August 29, 2010

NEW YUKI 7 PRINTS

Illustrator Kevin Dart has unveiled new Yuki 7 prints that I think Spy Vibers will enjoy. Kevin continues to mine the fab world of retro movie posters and the aesthetics of films like Deadlier Than the Male and You Only Live Twice to create cool Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls merchandise. You can visit the Yuki 7 website here. Read Spy Vibe's interview with Kevin here.


August 25, 2010

YUKI 7 WEB

Spy Vibe fave illustrator, Kevin Dart, has launched a website for his FAB character YUKI 7 and her swinging world of 1960s-inspired movie posters. Kevin's images are packed with implied fun and narrative with a host of iconic elements: evil lairs, spear gun wielding femme fatales, modern design, and exotic locations. From Kevin's website:

We've finally launched the official website for Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls! There's some pretty neat stuff to see on there, like this awesome Yuki 7 sculpture by Damon Bard! There's also an official Yuki 7 Shop now, which has some awesome new items like this set of Gadget Girl mini prints. And also this new print of Yuki sleeping in her stylish bachelorette pad. Yuki even has her very own Twitter account now so you can keep up with her exciting life of espionage and couture fashion!

August 24, 2010

SUMMER SWIM

As the final days of summer wind down, Spy Vibers can enjoy a last swim with this classic scene from Deadlier Than the Male.


August 21, 2010

JEREMY DUNS TRANSMISSIONS

Our man in Sweden, author Jeremy Duns, has been a busy agent lately. His novel, Free Agent, was released in paperback earlier this summer, and its sequel, Free Country, is coming out this month. Both novels are also now available in kindle editions for you Spy Vibers with special gadgets. With this flurry of activity, and the BBC option on his spy trilogy, Jeremy has sent a number of updates that I think Spy Vibers will want to check out. From Jeremy:


Hi everyone, some good news. Free Country is reviewed in today's Guardian, which says: 'With its subtly deployed late-60s detail, Free Country is a treat for fans of traditional Len Deighton-style spy thrillers.' The rest is here. (It's not every day you get outed in the press as a lover of Roger Moore Bond films, but I should just say that I prefer the Connery ones!)

I was interviewed at the Harrogate festival by the website Unbound, and you can read that here. The audio of the interview is here. I've also taken part in a 'virtual panel' discussing the spy thriller with authors JJ Cooper and Adrian Magson at Permission To Kill, which can be read here.

Finally, Amazon is launching its Kindle e-reader in the UK this month. Free Agent and Free Country are both available to buy for it. [also available on Kindle at Amazon US here].

Congratulations to Jeremy! Read his list of top-10 historical spy gadgets here. You can also check out his top-5 list of fave set designs on Spy Vibe here.

August 19, 2010

MARISA MELL QUICK-CHANGE 1969

Una Sull' Altra (1969/Perversion Story/One on Top of the Other), is one of those Lucio Fulci efforts that offers up an odd cocktail of sordid crime drama and moments of cool style. And you can't get much cooler in 1969 than Marisa Mell (Danger Diabolik) and the modern architecture of the Eero Saarinen TWA terminal. In this clip, Marisa arrives at TWA and performs a classic disguise-change in the bathroom. The entire scene plays like a music video for Riz Ortolani's (Lightning Bolt) score. Not only does the music advance the sneaky tension of the plot, it was also a great way to make a low-budget sequence stronger with limited live sound. Does anyone else think that Marisa is wearing her wig from Diabolik? I wonder if she ever got to keep the outfits? Naked-alert. A heads-up for younger Spy Vibers who might rent the film. There are brief nude scenes (Marisa posing on a motorcycle, if I remember correctly?), albeit in a slightly innocent 60s fashion.

August 17, 2010

HARRISON/SHANKAR

Another exciting Beatles-related release coming this fall- the complete collaborations between George Harrison and sitar-master, Ravi Shankar! If your tastes in the groovy sitar sound of the 60s lean toward Rubber Soul and Sergeant Pepper, the Shankar soundtracks to Satyajit Ray and Alice in Wonderland, or the wild covers by Lord Sitar (see below), this set is an essential (and lovely) celebration of the friendship and music of these seminal artists that pioneered pop/world music fusions. From George Harrison's website:

Los Angeles – Dark Horse Records announced today the October 19th release of a limited edition deluxe box set, entitled RAVI SHANKAR GEORGE HARRISON COLLABORATIONS. The release honors the sitar master’s 90th birthday.

