Wednesday 31 January 2024

nichts der homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die situation, in der er lebt (11. 308)

Having premiered at the at the Berlin International Film Festival the prior year, Rosa von Praunheim’s It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse But Rather the Society in Which He Lives was broadcast for the first time on the television network Westdeutschen Runk on this day in 1972, the exposure to a wider audience considered emancipatory and resounding globally helped informed the Lesbian and gay rights movements in Germany and the rest of Europe and encouraged individuals, particularly following the liberalisation of Section 175 in 1969 of the German Criminal Code (see previously), to come out of hiding and be seen in a society becoming more tolerant and accepting. Despite criticisms that the film itself was not very good or revelatory (since reappraised for its historical and socio-political influence)—the narrative of a country boy meeting a city boy that in the capital is honest but perhaps not the most ingratiating with promiscuity thwarting attempts to copy the heteronormative lifestyle, though ultimately leading to community activism—it has had an enduring and impactful legacy. Watch the entire film with English subtitles here.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the first McDonald’s in Moscow (1990) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more on the International Geophysical Year, St Geminianus plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: advocating a base-eight system, the Winter Soldier Investigations (1971) plus the first chimpanzee in space (1961)

four years ago: ancient aliens and the Gorn Hegemony, the UK leaves the EU, hidden thread plus Primal Scream (2000)

five years ago: a monument to Scrabble plus division bells

Tuesday 12 December 2023

you’re going the wrong way—dammit—the bow’s underwater (11. 183)

As our faithful chronicler informs, the Irwin Allen disaster drama based on the eponymous novel by Paul Gallico from three years prior and capitalising on a spate of star-studded survival misadventures of the decade, like Airport and The Towering Inferno, had its debut in the US on this day in 1972. The acclaimed and high-grossing film featuring the talents of Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine, Roddy McDowall and Gene Hackman follows the passengers and crew of the SS Poseidon on its final voyage during New Year’s from New York City to Athens, where it will be decommissioned and scrapped. An undersea quake in the Aegean triggers a tsunami and the ship is capsized and turned upside down. Scored by conductor John Williams, the performance “The Morning After” (garnering an Oscar for best original song) became a hit single, prompting an album of the soundtrack to be released.

synchronoptica

one year ago: a modernist sanctuary plus more advances in fusion technology

two years ago: assorted links to revisit, the satellite Uhuru, the Human League plus Tilda Swinton as libraries

three years ago: your daily demon: Caim, vaccines and alcohol don’t mix, more Breton saints plus a daytrip to Bedheim

four years ago: Authority is a Necessary Evil, more words of the year, the Heritage Trust and Stonehenge, another UK General Election plus the etymology of Antwerp

five years ago: Persons of the Year, Beyoncรฉ as HTTP codes, an auto graveyard plus a computerised sneaker

Sunday 26 November 2023

componibili (11. 142)

Celebrating half a century since their original presentation in a Kรถln pavilion in 1972 and 1973, the rarely displayed club- and pin-like orbitals by sculptor Roberto Cordone will be gathered for an exhibition near the original grounds to reintroduce the iconic design and symmetry that helped legitimise plastic as a medium to complement traditional public art. Whilst these molecular, tetrahedrons are stationary, Cordone’s most celebrated installations are kinetic, metal elements called perpendicolari and elicoidali that can be repositioned by wind and waves and are self-righting, displayed as permanent outdoor monuments but occasionally adapted for the stage as part of a ballet choreography. Learn more about the showcase, the artist and its sponsors at designboom at the link above.

