Tag Archives: global

+ FAVOURITE FIND + VIVA MAGAZINE {circa. January 1976}

VIVA MAGAINE: The International Woman’s Magazine {circa. January 1977}

Cover Photograph by the iconic HELMUT NEWTON (hence, the undoubtable chic-ness of this image).  Published by icons Bob Guccione and Kathy Keeton of PENTHOUSE fame, this is a prime piece of classic porn chic.

First coined in a highly influential New York Times article in 1973, porno chic describes a distinct period between 1969 and 1984 where American pornos were hitting the mainstream consciousness and pocketbooks hardcore. Andy Warhol kicked it off in 69 with Blue Movie, and films like Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door, Caligula, The Opening of Misty Beehtoven, A Night at the Adonis, and Flesh Gordon are among the films that encapsulate the Golden Age of Porn.

But it wasn’t just about the films. This period also saw a surge of amazing publishing prowess seen by magazines like PLAYBOY, HUSTLER, OUI, and of course PENTHOUSE dominated the scene, but for the first time publishers turned their attention to the female gaze, and offered pleasures like PLAYGIRL and VIVA with the male form objectified freely and openly to ease the tensions of the day.

I know it seems cliche to say, but its about the articles, too! Especially adult magazines of this period, you will find some powerful political, cultural, and historical content that just can’t be beat! Some of the articles included in this VIVA Magazine include:

The Blue Angel: Inside New York’s Naughtiest Night Club
Minnie Riperton Raps About Fashion
The Real Brenda Vaccaro
The Naked Cowboy
Dustin Hoffman & Robert Redford on set of “All the President’s Men”
Do You Have What It Takes to Be Happy?

Not going to lie; what really stood out to us was the top story on the cover: HOW TO MAKE LOVE LIKE A WITCH!

 

The things they targeted their demographics with back in these times is fantastic! Imagine if they had published topics like this today?? People would have a fit! But, seriously we need more of this!

That’s just what makes this piece so god damn amusing. Keep pieces like this for entertaining treats for your guests- some pop culture, history, and a little eye candy.

They don’t make them like they used to …

And I always get a kick with cigarette ads from this period. They are always so special and great. Like this one:

Just out in the park picking flowers and placing them in my pretty flower basket and smoking a cigarette. . .  

+LADY BE COOL+

I don’t know how things have taken such a drastic turn. It’s rather sad, really…but luckily, we do have pieces like this to remind us of these lost times.

This is a rare item especially considering the super sensual and chic Helmut Newton cover, and VIVA being of lesser popularity as PLAYBOY or even PLAYGIRL. If you have any questions? Send us a message to the.eye.of.faith@gmail.com

Check out more details in listing in the {SHOP}

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{MUSIC MINUTE}: “Take it Easy My Brother Charles” by Jorge Ben

Tropicalia Soul - Jorge Ben and Company

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Take it from our old friend Jorge Ben . . .

Best take it easy for now, my friends and brothers!

Please enjoy!

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Yours truly,

{theEye}

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+STYLE STAR+ ANDRE JUDD: PROPHET OF FASHION

If you’re a fan of Lookbook, or have ever had the chance to browse the online showcase of individual styles gathered to help foster the “collective fashion consciousness” that Lookbook is all about. While glancing past looks by a self proclaimed Mermaid from Neverland you are bound to stumble across this true one-of-a-kind Prophet of Fashion.

Just when you thought style couldn’t get more exciting or gloriously out-of-control you will meet Andre Judd. Andre treads the lines of dreaming and reality with a panache and attention to detail rivalling some of fashion’s greats. Time and time again, Andre has proved that the art of dressing is as much an art as any.

This type of talent is rare, and very few can achieve his bold unique punch of imagination, virtual reality, and pure abandon.  So, naturally we felt the need to connect with the Stylist, Designer, and Fashion Blogger Extraordinaire who answered a few of our questions on life, style, inspiration, and the unique fashion-forward fashion scene of Manila!

