April 29, 2010

GROOVE WEEK: NICOLA CONTE

GROOVE WEEK: NICOLA CONTE
Spy Vibe's Groove Week continues with Italian maestro, Nicola Conte. Conte's
Jet Sounds (2001) reintroduced retro soundtrack jazz to the masses when his song, Bossa Per Due, was picked up for auto commercial licensing spots. The album was remixed by Thievery Corporation and others for Jet Sounds Revisited (2002). That's where I entered the picture, standing at a listening kiosk at the HMV in Shibuya. I found myself taking the train over there just to hear Conte's incredible grooves. The third trip was the charm and it's been a fave CD ever since. Check out Nicola Conte's website to see some cool comic-style graphics and to hear samples of some of his projects since Jet Sounds.

April 28, 2010

GROOVE WEEK: RICHARD HOLMES

GROOVE WEEK: RICHARD HOLMES
Alan Hawkshaw (UK) and Jerry Van Rooyen (Netherlands) have been jamming away at Spy Vibe, but no groove week would be complete without organist, Richard "Groove" Holmes. "Groove" was born in New Jersey on May 2nd 1931, and hit the hard bop and soul jazz scene with his pulsating riffs in the early 1960s. He' s best known for his 1965 recording of the song Misty. After his passing in 1991, the Beastie Boys paid tribute with their organ-fueled tune Groove Holmes (Check Your Head/1992). Here is Groove's classic Down Home Funk from his 1974 Comin' On Home album. I love the gospel-style intro, and how the bass and keyboard lead us through a bluesy progression into jazz solos you wouldn't find in our usual fare of soundtrack music (Lalo Schifrin notwithstanding), and back again. Groove Holmes is a more recent discovery for me, found during one of those special moments when I heard something playing on the stereo at a local record shop that caught my attention- a great way to find new sounds. Spy Vibers, do you have fave musicians and/or albums that capture a groovy, Spy Vibe tone? Anyone else a fan of Vampyros Lesbos or Gert Wilden?


April 27, 2010

GROOVE WEEK: JERRY VAN ROOYEN

GROOVE WEEK: JERRY VAN ROOYEN
Spy Vibe's Groove Week began with Alan Hawkshaw over the weekend. The UK master now passes the torch over to a maestro from the Netherlands, Jerry Van Rooyen. Like Hawkshaw, Rooyen is known for his groovy soundtracks. Check out the compilation from Crippled Dick Hotwax,
At 250 Miles an Hour (available now on iTunes and Amazon download). Although I grew up with The 10th Victim soundtrack, I really hadn't explored Eurospy or crime soundtracks fully until the Lounge wave hit in the 1990s. It was a revelation to see Combustible Edison performing music by Mancini and Nino Rota, and an even greater impact when Hotwax began releasing their catalog. I'm a sucker for infectious keyboard riffs. They seem so fitting for retro crime/spy adventure! Here is Van Rooyen's The Great Bank Robbery.


April 25, 2010

FEMBOTS PREMIERE

FEMBOTS PREMIERE
Before the media world was infiltrated by sexy Fembots programmed for sabotage, assassination (and selling vodka), the first pop culture she-bot roamed the tunnels under Fritz Lang's Metropolis to bring political unrest to a boiling point. Kino International's Metropolis website has gone online, revealing first details of the theatrical re-release and Blu-ray edition of The Complete Metropolis, with 25 minutes of added footage. The film has its American premiere tonight at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival, accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra. The event will be introduced by TCM Film Historian Robert Osborne. A full run of the film is scheduled at Laemmle's Royal theater starting May 14. It will also screen in New York at the Film Forum from May 7, and at the Cleveland Museum of Art on May 21-23. A trailer of the restored version is available at the Metropolis website or at the Apple trailer site. The Blu-ray edition is scheduled for November.


