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A Naked Alphabet: The Human Body as Typography (NSFW)

To paraphrase L. P. Hartley: The 1970s is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

The sexual liberation that favored metropolitan areas in the 1960s spread across country during the seventies. Suddenly—or so it seemed—everybody was enjoying the “zipless fuck.” There were guide books offering useful tips on how to have a better sex life. Married couples were swinging. Nudity was celebrated. Porn was ubiquitous. Orgasms compulsory. Yet, it was still very much the male heterosexual eye that influenced everything.

In 1971, a small group of Dutch artists, photographers and graphic designers—Ed van der Elsken, Anna Beeke, Pieter Brattinga, Anthony Beeke, and Geert Kooiman captured this (newish) sexual freedom with a naked human alphabet—published in Avant Garde Magazine No.14: Belles Lettres. The letters were created using naked women—who lay, curled and bent into the appropriate shapes.

But this wasn’t just mere titillation—this artful display of female nudity was a protest “against the supposedly ‘dehumanising’ and thoroughly ‘indecipherable’ mechanistic alphabets.”

The typeface (in case you’re wondering) for these photographs is said to be Baskerville Old Face.
More barenaked letters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Thread Bare: Examining racial and sexual identity through erotic embroidery
09:36 am


Jessica So Ren Tang

These are quite beautiful—Jessica So Ren Tang’s embroidered pinups of “suggestively posed” women.

Jessica uses embroidery to explore her Asian-American identity—“the dualism of being too Asian to be American, and too American to be Asian.” Her work includes embroidered reproductions of Chinese bowls, takeaway noodle boxes, candy wrappers and decorative plates.

In her portrait series of pinup girls Jessica has replaced their “the facial identity” with exquisite Asian textile patterns.

The patterned skin creates a broader spectrum of Asian identity; it becomes more ambiguous and fluid as identity moves between the two.

The resulting image also captures an erotic charge between the model’s pose and the sensual nature of the embroidered patterns. Each portrait is hand embroidered on a piece of 8” x 10”  fabric. More of Jessica’s work can be seen here.
‘Girl 04’ (2016).
More of Jessica So Ren Tang’s fabulous work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Eighties will flash before your eyes with these covers from The Face magazine
09:59 am

Pop Culture

The Face
Nick Logan

The Specials’ Jerry Dammers on the cover of The Face #1.
I had a weekend job in a small newsagents in Easter Road, Edinburgh, working behind the counter selling papers, magazines, cigarettes, sweets, ice cream and fizzy drinks. You got to know the customers by what they bought. The woman with the Pekinese who always ordered a quarter of Parma violets on a Sunday afternoon. The old drunk who chain smoked in the shop while waiting for the Saturday night sports final. The kids who thought I didn’t see them trying to steal penny chews when my back was turned. It was a fun job. I liked it. The people were good, the work was easy—if the hours long.

Every month a selection of magazines came in—some ordered for customers, some on spec. One month, a new magazine arrived. Glossy, bright, full of articles about music, film, books, politics and fashion. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. This was no cheap youth pop mag. It was well-produced, high quality, beautifully designed (by Neville Brody) with smart intelligent articles by a college of young, sassy writers—Julie Burchill, Charles Shaar Murray, Ian Penman, Paul Morley, and Stuart Cosgrove. The magazine was called The Face. I bought it and placed an order thereafter. This was in May 1980.

The Face was the pop culture magazine of the 1980s and 1990s. No other magazine (or weekly music paper) ever came close to the quality or content of The Face. It was edited by Nick Logan from a small office on Mortimer Street, London. Logan had previously been editor of the NME when he made that paper hip, relevant and essential reading. He then started Smash Hits based around a “vague notion of a kids’ pop magazine.” It proved to be massively popular. Its success allowed Logan to try out another idea—The Face.

The Face was the bible for most late teens-twentysomethings during the eighties. In 1983, I was editing a student magazine. This collegiate journal had been a languishing students’ poetry mag. Inspired by Logan—I reinvented it as a student version of The Face. I filled it with interviews featuring the Fun Boy Three, Annie Lennox, Blancmange, Aztec Camera, Spear of Destiny, The Young Ones, Julie Walters, Neil Jordan, Fay Weldon, Tony Marchant and anyone I thought might of interest to my fellow students. Of course, as a tip of the hat I had to interview Nick Logan, the man who inspired it all. I traveled on an overnight bus to London and arrived in the offices in Mortimer Street. This was how I described him back then:

Nick Logan was born thirty-five years ago in London. He was educated at Leyton Grammar School, London. He left school at the age of fifteen. He is a thin. Smartly dressed. Wears glasses. Not easily impressed—ambitious, modest, talented. An ideas man as much as a leader.