Most of all, we felt Andre was the perfect example of what we here at The Eye of Faith are always harping on about and that’s the courage to find inspiration and be your truest self to the highest extent.

“We see something new. Something exciting”

-Andre Judd.

EOF: There seems to be a lot of excitement and intrigue in the world of fashion in the Philippines. What would surprise or excite people most about the Filipino fashion scene?

AJ: Indeed. Every season we see new bright young talents emerge. These designers score high on the critics and fashion press because they have a refined focus on aesthetics as well being commercial.

I think what excites Filipinos about the fashion scene, is that every season it gets better and better. We see something new, something exciting.


EOF: Where would you say the epicentre of Filipino fashion is right now in the Philippines? Any favourite go-to spots?

AJ: Manila is considered the current fashion epicenter, drawing in designers from different parts of the country, as well as Filipino designers based abroad. There are a lot of cool retail shops and boutiques to check out in Manila. Top of my mind is Greenbelt 5, where a few concentrated stores are found selling current collections from my favourite local designers.

EOF: We love how many looks you create, and your undeniable knowledge for style. Who taught you these secrets? God, or deal with the Devil?

AJ: God. Definitely 🙂

EOF: What has been your most important lesson in life when it comes to your own personal brand of style?


AJ: Never say never. It’s my mantra ever since.

EOF: Creating so many complex and detailed looks must be quite the task. What is your secret to staying focused?

AJ: It’s not really hard. I wake up every morning with a strong idea on what I would wear.

EOF: You mix a lot of items one might typically prescribe as masculine or feminine, and it seems once they get the Andre Judd touch, it’s neither. Instead, it’s a whole new brand of cool. What do you call this?
AJ: Some call it non-conventional, others call it androgynous, but I call it post-modern and irreverent 🙂

“Fashion is about change”

-Andre Judd.

EOF: Interesting shapes, textures, and patterns are essential ingredients to your fashion magic. Do you have any tips on incorporating these ideas into one’s everyday style?
AJ: Try playing with shapes, textures, and patterns. For the novice, one can start with just one different detail. Like if you love black, why not play with colour – lets say fuchsia, and combine it with black. If you like wearing block colors, why not try a printed top? It’s the idea of adapting to new things. After all, fashion is about change. You don’t need to sacrifice your style, you just simply like it to evolve 🙂

EOF: You’ve accidentally conjured up an angry spirit who won’t get the hell out of your closet. You want to call the cops, but you know they won’t believe you so you pull out your exorcism kit and go to work. What is the one thing you are hoping to save from your wardrobe?
AJ: Oh my, toughest question ever. I’d pick my accessories box. You can do wonders to your look just by adding a necklace or a brooch.

EOF: What is your favourite vintage find, and why do you think your devils approve?

AJ: Its my Gianni Versace bomber jacket from the 80s.  You wouldn’t believe how super cheap I got it. Its my number one treasured find because its real leather, it has chain mail, looks very contemporary,  the color of the leather goes with anything, and it gives an instant edge to any look.

EOF: We have received a lot of botched up advice on fashion in our lives, but we have always stayed pure to what is inside. What is the worst fashion advice you’ve ever been given?

AJ: Men shouldn’t wear women’s clothing.

EOF: For us, fashion is definitely an escape, and the style or look we wear is the story being told. You are an expert in storytelling, with a seemingly eternal well of inspiration. With almost 400 looks on LOOKBOOK, dark we ask – do you have a favourite?

AJ: Every new look I post is my favourite.

EOF: Here at The Eye of Faith, we like to think of ourselves as soldiers marching for a better tomorrow. Are there any causes or struggles in your life that you are fighting for?

AJ: I am a huge advocate of Filipino fashion so as much as I can I like to wear Filipino designers in my looks. That way I can help promote their names in the international scene via LOOKBOOK.

EOF: What sort of things can the readers of The Eye of Faith expect from Andre Judd in the future?