April 24, 2010

GROOVE: ALAN HAWKSHAW PT.2

GROOVE: ALAN HAWKSHAW PT.2
Funky UK groove-master of the keyboards, Alan Hawkshaw, returns to keep the weekend party going at Spy Vibe. Here he is with the Mohawks with "Beat Me Till I'm Blue," a title that would fit right in with one of the fab Italian or German crime/jazz soundtrack compilations from Crippled Dick Hotwax. Track available on the album Mo'Hawk.
Movie clips show some fantastic set design from the 1968-1971 era. An Op Art intro moves into psychedelic oil/light projections and a number of groovy sets that play with minimal geometric shapes, colors, and a swinging bed (literally and figuratively). Enjoy!

April 23, 2010

GROOVE: ALAN HAWKSHAW

GROOVE: ALAN HAWKSHAW
British composer/arranger and session man, Alan Hawkshaw, is setting a cool groove at Spy Vibe today with "Girl At the Top."


April 20, 2010

GO APE WITH LEE PFEIFFER- ENDED

GO APE WITH LEE PFEIFFER- sale ended
Our Man Lee Pfeiffer of Cinema Retro Magazine put together outstanding bonus material for the Planet of the Apes Blu-ray collection, which includes all of the apes films in stunning resolution, a beautiful book and slipcase, and many supplemental features. For Spy Vibers who love a bit of sci fi, this is a must-have box set- on sale TODAY in Amazon's
Gold Box for $42.99!

April 19, 2010

BOND BOOK SERIES

BOND BOOK SERIES
The next Bond production is on hold as EON Productions navigates the uncertainties of MGM, but fans can look forward to a cool series of books coming up from DK Publishing, the guys that brought you the James Bond Encyclopedia. From Victoria Gallagher at The Bookseller:

Dorling Kindersley will be hoping its new James Bond book collection, which looks at all aspects of the secret agent, from his Aston Martin to his bevy of beautiful women, will seduce readers. The first two titles will be published on 3rd May in paperback. The Book of Bond- the Style, the Story, the Excitement will examine the style and charisma of the man himself, his most memorable confrontations, and introduce each one of his 22 films. Bond Cars and Vehicles- the Classic Cars, the Air and Sea Vehicles, the Secret Weapons, will feature Bond's cars as well as other boats and aircraft he has piloted, along with some of his most exciting chases. The final two titles will be released on 1st September in the same format. The Bond Girls- the Good, the Bad, the Dangerous, will feature a selection of the women Bond has encountered during his assignments. The Bond Villains- the Evil Geniuses, the Henchmen, the Masterplans, will focus on the rogues Bond has defeated.

Alastair Dougall, senior editor at DK, said the idea behind the series was to provide edited highlights of the Bond films. "If you get all four titles you get fantastic visuals of all the aspects of the Bond scenarios and you can see the films from a different perspective," Dougall said. Each book runs through the films chronologically starting at "Dr No" through to "Quantum of Solace". Dougall said the books are "fun and accessible" with images running across spreads, and quotes, which "capture the spirit of the movies". Dougall added: "They will appeal to fans and they will appeal to people who remember the Bond films and want to re-experience and re-enjoy them." The titles have been created in full collaboration with EON Productions, producers of the Bond films. DK previously published James Bond: The Secret World of 007 in 2008 and James Bond Encyclopedia in 2009. Spy Vibe adds that DK also published
The Ultimate Spy by Keith Melton- a very cool illustrated history of spy gadgets. The new series spotlighting Bond girls, baddies, and style sounds fun!

April 13, 2010

HAMMER HI-DEF

Although we focus on the Spy Style of Retro pop culture and the Arts here on Spy Vibe, I think readers may share my excitement in this news from Blu-Ray regarding some rare Hammer Horror titles. The era's colorful pop and sensuality were important ingrediants to the Hammer coctail, and these elements were pushed beyond new limits by the time these titles were in production:

Specialty studio Synapse Films has acquired the rights to three films from the Hammer Films library: Robert Young's Vampire Circus, John Hough's Twins of Evil and Peter Sasdy's Hands of the Ripper. Synapse chief Don May, Jr. told Fangoria that the studio has new high-definition transfers of all three features and that it's "very possible" that they will get a Blu-ray release.

Supplement producer Daniel Griffith is working with the studio on extras, including interviews with filmmaker and Hammer fan Joe Dante and Ted Newsom, writer and director of the documentary Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror.

