You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

When They Start Taking Requests from Beyond the Grave permalink

Requests will be granted as follows:

1. Imagineers John Hench and Marc Davis will design and oversee the making of my very own Jungle Room.

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Disneyland restaurant concept art by John Hench

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John Hench’s concept art for Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

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Marc Davis’ concept art for Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

2. Charles McPhee will paint Dr. Jacoby on black velvet for my Jungle Room:

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Dr. Jacoby from Twin Peaks

3. Amy Winehouse will cover Barbara Dane’s “I’m On My Way” dressed in leopard print for the grand unveiling of my Jungle Room to myself and possibly a few others:

It will look as if Amy has materialized from my Witco barstool because it’s covered in the same leopard print:

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A Witco bar set

Before she sings she’ll ask for a strong kava drink. She likes what it does to her voice. I will have a vat prepared for just such an occasion, this being my fantasy, and serve it up in a sedate Mr. Bali Hai tiki mug. I will tell her to drink it down all at once. Fast. She’ll say yeah, she knows, she loves the stuff, and it’s only then that I’ll notice that a giant tiare flower has sprouted from her beehive.

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Mr. Bali Hai

4. Henry Mancini will persistently but respectfully appear to Abe Laboriel in his dreams and convince him to perform the bass solo from Mancini’s arrangement of “Barretta’s Theme” in my Jungle Room, under the glow of neon swampfire.

5. Stanley Kubrick will direct the as yet unwritten screen adaptation of Jack Vance’s Abercrombie Station. Not in my Jungle Room. There’s no place for a Jungle Room in the film.

Suzanne Ciani Welcomes You To Xenon permalink

My earnest admiration for pinball machines goes back about a decade, when I inherited a 1990 Data East The Simpsons. The backglass and playfield art are mesmerizing. Open it up and I am daunted by the viscera, and even now am only capable of jiggling the power supply to get things working again. The pinball renaissance has been underway here in Seattle for some time. Arcades have been popping up everywhere, hosting tournaments and serving ice cream (as in the case of the Full Tilts, who recently named a flavor “Mudhoney” after the local band) or beer (Add-A-Ball, John-John’s Game Room, Flip Flip, Ding Ding, etc.). We have a museum and a wonderful zine. I was bummed to miss out on the NW Pinball and Arcade Show earlier this month because I wanted to play an Orbitor 1 again.

I’ve always been drawn to Bally’s Xenon (1979). That art. That voice. Well, as Skill Shot points out in their May 2014 issue, that voice belongs to composer Suzanne Ciani, the first female voice ever featured in a game.

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The backglass from Bally’s Xenon. Music and sound by Suzanne Ciani, art by Paul Faris. Photo by Stefan Ulrich.

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The flyer.

Ciani is responsible for all of Xenon’s sounds, some of which she intended as the game reacting to the player. A short, delightful doco about Ciani’s involvement with the game:

Seek it out. Try the tube shot.

Visions in Nude and Corsages Close to the Heart permalink

Last week during São Paulo Fashion Week, “something magical happened” in designer Paula Raia’s new house. Paola de Orleans e Bragança of style.com says that Raia’s S/S 2015 collection

nailed something that Brazil, and anyone interested in Brazil, has been craving for years: a precise, elegant, non-clichéd representation of the Brazilian essence translated into fashion. Using sisal, string, traditional embroideries, and tones that evoke wood, dirt, and the origin of Brazil’s name: the red tones of the earth that led to the association with embers (“brass” in Portuguese).

In his summing up of SPFW, Jorge Grimberg, also of style.com, similarly praises Raia’s presentation as, “…unquestionably one of the strongest of the season, with a vision on nude and natural hues mixed in different textures. The show provided a new, authentic, long-awaited Brazilian aesthetic, a mix of nature, architecture, and culture that just felt right.”

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Paula Raia S/S 2015

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Paula Raia S/S 2015

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Paula Raia S/S 2015

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Paula Raia S/S 2015

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Paula Raia S/S 2015, detail

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Paula Raia S/S 2015, detail

Again, I generally don’t give menswear collections a second glance, but then there’s Mai-Gidah by Alec Ali Abdulrahim. The creative and emotional stamp on his latest collection, “In loving memories”, refuses to be ignored. According to his conversation with Branko Popović, the collection was, ‘…a means of processing the past’.

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Mai-Gidah A/W 14/15

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Mai-Gidah A/W 14/15

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Mai-Gidah A/W 14/15

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Mai-Gidah A/W 14/15

What a talented fellow.

Monstrology by LES’ permalink

Meant to post these images from the new collection by LES’ a couple of days ago. What an enchanting start to Spring:

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LES’ is by Moscow-based designer Lesia Paramonova and the beautiful photos are by Alina Valitova, many more of which are over at Thisispaper.

