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Sound + Vision: David Bowie plays ‘Low’ in concert, 2002
11:39 am


David Bowie

In 2002 David Bowie was in a very different place from he was when he recorded Low in Berlin twenty-five years earlier. Who wouldn’t be, after all? In 1976 Bowie, trying desperately to extricate himself from a serious cocaine addiction, absconded to the European continent, specifically Berlin, where he commenced a period of activity that would elevate him into the category of unquestionable rock and roll legends once and for all.

He chose Berlin because he could exist there in relative anonymity: “Berliners just didn’t care. Well, not about an English rock singer, anyway.” He didn’t realize at the time that he was entering a scene with heavy heroin availability, but luckily that didn’t prove deleterious to his health or sanity: “I moved out of the coke center of the world into the smack center of the world. Thankfully, I didn’t have a feeling for smack, so it wasn’t a threat.”

Bowie helped Iggy Pop record The Idiot and became inspired by (among other things) Brian Eno’s album Discreet Music. He met up with Eno and their first collaboration was the moody, bracing and unexpected album Low, which startled not merely a few Bowie fans.

Jump to the early 2000s. 9/11 occurred during the post-production phase of Heathen, which came out in June of 2002, and while Bowie was never quick to point to it as a “9/11 album,” he did acknowledge that there was a connection there, calling it “a traumatic album to finish” and emphasizing that “we live down here,” i.e. downtown Manhattan.

In 2002 for his Heathen Tour, Bowie planned a limited number of concerts in which he would play Low start to finish. (Actually he ended up choosing to play the tracks out of order, but whatevs.) The first Low show was at Roseland Ballroom in New York on June 11, 2002. The other three shows in which he played the full album took place in London, Cologne, and Montreux. (Those four shows, as well as one other show in Denmark the same year, appear to be the only times Bowie ever played “Weeping Wall” live. isn’t aware of any others, anyway.) 

The Low set at the Montreux Jazz Festival was captured on video with high-quality audio and video. The date was July 18, 2002, which was also the final time Bowie ever played the album live.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Finally, you can watch David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s daytime TV appearance on ‘Dinah!’ in full
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David Bowie
Iggy Pop
Dinah Shore

The August 1990 issue of SPIN—which came out closer to the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show than to Lorde’s appearance on SNL a few weeks back—was dedicated to “35 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The issue contained a feature that purported to list “35 Greatest Moments in Rock ‘n’ Roll Television.” Here is a sample entry from the list:

April 15, 1977: Iggy Pop and David Bowie were guests on Dinah’s Place. Promoting Lust for Life, Iggy and David, along with Tony Sales on bass and Hunt Sales on drums, performed “Sister Midnight” and “Fun Time.” During the interview segment, Bowie was shown in tears from trying to stifle his laughter when Dinah Shore asked Iggy what it felt like to crawl around on broken glass.

This was Iggy‘s first appearance on television—if you don’t count Midsummer Rock a television program based on the infamous Cincinnati Pop Festival of 1970—as he says during the lead-in to “Sister Midnight.” As is well known (and as Iggy mentions), the father of the Sales brothers was none other the children’s TV personality Soupy Sales. Ricky Gardiner played guitar that day, Bowie was on the keyboards.

In the pre-Wikipedia days of 1990, it would have been hard to know that Dinah’s Place ended in 1974 and that the show Iggy and Bowie appeared on was called Dinah! Also, Iggy was promoting The Idiot—both of the songs he played are on The Idiot. Lust for Life didn’t come out until August (it was a good year for Iggy, indubitably).

Seated on the panel alongside Dinah is Rosemary Clooney, aunt to George and a successful singer in her own right. It’s hard not to notice that the interface of Dinah/Rosemary on the one side and Bowie/Iggy on the other is a very unusual transmission of the punk/glam ethos to a mostly unsuspecting audience. Iggy is super likeable here, but then again he is usually very likeable.

Dinah asks if Iggy has ever influenced anybody, and he retorts that he “helped wipe out the ‘60s.” This gets a huge laugh, most notably from Bowie himself. Later on Bowie beats himself up for adopting an “American accent.”