From school Logan worked as a reporter on a local paper, the Walthamstow Guardian. He worked there for five years turning his hand to everything “subbing, proofing, editing and layout” before joining the NME as a staff writer.

I wanted to know about The Face. Logan said:

“The Face is what I would have come up with if I’d had more time at NME. I mean we used to say, ‘What could we do if we owned the magazine?’

“The first issue was started on a kitchen table and half in the corner of somebody’s office. A part of it is still done at home. My house is full of bits and pieces of The Face. You can physically trip over it at home.

“My wife [Julie] looks after back issues, keeps the books, pays contributors.”

The Face had a small staff: only two full-time employees—Logan and Intro/Front Desk Leslie White. There was also designer Brody—who was responsible for “80% of the way The Face looked” and assistant editor Paul Rambali.

The Face was individualistic. It didn’t try to compete with the weekly music press.

“There would be little point in that anyway. What we try to do is offer an alternative view or take a different line on a subject which others might cover as well.

“What interests The Face is very much what interests the staff of The Face—though that’s not to say we approve (if that’s the right word) of everything we report on.”

Each issue took four weeks to produce. The first week the staff recovered “shell-shocked from finishing the last one” and started planning the next one. Features were commissioned by the second week. Then the layout began. During the third week pages were proofed, photos reversed.

“In the fourth week: I disappear to the typesetter in Kilburn so I don’t have the hassle of people coming in. Then Leslie and Paul come down and give a hand. It’s bloody hard work. I’ll finish about six. Eat. Go home and work till twelve or one. That’s when it gets particularly nasty. You’re no longer living. You feel totally worthless. Useless. You can say it’s only one week—-but doing it after 37 issues you feel really bad.

“The short-term ambitions are to get a few extra sales. get more ads. Get better features and photos. And more readers. It’s just been standing holding up the wall collapsing.”

It was all worth it. For The Face changed so many people’s lives. I know it changed mine.

Below is a selection of covers from the first 50 issues of The Face. Check out pages from The Face here.
Paul Weller #2.
Bryan Ferry #3.
More choice covers from the first 50 issues of The Face, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ike and Tina Turner’s former home is for sale and it’s a GROOVY 1970s time capsule
08:46 am


home decor

A four bedroom home located in View Park, California that was once owned by none other than Ike and Tina Turner is for sale. It was last sold in 1977 to a woman named Amanda Pittman. According to Pittman, she kept some of the Turner’s furnishings intact and well, as you can plainly see… she didn’t really update it at all. It’s a 1970s time capsule to say the very least. In fact, some of the scenes from What’s Love Got to Do With It—a movie based on Tina Turner’s life—was filmed in the house.

Pittman recalls that Ike Turner had the sofas custom-made, but they were upholstered in a red, possibly velvet material that she disliked, so she had them redone in beige. (Owners are still determining whether or not the furniture is up for sale, says listing agent Ken Conant.)

That’s a deal breaker!

The home is listed at 999k. You can see more photos here.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Hellraising’ design for new arts venue at World Trade Center revealed (possibly full of Cenobites)
09:45 am


World Trade Center

The Guardian reported that a design has been unveiled for a new arts venue at the World Trade Center. The translucent, veined marble and glass building designed by architect Joshua Prince-Ramus is a proposed 99,000 square feet with three auditoriums and a rehearsal room. The rooms and halls will feature movable walls to create up to 11 configurations, with the largest configuration able to hold up to 1,200 people for bigger events. The $250m project is scheduled to open in 2020.

What the article failed to mention is the uncanny similarity between the building and the Lemarchand’s “Lament Configuration” box from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series of films. The fact that the building contains reconfigurable rooms makes the similarity even more profound.

The Lament Configuration
In the Hellraiser films, solving this puzzle box creates a bridge through which demonic beings called Cenobites may enter the mortal realm to bring about pain and suffering.

Solve the puzzle and you get these guys.
We think the proposed building at the WTC site is quite gorgeous, but we’re concerned that it could be full of Cenobites who want to tear our souls apart.

After the jump, see what happens when you mess around with the box…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Grab life by the nuts with these ‘desk balls’
08:44 am


Nice Balls

Well, now everyone can get a pair…

Think of them as stress balls. Something to help offload anxiety, anger or you know just blow off steam as your boss berates you for something minor and petty. You just smile, absorb his asshattery and imagine squeezing his balls until he shrieks in pain. All in good fun!

