Thursday, December 10, 2009

David Bowie's new biography

God and Man: A David Bowie Biography God and Man: A David Bowie Biography by Marc Spitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Do we need another biography on David Bowie? Well, frankly yes! There is one other great biography on Bowie by David Buckley called "Strange Fascination." That one is good because Buckley went out of the way to interview all of Bowie's past and present musicians.

What is totally fab about Marc Spitz's biography is his research on the early teenage and career years of David. He also tracked down Bowie's first major manager and supporter Kenneth Pitt, who gives great insight in the world of 'gay' management at the time as well as what it was like in representing David Bowie in the mid-60's.

For sure he never was he an over-night star. Bowie struggled for fame and fortune for at least ten years before he hit it big with the Ziggy decade. Spitz who is a hardcore Bowie fanatic captures the location or place of Bowie's important years. His writing on West Berlin and Bowie's old London neighborhood is quite fantastic. Reading it I get the presence of these old neighborhoods and how it affected Bowie's art. The great thing about David Bowie is that he was totally inspired by his location and the people around that world in whatever specific time.

Also one gets a better appreciation of Bowie's first wife Angie, which one doesn't get in various biographies or literature. My only complaint, which is very slight, is that Bowie's later years are not as interesting as compared to his career in the 60's. Mostly I think due to the interest of the author who really researched the 60's era Bowie very well and how that was a platform for his much later creative brilliant albums, etc.

In other words this is pretty much an essential book on David Bowie. Read it.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wallace Berman event at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery December 12!

Wallace Berman

On view through January 9, 2010
Press and images online here

In conjunction with the exhibition:

*December 12th, 4:30 PM*

Reading by *Max Blagg*
of works by poets of the Berman circle including Kirby Doyle,
Stuart Perkoff, and Lew Welch

Screening of /Artifactual: Films from the Wallace Berman
Collection /(compiled 2006)
Introduced by *Andrew Lampert*
Featuring live music by *John Zorn*,* Trevor Dunn* and *Kenny
(28 minutes, 16mm, silent)
Wallace Berman only made one film in his lifetime, /Aleph/.
While preserving this film, another assortment of reels was
uncovered containing many more films with footage by and of
Berman. These various 8mm pieces have now been collected
together and blown-up to 16mm. This new compilation features
unseen scenes of Berman in his milieu with friends and family,
including footage of a George Herms exhibition, a motorcycle
ride (perhaps shot by Dean Stockwell) and materials related to

Preserved with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the
Visual Arts. 8mm-to-16mm blow-up by BB Optics.

Free and open to the public

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
526 W. 26th Street, No. 213
New York, NY 10001
P. 212.243.3335
F. 212.243.1059

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marcel Duchamp: Etant donnes

Marcel Duchamp: Etant donnes (Philadelphia Museum of Art) Marcel Duchamp: Etant donnes by Michael R. Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Incredible images and documentation on Marcel Duchamp's great and his last piece of work "Etant donnes. When everyone thought he was playing chess, Duchamp has been working secretly on his late masterpiece. A work that is still disturbing and frankly shocking.

Violence, eros, and mystery all wrapped in one art work. Yale University did a fantastic job in putting this volume together. There are tons of Duchamp books out there, but this is truly an essential volume. The more one writes about this work, the more mysterious it becomes. Truly unique and one-of-a-kind.

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Leisure Process

Leisure Process "Love Cascade"

My secret favorite band from the early 80's. I think I must have bought the above because i liked the cover. Nevertheless I loved it. Both songs remind me of Howard Devoto's Magazine.

Leisure Process "A Way You Never Be"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Short History of the Cahiers du Cinéma by Emilie Bickerton

A Short History of Cahiers du Cinéma A Short History of Cahiers du Cinéma by Emilie Bickerton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
No, this is not a gossip filled book on one of the most important film journals that's out there in any language. Well, I should say it used to be the most important film magazine in the world. Now it is just another film magazine.

When it first started it was sort of like Punk Rock. Film obsessed French geeks just wanted to breathe in and out of film history, aesthetic, and production of cinema. In a very fast speed and slightly academic manner, we get the early years turning into the May 68 Mao political years - and then afterwards, it sort of becomes just your typical film review magazine. Cahiers du Cinema nevertheless is sort of a symbol of when cinema was important. i say was, because I feel cinema was perhaps the art medium of the 20th Century. It is no longer that important.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman

Just when you think everything that is new in music is boring as water that is left on your bedside, comes the new album by Sparks. And even using the word ‘album’ is not really a fair description because the new work by Ron and Russell Mael is actually a radio play or more like a radio musical.

