career retrospective

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Wrestling Origins: Luke Harper
[January 13th, 2017]

This is a pretty rad career retrospective on Luke Harper, starting with his evolution from Brodie Lee to becoming a member of The Wyatt Family. Anyone who’s a fan of Harper should check out his work on the indies. Notable favorites of mine are his bouts against Michael Elgin from C*4, Jon Moxley from Evolve, and Claudio Castagnoli in CHIKARA. Harper/Lee (isn’t that an author?) is a longtime favorite, and this quick rundown is a good history on the powerhouse that graces our screens every Thursday night.

Mission Blue ~ "No ocean, no life. No life, no us."

I: “Aren’t you a radical about protecting the oceans?”

SE: “If I seem like a radical, it may be because I see things that others do not.”

The documentary “Mission Blue” was released on Netflix on August 15th. It features the extraordinary Dr. Sylvia Earle, her life and work to protect the oceans and to spread awareness on marine conservation. I watched it a few nights ago, and felt inspired, impressed, and at the same time a bit disgusted by the human race. And also quite glad to be a vegetarian. 

The film highlights Earle’s main contributions and scientific missions while taking us down memory lane to learn more about her childhood growing up in New Jersey, and then falling in love with the oceans when she moved to the Gulf coast of Florida. She talks with a lot of emotion about how the nature she would love so much as a child has changed so much, for the worse. While Sylvia grew up by the Gulf of Mexico, there was only one oil rig in the Gulf. Nowadays, there are over 33,000 of them!

Growing up and through her high school and college career, her inspirations were William Beebe and Jacques Cousteau. Luckily for her, one of her college professors managed to get some of the very first set of ‘Aqualung’ equipment available. Once she started diving, she never looked back. She felt free, at ease, at home.

Well, I clearly failed my graduation photo! She admits that back in the day, nobody even conceived we could have an impact on the oceans. “The sea at the time seemed endless in its capacity to yield whatever we wanted to take from it, and in whatever we could put in it,” she explains. “We have this idea as humans that the oceans is so big and so vast and so resilient that it doesn’t matter what we do to it. Our ignorance is really the biggest problem we now face.”

But she saw her home, Florida, change before her eyes as it was being developed at an alarming pace. She gets emotional talking about Tampa Bay, about the crystal waters of her childhood turning green, about the grass dying, about the salt marshes being destroyed to build parking lots.

“That kind of experience, of witness… I saw the before, and I saw the after of what kind of influence we can do to the natural world.”

To my (nerdy) delight, the documentary also prominently features Jeremy Jackson (if you are or want to get into marine biology, you will read many, many, many of his papers). Jackson explains that the Gulf of Mexico is this extraordinarily wonderful, productive, magnificent place that also had the misfortune of being on top of a ton of oil and of being the sewer for a lot of people of the U.S.A.

The film touches on many critical topics and on the many barbaric acts we can do to the oceans. Some footage is very raw and not for the weak-hearted: shark finning, the BP oil spill, industrial fishing, trash and plastic pollution, death of coral reefs worldwide, overfishing of many species, agricultural and animal farming run-off…It’s quite a slap in the face and a lot to take in. If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. 

Earle was a pioneer for all women in the science world. She broke through all the barricades and prejudices against women. All of the sudden, in the middle of all of these burly, bearded men was a tiny, ambitious woman with a lot of big ideas.

In 1979, she made an open-ocean JIM suit dive to the sea floor near Oahu, Hawaii, setting a women’s depth record of 381 metres (1,250 ft). She admits she never was scared. She was fascinated to be able to observe all these bioluminescent creatures and a landscape that hadn’t changed in billions of years. She even asked to turn the lights off!

She has made it her life’s purpose to speak for the oceans.In a way, we are all sea creatures,” she explains on the Colbert Report. She is not scared to get in the heat of things, as we see her get in the water, camera in-hands, really close to huge industrial fishing boats.

“Seeing this… being in the water with the fish… for a moment i felt as if a piece of me was ripped out of the ocean as well,” she recalls, emotionally.

