The American Songwriter's Psychedelic New Direction Shines in his Latest Video
The dive bars and strip malls of Oklahoma City are captured during the golden hour in this nostalgic, sometimes hallucinatory video for Harper Simon’s latest single, “Bonnie Brae”, directed by George Salisbury. Most celebrated for his video and design work with the famed Oklahoma export The Flaming Lips, Salisbury took Simon (son of Paul) on a tour of the city at the heart of the States—complete with drag queens and disco balls—and shot it all through a dreamy, iridescent lens. “It seemed familiar, yet strangely unfamiliar,” said the New York-raised, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter of his adventures between the two coasts. “It’s not like what it would look like if you went around Hollywood and tried to shoot in bars. It’s an authentic, American look.” The track is taken from his upcoming psych-influenced second album, Division Street, for which he enlisted the help of producer and Elliott Smith and Beck collaborator Tom Rothrock—and a line-up of guest musicians that reads like a who’s who of groundbreakers in rock, from The Strokes’ Nikolai Fraiture on bass, to Bright Eyes’ Nate Walcott and Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen on synths. For the video, however, Salisbury and Simon kept it quirky, intimate and local. “I thought the gritty vibe was really suited to the lyrics of the song, and maybe the whole album,” explains the musician. “But maybe I’m just at home in a dive bar.”
The Jeweler Creates Erotic Sculptures with Tuscan Marble Once Used by Michaelangelo
The slopes and quarries of Tuscany’s Monte Altissimo provide a dramatic backdrop for the designer and sexual anthropologist Betony Vernon’s first foray into marble, shot by NOWNESS contributor Estelle Hanania. The créatrice behind erotic jewelry line Paradise Found, Vernon has exhibited at the annual Salone del Mobile and London’s Victoria and Albert museum, in addition to collaborating with brands including Missoni and Gianfranco Ferré. A native of Virginia now based between Paris and Milan, she traveled to the famed marble headquarters after being asked to contribute to KAMA: Sex & Design, the forthcoming exhibition at Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, for which she decided to expand her repertoire to include marmoreal creations, recruiting the help of Henraux President and foundation spearhead Paolo Carli. “I want to see the material, I want to learn, I want to have a scalpel in hand and chip away at the marble and feel the way the handle bounces off it,” effuses Vernon, who Carli placed with one of the company’s long-term artisans for the project. A stalwart leader in marble, Henraux has worked with storied artists including Henry Moore, Joan Mirò and Tony Cragg since its establishment in 1821. Its quarries, meanwhile, have been in use since they were discovered by Michaelangelo and excavated by the Medici family in the 16th century; today, an educational institution dedicated to preserving that age-old level of craftsmanship in the region takes advantage of the remains. “Think what’s been made with marble,” Vernon says. “It is the symbol of skin.” The newfound sculptor weighs in on sex and substance.
What do you find most sensual about Italy?
The abundance of Caravaggio, the remnants of Pagan culture, and the primary ingredients that make for fabulous food!
Do you have a favorite or little known aphrodisiac ingredient?
Puntarelle with salsa d'acciughe. Puntarelle is a fall vegetable that I have only ever seen in Italy and that seasonality is one of the reasons it’s so sexy.
What piece of art do you find most erotic?
It is impossible to choose just one! The Frescoes in Pompei, Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World, Irving Klaw’s images of Bettie Page, and John Willie’s fabulous erotic illustrations all come to mind at once! My head is spinning.
What is the best piece of erotic literature?
Anne Desclos’ The Story of O.
What's the most interesting new fetish you've heard about?
It is certainly not new, but suddenly revived: the moustache fetish!
Rodarte, Nico Muhly, Christopher Wool and Benjamin Millepied Team Up For LA Dance Project
Celebrated choreographer Benjamin Millepied, neo-classical composer Nico Muhly and Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy converged backstage at Frank Gehry’s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall last week to put the finishing touches to Moving Parts, their collaboration for the LA Dance Project. Millepied's 27-minute modern ballet is part of a program inaugurating the city’s first major resident dance company in 25 years, which the French-born choreographer set up after relocating from Paris with his wife, Natalie Portman. “The inspiration for the piece came from Christopher Wool's process as a painter, the layering and the way these layers interact in surprising ways,” says Millepied. The show includes a monumental re-staging of Merce Cunningham’s Winterbranch and William Forsythe’s Quintett. “We started with the number of bodies,” LADP co-founder Muhly explains of the inception of Moving Parts. “Six dancers, three musicians.” For the score, Muhly devised a fresh, spare take on Bach to complement the oversized calligraphic printed canvases framing the stage created by New York artist Christopher Wool and the Mulleavy sisters’ sci-fi–leaning, color-coded costumes. “The idea is simple,” Muhly concludes. “A beautiful form with a twist.”