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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for May, 2013

 

George Barbier’s Nijinsky

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An inevitable one this, given the amount of times that George Barbier’s work has been featured here. Designs on the Dances of Vaslav Nijinsky was a series of prints published in 1913 when the dancer was at the height of his celebrity. All of Nijinsky’s major roles are represented although this isn’t quite the complete […]

Posted in {art}, {dance}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »

 


The Rite of Spring and The Red Shoes

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The Red Shoes: Moira Shearer and Léonide Massine. Emeric is often too easily accused of basing the principal male character of The Red Shoes on Serge Diaghilev, to which he replies: “There is something of Diaghilev, something of Alex Korda, something of Michael, and quite a little bit of me.” Michael Powell, A Life in […]

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The Rite of Spring, 2001

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Now this one is fantastic… Angelin Preljoçaj’s modern dance interpretation is wildly energetic, and, after a century of the music becoming increasingly familiar, manages to return some of the shock value to the ballet. Preljoçaj dispenses with symbolism and brings the sexual nature of the material to the fore, with recurrent instances of coercion that […]

Posted in {dance}, {music}, {television} | 5 comments »

 


The Rite of Spring, 1970

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Another film of the ballet that’s useful as a comparison to the later reconstruction. Maurice Béjart’s Ballet du XXe Siècle show how the music might be interpreted if the original ballet is pretty much discarded. The choreography is by Béjart himself, and for me creates a mixed impression. Women are wholly absent from the first […]

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The Rite of Spring reconstructed

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This week sees the centenary of the first performance by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes of The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Everyone is familiar with the details of that momentous occasion, and Stravinsky’s score is probably performed more frequently today than any of his other works. Less familiar is the nature […]

Posted in {dance}, {design}, {music} | 2 comments »

 


Weekend links 161

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My friend James Marriott died last year. He was 39. His final book, The Descent, a study of Neil Marshall’s acclaimed horror film, is launched on Friday at the Cube Microplex in Bristol. The book is published by Auteur, a UK imprint, in their Devil’s Advocates series. James was finishing the book a year ago […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {music}, {surrealism}, {technology} | Comments Off

 


The horror

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Last year I was asked to write something about my favourite horror comics for Nørd Nyt, a Danish comics zine. I’d pretty much forgotten about this until the printed copy arrived, so here’s my piece in English, a choice of three favourite horror stories. The Dunwich Horror by Breccia (1973) The October 1979 issue of […]

Posted in {comics}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {magazines} | 3 comments »

 


Cassette culture

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Three Spirits by Xenis Emputae Travelling Band. Looks like I was premature in 2008 when I was eagerly contemplating the demise of the cassette tape as a music format. Earlier this year I bought a music cassette for the first time since the early 1980s, albeit inadvertently since this was the compilation that came with The […]

Posted in {music}, {technology} | 1 comment »

 


Fatality by OCTiV

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Catching up with more recent work, this was a quick collage for Fatality, a single by US musician OCTiV. This has been out for about a month. The main track—a kind of dubstep/metal hybrid—can be heard here. The request was for something on the cosmic horror spectrum which would also incorporate geometric elements, hence the […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {collage}, {music}, {work} | 5 comments »

 


Abraxas: The International Journal of Esoteric Studies

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A welcome arrival in the post recently was two issues of Abraxas, the book-format journal of esoteric studies from Fulgur Esoterica. I’ve always observed the contemporary occult scene from a distance, being more interested in cultural spin-offs whether those happen to be music-oriented—as was the late, lamented Coil—or art-oriented. Something I always enjoyed about Kenneth […]

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Fenella Fielding reads Colette

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The latest post at Strange Flowers reminded me of some work of mine that appeared earlier this month which I can finally mention. Fenella Fielding reads Colette is another of those long-gestating recordings from Savoy’s audio division which has been released at last after a lengthy hiatus. This is a double-disc CD set of Fenella’s […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {books}, {design}, {theatre}, {work} | 3 comments »

