Saturday, January 28, 2012

EIKO ISHIOKA PASSES

 

Eiko Ishioka

Eiko Ishioka, a designer who brought an eerie, sensual surrealism to film and theatre, album covers, the Olympics and Cirque du Soleil, in the process earning an Oscar, a Grammy and a string of other honours, has died in Tokyo aged 73.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, her studio manager, Tracy Roberts, said.

Trained as a graphic designer, Ms. Ishioka was for decades considered the foremost art director in Japan; she later came to be known as one of the foremost in the world.

Ms. Ishioka won an Academy Award for costume design in 1992 for “Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula,’ ” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Her outfits for the film included a suit of full body armour for the title character (played by Gary Oldman), whose glistening red colour and all-over corrugation made it look like exposed musculature, and a voluminous wedding dress worn by the actress Sadie Frost, with a stiff, round, aggressive lace collar inspired by the ruffs of frill-necked lizards.

These typified Ms. Ishioka’s aesthetic. A deliberate marriage of East and West — she had lived in Manhattan for many years — it simultaneously embraced the gothic, the otherworldly, the dramatic and the unsettling and was suffused with a powerful, dark eroticism. Her work, whose outsize stylization dazzled some critics and discomforted others, was provocative in every possible sense of the word, and it was meant to be.

Ms. Ishioka was closely associated with the director Tarsem Singh, for whom she designed costumes for four films. In the first, “The Cell” (2000), she encased Jennifer Lopez, who plays a psychologist trapped by a serial killer, in a headpiece that resembled a cross between a rigid neck brace and a forbidding bird cage.

“Jennifer asked me if I could make it more comfortable,” Ms. Ishioka told The Ottawa Citizen in 2000, “but I said, ‘No, you’re supposed to be tortured.’ ”

For Mr. Singh, she also costumed “The Fall” (2006), an adventure fantasy, and “Immortals,” a violent tale of ancient Greece released last year. Their fourth collaboration, “Mirror Mirror,” an adaptation of “Snow White,” is set for release in March.

Ms. Ishioka’s other film work includes the production design of “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” Paul Schrader’s 1985 film about the doomed writer Yukio Mishima. That year the Cannes Film Festival jury awarded her — along with the film’s cinematographer, John Bailey, and its composer, Philip Glass — a special prize for “artistic contribution.”

For the Broadway stage, Ms. Ishioka designed sets and costumes for David Henry Hwang’s 1988 drama “M. Butterfly,” for which she earned two Tony nominations, and, most recently, costumes for the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

She won a Grammy Award in 1986 for her design of Miles Davis’s album “Tutu,” whose cover is dominated by an Irving Penn photograph of Mr. Davis, shot in extreme close-up and starkly lighted.

Eiko Ishioka was born in Tokyo on July 12, 1938. Her artistic pursuits were encouraged by her parents: her father was a graphic designer, her mother a homemaker who, in accordance with the social norms of the day, had forsaken literary ambitions to marry and raise children.

But when Eiko, as an undergraduate at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, announced that she planned to be a graphic artist, even her father warned that she would have a much easier life designing things like shoes or dolls. Graphic design in Japan, with its close connection to the sharp-elbowed world of advertising, was every inch a man’s game then.

The young Ms. Ishioka persevered, graduating in 1961 and joining the advertising division of the cosmetics giant Shiseido. She opened her own design concern in the early 1970s; among her chief clients was Parco, a chain of boutique shopping complexes for which she created advertising and promotional materials for more than a decade.

Ms. Ishioka’s work for Parco, which embodied an eclectic, avant-garde internationalism rarely seen in Japanese advertisements of the period, helped cement her reputation. Her print ads, for instance, sometimes showed models who were naked or nearly so, a rarity in Japanese advertising then.

“You’ve seen a kimono: they’re not big into full-on nudes,” Maggie Kinser Hohle, a writer on Japanese design, said. As Maggie Kinser Saiki, she is the author of “12 Japanese Masters,” a book about design that features Ms. Ishioka. “That’s extremely shocking. And yet she did it in a way that made you drawn to the beauty of it, and then you realize you’re looking at nipples.”

Perhaps the most striking thing about Ms. Ishioka’s ads was that they rarely depicted any actual item sold at Parco. For Japanese television, she created a Parco commercial in which, over the course of a minute and a half, the actress Faye Dunaway, black-clad against a black background, slowly and wordlessly peels and eats a hard-boiled egg.

