I’m slipping in life. I missed this video of Riff-Raff and Harmony Korine playing basketball over a month ago and I only just saw the Kickstarter page for the Dust & Grooves book. Both are significant additions to the internet.
Being involved in retail (though it’s not secret that my heart lies in marketing and communications), I know it’s ruthless — a world ruled by a handful of innovative spots and a ton of copycats who are perpetrating. I’m not sure whether rules regarding perpetrating and biting were overruled a few years ago but it seems to be the case. My brothers at Patta aka the Dutch Masters are the realest dudes in the business as well as longtime supporters of my crap and the recent temporary downtime for the store proves that goodwill and being legit doesn’t make you bulletproof. It’s rare to meet dudes who walk it like they talk it, but Edson, Lee, Tim and Gee and the rest of the team are those guys — definitely a rare breed.
While we wait for the physical store to return, this MC Theater video of ‘The Patta Story’ is anecdote central, even if some tales are lost in translation, taking it back to the Fat Beats and grey import era (and you know, in your heart of hearts, that grey import was the most interesting part of Euro trainer retail — now those electronic and real-world shelves are exactly the same, give or take a few release dates). They had Parra on some design duties, they made the Air Max their own (who else was going to notice the power of the mini forefoot swoosh?) and put out a mixtape with Non Phixion rapping about New Balance and Spot-bilt over the ‘Run’ instrumental. That’s deep. Even when it’s not open, it’s still my favourite store. After a friend mentioned an encounter with a buyer who hadn’t heard of Sal Barbier, I fear the industry is being assailed by corny “all the shoes but not a clue” type folks – it’s that snapback and AM1 goldrush, yo. But that’s transient nonsense and Patta is forever.
Here’s the obligatory “Look what arrived in the post!” addition to this post — salutes to my friends at Nike for these 2012 iterations of the Hyperdunk. As the worlds of shoe and gadgets clash, it makes these visually incredible with the Flywire strands (originally called Magwire, fact fans), but incredibly hard to wear for casual use. But having messed around with the shoes with the Nike+ Training system I’m keen to use them for lounge workout use with the iPhone and improve my hapless jump height to make myself less of a failure as a man. I saw this version in LA recently and this WLF GRY/FRBRRY-DYNMC BL seems to be some NRG spin on the WBF version that dropped recently with some fancy extra packaging. I like this shoe.
If you haven’t read Paul Gorman’s ‘The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion’ you should have done, because it’s the best book on music and fashion ever written and Gorman has dedicated a whole book to a living legend who was one of the subjects of that book — Tommy Roberts and pioneering his Mr Freedom (not to be mistaken for the Mister Freedom vintage empire, though I always assumed that Christophe Loiron and Tommy Roberts were inspired by William Klein’s film of the same name) store. I’m only a few pages into it, but the cover is proof that Jeremy Scott wasn’t the first to get playful with winged shoes and Roberts ran one of the first clothing brands to collaborate with Disney (in a curiously sexualized way) back in 1969. All with an interest in clothes and the culture of clobber should pick this one up. This and ‘Dream Suits: The Wonderful World of Nudie Cohn’ by Mairi MacKenzie are superior documents of the relationship between a musician and the clothes that define them.
Apologies for the picture quality here — I just developed an Instagram addiction far later than everybody else, which means gratuitous shots of things I’ve spotted lately to pad out blog posts. Eventually my iPhone will get lost or stolen and I’ll be back to the cataract image resolution of the BlackBerry. Consider this a phase. The image above is something I’d been meaning to up here before — it’s the eccentric window display of a large store that sells cheap tat in Bedford Town centre. I see it every day, but it gets odder and odder – who puts airsoft replica Kalashnikovs, cheap dolls, fake flowers and hookah pipes together? There’s a school of retail that extolls the notion of singling out one thing and doing it well — I prefer the slightly more haphazard bric-a-brac approach.
That male doll appears to be dressed like a gang member too, with that top buttoned mini Pendleton, khakis, beanie and headband. There aren’t too many one-stop spots for houseplant seeds and a convincing looking Glock copy — this is one of them. What also caught my attention was these Kevlar branded lace tips on the new Nike Elite range — Kevlar laces are nothing new and while that branding’s hardly necessary, there’s something oddly appealing about that attention-to-detail. Bulletproof shoelaces are the future.