 


The art of Ted Coconis

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This poster for Massimo Dallamano’s 1970 updating of The Picture of Dorian Gray was featured here several years ago, and it’s taken me all this time to finally discover the name of the artist responsible, Ted Coconis. Better late than never. It could be argued that the illustrations below for Nabokov and Goldman tend more […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {film}, {illustrators} | 6 comments »

 


Weekend links 160

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Collage by Jeneleen Floyd. • “…slowly, block-by-block, pedestrians are starting to take back the streets.” Wayne Curtis on the hazards of being a pedestrian in a world of cars. • Michael Hann looks back at LA’s Paisley Underground, and also talks to some of its key members. • Meighan O’Toole interviews JL Schnabel about her […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {collage}, {design}, {fashion}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {politics} | 1 comment »

 


Several more Salomés

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Cover of Salome by Oscar Wilde (1903) by Modest Alexandrovich Durnov. Gathering a few more Salomé renderings which have caught my attention recently. The biggest surprise is the one from Picabia since he’s an artist who these days is almost always associated with the Cubists and Dadaists. In the 1920s he returned to figurative painting […]

Posted in {art}, {comics}, {painting} | 1 comment »

 


Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake

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More psychedelia (there’s always more psychedelia). Listening to this Small Faces album this week I couldn’t remember whether my vinyl reissue from the 1980s had survived the vinyl purge I instituted a few years ago. It turns out I do still have the vinyl copy, a facsimile of the original circular sleeve. Ogdens’ Nut Gone […]

Posted in {design}, {drugs}, {music}, {psychedelia}, {television} | 1 comment »

 


Tadanori Yokoo animations

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Kiss Kiss Kiss (1964). A follow-up to yesterday’s post, and three short films by the artist from the 1960s. As animations go these are fairly crude but they do have the benefit of showing Yokoo’s sense of humour, something which isn’t necessarily so obvious in his poster art. Kiss Kiss Kiss is a short sequence […]

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Tadanori Yokoo album covers

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Kokoro No Uramado (1969) by Asaoka Ruriko. A few examples of Tadanori Yokoo’s earlier cover designs which are the ones I prefer. Although he’s continued to produce collage art for music releases, the CD format does his work few favours. I lose interest musically in Santana after about 1970 so I’d not looked properly at […]

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William E. Jones on Fred Halsted

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Presenting an interview by John Wisniewski with William E. Jones, author of Halsted Plays Himself (2011). The subject is gay filmmaker and performer Fred Halsted (1941–1989) whose 1972 film LA Plays Itself was a pioneering piece of low-budget cinema which combined a fragmented view of Los Angeles with explicit liaisons between several men, one of […]

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La femme qui se poudre

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The DVD collection of films by Piotr Kamler turned up last week so I’ve been alternating viewing of that with shorts by Patrick Bokanowski. The latter is less an animator than a filmmaker who uses animation or film effects to achieve his aims, together with masks and very stylised performances. Bokanowski’s early film La femme […]

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Weekend links 159

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El Banquete Magnético (2011) by Cristina Francov. • Did Vertigo Introduce Computer Graphics to Cinema? asks Tom McCormack. He means Saul Bass’s title sequence which mostly uses still harmonographs but also features some animated moments by John Whitney. •  Temple of the Vanities by Thomas Jorion. “Pictured here are political monuments and munitions depots, hulking […]

Posted in {animation}, {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {psychedelia}, {technology} | Comments Off

 


I:MAGE: An Exhibition of Esoteric Artists

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El Trigono de las lesiones (2010) by Cristina Francov. I:MAGE is an exhibition of occult-inspired art which opens a week on Sunday, 19th May at the Store Street Gallery, Bloomsbury, London. As exhibitions go it’s modest in scale but with an impressive roster of contributors old and new: Agostino Arrivabene, Ithell Colquhoun, Denis Forkas Kostromitin, […]

