Monday, December 22, 2008

Great, Great Songs Number 7. Merry Xmas From BlackLOG

The Ghetto by Donny Hathaway 1970.

The first single off Donny Hathaway's debut album Everything Is Everything (which actually came out in 1969) The Ghetto is a legend, as a song, all by itself. Not particularly famous at the time - it peaked at number 87 on the Billboard charts in 1970 - the song went on to become an all time soul classic most famously loved and rolled by George Benson. The Ghetto has been covered, cloned, clipped and sampled by anyone and everyone with the soul, the jazz, and the fonk in the bones. The covers are numerous, but Donny's original is the business - a trailblazing groove. R.I.P The Don. Thanks for staying tuned to BlackLOG.

Merry Xmas to all our friends and whanau...Love Black...

It became the ultimate soul jam here:

Here's the original masterpiece:

\

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welli Welli Two - It's A Jazz Thing!

Roy Ayers

Not wanting to be typecast...(sorry)...the Wellington City Council and peeps behind the International Art Festival will follow TypeSHED11 with The Wellington Jazz Festival. The inaugural festival runs from 5- 8 March 2009 and the stage 1 announcement suggests it will sensationally snazzy. Among the artists confirmed to play at the Pacific Blue Note, a purpose-built jazz club in the Wellington Town Hall are thought-provoking bluesman Otis Taylor; legendary vibraphonist/vocalist and pioneer of jazz/funk Roy Ayers (wahoo!); the adventurous jazz, classical and rock pianist Brad Mehldau; blues troubadour Eric Bibb; and the ‘Polish Miles Davis’ – classic and cool trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. It is the first of the confirmed headline acts though that suggests this will be a special festival - the Mingus Big Band, direct from New York will perform at the Michael Fowler Headliner Series. The knockout 14-piece band is devoted to continuing the legacy of Charlie Mingus, the late great jazz composer and virtuoso bass player.

Eric Bibb

Speaking ahead of a full programme announcement on 21 January 2009, Wellington Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Lissa Twomey, said “our inaugural Jazz Festival is for everyone, from the passers-by to the dedicated hard-core jazz enthusiasts. Over four days, we’re offering a wide musical palette of traditional and contemporary jazz, Latin, rhythm ’n’ blues, gospel, soul and more. The programme is designed so that audiences can discover how far the roots of jazz stretch into so many of the musical styles and genres we enjoy.”

Brilliant! We can hear it now...everybody loves the sunshine..the sunshine...

Welli Welli One - TypeSHED11

David Bennewith Suggestions poster
A0 (841 x 1189mm), 4 colour process (CMYK), white lithopaak 115 g/m2 paper, printed by Mazon Screen, Maastricht, edition: 75, 2007

Listen up you jazzy typographers! There are a couple of events hovering on the Wellington arts calendar which should have your mouths watering. First up, TypeSHED11 is a five-day international typography symposium organised by Typevents Italy and Catherine Griffiths, New Zealand. Wellington has a proud history of typographic excellence - including the achievements of one Joseph Churchward - so the event held at Shed 11 from February 11-15, 2009 is sure to be well attended by knowledgable types - pun intended. TypeSHED11 will host typographers and designers from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Pacific, Australia and New Zealand for five days of workshops, lectures, exhibitions and experimental installations focusing on typography across the disciplines - graphic design and advertising, photography, film, literature, architecture, music and the visual arts. “TypeSHED11 has stimulated enthusiasm across New Zealand and the international design communities, and is a unique opportunity for New Zealand to locate its typographic feet,” says organiser and NZ-based designer and typographer Catherine Griffiths.

Leonardo Sonnoli
Tribute to Gianfranco Grignani, 2001

Key speakers include: New York’s Christian Schwartz, awarded the prestigious Prix Charles Peignot in 2007, and considered one of the world’s most influential contemporary type designers, Melbourne typographer Stephen Banham, described by Eye Magazine as a ‘typographic evangelist’; Japan’s Masayoshi Kodaira, recognised for pushing into three dimensions with his large-scale typographic installations; Austrian Walter Bohatsch, regarded by Wolfgang Weingart as “one of the best designers we have today”; and influencial Amsterdam trio Experimental Jetset, who starred in ‘Helvetica’ the movie, and whose work was recently acquired by MoMA.

It all sounds like the ultimate excursion for New Zealand's Type Set.

