield, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Cal, Springfield, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Big Barbara, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Big Barbara, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Clubhouse during the Columbus run, Dayton, Ohio"  from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Clubhouse during the Columbus run, Dayton, Ohio” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Funny Sonny packing with Zipco, Milwaukee" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Funny Sonny packing with Zipco, Milwaukee” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

"Chopper, Milwaukee" fro The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Chopper, Milwaukee” fro The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon, ca. © 1965-66

Four boys, Uptown, Chicago" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1968.

“Four boys, Uptown, Chicago” Pictures from The New World by © Danny Lyon, 1968

"Three young men, Uptown, Chicago" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Three young men, Uptown, Chicago” Pictures from The New World by © Danny Lyon, 1965

"Chevrolet Nueva Casas Grande, Chuhuahua, Mexico" from The Paper Negative by Danny Lyon  --1975.

“Chevrolet Nueva Casas Grande, Chuhuahua, Mexico” from The Paper Negative by © Danny Lyon, 1975

"Truck in the Desert, Yuma, California" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1962.

“Truck in the Desert, Yuma, California” Pictures from the New World by © Danny Lyon, 1962

"New arrivals from Corpus Christi" from Conversations with the Dead by Danny Lyon  --circa 1967-68.

“New arrivals from Corpus Christi” from Conversations with the Dead by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1967-68

"Hoe sharpener and the Line" from Conversations with the Dead by Danny Lyon  --circa 1967-68.

“Hoe sharpener and the Line” from Conversations with the Dead by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1967-68

"Young man, Hyde Park, Chicago" from Toward a Social Landscape by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Young man, Hyde Park, Chicago” from Toward a Social Landscape by © Danny Lyon, 1965

RELATED TSY POSTS:

SOUL ON BIKES & BLACK CHROME | THE HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICA’S MOTORCYCLE CULTURE

CHOSEN FEW & EAST BAY DRAGONS | AMERICA’S BLACK BIKER SET REVISITED

RALPH “SONNY” BARGER | AN OUTLAW’S TALE OF HARLEYS, HIGHWAYS & HELL

THE 13 REBELS MOTORCYCLE CLUB | 1953′S “THE WILD ONE” INSPIRATION

SUMMERTIME STREET CRUISIN’ | RETRO CALIFORNIA TWO-WHEELIN’ FUN

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Chopper bike

1970s Homemade chopper bike-- love the pack of smokes tucked just within reach on the forks.

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Back in the day, you most likely graduated from your Schwinn Stingray straight to a 10-speed– the big leagues, baby. Maybe there was something in-between, a hand-me-down 3-speed or 5-speed– but more than likely you just made the big jump.  I remember some pretty crafty adaptions– like wood blocks taped to the pedals to get you over the hump until you grew into the bigger bike.

And there were always guys like our friend above– that guy whose old man or older brother was a welder, or maybe he was a metal shop junkie himself.  Anyway, he’d build some crazy bike, and it’d become his signature– he’d be that guy with the wild ride.  The two would become inseparable in your mind– even years later when the bike was long gone.  The guy had to have a mustache too– that was like an unwritten rule.  You just couldn’t have a wild bike guy without the ‘stache– it wouldn’t work.

Man, those were the days– not like today.  It wasn’t like most teenagers had cars, the way it seems now. If you were lucky, you got to drive an old family car that maybe you even shared with your siblings.   Spoiled kids got cars, the rest of us dealt with getting rides, pedaling our bikes– or we busted our humps at a job to buy a used car. You didn’t get everything handed to you then– we called it character building. Today it’s all about immediate gratification and convenience, for the kids– and the parents who don’t have the time or interest to mold their kids.  Maybe that’s one reason personal character is becoming scarce.  Nobody wants to bother with learning or earning.  Just give it to me.

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Love this shot-- California chill beach style at its best.  Schwinn ten-speeds ruled back in the day.

Love this shot-- 1970s California chill beach style at its best. Makes me want to throw-on a pair of OP shorts and head for the beach on my Schwinn.

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Criusing on an old Schwinn ten spped bike.  I remember everyone turning their handlebars back like that-- or flipping them around completely.

