In their first ever music video, Detroit’s Sleepless Inn visually balance a neon luminescence with a dark underbelly, a trait inherent to their era- and genre-merging music. “Karol Simon”, from debut The Rainbow Room EP, is a mishmash of modern dream pop built around metallic, clacking beats, scraping sound effects and Laura Finlay’s seductive intonations.
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Experimental electronica maestro Oneohtrix Point Never (or Daniel Lopatin, as the artist is otherwise known) has premiered a new track and video, titled “Still Life”, which is set to appear on his forthcoming LP R Plus Seven. According to a press release, the characteristically eerie track “pushes the disembodied voices of a choir through a maze”; its accompanying video was directed by Nate Boyce.
Council House Movie Star is the up-coming screen and gallery debut of Gale Force, the drag persona of contemporary dance maker, performer and writer Mark Edward. This is Edward’s collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Rosa Fong (British Film Institute New Director’s award, Arts Council Black Arts Award and as Associate Producer: Best Feature at the Outfest Fusion Festival LA 2006, 2nd Prize Audience Award at Madrid International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 2006 for feature film Cut Sleeve Boys) and award-winner Dr Mark Fremaux.
Gale Force’s plans are to be represented in all her glory in 3D and HD. She is nothing if not up-to-date; the original inspiration (in her own words) of the North of England ‘WAG’ culture, beloved of the British tabloids. Victoria Beckham had better watch out. Council House Movie Star will be premiered in Liverpool in 2012 and after that enjoy a national tour of galleries, cinemas, clubs – any venue that will have it if truth be told! Gale ain’t fussy! She will also provide interventionist and guerrilla art pieces (she can be very high-brow!) wherever they are needed. These will be documented and then reborn in major art galleries in Liverpool and Manchester as recreations of Gale’s multi-faceted, colourful life and encounters with her public. Move aside Tracey Emin and your ‘[Unmade] Bed’ (1998)! Gale’s installation will recreate her entire bed-sit apartment (beat that!) as well as her uninsured bling and her family relationships, as a single mum on welfare – with her kids and her ‘Anti’ Christy. If you’re really lucky Gale will appear in person at the gallery.
“I was always a good soldier,” remembers Robynn Murray. “She could always carry a heavy ruck,” she says of herself, “And she’s the one they wanted female soldiers to look up to, because I could suck it up and I could take their sexual harassment and I could just shut up and drive on.” The pronoun changes make sense as you listen to Robynn describe her experiences in the U.S. Army—first in Iraq and now Stateside, as a veteran contending with post-traumatic stress and red tape. Every day is an ordeal. “I’d like to say I’m super, but I’d be lying” she tells a collections agency officer on the phone at the start of Poster Girl, Sara Nesson’s exceptional short documentary, premiering 9 November on HBO2. As Robynn works through her memories and her ongoing struggles with the VA, the film shows how she’s affected by PTSD and also, crucially, how she finds strength and a sense of resilience in her art. If trauma is never quite over, Robynn is increasingly able to articulate and share her experience: she engages in protest against the war and discovers a community among other veterans—specifically, a group called Combat Paper Project that makes art out of old uniforms—Poster Girl makes the case that, as extraordinary as Robynn may be, she’s also too typical. She may have been a poster girl, literally appearing with her weapon and two women comrades on the cover of Army Magazine, but she’s also come out the other side.
Tamra Davis’ thoughtful documentary about Jean-Michel Basquiat premieres as part of Independent Lens on Tuesday, 12 April. At first, the film retells some familiar stories: Basquiat was a genius, ahead of his time and also “too fragile for this world,” as Madonna once described him. He loved women or misread them. He challenged or was foiled by the art world’s corrosive elitism, he was intuitive and authentic, or he fell victim to the monster called celebrity. He died too young, at 27, of a heroin overdose, alone, undone by his father’s disapproval or Andy Warhol’s death, or maybe his endless frustrations with racism. But it also offers less familiar insights. Built on a 1986 interview Davis conducted with her friend Basquiat, it shows him as funny, shy, and frank. Other interviewees—including Fab 5 Freddy and Julian Schnabel—knew or didn’t know him, appreciated his work or know something about his life choices. Some speakers point out what’s both most obvious and least discussed concerning Basquiat’s perennial alienation. Nelson George says, “The guy obviously spent a lot of time thinking and angry about what his place in the world was and the place of black people and black men in the world. It’s all in all his work, over and over again.”
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