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Music videos are so out, 80s-tastic DeLorean commercials are in!
10.27.2014
07:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
cars
DeLorean


 
Are you a Norwegian electronic music enthusiast in the market for a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12? Look no further, my friend, because Norski producer/DJ Todd Terje (a kingpin of Norwegian EDM, apparently) is ready to sell you a fine futurist automobile with his new song, “DeLorean Dynamite.” The video itself is a real, actual commercial, for a real, actual 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, that you can really, actually purchase... provided you’re Norway-adjacent.

How did this project come about? From Terje’s press release:

This is a real classified for the sale of Frank’s Delorean. Frank was kind enough to let Terje use the DeLorean for his live visuals. Eventually, Frank decided it was time to sell his prized automobile, so in return for his generosity, Terje offered his music and Terje’s collaborator, Espen Friberg (the director who made the “Leisure Suit Preben” video) offered to make him a video to help him sell it. The result is this bizarre advertisement/music video, which is currently sitting somewhere on Norway’s Craigslist. The email address above is real. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY, PLEASE.

In keeping with DeLorean aesthetics, Terje’s video has all the production value of an 80’s home video and it is absolutely hypnotic. For the full effect, I highly suggest turning on the subtitles—listening to DeLorean specs listed off in Norwegian over electronic music, while watching the car itself cruise through Scandinavian scenery… well, it puts one in a kind of meditative state (and the car appears to be in great condition). Prospective buyers are encouraged to contact Frank at delorean_dynamite@hotmail.com. Remember, serious inquiries only—don’t jerk Frank around.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Prankster in Chief: LBJ liked to fool people with his amphibious car
10.27.2014
06:56 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Politics

Tags:
Lyndon Johnson


Lyndon Johnson takes his Amphicar out for a spin

Aside from being perhaps America’s best post-WW2 president in domestic policy and America’s worst post-WW2 president in foreign policy, Lyndon B. Johnson has also proved to be perhaps our most entertaining president, with memorable moments like showing off his gall bladder surgery scar, holding meetings while he was on the toilet, and, as we posted in July, hilariously talking about his “bunghole” with his tailor.

Maybe it’s not too surprising that Johnson also engaged in pranks that, had more people known about them, would surely have had media scolds worrying that his behavior was insufficiently “presidential.” For instance, few people know that, much like James Bond, Johnson actually owned an amphibious car. The Quandt Group produced the amphibious convertible (!) known as the “Amphicar” in the German city of Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde. The car functioned by engaging “the two propellers, located under the rear engine compartment.” The company made 3,878 of them between 1960 and 1968. It came in four colors, “Beach White, Regatta Red, Fjord Green (Aqua), and Lagoon Blue,” the latter one being the hue that Johnson favored. For Johnson owned an Amphicar. The black-and-white picture on this page is of Johnson driving one in April 1965.
 

Adventures with the Amphicar
 
Even better than owning one, Johnson liked to fool visitors to his ranch in Johnson City, Texas, that the brakes had failed and that they were powerless to prevent the car from plunging into a lake and drowning the passengers. One of Johnson’s LBJ’s top domestic aides, Joseph A. Califano Jr., tells the following story:
 

The President, with Vicky McCammon in the seat alongside him and me in the back,was now driving around in a small blue car with the top down. We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The President shouted, “The brakes don’t work! The brakes won’t hold! We’re going in! We’re going under!” The car splashed into the water. I started to get out. Just then the car leveled and I realized we were in a Amphicar. The President laughed. As we putted along the lake then (and throughout the evening), he teased me. “Vicky, did you see what Joe did? He didn’t give a damn about his President. He just wanted to save his own skin and get out of the car.” Then he’d roar.

