Music December 30, 2010 By Lily Moayeri

filler29 Keb Darge and Little Edith: Legendary Rockin’ R&B



Kebdarge Keb Darge and Little Edith: Legendary Rockin’ R&B
Keb Darge and Little Edith’s Legendary Rockin’ R&B is like the best jukebox ever. Not because it has your favorite songs in it, but because no matter which combination of buttons you push, something great is going to play. This should not come as a surprise as compiler Keb Darge (with the assistance of Little Edith) — one of the original purveyors of Northern Soul in the UK — is highly knowledgeable about music from the middle of the last century. Scratchy, lo-fidelity, and grounded, Rockin’ R&B is obviously what the Beatles were listening to and trying to emulate, at least originally. Teddy (Mr. Bear) McRae & His Orchestra rollick away on “Hi’ Fi’ Baby” while Marie Knight with Teacho Wiltshire Orchestra sasses her way through the saucy “I Thought I Told You Not To Tell Them” and the Mariners turn playful on “Zindy Lou”. Lonesome Lee closes out this collection with the creeping tones of “Lonely Travelin’”. By selecting these 20 tracks, Keb Darge and Little Edith have done all the crate digging for you, and narrowed down the best.

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Features December 29, 2010 By Eugene Rabkin

Photo: Jose Haro

Photo: Jose Haro (Click to enlarge)

title212 Alejandro González Iñárritu
Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Mexican film director working in Hollywood, is a man whose search for meaning is relentless. In all of his films, from the first hit, “Amores Perros”, to the latest, “Biutiful”, the protagonists search for meaning in an often meaningless and cruel world. But unlike directors like Darren Aronofsky, Lars von Trier, or Gaspar Noe, whose films sometimes veer toward grizzly hopelessness, Iñárritu always provides redemption in his otherwise quite heavy films. There is always an element of hope in them that feels neither indie film heavy-handed nor Hollywood-cheesy.
      In Iñárritu’s new film, which opens in limited release tomorrow, Javier Bardem plays Uxbal, a hustler on the streets of Barcelona. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he spends the remainder of his life taking care of his two small children, dealing with his estranged, bi-polar wife, and acting as a liaison between the corrupt police and the African and Chinese illegal immigrants who make a living in the counterfeits business. His tragedy is that of a basically decent man who has to do indecent things in order to survive.
      I recently caught up with Iñárritu on his short visit to New York in order to discuss his work. Sitting in the lobby of the Mercer hotel, his dark eyes gleaming with vigor, he talked about existentialism and his life experiences, which have influenced his work.

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Fashion December 22, 2010 By Editors
Art December 22, 2010 By Lizzi Reid

title211 Lane Coder Aerial Series

Lane Coder, a photographer living in Brooklyn, has been working professionally in the commercial world for more than seven years. Over the last 5 years Lane’s work has won much acclaim and has been included in Art + Commerce’s “Festival of Emerging Photographers” competition and gallery show (2003), W magazine’s “Behind the Lens” Competition and gallery show (2004), PDN magazine’s “30 to Watch” competition and publication (2007), The International Photography Awards competition and book (2006), Surface magazine’s “Avant Guardian” competition and publication (2007) and his work in Playground, an art and fashion book was accepted into the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s permanent collection. Exhibiting a broad range of work, from portraits, landscapes and fashion spreads to a music video, there appears to be a modern, ethereal quality to his work, a common thread that unifies his pictures. His aerial series, inspired by his late father started with experiments with shooting out of a plane window in college. His carefully composed pieces, conscious of color and texture reveal a more painterly, fine art quality in his photographs.

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Art December 21, 2010 By Nalina Moses

Club Avalon by Benjamin Tafel and Dennis Orel

Club Avalon by Benjamin Tafel and Dennis Orel (Click to enlarge)

title27 Berliner Luft
After decades of reorganization and reconstruction, Berlin has emerged as a hip European capital and tourist destination. Berliner Luft, a book by photographers Benjamin Tafel and Dennis Orel, celebrates some of the city’s less obvious delights. It spotlights destinations tucked away in faraway neighborhoods, behind unmarked doors, and open only late at night.

     Divided politically, culturally, and physically after World War II, Berlin was a potent symbol of both cold war anxiety and postwar recovery. After reunification in 1989, and before the international economic collapse in 2008, the city offered plentiful housing stock and affordable rents. This, as well as the slightly romantic, run-down spirit of the place, drew creative types from around the world. So, at the same time that Germany was becoming part of the European Union, Berlin was distinguishing itself as a global center for art, fashion, design, and food. The city which had, before reunification, inspired musicians like David Bowie and U2, gave rise to a mecca-like club scene and became a playground for international DJ’s. The city’s oldest airport, Tempelhof, which was designed as a stage set for the Third Reich, was closed to air traffic in 2008 and has been happily, if controversially, repurposed for skateboarding, fashion shows, and music festivals.

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Art December 20, 2010 By Jenna Martin

Chief Pare Maurice by Jean-Dominique Burton 2004/2006

Chief Pare Maurice by Jean-Dominique Burton 2004/2006

title26 Nabaas
Dutch photographer Jean-Dominique Burton is a cultural preservationist. For Nabaas—Traditional Chiefs of Burkina Faso, Burton’s ethnographic images capture the rich history of the Nabaas, the traditional power structure of Burkina Faso. The west African country whose name means “the land of upright men” or “land of honest people” is a nation where old and new power structures coincide. “The Nabaas administer justice and resolve problems in ways that the centralized modern structure sometimes cannot, because the Nabaas are better informed of people’s real needs.” Fascinated by this coexistence, Burton took on the challenge of photographing the Nabaas – a work that has been attempted several times, without success. Equipped with only a medium format camera, black and white film, and the light of day, Burton’s “photographic paintings” are a rare and intimate glimpse of the Kings “portraying them alone, without the opulence of their palaces and without their families or normal coterie of ministers.” The result is a series of deeply revealing, fine silver gelatin portraits, through which Burton hopes to “convey my belief that this culture is a treasure to be preserved. Such cultures can be easily lost and forgotten if we are not mindful of them and their importance.”

