my debut at moomia! check out the facebook event page here
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
wOw's Liz Smith shares a piece she wrote for Q, the Quest magazine quarterly, spotlighting the most successful — and perhaps most misunderstood — female rock artist of all time.
Editor's Note: Liz Smith profiles Madonna — the most successful female rock artist of all time — in Q, Quest's quarterly magazine. Here we present the full story as Liz wrote it. To see the article as it appeared in Q, click here.
"I love Liz Smith because she has big balls, like me!"
Those were practically the very first words I ever heard, personally, out of Madonna's mouth.
I was at the 1990 New York premiere of Madonna's highly entertaining documentary, "Truth or Dare." I wasn't covering it, exactly. I was there being interviewed by ABC's "Primetime Live." They were doing a segment on me. So this event was an example of one of my "glamorous nights out." And of course I was being pressed to speak to Madonna. I'd been writing about her exhaustively since 1984, so everybody assumed we were friends. In fact, I'd never clapped eyes on her. I told the ABC people, "Look, this is her premiere, I don't think she wants to be part of my publicity!"
Somehow Madonna was corralled into a corner where I stood with the film crew. We exchanged hellos. Then the producer asked Madonna what she thought about me. She answered with the quote above, and we parted, laughing. (It couldn't really be used on the air.)
So I had finally met this already-legendary creature of music, videos and controversy. She was in a brunette phase, and looked gorgeous under a heavy coat of makeup. She was wearing a glittering Versace bodysuit, legs bare, bosom up and out. Yet in the brief moments I spent with her, I sensed her less a sexual provocateur and more like a little girl dressed up outrageously in Mama's finery. She seemed nothing at all like her sometimes vulgar, deliberately in-your-face image. As the years went by, and I got to know her better, I found her a much more serious and far more vulnerable person than she ever lets on. But she has been determined, right from the start, to never beg her audience (or the media) for sympathy. Sometimes it has been to her detriment to appear so strong; her critics and even many fans, don't believe she has a softer side. She does, but that is one card she rarely plays. Not even for her work in the AIDS-stricken country of Malawi. She says what she means and means what she says. Without flourish. She controls the world (as she famously predicted she would to Dick Clark back in 1983). It does not control her.
No star, with the exception of Elizabeth Taylor, whom I've known since the early 1960s, has taken up as much space in my column as Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. (In the case of both these famous women, I was frequently the recipient of the question, "How much is she paying you?") What a laugh, as if either would dream of paying a gossip columnist for a positive mention. Both stars consider me "well paid" if they deign to speak to me, or give me access.
Funnily enough, I was not even that much interested in Madonna early on. I'd been charmed by her in "Desperately Seeking Susan" (and even more charmed when Rosanna Arquette, who was the real star of the movie, told me Madonna turned to her one day and said, "Wouldn't you just give anything in the world to be me for ten minutes?"). But I didn't listen to pop music on the radio and I was never glued to the MTV channel. I was missing out on what was making Madonna a superstar.
Then one day in 1985 Time magazine arrived with Madonna on the cover. I was surprised, to say the least, and bemoaned Time's obvious cultural disintegration. It was one of my assistants, Denis Ferrara, who set me straight. "Liz, this girl is huge. She is going to be an enduring star. An icon. Surely you see this?" I didn't, and was surprised at my intelligent assistant's cultural disintegration! But Denis made himself a one-man army determined to make me see the error of my ways. He made me watch her videos — which increasingly became little works of art, like the haunting, "Bad Girl" or the hyper-glamorous "Vogue" or the Jesus-kissing, cross-burning "Like a Prayer." (Perhaps my favorite Madonna is her rendition of "Vogue" live at the MTV Awards, all dressed up like Marie Antoinette, with her dancers as members of her court. Truly brilliant!) Her voice? Not ready for "Aida," but a perfect pop instrument, urgent and sensual. Denis directed my attention to her interviews, her endless photo sessions and he noted with practicality, "Liz, everybody in the world is obsessed with her, get on board!"
Eventually I did get on board. It was hard not to be impressed with her story — restless, ambitious girl from Michigan, the third of six children, lost her mother at age six, resented her father's re-marriage, leaves home as a teenager in 1977 to find herself a career as "a modern dancer" in New York. But despite talent and energy, she does not become a dancer.