Sunday 20 August 2023

wattstax (10. 953)

The name a play on the Woodstock festival, the benefit concert to commemorate the seventh anniversary 1965 Watts Riots and help the community and organised by Stax Records with all the label’s biggest stars took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on this day in 1972, selected for coinciding with the thirtieth birthday of major talent Isaac Hayes. Spanning the musical genres of soul, funk, blues and jazz and included sets by Kim Weston, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Ernie Hines, Hayes and The Bar-Kays. Invocation and various speeches were given by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. Tickets priced at a suggested donation of one dollar so everyone could attend, the festival was filmed by David Lloyd Wolper (the producer by the television mini-series Roots, North and South, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 LA Olympics) and released the following year to high acclaim.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: a visit to a potash mine

two years ago: Davy Jones & The Lower Third (1965), more miniatures from Tatsuya Tanaka plus links worth revisiting

three years ago: more words of Shakespearian coinage, quality control officers, the August Coup in Russia (1991) plus the ravens of the Tower of London miss the tourists

four years ago: a classic from Miles Davis (1959), a disembodied hand dominates the skyline in Wellington plus the plague of e-scooters

five years ago: dawn in the woods, the logos of Paul Rand, an on-screen marriage ceremony that may have been legally binding, winning-streaks plus Soviets crush reform attempts in Czechoslovakia (1968)

Thursday 18 May 2023

there’s a port on a western bay and it serves a hundred ships a day (10. 748)

Released as the lead single off their eponymous debut album, the ballad, released on this this day in 1972—written by lead guitarist and vocalist Elliot Lurie—from Looking Glass tells the story of a barmaid, who pining for long long departed, rebuffs the advances of sailors transiting through, who proclaimed his life, his lover and his lady was the sea. The song’s enduring legacy includes an explosion in the popularity of the baby name “Brandy” in the early to mid-1970s and Barry Manilow reworking his standard as “Mandy” (originally with the same title) to avoid confusion plus a dozen cover versions. She serves them whiskey and wine.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

blue marble (10. 368)

Photographed by one of the crew, likely Harrison Schmitt or Gene Cernan but ever member took turns taking pictures with the Hasselblad camera, of the Apollo XVII mission on its way to the Moon from a distance of just under thirty thousand kilometers on this day in 1972. Backlit and slightly rounded—gibbous and hence the name—from the astronauts’ perspective and after Earthrise only the second whole planet image captured by a human photographer, the Blue Marble is among the most widely reproduced and circulated images in existence, it was received by the public at a moment of increased environmental activism and awareness and helped focus the movement by framing Earth’s uniqueness and vulnerability set against the endless expanse of space. Although recreated by satellite imagining, there have been no crewed excursions since that taken us high enough aloft—yet—to fit the entire planet in the view-finder.

Friday 2 December 2022

the helen of troy (10. 353)

Closing this day in 1972 after just seven performances to relentlessly panned reviews and confused audiences, the futuristic rock musical by George W George and Peter Hall—featuring a cast that included Raul Julia and Irene Cara—this flop tells the story of outcasts living on an asteroid (Ithaca) set a millennium from the present time. The protagonist (Julia) pilots a clam-shell shaped garbage scow christened with the title name collecting space junk but that was the only clear aspect of the convoluted narrative, the synopsis contained in the programme not helping to clarify what was going on. Listen to an original cast demo tape here of one of the fourteen musical numbers of the two act play.

Sunday 25 September 2022

7x7 (10. 165)

a tale of two times: the gift of a European mechanised clock was respectfully declined by a Japanese lord raised in a culture of variable hours, via Strange Company’s Weekend Link-Dump  

miner 2049er: Atari celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with game posters from Billy Butcher (previously)  

sequestration: a scalable carbon-capture facility is setting up in Wyoming, aiming on drawing down five million tonnes of CO2 annually  

the battle of the planets: the American syndication of the 1978 Japanese anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman  

skyline: a free rooftop garden in central London—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (plus lots more to explore) 

pyrotechnics: a look at how digital fireworks displays competed with the real shows—from the Tedium archives  

est: US Department of Transportation to map out time zones ahead of the permanent switch to Daylight saving time after it learned that no such comprehensive map exists

Saturday 17 September 2022

s1:e1 (10. 140)

