The Future of Music Coalition has just unleashed a batch of silly PSAs in support of their new health insurance resource site for musicians. Fictional rock band Van Stone will tell you all about it, download the MP3s below:
If you are a copyright owner and believe that your copyrighted works have been used in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, here is our DMCA Notice.
The Future of Music Coalition has just unleashed a batch of silly PSAs in support of their new health insurance resource site for musicians. Fictional rock band Van Stone will tell you all about it, download the MP3s below:
In this outlay of shortwave reception I’m back to the band I believe I’ve featured most often here– 31 meters. I guess I’ve had particular luck finding interesting broadcasts there, along with the least interference. In retrospect, that's how it's panned out (at least in the hours I tend to listen).
And if you look at (or listen to) the reception offered in these posts, you’ll see that there’s quite a variety of broadcasts be to found in this frequency campground from North America. None of the logs I've posted from scanning this band are even close to being identical to any others. One reason of course, is that all the recordings are from different days of the week and unique times of the evening. But propagation (and local RF) is the biggest factor. Some nights you can catch Stations from the Middle East and Africa. Other nights European and North American stations are most of what you find. And now and then, a few South America signals show up on the dial. In general after dark, mainstays like KOL in Israel, the Voice of Greece, Cuba (in general), CRI, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands, and Spain are usually out there and can be easily heard on this band with little effort. And then there’s always Family Radio. (As if you’d want your kids to hear that...) On this particular Friday evening scan I happened across Iran’s “Voice of Justice” (their nightly English program) for a little while. AND you can almost hear everything they’re saying through most of it.
As a shortwave listener, I must admit that I'm at a particular disadvantage. Not only do I live in a huge megalopolis full of throbbing RF. But in reality, the very worst radio noise culprits are the electronics and wiring in my house (or almost any house these days). I’ve always had the best results listening to a shortwave portable outside. Unfortunately, if I happen to be serious about DXing from home I have to park myself under the bright streetlights illuminating our stoop (with funny looking audio equipment around me), or I’ll end up crouched in some awkward postion out on the fire escape, hoping the landlord doesn’t come out to put something on the clothesline and wonder what the hell I’m doing up there.
So, when I was here at the station here in Jersey City the other night I made a point of bringing my Degen 1103 and a cassette recorder to accompany a meal I brought with me to enjoy on our back deck. (Tomato soup from a Polish deli and a cheese sandwich, if you’re curious.) Then for an hour I slowly worked all the way up and through the 31 meter band (in its slightly expanded form on the Degen-- 9000 to 10000 kHz). And well, here’s what happened:
All you get here is some detailed information on how to hear the Chronicles (make sure you have a paper and pencil on hand to jot down the details).
Regular WFMU listeners will be no doubt familiar with the concept of "industrial musicals", where a company promotes themselves or their products with a single, a full album, or in extreme cases a full-blown musical production. The album Product Music: Vol 1 is a collection of memorable examples of the industrial song. Because if you're not buying a company's product, perhaps a few listens to their new dance tune will change your mind!
The songs range from mellow dance tunes ("The Frito Twist") to manic dance tunes ("Dance The Slurp", with its frenzied cries of "SLURP SLURP!!!") to haunting ballads (the somewhat disturbing "My Bathroom Is A Private Kind of Place", one of three tunes in the compilation from American Standard's classic industrial musical The Bathrooms Are Coming!).
If you still have some spending money after perusing this collection, head on over to the Wikipedia entry on industrial musicals, which has some other music links for you to check out. And for a rare video record of an actual industrial musical, check out this Chevrolet sales convention musical from the mid-1950s, courtesy of the good folks at the Prelinger Archives.
It is officially time for you to catch yourself up on WFMU's Aircheck program, where a different radio relic is resurrected every week. Last Friday's episode was so smokin' that I got carried away and arrived late for happy hour... It featured a classic episode of WBLS's Rap Attack from Saturday, December 27, 1986, hosted by pioneering rap DJ Mr. Magic.
Hook yourself up with some old-school rap radio: Click here to listen to the archive in real audio, or have the whole episode delivered to your computer as an MP3 by subscribing to the Aircheck podcast (click here for info).
Sound-Seeker is mapping the sounds of New York City onto GoogleMaps. You click on a little icon on the map, but instead of getting directions to, say, the New York Public Library, you are suddenly inside the building, enveloped in the rich reverberations of mingling voices punctuated by surefooted steps on marble. The hall seems happily haunted, lulling you into a calm reverie, until a too-close voice emerges from the distance, or a sneaker shrieks on the smooth floor. Also: a Pentecostal preacher in Williamsburg, a food court at LaGuardia, the surf at Coney Island, and more.
