Dark Lady Lana Del Rey Puts a Spell on Donald Trump

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“Dark lady played back magic till the clock struck on the twelve,” Cher sang back in 1974, apparently predicting the mass spell binding ritual against Donald Trump to take place tonight.

In a recent Tweet, Lana Del Rey has hinted at joining the ritual. The Tweet says “at the stroke of midnight,” and included the dates, February 24, March 26, April 24, and May 23.

The dates refer to those of the waning crescent moon. Tonight is the first in the series in which witches and people of various spiritual and religious affiliations around the world will take part in a midnight ritual spell to bind Donald Trump and all those who abet him. The event has brought together magic communities around the world for a common purpose, with a website and a Facebook page for people to share tips and find others participating.

In Bed With Netflix and Armond White

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Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Foreplay: The Five Heartbeats (1991) 

Just in time for Black History Month, this backstage musical tells the story of a fictional R&B group that sings and dances a lot like The Temptations and The Four Tops. There’s 1960s nostalgia and a lot of hokey soap opera amidst the ghetto intrigue, personal drama and civil rights struggling. Director Robert Townsend also plays one of the Heartbeats (along with Tico Wells, Harry Lennix, Michael Wright and the actor known simply as Leon but most famous for Madonna’s Like a Prayer music video).  The film is a tribute to the trials and triumphs of black pop music. It’s based on history but really is just a medley of imagination and wish fulfillment, just like the movie Dreamgirls but a whole lot better. (Showbiz veterans Diahann Carroll and Harold Nicholas make cameo appearances.)

Press Play: The Girl From Chicago (1932) 

Also in time for Black History Month is this rarely shown film by pioneering black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. This is one of his most entertaining of his strange specialty films. Micheaux’s regular storytelling genre was melodrama—usually crime stories and romances—which means he was the Douglas Sirk of Harlem. In this one, a government agent (Carl Mahon) in Mississippi falls in love with a local girl (Grace Smith), they move to Harlem and get involved with a racketeer (the great Juano Hernandez who went on to a dignified acting career in Hollywood). Micheaux intersperses the plot with entertainment breaks—musical acts and dances that push this film toward the avant-garde while it documents the era’s black cultural trends. 

Playtime: Finding Dory (2016) 

Fish Lives Matter—that’s the theme that makes this latest Pixar movie also a contribution to Black History Month. Ellen Degeneres voices the Blue Tang title fish bringing-in her TV specialty of representing diversity and political correctness and insufferable cuteness. Dory’s short-term memory loss as she goes through the predictable Pixar plot of leaving home and returning home can be looked at this month as an allegory for the African American slave experience and the desperate search for ancestral homelands. Is that a stretch? Pixar can use a stretch from its usually unimaginative formulaic product. Otherwise this is just a sequel cashing in on the once-was-enough children’s hitFinding Nemo.

BLACKBOOK VIDEO PREMIERE: Love, Ecstasy and Terror’s ‘Carousel’

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Adam Bravin was best known as one half of the hip darkwave duo She Wants Revenge, whose post-punk-referencing singles like “These Things,” “Tear You Apart” and “Out of Control” made them a hit with the cool kids in the latter half of the Oughts. He also mans the decks as DJ Adam 12 – and his talents have been appreciated by everyone from Stevie Wonder to Prince to Barack Obama. 
 
His new project is the brilliantly monikered Love, Ecstasy and Terror, which was the result of fellow SWR member Justin Warfield pushing him to go out on his own – with impressive results. Here we premiere the first LXT video, for the track “Carousel,” and chat with Bravin about his musical mission, terrifying relationships, and DJing for the President. 

 

 

There’s almost a later Beatles-y vibe to the new material. What was your musical vision for LXT?

My mission was to express myself as honestly and as thoroughly as possible. It was the first time in my life that I felt I could incorporate all of the music that has become a part of me. I wanted to create something cinematic, in a sense. I love music that makes me feel, makes me think and makes me envision a world that may or may not exist. I’d like to think that this music accomplishes the same thing.

Is there a particular meaning behind the name?

Almost all of the romantic relationships I’ve had in my life have included moments of love, moments of ecstasy, and definitely moments of terror. 

Does She Wants Revenge still exist?

Yes. Justin and I see each other all the time. We celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our debut album last year, and spent most of the year touring, playing our first album in its entirety. We recorded a new song about a year ago, and will most likely record a new song or two sometime this year, if time permits. 

