Listen: Debut ‘2nd Generation Wu’ Single ‘7.O.D.’ Continues the Wu-Tang Legacy

 

 

Just this week, the Irish band Inhaler passed through on their first tour of America – featuring none other than Eli Hewson, son of Bono.

So, yes, the children of post-punk are making their own musical waves now. And the same is very much true for hip-hop, apparently, with the first single by 2nd Generation Wu also just out this week. One doesn’t have to work hard to guess the parental lineage, of course – it’s right there in the name. Led by iNTeLL (son of U-God) and PXWER (son of Method Man), the new track also features raps by SUN GOD (son of Ghostface Killah) and Young Dirty Bastard (son of the late Old Dirty Bastard) – the Children of the Wu.

 

 

iNTeLL’s story is particularly inspiring: he was shot in the stomach at just two years of age, somehow survived, and has since gone on to be a successful video director. But he is fully committed to 2nd Generation Wu.

“I’m ridiculously excited,” he says of their single “7.O.D.” (out via Dock Street Records), “and I think it’s definitely in my top five favorites of songs I’ve made throughout my career.”

It comes just as Wu-Tang Clan are celebrating their 25th anniversary, so there is a special significance to the timing of the release. This is definitely not a one off, however.

As iNTeLL reveals, “The next phase is to deliver the album to the world in the beginning of 2020.”

 

David Byrne Announces New Immersive Theater Production…in Denver

 

 

Despite his visceral association with New York, David Byrne has always exhibited affection for the vivid landscape that is America – and so the announcement that he is premiering a new immersive theater experience in Denver is really not a surprise in the least. And indeed, his sure-to-be-fascinating Theater of the Mind will premiere in August of 2020 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts‘ Off-Center.

No surprise, for such an unfettered conceptualist, the piece will be a 15,000-square-foot immersive experience, allowing just sixteen audience members at a time members to experience a journey of “self-reflection, discovery and imagination.” It promises sensory experiments that will somehow unravel the mysteries of that great and baffling enigma that is the human mind.

 

A Doll’s House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

 

At the very least, it will be a good excuse to stop staring at your Instagram feed and get a little deep. But considering Byrne’s involvement, we can safely predict nothing short of revelatory enlightenment.

“David and I partnered with several cognitive neuroscience labs to see how some of the most basic human intuitions determine how humans react,” explains co-creator Mala Gaonkar. “What we concluded was the experiments and ideas of the labs we partnered with, several of which we embedded in our narrative, seemed as engaging as any piece of theatre.”

Considering the bizarre 21st Century circumstance of science falling under concerted attack by our current administration, it couldn’t be more poignantly timely.

 

 

“Off-Center is nationally admired for its immersive work,” enthuses Byrne, whose American Utopia is currently running on Broadway, “and they have the skill and experience to bring this complex production to life – [plus] the committed audience who will appreciate it. I have long had an interest in creating something that incorporated the sensory experiments we often read about in a way that was entertaining and engaging, but still gave people an experience that was visceral and profound.”

As we reported last year, Denver is actually in the throes of a cultural rebirth – so start planning your visit now, and expect to spend a few days in the Colorado capital.

 

The Company of Indecent at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Fabrizio Moretti x 2 – Sotheby’s Teams w/ The Strokes’ Drummer For Old Masters Exhibition

 

 

One of the key components of the intelligently crafted rock & roll life is knowing when to get in, when to get out…and knowing when to get back in again.

An so it is that the upcoming mini-tour by The Strokes – kicking off November 16 in Mexico City – is very much about knowing when to get back in. Yet still, all the greatest rock stars are also savvy enough to have it going on elsewhere, while, you know, waiting to get back in. To wit, Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti has just hooked up with the renowned art collector of the exact same name, for a new exhibition at Sotheby’s that seems at once inevitable and also curiously unexpected.

Indeed, Fabrizio Moretti the art collector is staging a show of 20 Old Masters paintings at the exalted auction house, with each being showcased in immersive / interactive installations designed by…naturally…the rock star Fab Moretti.

 

 

But hey, what’s in a name?