AJ: Expect the unexpected 🙂

+-{[Check out Andre Judd’s blog The Avantgardien]}-+

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Poems by Greta Bellamacina PLUS “London at Night” EOF Exclusive Poem!

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The last time we spoke with the gorgeous and talented Greta Bellamacina she was getting for a poetry read in Paris, the city of lights, and we were lucky enough to read an original poem written for The Eye of Faith on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Now she is back, with another exclusive poem, and a new book of poetry hand-picked by the divine poet laureate herself, as well some gorgeous black and white portraits that portray the artist in the most gorgeously mysterious manner. . .

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Even as she works hard on a commission by the Royal Academy for their annual summer show, she still has time to be one of the world’s most intriguing style stunners, most especially at the release of POEMS which was featured on the VOGUE UK blog!

 

 

 

London at night 

 

the unbearable night

the night building which washes water 

the night wind which sounds like trapped radiator spirits

the night red light mill

the night full of ship tears

the night window that pains

the mystery that calls you old-fashioned

the night meadow of drafts

the water you would plant under the ground

to save a generation. 

The night walls that shudder flowers

the night woman who is bare 

the equal distances from arms and closed eyes

and gardens that makes a city wide. 

The great face of street kingdoms

the letting of strangers

with metal coloured necks and the sex of swans.

The night cars that are already knocked at doors

the eyes of god lamps 

the night love of dead trees

the five stoned fat of sunlight behind the night

the nights spangle of solace

the park firing of birds

the parks angels

the denial of kneeing

the fear of the colour grey 

the night that is your collar bones

the night which is a wife

the nights common breath

the night watching over the year

and requiting the vertical fires of land

with sea-sore heads.

The unforgiving night

the polite notion of restarting and the barking of roses.

The night skin of summer

the eight ways you became bother and sister

for the sake of rainwater

freely whiter than burnt wood. 

 

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G.Bellamacina

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[PAST] [PRESENT] [FUTURE]
Until next time,
{theEye}
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PHOTO BLAST!!! Time Traveller’s Academy {Vintage Style Inspiration}


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Hitching a Ride with Time- Young and Wild 1960 - Vintage photo

The question of time travel is a query as old as time itself.

And while science struggles to bring to the forefront the pure mechanics of it all, lucky individuals throughout the centuries have inexplicably found themselves doing the time warp.

Indeed, countless stories of men and women lost between the vortex of the past, present, and future have erupted throughout history (you might remember our story on the Time Travelling Hipster), making the questions all the more difficult to answer in the end.

Take for instance Miss Charlotte Moberly, the headmistress of an Oxford college, and her strange and most unusual tale. . .

Charlotte_Anne_Moberly

It was August 10, 1901 and Miss Moberly had taken the afternoon to visit the palace of Versailles with her good friend, Miss Eleanor Jourdan, only to curiously find themselves, while wondering through the palace’s vast and elaborately decorated corridors, beginning to see many people dress in clothes of the 18th Century – including what Miss Moberly would swear was the late, great, Marie Anotinette. They recounted feeling dreamy and depressed, and their surroundings as flat and unnatural.

Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees seemed to become flat and lifeless, like wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees.
– Miss  Charlotte Moberly

It then seems as quickly as they found themselves interacting with these ghosts of the past, they were brought back to the present day, ending off their visit with a cup of tea at the Hotel des Reservoirs, and not mentioning it again until several months later when they began to research more heavily into the incident.

No parties were booked on that day, and they found that many of the landmarks they had seen were in fact missing from the present day layout of the palace. The two would publish their tale in a book entitled An Adventure, which was released in 1911 with much praise by various Paranormal societies.

It is a mystery unsolved to this day.

The Power of Time - Egypt - Giza - Lightning Bolt Strike

Time travel used to be thought of as just science fiction, but Einstein’s general theory of relativity allows for the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that you could go off in a rocket and return before you set out.

– Stephen Hawking.