There's still time to contribute to Gawker's Subway Stink map, a catalog of those smells down there. The list of subway stops still in need of olfactory identification is here. Smells do not necessarily have to be bad, but I do not know of any bed-of-roses subway stops.
My input: Last summer, the downtown Q train platform at Canal had an overpowering dead horse stank, but this year it has an overpowering anticeptic stank, like the juice at the bottom of the Amtrak toilets. And no matter what the weather is above ground, it's always raining down at the Canal Q, so you have to dodge the drips while you navigate the platform as it narrows, which it does, uncomfortably. In one place the drips are building up from the bottom to form a stalagmite, which will be knee-high in a few million more summers. But that's another map.
Send your smell reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUSIC TO MASSAGE YOUR MATE BY LP
Do you long for the days of big, Burt Reynolds-issue moustaches and "Oui" magazine? Did you like porn better when it was free from plastic surgery and Brazilian waxes? Is soft-core just alright with you? Then you need this LP as the soundtrack for your better living. Uninterrupted music "to get you in the mood" and an "explicitly illustrated instruction booklet enclosed" will teach you something or other about erotic massage. And there are b/w photos of naked people demonstrating the erotic massage! Yow-za! EBay won't let you even look at it unless you certify you are an adult-type person, so go see it before the 2257 Regulations* make it illegal.
THE BEATLES Original Issue 7" I AM THE WALRUS b/w HELLO GOODBYE with PICTURE SLEEVE!
Holy crap! Capitol 2056
THE ROLLING STONES Original Issue EP "You Better Move On" et al MONO DECCA with PICTURE SLEEVE!
Holy crap again! DFE 8560
track listings: You Better Move On / Poison Ivy / Bye Bye Johnny / Money
Yup, we have some fan-freakin-tastic stuff here at 'FMU and if you're the highest bidder, you can have it, too.
*2257 is a government act protecting adults from the evils of pornography
Clearly Michael Stipe is shopping for someone else besides Mario Battali? From Gawker.
The Murung exist in the tropical forest hills of western Bangladesh, almost in Burma, and thrive as a self-sufficient farming community of about 50,000 and unlike some of their surrounding neighbors, have yet to be Hinduized, Christianized or Moslemized. Their religion revolves around spirit worship of various gods related to nature, one of their premier rituals involves the sacrifice of a cow that represents a mytholological messenger, famous for having once gobbled sacred scrolls instead of delivering them. Their instrumentation in this ritual revolves around an amazing mouth organ called the plung, and while it's bamboo-based and quite primitive, emits a resonant, powerful sound that is compounded in force when played in larger ensembles with different levels of drones/octaves happening. On the disc Ritual Mouth Organs of the Murung (Inedit label, France), recordings of one of these events (captured in 1997) are stunning, in particular one piece called Dance For the Sacrifice (MP3) which I first heard Donna play over the air way back when we were still broadcasting out of East Orange. We had just started to get the whole batch of Cortical label Terry Riley reissues at WFMU, so the airwaves were filled with drones quite often, but this piece in particular was totally head-turning with its rich, see-sawing cycle of sounds that either got the phones ringing because people were so blown away and had to know what it was, or were literally being driven crazy by the repetition. This hypnotic music ranks up there with the best Terry Riley, Steve Reich etc, and the fact it's lung-driven makes it all the more impressive.
Two news items this week detailing our Government's abuse of Powerpoint. (click on slides to enlarge them)
Our first slide comes to us via an armsandinfluence post (link) on Thomas Ricks' book Fiasco (link). It turns out that Rumsfeld and Franks are big Powerpoint fans and they used it to plan Operation Iraqi Freedom. But as the following quote from Fiasco makes clear, It is not that easy to carry out a Powerpoint slide.
[Army Lt. General David] McKiernan had another, smaller but nagging issue: He couldn't get Franks to issue clear orders that stated explicitly what he wanted done, how he wanted to do it, and why. Rather, Franks passed along PowerPoint briefing slides that he had shown to Rumsfeld: "It's quite frustrating the way this works, but the way we do things nowadays is combatant commanders brief their products in PowerPoint up in Washington to OSD and Secretary of Defense…In lieu of an order, or a frag [fragmentary order], or plan, you get a bunch of PowerPoint slides…[T]hat is frustrating, because nobody wants to plan against PowerPoint slides."