Registrations for the symposium and workshops are open online:
www.typeshed11.co.nz/register

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thom's Tastic!





When Thom Kerr first stumbled into our office his quiff got caught on the top of our front door frame. The 6 foot something twenty year old arrived in 2006 from Queensland saying "I love Black. Can I work for you?" "Yes" we said putting him straight to work on the coffee machine. Thomas stayed for about two months as the best wrok experience guy a magazine could wish for and in the two years since has become a regular visitor to Aotearoa. He has also made great leaps in Australia having shot for Oyster, Duke, Cream, Poster and Kurv among others. Look out for his work in the upcoming issue of Black we think he is really going places. In the meantime check out his work at his website.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Music Is The Answer


Right now, the recession is not the world's biggest concern. War, pestilence, poverty, famine and disease, climate change, overpopulation and the welfare of the world's children probably should be, one would think. And, in a year when possibly the most important change in political history has taken place with the American people giving a black man the mandate to rule the most powerful nation on earth - as the year closes, we should all be celebrating the potential global goodness and not stressing too much about why the office Christmas party was crap this year. What better way to celebrate this climate of change than with music. Playing For Change is a foundation, born out of a documentary series based on making music around the globe and filming it. Similar to One Giant Leap, Playing For Change is now in its 10th year and in early 2009 will release a new CD and DVD - Playing For Change Peace Through Music. So, if you are feeling the pinch, we strongly advise you watch this clip, the people of the world playing a simple, utterly uplifting tune together, Stand By Me.

Band Of Gold

Spoken Word/Vocals - Paul Amlehn

Guitar/soundscapes - Robert Fripp

Viola - Joan Jeanrenaud

Piano - Mike Ganson

Drums - Jim White
You have to hand it to NZ artist Paul Amlehn. The multi-media artist doesn't tend to do things by halves so when we heard about his latest art project, effectively a band, we were intrigued to find out more. The 'band' has no name as yet and is really a multi-media performance created online and curated by Amlehn himself. So who is in the band then? First up, Robert Fripp, the founder of King Crimson who has collaborated with artists such as David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and Brian Eno. Fripp has already recorded his part - over 60 minutes of soundscapes at this stage. Amlehn has now sent those soundscapes to Joan Jeanrenaud who was a founding member of The Kronos Quartet, and has worked with composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Philip Glass. Once Joan has done her thing, Amlehn then forwards the composition to Mike Garson, David Bowie's long-serving piano player, who has also collaborated with NIN, and The Smashing Pumpkins. Once Amlehn has received that back he will record his spoken word and singing onto the recording before sending it on to drummer Jim White. White is a member of The Dirty Three, and has played with the likes of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey.The music project will be finished in early to mid 2009.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hoother That!

We received this picture from New York photographer Tom Linkens who asked us if the cover of the latest Black Magazine featured the one and only Hoother? "Sorry?" we enquired..."Hoother' he said referencing the lovely Heather Marks " Is that issue still for sale? I've been one of her fans & partners in crime since NYFW Spring/Summer 2008, and this is a candid pic I took of her..." Thanks Tom...

A Sign Of The Times - All Hail Hailwood


Oh bugger! Another one (shop that is) bites the dust. Today, Adrian Hailwood, one of New Zealand fashion's brightest stars has announced that his retail operation is to close in February 2009. Hot on the heels of a number of other rising stars turning the lock, the news is symptomatic of the difficulties facing emerging designers here and abroad. Hailwood says he will now focus on web-based sales - his t-shirt line can be viewed and ordered at www.annahstretton.co.nz and the current Hailwood Summer 09 collection can be viewed at www.hailwood.co.nz.

Although he’ll miss the daily interaction had with his customers, Hailwood says, “It’s not been a hard decision – retailing from this location in this market is simply not sustainable. To continue to do what I love doing I need to focus on keeping ahead of the current climate." Well said.

We can't help but notice interesting parallels to other industries too, that are not so much indicative of the recession encompassing the world but simply of a change in global behaviour. We know only too well that hard copy publishing faces an uncertain future - the online options are manifold, far-reaching, cost-effective and sustainable. The music industry no longer relies on CD and 'unit' creation to light the industry furnace, instead we see the rise of management companies, production companies and an explosion of live performance coupled with a direct and responsive online market.

