Features, Music January 31, 2010 By Jessica Ferri
charlotte cover Charlotte Gainsbourg: multi trick pony

charlotteg title1 Charlotte Gainsbourg: multi trick pony

 Charlotte Gainsbourg was nervous. She had never toured before, and no one knew what to expect as she took to the stage last weekend, at what must have been the most crowded concert to date at the Hiro Ballroom. But as the show went on, Gainsbourg’s confidence grew, aided by cheers coming from the crowd, in both French and English. On IRM, Gainsbourg’s new album written and produced by Beck, her ethereal voice wafts and wanes over eerie melodies reminiscent of Beck’s own Sea Change. It’s no surprise then that Gainsbourg’s sold-out appearances at Manhattan’s Hiro Ballroom and Brooklyn’s Bell House drew such attention. She’s one of the most interesting artists working today — giving a heart-stopping performance in Lars von Trier’s film Antichrist and creating one of the most beautiful albums released in the last year. And to top it all off, she is simply one of the nicest, most gracious people we have ever interviewed.

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Books, Features January 29, 2010 By Anthony Smith

salingercover JD Salinger RIPfiller21 JD Salinger RIPjdsalinger title2 JD Salinger RIP

I never met J.D. Salinger
     I don’t really know a damn thing about him that would give me the right to stand up and eulogize the man and I’m okay with that. All I really know about Salinger is what I have read from him…. Or more accurately, all I really know about him is what I have felt about what I have read from him. And what I have felt leaves me now with a strangely beautiful sense of loss and gratitude in the wake of his passing. 
     I can’t pay homage to the man without feeling a bit “phony” but I can honor the literary evidence, that part of the man’s character and soul that lives with us still, without any experience of the vessel it was originally packaged in or the personality that he projected. And as I celebrate the love I have of the love he had for his brilliant, lonely characters, I also respect the fact that he had absolutely no desire whatsoever to know what I think about his work or what it meant to me growing up.
     I’m not saying I wouldn’t have liked to meet him. I’m a writer for Christ’s sake! I grew up in my dad’s bookstore surrounded by Salinger’s work and his legendary mythos, of course I wanted to meet him, but by the time I was old enough to read his work and understand it (circa 1977) it was already a well-established fact that if J.D. had anything to do with it, I would never come within a hundred miles of him. Nor would anyone who came along with another heartfelt profession of commiseration with Holden Caulfield, or yet another well-meaning inquiry about “the real Glass family”.  

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Fashion January 29, 2010 By Eugene Rabkin

parismens cover Mens Fashion Week : Mens Notesparismens title Mens Fashion Week : Mens Notes

Ann Demeulemeester

Queen Ann is the last romantic left in fashion. In the 21st Century, she is the one designer who can speak of poetry in her work unselfconsciously. Perhaps this collection was Demeulemeester sensing that our world is becoming increasingly prosaic. Backstage after the show, Demeulemeester said, “I started this collection by imagining a duke. Left in his castle, cut off from the world, what would he wear?” The answer — long black coats, high-waist riding pants, and leather rope belts. The tall young men Demeulemeester sent down the runway were every bit uninvolved, lost in their own thoughts, lost in their own clothes, lost in their own world. These days, Demeulemeester likes to puncture her usual black and white palette with a choice of color. For this show her color of choice was olive-gray, which translated well into the capes and asymmetric, voluminous jackets.

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Books, Features January 28, 2010 By Derek Peck

filler20 RIP Howard Zinn

zinn1 RIP Howard Zinn
Image via drury.edu

filler20 RIP Howard Zinn

rip zinn RIP Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn was one of the great humanitarians of the 20th Century. His work had a profound influence on me personally and was a factor in shaping this magazine when I was formulating it in the late 1990s. We consulted with him for our Peace Issue in 2003, and wrote a piece on him in our Voices section in 2008. Also, click here for a link to the New York Times obituary. I haven’t always agreed with all his views, but his central ideas — that history should be told from the viewpoint of those its events have most affected, and that society’s duty is to organize our resources to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people — are important principles to keep in mind as we hurtle deeper into this Global Century. May his vision endure, and may he rest in peace.


