Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Thoughts (Images) on Sparks while Working on "Angst in my Pants" Chapter in my book on Sparks

Walt Disney

Ron Mael (Sparks)

Mickey Mouse

Walt Disney visions a world that is not the world, but it's his world

Disney sees the world something like this

In Walt's world this is the perfect bedroom

In a perfect Disney "World" this is the perfect girl

Minnie Mouse is our deep secret desire.

But perhaps this is what we really desire as well.

Peter Pan is the ideal man for our fantasies. We never want to leave the world that we made up in our imagination.

Sparks' express the conflict what we desire and dream about and what's out there in the so called world. Disney made up his world and Sparks' made up their world as well.

At last a world where everyone can understand and appreciate.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

TamTam Books' Tribute to Lotte Lenya

The first record that I remember of is Lotte Lenya's songs from "Three Penny Opera." To this very day (50 some years later) it reminds me of my childhood. Even my German Grandmother played this album on a consistent basis. So there was no escape for me!

This is a mere introduction to the great Lenya, and do watch the documentary down below. Meanwhile here are some of her recordings and the 'children' who are deeply influenced by Lotte Lenya (and the music of her husband Kurt Weil, with Brecht of course).

Lotte Lenya sings Pirate Jenny in German (of course) from "Three Penny Opera"

Lotte Lenya singing "Mackie the Knife" from "Three Penny Opera"

Lotte Lenya singing "Alabama Song" (just music not much of an image)

Marlyn Manson sings "Alabama Song" Nice footage by the way. If not actuality, he is the grandchild of Lotte and Kurt.

David Bowie performing (greatly) "Alabama Song" The son of Kurt and Lotte. This is great footage as well.

The documentary down below has great imagery and songs by Lotte Lenya.

Lotte Lenya Documentary Part One Great footage of Lenya.

Lotte Lenya Documentary Part Two

Lotte Lenya Documentary Part Three

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sparks Rare footage

Why Sparks and France are so good together

Sparks and France again, with the underrated great song "A Big Surprise"

No. 1 Song in Heaven on "Top of the Pops"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Consumer Alert: Get this Serge Gainsbourg Box Set

A couple of years ago I picked this box set at the Paris airport, and it's one of my most played sets in my office. Serge Gainsbourg's "Mister Melody" is 98 tracks by various artists who worked with Gainsbourg. All songs are by Serge, and the artists who are invovled are Nico, Dominique Walter, Dalida, Isabelle Aubret, France Gall, Serge Reggiani, Valerie Lagrange, Juliette Greco, Nana Mouskouri, Brigitte Bardot, Petula Clark, Michele Arnaud, Les Freres Jacques, Helene Martin, Mireille Darc, Jane Birkin, Catherine Deneuve, Anna Karina, and lots of others! It's a great collection of great songs and all in four disks.

My favorite online store (and they have a real location in Chicago) Dusty Grove is selling the package for only $34.99! Their website address is

Buy it! I swear to anyone that this is a great package with great music. A must for someone who is putting their toes for the first time in the bath water that is Gainsbourg. Also a lot of hard-to-find recordings are in this package. A strong TamTam Books' recommendation.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dennis Hopper Exhibition in Paris with Artwork by Wallace Berman

Dennis Hopper is having a retrospective of his films as well as his artwork and photographs in Paris at the La Cinematheque. Not only that he will also be exhibiting his personal art collection. And in that collection with fellow artists like Ed Ruscha, Warhol, Rauschenberg among others is Wallace Berman.

Dennis has some great Berman works in his collection and I strongly suggest that if you are in Paris, one should drop by and see the exhibition. And the catalogue is fantastic as well.

The show runs from October 15 to January 19, 2009.

The address:

La Cinematheque
51, rue de Bercy
75012 Paris France


Metro: Bercy
Bus: 24, 64, or 87

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Serge Gainsbourg bio-film in the works?

According to The Playlist blog, (
there are plans for a film based on the life of Serge Gainsbourg. The actor Eric Elmosnino is set to play Gainsbourg. Here are images of Elmosnino as Gainsbourg:

And it seems like French pop singer Philippe Katherine is going to portray Boris Vian in the film.

The film will be directed by a well-known comic book artist and writer Joann Sfar.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Eenie Meenie Records and Track 16 Gallery presents

"Couture Salvage"

Saturday, October 11, 2008
8PM, doors open 7:30 PM

With original live music score by JEAN PAUL YAMAMOTO

at Track 16 Gallery
2525 Michigan Avenue, Bldg C-1
Santa Monica, CA 90404

RSVP 16 Gallery: 310-264-4678


-A vacuum cleaner becomes a jacket!
-A speaker becomes a skirt!!
-A golf bag becomes a necklace!!!
-A sofa becomes a coat!!!!

