Issuu on Google+

fame issue

20

$5.00 cdn $7.90 US

You ain’t seen the best of me yet!


lab.palzileri.com

- Canadian Showroom: Azzari Fashions Ltd - Toronto, On. - 416.736.7508


CONTENTS new news 16 Couture overload!

Music 20 Charlotte Gainsbourg just doesn’t know 22 The Golden Filter’s lips are sealed 24 Kid Sister keeps it in the family

Fashion 30 They’re paper bags, princess 54 Won’t you be our party doll? 60 Rie Rasmussen paints a pretty picture 80 Miracle on Avenue B

art 26 Shades of Sam Green

Feature 36 Young Hollywood’s walk of fame 90 Christian Joy loves Issey Miyake (and Liberace)

Review 94 The xx and Kid Cudi live up to the hype 96 Lillian Bassman inspires us to put on a fur coat, and Mario Testino makes us want to take it off

Cut out 98 Blonde rendition

Cover photography nagi sakai model EZRA MILLER This Page suit Hugo by Hugo Boss top General Idea


RAD

BY RAD HOURANI

RADBYRADHOURANI.COM


masthead Preface It’s funny. When we set out to make this issue of The Block – our Fame Issue – we didn’t know how the theme would play out, exactly. We knew we wanted to run a feature on three rising Hollywood stars well on their way to fame (indie-film actor Ezra Miller, Valentine’s Day’s Carter Jenkins, and Twilight vampire Charlie Bewley). And we knew we would explore the idea of notoriety, of popularity; it’s the most dramatic realization of the human desire for love and approval, and it’s the stuff childhood dreams are made of. What we hadn’t anticipated is how cautious our subjects would be about their own intoxicating proximity to fame. In the age of Balloon Boy, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and that strange couple who snuck into the White House party to pose for flashing cameras, being famous is often frowned upon as a frivolously self-serving end-goal, instead of praised for what it should be: reverent adoration belonging quite rightly to people doing and creating brave and extraordinary things. We’re thrilled to see people like Rie Rasmussen (our feature model this issue) receive accolades for her bold new film Human Zoo, or illustrator Sam Green take to a bigger stage to show off his pencil-traced leaps of imagination. And when fashion designers transfigure mere pieces of cloth into innovative fashions, we think it makes sense that admirers watch carefully, and flatter through mimicry; see Andrew Yang’s doll-sized Ann Demeulemeester attire and Hanna Albrektson’s folded paper Jeremy Scott tote for two examples. But often, those who have found fame have an ambivalent relationship with the spotlight. Charlotte Gainsbourg, for one, isn’t one to seek it: it’s clear she has no real interest in being understood by her audience. She simply does what she does because she is compelled to. Costume designer Christian Joy recently turned away from mass fashion in favour of the more hard-won appeal of DIY. And disco-pop band The Golden Filter is so disinterested in being “known” that they refused to say what neighbourhood they live in. “Nobody needs to tell everyone everything,” they say. True. But fame doesn’t discriminate against the unwilling, and its trappings – recognition, adulation, and mass appeal – keep artists creating, and inspire fans’ dreaming. And that’s an idea that we love. But then again, we’re not famous. Yet.

Susan Locht, Editor In Chief

Editor In Chief Susan Locht Creative Director Kris Blizzard

Advertising Opportunities For information regarding advertising opportunities, please call 604.689.8066 or e-mail sales@theblockmagazine.com

Associate Editor Jennifer Croll Contributing Style Editor James Worthington DeMolet Designer Eric Roddy Editorial Assistant Carmen Lam Editorial Intern Katie Gregory

Subscriptions To subscribe call 604.689.8066 or email subscriptions@theblockmagazine.com

Contributors John Aduna, Hanna Albrektson, Paula Ayer, Kristin Benedetto, Sarah Berman, Megan Brand, Jennifer Brent, Geneva Bokowski, Sil Bruinsma, CFCF, Mark Champion, G. Joel Chury, Lauren Deleo, Thom Driver, Carol Eid, The Golden Filter, Don Flood, Dan Forbes, Sara Glick, Sam Green, Andre Gunn, Zia Hirji, ioulex, Maciek Jasik, Drew Kelly, Mike Kobal, Amy Komorowski, Lolly Koon, Lara Kordic, Ileana Lagares, Emil Larsson, Stephanie MacDonald, Lucy Madison, Rita Marmor, Jean Baptiste Mondino, James Nocito, Norkin Digital Art Ltd., Peter Panszczyk, Kris Pethtel, Ryan Pfluger, Momoko Price, Gal Potashnik, Lisa-Raquel, Nagi Sakai, Mine Salkin, Justin Shaffer, Alexis Stoymenoff, Amy Troost, Laurie Trott, Andrew Yang, Kaori Yanagida, Sam Zide Editorial Inquiries Story ideas and letters to the editor should be directed to editor@theblockmagazine.com. Please note that, due to the volume of submissions, we may not be able to reply to all inquiries. The publishers are not responsible for manuscripts, photographs or other unsolicited materials.

Evan Ho, Publisher/President Megan Wilson, Director of Operations 781 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC Canada V6B 2M4 The Block is published four times a year by Forwardthink Media Inc. Copyright 2010. Mailing agreement #41290518 Circulation audited by

theblock-mag.com twitter.com/theblockmag facebook.com/theblockmag


NEW NEWS Words Jennifer Croll

Howl We’ve come a long way since 1957, when “Howl,” Allen Ginsberg’s “lament for the Lamb in America with instances of remarkable lamb-like youths,” landed the beat poet with obscenity charges. A seminal moment for the artistic counter-culture, Ginsberg’s trial hits the screen at Sundance with the Gus Van Sant executive-produced film Howl starring James Franco as the young Ginsberg and Jon Hamm as defense lawyer extraordinaire Jake Ehrlich. Presented in three parts – much like the poem – the film weaves together Ginsberg’s young life, the obscenity trial, and an animated interpretation of the poem. We’re just dying to see whether this includes a take on the key words that pushed Ginsberg into the courtroom: “who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy.”