1970s California criusin' on an old Schwinn ten speed bike. I remember everyone turning their handlebars back like that-- or flipping them around completely. He kinda looks like a young Tom Cruise.

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VINTAGE ROLLER DERBY BAD GIRLS | SASS ON WHEELS!

Vintage Roller Derby Girls

As a kid I recall catching glimpses  of old Roller Derby matches on t.v. and being absolutely fascinated by what I saw. Tough as nails gals, some pretty and some just pretty rough– speeding around the track pulling hair, throwing elbows, and sending each other flying around, and even off the track. All I know is I wanted more. The sport is still alive and well today, but these vintage skaters possess a magical naivete and quality that just can’t be replicated. Count me as a fan.

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Vintage Roller Derby Girl

Midge Brasuhn of the Brooklynites.

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TRUE WIMBLEDON LEGEND | THE ENIGMATIC BJORN “ICE” BORG

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My heart wanted Andy Roddick to win Wimbledon so bad– but my head knew that Roger Federer would pull it out– through cool, consistent, calculated play.  The better player definitely won, even though Federer’s acknowledgement of Roddick’e impressive play after the trophy ceremony felt a little snide and condescending.  I think the guy just can’t help it– he loves himself.  See him playing with his pretty hair nonstop?  Please.  And his cute little comment to Pete Sampras, who he trumped with a record 15 Grand Slam singles titles– “Thanks for coming out” seemed more than a little ungracious.  Federer has a great game, but he’s not my cup of tea.  For me, it doesn’t get any better than back in the wooden racket days of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, and the first rockstar of tennis– Bjorn Borg.

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Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg relishing his fifth straight Wimbledon singles victory in 1980.

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Bjorn Borg won an unprecedented five consecutive Wimbledon titles– from 1976-1980.  The 1980 Wimbledon final between Borg and McEnroe is easily considered the best and most memorable matchup of all time.  McEnroe seemed to have victory in hand early on, but the Swede proved once again to have more stamina and tenacity– breaking McEnroe down for the win.  Borg was widely considered nearly invincible at the time– his physical conditioning was legendary.

During his reign he also claimed six French Open titles, and even won Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year three times— the only player ever to do so more than once.  Winning both in the same year was even more remarkable because in those days there was only a week of preparation for the grass between the two events.  All these accomplishments came during a time when men’s tennis was brimming with truly great champions– the competition was crushing.

Bjorn Borg was also a bit of an enigma, which added to his charm and appeal.  He suddenly and surprisingly retired at the age of 25, with many great tennis playing years still ahead, after McEnroe handed him a painful defeat at the Wimbledon finals in 1981.  Imagine if Borg he had continued to play? He may very well have become tennis’ greatest champion of all time.

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Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe

In 1980, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe put on one of the greatest matches Wimbledon has ever seen.

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BACK TO THE FUTURE | A RETRO HI FI IN A DARK & COZY MAN CAVE

Listening to music properly has a lot to do with having the right environment. A place that’s all your own. I like the warm glow from the perfect level of indirect, low lighting. I want to be surrounded by my favorite things to look at. And I long for seating that you just melt into and disappear in. And another thing– I love my iPod as much as the next guy– but sometimes there are those moments when you need to break out the turntable and throw on some old records. The warm hiss and crackle of needle on vinyl is like hearing your mother’s voice in the womb. Which is what a man cave really is– a dark, personal, intimate womb.

When we first moved to New Jersey, we bought a great old Dutch Colonial home previously owned by an Italian family– the guy’s name was Nick. The basement he built-out was the clincher. It was like a retro 60s gentleman’s club– red and black lacquer paneled walls, mirrors, a full bar with turntable, and even a pool table which they were good enough to leave behind. I’ll never forget the two framed portraits hanging side by side behind the bar– The Pope & Frank Sinatra. Welcome to Jersey– I loved it. I spent many an evening down there with lights down low, the sound of billiard balls slamming hard into a corner pocket, always perfect tunes in the background, and a cold one. Now I’m in a house with no man cave and going insane…

Playboy retro Hi Fi stereo equipment

Retro 1960s Hi Fi stereo equipment and mid century modern furniture– great old Tulip table.

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Eames chair man cave

Cozy retro man cave w/ Eames chair, animal hide rug, art, books & hi fi– Done.

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