Moustaches Dont fool us anymore- time travellers academy- vintage style

This is just one of many incidents throughout history that people have claimed to somehow slip through the borders of the present to live through the past, and sometimes even the future. There are little to no explanations to how these strange events occur, and perhaps its better off there never be. This phenomenon is known as a Time Slip.

Dating back thousands of years, stories of time travellers run amuck throughout world culture, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. Who knows how many people have taken the opportunity to slip through the sands of time, and exist completely somewhere else as someone else. How long could this last for?

With future knowledge, these individuals might be set to live their life in a much more bountiful and exuberant way by leaving the present to stake claim on the past. Perhaps this is why man has always taken interest in this idea.

I mean, what better advantage in life would you have if you could simply turn back the clock and erase your mistakes? Stop wars. Cure diseases. But where would we be now if this was to happen?

Time Travellers Helped Bring T Shirts to the Forefront

Time Travelling Teens Know to Take Their Sick Beats to the 1930s

Time Travellers Academy- Dress to Impress- Shock the System - Looking Good Was Never Easier

That’s the thing about the past. We wouldn’t be without it. So to change it, could be very dangerous. . .

Maybe time is a much more powerful entity that can pick and choose as it pleases whom it takes on its journey. Perhaps like any skill, it just takes some practice and training to accomplish. One things for sure, if we were part of the Time Traveller’s Academy, we’d be doing just fine, dressed to nines, looking spiffy in all that vintage clothing the past has to offer.

That’s why we decided to look back, and make it a mission to curate some images of the initiates who may have indeed slipped through the fragile barriers of past, present, and future. For selfish reasons, or style reasons, these are our friends who have locked themselves in the realms of history. What is their mission? What do they hope to find? Will they ever be free?

Time Travelling Wisdom- DARE

That’s just another unsolved mystery.

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The Time Travelling Eye

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When is now? When was then?

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– Bill Nye.

Bad Ass Time Travelling Brother

Until next time,

{theEye}

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“STOKER” – The Life and Styles of the Rich and Sophisticated . . .

STK-3223.NEF

“Stoker” is one of those films that only come out once in a blue moon; when we’ve all done our chores, and said our blessings to the universe – then we get a film like “Stoker”.

Complex, beautiful, provocative, wonderfully acted, great dialogue, and stylistically beyond are some words you could use to describe it, but its more the indescribable feelings you are left with after leaving the picture, that truly speak to its prestige in the grand scheme of world cinema.

The term world cinema couldn’t be more appropriate in this case, as Korean Director Park (Chang-Wook of “Oldboy” fame) has choreographed this exquisitely sinister plot in a language foreign to most of the cast and crew. Even while working with the film’s biggest stars, a translator was used to communicate between actor and director. And while this is his first English language film, it will definitely not be his last. As any film buff knows, the language of film is universal, and from the film’s opening shots the director’s eye for detail and acute sensibility sing a song harking back to film makers of a time long gone like Bergman, Hitchcock, and Kubrick.

India Stoker- Classic Vintage Inspired Look by Kurt and Bart

Many things spoke to us throughout the film, from Clint Mansell‘s (“Black Swan”) haunting score, the incredibly articulated and imaginative Production Design of Therese De Prez (another “Black Swan” veteran), Wentworth Miller (“Prison Break”) and Erin Wilson’s sophisticated script, as well as the acting chops of Matthew Goode ( playing against type as the mysterious Uncle with a dark past), Nicole Kidman (the lonely and vindictive mother), and most especially Mia Wasikowska, as India Stoker, the film’s protagonist.

This young starlet is always good in everything she is in, but almost expertly does she manage to tackle this role which requires her to be many things, most of the time without many words, making for a most appreciated and most memorable character in the past decade.

Surrounded by Saddle Shoes- India Stoker Style Stunner

But what stood out in particular for us here at The Eye of Faith, had to be the incredible costume design by designer duo Kurt & Bart, who put together the looks to fully realize these strange personalities.