Visionaire We usually think of wall calendars as something in our grandmother’s kitchen that she uses to cross off the days until her Reno trip, but the new issue of Visionaire has us reevaluating our dated ideas. This issue of the ultra-high-end art and fashion magazine is an electronic calendar, each day displaying a piece of artwork from one of 52 curators, with each curator choosing art for a week. So, on February 22nd you might toast your bagel while looking at a picture chosen by Rei Kawakubo, while March 1st’s morning tea is art-directed by Tilda Swinton. Too bad that Visionaire, unlike our grandma’s kitten calendar, doesn’t go for 50% off once the new year begins. www.visionaireworld.com

Dior Homme Black Tie 101 sounds like a class on how to look good in a tux, when really, it’s the name of these gorgeous multi-layer acetate sunglasses from Dior. But we’re pretty sure pairing these with your three-piece renders lessons unnecessary (and makes it easier to avoid your Prom date’s mom’s glare at breakfast). www.diorhomme.com

Masters of the Universe You might think Skeletor’s purple-hood-andloincloth look is getting kind of old, but give the guy some credit. When he gets away from his day job and goes out on the town, The Evil Lord of Destruction is pretty fashionable, at least in the mind of German artist Adrian Riemann. In Riemann’s revisioning of the Masters of the Universe, Skeletor rocks it in a Loopwheeler hoodie, Cheap Monday jeans, and YSL sneaks, while his arch-enemies over at Castle Grayskull are equally hip. We admit, if we saw He-Man hanging around the bar in his Dior Homme jacket and Pierre Hardy shoes we would probably try to buy him a Heineken, though we’d be scared that April 77-clad She-Ra would stomp us in her vintage heels. www.soleils.org

16 news

Hermès Leica It’s true that you don’t need a pretty camera to take a pretty picture, but the Hermès Leica is so winsome that we say practicality be damned. The Leica’s silver chrome body clad in orange or brown calfskin leather is guaranteed to make you look good on either side of the lens. And with a limited edition run of 200, you’ll need to up that credit limit pronto to cash in on this $14,000 baby. www.hermes.com


Popshot If Lady Gaga’s Rilke tattoo wasn’t enough to convince you that reading poetry isn’t just the domain of intellectually pretentious English Lit students with horn-rimmed glasses, you should probably check out Popshot. The British poetry and illustration magazine, now on its second issue, is unique among poetry journals in its fresh, modern, and decidedly unstuffy approach. The poetry in each issue centres around a theme (the current issue is “Us and Them”), while illustrators are commissioned to provide a visual interpretation of each poem. The resulting book on black matte paper is probably the coolest marriage of poetry and art we’ve seen since William Blake’s watercolours for Dante. www.popshotpopshot.com

United Bamboo Mr. Wiggles may have been a trifle displeased that time you put him in the pink dress and matching bonnet, but those hours he spent sulking under the bed don’t mean he doesn’t like to dress up. It’s just that Mr. Wiggles has got taste. One look at United Bamboo’s 2010 calendar featuring impossibly good-looking kitties striking a pose in cat-sized ready-to-wear, and he’ll be hopping a JetBlue redeye to New York to pick up a teal frock (and maybe a model or two). www.unitedbamboo.com

Parisienne Parisienne, YSL’s newest fragrance, boasts notes of vinyl, berries, dark flowers, musk, patchouli, and sandalwood. But to be honest, we’re more focused on the campaign featuring a tousled black-clad Kate Moss in the back of a Paris cab at five a.m., flashing back to scenes of her (presumably just recently) writhing half-naked on a bed of roses. God. You could tell us this stuff smelled like a mix of the London Underground, cocaine, and Pete Doherty and we’d still buy it. www.ysl-parisienne.com

Thom Browne We love American fashion designer Thom Browne. His quirky take on office casual with dramatic cuffs, smart ribbon-edged blazers, sequins, patterning, and splashes of bright yellow inspires us to be a little more creative on the job – and also convinces us that it might be okay to go pants-free with a slicker. www.thombrowne.com

Glen Luchford Looking at Glen Luchford’s Prada campaign from the 1990s, one can’t help but imagine a sultry heroine, shady back room deals, and a loaded gun. Though he’s perhaps most famous for his film noirish commercial work, Luchford’s use of natural light and compelling narrative also extends to his creative work in fashion editorials and portraiture. Throughout his career, Luchford has pushed fashion photography further into the realm of art, beautifully documented in this visual retrospective published by Steidl. From Kate Moss posing defiantly on gritty New York streets to those moody, misty Prada shots, this 150-page hardcover book is less likely to leave you brooding about who took a bullet than awestruck by the beauty of the crime scene. www.steidlville.com news 17


new news

Acne s/s10 Forget Flower Power: Acne is giving hippies the ammunition they always needed to win us over. The Swedish brand’s S/S10 collection for women is dreamily retro, but tough as nails. Tasselled suede, geometric shapes, and tie-dye leggings pair with gleaming stiletto heels and metal legpieces for a modern look that almost makes us want to weave some flowers into our very straight, clean, centre-parted hair. www.acnestudios.com

55DSL 55DSL just turned 15, and to celebrate this teenaged milestone, they invited us to write all over their clothes. The “Try Me At Home” DIY t-shirt and marker sets saw its Canadian launch in November, and The Block got to play party-planner. We invited some of our favourite artists and creatives, including Mike Perry, Jeff Hamada, Niall McLelland, Nicholas Di Genova, and Yacht, to let loose on the shirts. The results really blew us away, from a space invaders-style gameboard to a full-on hook rug. We can barely remember what happened at the party, just like on our own 15th birthday – but the photos prove we had a pretty good time. www.55dsl.com 18 news

Jeff Hamada If you don’t know Jeff Hamada you probably don’t have an internet connection. Booooooom!, Hamada’s independent art blog, has taken the web by storm, but there’s more to the guy than just 1s and 0s. Hamada is also an illustrator whose tools include both computers and pencil crayons. We love his hand-drawn typography, and generally agree with his anti-Cruise sentiments. www.jeffhamada.com

Una Burke They say that it hurts to be beautiful, an idea that Irish designer Una Burke takes quite literally. Her collection of wearable art is inspired by the idea of physical trauma, with shapes drawn from the contorted female form. The tanned leather accessories resemble body braces, or perhaps some exquisitely uncomfortable medieval undergarment. Wear them as arm-pieces, neck-pieces, and leg-pieces – and though Burke’s accessories may be beautiful, they’re actually pretty comfortable. www.unaburke.com


Bunney Yeah, they’re cute, but they’re also punk as fuck. Andrew Bunney, hot young British creative director for Doc Martens and designer for Stüssy and Gimme 5, has launched his eponymous new jewellery brand with adorable sets of sterling silver pyramid stud pins. Though they’re inspired by the sort of thing you’d see sticking out of the leather jacket of some guy with a mohawk and a giant Exploited patch, these studs are decidedly more genteel. www.bunney.co.uk

playboy

Whenever we see a hot 50-year-old, we can’t help but think, “Damn, wish I knew you 30 years ago!” The same thing goes for Playboy, now celebrating its 50-year anniversary. Though we don’t live in the iconic girlie-mag’s heydey, we can eye up its old photos in Taschen’s sizzling six-volume retrospective. The series features an intro by old Hef (who, at 83, is better classified as a Playfogie) and photos of all 600 Playmates, but we bought it for the exhaustive collection of Playboy’s famous interviews. www.taschen.com

