Google Doodle Honors the Anniversary of Selena’s Debut Album

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“Bidi bidi bom bom.” If those four words aren’t sending you into a tailspin of singing Selena Quin’s most viral hit, we don’t trust you. While the song was released on the late Mexican-American singer’s fourth studio album, Amor Prohibido, in 1994, today is cause for a different celebration. On this day in 1989, Selena burst onto the scene with her iconic self-titled debut album.

To honor the queen, Google premiered the first-ever Selena Google Doodle, an animated cartoon of her singing “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” that took over two years to make. It was through the work of Perla Campos, Global Marketing Lead for Google Doodles, that the animation came to life thanks to her own personal connection to Selena. “There were always two women who taught me I could do anything and be anything I set my mind to: my mom and Selena,” she explained to Billboard. “Selena has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.”

Together, with Selena’s family, she worked tirelessly to create an animation that highlights Selena’s journey from child to adult before her untimely death at the age of 23. It’s a moving tribute to the singer, especially at a time when the rights of immigrants have come under attack. As Campos explained: “Selena was always about transcending boundaries, and for someone who has such a powerful story to be featured on the homepage of Google – a search engine that connects people the way she connected people – that is such a beautiful thing. Featuring an immigrant woman should not be political, it should be celebrated.”


New Doc Explores Jayne Mansfield’s Connection to Church of Satan

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Jayne Mansfield left an undying legacy as the punk Marilyn Monroe, with such films as The Girl Can’t Help ItPrimitive Love, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter. A true sex kitten of the atomic era, her life and career was met with much adoration and fanfare.

But her death was shrouded in mystery. After a violent car crash took her life, the news led to rumors and hearsay that continue to this day. A new documentary recounts those rumors and hearsay, particularly her relationship with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey. In Mansfield 66/67, classic documentary interviews and archival materials paint a picture of the last two years of her life.

The doc premieres October 27 in the US. Watch the trailer below.


International Center of Photography Moving to Essex Crossing

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A rendering of Essex Crossing (Courtesy of Moso Studio)


Barely a year after relocating its flagship to 250 Bowery, New York’s International Center of Photography (ICP) has announced yet another move. In 2019, the museum will move to Essex Crossing, a new $1.5 billion dollar mixed-use development from SHoP Architects on the Lower East Side, which is expected to reach completion in 2024. There, the new ICP flagship will reunite with its school.

“We are thrilled to be reuniting the ICP Museum and the ICP School under one roof,” said Board President Jeffrey Rosen and Board Chair Caryl Englander in a statement. “This is something towards which we’ve been working for nearly twenty years. It’s gratifying to bring this exciting goal to fruition.”


A rendering of the new International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing (Courtesy of Moso Studio)


In 2015, the institution was forced to move to its current location after its rent-free lease with the Durst Organization in Midtown expired. Traffic at the new location decreased from 160,000 to 100,000 in the first year, but steadily increased with each show, drawing a younger, more diverse crowd. Since the move, the school has remained in Midtown, across the street from the flagship’s previous location.

“The addition of the International Center of Photography is a key milestone in the development of Essex Crossing, which calls for space dedicated to community and cultural facilities separate from the commercial and retail tenants and housing expected to fill the project,” said Karen Scanna, part of the Stroock development team. “As one of New York’s premiere non-profit artistic, educational and cultural institutions, ICP is the perfect organization to fulfill that pledge. We are proud of the work Stroock continues to do on behalf of the development partners in bringing this historic project to fruition and ultimately to market. And we salute the City’s significant investment in drawing marquee cultural attractions such as the International Center of Photography.”

Essex Crossing will occupy 1.9 million square feet that has mostly remained vacant for 50 years, and it will include residential, commercial, and community spaces. The ICP will occupy a 40,000-square-foot building, four-stories and two more floors at the adjacent residential building.

Paul Sevigny Paintings to be on Show at NYC’s Café Henrie

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As part of a somewhat ideological new art series, downtown’s most inimitable nightlife impresario and Renaissance man Paul Sevigny (brother of Chloe) will show 15 of his paintings for the first time ever.