SPIN’s account notwithstanding, the moment when Bowie really loses it is during the standing interview segment before “Sister Midnight” when Iggy describes losing his teeth because of “getting too violent onstage” (Iggy’s parents helped pay for the replacements). Dinah wonders whether Iggy’s parents mind that he performs without a shirt—he says they’re OK with it.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
80s ‘Superfans’ talk about their obsessions for Bowie, Boy George, Duran Duran & Elvis

Superfans in the sixties.
I don’t suppose I fit the requirements to be called a superfan, well, unless you count having a cheeky wank to a Kate Bush video when I was much younger. Probably not. But I did once (all too briefly) date a tall blonde David Bowie superfan, who probably only ever went out with me because of my passable impression of the Thin White Duke. My vocal dexterity was convincing enough for this dear sweet girl to demand I serenade her with one or two of her favorite Bowie songs during our more intimate moments. I knew it could never last. There was only so long I could sing “The Laughing Gnome” without losing my ardor.

Back in January 1984, Smash Hits music magazine went in search of a selection of typical eighties superfans. They discovered a band of girls and boys who had an overwhelming passion for all things Bowie, Presley, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Madness, Staus Quo, and even Marillion. These young things gave some sweet and occasionally strange answers as they tried to explain exactly what it means to be a “superfan.” Their answers were compiled into a strange format—as if the writer was attempting to cram in as many words as possible into one sentence without thought for punctuation or even explaining who exactly was talking (Me). But that’s not so important as we do get to hear what it meant to be young(-ish) and obsessed with music in the 1980s.
Smash Hits 5-18 January 1984.


AGES: 15 & 14

“I (Tracy) liked them when they first came out. She talked me (Kim) into going on Duran Duran ‘cause I liked Dexys. She told me to take down all my DMR stuff, give it away and stick up Duran Duran. We have about the same amount of stuff. Tracy has more scrapbooks but I’ve got more on the wall—about 50 different things. We don’t get anything. We only get things if we like them. If it’s a really gonkified pic of Simon le Bon we won’t get it. You don’t put gonks on your wall do you? There’s sort of levels of being a fan. We’ve got a friend who is a real fan but we think she prefers football. She only puts up little pictures on her wall. Even if we see a little one when we’re walking up the street, we’ll be screaming. There was one time she went totally mad on Wham!. We didn’t talk to her for about three days. Then suddenly she went back to Duran. All the lost Duran Duran fans are Wham! fans. We visit Roger’s mum and we’ve been up to Nick and John’s parents’ houses. The first time we went to Roger’s we interviewed his mum for a school project and we found out a few facts that no-one else knew. She told us he was tone deaf and that his favourite toy was a glove puppet. And that his favourite meal is Welsh Rarebit. We’ve been up twice now. No three times. The last time she invited us. His dad was there decorating. We had our pictures took with his dad, his mum and the dog. I think people who go mad and sleep on the grass outside are cruel. OK, you might see him but he isn’t going to ask you out and that is what a lot of fans expect. Some of the girls say they are going to meet John Taylor one day. He’s going to swirl them round to the dinner table—with chocolates and everything—and ask them to marry him. We know that isn’t going to happen. I (Tracy) would love to be in one of their videos. Yeah (Kim), even if we were only standing at the bus stop. Anything. The only thing we have in common is that we’re Duran Duran fans. I’m (Tracy) quiet; she’s noisy. I (Kim) say the wrong things; she doesn’t”

More superfans discussing their love of Staus Quo, Madness, Elvis Presley and David Bowie, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Bowie, Bolan, dressing up & going out’: Boy George takes a personal trip through the 1970s

September 1982: Hit rock ‘n’ roll singer Shakin’ Stevens can’t make his scheduled appearance on BBC chart show Top of the Pops. Panicked producers make the life-changing decision to fill the gap left by Shaky with an unknown pop group by the name of Culture Club. Minutes after the band’s debut television appearance on the show, phones start ringing at the BBC switchboard asking What the hell did we just watch?. Next day, newspapers run similar stories filled with offensive mock outrage questions: “Who is Boy George?” “Is he a boy or a girl?” Within weeks, Culture Club was number one and Boy George was the nation’s sweetheart.

