Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Social Page: "Gainsbourg" Event at ARTBOOK@ Paper Chase


EVENTS

DATE: 7/30/2012 | BY JANE BROWN

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase


On a warm Tuesday evening at the ARTBOOK @ Paper Chaseshowroom in Hollywood, the Paris-based biographer Gilles Verlantwaxed poetic about the life and times of the legendary French chanteur, actor and director Serge Gainsbourg. Joining Verlant wereTamTam Books publisher Tosh Berman and translator Paul Knobloch. Tuesday's event was a celebration of Verlant's newly translated Gainsbourg biography. The panel kept the standing-room-only crowd riveted with stories and anecdotes about the late, great pop icon—the French Cole Porter.
In putting together this biography, Verlant spent hundreds of hours interviewing Gainsbourg himself, as well as his relatives, and, of course, his many lovers—including Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Translator Paul Knobloch with publisher Tosh Berman and author Gilles Verlant.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Aperture’s Leslie Martin with Ice Plant’s Mike Slack.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Jane Brown and Maripol.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Mikie Shioya and Japanese journalist Kiichiro Yanashita.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Paris Photo organizers Jean-Christophe Harel and Julien Frydman.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Marc Jacobs' Jennifer Baker and Randy Shelp.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Gilles Verlant with Tracey Quiqley and Fawn Hall.

A Gainsbourg Evening at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase
Leslie Rubinoff and Libby Kauper.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Paris!, Photos 1950-1954" by Ed Van Der Elsken




A very personal book on city life by the great photographer Ed Van Der Elsken.  i first discovered his book "Love on the Left Bank" some years ago, when I first got interested in Situationists/Letterists and every other movement that came from St. Germain des Prés (Hello Boris Vian!).

What i find striking is that as the Beat Era was happening, so was the urge to find a better creative life as well in Paris.  Boho culture is Boho culture, and it goes beyond national, international or via a very readable sense of time-line history.  When you look at these images from the early 1950's, you think you are looking at Punk era 1977.  Its amazing how history repeats itself in such mysterious ways.   Beautiful book "Paris! Photos 1950-1954" and its great that I found it at my local used bookstore (Alias East on Glendale).

All images down below are from "Paris! Photos 1950-1954."

Photo by Ed Van Der Elsken

Photo by Ed Van Der Elsken

Self-Portrait by Ed Van Der Elsken

photo by Ed Van Der Elsken

Photo by Ed Van Der Elsken

Photo by Ed Van Der Elsken



Saturday, July 21, 2012

"No Regrets: Writings on Scott Walker" edited by Rob Young




Personally, my life would be kind of empty without the sounds of Sparks and Scott Walker.  Both are on this world, yet they seemed kind of removed from the world as well.   And both have huge cultural baggage of sorts, but cannot be put in a box or simply explained.  They have to be experienced - and "No Regrets: Writings on Scott Walker" is a super enjoyable read (i.e. experience) that goes through out the career of Scott.  

The book is put together by Rob Young via the great British music magazine 'The Wire.'   And this is the perfect publication to do an anthology all on the subject of Scott Walker's music.  Included are late interviews with the composer/songwriter/singer, but more interesting to me are the essays on certain aspects of Scott Walker's albums.

To give one who isn't exposed to the world of Scott Waler, it is best that I give him and his music a brief introduction.  Scott Walker was a member of the Walker Brothers (none were actual  brothers), from America but went to London during the British invasion.  Unlike the Beat groups of that time, The Walker Brothers specialize in Phil Spector style big production ballads - with Scott as lead vocalist.  An incredible voice who knew how to relay a lyric like it was a simple act of putting butter on a hot piece of toast.  Over a short period of time they became teen idols of sorts, and for Scott this was a sign of total despair.   A man of humor, but a sort of humor that laughs with Ingmar Bergman films than say the Carry on films.



In the mid-60's to late 60's he made a series of solo albums that are now considered to be classics.  And they were very odd albums compared to the swinging 60's of London.  Huge orchestrations, beautiful voice singing Jacques Brel songs as well as his own material - which at the time were very much influenced by Brel and the whole French style of singing about personal and earthy narratives.  While everyone in the world of pop was tuning in- or dropping out - Scott was sort of a hipper version of Jack Jones (a singer he admired at the time) or a throw back to the pop crooner.   So that alone made him stand out with respect to the Pop explosion of the 1960's.



In the 70's he lost the pilot of sorts (and reading this book now I have second thoughts on this period)  and sort of sang for his supper - till the late 1980's where he made a series of albums every 10 to 12 years that are totally unique, odd, beautiful, disturbing, and well, fantastic art.   This book covers all different aspects of Scott Walkers very long but fascinating career.