You still DJ around LA. What have you been doing specifically?

I promote and DJ three nights currently: Giorgio’s, which is a private party, mostly 70s disco and funk, with a little 80s R&B, electro and freestyle. It’s located inside the Mmhmm lounge in The Standard Hotel, Hollywood. Also Cloak & Dagger, which is a members only club that everyone must wear all black to get in. I only play music that’s “dark, everything from Depeche Mode to Wu-Tang Clan. It’s located at 1666 McCadden Place in Hollywood. And finally AFEX, which is a throwback party. 1979 – 2005 hip hop, classics and breaks only. Every last Friday at The Satellite in Silver Lake. Always off the hook.

You DJ’d for Barack Obama. What was that like?

As a DJ, it doesn’t really get any bigger than that. It was an honor and a privilege to offer my services to President Obama, who was one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. He’s just like you imagine he would be. I’ve been fortunate to live a lifetime DJing for some of the most amazing people in the world, Prince, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre, Diddy, Stevie Wonder, the list goes on and on…but this was a whole other level. Coolest job ever. 

What songs would you DJ for Donald Trump?

I would never DJ for him. If it were in a dream (or a nightmare) I would most likely play “Impeach the President” by The Honeydrippers.

Amy Winehouse’s Childhood Remembered in London Exhibit

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Photo: Karen Blue via Flickr

Legendary singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse’s life was cut tragically short, though her legacy lives on in the hearts and ears of fans around the world – and now, her past will further be cemented in history with the creation of a new exhibit opening at the Camden Jewish Museum.

The exhibition will document Winehouse’s early life, with photos of her at Shabbat dinners as a child, displays of her early possessions and treasures, and background on her family history. It will expand on the previously held “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait,” which, as one might expect, more closely examined the artists relatives.

An art trail featuring artists including Captain Kris, Mr Cenz, Philth, and Amara Por Dios will accompany the exhibit, with street art pieces inspired by Amy. The final piece in the trail is by Pegasus and titled “Love is a Losing Game.”

“Aside from being an immensely talented, iconic and inspirational singer, Amy was also a Jewish girl from North London,” Abigail Morris, the Jewish Museum London’s director, explained in Nylon’report. “It is fitting that the Jewish Museum in her beloved Camden Town should be the place to tell her story.”

The exhibit will be on display starting March 16 at the Jewish Museum, with the art trail running March 15 to June 4.

Palomo Spain and Molly Goddard Among LVMH Prize Finalists

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Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Palomo Spain, our favorite show at New York Men’s Week, is garnering attention from more than just us – they’ve been announced as one of 21 finalists for the presitigous LVMH Prize for new designers, presented by the fashion behemoth LVMH since 2014.

Just a refresher:

All about @pol.roig vol.3

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Other finalists announced include British womenswear designer Molly Goddard:

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and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, the club-kid inspired designer responsible for such amazing looks as this:

The winner of the award will be announced June 16 in Paris by a judging committee that includes fashion legends like Karl Lagerfeld, Maria Grazia Chiuri, J.W. Anderson.

The full list of 21 finalists:

ABASI ROSBOROUGH by Greg Rosborough (American designer based in New York). Menswear, showing in New York.

AMBUSH by Yoon Ahn (American designer based in Tokyo). Unisex collections, showing in New York.

ANGUS CHIANG by Angus Chiang (Taiwanese designer based in Taiwan). Menswear, showing in Tokyo.

ATLEIN by Antonin Tron (French designer based in Paris). Womenswear, showing in Paris.

BLINDNESS by JiSun Park (Korean designer based in Seoul). Menswear, showing in Paris.

CECILIE BAHNSEN by Cecilie Rosted Bahnsen (Danish designer based in Copenhagen). Womenswear, showing in Copenhagen.

CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY by Charles Jeffrey (British designer based in London). Menswear, showing in London.

DANIEL W. FLETCHER by Daniel Fletcher (British designer based in London). Menswear, showing in London.

DILARA FINDIKOGLU by Dilara Findikoglu (Turkish designer based in London). Womenswear, showing in London.

GMBH by Serhat Isik (German collective based in Berlin). Unisex collections, showing in Berlin.

JAHNKOY by Maria Kazakova (Russian designer based in New York). Menswear, showing in New York.