But how did it come to this? Where did Boy George come from? What shaped the life of this brilliant, iconic “gender-bending” singer?

Well, these are some of the many questions answered by the lad himself as Boy George aka George O’Dowd takes the viewer on a very personal pop culture trip through the decade that shaped him—the 1970s.

The seventies are all too often dismissed by the more, shall we say, snobbish cultural critic as “the decade that fashion forgot,” ridiculed for its supposedly bad taste in fashion, politics, sex, music and hair. Yet for Boy George, the seventies was a “glorious decade…all about Bowie, Bolan, dressing up and going out.” The “last bonkers decade,” when the young teenage George discovered all these “amazing things… punk rock, electro music, fashion, all of that.”

Of course, there was the downside to all of this heady excitement: the political crisis, the three-day working weeks, the strikes, power cuts, mass unemployment, grim poverty, and racism. But George was too young to know much about any of this. He was too busy finding out about music and glamor and miming to Shirley Bassey in his parent’s front room. He was about to hit puberty. He felt different from the other kids and was looking for a sign that he was not alone in this gray suburban south London landscape.

Then came the sign he’d been hoping for: the day he saw David Bowie performing on Top of the Pops in 1972. That’s when George knew he wasn’t alone. The androgynous Bowie in his fire-red hair, make-up, and jumpsuit with his nail polished hand slung defiantly over Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they sang “Starman.” This was a sign that life could be extraordinary and was just an adventure to be gained.

Save Me from Suburbia is more than just Boy George telling his life story, it is an essential history of the events and pop culture that shaped a nation during ten heady years from skinheads and strikes to punk and Margaret Thatcher. George takes us on an utterly fascinating tour through the decade with a little help from his friends and accomplices like Rusty Egan, Princess Julia, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife), and Caryn Franklin—and most revealingly his mother.
Watch Boy George’s revealing pop culture trip through the 1970s, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
David Bowie’s Laura Ashley wallpaper tribute to Lucian Freud (with a Brian Eno assist)
12:54 pm


David Bowie
Brian Eno
Lucian Freud
Laura Ashley

David Bowie once concocted an intriguing homage to Lucian Freud by combining an artwork of his with a lush Laura Ashley wallpaper pattern. It was exhibited at that year’s “New Afro-Pagan and Work: 1975-1995” show and soon after taken up by Brian Eno for a charity he was involved with.

The fashion event was called “Pagan FunWear,” for which the beneficiary was the charity War Child; it showcased, among other things, “a quirky leather tie” by Lou Reed, some “strange shoes” by Jarvis Cocker, and “a suit of bandages” by Bowie. According to Paul Gorman, Eno also put together a “soundtrack” for the event called Antennae #1, which took the form of a limited edition box that included a CD of Eno’s soundtrack, a photo by Anton Corbijn, a watercolor by Patrick Hughes, and a “scrap” of Bowie’s wallpaper.

Eno helpfully supplied an “instruction manual” for those who ponied up the hundred pounds for a copy of Antennae #1, which today can be purchased on eBay for 275 pounds (about $340), although all you get is the CD, none of the other fun doodads such as the swath of Bowie’s wallpaper.

Here’s the wallpaper, which as mentioned incorporates an image of Freud’s:

Gorman discussed an encounter with Bowie in connection as a result of that event:

I met David Bowie when I was a member of a small think-tank for the charity War Child, working on the 1994 London art show Little Pieces From Big Stars which exhibited and then auctioned artworks produced by musicians. The exhibition and auction dinner were organised by Brian Eno and his wife Anthea. Bowie was very engaging, evidently super-bright and witty.

Gorman noted his impression that the wallpaper represents something like the essence of Bowie’s work and personality: “The fact that this shred depicting the great and serious artist Freud uses as its base a quintessentially English Laura Ashley print makes it funny, and, somehow, for me, very, very Bowie.”

Interestingly, Bowie himself was not entirely effusive about Freud’s work. In 1998 he desisted from signing on to the painter’s greatness, telling the New York Times that “I admire the trickery of his work, the cankerous skin, which is nice and grungy. But I don’t buy into him being the greatest painter that we have,” presumably referring to the United Kingdom there.