 
That’s right, the President of the United States liked to drive his amphibious car into a lake and then shout, “The brakes don’t work! We’re going under!” just to see what would happen. In the anecdote above, note how LBJ twits Califano for worrying only about his own skin. I suspect as a politician, Johnson liked learning about the character of the people he was with, to see what they were “really” made of.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Predictions about the year 2000 by Arthur C. Clarke from 1964 (and the Stanley Kubrick connection)

Clarke Kubrick
 
In his 1972 book The Lost Worlds of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke says that he met Stanley Kubrick in a Trader Vic’s on April 22, 1964. The two formed a fast partnership. In May of that year, Clarke and Kubrick began hammering out the basic ideas that would eventually become 2001: A Space Odyssey. They would use Clarke’s short story, “The Sentinel” as a jumping off point and, in order to generate a rich background for the film, they took the somewhat unusual approach of attempting to collaborate on the creation of a new novel “with an eye on the screen” before writing the screenplay (although, in reality, the process became much more blurred).

Right around the same time, Clarke appeared on the BBC series Horizon in September of 1964 where he discussed some of his predictions for the year 2000 and beyond. You can watch the fascinating appearance in the two clips below. Horizon, now its 50th year, had just aired its first episode on Buckminster Fuller in May of 1964. Clarke’s appearance was part of the 6th episode of the series entitled The Knowledge Explosion and it provides us with some interesting insight into his vision of the future and some of the concepts that he and Kubrick were likely contemplating. 

Clarke was keeping a detailed log of his work with Kubrick during this time period. To give the Horizon clips some context, here are a few of Clarke’s journal entries from 1964 as he and Kubrick went back and forth about their ideas for the novel and film. From The Lost Worlds of 2001:

May 31. One hilarious idea we won’t use. Seventeen aliens – featureless black pyramids – riding in open cars down Fifth Avenue, surrounded by Irish cops.

June 20. Finished the opening chapter, “View from the Year 2000,” and started on the robot sequence.

August 6. Stanley suggests that we make the computer female and call her Athena.

August 19. Writing all day. Two thousand words exploring Jupiter’s satellites. Dull work.

September 7. Stanley quite happy: “We’re in fantastic shape.” He has made up a 100-word questionnaire about our astronauts, e.g. do they sleep in their pajamas, what do they eat for breakfast, etc.

September 8. Upset stomach last night. Dreamed I was a robot, being rebuilt. In a great burst of energy managed to redo two chapters. Took them to Stanley, who was very pleased and cooked me a fine steak, remarking “Joe Levine doesn’t do this for his writers.”

September 29. Dreamed that shooting had started. Lots of actors standing around, but I still didn’t know the story line.

 

On Horizon, Clarke accurately predicts instantaneous communication via satellite between people across the globe and talks about putting space travelers in suspended animation to traverse long distances over huge periods of time just as the astronauts do in 2001. He also throws out some bizarre concepts like replacing human servants with bioengineered apes and dolphins, but as he says early in the first clip “If what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I’ll have failed completely.”

 

 
Part II after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Warm Leatherette: Suzi Quatro, ‘The Girl From Detroit City’
10.26.2014
04:12 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Suzi Quatro


 
In her native America, pioneering female rocker Suzi Quatro is best remembered for her role as the leader of “Leather Tuscadero and The Suedes” on Happy Days, but in the rest of the world, Quatro is known as a chart-topping bubblegum/glam-rock superstar who has sold 50 million records.

Her biggest hits came fast and furious, one after another starting in 1973 and although Suzi was not a glam rocker per se, she fit right in with the then-current glitter/glam rock scene and bands like Sweet, Slade, Mud, T.Rex and similar-sounding acts. Pop impresario Mickie Most was her manager and the songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman wrote several million sellers for her including “Can the Can,” “48 Crash” and “Devil Gate Drive.” Clad from head-to-toe in black leather like a pint-sized Yankee Emma Peel, and wielding a bass that seemed HUGE compared to her, Suzi Quatro was perhaps the most archetypal musical and style influence on the female rockers who came in her wake like The Runaways, especially Joan Jett who idolized her, and Talking Head Tina Weymouth who took up the bass because she thought Suzi was cool.