“I was attracted to this project by this idea of perspective,” explains the latter Moretti. “It is pervasive throughout all aspects of this exhibit, starting simply by the fact that it involves one name but two pairs of eyes. The goal is to construct a process of orientation that abstracts and individualizes the experience of witnessing its art. By building a circuitous path that explores modes of limiting or expanding the way the work is observed, the viewer is urged to consider another form of interaction with any given painting or sculpture.”

My my, how we love a credibly intellectual rocker. But what he’s really trying to say is that, despite the contemporary world’s many and sundry attempts to obliterate human history, the great paintings of yore – here by the likes of Matteo Cesa and Taddeo di Bartolo – still resonate with a keen cultural relevance to this day.

 

 

The show will open November 15 at Sotheby’s New York, and run through December 18 – offering all manner of opportunity for posh sorts to plow through those Christmas gift lists (though we’re personally hoping to find an authenticated Bernini in our stocking this year).

Or as Fabrizio the collector puts it, “I am thrilled to be collaborating with Sotheby’s on this innovative exhibition to present Old Masters through a new perspective. I have always been drawn to their timeless appeal, and remain passionate about communicating the relevance of these works through enriching dialogues and partnerships.”

It’s almost like Fluxus never happened.

 

Must See Exhibit: Chemical X’s ‘CXLA’ Explores the Aesthetics of Ecstasy/Rave Culture

 

 

Back in June of 2000, TIME Magazine ran a surprising cover story titled Ecstasy: What it Does to Your Brain. Rave culture was already very much in decline by that time, but the drug had taken a newly prominent position in the American clubbing zeitgeist. Remarkably, reporters concluded that it actually wasn’t all that dangerous, relatively speaking.

With sufficient time having passed, in 2017 British artist Chemical X (once associated with the legendary Ministry of Sound scene, and a collaborator with Banksy and Damien Hirst) created an installation that featured a sculpt of supermodel Cara Delevigne seemingly floating amidst 7254 ecstasy tablets. It immediately become an instant press sensation, and is currently valued at more than $1 million.

 

 

Now the controversial artist is bringing an entire show of ecstasy themed work to Los Angeles, with an exhibition incisively titled CXLA. In keeping with his aversion to traditional galleries, it’s been fitted into the defunct Tower Records space on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood – which surely adds a modern-world poetic layer to the entire affair.

It follows another Chemical X Los Angeles installation earlier this year titled Skid Rodeo Drive – The Street Where Luxury & Poverty Meet – a commentary on the city’s rampant homeless problem. But of his upcoming show, he expounds, “The ‘Ecstasy’ series is about potential suspended in an everlasting moment, allowing the viewer to see what has been, what is and what could be – all in the same instant.”

 

 

Indeed, Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll opined to BlackBook in 2018 that rave was “the last great youth culture movement.” And ecstasy was surely its fuel.

Fittingly, Chemical X has never before exhibited via an organized public show – so there is a sense of cultural momentousness surrounding CXLA(which will open with a private event Friday, November 8, and be open to the public Saturday and Sunday, November 9 & 10.)

I hope L.A. will come to take it all in,” he says. We say miss it at a loss to your enlightenment.

 

 

 

Must See Exhibition: ‘Super Funland’ Delve’s Into the Peculiar Eroticism of Carnivals

 

 

Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when open celebration of human sexuality was decidedly taboo, carnivals and fairs served to pique the erotic imagination through otherwise verboten imagery and suggestion. Indeed, they have long drawn on the subconscious – celebrating repressed desire, promiscuity, and rebellion against sexual and societal norms, and serving as outlets for hedonism throughout history. They also allowed revelers to experience decadent pleasure and, quite often, actual vice.

Fittingly, the Museum of Sex, whose mission is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history and cultural significance of human sexuality, has just opened its largest and most immersive exhibition to date, Super Funland: Journey into the Underground Carnival. Inspired by the social, artistic, and purely salacious aspects of historical fairground attractions, it reimagines the illicit thrills of a lost world of traveling carnivals and World’s Fairs for 21st century audiences, blurring the line between art and experience, and inviting visitors to become participants in said history as well.

