Category Archives: Music

His Name Was Liberace

Wladziu (or Vładziu) Valentino Liberace – (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987) I remember thinking the first time I saw the Austin Powers movie, that the funniest line was when Mike Myers character wakes up after 40 years, and while reading a history book to catch up he says; “Wow, Liberace gay? I never saw that coming.” Nor did my mom or all the other women (and men) who loved ‘Lee’ Liberace in the 50s, 60’s and into the 80’s.
Liberace was not just the flashy boob he would become in later life, he was a classically trained and well respected classical pianist, forging a pretty good career for a number of years. It’s told that at one point in his young career he wore a white tuxedo on stage, something classical pianists would never do – ever. Along with changing his concerts to a touch of classical music w/ lighter fare, Chopin right next to Home on the Range, his career sky rocketed and he never stopped mixing things up. This guy was huge, HUGE. One of the first performers to actually turn a concert into a SHOW. (* Elton John was not the first gay piano player to dress up). As is often the case, he went to far and became a parody of himself. He would eventually be sued for palimony  by his gay chauffeur, Scott Thorsen, and eventually died of AIDS in 1987. As an aside Steven Soderburg just released his Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas as Lee and Matt Damon as Scott Thorsen called Behind the Candelabra.

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Liberace

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LEE SCOTT

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A Young Vładziu Valentino Liberace

A Young Vładziu Valentino Liberace

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Lee & Elvis

Lee & Elvis

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POOL

Liberace at the Las Vegas Hilton. 2-25-74.

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Lee and Muppet Dog Ralph

Lee and Muppet Dog Rowlph

 

 

Happy St. Pats – From Ireland’s Favorite Son

Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan

NPG x30443; Shane MacGowan by Steve Pykeshane2shane111

Shane & the Missus - Victoria

Shane & the Missus – Victoria

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Design: The Best Cover in Years – David Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’

David Bowie turned 66 on January 8th and released his first LP in 10 years on March 13th – a cause for celebration. One of the things that make it so special is the cover – a simple rework of his 1977 LP, Heroes - or so it would seem. This type of artwork might suggest a greatest hits or a remastered version of the earlier album. Not the case at all. This is a totally new work and is fantastic. No need for a review, it’s the cover were talking about. This is so simple and so potentially misguided, it’s amazing that it works, and it does.

Artist Jonathon Barnbrook explains – “The Heroes cover obscured by the white square is about the spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past.”

“However, we all know that this is never quite the case, no matter how much we try, we cannot break free from the past. When you are creative, it manifests itself in every way – it seeps out in every new mark you make (particularly in the case of an artist like Bowie).”

“We worked on hundreds of designs using the concept of obscuring this cover but the strongest ones were the simplest – it had to be something that was in direct contrast to the image underneath but that wasn’t too contrived (we know all design is contrived, that is the essence of the word ‘design’).”

“It would have been clearer to many people if we had scribbled all over the cover but that didn’t have the detachment of intent necessary to express the melancholy of the songs on the album. Yes, having said all this, we know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but… often the most simple ideas can be the most radical.”

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Bowie at 66

Bowie at 66

In the Studio (with a banjo?)

In the Studio (with a banjo?)

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The cast of video "The Stars are Out Tonight". Tilda Swinton 2nd left

The cast of video “The Stars are Out Tonight”. Tilda Swinton 2nd left

David and Tilda - separated at birth

David and Tilda – separated at birth

Promo with photo of William S. Burroughs & Bowie

Promo with photo of William S. Burroughs & Bowie

Heroes - 1977

Heroes – 1977

With wife, Iman

With wife, Iman

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2013

2013

Packaging: Design Overkill?

Now that anyone can basically steal any bit of music they want, how does the record industry make up for falling sales. Among other things, the answer is to make outlandish, super deluxe versions. You could probably find all this music online but you wouldn’t get the extras, like books, t-shirts, a working amp or turntable. Some of these are beautifully designed, some are just plain crazy and all are expensive.

Alice Cooper Old School_800Alice Cooper – School’s Out/Retrospective   6 CDs in a wooden desk, 2 books, a couple of 7′ singles, various prints and photos – $800.00

whitestripes-vinyl-500The White Stripes – Working portable record player, headphones, box of red vinyl singles, slip mat. $500

burton-elfman-box-set-13-500Tim Burton & Danny Elfman Box – Every soundtrack plus music written for the box (17 discs) all in a working zoetrope with book and photos. $500

acdc_200AC/DC – European Tour 1977 – 5 discs, 1 vinyl, photos, badges, ticket repro, tour poster and a working amplifier – $200

costes_10_250Hotel Costes – The Collection. 10 Discs housed in a beautiful faux suede case – $250

motorhead-box-set750Motohead – Every Motorhead disc (15) in a sweet plastic skull-thing w/ various extras. $750