Lacoste Red! A lot of boys fantasize about living in a comic book, but let’s face it: odds are against them learning to shoot lasers from their eyes or leap buildings in a single bound. But that doesn’t mean they can’t dress the part. Aspiring Supermen will look sharp in Lacoste Red!, a line inspired by the vivid graphics and bright colours of classic comics. While the brightly striped polo shirts, tapered jeans, and tailored plaids may not be suited for fighting crime, they’re certain to catch the attention of schoolyard Lois Lanes. www.lacoste.com

Natalia Brilli

Belgian designer Natalia Brilli’s leather bags add a whole new dimension to going through airport security. This little number, called “Cult,” lays bare our leisure-time intentions, and offers a gorgeously sculpted argument for why that x-ray attendant doesn’t need to frisk. www.nataliabrilli.fr

Tank Chair If you’re the kind of person who isn’t content to simply do their work, but would rather mow it down with military force and maybe carpet bomb it afterwards, then Pharrell Williams – yep, that Pharrell – has created the desk chair for you. Made from four colours of plexiglass and soft calf leather, the Tank Chair is the mobilizing force for your creative artillery. We’re willing to bet that it might also land you a lapdance or two, but only if she wants to move… okay, we’re stretching here. But what’s Pharrell doing making furniture anyway? www.galerieperrotin.com news 19


The Muse

Charlotte Gainsbourg deftly translates artistic impulse into performance Words Momoko Price Image Jean Baptiste Mondino

Getting a straight answer out of Charlotte Gainsbourg isn’t easy. She’s not furtive or coy. She’s just honest. Entirely comfortable letting questions dangle, festooned with little more than gentle, airy I-don’t-knows. Perhaps Gainsbourg’s most maddening (and intriguing) quality is the obvious artistic conviction steering her from project to project – radical tastes obscured by a complete lack of interest in clarifying to her captivated followers why she does what she does. Still, when questioned, Gainsbourg does her best to help others understand her. The effect is as endearing as it is frustrating. Today she is perhaps best known for her Cannes award-winning role in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, an art-house horror film in which a woman, grieving for her dead son, succumbs to violent instincts rarely seen or applauded on the silver screen. One almost expects that, being a mother herself, she only took the part after some kind of excruciating inner conflict. Not quite. “I had a lot of fun with it, even though it was all to do with grieving and horror and painful things,” she says. “It was very exciting … the way we shot the whole work. The working process, for me, was quite incredible. I cherish the experience.” While critics are still bickering over now-standard Von 20 music

Trier elements of misogyny, anarchy, and despair, Gainsbourg contends that her role, in all its genital-mutilating, hate-fucking fury, was not fuelled by gender politics at all. “I wasn’t really sure about the misogynistic aspects of the film,” she muses. “Of course, [Von Trier] is judging female sexuality and guilt and all of that, but I had the impression that I was portraying him. He gave me that sensation, just seeing him talk through his own panic attacks, his own weaknesses at the time.” (Von Trier was allegedly battling depression before and during the film’s production.) Maybe it was her natural capacity to work as a conduit for other artists that convinced Von Trier to give Gainsbourg the part. After all, ever since her 2006 album 5:55, in which she sewed Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics to Air’s music with a sweet melancholy that seduced both sides of the Atlantic, her reputation for channelling disparate talents has been roundly recognized. And now Gainsbourg’s latest release, IRM, features the music and lyrics of American rock mastermind Beck. As she reflects on the album’s production, she once again makes neither rhyme nor reason of the result, only recalling the unspoken synergy they experienced. “Very mysterious things happened,” she remembers, citing an instance when Beck even wrote a song with the lyrics “drill your brain full of holes” while

completely unaware that Gainsbourg had recently undergone surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage. Even more surprising, the joint effort was interrupted five days into production when Gainsbourg disappeared into the German woods to howl at the night sky and wrestle naked and bloody with Willem Dafoe for Antichrist. And while she says she didn’t mean for her music to achieve anything akin to Von Trier’s pagan dissonance, there is a bestial undertone to IRM utterly absent from the more metropolitan 5:55 – a feral shadow that Beck perhaps sensed and unconsciously embraced. “I don’t know how much I translated to Beck,” she says. “I think he has a big faculty of just being able to feel things. And to be influenced by what I was showing and what I felt.” But as always, Gainsbourg bats away the significance of her impact on others in favour of reflecting on the joy she feels immersing herself in their creative energy. “It was great to feel a stranger in his world. I like that feeling. It was like taking a part. Keeping my personality, but having his words, and his vision.” “It’s funny when you let spontaneity happen,” she muses enigmatically. “I like that. There’s something very – lively about it.”


Precious Little

The Golden Filter keep quiet about their haunting disco-pop Words Lucy Madison Image The Golden Filter

In July 2008, a track by a new band called The Golden Filter appeared on the website Bigstereo. “We’re super new, and somewhat secretive,” explained the email accompanying the song, called “Solid Gold.” Travis Heynen, the website’s founder, expressed hesitation about the secrecy shtick (“I’m kinda over the market-your-band-as-a-mystery formula,” he wrote), but even so, he enthusiastically posted the song – provoking endless speculation by music nerds about the possible identities of this mysterious band. For a while, there was no clear answer. The Golden Filter, as far as the world wide web was concerned, was an enigma responsible for one particularly dreamy, effervescent, disco-thumping single.

convenient to neither the band nor myself. In person Hindman and Trappes were indeed guarded – Hindman, in a black sweater, thick black-framed glasses and semi-artfully messed-up hair, considered each question carefully before speaking. However, this reticence seemed less driven by a motivation to “seem mysterious” than a hesitation to commit the band to words that they might later regret.

But in a world where music bloggers obsessively update their sites not only with the latest singles and remixes, but also gossip and inside tips, secret bands only last so long. It was merely a matter of time before NYC-based Penelope Trappes and Stephen Hindman were compelled to blow their cover. But they’re not giving away much else.

“I guess we sort of innocently made that initial decision to keep a low profile,” continues Trappes, a tall blonde who incidentally bears a striking resemblance to Olivia Newton-John. “It was self-protection, in a way.”

In email correspondence leading up to this interview for The Block, The Golden Filter revealed little: providing the barest details, the duo was evasive about their own places of residence. As a result, we met at a loud, trendy bar that was (I discovered later, upon stopping the tape recorder and going off the record) 22 Music

“The unwritten fact is, when you release a song and don’t put your name on it, you don’t know if it’s good or bad,” says Hindman. “So you don’t put a name to it. You don’t put a face to it. You have no fears; you just shove it out there.”