Collaborations is a 3 CD and 1 DVD uniquely numbered limited edition box set. All compositions were composed by Ravi Shankar and produced by George Harrison over a period of 20 years.

The DVD is a rare concert performance of the Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1974. The albums include the acclaimed Chants Of India (1997), The Ravi Shankar Music Festival From India (studio version 1976) and Shankar Family & Friends (1974). The 56-page book includes a foreword by Philip Glass, a history of George and Ravi “in their own words” and rare photographs from both family archives.

The personal and musical friendship between Ravi Shankar and George Harrison has been known and well documented for decades now. It was a friendship that was powerful enough to make an impact on the large, musical life of the late nineteen sixties and it reverberates, as clearly, even today. – from the Foreword by Philip Glass

In 1973 George Harrison signed Ravi Shankar to his Dark Horse Records label. The first joint recording project between George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, Shankar Family & Friends brought together renown Indian classical musicians such as Ustad Alla Rakha, Lakshmi Shankar, and Shivkumar Sharma alongside Western jazz and rock musicians including George, Ringo Starr, Tom Scott, Klaus Voormann, Jim Keltner and Billy Preston. One half of the album comprises instrumentals and songs, while the second half is a thematic ballet to a yet un-staged performance.

Ravi Shankar’s Music Festival From India (live from the Royal Albert Hall) was the first artistic event organized and sponsored by George Harrison’s Material World Charitable Foundation; bringing together a 17-piece Indian classical ensemble as well as a solo sitar performance by Ravi Shankar accompanied on tabla by Alla Rakha.

In 1997 George Harrison and Ravi Shankar again collaborated on an album. This time Ravi created music for ancient Sanskrit chants with the challenge of maintaining the authenticity of the ancient verses. Released in 1997, Chants Of India are timeless, Vedic verses chanted for the well being of man and mankind.

Collaborations, is available on Dark Horse Records and distributed worldwide by Rhino Entertainment.

Spy Vibe Bonus
And now for something completely different! Lord Sitar is known for some very groovy sitar covers of 60s pop tunes. Although he made a number of Beatles covers, this version of I Can See For Miles by Mod-faves, The Who, has always stood out for me. I may have to post more of his stuff. What 1960s pop or soundtrack music would you like to hear Sitar-ized?


RETURN

The move north is now complete with Internet and Spy Vibe can resume transmission. A welcome back clip for Spy Vibers today from Terror Beneath the Sea. This film has it all: an evil undersea lair, submarines, agents, and... monsters shooting guns with silencers? There's a great scene in the climax (not shown in this trailer), where a room packed with monsters and baddie henchmen shoot it out with guns (and spear guns!). I'll get that scene up for you on-line soon. Enjoy!

August 13, 2010

Bionic Woman DVD

The first season of The Bionic Woman is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released in October. Where the 1960s agents of The Champions were augmented by spiritual powers that gave them super hearing, speed, etc, The Bionic Woman of the 1970s took the gadget/technology envy of the space age further by performing surgical implants. More on that soon! In the meantime, get psyched for the long-awaited commercial release of this classic series.

August 11, 2010

Releases/Ono Screening

Greetings Spy Vibers! I've just finished a move to a fab lair north of the Golden Gate Bridge (no, not with Grace Jones), and I'll have limited Internet for a bit longer. I ran across additional Beatles releases due out in the fall that I think will interest fans. Astrid Kirchherr, famed Hamburg photographer, is having a retrospective and a catalog book is avaiable for pre-order on Amazon. You'll also find a new combined edition of John Lennon's whimsical, satirical drawings and writings, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. Also, this news intercepted today:

Apple Corps will reissue remastered versions of the Red (1962-1966) and Blue (1967-1970) albums in October. The albums, originally released in 1973, will both be 2 CD packages with an expanded booklet featuring the original liner notes, rare photos and newly written essays. EMI will release the albums on October 15.

In related news, my experimental film for Yoko Ono (soundtrack by me and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band), will be screening at the bwac gallery in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm.