April 12, 2010

OUR MAN EN ROUTE

I made a whirlwind trip through NYC on Saturday to gather materials for an exciting Spy Vibe project (still hush hush). One obligatory stop was the Strand, maybe the best used book shop I've seen. Spy Vibers may remember my coverage of the excellent Fear and Fashion book by the Victoria and Albert Museum found during my last outing. Saturday's search uncovered another gem from V&A about fashion from the Swinging Sixties and the Diana Rigg (Avengers) biography. Train time was spent drooling over numerous Eurospy movie posters on eBay and listening to the Ian Fleming audio story I come back to most often, From a View to a Kill. Never has an assassination on motorcycles been so beautifully written!

April 8, 2010

FASHION AWARDS 1963

FASHION AWARDS 1963
1963 was a turning point in pop culture in England. The Beatles released their first album (Please Please Me) in March, Honor Blackman had just made her debut on The Avengers during the previous September, and Mary Quant was celebrated by the London Times for "jolting England out of it's conventional attitude toward clothes," and for bringing something "extravagant to these conventional times." PVC rain wear galore! In this interesting short reel, Spy Vibers will also get a glimpse of Avengers designer, Pierre Cardin, and his model Hiroko. Click the image to view the London Times Fashion Awards at British Pathe. I will be away during the coming week and will post updates en route via iphone.

FASHION AWARDS - Technicolor.

April 7, 2010

JEREMY DUNS: TOP 10 SPY GADGETS

JEREMY DUNS: TOP 10 SPY GADGETS
Bugged rocks and exploding rats? Our Man Jeremy Duns, author of Free Agent, has posted his top-10 list of real spy gadgets on his blog, The Debrief. Along with some rather wild inventions, Spy Vibers will recognize a few toys that showed up in the fictional tales of John Drake (Danger Man) and James Bond. If you are interested in seeing more on the illustrated history of spy gadgets, check out the book The Ultimate Spy by Keith Melton. By the way, the hardcover edition of Jeremy's novel Free Agent is currently on sale for under $3 on Amazon. Penguin is gearing up to launch the paperback edition on June 29th in the US with this fantastic design by Jonathan Gray.
Don't miss it!

For spy book lovers and collectors, you may also want to check out the auction catalog for the Otto Penzler Collection. From The Debrief: On April 8, the famed bookseller, publisher and friend to many thriller-writers Otto Penzler is selling off part of his massive collection at the Swann Auction Galleries in New York - specifically, his British espionage and thrillers. This must be the finest collection of its kind in the world, and offers both a deep insight into the history of the genre, and is part of that history. It includes rare correspondence between Ian Fleming and Richard Chopping about the jacket art for the James Bond novels, signed first editions by Eric Ambler, Len Deighton, Graham Greene, John le Carré, Adam Hall and Dennis Wheatley, scarce editions by William le Queux and E Phillips Oppenheim... and much more besides. The asking prices are a little too high for me, but what a gorgeous, gorgeous catalogue. You could read it for hours. -Jeremy Duns

April 6, 2010

BBC GOLDFINGER WITH IAN McKELLEN

BBC GOLDFINGER WITH IAN McKELLEN
The new BBC radio play of Ian Fleming's Goldfinger is on-line here. I love a good audio performance. The experience truly creates what the radio era called the "theater of the imagination". Master actor, Ian McKellen plays the role of baddie Mr. Goldfinger. Another great Spy Vibe role on the heels of his performance as Two in the new Prisoner mini-series (a show which he carried along with the production and costume design). Other actors in the play include Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint) and Tony Stephens (Die Another Day) as 007. Hop over to the BBC and hear this new rendition of an Ian Fleming classic.


April 5, 2010

NYC AUTO SHOW 1965

NYC AUTO SHOW 1965
British Pathe gives a short glimpse into the 1965 New York Auto Show. The clip starts interestingly with a split-second of footage of The Beatles accepting an award, seemingly a mistake that reminds me of the band's own happy accident of splicing the song Her Majesty at the end of the Abbey Road reel. After surveying a number of cool sports cars (and models), the camera targets the biggest car celebrity of all time, the James Bond Aston Martin DBV with gadgets rigged up to work for such appearances. Click the image to see the film at British Pathe.
Incidentally, Spy Vibers may enjoy seeing the book, Car Girls, by Photographer Jacqueline Hassink.