This year marks the eternally youthful Quatro’s 50th year in show business (she started when she was 14) and last week saw the release of a new career-spanning four CD box set, The Girl From Detroit City on Cherry Red Records. Most people are only going to know Quatro’s hits, but the set (clearly aimed more at the Suzi Quatro megafan than someone who wants a greatest hits collection) runs the gamut from her earliest recordings, a number of demos, some cheesy synthed-out 80s power ballads and even some Broadway show tunes. The best stuff comes from her hit years, obviously, including an almost Bobbie Gentryish number, “Curly Hair for Sale” which totally blew me away. Here’s a cover of The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette”:
 

 
There’s also a cover of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine” that’s pretty good.

Here is Suzi Quatro, at the age of 23, singing “48 Crash”—she was super hot, wasn’t she?
 

 
Suzi’s career began in her teens, in 1964, when the Detroit-born Quatro and her sisters formed The Pleasure Seekers, an all-girl answer to the Beatles. In contrast to her tall, willowy blond siblings and band mates, Suzi was short and brunette. The Quatros were obviously a musical family and their father was a bandleader and talent booker who encouraged their talents. The first single was 1965’s “What a Way to Die,” included in the box set.

The Pleasure Seekers were contracted by Mercury Records in 1968. They were one of the very, very first all-female rock groups to get signed to a major label. This was at a time when you did not not normally see a woman touching an amplified instrument in pop music. They had a slick stage act that included a “Sgt. Pepper’s ” section, as well as several Motown numbers. They played the Michigan nightclub and college circuit alongside acts like Alice Cooper, The Amboy Dukes (Ted Nugent’s band), and The Bob Seger System. A young Iggy Pop dated the group’s drummer.

More Suzi Quatro after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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No, Internet, there isn’t a ‘sexy Ebola nurse’ costume for Halloween (or is there?)


 
Some troll today tweeted a shocking and, it was implied, inevitable idea for a Halloween costume: sexy Ebola nurse.  The apparent price was 45 pounds, as you can see in the image.

This offensive costume idea elicited considerable outrage on Twitter, which is understandable considering that Ebola has already killed thousands (around 5,000 as of this writing) in 2014 alone. Then there is this sobering fact from the World Health Organization: “A total of 450 health-care workers (HCWs) are known to have been infected with EVD up to the end of 23 October.” Three days ago the first known case of Ebola in New York City was confirmed.

On Twitter, user @thei100 tweeted, “Are people really trying to sell a ‘Sexy Ebola nurse’ outfit for Halloween?” to which user ‏@cfly97live responded “Unbelievable.” Perhaps @thei100 will be heartened to hear that the answer to your question appears to be no. The UK website Metro was on the case. It turns out that the sexy Ebola nurse is fake. The images were taken from a preexisting costume idea which is pretty absurd in its own right: a sexy Walter White costume. 
 

 
So it’s all good news, right? Humanity is redeemed. There is no “sexy Ebola nurse” constume. But wait! It turns out there IS a “sexy Ebola containment suit” costume, available on the brandsonsale website—it costs $59.99 per outfit.
 

 
Here’s their product description for that one:
 

As the deadly Ebola virus trickles its way through the United States, fighting its disease is no reason to compromise style. The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris, and New York as the world’s fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture. Ending plague isn’t the endeavor of a single woman, so be sure to check out our men’s Ebola Containment Costume for a great couple’s costume idea.

 
Long story short, if you’re hung up on the word “nurse,” then you’re in the clear. But this other costume is just about as bad, so faith in humanity—dashed.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Frank Gehry gives 98% of architecture the finger
10.26.2014
08:49 am

Topics:
Design

Tags:
architecture
Frank Gehry


 
Frank Gehry has been the number-one superstar of architecture for a generation now, going roughly as far back to the unveiling of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 1997. His shimmering buildings often resemble curved paper, and as top dog in the architecture world, his buildings have come in for some criticism for being not entirely practical in every respect. 

Gehry was in Oviedo, Spain, last week at a press conference related to the country’s Prince of Asturias Awards program for the arts. A journalist asked Gehry, according to De Zeen magazine, “what his response was to people who accused him of creating architecture for show.” Here was his answer, as tweeted by Inés Martín Rodrigo on Thursday:
 

 
Translation (thank you Google): “Answer by Frank Gehry to the first question of journalists in Oviedo.”