No, not even a rock concept album. This is a real radio show in the tradition of Orson Welles Mercury Theater – except that Welles had nothing to do with it. Ron and Russell directed, wrote and even play some of the characters. And actually the project has a series of Swedish actors. So even in the rock standard of weird releases, this one is the ultimate.
But then again in the world where a lot of bands like to talk to the press about how difficult it was for them to do their hit album live from beginning to end – Sparks did that with their 21 albums in 21 nights. So this is a band that shoots high and somehow can jump up to the disk and grab it from the sky.

The new Sparks’ project “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman” is about the great Swedish director being sucked into the world of Hollywood. But he’s not going to take that – and the story turns into a hyper-version of the classic: Prisoner: TV show. Where the great film master is trying to escape from the clutches of the very nice bland world of Hollywood.
Fans of not only Sparks, but also hardcore fans of “Cahiers du cinema” can raise their hands in praise where the mediocre tries to destroy the creative. And although it takes place in the 50’s, one can only wonder how Sparks feel when they compare classic cinema with the contemporary crap music of the 21st Century. So with that in thought, the music that is produced by these guys is a combination of course Sparks – but actually the music is very non-rock n’ roll. It’s truly classic musical format via the Mael brother’s sensibility.

Not only is this the best album of the year, but the best album of the 21st Century so far.

The great lost Sparks song "What Would Katharine Hepburn Say"

Christi Haydon's version of this lost classic Sparks song.

Sparks doing "What Would Katherine Hepburn Say"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

William Klein's film "Who Are You Polly Maggoo"

William Klein's "Rome + Klein"

William Klein: Rome William Klein: Rome by William Klein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Along with William Eggleston, (another) William Klein are my favorite photographers. Both men seem to know the importance of a good book design - and "Rome + Klein" is an exceptionally beautiful object to look at. But beyond that, this book really gives you the flavor of Rome circ. 1954.

Klein was called to Rome to work with Fellini. But due to film business and the way of the world, Klein had time on his hands, so he photographed Rome. And what we have here looks like the visual image of later-day Morrissey songs. Beautiful men and beautiful women doing what they do best - living the Rome life to the max and maybe beyond.

The layout of the book is so Klein. Double paged spreads of crowded street scenes, where your eyes goes from one inch to the other just absorbing the textures and expressions of Rome's citizens. It's very modern and clean. Even though the book was originally released in the 50's, it still seems fresh and chic.

So, yeah the book is iconic, but it also witty and incredibly charming. The book comes in two parts. The photographs and then another smaller volume with text by Klein plus quotations about Rome. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to have this book. I can't imagine life without "Rome + Klein." I can't imagine life without William Klein.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, November 15, 2009

French Graphic Biography on Boris Vian

Piscine Molitor Piscine Molitor by Christian Cailleaux

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At last! A graphic biography on Boris Vian. In French of course. Here his life is covered by one illustration after another - yet the cartoons make him look sad. Even though he was fighting against time due to his heart problem, I feel Vian was never a depressed figure. At least that is how I read his life. Nevertheless this graphic interpretation of Vian's life is a must to own.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, November 13, 2009

Installation images of the Wallace Berman Exhibition at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery which is up till September

Wallace Berman Exhibition up from November 6 to January 9th, 2010 at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, No. 213, New York 10001. Tel: 212-243-3335

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tony Wilson biography

Tony Wilson - You're Entitled to an Opinion but your Opinion is **** Tony Wilson - You're Entitled to an Opinion but your Opinion is **** by David Nolan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very quick biography on one of the shakers and movers of the late 20th Century with respect to music. Tony Wilson had two public identities. One as a TV announcer in Manchester and the other as the head of Factory Records, which is probably one of the more important record labels that came out of the British post-punk world.

Wilson's charm and strength is that he is someone from another world who had an interest in contemporary pop culture in his hometown Manchester. He wasn't a young music fanatic starting his own label, but a middle-aged well educated sometimes hippie guy who had an interest in doing something for his town, and wanted to develop that talent into a bigger picture or platform. And he did so with very little interest in money. But saying that, it was a matter of good luck that he helped launched Joy Division and New Order - who were the main meal ticket in those days.

