Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Gosh" by Jamie xx


What an incredible video for the song "Gosh" by Jamie xx (English record producer, remixer and DJ James Smith). There is an amazing dream-like, apocalyptic, surreal--vaguely menacing--sense to the narrative. I will say about this video what I said when I saw the very first Matthew Barney film I ever encountered, which was the second part of his Cremaster series: "I'm not sure what I just saw, but I know it is epic and full of meaning."

And like a Matthew Barney film, this video by director Romain Gavras feels like a symbolic reenactment of some kid of process, whether natural, chemical, biological, or psychological. I love the passive albinos (wearing what looks like Craig Green, previously here), the puzzling emptiness of the faux-Parisian landscape (Tianducheng, a spectacularly failed gated community near Hangzhou, the capitol of China’s Zhejiang province, complete with its own replica Eiffel Tower), and the disturbing uniformity of the young boys. It's all so fascinating and hypnotizing.

And that final pull-out effective!

And somehow, the Behind The Scenes video is just as surreal!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Tiny Dancer" by Elton John

Yes, 46 years after its release, the classic Elton John song "Tiny Dancer" now has an official video!

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their songwriting partnership, Elton John and Bernie Taupin gave new filmmakers the chance to create official music videos for three iconic Elton hits. A panel of industry renowned judges selected three winning filmmakers who went on to receive support from YouTube and top production studios to bring their ideas to life.

And here is Max Weiland's winning film for "Tiny Dancer," a very moving exploration of people, and their loneliness and interactions, all behind the wheels of their cars in and around Los Angeles. And as usual when Los Angeles is a feature (see films like the noir classic "The Big Sleep," the Coen Brothers' demented "Barton Fink," or David Lynch's modern masterpiece "Mulholland Drive") the city itself becomes a character as well. Indeed, this video recalls for me the brilliant, kaleidoscopic, stunning narrative of another L.A.-centric film, "Magnolia" by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Yr Body Is Nothing" by Boy Harsher

I am so exquisitely hypnotized by this dark track "Yr Body is Nothing" by Boy Harsher.

From their website:
"BOY HARSHER is a dark electronic duo that produces gritty dance beats infused with ethereal vocals, creating a sound that is eerie, intense and incredibly danceable. Augustus Muller develops the underbelly of sound with minimal beats and grinding synths, where Jae Matthews whispers, screams and chants on top. Together, the music created is somewhere between industrial, drone and confessional storytelling. Muller and Matthews both have a strong background in film and their cinematic approach translates effectively in both their recordings and live performance."

Music is a drug.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

BEAUTY: Interiors--Kara Mann

Master interior designer Kara Mann was hired to design some model rooms at the legendary and infamous Hotel Chelsea in New York City. The Hotel has been undergoing a deep renovation for the last many years and last year, the building was sold for $250 million and the new owners have announced that they are going to reopen The Hotel in 2018 as a combination of a hotel and condos.

Since its inception in 1885, The Hotel Chelsea has been more than a has been a haven and home for writers, poets, artists, musicians, singers, and creative people of all types. Mark Twain was among the earliest long term residents at the Chelsea. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY while living at the Chelsea...and Kerouac wrote ON THE ROAD there. Dylan Thomas died of pneumonia at the Chelsea in 1953. The list is long and staggering but musicians from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd to Edith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen have all lived for a time at The Chelsea. Sex Pistol member Sid Vicious lived there and in fact, the hotel is where Nancy Spungen, his girlfriend was found stabbed to death. Artists as varied as Diego Rivera, Robert Mapplethorpe, Willem de Kooning, Christo, and Nikki de Saint-Phalle have all called The Chelsea home. But the most well-known residents are surely the Warhol Superstars: Edie Sedgwick, Viva, Ultra Violet, Mary Woronov, Holly Woodlawn, Andrea Feldman, Paul America, Rene Ricard, Nico, and Brigid Berlin. In fact, Warhol and Paul Morrissey directed "Chelsea Girls," a 1966 underground film about the lives of these Warhol Superstars and Factory regulars.

In 1966, the same year as Warhol's film, The Chelsea Hotel was named a New York City landmark, and in 1977 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Given this incredible pedigree, The Chelsea Hotel conjures up many styles, faces, and periods. Designer Mann (previously here) tends to produce dark, moody interiors but kept rooms light for her Chelsea remodel while miraculously managing to maintain a dark, moody feeling that is tinged with a sense of decadent rock n' roll. She coupled this with peculiar art, collected patchwork Bohemiana, and a worn look that tells the tale of The Chelsea from today's perspective. Fantastic work.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

You Can't Ignore The Past

“I don't live in the past, although your past is so much a part of what you are that you can't ignore it.”
--Lauren Bacall

In The Past, This Is What We Thought The Future Would Look Like

Friday, May 26, 2017

BEAUTY: Projection and Photography--Clément Lesaffre

For his Racines (or Roots) series, French photographer Clément Lesaffre takes wonderful, intimate portrait photos of people's faces and then projects them onto trees at night--often during a full moon--and the results are quite moving, evoking not only the relationship between humans and land or place, but also of the ephemeral nature of humans in the face of the universe...