yo-yo-ma-90-900Yo-Yo Ma – The Box. Career spanning collection of 90 CDs in a beautifully designed wood box with a coffee table hard bound book. $900

pixies-minotaur-600The Pixies – Minotaur. All the studio LPs w/ 3 hardcover books, prints autographed by the band, vinyl versions of each LP in a 3 foot 10lb box. $500

queen-live-at-wembley-super-deluxe-300Queen Live at Wembley – 2 CDs, 2 DVDs in a touring case. Comes w/ soccer scarf, Hawaiin Tour shirt, blow up Freddy doll, back stage laminates and posters. $300

rammstein_300Rammstein – Liebe ist Fur Alle. 1 CD in metal tour case w/ 6 dildos, modeled from each member of the band, handcuffs and lube. $300

cat_screamadelica_150Primal Scream – Screamidelica. 5 CDs 2 vinyl LPs, T-shirt, slip mat, prints and a hard bound book. $150

And the biggest money waster is….

u2_13_500U2 – Achtung Baby. 6 CDs of outtakes and original LP, 4 DVDs, badges, vinyl version of LP, Bono’s sunglasses, a couple of singles, prints and posters. Remember this is for 1 LP that really isn’t that great. $500

And the most expensive

karajan_240_3300Herbert von Karajan. 240 discs (no T-shirts or posters) $3,300

Music: LPs by Movie Stars

Some people feel like they can do everything or anything they want and that we all should be party to it. Robert Mitchum, one of the 40’s and 50’s coolest movie stars (Thunder Road, Night of the Hunter, et al) sure as shit could, with his super cool LP, “Calypso – is like so…”. But what makes Bruce Willis think we want to hear his washed out white boy blues or Steven Segal’s bullshit new age guitar. Some of these folks were actual recording artists before they were movie stars (I think) or at least could really sing – Andy Griffith, for example. Some were just boobs – David Hasselhoff (even though he is huge in Germany).

Robert Mitchum - Calypso is like so...

Robert Mitchum – “Calypso is like so…”

Sebastian Cabot  - "Sebation Cabot Actor, Bob Dylan Poet"Sebastion was the kindly butler on the 60's sitcom Family Affair

Sebastian Cabot – “Sebastion Cabot Actor, Bob Dylan Poet”
Sebastion was the kindly butler on the 60’s sitcom Family Affair

Bridget Bardot - Bridget Bardot Show

Bridget Bardot – Bridget Bardot Show

Bruce Willis - "The Return of Bruno"

Bruce Willis – “The Return of Bruno”

Rock Hudson - "Rock, gently"

Rock Hudson – “Rock, gently”

David Hasselhoff - "Do The Limbo Dance"

David Hasselhoff – “Do The Limbo Dance”

Fernando Lamas - "With Love..."

Fernando Lamas – “With Love…”

John Travolta - "Can't Let Go" Digitally Remastered!!!

John Travolta – “Can’t Let Go”
Digitally Remastered!!!

Harpo Marx - "Harpo at Work"

Harpo Marx – “Harpo at Work”

George Hamilton - "By George"

George Hamilton – “By George”

Dick Van Dyke - "Songs I Like by..."

Dick Van Dyke – “Songs I Like by…”

Clint Eastwood single - "Unknown Girl" w/ "For All We Know"

Clint Eastwood single – “Unknown Girl” w/ “For All We Know”

Honor Blackman - "Everything I've Got"  Best known as Pussy Galore from James Bond film Goldfinger

Honor Blackman – “Everything I’ve Got”
Best known as Pussy Galore from James Bond film Goldfinger

Steven Seagal - "Songs from the Crystal Cave"

Steven Seagal – “Songs from the Crystal Cave”

Andy Griffith - "Just for Laughs"

Andy Griffith – “Just for Laughs”

Mamie Van Doren - "Untamed Youth"

Mamie Van Doren – “Untamed Youth”

Style: What a Drag

Drag always seemed to be a British thing, Monty Python, Benny Hill, Bowie, The Stones, etc. Well, obviousely, not always the case. Kurt Cobain fancied an occasional frock – probably Courtney’s and Iggy looks smashing in a very pricey halter dress. To include Bowie seems too easy but his ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ video found David in drag as 3 very odd women. My vote for the worst looking woman easily goes to Freddy Mercury – or perhaps all of the Cure in their ‘Little House on the Prairie’ house dresses.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

Queen

Queen

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

Mick Jagger & Jerry Hall

Mick Jagger & Jerry Hall

Ozzy

Ozzy

Blur - Damon Albarn as Blondie

Blur – Damon Albarn as Blondie

Keith Moon

Keith Moon

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Mick

Mick

David Bowie x 3

David Bowie x 3

Keith Richards

Keith Richards

Twiggy Ramerez

Twiggy Ramerez

The Cramps

The Cramps

Bono

Bono

 

And the Winner/Loser is….

Robert Smith & The Cure

Robert Smith & The Cure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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