New Moby Single + Video ‘Too Much Change’ Seems Eerily Prophetic

 

In an enlightening BlackBook interview conducted in 2018, Moby observed, “In a way, we are the void; not that we see the void, we’re just clueless as to the actual nature of the Universe. So we stumble along and make mistakes and assume that we’re doing our best, when the truth is that we’re not seeing through a glass darkly…we’re not even seeing.”

Considering this shocking current pandemic reality, those words seem startlingly insightful, if not downright prophetic. But the always intense electronic music icon has ever possessed a particular sort of sensitivity to the socio-cultural context of our everyday existence. And with new single “Too Much Change,” he again seems to have deeply, viscerally captured the universal feeling of this singular moment in history.

 

 

With a haunting vocal by Apollo Jane, the lyrics seem to be voicing what most of us are surely thinking: “What are we supposed to say? / How are we supposed to stay? / And there’s too much change / There’s too much change.”

Sonically, it flits between minimalist soul, and lush but anxious, trance-y soundscapes.

The single is taken from his upcoming album All Visible Objects, due to be released May 15.  Consider it “essential” listening.

 

Portugal. The Man Cleverly Fire Back at Absurd Alaska Book Ban

 

 

We’re living through a terrifying global pandemic, and the so-called Leader of the Free World seems to be descending into some or other form of dementia. So, obviously, what we really needed right now is an irrational book ban.

That’s right…a book ban. In 2020.

As it turns out, the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board in the Great State of Alaska has singled out five titles they believe to be corrupting the minds of impressionable teenagers. Curiously enough, it’s not exactly what you would call the most offending list of books: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; Joseph Heller’s Catch-22; Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried; and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Seriously, Maya Angelou was not exactly Baudelaire in the literary controversy sweeps, was she?

 

 

But luckily we have some good guys to stand up to the forces of cockamamie (that was the only word that seemed to fit) regressivity. Alaska natives and beloved pop gods Portugal. The Man have just fired back, promising to personally donate copies of those very same books to those very same students, in what can only be called an utterly outlandish fit of total reasonableness.

“These titles are often considered staples for junior and senior English classes across the country,” explains the band’s John Gourley. “We believe this decision is narrow-minded and un-patriotic, and we are not okay with it. That is why we are putting out a standing offer that if any student or parent in the Mat-Su Borough School District wants a copy of one or more of these books, we will mail them to you.”

The seething irony here? Something just tells us that the same people who decided these books should be banned for their “objectionable” content, likely voted in 2016 for a man who publicly declared it okay to sexually assault women.

Still, score one for the enlightened.

 

Corona Stories – Gone Viral: Beyoncé/Jay-Z Violinist Natie on Deep, Meaningful Transformation

 

 

Now living in Brooklyn, burgeoning young violinist Natie grew up on Reunion Island (a French state located in the Indian Ocean) to a jazz musician father and Spanish mother, listening to Mozart. Entering the Conservatory of Music of Reunion at age just 6, she left for the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at 18.

She eventually found herself in the spotlight via a stint with Beyoncé and Jay-Z throughout their On The Run II Tour. But her own brand of sensual avant-R&B more readily recalls the likes of FKA twigs, and even Sade—best evidenced by recent single “HKHT.” Her April Sofar Sounds tour has been postponed for obvious reasons, but her new EP In The Key of Fall is still due out this Friday, April 17.

For our Corona Stories – Gone Viral series, she reflects on using this period of quarantine to consider not taking things for granted as we often do, and learning how to be better at listening and observing.

 

 

A Time For Deep, Meaningful Transformation

Weird times we’re in… I’ve always had a pretty positive and grateful outlook on life, and while this is definitely a truly challenging time for a lot of us on many levels, I like to imagine that we could very much be at a crossroads for drastic, and much needed changes in our society. Whether or not we like it, we’re all forced to stop, think and reconsider things on a logistical level at least. And I like to think that that also impacts us on an emotional and spiritual level. It’s wild to see NYC so calm and to see most activities being suspended. Yet for many of us, there’s a lot to be grateful for (such as hot water, food, a bed at night and a roof to protect us.) If anything, maybe this can be a time to stop and notice the things we take for granted over time, and reduce our levels of stress and anxiety. Maybe I just sound naive, but I think that’s something to feel excited about.

