BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Hyper Sensory New Video For Korean Songstress CIFIKA’s ‘MOMOM’

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She is undoubtedly one of Korea’s buzziest artists; and if you still believe that music has the ability to save us all, there’s something almost ambassadorial about CIFIKA arriving on these shores come March – what with all the seething political tensions between the US and the Korean Peninsula.

But mostly we’re just loving her sultry, sexy, somewhat mystical new single “MOMOM” – which is a high-profile collaboration with Korean indie rock star Hyuk Oh. It’s already caused a stir back home, and for good reason.

The title of the song actually translates as “body and soul.” And with its 80s-esque electro-pop grooves, its lush, echo-soaked sonic soundscapes and mantra-like chanting, it’s equal parts carnal and transcendental. As CIFIKA explains of its origins, “We started off from thinking our minds and body are inseparable.” We decisively concur.



The hyper-sensory video, which BlackBook premieres here, combines purposefully grainy footage, frenetic, hypnotic animation, no small number of wildly colorful characters, and, well, several stuffed panda bears. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe it.

“Hyuck, [director] Oui Kim and I were sharing memes one day,” she recalls, “and thought about executing our visuals utilizing the concept of meme. Something fun to watch, rather than being serious and deep. We tried to show how we all want to be free from stereotypes we have in our body and spirit, and by having a funeral of the memes, we set ourselves free from media.”

Her new EP PRISM will be released sometime this spring. But in the meantime, she’ll be embarking on what will actually be the most extensive Stateside tour by a Korean artist…ever – including a stop at SXSW in March. Don’t miss it.



Sun, 3/4  Seattle – Barboza
Mon, 3/5  Portland – The Analog
Wed, 3/7  San Francisco – Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Fri, 3/9  Los Angeles – Moroccan Lounge
Tue, 3/13  El Paso – Neon Rose
Fri, 3/16  Austin (SXSW) – The Belmont
Mon, 3/19  Dallas – RBC
Wed, 3/21  Kansas City – miniBar
Thu, 3/22  Columbia – Cafe Berlin
Fri, 3/23  Chicago – Virgin Hotel
Sun, 3/25  Grand Rapids – Founders
Mon, 3/26  Cincinnati – MOTR PUB
Fri, 3/30  Nashville – Analog @ Hutton
Sat, 3/31  Atlanta – Drunken Unicorn
Wed, 4/4  Washington DC – Songbyrd
Thu, 4/5  Philadelphia – Creep Records
Fri, 4/6  New York – Mercury Lounge
Sat, 4/7  Boston – Middle East Upstairs


One of Picasso’s Greatest Portraits Resurfaces At Sotheby’s

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We’ve at times referred to Jean-Michel Basquiat as this generation’s Picasso. And with the jaw-dropping record sale ($110.5 million) of the former’s 1982 Untitled painting at Sotheby’s last spring, one can’t help but wonder what a truly monumental work by the latter might bring.

And so comes this exciting news for lovers of Picasso’s Surrealism Period: a stunning 1937 portrait of his “Golden Muse,” titled Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter) has surfaced. It will tour the Sotheby’s galleries in Hong Kong, Taipei and New York, before being auctioned as part of their London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on February 28.

Significantly, it was painted just after his epochal anti-war masterpiece Guernica – arguably the height of his inspiration and powers.

“This depiction of Marie-Thérèse from the 1930s,” offers Thomas Bompard, Head of Sotheby’s London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sales, “reveals Picasso’s mastery of the modern portrait. Of all of the artist’s styles and decades, this is the one that most epitomizes his legacy as a portraitist of women – with this particular painting encompassing all of the key elements for which he is recognized and celebrated.”

It is well documented that Picasso could be cruel to his mistresses. And the incredible uniqueness of this portrait is that it is said to represent Marie-Thérèse falling out of his favor, to be replaced by his new lover, Dora Maar. Indeed, Pablo was quoted as having callously remarked: “It must be painful for a girl to see in a painting that she is on the way out.”