MOTOR SHOW

April 4, 2010

MALACHI THRONE

MALACHI THRONE
Spy Vibers in the San Francisco area have a last chance today to meet up with actor Malachi Throne at Wondercon. Throne appeared in many cult TV shows, including Batman, Six-Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Hogan's Heroes, Hawaii Five-O, Mission Impossible, Land of the Giants, Mannix, Time Tunnel, Wild Wild West, Lost in Space, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and
incarnations of Star Trek. The role I recall most clearly is that of Robert Wagner's controller in It Takes a Thief ("I'm not asking you to spy, I'm asking you to steal"). I had a nice, albeit brief, chat with Malachi on Saturday. The 82-year old actor reported that everything is going well, adding with a smile, "Anything after 75 is gravy!" Wondercon runs from 11:00-5:00 today.

April 3, 2010

HERMES PRESS

HERMES PRESS
I had a wonderful chat today at Wondercon with Dan from Hermes Press about their many new projects. Dan has a great commitment to quality (and an eye for FAB culture), which you can immediately see in the restoration and printing of their content and in their choice of papers and binding. Hermes is, of course, the publisher that brought you James Bond: History of the Illustrated 007 and the recent re-print editions of 1960s Irwin Allen Gold Key comics, Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. They have more out, and even more slated for upcoming release (including Dark Shadows!). I had a chance to look at some great new editions today, including a Gerry Anderson-related treasure, Filmed in Supermarionation (more details soon), and a number of comic strip collections of Buck Rogers and The Phantom. Check the Hermes Press website for more details.


April 2, 2010

CINEMA RETRO MOVIE TOUR!

CINEMA RETRO MOVIE TOUR
Spy Vibers! Ever think how fun it would be to go on a movie-themed trip to England with the founders of Cinema Retro Magazine, Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall? W
ith these Spy Guys at the helm, what cool adventures would await? Let's make a wish list: An exclusive James Bond tour of Pinewood Studios. A visit to "the Village" from The Prisoner. With their love of classic film and television, surely a screening or two. Spy Vibers might remember our announcement last year about the new James Bond Museum? Stop in to check out this legendary collection of movie props and Bond vehicles (including many Aston Martins and a Toyota 2000GT from You Only Live Twice -one of three in the whole world!). What else would a Spy Viber wish for? How about quality time at Fan Fest to chat with the largest assembly of 007 actors ever? Guests might include George Lazenby, Honor Blackman, Maud Adams, Britt Ekland, Richard Kiel, Shirley Eaton, and many others. Well, Lee and Dave have such a trip planned for the end of April!


The Movie Magic Tour with Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall starts in London and runs from April 23rd to May 1st. For more information, visit their tour website.

April 1, 2010

JAGUAR: THE WHO

JAGUAR: THE WHO
The Who released their pop concept album, The Who Sell Out, in January 1968 (some sources show December 1967). Sequenced like a pirate radio show, the album remains a fantastic snapshot of growing up in the era. Themes in the lyrics included Townshend-style characters struggling with issues of identity, relationships, and consumerism- the radio format even included mock commercials. Among the jingles for Rotosound guitar strings and Coke is my fave, Jaguar. The lyrics summed up the fantasy of car-as-catalyst for adventurous travel and sexy escapades. Countless Spy Vibe heroes and villains drove the XKE model- seen below from Danger Diabolik (also released in January 1968), followed by a vintage ad. Fans of The Who Sell Out should check out Petra Haden's A Capella version of the album. Better yet, listen to it in your Jag!


Grace space race.
Everything they've seen you have seen,
Everywhere they've been you have been,
Everything they've done you have been and done already.
Every lovely spot near or far,
You can reach them too in your car,
Or you might be there now if you own a jag already.
The radio blasting, the girls are glancing,
The dash is dancing with gleaming dials.
Grace space race.
Grace space race.
Jaguar, jaguar, jaguar, jaguar.


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