Nabaas—Traditional Chiefs of Burkina Faso is on view at the Bekris Gallery, San Francisco through December 29.

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Art, Books December 15, 2010 By Jennifer Pappas

Brian Dettmer <em>Goya</em> 2010 Altered Book Image, Courtesy of the Artist and MiTO Gallery

Goya, 2010, Altered Book Image, Courtesy of the Artist and MiTO Gallery (Click to see detail)

BD title Brian Dettmer
For an artist who has worked within the confines of one material for the better part of his career, Brain Dettmer’s artwork has been explained in a variety of clever ways: book autopsies, excavations, conceptual deconstructions, 3D collage. It seems his technique (using surgical tools and knives) and finished products are so unique, nobody really knows what to call it. Taking one of the most recognizable symbols of the Modern Age — books — and reinventing them in a radical, magical, unexpected way, Brian Dettmer’s become something of a sculptor, cartographer, and historian all rolled into one. Much like the surprises a reader experiences with every turn of the page, each hard-cover book sculpture involves a huge degree of happenstance. Once Dettmer seals a book and starts to carve, he has no way of knowing what’s coming next. Dettmer talked to PLANET about knowledge, power, and the tantalizing lure of the future.

Can you begin by talking about your new show, “New Worlds to Conquer”?
I’d been thinking about the quest for knowledge and exploration of the world by adventurers and authors around the beginning of the 20th century — specifically between WWI and WWII — when flight became accessible to an elite few. There was a strong drive to explore the world and share discoveries of these adventures in books. The search for knowledge and exotic places can be a slippery slope though.

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Architecture, Greenspace December 14, 2010 By Jordan Sayle

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

title25 Prism Cloud
Designers Matt Johnson and Jason Logan cite “Prism Cloud” as an example of their aim to use sustainable technologies as tools for creating transformative experiences. As colleagues at the University of Houston College of Architecture, they have collaborated on this solar energy entrant in the Land Art Generator Initiative with several objectives in mind.

“Our goal was to make a project that would be simple to install, compelling as an experiential space, and that would generate energy without appearing explicitly infrastructural,” explains Johnson.

     One of the major criticisms leveled against any large-scale installation of solar panels is the sheer size of the footprint. The monumental solar field proposed for Deming, New Mexico, for example, will cover more than 3,000 acres of surface area upon its completion. So while there are environmental benefits to be gained from any photovoltaic-based source of electricity, “Prism Cloud” offers a lighter touch: it consists of malleable, thin-film solar cells strung together by cable and suspended cloud-like above the ground as a canopy, held aloft only by a series of structural concrete piers (or oases). The lightness of the physical footprint atop the earth’s surface makes this an appealing proposal, but it is a different form of light altogether that turns this energy generator into a genuine piece of land art.

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Art December 13, 2010 By Sarah Coleman

sm title Sally Mann
Sally Mann’s photographs have always had a tendency to unsettle people. Most famously, the photographer became a target of the culture wars in the early 1990s, when her direct, unsentimental images of her young children attracted national attention. Right-wing politicians were enraged that Mann, an artist supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, was photographing her children naked with bloody noses and urine-stained sheets. Unwittingly, she opened up a heated and vexing discussion about depictions of children in photography—a subject nuanced enough that it has inspired two novels to date: Kathryn Harrison’s Exposure and Dani Shapiro’s Black and White.
     To Mann’s credit, there was no artistic compromise following her spell as a congressional punching bag. In the two decades since, she’s gone on to produce work every bit as challenging as her early images of her children. Now, The Flesh and the Spirit (Aperture), which accompanies a retrospective exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, gathers together nine series of her images. It confirms Mann’s position as a major American artist whose work is often beautiful, often disquieting, and sometimes both at once.
     As the title implies, the images show an intense preoccupation with the human body and the relationship between its corporeal form and its animating life force.

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Music December 10, 2010 By Lily Moayeri

filler29 Martina Topley Bird

Honest Jon's Records

Honest Jon's Records

MT title Martina Topley Bird
Martina Topley-Bird — brought to attention by Tricky and presently wowing audiences as Massive Attack’s featured vocalist, reworks her first two albums, Anything and The Blue God, on Some Place Simple. Functioning as an unplugged and/or live album of sorts, Some Place Simple strips Topley-Bird’s songs to their bare bones, much like her supporting performances on the current Massive Attack tour. Topley-Bird’s voice is accompanied by the odd piano plinks, drum taps, and tinkling chimes. “Baby Blue” is lullaby-like with the hoarse plucks of a ukulele tugging at Topley-Bird’s easy croon. Percussion on “Lying” thumps organically, pulsating with Topley-Bird’s sugary delivery. On “Ilya” Topley-Bird carries the minimal sounds with only layers of vocals and no instrumentation other than the odd finger-snap or tongue cluck. On “Sandpaper Kisses” Topley-Bird’s voice whispers softly and chillingly on its own. It is then pushed to the side as a grinding guitar takes over. Pulling back, it leaves her voice as the main focus. The four new tracks on Some Place Simple follow this unadorned formula — a hopeful direction for her next album.

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Buy this at Other Music or iTunes. After the jump, check out Massive Attack’s video for “Psyche”, featuring Topley-Bird.