Exhibition Dates

Hong Kong, 30 January – 2 February

Taipei, 6 – 7 February

New York, 12 – 14 February

London, 22 – 28 February


‘Prince: Live on the Big Screen’ Announced Two Years After His Death

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Nearly two years after his shocking death on April 21, 2016, a live concert event will take place in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, accompanied by a new concert film titled Prince: Live on the Big Screen.

It will feature previously unreleased Prince footage, both audio and video, as well as onstage musical accompaniment from some of his favorite collaborators throughout his career. According to the Paisley Park estate, which is putting on the show, “very special guests” will contribute to the performance.

It all takes place at the Target Center, and is part of a four-day-long event, Celebration 2018, being put on by the estate. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, January 20.

Since his untimely death, interest in Prince’s music has only escalated. His estate donated memorabilia to an exhibition in London that took place last October, and a photo book, Prince: A Private View, was published the same month. In September, the concert film Sign O’ The Times aired in the U.S. on Showtime.

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Haunting Video for LEA’s Cover of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Dream Brother’

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Hard to believe, but it’s been more than twenty years since Jeff Buckley’s mysterious, accidental drowning in the Mississippi River in 1997. Since then, no small number of artists have attempted to interpret his rarefied compositions, some obviously with more success than others.

One such success is the just released cover of his haunting “Dream Brother” by Brooklyn songstress LEA –  the Kelly Cappelli directed video for which BlackBook premieres here. The sultry singer (born Lea Cappelli) is known for marrying jazz, synth-pop and trip-hop influences – and that unique aesthetic manifesto sees her transforming Buckley’s enigmatic, Eastern-tinged song into something decidedly more lush, suggestive and breathtakingly dramatic.

“Buckley’s timelessly haunting voice, layered lyrics, and gorgeous bitterness have stuck with me over my many years as an artist,” she explains. “I chose this song an ode to his life and tragic death, and gave it a simple yet striking visual as my gift to those who love him as much as I have. The last line of the song is a devastatingly stunning sendoff to a beloved man: ‘asleep in the sand, with the ocean washing over.'”

The follow up to her debut EP Fever Dream will be released in the coming months.


Hamilton’s Brittany Campbell Has Animated Her New Video for ‘Buzz’

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While Next playfully called her “Brooklyn’s pop princess,” Complex more markedly labeled Brittany Campbell “the future of soul.” She’s actually a lot of things, including a current cast member of the Chicago production of Hamilton, star of Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It…and a remarkably talented animator.

To wit, she recently animated the video for Shaun Ross’ “Symmetry” single, released this past November. And now she’s put that magic touch on the clip for her own single “Buzz” – which is a slinky precursor to her upcoming new album Stay Gold Part 2, which will be out in April.

In the video, she leads a sensual dance party in the streets (which for some reason includes a really scary looking wolf), with cartoon flashes of lightning and energy emitting from everyone’s hands and bodies. Over a sultry nu-soul groove, Campbell entices, “I know that you want to fly / Allow me to get you high.”

An offer, surely, few would refuse.


Alexis Knapp Talks Sex Appeal, Female Empowerment, & Saying Goodbye to ‘Pitch Perfect’

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Photos by JSquared Photography


Although the movie musical has experienced a comeback in the last decade with films like HairsprayAcross the Universe, and the recent release of The Greatest Showman, none has equaled the impact that the Pitch Perfect franchise has had on the world. The films follow a collegiate acapella team, offering witty one-liners and relatable moments for younger viewers, plus some acs-amazing performances of some of our favorite hits. It also features an incredibly talented cast of young women, including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow.

But a genuine standout is Alexis Knapp, the hilariously talented actress behind the most sexually confident member of the group, Stacie. Since the first film, she’s been a fun and entertaining presence, which continues with the recent release of the final installment, Pitch Perfect 3. (She’s also appeared in such films as The AnomalyProject X, and the recent Lifetime holiday film, My Christmas Prince.)

We caught up with Alexis as she bid farewell to her role and the Pitch Perfect franchise. She filled us in on the whole song and dance, as well as the significance of female empowerment in the series.


The third Pitch Perfect movie has just come out. What’s it been like being part of this from the beginning and seeing this huge following it’s acquired?

