“ Is it not cruel to let our city die by degree, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?
— Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

posted : Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

tags : jackie_kennedy jaqueline_kennedy jacqueline_kennedy_onassis quotes history history_quotes nyc new_york_city the_future

In Memoriam

Rizzoli Bookstore, West 57th Street, NYC

With its elegant building slated for demolition, yesterday was the last day of business for the much loved, landmark bookstore.  With this closing, an era ends for generations of bibliophiles and aesthetes.  

More on the closing at The New Yorker.

posted : Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

tags : rizzoli bookstores landmark_buildings new_york new_york_city nyc books bibliophile

Nothing But A Teardrop

The Flirtations, 1969

posted : Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

tags : flirtations northern_soul ranb disco disco_classic soul_classic 1969 early_video vintage_music soul_music girl_groups


Views from Blackman Cruz

Antiquarians Adam Blackman and David Cruz curate and stunningly present offbeat curiosities, rarified decorative arts and their own designs in a legendary space.  The building Blackman Cruz now calls home is full of history. Formerly the legendary Los Angeles gay nightclub, The Probe, it was made famous/infamous in this leather bar scene in American Gigolo and is no less dramatic today.

This is an 'Interior. Leather Bar.' that James Franco is unlikely to imagine.

posted : Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

tags : poppers 80s_nightclub nightclub lgbt_history lgbt gay_club disco leather_bar american_gigolo antiques design historic_property collectors the_probe probe_los_angeles probe_hollywood gay_disco richard_gere blackman_cruz interior_design decoration curiosities james_franco interior_leather_bar

Change The Beat

Fab 5 Freddy’s Classic Track

The BBC has recently announced that Fab 5 Freddy’s 1982 ‘Change The Beat’ is the single most sampled track in history.  It has featured in recordings by everyone from Macklemore to Janet Jackson. Even Justin Bieber.

Graffiti artist, hip-hop pioneer and now a hip-hop historian, Fab 5 Freddy’s contributions to hip-hop culture have been numerous (he’s even name-checked in Blondie hit ‘Rapture’) . In the late 1970s and early 1980s he became an unofficial bridge between the uptown graffiti and early rap scenes, and the downtown art and punk music scenes, bringing the whole ‘music, hip-hop, art, break dancing and urban cultural thing to the downtown table.’

The original 1982 release was one of a series of five 12”s each to feature interlocking poster art from Futura 2000.

posted : Saturday, April 12th, 2014

tags : fab_5_freddy change_the_beat blondie hip_hop hiphop hip_hop 80s futura_2000 grafitti grafitti_art art janet_jackson macklemore justin_beiber rapture bbc sample dj dj rap urban_culture history

Artists in Residence, No. 6

Inez + Vinoodh, East Village, New York City

Inez van Lambsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin and Charles Star at home in Manhattan.

“The apartment is like a group show. It’s about our life together.”

posted : Saturday, April 12th, 2014

tags : artists_in_residence inez_van_lamsweerde vinoodh_matadin inez_and_vinoodh artist_home loft east_village nyc photography photographers fashion_photographers

Bénie Soit La Musique

Stromae, House’llelujah 

posted : Saturday, April 12th, 2014

tags : stromae house_llelujah french_house french_music music video house_music


Bill Armstrong’s ‘Renaissance’ Portraits

posted : Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

tags : bill_armstrong photography modern_art art soft_focus classic_portraits renaissance renaissance_art artist american_art

“ If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau

Walden; or Life in the Woods

posted : Sunday, April 6th, 2014

tags : thoreau walden walden_pond american_writer american_author literature transcendentalism quotes great_quotes dreams castles_in_the_air

Country House Weekend, No. 12

Rick Joy’s Woodstock Farm, Vermont

Designed by Rick Joy architects the Woodstock Farm is a departure from his typical oeuvre of desert modernism. Located on a 210 acre farm in Woodstock, Vermont the barn-like residence responds to the local typology in form and the use of a natural palette of locally sourced materials. The house construction style is a vernacular form known as ‘stone end’ made modern in application and responsive to the site.

posted : Sunday, April 6th, 2014

tags : woodstock modernism modern_architecture country_house farm vernacular vernacular_architecture stone_end locally_sourced localism rick_joy architecture country_life great_houses interior_design design

It’s Where Your Heart Goes

Slow Club’s ‘Two Cousins’

posted : Friday, April 4th, 2014

tags : slow_club two_cousins video music music_video tap_dance soft_shoe dance

What A Drag!

Frances Faye & Her Friends, 1959

posted : Friday, April 4th, 2014

tags : lgbt lgbt_history cafe_society jazz jazz_vocalist frances_faye what_a_drag drag gay_history music bruce_weber

A Secret History

Kansas City’s Ball Culture, Circa 1955

These unique photographic slides were recovered, in separate incidental instances, by artists Robert Chase Heishman and Michael Boles. 

Initially researching for an experimental documentary class in 2006, Heishman discovered a slide carousel - labeled “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City” - tossed among the heaps of scrap metal and scattered rubble of a salvage yard in Kansas City’s West Bottoms neighborhood. The first slide he pulled featured someone wearing an elaborate kimono costume and full makeup. In the next slide, a family photo of a young girl and her cocker spaniel. Outside of a handful of family photos and a couple of images showing nondescript city buildings, the rest of the slides contained a mix of posed portraits and party scenes from drag balls throughout the 1950s and 60s. In many, men and women in drag are posed outside the famed Kansas City club The Colony, photographed red-carpet style on their way into the night’s event.

In 2008, Michael Boles experienced a similar series of events. While helping a friend move into a new residence in midtown, Kansas City, he discovered dozens of photographic slides scattered freely inside of a shoebox. Dated throughout the 60s, the mix included family photos among over 100 images of drag queens and drag ball attendees. Along with the slides, Boles recovered articles “Jack” had written, including personal letters and short stories sent from Austria and Wales. 

It wasn’t until 2012 when the two long-time friends realized the semblance of their discoveries. Both sets of recovered slides had clearly been shot by the same photographer, who seemed to have a familiarity with the crowd at each ball. With over 200 slides between the two discoveries, Heishman and Boles teamed up with writer Emily Kay Henson to form the Private Birthday Party collection. Their research, with the help of the Gay and Lesbian Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the generous support of the Kansas City community, uncovered further details, placing most of the photographs at notorious KC nightclubs such as The Colony and The Jewel Box Lounge. 

Billed as “tea dances” or “private birthday parties,” these drag balls were largely underground events. Both local personalities and nationally acclaimed drag performers, including Skip Arnold, G.G. Allen, and Jamie Greeney can be seen in the slides performing their acts and posing with friends. By highlighting these performers in addition to photographing party scenes, outtakes, and portraits of attendees, this collection is a rare and important look into mid-century drag ball culture.

More information on the collection and project here.

posted : Friday, April 4th, 2014

tags : lgbt lgbtq lgbt_history queer_history genderqueer drag drag_ball ball_culture gay_culture kansas_city retro_gay vintage_gay vintage_gay_photography drag_queen lgbt_rights lgbt_studies vintage vintage_photography vernacular vernacular_photography

Remembering Frankie, No. 2

'The Whistle Song'

Frankie Knuckles, 1991

posted : Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

tags : frankie_knuckles dj house_music paradise_garage chicago_house house remix whistle_song 80s 90s classic_house