I Was a Teenage Paparazzo

Posted February 25th by in Photography

1975: I wanted to take David Bowie’s photo in the worst way. I had called his publicist asking for a photo pass, but I was turned down. No one knew me at the time and Bowie had a couple of photographers who did most of his coverage, but this was not going to stop me. I had a tip that he was having a late night recording session at Cherokee Recording Studios on Fairfax Blvd in Hollywood. The tip came from a very reliable source; so, I cut school, got there really early in the morning, and waited for Bowie to emerge. 6am Bowie walked out and the early morning light was magic. All he said to me was “Good Morning.” Since no one was really doing paparazzi-style photography back then both Bowie and his producer, Paul Buckmaster, thought my approach was incredibly hysterical. Word got out to all of the publicists in town that I was bold enough to perform this sort of ambush, but since I was a teenage kid, they all found it amusing. Creem ran the photograph as a full page in their “Stars And Their Cars” section.

Text and photo by Brad Elterman

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Radiohead “Lotus Flower”

Posted February 25th by in Music

Thom Yorke interpretive dances straight to my goddamn heart with this amazing video for Lotus Flower on Radio new album “King of Limbs”. Produced and Directed by Garth Jennings and choreographed by absolutely brilliant Wayne McGregor, the renown British Choreographer.

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Scott Campbell / Noblesse Oblige

Posted February 25th by in Art

OHWOW inaugurates its Los Angeles gallery with a solo exhibition of recent work by New York based artist Scott Campbell. In Campbell’s West Coast debut, Noblesse Oblige, he uses copper, currency, graphite, ink, and neon, to transform tattoo subculture iconography into delicate and tempered work.

Campbell expands his use of cut currency, sourcing uncut sheets of dollars directly from the United States Mint, to create large, intricate work with a sunken relief effect. One piece uses $5K worth of currency sheets to create an over two-foot cube, into which a three dimensional skull is carved-out. These works employ the familiar blue-collar vernacular of tattoo flash-boards – a skull smoking a cigarette, a skeleton’s hand in a provocative gesture, a single eye emitting a penetrating ray – and highlight the irony that exists within that imagery.

Noblesse Oblige also includes a suite of prints. Using a tattoo gun, Campbell has engraved a collection of copper plates to make a group of etchings. By using the same plates to compose the separate prints, the artist plays with visual semantics – how meaning changes through arrangement. A series of drawings, executed onto the interior of ostrich eggshells, also flirt with interpretation. Morbid images, rendered in graphite onto these fragile surfaces that represent birth and transformation, point out the delicacy of opposition.

Noblesse Oblige opens on March 19 and runs till April 22, 2011 www-oh-wow.com

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An Ode to Love (& Mozart)

Posted February 25th by in Music

The rain would not stop and the air was thick with winter’s mercurial chill. Last Friday evening I made my way to Davies Hall for the San Francisco Symphony. I took my seat. A breath of orchestra air filled my lungs; only then was I able to relax. The music began. Wicked and wild, the mellifluous sound filled the room with a contagious sense of nostalgia. I wanted to hold something in my arms and my eyes wanted to close and dream of waves crashing with each chaotic whirl of strings. This….was Mozart.  I imagined: what if I locked myself in a room with absolutely no distractions?  I could write wickedly erotic, rampageous odes of love on instruments that I would make with my own two hands simply out of the sheer survival of my immaculate creativity – and nothing else! Mozart had the keys and Mozart had visions. Visions that led him to write perfectly well rounded, prodigious compositions. Two of the pieces performed, Piano Concertos Nos. 5 and 8, were written by Mozart when he was only between the age of 18 and 20 years old.  Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 opened the program and commenced with Symphony No. 33. To fully perform these pieces, let alone understand them, one must have a mind that borders on both insanity and genius, and at the same time desperately longs for both romance and solitude. David Geilsammer, who took center stage at the grand piano for the solo performance of Piano Concerto Nos. 5 and 8, embodies this longing perfectly. The moment Geilsammer walked onto the stage it was as if the air around him changed colors – behind him was left a trail of golden dust, the kind that intoxicates. Probably not something anyone else was seeing in the Symphony Hall, but surely something everyone felt. Geilsammer was like a delicate fawn who’s fingers violently but ever so gracefully played each note as if his life depended on it.  Because this, of course….is Mozart.

Catch Friday and Saturday night’s performance at The San Francisco Symphony:  Mozart’s famed, apocalyptic Requiem; conducted by the illustrious Michael Tilson Thomas www.sfsymphony.org

Text by Adarsha Benjamin

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Openings: JAMES FRANCO / GUS VAN SANT “Unfinished”

Posted February 24th by in Art, Film

“Unfinished” features two films, Endless Idaho and My Own Private River, which are collaborations between Gus Van Sant and James Franco. After casting Franco in the award-winning film Milk (2008), Van Sant showed him the dailies and other footage that he had shot many years before for My Own Private Idaho (1991), which starred River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as street hustlers in Portland, Oregon. Much of this material did not make it into the final cut, and so Franco decided to fashion it into two new films, riffing off the original title. The opening is February 26th at the Gagosian in Beverly Hills and runs till April 9. www.gagosian.com