The similarities? Online and 'live'. Perhaps, and we think this could be a good thing, this might mean a greater commitment to kick-ass fashion shows or events, coupled with a strong online strategy as the way of the future for fashion business. Of course, retail will always have its place, but surely, the times, they are achanging...

So all power to Adrian, may Hailwood online live long and prosper!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Summer's Here. Honest! Win NIVEA skincare...


Given the temperature outside today it might feel like the sand on your local beach has turned to snow but don't worry, Ken 'The Weather God' Ring says we're in for a hot one. Best then to get some quality skin care sorted. The good folks at NIVEA have given BlackLOG 10 packs of sunshine seeking superbness to give away. 'My Silhouette!' is a bio-slim complex body refining gel which helps to refine your contours and provide a feel-good silhoutte. NIVEA body Sunkissed Skin is a firming gradual tan body moisturiser which will leave your skin with a sunkissed glow and smelling delicious. It all sounds suitably dreamy doesn't it? You can almost hear the sea...

All you have to do to win a pack is be one of the first people to email the word "NIVEA Dream" in the subject line of an email - with your name and postal address in the body - to:

mail@blackmag.co.nz

First 10 in, first served. And don't worry, the sun is still coming....

Ready To Roll? Vote For NZ's All Time Music Clip


The New Zealand Film Archive houses thousands of New Zealand music clips and they want us to help choose the best of all time. The archive have chosen an eclectic and rather fascinating top 100 from which you can watch and then vote - including one called Gaskrankinstation (nudge nudge) - and the winner will be announced as the People's Choice during NZ Music Month next May. There will aslo be random spot prizes for people who vote. There are quite a few classics in here that you would be hard pushed to find even on You Tube but some of our favourite hard-to-finds include:

Skeptics - A.F.F.C.O
Space Waltz - Out On The Street
Dam Native - Behold My Kool Style
Marching Girls - First In Line
The Avengers - Love, Hate, Revenge
Misex - Computer Games
Sisters Underground - In The Neighbourhood
John O'Donaghue - Pelorus Jack
Suburban Reptiles - Megaton
...and many more...

Here's the link to NZ Film Archive

Panda To Your Own Backyard


Kowtow are a Wellington-based sustainable clothing company who create "100% Certified organic Fairtrade Threads." This week they announced their support for the World Wildlife Fund with a T-Shirt design "Panda Suit" a cool take on the long-standing Panda image positioning of the WWF. The clever Kowtowians are not only donating $10 from the sale of each and every T-Shirt sold across New Zealand but also ensuring that the money goes into local WWF coffers to aid and assist the WWF team in New Zealand and inspire our people to "love and look after Aotearoa and protect our native habitats and animals." Noble stuff but more than that, it's a hot T-shirt! In store now or at www.kowtow.co.nz

Sweet Chrissy Concept!


One of our favourite household creatives, the artist known as Sweet Pea, is joining forces with a bunch of young artists under the banner of The Ministry Of Art & Design to offer an alternative Christmas shopping experience this Saturday in Kingsland. Twelve artist and designers will be setting up at the Trinity Methodist Church in New North Road between 10am and 4pm with a selection of their own art, design and wares. Sweet Pea herself will be selling Sweetpea for Karen Walker stock (from 'Karen to the Rescue' and 'Lucky'), Sweetpea Christmas decorations and other samples at discounted prices. So support local artists and give creativity for Christmas...it's better than ties!

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Of These Lady Tings Is NOT LIke The Other


When it comes to music we can't help but notice that some Australians have real trouble differentiating things - like where a band comes from - whilst others seem to find yawning chasms of difference between what appear to be relatively similar acts. Take Ladyhawke (above). The New Zealand singer is big news in Australia, France and particularly the UK where she rates alongside the Ting Tings and MGMT as one of the hottest new faces of the year. In Australia she is largely considered Australian having lived in Melbourne for a few years, and is continually enshrined as the new queen of Aussie cool. This strange paradox was particularly evident in this weeks The Brag, a free music broadsheet distributed in the the inner city suburbs of Sydney. Reviewer Jacob Stone at least makes a trans-Tasman concession when he describes Ladyhawke as "the coolest, most savvy ANZAC pop singer of the last decade" before reverting to "our premier zeitgeist lightning rod." He has no problem awarding her song My Delirium single of the week status and 4 out of 5 stars.

