* A full trailer for the upcoming Bond movie, Spectre, has been released…
Car chases – check!
Explosions – check!
Romance – check!
The new trailer gives us more insight into the story line of the film – as James Bond travels around the world uncovering the organization known as Spectre. In June when I was in Cancun, we got to talk to the cast – but that yielded information that has had to be embargoed until the film’s release later this year (Oct in the UK, Nov for the rest), and it’s not like the cast could say too much anyway. But we do now know a little more about the Spectre storyline. Namely that Christoph Waltz’ nefarious Franz Oberhauser is cause of all Bond’s misery and there is some kind of link between the two of them – perhaps he is Bond’s adopted brother? We still don’t know who will be singing the theme song, but director Sam Mendez has said it is finished so it should be soon.
* Pixels hits the big screen – and continues the wave of nostalgia that’s currently rushing over us…
Adam Sandler has assembled a bunch of his friends for this latest Happy Madison flick – Kevin James, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan. The CGI-enhanced film is about aliens intercepting a 1980s time capsule and thinking the video games within it are a declaration of war. It’s up to Adam and his buds to save the planet from their attacks, all built around game characters from a bygone era. It’s directed by Chris Columbus who made Home Alone, and Mrs Doubtfire and wrote The Goonies. The reviews have not been great, but I used the opportunity (in Cancun – again – I know, I know) to speak to the cast about the first video games they played.
* The MTV Video Music Award nominees were announced and it caused a Twar…
Miley Cyrus, who you’ll remember drew massive response for her twerking performance with Robin Thicke in 2013 – and gained the VMAs an audience of 10 million – is hosting the show at the end of next month. Kendrick Lamar has five nods, three from the collab with Taylor Swift on Bad Blood. Beyonce and Ed Sheeran have three each. Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood is up against Beyonce’s 7/11, Sheeran’s Thinking out Loud, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk and Kendrick Lamar’s Alright (which I think is incredible for its mix of social commentary and emotive visuals). But Nicki Minaj spoke out about being upset she didn’t get a Video of the Year nom for Anaconda. She did get three noms, but has accused MTV of snubbing her as a black woman – even though her video, like Taylor’s, became a pop phenomenon this year too. The LA Times has a good piece on the point of Nicki’s argument.
I left from the Nike Running store on the Upper East Side (1131 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10065), after taking part in one of their yoga classes. I ran down 3rd Ave until I got to 59 St and took the Queensboro Bridge over to Long Island City. (You’ll forgive my huffing over that bridge but as anyone who’s ever run the NYC Marathon will attest, it’s always a challenge!) I took 23rd St down to Vernon Boulevard and ran all along until reaching Socrates Sculpture Park. After seeing the art pieces there, in particular Agnes Denes’ Living Pyramid, I ran a little further along Broadway Ave to my favourite Greek bakery, Omonia Cafe, for a well-deserved frappe. If you’ve been really good you could even go for the best item they have there, a piece of baklava-cheesecake.
Kudos to the Associated Press for keeping the pressure on this story. We’ve heard or seen from a range of women – at least over 2 dozen – who’ve accused the comedian of various degrees of sexual assault. But because many of their alleged incidents took place years, or even decades ago, the statute of limitations ran out and so he has never been criminally charged. The AP went to court to get the documents from a deposition in 2005 unsealed. They contained the testimony Cosby gave in a sexual assault case brought by a woman who worked at his alma mater – Temple University (you’ll remember he stepped down from the board and being its public face as a result of mounting pressure from the accusations). That case was settled out of court, for an undisclosed sum of money and with confidential conditions. But at least 13 other Jane Does had come added their voices to that case, of having similar situations happen to them.
During his testimony, Cosby admitted to getting prescriptions for Quaaludes to give the sedative to women he intended to have sex with. His lawyers said the women knowingly took the pills. But we know from some of the women who’ve made the allegations that he would offer them something if they weren’t feeling well. Cosby’s camp is sticking by what it said last month – that it didn’t want the testimony to be unsealed because it would be embarrassing for him and his family. It’s interesting to read why the judge allowed for the papers to be unsealed – it has a lot to do with Cosby being very moralistic about how society should live.
Now, it seems, the issue is coming to a crucial point – will there be one case against him with all the women involved?
Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred is looking at how she can use this testimony going forward and the LAPD says it has one case it’s currently investigating and will go after more, even in spite of the statute of limitations. Hollywood is also voicing its opinion on the matter – director Judd Apatow wants Cosby’s onscreen wife Phylicia Raschad and his real life one Camille Cosby to stand with the women who have made the accusations, while Jill Scott has taken back the support she initially voiced for him when the claims started gaining momentum last year. Whoopi Goldberg, however, says he is guilty until proven innocent.
* Lauryn Hill is giving new life to Nina Simone’s songs…
If you haven’t seen it yet, the excellent documentary – made exclusively for Netflix – about the legendary singer called What Happened, Miss Simone? released recently. And to accompany it, a number of musicians have recorded covers of some of the icon’s most memorable songs. It’s called Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone. Artists like Mary J Blige, Common, Usher – doing a playful cover of My Baby Just Cares for Me – and Lauryn Hill make it a varied and rewarding listen. But it’s Lauryn Hill I’m particularly happy to hear. She’s had a few troubles so it’s good to be reminded of her amazing skills. She was originally meant to record just two songs for the album, but became so swept up in the experience she ended up contributing 6 tracks to the album. She also went on to serve as a producer on the compilation alongside Robert Glasper. Lauryn paid tribute in concert too – earlier this month she put on a show at the Apollo Theatre. She’s also been added to the Afropunk music festival here in New York happening next month. Her cover of Feelin Good does Ms Simone velvety justice.