Our second slide is from a classified Homeland Security Powerpoint scenario in which our nation's Internet is set upon... by hippies! Now, thanks to Scott's wonderful post from last week (link) we do know that hippies can certainly pull off a kick ass circle, but it seems truly irresponsible for the Feds to be playing wargames with an imaginary "World Wide Anti Globalization Movement." You can find more about this scenario on the Wired Blog (link). And you can download the whole Powerpoint slideshow via the Cryptome website (link).
Breast implants may have saved an Israeli woman's life. Shrapnel from a Hezbollah rocket attack was found "just inches" from her heart, trapped in a silicon force field. No word on whether the Israeli army is considering breast implants for the military.
Panty raid. I thought it was just kooky that Portland, Oregon panty thief Sung Koo Kim may face nine to eleven years in prison for stealing thousands of pairs of underwear from college dorm rooms, laundry rooms and campus-area apartments. But the funny stopped when I got to this:
When investigators searched Kim's Tigard bedroom, they found more than 3,400 pairs of underwear and other pieces of women's clothing, along with dryer lint and human hair, marked with information as to where the clothing was taken, and stuffed into boxes, duffel bags and backpacks. His home computer contained more than 40,000 pornographic images, mostly depicting rape, torture and killings.
Hang on..."His attorneys said psychiatrists who interviewed him indicated he was not violent but suffered from depression and an underwear fetish." Funny back on!
How to get out of jury duty in Brooklyn: jack off behind the vending machine. Downside: summonses for disorderly conduct, public lewdness and destruction of government property (the room's green carpet), and up to a year in prison and a fine if convicted. But still, no jury duty.
Fat celebrities. TWiS is a celeb-free zone, and also a making-fun-of-fat-free-zone, but we make a rare exception for photo-shopped fat celebs, because that's a whole 'nother thing.
The wonderful world of nature:
David Bowie has done it all. Been in Nicholas Roeg films, almost was the Acid Queen in Tommy, married a supermodel, had sex with everything else including probably a washing machine, contributed to the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack, gotten a lollipop thrown right into his eye socket onstage, played keyboards for Iggy, danced around with Mick Jagger like a kook, bought a mountain for a million dollars in upstate New York, collaborated with Pat Metheny, had Sonic Youth back him up, pioneered the super-long music video on MTV, perfromed under a giant glass spider, and last but not least, wrote "The Laughing Gnome" (Real Audio). He also inspired someone to sing passionate renditions of his songs in the bath, found on a tape heavily played around WFMU circa 2001 (thanks to the Professor, who originally obtained it from his friend Georgia Todd) simply called Ziggy Bathtub. All we know is that Zig was a South African who recorded these songs around 1992 to accompany a loveletter to a ladyfriend while he was living in Georgia. Here's "Bowie Medley 3" (MP3) and "Rock and Roll Suicide" (MP3).
It’s been three months since I've discussed Air America here at Beware of the Blog, and there’s some fresh news to report. But Perhaps more significantly, there’s rumors aplenty flying around town here regarding the lefty talk network these days. In May, I predicted there would be “some drastic changes” at Air America this year, that seems to be coming to pass. And some other prognostications and hopes I tossed around regarding AAR in these pages may bear fruit as well. But one big alleged “fact” that I passed along here seems to have been either misinformation, bad reporting, or that a certain deal was never final in the first place..
First, the big headline is that Air America is in fact jumping frequencies here in New York City– moving from 1190 WLIB to 1600 WWRL on September 1, 2006. And like Humpty Dumpty’s tumble from his perch, the results of this fall (note: the broadcast range of WWRL doesn't quite have the coverage of the audible radius of WLIB) may result in local and network AAR programming in a bit of scramble. At least that’s what I’ve been hearing. As you read on, realize that while I’ll link to online sources when I can find other sites that back up what I’m asserting here, other hearsay I’ll offer here is based on innuendo and whispers I’ve heard from people I trust. That said, I also am led to understand that negotiations are ongoing with several of the parties concerned and possible changes being spoke of today could turn into something else over the course of the next two and half weeks when Air America actually makes the switch. If you've listened, you'd know that Air America has always been a New York-centric national radio operation, and if there's going to be a changes in what will be offered here it will probably alter the media footprint of Air America nationally as well.