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A Day in the Life of Carlos Nunez

Posted February 24th by in Photography

Photography by Carlos Nunez

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Lake Rudolf, Eastern Equatorial Africa

Posted February 24th by in Photography, Travel

crown_prince_rudolf_188_lake_rudolf

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Crown Prince Rudolf  of Austria (21 August 1858 – 30 January 1889) clashed with his father Emperor Franz Joseph I.  Amongst his many gripes, the Prince felt as though he were born at the at the wrong time. In a typically royal way, The Prince was repulsed by any sort of foul laundry that his father dished to the country.  Prince Rudolf found refuge from his father in a loveless marriage to Princess Stéphanie and also by taking a mistress, Baroness Maria Vetsera.  The two lovers, The Prince and the Baroness’, untimely deaths at the imperial family’s hunting lodge was ruled a combined suicide, yet some are still convinced of foul play.  One year prior to this, in March of 1888, Count Sámuel Teleki de Szék of Hungary, whilst on a safari across East Africa, discovered a lake and named it Lake Rudolf, in honor of the Crown Prince. Years later in 1972, Richard Leakey, during an anthropological dig around the lake discovered a two-million-year-old hominid skull.  In 1986 a nearly complete skeleton of a homo erectus boy was discovered.   And more recently, another skull was discovered and estimated at being 3.5 million years dead.  These fossil findings coined the nickname for the area “Cradle of Mankind” or “Cradle of Humankind,” as it has now be called for the sake, no doubt, of political correctness.

After my return from a once in a lifetime safari to Lake Rudolf (now referred to as Lake Turkana or The Jade Sea) in 2005 with fellow artist Fernando Apodaca, I met with Peter Beard at Bungalow in New York City.  Before and after the safari  to Lake Turkana I  stayed on Peter Beard’s Hog Ranch in the ‘knuckle hills’ outside of Nairobi.  At that time Peter had I think been banned from Kenya for five years due to numerous, miscellaneous arrests and spats with neighbors – mostly concerning the malnutrition of their animals or his partying.  Back in New York with Peter Beard I described the safari, yelling over the club music,  “WE CAMPED AT LAKE TURKANA FOR OVER A WEEK!” Peter forcefully yells back,  “RUDOLF! ITS LAKE RUDOLF!” As if to say, “HOW DARE YOU!?”

Text and photography (excluding the post-mortem image of the Crown Prince) by Dustin Lynn

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Soundtrack to Your Life: The Cannanes “We Drink Bitter” 1986

Posted February 23rd by in Music

One of the coolest bands to emerge from the pop/shoe gaze scene in 1980s Sydney, Australia, The Cannanes have all the right angsty ingredients in their their 1986/87 album Witchetty Pole – which is more of a mish mash diary/collage of soul searching ballads and love tender absurdity.

The Cannanes – “We Drink Bitter”

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YSL Tribtoo

Posted February 23rd by in Fashion

Yves Saint Laurent Tribtoo suede pumps.

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Daddy’s Girl: The Erotica of Anaïs Nin

Posted February 23rd by in Literature


Anaïs Nin by Carl Van Vechten 1949

February 21 marked the 108th birthday of Anaïs Nin, a controversial figure perhaps best known for her romantic dalliances with prominent figures such as Henry Miller, Otto Rank, Lawrence Durrell, Antonin Artaud and Gore Vidal. She worked as a psychoanalyst, wrote fiction, trained as a dancer, appeared in films by Maya Daren and Kenneth Anger, had an affair with her father, pianist and composer Joaquin Nin, and eventually married Rupert Pole sixteen years her junior when she was forty-four (she was already married to banker and experimental filmmaker Hugh Guiler at the time.) All of this and more she documents in her diaries, which span more than sixty years. It is, perhaps, not surprising then that Nin also dabbled in erotica; collections of her stories, Little Birds and Delta of Venus, are now considered some of the finest erotica ever written.

The books were not published until the late 70s, after Nin succumbed to a three-year battle with cancer. The stories themselves were written much earlier, in the 1940s when Henry Miller and Nin were both living in Paris. Miller, after publishing Tropic of Cancer, was approached by a third party to write pornographic stories for an anonymous collector at the rate of $1 per page. Soon, many of his artist and writer friends, including Caresse Crosby, Robert Duncan, and Nin were churning out what the latter termed “an abundance of perverse felicities,” encouraged by Miller to take advantage of this unforeseen source of income.

Anaïs Nin’s Little Birds and Delta of Venus, born out of what was part joke, part moneymaking venture, are erotica in the truest sense of the word. The stories are rich, vivid, beautifully written and populated by character types who embody the multi-hued spectrum of human desire. They deftly and, at times, humorously explore the various ways in which sexual hunger is felt, expressed, and consummated and the reader is often as surprised by the events that unfold as the characters are themselves. The settings, scenarios, and figures in Nin’s stories are largely informed by her own life and enriched and transformed by her considerable powers of invention and unique poetic voice.

Little Birds and Delta of Venus can both be purchased at Amazon.com.

Text by Anna Wittel

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