Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading →
On July 28th, 1995, director Larry Clark‘s eye-opening drama Kids opened in theaters, and not without a storm of controversy. Following a group of teenagers living in New York City, the film paints a vivid portrait of their day-to-day activities, namely smoking weed, drinking, fucking with people, and then fucking each other (unprotected, of course). The movie was given an MC-17 rating for theatrical release, but an unrated version was later released for home video. The rating, however, was only one part of the controversy surrounding the film. Kids also received outraged accusations of child pornography and obscenity, and was a heated subject on major news outlets including CNN and Newsweek, although some critics and sociologists did come forth to protect the film’s merit as a wake-up call to the reality of modern life for teenagers in an urban setting. Kids was the first film by director Clark (Bully, Ken Park) and also the first film for screenwriter Harmony Korine (Gummo, Mister Lonely). It also introduced several stars to Hollywood including Leo Fitzpatrick (The Wire, Sons of Anarchy), Rosario Dawson (Clerks, Sin City), and Oscar-nominee Chloe Sevigny (American Psycho, Zodiac). You can still find copies of the DVD release in some smaller movie stores and there are likely bootleg versions online, but if you haven’t seen it you should be prepared going in. Regardless of the artistic merit of the movie, it is very graphic and was rated NC-17 for a reason. You can see one of the original theatrical trailers from 1995 here on MADE.