Taking place October 19 at NYC’s Café Henrie, and in conjunction with Bill Powers’ Half Gallery, the concept is actually fairly simple: one artist, a limited number of works, and displayed for just four hours. (The inaugural show on 9/28 featured Austin Eddy.) Probably little known to those who have long followed Sevigny as a DJ and promoter – and have shaken their groove things to his sets at fashion parties, at Sway and most recently at Paul’s Cocktail Lounge at the Roxy Hotel – he has actually been painting for the better part of two decades. So this is a long awaited…coming out, of sorts.

Yet Sevigny had only this to say: “I’m not an artist, I’m a painter.” (Despite the brevity of the show, he was thoughtful enough to give it a title: Sunday Painter.)

Café Henrie is located on the LES (Powers’ Half Gallery was originally located next door, Sevigny was its first customer) and is lorded over by Paris nightlife galvanizer André Saraiva – so expect a bit of a who’s who crowd. Nevertheless, the event is open to the public.


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Spooky Cool ExSage Video for ‘Come Alive’

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Image by Kristin Cofer


Rock & roll loves a good rebirth story. To wit, Cobalt Cranes, who had built a significant West Coast following with their sensual “desert punk” between 2012 and 2016. But when core members Tim Foley and Kate Clover suffered a personal split up, they musically reformed as ExSage – with Foley eventually moving on.

Now ExSage is Clover’s creative alter ego, with a new EP, Total Devotion, just released September 22. And never one for middling gestures, her inspirations for the new songs included everyone from PJ Harvey to Nick Cave to French Surrealists/Symbolistes Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

A standout is the fiery new single “Come Alive” – the Jason Lester directed video for which BlackBook premieres here. The song is all echo-drenched, gothic psych rock fury, and the noir-thriller imagery – complete with vintage Barracuda – suits it perfectly. It ends with something of a witches’ coven wine (or blood?) tasting – which just might have feminist overtones.

“’Come Alive’ is about-facing your demons in order to survive,” Clover explains. “It’s about finding your true self no matter what, even if that means letting part of you die. With that comes fear and anger but also a small glimmer of hope. Anger can be a gift or a weapon that can turn on you; it’s how you channel it. I feel as if we all have a desire to worship what we don’t possess and sometimes that is the hope that fuels the fire. It’s what drives us forward.”

Words to live (and die) by.


ExSage Live

October 24th – Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles
October 27th – Starline, Oakland
October 29th – Blonde Bar, San Diego

Sufjan Stevens Shares Release Date For ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Soundtrack

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Call me by your name, Sufjan. The soulful, indie folk rocker your college freshman roommate loved to listen to while smoking weed is about to become your new favorite artist again thanks to one of the must simmering gay romances of all time. As you might’ve noticed, Sufjan Stevens is an integral part of the film adaptation of the 2007 André Aciman novel Call Me by Your Name.

We admittedly would’ve never thought to pair Stevens and gay romance films, but trust us when we say the combination is perfect. Now, before the film gays up your Thanksgiving when it releases on November 24, the soundtrack has been given an October 27 release date, which gives you a full month to mouth the words to three new songs by Stevens as you pick dead leaves off the ground or stare out of your window longingly.

The soundtrack was created alongside legendary Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and is Stevens’ first foray into film – a move that came at the request of director Luca Guadagnino. It’ll also be the first of two new releases from Stevens whose last album, Carrie & Lowell, came out in 2015. The singer will release The Greatest Gift, a collection of outtakes, remixes, and demos, in November.

Listen to a snippet of one of Stevens’ new songs, “Mystery of Love” in the Call Me By Your Name preview, below.


Dorian Electra’s ‘Control’ Is The Intersectional Feminist Anthem Of Our Dreams

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The new music video for queer singer/songwriter/visionary Dorian Electra’s “Control” is not only a visual masterpiece, but an informative lesson in intersectional feminism and the wrongs committed by men unto women throughout history.