Gehry then said, “Let me tell you one thing. In the world we live in, 98 percent of what gets built and designed today is pure shit. ... There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.”
 

 
Gehry continued, “Every now and then, however, a small number of people do something special. They’re very few. But—my God!—leave us in peace! We dedicate ourselves to our work. I don’t beg for work. I don’t have publicists. I’m not waiting for people to call me. I work with clients who have respect for the art of architecture. At the very least, don’t ask stupid questions like this.” Observers on the scene report that this answer was met with an uncomfortable silence. Gehry then apologized, pointing to fatigue from his travels from France that day to attend the press conference. “Please, you have to understand that I’m tired and a little dazed by the trip. ... I’ll mumble an apology.” It’s worth keeping in mind that Gehry is currently 85 years old.

Just for fun I Googled the terms “gehry badass” and, wouldn’t you know it, came up with this hit: “Frank Gehry, Architectural Badass.” Which confirms what we already knew, Frank Gehry is a badass.
 

 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Hawkwind poet Robert Calvert’s prophetic sci-fi noir ‘The Kid From Silicon Gulch’
10.26.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Hawkwind
Musicals
Computers
Robert Calvert

Detective Sparks (Robert Calvert) is ready to solve the case!
 
In 1981, the idea of something like the Internet and its physical conduit, the personal computer, becoming deeply intertwined with our work and lives, still seemed like something out of a science-fiction novel. Granted, home computers were already in existence back in this time, but only for a small demographic that was mainly consumers with a healthy-sized wallet and a technology-inclined brain to match. There had been a number of sci-fi works, both films and prose that did include plot lines involving a world tied to computers, but none of these could quite touch the futuristic noir/stage musical, The Kid from Silicon Gulch
 
Robert Calvert during his time in Hawkwind.
 
The Kid from Silicon Gulch starred Robert Calvert, who also pulled in triple duty as both the main writer and co-director. Calvert was best-known for being the band poet and occasional lead singer for the space rock sonic phenom Hawkwind, throughout most of the 1970’s. Calvert, while often considered to be the “mad” one of the band, was also an incredibly forward thinking artist and writer, with all of those attributes shining brightly in Kid.
 
The musical stars Calvert as Brad Sparks, the sole private dick, not counting his personal computer assistant, ZYTE B128, at the “Non-Stop Computerized Detective Agency” in an unnamed time in the future. It’s an electro-noir universe with appropriately pulp-novel worthy lines and an eerie nod to the future partially turned into our present. Just look at Calvert’s intro from the original script;

“This is my beat. The heat drenched empty sidewalks and all the millions of lonely electronic hotel rooms and cybernetic apartments. No one goes out any more. They all stay in their rooms pressing their buttons, staring at their terminals. I call it The Gulch. Silicon Gulch.”

 
Detective Sparks is ready for action.
 
Sparks’ world soon is rattled by the arrival of one Baroness Spencer, whom Brad refers to as “Countess.” Blonde, gorgeous, pixie-built but with a big-regal swagger, the Countess (Jill Riches) has come to Detective Sparks to help investigate the death of her husband, Hymy. The police are calling it an accident but the Countess feels like it is murder, with the accusation being that the suspect is not “whom” but “what.” The what in question being Hymy’s own “micro-computer.” Given the mention a little bit later on in the play when Sparks’ is interviewing Hymy’s “micro-computer,” the latter states that everything it says is done in a merely imitative manner. In short, there’s a potential hacker running around the Gulch, manipulating machines to execute the criminal biddings of man…. or woman.