This air of caution doesn’t extend to the band’s music, however: TGF produces adventurous electronic pop songs that bubble with disco-era dance melodies while simultaneously invoking something a bit more natural, even mystical, which may have its roots in the band’s past. “Growing up in Australia, my backyard was a rainforest,” says Trappes. “I could always go off and explore.” Hindman, who grew up on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio, also spent time exploring the

cornfields and forests that constituted his yard, but only when he wasn’t busy experimenting with strange electronic instruments his brothers had discarded and playing in garage electro bands. Trappes and Hindman met five years ago through the introduction of a mutual friend, but The Golden Filter wasn’t born until 2008. Their first collaboration was a band called Lismore, which lasted a few years before the duo decided to start on a new project. “Both of us had gone through very drastic changes in our own lives,” explains Trappes. “We kind of just wanted to start afresh. We were watching what was going on in the media, with blogging and all of this; everyone was emblazoning everything everywhere and it was becoming too much. It was like, let’s just bring it back. Reel it back in and just tone everything down.” Not that The Golden Filter seems poised to slow down anytime soon: their debut full-length is due out this April with UK label Brille, and they’ll subsequently be touring worldwide. Trappes and Hindman might not be able to get away with the whole incognito act for too much longer, but it looks like they’ll continue to try. “Nobody needs to tell everybody everything,” says Trappes, casually sipping her tea. “Mystery is a good thing. Use your imagination. I can be whoever you want me to be.”


Twisted Sister

Party rapper Kid Sister rips up beats (and her voice) for her long-awaited new album Words Sarah Berman Image Don Flood

A little internet hype goes a long way. But of all the artists floating around the blogosphere, Kid Sister is especially worthy of the buzz. Within two short years, the Chicago MC went from selling baby clothes and stealing microphones at basement dance parties to collaborating with Kanye West and performing at Coachella’s main stage. All this, plus a BET award nomination, went down before she released a debut album. It helps, of course, that Kid Sister (known to former retail coworkers as Melisa Young) is firmly embedded in an already-blossoming music scene. With a boost from her executive producer boyfriend A-Trak and brother Josh “J2K” Young of the DJ duo Flosstradamus, Kid Sis has built a glittering reputation fusing girlie hip-hop jams with uptempo house beats. This caught the attention of fellow Chi-towner West, who dropped a verse on her single “Pro Nails” in 2007. The bouncy ode to rhinestone manicures appeared on a web-released Kanye mixtape, skyrocketing Young into cult internet fame. Young’s industry connections extend well beyond her bro and her beau. Names like Xxxchange, Sinden, DJ Gant-Man, Estelle, and Cee-Lo all appear on 24 music

her much-anticipated record Ultraviolet, which hit shelves in November 2009. “Everyone is a friend, so it was just a really pleasant experience from beginning to end,” she says of the lengthy recording process. “We’re our own society. Like a nice little utopia.” While signed with Downtown Records, her album was originally titled Dream Date and set for release in early 2008. Feeling rushed, Young opted to push back deadlines, axe three songs, and record five new tracks. The end result is a glossy 40 minutes of 80s and 90s nostalgia, amped up on DJ effects and punctuated by swaggering, cheeky rhymes. Though the styles differ from the trancey electro-banger “Right Hand Hi” to the Salt-N-Pepa-inspired pop hooks of “You Ain’t Really Down,” an overarching theme emerges: Kid Sis likes to party. And party she does. With the help of a steady Red Bull supply, Young has played back-to-back shows for months at a time, causing dancefloor mayhem across North America. Reached at a hotel in Columbia, Missouri, Young’s voice sounds coated in wax paper. “It’s a lot of screaming,” she says. “I feel great, it’s just my voice that sucks.” A semi-addicted Twitter enthusiast,

one of Young’s updates reads: “Never done my set this many times in a row. Feel like KidSisBot 2000.” Though she is often praised for her genre-bending tendencies, Young says the mashed-up textures on Ultraviolet are less of a conscious effort, and more of an accidental process. “It’s not an intentional thing. We play around and I just say, ‘I like that. I don’t like that. Like that, don’t like that.’ We redid the album to make everything uptempo, but it doesn’t need to fit one particular aesthetic.” She adds, “It was all made by our friends. Luckily our friends make good music.” With a breakneck press schedule and plans to tour Europe and Australia on her calendar, Young shows no signs of slowing down. But if given the chance to unwind, Kid Sister hopes to hang around her hometown. “When I’m home I like to go bowling and roller skating. And I like to see movies.” A film major hailing from Columbia College, Young’s latest Hollywood obsession is Lee Daniels’ Precious, which she boasts about seeing three times before its release. “Mo’Nique just kills it,” she gushes. “And Mariah Carey, man. All that bullshit from that movie Glitter – you can just forget all about that.”


www.markfast.net


Tracing Fragments

 Sam Green distorts reality for his surreal pencil portraits Words Carol Eid Art Sam Green

If London-based illustrator Sam Green’s art were an animal, it would be a chameleon. Just when you think you’ve got his style figured out, Green changes colour. “Most illustrators identify a style straight away and then they stick with it,” he says in a clipped English accent, then pauses to drag on his cigarette and adds, “but I’ve never been comfortable doing that. I’m just always restless when there are so many things I see in my work that I can imagine leading to other places.” Shuffling on his seat to put his three-quarter length tweed jacket back on, he asks me if I would prefer to be indoors – he has chosen an alfresco pub table on a sidewalk to talk of art, watch passers-by, and smoke. The buzz about Green’s art has grown steadily since he graduated with his Masters from St. Martins College of Art and Design in 2005. But the illustrator, whose work breathes fresh air into traditional portraiture by combining highly detailed pencil sketches with digital embellishments, is modest about how he earned his current hot-young-talent status. “I owe a lot to the bloggers,” he says, referring to the attention he’s received from sites like Notcot, booooooom!, and Design You Trust. “It’s where most of my work comes from.” The black and white piece that first caught the eye of online art connoisseurs, Treading Water, depicts a boy’s floating body dissolving into graphic squiggles. It is still his most popular piece today, with the highest number of hits on his website. It’s also the springboard for all his pencil work that revisits the theme of water. “I have always been interested in figurative art and portraiture and I just love the abstract quality of water,” he says. “With the fragmentation of the light, of the body, it’s just very dynamic and strong and I just love the abstract detail that it captures. It’s basically energy and it’s really fucking hard to draw.”

26 art

Green may love the challenge of translating water to pencil and paper, but his restless nature has led him to experiment liberally with style. It’s this flexibility that has landed him an array of commissions, from an animation for a giant-sized Zoetrope for a Sony Bravia ad with Ridley Scott’s advertising company RSA, to surreal, sharp pencil portraits for Esquire, Wallpaper, and Dazed & Confused magazines. Within the frame of a single work, conflicting elements are encouraged to coexist – a realistic drawing veiled by a surreal foreground competing with vibrant colours. Despite this multifarious approach, there’s an unexpected continuity to his art. “Certain visual flourishes or aspects of my work always pop up,” he says of his signature stylized, pencil-drawn version of a brushstroke superimposed over an image. “It’s quite specific,” he adds, pointing to what he calls shard shapes, or abstract markings on a largely realistic portrait. “These are the kind of digital flourishes that people pick up on, otherwise it’s not that interesting if it’s just a drawing of a person or an object that’s being copied … I guess it’s the idea of distorting the reality and putting things on top that take it to another place or give the piece an atmosphere.” Despite his current successes, Green’s plans for the future involve more chameleonic changes. “I’m not too comfortable with just being a portraiture illustrator,” he readily admits, alluding to ideas to merge his hand-made typography with images to make a graphic book. “I want to take my work into more exciting areas, and create worlds that still have that sense of surrealism.” This much is clear: whatever world Green chooses to inhabit, he’s destined to stand out rather than blend in.


