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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tony Wilson interview that's great.

Sunday, November 1, 2009