In celebration of their 50th anniversary, Dr. Martens has been commissioning musicians to cover songs by other artists. I’ve seen a bunch of the videos for the project and this one released today by N.A.S.A (deejays Squeeky Clean and Zegon) is at the top of the class. They do justice to the Max Romeo reggae classic Chase The Devil. Legendary musician and videographer Don Letts directed the video.
Gigi Gaston, The Black Flower, was a hugely popular and tragic sixties French pop star who in reality never existed. She’s the creation of conceptual artist, and former art director of New York Magazine, Josh Gosfield. He’s done an astonishingly convincing job of documenting a life that never was, through photo-shopped pictures, a mock documentary, a video shot by Jean Luc Godard (not), newsclippings and fictional biographical ephemera.
We see her Gypsy family’s escape from Bulgaria, her affair with her stepbrother, her first guitar, her rise up (and fall down) the charts, the car crashes, funerals, love triangles and the murder trial. All this played out in a garish media spotlight before the insatiable eyes of her public.
I was initially fooled by Gosfield’s elaborate hoax and went looking for information on the French chanteuse, including checking Amazon for cds, only to discover that I’d been had.
Gosfield has included fictional quotes from icons of the era, including this one by Norman Mailer from a nonexistent Esquire article.
As Norman Mailer wrote, in a 1974 Esquire story:
Could this Black Flower with a voice like Piaf have guessed that when she bloomed into a teenage singing idol for post-war European youth, and later became the Continental fashion icon and sexy French pin-up girl on the bedroom walls of the hippest kids, that the future would strangle her dreams of normalcy, like the protagonists in one her romantically fatalistic songs? No, of course not. Because the characters of Greek tragedies are always the last to know their fates.
Here we a have Gosfield’s perfectly realized faux Jean Luc Godard video and the trailer for the documentary.
Check out Josh’s website and be prepared to be amazed by the depth of detail and work that went into creating his pop fantasy.
More photos of The Black Flower and the documentary trailer after the jump…
My mother is French and in my early teens I lived in Cannes and Paris. I developed a love for French rock and rollers - Sylvie Vartan, France Gall, Johnny Hallyday and, above all others, Francoise Hardy.
I had a Philips portable battery operated record player upon which I would play Hardy’s 45s non-stop, taking the player with me wherever I went like a prehistoric Walkman. I couldn’t be without her. She was my first teenage crush.
I’d sit on the beach at Cannes, smoking Gauloise cigarettes (which got me high) and listen to Tous les garçons et les filles and Le premier bonheur du jour for hours. It was just me and Francoise on the Riviera watching the thin line separating the blue Mediterranean from the perfect blue sky.
I had yet to discover The Beatles. American rock, with the exception of Chuck Berry, didn’t interest me. Francoise was my pop culture goddess. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. Well, actually, there was one record that I would allow to share the turntable with Francoise: The Lonely Surfer by Jack Nitzsche, a song with an almost Zen melancholy about it, spinning off into the void.
The year of my romance with Francoise and Gauloise and melancholic surfers was 1963. It was September and Hardy was scheduled to play in Cannes. My mother had bought me a ticket. For weeks I could think of nothing else but seeing my goddess perform. On the day of the show, I was dressed to impress in my pegged pants, loafers and turtle neck. I was ready for love. We ascended the steep marble steps of the concert hall and arrived at the ticket booth to be greeted by my worse nightmare…the show had been canceled! I was heartbroken. My mother and I walked back to our apartment building in total silence. I was beyond myself with disappointment. I felt as though I had been stood up on my first date. I felt shunned, abandoned. I suddenly understood the electric yearning in the twang of Nitzche’s lonely guitars. I was the solitary surfer, crashing against waves of youthful despair. Oh, Francoise, why, why?
I carried the torch for my Gallic lover until the following month when the trivialities of young love were washed away on November 22, the day Kennedy was assasinated. Things changed after that. Innocence was gone. I discovered Bob Dylan and soon The Stones, The Beatles and the rest. Eventually I moved back to the States and Francoise Hardy became a fading memory. It wasn’t until a couple of decades later that my crush was revived and I found myself buying every vinyl record I cound find of hers. And to this day, Francoise is my eternal teenybopper flame, the beatnik princess of my dreams.
Here are three clips of Francoise (one she sings in Italian). Two have not been readily available on the internet, the other has been seen my millions. I present them to you in all their pristine glory.
Big Love and God Lays Her Love On Me are tracks from my forthcoming album, Tantric Machine, produced by Hugh Pool.
Tantric Machine was recorded at Excello Studios in Brooklyn. The idea was to create an album that sounded post-apocalyptic, as if the recording equipment and instruments had been salvaged from the rubble of a dying civilization. So, we used lots of pawn shop rhythm machines, synthesizers, cheap shit microphones, antiquated effects boxes, analog equipment, etc.
I wrote the music and lyrics over the course of a few months in 1999. The album was recorded in 2000 and I just sat on it. It took pressure from friends who had heard it and liked it for me to finally decide to release it.
Really creative stuff here. UK designer and video artist Chris Lince has put together a fantastic video for his fellow Brits in the group Pig With the Face of a Boy, which describes itself as “the world’s best neo-post-post music hall anti-folk band.”
The song, “A Complete History Of The Soviet Union Through The Eyes Of A Humble Worker, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris” (that melody is actually the 19th-century Russian folk song “Korbeiniki”) is clever enough, packing a 70-year history into seven minutes. But the metaphor of the famously addictive video game truly comes alive in Lince’s atmospheric vid. He captures the grime, the grit, and the blocks beautifully. I’m not a gigantic fan of satirical musical comedy, but I think this is executed really well.
There aren’t too many people who I’d be really that impressed to meet. To be perfectly honest/obnoxious I’ve already met most of the people who I ever wanted to meet, or else they’re dead. Just three people come to mind who I’d be humbled to find myself face to face with and all are women: Oprah Winfrey, Patti Smith and Rachel Maddow.
In the above clip, Rachel Maddow shows why she’s such an important, even necessary, figure in the American media. Although David Letterman is obviously throwing her well-intentioned, and respectful softballs, she says here what more sane and responsible people who have an audience should be saying about Fox News, Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart: “Scaring white people is good politics on the conservative side of the spectrum.”Bravo, Ms. Maddow, keep it up!!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this November release. Burlesque looks like a delirious mashup of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls, Flash Dance, Coyote Ugly and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Who could ask for anything more?
In what is sure to be a doublewide’s worth of celluloid delight, Cher, her face in the last stages of rigor mortis, plays an aging exotic dancer who owns a down-on-its luck joint called The Burlesque Lounge. Into her life walks bright-eyed, Ali, a small-town gal from Iowa with big dreams and a set of thighs that could crack open coconuts. Hired as a waitress, Ali quickly works her way up to the stage, knocks the socks off everyone with her funky moves and soulful warbling, and becomes the star attraction at the lounge, the diva of the dive. Sounds great, right? And to add just the right amount of campy sweetness to the whole mix, Christina Aguilera plays Ali. Man, I’m choking up Jujubes just thinkin’ about it.
As added insurance that this glitzy, camp classic in the making, has street cred, Burlesque is directed by a former stunt boy from 80’s breakdance classic Beat Street, Steve Antin.
Oh, shit, I’m frothing at the mouth. I need a moist towelette. Quick.