January 11, 2018

U.N.C.L.E. SCREENING

Event Alert: The Bal Theatre in San Leandro, CA is hosting a special night this Saturday to celebrate the classic 1960s spy vibe! "The Spy Show: Movie, Martinis and Music" kicks off with a rare big-screen showing of one of the original 1960s Man From U.N.C.L.E. films, To Trap A Spy! The movie was created in 1964 primarily for foreign markets by editing additional scenes with Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball) into the pilot episode, Solo (The Vulcan Affair). Will Kuluva appears as Mr. Allison (pre-Waverly), and the baddie organization in the film is known as WASP (rather than Thrush). This feature-length U.N.C.L.E. adventure toured theaters in Asia and Europe between 1964-1965, making a later stop in the US in 1966. Seldom seen since then, so I urge Spy Vibers to try to get there if you are nearby. The special event at the Bal Theatre also includes cocktails and a live spy-tune performance by The Reverbivores and Agency EL84, starting at 8:00. Doors open at 5:00. More info here. Thanks to Cinema Retro for the heads up! Related links: Spy SchoolSpy Vibe Radio 8Robert Vaughn R.I.P.1966 Pep SpiesUNCLE FashionsUNCLE Island MusicGerman UNCLEMcCallum HullabalooNew McCallum NovelNotes From UNCLE EventUNCLE SchoolAgente Secreto ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEJapanese UNCLE editionsUNCLE GunUNCLE Turns 50UK ComicsUNCLE Manga

Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Batman 66 ExhibitPrisoner Fifty EventIan Fleming Publications 2017-2018Interview: Ed Hulse PulpAvengers Audio DramaInterview: Callan At 50Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private EyesTWA ReturnsSpy Vibe Radio 8Interview: Ryan HeshkaMid-Century Modern SchulzAgent WerewolfMata Hair ExhibitJohnny Sokko 50thInterview: Trina RobbinsEddie IzzardThe Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50thHugh Hefner R.I.P.Jack Good R.I.P.Interview: Shaken Not StirredCallan 50thSpy Vibe Radio 7The Prisoner 50th EventSpy-Fi EventKaho Aso 007Two MillionBo DiddleyCarnaby PopLe Carre EventsBilly Bragg SkiffleElvis 68Jack Kirby The PrisonerCasino Royale ConcertReview: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Essential GuideMaud Russell MottisfontSpy Vibe Radio 4Batman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview: Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

January 8, 2018

BOWIE DAY

Happy Birthday David Bowie! Like many teenagers in the early 1960s, David Bowie was inspired by American music. He took up the saxophone and guitar and formed a string of bands that played blues and rock covers for parties and local entertainment. As a keen student of graphic design, art, and mime (!), his Mod beginnings transformed over the years as he explored areas of musical and theatrical production that we can now recognize as era-defining (1960s Mod, poet, 1970s glam, soul, experimental, electronic, dance, 1980s pop, cyber punk, jungle, etc). If an artist is always in the state of becoming, Bowie spent a lifetime trailblazing the outer limits and sending back transmissions of things to come.


Bowie stayed in the fast lane for forty years, releasing albums and pursuing his acting career, until a heart attack on stage in 2004 made him take stock. There was a nine-year hiatus with few appearances, and it looked like the limelight had been traded for quality time as a stay-at-home dad. He surprised everyone in 2013, however, with an outstanding new album called The Next Day, which was released during a flurry of Bowie-related art shows and a massive retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The V&A exhibit celebrating his career in music, fashion, graphic arts, fine art, and set design was captured in the illustrated book David Bowie Is. Catch the exhibit tour- now in NYC, I think. Bowie surprised everyone when he announced that he had recorded the new album in secret- his first record in ten years. The Next Day, quickly went to number one in charts around the globe. With few exceptions, the vibe of the album is energetic and experimental. Bowie also seemed to mine his Berlin period with Brian Eno and Iggy Pop in the 1970s by re-exploring the theme of Berlin in some of the tunes, most notably Where Are We Now? (does the mention to Potsdamer Platz reference his own time there or perhaps Wings of Desire by Win Wenders?). The cover image itself was a re-appropriated version of HeroesFans enjoyed spotting various references to Bowie's past, including a connection between Five Years (Ziggy Stardust/1972) and the track, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die. Besides its sweet echo of Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, the more interesting layer to this song was its thematic connection to tradecraft and the dirty business of espionage. Although some have speculated connections to medieval brutality, one cannot miss the spy references to dead drops, secrets, betrayal, and assassination. I can't help but conjure up images of Deighton's Berlin stories, Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, and the dark sad truth of East Germany's network of informants and agents during Bowie's years in Berlin. Bowie starred in a video for the track The Stars (Are Out Tonight) with the wonderful Tilda Swinton, who also made the opening speech for the David Bowie retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Swinton herself had an artistic fascination with Berlin. She made an an experimental film study of the Berlin Wall in 1988 called Cycling the Frame. Twenty-one years later she starred in a marvelous and meditative film that re-examined the presence -even in its absence- of the Wall called The Invisible Frame (2009). The film invited the viewer to travel with Swinton by bicycle along the scars and remnants of the Wall, an experience that became a long portrait of the city and of the perceptions of identity and territory.