Nice Balls is a squeezable pink bawbag. A “pendulous prosthetic supplement” which can be attached to the underside of any work or school desk “in a simple, discreet and efficient manner.” Once in place the user can then squeeze this nut sack to their heart’s content or their hand gets sore…

Nice Balls manufacturer Imagine claim these “balls” swing in a “Euclidean curve” which (apparently) “generates” a sense of relaxation. (Who knew?. Also, Nice Balls people: why a female in the promotional photos?)

Although it’s difficult to understand why someone over the age of 11 would think this is funny (or bring them into the workplace) fascist leader Benito Mussolini used to touch his crown jewels to ward off the evil eye, so maybe there’s something similar going on here?
More balls out fun after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ben Wheatley’s amazing storyboards for ‘High Rise’

Film director Ben Wheatley tweeted his storyboard drawings for High Rise over the weekend. Based on the dystopian novel by J. G. Ballard, High Rise is a brilliant and astounding movie. Its cinematic quality again confirms Wheatley’s status as one of the most talented and original film directors at work in film today. As a director Wheatley stands in direct lineage to the likes of Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, John Boorman and Stanley Kubrick. He is an auteur of exceptional brilliance.

Wheatley plans his films meticulously. He works in partnership with the multitalented screenwriter/editor Amy Jump—who is also his wife. Before filming, Wheatley storyboards the entire film scene by painstaking scene. As evidenced by the selection of drawings below, Wheatley considers everything from shot size and angle to action and camera moves within a sequence. These storyboards will may make better sense if you have seen High Rise—which I recommend you do. It stars as Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, Jeremy Irons as Anthony Royal, Luke Evans as Richard Wilder, Elisabeth Moss as Helen Wilder, Sienna Miller as Charlotte Melville, and Keeley Hawes as Ann Royal. The film takes place in a luxury tower block (designed by Royal) during the 1970s. The block is split into three class structures—with the poorest at the bottom. As the tenants become removed from the outside world—chaos and violence unfold. High Rise is now available on Blu-ray.

The ever industrious Wheatley has just finished his latest film Freefire which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Freefire is “a real time shootout” action thriller starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer. Martin Scorsese is the executive producer and I, for one, am certainly looking forward to that…
Ben Wheatley director selfie on the set of ‘High Rise.’
Laing finds Digby the Dog.
Morning—High Rise.
The rest of Ben Wheatley’s storyboards for ‘High Rise,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Life-size bronze Lemmy statue unveiled at Rainbow Bar & Grill
08:47 am



Photo by Mike Maglieri via DIO on Twitter

A bronze Lemmy statue was unveiled last night at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. The statue stands at 6 feet tall and was sculpted by Los Angeles-based artist Travis Moore.

Image via John Kerr on Facebook.

The Rainbow Bar & Grill was one of Lemmy’s favorite haunts. He didn’t (or was allowed to?) drive and lived within walking distance of the legendary nightclub and watering hole for the famous. It makes perfect sense why the statue was erected there. His ashes belong at the Rainbow, too, but in a commemorative ashtray.

Below, video of last night’s unveiling:

More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Meet CreepyFig: Nightmarish LEGO-inspired cosplay
08:10 am


Frank Ippolito

This is the kind of stuff to give the kids (and some grownups) nightmares—a creepy but way cool, hyper-realistic LEGO-inspired cosplay nicknamed “CreepyFig.”

CreepyFig is a mask and gloves outfit created by special effects and make-up artist Frank Ippolito. Frank has given the usually bright, happy-smiley LEGO mini-fig a dark and twisted make-over. Just look at the head and see the surface skin is lined, veined, with troubled tufted brow. The hands are grubby with black, half-moon dirt under the fingernails.

Every year Frank creates a new design project for ComicCon. This year he had originally considered creating CreepyFig with make-up but decided instead to sculpt and paint CreepyFig from silicone—which means the head alone weighs fourteen pounds.

Frank’s lifelike design was made in association with Tested and was premiered at ComicCon where CreepyFig (understandably) was a hit with fans. Check out more of Frank Ippolito’s fabulous work here.
More ‘CreepyFig’ plus video, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A collection of wonderful vintage portable record players
11:32 am


record player

I’m digging this nice visual collection of vintage portable record players amassed by Japanese turntable enthusiast, Fumihito Taguchi. Sure, they probably sound like shit when you play a record, but they look just so gosh darn cool. The manufacturing dates for these record players range from approximately 1960 to 1980.

These wonderful artifacts will be on display at Tokyo’s Lifestyle Design Center from July 30 to August 28, 2016.

You can view more of Taguch’s extensive collection in his book Japanese Portable Record Player Catalog



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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