Madonna spent the next six years knocking around, even traveling to Paris at one point, dancing in the troupe of disco star Patrick Hernandez. Her music career arrived in fits and starts, she played drums and guitar and sang a bit for several small bands. She found she had a talent for songwriting and with a former boyfriend, Stephen Bray, put together a series of dance songs that eventually brought her to the attention of Sire Records mogul Seymour Stein. Her voice and style impressed him and so did her brash, even bratty confidence in herself. It was Stein who famously remarked, "Had I been in my coffin with one hand hanging out, Madonna would have made sure that hand signatured the contract!" (Stein was actually hospitalized when he signed Madonna, and felt that not even his death could stop her.) She released her first album in 1983.
What marks these early and often difficult years, was Madonna's absolute, innate belief that she was special. She behaved, always, like she was somebody, even when she was less than nobody. If she was insecure, few ever saw it.
Early in her career, once it really got rolling, she was often compared to Marilyn Monroe, because of her witty "Material Girl" video, which was a tough homage and send-up of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." But Madonna was nothing like Monroe. She was in the great tradition of those grand diva-egomaniac/perfectionists Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. And there was a lot of Mae West, that autonomous sexual revolutionary.
Madonna, like Mae, took her sex like a man, and could talk about it like a truckdriver. But unlike West, in her art — her songs, and some of her ravishing videos — Madonna channeled traditional romance like no other star. (Once, years ago, I commented on the lush, sad, "Take a Bow" video: "Madonna, underneath aren't you a closet romantic?" She replied, "What closet? I am very romantic. But don't ask me more.")
Madonna refined her image (gone were the rags in her hair, the belly shirts, the rubber bracelets) and re-worked her body (gone were the round curves that writhed so provocatively down the giant wedding cake at the first MTV Awards). She could not — and did not wish to — remain a teen sensation. Especially as she was an experienced full-grown woman of 25, who had more to convey than she felt, "like a virgin, touched for the very first time." (She recently laughed about that song, one of her few hits she didn't write: "I mean, how can you feel like a virgin?")
Madonna seemed to want to free society of sexual inhibitions, to expose and denounce homophobia and to show herself as a woman in control of every aspect of her career, if not, unfortunately, her personal life.
That personal life has never been … a mess, in the way we expect stars to be messy. Two ex-husbands, both of whom she really adored, many lovers, four children. But there has been no drinking, no drugging, no hysterical public scenes or dramatic too-intimate press releases. No Twitter, thank God! In a way, for all we think we know; we don't. She has exposed her body, but not her soul. And this goes back to her resistance to overt, public sentimentality. (Which perhaps goes back to the shock of losing her mother at such a young age.)
And since "freedom," a celebration of self, was one of her basic artistic mantras, there was no place for self-pity. Introspection, yes. But life is for the living.
She declared herself (and you!) free to love who you want, as long as you wear a condom.
Free to wear anything or nothing.
Free to say what you want.
Free to choose your friends, and not care what other friends think.
Freedom to enjoy the fruits of your labors, without apology or false humility. To the latter, she is clearly driven by the profit motive — she is never off the Forbes List as one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world. But she is absolutely sincere when she talks about her art. She sometimes de-rails (the "Sex" book, the so-bad-it-was-fabulous "Body of Evidence" movie or the more recent hanging herself off a crucifix in concert).
But her aim is…well, I asked her once about her desire to provoke: "I want my audiences to think I want them to make up their own minds about what I'm doing, or what I symbolize."
"But you want them to have fun, too, right?" I asked
"Of course I want them to them to have fun, and get up and dance and celebrate life. But if you celebrate life you have to be part of life that isn't fun. Like babies dying of AIDS in Africa. I shouldn't have to explain that to anybody. My audiences understand."
And they also understand her incredible work ethic. Only through tireless effort can you achieve your goals. And that effort — sometimes quite obvious — is what her most devoted fans love. Madonna really is the hardest-working woman in show biz. And, for all the sensation, the most sensible, too. She has not followed Janis, Jimi, Jim, Elvis and Michael Jackson to drug degradation and death.
What came to amuse and fascinate me about Madonna as the years rolled on, was … the years rolled on! Despite constant gleeful media predictions that she was no longer "relevant" and soon to be "over," she never was. Massive articles were written on her career demise; obsessive, backhanded compliments to her power and cultural significance.