He then very humourously slates The Ting Ting's (above) admittedly average Shut Up And Let Me Go with NO STARS out of 5 and says "This is music for stupid people, the absolute nadir of 'Ting Tings vapid brand of garish low brow nonsense" before continuing 'the singer is a chip shop slag and her ramblings barely qualify as lyrics. It's the soundtrack to binge-drinking in high heels, and if you empathise with this song at all, we can't be friends, because you are a moron." Phew....just how different these two acts are is obviously a matter of opinion!

Stolen Scholarship



We'd like to extend the hand of congratulation to the Stolen Girlfriends Club who, on Thursday night at the annual FINZ Xmas party, won the inaugural DHL Fashion Export Scholarship. DHL is considered the world's leading express and logistics company and is a prime mover of fashion business around the globe so the award had far reaching potential for a young designer keen on global domination. The 'Girlfriends' won the award ahead of runners up Salasai and Jimmy D who were both meritorious according to Geoff Ross - one of the judges - but didn't show the overall strength of SGC "As well as a strong design, SGC had good financials, good success off shore already and a team of three, which adds horse power to their business." said Ross, founder of 42 Below. The prize package includes freight to the value of NZ$10,000 and coaching in freight and logistics from DHL Express as well as an individually tailored export mentoring package from FINZ and annual FINZ membership. It seems apt then to see the boys climbing a ladder in the promo photo below....up, up and away.

Gidday from Sydney...


Sorry we have been a bit quiet here on Blacklog over the past week or so - we have been trapped in a Chicken coop - firstly here at The Powerstation and over the past week in Australia, culminating in a performance at the Homebake Festival in Sydney which was all rather massive and headlined by these guys the Crowdies...Will pop up some posts shortly but in the meantime ponder the picture above. Yes, in Australia they create musicals about um, er...bad-boy cricketers, albeit legendary ones. Just where the song comes into spin, or the beat into batting we really don't know. Going to see a musical about Sir Richard Hadlee would be about as exciting as eating a cold porridge sandwich. Only in Australia...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Milk - we want it now!


One of the movies I’m most looking forward to seeing over the next few months – or whenever the hell it reaches New Zealand! – is Milk, which chronicles the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man voted into U.S. public office who was assassinated in San Francisco in 1978. Directed by Gus Van Sant and starring an Oscar-worthy Sean Penn, this sounds like one hell of an important film, especially in the light of the recent Prop 8 madness. Check out some of the reviews:

Rolling Stone
There's really no maybe about Milk, directed with a poet's eye by Gus Van Sant from a richly detailed script by Big Love writer Dustin Lance Black. It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did. If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure as hell haven't seen it.

New York Magazine
Milk is a hagiography, but there’s nothing wrong with that if you believe, as director Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black obviously do, in the gospel of Harvey Milk. And queer hagiography is bracingly different from that other kind, in that it’s often, so to speak, ass-backward, the road to rebirth leading through the flesh instead of around it. There aren’t many life stories of saints in which the hero’s salvation begins with picking up a studly young Midwesterner in a New York City subway station on the eve of said hero’s 40th birthday.

NPR
What sets this film entertainingly apart from most civil rights sagas, though, are a slew of relaxed, offhandedly persuasive performances, along with the flamboyance of hippie-era San Francisco. And of course there's Penn, who's so engaging, physically loose and just plain smart in the title role, he's bound to top everyone's shortlist come awards time.

The New Yorker
[Milk] wants what straights take for granted: the ability to live without shame. By casting a famously macho actor as Harvey Milk, Van Sant has made the central humanist desire for self-acceptance and pride newly powerful. Giving himself utterly to the role, Penn takes an actor’s craft and dedication to soulful heights, making a demand for dignity that becomes universal.

The Los Angeles Times
There's nothing terribly wrong with "Milk," it's just that its celebration of a culture and a neighborhood, its valentine to the early days of gay rights activism, is mostly more conventional than compelling ... It's impossible to see "Milk's" anti-Prop. 6 demonstrations, to read signs saying things like "Gay rights now" and "Save our human rights," without thinking of the very current battle over Proposition 8 and its ban of gay marriage. This graphic demonstration that the struggles are far from over gives "Milk" a harder edge than its otherwise self-congratulatory tone could manage.

