Wednesday, 29 September 2021

7x7

kรกdรกr cube: a practical, mass-produced boxy house (Magyar ร‰pรญtล‘mลฑvรฉszet) from Communist-era Hungary is staging a comeback 

the new english canaan: revisiting the banned publication that mocked American’s puritanical ways—see also  

you’ve got a habit of leaving: the first single from the unreleased David Bowie album, coming in January

merfolk and melusine: tritons and mermaids entertained by enlightened minds 

facebookland: the social media giant ought to be treated like the autocratic rogue state it is—via Waxy 

roll over beethoven: a team of musicologists using artificial intelligence complete the composer’s unfinished tenth symphony—to premier in Bonn next month, via Kottke  

ะณะพัั‚ะธะฝั‹ะน ะดะฒะพั€: a rotating arch for a shopping arcade in St. Petersburg—via Pasa Bon!

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

hey mister dj

Via Waxy, we are directed to this preternatural, surreal algorithm that rather expertly, uncannily will make a mashup of any number of songs from a group-watch streaming service, RaveDJ generating a set-list in the spirit of our friends at Hood Internet are presumably doing the old-fashioned way. It really shows its surprising competency with mixes like Gangnam Style crossed with MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This or The Eurhythmics’ Sweet Dreams and Seven Nation Army from White Stripes. Browse the submissions or create your own and share. Always of the opinion that lamentful number from My Fair Lady and David Bowie’s song about getting to the church on time flowed into each other and had complementary energy so I gave it a whirl, our disc jockey creating “Why Modern a Love Be More Like a Man” but as the lengths seemed a little incompatible and needs a bit more refinement, please instead for now check out this preview of one of the mashups cited above to see its full virtuosity.

Monday, 23 August 2021

i never did anything out of the blue

Coming in at number one of the UK charts on this day in 1980, David Bowie’s following-up on the narrative for Major Tom, a darker bookmarking of the intervening decade, is described as a nuanced retelling of a nursery rhyme with its attendant cautionary tale. Co-directed by Bowie and David Mallet (also collaborating on “Boys Keep Swinging,” “DJ,” and “Look Back in Anger” and Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays”), the music video, costing a quarter million pounds to produce, was the most expensive at the time and features the performer dressed as pantomime, commedia dell’arte stock character Pierrot, the sad, introspective clown.

Friday, 20 August 2021

davy jones & the lower third

Released on this day in 1965, singer-songwriter David Bowie was billed for the final time under his birth name with the title band’s single “You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving” to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees (previously). The performer adopted the stage name after the romanticised version of nineteenth century American mercenary and pioneer James Bowie, famous for the eponymous style of combat knife.

Friday, 6 August 2021

the nomi song

Born Klaus Sperber in Swรคbish Immenstadt in 1944, aspiring counter tenor who adopted the stage persona Klaus Nomi, worked as an usher in the opera houses of West Berlin, entertaining the crew during set breakdowns with arias and studied music yet was unable to secure a steady position and so switched to the confectionary business which later became somewhat of a trademark. Moving to New York City in 1973, Nomi received more professional training and took various gigs performing and developing his presence. His breakthrough moment came in 1979 when David Bowie engaged Nomi as a background singer during performances on Saturday Night Live as musical guest. Being discovered afforded more venues for his unique shows whose robotic demeanour and elaborate costuming both anticipating and reflected the stage presence of acts like Bowie’s and Peter Gabriel and reinterpreted songs like Marlene Dietrich’s “Falling in Love Again” and Chubby Checker’s “Twist” as well as classical, operatic numbers in an abstract, highly synthesised fashion. The black and white palette complemented by cubist clothes and hair-styles that referenced both the Bauhaus theatre movement, kabuki and the retro-future vision of the 1920s—particularly the film Metropolis. A decade after coming to New York, Nomi was diagnosed with AIDS and though growing sick and weak already embarked on a European tour and the talk show circuit, anticipating it would be his last, Nomi dying of complications of the disease on this day in 1983. One of the first figures from the arts community to publically die from the relatively then unknown illness, Nomi became posthumously the subject of many tributes and homages, acknowledging his stylistic influence.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