Although her movie career, with a few notable exceptions — "A League of Their Own," "Dick Tracy," "Evita," her stark emoting in the little-seen "Dangerous Games" — has been sliced and diced by critics, her failure to become a movie star has been as epic a tale as her success. And what does she care, anyway? She is the Most Successful Female Rock Artist of All Time. Madonna has sold over 200 million albums, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, even today, despite the haters and critics who "don't like her new music" and "her arms give me the creeps," maintains her position as one of the most influential women in music. Not to mention the top live female concert act in the world.
"This is who I am/like it or not" goes the lyrics to one of her recent songs. So true! Because like it or not, Madonna remains, after a quarter-century, a fact of our daily lives. Just the other day, photos from Italy of Madonna, her children and her beautiful young lover, Jesus Luz, were all over the place. This is being over?!
On the personal side, I have always found Madonna warm, without projecting a phony intimacy, funny, gracious — even if the situation might warrant otherwise. I come away from each encounter feeling oddly protective. This mythological symbol of Fame is really a good girl. She is trying to make sense of her life, tend to her family, experience her spirituality and satisfy her unbending artistic instincts as well as the demands of her fans. Shockingly, I have found her … nice, that most prosaic compliment. (This has been my Madonna experience. To others who have found her less tractable, less vulnerable? Leave her to heaven.)
The first time I really interviewed her, for TV, we sat chatting amiably before the cameras rolled. She suddenly said, "You're not afraid of me. I like that." I replied, "Madonna, I've interviewed Elizabeth Taylor, now that can be scary, because she only says 'yes' or 'no'!" She loved that. (Madonna can be similarly matter-of-fact in her replies.)
I asked her once why so many of her songs in recent years seem to examine the pros and cons of fame. She said: "I guess I'm always taking it apart and dissecting it, Because I — and everyone who achieves public recognition — am always at odds with it. One minute you are so grateful you have an audience and people are paying attention. The next you feel over-analyzed and invaded. But I've come to terms with that part. I ask rhetorically now, maybe when I'm tired, 'Is it worth it?' Fame is really an illusion, a trick. It can't last. But I am going to blaze out and give the best illusion I can!"
And what of her age (51) and retirement, which the media wants to push her into? Madonna sighs deeply: "Oh, please! Why should there be a time limit on working or giving of yourself? Or on love and looking attractive? Or trying to give back and make a saner world? Look, work isn't everything, because if it was, I'd never have tried marriage, I never would never have had children. But one set of circumstances does not complete you. Maybe nothing ever does. So you work on your life and you work on your work and you try to live every single day like it's your last. And you try to be better, to yourself and to others. I don't always succeed. But I try and it's my goal."
And then Madonna added, "Liz, I'll retire when you do. But I think we are going to be the last gals at the rodeo!"
KYLIE SHOW NYC OCTOBER 12th 2009*
we all know: Nobody does it better than Madonna when it comes to big spectacular shows & glammed up concerts, tours & performances.
Because down to a T, we all bow down to The Queen.
But somehow there’s something undeniably magical & brilliant left to say for another female artist who’s been doing it within the same realm of splendor for almost as long as her Madgesty have (except this girl’s 10 years younger). And I’m not talking about Britney here, not even close. Because unlike the latter, this girl has got talent, great voice, charisma, & a sex appeal all of her own. Plus she’s been around for a while now. The best part is: she’s not from this side of the planet. Kylie, was born in Australia.
ylie Minogue started off beginning her career as a child actor on Aussie TV shows, back when Soap Opera meant show businness in the early 80’s. Then she went off to be a recording artist with her 1st single & No 1 hit “The Loco-Motion” in 1987. Which became the highest selling single of the 80’s in Australia. Leading her to her debut album called Kylie in 1988. Wich became the No 1 Album on the UK for more than a year & had her first 13 singles reaching the Top Ten in the British charts & all over Europe in the next 2 years. Who could miss hits like “I Should Be So Lucky”, “Tears on my Pillow” & “Especially For You” (that duet with another 80’s Aussie heartthrob Jason Donovan).
Her follow-up album Enjoy Yourself from 1989 was a success in the U.K., Europe, New Zealand, Asia and Australia, containing several successful singles, including the British No 1 single: "Hand On Your Heart”, but it failed throughout North America, and she was dropped by her American record label Geffen Records.
From then on, she hit the road & embarked on her 1st concert tour: “Enjoy Yourself Tour” in the U.K., Europe, Asia and Australia. She even gave her acting chops a 2nd try into motion picture stardom in her 1st film: “The Delinquents” premiering in December 26th 1989 in London.
