16 September 2010

Takashi Murakami x Versailles

When I see something covered over and over on different platforms and Twitter feeds, my typical reaction is to ignore it forever. This is why I didn't see the Arcade Fire video until a week after it launched; I guess the buzz just annoys me and I don't even want to bother. But this instance was too weird, and well, it appealed to two loves of mine: fine art and contemporary art.

Within 3 minutes, I saw this tweet:

This blog post:

And received this email:

It's almost like my noticeably fast adoration of the new Blonde Redhead album, except it's the Internet with Takashi Murakami having 22 pieces displayed all over Versailles.

TAKASHI MURAKAMI// Exposition Versailles from OFIVE.TV on Vimeo.

This is kind of AWESOME. I can't even imagine how this could have happened; I don't know a lot about the recent history of art being on display at Versailles (or even who is in charge of something like that), but over time I've noticed a sometimes-prickly divide between lovers of fine art and lovers of contemporary art. Especially since even though Takashi Murakami is most widely known for his happy, psychedelically-colored flowers (did you know he also created six little mascots for the Tokyo district Roppongi?), he has also made some pretty controversial stuff (maybe don't click on that link if your entire office has full view of your monitor, just saying. It's art, but it's definitely leaning more toward NSFW).

[from Flavorwire]

It's very disarming and delightful to see the imagery of bubbly creatures juxtaposed in front of Rigaud and Bernini works. If in the past you could only imagine these two guys hanging out…

…now you can see it for real. If you get over there by 12 December (or before the angry French protesters kill it, whichever comes first), that is.

14 September 2010

Penny Sparkle

A few weeks ago, I opened my email to find this:

If the text is too small, it was basically tickets to see Blonde Redhead kick off Fashion Week at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. And for those who don't know, Blonde Redhead is my most favorite band. How good Gilt City is at curating special packages like this should be a separate post entirely, but to give an idea, $80 would get you:

• A ticket to the (very small) show
• An advance copy of their new album, Penny Sparkle (scheduled for release a week later (today))
• An hour of open bar prior to the show (sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Tequila Avion)
• A reserved area at the after party
• Two immediate digital downloads of tracks from their new album

This is pretty much insane. Plus, the entire thing was to happen on the eve of my birthday, so I hesitated very little on getting two tickets.

All in all, I loved it. They have this kind of synced magic between the three of them that just kind of works. At one point all they could hear was fuzziness on their ends, and they weren't wearing ear pieces, yet they were still all exactly on beat with each other throughout.

Forgetfulness left my camera at home, but I did get two kinda neat shots with my phone that actually fit the sound of Penny Sparkle really well:

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

It wasn't until the next day that I got to take a good look at the CD. It's the nicest packaging I may have ever seen from something that doesn't get a lot of attention at all anymore; I can't wait to see what the vinyl looks like.

Penny Sparkle

Penny Sparkle

Penny Sparkle

As far as the album itself, I got to sneak a listen a few days before the show, and it's beautiful. It's very different from the previous two or three releases, and at first I wasn't really sure at all what to think. But you know how sometimes you give a new album a couple dozen spins, you warm to it over time, and in the end you grow to adore it? The process was expedited with Penny Sparkle in a strange way that's never really happened before with any other album. The very next time I heard it, I was really into it. By the third time, elated. By the fourth, inseparable. I actually noticed the spikes with each listen. If 23 was like drowning in a goldish shimmery haze, Penny Sparkle is like drowning in a silvery brushed vapor (which I realize doesn't sound VERY DIFFERENT AT ALL, but trust me). I am not sure how else to describe it except please give it a listen. Here's a link to one of my favorite tracks off the album on The FADER, Not Getting There.

06 September 2010

Pre-digital music playback and rotation

Part of my being unimpressed with iWork.com so far is that it seems I can't work on anything else while one file is being uploaded (which so far has taken about an hour and is not finished yet). So you get to look at some pictures. There is not too much deep thought to this post; I just was sitting on my couch last week, staring at an album playing on my record player. I thought, "So, this massive circle spins, and a whole song takes up very little space in this format. How did they ever think of doing it this way?"

Finally a new turntable.

And then I realized that over time (and up until digital files), everything that played music has been based on rotation. Duh. I know, so obvious. But it was fun to keep thinking of examples.


Organ grinder


Music box

Casette tape


Any more that I'm missing? I wonder if Steve Jobs got the click wheel idea from this.

Motivational credit: Photojojo linked to this picture of a pinhole camera sitting on a record while the turn table was spinning:

follow the tunes..

It inspired me to get this thought down before I forgot about it again. Cool, no?

EDIT 7 Sept | Zachary gave me two that I missed! Reel to reel and 8 track.

02 September 2010

The 1980s NYC Subway

Lisa emailed me a link last week while I was traveling to America's Dairyland, and it made me miss home so much that I felt a tug in my chest. Subway, lifeblood. features photos taken in and around the NY subway system in the 1980s. I frequently daydream about what NYC must have been like in the 80s, mostly because it sounds like it was a completely different, dark, scary, underground world. Also because of my now four-year fascination with Basquiat. I can't believe I didn't blog about watching Downtown 81 after I saw it, because it blew my mind and sent me on a daydreaming spiral for another few months. It's a movie about underground art and music in 1980s NY in the 80s, and stars Jean-Michel himself (I should watch it again and do the whole screenshot/blog post thing). ANYWAY. Here are some of the shots that made me swoon the most:

Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson

John F. Conn

Jamel Shabazz

Here is the closing scene from Downtown 81; I regularly drift off thinking about this. Driving up what seems like the FDR as the sun is considering coming out, the fuzzy notes from Suicide's Cheree perfectly matching the light, mood, everything. I have felt similarly in the past when walking to breakfast with my dear friend Zachary* at 7am after a night of dancing, watching the East Village slowly wake up and open its doors.

Again, here is the link to Subway, lifeblood. on 24 Flinching; check out the rest of the pictures. Heartbreaking.

*Look for a post about Zachary soon!
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