Miss Guy has been an icon of the NYC downtown music scene forever: not only as the dynamic lead singer of the awesome NYC Rock Band Toilet Boys, but also as possibly the best authentically Rock & Roll/First Wave Punk Rock club DJ on the circuit. In Miss Guy’s new video for “Tonight” (the second single off of his new EP God Save New York, which features guest appearances by Debbie Harry of Blondie) the Bowie/Blondie influences abound! Enjoy!
When I was planning my recent four-day stay in Seattle, one of the attractions I knew I couldn’t miss was the Experience Music Project pop culture Museum. I’ve been curious about visiting the EMP. since it was first in construction, which was about 15 years ago. Originally, it’s my understanding that the museum was being built and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to house his extensive Jimi Hendrix memorabilia collection. But obviously, it’s expanded quite a bit since that original, rather narrow concept.
Conveniently located in the Seattle Center, literally in the shadow of the Space Needle, and adjacent to several other top tourist attractions, the EMP is certainly one of the most unusual examples of modern architecture I’ve ever seen. When viewed from the top of the Space Needle, this Frank Gehry-designed structure looks like a Giant took a handful of various boxes of different shapes and colors, and stuck them all together. But this unique approach to modern design has created a fantastic space that provides exhibit halls for not only local music history and an extensive trip down memory lane with the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London, but separate wings for science fiction, fantasy film and literature, horror movies, and the current temporary exhibit highlighting Women Who Rock. Here are a few photos I took during my visit this past July.
Any Jimi Hendrix fan is going to be blown away by the Hendrix Experience Hits London section, which fills several ground floor galleries.
Not only will you see vintage, authentic stage costumes worn by Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, but the walls of the galleries are plastered with photographs, news clippings, magazine articles, vinyl albums and posters that telegraph the band’s rise to stardom after their initial visit to the UK. All I can say is, it must be nice to be Paul Allen.
Around the corner from the Hendrix exhibit is an exhaustive documentation of the Nirvana’s impact on the Seattle grunge punk music scene during the 90s. You could easily spend a couple of hours in this section, just reading all about some of the best bands that came from this genre-defining region of the country such as Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and many other Sub Pop signings as well as projects from legendary genre producers such as Jack Endino.
In addition to extensive documentation, Photos, Personal Letters, CD covers, magazine articles, costumes and props, there’s also one of Dave Grohl’s drum kits and other one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Whoever created this part of the museum did so with a good deal of love.
Fantasy film enthusiasts will not want to miss the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit where I enjoyed seeing costumes such as those worn by David Bowie in the film Labyrinth as well as many other props and costumes from classic films such as The Hobbit, the Wizard of Oz and Clash of the Titans, to name but a few.
On another floor there’s an exhibit dedicated to Icons of Science Fiction. Not only are there props and costumes from science-fiction films, but also there are small exhibits on popular books of the genre that laid the foundation for much of the visual media that came in their wake.
Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film is also a very fun exhibit. Aside from the expected props and costumes, you can personalize your experience by participating in interactive exhibits including the Scream Booth and Philip Worthington’s interactive shadow monster installation – which is just insane.
Rest your weary feet with time spent in a dozen video kiosks where you can sit in near darkness and watch horror film clips (commentary included) curated by directors Roger Corman, John Landis and Eli Roth. Super fun and also very educational!
The museum’s top floor is home to a large interactive studio recording exhibit, where you can actually play instruments and record your own music. It’s also where you’ll find the museums latest exhibit, Women Who Rock, which just opened in June. Women Who Rock does an ambitious job of documenting female artists from the 50s through to present including pioneers such as Brenda Lee, Leslie Gore, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Specter and many of the girl groups through to the punk rock movement, groundbreaking all-female rock groups such as The Runaways and The GoGos and on to superstar solo artists from Madonna to Shakira and, of course Lady Gaga. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out just as we were entering this particular exhibit, so the only photos I have are ones I pulled from EMP’s website.
The Experience Music Project is a must-see destination for any music and film fan’s trip to the beautiful and vibrant city of Seattle. Exhibits change from time to time so make sure you consult the museum’s website to find out what they have in house during your planned visit.
The EMP Museum is located at 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle Center, WA, convenient to the Seattle Center Monorail. Hours are 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Daily. Visit This Link for additional exhibit schedule and admission information.
Art Decade adopted its name from a Brian Eno-produced David Bowie instrumental track, which gives the band a sort of built-in, arsty fartsy clout right off the gate. Their new video for the song “Breeze” — soothing, Sunday morning orchestrated pop taken from the band’s 2012 album Western Sunrise — was filmed on a beach with bunch of 3-D geometric effects tossed in during post production. The visual result is like Pink FLoyd’s Dark Side of the Moon…on the Beach.