As we all already knew, she is not afraid to point fingers and say what is on her mind. As she became more renowned, she was appointed Chief Scientist of NOAA in 1990. While she admits she learned a lot, she also realized that it was not the best position for her to really make an impact.

“I went to a meeting with the Fisheries Council, and I was never allowed again,” she explains. “I was not permitted to speak about things I knew most about”. And that says a lot. Being a government official did not allow her to fully convey her passion and to freely speak her mind. So she parted ways with NOAA. 

Now, Earle is always on the road, traveling all around the world to give lectures and to inspire people to care about the oceans. Her Mission Blue is to protect the oceans the same way we now protect the land. 

The documentary ends on a positive and hopeful note, and the message to take home is that we can change the way things are going. We have to rewire how human beings look at their relationship with nature: “what we have on Earth is all we will ever have.

This film serves as a career retrospect, which is fascinating, an intriguing personal story on her family life, but also as a warning call to protect our planet. It is hard-hitting, but also inspiring. Now it is up to every single one of us to make a change for the better. Will you join Mission Blue?

And soooo this happened :D Last week I worked on a Chibi AJ Lee commission wallpaper representing her career in a timeline and this last weekend in Rhode Island a fan, MattyMS, met her with it and I got the most satisfying and beautiful pictures I could ever ask for :)

She said it was really nice to see her career in retrospect and even took a photo with her phone, wow! That smile and that reaction is what I do this for, just amazing!

I’ll post the full version of the Chibi wallpaper soon.

Photo: Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Peter Lindbergh, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Linda Evangelista, New York, 1990. (Courtesy of Peter Lindbergh, Paris / Gagosian Gallery. )

One day in New York in the late 1980s, five “It” girls gathered before the lens of German photographer Peter Lindbergh. Their names were Naomi, Linda, Tatjana, Christy, and Cindy, and a now-iconic black-and-white shot of them would become the cover of British Vogue’s January 1990 issue, heralding the beginning of the supermodel era and turning its subjects into stars. More than 30 years later, Lindbergh is now the focus.

“Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography,” a career-spanning retrospective of his work, opens September 10 at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. But if you can’t make the trip overseas, you can pick up its coinciding compendium (Taschen), which includes 400 images, arranged alphabetically by the countless designers he’s collaborated with, from Azzedine Alaïa to Yohji Yamamoto.

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The Brooklyn Museum is wrapping up its mid-career retrospective of artist Kehinde Wiley — which means 14 years of work and something like 60 paintings.

It’s been drawing a diverse and large crowd, partly because Wiley’s work has been featured on the TV show Empire, and partly because he is a well-known and, in some ways, controversial figure in the art world. Wiley takes contemporary figures — oftentimes young black men and women — and places them in old European art traditions: Oil paintings, portraits, stained glass and even bronze sculpture.

Wiley tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that the first time he stepped into a museum as a child, it was incredibly intimidating. “Great big paintings, history, gilded frames, a sense of power, a sense of majesty,” he says. “It was alienating but it was fabulous at the same time, because I was trying to learn how to paint. And here you had images where people had spent hundreds of years trying to figure out how to coax reality into form, and here it was.”

The Exquisite Dissonance Of Kehinde Wiley

Photo credits: (Top) Katherine Wetzel/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts/Copyright Kehinde Wiley (Left) Jason Wyche/Courtesy of Sean Kelly/Copyright Kehinde Wiley (Right) Courtesy of Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris/Copyright Kehinde Wiley (Bottom) Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum/Copyright Kehinde Wiley

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‘Emma Thompson has been spotted on the New York set of Noah Baumbach’s latest film, “Yen Din Ka Kissa”. A notice in the area of New York where filming is taking place explained that the feature “tells the story of an estranged New York family coming together in preparation of artist and patriarch Harold’s career retrospective”. It has been reported by The Film Stage that Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson will play the parents of Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. Emma Thompson confirmed her part in the film and stated that her character is “a dreadful, passive-aggressive alcoholic”.’