Here he is at work on one of his pieces, projecting a face onto a rock and taking a long-exposure photo.

And here is his Self Portrait. With eyes closed. Poignant.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Last Light" by Colin Rich

Award-winning cinematographer and director Colin Rich, who created visuals for M83 (one of my favorite bands, previously here, here, and here) when they performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013, has released a beautiful new time-lapse film, "Last Light." The film features the track Holograms by M83 which is taken from their soundtrack to the film "You & The Night."

Colin Rich talks about his short film:

"'Last Light' is the story of Los Angeles bearing the brunt of a tempest and the clarity that comes after the storm.
See Los Angeles in rare form.
I spent the better part of two years trying to link together a continuity of weather and light, which proved to be by far the most challenging films I have done to date. For those of you who have lived in Los Angeles, you know that rain, for the most part, is few and far between. Fueled by recent storms, I was able to capture the city in a seldom seen light; torrential rain and dark stormy skies."

It's beautiful, Colin.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Cold Out There" by Jon Hopkins

I bought Jon Hopkins' enchanting CD "Opalescent" when it came out in 2001. And for its 15th anniversary last year, he remastered it for a vinyl release. And here is my absolute favorite track, "Cold Out There." It is enigmatic, somber, and majestically profound.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just watched...

..."Young Men," an exquisite dance film about war by BalletBoyz.

In 2015, the all-male English dance company BalletBoyz--started by veteran dancers and co-Artistic Directors Michael Nunn and William Trevitt--mounted a highly successful live dance performance about World War I and the effect of war on young men titled, appropriately enough, "Young Men." And now that stage performance has been adapted and filmed on location in northern France in locations that simulate battlefields of World War I. Choreographed by Iván Pérez and danced--as well as acted--beautifully by the members of BalletBoyz, the film is hypnotic and intimate. It doesn't try to tell the story of an entire war, an entire armed force, or an entire country's reaction. It is told through the lens of a very small regiment, and most specifically a soldier for whom the war is clearly against his nature. At the core is a fight between two men: the Sergeant and the Soldier.

But the most arresting part of the film is the miraculous score by Keaton Henson (previously here). It is gripping, tender, and profound.

The trailer for the film gives you a good idea of its tone and timbre.

Here is the end of the "Training With The Sergeant" section:

And here is a bit of the "In The Trenches" section:

And finally, here is the disturbing "Shell Shock."

It was shown on PBS here in the States as part of the Great Performances series. I don't see where one can buy a DVD of the film. Looks like if you are in the UK, you can stream it from BBC, but otherwise, a DVD of the original stage production is available through the BalletBoyz SHOP section of their site.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Manchester, Enlgand...

...thinking of you in solidarity. Our hearts and minds go out to victims, their families and loved ones, and all touched by this tragedy.

BEAUTY: Installation--Lorenzo Quinn

The Venice Biennale started this month and artist Lorenzo Quinn unveiled a monumental installation piece. Called Support, the piece consists of two arms rising up from the canal to support the Ca' Sagredo Hotel to highlight the impending dangers of climate change felt quite keenly in this floating city.

Support will be on view through the end of the Biennale on November 26, 2017.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

BEAUTY: Object--Joseph Ernst for Sideline Collective

Oh, with the constant stream of disappointing and wholly expected criminal activity from the putrid Monster-In-Chief here in the United States, it would be such a joy to see nothing in the news...if he weren't there, if we had someone who could be trusted with the keys to the car, if we had someone who actually knows what the job entails and has ethics...oh, someday...

Joseph Ernst, an artist with Sideline Collective has created Nothing In The News. Their website explains:

"NOTHING IN THE NEWS: Newspapers from around the world with nothing in them.

We live in a world of constant sensory overload. 24 hours a day we are bombarded with information in real time by every media outlet and platform competing for our attention, one pop-up notification at a time.

And we play ball. We invest hours on end staring at our mobile devices. We want to know what’s going on, the why and the how. We need to know. But in our perpetual quest to fill every spare minute of our time searching for something meaningful, we learn nothing. We are so busy filling every waking moment with things to watch and do, and learn and listen to, that we have forgotten what it is like to just be. To sit around and think. To switch off and be bored. To daydream.

This project offers a little respite to all this information overload.

Yes, we live in particularly sensitive times. Times where the truth really matters, and where newspapers have a more important role to play in modern democracies than ever before. But for a society addicted to breaking news, gossip, and celebrity status, to Facestagram and Twapchat, the latest trends, and the top tens, to sports punditry, conspiracy theories, cat videos, and ridiculous amounts of porn ... for this cultural precipice, we offer the one thing you need more than anything else: “Nothing”. Absolutely nothing. Today, and today only, there is Nothing in the News. Enjoy it whilst you can.

Artist: Joseph Ernst. For stockist enquiries contact"

If you'd like to own one of these serene newspapers, they are for sale via the Sideline Collective site. Just scroll down and click "BUY ONE."