On this day in 1972, the CBS television network first aired its dark-comedy series—based on the 1970 feature film—about a team of doctors and ancillary staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu during the Korean War. The first episodes, set in 1950, were broadcast while the US was still mired in the Vietnam War and were presented as the most careful kind of allegory, detached yet openly questioning the proxy wars of the Cold War and the value of offensive ideology. The ensemble cast included (by rank) Henry Blake McLean Stevenson (thanks, Dad), Loretta Swit, Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Gary Burghoff and Jamie Farr and the show became less political and more character-driven after 1975 and the withdrawal of US troops—also removing the controversial laugh-track of earlier seasons.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

goodnight john-boy (10. 132)

Having debuted the prior year with a Christmas Special (see also), the historical drama The Waltons was released by the CBS network on this day in 1972. Running for nine seasons until 1981, the series relates the story about a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II (1933—1946) and is based on Earl Hamner’s semi-autobiographical novel Spencer’s Mountain. Hamner also contributes the opening and closing narration for each episode as the eldest son grown-up. After its cancellation, a rival network produced a string of made for television reunion movies before CBS reclaimed the franchise with three more specials in the mid-1990s. Below is a thirty-second synopsis of the pilot with all episodes similarly summarised.

Friday 15 July 2022

hanoi jane

On this day in 1972, American activist and actor Jane Fonda was visiting Hanoi to survey the damage that bombing campaigns were having on civilian infrastructure—specifically the dams used to mitigate flooding by the Red River—and was photographed afterwards seated on a North Vietnamese Army anti-aircraft battery. The pictures were first published by a Polish newspaper before circulating widely and effectively ostracising Fonda from the entertainment industry and whilst pride for speaking out against the war was regretful over the bad optics of a momentary lapse of judgment that was both galvanising for those predisposed to hostility and jingoism and propaganda for the other side.

Monday 11 July 2022

match of the century

The opening game occurring on this day in 1972, the World Chess Championship pitted US challenger Bobby Fischer against defending champion Boris Spassky of the USSR (see previously), the former after twenty-one matches played over the course of five weeks ending a twenty-four year Soviet monopoly on the title. The tournament was hosted in Reykjavรญk, and Fischer didn’t score a win until round three, most ending in a draw (the scoring convention was a bit skewed and encouraged whomever was in the lead to play for ties rather than an outright conquest)—though at 12½ to 8½, Fischer could be proclaimed as the undisputed overall victor under those rules.

Thursday 30 June 2022

a quinquennial contemporary art exhibition

Curated and organized under the supervision of art director Harald Szeemann, the fifth edition of documenta (see previously), opening on this day in 1972 and running through October (a hundred days) in Kassel, West Germany, with the theme of “Questioning Reality—Pictorial Worlds of Today” (Befragung der Realitรคt – Bildwelten heute) established the exhibition’s reputation as the most important, post war modern art show and set the model for future biennials. Wanting to liberate art and artefact from the museum setting, it strove to recontextualise work in politically critical and the provocative milieu that inspired them. documenta 5 also showcased Fluxus and happening art, which had not yet appeared by the last iteration. In all, there were over two hundred thousand visitors and dozens of participating artists and collectives including Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Adolf Wรถlfli, Marcel Duchamp and Yoko Ono.

Thursday 23 June 2022

scheduled territories

Also known as the above legal entity the sterling area came into being in 1931 when the pound was unpegged from the gold standard and a number of countries, mostly Commonwealth nations, either employed the £ or had a fixed rate of exchange with it, effectively came to an end on this day in 1972 when the British government unilaterally applied exchange controls to all its participants—with the exception of the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands—with the departure of forty-five members from the economic bloc in protest of UK monetary policies. Once the most robust and coherent currency areas, the realisation trade with the continent was more important that historical preferential trading with former parts of the empire prompted the UK to seek closer ties with the European Communities—the Common Market—and devalued, floated the pound ostensibly to halt outflow and flight to the US dollar but many saw it at the time as a concession to France’s objection to UK membership in the organisation that would go on to become the European Union, which repealed its veto the following year. Coincidentally, this day also marks the 2016 anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