KATHERINE MAVRIDIS by Katherine Mavridis (Australian designer based in New York). Womenswear, showing in New York.

KOZABURO by Kozaburo Akasaka (Japanese designer based in Tokyo). Menswear, showing in Tokyo.

MAGGIE MARILYN by Maggie Hewitt (New Zealand designer based in Auckland). Womenswear, showing in Paris.

MARINE SERRE by Marine Serre (French designer based in Paris). Womenswear, showing in Paris.

MARTINE ROSE STUDIOS LIMITED by Martine Rose (British designer based in London). Menswear, showing in London.

MOLLY GODDARD by Molly Goddard (British designer based in London). Womenswear, showing in London.

NABIL NAYAL by Nabil el Nayal (British designer based in London). Womenswear, showing in London.

PALOMO SPAIN by Alejandro Gomez Palomo (Spanish designer based in Cordoba). Menswear, showing in New York.

RICHARD MALONE by Richard Malone (Irish designer based in London). Womenswear, showing in London.

SULVAM by Teppei Fujita (Japanese designer based in Tokyo). Menswear, showing in Tokyo.

 

Rihanna to be Named Harvard’s ‘Humanitarian of the Year’

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This year’s Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award from Harvard University will go to none other than Rihanna, whose activism and philanthropy this year have truly been above and beyond.

“Rihanna has charitably built a state-of- the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” explained Harvard Foundation Director S. Allen Counter in The Harvard Gazette.

He continued: “She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandparents] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, a multiyear campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today.”

In addition to the various foundations she’s founded and supported, Rihanna actively helps countries in need through her travels – here’s a photo of her trip to Malawi as a Global Citizen Ambassador:

met the bravest, most humble kids and young women this week! I can’t wait to share more! #CLF #GC #GPE

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While she certainly didn’t get the Grammy love she deserved, this recognition, plus the news of her record-breaking 30th top ten single on the Billboard charts, ought to be turning her February around.

INTERVIEW: Detroit Electro Icons ADULT.

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When electroclash took over the scene from New York to London to everywhere else that mattered at the turn of the Millennium, confrontational Detroit duo ADULT. had already begun resuscitating the darker aesthetic and lyrical tenets of 80s Euro-electro. Yet while so many of their peers were churning out opulent kitsch-deesko, Adam Lee Miller instead conjured a sonic palette which was jittery, foreboding, and cold but sensual, as front-banshee Nicola Kuperus wailed lyrics about human corruption, psychological emptiness and, well, all manner of everyday anxieties. (Indeed, they named a 2003 album Anxiety Always.)

They went on to transcend any genre classification, and to establish a signature brand of Teutonic techno-metal-pop. No surprise, they’re really big in Germany. Nicola also became a prominent art photographer, noted for the rather gruesome humor of her “death scene” tableaux.

Now they’re back with their first new album in four years, edifyingly titled Detroit House Guests – and due for release March 17 on MuteIndeed, they invited several of their most bellicose, uncompromising musical friends – including Michael Gira of Swans, Douglas J. McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb, and Light Asylum’s awesome Shannon Funchess – out to their Motor City studio for what turned out to be some very electrifying recording sessions.

Highlights? Gira and Kuperus forcefully chant “Nonsense / No sense” over the eerie buy absorbing dissonance of “Breathe On”; McCarthy’s haunting baritone lends a portentous edge to the infectious, Depeche Mode-like synth pop of “They’re Just Words”; and Funchess unleashes her feral beast on the sinister-but-groove-heavy “We Chase the Sound.” In the overall, Detroit House Guests impressively exhibits the astonishing breadth of their creative purview, while seemingly following a clear thematic arc.

We caught up with the pair for a chat about cultural overload, public vs. private persona, and, of course, anxiety.

Tension has always been your stock in trade, huh?

NK  I think so. And anxiety.

There’s a lot of anxiety now.

ALM  It’s interesting, we’re putting together our live set – and we were shocked by how these songs written during the Bush era still sound so current.
NK  As artists, we were always there to speak for the disenfranchised.

There’s a lyric on the album, “All that we perceive might be otherwise / These words that you say might be all lies.” It’s pretty spot on for our current situation.

