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Rolling Stones

One of my favourite ever quotes is Keith Richards describing Mick Jagger as “a mixture of James Brown and Maria Callas” (said while talking to NPR’s Terri Gross in 2010), and it’s a phrase that stuck with me after venturing into the Stones exhibition that’s come to NYC from their hometown of London. Exhibitionism doesn’t just center on the iconic frontman, to be sure, but it does bring together many of the complements he embodies and imbues in the band – the flamboyance and the artistry, the masculine and the feminine, the low brow swirled in with the high.
It’s no wonder they made up a new word for this display: from the moment they ditched the dogtooth suits, the Stones have always been showboats and nothing less than this kind of spectacle would have done. I missed seeing Exhibitionism in London when I was there briefly this past Summer, where it must have had such great resonance, given their roots. But thanks to a re-creation of the apartment Mick, Keith and Brian Jones shared in Chelsea in the early ’60s, I could at least feel like I was there. 
And smell like it too! The one-roomed apartment, where many of the early songs were written, is one of my favourite parts of the exhibit. Recreated by text and anecdote only, as no pictures of it existed, it made me think of the defunct CBGBs bathroom that the Met recreated for its Punk: From Chaos to Couture exhibition. Instead of graffiti-strewn walls and blocked toilets, these rooms had the stench of copious cigarette butts and old broken egg shells that wafted in from the kitchen. At least, it seemed real enough to want to turn my nose away and focus more on the record-player in the next room with Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry LPs next to it. 

“Mediocrity is the enemy” – the Stones.

Other favourite parts include the miniature models of the band’s various set designs, from Voodoo Lounge to Bridges to Babylon – tours that never came close to my home country South Africa, and Keith’s little mini-diaries in which he kept detailed notes of rehearsals and sessions (never expected him to be so meticulous). Hearing Martin Scorsese commenting on the films made about the Stones, before talking about his own, Shine A Light, is another highlight.
My jaw dropped at the sight of all the incredible fashion brought together in one room – from a rhinestone-covered flicking-tongued vest to all the custom Heidi Slimane pieces. Then it dropped even further at seeing the guitars in one room. The Les Pauls! The Fender Stratocasters! The detail and personality within their bodies – art to be studied up close, albeit behind very expensive glass walls, as voices of the band play overhead, telling stories of the instruments. 
“That’s the fun of it,” reads a quote from Keith on one of the walls. “Trying to find the sound you’re hearing in your head until it matches that or you get as close to it as possible.” Over 5 decades of the Stones doing that has yielded this experience right here. And if you’re in New York, you wouldn’t want to miss it!
Exhibitionism is on at Industria until March 2017, and then moves to Sydney.


I’m back! After the madness of SXSW and the travelling and all the woes that go with that, how about some of today’s news worth knowing then…

* Maleficent continues to tease with the release of a new clip and image showing Angelina Jolie’s villain with wings, once upon a time.

* Would you believe the NFL is still harping on about MIA‘s finger flipping from the 2012 Super Bowl? They’re suing for $16.6 million, but she’s got her attorney hitting back with claims that her behaviour wasn’t the first time something salacious happened during America’s biggest football game.

* Darren Aronofsky’s latest film Noah will premiere in Italy tonight, and, according to reports, its star Russell Crowe has been trying to get the Pope  to watch the biblical epic inspired by the story of Noah.

* We always knew Kate Winslet was a star, but now the Oscar-winning actress has one to prove it. Kate was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, with her Divergent co-star Shailene Woodley on hand.

* The Rolling Stones have postponed the first date of their Australian tour, after the very sad news that Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, designer L’Wren Scott died in an apparent suicide on Monday.


* It was a good 4th of July holiday weekend for Despicable Me 2, which made almost $300 million in total, from box office takings here in the US and abroad. The sequel follows on from the film’s success in 2010, when it became the second biggest animated release that year – after the Oscar-winning Toy Story 3. (PS Have you seen me talking to the cast about accents and happiness?)

* By the same stroke, it was a bad weekend for The Lone Ranger. The movie, which reportedly cost an estimated $225 million to make, has hovered around the $73 million mark, from takings in the US and the territories where it’s been released. Here’s the Hollywood Reporter’s theory why.

* Jay-Z‘s rule-breaking Magna Carta Holy Grail continues to stay in the headlines, since releasing last week. The album – what with its re-writing of the rules for platinum status – has so far received mixed reviews. The Android version of the app was cloned by hackers who inserted messages criticizing the US government. Meanwhile, Jay-Z now knows where you live.

* The Rolling Stones are making sure they too stay in the headlines. Following their history-making- Glastonbury-headlining show, the group played London’s Hyde Park this past Saturday, in another historic performance. ‘Twas the first time in 44 years – and this time, they charged people. But what is money, after all? Last week an anonymous buyer snapped up a lock of Mick Jagger’s hair for $6 000 last week.

* The Rolling Stones, too, are making sure they remain in the headlines. Following their history-making- Glastonbury-headlining show, the group played London’s Hyde Park this past Saturday, in another historic performance. ‘Twas the first time in 44 years – and this time, they charged people. This comes after n anonymous buyer snapped up a lock of Mick Jagger’s hair for $6 000 last week. What is money, really?

* If you’re a big Doctor Who fan, Britain’s National Media Museum wants you – yes, you – to contribute to an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the program this year. Finally, a place to showcase those special edition school lunch-boxes.


* It’s the end of a blood-sucking era – the stars of Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2, including Robert Pattinson in a “Peter Pan green tux” took to the red carpet of the LA premiere for the final installment in the series.

* After performing on Live on Letterman last night, and helping to raise funds for those affected by Sandy, Soundgarden release King Animal today, the Seattle grunge-rock group’s first album in 16 years.

* The Rolling Stones have added another show to their US roster – at Jay-Z’s Barclays Centre. This week sees the premiere of the 2-hour-or-so documentary Crossfire Hurricane in New York on Tuesday night and airing on HBO on Thursday.

* South African police are looking for thieves who stole art worth $2 million from the Pretoria Art Museum on Sunday. 5 pieces were stolen from the museum’s permanent collection on Sunday when thieves posing as art students staged a daring arm robbery.

* Kevin Clash, the man behind the beloved puppet Elmo, is taking a leave of absence while allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with an underage teen are being dealt with.


* In the year of their 50th anniversary, The Rolling Stones have released their first single in 6 years Doom and Gloom, ahead of November’s greatest hits album GRRR!

* The 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Chinese author Mo Yan, who has been cited for his “hallucinatory realism [that] merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”

* There’s a new trailer for Django Unchained as we edge closer to the film’s Christmas Day release. Nothing like blood-splattered cotton buds to start your Thursday.

* Stan Lee Media, an Internet company that shut down more than a decade ago and has been mired in lawsuits ever since, is suing Disney for billions of dollars.

* Pete Townshend talked about the future of The Who to Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann S Wenner.

Pic: rollingstones.com