Indeed, they are very rich and very sophisticated, and from the moment India walks onto the screen in her crocodile skinned LaBoutins, flowy skirt and floral silken blouse – you just knew you were in for a style treat with this one.

STK-5409.NEF

In fact, throughout the film, the costumes play a great deal in helping enrich the story being told throughout. The designers point out a green Marni cardigan, worn during the film’s strange piano duet, noting how the colour of the cardigan matches the colours of the walls in her own house, symbolizing India’s captivity.

Also signature to the film’s main theme is a pair of shoes – saddle shoes, to be exact, which represent the more child-like and homely version of India, before she foregoes her inevitable transformation into womanhood.

India Stoker - Vintage Fashion Inspiration- Style Idol of Tomorrow

STK-5861.NEF

India Stoker- The preraphaelite muse- nouveau gothic- style stunner inspiration- vintage fashion reinvention

While the film displays a nod to the 1950s with the styling of India, the duo point out that no vintage was harmed in the making of this film.

Instead, they studied day dressed and blouses from the era and used them as inspiration in the creation of India’s wardrobe, adding extra details, and unique clasps and fastenings that would indicate India’s obsessively detailed nature, as well as her rejection of the everyday – that’s my girl!

She is not of this world, but of her own, and throughout the film we are by her side in  her own elevated sense of reality.

The Spider Crawls Up Indias Saddle Shoes

I’m gonna bet there’s already been a rise in saddle shoe sales, and I’m hoping to see more girls unafraid to rock a pretty blouse and skirt combination. After all, its all in the attitude – the India Attitude.

She’s definitely a new idol of sorts; Nouveau-Gothic, in a way, with her pastel coloured blouses, and prim and proper way of dress, but grossly morose in her attitude and presentation to the world around her.

She is a representation of that breaking point from teen to adult, and that indefinite feeling of not belonging to the world that surrounds you, and doing everything you can to not fit into it. She’s a strange poster child for our generation, in that way.

There’s no doubting the staying power of this film, and in 25 years from now, we will still be looking back on this one as a great one on the level of psychological horrors like “The Shining” and “Rosemary’s Baby”. Even compared to those great classics, there is something very different here with “Stoker” that cannot be compared. Perhaps it is the contemporary nature of the story, and it taking place today that is very different.

These days American films don’t often delve into the lives of the rich and sophisticated to come out with a vision so twisted and maniacal, so perhaps it is the appropriateness of this action that really helps speak to the “nowness” of it all. There is no denying the conspiracies and secrets of the world’s most affluent families, and as history as shown us, they often hide the most terrible and terrifying secrets . . .

Finding The Letters She Never Received

“Stoker” is a glimpse on what might just be the truth behind the family with the mansion, the housekeeper, the beautifully kept lawn, the designer furniture, valuable antiques, most incredible designer clothing, and carved stone art just laying about in the garden. After all, you never know . . .

From the very beginning it will really keep you guessing, but be warned – its not for the faint of heart. This is a thriller, and while director Park describes his film as a modern fairy tale, don’t be expecting ponies and rainbows from this one. There is a glass slipper at the end of it all – though be them black crocodile LaBoutins at the end of it all, which maybe a few hours afterwards will really strike you as a funny “Happy Ever After” to this very modern Fairy Tale; a fairy tale that, unlike most,  challenges its audiences, and asks you to question the characters motives and uncover their vices to help us question ourselves and our own everyday anxieties.

So if there’s one thing you get up to this week its getting your butt out the door to see this film!

Stoker- Opening Shots

This is me. Just as a flower does not choose its colour, we are not responsible for what we come to be. Only once you realize this do you become free. And to become adult, is to become free.

-India, “Stoker” {2013}.

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Dying for the look? Stay Tuned to The Eye of Faith for the tools to recreate Stoker’s sensual 1950s reinvention!

Shotguns and Saddle Shoes - Stoker Style

Until we meet again!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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E.O.F. XMAS WISHLIST!