The Boston Globe
The movie makes it hard not to see in him a little of Barack Obama or vice versa. The similarities are chilling at times. They both ran as agents for change, a message that drew people to them, especially the young, and managed to win the support of folks in spite of their own bigotry. What you're able to see is how far the country has come in four decades and how far it hasn't. The day of Obama's victory, voters also supported gay marriage bans in three states. Go figure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

PIE In Our Sky


They Know How To Throw A Pie Party

How perfectly circular it is to see Simon "Glass Half MTV" Oosterdijk' and Markus Hofko's [go the Euro heritage] new Pie newspaper. At only $4.00, yes $4.00 and not $3.99, Pie is quite simply a visual treat and it's newsprint neat in texture, feel and floppiness. For this, the first issue - Pie celebrates the absolute fabulousness of the circle characterised by a smiley face cover. Oosterdijk was born a creative force, a natural conceptualist. His studio, The Wilderness, has long been at the forefront of graphic, design, conceptual and creative development and their partnership with the Semi-Permanent forum speaks volumes of the company's creative output and collaborative style. Pie is an idea. Pie just exists - and exists gleefully free of advertising and sponsorship. Pie is the sky...

Check it out here if you can't grasp a real copy....

Pie, Issue O. The circle features The Moon, NASA visions of circles, yin and yang, the wheel, black spots, rings, Mt Taranaki, emanations, a round ping-pong table and considerably more roundness in general. What comes around, goes around. We can't wait to be hit in the face with more Pies...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Dublyas, Two Stores, Many Pictures


The last time Matthew Williams and Karen Inderbitzen-Waller held a joint photographic exhibition, they did so in a single character space, with a well-attended and exceedingly enjoyable opening. The difference in the pair's work was both obvious and complimentary and worked well enough that they are back again this year - but with twice the concept. Utilising the suitably stylish Crane Brothers and Gubb and Mackie store environs, the "Two Photographers, One Show, Two Stores, One Week Only' exhibition will be a must-do in Auckland in the coming week.

Cool Aid



Next Sunday, November 30 falls on the eve of World AIDS Day and Positively Glamorous, an utterly fabulous event held at Studio 340 on K.Rd aims to raise awareness for HIV and AIDS. Organisers Mint Condition have pooled some of New Zealand's top fashion designers together to create fashion inspired by the global icon for AIDS awareness, the red ribbon.

The designer selection is comprehensive: • Alexandra Owen • Blak Basics • Carlson • Chelsea Thorpe • Cyb√®le • Deborah Sweeney • Hailwood • Jaeha • Jimmy D • Juliette Hogan • Kate Sylvester • Lonely Hearts • Madame Hawke • Miss Crabb • Moochi • Park • Ruby • Stolen Girlfriends Club • twentysevennames • Zambesi

Performances on the night will include: Charlie Ash, Booby Tuesday, La Beat Debauchery and T-Bones and entry on the night will be by donation. All funds will go to Positive Women Inc and the Torrens Fund, a charity that sends HIV+ children in New Zealand to Camp Goodtime in Australia.

So go on, you might think your chips are down in a recession, but you are probably not a child living with HIV. Attend, donate and be positively fabulous...

Sunday 30th November @ The Studio 340 K’ Road Auckland. Doors open @ 7.00pm.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Graceful....Hurricane. Grace Jones returns with her voice, her weapon of choice.


You are like a Hurricane Grace Jones. And you blew into our lives last week after 20 years as though you had never left - levelling every preconceived idea of what a stylish, I'm-so-eternally-hot-you-can-park-your-cadillac-on-my-bum 60 year-old music and fashion icon should do with a comeback album in the process. Hurricane is so perfectly...familiar, in a good way, that we find ourselves rolling it over and over...as if we had always been listening to it. The album is well produced with contributions from Brian Eno [legend], Sly & Robbie [legends], Tricky [legend] and could easily have been made in Massive Attack's kitchen [yep, they're legends too] circa 1989 - when they were shooting the video for Daydreaming and creating the seminal Blue Lines. Grace harmonising with Shara Nelson of course.

That's a lot of legends, and iconic status can sometimes breed derision amid the naysayers.


