BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Iceland’s Ásgeir’s New Tarantino Inspired Video for ‘Pictures’

 

 

Over the years, we’ve cultivated a particular pre-disposition to Icelandic artists. And if we’re honest, we are not in the least apologetic regarding our smittenness with the Land of Fire and Ice.

It’s especially hard not to feel that way about visceral songsmith Ásgeir (née Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson), whose 2012 album Dýrð í dauðaþögn (it translates to “glory in silence) was Iceland’s fastest ever selling debut, and topped out at #1 there. His fourth long player, Bury The Moon, will be released this February 7 via One Little Indian – and BlackBook premieres here the video for advance single “Pictures,” which finds him in typically reflective mode, lyrically observing “The sun wakens the meadow / Makes a cruel world seem more right.”

The track also exhibits a decidedly more cinematic feel than his previous work, with its pensive piano and haunted string arrangements. And though his ethereal singing style is unmistakable, his vocal dramatics here can’t help but remind of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.

 

 

The video itself is a decidedly sinister meditation on the fragile state of freedom, shot across a typically desolate Icelandic landscape.

Ásgeir explains, “The director, Einar Egilsson, came up with this idea of doing something with references to old western movies and drew inspiration from Tarantino films—and I thought that could fit well with the mood of the song. He felt like the song was kind of split in half, the verses are melancholic and sad, while the choruses are brighter and more hopeful…and so the video tries to express all those emotions on the screen.”

Following the album’s release, Ásgeir will launch a North American tour at Imperial Vancouver on March 4, which takes him through the States, finishing up at Montreal’s L’Astral on the 31st.

 

Fashion of the Year of the Rat: Fendi Launches Chinese New Year Capsule Collection

 

 

In the last couple of years, both Shia Labouf and Kristen Stewart tried unsuccessfully to bring back the rat tail haircut (alas, the Thompson Twins just did it so much better). But other than that, we must admit haven’t seen much in the way of rodent referencing style.

But 2020 is indeed the actual Year of the Rat (no coincidence, it’s also a presidential election year). And Fendi is celebrating with a new Chinese New Year capsule collection that makes uniquely stylish reference to the furry little scavengers. The Women’s Collection includes the iconic Peekaboo and Baguette bags in elegant rose gold, and unique materials include nappa leather and dazzling sequins. There are also Pequin jewelry boxes and rose gold wallets.

 

 

For the Men’s Collection, the red/gold color combination symbolizes luck and joy—the latter of which we are very much in need of right now. A cartoonish rat motif, specially designed for this line, lends a cheeky touch to the mini bag, wallet, and card holder.

The entire rat-tastic range will be available as of January, in Fendi boutiques worldwide and on Fendi.com. Oh, and 2021 is the Year of the Ox—already looking forward to fashion’s tribute.

 

The Museum of Sex’s ‘Cam Life’ is a Cultural Study of Contemporary Voyeurism

 

 

Let’s be honest, there’s never been a time when human beings were not trying to steal a glimpse of something more than what accepted propriety would allow. In fact, we think we’ve actually seen peepholes amongst the ruins of Pompeii – or was it Persepolis?

Technology, of course, has accelerated the possibilities for voyeurism in a way almost unimaginable even just 50 years ago. And New York’s Museum of Sex has a revealing new exhibition, Cam Life: An Introduction to Webcam Culture, that seeks to explicate what it all means for modern society – especially those who tend to towards a bit – or a lot – of exhibitionism.

 

 

The titillating but edifying show brings together several contemporary artists known for integrating camming and pornography into their work, as well as content and interviews related to the escalation of digital voyeurism since the widespread embrace of the internet, and amusing interactive multimedia installations.

Provocatively, there are multiple webcam streams on display – CAM4, an international adult streaming platform, is a partner in Cam Life – and yet none of the subjects is at all aware of being a part of the exhibition. (Giving it a slightly Orwellian air.)

 

 

The show headily brings up questions of public display versus privacy, connection versus technological disaffection, and intimacy versus alienation. In mirroring the curatorial philosophy of CAM4, it also challenges any idealized ideas of pornographic imagery, by fully embracing racial, gender and fetishistic diversity, offering a truer picture of the current and all encompassing sexual zeitgeist.

Cam Life: An Introduction to Webcam Culture is curated by Lissa Rivera, in conjunction with the Museum of Sex’s Creative Director Serge Becker, and runs through May 31, 2020. That is, if you can manage to tear yourself away from your computer screen for long enough to see it.

 

Love + Physics: New Ava Max Single ‘On Somebody’ Offers Scientific Relationship Advice

 

 

Pop music taught us that love is a drug, and that it can also be the greatest thing…but rising star Ava Max is closing out 2019 by offering some rather clever new insight on the subject.

Indeed, with her utterly beguiling new single “On Somebody,” she turns to physics to illuminate the concept of one’s grasp, or lack thereof, on any given relationship.

 

“I see you moving side to side, side, side, side, side
Two hands on you that aren’t mine, mine, mine, mine, mine
You never know how much you’re on somebody ’til they’re on somebody else”

 

And it’s really quite true, if you think about it. What could possibly be more enlightening as to the soundness of one’s relationship, than calculating just how much of the other person is on you, and how much on someone else? The track itself is all slow, sultry grooves, and graced with a particularly soulful vocal performance by Ms. Max – who has earned recent praise from the likes of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and, of course, BlackBook.

She’ll also be appearing on this year’s edition of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve – though we really do hope you’ll be out somewhere having too much fun to be watching television.

 

Holiday Hope: Abisha’s Stunning New Single + Video ‘Love Like This’ Stands up for LGBTQIA+ Acceptance

 

 

At the conclusion of one of the most divisive years ever in British and American politics, it’s particularly important to remember that the issues being debated involve real consequences for real, everyday people, every day.