Well, first of all, no one ever thought it would become as big as it did, let alone a trilogy. That is still surreal. When we began this journey, it was just a fun, unique idea that I had to be a part of. Then it took on a life of its own and grew into an amazing franchise that is extremely empowering to women, with a wonderful, inspiring message for young people everywhere. I couldn’t be prouder of all the people involved and what we managed to create.

It’s such an amazing cast of ladies. Do you all hang out in between movies?

Yes, we’re all great friends with a lifelong bond and I’m so grateful for each and every single person that has been involved. I have found friendships and lessons that I will never stop cherishing and loving. This cast is truly special.

Is the musical training pretty strenuous?

Yes and no. The singing portion was pretty easy, but it was the non-stop dance rehearsals, the ever-changing choreography, and the hours that were most exhausting. But honesty, some of my favorite memories are those sweaty studio rehearsal days. It was a blast.



Did you have a lot of musical experience before joining the cast?

My mother is a dance teacher, and I pretty much grew up in a dance studio. I also started piano at the age of 6, voice lessons at 11, which then evolved into opera at 13, flute, violin…and I have dabbled in many others. Getting this role was a dream come true, as I was able to incorporate many of my passions into one project.

What would you say is your favorite song you got to sing in the three movies?

I sang so many songs that it’s difficult to choose.  All the group songs were amazing and I love harmonizing with everyone. I suppose my favorite would have to be the Boyz 2 Men song, and “Run the World.”

Your character is definitely the more sexual of the group. Were you hesitant to take a role like that or do you find it more empowering?

Great question. I was 22 when I booked the role as Stacie, and I almost didn’t audition for it because I didn’t want to be type casted. My personal style was very modest and I wanted to be known for more than just sexual appeal; but at the end of the day I felt the project was far greater than the fear of being type casted, and I’m so happy I signed onto it.

Before Pitch Perfect, you hosted a web series about World of Warcraft. Are you still into the whole gaming scene?

100%. I will never stop loving video games. World of Warcraft was an addiction of mine for many, many years. I even met my first boyfriend through it, believe it or not. Video games are an exceptional escape for young folks, or any age really, as well as a means for a community of people who share similar interests. My clan/guild members were the friends I’d spend my weekends, and weeknights,with. I had one real life friend who would come over on the weekend sometimes and drag me off the computer so I would come to an actual, real life party. But I know I wouldn’t have made it through my teens without video games. Plus, the competition and skill set required brings a satisfaction to one’s life that is incomparable to other activities.



Has your daughter watched the Pitch Perfect movies yet?

She has seen the first two, and she loves them. However, she would rather be a chef than follow in mommy’s footsteps.

What can everyone expect from the third film?

Explosions, amped up everything, and a whole lot of tears. Happy tears.

Do you think there will be another?

It’s been planned to end as a trilogy, but you never know what could happen. I would love to be involved in another one. The door is always open!

What’s it like saying goodbye to this role and the franchise, at least for now?

Stacie was such a fantastically fun role to play, the writers did such an amazing job with my character. She will always be a part of me. But I have no problem accepting that everything comes to an end. Tis the cycle of life. My life and craft has been enriched by this franchise and I will forever be grateful.


Pitch Perfect 3 is now in theaters.


Watch: Stunning New Charlotte Gainsbourg Video for ‘I’m a Lie’

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It’s been a particularly cold and snowy January – but if anyone could melt it all away, it would be the sensual, sultry and inimitable mademoiselle Charlotte Gainsbourg.

And indeed, she’s just released this stunning video for the confessional new single “I’m a Lie.” In it, she goes from rolling seductively around in bed to swinging alone on a swing to floating eerily in a forest – and makes all three seem equally sexy. The song is taken from her new album Rest, which was released in November.

If you want to feel Mlle. Gainsbourg’s heat in person, however, you’ll have to hop a flight. She’ll be doing eleven live dates between February and April, all in Europe and Japan.