Films you’ve been placing into the “recent” category are officially old. I never realised that ‘Shallow Grave’ is 18 years old. The film’s old enough to legally buy a copy of itself. Arriving at a time when British films were of ‘Splitting Heirs’ with Eric Idle standard, you’ve got to give it to Danny Boyle for bringing a blend of populism and quality control back home. That’s not to say there weren’t fantastic British movies around at that time (that’s a whole ‘nother entry), but Boyle pushed things forward. As Ewan McGregor’s face on a film poster becomes a harbinger of twee or dull (though ‘Knight and Day’, ‘This Means War’, ‘Larry Crowne’ and posters for anything starring either or both Jennifer Aniston or a post ‘300’ Gerard Butler are the most significant never-watch-pledge reverse-marketing campaigns of recent years), he probably needs to man up and apologise to Danny.
Criterion’s edition of ‘Shallow Grave’ drops in June and the cover art brings back hammer time, looking like a Wickes catalogue money shot to the uninitiated and something more sinister to anyone that’s seen the film. Criterion are also putting the excellent white person problems comedy-drama ‘The Last Days of Disco’ (14 years old) onto Blu-ray in July, with my favourite Chloë Sevigny (between this and ‘American Psycho, during 1998 and 1999, she covered the decade prior pretty well) performance ever and a smart use of 1980s New York that doesn’t try too hard to place period detail by chucking brands and body poppers all over the place. I’d be surprised if Danny Boyle didn’t take a few notes for the song and dance ending of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Matt Keeslar’s character’s speech about why disco can never be killed is cinematic gold.
I really sold people who read this blog short with that one. On the Chloë Sevigny topic, ‘Gummo’ is 15 years old and I still can’t get enough of the whole Mark Gonzales chair wrestling scene. It’s probably an indictment of much that followed that ‘Gummo’ is still a truly odd experience. The chocolate bar from the bath still unsettles me more than any amount of gore and mayhem. The prospect of James Franco as a RiFF RAFF style character in ‘Spring Breakers’ alongside Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens is very appealing too. The Entertainment Tonight preview of it promises “real” and more “real” plus loads of beautiful girls in bikinis, but perhaps it’s set to truly confound folk by being relatively conventional. The 1997 ‘New York’ magazine profile of Harmony from 1997, painting him as some enemy of morality is interesting — plus it has Nan Goldin on photography duties.
Copywriting season is upon me, so no 1000 word wanderings from me today. Apologies if you were looking to get lost in a rant. I’m guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to HBO’s ‘How To Make It In America’ because I keep watching it. I watch it on Megavideo, so I assume I don’t add to the viewing figures, but I’m talking about it here, so even the piracy equals promotion. Louis Guzman, Larry Clark alumni James Ransone, Eli Gessner on consultancy and Joey Pants as a guest star, plus that Earsnot cameo are all winners. Gina Gershon is still beautiful plus there’s plenty of casual nudity, but it’s all so douchey. There’s only a very thin line between print tees in limited numbers, hand-wringing blog hustles and the fixation with the material things, and Ed Hardy tees, flip-flop clad hi-fiving, bootcut denim bro-isms. The industry’s douchey. It just thinks it isn’t because it owns some Medicom toys. The show is a Sex in the City that uses Google reader and wears Dunks. Viral videos! Pop up stores! It tries to use credible reference points creating a jarring clash between realism and cartoonish lead character plots — like Bob Hoskins and Roger Rabbit or Pete and his Dragon.
It’s fluff, but why spend all that HBO loot but base it around two chancers peddling designs that look like TapouT? Sixteen years ago, you’d get giddy at a split-second Supreme or Zoo York shirt sighting in Larry Clark’s ‘Kids’ (itself a heavy-handed parable, but an endlessly quotable slab of big city grimness that could be a skatier Jack Chick tract) or the stray box sticker on the ultra-dated ‘Hackers’ released the same year. Now the brands and locations are all over your cable channel and monitor. Shouts to the consultants — shame about the show. Like ‘Entourage’ it’s just dopey life lessons clad in a hipster uniform — ‘Highway To Heaven’ in loomed selvedge denim. On the ‘Kids’ topic, to pad out this anemic blog entry, here’s the Lynn Hirschberg (Courtney Love’s favourite journalist) ‘New York’ magazine feature, ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ from June 1995 that profiles Larry Clark, Harmony Korine and their relationship with Miramax at the time of the film’s release. I wish I’d kept the Daily Mail cover story call to ban the film.