There have already been your usual, largely Pommie, sad-arse detractors suggesting on supposedly notable English sites that Hurricane is shite, humdrum, had-it. Here is Pete Paphides [who? yeah exactly...] from the Times Online “This is a plate/ This is a cup/ This is a story I didn’t make up,” she intones, deploying a rhyming style last popularised by the Shamen’s Mr C over what appears to be a digitised instrumental of the Um Bongo advert. Already we’re in the thick of a problem that afflicts much of what follows. Like other larger-than-life pop women – Cher and Shirley Bassey spring to mind – everyone agrees that having Grace Jones around is probably a good thing. But figuring out how best to channel her star quality in 2008 is another matter. Mr C? The Shamen, Cher...Yeah. Right. But then you get that with some of the no-name wannabees that tend to populate the flatulent hill country of the English Music Press landscape. It's a long way down the insipid fells of the next Big English Thing.

We think the people themselves have taste and will vote accordingly. Hurricane is set to become a valiant return to form for the ultimate diva of groove. A music, fashion and culture figurehead forever. Perhaps Grace herself best sums it up when, for just a few bars, she sings...

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not Lost On Us...


...Sara Smeath's fabulous new line of shoes and bags intriguingly named Lost Not Lonely that is. The clever Northland native is putting a background as the inaugural winner of the Air New Zealand and Karen Walker “Inspiring New Zealanders scholarship” award, and months travelling the world in a 'lost, but not lonely' state, to good use. Her first range is a collection of refreshing and suitably adventurous designs that utilise a mixture of high quality soft leathers and on the bags, solid metal chains.

The range is titled "lower Valley Locals' in reference to the 50 year-old family trucking business which Sara and her business partner, brother Darren Smeath, grew up within. "Dust, diesel, and dirty trucks are not the the ideal backdrop for creating imaginative, rousing designs" she suggests but we beg to differ. Darren, who has a background in management in Brisbane and is an industrial chemist by trade sees a big future for the label both in Aotearoa and Australia where the company intends to do plenty of business. We eagerly await the development of a brand, the first-up quality of which will be lost on few...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Swing High Smooth Chariot


You gotta hand to Savage and the entire Dawn Raid crew - big time. It seemed only yesterday that a press release announcing 'the inevitable closure' of Dawn Raid records crossed our digital desk. Given the importance of the label in establishing not only Polynesian music but a large chunk of self esteem in South Auckland, it was sad news. But as we know too well, good things don't die and fast-forward to today's email from their parent record company Universal and the warm glow of admiration envelopes us. You may or may not know that Savage has blown up big time stateside with his hit Swing and Dawn Raid are rising with him. Check the facts: 1.1 million sales (so far) made up of more than 800,000 in digital singles and well over 300,000 in mobile singles. Sales of Swing have now surpassed US-released singles by Crowded House and OMC, and as sales of the track increase week to week it’s shaping as the highest selling single by a New Zealand artist in the United States ever. This week alone has seen a 20% increase in sales from last week. Swing is currently enjoying its highest position on the Billboard Pop chart at #35. Congratulations to all concerned! Here's the vid.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rules, what rules?!? We're Viktor et Rolf!


In truly typical modern style Viktor and Rolf have once again broken all the rules in presenting couture. With past collections they've shown their clothes live in black and white [using light and make-up to create an optical illusion], created a life-size doll's house featuring themselves as the puppeteers of a giant marionette show - and had models pass down the catwalk on a giant conveyor belt - like so many objects in a game show. Innovative presentation is integral and as easily as important as the product itself to Viktor and Rolf. Perhaps this is best explained by their first perfume, an ornate empty bottle sold in department stores and boutiques, now a collectors item. The duo's latest collection challenges an elitist notion; a privileged few viewing their clothes in advance of the public. They instead send out an open invitation for the world to log onto their official website and see an especially-made presentation of their Spring 2009 collection - featuring Shalom Harlow as the only model. Shalom walks the digital catwalk, by herself, over and over. The show, an entirely digital cavalcade, features multiple Shaloms and then dissolves them into a Shalomonist ether at the end of the show. The collection itself features crystal and organza detail that nods again to pixelation and pattern. So fine, so digital, so Viktor et Rolf!

The show is available to view on the innovative official site http://www.viktor-rolf.com/

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great, Great Songs Number 6


20th Century by Brad 1993

When the 'grunge thing' suddenly no longer became the actual grunge thing, just a sad takeover by the old school record company truncheons...around about 1993 to be exact...those at the forefront lost interest and passion. Witness Nirvana. Which is exactly why this song by Brad is so good...a mix of sounds, ideas, grooves and concepts that nobody else in that early nineties, Seattle-based scene ever came close to. 20th Century features possibly one of the greatest, simplest basslines of all time. Bomp, bomp. Change Key. Bomp, bomp. And, the coolest meandering guitar and percussive rhythm...and most especially, a vocal by Shawn Smith which is right up there amongst the best of the era..."raise the roof, let's get out of this, my friend.."