Wilson was in the right place and in the right time. Also the experience of doing things was very important to him - and he equally loved his work for television as well as being sort of the 'father' figure for the music scene in Manchester.

He had the good taste to work with brilliant people, and that is something I identify with Wilson as a publisher. Money had no interest to him, but relationships were important - whatever it was friend or foe. And Tony Wilson could articulate what was happening as it was happening. In hysterical strokes mostly. He was aware of the importance of telling a good story that’s more important than the truth. Truth is bullshit. Print the story or legend!

View all my reviews >>

Tony Wilson interview that's great.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wallace Berman Solo Exhibition in New York City

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of
*Wallace Berman* (1926-1976) running from November 6 to January 9,
2010. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 6th from
6:00-8:00 pm, featuring a screening of Berman's collage-film /Aleph/
(1956-1966) with a reading by Tosh Berman and a live performance by John
Zorn of his score for the film.

Building on the gallery's longstanding involvement with artists of the
California counterculture, this exhibition presents a rare opportunity
to consider the scope of Berman's practice. Considered by many to be a
major figure of the assemblage movement, Berman was active within the
Los Angeles and San Francisco Beat communities and acted as a mentor and
spiritual advisor to many artists. Anticipating mail art and Fluxus
movements, Berman's work has had wide-ranging influence despite the
artist's determination to operate outside of the public eye.

Through sculpture, collage and the underground publication /Semina/,
Berman fused aspects of photography, film and print. Central to
Berman's multifaceted practice is the Verifax collage, an early
photocopier technology. Berman manipulated ephemeral compositions
directly on the copier plate, creating prints that are in fact unique
originals. A magazine advertisement of a hand holding a small 1963 Sony
transistor radio recurs throughout in these works; in place of the
radio's rectangular speaker, Berman inserts collage elements such as a
cross, a snake, and a Buddha, transforming the repeated image in a
quasi-magical operation. Also on view in the exhibition are a rock
assemblage, photographic collages, and hand-printed posters, giving a
sense of the breadth and complexity of Berman's visionary oeuvre.

The project room features a restored version of /*Aleph*/ both in its
original silent form and with a new score by John Zorn, courtesy of the
National Film Preservation Foundation with the assistance of Anthology
Film Archives and the Film-makers' Cooperative.

Wallace Berman was recently the subject of a retrospective exhibition
/All is Personal: the Art of Wallace Berman/, Camden Art Center, London,
UK (2008). This is his third exhibition in New York; his first was at
Charles Cowles, 1982, followed by Louver Gallery, 1990.

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
526 W. 26th Street, No. 213
New York, NY 10001
P. 212.243.3335
F. 212.243.1059

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wallace Berman's "Aleph" but bootleg version

Ah this was bound to happen. Someone has put my Dad's (Wallace Berman) film up on YouTube. Well enjoy.

Jah Wobble's "Memoir of a Geezer"

Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Mayhem, Life Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Mayhem, Life by Jah Wobble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Public Image Ltd has hooked me on Jah Wobble when I first heard “Public Image”. Johnny (Lydon) Rotten’s band right after the Sex Pistols. Punk was moving to another world, and Wobble and his bass was taking me to another part of the neighborhood. Also being aware of the visuals of the bands and artists (which for me is extremely important), Wobble had a great look. A two-day beard, a suit, and strong facial features. He also seemed to have a wild sense of humor.

30 years later he wrote his first book, a memoir that is both culturally interesting as well as a personal statement on a life that is well lived. The cultural aspect is the first thing that got my attention in this book. The title says it all “Memoirs of a Geezer.”
A geezer I presume is British slang for a man, who is basically a good fellow. Wobble is obsessed with fellow citizens who were raised and went to public schools. Which is a high-class world of privilege. Wobble, by his nature, and being a hardcore East London mentality – hates that world. And this is one of the many things that make him interesting as well as a good document how the British see other English people.

Wobble strikes me as a personality, a character and at times a slightly dangerous man. Especially under the spell of alcohol. Jah Wobble hasn’t drink since the 80’s and through out his career he has made a series of great recordings. So what we have here is a musician struggling in 20th Century London. Of course the main interest is in the Public Image years, and they are fascinating. But equally fascinating again, is his take on being British and the class system. A really good read, and I think a must for those who are interested in the music world circ. 1970’s/1980’s.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pianococktail Part 1

From Boris Vian's "L'ecume des jours (Foam of the Daze) comes the invention the Pianococktail. The art of it is that when you play the keyboard or piano a cocktail gets made. It warms my heart that someone actually made the damn instrument. This is what I call powerful music.