you tacky thing, you put them on

Though perhaps too early to be think about one’s Halloween attire or even how Halloween will be observed in the coming three months (or perhaps not), one needs the lead time to get one’s order in for these quite stunning and custom-tailored, highly-specific one-off David Bowie cosplay outfits, via Dangerous Minds, which are of course acceptable for weddings and other special occasions and everyday wear as well. Wanda Cobar’s shop selling celebrity inspired costumes and dancewear also includes various iconic glam get-ups of Elton John and Freddie Mercury.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

we go undercover, wait out the sun

Rare and unseen, we are enjoying this preview of a retrospective exhibit of the portrait photographer Masayoshi Sukita going on display at Tokyo’s Blitz Gallery that includes a collection of previously uncirculated pictures of David Bowie, whom the artist first encountered in 1972 to see what all the fuss was about and remaining friends until the singer’s death in 2016. An iconic image (see also) with significantly more exposure, Sukita took the image that became the cover art for Bowie’s 1977 Heroes album. More at Wallpaper at the link up top.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

that weren’t no dj—that was hazy cosmic jive

Performing his new single Starman—his first charting hit since Space Oddity in 1969, David Bowie in the persona of Ziggy Stardust and band, the Spiders from Mars composed of Mick Ronson, Mick Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder, appeared on Top of the Pops on this day in 1972. Let all the children boogie.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

8x8

banning: a 1967 forgotten film about a sordid tryst at a country club 

remains of the day: six relics of once ubiquitous fast-food empires  

plain chachalaca: more badly named bird friends—see previously here and here, via Super Punch

awestruck: short, initial pieces optimised for joy and wonder from NPR 

gallery 88: an electronics line for kids from Sony—see also  

dhead xlvi: a David Bowie painting (see previously) saved from a landfill fetches over one hundred thousand CA$  

grand opening: a brief history of the ribbon-cutting ceremony  

britbox: an interactive fiction project for a cult 70s television programme that dabbled in paganism and the paranormal—see also—which never existed

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

call and response

Though most prevalent in contemporary artists as rap battles, diss tracks and as an extension of a feud between performers, via Weird Universe we are referred to the phenomena called answer songs with examples of more direct correspondence—especially in the 1950s and 1960s riding the coattails of more popular songs and sometimes replying with parody—particularly in Country & Western but with significant numbers including the 1938 revision of the Irving Berlin standard “God Bless America” countered with Woody Guthrie’s 1940 anthem “This Land is Your Land,” former bandmates Paul McCartney slight “Too Many People” answered with John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?,” Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom [vรถllig losgelรถst]” to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”

Thursday, 30 July 2020

tokyo pop

Outfitter to several iconic and unforgettable acts, furnishing the stagewear for the likes of Elton John and Lady Gaga, the recently departed fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto (*1944, see previously) is probably best known for the lavish outfits that informed David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and their ongoing wardrobe collaboration which included this flared-leg jumpsuit. Yamamoto’s signature extravagant style was later classified as basara (ใƒใ‚ตใƒฉ) a way to describe something glam and larger-than-life.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

bodice-ripping

In order to keep up with the pace of publication of pulp fiction paperbacks and special interest magazines cover artists and illustrators often turned formulaic, perhaps becoming generic and predictable.
Active from the mid-1950s through the late 1970s and under contract to Man’s Life and True Men Stories, no one embraced and mastered the model and method better than Wilbur (Wil) Hulsey (*1925 – †2015), we learn thanks to Miss Cellania, whose commissions almost invariably consisted of virile man (the gallery’s curator sees a resemblance to David Bowie) defending a distressed damsel (present or implied) from exotic animals, the protagonist himself sustaining bodily damage whilst trying to rebuff the attack. The subgenre of illustrated narrative that Hulsey propagated is sometimes referred to as “Weasels Ripped My Flesh”—though Cannibal Crabs or “Chewed to Bits by Giant Turtles” would do as well, albeit that none other are Frank Zappa song titles.  See more cover art at the links above.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