According to Reuters, Bowie actually created two Laura Ashley wallpapers for the “New Afro-Pagan” show. The design of the other pattern featured a minotaur, but the Laura Ashley people apparently insisted on censoring the private parts of the creature. This led to Bowie humorously noting of the work process with Laura Ashley, “It’s been a good working relationship, apart from the castration, that is.”

Hey Laura Ashley, when are you going to make a product line of this so that us Bowie nuts can use it for real?
via Church of David Bowie

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Francis Bacon’s lost painting of Lucian Freud turns up after 45 years
‘Song portraits’: What does music by Radiohead, Stevie Wonder & David Bowie LOOK like?

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Super rare David Bowie promotional items from the 70s and 80s

An image of David Bowie used for a poster put out by RCA Japan in 1980. Bowie was in Japan filming a television ad for Takara Shochu “Jun” Sake. The image was later recycled for the sleeve for the 1980 Japan exclusive instrumental single “Crystal Japan.”
I recently came across some pretty amazing images of David Bowie that were taken for various promotional endeavors in the 70s and 80s. Some were a part of press kits assembled for various films featuring The Thin White Duke, some from his record marketing collateral as well as some incredibly rare posters that were only released in Japan and the UK. Some of the scarce items showcased in this post include promotional “mobile displays.” Here’s the thing about mobile displays, since they were made in super small quantities and most ended up getting carried off or ruined by wear and tear, they are incredibly difficult to come by. Especially if it happens to involve David Bowie. They also tend to be expensive when you do find them/

A few of the photographs and other ephemera I’ve posted below are actually for sale at collectibles site Rock Explosion though some contain the requirement that you inquire as to their cost—and you know what that means. If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. So in light of that, I suggest that you kick back and enjoy looking at our dearly departed David below.

BBC publicity photo of Bowie from the production of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Baal’ taken in 1981.


An almost unrecognizable Bowie in a promotional poster for the EP release of ‘Baal,’ his last with RCA, 1981.

A cardboard standup display of Bowie holding a glass of milk for ‘Young Americans’ 1975.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Kitchy vintage dishware with images of Prince, David Bowie, Robert Smith, Lemmy, Moz & more!

A vintage plate with an image of Robert Smith of The Cure and a kitty by Miss Scarlett of Dirty Lola. Get it here.
Today’s “take my money please” post features beguiling, vintage dishware that has been reworked to include images of David Bowie, Robert Smith of The Cure, Lemmy Kilmister, Morrissey, Prince and a few other famous faces.

Miss Scarlet is a professional illustrator who has also honed her artistic craft in the mediums of watercolor, digital illustration, and graphic design and she has really done a fantastic job of selecting ornate vintage dishes to use as the base of her clever designer “for display only” dishware. Which makes sense as the talented artist has also spent time working as a designer for the fashion houses of John Galliano, Dior, and Christian Lacroix. There are over fifty different designer plates avaliable at Miss Scarlett’s Etsy store, Dirty Lola that come in various sizes and run anywhere between $29.99 to $75 bucks. I’ve posted a few of the most covetable ones below.



More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Wild portraits of Dali, Bowie, Jimi, Jagger, Bruce Lee, Basquiat & more made from junk

A portrait of David Bowie made out of junk by Bernard Pas.
French painter, photographer, and sculptor Bernard Pras has been creating pictures out of everyday objects such as toys, wood, clothing and whatever else he happened to come across for over two decades. Many of the finished products are remarkable portraits of some of the world’s most famous faces such as David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Bruce Lee and Jack Nicholson as “Jack Torrance” from The Shining.

Pras is very discerning when it comes to the selection process for his individual pieces—and it is that thought process that helps the the dexterous artist create a sense of life in his elaborate portraits and other works comprised of objects that he perhaps collected from Goodwill bargain bins filled with doll parts, bits of clothing and even food. I’ve included a nice selection of Pras’ portraits, one of which is quite NSFW which you can see at the very end of this post.

Jack Nicholson as his character “Jack Torrance” from ‘The Shining.’

