film August 31, 2011 By Chloe Eichler

filler29 David Weissman

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AIDS Poster Boy

filler29 David Weissmandw title2 David Weissman
David Weissman’s last documentary, co-directed with Bill Weber, was a Technicolor portrait of the Cockettes, the highest-flying drag queen ensemble in 1960s San Francisco. For his next non-fiction project Weissman moves on to the following chapter of life in that city’s gay community, after the euphoria of finding each other has given way to the struggle of staying together. We Were Here, also co-directed by Weber and opening September 9th in New York, is a gracefully elegiac remembrance of the 1981 emergence of AIDS in San Francisco and the magnificent response of ordinary citizens during the earliest days, before the disease was understood or even named. Weissman follows five central figures, weaving together the perspectives of medical professionals, city caregivers, and, in what are inevitably the most harrowing interviews, those with stricken loved ones. An undercurrent of testimonial pervades the film; as much as it is about enormous courage, it is still the tale of those who died, and this weight has not been lost on anyone in front of or behind the camera.
     David Weissman moved to San Fransisco five years before AIDS was discovered in the city. He spoke with PLANET about the enormous repercussions of the initial AIDS panic and why San Francisco is still an extraordinary city.

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Greenspace August 31, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall - Visible Satellite Image

Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall - Visible Satellite Image

js title2 Whether Climate or Weather

There is a difference between climate and weather. What happens on one day can be very different from what’s happening across the long-term.
     This is an oft-repeated line in climate science, and it usually serves as the go-to talking point in any discussion begun by the question, “Does this storm have anything to do with global warming?” The average climatologist out there isn’t going to put his or her credibility on the line to tell you that any single weather event can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change, and with that being the case, this same statement is made time and again: “There is a difference between climate and weather…”
     In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, as tree limbs are removed from power lines and water is pumped from basements across portions of the Northeast, let’s put matters of climate aside for a moment and take a quick look at some of the weather that 2011 has brought in its first eight months.
     Deep inhale. There were historic blizzards to begin the year in much of the U.S., including many of the same states affected by Irene; the extreme rains that flooded 18,000 homes in Brisbane, Australia; the floods and mudslides that hit Brazil and caused some 900 fatalities; the monumental tornado season that tore up much of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri; the flooding along the lower Mississippi, after the melting of heavy snowpack, that cost as much as $4 billion in damages; the droughts in places such as Texas, which experienced its driest period in history, prompting its governor to hold a Mayan-style prayer for rain;

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Art August 29, 2011 By Jennifer Pappas

Francis Alÿs. Le juif errant, 2011. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Adel Abdessemed. mappemonde - olive, 2011. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York. Photograph by Jean Vong

haitiartists title Artists for Haiti
It’s been 19 months since the monstrous 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Léogâne, Haiti (16 miles west of Port-au-Prince) on January 12, 2010. Despite the unprecedented outpouring of global aid, funds and support, Haiti remains consumed by the aftermath of what the quake left behind. According to official estimates, 300,000 people were injured, 1.3 million displaced, 97,294 houses destroyed and another 188,383 damaged. To say nothing of the disputed death toll, subsequent cholera outbreak, political unrest, and general foot-dragging of aid disbursement and reconstruction projects. Quite simply, the Haitian people have suffered inexorably and continue to do so.
     Several months ago, New York gallerist/art dealer David Zwirner teamed up with comedian/actor Ben Stiller to form Artists for Haiti, a high-profile charity art auction that will donate one hundred percent of its sales to support education and health programs for Haitian children. The auction will take place on September 22 at Christie’s, New York and will include major works from some of the world’s most prominent artists including: Adel Abdessemed, Louise Bourgeois, Chuck Close, Urs Fischer, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Chris Ofili, Raymond Pettibon, Cindy Sherman, Ed Ruscha, and Zhang Huan, among others. A preview exhibition will be held at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York from September 6-10.

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Architecture August 25, 2011 By Nalina Moses

filler29 the martin luther king jr national memorialMLK cover the martin luther king jr national memorialfiller29 the martin luther king jr national memorialMLK title the martin luther king jr national memorial
On August 28 the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the lawn in Washington DC will be dedicated. Three hundred thousand people are expected to attend the ceremony, thousands more than attended Dr. King’s legendary March on Washington on this same day in 1963. The monument is the first on the lawn to honor a man who didn’t serve as the country’s president. And it’s the result of decades of persistent lobbying and planning by the private foundation that raised funds and built the monument.
     The Memorial shapes an axis connecting the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his “I have a dream” speech at the end of that march, to the Jefferson Memorial, and overlooks the calm waters of the Tidal Basin. It leads visitors along a path between two large, cleft granite boulders towards a third into which sculptor Lei Yixin has carved a monumental standing figure of Dr. King. The likeness is remarkable, depicting the civil rights leader as a steely, majestic figure, looking far into the distance. President Obama is fond of repeating one of Dr. King’s best remembered sayings, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” The Memorial illustrates how far American history has progressed, from slavery to emancipation to equal rights, and inspires us to keep moving forward.

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Art, Books, Design August 24, 2011 By Chloe Eichler

Fruit of the Boom (Granate), 2010

Fruit of the Boom (Granate), 2010

si title1 Sarah Illenberger
Good Weather, an exhibit of Berlin-based artist Sarah Illenberger’s photographs at Gelstalten Space through September 11th, is an exercise in dissonance. A simple light bulb, upon a moment’s inspection, turns out to be a pear. A minimalist pair of headphones suddenly reveals itself to be made of two cupcake wrappers strung together. Straightforward in composition, lighting, and sly good nature, an Illenberger still life is lovingly handcrafted to wreak havoc on the viewer’s expectations every time. A halved pomegranate, with only a bit of metal stuck at the top, becomes an instantly recognizable hand grenade—but hasn’t the meat’s rich color, the glisten on the seeds, the plain bloodiness of a pomegranate always spoken to your subconscious of violence? And if it didn’t, won’t it now? The joke in the photos isn’t that you’re seeing a trick object; it’s that you’re seeing two opposing images at once, and neither will yield. Illenberger spoke to PLANET about bringing her contradictions to a gallery space—right down to the name of the show.

