Amoeblog

Recap: Stella McCartney's Autumn 2016 Presentation at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 18, 2016 05:31pm | Post a Comment

Last week we had an experience at Amoeba Music that was about as different as it gets for us. Clothing designer Stella McCartney presented her upcoming Autumn 2016 line at the store at an exclusive party that drew some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

I hate to use the word "fierce," but how else do you describe Carrie Brownstein here?

Needless to say, it was something new for us, but we were game. Who’s to say we at Amoeba can’t rub shoulders with starlets and models?

It was definitely a thrill to see people as famous as Gwyneth Paltrow, Quincy Jones and Kim Gordon stroll into Amoeba on the black carpet while bulbs flashed and journalists got into it about who was wearing what. I got the chance to chat with Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), who revealed to me that her first album was Aqua (I assured her mine was no cooler with Ace of Base). I spoke with fashion icon Rachel Zoe, who told me her first concert was U2. And I share a moment with Mary J. Blige, although I mostly just mumbled some nonsense because she is awesome and looked like an angel.

Continue reading...

Merry Christmas, Christmas Realness!

Posted by Kells, December 25, 2014 12:25pm | Post a Comment
Merry Christmas everyone! There's nothing like waking up on Christmas morning and getting all dolled up for the ultimate day of zenith-level holiday season revels! Here are a few of my favorite Christmas looks from some of my all time favorite famous people. 

Joan Rivers
' oversize sweater worn for the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (also starring Grace Jones, k.d. lang and Cher) is everything! Though our one and only Joan exited life's temporal stage this year, her spirit continues to entertain all us Earthbound couch potatoes. Check out those shoulder pads! It's like she's smuggling stollen in there!

Sometimes I think the Christmas Realness category as we know it was invented by, and for, Dolly Parton. With numerous Christmas specials, collaborations, albums and look after look of very merry material ensembles built on holiday cheer, Dolly has embodied the reason for the season time and time again throughout her career, her flirtationship with Mr. Kenny Rogers offering some of the best looks.

Christmas chalet realness...



Santa's workshop realness...




Christmas at the food court in the mall realness...


Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer realness...


Checking your sass in her Smokey Mountain Christmas special realness...

Dolly is the best, and I feel RuPaul would agree, though she has her very own Christmas realness to serve...
A fierce and fabulous holiday to all, and to all a very merry Rupaul's Christmas Ball -- if you can find it. That's the name of her hella rare 1993 holiday special starring Boy George, La Toya Jackson, Eartha Kitt, Nirvana, Elton John and many others. Be sure to check out Ms. Ru's holiday music too, henny. 
Save
Save

Vive les minets - French Dandyism in the 1960s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 8, 2014 08:00pm | Post a Comment
As a fan of fashion, youth subculture, and the 1960s, at some point I was bound to be made aware of the French minet subculture. Obviously, since I'm writing about it, that momentous occasion has arrived at some point in my past. I can't remember when or where it occurred (the internet is a safe bet) but in the intervening years I've found very little about this stylish group. Compounding my frustration is the fact that what little that I have uncovered about minets is almost always written or recorded in French -- a language of which a month of skipping class at College les pins Castries did little to improve my command. The French Wikipedia (Wikipédia) is humorously blunt in its entry: un jeune homme vêtu à la mode, équivalent masculin de la minette. Last and least -- most of what has been written about minets in English is by writers discussing within the larger context of mod subculture -- a style tribe about which far too much is artlessly written and rehashed.




With that in mind, however, kindly allow me briefly add to the conversational clutter concerning mod, as its evolution is tied closely to that of the minet. Although today mod is often characterized as a mid-60s, working class subculture fueled by the holy trinity of amphetamines, scooters and soul music, it first appeared in the late 1950s when a largely middle class group of mostly Jewish teenagers with families in the clothing business and for whom the chosen drug was apparently coffee. Modernists, as they then to themselves referred, championed modern jazz over trad jazz (which was championed by the Acker Bilk-listening, bowler-hatted, beer-swilling, baggy sweater-and-duffle coated trads). Sharing their love of modern jazz were the beatniks, but their beardy, black, cultivated scruffiness was rejected in favor of the natty continental style associated with untouchable icons of French cool like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon

The caffeinated coffee bar scene had sprung up in the London's Soho area and attracted skiffle fans, rock 'n' rollers, beatniks, trads, mods, and more. There were venues like Les Enfants Terrible, Le Macabre, Le Kilt, and La Poubelle which catered to a caffeinated clientele of French au pairs, expats, children of diplomats, students, tourists, and the Francophile Modernists, who adopted the custom of smoking Gauloises, the French cut hair style and Shetland wool cardigans paired with brushed or quilted bluejeans, white socks, and loafers (either tasseled or penny -- with a genuine American cent piece, of course). The English exposed the French, in turn, to a better class of pop music. 