Then of course, America took notice & her songs were on Radio stations & Clubs all over the nation. But it really wasn’t up until her 3rd Album (called Rhythm of Love) in 1990 that she started causing a “loco-motion” internationally with her new catchy & more sophisticated dancefloor hits “Better The Devil You Know”, “What Do I Have To Do” & “Shocked”. Topping the charts & winning awards on the U.S. & Canada also.
After that, she proved to be The (Real) Pop Princess throughout the following years to come. Ignoring her “detractors” & the bad press throughout her career, she went off to achieve many more successful albums, No 1 singles, music videos, kick-ass tours & memorable parts in films like “Bio-Dome”, “Street Fighter” & “Moulin Rouge”. Let alone alluring sexy lovers throughout her life, including her relationship with the late Michael Hutchence from INXS & the gorgeous french/spaniard actor/model Olivier Martinez from movie acclaim “S.W.A.T.” & “Unfaithful”.
2001 was the year that put Kylie on the tip of the ice Pop-sicle, having everyone (& I mean everyone) chanting to the words of “La-la-la…” with her sickly toxic tune: “Can Get You Out Of My Head”. Being a No 1 hit single all over the world & having her album Fever reaching the Top charts of Pop music for a long time. It had 5 great Radio-ready singles & 4 hot music videos that fused her new Daft Punk-y sound with colourful, visionary & stylish graphics that would almost make U question your rather dull existence on the other side of your TV set. It was even nominated for a Grammy Award. By then, she had already become an undisputed Pop Icon to the masses & people all over the globe would even refer to her as “The European Madonna”.
After touring only in Europe, Asia, Australia & everywhere else on the map for years,
& only performing for TV late night shows in the U.S., MTV TRL & VH1, she had better records (& not so good: the album Body Language) to come… She was even unfortunately diagnosed in 2005 with breast cancer, leading her to postpone the remainder of 1 of her greatest tours: “Showgirl – The Greatest Hits Tour”. Being hospitalized & treated for the cure, she took the time to write a book: “The Showgirl Princess” & even launched her perfume: Darling by Kylie. She then resumed her tour as: “Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour” in 2006 making it into a heartfelt emotional rollercoaster for her fans & also having the experts’great reviews calling it: “an amazing visual extravaganza & a triumph” as well.
Kylie had to embrace that painful but rewarding period of her Life as an artistic persona & prove herself to be the strong ever-creative achiever that she is by recording her 10th studio album called: X in mid 2007. Making it the much rumoured “comeback” album. It is an electro-dance album & it was released first in the U.K. in November 2007, & then 5 months later in the U.S. on April 2008.
It is her best work to this day, & the people she hired to work with on it are nothing short of geniuses in the Pop music scene in Europe. Every single track is super-catchy & adorned with sexy synthesizer sounds & future-like beats. Mind you, her vocals are pristine, although her voice is being distorted in a couple of tunes, but overall the album was an international success. So much so, that she came back to America to promote it on TV shows: The Today Show with Matt Lauer, The Late Late Show with Graig Ferguson, The Ellen DeGeneres Show & even on Dancing with The Stars & American Idol.
She then went back to England to prepare for her “KylieX2008 Tour” , starting it on May 6th 2008 in Paris. Grossing in the numbers as another great successful tour, but having us fans longing & lusting for Kylie to grace us all with her joyful presence on U.S. soil.
Over & over again we’d ask ourselves that old & repetitive question in our heads: Why oh why wouldn’t she ever bring her tours over here..? Knowing her big following in the U.S. and the Iconic figure she represents for all us fans…but it was no miracle that she would sooner or later eventually decide to do so.
Hence, that day would finally arrive, as we all looked shocked & surprised on our computer screens (early this year) when she decided to post her planned big American tour for the 1st time ever. Our faces turned into colours of joy & excitement, having us all buying those tickets online & putting us all through the long wait…painfully so for that day to ever get here. And so, as fate would have it, monday October 12th, was IT for me!
It was her 2nd night at The Hammerstein Ballroom in N.Y.C.
Don’t really know where to start… Can’t even describe the feeling…
But let me just start by telling you that we all in the audience freaked out when we heard the first beats of music & were (literatelly) blinded by these sharp & colorful laser beams that were all over the place for her big entrance. Descending from the skies on top of a big silver studded skull (wearing this skintoned robe that made her look like a Movie Star from the Golden Era of Hollywood), & singing to the tunes of her song “Light Years”.