Now, onto how I have probably misled readers at BOTB when I was basing my commentary on “official” online sources. Contrary to a news story I linked to and discussed, it now does not appear that (the former CEO of Clear Channel) Randy Michaels and his new lefty talk company, Progress First, is actually going to be doing very much, if anything, with WLIB. Yet, at the end of April that was the story and I based what I wrote what I understood to be fact. Then, it was strange. For many weeks, there was no news whatsoever the supposed P1 takeover. As memory serves, when Michaels launches a radio project, he launches big. He's not a coy operator. Something was fishy.
And then early this month Air America announced they were actually going to leap over to WWRL. on the date the story about P1's deal with WLIB said it would have to abandon the frequency. And new reports appeared that Michaels “might be interested” in leasing the station, but no longer affirming that it was a sure thing. It makes you wonder where the initial story that P1 was certain to take over WLIB (in MediaWeek and Billboard) came from in the first place?
And now on to get into some more of the unsubstantiated rumors I’ve heard. You know, I know people who know people and I spend too much time Googling the fate of Air America. And from what I understand, the only sure thing about Air America’s move to WWRL is that Al Franken and Randi Rhodes will certainly be broadcasting at 1600 AM in New York come September 1. And that’s not all! According to Mike Malloy’s website, his powerful program will also be returning to late night New York radio with the big frequency switch in September. Good news, but I hear that just like WLIB, WWRL is going to hold onto the six post-midnight hours, as well as the morning drive spot. Which is fairly canny for WWRL I suppose. If they part ways one day as WLIB is about to do, they can maintain their on-air identity in the meantime.
More eBay madness this week from WFMU to the highest bidder. Cheese Snob/Volunteer Wendy hath provided descriptions for thee, see below. Click here to bid on these meaty goods.
Patti Smith: Horses 30th Anniversary One Hour Radio Special CD
R!@# H*&%$@! of W___ hosts this one-hour music-intensive program, honoring the 30th anniversary of Patti Smith's (kickass) debut album. In addition to music, you'll also hear commentary by Ms. Smith herself, Lenny Kaye, John Cale, and Anthony DeCurtis. Oh, and did we mention there are live version of songs performed by Patti Smith and her band, with special guests Tom Verlain and Flea? Oh my goodness! If you missed the thing at BAM, this is the next-best thing.
Hollerin' - Various Artists CD
There's still a few more months left of nice weather, and with it, opportunities to go to your local state or county fair. While there, you may decide to enter into a Hollerin' contest, just like these folks did
in 1975 and 1976, in Spivey's Corner, NC. If you are thinking of tryin' out for Hollerin', get this CD and practice at home, so as not to embarrass yourself at the fair. Even if you are not the Hollerin' type,
you will enjoy this slice of American folk music. Maybe you are a sound artist, in need of some new samples. Haven't all the disco 10"s been sampled to death by now? Get something original, already! Get Hollerin'!
Jean-Jacques Perrey - Moog Indigo CD
Half of the electronic pop duo Perrey and Kingsley. This swingin' CD will enhance the atmosphere of any bachelor pad, opium den, Odd Couple-like discotheque, or hippie hangout. I hear tell Perrey makes his moog sound like a barking seal. Isn't that reason enough to get it? Here's another: "Country Rock Polka." Yup, it's pretty far out.
In the 1951 Warner Brothers flick Distant Drums, one of the characters crossing a swamp gets eaten by an alligator, and his somewhat ridiculous scream was overdubbed during the editing process. Oddly enough, the same sound effect appeared throughout films to follow, and this was actually noticed down the line by sound designer Ben Burtt (who had borrowed the scream from another film for a project he worked on in 1974). When given access to the Warners sound effects vaults for Star Wars, Burtt found the original scream in a reel marked "man being eaten by alligator", and from then on it became an in-joke within Hollywood to pop the "Wilhelm" in there. Needless to say, You Tube has a medley of the many multiple appearances of the scream in one swoop. Who did the scream? It's generally believed to be actor/musician Sheb Wooley (he of "Purple People Eater" fame), who played one of the soldiers in Distant Drums and was called upon for post-shoot sound effects screams. Wikipedia has a list of all the films employing the effect here. Surely this masterpiece can offer up some more soundbyte templates for the future? The laugh perhaps?