Surfacing 2

art 27


woman

28 Art


head

art 29


30 fashion


cut and paste Hanna Albrektson’s paper art puts origami to shame Images Emil Larsson Art Hanna Albrektson

Yves saint laurent Y-Mail Clutch

fashion 31


hermès Kelly Bag

32 fashion


chanel 2.55

fashion 33


louis vuiTton Envelope Clutch

34 fashion


longchamp & jeremy scott Le Pliage Bag

fashion 35


Baby look at me And tell me what you see You ain’t seen the best of me yet Give me time I’ll make you forget the rest Amongst the bright lights and hot starlets of Hollywood, it’s easy for promising young actors to lose their way. But talented and charismatic rising talents Ezra Miller, Carter Jenkins, and Charlie Bewley won’t let burgeoning fame distract them from their silver screen dreams Styling/Casting James Worthington DeMolet

vest and pants General Idea 36 FEATURE


ezra miller Images Nagi Sakai Words Susan Locht

If you’ve seen Afterschool, an unnerving independent film released in 2008 about a New England prep school rattled by the violent deaths of popular twin girls, you already understand the buzz circling Ezra Miller. Miller played the melancholy loner who accidentally caught the deaths on tape, and took the role so seriously that he was plagued by existential angst for four months after production. “Playing Robert forced me to explore the most introverted, self-deprecating, victimized part of myself –– what I think is a part of every teenager. And I was sort of stuck in that struggle for a while, that void within the self.”

Afterschool was Miller’s first film. Since then he has performed in the tragicomedy City Island and the lead in the soon-to-be-released Beware the Gonzo. His most recognized role was on Showtime’s Californication, but his earliest performance was in opera, of all things. “When I was six years old, my teacher tried to get the entire class to listen to opera,” he explains. Miller was smitten, and his mother started taking him to the Met. Soon after, he was cast in Philip Glass’ contemporary opera White Raven. “It was such a trippy opera: I brought up the sun and conducted the orchestra... That pretty much sealed the proverbial deal on me needing to be artistic and exhibitionistic in my life.” FEATURE 37


THIS PAGE all clothing Z Zegna shoes Ezra’s own opposite PAGE suit General Idea top Thom Browne 38 FEATURE


FEATURE 39


40 FEATURE


This PAGE suit Z Zenga top general idea Opposite PAGE tuxedo General Idea shoes Ezra’s own

Photographers Assistants Maciek Jasik, Peter Panszczyk Digital Tech Lolly Koon Fashion Assistant Lauren Deleo Hair Andre Gunn at The Wall Group Make-Up Kaori Yanagida at Marek & Associates Location Fast Ashley’s Studios FEATURE 41


I got more in me And you caN set it free I can catch the moon in my hands Don’t you know who I am carter jenkins Images Jason Nocito Words Ileana Lagares

Make no mistake, young Hollywood actors have it tougher than it seems. Bereft of parents (and rules), they flail to stay afloat in a deepening talent pool as the tabloid maelstrom rages around them. But Carter Jenkins was never set adrift. The Florida native started his career at the age of seven in community theatre and commercials, and, when he moved to California three years later, his dedicated family followed. He earned his kidactor chops in the sci-fi television series Surface and Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous, and made his big-screen debut with Billy Bob Thornton in Bad News Bears. And this February, he shares the limelight with an ensemble of A-listers like Julia hoodie robert geller top general idea hat thom browne 42 FEATURE

Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, and many more in Valentine’s Day, a romantic comedy directed by Garry Marshall. Jenkins admires the work of actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling for both their role choices and their staying power. “There aren’t many actors who have been able to make that kind of transition [from child actor] and come out good at the end and still have their career and have played good roles.” Jenkins is clearly focused on working on-screen, not playing off-screen. “If the actual act of acting isn’t the payoff or isn’t the reward, all the ridiculousness will get to you and I just don’t see it being worth it… I don’t want to be a celebrity, I want to be an actor.”


Feature 43


THIS PAGE black sweater raf by raf simons khaki top with pink collar general idea plaid cashmere top thom browne opposite PAGE polka dot blazer & white oxford thom browne sweater & pants robert geller shoes john varvatos for converse 44 Feature


Feature 45


THIS PAGE top robert geller tie stylist’s own opposite PAGE shirt & jacket patrik ervell 46 Feature


Fashion Assistant Ileana Lagares Groomer Lisa-Raquel at See Management Special thanks to Kristin Benedetto & John Aduna Feature 47


48 Feature


I’m gonna live forever I’m gonna learn how to fly High I feel it coming together People will see me and cry Fame charlie bewley Images Ryan Pfluger Words Susan Locht

Only 10 short months ago, Charlie Bewley was working in a cocktail lounge in Vancouver’s West End when he got the phone call that changed his life: his agent told him he had landed a roll in the mega-popular Twilight Saga. He would play Demetri, the Vulturi guard in New Moon and the upcoming Eclipse. “I was so thrilled, so excited. That day, my friend and I went running and I don’t think I’d ever run so fast in my life. I was running and jumping and hitting branches on the trees. I was like a kid.” Bewley, who grew up in Middle England, comes from a family of performers, but only recently started to pursue acting himself. Originally in Canada to snowboard and

work in Whistler, he always knew he’d eventually work in some creative capacity. “I’ve wanted to do so many things with my life. I think I have a sort of creative A.D.D. I’m very indiscriminate when it comes to creativity. I just think every single art form is cathartic. Each one allows a different kind of outpouring, and I want to immerse myself in as many as I can.” Bewley believes his role as Demetri gives him a huge jumpstart into pursuing the things he loves. He writes and sings, and plans to direct and produce in the very near future. “To go from waiting tables and bartending to suddenly having all your dreams start to open up in front of you… I’m going to need to step back and assess what’s going on. It’s time to make good on all those things I’ve been dreaming about.”

oxford, jacket, & bow tie thom browne Feature 49


THIS PAGE suit black fleece by brooks brothers top Z zenga opposite PAGE top thom browne 50 Feature


Feature 51


THIS PAGE suit, tie & top thom browne opposite PAGE blazer & striped top thom browne 52 Feature