The mod's French cousin first appeared in Paris around 1962, often lurking around Le Drugstore which despite its name, was more akin to a department store. It was supposedly the only place in France where one could keep up with the English music scene through editions of the now defunct weekly, Melody Maker. Perhaps more importantly, it was also open later than other businesses. 



Shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the American Ivy League look which had so distinguished him from his buttoned-up predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, proliferated on the campus of The American University of Paris. Madras or seersucker jackets were paired with pastel sweaters, oxford shirts, blue jeans, and shoes from English manufacturers like Church's and John Lobb. Suits, when worn, were snug and made of Harris Tweed, herringbone cheviot, hound's-tooth, or mohair. That same year Maurice Renoma opened his shop, Renoma, which was likely the first French boutique with the English-and-American-influenced minet aesthetic.



Seize millions de jeunes' mod expose


The Ivy League look was also influential on the mods over in the UK. In 1965, Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française were curious enough about mods to send a production crew to London where they filmed an episode of the series Seize millions de jeune, which aired in May. In October, the same series turned its sites to the minets. 



Seize millions de jeunes' minet expose

For mods, obscurity was prized and finding soul records that no one else had was rewarded with cultural capital. Americanophilia and Angolophila had long been present in French youth subcultures -- going back at least to the zazous of the swing era up to the yé-yés of the late 1950s (who were of course detested by the minets) and snobbery (ironically, since snobbishness is one of the stereotypes most commonly attributed to the French by Anglos) seems to have been less important. Not only did minets embrace mod groups like The Small Faces and The Who, but well-known British Invaders like The Moody Blues, The Pretty ThingsThe Spencer Davis Group, and The Yardbirds.

As with mods, the minets also championed American rhythm & blues, rock 'n' roll, and soul acts like Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett -- who were heard in Europe via anti-authoritarian British pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Wonderful Radio London (both of which launched offshore in 1964) and the English language Radio Luxembourg. However, whereas most mods seemed only to appreciate mostly black American music and style icons, the minets were embraced the sunshine pop of The Association, the baroque pop of The Left Banke, and the garage rock of The Shadows of Knight. Approval was also granted to rebellious figures like James Dean and -- after he starred in 1966's The Wild Angels -- Peter Fonda


In May 1966, the American magazine, LIFE, ran a piece titled "Face It! -- Revolution in Male Clothes," the sartorially subversive subjects of which profiled men in the UK, the US, and France. Five months later, the first song which acknowledged the existence of the minets topped the French pop charts, Jacques Dutronc's "Les play boys." First Nino Ferrer, then Vignon (né Abdelghafour Mouhsine but sometimes referred to as "Le James Brown marocain"), and Michel Polnareff were among the few French pop singers rated by the minets before the dawn of Dutronc.

Dutronc was employed as a songwriter and artistic director at Disques Vogue, whose previous efforts to exploit subcultures included records by Dylan-inspired hippie, Antoine, modish Les Mods, and beatnik Benjamin. Rising above all silly subcultures was the magnificent Françoise Hardy, who would years later marry Dutronc. Benjamin had recorded the satirical, "Et moi, et moi, et moi," a collaboration between Dutronc and Jacques Lanzmann -- an established novelist, ex-boyfriend of Simone de Beauvoir, and future director of the epic holocaust documentary, ShoahUnsatisfied with the Benjamin's version, Dutronc gave the song a shot and it almost topped the charts. 