If someone grabbed a hold of Iggy Pop during his Zombie Birdhouse period and maybe spiked his drugs a little bit more, he might have come up with something almost exactly like the song "Little Swine" (MP3) by the L.A. synth-punk outfit the Marina Swingers. It's the flipside of their 1979 "I'm a Swinger" 7" (LAX label), totally obnoxious and great, and recently found on a fundraiser CD compilation put out by Cali freeform brothers and sisters at KDVS. These guys have made themselves the Alan Lomaxes of bizarro west coast New Wave mutations and we're thankful for it. Can we trade you some Willie Loco Alexander MP3s for more?
Like Hillary Clinton, who used to listen to Yankees games on the radio with her Jewish grandpa in Chicago, I have been a Yankees fan since I was a little girl. This is because of my elementary-school principal, Miss Gathman.
My elementary school had classes in a little red-brick building and in a converted two-family frame house next door. Most of the classes were doubled up—there was a first-and-second grade classroom and a second-and-third grade classroom—and there were never fewer than 38 kids in a class, although in fifth and sixth grades there were 52 of us, all in one room. No one seemed to think there was anything amiss with that, or with the fact that we had just one set of wordless first-grade-level science books for the whole school. Each year each grade got a couple of weeks with the science books, and we’d look at the illustration of a screw sitting next to an inclined plane, and in this way we fulfilled whatever requirements there were for the science curriculum. Most of the teachers in the school were named Mrs. Johnson, except for Miss Gathman, who, besides being the principal, also taught the afternoon session of fifth grade the year I was in fifth grade, and then taught sixth grade all day the year I was in sixth grade. Miss Gathman read us the book “A Wrinkle in Time,” and she read us a book about a boy and his pet Phoenix. I loved Miss Gathman, and Miss Gathman loved the Yankees.
When the World Series happened, back in those ancient days of afternoon games and broadcast TV, Miss Gathman brought in her little portable television and the entire class of 52 Iowa schoolchildren spent a happy afternoon watching the New York Yankees play. Thus did Miss Gathman teach us that baseball is the most important thing in the world, and that the Yankees are the perfect expression of all that is good in baseball. I have never had cause to doubt her since. But, oh! John Sterling.
John Sterling is the play-by-play announcer for the Yankees radio broadcasts. He used to do the broadcasts with Charly Steiner, and I don’t recall noticing any problems. Maybe Steiner did the play-by-play then, I don’t remember. But for the last couple of years John Sterling has been partnered with Suzyn Waldman, and the results have been bizarre. When two players hit home runs, one right after the other, John Sterling says, “Two home runs, back to back and belly to belly!” Last year he suggested that Yankee players should select songs from Broadway musicals as their individual theme songs. He calls Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrara “the Dominican Dandies.” When the Yankees were playing Toronto a couple of weeks ago, he went into paroxysms over how much one of the Toronto players resembled a character on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” But I don’t mind that John Sterling is odd. It makes it kind of interesting—I’m always wheeling around to stare at the radio in disbelief: WHAT did he just say? Plus, after all those years of listening to Phil Rizzuto, I’m used to weird, stream-of-consciousness broadcasting. What I find unforgivable is that play-by-play announcer John Sterling CANNOT CALL THE GAME CORRECTLY.
The other night he said the White Sox had sent in a player to run for Dye, but Dye had already been called out. In another game, when Derek Jeter got thrown out while trying to steal third, ending the inning, John Sterling said there were two men left on base—but if you didn’t count the guy who’d just been thrown out, there was only one. He can’t get the pitch count right to save his life. The pitch count! (Hey, John—take a peek at the scoreboard.) But the worst thing I ever heard John Sterling do came in the game against Tampa Bay a couple of weeks ago, the one the Yankees lost after giving up 19 runs. The score was 19-5 in the bottom of the ninth, some guy (Green? Guiel?) was on third base, and some other guy (Guiel? Green?) got a hit and drove in the run. The score was so lopsided I was hardly listening, but I perked up a little at that point as John Sterling said, “And the Yankees get their sixth run of the game.” Maybe there would be an insane, impossible rally—with the Yankees, you never know. But then the next batter was out, and that was the end of the game. And John Sterling said, “And the Yankees lose by the score of 19 to 5.” Five?! It’s SIX! Six six six six six! He JUST SAID they got their sixth run! He couldn’t remember the score for, like, three minutes. And it was the FINAL score! The Yankees, who have a bazillion dollars to spend on a brand-new stadium and all kinds of broken-down old has-been pitchers, can’t hire a play-by-play guy who can announce the final score of the game correctly?