The opening film credits to "J'irai cracher sur vos tombes" (I Spit On Your Graves)

Boris Vian hated this film with a passion. In fact he passed away at its private screening. I saw the film in French (and I don't speak the language) and visually it's an odd film. A very 1950's French version of what a small American town looks like. Since the main character works in a bookstore (that alone is worth seeing the film) it is interesting what they pick up as "American culture." The soundtrack by Alain Goraguer is superb. In fact all his music is superb. Someone really needs to put a focus on his work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Working Cover for Boris Vian's "To Hell With The Ugly" plus special announcement

This is the basic design by Tom Recchion for the cover of the TamTam Books edition of Boris Vian's "To Hell With The Ugly" (ET ON TUERA TOUS LES AFFREUX). This will come out shortly as we fine tune the graphics. Which will also have artwork by Jessica Minckley illustrating this rather naughty narrative.

On top of that, I am going to be putting chapter-by-chapter of "To Hell With The Ugly" on this website. There will be a new chapter every two weeks. Once i put a chapter up, I will remove the previous chapter. So in the sense there will be two versions of this novel. One in the traditional super designed edition with artwork and introduction by its translator Paul Knobloch. And the other as a serial of sorts for this blog. Let me know what you think.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Incredible B-Side of Roxy Music Singles

Roxy Music's "The Pride and the Pain"

Roxy Music's "The Numberer"

Andy MacKay's "Ride of the Valkyries"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ATLAS Press announce "Boris Vian Letters to Stanley Chapman"

Boris Vian, Letters to Stanley Chapman.

Facsimile edition of Vian's letters to Stanley Chapman, all but the first written in English.

SPECIAL PRICE for direct orders from the website: £8, until the end of October 2009.

The occasion of this publication is a sad one: the recent death of Stanley Chapman, President of the London Institute of 'Pataphysics, Regent of the Collège de 'Pataphysique, founder-member of the Oulipo, translator extraordinaire, and good friend...
The Times Literary Supplement also reviewed this title, albeit a little inaccurately, publication was jointly by Bookartbookshop and Atlas Press for the London Institute:

Inspired by our commemoration of Boris Vian (NB, luly 17 and August 21 & 28), Alastair Brotchie sends us a fascinating booklet which he has published himself, under the imprint bookartbookshop, Letters to Stanley Chapman contains a brief correspondence with the English writer responsible for transtatlng Vian's novels L'Écume des jours (Froth on the Daydream) and L'Arrache-coeur (Heartsnatcher). Brotchie reproduces the letters in facsimile — only seven in all, but some run to several pages. The majority are in fluent English, "which I don't speak", Vian explains. "neither do I write it, you know". They are typically full of puns, many of them obscene: in one letter alone (October, 1955), we remarked "arse-stonishingly", "inside aunt Ally" (incidentally), "French vocal bullery" and "cuntemporary".
The better part of the correspondence concerns "some crazy and atrocious lyrics for French 'Rock and Roll' things" by Vian, which he invites Chapman to translate. "Enclosed are three of the worst", he writes in September 1956, at the height of his involvement in the music business (Vian worked for Philips, where his boss was Jacques Canetti, brother of Elias). It would be "nothing" for him to write his own English words "on the horrible music", but he thought "nice little Stanley" might do "an adaptation. We could co-sign and share the income".
The results lack the sprightly idiocy of the original. "Rock and Roll-Mops" is the story of a couple who work up a good appetite by rocking all night. When they ask a local bar- owner what`s on the menu, he offers a variety of dishes — liver of lion, kangaroo escalope, horse's eggs — which the grateful lovers consume before "on va r'toumer s'coucher!"
In his letter to us, Mr Brotchie remarks that there are "not so many Vian enthusiasts this side of the water". There are a few, though. and all will wish to read Letters to Stanley Chapman, available at £13 from 17 Pitfield Street. London Nl 6HB.

Serge Gainsbourg related...

Via April March, on another site, this video came to my attention. Jean Yanne, Sacha Distel and Serge Gainsbourg are the eye candy, and Marie Laforet performs.