Here’s what Ben Talmi, Art Decade’s vocalist/guitarist/arranger has to say about this clip: “With the animation skills of Whitney Alexander and Kipp Jarden, I saw the opportunity to combined the Impressionistic styles of painters like Degas, Renoir and Turner with the world of surrealists like Dali and Ernst in a setting of the beach, which was influenced by Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. The animated subconscious dreamscapes Whit and Kipp created in the video are just like what I see when I close my eyes.”
Art Decade is putting the finishing touches on 11 songs that will make up their new self-titled album due in September of 2013. Enjoy!
In the 2006 film, The Prestige, Serbian-born Physicist and Inventor Nikola Tesla (played by David Bowie) serves as a sort of ‘Mad Scientist’ inspiration and mentor to a competitively obsessed magician/illusionist portrayed by Hugh Jackman. It’s probably not a complete accident then that in the eponymous new play (written by Sheri Graubert and Directed by Sanja Bestic) Tesla is referred to repeatedly as a ‘Magician.’ While Tesla’s scientific legacy includes contributions as varied as design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system and early developments in Remote Control and X-ray technologies, his name is perhaps best known these days for having been adopted by an ‘80s Hair Metal band. And that’s just a shame. Hopefully, Tesla will be able to move on to Broadway after its Off Broadway run, exposing a wider audience to Nikola Tesla’s genius and futuristic vision.
In this engaging play, an older Tesla (played by Jack Dimich) sits in his New York City Hotel room, kept company only by his memory and occasional visits from the Bellhop (Luka Mijatovia). There, he reflects on the accomplishments of his past while mentally confronting his many professional adversaries who exploited him with varying degrees of opportunism, indifference and cruelty. James Lee Taylor (who, if you look up any actual photos of Tesla, is a dead ringer for the inventor during his late thirties) portrays Tesla as a younger man, and carries the bulk of the action on his very capable shoulders. Over the course of ninety minutes, the story of Tesla’s amazing career unfolds in ways that are both wildly inspiring and devastatingly heartbreaking.
Taking place at a time when the world was a Wild West for Scientific invention, many inventors were coming up with similar ideas for technological advancements at the same time as their peers. Even those who managed to make it to the patent office first didn’t always maintain a tight rein of control over their inventions. This is emphasized best in a reoccurring appearance by Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi (played with brilliant comic effect by Jeff Solomon) who is repeatedly denied a patent for his invention of the Radio – a field of research and development also pioneered by Tesla. It is implied that Marconi and Tesla remained lifelong adversaries.
The onstage action, which takes place in a static three-part interior set, is occasionally augmented by the incorporation of black and white film clips, starring the play’s actors, which provide a newsreel-like back-story or help to advance the story line in a way that dialogue will not suffice. Such clips are used most effectively in a G-Rated – but nevertheless quite passionate – love scene between Tesla and his implied romantic interest, Katherine (Samantha Slater), that illustrates the bittersweet, largely unfulfilled state of their affair.
Other historical figures fleshing out this extremely fascinating and vibrant play include Tesla’s early employer, Thomas Edison (Tom Cappadona), financial tycoon JP Morgan (portrayed as being pretty much an ego-maniacal prick by Adam Pagdon) and actor Allessandro Colla in a dual role as George Westinghouse and Mark Twain. Colla’s over-the-top physical mannerisms employed in his portrayal of Westinghouse are a highlight among the performances of a universally outstanding cast.
Nicola Tesla died of heart failure in 1943 at the age of 86: penniless, in debt and alone in the hotel room in which he lived during the final days of his life. Was he ahead of his time? No doubt. Was he a mysterious genius? Most definitely.
Tesla is Showing at Theater 80, Located at 80 St Mark’s Place (East 8th Street between First and Second Avenues) in New York City through June 8th, 2013. Showtime is at 8:00 PM Daily with a 3:00 PM Matinee on Sundays. Phone 212-388-0388 or visit http://www.teslaoffbroadway.com for Tickets and Further Information.
David Bowie will release a brand new studio album, The Next Day, in March, 2013. It will be the recently reclusive rocker’s first new record since 2003′s Reality. Bowie wasted no time this morning (January 8th) kicking off his 66th birthday celebration, launching a new website mere minutes after midnight ET with the announcement and the release of a video for the record’s first single, “Where Are We Now?”
The video for the melancholy, restrained piano-based ballad features the faces of Bowie and a woman superimposed on the heads of a pair of mannequins dressed in fur bodysuits in an artist’s loft. Near the end we get our first non-paparazzi look at the always fashion-forward rock star in years, and it seems his new sartorial statement is… jeans and a t-shirt? Who cares, Bowie’s back! Maybe it was casual Friday.