I don’t have any beef with John Sterling personally. I’m sure he’s a very nice man. I don’t mean to hurt his feelings, and if I met him in person, I’d probably feel bad for saying such critical things about him. But whenever John Sterling gets the pitch count wrong, Miss Gathman cries tears in heaven.
Living in the urban zone often forces tightly-packed cityfolk to come up with clever substitutions for comforts afforded by the open space of smaller towns: the murphy bed, mini-fridge, and microwave-toaster oven onesie are just a few examples of common cityfied mods.
But what is a testosterone-filled urban youth to do when city life dictates that he shall not own a bling-accessorized vehicle? What on earth does he do to communicate his rippling manliness to his peers when he can't go cruising with the windows rolled down in a car that goes boom (real audio)? Well, at least he can make something go boom...
Waiting for the subway last weekend, I bore witness to one of those "why don't I have my camera with me today" moments. Some post-teen dude strutting up and down the train platform, sporting an accoutrement that went boom! just above the crotchline. A long, thin, narrow belt buckle bearing a speaker on either end. It was some sort of hybrid between the two closest likenesses the internet spat out at me (above) in my desperate attempt to search for this fully-functional belt buckle boombox. The real-deal appeared to be hooked up to an MP3 player full of reggaeton: hell yes. In an age of luxury dwellings popping up on every corner and stirrup pants making a comeback in hipster 'hoods, it's refreshing to see some Old New York attitude in full effect.
What do volcanoes do when they are not busy erupting? Researchers from Italy and Ecuador have recently discovered that these huge buggers are really composing music, much in the vein of Iannis Xenakis. Honestly, these scientists are just tired of looking at numbers and graphs all the time, so they turned seismographic patterns into musical scores and then play them using a cheap MIDI interpreter. There are two volcanoes to compare here, Mt. Etna (MP3 sample) in Italy and Tungurahua (MP3 sample) in Ecuador. Domenico Vicinanza, the guy who started the whole thing, then got carried away and remixed one of the Etna composition for synthesizer (MP3). There is a little more background on this website.
You can also listen to some Alaskan volcanoes on-line, though these are only pitch-shifted original volcano rumblings, not transformed into MIDI synth splendor.
The scientific term for the whole process is sonification, and if you are bored or looking for grant money, you can really sonify any data set, be it radiation intensity (MP3 sample) or web server activity (MP3 sample).
Best of all, volcano sonification is a fail-proof indicator of imminent eruptions: If your next-door volcano starts to sound like Liberace, you better start moving.
YouTube is currently flooded with Bollywood film clips, and rightly so. In the past it has been quite a chore keeping up with the vast history of Indian pop cinema, digging through boxes of unlabeled video cassettes and DVDs with titles that we anglo-speakers can't begin to pronounce. But thanks to this modern on-line file-sharing world, we can all finally get a glimpse of the visuals that go along with our Doob Doob O Rama compilations.
Beware of the Blog is certainly not immune to the ticklish joys of Bollywood. Why in just the past month or so we've featured a Bollywood Beatles cover, one of the greatest dance clips of all time (from the Tamil film Sakalakala Vallavan), and this mash-up of a rather famous number which has even been covered by our own "house band".
But, dear readers, today we delve a bit deeper into the glittery and glamourous Bollywood world by taking a look India's biggest star. She appeared in over 500 films and can be seen in almost every big production of the late 50s through the early 70s. I am referring to the glorious, talented, show-stopping Bollywood cabaret sex-symbol Helen.
Helen (whose unused last name was originally Richardson) was exotic even by Bollywood standards. A mixture of Burmese, French and Spanish ancestry, she was blessed with cat-like eyes and a stunning come-hither smile. She also looked completely natural draped in outrageously gaudy (and skimpy) costumes while enthusiastically showing off her untouchable Polaroid-shakin' dance moves. Her skills were hardly the stuff of the chaste good-girl romantic lead, and other than a few B-movie productions, she was never technically the star attraction. Instead, Helen played the "other" woman, whose loose morals, rebellious attitude, and scandalous wardrobe more often then not meant that she was destined to tragically die in the final reel. But not before she was plopped into a rollicking, sexy song and dance number that had little to do with advancing the story line. Of course, that meant her scenes (known as cabarets) were often the best part of mediocre films. Combine that with the unavoidable allure of the dangerous woman, and it's easy to see why she became a huge hit with audiences.
More info and YouTube links after the jump.