Fashion Assistant Lauren Deleo Groomer Amy Komorowski Feature 53


Valley of the Dolls

artist Andrew Yang’s dolls model looks from s/s 2010 Images Dan Forbes Doll Maker Andrew Yang Concept James Worthington DeMolet Prop Stylist Thom Driver Photo Assistants Sam Zide & Drew Kelly Retouching Gal Potashnik

Comme des Garçons 54 FASHION


lanvin

Marc jacobs FASHION 55


Lanvin 56 FASHION


Ann Demeulemeester | Givenchy FASHION 57


Katie Eary | gareth pugh | Rick Owens 58 FASHION


Proenza Schouler FASHION 59


Shadow LANDS Images Amy Troost Words Susan Locht Style Editor James Worthington DeMolet

Hollywood siren and couture model Rie Rasmussen has spent the last few years more-or-less off the radar, but now she’s back, and once again poised to stun everyone watching. But this time, Rasmussen isn’t just under the spotlight: she’s directing it. Human Zoo, a feature film she wrote, directed, and starred in, is making waves at festivals around the world. Rasmussen’s earlier creative endeavors include a role in the 2002 Brian De Palma film Femme Fatale, modelling in Tom Ford’s Gucci campaign, and walking the Victoria’s Secret runway show. But back then, Rasmussen wasn’t looking for acclaim. In fact, she claims not to have accepted the Victoria’s Secret gig for career reasons at all. “I did it as a sort of personal performance art experiment. And so that I could fuck a supermodel.” She laughs, adding, “And I did.” She won’t go on record to say who it was, of course, but explains the affair inspired a lot of incredible paintings. “I paint and draw a lot of female nudes, and this woman was one of the most beautiful subjects I’d ever seen.” Never one to follow convention, the Denmark native avoided the spotlight despite her high profile, choosing, rather, to focus on her personal art and film projects. But today, after having worked tirelessly on Human Zoo, Rasmussen is more than ready to share her work with the world. She’s been touring the film for the past nine months to rave reviews and an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival. The film follows the character of Adria, a woman struggling to survive after the Kosovo conflict. She is

half Serbian, half Albanian, and was raised strictly in a male-dominated context. With this, Rasmussen explores what it means to have an “identity,” to be male and female, and to be born where you were born. Rasmussen believes borders act as human cages, and that our passports are our prisons. “So much of how we define one another is based on manmade global borders, the invisible lines men have placed on the map to protect the little piece of land they’ve fooled themselves into believing is their own.” Now that Rasmussen has had a few years to explore some of the things she is most passionate about, which, as she explains, really focuses on championing the “underdog” – namely women and, more recently in her art, gay men – she says she’s been able to revisit modelling from a new angle. “I feel more available to model now. I’ve laid down my hard work, my credibility. And what woman doesn’t want to play dress-up from time to time?” She says that now, thankfully, people want something more from her when she’s in front of the camera. “They want some sort of expression, something wilder, or crazier, harder or more involved. Like really giving the image a certain emotion, be it joyous, freaky, hysterical, sad.” On the set of The Block shoot, Rasmussen explored emotions of inner joy and pleasure. “All of it was really centred around that one sunny moment in winter when the sun comes through your window for the first time in a while and your body contorts with that feeling of pleasure. Almost like a cat stretching in that joy.”

leather bra Graeme Armour bloomers Prada ivory sheer bra Eres


leather waistcoat Yves Saint Laurent underwear Eres shoes Cesare Paciotti for Ohne Titel


shear bra Eres sequin racer back dress Vera Wang


silk & chiffon dress 3.1 Phillip Lim nude bra Eres


THIS PAGE dress Thakoon opposite page sequin dress Vera Wang shear bra Eres


THIS PAGE dress Givenchy shear bra Eres opposite page jacket Sophia Kokosalaki


grey tank dress Elise Overland black feathered dress Ohne Titel


leather dress Elise Overland


waistcoat Yigal AzrouĂŤl laced trousers Erro


Model Rie Rasmussen at One Management Hair Rita Marmor at Streeters NY Make Up Sil Bruinsma at Streeters NY Photography Assistants Mark Champion Digital Technician Justin Shaffer Retouching Norkin Digital Art Ltd bandeau top Alztuzarra high-waisted underwear Alexander Wang grey underwear Eres


Alphabet Street Images Mike Kobal Stylist Laurie Trott Model Stefania at IMG models Make Up Sara Glick Hair Jennifer Brent


jacket & shorts alexander wang bra dolce & gabbana belts vintage


shirt levis hat tommy hilfiger pants diesel boots phi


top & skirt louis vuitton belt diesel hat tommy hilfiger


floral blouse Rachel comey jacket Gucci jeans & belt diesel bra Dolce & Gabbana


leather corset top YSL skirt & tights Dolce & Gabbana shoes Aldo belt Vintage


dress miu miu jacket levis tights falke shoes birkenstock necklaces Karen Walker


jacket & shorts Chloe belt diesel tights falke hat tommy hilfiger


bra Dolce & Gabbana skirt Marc Jacobs belts Diesel boots Phi necklaces Karen Walker


art star

Karen O is always a piece of work thanks to Christian Joy’s designs Words Jennifer Croll Images ioulex

When the Yeah Yeah Yeahs take the stage, there’s only one thing that can distract from Karen O’s fullthroated wail: her costumes. Brightly-coloured and wildly imaginative, by turns they transform Karen into a high-fashion dominatrix, an alien, an ancient Egyptian, and something that could easily be a vision of Little Bo Beep on strong psychedelic drugs. And by now, everyone knows that the girl in charge of this particularly riveting game of dress-up is Brooklynbased designer Christian Joy. The Block was lucky to get a chance to hang out with 36year-old CJ at her Greenpoint studio and snap some shots of her costumes. Once the photos came back, we called up CJ to have a little chat about her life and work. Jennifer Croll: Hi, is that CJ? Christian Joy: Hi, yes it is. How are you? JC: I’m good. I’m looking at the shoot you did for The Block. It’s totally cool, by the way. CJ: Oh my god, it looks amazing right? JC: Yeah, I totally love it. Were those all new costumes? CJ: Those were all costumes I made for an exhibition I did in New York at the beginning of 2009. The one that’s a big kimono was actually made for an exhibition in Hong Kong. And then Karen wore it on stage, but I took it back because I wanted it.