Feel So Lonely You Could Die
By David Bowie (2013)

No-one ever saw you 
Moving through the dark
Leaving slips of paper 
Somewhere in the park
Hidden from your friends
Stealing all they knew
Love is thrown in airless rooms
Then vile rewards for you

But I'm gonna tell
Yes I've gotta tell
Gotta tell the things you've said
When you're talking in the dark
And I'm gonna tell the things you've done
When you're walking through the park

Some night on a thriller’s street will come a silent gun
You've got a dangerous heart
You stole their trust, their moon, their sun
There'll come assassin’s needle on a crowded train
I bet you'll feel so lonely you could die

Buildings crammed with people
Landscapes filled with wrath
Grey concrete city
Rain has wet the street
I want to see you clearly 
Before you close the door
A room of bloody history
You made sure of that

Bowie followed with with the Backstar album, which was release on this day (his birthday) in 2016. He passed away two days later at the age of 69. The record was crafted as his sawn song, and except for a few collaborators, he had kept the seriousness of his illness (liver cancer) a secret. And mid-celebration of the new work, that skinny Mod kid  -who had dreamed as a kid of becoming Little Richard's sax player only to become the king/queen of glam, experimental oracle, actor, artist, designer, and cutting-edge pop star- was no more. No one could deny the message of his farewell video, Lazerus, in which he sang of mortality, and donning one of his old costumes, climbed into a coffin-like wardrobe and disappeared. He said goodbye to the persona of David Bowie, which he had created for his theatrical endeavors. And now David Jones was gone. I feel lucky to have seen him perform a number of times between the 1980s and the 2000s. I still can't quite understand a world without him, but I know his creative spirit lives on in his work. When Tilda spoke about him at the V&A, she talked about how he had been a kind catalyst for so many people to embrace their alternative identities and basically let their freak flags fly. I like to think his own courage and individual nature will continue to inspire young people to follow their own vision, whether it be about personal identity or about creative projects. In that spirit, maybe we really can be heroes.


For Spy Vibers who have never explored the fascinating career of David Bowie, you have a lot to look forward to! Although it is difficult to choose a short list of his work, here is my essential Bowie. If you are a fan of the more cabaret theatrics of Bowie's music, check out the remastered edition of his original Deram album from the mid-1960s and the Baal album.

Movies: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), The Hunger (1983), Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983), Labyrinth (1986), Basquait (1996), The Hunger (tv/1999-2000).

Concerts/Videos/Docs: The Best of Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Ricochet, Reality Tour, Storytellers, Under Review 1976-1979 The Berlin Trilogy.

Albums: Space Oddity (1969), The Man Who Sold the World (1970), Hunky Dory (1971), Ziggy Stardust (1972), Aladdin Sane (1973), Pin Ups (1973), Station to Station (1976), Low (1977), Heroes (1977), Lodger (1979), Scary Monsters (1980), Baal (1981), Outside (1995), Earthling (1997), VH1 Storytellers (2001), Heathen (2002), The Next Day (2013).



Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Batman 66 ExhibitPrisoner Fifty EventIan Fleming Publications 2017-2018Interview: Ed Hulse PulpAvengers Audio DramaInterview: Callan At 50Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private EyesTWA ReturnsSpy Vibe Radio 8Interview: Ryan HeshkaMid-Century Modern SchulzAgent WerewolfMata Hair ExhibitJohnny Sokko 50thInterview: Trina RobbinsEddie IzzardThe Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50thHugh Hefner R.I.P.Jack Good R.I.P.Interview: Shaken Not StirredCallan 50thSpy Vibe Radio 7The Prisoner 50th EventSpy-Fi EventKaho Aso 007Two MillionBo DiddleyCarnaby PopLe Carre EventsBilly Bragg SkiffleElvis 68Jack Kirby The PrisonerCasino Royale ConcertReview: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Essential GuideMaud Russell MottisfontSpy Vibe Radio 4Batman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview: Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

January 5, 2018

SPY-FI BLU 2

UK distributor Network has announced the next wave in their campaign to release some classic 1960s Spy-Fi series in remastered Blu-ray editions. They are now accepting pre-orders for a rare feature-length Man in a Suitcase story and the second batch of episodes from Gerry Anderson's Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Released in installments, as Network did with TV series like Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), fans can chip away at collecting each volume without facing large fees up front (and I imagine this system also helps Network make smaller investments based on demand). From the press release: "Man in a Suitcase stars Richard Bradford in a career-defining role as McGill, a discredited ex-CIA agent reduced to working as a private investigator. Now traveling the world as a gun for hire, McGill has an unorthodox approach and a strong sense of personal integrity that often brings him into conflict with both his employers and the authorities – and makes him more enemies than friends. To Chase a Million (1967)- the exceptionally rare, feature-length version of Variation on a Million Bucks - is presented here in its original widescreen theatrical aspect ratio from a brand-new High Definition remaster from the original 35mm film elements." I've often thought of Network as the Criterion Collection for 1960s cult spy shows. They pay attention to details and really make an effort to bring fans the most beautiful prints possible. It's great they are including this feature-length version in the collection. Check out Man in a Suitcase Volume 1 info here


The other series up for a new pre-order is Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Bringing together all the elements that we usually love about Gerry Anderson (spy-fi adventure, art direction, sets, vehicles, costumes, and music), Captain Scarlet also serves as an interesting time capsule of the alienation and paranoia rooted in the later Cold War 1960s (Related Spy Vibe post: Prisoner Scarlet 50th). From the press release: "One of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's best-loved series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons brought a new level of realism and sophistication to Century 21's endlessly popular Supermarionation productions. To mark its fiftieth anniversary, the series has been remastered in HD from the original 35mm film elements for this Blu-ray edition – it has never looked better! The year is 2068; after a misunderstanding leading to an attack on their Martian city, the Mysterons declare war on the inhabitants of Earth. Ranged against this devastatingly powerful enemy is Spectrum, a worldwide security organisation – its leading operative: Captain Scarlet. Having been captured and replicated by the Mysterons, but breaking free of their control, he now possesses extraordinary powers that make him Spectrum's most powerful agent in the fight to save humanity!" Episodes in Vol 2 include: Seek and Destroy, Spectrum Strikes Back, Avalanche, Shadow of Fear, The Heart of New York, Fire at Rig 15, The Launching, Lunarville 7. I can vouch for the quality of Captain Scarlet Vol 1 The show looks amazing! And the news gets even better- so far these Blu-ray editions seems to be region-free (my Scarlet Vol 1 plays easily in both my region 1 and region 2 players). Enjoy!


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Batman 66 ExhibitPrisoner Fifty EventIan Fleming Publications 2017-2018Interview: Ed Hulse PulpAvengers Audio DramaInterview: Callan At 50Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private EyesTWA ReturnsSpy Vibe Radio 8Interview: Ryan HeshkaMid-Century Modern SchulzAgent WerewolfMata Hair ExhibitJohnny Sokko 50thInterview: Trina RobbinsEddie IzzardThe Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50thHugh Hefner R.I.P.Jack Good R.I.P.Interview: Shaken Not StirredCallan 50thSpy Vibe Radio 7The Prisoner 50th EventSpy-Fi EventKaho Aso 007Two MillionBo DiddleyCarnaby PopLe Carre EventsBilly Bragg SkiffleElvis 68Jack Kirby The PrisonerCasino Royale ConcertReview: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Essential GuideMaud Russell MottisfontSpy Vibe Radio 4Batman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview: Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.
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