The death numbers start to add up as Sparks peels the layers of this case in an onion-like manner, uncovering some clever twists and great songs along the way. As someone who usually gets a little nervous with the phrase “stage musical,” thanks to a theater geek past that entailed seeing all strains of deep cheese of the Oklahoma variety, the music in The Kid from Silicon Gulch is refreshingly modern and flat out good. Some of the songs, especially “Silicon Neurotic Blues,” “Day Called X” and “On the Case” (which was later covered by Calvert’s former bandmate, Hawkwind backbone and founder, Dave Brock, whose guitar work also appeared on some of the music used in the show) sound borderline No Wave. Calvert’s ability to frame his lyrics perfectly with an assortment of melodies, a skill that served him so well both in Hawkwind and in his solo career, is bar none. Sadly, the soundtrack for Kid from Silicon Gulch were never officially recorded, but thanks to both the video recording efforts from Sandy Cameron and James Heyarth, as well as Calvert’s son, Nicholas, who uploaded the taped segments online, we can enjoy this show on YouTube.
 
Confrontation between the Countess and Sparks
 
The cast, while as minimal as the sets, are great fun. Riches, who also has illustrated a number of book covers, including work for another Hawkwind wordsmith, Michael Moorcock, is appropriately cool and slightly dangerous here as the Countess. (Riches would soon change her name to Jill Calvert, after becoming Robert’s third and last wife.) Peter Pavli is likable as the bumbling Sgt. Karelli. Another cohort of Calvert’s, Pavli also pulled multi-tasking duties here, since he helped create a lot of the music used throughout Kid.

Of course, the real star here is Calvert himself. Physically, with his tall build, strong profile and requisite trench coat and fedora, he could not be a better fit for the hard boiled and hardworking Detective Sparks. While it will shock no one who is familiar with Hawkwind or his solo work that he handles all of the singing duties with sheer deftness, it should be noted that he is equally good with all of the attached stage acting duties. Prior to his transition into the space/punk rock poet “urban guerrilla” laureate, Calvert worked in the theatre, even founding his own street troupe entitled Street Dada Nihilismus in the late 60’s. So his multi-creative backgrounds served him very well here. One has to wonder if the creators of the UK sci-fi television show, Red Dwarf, got to attend any of the performances of The Kid. Sparks’ interaction with the assorted computers, especially his own, is reminiscent of Dwarf’s main computer network, Holly. Given that Red Dwarf started in 1988, a few short years after Kid from Silicon Gulch debuted, it is a possibility. (1988 is also the same year that Calvert passed away from a heart attack.)
 
Still from Kid from Silicon Gulch
 
Considering how many artistic bowling pins Robert Calvert could efficiently juggle, it’s a crime that he remains but a cult figure. Given how many bloated rock-egos surpassed him on the fame game, as well as the critical write-up level, the time is well nigh for Calvert’s work, both in terms of music, writing and overall performance, to get a proper hero’s welcome-style re-evaluation. The Kid from Silicon Gulch is just the tip of the iceberg of the blazing light that is the genius of Robert Calvert
 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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‘Dog Day Afternoon’: The true story
10.25.2014
04:06 pm

Topics:
Crime
Movies

Tags:
Al Pacino
Sidney Lumet

image
 
The suspenseful 1975 crime drama, Dog Day Afternoon, was nominated for six Oscars—including one for actor Al Pacino’s ultra-intense turn as “Sonny Wortzik,” based on the real-life ill-fated Brooklyn bank robber, John Wojtowicz. It is justly considered one of the classics of Seventies cinema, but what of the actual story behind the events portrayed in the film?

From what I can tell, Sidney Lumet’s film, from a screenplay by Frank Pierson (A Star is Born, Cool Hand Luke, Soldier’s Girl), and based on reporting from LIFE magazine, was essentially pretty accurate to real-life events. John Woitowicz, a bisexual man and former bank clerk, convinced two accomplices, 18-year-old Salvatore Naturile (who was killed by the FBI) and Robert Westenberg (who fled the crime scene when we saw the first police car show up) to help him rob a bank. The reason for the heist, which was poorly planned and partially based on something in The Godfather (which Woitowicz had only seen that morning) was to obtain the money to pay for a sex-change operation for Wojtowicz’s partner, a pre-op transsexual named Elizabeth “Liz” Eden (played in the film by Oscar-nominated actor, Chris Sarandon).
 
image
 
Wojtowicz, writing The New York Times in an unpublished letter from his jail cell after the film was released, described his reasons for the bank robbery:

“[...] I did what a man has to do in order to save the life of someone I loved a great deal. His name was Ernest Aron (now known as Ms. Liz Debbie Eden) and he was Gay. He wanted to be a woman through the process of a sex-change operation and thus was labeled by doctors as a Gender Identity Problem. He felt he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. This caused him untold pain and problems which accounted for his many suicide attempts. I met him in 1971 at an Italian Bazaar in N.Y.C. after two years of separation from my female wife, Carmen, and two children.