In other work, Ms. Ishioka designed uniforms and outerwear for selected members of the Swiss, Canadian, Japanese and Spanish teams at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She was also the director of costume design for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Ms. Ishioka’s portfolio extended to the circus and a magic show. She designed costumes for Cirque du Soleil’s “Varekai” (2002) and was the visual artistic director of the illusionist David Copperfield’s 1996 Broadway show, “Dreams and Nightmares.”

She also designed costumes for the singer Grace Jones’s “Hurricane” tour in 2009 (they were noteworthy even by Ms. Jones’s lofty standards for the outré) and directed Bjork’s music video “Cocoon.” Her books include “Eiko by Eiko” (1983) and “Eiko on Stage” (2000), both available in English.

Ms. Ishioka is survived by her husband, Nicholas Soultanakis, whom she married last year; her mother, Mitsuko Saegusa Ishioka; two brothers, Koichiro and Jun Ishioka; and a sister, Ryoko Ishioka.

Though she was known in particular for the form of her designs, Ms. Ishioka did not neglect function. For some athletes at the 2002 Winter Games, she created what she called the Concentration Coat, a full-length cocoon of foam-like fabric into which wearers could withdraw from the press scrum around them, pod-like studies in portable solitude.

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JUST FOR FUN

 

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MORE CLASSIC ONE LINERS

 

 

  • I was more nervous than a ceiling fan storeowner with a comb-over.
  • Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy green meat is bad for you.
  • If you think there is good in everybody then you obviously haven't met everybody.
  • If you can't convince them, confuse them.
  • All power corrupts. Absolute power is pretty neat, though.
  • If your feet smell and your nose runs, you're built upside down.
  • Here I am! What are your other two wishes?
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
  • Confession is good for the soul but bad for your career.
  • Gargling is a good way to see if your throat leaks.

CHANEL TAKES TO THE SKIES

 

Chanel Spring/Summer 2012 haute couture collection

Karl Lagerfeld looked to the skies for Chanel's couture show in Paris with an elaborate show staged in a Chanel-branded aeroplane.

COOL IMAGES

 

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CELTIC WOMAN : BELIEVE 2012

 

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The latest offering from Celtic Woman is enchanting, beautiful music that once again expands from its Celtic music base to include music from other genres (such as Bridge Over Troubled Waters and the inspirational You'll Never Walk Alone) that they easily bring under their distinctive umbrella of excellent interpretations.

This latest edition of Celtic Woman features the marvellous angelic voices of Lisa Kelly, Chloë Agnew, the newest vocalist Lisa Lambe, along with Mairéad Nesbitt's marvellous fiddling. The highlights include the fiery vocal and orchestral drama of "Awakening" with all three singers. "The Foxhunter" has Nesbitt's high-energy fiddling stirring up a swirling jig. "The Water is Wide" is a true love song of equal cooperation featuring Kelly and Nesbitt. The lovely updated "Black is the Colour" gets a modern-day spin and Lisa Lambe is glorious amid strings and flutes. Chloe's "Ave Maria" is indeed heavenly and quite touching. And perhaps best of all, the "Songs From The Heart" duo, "Teir Abhaile Riu" and "The Parting Glass" with high-energy performances by all four ladies that virtually define what the Celtic Woman experience is about. Recorded in excellent sound.

Track Listing:
01. Awakening ( 5:16)
02. Nocturne ( 3:35)
03. Sailing ( 4:09)
04. The Foxhunter ( 3:30)
05. The Water Is Wide ( 3:32)
06. Bridge Over Troubled Water ( 4:05)
07. Black Is The Colour ( 3:45)
08. Follow On ( 4:51)
09. Ave Maria ( 4:20)
10. Teir Abhaile Riu ( 4:04)
11. You'll Never Walk Alone ( 3:59)
12. A Spaceman Came Traveling ( 3:50)
13. Songs From The Heart: Walking The Night/The World Falls Away ( 6:43)
14. A Woman's Heart ( 4:27)
15. The Parting Glass ( 4:12)

AUDIO CD

DVD

TRIVIA BITS

 

 

  • Of all the words in the English language, the word "set" has the most definitions.
  • Of the 2200 persons quoted in the current edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," only 164 are women.
  • Of the two chipmunks, Chip and Dale, Chip has the black nose.
  • Offered a new pen to write with, 97% of all people will write their own name.
  • On 15 April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson's fictional ship was the Titan.
  • On 15th May 1948, the Australian touring team scored a world record total of runs in one day. In just under six hours they made 721 all out against Essex, at Southchurch Park, Southend.
  • On 30 March 1867, Alaska was officially purchased from Russia for about 2 cents an acre. At the time many politicians believed this purchase of ' wasteland to be a costly folly '.
  • On 7 January 1904 the distress call 'CQD' was introduced. 'CQ' stood for 'Seek You' and 'D' for 'Danger'. This lasted only until 1906 when it was replaced with 'SOS'.
  • On 9 February 1942, soap rationing began in Britain.
  • On a clear night over 2 000 stars are visible to the naked eye.