the elevator’s broke so he slides down a rope

Among other events of pith and moment that shares this anniversary, our faithful chronicler, Doctor Caligari’s Cabinet, records that on this day in 1974, David Bowie released his eighth studio album, Diamond Dogs, presaged by the single Rebel, Rebel, introducing his next glam persona after retiring Ziggy Stardust and donning the character of Halloween Jack (a real cool cat) who lives in post-apocalyptic, dystopian (Big Brother seguing into the final track, Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family) Hunger City.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

i took a trip on a gemini spaceship

Via the resplendent Everlasting Blรถrt, we are treated to a series of never before released photographs of David Bowie (*1947 – †2016) captured by Markus Klinko for his 2002 studio album Heathen, images inspired by the neoclassic, come-backs tracks. Klinko whom has since worked with a number of recording artists was engaged by Bowie after the photographer took the book jacket picture for the cover of Bowie’s wife’s autobiography, I am Iman. Learn more and discover a whole gallery of galley proofs at the links above.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

for here am i sitting in a tin can

Though lyrically and stylistically informed by the previous year’s release of the Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey (previously), David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (previously) had a delayed release—a version was recorded back in February—owing to an earlier split with his old record label and Bowie’s new artists and repertoire managing group decided to release the song on this day in 1969, just nine days ahead of the Apollo 11 mission, to capitalise on the publicity of that event. Due to the tone and the unresolved finish, the BBC network of stations refrained from playing the song until the crew of the lunar excursion were safely back on Earth.

Monday, 27 August 2018

hazy cosmic jive

Via our peripatetic friend the Everlasting Blรถrt we are introduced to artist and entrepreneur Todd Alcott who creates rather clever, anachronistic pulp fiction/pop culture mash-ups in the form of book covers. With special attention to the generally lurid imagery and typeface, Alcott has employed these compositions to—among other things—encapsulate songs and albums of musicians who arguably were informed by the Midcentury Modern aesthetic themselves to create lovely librettos of David Bowie, The Talking Heads, New Order and others.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

bowiebranchia

Via fellow internet-caretakers the Everlasting Blรถrt, we find a selection of nudibrachia or other species of marine opisthobranchia (sea slugs, from the Greek for naked gills, having shed their shells after their larval stage) fastidiously matched to the various outfits and personรฆ of the transcendent Sir David Bowie. All of these side-by-side comparisons (there are over three thousand known varieties though many are endangered) are amazingly elegant, spot-on and very satisfying.

Monday, 23 April 2018

1. outside

The ever excellent Everlasting Blรถrt introduces us to the painting, portraiture and storyboard work of David Bowie through a curated gallery that captures the artist’s soulful legacy, highlighting the influence of contemporaries (many of whom whose works he patronised and collected as well) and the German Expressionism movement that Bowie and Iggy Pop immersed themselves in when they moved to Berlin in 1976. Artwork includes sketches that are studies in cosmetic and costume development, album covers, stage directions for performances and a few panels for an unmade film adaptation of a story called “Hunger City.”

Monday, 14 August 2017

david bowie, david bowie

The photographer Gerald Fearnley who took the cover-image for the artist’s eponymous first studio album (“Sell Me a Coat,” “Maids of Bond Street” and many others titles) in 1967 is sharing some of the unused outtakes. One can see the germ of some of his other personalities that would be developed fully later in Bowie’s career present and exposed already on this one roll of film.