Christmas Pin Up Playthings

So, as you know, we are obsessed with vintage, but we all have our wishes, and if we weren’t without a budget we’d splurge on any number of these amazing treasures! Some are vintage, some are new, some are totally unattainable, but one can still wish. . .

I think it reveals a bit of my style mood, as of late.

Sourced from Ssense.com & Farfetch.com 🙂

Tell me I was good, Santa!

TELL ME, GOD DAMMIT!

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Or check out our {SHOP} for some great finds!

Use code XIXIXI and receive 25 % Off!

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+NIL DISPUTANDUM DE GUSTIBUS+

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{theEye}

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E.O.F. Weather Report {Winter 2013/14}

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What we’re working with this winter . . .

So, the weather report is in, and things look grim. Not only because the weather is near infuriatingly cold, but also because black is back. With a vengeance. Then again, when is black not a thing.

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{Sage}

Stuff like that kind of bothers me, because season after season you have to hear the reiterations of what’s in and what’s not (boho, metallics, white, nautical, army)…it all comes around. It all ends up being the same. I don’t believe in these rules, and instead choose to pick an inspiration as it fancies me in the morning.

Lucky enough for me, my penchant for black lately matches up perfectly with what’s in vogue, and twenty years from now, it would still.

Now don’t go on thinking that Canada is always awash in snow and always cold. In fact, we had a very mild Fall, and just the other week it still felt like Spring. But it seems like the Gods of Winter have begun to swell, and are very quickly taking over the lands, so when it comes to getting dressed to impress, we must always remember taking care of numero uno.

Aaron Duarte- EOF Weather Report (Winter 2013:14} - Detail on Accessories

{Rings and things make an outfit look right. Hats keep the ears warm.}

Goal is not to be cold. So I usually always make sure to wear a hat. Most often a toque (even though my hair has gotten lustrously long and I wish I could show it off more :-p).

I also always carry with me a pair of gloves; usually leather, and lined in fur if you can find them. Leather gives off a chic but tough vibe, and also doubles as protection from harm (as strangers will be more prone to think you could be a potential attacker). [here’s an idea]

Above all, the main piece that brings it all together is the coat. You need a coat that is warm, but you never have to compromise on style. I like to stick to leather, as I find it the perfect barrier to the cold winds and the wetness that usually results in winter. I have two main go-tos. One is a long leather hooded trench, and the other is a vintage 1980s number that is more of a bomber style with a detachable wool collar. Either/or give me the feeling of bad-assness that is essential to keeping up my spirit in this wild weather.

Aaron Duarte- EOF Weather Report (Winter 2013:14} - selfie

{At the Hawk & Sparrow Flea}

I never shy away from bright colours, and most recently have been obsessed with finding things metallic. My favourite being, a liquidy silver number that reminds me of Kurt Cobain’s Jean-Paul Gaultier look he sports in his “Heart-Shaped Box” video.

You can also work it out with accessories. I enjoy rings and things.

But, whatever the weather one must always feel at ease

with his or her own true spirit. The one that

wakes up in the morning with you.

Mine just so happens to

yearn to be

bad

(/ass)

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Until next time,

{theEye}

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The Nagging Doubt You Can’t Shake . . . PRISSY LIPS!!!

PRISSY LIPS - 1

Meet PRISSYLIPS, a Brighton-based alternative due consisting of Crysi de Milo & Reuben Drake. They play “post-apocalyptic new wave protest songs shaped out of love letters, suicide notes, death threats, and shit lists”.

Being the “bright new darlings of the avant-garde”, we couldn’t but help give our friends, fans, and followers a little taste and insight into the “nagging doubt you can’t shake” that is PRISSY LIPS. Keep your eyes and ears open for this gruesome twosome.

Once again, our brilliant correspondent John Wisniewski was able to get the inside scoop!