Ernest and I were married in Greenwich Village in N.Y.C. on 12/4/71 in a Roman Catholic ceremony. We had our ups and downs as most couples do, and I tried my best to get him the money he needed for his sex change operation he so badly needed. I was unable to obtain the funds for his birthday on 8/19/72 and so, on Sunday, 8/29, he attempted suicide while I was at of the house. He died a clinical death in the hospital but was revived. While I went to get his clothes, he was declared mentally sick and sent to the Psychiatric Ward of Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. I went to see him and I tried to obtain his release on 8/21, but was told he would not be released and would stay there for a long time until he was cured.

Soon 8/22/75, along with two others, I began what I felt was necessary to save the life of someone I truly and deeply loved. No monetary value can be placed on a human life, and as it says in the Bible - “No greater love both a man then to lie down his life for another.”

 
image
 
On August 22, 1972, Wojtowicz, Naturile and (at first) Westenberg attempted to rob a Chase Manhattan branch on the corner of East Third Street and Avenue P in Gravesend, Brooklyn. What was supposed to take ten minutes turned into a fourteen hour stand-off and hostage negotiations with police, and saw hundreds, if not thousands, of onlookers showing up to gawk at the events. For about two days Wojtowicz became an unlikely sort of media anti-hero.

John Wojtowicz was sentenced to twenty years in prison, but got out after fourteen. A photograph of Wojtowicz with Liz Eden (who was able to get a sex change operation out of the $7500 fee that Wojtowicz made from the film) after his release can be see here. Liz Eden died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1987. John Wojtowicz was living on welfare in Brooklyn when he died of cancer in 2006.

The trailer for Dog Day Afternoon (note The Living Theatre’s Judith Malina as Wojtowicz’s mother):
 

 

After the jump, Harry Reasoner reports on the Brooklyn bank heist gone wrong on ABC News in 1972

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Idea’: Incredible pop-psychedelic Bee Gees TV special, 1968


 
There was a time, long, long ago—as ridiculous as this might sound today—when being a Bee Gees fan was something one didn’t admit to in polite company. By the mid-80s, the Brothers Gibb had more or less been relegated to the “guilty pleasures” category and their second career wilderness. If you liked them, it had to be, you know, “ironic” or something.

But fuck that. It was around that time, when I was in my early 20s, that I personally started to go absolutely nuts for their music. In my world, only an asshole doesn’t like the Bee Gees. If you don’t like the Bee Gees, best to keep it to yourself around me if you want to retain my respect for your musical tastes. It’s like admitting to being secretly Republican.

I’m serious. I’ll just cut you off!
 

 
That said, as big of a Bee Gees fan as I am—I have nearly everything—I was never, ever able to get my hands on a copy of their 1968 Idea TV special from German television. This morning, while looking for something else entirely, I came across some pop art style promo clips for two of their songs that I’d never seen before and they blew me away. I assumed that these were from the wonderfully art-directed French TV series Dim Dam Dom, but upon doing a little searching around, I found that they were were in fact from Idea and that the entire special was on YouTube in very high quality. It’s phenomenal!

The German Idea TV special coincided with the release of the Bee Gees’ fifth album, Idea, in 1968 but was actually shot in Belgium. At the time, they were a five-piece band, the brothers Gibb along with Vince Melouney on guitar and vocals and Colin Petersen on drums. Their special guests are Brian Auger and The Trinity with Julie Driscoll (who are incredible) and Lil Lindfors, a Swedish singer who performs “Words” in Swedish.
 