Jimi Hendrix, 2000.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Remarkable set of ‘data visualization’ 12-inch records of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’
01:27 pm


David Bowie
Space Oddity

Space Oddity” came out in 1969, and it was David Bowie’s second charting single—”The Laughing Gnome” was the first. For many fans, however, the song represents the true start of Bowie’s career as a world-changing superstar.

Timed to mark “the first trip around the sun since Bowie’s passing,” Valentina D’Efilippo and Miriam Quick, two data designers working out of London, unveiled their Oddityviz project a few weeks ago—the idea being to release ten 12-inch albums in ten weeks, each one with a visual design featuring a circular data visualization representing some aspect of the song. Each visualization is laser-engraved onto a 12-inch acrylic disc. Even though this isn’t how records actually work, for the purposes of the visualization on its surface, a single rotation of the record equals the duration of the song, which is 317 seconds long.

As they explain:

The project visualizes data from Bowie’s 1969 track “Space Oddity” on a series of 10 specially engraved records with accompanying posters, plus a moving image piece. Each 12-inch disc deconstructs the track in a different way: melodies, harmonies, lyrics, structure, story and other aspects of the music are transformed into new visual systems.

The art of data visualization depends on numbers to function—if you’re curious to see what the statistics that each visualization used, you can check the work yourself at a Google Spreadsheet that was created for the project.

Seven of the records have been released. As D’Efilippo and Quick explain, the final record, “10 Emotions,” is “a bit different. It visualizes the emotional responses people had while listening to ‘Space Oddity.’”

Here’s an example of what the prints look like:

This video attempts to explain what’s going on:


“1 Narrative illustrates our interpretation of the story of ‘Space Oddity.’ It is a story with two characters: Ground Control and the doomed astronaut, Major Tom.”

“2 Recording deconstructs Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ into its eight original master tracks.
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke in 1993: Bowie and Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ is ‘the perfect pop song’
12:08 pm


David Bowie
Thom Yorke

One of the more startling musical transformations in our era was the one that Radiohead pulled off between their 1993 debut album Pablo Honey and their 1995 follow-up The Bends.

It wasn’t just Thom Yorke’s blond locks that cause quite a few critics to liken Pablo Honey to watered-down Nirvana. Pablo Honey got generally lukewarm-to-good reviews at the time—3 stars out of 5 from Rolling Stone, which is the same rating it currently receives at (it must be admitted that Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s brief review is far more charitable than that rating suggests). And Radiohead’s later successes haven’t shielded the album from vitriol. At Pitchfork, notoriously one of Radiohead’s most unshakable defenders, Scott Plagenhoef gave it a piddling 5.4 out of 10 as late as 2009.

Even that tepid Rolling Stone review ended with the words “Radiohead warrant watching,” but if you had said in 1993 that in less than a decade, Radiohead would be doing arenas with a highly worshipful following and the most ironclad critical reputation in all of rock music, that possibility would have seemed remote indeed. The Bends and OK Computer in 1997 were the astounding one-two punch that few saw coming and set Radiohead up to be the top rock band of the 2000s.

So when I come across a piece of Radiohead press from 1993, I’m inclined to pay attention. I was at the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland recently, thumbing through a stack of old copies of Ray Gun magazine from the 1990s, something you can only do at a place like that. One of the 1993 issues had a little piece on Radiohead that was inexplicably formatted in an actually readable typeface (rare for that magazine). Here it is (if you click on it, the image will get quite large):

The last bit of the piece reports Yorke’s feelings on whether Radiohead qualifies as “pop” thus:

“Yesss,” he says slowly. “My definition of pop is tapping into something…. my ideal pop song is one that says something people want to hear lyrically and that grabs them by the neck musically. And one that has some sort of depth that moves it beyond a happy tune that you whistle at work. Songs like ‘Under Pressure,’ something that makes you want to fall down on your knees. That to me is the perfect pop song.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The worst music video of all time, redeemed by a LEGO remake

The music video for David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s 1985 cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ Motown classic “Dancing in the Street” is considered one of the worst, if not THE worst, of all time. The clip, originally recorded for the Live Aid benefit, has been called “cringe-worthy” and the “worst music video ever made” HERE, “the worst video ever produced” HERE, and “one of the worst crimes of the ‘80s” HERE. It’s universally thought to be a massive exercise in “what the fuck were they thinking?”