Check it out:

JOHN: How did Prissy Lips form?
PRISSYLIPS: PRISSYLIPS is what happens when living becomes desperate… it’s the voice of the beaten generation… it’s the culmination of ten years on the edge of the blade.. I met my guitarist, Reuben, about 4 years ago when we were both fucked-up self-destruct-button-pressers and we embarked on a crazy schizo train-wreck of a relationship and this is where we ended up. PRISSYLIPS is like finally clearing your throat properly after 10 years. It is my catharsis, my therapy, my bread and butter and my deepest secrets.
JOHN: What was the first record that you released?
PRISSYLIPS: We haven’t released an LP yet but have an EP (“Hissy Fits”) in production. The first song we released was a 6-minute Bolan-esque guitar ballad  called “Hermaphrodité” which is about the choice I made in being true to myself and so forsaking love! The post-gender blues. I always thought of it as “the Breech Birth of Venus”… it’s a very depressing song but a lot of our songs have come from the dankest, most fucked-up or self-loathing corners of my mind.
JOHN: Prissy recorded a cover of the song “Female Trouble” used in John Waters film of the same name? Are you both fans of John’s films?
PRISSYLIPS: John Waters is pretty much the Pope at our house. His films are staggering works of genius, and Divine a legend. We were honored to be asked to perform at the Brighton premiere of “I Am Divine”, which was an awesome night full of beauty and reverence and boundary destruction… I want to be friends with the Dreamlanders and visit Baltimore. I think John’s book “Shock Value” should be on the bedside table of the world!
PRISSY LIPS - 2
Be sure to check these guys out on FACEBOOK, and sample their incredible music on SOUNDCLOUD.

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{theEye}
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{E.O.F. STYLE IDOL} Ai Wei Wei: According to What?

Ai Weiwei

AI WEI WEI: ACCORDING TO WHAT? at the AGO (August 17, 2013 – October 27, 2013)

Ai Wei Wei is currently the world’s leading bad ass.

Arguably the world’s most influential contemporary artist (no doubt, the most popular), Ai Wei Wei has made a name for himself with politically charged works that bring insight into the current politics of his Chinese homeland by fusing elements of the {past} and {present} together to incite change for the {future}.

Ai WEI WEI- NamesColored_Vases_03Ai-Weiwei-Sunflowers

The seed is a household object but at the same time is a revolutionary symbol.

-Ai Wei Wei

His works go far beyond the physical art he creates with teams of talented craftsmen who use thousand-yea-old techniques to create many of his most intricate works, but also stems into the world of photography and new media using video and cell phone imagery to capture significant moments of his life and the world around him.

This god-like attention to the details of his environments have gotten him into major trouble with the government of China which have their own god-like attention to detail when it comes to censoring sensitive subject matters they would rather seen brushed under the rug and forgotten. Ai Wei Wei creates works so that we we will never forget.

He knows the importance of the truth and works like “Snake Ceiling” and “Straight” aim to bring awareness to matters the government would rather leave in the dust.

Ai-Weiwei-installation-Straight

“Straight” acts as a catalyst to remember the tragic earthquake in the Sichuan province of China which killed over 90,000 people. Wei Wei salvaged the rebar of various buildings that were destroyed in the earthquake and had teams of craftsmen painstakingly straighten each bar by hand, and used the revamped rebar to create a piece reminiscent of a series of waves (perhaps invoking the wave-like motion of the earthquake).

The piece is part of the Ai Wei Wei: According to What? exhibit which is making its North American debut in Toronto at the AGO. The piece provided curators of the exhibit a specific challenge as the sculpture was delivered in 40 crates each weighing 2,500 lbs requiring the gallery to seek critique from engineers to ensure the building’s safety during the installation. The entire installation process took 70 hours over a period of six days to complete. The challenge of the piece is a testament to Ai Wei Wei’s relentless vision that sees very little bounds.