There she was, as petite & beautiful as always, & as strong & Hot as ever: Kylie!!!
For the record: not 1 moment of this 2 hour show was dull or boring. It was a non-stop mind-blowing, hyper-sexy, fun-coloured show to enjoy! It was so much fun, & her joy is so contagious that you feel like you were trippin’ on acid while being in a Theme Park. L.O.L! At times you couldn’t help but wishing for it to never end…really.
The special effects & those laser beams (yes, again), the big production, the psychodelic graphics on the big screens, the coreographies, her dancers’ costumes & her outfits (gorgeous), the different stage sets & (of course) the music! She performed every single song we all wanted to hear. She even made a little tribute to Madonna by fusing “Vogue” with 1 of her own songs from the Fever album “Burning Up”. It was flawless. It was simply perfect. In other words: The show in town you must go see.
God knows that I have been to a lot of concerts & different shows in my life.
I’ve even thought that The Confessions Tour by Madonna was the best thing I’ve attended to or seen…because (to be honest) her last tour: Sticky & Sweet wasn’t that good…
But as painful as this may sound, let me tell you something kids: Kylie kicked ass!
She came…she conquered…she left. Leaving us all longing for more…more…more.
Now: if only The Queen of Pop would take notice.
Monday, October 19, 2009
i'm so excited for this! as you may know, i'm definitely a fan of burton's work...after all i named my very first monthly party after one of his genius films and also one of my favourite films of all time. but aside from his film work and visual materpieces, i'm interested to get a chance to see some of his other work that will be shown at the moma starting on november 22nd. his creative output has been massive and quite magical...reeking wonderfully of thick burly brimstone and almost delicious decay. like many other prolific filmmakers, he has certainly honed a stable of timeless and talented actors in which he uses over and over again. Johnny Depp is definitely in the lead with the most starring roles in his amazing projects. whether working in the creative department, directing, producing or whatever, mr. burton certainly leaves a stain on anything he is a part of and for me that ensures a quality production with innovative storylines, brilliant graphics and special effects, set design, thrilling writing, genius casting and acting and so much more. from beetle juice to pee wee's big adventure to ed wood to mars attacks! to edward scissorhands to the corpse bride and a nightmare before christmas to charlie and the chocolate factory and the soon to be released alice in wonderland which is now in post production....tim burton is up there with stanley kubrick for me and that is a compliment in the highest regard. i'm really looking forward to this exhibit.....would you like to come with me?
Tim Burton. Untitled (The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories). 1982–84. Pen and ink, marker, and colored pencil on paper, 10 x 9" (25.4 x 22.9 cm). Private collection. © 2009 Tim Burton
November 22, 2009–April 26, 2010
Theater 1 Gallery
Theater 2 Gallery
Special Exhibitions Gallery, third floor
Accompanied by the film exhibition Tim Burton
This major career retrospective on Tim Burton (American, b. 1958), consisting of a gallery exhibition and a film series, considers Burton's career as a director, producer, writer, and concept artist for live-action and animated films, along with his work as a fiction writer, photographer and illustrator. Following the current of his visual imagination from his earliest childhood drawing through his mature work, the exhibition presents artwork generated during the conception and production of his films, and highlights a number of unrealized projects and never-before-seen pieces, as well as student art, his earliest non-professional films, and examples of his work as a storyteller and graphic artist for non-film projects. The opposing themes of adolescence and adulthood, and the elements of sentiment, cynicism, and humor inform his work in a variety of mediums—drawings, paintings, storyboards, digital and moving-image formats, puppets and maquettes, props, costumes, ephemera, sketchbooks, and cartoons. Taking inspiration from sources in pop culture, Burton has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as a spiritual experience, influencing a generation of young artists working in film, video, and graphics.
Burton's films include Vincent (1982), Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman ReturnsThe Nightmare Before Christmas (as creator and producer) (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Big Fish (2003), Corpse Bride (2005), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and Sweeney Todd (2007); writing and Web projects include The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories (1997) and Stainboy (2000). (1992),
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Baron, who filmed the footage on the set of the SEX book that was used in the Erotica music video he directed and who shot the Erotica single cover and various other images of Madonna as Dita on the set of that same video, is putting together a Madonna photo book that will feature for the first time ever many of his unreleased photos of the Queen of Pop.