NK  It is, but these are things that we’re always dealing with. The day Trump came into office, we were jamming to Dead Kennedys and Crass – and it’s amazing how relevant those albums are still.
ALM  I also think that Nicola writes lyrics that are very open ended – that can shift as the state of the nation shifts.

Worringly, though, there seems to be nothing provocative happening in music right now.

NK & ALM  I agree.

There’s the theory that technology has taken over for culture.

ALM  Well, we’ve been watching this CNN program that goes through the 60s, 70s…and the first 80s episode is all about television. Plenty of people thought TV was going to kill culture and make everyone mindless. But I don’t envy the young now, because I don’t know what that must be like – for everything to be on all the time. And everything is so public. It has to be exhausting at a level that I don’t think people completely understand yet.
NK  And people now feel that everything they do is important; they feel entitled to the attention.

Everyone just says what they’re thinking without actually…thinking.

ALM  If you would have told me that our President would be tweeting at five in the morning…how did it get to that level of pervasiveness?

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Shannon Funchess is incredible, isn’t she?

NK  She is a powerhouse. Just to have her in the studio and to listen to that voice, that power coming out of her…it’s really inspiring.

Despite all the guests, though, the album feels remarkably cohesive. 

NK  It is a real journey in sound and in narrative, yes.

It’s especially great to hear Douglas McCarthy on a couple of songs. Nitzer Ebb arguably got ghettoized by the “industrial” tag. But they’re much more important and influential than they’re given credit for.

NK  Absolutely. They always challenged their audience, and that’s what we are always trying to do.

There’s the lyric, “This is the way the body works.” And both bands have always explored the mind/body divide – the battle between the physical and the psychological.

NK  The past couple of years I’ve been interested in the concept of the “front stage” and “back stage.” The author Erving Goffman wrote a book called The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, about how we all have a front stage physicality, and a back stage that’s more psychological.

With all the cultural clatter of these modern times, how hard is it to stay important and relevant?

NK  That’s a complicated question. You always have to promote yourself as an artist – it’s just different now. Ultimately you have to keep working and just do good work.

Does this record still represent ADULT. being an oppositional force? Do you hope that you can still rouse people?

ALM  Certainly we do. We still put absolutely everything into what we do.

Finally, how did depressed Detroit suddently become the new cool place?

NK  I’m not sure how cool it actually is. But being in Detroit we never have to compromise anything we do – because we live insanely cheaply. So artists can support themselves here. But even Detroit, like so many other places now, is on the verge of that, “Will it keep its integrity?” moment.

 

Seth Meyers Goes for Gold in ‘Oscar Bait’ Parody Trailer

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As another Academy Awards quickly approaches, we’ve become familiar with what makes an Oscar-worthy film. There’s usually an unhappy couple, some kind of racial tension, homosexual undertones, and a whole lot of crying.

Seth Meyers has perfected this formula in his latest parody clip for Late Night. The talk show host compiled all the components of an Academy Award contender for the fake trailer of Oscar Bait. It includes all the expectable tropes and a scene that was literally just ripped straight from Carol.

Oscar Bait will be in theaters never, we hope. Watch the trailer below:

Nick Knight Dedicates Art Exhibit Entirely to Paintings, Films, and Gifs of Kate Moss

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Image via @ButtonFruit on Instagram

Nick Knight is organizing an entire art exhibit dedicated to the looks and life of style titan Kate Moss.

Knight said, i-D reports, “I asked 30 of the world’s best fashion illustrators to draw Kate’s most iconic catwalk looks, all chosen specially by her, for the amazing designers she has worked with including McQueen, Galliano and Westwood. The result is a uniquely beautiful exhibition that shows the many exciting ways each artists sees the model who has come to symbolize what fashion means for a whole generation.”

Those illustrators include some of our personal Instagram faves, such as @UnskilledWorker, who share this incredible portrait of Moss which will be included in the exhibition:

Also contributing, @ButtonFruit (Gill Button):

And this one from @KellyMarieBeeman (Kelly Beeman):

The exhibit will also include gifs and special projects on Kate from Knight, as well as fashion films. It will be on view at SHOWstudio through April 20.

“It was such a pleasure to have the chance to look back on the incredible clothes I have worn on the catwalks and to see how these have inspired SHOWstudio’s amazing selection of fashion illustrators,” Moss said in i’D’s report. “It brings back many memories and feels like a fitting tribute to the wonderful designers I have worked with.”