Video Clip of The Week: Neko Case, “Last Lion of Albion”


At a time when the reigning administration has zero regard for the environment: dismantling the EPA, selling off our public lands, aggressively polluting the water and air through the abolishing of regulations meant to protect the health of all citizens, and expediting the extinction of endangered species, this week’s anthemic Video Clip, “Last Lion of Albion” from Neko Case, is a call to action, in case you aren’t paying attention.

Brough to life visually in an animated clip by artist Laura Plansker, “Last Lion of Albion” is a requiem for the magnificent landscapes and creatures that have been erased from our planet by the effects of humans. Case explains, “I’m very honored and excited to debut this video by one of my very favorite artists. I’ve loved her work forever; she‘s so skilled at using handmade figures and props to create surreal worlds. Her work perfectly balances humor and darkness in a way that breaks my heart. Laura has a way of making something so artificial [feel] so very alive. The turning of the lion’s head to look at the sky, or its own reflection, makes me cry my eyes out. There is so much straight ahead compassion in Laura’s work, there’s no need to manipulate emotion of the viewer, it is the perfect balance. I’m so happy to share it here with you!“

“Last Lion of Albion” can be found on Case’s recently released album, Hell-On, which includes contributions from some three dozen guest performers, including k.d. Lang, Laura Veirs, Beth Ditto, and Robert Forster on backing vocals, Joey Burns of Calexico and Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices on guitars, and Barbara Gruska and Matt Chamberlain on drums. Enjoy!

Neko Case Hell On Cover

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Pink Thing of The Day: Pink David Bowie Glamour Shot

Pink Bowie as Jareth
Photo By Gail

This week’s Pink Thing comes from the incredibly talented Florida-based artist Scott Scheidly, and his latest series of hyper-realist portraits, which he calls Glamour Shots. Part of Scheidly’s ongoing “Pink Series,” Glamour Shots consists of vibrantly painted satirical portraits in which the artist depicts celebrities and notorious politicians dressed in hues of pinks and purples. Named for the glamour shots photography style popularized in the 1990s, Scheidly draws inspiration from this campy genre, draping figures in pearls, satin gloves and feather boas. I saw the Glamour Shots exhibit at NYCs Spoke Art Gallery and immediately fell in love with this portrait of David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King from the movie Labyrinth.

Find out more about the art of Scott Scheidly at This Link!

Return of The Green Monster Hand

Green Monster Hand

Hey, remember when I found This on 10th Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District? As far as reader comments go, that was one of my most popular Street Art posts ever, which is saying something, considering it had virtually no accompany text.

The Green Monster Hand, which has been seen around town by me just a few times, is still a bit of a mystery. Its authoring artist is unknown, and it is far from ubiquitous, unlike the Pink Baby Faces, which have been spotted all over the country at this point. I was out in Chelsea this past Saturday (and what lovely fall day it was) and spotted the Green Monster Hand, now holding an old school cell phone (an upgrade from the now-antiquated desk phone handset we saw last time), which is emblazoned with the text “You Go Girl.” Inspiring.

Graffiti Wall
Spotted on 10th Avenue Near 22nd Street

Eye On Design: Bejeweled Armoured Yashmak By Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen

Yashmak Bodysuit
All Photos By Gail

“You find beauty in the ugliest places,” maverick fashion designer Alexander McQueen assured jeweler Shaun Leane. Modern jewelry does not always aim to flatter. Some of the most spectacular examples assert mastery over the female body. This is jewelry on the edge; designed to push the limits of glamour, courting danger and even pain.

Yashmak Head Detail

The Yashmak is a veil concealing all of the face except the eyes, which is worn by some Muslim women in public. This metal Yashmak is part of a collection of jewelry that was designed for Alexander McQueen by Leane, who was not only a collaborator of McQueen’s, buts also a good friend.

Yashmak Edge Detail

Considered to be one of the top twenty most spectacular pieces in McQueen’s oeuvre, the Yashmak is created from aluminum plates cast from molds. The plates are linked by chains and inset at the center with red, Cabochon Swarovski crystals. Designed for McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2000 collection, which initially explored the clashing of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, the Yashmak  acted as a symbol of Middle Eastern dress.

Photographed as Part of  Jewelry: The Body Transformed, on Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC from November 12th, 2018 Through February 24th, 2019.

