September 28, 2010


Spy Vibe reported in January last year that a feature film based on Gerry Anderson's UFO is in the works. Anderson's first live-action project followed years of sci-spy puppet hits, like Stingray, Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5, and Captain Scarlet. UFO is a Spy Vibe fave for its excellent blend of fab elements: lounge-jazz cues by Barry Gray, ultra-cool gadgets, a secret organization that poses as a film studio, purple wigs and silver mini-skirts, and those amazing Nehru jackets! (See Spy Vibe's Agent J go Nehru here). If you do not have the UFO megaset in your collection yet, keep an eye on deepdiscount for frequent sales. There are few updates regarding the movie, but a new website has been launched since our last posting. You can check it out here. Spy Vibers can also see our review of a James Bond-inspired episode of Thunderbirds here. Hermes Press has published some outstanding books over the last couple of years for Gerry Anderson fans, including Sylvia Anderson's illustrated memoir and the production history, Filmed in Supermarionation: A History of the Future. Stay tuned for updates.

September 27, 2010


The John Lennon 70th anniversary event will be celebrated all over the world this October with concerts, films, broadcasts, and a number of CD, DVD, book, and magazine releases. The top of my list is the Signature edition box set of the remastered Lennon catalog (including the new, stripped-down mix of Double Fantasy), a combined-set edition of his 1960s collections of drawings and satire, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works (see Spy Vibe's Satire Surrealism Boom in the UK here), and the new bio-pic Nowhere Boy. The music press will not be left out of the festivities and Q Magazine has announced that their special edition will sport: four collectible covers, unseen images from some of the major Photographers in the Lennon/Beatles circle, and a limited-release cover for subscribers by 1960s Photographer/icon, David Bailey. For more details, check out the Imagine Peace website.

September 25, 2010


For Spy Vibers looking to spice up their pads and lairs, now is the time to get a good deal on modern furniture at Design Within Reach. They have just launched their big Knoll Sale, where you can find very cool pieces. There is even a Saarinen collection on sale that includes two versions of his famous Tulip chair! Sale ends October 3rd, details at Design Within Reach here.

To find out more about mid-century modern and the world of Knoll designs, check out the new book,
Knoll: A Modernist Universe, by Brian Lutz. This lavishly illustrated book from Rozzoli is available at major booksellers, including Amazon.

September 19, 2010


With the 40th anniversary editions of Bitches Brew by Miles Davis released last week, it's been non-stop Miles and Jazz here at the Spy Vibe lair. Miles has lead me on a fantastic journey from the cool of his mid-to-late 1950s era to his Hendrix-inspired fusion of the late 1960s and early 1970s. His music was ahead of its time, but it also now defines each period like a cultural Rosetta Stone. Twelve years before Brew, Miles worked on one of my all-time fave projects- the improvised score to Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur pour l'echafaud/Frantic/1957-58). This French new wave film noir, starring Jeanne Moreau, is distributed in the US by the Criterion Collection. Various CD and 180 gram vinyl editions of the soundtrack are available. Check out the trailer- you will be haunted by the imagery and music! There is also a short, behind-the-scenes documentary about the score here.

My time with Miles Davis over the last few weeks has lead to other artists that Spy Vibers may enjoy: Paul Chambers, Dexter Gordon, and Kenny Burrell. The experience also re-awakened a love for Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, and other early "hot" Jazz players. I've played blues guitar for years, but old dogs can learn new tricks. I'm happy to report that I've followed through on an old dream and bought a clarinet over the weekend. So far I can play the melody to Gershwin's Summertime, and I look forward to seeing where this journey goes next. In the meantime, check in below with Miles Davis and a chilling story from Louis Malle.

September 13, 2010


The master of macabre mystery (and fellow fan of The Avengers), Richard Sala, is back with a new book for Fantagraphics called The Hidden. "Eight desperate people are stranded at a snowbound diner. Their phones can only pick brief and perplexing bits of conversation. The radio is filled with static- although occasional, broken-up bits of news are heard- reports of some sort of global catastrophe... A ninth person arrives, hiking to the diner from his stranded car, where he had been listening to his car radio. He informs the others that, yes, from what he was been able to make out, something alarming seems to have happened, a catastrophe on a global scale… Oh, and one more bit of local news he happened to pick up, he says: The previous night an inmate escaped from a nearby hospital for the criminally insane, after killing his doctor and several bystanders. The police warn that he is very, very dangerous...

What perhaps sounds like the description of an old weird tale or an episode of The Twilight Zone is actually just the beginning of the new suspenseful, brain-twisting graphic novel from the author of Delphine, The Chuckling Whatsit, and Cat Burglar Black. In The Hidden, as the isolated characters become increasingly unraveled, one character tells of a dream he recently had. Then each of the others tells a dream, a personal anecdote or a story they’ve heard, ranging from the bizarre to the absurd to the truly horrific. Each will be presented as its own chapter. Then there are the games- a selection of (fully illustrated) card games and board games found in the diner. Are these merely children’s games- or something more sinister? 48 pages of full-color comics." -Amazon

The Hidden is listed on-line for a late-fall release, but Fantagraphics has pushed the release date back a bit to allow our man to really go the extra mile on the artwork. We can't wait! Sala has posted a sneak preview of the book on his blog here. During the launch of his previous book, Cat Burglar Black, Sala sat down for a virtual interview with Spy Vibe from our private lairs in the Bay Area to talk about his passion for classic mystery adventures, storytelling, and Emma Peel's jumpsuit! He also shares scans of the photos and letter he received from Patrick Macnee as a young fan. See the Spy Vibe feature interview The Adventures of Richard Sala here.