The book is scheduled to be released sometime in 2010.
here's an old article from around the time the sex book was released....
Blast From The Past:
Fabien Baron's Grand Designs
You May Not Know His Name, But You Know His Work
By Malcolm Jones Jr. / NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Nov 30, 1992
The topless woman in the leather bodysuit was whipping the man next to her, but almost nobody paid attention. It was last month's party for Madonna's "Sex" book, and the crowd, like a fist, crushed in on the event's motley trinity: Madonna, photographer Steven Meisel and art director Fabien Baron.
It's no surprise that Madonna was the star at her own party-nor that Meisel, her house photographer, shared the spotlight. But graphic designers are not supposed to rank with Material Girls when it comes to candlepower. Yet there was Baron, a man known merely for what he can do with an ad layout or a magazine's look, getting mobbed like a pop star. This is, of course, the age of the star. Models are stars. The president-elect's daughter's cat is a star. But designers, like divinities, traditionally make themselves invisible. Clearly, a corner has been turned.
Baron, 33, who left school at 17 to work in a Parisdesign studio, is suddenly everywhere--producing coldly sexual ads for Calvin Klein, designing Harper's Bazaar, whipping up perfume boxes for Issey Miyake. And, of course, there's "Sex." You may not know his name, but he's probably got ten your attention. His current ad campaign for Calvin Klein, actually one of his tamer efforts, features topless rapper Marky Mark in jeans and briefs, with equally topless model Kate Moss draped all over him. It's not very arousing, but like most of Baron's work it pulls you in while it holds you off. You're being teased, but you don't know why or over what.
Baron himself seems somewhat mystified by what he does, or at least unable to articulate his vision. Asked to characterize his work, he waxes vague. "Simplicity," he says. "Boldness. Directness. Like a stop sign. Very grabby." Very. In contrast to his speech, Barons work has an icy clarity. Scraping away graphic clutter, he likes to fill a page with one striking picture, or a few lines of type with the letters jumbled or rearranged like a dyslexic eye chart. It's a style that's won him awards, imitators and, since 1986, art-director jobs at GQ, New York Woman, Italian Vogue and Interview. This year, as the fashion-magazine wars were heating up, Harper's Bazaar turned to Baron for a total graphic makeover. Here was a genuine coup: Baron remodeling the very magazine once designed by Alexey Brodovitch, one of the century greatest graphic artists and cites it as his biggest influence.
Baron watchers read his success in a host of ways. They talk about his willingness to cannibalize the work of his legendary predecessors and the ease with which he navigates the worlds of advertising, magazines, retailing and book design. Some just say he plain steals. But the key to Baron's emergence as a respected designer, a famous respected designer, is the luck of his timing. He arrived on the scene right at the time people were waking up to design. "Fifteen years ago if you heard the word 'graphics,' you thought it meant print," says Leo Lerman, former editor of Vanity Fair and a ranking creative spirit at Conde Nast for decades. "The general publicknew nothing about great designers. But now we live in a highly visual time, and people are much more aware of the whole idea of design."
Today's top art directors have the hip cachet and impact of record producers. When Baron talks about the Madonna book, he doesn't talk about designing a book, he talks about making an "objet"--a piece of art. The results of such thinking have produced magazines of unparalleled artistry (and artiness). And, as Details magazine editor James Truman points out, "The effects have not been entirely beneficial. Quite often a magazine's design will defeat the content."
Ingrid Sischy knows all about that. The editor of Interview, she hired Baron two years ago to make over her magazine, only to fire him because his graphics were dominating the magazine. Nevertheless, Sischy argues that the increased prominence of designers like Baron is not merely inevitable but desirable as well. "Graphic design is the missing link between form and content. How we receive information is responsible for how we understand it. We have to pay attention to the people who are packaging it for us."