Lun*na Menoh's band "Jean Paul Yamamoto" will do an original special music piece for this event featuring fellow band members ex DEVO drummer Alan Myers and avant-guitarist Shin Kawasaki plus backup singers/dancers Ayako and Moeko.


"To consume is the ultimate act of recycling."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wallace Berman Exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre in North London

Ah London, my spiritual home for the family! My late (and great) Dad Wallace Berman will have his first solo exhibition in London at the Camden Arts Centre. It's pretty much a retrospective of his entire career and there will be talks, film showings, events surrounding this particular exhibition.

Check out the website at:

The exhibition runs from September 26 to November 23. U.K. Citizens and Visitors, do go!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TamTam Books' Tribute to Billy MacKenzie & his amazing band Associates

Billy MacKenzie throughout my adult life has been a soundtrack to me on a daily basis. Along with Russell Mael, Morrissey, Bowie and several others, have been a consistent voice that runs through my head. The closest description I can think of Billy's great songs and voice is that he's an European Soul Singer.

The following songs are not even his most famous work, but are songs that mean a lot to me. i've been thinking of him today due to the suicide death of author David Foster Wallace - because like him, billy also went down that route. So give a listen to his fantastic voice and his fantastic spirit - the one and truly THE ONLY Billy MacKenzie:

Associates (Billy MacKenzie) "Strausburg Square"

Interview with Billy MacKenzie


Billy MacKenzie performing Blondie's "Heart of Glass"

Billy MacKenzie performing "Wild is the Wind"

Billy MacKenzie performing "The Crying Game"

"White Car In Germany"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

TamTam Books' Tribute to Noel Coward

Noel Coward is sort of the people's Jean Cocteau. A very popular entertainer as well a great songwriter and playwright. I always found him to be stuffy, but that is because I am an American, and I think Coward's aesthetic is totally British, which makes him fascinating to me.

One can look up his writings (not big on his narrative fiction or short stories) and plays (superb) on the Internet, but here's some choice pickings of the legend. See you Around!

Noel Coward performing his "Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1955)

Noel Coward performing his "Nina (Together With Music)" 1955

Noel Coward & Mary Martin

Noel Coward's play "Private Lives" Part 1 Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence

Noel Coward in "Our Man in Havana" 1959

Sunday, September 7, 2008

TamTam Books' Tribute to Jobriath

Sometime around 1974, my Dad took me to the Troubadour in West Hollywood to see Jobriath. My memory of the show is quite strong, because he made an impression on me. I was totally into anything that was glam, and the opening act to the show that night was Zolar X. An legendary Los Angeles band who thought that they were actually from outer space and had their own language among themselves. I was totally ok with that, in fact I loved it.

Jobriath was a gay artist who never made it into the big world of showbiz due that he was over-hyped by his manager Jerry Brandt, and also he was coming on to the glam scene after it was sort of dying out. This was during Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" so even the king of glam was moving into a different direction. Jobriath on the other hand was totally into glam, and was actually gay. There was no second act for this guy. He made two albums that failed, and that was that.

Here's a tribute to Jobriath, but also to my Dad for exposing me to an interesting sub-culture. The two biggest fans of Jobriath it turns out is my Dad and Morrissey!

Jobriath "Rock of Ages"

jobriath "Im a Man"

short documentary on Jobriath

Jobriath and his Mom

Cole Berlin (aka Jobriath)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some Visual Thoughts about Sparks' "Big Beat"

This is sort of my thinking process at the moment while I work on the Sparks book. Right now working on the "Big Beat" chapter.

"Looks Aren't Everything" Sparks

"Nothing to Do" Sparks live in islington, London

The bonus cut on this blog:

Sparks on Jonathan Ross show in 2006

Tosh working on the 'Big Beat' Chapter.

Friday, September 5, 2008

TamTam Book's Tribute to British Writer Patrick Hamilton

Patrick Hamilton doing what he does best

About ten years ago a dear friend of mine Sarah turned me on to this British author Patrick Hamilton. Reading about his life, it sounds like it was a mixture of great success and personal failure. My favorite type of character!

Hamilton wrote two plays that are classics of that sort. “Rope,” which became a film by Alfred Hitchcock and “Gaslight,’ which also became a film by George Cukor.


But the real good stuff by Hamilton was in his novels. All of them basically dealt with the seedy drinking life of London during the World War 2 Blitz. A time where life can end suddenly, and yet the London citizens was also concerned about the affairs of the heart – and those who abuse that affair.

Various psychotics are in the Hamilton novels, and in many ways one can find the roots of Patricia Highsmith’s (who also shared the same initials as our Patrick) main character Tom Ripley.