Happy Sigh from the Front Row

I had the great pleasure and nearly unbelievable opportunity to go see David Tennant tonight, for free, as part of the Screen Actors Guild Conversations on Broadway series.  All credit and love must go to @fomagranfalloon, who told me about the event in the first place.  I was so excited, but kept thinking that something was going to fall through or that it was all a crazy dream…

In the front row. For two hours.

Below the cut is a collection of what I was able to remember on my subway ride home, but ask me questions to jog my memory!  I can probably remember more!

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A throwback in honor of our recently announced Laura Owens mid-career retrospective, opening this November. On the left is a work by Owens, now part of our collection, hanging in the 2014 Biennial. Untitled (2014) appropriates a 1970s inspirational poster and reconfigures the image into multiple screenprinted layers, adding thick impasto marks and a wooden grid that cuts through the strata. The background layer, which is sized 3% larger than the foreground, appears to lift off the linen thanks to a trompe-l’oeil shadow, while the upper layer is presented as a gestural scribble. Among some of the unsettling results of this separation are a boy’s fractured face and the jumbled text which reiterates the words “and hang.“

[Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2014 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 7, 2014–May 25, 2014). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins]

STOP EVERYTHING WE HAVE TO LOOK AT MINAKO’S DESK DRAWER IN EXCRUCIATING DETAIL

Stationary, matching paper and envelope because of course. Surprisingly low-key for Minako, accented only by BLISTERING ORANGE. This is probably her serious stuff. I’m confident there’s another collection of stationary elsewhere with with approximately three lines left available to write on with all the cute animals and hearts and probably “FROM THE DESK OF AINO MINAKO” in 60 point font at the top.

A diary, ALSO with Minako’s name on it. Minako never grew out of that seven-year old phase where you had to tag everything as yours, did she. You know she’s given gifts to each of the girls, something they can wear, and hidden somewhere on each item is Minako’s name. They are hers too, yes. Minako has claimed this land for Minako.

In the diary, of course, is a carefully constructed narrative of the wistful yet inspired days of teenage Aino Minako, suitable for future publishing and/or selecting excerpts from for biographies and her inevitable career retrospective. The diaries with all the real stuff are hidden.

AN ACTUAL ARTEMIS KEYCHAIN MINAKO SHUT THE FUCK UP THAT’S ADORABLE

A little pouch of something.I’m not sure what might normally be kept in such a thing.Whatever was supposed to be in it, I’m getting the feeling that Minako’s replaced it with condoms. Not to use, just to HAVE.

(Minako being sent to her room to study. Minako giving up after three seconds and pulling out her pouch o’ condom. Minako opening one and seeing how far over her foot she can make it stretch.)

A little dish of what I think is candy. Doubtless still there from the last time Usagi was over and Minako hid it.

And a little pink book at the back with a cat on it, which I’m guessing is for appointments or addresses or something. Or maybe it’s Artemis’s book of important contact and research. Because white cat. Because what is subtlety. Did I mention Minako’s pouch of condoms?

THANK YOU EPISODE YOU MAY NOW CONTINUE

Best Of 2015:

Artist of the Year: 

Let us mull over this idea of Brandon Flowers being the Artist of the Year for 2015 shall we….

For some, this may seem crazy, for others, well deserved and that’s totally understandable. Brandon Flowers seems to bring about some polarizing opinions, there are those who love the guy (and really love him) and those who absolutely view him (and or The Killers) as awful. Over the years I’m sure there’s become some sort of middle ground, and of course there’s those who simply don’t give a shit either way. Then there’s those who, in light of this promising solo venture, view him as a perfectly fine Pop star, one who skirts the line between massive world wide success and one who embodies a somewhat grounded-in-their-record-collection type who longed to be like their heroes (Moz, Bowie, Gahan); and that is where I stand.

Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the successful pop group The Killers, embarked on a second solo outing this year and made his first huge step at becoming a (bigger) Pop Star who attracts (even more) attention from both sides of the aisle. Less of a vanity project and more of a “need to keep creating” moment, Flowers hit on something new with this sophomore solo jaunt. By embracing capital P pop music, Flowers in a way became more of an outsider artist, which is of course contradictory, but nonetheless true. At a time when “going pop” is all the rage within “indie” circles, Flowers decided to not only embrace this ideal, but he manged to do it better than everyone else around him. But how, and why? The answer is simple, it’s because…. 