 
It was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty, who also directed three of my very favorite things ever: the short film “Melody” aka “Histoire de Melody Nelson” starring Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, his WILD (and technically advanced) adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, and the incredible 1966 documentary A Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali, which is hands down the very best film ever made about the painter. Averty has had a long and distinguished career in French TV, film and radio. The art direction, which owes much to the Beatles’ then-new Yellow Submarine, was done by the grand Guy Peellaert, the Belgian artist best-known for his cover for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and the Rock Dreams book.

The whole thing is amazing, but here’s the title number to whet your appetite. If you don’t get high from watching this, I can’t help you.
 

 
After the jump, the entire Bee Gees’ ‘Idea’ TV special…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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After ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’: A gallery of Peter Blake’s pop art album covers

000phsgtbtpetblak67.jpg
The ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ tableau
 
British pop artist Peter Blake still receives copies of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in the mail with a fan request to add his signature and send the iconic cover back by return of post. It’s because the cover to Sgt Pepper’s is Blake’s most famous artwork, one made in collaboration with his then wife Jann Haworth.

In 1967, the year of Sgt. Pepper’s, Blake was the leading light of the British pop art movement, exhibiting alongside his fellow talents Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier, R. B. Kitaj, Peter Phillips, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney (until he moved to Los Angeles). What made Blake’s work special then (as it is now) was his ability to create an iconic and identifiable style of representation (through collage, paint and installation) that fully captured that swinging decade. His mix of pop culture ephemera (pop stars, soccer players) together with the semi-autobiographical self-portraiture (of artist as lapel-badge wearing kid in grey short trousers) maintains a traditional narrative form within a highly individual and modernist style.

Blake has continued to produce iconic and memorable art over the decades, and long after Sgt. Pepper’s he is still in great demand as a designer of album covers. This selection ranges from his early work for Liverpool Poet Roger McGough, to his work for his former art school pupil Ian Dury (Blake was, by the singer’s admission, his most important mentor) to Oasis and Paul Weller. Blake has also worked with Eric Clapton on three separate projects though briefly thought he had lost the job on his first Clapton commission (24 Nights) when he ‘fessed up to “Slow Hand” that he couldn’t abide long guitar solos.
 
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Roger McGough: ‘Summer with Monika’ (1967).
 
aabeatsgtpeblak67.jpg
The Beatles: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ cover designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, 1967.
 
cpentangpblakswe.jpg
Pentangle: Sweet Child’ (1968).
 
whfacedanwhopbalk81.jpg
The Who: ‘Faces Dances’ (1981). Designed by Peter Blake, with portrait paintings of The Who band members by Bill Jacklin, Tom Phillips, Colin Self, Richard Hamilton, Mike Andrews, llen Jones, David Hockney, Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, Patric Caulfield, Peter Blake himself, Joe Tilson, Patric Proctor and David Tindle.
 
ffbndapblak84.jpg
Band Aid: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?’ (1984).
 
plwllrpbalk95.jpg
 
plwllrpbalk222.jpg
Paul Weller: ‘Stanley Road’ (1995).
 
dddindrypeblak01.jpg
Various: ‘Brand New Boots and Panties—Tribute to Ian Dury’ (2001).
 
In 1962, director John Schlesinger approached Peter Blake to make a documentary for the BBC about British Pop Art. From the outset, the pair did not get on—Schlesinger had ambitions to make a movie (he did, it was called Billy Liar). Schlesinger left the project and was replaced by the young Ken Russell, who was fast becoming the star director at the BBC’s Monitor arts documentary series. Russell and Blake hit it off immediately and the two developed the documentary into something bigger and better. Russell brought in artist Pauline Boty, who he had wanted to make film with, while Blake brought in artists Peter Philips and Derek Boshier. Under Russell’s directorial guidance the four artists collaborated on a dazzling and highly original film that captured elements of each artist’s personality. The title Pop Goes the Easel was apparently Blake’s suggestion, but the film’s style is all Russell.
 

 
More Blakean covers, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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