Monday, 26 December 2016

mmxvi: annus horribilis, annus mirabilis

december: Pioneering US astronaut John Glenn passed away, as did America’s TV Dad, Alan Thicke. Doctor Henry Heimlich also left us, as did Zsa Zsa Gabor. Over a billion user accounts are compromised by a once pioneering search engine. Carnage and destruction continue in Aleppo as Syria, all the global powers’ proxy-war, is poised to fall to the entrenched government.  A truck ploughed through a crowded Christmas Market in Berlin.  Sadly, singer George Michael passed away as well as icon Carrie Fisher with her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, joining her the next day.

november: Donald J Trump defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton as the forty-fifth presumptive to the office of President of the United States of America. We had to say farewell to America’s TV Mom, Florence Henderson. Janet Reno died, and we had to say good-bye to Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel on Fawlty Towers. Retro funk and soul performer Sharon Jones passed away as did Leon Russell though not of precisely the same genre. Poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen left us. Fidel Castro expired aged ninety, on Black Friday and cause of death was declared as America’s return to greatness.

october: It was announced that Bob Dylan will be awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Hopefully prematurely, obituaries for the Great Barrier Reef circulated, the cause of its demise being coral-bleaching.  A craze of dressing as scary clowns and frightening people has spread globally.

september: Meaningful global climate accords held in Paris are put into force, although later in the month carbon dioxide levels surpass anything experienced in the course of human events. NASA launches a probe to study and return with samples from an asteroid with a high potential to impact the Earth—in the twenty-third century, possibly either nudging it closer or pushing it further out of bounds.

august: Gene Wilder left us. Brazil hosted the Olympic Games. The actor that portrayed R2-D2 Kenny Baker sadly departed, as did host and political discussion moderator John McLaughlin. Costa Rica powered itself with renewable energy for one hundred days and hopes to wean itself off of fossil fuels completely.

july: A wholly solar-powered aircraft becomes the first to circumnavigate the globe. We had to say good-bye to Elie Wiesel. During Bastille Day celebrations, an atrocious terror attack occurred on promenade of Nice, setting off a summer of terror across Europe. An abortive coup d’รฉtat rocked Turkey and a political purge followed, exacerbating an already tense situation. The African Union’s fifty-four member nations issue a single passport that allows holders to travel visa-free within the bloc.

june: After two decades of construction, the Gotthard Base Tunnel under the Alps in opened. The UK voted to leave the European Union. The promising actor Anton Yelchin who played the new Chekov was struck down far too early. Boxer Muhammad Ali departed.

may: Presidential elections in Austria are too close to call, and the contenders a member of the Green party and a far-right candidate will hold a run-off later in the year. Nationalism is on the rise throughout the world. Super Tuesday’s delegates are awarded to Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.

april: The pop megastar Prince passed on. Der Sรผddeutsche Zeitung along with a consortium of other news outlets publish millions of leaked documents implicating many heads of state and prominent figures in the Panama Papers scandal. For the first time in history, capital punishment is outlawed by more than half the countries in the world.

march: Coordinated bomb attacks take over a hundred lives in Lahore and Brussels, and ISIS claims responsibility. Sadly, comedian and show-master Garry Shandling passed away. World-renowned architect Zaha Hadid also left us. Myanmar sworn in its first democratically elected president in half a century.

february: For the first time since the Great Schism of 1054, the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches met and committed to an Ecumenical Declaration. Writers Umberto Eco and Harper Lee passed away on the same day. Heretofore theoretical gravitational waves were observed for the first time.  A huge swath of Canadian temperate rain-forest will be protected forever and called Spirit Bear. Bolivia and Peru also reached a deal to protect Lake Titicaca.

january: Davie Bowie tragically passed away, as did musicians Glenn Frey and Natalie Cole. There’s an outbreak of the Zika virus, causing panic in the sub-tropics and prompting many couples to postpone having children, due to the risk of birth-defects. Brutal and powerful Mexican drug-trafficker Joaquรญn Guzmรกn is re-captured after his escape from a high-security detention facility. The International Atomic Energy Agency declared that Iran has complied and dismantled its nuclear weapons programme and instructed the UN to lift sanctions.