to each his dulcinea

Revived on Broadway for the first of four times on this day in 1972 with Richard Kiley in the role of Miguel de Cervantes and alter-ego Don Quixote, the 1965 musical by Dale Wasserman (devolved from his 1959 non-singing DuPont Show of the Month teleplay), Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion (replacing W H Auden as lyricist as his words were considered too arch) is a nest, play-within-a-play performed by the imprisoned poet and errant knight and fellow inmates awaiting their hearing before the Spanish Inquisition. A cinematic version was produced this year as well—with the main part going to Peter O’Toole. Tossed in a dungeon along with Sancho Panza, Cervante’s manservant, the other prisoners are eager to take the contents of the trunk that they brought were allowed to bring with them—to which Cervantes suggests that in his defence, he be allowed to perform a play. The room consents and Cervantes is told he can keep his property if his acting and story are judged up to muster and introduces Don Quixote and his adventures, producing make-up and costumes from his trunk for himself and supporting cast.

Monday 20 June 2022

glastonbury fayre

The free four-day concert hosted in Pilton—the second Glastonbury festival, opened on this day in 1971 with the venue of a special Pyramid Stage, a one-tenth scale model of the one at Giza constructed of sheet metal and positioned over a water source discovered with dousing and was documented by filmmakers Nicolas Roeg and David Puttnam—released the following May. Performances included numbers by Melanie, David Bowie, Traffic, Fairport Convention, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Mighty Baby and Hawkwind.

Friday 17 June 2022

oppo research

A few hours past midnight on this day in 1972, Watergate Complex (previously) security guard Frank Wills on patrol noticed tape on the hinges of some doors coming from the parking garage to office doors—preventing them from locking when closed. Removing the tape, Wills dismissed it as something innocent—perhaps janitorial staff propping the exit open—but returning upon returning to the same corridor a short time later, Wills saw the tape had been reapplied, so he called for back-up. Three officers showed up, dressed as hippies and on an undercover shift looking to arrest drug-dealers, and the look-out for the operation, staying at the Howard Johnson’s across the street failed to alert his co-conspirators, distracted by Attack of the Puppet People on the television, failing to spot the police car outside. The police apprehended five individuals who had broken into the Democratic National Committee headquarters housed in the complex, photographing documents and attempting to plant bugging devices. The Washington Post broke the story the next day, though the “White House plumbers,” charged with stopping security leaks, downplayed the failed attempt as a “third-rate and amateurish” burglary, categorically denying any involvement by the Nixon administration.

Thursday 16 June 2022

the rise and fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars

Released in the UK on this day in 1972, the loosely connected concept album presented as a rock opera relates the arc of narrative in eleven tracks of David Bowie’s titular alter ego sent to Earth to avert an impending apocalyptic event who himself falls short after succumbing to his own inflated ego. Members of the backing band include Trevor Bolder, Mick Ronson and Mick Woodmansey. Ziggy introduces himself in the third song below, Moonage Daydream, as “an exotic hybrid of rock’s past and mankind’s future” among other colourful epithets after the first two numbers present the coming doomsday and characters reacting to unavoidable disaster.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

susan superstar

Plagued with budget problems and a rather unreliable cast of actors, the project of Andy Warhol’s Factory regulars (previously), the semi-autobiographical film starring Edie Sedgwick was finally completed on this day in 1972 after five years of production. Debuting in July in Amsterdam to critical acclaim, the counter-cultural icon portrays the lure of fame and addiction through the deterioration and downfall of her on screen alter-ego. Written and directed by John Palmer and David Weisman (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ciao! Manhattan also featured Paul America, Baby Jane Holzer, Viva and Roger Vadim.

Saturday 21 May 2022

heads or tails

In anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the first pride rally in London, 1 July 1972—chosen for the nearest available date to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969—the Royal Mint is releasing a commemorative rainbow LGBTQIA+ fifty pence coin designed by artist and activist Dominique Holmes. The obverse of course like all monies features her Majesty. More at It’s Nice That at the link above.