The longest piece is by Ian Penman, focusing on the albums that no no really cares about - including Scott!  But here you can see how this 'dead' period gave fuel for him to make his future masterpieces - and therefore cannot be denied!  The beauty of Walker's life in music is that they are all pieces of a puzzle - and you have to spend the time going over those pieces or putting them together to see the whole picture, which of course is a masterpiece.  And this book helps the listener put the pieces together.   Pennman with great wit, writes about the down years of Scott that to me are not wasted, but career wise must have been a downer for him.



And there is not really a downer of an essay in this book.  Young did a remarkable job in giving an intriguing picture of Scott Walker.  I am so happy that this book exists.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Gilles Verlant & Tosh Berman at the Tosca Cafe, San Francisco on July 24th at 7PM


Gilles Verlant on Serge Gainsbourg
Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 7:00 P.M., Tosca Cafe, 242 Columbus Avenue San Francisco, CA 94133


City Lights in conjunction with Litquake's Epicenter Reading Series present
An evening of discussion, music and video
Gilles Verlant in conversation with Tosh Berman
at Tosca Cafe, 242 Columbus Avenue San Francisco, CA 94133
21 and over, please
celebrating the release of
Gainsbourg: The Biography
by Gilles Verlant
translated by Paul Knobloch

When Serge Gainsbourg died in 1991, France went into mourning: François Mitterand himself proclaimed him "our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire." Gainsbourg redefined French pop, from his beginnings as cynical chansonnier and mambo-influenced jazz artist to the ironic "yé-yé" beat and lush orchestration of his 1960s work to his launching of French reggae in the 1970s to the electric funk and disco of his last albums. But mourned as much as his music was Gainsbourg the man: the self-proclaimed ugly lover of such beauties as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, the iconic provocateur whose heavy-breathing "Je t'aime moi non plus" was banned from airwaves throughout Europe and whose reggae version of the “Marseillais” earned him death threats from the right, and the dirty-old-boy wordsmith who could slip double-entendres about oral sex into the lyrics of a teenybopper ditty and make a crude sexual proposition to Whitney Houston on live television.
Gilles Verlant's biography of Gainsbourg is the best and most authoritative in any language. Drawing from numerous interviews and their own friendship, Verlant provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of 1950s–1990s French pop culture and the conflicted and driven songwriter, actor, director and author that emerged from it: the young boy wearing a yellow star during the German Occupation; the young art student trying to woo Tolstoy's granddaughter; the musical collaborator of Petula Clark, Juliette Greco and Sly and Robbie; the seasoned composer of the Lolita of pop albums, Histoire de Melody Nelson; the cultural icon who transformed scandal and song into a new form of delirium.
Gilles Verlant is a journalist, editor, and a TV / radio personality in France for the past 30 years, specializing in rock music and the french chanson. From 1980 to 1990, Verlant interviewed Serge Gainsbourg and had full access to his archives. He has written the most complete biography on Gainsbourg, who revolutionized French pop music in the second half of the 20th Century. Twenty years after his death, Serge Gainsbourg remains the very essence of scandal, sexual intrigue, and music brilliance.
Tosh Berman is the publisher of Tam Tam Books.
Visit: Tam Tam Books

Books related to this event:

Product image
Gainsbourg
The Biography
Gilles Verlant
2012 Edition
Gilles Verlant's biography of Gainsbourg is the best and most authoritative in any language. Drawing from numerous interviews and their own friendship, Verlant provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of 1950s–1990s French pop culture and...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Merci + Thank You = Wow

Just a quick note to say thank you for all of you who came to the event on July 17, 2012 for "Gainsbourg."  The author Gilles Verlant, the translator Paul Knobloch, and the publisher Tosh Berman (me) all had a great time and we sold out on the books.

Tosh Berman, Gilles Verlant, and Paul Knobloch

TamTam Books' publisher Tosh Berman

Tosh Berman and author of "Gainsbourg" Gilles Verlant

Gainsbourg...sort of there

Book cover by Tom Recchion
Merci to everyone!

Monday, July 9, 2012

LIVE EVENT: "GAINSBOURG" With Gilles Verlant, the translator Paul Knobloch and TamTam Books' Publisher Tosh Berman



  
ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase, Book Soup and Tam Tam Books invite you to the launch party for Gainsbourg: The Biography.