The video features a cast of females each with a powerful story to tell: there’s Zuri Marley, with a giant white python draped across her shoulders as she references sexism in religion; there’s rapper K Rizz schooling us in abortion and immigration policies from a spooky candlelit office; there’s Chynna, addressing horrifying racialized sterilization programs implemented throughout American history; and there’s London Jade, giving us an iconic account of gender nonconformity and transness while sitting atop a glittering floral throne.

And, of course, there’s Electra herself, serving a metallic vision as she croons “Get your hands off my body” in the chorus and plays a sexist ministerial-looking person in one of the verses.

“Control” shines a light on several oft-hushed-up stories of women’s struggles to achieve reproductive rights, continuing Electra’s tradition of exploring feminism, gender politics, and intersectionality through her catchy purposeful pop songs and mesmerizing visuals. Take a look.

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Stunning New Simonne Jones Single ‘Runaways’

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Image by Antje Jandrig


Simonne Jones is from California – but everything about her suggests a keenly cultivated internationalism. Indeed, she’s appeared at Austria’s exalted Salzburg Festival, done time on the runways of Berlin Fashion Week, and alternately called Toronto and London her home. Not enough? She boasts a degree in biomedical research from the University of Maryland.

She’s also something of a protege of the magnificent Peaches – even going as far as to say that seeing a concert of hers at 15 years old completely transformed her life. And like her mentor, she has the unique ability to draw on wildly disparate influences and transmute them into something strikingly unique and thought-provoking.

And so it is with new single “Runaways,” which BlackBook premieres here. With its thumping Teutonic synths, lush atmospherics and Jones’ ethereal, impassioned vocals, you may detect references to the likes of The Knife and Kate Bush – though there’s clearly a fierce individualism at work.

And as she dramatically intones, “Tonight we live / Tonight we dance / We move to our music / And this is our last chance,” one gets a sense of both desperation and fiery determination.

“It was once a poem that I wrote a long time ago,” she explains, “that I modified once I had the chords with David Kosten in London. I wanted to write something that would pay tribute to my Native American background, and would explore being in love when you are not valued as worthy by society. On the surface it seems like a love song, but if you look deeper it explores the philosophy of acceptance, ownership, freedom, immigration and borders. Many of my songs have multiple layers for the advanced listener.”

Such layering extends to the production of the music, as well – which feels at once stark, uncluttered and alluringly sumptuous.

“I wanted to create a beat with a lot of movement and dance almost in a tribal sense,” she says. “I used the Fm8 synthesizer by Native Instruments to get that really deep arpeggiated bass synth line and a few of my favorite plug ins to add some dirt. I think this element really sets the tone and atmosphere of the track. If you can nail a single sound so well that it doesn’t bore you over time, that it changes and swells and has movement, you have won half the battle of the production.”

Expect to hear more from her much sooner than later.





BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Warbly Jets’ Wicked Hot New Single ‘RIDE’

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Rock & roll is pretty much on life-support these days, with guitar bands from Greenpoint to Silver Lake turning out some of the twee-est shite this side of a Hallmark Holiday Special. But like our faves The Kills and Raveonettes, LA’s magnificently bed-headed Warbly Jets know how to crank up a ripper and do it with style and panache.

To wit, the deliciously wicked new single “RIDE,” which BlackBook premieres here. It could easily give The Dead Weather a run for their money in terms of Led Zep monster riffage and swagger – but with a celestial psychedelic vibe that reminds of Black Angels. And their Lennon-esque way with an infectious melody makes it all eminently hummable.

“The bridge section portrays the experience of diving underwater,” explains the band’s Julien O’Neill, “holding your breath for as long as possible, before shooting back up to the surface when the last chorus hits.”

Like all the best rockers, they’ve also never met an effects pedal they couldn’t bend to their will.

O’Neill recalls, “We ran a number of synths through a wide array of guitar pedals, and each individual sound and part has its own different keyboard and own pedal chain to its name…so everything feels very unique.”

Just back from tearing it up on their pre-debut world tour and at a few Milan Fashion Week parties, Warbly Jets will play the Moroccan Lounge in LA on the 19th, before a three-date stand at Vegas’ EMERGE Music + Impact Conference in November. Their self-titled debut album is out October 20th.