Spy Vibers who have not explored Sala's work should expect hints of Edward Gorey, The Addams Family, Fantomas, Judex, Irma Vepp and les Vampires, and worlds filled with trap doors, hidden chambers, sleuths and ghouls, and ghastly murders. I recommend that you pick up The Chuckling Whatsit and Maniac Killer Strikes Again!. Amazon shoppers can find the Richard Sala page here.

September 11, 2010


What lies behind the fab world of go go boots and fast cars for Spy Vibe's Agent J? When I'm not searching the globe for 1960s fashion, music, and spies, I'm in my secret lair working on new movie, music, and book projects. As a special treat for the weekend, I thought I'd invite Spy Vibers into the inner sanctum to check out some of the latest irons in the fire. My film for Yoko Ono, which features a soundtrack by me, Yoko Ono, and the Plastic Ono Band, recently screened at a gallery in NY and won an award at the Park City Film Music Festival. I also had a chance to assist with English subtitles for a new Japanese film produced by my pal, Kousuke Ono. The iPhone has proven to be a wonderful and spontaneous camera, much in the way that Polaroid, Holga, and Diana cameras were in the past. I've posted production shots from my Yoko Ono film, Japanese robots & monsters, Claudia at Point Reyes (below), and a portrait of the father of electronic music, Morton Subotnick, on my website. More info at Spy Vibers, what are your secret Art projects?

September 10, 2010


For Spy Vibers looking to complete their libraries of classic British TV shows, Deep Discount is having one of their sales that can't be missed. A&E sets are at super low prices: Gerry Anderson's UFO megaset $27.98, Cult Spy Collection megaset $39.98, The Persuaders collections 1&2 $15.98ea, The Protectors seasons 1&2 $31.98ea, plus John le Carre, Sherlock Holmes and more. Check out the sale here and happy hunting!

September 7, 2010


James Bond actor, George Lazenby, will be making a rare appearance tomorrow at a special screening of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The event is being held at the American Cinematheque Aero Theater in Santa Monica. The film, which many consider to be the best in the Bond series, starts at 7:30, followed by a rare, screen-side discussion with Lazenby. 007 fans in the LA area should not miss this opportunity! Tickets available at Fandango.

September 6, 2010


A new scholarly anthology of essays, James Bond: The Films Are Not Enough, is due for release this month and promises to be an invaluable resource in Pop Culture and Jame Bond Studies. Fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. member, Dr. Wesley Britton, has posted a must-read review over at the Commander Bond Network. To give Spy Vibers a taste of the book and Britton's review: "The anthology is organized into six sections. “Part I: Experiencing the World of Bond” doesn’t deal with Bond essentials, but rather posters, dances in the title sequences, architecture, designer clothes, and two overviews of Bond video games. Part Two (which includes this reviewer’s own essay) covers Bond music from four perspectives. Then, seven essays look at gender, feminism, and the Bond girls. (Note: Why is it Judi Dench as M is frequently worth discussion as a significant female authority figure but never Lotte Lenya as Col. Klebb or Ilse Steppat as Irma Bunt?)....Because of the range of the contributions, it’s difficult to see how it won’t be considered indispensable reading from 2010 on. No library shelf on Bond, or film or espionage studies for that matter, will be complete without it." And that's just scratching the surface! You can read the entire review at the Commander Bond Network here. The book is available on Amazon here, and directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing here.

September 4, 2010


Spy Vibers interested in Mod culture should check out this collection of writings and interviews edited by Paolo Hewitt called The Sharper World: A Mod Anthology. Now out in a revised and updated paperback edition!

From Amazon: As portrayed in the Who rock opera Quadrophenia, the mods were a working-class British youth cult in the mid-1960s preoccupied with mohair suits, dance clubs, scooters, and amphetamines. Rock journalist Hewitt borrows short snippets from Richard Barnes's standard Mods! (Plexus Pub., 1994), fiction by Tom Wolfe and Samuel Selvon, scholarly accounts by Stanley Cohen and Dick Hebdige, and oral histories. More obscure mod-related pieces, including an interview with top mod Pete Meaden, a 1960s article by fashion queen Mary Quant, and an unpublished eyewitness account by mod pioneer Irish Jack are also included. Though he somewhat neglects the mod drive for upward mobility after the lingering postwar economic squalor, Hewitt provides marvelous descriptions of mod trappings: the fashion, the music, the drugs, and the clubs that clearly demonstrate the roots of Britpop and Austin Powers. Recommended for anyone interested in social history, youth movements, Carnaby Street, and rock'n'roll.

Visit the Mod Culture website for book reviews, news, and more.

September 3, 2010


Spy Vibers who collect rare soundtrack music will be sad to hear that Movie Grooves is closing down. Movie Grooves has been an oasis on the internet for those wonderful, obscure records we all love from 60s and 70s genre films. Outstanding orders will be filled. More info on their website here.

September 1, 2010


The influential graphic designer, Raymond Hawkey, worked on such memorable projects as the book jackets for Ian Fleming's James Bond and Deighton's Harry Palmer. Hawkey passed away on August 22nd at the age of 80. More about his life and career at the Telegraph here.