A couple of years ago here at Dangerous Minds we showed you a hilariously-foley’d “musicless” version of the video.

Today we’d like to draw your attention to a wonderful stop-motion LEGO recreation of the video, uploaded a few days ago by stop-motion animator and Vimeo user William Osbourne. This is so good it practically redeems the sheer craptacity of the original.

After the jump, the original, as if you need a refresher on how truly awful it was…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Modern love: Valentines featuring Grace Jones, Robert Smith, David Bowie & other pop-culture icons!

Robert Smith-themed Valentine by Matthew Lineham.
We’ve shared the work of New York-based artist Matthew Lineham previously on Dangerous Minds and I can personally vouch for the quality of his work. To say nothing of the reaction I’ve gotten from folks who have received one Lineham’s clever cards featuring images of 80’s horror movie slashers like Jason Voorhees or Re-Animator‘s deranged medical student, Herbert West.

Though I’m not trying shove the faux “holiday” of Valentine’s Day down your throat—it started as a marketing thing, there was nothing traditional about it—I couldn’t resist sharing Lindham’s 2017 cards. These old-school sheet cards contain the images of Robert Smith of The Cure, Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis and an entire collection featuring the many alter-egos of our dearly departed David Bowie. There are three sheets in each pack for a total of 27 cards that also contain amusing greetings that occasionally reference song titles from the artists’ catalogs, which makes them extra-special. Just like your funny valentine, right? You can order the cards now over at Lindham’s site which will ship them out on January 24th—just in time to send one along to someone who you think is “B-52 Cute!” Awww.


More funny valentines after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Extended footage of David Bowie as ‘The Elephant Man’
01:21 pm


David Bowie
The Elephant Man

This weekend brings the first “would have been” birthday for David Bowie, who would have turned 70 this coming Sunday, January 8. Of course, it’s been almost a full year since Bowie passed away of cancer two days after turning 69.

Bowie’s first and only attempt at an extended run as a stage actor occurred in 1980, when he took on the role of John Merrick in Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man, which had debuted at the Hampstead Theatre in London in 1977. As with many of the projects Bowie took on, it was a decided challenge and proved to be a striking success. Bowie had just spent a few years hanging out with Iggy Pop and Brian Eno in Berlin producing some of his most interesting albums—the timing of the request to replace the existing actor Philip Anglim, made by Jack Hofsiss, the director of the Broadway production, which had already done very well and which Bowie had already seen, was surely critical, as Bowie was likely seeking a change at the time. There was also a certain resonance in playing a type of Victorian monster since his most recent album bore the name Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

Bowie had such a striking physical presence, so ideal for the role of Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth as well as for the physically deformed John Merrick in Pomerance’s play, which makes the interesting choice of eschewing makeup for the actor. The David Lynch movie that came out around the same time has no connection to Pomerance’s play, with its own, separate development. Oddly, both movie and film insist on referring to the historical Joseph Merrick as “John Merrick.”

As Bowie tells it, the producers of the play had Bowie try the role away from the intense media scrutiny of New York, so he did the play for six days (July 29-August 3, 1980) at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, where he could “die a quiet death” if it emerged that he wasn’t up to the challenge. After three weeks in Chicago at the Blackstone Theater, Bowie’s debut as a Broadway actor came on September 23, 1980, at the Booth Theatre for a run of a little longer than three months.
More after the jump….....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Blondie, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Andy Warhol & more rendered in gorgeous knitwear

Blondie ‘Rapture’ sweater by Mary Adams.
I think it’s safe to say that for many people Lou Reed’s 1972 album Transformer was a life changing kind of record.Transformer was very much influenced by Reed’s life changing relationship with Andy Warhol. Warhol even directly inspired one of Transformer‘s best numbers, “Vicious.” According to Reed Andy had requested that he pen a tune about a “vicious” kind of person. When Reed asked Warhol to clarify his request, Andy responded by saying “Oh, you know, like I hit you with a flower.” Reed wrote Andy’s response down verbatim and the lyric “You hit me with a flower” would become part of the song.