Dutronc's second single, "Les play boys," was released in October 1966 and the lyrics humorously acknowledged the minets with the lines:

J'ai pas peur des petits minets
Qui mangent leur ronron au Drugstore
Ils travaill'nt tout comme les castors
Ni avec leurs mains, ni avec leurs pieds


"Les play boys" resided at the top of the charts for six weeks and sold more than half a million copies and Dutronc become one of the few French musicians adopted by the mods. The two subcultures continued to convergently evolve and around 1967 a psychedelic foppishness began to undermine the dignified dandyism of both. Furthermore, the original stylists of both were becoming a bit old for  adolescent scene-dependent soul searching and group-derived displays of non-conformity.

Even as the scene lost its style steam the void left by the departing originals was filled by growing numbers of new, peacockish recruits. Catering to them were new hangouts in and around Saint-Germain-des-Prés including Carette, Le Club Pierre Charron, Le Mimi Pinson, Le New Store, Pub Renault, Le Relais de Chaillot, and Scoss. If maturation and domesticity claimed most of the original minets, more were led away by the events of Mai 68, the cultural effect of which was far more resounding than even the tunes of their 45s. 

The final generation of minets continued to dance dance dance at then-new clubs like Le Roméo Club Paris. When Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson moved to the Le Marais area of Paris in 1971, Courson frequently crossed the Seine with her dope-dealing chum, Count Jean de Breteuil, to hang out with the last minets at places like Brasserie Lipp, Cafe de Flore, and Les Deux Magots. Whilst I wouldn't want to be the first person to suggest that Morrison was inspired by minets, Courson was certainly aware of them and Morrison did seem to trade in his leathers for a preppier look. 


Jim, Alain and Pamela - 28 June, 1971, St Leu d'Esseurent (image credit: Alain Ronay)

The impact of the minet subculture seems to have mostly faded in the 1970s although the Japanese cityboy (シティーボーイ) trend of the late 1970s (associated with the magazine Popeye) similarly embraced a preppy yet anti-authoritarian bohemianism -- as does Free & Easy, which promotes the what they call the "rugged ivy" aesthetic (although few would argue that either are fully-fledged subcultures). In 1998, Franco-Teutonic band Stereo Total released a song "Les Minets" on their album, Juke-Box AlarmThe current preppie-but-not-peppy uniform of the Hipsterjugend - though uninspired in its execution -- is perhaps nevertheless in part inspired by the minets -- although that shouldn't be held against them (and one of their betters should tell those knaves to starch and tuck in their shirts). More clearly aspiring to minet revivalism are so-called Paris Mod Allnighters, with a flyer from one such event pictured here.





The little that I have found about minets which I can share is this short documentary, Les Minets du Champs, which is really just a short interview with former minet Bernard Bacos, who's one of the scene's only chroniclers of which I'm aware (check out his website, Paris 70). There is at least one written work, Christian Eudeline's Anti-yé-yé: Une autre histoire des sixties which I haven't read but has a nicely provocative title. 



Probably the highest profile look back at minet movement was La bande du drugstore, the debut film of writer/director François Armanet which I also haven't seen and has so far only been released on a PAL 2 DVD with French audio and no subtitles. That film also resulted in the release of a soundtrack available on CD, a format for which there are thankfully no region codes and which includes many of the aforementioned bands as well as the Autralian band The Easybeats, Sam & Dave, Cream, Little Esther Phillips, Sonny & Cher, Christophe, The Troggs, and The Full Spirits.




*****

If you've got more information on minets, please let me know in the comments and... 



Fashion, Music, Art & More at Yeah Gurl Spring Affair May 18

Posted by Amoebite, May 7, 2014 04:11pm | Post a Comment

Yeah Gurl Spring Affair

You do not want to miss the 2014 Yeah Gurl Spring Affair happening Sunday, May 18 at Space 15Twenty across from Amoeba Hollywood! Yeah Gurl is a curated event featuring local, indie urban fashion designers, contemporary artists, a selfiebooth, nail art, and DJs in a unique "sample party." This event brings together affordable fashion and art while allowing you to support innovative creatives. The spring edition of Yeah Gurl will focus on the upcoming LA Urban Summer, highlighting various fashion designs alongside contemporary/street art. Amoeba will have a crew on site 12-4pm with our awesome Prize Wheel! Stop by our booth for a chance to take home cool prizes and some Amoeba swag.

Yeah Gurl's Spring Affair opens Sunday, May 18th at 11am and goes until 4pm. You may want to get there early as the're giving away free limited edition Yeah Gurl print gift bags to the first 100 customers.