Music January 28, 2010 By Todd Rosenberg

filler19 Owen Pallett: Heartland

owen pallett cover1 Owen Pallett: Heartland
Domino

pallet Owen Pallett: Heartland

Long ago, classical music ruled. Over centuries, musical iconoclasts found many ways to deviate from this sonic bedrock with jazz, rock and roll, hip-hop, reggae, and other popular flavors, relegating classical to something highfalutin, placed on a pedestal for anyone nerdy or old enough to pay attention. Foreshadowed by Anthony Burgess’ visionary novella A Clockwork Orange, a bastardized version of classical music has again become en vogue, ironically in hipster, cool-kid circles. Artists like Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, and Eric Matthews hybridized with “chamber pop”, making equal use of folk, rock, and classical instruments and song structures. Owen Pallett (née Final Fantasy) is another luminary of this genre, as evidenced by his latest full-length, Heartland, (not to mention his orchestral arrangements already heard with Arcade Fire). The song cycle is adorned with lush details: string flourishes, woodwinds, brass, and even bells. More than just ornamentation, these meticulous touches are the glue (and attraction) of this jigsawed sound. Heartland shows Pallett’s penchant for mixing bygone instruments with newfangled electronics, sometimes giving his songs a retro-futuristic feel. “Lewis Takes Action” (stream below) sounds like a ’60s girl-group classic interpolated by the hands of a philharmonic; the centerpiece “O Heartland, Up Yours!” surprises with its semi-soulful groove. Another example of the place classical music still holds in pop culture, in measured doses.

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Buy this at Other Music or iTunes.

Art January 25, 2010 By Editors

gallo cover Gallo Redonegallo title Gallo Redone

Recently, on the website FFFFOUND, we came across this sketched reinterpretation of our famous Issue One cover which featured Vincent Gallo shrouded by soft white fog — for our AIR issue. Containing a special, and very revealing, “Gallo on Gallo” interview, this issue was a huge hit at the time it came out; even so, we were totally surprised to find this rendering of it posted on FFFFOUND nearly eight years later! Could it have been rendered and posted by Gallo himself? It bears the telltale signs: his autograph and an all-caps GALLO that he adds to old magazines for sale on his website (check out the image via the site on the next page). But then again, it may have simply been copied by a clever artist / interloper who poached it from his merchandise site. You decide. (By the way, if you’ve never been to vgmerchandise.com, Gallo’s own brilliantly narcissistic paradise, you owe yourself the trip. We recommend the Personal Services link for a classic dose of the best and the worst of Vinny Gallo.)

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Music January 21, 2010 By Timothy Gunatilaka

filler18 Arvo Pärt and Björk: an interview

filler18 Arvo Pärt and Björk: an interviewarvopart Arvo Pärt and Björk: an interview

We came across this on photographer and PLANET contributor James Chiang’s blog for his Ideation & Presentation course at the Academy of Art. And as great fans of both Björk and Arvo Pärt, we just had to share with you this clip from the BBC program Modern Minimalists, in which the Icelandic chanteuse interviews the Estonian classical composer.
     A pioneering force within the mystical school of minimalism, the septuagenarian Pärt experienced a slight renaissance in the past decade with last year’s premiere of Symphony No. 4, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as with the inclusion of his work on the soundtracks to Fahrenheit 9/11 and There Will Be Blood. But his influence (and particularly his stark yet beautiful style, known as tintinnabulation) can also be felt on records by more mainstream, modern artists like Max Richter, Radiohead, and, indeed, Björk.
     Set to the lush and lamenting strings of Pärt’s 1977 composition, “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten”, Björk begins the interview by declaring that his oeuvre “in a very sensitive way has got the whole battle of this century inside him.” Speaking in her signature sprite-like patter and sporting intergalactic chignons, the singer-turned-temporary-journalist also suggests a somewhat strange dialectic shaping Pärt’s aesthetic — that of “Pinocchio and the little cricket,” in which a postlapsarian human capable of so much pain confronts and consorts with another being bursting with compassion and the will to comfort.

