Brian Eno recently praised the 21-year-old Cosmo Jarvis, “he is a very interesting example to me of a new kind of person; a new kind of artist.” Considering that Eno has been something of a trailblazer his entire career, it’s pretty impressive to be labeled a “new kind of artist” from the likes of him. Jarvis has a restless creative spirit that seeks many outlets, as songwriter, musician, actor and director, who has apparently already created 300 songs. He will be following up his self-titled debut with Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?, releasing 11 October via Frame / The End Records. The new album includes the viral smash hit “Gay Pirates”, which made fans of Stephen Fry and the NME, and was intended as pro-gay sing-a-long to be sung by the “rowdy lads”. While this album is in the midst of being unveiled via singles and videos, Jarvis is hard at work directing his first feature-length film, which he also penned the screenplay for. Today we’re proud to present the US online premiere of Jarvis’ latest video for the anthemic and punky, “My Day”, a tune with rousing choruses and sneering attitude up the wazoo.
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In the mid-to-late 1980s, lots of bands popped up that sounded like Echo & the Bunnymen. On the surface, the Wild Swans were one of them. But their story was unique.
The band’s debut album, Bringing Home the Ashes, didn’t appear until 1988. But the Wild Swans had already established their reputation for starry-eyed guitar pop magnificence with the “Revolutionary Spirit” single in 1982. release was actually produced by the Bunnymen’s Pete De Freitas. Both the Wild Swans and the Bunnymen were signed to Bill Drummond’s Zoo label. The two bands were contemporaries.
Wild Swans leader Paul Simpson is set to release the band’s first album since Space Flower in 1990. The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years is released August 1 in Europe and the following day in the US. Simpson’s always-fluid band now includes ex-Bunnymen bassist Les Pattinson as well as members of Brian Jonestown Massacre and Spiritualized. Here, via Slicing Up Eyeballs is a free download of album track “In Secret”. Thankfully, the band’s windswept sense of nostalgia hasn’t aged at all.
“It is curious that homosexuality is a crime [in Iran],” observes Dr. Bahram Mir-Jalali. “Why do they then give permission to transsexuals?” Certainly, gender and politics are complicated here, as revealed in Be Like Others, which begins airing on ITVS’ Global Voices 14 August. The rationale, says Cleric Kariminiaya, a theological expert on transsexuality, is found in Islamic law. For those who are transsexual, or “those that have two genders,” he says, “They need surgery. They are allowed via a sex change operation to become either a male or a female.” The problem with homosexuality is its violation of this one-or-the-other order. Homosexuals are evil; transsexuals merely need to adjust themselves to fit the established order, to “be like others.” The gender opposition that drives such efforts to conform is hardly unique to Iran or Islam. It is, after all, the ground for sex change in all cultures, that a “wrong body” can be fixed to match a soul or being trapped inside it. The premise allows no ambiguities, no mixing of male and female characteristics within one body. Tanaz Eshaghian’s excellent documentary explores the struggle such opposition poses for two young men as they “operate,” that is, prepare for and have the reassignment surgery. As they look forward to lives that seem more “natural,” they also accept the social restrictions on women: as long as they cover and submit (and carry their legal papers with them at all times), they can walk the streets in Tehran without fear of being picked up by the morality police.
See PopMatters’ review.
One of the most established voices in cinema, Canadian-born David Cronenberg is perhaps best known as the father of “body horror”. It’s this that will always define Cronenberg the adjective (though it has yet to be established whether this is Cronenbergian or Cronenbergesque), despite the fact that much of his work deviates wildly from the narrow constraints of what these descriptors commonly mean. Even his most mainstream films though involve troubled relationships between humans and their bodies, whether by masking sexual transgression through fantasy (M. Butterfly ), brandishing tattoos as an underworld code (Eastern Promises), or using disfigurement to signify a history of violence (A History of Violence).
Francis Coppola is a mainstay on lists like these. A member of the Hollwood elite, the 72-year-old director earned his spot during the New Hollywood movement of the 1970s. Obviously, helming The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather: Part II, and Apocalypse Now in the same decade would cement anyone’s legacy in film, but the man just kept going.
Though some would argue he fell off a bit in the 1980s and 90s, The Outsiders, The Cotton Club (1984). The Godfather: Part III, and The Rainmaker (1997) are enduring pictures that lesser directors would likely put at the top of their resumes. Although Bram Stoker’s Dracula was not entirely embraced by critics, the artistic bravado—including Eiko Ishioka’s stunning work on the film’s costumes—is in every frame, popping with vibrancy, just as it was with One From the Heart (1982).