Baron is at the forefront of those people. What he offers is intangible. But it's also real, as real as the difference between eating a piece of pie served on disposable plastic and eating one on a china plate. The pie tastes the same, but the experience is different. In today's image-hungry climate, Baron teaches us to keep our eyes on the plate.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Madonna Looks Back: The New Issue of Rolling Stone
10/14/09, 9:45 am EST
In January 1984 Madonna had just one album under her belt when she told American Bandstand’s Dick Clark she had lofty plans: “To rule the world.” (Watch the rarely seen clip here, in our Iconic Madonna Moments gallery.) Over the past three decades, she has provoked, innovated and inspired; she’s set and broken her own records, most recently wrapping the highest-grossing tour ever by a solo artist with her Sticky & Sweet show. And now that she’s released the two-disc retrospective Celebration, the pop superstar who rarely looks back sat down with Rolling Stone’s Austin Scaggs for a revealing trip through her early days in New York, some of her biggest scandals, and of course, her most massive hits in our new issue, on stands today.
Celebrating Madonna: Look back at her 50 most iconic moments in photos and videos.
Even as a seventh grader in Michigan, Madonna reveals she knew how to push her audience’s buttons. For her first ever performance, “I had my girlfriends paint my body with fluorescent hearts and flowers,” she recalls of a rendition of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” that left her fellow students speechless. “I wore a pair of shorts and a midriff top, and I just went mad. … I’m sure everyone thought I was insane. That was the beginning of my provocative performances, I guess.”
Get a look at photos from Madonna’s record-shattering Sticky & Sweet tour.
But having innate stage savvy didn’t mean Madonna grew up a wild child. Though she tells Scaggs about her days as a graffiti artist when she was running with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York City (her tag: Boy Toy), life was tamer before that. “I was a geek in high school. I didn’t really have a drink until I got divorced for the first time [from Sean Penn] when I was 30,” she admits. ” ‘Geek’ is not a word anyone uses to describe me, except perhaps [Confessions on a Dance Floor producer] Stuart Price, who once said, ‘You know, you’re a nerd at heart, nobody knows it.’ I took it as a compliment.”
Check out all of Madonna dozen Rolling Stone covers.
She credits her first major shift in style — from punky brunette club kid to blonde wedding wonder — to getting dressed and styled for more photo shoots and videos as her career progressed. “I think people put a lot of emphasis on the whole reinvention of my image, and it’s always been a lot less calculated than people think,” she says. ” I think it’s boring to stay the same. A girl likes to change her look.” But if she had to pick her worst fashion moment: “It was the purple lipstick, fluorescent-green sweater combo. … It’s OK, it was the Eighties. It was a bad-hairstyle era. Let’s face it.”
But Madonna doesn’t have many musical regrets. She tells Scaggs about writing “Live to Tell” and “Vogue,” returning with a head full of brand-new ideas on Ray of Light and teaming with some of the industry’s biggest hitmakers on Hard Candy. But after all these years, she admits she still can’t sniff out a Number One. “I’ve never been a good judge of what things are going to be huge or not. The songs that I think are the most retarded songs I’ve written, like ‘Cherish’ and ‘Sorry,’ a pretty big hit off my last album, end up being the biggest hits,” she tells RS. ” ‘Into the Groove’ is another song I feel retarded singing, but everybody seems to like it.”
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Obama Commits to Work for LGBT Equality, Offers No New Promises
Appearing before a packed and welcoming room at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner in Washington, President Obama delivered a speech strong on rhetoric that did not make any new promises or commitments. In his strongest language to date he promised the crowd, as he has in the past, that he would end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, but did not offer any timeline for doing so.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Obama spoke about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and promised to defend any of his employees from attacks based on who they are, a likely reference to Safe Schools Chief Kevin Jennings, who has been under attack from anti-gay right-wing and religious groups. He also trumpeted recent House passage of a federal hate crimes bill and promised to sign it once it reaches his desk.
Obama also did not directly reference Question 1 in Maine or Referendum 71 in Washington state, two ballot measures that would remove rights from LGBT citizens on either coast, but offered broader promises to fight against the lies and divisiveness of foes of equality, suggesting that religion-based bigotry has no place in the national debate.
The President discussed his commitment to gay and lesbian families, using as an example his invitation to allow them to roll Easter Eggs at the White House.