All the people I’ve been exchanging with these past weeks have had to reconsider some things. Whether it’s reconnecting with things they never had time for, checking on loved ones, rethinking sources of income, or how to deliver their service in a new, yet still impactful way. For me, this is a time of letting go of schedules and external expectations. Instead I’m finding myself in this new flow where I’m learning how to observe, listen and follow what feels right at that moment. It takes a good bit of trust, especially when I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking, planning, reasoning things. But the potential for a deep and meaningful transformation is getting me excited.

As weird and scary this current situation can feel, it can also help refocus on what’s truly essential, and therefore to learn how to more easily let go of the external sources of frustration we encounter when we’re headed down in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

 

Image by Matthieu Hoareau

Dave Navarro Art Print ‘More Government Care’ Will Raise Money for The Sidewalk Project

 

 

 

With virtually all media attention shifted to the coronavirus outbreak, no small number of serious matters have left the public consciousness—certainly understandable. But one pressing situation in particular has been the worsening homeless crisis in Los Angeles, surely only exacerbated by the realities of life during the pandemic.

To refocus attention on the problem, Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro has teamed up with Punk Rock & Paintbrushes to offer 100 signed prints of his strikingly poignant work More Government Care, the sale of which will raise money for the LA-based Sidewalk Project, whose work is specifically about improving the lives of those living without shelter. Most recently, they have been active in securing masks for healthcare workers and the homeless they have been tending to.

The piece was originally created in 2019, and exhibited in New York at Mana Contemporary (watch a video on its creation here). It was meant to draw attention to the border situation, where detainees, most shockingly children, have been forced into dire circumstances.

 

 

“It was conceived at the height of the border crisis conversation,” Navarro explains, “while facts about the treatment of the children had begun to surface—and the lack of humanity. Children were separated from their parents and the country was outraged to see such atrocities.”

Of course, COVID-19 has only made their predicament worse, especially as so many resources have been decidedly shifted elsewhere.

Navarro concludes, “When this piece was done in 2019, I had hoped for it to be a commentary on a very small window in our history. Today, in 2020, it speaks with more volume.”

The signed prints can be purchased here. Or donate directly to The Sidewalk Project.

 

 

So, It Turns Out Jamie xx is Behind the Massive Club Smash ‘idontknow’

 

 

For months now, the mysterious track “idontknow” has been lighting up dancefloors across international clubland—without anyone actually knowing who was behind it. And considering it is nigh impossible to keep anything a secret these days, it was a particular achievement.

Now the cat’s been let out of quarantine (please excuse the gallows humor)…and it turns out the track is by none other than Jamie xx—and it finds him decisively departing from the open-spaces minimalism that has been his stock in trade. Rather, we get retro-jungle beats that gradually speed up to heart-racing levels, punctuated with shrill synth bleeps, and layered with eerily indecipherable vocals. It was officially and finally released today via Young Turks.

Now, if sheltering-in finds you cooped up in a relatively small space, just a warning that “idontknow” may just send you bouncing off the walls. If you’ve got the room, however, we highly recommend cranking it up for a private pandemic dance party. The sweat will do you good, no doubt.

 

Fennick Props + Cherish Hale Offer Inside Peek at Ewan McGregor’s Upcoming Biopic ‘Simply Halston’

 

 

 

That the coronavirus crisis has put so many film and television productions on hold, means that sometime in the next 12-18 months, there is going to be a period of watching almost nothing but reruns. However, Après ça, le deluge…of new releases.

One of those releases we are already eagerly anticipating is Simply Halston, the Ewan McGregor led Netflix biopic of the late and very famous fashion designer. The beloved Scottish actor will be executive producing, and also starring as the title character himself.

What had us most intrigued was the period recreation of the most stylish locations and people from the years that will be covered in the film, as Halston was notably a galvanizer of everything fabulous and fashionable during those decades—dressing celebrities the likes of Anjelica Huston, Lauren Bacall, Margaux Hemingway, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger and Liza Minnelli. And for this very task was employed Cherish M. Hale, as set decorator, working in conjunction with Fennick NYC Props, easily the most exalted New York City prop house.

 

 

Hale has previously done the job for series’ the likes of Flight of the Conchords and The Affair, and even scored an Emmy nomination in 2018 for the Ben Stiller mini-series Escape at Dannemora.