Sebastian Masuda’s Colorful Rebellion permalink

Not much of a heads-up, but kawaii evangelist Sebastian Masuda’s exhibit, “Colorful Rebellion” opens tonight at Kianga Ellis Projects in NYC and runs until March 29th. According to the gallery, “From March 6 - 9, 2014, Masuda-san’s alter ego and female self will inhabit the gallery during open hours”.

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Sebastian Masuda and his “kawaii anarchy”.

Masuda designed the set for my guilty pleasure. Oops, couldn’t resist a period there. By guilty pleasure I mean NHK’s Kawaii International (yay for Tokyo Photo Book!), co-hosted by extraordinary local gal, Misha Janette.

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Still from Kawaii International’s intro. Set by the show’s art director, Sebastian Masuda.

And while we’re on the subject of kawaii, these Manish Arora high tops are awesome:

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Manish Arora, Fall 2014.

Some Eden Ahbez Love permalink

So great to see LA Weekly shine a light on Eden Ahbez, one of the more intriguing figures in the Exotica pantheon.

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Eden Ahbez: protohippie, musician, mystic, Nature Boy. At the Lake Shrine ashram in Pacific Palisades, CA.

If you come across Ahbez’s only solo LP in the wild, Eden’s Island (Del-Fi, 1960), then lucky you. Ahbez composed all the music on it. He sings and plays a wooden flute. Dreamer of “untellable dreams”, he recites his grasp of the elusive in a peaceful, hypnotic cadence. It’s a rare and beautiful record:

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Eden Ahbez’s Eden’s Island, 1960.

And since it was the Retro Cocktail Hour that introduced me to Eden Ahbez, it’s only fitting to plug the most recent show, the All Exotica Special. In it you’ll hear Ahbez’s “Full Moon” as well as a zoo-full of tropical animals or people imitating them. If you’re wondering what Exotica is, this program is a great primer:

In Praise of Shadows: An Imaginary Course Syllabus permalink

The thump of that party bus called summer feels long gone with fall’s forced entry into the Pacific Northwest last week (complete with tornado). Cooler and darker days are here to stay; pre-Halloween days good for ghost stories and tales of the supernatural. What follows is the syllabus for an imaginary course on the horror short story that you never asked to take.

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The stunning Anna Falchi as She in Cemetery Man, based on Tiziano Sclavi’s novel, Dellamorte Dellamore. Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) broods in the background.

click here for more »

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away” permalink

Takahiro Ueno was in a grunge mood while designing his A/W 2012-2013 collection, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”. These are some of Kurt Cobain’s parting words and, incidentally, a creative spirit I am sympathetic to. Ueno’s repurposed flea market t-shirts are combined with other, totally unrelated cues from the past to create something entirely unique. “When I worked on my collection, I thought about using book construction as garment construction. Then I came up with the idea of using Japanese bookbinding techniques and I used it as a main detail for my collection. I wanted to make something beautiful, strong and savage, so I researched 15th century Italian menswear and grunge.”

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From Takahiro Ueno’s A/W 2012-2013 collection, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”. Photo by Maria Ziegelböck.

click here for more »

Gun, with Occasional Nick Cave permalink

Most of us will agree that getting a song stuck in your head is annoying at best. The one currently on mental replay for me is “Red Right Hand” off of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 1994 album, Let Love In. This is made tolerable by, a) serving as mood music for Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, with Occasional Music, which I’m only now getting around to reading (this should serve as a department heading as it is a constant state of affairs around here); and b) it’s simply a fantastic song:

“Red Right Hand” has set the mood for a variety of movies and tv shows, including Hellboy and The X-Files. Recently it has resurfaced as the theme tune for Jack Irish, a very enjoyable Australian noir tv series adapted from the novels by Peter Temple and starring Guy Pearce.

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Creating, the Cave way. An insert from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 1994 album, Let Love In

I’ll reserve final judgment on Lethem’s Gun since I’m not done, but with the airtight noir narration, snorting lines of make, babyheads and an evolved kangaroo tough it’s a pretty fun read so far. Apparently, the babyheads are inspired by children in the Strugatsky brothers’ The Ugly Swans, which is waiting patiently on the bookshelf to be filed under, “Only Now Getting Around To Reading It”.

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Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, with Occasional Music, 1994.

Fabrice Monteiro’s Signares permalink

On show at Seattle’s M.I.A Gallery through August 30th is Signares and Hereros, portraits shot by Fabrice Monteiro and Jim Naughten. While Naughten’s photos might be more recognizable, Monteiro’s are no less enchanting. The subjects of the model-turned-photographer’s first exhibit in the U.S. are descendants of the signares of Senegal’s Petite Côte, south of Dakar (where he lives and works). On what a signare is, exactly, the gallery’s site says, “These women of power from Senegal were the official wives of European colonizers…Celebrated for their beauty and business mind, they played an important role in the socio-economic development of Senegal.” And so this heritage is communicated through dress:

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Unrelated work from Monteiro below. I can’t resist, they’re so good:

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Untitled

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“Croquemitaine”