As his site explains, David Bowie The Next Day will be released on March 8 in Australia, March 12 in the U.S.A. and March 11 everywhere else. A 14-track standard edition and a 17-track deluxe version of the album are currently available for pre-order on iTunes, and you can pick up the new single there as well.
David Bowie The Next Day Track List:
1. ‘The Next Day’
2. ‘Dirty Boys’
3. ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’
4. ‘Love is Lost’
5. ‘Where Are We Now?’
6. ‘Valentine’s Day’
7. ‘If You Can See Me’
8. ‘I’d Rather Be High’
9. ‘Boss of Me’
10. ‘Dancing Out of Space’
11. ‘How Does the Grass Grow?’
12. ‘(You Will) Set the World on Fire’
13. ‘You Feel So Lonely You Could Die’
Deluxe Version Bonus Tracks:
15. ‘So She’
16. ‘I’ll Take You There’
Every picture tells a story. During his career, Photographer Barrie Wentzell collected an endless cache of unheard stories from and about many of rock’s greatest legends that would blow your head right off. From 1965 to 1975 – certainly one of the (if not the) most vibrant and fertile decades for Rock & Roll music and culture — Wentzell shot both live performance and candid, intimate photographs of everyone who was anyone: from Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles to The Kinks and Led Zeppelin for the UK weekly music rag, Melody Maker.
His pay was about 20 pounds per week, but Wentzell will tell you even today that his dream gig during the Golden Age of Rock & Roll was never about the money; it was about the experiences he had with these artists.
Right now, you can view a small portion of Wentzell’s extensive and wildly impressive career legacy at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in the comprehensively entitled exhibit, Melody Maker: The Best Years, 1965-1975, The Photography of Barrie Wentzell. Most of these pictures have never been published or viewed by the public. In fact, Wentzell admitted that, prior to staging the exhibit, he’d not viewed the majority of these photos since he first took them. And that is just shame, because his pictures are transcendent.
I have seen many, many great rock photography exhibits and I must say that this is the first one where the words “Fine Art Rock Photography” – which is what Morrison Hotel Gallery is known for – really resonated with me when experiencing Barrie Wentzell’s photos. The oddest reaction I had was while silently gazing at a black and white photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, taken while both were still in their early 20s. They just looked so young and unjaded, with their entire lives and careers ahead of them. I thought about the first Elton John songs I ever heard, like “Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters,” “Mad Man Across the Water” and “Sixty Years On.” And unexpected tears of deep nostalgia welled up in my eyes. It was embarrassing to dork out in public like that, but it was also such an amazing feeling to be so fully transported back to a time when Rock Stars meant everything to me. Barrie Wentzell’s work is truly as magical as the music of that era.
Read more about Barrie Wentzell, and view some of the photos in this do-not-miss show, at This Link.
Morrison Hotel Gallery is Located at 116 Prince Street (Loft) and 124 Prince Street (Store Front) in NYC’s Greenwich Village.
This Photo of Led Zeppelin In Concert Fully Captures the Energy of the Performance in a Static Medium. Amazing.
See the Photo that Made Me Cry After the Jump!
OK, normally, when I post any photo of a tattoo, it’s because that tattoo is fairly heinous. But this tattoo above, depicting Jareth, the Goblin King as portrayed by David Bowie in the 1986 film Labyrinth is, well, quite sharp actually. It’s not necessarily my bag (if I were going for a Bowie Tatt, I’d be much more likely to choose a Ziggy Stardust likeness) but it’s still very skillfully done! What do you think?
David Bowie Photographed in 1973 by Masayoshi Sukita
David Bowie celebrates 65 years on the planet today, having been born on January 8th, 1947. Happy Birthday David!
Now that we are just a couple of short weeks away from kicking off a spectacular New Year, full of art, music, pink things, bacon and free food, I would like to ask you, Dear Readers, how was your year? I hope it was awesome. As you can see from this Rad Blog you are now reading, I got to do some fun things in 2011, including going on my most fun vacation in many years when my sister and I took a 7 day Caribbean cruise, with three days in New Orleans on the front end. Holy cow, was that ever fun! Such adventuring! Such fine dining! Such ridiculous humidity! I’m still sweating.
What this all means is that it’s time again for the obligatory Year End Top Ten List, so, instead of going with the predictable, rote, yawnfest Top Ten CDs list I’ve decided to do more of a Pop Culture Mixed Bag, if you will. Because that is how I roll. Let’s get started.
Best Album: Manraze, PunkFunkRootsRock. Take guitarist Phil Collen from Def Leppard, team him up with drummer Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols and add Simon Laffy, the bassist from Phil’s former Glam band, Girl (because every power trio needs a bassist), and you’ve got a record that sounds, well, like a raunchier version of Def Leppard! We especially love Phil’s Lemmy impersonation on “Over My Dead Body.” Record of The Year! Read my interview with Paul Cook at This Link.
