WOW fan Michael Esparza sent me these fascinating pics of a small group of rebellious Swiss teens in the ’50s rockin’ some massive Elvis belt buckles. They were called the Verlaustan (lice-infested ones) and Halbstark (half strong) by the conservative Zurich middle class, who would sit around watching them like zoo animals. “The boys would gather in these parks in Zurich, and just kind of hang out, try to be bad,” photographer Karlheinz Weinberger said of the youths. An article about an exhibition of Weinberger’s work in The Vancouver Sun explains: “The innocent young Swiss had a way of getting their Americana slightly wrong, which is quite hilarious, and touching. They use all sorts of stuff as jewelry — old bullets become a belt, a big padlock is hung low like a chastity belt — and the skull and crossbones pirate symbol shows up everywhere, a symbol of their aspiration to be badasses.” It’s all very hot and and sweet and weirdly homoerotic. I mean: Would boys today wear pics of Justin Bieber at crotch level? Maybe they were there to lure female fans to that area. I don’t know, but I love it.
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