Video of the song here...

Brand New Math Added To The Ghost Of Sum Cold Street...


...i.e this great local band are opening up for Headless Chickens at the Powerstation, Friday November 28, 2008 for a once only night of musical excellence, old new and indigo blue. We were taken with the Brand New Math performance at the recent Huffer party, in a big cold room with bad acoustics...loads of energy, great songs...and can't wait to see them with a grunter PA in the best rock room in New Zealand...The Powerstation. Tickets at Ticketmaster.co.nz

Mag Nation Magnanimously Make [defunct] Magazinno [space] Magnificent...again

Photo: youngupstarts.com

It was heart-warming to see Auckland's oldest dedicated specialist magazine store space - Magazinno on Ponsonby Road - resurrected a few weeks back by the clever folk at Mag Nation. Founders Ravi, Suchi and Sahil have built a great Australasian retail success story with flagship stores in Auckland's Queen Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne and six stores in NZ and Australia in total. Recognising that hardcore magazine fans had been coming to the Ponsonby store for years in search of titles that matter, titles of class and quality, the team descended on the failing, iconic mag store on October 10, re-doing the signage and re-stocking the old lady on the fly. One month later and the store is already up and humming with high quality magazines, periodicals and books from around the world - most of which you won't find elsewhere in Australasia. We can't speak highly enough of the store, brand and business. Oh, and of course they stock Black... Check Mag Nation online here.

Auckland CBD
100 Queen Street
Auckland City


mag nation Ponsonby
123 Ponsonby Road
Ponsonby Auckland


Sylvia Park
Shop 72
Sylvia Park Shopping Centre
Auckland


Melbourne CBD
88 Elizabeth Street


Greville Street
110-112 Greville St
Prahran

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I First Met Obama....

Young Obama ripping it at Mt Eden Ramp

...when he came to Aotearoa on a skateboarding trip in the late 70's with his parents who were itinerant academics. My friends and I were hanging at Malborough Park building a plywood addition to the otherwise lame bowl at the bottom of the council-built first-in-NZ skatepark when he arrived. Dressed in a Hawaiian-style OP silky shirt, with purple shorts and knee-high yellow Adidas socks slotted into white vans, and topped off with a cheeky 'fro - Obama stood out. Skate-Hendrix. He jumped on his yellow G&S flexi-board with Gull Wing trucks and Road Rider wheels and carved the bowl seductively in a low-slung Bertleman style.....

...Ok....I obviously made that up. The photo [and description] above is actually of a Maori fella from Whakatane called Elroy Ainsley. Elroy really was stylish, rocked a mean 'fro and was a hard-out rad skater, but from photos I have seen of Obama in his teen years in Hawaii, dressed in OP shirts, or with a 'fro as per this photo...

..he could easily have been someone the world once knew, went to school with, played basketball with or borrowed a push bike from. And that is what makes Barack Obama unique, and his victory yesterday all the more special. At long last, someone we can all relate to. Someone the world feels comfortable with is finally behind the desk in the manager's office.

And the people have spoken. The people put him there.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ACK! We Hear The Artist Sing...


Black Magazine congratulates ARTSPACE who, in turn, congratulates Peter Robinson - the recipient of the 2008 Walters Prize which is quite simply New Zealand's most prestigious art award - and it isn't the first time that the prize has been granted to exhibitions that originated as part of ARTSPACE’s exhibition programme. Peter Robinson’s winning work ACK was initially shown at ARTSPACE. The 2006 Walters prize went to Frances Upritchard for Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed, her 2005 exhibition at ARTSPACE. For the 2008 Walters Prize, renowned international curator Catherine David selected Peter Robinson’s work:
ACK is multi-layered, engaging and universal. It is clearly the work of an artist at the peak of
his career,” says Catherine David. Peter Robinson will receive $50,000 plus an all expenses paid trip to New York to exhibit his work at Saatchi & Saatchi's world headquarters. While we are passing out congrats, then let's big up the following finalists: Edith Amituanai, Lisa Reihana, and the inimitable John Reynolds. Their work will be exhibited at the Auckland Art Gallery until 23 November, 2008.