Swiss photographer Karlheinz Weinberger (1921-2006) started his carreer in the late 40ies/early 50ies when he started taking pictures for the first international homosexuals’ magazine «Der Kreis/Le Cercle» (The Circle), for which he worked under the alias “Jim”. In the late 50ies he started portraying the style of the “Halbstarke” (“half strongs” / greasers), a youth culture dominated by young men from the working-class, who where mixing elements of the fashion of the American pop culture figure of the “rebel” (which was especially associated with the biking culture of the time and male icons such as James Dean and Elvis) with their own ideas of a non-conformism and delinquent fashion. The book “Rebel Youth” published by Rizzoli in February brings together these pictures of the Swiss subculture of the sixties and is an awesome document not only of the stylistic playfulness and inventiveness of the early youth cultures, but also of Weinbergers “authentic” style. The book features a foreword by John Waters and can be ordered via Rizzoli. Here’s a little preview:
+++ Hercules & Love Affair member Aérea Negrot will release her first solo album Arabxilla in September. You can download and stream the album track “Love You From The Brain” right here (if you’re able to find the little signs in the black window below):
+++ †DRESSER is a pretty weird and funny “witch house / drag” spoof project from Berlin. The guys have just released they’re first single “It’s a Choice”, a queer reaction to Gaga’s “Born this Way”. You can watch the video here and download the song via Bandcamp +++
+++ I also proudly present the new video by Blood Orange, whose wonderful song “Dinner” I posted here a while ago. “Sutphin Boulevard” is the first single from the forthcoming album “Coastal Grooves” released on Domino Records. The video was shot by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, who happens to have a very nice blog on his homepage by the way.
Four years ago, performance artist Marina Abramović asked director Robert Wilson to co-write and stage on a piece about her live. Now “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic” has celebrated it’s world premiere at the Manchester International Festival, where the show (which features the artist herself, Antony and William Defoe and music by Matmos), was shown last week. As far as I could figure out the play will tour around the world in 2012 (maybe even earlier) and be shown at a couple of theaters in Europe such as the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Theater Basel.
Here are a couple of promising clips from one of the rehearsal some nice person posted on YouTube, check out the MIF website for a video statement by Abramovic herself and two other preview videos. Picture on top by Lucie Jansch.
Nikolaj Tange Lange is half the unapologetically queer, in-your-face duo Nuclear Family (check out our Pick 5 feature from earlier this year), although he’s recently shown a softer side with two EPs of cover versions, available for free download at his Bandcamp. Aside from some alt-rock standards by the likes of Pavement and Sebadoh, he transformed Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams” into a lo-fi anthem and queered Swedish indie popper Håkan Hellström’s “Den fulaste flickan i världen” into “The Ugliest Boy in the World”. Nikolaj took the time to offer Catch Fire some insight on his selections, below.
Berliners can catch his live performance for Alexander‘s In Sedes on Monday, July 18 at Silver Future (where he’ll be selling a brand new EP Songs I Wrote When I was Young), and he’ll DJ as part of «Mort à la Différence» (with Light Asylum and Kool Thing live) on Saturday, July 23 at Chez Jacki.
Nuclear Family, meanwhile, are about to release two 8-minute techno remixes of “I Won’t Do E Tonight” and will perform live at this September’s Queertopia Festival in Norborg, Sweden.
A recent video posted on Vimeo features something of a hybrid poetry reading/burlesque performance by a young man called the Bearded Professor. Speaking candidly about the excitement and awkwardness of a sexual encounter, the wit of the words is only matched by the brilliant execution.
Andy Butler and crew continue to carve out their musical masterpiece in the latest video for ‘Painted Eyes’. Taken from the Blue Songs album – the video takes a more subdued visual compared to the last promo for ‘My House’. Low-fi 70′s visuals and hair flipping aplenty.
Toronto-based, minor-key-addicted Austra have blown up in such a short amount of time since the May release of their debut album Feel It Break, so it would be easily to dismiss them as hype — a video censored for nudity and a mention on Jay-Z’s blog couldn’t have hurt — but thankfully the quality of the music indicates otherwise. Their cold synth patterns and Katie Stelmanis‘s rich voice are a soft sell on melancholic ears, and their sound perfectly defines the Blacksmith Synth-Bop trend of 2011 (a micro-genre I coined just now).
In a Western world where ‘gay culture’ seemingly melds into the candy floss of everyday pop music and is repackaged as a commodity of camp and fierceness, Chicago IRL is a refreshing take on the creativity of young queers. And it is a freshness that shouldn’t be geographically bound to the Windy City.