August 6, 2010

SPY NOVEL SYMPOSIUM

What makes a good spy novel? How do writers balance character, plot, and pacing? What is the state of the spy novel in publishing? Fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. writer, David Foster, sat down with three spy novelists for an in-depth, virtual round table symposium that is a must-read for all Spy Vibers. Join Foster and his guests, Jeremy Duns, Adrian Magson, and JJ Cooper over at Permission To Kill for this fascinating discussion.

August 5, 2010

MOBILE BRITTON

The Encyclopedia of TV Spies by Dr. Wesley Britton is a valuable resource and the perfect go-to reference guide to find out about virtually every spy series that has ever aired. Britton carefully compiled behind-the-scenes info for each entry, along with vital stats like synopsis, production dates, and cast/crew credits. Spy Vibers who like to have intel at their fingertips will be psyched to learn that the good doctor's encyclopedia is now a mobile resource in a new Kindle edition. Available through Amazon for $9.95, Spy Vibers can now carry a full database of TV Spies in any Kindle-enabled electronic device. OK, that's just cool! Congrats to fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. writer, Wesley Britton, on the release of this new edition!

If you have not explored Britton's work, pick up these other essentials: Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film and Spy Television. S
cholarly and fun, Britton's books are available in both print and Kindle editions, and are must-reads for all Spy Vibers.

August 4, 2010

WIN MAD MEN LIVING ROOM

For Spy Vibers looking to furnish their bachelor pads or lairs, today is your last chance to enter a special contest from Design Within Reach. The grand prize is a living room collection inspired by the Mid-Century Modern pieces used in the set design of AMC's Mad Men! Four prize-winners will also win seasons 1-3 of the acclaimed show on DVD. Head over to the contest page at Design Within Reach for details. And good luck!


August 3, 2010

IT TAKES A THIEF ON DVD

A special transmission just in from Dean Brierly to all Spy Vibers- the first season of It Takes a Thief is now available for order! This classic spy series has been conspicuously absent during the DVD release of cult TV shows over the last fifteen years. I had hopes of seeing it during the wave of Austin Powers mania, when Mike Meyers hosted a week of fave shows that inspired him. Two titles that were included were The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and It Takes a Thief, still unavailable as official releases- until now! It Takes a Thief is being released by Polyband in Germany, but don't panic- the discs will include English language tracks. If you don't have a region-free player, here's another reason to finally make the leap.

From Dean at Cinema Retro: Besides being must-see TV in the States, the series also proved a hit in Germany, where it debuted on November 18, 1969 under the title Ihr Auftritt, Al Mundy! (Rough translation: Your Appearance, Al Mundy!) One of the reasons for its popularity there was due to the dubbing, which made the lines funnier than they were actually written. This lighter approach was also reflected in some of the episode titles. “A Thief is a Thief” was Germanized to “A Chance for the Playboy,” and “A Spot of Trouble” became “More Champagne for the Ladies.” Read Dean's announcement with full details on Cinema Retro here.

CONTEST WINNER!

The winner of the James Bond 007 audio book contests is Our Man in Belgium: Peter Hinoul. Congratulations! Thank you to all of the Spy Vibers who entered. We hold many contests on Spy Vibe, so stay tuned for more opportunities to win prizes. It was interesting to hear last week about everyone's fave Bond novels and short stories. Here are just a few answers:


Thanks for giving us the chance to win a copy of the audio version of Octopussy! Personally I like "Diamonds Are Forever" best! Why? When I was a child it was the first book that I have read from the James Bond series and I got hooked since then on everything James Bond, spies and eurocult. Years later my father took me to see the movie at a local cinema and I could not believe that the story on screen was a different one than the book! Later years I learned that that was almost always the case! But as a young boy I was disappointed! -Peter Hinoul

From Russia With Love is my favorite novel. 1) The best developed characters on all sides of the equation; 2) while a tad convoluted, the most suspenseful plot of the series; 3) so many memorable scenes including the reading of Bond's dossier in Moscow, Tatania meeting Klebb, the battle with Grant, the final moments when 007 might be dead. No wonder it was made into one of the very best films where Brocolli, Saltzman, Young, Shaw, Lenya, Barry and a fella named Connery really breathed life into Fleming's vision. The only real literary competitor might be OHMSS, and, once again, that made for a great film. -Wes Britton