There’s a whole essay to be written on Steven Seagal’s jackets, but during his zen eco-warrior phase his outerwear reached its apex. This Buckskin jacket from a cinematic game of slaps that just trumps Goldblum’s humiliation in ‘Deep Cover’ — the beating of a rowdy bigot in ‘On Deadly Ground’ for his bullying of an area native — sold last year for just $1,216 dollars. it was was pointed out to me by my buddy Dave, that’s it’s at least third cheaper than an RRL version would be. There’s tassels and embroidery aplenty. According to the auction, it was a gift from Seagal that might not have been the one used during that bar room altercation, but fuck it. For that money, the scope for waddling around, squinting, quoting the “What does it take to change the essence of a man?” line and abusing friends and family into spiritual change was worth the risk. This is heritage looks and the boom for native American prints on a hundred, thousand zillion.
Expounding on a couple of thoughts previously Twittered, ‘The Human Centipede’—the surprisingly well-crafted bad taste flick that set off this rapidly closing summer—might be the ultimate analogy for the realm in which I work. While the arse-to-mouth elements are pure PR and potential outlet behaviour made literal, the melded victims depicted onscreen act as the perfect analogy for the current blogscape too.
Information (by way of a press release and jpegs) enters one gaping maw, is digested before being shitted out for another outlet to consume and defecate…and so the cycle continues, but the song remains the same. Each time it’s digested, it gets a little harder to swallow. How much of the same information-no matter how dull-gets endlessly repeated from blog to blog, bouncing from WordPress to WordPress with a minor title and text tweak for SEO purposes? The new breed of “clobber” sites just run an E-train on the latest lookbook shots, each accompanied by some half-arsed commentary. I blame the “Monocle Man” —not Tyler, but the dull characters who imitate the solemn approach to consuming with nary a solitary element of insight.
Shouts to my buddies at Selectism for switching up the content creation, plus Garmsville, One-upmanship and Style Salvage for their knowledge of the subjects at hand. That’s a rare thing. Too many PR-mouthpiece blogs just serve to bewilder the client with his hand in the budgetary purse, confused by blog culture and stuck in the paper realm, and convince him that his money is being well spent. The majority of men’s fashion blogs are turning my monitor beige.
Overly-sincere shots of weathered-looking craftsmen picking at leather goods are getting tiresome. Monocle seemed to create a monster with their Quoddy shoot back in the publication’s early days. Occasionally even brands who’ve sold out and switched to the Far East years back, still seem to be trying for the “handmade” image in speedily distributed Vimeo virals and shoots. Now those who merrily took the money and ran are haplessly trying to curate a false heritage. Getthefuckoutofhere. There hasn’t been such a tiresome change in tact since those old enough to know better switched from weeping over sold-out Diamond Dunks to hyperventilating over moccasins.
the new Yukuten lookbook has the current promo-trait of quasi outdoor outfitter down to a tee. Beards, serious faces, trees, crepe soles. Facial haired woodland tableaus have got the internet going nuts. Can’t someone do something a little different, like basing it on ‘Hard Target’? Some hobo-styled human prey on the run? When you can take the opening titles of ‘The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams’ and screengrab them to create a similar collection of shots, you know we’ve hit self-parody. These are better, just because they’ve got bears in the mix as a bonus. If any creatives are reading, a spot of wildlife amid the tiresome faux-AmTrad would really liven things up next season…
Grizzly Adams, 1977
On the positive side, over the last hour, the works of Mr. Stephen O’ Malley, particularly on his 2009 cover design for KTL’s ‘KTL IV’ album as part of that ongoing drone with Peter Rehberg, the opening fashion show scene from 1983’s budget classic ‘Liquid Sky’, Harmony Korine and Proenza Schouler’s ‘Act Da Fool’ (now that’s a video lookbook) and Q-Unique’s ‘Crack Era’ promo have been keeping me happy.
In the case of Q, between all my Drumma Boy and Jim Jonsin sonics jocking, I forget how strong he is as an MC. This video is handstyle-heavy, and one of the best non-corny depictions of graff in a rap video since that ill ‘Style Wars’ promo for some hard-to-understand Aesop Rock track. It helps that the audio is decent too-the Les Baxter break stays immense (‘Run’ flipped it nicely too).