……..Brandon Flowers is a very smart man. A calculated man. A man armed with an astute musical acumen. A true student of pop music history, who has gone to great lengths to show it over his very successful career.

All of the truly great rock/pop frontmen possessed these traits. Why was Morrissey such an enigmatic and powerful figure, because he knew his way around the Pop music history books. Ian Curtis, Morrissey, Julian Casablancas, Flowers etc; they were all devout fans growing up. They weren’t just fans of pop music, they showed extreme devotion to those who came before them. Where would Casablancas be without Lou Reed, or where would Brandon Flowers be without Morrissey (and where would any of them be without Bowie!). These individuals all studied those who preempted them, and again, they weren’t just fans, they were obsessives. 

Brandon Flowers, from the get go, was destined for stardom. The Las Vegas native who put in work by obsessing over albums and the pop stars of yore wanted it. And yes, success came rather quickly to The Killers, compared to other groups, but the groundwork had long been laid by an eager Flowers. But this isn’t a career retrospective, this piece is about what took place within the last year or so, which in many ways, was the birth of a new artist…..

‘The Desired Effect’ is the second LP to bear the Brandon Flowers name and can almost be seen as a debut of sorts or at the very least, a new incarnation of the singer’s ever evolving persona. In 2015, there’s no denying that Flowers is a famous “rock star”, but this time around something feels different. With The Desired Effect’ Flowers has taken even further strides in becoming a Pop auteur, but he did so by embracing the idea that certain strains of pop music could be seen as new and invigorating. Simply put, this is his Bryan Ferry coming out party…..

Flowers has always been a bit of a chameleon re-inventor (something he no doubt learned, in a far less extreme way, from Bowie), one who appropriates a new look every album cycle. From the eyeliner of ‘Hot Fuss’ to the leather jacket clad bad boy of ‘Battle Born’, Flowers has always had keen sense of his image. In the lead up to his new album, that already sharp sense of style transitioned into a debonair Bryan Ferry/Chris Issak/Robert Palmer/Luke Perry type phase, both stylistically and musically. Throughout his career he’s managed to take on some of the corniest schtick the 80’s had to offer and completely owned it, without a single trace of irony (which is the key). 

Never one too shy away from the corniest of corny shit, Flowers pretty much pulls it off with aplomb and never makes you doubt his sincerity. Everything he does is fully realized, from the music to the overall aesthetic. The man is without a doubt my favorite Pop Star, and he surely designed it that way. Taking bits and pieces of every male icon I’ve ever desired or longed to be and (custom) stitched them together, creating a finely tuned adult idol….

‘The Desired Effect’ has been a success, both artistically and commercially. It broadened Flowers musical range by reinterpreting past forms of Pop and presenting them as fresh. Sure, there’s still some of that Springsteen Americana that The Killers adopted post-’Hot Fuss’, but there’s also some trickier pure pop elements in play. Flowers, the aforementioned studied and detailed Pop auteur, created an album that ranges widely from tropicali new wave to Dire Straits 80’s rock, but with all bravado Flowers can muster (which is a ton). 

Flowers’ conscious decision to collaborate with Ariel Rechtshaid on ‘The Desired Effect’ proved to be a wise one. The former indie rocker turned go-to producer was the perfect “co pilot” for Flowers’ big tent desires. The singer has openly stated how Rechtshaid pushed him out of his comfort zone during the making of the album and credits the producer for his contributions to the overall sound and focus (my favorite story regarding Rechtshaid and the recording process being, in Flowers words: “I’m telling you it was tough….I wanted to fire him. Four times. He knows. I remember my wife was in the kitchen; I got a song from him on my phone. We played it and I said: ‘I can’t fire, him can I?’ She said, ‘No, you can’t. That’s too good.’”). 

While the album as a whole is great, it’s the singles that really catapult Flowers into the higher reaches of the Pop stratosphere…..