Charlotte Gainsbourg Tour Dates

Sat. 17th                                     Geneva                                      Festival Antigel
Weds. 21st                                 Hamburg                                   Mojo Club
Thurs. 22nd                                Berlin                                        Columbia Theatre
Sat. 24th                                     Amsterdam                               Paradiso
Sun. 25th                                    Luxembourg                             Le Rockhal
Mon. 26th                                   Zurich                                       Kaufleuten
Weds. 28th                                 Paris                                         La Cigale
Thurs. 29th                                 London                                     Village Underground
Mon 9th                                     Tokyo                                         EX Theatre
Tues 10th                                   Osaka                                        IMP Hall
Weds 25th                                  Brussels                                    Les Nuits Botaniques



Samantha Bee Takes Worldwide Apology Tour on Behalf of Donald Trump

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What’s one thing that Korea, El Salvador, the grave site of Francis Scott Key, and most of the world have in common? They all deserve a personal apology from Donald Trump. As nice as that would be, no one should actually hold their breath waiting for one.

But late night TV provocateur Samantha Bee has offered to fill in for the president on an “Apology Race,” which she announced on her show this Monday. She and her correspondents will travel the world to apologize for “every garbage thing Donald Trump does.” So they’ll obviously have their work cut out for them.

“His poor impulse control might force us to go apologize to Korea, or the entire Muslim world,” Bee says in the clip.

Fans can recommend a place that needs an apology with the hashtag, #ApologyRace. The finale of the race takes place January 24 during Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS.


Report From the Palm Springs Film Festival, Part II: Kristin Scott Thomas and Isabelle Huppert Shine

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Saoirsie Ronan and Timothee Chalamet


We’re at a festival in the southern California desert, and we are happy to report no one in attendance is wearing a flower crown. Though it’s not the fashion trends we’re after. Nope, these crowds want to see art films and bask in the warmth of a balmy January. (No “bomb cyclone” here.)

We got what we came for. In addition to dining al fresco for every meal, and hobnobbing with zeitgeisty celebs like Saoirsie Ronan, Jessica Chastain and Alison Janney, the Palm Springs International Film Festival served up spectacular cinema from around the globe. Here are a few highlights.  


The Party

Writer/director Sally Potter adopts cinematic elements of film noir in her hilarious dark comedy about a woman, Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas), just elected Minister of Health, who’s hosting a dinner party to celebrate. Shot in black-and-white, the film drops us into a non-stop plot that builds speed like a runaway train. Each character adds the weight of their own drama to the unforeseen wreckage. April, Janet’s best friend (played brilliantly by Patricia Clarkson) steals the show, dropping every line of sharply written dialogue like an atom bomb.



Oh Lucy!

It’s amazing what a hair change can do. For Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima), a Japanese woman going through the motions as a single, middle-aged hoarder in Tokyo, it does a whole lot. In Atsuko Hirayanagi’s newest film a bleach blonde, curly wig transforms Setsuko into her American alter-ego, Lucy. The story embarks on a journey of emotional trauma, cultural exchange, and unrequited love (along with a pretty stellar performance from Josh Hartnett) as she and her sister head overseas to Los Angeles. The story’s both endearing and heart-wrenching. Definitely not for the faint of heart – but then again, neither is going platinum.



The Future Ahead

For director Constanza Novick’s film debut, she weaves together a beautiful story of lifelong female friendship. We watch as Romina (Dolores Fonzi) and Florencia (Pilar Gamboa) navigate life from pre-adolescence to adulthood – complete with first kisses, first periods, motherhood, divorce. Novick wrote the script when she was pregnant with her first child. “It struck me how maternity put some distance between friends,” she said in a Q&A after the screening. Like in real life, the women have falling outs and reunions, always landing back on those familiar points of familiar contention. “It’s a passionate friendship.”



Happy End

The latest film by acclaimed director Michael Haneke (“Piano Teacher,” “White Ribbon”) opens on what looks like the lens of a teenager’s cell phone. Someone is documenting a woman as she gets ready for bed. The scene is both eerie and comical, and leaves us wondering if this is a stalker or innocent eavesdropper. So what’s happening? Well, we ask that question a lot during Happy End – and that seems to be Haneke’s intention. The lens often shifts perspectives, rarely indicating who’s behind it. Also at play are themes of class and dysfunctional family dynamics. Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Xavier Trintignant put in some memorable performances, as does Fantine Harduin as an emotionally haunted youngster in her big-screen debut.