Though it’s a sledgehammer moral tale, ‘Kids’ was the one to grab a pirate copy of before its eventual official UK DVD and VHS release in 1999. Remember the swiftly made up distributor (Shining Excalibur Films) made to make some scrilla for Miramax despite mounting controversy, including some extensive Daily Mail coverage? Freeze framing some Supreme and Zoo York (note the same same blink-an-you’ll-miss-the-box-logo frames in the ‘Supreme: Downtown New York Skate Culture’ book)? Folk Implosion’s minor hit with a track that wasn’t in the actual film? The lack of Fat Beats endorsed classics on the soundtrack – and who was Lo-Down, contributing the mysterious ‘Mad Fright Night’? Wanting a Shorty’s tee as much as any of the aforementioned skate brands? Classic movie. Seeing Rosario for the first time? It needs a double disc reissue with commentary.
There’s evidently a lot of stories behind that film. It’s notable just how linear that narrative was. Harmony must’ve made some compromises. ‘Gummo’ took it further, but just as Larry Clark’s brilliantly grim adaptation of Eddie Little’s ‘Another Day in Paradise'(good to see Vincent Kartheiser getting his long deserved dues in ‘Mad Men’ – Natasha Gregson Wagner deserves hers) warrants reappraisal, folk still sleep on the delirious masterpiece that is ‘Julien Donkey-Boy’. It’s still odd that ‘Ken Park’ still remains unreleased in the UK after 8 years following Clark’s punch up with the distributor.
‘Mister Lonely’ was hard work, but nothing was as hard-to-enjoy as Clark’s crappy ‘Teenage Caveman’ remake – though you need to see his short film ‘Impaled’ from the ‘Destricted’ anthology, the anti-porn porno, and an expose of the clinical nature of today’s digitally filmed cheap thrills. Larry’s still flirting with the mainstream – he’s attached to a ‘Mona Lisa’ remake for 2011 at the moment, though that’s subject to change. And Harmony? He just seems to get odder.
Ti West’s ‘House Of The Devil’ was a noble attempt to emulate the video chills a generation grew up with, but Harmony Korine’s ‘Trash Humpers’ is the stuff of nightmares. A shrieking, murderous, distorted act of transgressive art, it gets the look of a discarded VHS depicting freeform oddities just right. That Korine dabbled with the idea of leaving it on a roadside is a testament to his welcome indulgence at a time when we’re assailed with calculated viral campaigns to bring the independent approach to the big screen. The notion of a “found film” is a strong one, but you can’t blame the director for sending it to the festivals. The trailer is appropriately disturbing, and those lo-fi, home edit fonts are always a winner.
It’s interesting that the following part of Korine’s ‘Kids’ script was never filmed – it’s a curious flashback scene that would throw the feel of the film in a major way. Maybe that’s what the writer wanted. It’s best that it was never included, and occurs just after the amassed teens hurl abuse at the gay couple in Washington Square Park. It’s not dissimilar to the carnage that opens Romano Scavolini’s deranged ‘Nightmare In a Damaged Brain.’ From heavy-handed social realism to pseudo-slasher – that’s quite a leap. R.I.P. Harold Hunter and Justin Pierce.
Telly is sitting away on the cement benches under the tree. He is talking to Misha.
How can you hang out with Casper? He’s such a jerk.
You think so?
Yeah. I’ve always hated that kid. He used to eat glue in like seventh grade.
He still does.
I hate ’em.
It’s not his fault. He had a hard life.
You’ve heard the stories right?
EXT. NEW YORK SIDEWALK – DAY
Back in time. Casper is a little boy, age 11. He is walking down the sidewalk with a lunch box and a “Casper the Friendly Ghost” T-shirt. He is wearing his hat on backwards.
Music accompanies this entire episode.
Well, one day Casper had a stomachache and he got permission from his teacher to leave school early and go home.
Casper walks up to a nice middle-class home, it could be in Queens or Brooklyn, it doesn’t matter. He pulls out a key and opens the door. He enters his home.
INT. CASPER’S HOUSE – DAY
The house is dark. Plastic on all the furniture. A velvet picture of Christ is hanging on the wall in the hallway. Very simple and plain, a generic adobe.
Casper enters his house and flips on a lightswitch.
So he walks into his house and hears some strange noises.
The sounds of his mother screaming from upstairs.
(screaming from upstairs)
Get away! Get away! Help! You monster! Please help!
Casper puts his lunch box down and walks to the first stair to listen to his mother’s screams.
The noises were coming from upstairs. In his parents room.
Casper’s mom continues to scream from upstairs.