When it comes to the influence that Transformer had on Mary Adams, the wildly talented clothing designer and sweater maker whose work is featured in this post, we can look to the iconic cover of the album that features an out-of-focus photograph of Reed taken by Mick Rock. One of the first sweaters Adams ever made was based on Rock’s photograph and her obsession with Reed would lead her to create an entire line of high-end knitwear inspired by the pioneering musician. In fact Adams’ company Small Town Girl took its name from lyrics to a song found on Reed’s much vilified collaboration with Metallica, 2011’s Lulu, “Brandenburg Gate.” Adams got her start working as a seamstress and costume designer for The Royal Canadian Ballet and Opera as well was what was likely another influential experience for her—a dreamy souding gig as the “wardrobe mistress” for the original Rocky Horror Show stage production in Australia in 1975. When she wasn’t busy doing that, she was regularly selling her sweaters at the popular outdoor Paddington Market in Sydney.

Many of Adams’ designs feature pop art images, some of which are derived from famous works by Andy Warhol who is also nicely represented on much of Adams’ knitwear. Other notable wooly famous faces include Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson, Transformer‘s producer David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, the recently departed Leonard Cohen, and Patti Smith. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here by describing Adams’ work as exquisite. She and her collaborators hand loom each sweater using pure Australian wool and then each piece is finished by Adams by hand. So it’s not hard to understand why her wearable works of art will run you anywhere from $45 for a head scarf to $470 for a Blondie “Eat to the Beat”-themed sweater which you can see below. If after checking out the images in this post you are filled with a strong desire to have one of your own, more information on how to do that is available on Adams’ Small Town Girl website.

‘Lou Reed’ sweater coat.

David Bowie ‘Ziggy Stardust’ sweater.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Beautiful images from David Bowie’s least favorite film role, 1978’s ‘Just a Gigolo’

US 1-sheet poster for the 1978 film ‘Just a Gigolo.’

“Everybody who was involved in that film – when they meet each other now, they look away (covers face with hands, laughs)... Listen, you were disappointed, and you weren’t even in it. Imagine how we felt… It was my 32 Elvis Presley movies rolled into one.”

‘‘David Bowie in a 1980 interview with New Music Express about his 1978 film, Just a Gigolo


You might think that the trifecta of David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich and one of Alfred Hitchcock’s blonde obsessions, Kim Novak all appearing in the same film would result in one of the greatest movies of all time. And if not that, something interesting? Passable? However, as you can see from his reflection on Just a Gigolo, Bowie felt that the film didn’t exactly meet his expectations despite its clever premise and star power.

Directed by British actor David Hemmings (Blowup) and financed by Germans, Just a Gigolo was an extravagant undertaking and has been rumored to be the most expensive film ever produced in the country at that time. It would also mark the great Marlene Dietrich’s return from retirement as well as her last appearance on the silver screen for which the then 77-year-old actress was allegedly paid 250,000 for two-days work. And though it’s dreamy to imagine Bowie and Dietrich filming scenes together, that never happened as Dietrich was filmed in Paris and all of Bowie’s scenes were shot in Berlin.

Though Bowie knocked film it’s got many memorable moments including a scene of the Thin White Duke taking a bath while being berated by a Prince played by Curd Jürgens; Novak’s character “Helga von Kaiserling” trying to seduce Bowie’s character (“Paul Ambrosius von Przygodski”) in a graveyard, and Dietrich’s unforgettable performance of “Just a Gigolo” at the conclusion of the film. To say nothing of the fact that then-then only 30-year-old Bowie plays a dashing male gigolo who makes money by wooing older rich women. It also has—and I would be remiss in leaving this out—a contribution by the Village People on the soundtrack! If you’ve never seen this wonderfully quirky film it’s actually pretty wild to watch, and I hope that the images in this post convince you that it’s worth your time. I’ve also included the American language trailer for Just a Gigolo accompanied by Dietrich’s haunting vocals for you at the end of the post.

David Bowie and Kim Novak in ‘Just a Gigolo.’

More after the jump…

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