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Dream Boats and Other Stories by Dugald Stewart Walker

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As is often the case, I keep intending to post various lengthy pieces but pressure of work is preventing that for the moment. So here’s another illustrated book courtesy of the Internet Archive. I linked to this in an earlier post about Walker’s work but hadn’t looked at all the illustrations until now. Dream Boats […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »

 


Kirlian photography

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quarter3 (2006) by nebamix. Thinking recently about the resurgence of interest in the various forms of parapsychological and occult phenomena that were so popular in the 1970s, I’m surprised not to see more mention of Kirlian photography, or the capturing of high-voltage coronal discharges on photographic plates. In the 70s the idea was that Kirlian […]

Posted in {photography}, {science} | 2 comments »

 


Ray Harryhausen, 1920–2013

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Concept art for Jason and the Argonauts (1963). He could also draw, something the obituaries won’t necessarily mention. I wasn’t aware of Ray Harryhausen’s many detailed preliminary drawings until I had the good fortune to see him give a talk at the Preston SF Group in the early 1990s. I recall mention being made of […]

Posted in {animation}, {fantasy}, {film}, {music} | 4 comments »

 


Underwater panoramas

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Under Bonaire Salt Pier by Andre de Molenaar. Who wants to go diving? A small selection from the many examples at 360Cities. There were fewer wrecks than I hoped but some of the pictures contain surprises, such as the manatee descending to investigate the camera in the Red Sea photo below. Cape Maeda by Hitoshi […]

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The Planets by Ken Russell

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This 1983 film from Ken Russell bears comparison with Michael Powell’s film of Bluebeard’s Castle in being another television adaptation by a famous director of a well-known piece of music that few people have heard about or managed to see. (Derek Jarman often spoke of Powell and Russell as two rare talents frequently ignored or […]

Posted in {film}, {music} | 5 comments »

 


Weekend links 158

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Pan II (2012) by Fredrik Söderberg. • “Aubade was a surprise success, selling some 5000 copies and going into a second printing and an edition published in America.  Martin was immediately a minor celebrity, being interviewed for articles that couldn’t mention what his book was actually about.” Rediscovering the works of Kenneth Martin. • “I […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {gay}, {music}, {occult}, {painting}, {photography}, {politics}, {sculpture}, {television} | Comments Off

 


OffOn by Scott Bartlett

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Another gem of experimental filmmaking, Scott Bartlett’s short from 1967 hits all the buttons of psychedelic imagery: disembodied eyes, moiré patterns, solarisation, dancing figures, naked women, oil effects, oversatured hues, and superimposition. The difference between this film and others of the period is that OffOn is largely a product of video techniques, some of which—video […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {animation}, {electronica}, {film}, {music}, {psychedelia} | Comments Off

 


Michael Powell’s Bluebeard revisited

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Yesterday’s post prompted me to look again for one of Michael Powell’s scarcest films, his television version of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle made for  Süddeutscher Rundfunk in 1963. Sure enough, it’s now on YouTube in a watchable copy taken from VHS tape. Herzog Blaubarts Burg (to use its German title) was made post-Peeping Tom when the […]

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Joseph Southall’s Bluebeard

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The Charles Perrault fairy tale given an Arts and Crafts interpretation by British artist Joseph Southall (1861–1944). This is a slim volume from 1895 with illustrations very much in the manner of Walter Crane’s work for William Morris. As with all such stories from the Victorian era, the grim nature of the tale is buried […]

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Le labyrinthe and Coeur de secours

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Le labyrinthe (1969). Among the new arrivals at Ubuweb there’s the very welcome addition of more animated films by Polish director Piotr Kamler. Kamler’s incredible Chronopolis (1982) was posted there late last year, a longer work than these shorter films which are nonetheless fascinating in themselves. For a start they show the range of Kamler’s […]

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“feed your head”