* San Diego Comic Con kicks off this weekend…
I’m not there this year, sadly, but buzz from the fest is sure to make its way through social media so all the important news will make its way to us movie and TV fans. What to expect? According to those in the know, a closer look at the Batman v Superman movie, as well as the Suicide Squad one – perhaps Will Smith will make an appearance? – Wonder Woman and also Justice League. Special guests and sneak-peek footage from Star Wars: the Force Awakens are also sure to get tongues a-wagging. Especially on the back of the news this week that we’re getting a Star Wars spinoff movie, with a young Hans Solo – to be directed by the guys who gave us the Lego Movie, Philip Miller and Chris Lord. Expect as well, some news about the new offshoot from Heroes called Heroes Reborn and the Walking Dead spinoff too. Geeks of all kind will be there – so I’m a little sad to be missing out on seeing Alex Ross, who made his name with his painted, nearly photorealist artwork for Marvel comics, reveal his illustrations for The Beatles. He did them with the band’s blessing – and hey, Ringo Starr turned 75 this week!
The Apollo Theatre is on 125th between Adam Clayton and Frederick Douglass Blvd (but if you live in NYC, you already knew that.
* The US of A has been in a jubilant mood following the #LoveWins Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage across the country. So the news of Misty Copeland becoming the first black principle dancer for American Ballet Theatre is another step forward. Many more steps to go, but if they’re half as graceful and as strong as Misty is, it’ll be alright.
* Staying on things being alright, the video for Kendrick Lamar‘s single Alright, which he also performed at the BETs this past weekend, is one that deserves to be watched over and over. Director Colin Tilley has created some striking B&W imagery – witness the car Kendrick and his crew, Schoolboy Q, AB-Soul and Jay Rock are “riding” in, him floating on a street light and the final few frames. The visuals give us just as much to think about the vocals in the song.
Pharrell dropped his new single, Freedom on Apple Music – and Prince took away his music from Spotify. That makes me very sad. What makes me happy is seeing JANET’S BACK! And looking just like she did in ’93. Janet Jackson received the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual award at the BET Awards this past Sunday . If you missed the tribute done in her honour, you need to see Tinashe, Jason Derulo and the impeccable Ciara dance some of Ms Jackson’s most iconic choreography.
Make sure you see Amy – it’s one of the best films you’ll see this year, even as it’s brings both joy and sadness to watch.
The Temper Tot piece by Ron English is at the Bowery Mural site – cnr Bowery and Houston St,while the Faith47 mural is Broome and Chrystie St next to the Bang Bang Tattoo place.
The nostalgia is real. Jurassic World, the Ghostbusters all-female re-boot, The X-Files return, and so many more pop culture throwbacks are being revived for our collective pleasure right now. Perhaps it’s the comfort of going back to something that once brought joy, or the name association that takes the fear or risk level down a notch, but being an ’80s baby has never seemed trendier.
When I first moved to New York, before I got cable (and before I gave it up), I would fall asleep to episodes of Seinfeld. It seemed that any time after 10:30pm, I could find a re-run or two to watch and remember a laugh had back at home in South Africa where I originally saw the show. I can’t quote Seinfeld episodes like I can Friends or Sex and the City, but there’s still a familiarity to watching the antics of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer over and over again. Although, now living in the city they did, brings with it a deeper sense of that. I truly understand the anguish of trying to make it to the NYC Marathon start line on time, or just how riding the subway, even sans graffiti tags, is never boring.
That nostalgia has now been re-constructed in the form of Jerry’s apartment. Instead of being on the Upper West Side, where the show, which ran for 9 seasons from 1989 to 1998, was set, the apartment has been re-created in a building in the Meatpacking District and it’s now open for the public to experience – making a Kramer-like entrance or practice a comedy stand-up routine in front of the red curtain. Memorabilia items from the show are on display too, including a diner booth from The Restaurant where the gang used to hang out and the Happy Face oven mitt. When I visited, I got to meet Larry Thomas, who made the Soup Nazi one of the show’s most impressionable characters.
It’s all to mark the occasion of Seinfeld reruns now being available online. Hulu has bought the show to stream, for the first time. So now, the re-runs can happen whenever, and the nostalgia can continue even when the trend fades.
Seinfeld: The Experience is at Milk Studios, 451 W 14th St.
I usually like to run to street art pieces but I found myself in London visiting my Dad and brother, and having a post-lunch walk around Shoreditch. I used the time as an opportunity to go exploring with them, looking for pieces that are all over the area, especially Brick Lane and Hanbury Street. From looking at Instagram accounts, I’ve seen some really great pieces online but it’s always better to see them in person.
For one, this collaboration between South American artists Mateus Bailon and Rafael Sliks with Australia’s Jimmy C is a sight to behold. It’s called Spring Offering and brings nature and worlds-beyond together in a striking image.
ROA is all over London – from giant rats to squirrels and other kinds of animals. His pieces are ubiquitous there, as they are here in New York. Yet to turn a corner and be faced with one still elicits a gasp from me every time. I didn’t get the chance to go to Hackney where his 3.5m high rabbit was once threatened with being white-washed by the local council, before a committee came together to save it, but I did see these:
There is a Pixel Pancho collab I loved seeing in Bushwick so I was delighted to see another Pixel work, this time with Evoca1. Pixel’s robotic imagery is brought together with Evoca’s roosters and it’s marvelous.
Some of my other favourites seen along the walk…which I happened to end up running past the next day when I took in a run with London’s Run.Dem.Crew, so there you go!
Gary MSK x Lilly Lou
Paul Don Smith
…and Fanakapan in Star Alley.
The image at the top of the Joker is by Syd the stencil artist going over a Mymo face. Oh, the layers!
Follow @streetartisnotacrime and @globalstreetart on IG if you want to see more London work.