Join us for a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, the French singer, songwriter, poet, composer, artist, actor and the country’s most beloved pop export since Edith Piaf. The evening will feature Gainsbourg videos and music, and a discussion with the Biography author, Gilles Verlant, in conversation with translator, Paul Knobloch and Tam Tam publisher, Tosh Berman.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012
7:00 pm

RSVP@dapinc.com

FREE but RSVP required and will be accepted until venue capacity is reached

 
ARTBOOK | Paper Chase
7174 Sunset Boulevard
(corner of Sunset and Formosa)
Hollywood, California
(323) 969-8985

Serge Gainsbourg redefined French pop, from his beginnings as cynical chansonnier and mambo-influenced jazz artist to the ironic “yé-yé” beat and lush orchestration of his 1960s work to his launching of French reggae in the 1970s to the electric funk and disco of his last albums. He was the self-proclaimed ugly lover of such beauties as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, the iconic provocateur whose heavy-breathing “Je t’aime moi non plus” was banned from airwaves throughout Europe and whose reggae version of the “Marseillais” earned him death threats from the right.

Gilles Verlant’s biography of Gainsbourg is the best and most authoritative in any language. Drawing from numerous interviews and their own friendship, Verlant provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of 1950s–1990s French pop culture and the conflicted and driven songwriter, actor, director and author that emerged from it: the young boy wearing a yellow star during the German Occupation; the young art student trying to woo Tolstoy’s granddaughter; the musical collaborator of Petula Clark, Juliette Greco and Sly and Robbie; the seasoned composer of the
Lolita of pop albums, Histoire de Melody Nelson; the cultural icon who transformed scandal and song into a new form of delirium.

Special thanks to the evening's bookseller, Book Soup.


Lun*na Menoh's Recent Exhibition in Japan

Lun*na Menoh just had an exhibition in Japan, and this is her most recent artworks.  And keep in mind that everything in her part of the show is made out of Dirty White Men's collars.  The other artist at this exhibition is the painter Adam Lee Miller.  The exhibition took place in Saitama, Japan at C.A.J. Artist Residency.








Paintings on the Wall by Adam Lee Miller

Paintings on the Wall by Adam Lee Miller.  Everything else by Lun*na Menoh

Tosh Berman interviewed by Kristian Goddard

Dear Gang,

I was very recently interviewed by Kristian Goddard for his uber-cool blog.   For those who want to read it - look here:  http://www.kristiangoddard.net/Kristian_Goddard_Blog.htm

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Joe Meek interviewed for BBC



Fascinating interview with the great record maker Joe Meek.  For me, he's Eno before Eno.  Brilliant record maker who made haunting records.  Beautiful.

"The High Life" by Jean-Pierre Martinet


Ah, a new literary hero in the making - for me!  The late Jean-Pierre Martinet (1944-1993) had written a perfect little gem of a book called "The High Life."  It is a about a man who works at a cemetery who has an over-weight woman with a certain sexual passion for him.  And by the description of it, the romance doesn't sound so hot.  But its the main character's inner-life that is fascinating.  His obsession of taking care of his father's grave, which by including having his rifle aimed towards the grave site to keep away cats, etc.  

The translator Henry Vale compares Martinet as a mixture of Céline and Jim Thompson - and that is actually quite right.   This is a very intense short story that doesn't waste one word.  And special nod must go to the great Wakefield Press for not only putting this book out - but the design of it is top-notch.  A beautiful object of a book about a rather indecent man.   Perfect combination!





Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"The History of NME" by Pat Long


And to think it all started with accordion music.  The flame that started the fire that was heard all around the world.  Well Polka is not that far from punk really, but nevertheless New Music Express (NME) started off as a newspaper focusing on the accordion music scene that was happening in the early 1950's  - and of course one has to presume that it lead to the pop music of its era.   And strange enough NME, in 2012, is still with us.  In fact its the second thing i see on the Internet.  First is Dennis Cooper's blog, then NME, after that the Guradian for news.  So you can see what's important in my life!

Pat Long's book on NME is really good, and being designed orientated, this is a  perfectly designed book with respect to its subject.  A lot has happened in Pop music over the years, and its amazing that a press can still exist after so many generations.  And without a doubt NME had or has its dives into the underworld as well as its highs - but as a paper it had some remarkable writers  - to be specifically the wonderful Nick Kent.   The rock n' roll writer who didn't have a guitar to throw around, but his pen was pretty mighty.  

This book by its very nature of its subject matter also has ties to England's pop culture history -and really, this book could have been five or six books.  One on the fifties, one on the sixties and so forth.  But beyond that this is a really good introduction to pop history and more important the presses that were beyond and supported such pop movements.   Buy it for the beauty of it all!

And here's a fantastic documentary on the History of NME.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4