So, this freaked the hell out of Casper. He was just a little kid and he wasn’t sure what to do.
Casper moves off the step and runs into the kitchen.
So he ran and got a big knife. The same knife his pops used to cut the turkey on Thanksgiving with.
He opens a drawer full of silverware and pulls out a humongous glistening knife. He picks it up, and it shines on his face.
As his mother screams he looks up at the ceiling with the knife in his hand.
(screaming from upstairs)
Stop! Please stop! Oooh help!
Casper runs up the stairs, he is holding the knife straight out.
So he heard his mom’s screams, and knew that she was in trouble. It sounded like she was getting ready to be killed. Like someone was kicking her in the head.
Casper runs down the hall and opens the door to his parents room.
What he sees is very shocking. His face becomes extremely animated.
Casper’s mom is on the bed. She is completely naked except for a pair of bright red high heel shoes. In between her legs is a man wearing all black, including a black ski mask and motorcycle boots. He is having sex with Casper’s mom. He has her arms pinned down on the bed. He is grunting like a pig.
Casper watches for a moment in awe.
MAN IN BLACK
Bitch. You fuckin bitch. Fuckin bitch. Slutty whore.
The man in black slaps Casper’s mom hard on her naked ass.
No! Stop! Get off me!
She is struggling to get loose.
So Casper opened the door and he saw some big guy with a ski mask fucking his mother. What a sight for an 11 year old kid.
Casper runs up to the bed. He climbs on top of the bed with the big knife in the air, all the while the man in black is having sex with his mother. And they don’t even notice Casper at first.
And he goes and jumps on his parent’s bed. And for a second he just looks and watches.
Casper takes his knife and starts stabbing the guy in black, over and over. His mother is kicking and trying to stop him. All the while, she is screaming outrageously and blood is pouring out.
And you know. Casper loved his mom, he didn’t want anything to happen to her. So he started stabbing this guy, over and over. But it was a mistake.
Casper’s mom is kicking Casper as he stabs the man.
Casper is biting his tongue as he stabs the man.
The man falls off the bed and onto the floor.
Casper’s mom is going totally nuts. She is completely naked, with blood all over her body. There is blood all over the sheets. His mom is clawing her face in complete hysterics.
You fuck!!! It’s your father!!! We were playing a game you fuck!!! That’s your father!!! We were just playing!!!
Casper looks very confused as he looks at his naked mother. He has the knife in his hand, and a little blood on his T-shirt and cheek.
Casper’s mom continues to yell at him.
Casper, you fucker!!! Oh, my god!!! Help me God!!!
Casper looks at his mother, then he looks at the dead guy on the floor. He bends down and takes off the mask. It’s his father.
That’s my dad.
You fuck. You killed your father!
So Casper killed his father. He came home with a stomachache and ended up murdering his pops. It was a very embarrassing thing.
EXT. WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK – ON A CEMENT BENCH – DAY
Telly is in the same spot talking to Misha.
So that’s why Casper is how he is.
Oh god. That’s horrible.
A quick shot of Casper smoking a blunt and laughing with his friends.
Holy shit. That’s all true?
No. I was just kidding.
I lied. His dad is still alive. He works for the post office.
” Camisea, 15 April 1981…After hours of his incessant ranting and raving, I ate the last piece of chocolate I had been keeping hidden in my cabin. I ate it practically in Kinski’s face, which he was holding very close to mine as he screamed his lungs out. He was so dumbfounded by my act of self-indulgence that all of a sudden he fell silent.”
I’m in the midst of logging sneaker-related listings to sum up the year at time-of-writing, but truthfully, two of the highlights of 2009 arrived courtesy of Werner Herzog’s outsider fascination, oddly earnest treatment of a trashy screenplay and oft-overlooked skills with the pen when it comes to logging his surroundings and general frame of mind (check the Free Association reprint ‘Of Walking In Ice’ for a primer). Were it not such a clichéd prospect for one who so effortlessly sidesteps the norm, a daily herzogspot.com from the man himself would be e-gold. But you’ll never get that.
What we did get, other than a superior Q&A in Vice’s phenomenal film issue, one of the best issues of anything in a while, alongside the De La FRANK151 and a fine dinner conversation in the States recently regarding the perceived madness of kings Kinski and Herzog, was a publication of the director’s journals during the troubled production of ‘Fitzcarraldo’ and a sequel of sorts to Ferrera’s ‘The Bad Lieutenant.’ That’s more than enough for me.