Which is why we find ourselves applauding Brit songstress Abisha for rushing the pre-Christmas release (while everyone is so distracted with the holidays) of the video for her poignant new single “Love Like This,” which celebrates the beauty of young love, while also standing up for LGBTQIA+ acceptance. And if there is anything we need more of right now, it is most certainly acceptance and tolerance.

Filmed at locations around NYC by Louis Browne and Sam Leviton, there is so much unabashed joy on the screen, that it can only be taken as a message of hope – especially at this time of year when so many so intensely feel the sting of societal rejection.

 

 

“Growing up black and gay in a place that’s largely white,” Abisha explains, “and where I didn’t know of anyone else who was queer, I had this feeling of being different for most of my life.”

But just as queer artists from Boy George to Janelle Monae have acted as guiding lights for those in need of someone to look up to, so does Abisha hope to do the same.

“For a long time I wanted so badly to be what I thought was normal,” she recalls. “Now that I’m discovering who I am as an artist, I’m also discovering who I am as a person, and I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m happy to stand out and express myself every way I can.”

And what greater gift?

 

After a Very Dark Year, Cocteau Twins’ ‘Winter Wonderland’ Will Brighten Your Holidays

 

 

If you haven’t followed the enigmatic saga of the Cocteau Twins since their astonishing 1982 debut Garlands, it’s perhaps a bit hard to grasp the monumental gravity of the reality that Elizabeth Fraser actually joined Massive Attack onstage during their widely acclaimed 2019 tour – which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of their landmark 1998 album Mezzanine.

But stepping back from that particular exhilaration, the occasion of Christmas Day after such a trying, harrowing year – at home and across the globe – seems perfectly right to revisit the Cocteaus’ somewhat obscure 1993 Snow EP, for which they uncharacteristically covered a pair of very familiar holiday classics: “Winter Wonderland” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The latter gets a fairly and charmingly straight up treatment, considering their penchant for hallucinatory atmospherics. But it’s the update of the former that genuinely manages to decisively warm our winterized – and slightly hardened – hearts 26 years later.

 

 

Indeed, Ms. Fraser still enchants with her ethereal, but perhaps slightly-less-fantastical-than-usual vocal performance; while Robyn Guthrie and Simon Raymonde escort the snowy standard benevolently into their dreamlike aesthetic universe.

And as Elizabeth lilts, “Later on, we’ll conspire / As we dream by the fire / To face unafraid, the plans that we’ve made / Walking in a winter wonderland,” you just might let yourself believe everything is going to be okay.

A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

 

 

Pooch Chic: Your Dog Needs to be in Missoni Poldo Dog Couture This Winter

 

 

No matter our differences – and there are a lot of them – the love we all share for our canine companions has a way of bringing us together in a most heartwarming way. (But okay, yes, we suspect Trump doesn’t like dogs, either).

To help show our appreciation for how much more colorful our pups make our lives, Missoni has again teamed up with Poldo Dog Couture, for a new line that will allow your pooch to definitively show off his/her impeccable fashion sense (and yours). Done up in the exalted Italian fashion house’s signature vivid, vibrant boho chic aesthetic, it notably features the Cortina, a detachable padded coat over a sweater available in two color variants, and the Genova, a hooded raincoat in printed PVC with matching leash and collar. Woof-a-riffic!

 

 

Of course, Fido and Fife need equally stylish accessories; and so there are also très chic leashes and collars in Missoni’s iconic zigzag motifs, in a variety of brightly colored hues.

The capsule collection is available now in all of Missoni’s flagship boutiques, Milan, Rome, London, Paris, and New York; as well as as at Missoni.com.

May your days be furry…

From Russia With Fury: Pussy Riot Announce a 2020 North American Tour

Image by Neil Krug

 

 

Depending on your point of view, 2020 is not necessarily being looked forward to with unmitigated glee. After all, by this time next year, we my be making like Offred, and heading for the Canadian border.

In the meantime, we’ll at least have Pussy Riot to deliver us from evil, if only temporarily. Indeed, the Russian seditionary collective has just announced a North American tour, which will take them from the 1720 in Los Angeles on March 13 to Phoenix on April 15, with stops at the Metro in Chicago and King’s Hall at Avant Gardner in Brooklyn, before they hit the North for one last gig in Toronto in May. We had planned to follow them to the ends of the earth – though this makes it considerably easier, obviously.

Get the full schedule of dates here, and while you’re picking a show, listen to the awesomeness of recently released single “1937.”

 

 

Michelle Wolf is Back With ‘Joke Show’ on Netflix – and She’s Got a Bit About Otter Sex

 

 

With music seemingly have backed down from its position at the front lines of the culture wars, comedy has been courageously storming the barricades in its place. And though speaking truth to power in a post-truth world may carry the faint whiff of futility about it, doing nothing would hardly be an acceptable alternative.

Female voices are especially significant in a #MeToo era when even the President publicly sanctions sexual assault. And Michelle Wolf‘s unflinchingly fearless (and really bloody hilarious) performance at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner sent her rocketing to the front of the pack, after a notable run at The Daily Show. The hurt-feelings president later weighed in that, “So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly.” Which obviously, of course, means she did completely the opposite.

 

 

Now she’s back with a new Netflix special, pithily titled Joke Show, and the first trailer is out. For it, a very funny bit on otters “raping” baby seals is excerpted. And just like all the best comedians do, she somehow makes a labradoodle breeding joke a metaphor for sexual consent. Even better, she sneaks in a potshot at Instagram. (“That’s how we prove life happens.”)

Joke Show debuts December 10 on Netflix. And if ever a year needed to end on a laugh, it is 2019. So, obviously, don’t miss it.