It’s almost a never forgive action that I had no idea that ESPO and REAS’s one-minute Style Wars the Musical short (which, for a moment a while back, I thought was actually a trailer for a full off-Broadway musical) was online via its production company, ApK. This video (on a slightly faraway screen in the Street Market 2 recreation) was one of the highlights of a trip to the Art in the Streets show at MoCa LA back in 2011 — now I want to see a full version of Skeme and his mum’s big number. There have been a lot of magnificent tributes to this iconic documentary throughout the years, but this is one of the very best.
It’s too easy to look to the past – this site is riddled with retro tendencies, riffing on the olden days. In an ideal world, it would be riddled with teched-out madness, future shocks and the new shit, but there’s some stuff that needs to reappear, whether it’s a look at a career, a new presentation of a lost classic or a deeper delve through past glories for a brand. From a spot of speed pondering, 11 things that seem very necessary came to light. There’s a ton more worthy of mention, but here’s what seems pertinent at time-of-blogging…
A RELEASE FOR BO HARWOOD’S CASSAVETES SOUNDTRACKS
It’s curious that John Cassavetes’ body-of-work has been given a beautiful treatment by Criterion and Optimum, and that his name is on the lips of anyone talking indie opuses. As an actor (‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Fury’ spring to mind) he had a serious presence, but as a director, he fathered so many styles, to quote Malice, he should’ve been handing out cigars left, right and centre. From an experiential point-of-view, everyone should watch his entire directorial output.
You’ve got to love those naturalistic performances from Falk, Rowlands and Gazzara – while the kid in ‘Gloria’ is the worst child actor ever, John could generally get a great turn in his movies. ‘The Killing of a Chinese Bookie’, his interpretation of a noirish gangster thriller is a claustrophobic, deliberately paced, gruelling experience – Gazzara as Cosmo is terrific, and the anti-glamour of his plight makes it essential viewing. Bo Harwood was a sound engineer and the man responsible for the raw “scores” for ‘A Woman Under the Influence’, ‘The Killing…’ and ‘Opening Night’ – the curious distorted electro stomp that launches ‘…Chinese Bookie’ is one of the greatest musical moments in ’70s cinema, yet it remains mystery music. Thankfully Nick Cassavetes seemed to ditch a 1997 plan for a remake. Bo Harwood talked about releasing a CD of this music with accompanying notes here, but after that…nothing.
Not necessarily a bring-back, but without getting dumb enough to assume that Mike Tyson’s strange Italian ‘Dancing With the Stars’ appearance looking a little less rotund means he could ever re-enter the ring, it would be nice to see him take a reader through his life and career. Recent tragedy might have set things back a little, but he sent a proposal for his autobiography to five publishers this time last year, leading to a presumed bidding war. Post documentary, and after the popularity of Agassi’s effort, this is a classic in the making. Books like ‘Fire & Fear’ were lacking…the world needs a great Tyson book – ideally an official one.
CLARKS GOING THROUGH THE ARCHIVES
The Weaver Hi is set for a release later this year, and while teaming with Liam Gallagher’s deeply shitty Pretty Green label means Clarks Originals loses some luster, the plaintoe version of the Wallabee is an inevitability. That should earn back some points. But how about the brand digs a little deeper? The truly barmy Deep Country boot, heavy on the crepe, and the Padmore, with its formalised plaintoe look would be a welcome resurrection too – a pipe dream of course, because as the name suggests, an Asian-made Padmore, regardless of accuracy, would make no sense.
MIRACLEMAN EMERGES FROM LEGAL LIMBO
If you were savvy or lucky enough to get talked around by a comic shop staffer in 1990 into grabbing the perfect bound Eclipse reissues, you know that Alan Moore’s work on ‘Miracleman’ is phenomenal, matching ‘Watchmen’ and ‘From Hell’ – evoking a glorious ’80s era of UK comics. If you weren’t that fortunate, you’ve been deprived of a masterpiece – eBay and Amazon Marketplace prices are daft at present. The reason? A tangled legal mess that seemed to embroil every imprint in the industry with rights issues left, right and centre. Marvel got the rights, announcing this last Summer. Rumour has it, a monthly issue-by-issue reprint could happen. Alan Moore has pledged his profits will go to the character’s creator (originally ‘Marvelman’) – 94 year old Brit-funnybook legend Mick Anglo.