The most amusing moment of Obama's speech came at its opening, when the President said, "It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga." Finally, the President said that "friends should be able to be honest with one another" and he supports those who hold his feet and those of Congressional leaders to the fire over campaign promises.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
we finally called it quits yesterday on october 7th after 10 months of comforting, arguing, partying, sharing music, fighting, worrying, text messaging, learning, walking around and looking at architecture, making sexytime, waiting for the man, plotting and pretending....
i watched this video and naturally i got a little choked up...it's pretty funny but boy am i really, really gay hahahahha
i will miss my tiger....he taught me a lot about myself that i should have known already...i just hope i taught him something as well
we were gay for each other : )
i guess this is my little tribute to the amazing thing that has been consuming all of my thoughts and time for almost a year....love. it definitely was love and still is and i finally got a chance to experience it in all its glory and all its ugliness. i've loved before certainly but to have it returned at the same time....where a friendship metamorphosizes into something new and unearthly....that is love. i just hope i can find it again someday.
sorry its been so long since i've offered up a chauncey treat but i've been really busy and am trying to figure out a proper blogging schedule so that i don't feel like i'm ignoring this part of my creative outlet anymore.
here's a track by the people who brought you 'revolutions' from a couple months ago....the guy's voice is so awesome and keenhouse takes this track into a fantastic trancey dream territory that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside...hope you like!
melnyk - the competition (keenhouse remix)
BEAR HUGS @ Hugs: Thursday, October 8th
Location: Hugs, 108 North 6th Street, btwn Barry and White.
Date: Thursday, October 8th (10pm-4am)
DJ Chauncey D says: “DJ Chauncey D is preparing a funky and sleazy sonic soundscape to provide you with a unique dancehall experience and guaranteed to make you boogey….if boogey is what you do…
drink specials, no cover, amazing soundsystem, handsome barstaff and one of your favourite djs in the entire universe to keep you entertained all night….and it’s close to the bedford stop on the L train which is only one stop out of manhattan….what more could you ask for on a thursday night?
come and get your bear hugs!!
love beams and brimstone,
dj chauncey d”
I say: “That was an adorable little note. ‘Love beams and brimstone,’so cute! I happen to have a slight thing for bears (holla at me y’all) so I’m thinking of going. It’s a monthly event. It’s at Hugs, which is super swank and DJ Chauncey sounds like a really cool gent. Check it out. Growlll.”
Friday, October 2, 2009
when there's actually a workshop on the subject, it makes one wonder whether beardom is dangerously close to becoming boredom but i'm still an optimist and try my best to live outside of a cynical cloud of thought. the title alone is sarcastic and campy at best i suppose (or hope rather) and it sounds like the name of a low budget documentary on logo about lazy, fat, hairy guys living in wisconsin. but knowing jack, sarcasm was definitely one of the tools behind the titling. everything aside, i'm sure this workshop will answer as well as ask many a question and i wish my work schedule wasn't so grueling and unfair (cue violins) so that i could attend. jack is a very intelligent, well spoken man and i'm sure this workshop will be beneficial and well recieved to all who attend.
A Bear Identity Workshop
with Jack Bethke, MSW
Since the late 1980s the Bear subculture has emerged from obscure party nights and a few publications to a bona fide cultural phenomenon, and now includes multiple generations of gay men who are as diverse as the gay community itself.
But what does the term Bear mean today? More importantly, how do we fit as individuals within the larger community?
This eight-week conversation will address and question various issues from a mutual aid perspective, such as: identity, body image, sex, attraction, community and career.
As a group we’ll explore trends, wellness issues, increase self-esteem, build confidence and forge stronger relationships as members of this dynamic community.
Please join us - all are welcome - bears, non-bears, cubs, chasers, admirers, etc.
October 12 – December 1, 2009
$25 per session (x8)
In order to ensure comfort and intimacy, space is limited and a full 8-week commitment is necessary.
To schedule a brief telephone interview, please contact Jack Bethke via email: email@example.com or by telephone: 917.309.1163.
Further information regarding Mr. Bethke and his practice can be found at www.jackbethke.com.
gif courtesy of the one and only pudwhacker...check out his amazing site here
and check out a certain really interesting bonus track from you know who...
it's so cool to be uncool
and here's a clip of madonna on david letterman on tuesday night! she looks ridiculously gorgeous and is such a natural comedian. i can't believe she's been on the show 8 times!!!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
come check out the latest incarnation of Rob Valin's "DADDY" party featuring me, DJ Chauncey D, at the decks offering you a sleazy soundscape to perfectly soundtrack your predatory ways. the sleek bar has a private entrance to the basement where the dirty deeds get done....
THE BASEMENT PARTY
Downstairs at 390 8th Ave (at 29th St)
Hosted by Robert Valin
DJ Chauncey D
$4 Heineken/Coors Lite/Jaeger & Tequila Shots
check out the DADDY facebook group here