McQueen Metal Bodysuit

Mural at Dirty Franks Bar, Philadelphia

Frank Burns FLW Pope Francis
Frank Burns, Frank Lloyd Wright, and  Pope Francis Are Just a Few of the Franks You’ll See Outside Dirty Franks Bar! (All Photos By Gail)

Dirty Franks a local dive bar in Philadelphia that dates back to prohibition. Geoffrey and I countered it as a stop on our hours-long walk of the city’s Mural Mile tour, which takes you through many different neighborhoods in search of unique street art, public artworks and memorable landmarks. Dirty Franks stands out for the murals painted on its multiple façades, which depict the likenesses of famous Franks. The mural was designed by David McShane, painted originally in 2001, and restored with additions in 2015.

Sinatra St Francis Morgan
Frank Sinatra, St Francis and Actor Frank Morgan from The Wizard Of Oz

Most of the Franks are quite iconic, so they are easy to identify, but some (such as the Philadelphia Phillies player seen in the top photo) I did not know.

Frank in a Bun and Aretha
Frank in a Bun and Aretha Franklin (RIP)

Aretha Franklin had recently passed when we visited Philly so it was nice to see her represented. RIP, First Lady of Soul!

Franklin and Avalon
Ben Franklin and Frankie Avalon

Perdue and Oz
French Franc Coin, Frank Oz, Frank Perdue and an Unidentified Frank

You could make it into a fun game: Spot The Frank!

The Mural at Dirty Franks is Sponsored by the City of Philadelphia, Mural Arts Program. Dirty Frank’s is Located at 347 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Frankenstein Roosevelt Zappa
Frankenstein, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frank Zappa

Modern Art Monday Presents: Claes Oldenburg, Soft Calendar for The Month of August

Soft Calendar
Photo By Gail

Claes Oldenburg has consistently embraced contradiction to transform and animate everyday objects. In his art, hard becomes soft, miniscule becomes monumental and, as in Soft Calendar (1962), flat becomes three-dimensional. Oldenburg’s stuffed fabric sculptures originated in 1962 as props to his art events, or Happenings, and evolved into independent artworks. The giant numbers of Soft Calendar are sensuously rounded and pillow-like. Each Sunday is called out in brilliant red, while the remaining days of the week are coated in white enamel. Photographic documentation suggests that Soft Calendar was assembled by Oldenburg and is partner, Patty Mucha, at Green Gallery in 1962, in preparation for the opening of his solo exhibition.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Video Clip The Week: Jon Spencer, “Do The Trash Can”


My favorite memory involving Jon Spencer (he of the eponymous Blues Explosion) goes back to the time that I was assigned to write a cover story about him for a now long-defunct Rock magazine, whose editors would not allow writers to use the word “that” in any articles. Just being serious. For the interview, I arranged to meet Spencer at a Starbucks in the neighborhood where we both live, assuming it would not be impossible to settle in at an empty table and just chat over the reasonable din of people getting coffee and taking up space. When no tables were free at Starbucks, we attempted to find another nearby restaurant or bar to duck into, but there were no viable options, for some mysterious reason. I then suggested that perhaps we could just go to his apartment that he shares with wife Cristina Martinez, but Spencer said no way in Hell was that going to happen. Lovely. We ended up doing the interview while sitting on a bench in Union Square Park. Whatever. He was a decent interview, and now I have been able to share this fun story with you, so it all worked out.

This brings us to our featured video clip, with Spencer flying solo for “Do The Trash Can” – which was described to me as being “a Molotov cocktail of sound,” so I am just going to go with that.  If you are already a fan of the kind of take-no-prisoners,  eardrum-excoriating noise rock that Spencer is, dare I say it, the absolute best at churning out, then you will go crazy over “Do The Trash Can.” It’s a Jon Spencer song, what can I say? If you have no previous exposure to this true garage rock legend, consider this a test drive. Your mileage may vary.

Visually, “Do The Trash Can” is a bit of a softer sell, because this video ranks as a Work of Art.  “Do The Trash Can” rates up there in the top five or so “most fun to just look at” video clips I’ve featured in five years of running this column. With Spencer dressed up as a vendor of the kind of fast food that you might find at, say, Coney Island, the video focuses on artfully directed images of him interacting with hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, french fries, and pop corn, while also introducing The Trash Can as some kind of minimal dance, and of course playing guitar. This is all presented against the most highly-saturated palette of primary colors that I can recall seeing in a video since DEVO’s “Whip It,” which everyone agrees was ahead of its time. I’m hungry and I want to go to an art gallery, just thinking about it.

As an aside, it has also never dawned on me how much Spencer’s guitar playing sounds to have been influenced by that of the late, great George Harrison. For a point of aural reference, revisit the breakdown in The Beatles’ “Tax Man” and tell me I’m not on to something. “Do The Trash Can” can be found on Spencer’s first ever (no kidding) solo album, Spencer Sings The Hits!, which is out on November 9, 2018 via In The Red Records! Enjoy!

Spencer Sings The Hits