“Mark Ricker, our fabulous production designer, invited me to join the club,” she recalls. “We had just done Escape at Dannemora together, which was a prison break series. This is a far cry from that. It really is a decorator’s dream, because Halston was such a style icon. The combo of the era, patterns and color paired with the costumes by Jeriana San Juan, will hopefully be stunning.”

Fennick’s CV is equally impressive, including three Spielberg films, the John Wick series, and most recently The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Joker, The Irishmen, and Hunters. The business was started by identical twin rock & roll brothers Rob and Ron Fennick as Lot 76, the legendary architectural antique lot in what is now NoLIta—and where clients included Andy Warhol, Baquiat, Helena Christensen, and eventually even Martha Stewart and Conan O’Brien.

 

 

But Ron points out that they are now “focused on having authentic vintage quantity and quality of inventory. Our warehouse is being compared to the Warner Brothers prop house In Burbank.” You can get a visual picture at their Instagram page.

Simply Halston goes all the way back to the designer’s youth, so Hale points out the challenge of recreating his childhood home from 1938. He passed away in 1990, aged 57—so authentic pieces had to be secured from Fennick for all three decades of his heyday, the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, of course.

“If you know anything about Halston,” Hale explains, “he had a huge love of color. In his budding career he was more into exotic patterns and textures, and later he moved into his more minimal aesthetic. The sets are a complete reflection of that: lots of changes from layered patterned fabrics to a shift to all red.”

 

 

It probably helped that her aunt regularly wore Halston’s fashions back then, giving her a familiarity with the styles. But deep diving into the visual language of his story led her to a greater understanding of his imitable genius—which remains significantly influential to this day.

Before the quarantine kicked in, she explains that she had been working closely with director Dan Minahan, whose previous credits include House of Cards, Game of Thrones and True Blood. But the 64,000 question is, had she gotten a chance to actually exchange ideas with McGregor?

“I work with Dan on a daily basis,” she says, “and we have a one on one about what he likes and doesn’t like. Thankfully there aren’t many dislikes. As for Ewan, I’ve met him few times and he is the most lovely person…but we haven’t had a real official one on one. It will probably happen after the coronavirus is over.”

As for the prop business itself, it is ultimately waiting for film and television production to start back up—which will hopefully be sooner than later. Though editing is still carrying on, and remote Skype of Zoom captured footage is making up for some of the downtime.

“Timelines are being shifted forward,” says Fennick’s Chief Creative Officer Elizabeth Cohen. “Some shows that are written in a contemporary setting may include coronavirus content. We are getting input through phone calls and electronic communications about set decorators needs, and the warehouse is already up to COVID-19 standards. We expect all to resume within a couple of months.”

But for now, no release date has been yet set for Simply Halston.

 

 

As Art Goes Full Digital, Gagosian Launches New ‘Artist Spotlight’ Program

Sarah Sze, Photo courtesy of Sarah Sze studio and Gagosian

 

 

In a recent interview with BlackBook regarding Art Basel Hong Kong moving online in the wake of its cancellation, Gagosian director Sam Orlofsky suggested, “The art world has been in denial about its own carbon footprint, and maybe this will accelerate the realization that we can do things more remotely. And it will just be better for the planet.”

In the two weeks since, the art world has indeed responded with an impressive sense of urgency, with galleries and museums offering new digital viewing options and virtual tours—and the press directing art lovers to the alternative of purchasing art books online, in lieu of in-person visits to museums.

Gagosian, from its position of leadership in the industry, has accordingly just launched its pithily titled Artist Spotlight program, promising a format of “One Artist, One Work, One Week.” And indeed, each week will find the gallery highlighting a single artist, and a solitary new work from that artist—but building editorial, video and playlists around that work, to cultivate a sort of artistic dimension or context around it.

 

Urs Fischer, Photo: Chad Moore, Courtesy Gagosian

 

“The art market has always fared well in times of economic uncertainty,” Orlofsky explains anew. “The current moment is devastating to artists, galleries, museums, and all the people who make those institutions run; but there will be a path out of this once the COVID-19 pandemic starts to resolve.”

Featured artists will include some impressively marquee names, such as Damien Hirst, Jenny Saville, Sarah Sze, Stanley Whitney and Urs Fischer…as well as art world eminences like Jennifer Guidi, Roe Ethridge, Titus Kaphar, Katharina Grosse, Theaster Gates, Dan Colen, Mark Grotjahn, Mary Weatherford and Rudolf Polanszky.