“Snake Ceiling” is a beautiful, organic sculpture created entirely from backpacks to commemorate the more than 5,000 children who were killed in the Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008 due to clumsy engineering and construction of schools. While the government refused to release the number of children killed, Ai Wei Wei conducted his own citizen’s investigation into the incident to uncover the names of the children killed which were celebrated in a spoken-word performance called “Say Their Name” which was performed at the AGO on August 18, 2013 in conjunction with the “Ai Wei Wei: According the What?” exhibit which runs at the AGO from August 17 until October 27.

Censorship is saying: ‘I’m the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine.’ But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word – even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power fill collapse because of a whisper.

-Ai Wei Wei

According to What refers to a series of lithographs created by one of Ai Wei Wei’s own personal idols – Jasper Johns, and is a poignant phrase that encapsulates Ai Wei Wei’s own personal mentality to always question authority and the things people tell you are true, and to be responsible for your own life and destiny without the interference of others to tell you what to do.

One of the most powerful pieces in the exhibit is a blown up ink-jet print of a brain scan of Ai Wei Wei’s own head after being bludgeoned by police during a protest. Other pieces like beautiful marble sculptures of security cameras and hand-cuffs are also a powerful reminder of the heavy weight of authority and the permanence of the damage this authority can do on individuals.

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To the media, I have become a symbolic figure, critical of China. According to the government, I am a dangerous threat.

– Ai Wei Wei

Being a child of the People’s Revolution and seeing his own father, a poet, detained for his beliefs- Ai Wei Wei has never been a stranger to police detainment or having alternate beliefs to that which his government demands of his people, and for 80 days was detained in complete isolation with the company of two guards at all times which he has immortalized in a righteous music video called “Dumb Ass”.

He sees no fear, and this quality is very important, and is something to be looked up to in an idol. Don’t back down from your beliefs, and if you see something wrong – point it out and say it. What is the point of being afraid to be arrested or detained for doing what is right. If this is the case – the truth will be known, as is the case with Ai Wei Wei who is almost always in trouble with the Chinese government. What can they do, though? They detain him and arrest him, but in the end, they have nothing against him but the fact his beliefs are not in line with what they want him to believe. It’s an impossible cause on their part, as we, as humans, were born free. Never forget this.

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While his politics are front and center of his work and persona, its some of his other pieces which really strike a chord with The Eye of Faith. Pieces like “Grapes”, “Kippe”, and “Divina Proportione” (after a study in geometrics by our own master and mentor, Leonardo Da Vinci) use antique furniture and pieces from dismantled Qing dynasty temples, as well as century-old woodworking techniques to create masterful sculptures that can make a man weep in its craft, care, and detail. These pieces take from the history of his culture, his past and memories, and create something new in the now that hopes to also provoke future generations to look at art and history in a revolutionary way.

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Dropping_a_Han_Dynasty_Urn_03Ai-Weiwei-installation-Colored Vases

Above all, the ultimate example of this revolutionary fusion of {past}, {present}, and {future} has to be his Colored Vases series which takes ancient Chinese vases (between 1,000 – 4,000 years old) and has them dipped into brightly colored house paint to make something completely new from the very, very old. While this technique has been seen as controversial, it’s another form of fearlessness, and a bold statement on the history of his culture, and the call for rebirth and  perhaps even rebellion.

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You can take a lot from Ai Wei Wei, and we were so lucky to get to see so many of his pieces up close and personal at the AGO. If you have the chance to see these works, please do go. While much of contemporary art can come off as superfluous and unrefined – Ai Wei Wei’s work is sophisticated both intellectually and aesthetically, and each and every piece cries out in its importance and significance in the grand scheme of art and our growing global culture.

Style isn’t always about what you wear. It’s a lot about what you do. The most important thing you can take away from it is the power to ask “According to What?”, and see the ever growing power of art and thought in our contemporary culture.

Ai Wei Wei - Jump

A nation that has no music and no fairy tales is a tragedy.

-Ai Wei Wei

Click here to visit his official site.

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 Until next time,

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