……..“Can’t Deny My Love”“Still Want You”“Lonely Town”, and “I Can Change” are massively fun (and intricate) songs and obvious surefire singles. These felt like tailor made singles from yesteryear, from the actual music on down to the aesthetically themed album covers (not to mention that their place within the album is a damn good job of sequencing). 

Honestly, I had little intention of listening to another solo Flowers album; until I laid eyes upon the early promos and the album artwork (see above). My interest was suddenly sparked, but that early interest wouldn’t have meant shit if the songs weren’t good, so thankfully, those early singles more than exceeded my expectations. 

From the very beginning (with The Killers) Flowers was creating music that seemed BIG. It was the type of earnest and anthemic music that influential artists like Depeche Mode or U2 were making in their heyday and the kind that attracted both casual and serious music fans alike. And that’s important, because the modern world needs great Pop songs and capable Pop Stars creating them. Rarely are things both popular AND good, especially nowadays, yet Flowers manages to cover both (maybe that’s reason enough right there for him to be the artist of the year). 

Another reason why I’ve chosen Flowers as my Artist of the Year is that he’s something of an anomaly in the modern Pop world (besides the whole being both popular and good thing). Flowers is a walking strutting contradiction in many ways. A practicing Mormon who’s own religion stands against the idea of same sex marriage, yet Flowers is the dandiest motherfucker there is. He’s the aesthetically ideal gay icon in pose and song, yet is a married family man who is seen as a rare “conservative” in the Pop world. This all leads to Flowers being one interesting subject and one who’s private life I find honestly refreshing.

While I, a “serious music fan”, may be heaping praise upon Brandon Flowers, there’s plenty of “serious music publications” who continue to deny their love, or at least respect, for the artist.

It’s downright laughable that the “indie” sites have continued to shun Flowers, while continuing this ridiculous courting of acts like Bieber, Swift, Beyonce, and whatever other click bait artists they can wrangle. Look, I completely understand the Poptimist case and I’m fully capable of being on board with crossover appeal, but holy shit, it’s starting to border on parody now. It’s basically the equivalent of an “indie zine” in the 80’s dedicating the same amount of ink to The Smiths, Wham!, R.E.M., Debbie Gibson, Mission of Burma, and Menudo…..but whatever, I get it, it’s something to do with mono-culture, Poptimism, and get off my lawn blah blah. Just give the guy his due.

Holy shit, let’s wrap this up shall we. Brandon Flowers is my Artist of the Year because he pulled off a rare feat, he took an already successful career and manged to make an artistic statement while perhaps becoming even more popular(?). He manged to become the updated version of an 80′s Bowie / Ferry / Knopfler / Estefan / Springsteen hybrid. He manged to outwit and outdo the Levine’s and Twin Shadows of the modern world and did so without a trace of irony. You can agree, or you can disagree, I’m just glad we made it to the end. 

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In case you forgot how good he is: Lebron James Career Retrospective

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Two years ago, a couple of friends decided that Julia Murney deserved a presence and appreciation blog on Tumblr.

We wanted it to be somewhere that Julia Murney fans and future fans could come for information, audio, video, et cetera.

We wanted it to be a showcase for her incredible talents and even a tiny bit of the loveliness of Julia the person. 

We think we’ve done right by you and her, and will continue to strive to be a quality and respectful Tumblr (and Twitter) home for all things Julia Murney.  

The video above is a Julia career retrospective, set to her performing “Perfect”. It was put together yesterday by my ever-so-AV-talented partner in crime.  

If you like it, if you like what we do, if you like Julia, share it. Spread the love around. Tell your peeps about us here and on twitter (@JEM_Tumblr). Help us be the very best well-followed fan blog/unofficial promotional engine out there. 

We thank all of you for your support and look forward for all that is to come! 

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Audrey Hepburn Honors Hubert de Givenchy at His Career Retrospective.

In 1991 the fashion world gathered at the Palais Galliera in Paris to celebrate Hubert de Givenchy and his work. The retrospective showcased 40 years of the master couturier’s iconic designs, many of which were worn by his longtime friend and client Audrey Hepburn, whose presence at the opening dazzled every last person in the room.

Thank you, Henry.