“Artist Spotlight focuses on artists who prepared exhibitions that were canceled, postponed, or curtailed due to the pandemic,” Orlofsky continues. “It is important at this moment to allow our artists to share their stories as directly as possible with their audiences, as a way of bringing people together and offering cultural connection online when visiting shows in person is not an option.”

The program launches this Wednesday, April 8 at Gagosian.com—and each work will then officially go on sale the Friday that follows, at 6am EST.

 

Titus Kaphar, Photo: John Lucas, Courtesy Gagosian

Corona Stories – Gone Viral: box + flow’s Olivia Young on Staying Physically and Spiritually Fit

 

 

Olivia Young left the restaurant business with no particular experience in the business of health and wellness. But in 2017 she founded the rather artistically named box + flow in New York’s Noho; and her unique fitness philosophy combining yoga, cardio boxing, mental focus and fierce determination made it an immediate sensation.

Three years later, her mini-empire has expanded to include a second studio in Soho. She is currently sheltering with family in Florida, but took the time out to pen some thoughts on how our loved ones can offer a sense of grounding during this worrying coronavirus crisis—and also offered five tips for staying healthy while we are quarantining.

 

 

Love in the Time of Corona 

 

I’ve never been so single and cared any less. Until yesterday. Saturday night and I was about to go stir crazy. I even posted a past photo of myself in lingerie drinking whiskey – wishful thinking while I sauntered thru my parents’ house in boys underwear, cracked open a Kentucky Bourbon Stout, had some braised cabbage (recipe below), and phoned a friend. I refuse to wear pants, a running family joke, now a reality. Whenever I visit my childhood home in South Florida, my three brothers mock me, ‘Olivia this is a pants on zone.

Nope! Not in the time of corona! I wish they were here to mock me, but they’re keeping social distance and they, like me, don’t live home anymore. So quarantine life is me, mom + dad for the longest staycation since moving to New York 10 years ago. I haven’t visited home for more than four days at a time since high school ,and currently, I’m pushing 15. Truth? It’s kinda nice. I have space, sunshine, a  big kitchen, and all their attention. I can’t wait to get back to ‘my life’, but I’ll miss this when I’m gone.

I arrived to Florida two weeks ago with a carry-on bag, two businesses and 25 employees. Both studios are now closed: an emotional rollercoaster for all involved, but I flow through the fight and choose love, always. I’ve switched my perspective to make magic out of monotony, as I find nuance in everyday routine, and embrace new routine, even in my impermanent setting. I’m going to bed later, working more, censoring myself less on social media, moving my body differently, trying new things nutritionally, and breaking old habits. I’m choosing to use this time for creation rather than condition, as I create more connection, albeit digital, with my box + flow community. I’m keeping hope alive. The world is testing us all, so why not take it a step further, and test myself more? I have no rules in the time of corona.

 

 

Who knew ‘living home’ could be kinda fun? I’m basically an only child, nesting with empty nesters. My new routine isn’t dissimilar to NYC, my days just begin at 6am instead of 4am, with less anxiety. My restlessness stems from my entrepreneur dad, whose slippers slide thru our wide hallways by 6am. It’s time to rise. He and I collect in the kitchen for coffee, sometimes we chat, sometimes we don’t. My mom summons him for her morning brew and even if I offer, my request is denied. Coffee delivery is his duty. The nesters drink it in darkness together.

Shortly thereafter, my mom scoots to the kitchen. She fries my father eggs while simultaneously singing to the dogs. My dad saunters thru the halls on his cellphone, speaking too loudly to my younger brothers, his employees. The robed king conducts business, always—but is never too regal to serve my mom her morning coffee. Love in the time of corona. He devours breakfast post-shower before she shoves him off to work, the smell of fresh toast and browned butter permeates the air long after he’s gone. The house is quiet, until my mom starts singing, again.

I get up to move as I always do—shake it off + let it go 3 to 8 miles as per my body’s request, my warmup before I teach box + flow live. My mom is my production manager, sound engineer, cheer committee, and cleanup crew. The iPad is hoisted on a high chair, protected from the sun by a dog carrier, and sound streamed thru a portable speaker. After class, I work in the sun for hours. I’ve never been forced to be so resourceful, worked harder, or enjoyed it more. My Momager is also my companion. Our only daily outing is procuring provisions for dinner. If I’m extra restless, I’ll run to the store to meet her.