ACG OPENS THE VAULTS
If whispers about Nike scheming to take it there with All Conditions Gear are true, then a balance between the old and brand new would be a beautiful thing. The 20th anniversary of the sub-brand was cool last year, but for fanboys, not enough. It’s never enough. A Tarn reissue would be great, but a Kibo High would be killer too. While it should’ve been an ACG flagship, instead it fell into the ‘Nike Hiking’ line on its introduction. One of Nike’s very best.
MO’ WAX: THE BOOK
When it comes to talk of the rise and fall of James Lavelle’s empire and its rise and fall, laugh it up fuzzballs. Mo’ Wax collated a lifestyle that has its considerable dips and troughs but now, going on the aspirational drivel of ‘How To Make It In America’, it’s well and truly part of the mainstream. Most probably have a stack of beautifully packaged nothingness gathering dust with the Mo’ Wax logo affixed alongside the essential stuff, but visually, the label never let the consumer down. Logos, artwork, marketing – this was total obsession. Like ‘Miracleman’ there were label rights issues that caused extra complications, and several artists were, apparently, less-than-happy. REAS’s art on the overlooked ‘Now Thing’ compilation, one of the last label releases is classic material. Bankhead, Drury, Futura and the rest’s work deserves to be collated in one tome. Hope Rizzoli Editions are listening…
CRITERION’S ‘THIN RED LINE’
Criterion have been cryptically promising a Terrence Malick release for a minute, and their excellent monthly newsletter included a cartoon hint at what’s on the horizon. Could that be deciphered as ‘The Thin Red Line’ on Blu-Ray? They get the gasface for regionally coding the Blu-Ray releases, but if that cartoon translates as the Malick masterpiece – one of the greatest war movies ever made, the potential is immense. No slouches on the extras, could this Criterion version lead to the premiere of the 6 hour version and those deleted Haas. Rourke, Mortenson, Thornton, Oldman and Sheen appearances restored?
James Prince’s Rap-A-Lot empire created a blueprint for the south. If you don’t like Geto Boys, Outlaws, Big Mike and 5th Ward Boyz, you’re slipping. In Z-Ro they’ve still got a legend on the books. It’s a shame that Trae and Devin the Dude departed, but with such a spectacular back catalogue, a definitive documentary, remastered albums with bonus DVDs and more would reinforce just how hard this label changed the game. Pill and Yelawolf rep the new breed of down south spitters, but while NYC marinades in its own nostalgia, the south has been too busy progressing to take time out to chart its history beyond local common knowledge. Maybe it’s time to do that.
EGO TRIPPIN’ 2010
Super-publisher Ted Bawno’s Tweets are a necessary follow, but he recently made a more overt reference to the return of the mighty Ego Trip. Will it be online? Televisual? In print? They’ve done all three with aplomb before, but as the editorial team split to take over the industry post ’98, they could bring the magic back with ease. Lest you forget, Brent Rollins’ design, that mix of hardcore, skate and hip-hop, plus Supreme in the fashion shoots and ads before you knew what it was made for the best magazine ever made. And following that, the best book on hip-hop ever written. Note to the herbs – don’t underestimate Ego Trip.
UNDERCOVER TAKES IT BACK PROGRESSIVELY
The whole beige and cardigan thing is done. Where’s streetwear when you need it? Oh yeah, there it is – people are still making referential print tees, except now they have to have a Vimeo teaser. Where can you turn? You can look to one of the originators; Jun Takahashi for a start. Undercover seemed to go back to its roots without compromising the high-end traits of the brand and showed a flailing industry how its done. Most lines are unwearable but buoyed by e-sycophancy – Jun however, is a don. Posing himself for an ill lookbook, you can assume that there’ll be a trickle down of what’s on display via lesser brands. Is this the return of Tokyo street circa 2000? Did things just go full circle? Bet Jun’s apecentric former partner-in-crime drops something serious too…
It’s quite clear that camouflage is back – bear in mind, if you’ve watched the new CNN/Imam Thug, it never actually went anywhere, but as maharishi sank and all-over print overkill set in, it became endemic of streetwear’s overkill. That of course, is bullshit, Camo is timeless, and while fickle types went all Americana, it kept on developing – last month ACUPAT was, as rumoured for a few years now, apparently succeeded by MultiCam as US-army issue for the next tour of Afghanistan. Even British soldiers out there get a MultiCam influenced version of DPM in Multi-Terrain Pattern as of this month too. It looks good on a version of Oakley’s Land, Sea, Air boot set for Summer and an Arc’teryx combat jacket for the LEAF line too.