90 feature party

JC: I was looking at the shot of you sitting in your studio. This is sort of off the cuff, but you have a love note on your wall… Flea? CJ: [laughs] My husband wrote that to me actually. It’s a nickname for me. I know. So funny. [laughs more] JC: Okay, well, we won’t analyze it too much. I read somewhere that when you were pretty young, you started wearing vintage stuff and dressing up like your favourite bands. Is that what got you into rock costuming? CJ: Um, it’s probably an underlying thing. Because in Iowa [where CJ grew up] no one really dresses that outrageous. I think I kind of had this desire to do something different and stand out a little bit. At that time U2 was a good band, so I was into them and I was just really enamored by them and by all these other bands that were more like the indiealternative bands at that time… So, yeah, I guess it kind of did. JC: How did you first meet Karen? CJ: I used to work for the designer Daryl K in her 6th Street store. Karen used to come in, and we would always hang around and talk to each other, and one night she came in with a CD and was like “Hey, I have a band.” I listened to it and I was like “This is pretty good!” And she checked out some stuff I made, and she was like “Oh, can I wear one of these for a show we’re doing?” It just happened from there.


feature 91


JC: That’s a pretty cool way to get the job. CJ: Yeah exactly, just purely by accident. It was pretty awesome. JC: What’s it like working with Karen? CJ: It’s really fun. She’s super duper open, so I just do whatever I want basically. In the beginning when they’re making the new record we might talk about different looks. But in the end, it usually just comes around to where I’m making the things that I want. JC: I was looking at your Livejournal, and I see a lot of stuff about Liberace. Is he a big point of inspiration for you? CJ: [laughs] I just think he’s really funny. You know, there’s so many musicians who have worn these costumes who had these insane personalities, and people 92 feature

forget that there’s a long history of that. Liberace had that crazy piano and the crazy costumes, and the same with Elton John. That’s something I really like – the very over-the-top character that’s a little bit too much, a little bit otherworldly. JC: Do you have any idols when it comes to fashion design? CJ: Yeah, I like Issey Miyake from the 70s and 80s. I really like big bold colours and shapes… I like looking at folk costuming a lot, like tribal costumes, or even Polish costumes, or things like that. JC: What’s it like designing costumes compared to your more ready-to-wear stuff? Do you take a similar approach? CJ: When I did last year’s collection I took a different approach, because I was


trying to think of what people wanted to wear and what’s going to sell. And now I feel like I want to take the approach I do with Karen’s stuff. But her stuff is actually pretty easy to wear; you know, maybe there’s a cotton-knit dress that has all this crazy stuff going on on it. But I do also want to take more of a costuming approach and make it really individual, where maybe there’s only three [of a design] in existence. JC: That’s funny, because the next thing I was going to ask was whether you had any plans to take your fashion mainstream in any way, and I guess the answer would probably be no, right? CJ: If I could find a couple of stores. There used to be that thing with New York. It was the only place you could find, say, Judi Rosen. That’s what was cool about the

piece you got, you know? And so, it wasn’t like you could buy it at 40 or 50 stores. It’s more interesting, at least I think, if it’s something you have to go some place and buy. I think there’s this expectation now for designers to be, like, huge. I don’t really want to be that. I’d rather have it be something smaller. JC: Like a cult item, almost? CJ: Yeah, kind of. You think of old Vivienne Westwood stuff and just how psyched people are when they find it. I prefer that approach to fashion. The conversation with CJ didn’t stop here. For her thoughts on Lady Gaga, Etsy, and who’s going to make the costumes for her band, head to The Block’s website. www.theblock-mag.com/christian-joy feature 93


audio

Listen to what I'm saying! Words Paula Ayer, Geneva Bokowski, G. Joel Chury, Zia Hirji, Kris Pethtel, and Alexis Stoymenoff

xx The xx | Young Turks

Don’t Stop Annie | Smalltown Supersound

Heavily hyped first albums by bands just out of their teens aren’t often as exquisitely understated as the debut by The xx. The Londoners’ subdued, economical pop is built on spare guitars and thumbed bass, minimalist programmed drums and soulful yet aloof boy-girl vocals that overlap, echo and trade off like hushed bedroom conversations. Though it’s hard to pick a standout track – these are songs that subtly insinuate rather than bludgeon with hooks – “Night Time,” which builds from an R&B ballad into a gently thumping house track, is particularly beautiful. Restraint is a musical virtue that usually has to be learned with time, but for The xx, it seems to come naturally. – PA

Annie’s back with a spunky new haircut and an album to go with it. The long-awaited sophomore release from this Norwegian pop diva delves deeper into the persona created by her debut, Anniemal. Praised for straddling the fence between indie and mainstream, Annie’s light, airy vocals and hypnotizing beats have earned her a distinct fan base across the pond. The record fluctuates in mood – from the ethereal “Marie Cherie” to the more solemn “Take You Home,” all book-ended by the bubblegum electro-pop sounds of “Hey Annie” and “Heaven and Hell.” With cameos from Franz Ferdinand guitarist Alex Kapranos and Datarock’s Fredrik Saroea, Don’t Stop sets out to prove that glitzy pop can cross all kinds of borders. – AS

Ready for the Weekend Calvin Harris | Ultra Records

Man On the Moon: The End of Day Kid Cudi | Universal Motown

The much anticipated follow-up to 2007’s I Created Disco, Calvin Harris’ second album keeps up the frothily positive vibe, despite committing the cardinal sin of auto-tune. But grant him an indulgence, because you won’t stop dancing to this anthemheavy collection filled with step-inducing synths and beats, sure to feature heavily this year in Ibiza and at gay pride parades. The title track with its 90shouse-style diva chorus about shoes, “Ready for the Weekend,” will become lodged in your head the first time you hear it at the club (or the mall), while the R&B dance collaboration with Dizzee Rascal and Chrome, “Dance Wiv Me,” will make you want to do just that. And press repeat. – GJC

When Kid Cudi first broke into the mainstream with radio-friendly single “Day ‘n’ Nite,” it may have been easy to dismiss him as part of the electro-hipster-rap trend, but that’d be doing Cleveland-born Cudi a huge disservice. Surprisingly dope from beginning to end, this album is as innovative as it gets for an artist with such mainstream appeal. Cudi captures the pulse of the gritty Midwest pavement and beyond. Lyrics are earnest and imaginative without being cheesy or uncomfortably self-adulatory. An eclectic mix of producers keeps things fresh; favourite tracks include spacey head-nodders “Simple As…” and “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” featuring MGMT with Ratatat on production. – GB

Album Girls | True Panther

Love 2 Air | EMI

Boy grows up in a cult with a mother who’s forced into prostitution and a brother who dies due to the cult’s policy forbidding medical attention. Boy runs away to the big city, meets a wealthy music enthusiast who finances a move to San Francisco to partner with another musician, takes loads of pills and records one hell of an album. Girls’ frontman Christopher Owens’ back-story is so crazy that upon hearing his band’s debut album Album, everything starts to make sense. Opening with the bizarre and catchy pop track “Lust for Life,” Album is the cringingly happy/sad, decadeclosing cousin of Pet Sounds. While the tunes are happy sounding, the hidden pain behind the tracks is truly haunting. – GJC