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Art January 20, 2010 By Jenna Martin
allison cover Allison Schulnik
Man With Bird, Allison Schulnik 2009. Images courtesy of Mark Moore Gallery

hobo title Allison Schulnik

Allison Schulnik paints rejects. For her second solo exhibit at the Mark Moore Gallery, aptly titled Home for Hobo, the Los Angeles based artist focuses on one of her recurring subjects — the hobo clown — to extend her family of outcasts to include possums, raccoons, and Klaus Kinski. Comprising ten paintings, four sculptures, and a four-minute claymation music video for Grizzly Bear, all dated 2009, Schulnik’s new work embodies the same macabre sensibilities of her previous works, utilizing kitsch subject matter in the traditional formats of portraiture, landscape, and still life. Refreshingly honest, Schulnik’s work is that of excess. Caked in thickly applied impasto, her fantastical characters appear to be melting off the canvas, residing somewhere between their world and ours. Schulnik remarks, “It just felt right for the characters that they should not be so together. They’re falling off of their skeleton, they’re falling off of their own frame.” Simultaneously stunning and unsettling, the characters stare longingly for something that only exists within their fictional frames — beauty, love, refuge, recognition.
     Growing up in San Diego, Schulnik describes her childhood as unstructured. “I went around town making art and being bad and being good.” Trained in different forms of dance, Schulnik left the art of moving for the art of the moving picture. Attending the California Institute of the Arts, Schulnik received her BFA in Experimental Animation in 2000. After graduating, Schulnik worked in studio animation for about six years before transitioning entirely to her solo work. A lover of all the archaic forms of art making, Schulnik is a purist at heart.

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Music January 20, 2010 By Todd Rosenberg

filler17 Gucci Presents Diplo

gucci cover Gucci Presents Diplo
Mad Decent /Asylum records

filler17 Gucci Presents Diplo
guccidiplo title Gucci Presents Diplo

Typically a mixtape is just enough to whet your appetite for the official release, serving the essential purpose of leaking songs and then becoming a throwaway once the real deal comes out. Not so in the hands of Diplo. In fact, in recent years his mixtapes in advance of debuts for artists such as M.I.A. and Santigold have become as lasting as their studio efforts, return-to listens long after their release, and even companion pieces to those great albums. After a reggae/dancehall sabbatical with Major Lazer in 2009, the venerable DJ returns once again to his first and true love, hip hop, with Free Gucci: Best of the Cold War Mixtapes. Gucci Mane is arguably the hottest voice in hip hop right now, MySpace’s top rap artist of ‘09, with supposedly another two albums on the way this year despite being incarcerated for violating probation. He’s best described as a “playful gangster” with a lazy vocal delivery, cheeky streetwise lyrics that are simultaneously crack-up and G’d up, and hooks that make it no wonder people keep coming back. The genius here is Diplo’s matchmaking between recent electronic music breakouts as remixers (Flying Lotus, Zomby, Memory Tapes) with vocals they’d never think to use; it simultaneously introduces hipster music geeks to the newest crunk and hip hop heads to up and coming electro beatmakers. Oh yeah, and like the best mixtapes, it’s free. Grab it at Mad Decent.

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Art January 18, 2010 By Nika Carlson

filler16 Patti Smithpatismith cover Patti Smithfiller16 Patti Smith

pattismith title Patti Smith

“I always felt somethin’ different stirrin’ in me,” declares a young Patti Smith in Dream of Life, the recent documentary film about her. That young girl’s instincts were right, and in the decades since she spoke those words, Smith has emerged as a radical figure even in the progressive world of rock and roll: a feminine tomboy who led a rock movement while maintaining her fangirl love of the counterculture. The film captures that essence, which is further distilled for Patti Smith and Steven Sebring: Objects of Life, a collaborative show with the filmmaker inspired by the eleven years it took to make the movie. On view at Chelsea’s Robert Miller Gallery, it includes a collection of art, photographs and objects from both artists, and though Sebring is a collaborator, Smith is the star. The show is a paean to her, and to her artistic diversity.
     Though Smith is best known as a musician, she is also an accomplished poet and visual artist, and the show leads you through her talents. On view are a number of her ghostly black-and-white photographs, notably as part of her tribute to Arthur Rimbaud, the 19th-century French poet, which is centered on a haunting recreation of his death litter. Smith’s drawings are also a highlight, with their loose, scratchy lines, delicate colors, and emphasis on symbology. Smith dedicates one gallery to her friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, a touching installation that alludes to Just Kids, a new memoir by Smith about their shared youth that reminds you Smith is a writer who has always been loud about her influences.

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