Phranc, the self-described "All-American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger" has been a little quiet lately, but she's back with a new website and a new instrumental song. And if that wasn't enough, her entire solo catalog is now available on Bandcamp. [more inside]
Dazed by the recent Blondie retrospective at the (former) Chelsea Hotel? Celebrate Blondie at 40 with some music videos : = Dreaming Union City Blues Hanging on the Telephone Rip Her to Shreds Heart Of Glass (modern retake) Denis X Offender Atomic Rapture The Tide Is High One Way Or Another
The exhaustively researched Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This (Previously) presents a two part episode focusing on Madonna's use of classic Hollywood imagery and references as a form of conceptual art and her early attempts to trade pop idol success for movie stardom within the context of two high-profile relationships with Sean Penn and Warren Beatty. Episode One. Episode Two. Meanwhile, Todd In The Shadows creates video reviews for every movie Madonna was ever in. So far he's done Desperately Seeking Susan, Shanghai Surprise, A Certain Sacrifice, and Who's That Girl.
Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America (mirrored at Salon.com)
Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.
All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.
Childhood - a hand-bound book of Japanese styled illustrations paying homage to nostalgic activities and toys. From artist Chet Phillips.
While we've discussed it before, the link was removed but YouTube's new content guidelines have allowed it to be re-uploaded. In 2001, photographer and filmmaker David LaChapelle directed a video to be shown before Heatherette's first runway show and MAC cosmetics in-store video. Starring Amanda Lepore, the 6 minute video is a bizarre gunshot of pink lipstick, gay cowboys, 80s pop music, and constant full frontal nudity. YouTube (sign-in required) Vimeo. (NSFW)
Janelle Monae's latest music video/single is a 60s-esque, funkadelic, symbol-heavy, all-white fur and all-female hammer to the head - THE DANCE APOCALYPTIC
Randy George Scott turns himself in for riding through British Columbia at speeds in excess of 180 mph (300 km/h). [more inside]
Pop-Cultured Currency - Technically, defacing US currency is a crime – but artist James Charles doesn’t seem to be in any legal trouble for his awesome series of Pop Culture Cash. His portraits, created on real money using ink, turn dead presidents into colorfully amusing pop culture icons. Alternate site with larger pics.
A Survey of Western Painting with Song Attached (SLYT)
Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His artistic work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid. He strives to portray this global melee through a conscious “appropriation” of all of his influences: cultural, artistic, and personal. Matsuyama’s unconflicted and positively ebullient works do not ask, “What am I?,” but assert, “I am everybody.” (via) [more inside]
Pop up shops have been popping up, well, pretty much everywhere. And pop up restaurants. And pop up art galleries. While the trend started long before the current retail downturn, and looks set to continue as companies strive to create interest in their products and services, will creative spontaneity start to look a little bit too planned and evolve into a mainstream retail channel?
The Guardian has compiled a list of their top fifty arts videos, the majority being from either rare or obscure sources and uploaded onto YouTube.
The Art of Chris Turnham. Vivid, highly-stylized illustrations. The first four 2D images are part of a series that depict scenes from Decemberists songs.
"Anyway, the idea behind this site is similar to stumble: provide links and representations to (of) artists that I love. To that end I've already started populating the music, photography, visual arts and motion arts sections with some art I hope you really enjoy (and real links to the amazing artists responsible)."[And check: via via via]
Page after page of late 50s/early 60s pop posters, advertisements and more, designed by the studio of Lefor-Openo, which consisted of Marie-Claire Lefort and Marie-Francine Oppeneau. Via Papel Continuo
Nick Hornby discusses pop music in this NY Times essay: "Maybe this split is inevitable in any medium where there is real money to be made: it has certainly happened in film, for example, and even literature was a form of pop culture, once upon a time. It takes big business a couple of decades to work out how best to exploit a cultural form; once that has happened, 'that high-low fork in the road' is unavoidable, and the middle way begins to look impossibly daunting. It now requires more bravery than one would ever have thought necessary to try and march straight on, to choose neither the high road nor the low. Who has the nerve to pick up where Dickens or John Ford left off? In other words, who wants to make art that is committed and authentic and intelligent, but that sets out to include, rather than exclude? To do so would run the risk of seeming not only sincere and uncool - a stranger to all notions of postmodernism - but arrogant and vaultingly ambitious as well."
Mark Ryden is to the iconic saucer-eyed urchins of the '60s as Salvador Dali is to Hickory Dickory Dock. His delicate palette, fine details and classical references offer compelling counterpoint to the deliciously disturbing imagery of les tykes terrible in collections such as "Blood: Miniature Paintings of Sorrow & Fear"; "Bunnies and Bees: Paintings Created to Illustrate DIVINE TRUTH in Accordance with the Secret Principles of SCIENCE AND SOUL"; and "The Meat Show: Paintings about Childen, God, and USDA Grade A Beef". Plus, they're kids - with big eyes!