That’s Me in the Back Row: Third in from the Left
Best Game Show: The Kostabi Show, where a panel of three Art critics and/or celebrities compete to title the works of modernist painter Mark Kostabi for cash awards, while a jury votes on which title suits the painting best. I had the opportunity to serve as a member of the jury for a taping this past summer and went home with $6 cash more than I had when I arrived, plus a Kostabi coffee table book signed by Mark. Bonus: free pizza! Kostabi, who is an accomplished pianist, also released a swell modern classical CD, The Spectre of Modernism, this year, which has been in heavy rotation on my iPod for ages now.
Best Beatles Thing: Dave Depper’s Ram Project, an authentically covered version of Paul McCartney’s second solo album complete with off-key Linda-esque backing vocals! So good!
Best Rock Book: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil, a memoir of the British rock critic’s life and career in the 1970s. Everyone knows that all of the best music happened the Seventies , so I will admit that, as both a writer and fan, I certainly would have loved to have lived that life myself, save for the messy heroin addiction part.
Best Fashion-Related Museum Exhibit: Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Four words: Crown of Thorns Headdress. The Savage Beauty Exhibit set all kinds of ridiculous attendance records for the Met and was just insane. Insane!
Best Homage to Eighties Alternative Goth: Chris Connelly’s Artificial Madness. David Bowie Meets Killing Joke plus Bauhaus sautéed lightly with Magazine and a little Ministry on the side. Homage!
Best Rock Documentary: Fix, The Ministry Movie. Kids: Don’t Do Drugs. Or do a lot of them. One or the Other.
Best Seventies Southern Rock: The Sheepdogs, Five Easy Pieces EP. Bonus points to the band for their fan-winning appearance on the most recent season of Project Runway!
Reality TV (Competition): Top Chef, because Celebrity Chefs are the new Rock Stars!
Pop Culture as Art: The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe Retrospective and Pop Up Store at Boo Hooray Gallery (NYC). The judges and critics on the second season of Bravo’s Work Of Art didn’t really dig the SuckLord’s artwork too much, but his parodies of Star Wars toys served up with a serious side of snark made for one of the most subversive, hilarious and memorable art shows of the year! Art!
Honorable Mention: Kasabian’s Velociraptor, MGMT Live at the Guggenheim, The Zombies at City Winery, Single Fare Please Swipe Again at Sloan Fine Art, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Jeremy Dower’s Canis Mortuus Familiarus at Bold Hype Gallery, American Horror Story, Maurizio Catellan’s All Retrospective at The Guggenheim, Patti Smith at Webster Hall, The Wyld Olde Souls’ Ensoulment, Jeremy Fish Listen & Learn at Joshua Liner Gallery, Robot Chicken, Tosh.0.
Happy Holidaze and all the best for 2012!
This list previously appeared in a slightly abbreviated form on the East Portland Blog Dot Com.
In contrast to the ethereal, romantic, midnight cabaret vibe of Blonde Exodus, my favorite album by Scottish expat Chris Connelly, Artificial Madness, the latest from the ex-Ministry/RevCo vocalist is fierce, briskly paced and vibrant with frenetic energy. Oh Chris, why did you stay away so long?
While the undeniable bombast of Connelly’s impressive musical pedigree is in full evidence over the course of these eleven tracks, he’s also imbued these tunes with the essence of eighties-era bands that, in effect, carried the torch for all that came along in the nineties. “Wait for Amateur” would sound right at home book-ended by “Terror Couple Kill Colonel” and “Dark Entries” on a Best-of Bauhaus album and “The Modern Swine” resembles an aural bow to Howard Devoto’s Magazine, whether intentional or otherwise. As always, Connelly’s sublime Bowie-esque croon takes even Peter Murphy’s embodiment of the Thin White Duke past the realm of homage and into the arena of a vocalist whose imprint is arguable matched only by Bryan Ferry among those currently recording. If you enjoy music with a serious pulse, there is no reason not to add Artificial Madness to your collection.
Chicago-area fans can catch the Artificial Madness record release show on Friday November 18, 2011 at The Hideout. For this show, Chris will be joined by the those who backed him on the album including producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium), Noah Leger (The Karl Hendricks Trio, The(e) Speaking Canaries, Head of Skulls), Will Lindsay (Indian, Nachtmystium, Wolves in Throne Room), and Dallas Thomas (The Swan King, Circle of Animals, Asschapel).
Malevolent, beautiful, creepy and compelling all at once, Artificial Madness, out on Relapse Records on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, is one of my favorite releases of the year.