An Anecdoted Topography of Chance by Daniel Spoerri

The original "Something Else Press" edition of a 20th Century classic. I have the Atlas edition, but this is something to behold. A beautiful book and i am going outside in the yard to read it (completely). Special thanks to my friend who gave this to me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lun*na Menoh's "HEADDRESS" Fashion show

Paet 1

Part 2

Part 3

Thanks to the Kawai Kakkoii Sugoi website:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Very Early David Bowie

Thanks to Christy for exposing this video to me. I think it's the most important cultural find in the 21st Century.

An early David Bowie Folk-rock band, The Feathers

When David Bowie was five

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Silent Essential Gaumont films

I think it is safe to say that it's essential that one owns this set. Alice Guy, Louis Feuillade, etc. It's too good!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wallace Berman at Art Basel

June 8, 2009

Michael Kohn Gallery at Art Basel
Michael Kohn Gallery

Art Basel 40
Hall 2.0
Booth W7

Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to present never before seen works by Wallace Berman (1949-1976). Wallace Berman was born in 1926 in Staten Island, New York, and was widely considered to be the father of the assemblage movement. He began his career making sculptures from unused scraps and reject materials while working in an antique furniture factory. By the early 1950s, Berman had become an artist and active figure in the beat community in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Moving between the two cities, Berman devoted himself to his mail art publication, Semina, which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images selected by the artist. In 1963, Berman moved to Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles area, and began work on verifax collages (printed images, often from magazines and newspapers, mounted in collage fashion onto a flat surface, sometimes with solid bright areas of acrylic paint). He continued creating these works, as well as rock assemblages, until his death in 1976.

In 2008 Wallace Berman was featured in a number of shows in Europe, including his first retrospective at the Camden Arts Centre in London as well as group shows at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. In 2009, Michael Kohn Gallery hosted a well-received two-person show that focused on the work of Wallace Berman and Richard Prince and the way in which the artists portrayed women in their art. Berman’s work is included in public collections at numerous institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

For further inquiry please contact Laura Sumser at 323.658.8088, or

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Boris Vian's RED GRASS (L'Herbe Rouge)

Photo by Azoulay

TamTam Books is proud to announce that we have purchased the world English rights to Boris Vian's novel RED GRASS (L'Herbe Rouge). Paul knobloch who is currently working on the translation of the Gainsbourg biography, will do the translation for RED GRASS.

Boris Vian is a great among the greats, and we are thrilled to have another Boris Vian masterpiece under the TamTam Books banner. RED GRASS is scheduled to come out in 2011. Keep checking here for updates and info!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Serge Gainsbourg Night in Los Angeles




If you're not hip to the groovy sounds of SERGE GAINSBOURG and all the
incredible '60s YE YE girl-pop he helped to elevate to a high art
form, then this evening will change your life!!! Even if you're well
steeped in the genre, chances are you haven't seen either of the
incredibly rare SERGE GAINSBOURG film / Television projects that we'll
be showing in their entirety -- namely the melancholy romantic comedy
he made for French television in the late '60s,


starring ANNA KARINA, the hottie he was schtupping in between JANE
BIRKIN and BRIDGETTE BARDOT (poor guy!). We've also gotten a hold of a
copy of the equally rare and ultra-kewl


a film about one of my favorite subjects... Both of these films are
tough enough to find in France, but nearly impossible to get a hold of
here, in the notoriously Francophobic USA!!

Plus, as if that's not enough, we've got hours of GAINSBOURG related
French Television Performances, Music Videos, Scopitones, film clips
and fashion videos featuring the likes of FRANCE GALL, JANE BIRKIN,
WAIT -- THERE'S MORE... we also have somehow acquired William Klein's
"MISTER FREEDOM" (featuring GAINSBOURG), and parts of Klein's rarely

You don't want to miss this unique opportunity to see all of this
insanely rare footage!!!

Spinning beaucoups of danceable French favorites we have our own MC /
Elian and DJ/VJ "MIKIE"...

Serving up the continental suds will be NO-RA and her zany sidekick, MINGY...

So come on down, have some cake, and lose your head to the groovy
sights and sounds of the YE YE revolution! YE YE YE!!!!

It's all happening...
This Tuesday, March 10th
@ Le Club Ding-a-Ling
Hyperion Tavern
1941 Hyperion Blvd
Silverlake, 90026

and remember It's FREE!!!! Like the Free French!
Behold the man himself (and friend...)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

SHE: Images of Women by Wallace Berman & Richard Prince

This is the catalogue to the exhibition that is up at the Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles. You can get the book in any bookstore that carries cool art books.