French pop duo Air’s latest album showcases their studio sophistication with an eclectic range of instruments and stylistic influences woven together with their signature pop keyboards and synths. Opening with a kind of invocation in “Do the Joy,” the album hooks the listener with five of its more accessible tracks before winding into the moody “Tropical Disease” and the building cacophony of “Eat My Beat.” A few songs even maximize the band’s limited lyrical abilities, like the haunting “So Light Is Her Footfall” and “Love,” in which each breathy iteration of the word “love” hits like a gauzy wave of serotonin. Love 2 deserves close listening for its technical complexity, but also has the polished beats to make it great cocktail party music. – KP

Continent CFCF | Paper Bag Records 21-year-old Montreal native Michael Silver is CFCF. If you keep up with music, his name should be familiar, since before releasing Continent CFCF remixed many notable acts like Sally Shapiro and The Presets. Continent, CFCF’s debut record, is a tasteful electro-pop marvel. Taking cues from 80s house on tracks like “Big Love” and “Letters Home” (which is an obvious homage to Rhythim is Rhythim’s “Strings of Life”), the album is rounded out with a few slowburning, synth-laden heaters, most notably “You Hear Colours.” Individual tracks aside, Continent’s best feature is its pacing; from start to finish, it sounds like the soundtrack to a daydream. – ZH 94 review

mix tape

2010 gets off to an atmospheric start courtesy of CFCF. Make sure you head to The Block’s site to read more about CFCF and listen to the mysterious Montrealer’s mix tape. www.theblock-mag.com/cfcf 01. Nacho Patrol Mind World 02. Mr. Fingers Waterfalls 03. Arthur Russell In the Light Of the Miracle 04. Lucio Battisti Anima Latina 05. Dungen Det Tar Tid 06. The Prime Movers Strong As I Am 07. Michael Shrieve Communiqué: “Approach Spiral” 08. Peter Gabriel Mercy Street 09. Popol Vuh Aguirre III 10. Oneohtrix Point Never Format & Journey North


visual

I see you looking at me Words Paula Ayer, Megan Brand, Jennifer Croll, Lara Kordic, Stephanie MacDonald, and Mine Salkin

MaRIO DE JANEIRO Testino

LILLIAN BASSMAN: WOMEN

Mario Testino Taschen One of the nice things about photography is that for some reason, it often involves nudity. Whether the auteur is drunkie Dave with his new iPhone or Helmut Newton in a vintage French Vogue, there are sure to be some naughty bits on display. Mario Testino’s new ode to Rio, cleverly titled Mario De Janeiro Testino, is no exception. If you happen to have a historical or cultural interest in this picturesque coastal Brazilian metropolis, please visit a library, for this is Testino’s Rio, which consists of a few classical buildings and a whole lotta naked teenagers (and Gisele Bündchen) joyfully cavorting. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, this handsome softbound volume offers equal-opportunity lechery, whatever your persuasion – unless, of course, you enjoy chubbies, hairies, uglies, or individuals over the age of 22. – SM

Deborah Solomon Abrams Disillusioned by the growing impersonality and detachedness of the fashion industry, Harper’s Bazaar photographer Lillian Bassman threw in the proverbial towel in the early 1970s and quit. Now a painfully fashionable 92-year-old woman toting oversized horn-rimmed glasses, Bassman is once again the subject of photographic discovery. Her sensual and evocative vision of modern women is relived in this sophisticated and nostalgic retrospective of her work. With a vivid introduction by former Wall Street Journal art critic Deborah Solomon, Bassman’s love of fashion photography throughout the 1950s and 1960s is seen in tritone, a lavish reawakening of her images, including some never before seen in print. The book sheds light on the life of the upperclass woman, romanticized by wool, fur, and other classic textures – the dawning of modern women’s couture. – MS

TEN STOREY LOVE SONG Richard Milward Harper Perennial In a single paragraph that takes its first eager breath on the front cover of this surprisingly sweet sophomore novel, Richard Milward leads us through the grungy flats of Peach House, a dilapidated tower block in an unnamed northern English city. At the centre of Ten Storey Love Song’s ensemble cast is Bobby the Artist, who paints the poetry of daily life while tripping on a dizzying array of psychedelics. His girlfriend Georgie indulges in an addiction to sweets, while Johnnie and Ellen just want to be together despite being tragically incompatible in bed. Not exactly stream-of-consciousness (there’s a plot here, and there could be multiple paragraphs if Milward had simply indented once in a while), Ten Storey Love Song is a fresh, funny book about finding happy middle ground in an apartment in the sky. – LK

Destroy/Rankin Rankin Gestalten In a reality shaped by Photoshop, it’s almost laughable to suggest a photographic subject has any control over their image unless they have a very, very good legal team on retainer. But Destroy/Rankin throws some power to the people – well, really, just a coterie of famous musicians. Photographer Rankin asked these celebs to “destroy” photos he took of them, with wildly varying results. Some of our favourites include Ian Brown’s weird, psychedelic ghost diptych, and The Edge’s humorous effort where he pasted his head onto his U2 bandmates’ bodies. Other artists were less successful in stealing the show from Rankin; sorry, Robyn, but a paint smear autograph is a big yawn. Artworthiness aside, Destroy/Rankin offers a glorious visual cacophony that’d look good on any coffee table, but with only 1000 copies released in North America, you’d better snap one up fast. – JC

96 review

Bicycle Diaries David Byrne Viking Well before cycling became the preferred transportation mode of every eco-conscious hipster with a passing knowledge of Jane Jacobs, David Byrne was using his bike to navigate the clubs and art galleries of Manhattan and explore foreign cities from Buenos Aires to Istanbul. In Bicycle Diaries, elegantly adapted from Byrne’s touring blog, the bicycle is less the subject than a vehicle for his wry, perceptive observations on place, culture, and urban life. Byrne writes with a songwriter’s eye for the telling detail; he’s especially good describing suburban America and its “weird nonspaces that evoke nostalgia for the nonexistent.” Flip to the last few pages for an unexpected treat: sketches of Byrne’s clever neighbourhood-specific bike rack designs, including a shoe for Fifth Avenue and a dog for Greenwich Village. – PA

La Belle Personne DVD, Mongrel Media Raising the bar for cinematic remakes of classic literature, La Belle Personne is a modern take on 17th-century novel The Princess of Clèves by Madame de La Fayette. While the film centres on the romantic dalliances of genetically blessed high schoolers in present-day Paris, it can’t be easily dismissed as mere eye candy. Junie is the broody new girl who inspires a legion of would-be suitors, including effortlessly cool Otto, and Mr. Nemours, her handsome yet hapless Italian teacher. Although keenly aware of her effect on the opposite sex, Junie harbours few romantic illusions and ably navigates the crushes, rumours, and ultimate heartbreak with wisdom belying her age. Watch this film if only for the Parisian milieu, chic wardrobing, and appropriately dreary score by Nick Drake, but prepare to fall hard for the heartbreaker heroine herself. – MB


98 cut out

5 minute itch 2009 Pencil and ink on paper, 210 Ă— 297mm Sam Green



The Block Magazine Issue 20