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Music August 23, 2011 By Benjamin Gold

XL Recordings

XL Recordings

horrors The Horrors: Skying
I can’t talk about who the Horrors are today without talking about who the Horrors used to be. When they made their debut in 2007 I took one look at them and thought they were a band of Peter Murphy’s disaffected nephews. They weren’t bad, but their freak-beat punk was easily over-shadowed by their vampire style. It was shocking then, in 2009, when they released Primary Colours, a psychedelic departure that drew from bands like the Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3. Skying sees the band continuing to mutate, but also establishes them as British pop preservationists.
     Skying is a sunny record. It lifts the band, as the title might suggest, into the upper atmospheres of pop. The album’s first song, “Changing The Rain”, starts with a cavernous electronic beat that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Fever Ray song, but soon blossoms into synth-pop heaven.

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Art August 22, 2011 By Chloe Eichler

ps 1 Peter Sekaerps title Peter Sekaer
Peter Sekaer began touring the United States as a government photographer in 1936, documenting derelict cities and stricken farmland. His work, the focus of Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer opening at the International Center of Photography on September 9th, revels less in the pointed dramatization practiced by so many of his contemporaries. Rather than produce a poised Migrant Mother, Sekaer drew his lens back and merged environment with sitter. His subjects’ everyday functionality in their new, extraordinary circumstances provided Sekaer’s narrative. The overall tableau is something very akin to what the unaffected human eye experiences.

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Music August 18, 2011 By Lily Moayeri

Decca Records

Decca Records

mm title Imelda May: Mayhem
This Irish siren has Southern American blood running through her veins. On her third full-length, Mayhem, Imelda May’s blues and rockabilly belt-outs positively burst with confidence. Not restricted to these styles, May steps into torch-singer ballads, big-band swings, and farm-girl country vibes just as smoothly and self-assuredly. A throwback in its entirety, Mayhem’s resolute old-school style is its charm. The only touches of modernity are in the crisp production of the superior musicians and May’s ballsy tones. She purrs and growls on the slowed down rockabilly of “All For You,” alternately teasing and taunting. Her vocals stretch out moodily over the brushed drums of the bluesy “Too Sad To Cry”. At times, May traverses country territory, where she is at home amongst cowboy-bar jangles, such as the square dance-ready “Eternity”. On “Proud and Humble”, she classes up the hay-strewn barroom floors with infusions of horns. May can do it all — even strut over Soft Cell, turning “Tainted Love” into a down home sing-along.

Buy this at iTunes. After the jump, check out the video for Mayhem’s title track.

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Art, Events, Fashion August 16, 2011 By Chloe Eichler

filler29 Daniele Tamagni & Africolor

filler29 Daniele Tamagni & Africolordt title2 Daniele Tamagni & Africolor
In the troubled southern suburbs of Brazzaville, the Congo’s capital city, a resilient group of men have traded arms for Armani. The sapeurs, as captured in Daniele Tamagni & Africolor at Danziger Proejcts through September 10th, are Congolese men who abide by a strict moral code that’s signaled publicly by their equally rigorous dress rules. Tamagni, an Italian photographer working in several African regions, has produced photographs that reveal men in impeccably tailored, brilliantly colored three-piece suits, brandishing canes and cigars in the middle of slum neighborhoods. These men save up for months—often years—for an outfit.
     Though the Sape movement first gained popularity as a way of resisting the 1970s national ban on western clothing, Tamagni no longer sees it as politically motivated. Today he sees it as both a form of “social affirmation,” and as an art in its own right. Not only is “dressing up a way to escape and forget poverty…but also their aesthetic is amazing, because they re-mix and re-interpret the Western brand outfits.” If fashion has truly become a life philosophy for the sapeurs, it’s clear that it’s a living, breathing dogma. “It’s a mix of dandyism with old colonial accessories and hip-hop style,” Tamagni explains. “It’s impossible to define their aesthetic.”

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Art, Greenspace August 10, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

A Star Is Found © AMNH\ Ben Oppenheimer, Douglas Brenner

A Star Is Found © AMNH\ Ben Oppenheimer, Douglas Brenner

title50 Science on a Wall
A paintbrush, an easel, a canvas, some paint. It used to be that works of art were created using a no frills set of materials like that, with maybe a color palette or a beret thrown in for good measure. While we’re far removed from the heyday of the French Impressionists, it’s likely that even the most forward-thinking of contemporary artists working with the most advanced tools of the trade wouldn’t know how to operate a telescopic coronagraph. But that’s exactly what was used by researchers in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Astrophysics to capture the spectacular image of an unknown star in the Big Dipper for an out-of-this-world work of art.
     Titled “A Star Is Found,” and bearing resemblance to some menacing aquatic invertebrate or an experiment with green gelatin gone wrong, the image was never meant to hang on the walls of a gallery. Rather, it is an accidental masterpiece created in the pursuit of scientific research. A new star was discovered, and in the process, so was an unexpected thing of beauty – or something close to beauty, anyway. For the new exhibit “Picturing Science,” the museum’s curators have assembled a collection of spectacular prints that were produced with the same basic approach.

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