My favorite Fleming piece is "The Living Daylights." As an adolescent in the early 1970s, I was just beginning to find the Bonds and know their history. I knew that Fleming had died in 1964 after writing "TMWTGG," but was unaware of the book of stories that came after. When I found that book, it was like a really terrific present. I savored each page, especially "TLD," in which Bond must clean up afer a colleague. It is a different kind of Bond tale, with Bond trying to do the right thing but finding himself unable to. It is simple, elegant writing. - Rodney Richey

My favorite Bond book is a tie between From Russia with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The first because it is such a great espionage story - spies versus spies with each side trying to outwit the other in the cold war chess game. The later because it allows Bond to be so very human and its ending rises to the level of true tragedy. So much so that it required Fleming to write two more books dealing with the devastating aftermath. - Bill Creed

I've yet to read all of the James Bond novels/short stories but as of right now, I'm a huge fan of John Gardner and therefore my favorite is 'For Special Services' (1982). Not only do I love the return of SPECTRE but I love how Gardner gave Felix Leiter a CIA agent daughter named Cedar to assist Bond. I own and operate FelixLeiter.com so obviously I have much passion for the Leiter character and by creating a daughter for him, I could tell that Gardner also had much respect for the character and I appreciate that. -Chris Wright

August 2, 2010

CONTEST ENDS TODAY

A reminder to all Spy Vibers that the James Bond 007 audio book contest ends today. Send in those entries and tell us all about your fave Bond novels and short stories. Details here.

August 1, 2010

FLY ME

As seen in Spy Vibe's list of upcoming Beatles-related books and DVDs last month, there are many special treats in store for fans of 1960s style and The Beatles. One of the rarest releases is a limited edition book by Yoko Ono called Fly Me. The book, which I think will appeal to fans of design and experimental art, was released on July 31st and is now available for order. Like Ms Ono's famous "wish tree" project, the pages of this book offer poetic/political instructions that literally take flight as an interactive kite. It's a rather 1960s, counter-culture counterpoint to our Spy Vibe fare of secret codes and dead drops. The edition is very much thinking outside the box and worth checking out.


From Amazon: Sky people, that's what we are, Yoko Ono sang, in the 1985 song "Sky People"; "One day we'll fly and leap through the sky/To look for a good land hand in hand." Now, through the auspices of Ecstatic Peace Library, Yoko Ono has fulfilled these words and devised a book to fly in her stead. Published as a limited edition, Fly Me is a handbound book that unfolds to become a kite featuring seven pages of individual messages or instructions composed by Ono. These messages are designed to be read by all, in the sky on a windy day. You simply unfold the page you wish to fly and attach the paper to the bamboo frame included to construct a massive (30 x 36 inch) diamond-shaped kite. Including such characteristic Ono advice as "Imagine Peace" and "Fly," these messages are printed with soy-based inks on 100% recycled paper. The kite frame itself is made of hand-carved oak from a sustainable forest in New York state. A marvelous addition to Ono's already classic oeuvre of innovative bookmaking, Fly Me is published in a limited edition of 2,500 copies, and is without doubt an instant collector's gem.

CONTEST ENDS TOMORROW

A reminder to all Spy Vibers that the James Bond 007 audio book contest ends tomorrow. Send in those entries and tell us all about your fave Bond novels and short stories. Details here.

CRACK IN THE WORLD

Spy Vibers may remember our big feature on movie set designs last year, Set For Adventure, that included top-5 lists from Lee Pfeiffer of Cinema Retro (who coincidentally also just posted a piece about 1960s UK surrealism), novelist Jeremy Duns, and fellow COBRAS, Wes Britton, Armstrong Sabian, David Foster, and Matthew Bradford. A title that appeared on writer/artist Steve Bissette's list was Crack in the World (1965). Steve is famous for introducing rare treats to his movie pals and cartoon students at the Center For Cartoon Studies, and one of his faves is now available! Crack in the World was released on DVD last week by Olive Films.


From Glenn Erickson's review at DVD Talk:
"The main lab set is a brilliant hanging miniature that rivals the work of 007 designer Ken Adam -- and was seemingly copied for the headquarters of Drax in the Bond film Moonraker. LouriƩ's deep sea submersible is a riot of colorful bubbles, and nobody ever forgets his volcano interior scene." That's enough for me- definitely going on my Netflix queue!

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