 

 

Super Funland‘s exploration of the carnival’s roots is accompanied by a multi-floor interaction exhibition of thirteen humorously explicit games and amusements, as reimagined by contemporary artists – allowing for the possibility of losing oneself in both the carnality and the simple joy of the fair.

The exhibition opens with the living history of Al Stencell, who proverbially joined the circus at age 11 and documented the midway’s underbelly of burlesque, strip, and girlie shows along the way. The exhibition then transitions into an immersive 180-degree cinema, which depicts the carnival’s origins, followed by “Stardust Lane,” a forty-foot kaleidoscope where six dioramas represent examples of bawdy moments from the World’s Fairs and Coney Island, which emerged in the 19th century as one of the most notorious meccas devoted to hedonism.

A variety of amusements encouraged licentious behavior, with headline attractions such as the “Blowhole Theater,” which exposed the lower halves of skirt-wearing visitors. Upon visiting New York in 1909, Sigmund Freud himself purportedly said that, “The only thing about America that interests me is Coney Island.”

 

 

Additional highlights to arouse the senses include a 4-D immersive “Tunnel of Love” ride, an erotic fortune-telling machine modeled as RuPaul and styled by personal designer Zaldy; and an elaborate illuminated climbing structure leading to a two-story spiral slide, which whisks visitors into the museum’s psychedelic carnival bar, Lollipop Lounge. One can also test one’s romantic vigor with a biometric Kissing Booth.

Original commissions were created by an international team of artists and designers that include Bompas and Parr (UK), Droog (Netherlands), Bart Hess (Netherlands), Rebecca Purcell (US), and Snøhetta (Norway).

Seriously, Super Funland is without a doubt the most fun you’ll have all year for the price of a museum admission.

The Museum of Sex is located in at 233 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan’s NoMad district – so to keep the hedonism going, we suggest drinks at the nearby Clocktower, the always fabulous bar/restaurant at the New York EDITION hotel, inside the namesake’s architectural treasure, followed by a late dinner of decadent comfort food at The Breslin inside the Ace Hotel just a few blocks up.

 

George Michael’s ‘Last Christmas’ Present: Sultry New Single ‘This is How (We Want You to Get High)’

 

 

When George Michael shockingly passed away at just 53 years of age in December 2016, the monumental outpouring of grief went beyond just the loss of a treasured pop star. So many stories of his selfless generosity, all of it purposely unpublicized, were at last revealed – making it all the harder to accept he was no longer with us.

In perhaps one final act of generosity, however, he has now posthumously gifted us this previously unreleased single – “This is How (We Want You to Get High)” – just in time for the holidays, which is fittingly also included on the soundtrack to Paul Feig’s new film Last Christmas. Starring Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, along with Emma Thompson, and Maxim Baldry, Thompson’s co-star in the recent HBO mini-series Years and Years, it is sure to be the season’s runaway hit.

Regardless, a new George Michael song is the best present we could possibly hope for – and “This is How” (recorded in 2012) is him at his absolute best. To be sure, with its calypso groove and sultry atmospherics, it’s both comfortingly familiar and distinctly surprising.

George, of course, dramatically passed away on Christmas Day, 2016. So, in return for this wonderful new song, do give a very special thought (and more) – as would have he – for those less fortunate this holiday season.

 

The New Underworld Single ‘Listen to Their No’ is Proggy, Exuberant

 

 

Ever the conceptual chaps, Underworld‘s highly ambitious new album DRIFT SONGS (released October 25) was the end result of the unprecedented 52-week DRIFT Series. During that time, the exalted electronic duo of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith published snippets of music, film and text every Thursday, leading up to piecing it all together for the final product.

We’re particularly excited for a new double A-side single which has also just been released: the proggy, psychedelic but exuberant “Listen to Their No,” along with “Soniamode (Aditya Game Version),” a dark, slightly ominous synth stormer.

Seemingly tireless, the pair had been doing the (mostly European) festival circuit all summer, including headline slots at Sonar, Latitude, Lollapalooza and Vivid, for which they played a four night run at the Sydney Opera House. But hop a flight across the Atlantic, and you can still catch them at Antwerp’s Lotto Arena, November 22, Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, November 23, and London’s Wembley Arena, December 7.