QUOTABLES

 

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Friday, January 27, 2012

THIS WORLD … PARIS

 

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Grand Boulevard Paris c1930

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JUST FOR FUN

 

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VINTAGE CAMERAS

 

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London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Skeet - The Greatest Video Game Music - 2011

 

greatest video game music

 

'The Greatest Video Game Music', performed by the highly acclaimed London Philharmonic Orchestra, features classical orchestrations of the best-known video game themes including Mario Bros, Call of Duty, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Halo, World of Warcraft, the incredibly successful Angry Birds and many more. It allows the hundreds of millions of video game enthusiasts to fully immerse themselves in the experience of gaming in a new way, and is the perfect gift for both avid and casual gamers.

Track Listing:
01. Advent Rising Muse [03:43]
02. Legend of Zelda Suite [04:21]
03. Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 Theme [03:34]
04. Angry Birds Main Theme [03:17]
05. Final Fantasy VIII Liberi Fatali [03:14]
06. Super Mario Bros Theme [04:12]
07. Uncharted – Drake’s Fortune Nate’s Theme [01:52]
08. Grand Theft Auto IV Soviet Connection [03:07]
09. World of Warcraft Seasons of War [03:12]
10. Metal Gear Solid Sons of Liberty Theme [03:57]
11. Tetris Theme [03:29]
12. Battlefield 2 Theme [04:41]
13. Elder Scrolls Oblivion [01:52]
14. Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare Main Menu Theme [02:17]
15. Mass Effect Suicide Mission [04:51]
16. Splinter Cell Conviction [02:49]
17. Final Fantasy Main Theme [02:44]
18. Bioshock The Ocean on his Shoulders [02:19]
19. Halo 3 One Final Effort [04:04]
20. Fallout 3 Theme [02:22]
21. Super Mario Galaxy Gusty Garden Galaxy [03:49]
22. Final Fantasy XIII Hanging Edge (Bonus Track) [02:36]

London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Skeet: Tetris Theme (Korobeiniki)

FLOWERS IN ART

 

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MORE HOMER SIMPSONS WORDS OF WISDOM

 

  • You can't go wrong with cocktail weenies. They look as good as they taste. And they come in this delicious red sauce. It looks like ketchup, it tastes like ketchup, but brother, it ain't ketchup!
  • I saw this movie about a bus that had to SPEED around a city, keeping its SPEED over fifty, and if its SPEED dropped, it would explode! I think it was called "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."
  • I don't have to be careful, I've got a gun!
  • I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!
  • Oh, they have Internet on computers now.
  • Marge I swear, I never thought that you would find out.
  • Books are useless: I only ever read one book, "To Kill A Mockingbird" - and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man by the colour of his skin, but what good does THAT do me?
  • Shut up, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip!
  • I am so smart, I am so smart, S M R T, I mean S M A R T.
  • I'm not gonna lie to you, Marge. See ya soon!

“IT’S A HEARTACHE” … BONNIE TYLER

 

It’s a Heartache

Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer, most notable for her hits in the 1970s and 1980s including "It's a Heartache", "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart". "It's a Heartache",  was released in 1977 on the album “Natural Force”.

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LEGO’S LORD OF THE RINGS SET

 

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When LEGO's Lord of the Rings sets were first announced, we only got a look at what Frodo and Aragorn would look like as the company's iconic minifigs. Now we've got a much better look!

The UK Toy Fair has kicked off this week and it's there this photo of the entire Fellowship was snapped. Those Hobbit hair pieces are to die for.

FAMED CLUBS ... FABRIC, LONDON

 

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FABRIC, LONDON

No list of incredible clubs would be complete without the inclusion of this world-renowned London superclub. There isn't a nightspot on earth that can match Fabric's line-ups, a mix of globe-trotting superstar DJs and undiscovered talent. You'll find wild-eyed clubbers testifying to the quality of the venue's sound system. A customised Martin One system supplies impressive muscle, but there's a level of care and attention here that few clubs can match.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FABRIC CLICK HERE

COOL IMAGES

 

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THE BARK SIDE: 2012 VOLKSWAGEN GAME DAY COMMERCIAL TEASER

 

A canine chorus barks a familiar tune. Keep an eye out for the  2012 Game Day commercial — it will all make sense. Love Star Wars and Volkswagen?

