WIZ: Strait Street

The Acclaimed Filmmaker Uncovers Malta’s Bawdy Past in a New Video for Dark Horses

Vintage footage of sailors and the pleasures of the Maltese harbor punctuate this premiere from British director WIZ, who follows local performer Ira Melkonyan as she wanders hypnotized through the shadows of a rundown palazzo in Valetta’s Old Town, towards the sounds of the Brighton-based art rockers Dark Horses. With a music videography including shorts for David Bowie, Dizzee Rascal and Marilyn Manson, WIZ himself sets the scene for his latest work in a prose poem written to accompany “Anna Minor”, a track from Black Music, the band’s debut album: "Strait Street, known to British servicemen as ‘the Gut’, was Malta’s notorious red light district up until the early 1970s. A choice destination for drunken sailors when the street sprung into life in the long hours of darkness— barmaids would lean on doorways touting for business, musicians, entertainers and prostitutes would spill from every bar." This summer, Dark Horses was invited to perform and record in Malta and the studio space where they found themselves was high up on the infamous row. A close friend of the band, WIZ mixed their menacing guitars with voiceover recollections from a Maltese transvestite who used to work the strip, meshed with the sordid sounds of the world’s oldest profession. “An orgasm is one of the most intense experiences,” he says, reflecting on Dark Horses frontwoman Lisa Elle’s vocal climax, captured on stage at the Valetta venue Floriana Ditch. “There must be some kind of residue here, the amount of sex that was going on over a hundred years. Perhaps Dark Horses’ music somehow activated the sensations from the past.”
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Conversations (1)

  • GLoew
    The archival footage doesn't appeal to me-at least the way it assimilates with this piece. The rest is very interesting and visually striking. Thanks -
    • Posted By GLoew
    • February 13, 2013 at 1:54PM
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    Ilse Crawford x Georg Jensen

    The Designer’s Collaboration with the Danish Design House Captured in a Painterly Film

    Filmmaker Justin Anderson follows a water jug, metallic bowl and candleholder through a choreographed series of daily rituals in this whimsical short showcasing the new Ilse Collection by Georg Jensen. British designer Ilse Crawford is behind the namesake collection, which looks to transform everyday objects into beautiful, experiential items that add elegance to routine. “I like taking very normal things and making them special, so those moments that you begin or end the day with are in some way given shape and materiality,” explains Crawford, the tastemaker behind the launch of British Elle Decoration in 1989. Known for her warm aesthetic, Crawford has designed an extensive roster of interiors and products through her firm Studioilse, including the New York outpost of Nick Jones' Soho House Group and their luxury country spa retreat, Babington House. Key to the Ilse Collection was the Danish word “hygge,” a term that has no direct translation, but relays comfort and humanity. Acknowledging the rich legacy of Georg Jensen, known for its silver hollowware and jewelry, Crawford cast her designs in sensual materials like solid copper, brass and black glass, in addition to using the sleek and elegant polished steel that is the famed Danish design house’s signature. “Georg Jensen’s designs embody Scandinavian minimalism and sophistication,” says the half-Danish Crawford. “To me it was about trying to create designs that amplify and accentuate the way we do things.”

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    Blood Orange: I'm Sorry We Lied

    The New York-Based Producer Falls For a Black Widow in His Neon-Tinged Video

    Night riding motorcycle lover Blood Orange, AKA Devonté Hynes, succumbs to a femme fatale in director Abteen Bagheri's pop promo for "I'm Sorry We Lied." First surfacing in UK dance-punk trio Test Icicles, the Essex-raised Hynes moved to New York five years ago and garnered critical acclaim for his alt-folk Lightspeed Champion solo project. While writing and producing for the likes of Florence Welch and Solange Knowles, Hynes pieced together the distinctive retro-infused R&B of Blood Orange, releasing the Coastal Grooves album last summer. "I'm obsessed with the obsession with the 50s and 60s that people had in the 80s," explains Hynes. "Grease, Billy Idol, Happy Days. It might have been the last time people were cool." Having worked previously on the video for breakout Harlem rapper ASAP Rocky's "Peso," Bagheri shot "I'm Sorry We Lied" over two days along the one-mile Main Street strip of the small desert town of Barstow, California. The young filmmaker drew inspiration from classic 80s noirs like Near Dark, The Wraith, and the Coen Brothers’ debut, Blood Simple, and even used footage of American Ninja 4, which was fortuitously playing on the motel television while filming. "There was something inherently cinematic about it," says Bagheri on first hearing Hynes’s track. "It was like an updated, demented 80s pop soundtrack, dark with catchy melodies."

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