RSVP to Yeah Gurl Spring Affair on Facebook.

Prize Wheel at Amoeba

The famous Amoeba prize wheel in action!

SPRiNG BREAKERS: Spring Break 4 Ever!!!

Posted by Kells, July 29, 2013 01:02pm | Post a Comment

Spring Breakers, the name says it all. For all intents and purposes it is the what, when, why, where, and who of Harmoy Korine's latest youth culture thesis -- a 94 minute non-stop Girls Gone Wild-esque Dubstep rager that prudently substitutes a copiousness of style for a seemingly decided lack of dramatic substance, inter-cut with super slo-mo beach bosoms and bottom biscuits jiggling at a hypnotizing rate of frames per second. it doesn't make a much sense, but whatever. It's summertime and this movie rules!


It seems to me that the real juice of the Spring Breakers fruit has little to do with cautionary tales, innocence lost or questionable actions, but rather it has everything to do with James Franco's cornrows. That is, soaking up the the overall look of the film, which seems to be inspired if not full-on endorsed by Vice Magazine sponsored American Apparel type fad-mongering marketing strategies, is as good as this movie gets.

It shouldn't go without mentioning, however, that that highly skilled costume designer Heidi Bivens'  hot-neon, day-glo accented beach wear, DTF sweatpants, and pink unicorn ski masks really transport viewers into the hyper-surreal world of Spring Breakers to the point of outmoding the efforts of the aforementioned houses of haute hipsterwares for the trending-now crowd. Indeed, the joint efforts of Bivens and Korine, not to mention the talents of cinematographer Benoît Debie, seem to signify an extremely creatively driven approach to fully realizing this project, but the commercial element Spring Breakers presents is most definitely a fashion force to be reckoned with, whether the message translates as what to buy or what not to buy. For me, I couldn't suppress the urge to indulge in a cinematic marathon of summer fashion features after practically gagging on Spring Breakers.


For example, Earth Girls Are Easy most definitely shares the Spring Breakers affinity for hot pink bikinis (and aliens for that matter):


And I couldn't help but think of Overboard when I saw those super-fly pink tiger swimsuits:

I also couldn't help but recall the Runaways film, perhaps owing to Benoît Debie's role as cinematographer for both The Runaways and Spring Breakers (I've got to see more of this guy's work).


Then there's that whole "good girls gone bad" vibe Spring Breakers, well, exploits:

Not only did that aspect of Spring Breakers (forever) make me want to watch Desperately Seeking Susan, but it kind of made me feel like Madonna in that famous Cheetos overdose scene:

Similarly on the good little bad girls on vacation tip, there were many moments that reminded me of the many times I've watched Dirty Dancing in my life. I wonder if Spring Breakers will age as well as DD has.

I also thought of that other film made by the team behind Dirty Dancing (but nowhere near as successful as their Swayze craze), Shag -- the story of four Southern girls looking for one last wild 'n crazy getaway before succumbing to the rigors of boring, normal adult life. Similar premise, and yet...

The look is different. But the late 60s beach parties of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are just as ridiculous and offensive as those of the South Florida "Spring Break Forever" fever-dreams of today apparently...

A  N  Y  W  A  Y . . .

Want to channel your inner Vanessa Hudgens in your very own Spring Breakers inspired photo shoot?

All the photos that follow hence are taken from an impromptu Spring Breakers inspired photo shoot created by my good friend and fellow Amoebite Gabriel Wheeler after he hosted a Spring Breakers viewing party at his home (sadly, much like Selena Gomez's Breakers character, Faith, I left before the fun happened). Without further ado, here's how to ham it up Spring Breakers style:
You're gonna want to need some cash, lots of cash.

Also, be sure to don swimsuits or any other sort of beach wear you can rustle up, the brighter the better. Don't forget the ski mask! For men Hawaiian prints are a plus.


You don't want your models to dry up under those lights so be sure to stock plenty of beverages.


Also, don't be shy about dipping into your cache of original formula Four Loko.



Of course, ladies, you'll want to get your guns out for this one.


...and don't forget to relish those greens.


Make it rain.


And remember: "SPRiNG BREAK 4EVAH!"


BiTCHZ
<<  1  2  3  >>  NEXT