 

Anthony Bourdain is Getting a Documentary

Images courtesy of CNN / Parts Unknown

 

 

It takes just a few seconds of hearing his voice to be fully transported back into Anthony Bourdain’s world of international fascination and intrigues. Cue up an episode of one of his quartet of life-altering shows, from No Reservations to The Layover to Parts Unknown to his last TV role as host of Raw Craft, and wonder at his canny, sardonically witty, sometimes contentious, but always charming extrapolations on everything from global politics to tattoos to the music of Brian Jonestown Massacre to the epicurean joys of a plate of pig’s head pie at St. John in London – all delivered in that sonorous, slightly hoarse baritone…you can’t help but feel a deep sense of loss.

Indeed, the very thought of his suicide last summer still elicits a tear.

 

 

News then that there’s a documentary (a collaboration between CNN Films, HBO Max, and Focus Features) on the horizon about Mr. Bourdain is heartwarming, to say the least. And there’s little doubt that with the thousands of hours – Bourdain’s obsessive work ethic was well-documented and resulted in a prodigious output – of show and interview footage available, that the result will be uniquely compelling. The Bourdain estate is said to be providing generous access to family photos, home movies, letters, music, and other such personal items, that will hopefully give the viewer an even deeper insight into his work and life.

Oscar winner Morgan Neville of 20 Feet From Stardom and Keith Richards: Under the Influence notoriety has been tapped to direct; and although no release date has yet been announced, we’ll surely be marking our calendars when one is, and utterly relish the opportunity to dive back into Bourdain’s uncompromising nature and views on travel, food, and life. To quote the man himself, “It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Neither would have we.

 

Cannabis Wellness? L.A.’s New Aeon Botanika Will Be a Luxe Marijuana Mecca

 

 

Los Angeles, a veritable mecca of “Mary Jane” and the country’s largest legal pot market, is nothing if not right on top of the latest trends for getting, well, high. There’s an uptick in the (mainstream) market since pot was legalized in L.A. as of January 2018 – the law passed with a victorious 57% majority. So if you’re Cali sober, an active member of the weed-as-wellness congregation, or just looking for a space to buy and smoke your herb that feels more spa, less windowless basement, then we have some very good news. 

Indeed, Aeon Botanika is opening a gorgeous, 7,000-square-foot flagship in the heart of West Hollywood in early 2020, complete with retail shop, dispensary, restaurant, and a Moroccan cannabis lounge. They’re actually one of only five companies to receive a retail and lounge license in WeHo.

Situated just off the Sunset Strip – on Santa Monica Boulevard between N. Alfred and N. Croft Streets – the behemoth boutique will be a destination for “newly elevated, plant-forward wellness experiences.” We can hardly wait. 

 

 

This definitively marks a new era of marijuana retail – it was only a matter of time – that feels more right for L.A.’s posher sensibilities. The Moroccan lounge, for instance, will beckon guests to sample the goods on site with its dramatic vaulted ceilings, skylight, and Mediterranean-inspired decor. 

Co-founders Nicole Fox, a seasoned activist and registered dietician, and Veena Parekh, a restaurant industry veteran (Foreign Cinema, Zuni Cafe), the two women behind the establishment, see cannabis at the forefront of an ever-evolving wellness community. 

“We are in a time when more people are turning to cannabis as a medicine and including it as part of their wellness lifestyle,” offers Fox, who is eager to combine her two passions at Aeon Botanika. “I am beyond grateful to the City of West Hollywood, who have always supported the movement to end the prohibition of this healing plant.” 

 

 

Ferrier Architecture Studio is designing the space, while Keith Greco will handle the interiors. (Some of which are pictured in these advance renderings). Angelenos may know Greco’s work from popular spots like MidCity’s The Little Door, or Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake. 

Aeon Botanika will also feature a full restaurant concept serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner – with a coffee program directed by Ritual Coffee Roasters. Fred Eric of Fred62 will serve as culinary director.

They’ll also offer appointments and sessions with a licensed integrative dietitian, acupuncturist, massage therapist, and a functional medicine physician. And, of course, all the primo chronic your heart desires.