 

 

I get so much joy cooking for others, something I don’t often do living solo in NYC. I prep dinner while she dog walks, fully equipped with a stroller, in case her pups get tired. And when she’s not tending to everyone, she takes care of herself: Peloton, swims laps, baking cakes or cleaning out the pantry while singing Hamilton, until interrupted by my dad’s constant calls. She always ensures there’s a snack awaiting his return and that he gets a bit of exercise in before dinner. He works hard. So does she. I guess we all do and #liveyoung (celebrate) too. I pop open wine while we watch the evening news before dinner, and braise cabbage as she bakes key lime pie.

 My mom is precise and focused, follows directions, rules, recipes and wears pants. That’s where we differ. I break rules, take risks, and hate pants. She likes direction. I prefer to get lost, creating my experience in the kitchen and otherwise. But she keeps me grounded. My mom and dad both do. What a gift to be surrounded by so much love, resilience and ease. And a gift, I am fully embracing. My mindset is more open and my schedule is less rigid: 8pm bedtime has been replaced by 8pm dinner. We always eat together.

I’m going to miss that when I leave. The simple things like spending time with my parents. Something I’ve never actually done until now. Ah love in the time of corona. I’ve never been so single and cared any less. I just hope that when this all blows over, we all value love, connection and life even more. I will. I am. The simplicity of a hug, dinner with friends, spending time with family. Touch. Eye contact. Intimacy! Lots of sex—no doubt. But maybe it will actually mean something. Live in the time of corona. Life my parents love. Untraditional no doubt, but it stands the test of time, and always starts with a cup of coffee.

For at-home workout tips, choose creativity over condition. Use what you have! Make Magic Out of Monotony.

 

Olivia Young’s Five Fitness Tips for Staying Healthy While Sheltering-In

1. In lieu of hand weights, workout with soup cans, wine bottles, beer bottles, or even water gallon jugs if you are looking for something a bit heavier
2. Heavy lifting? Lift the couch. Do squats holding text books. Anything goes!
3. Do dips using the coffee table to work your triceps.
4. Use paper plates or hand towels as sliders for ab resistant exercises.
5. Pack a duffle bag, and push it from wall to wall in your at-home gym area, like you are pushing a weighted sled using your abs, legs, arms, and core.

 

 

New Gorillaz Track and Short Film ‘Aries’ Tap Viscerally Into Our New Isolation Situation

 

 

At a time when we need “virtual” heroes more than ever, out of the collective psyche and the Kong Studios portal comes Aries, the third episode of the brilliant new Gorillaz ‘Song Machine’ video series. In this latest installment, our absolute favorite animated band, aided and abetted by New Order bassist Peter Hook and alt-pop singer/producer Georgia, has left behind the very real Lake Como featured in episode two’s Désolé, for a virtual Moroccan backdrop by way of a green screen (responsible social distancing, of course).

“Aries” the song, a synth-pop dreamscape that borrows heavily from Hook’s iconic Manchester band (if you told us it was a unreleased Factory track, we would believe you straight away), perfectly encapsulates the current state of globally-felt universal isolation. In the accompanying film short, we find “frenemies” 2D and Murdoc riding through a desolate North African landscape, largely devoid of color, save a red-tinged sky—a nod, perhaps, to the planet Mars, named after the Roman God of War…and otherwise known as Aries to the Greeks.

 

 

 

With Murdoc grinning devilishly behind him, and his bandmates zipping past in their own vehicles on deserted motorways, Damon Albarn’s alter-ego 2D croons:

 

“‘cause I feel so isolated without you
I can’t play a happy tune on my own
So stay by my side
High or low tide”

 

When the ability to make human connections is suddenly lost, time spent with a frenemy seems better than the alternative. Or is it? As Gorillaz guitarist Noodle notes, “Highly impatient and competitive, many Aries’ have the fighting spirit of your mythological ruler.”

And what exactly does Murdoc have in that syringe he’s wielding? Remember, the last time we saw Murdoc, his bandmates had ditched him to visit Lake Como. Stay tuned….episode four can’t be far behind.