Create an Intergalactic Invite to your Big Game party here: http://vw.com/star-wars-invite

TITANIC 100 YEARS LATER

 

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This April it will be 100 years since the Titanic's one and only sailing. And the centennial of the unsinkable ship's sinking, which took the lives of some 1,500 people, is already a bloated extravaganza of dubious taste and obtuse cultural history. If only there were lifeboats in which to escape it all.

At the end of March, Belfast, Northern Ireland, will open "The World's Largest Titanic Visitor Attraction," a glittering behemoth at the old shipyard where the Titanic was built. In size and sheer expense (north of $145 million), the building is equal to the original ship, at least in hubris. Once all the centennial festivities are done, this enormous white elephant will be available for weddings, which is only slightly less awful than using the wreck itself as a venue - as one couple did back in 2001, taking their vows crouched in a little submarine above the ruined prow.

April will also see a raft of Titanic cruises, including an excursion from New York to the site of the catastrophe, and a voyage retracing the ship's route from Southampton (though the plan is for the vessel to make it all the way to New York this time). And as one might have expected, "Titanic," James Cameron's  megahit movie, is being rereleased—in 3-D, of course.

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Not every Titanic commemoration is on a mammoth scale. This weekend in seaside Penarth, Wales, a restaurant will be throwing a Titanic party touted in the local press as "an evening of music, dinner and life jackets."

If you can't make it to Wales, there's always Orlando, Fla., where on Saturday nights one can enjoy "fun" and "merriment" at the "Titanic Dinner Event." The show is staged at "The Titanic Experience," a strip-mall "attraction" about a dozen miles down the road from Disney. Not only is there dining and singing, but for $64.95 you get to "Be a part of the splendour and surprises at one of the most famous dinner parties in history." What a surprise it would be if, after a sumptuous meal, two-thirds of the patrons were tossed in a tank of icy water and left to drown. But that might scuttle the merriment.

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The Orlando enterprise is owned by Premier Exhibitions, the parent of RMS Titanic Inc., the outfit with international salvage rights to what's left of the ship. Much of the haul has been out and about in traveling shows. But, appropriately, the permanent displays are in Las Vegas and Orlando.

There is also something fitting in the fact that the Titanic tchotchkes are displayed by a company otherwise known for turning cadavers into entertainment. Premier Exhibition's bread and butter has been "Bodies: The Exhibition," a show of semi-dissected corpses preserved in plastic.

Premier Exhibitions is cashing in on the centennial of the Titanic disaster with an April auction to offload some 5,500 artefacts raised from the wreck, everything from chunks of the ship's hull to White Star Line teacups and passengers' possessions. The goods will be sold in one gigantic lot, appraised at $189 million.

At the other end of the market, the company has licensed a $19.95 "100th Anniversary Collector's Edition Necklace" almost surreal in its schlock value. On a silver-plated chain dangles an "ocean blue" heart pendant made of glass and reminiscent of the fictional jewel used as a plot device in Mr. Cameron's movie. Embedded in the glass is a crumb of coal hauled up from the wreck. This bauble is "destined to become a conversation piece and a valued collectible you'll want to pass down for generations to come."

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Thanks to the success of the 1997 movie, an unfortunate number of people now think of the sinking of the Titanic primarily as the setting for a romance. And that ahistorical misunderstanding is behind much of the creepy centennial sentimentality.

A hundred years after the disaster, it's worth remembering why the Titanic loomed so large for so long in the public mind—what made it, according to Walter Lord, "The greatest news story of modern times." Lord, whose 1955 book "A Night to Remember" remains the essential Titanic account, wrote: "Here was the 'unsinkable ship'—perhaps man's greatest engineering achievement—going down the first time it sailed," and taking with it many of the most notable people of the day. "If this supreme achievement was so terribly fragile, what about everything else?" Lord asked. "People have never been sure of anything since." The Titanic century soon devolved into world wars, atomic anxiety and an angst rooted in the worry that our machines may not be entirely within our control.

This year, instead of sinking into a celebration of catastrophic kitsch, it's worth restoring the Titanic to its rightful place as a most modern memento mori. What should we remember? Steven Biel, in his cultural history of the Titanic, aptly highlighted Henry Adams's response to the tragedy: "Nature jeers at us for our folly."