January 18, 2012


Paramount announced their upcoming Blu-ray titles today and we are pleased to see Roger Vadim's Barbarella (1968) set for a July 3rd release! This classic starring Jane Fonda and John Phillip Law is pretty stagey in its direction, but the costume designs and ongoing erotic theme of the story makes the movie fun to revisit. The plot: "Barbarella, a 41st century earthling, is sent on a mission by the president of Earth to find Duran Duran, a scientist who has disappeared with an all-powerful weapon." Fans should check out Roman Coppola's homage, CQ (2001), and Barbarella as a double feature.

January 15, 2012


Time to give your secret lair a makeover! Design With Reach is currently offering a sale on their living room pieces, including two faves: the Tulip Chair (designed in 1956 by Eero Saarinen for Knoll) and the Egg Chair (designed in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen- thought to be the first swiveling upholstered chair). Sale ends on January 31st. Details at Design Within Reach.

January 10, 2012


The breaking news today is that MGM has announced a 50th anniversary box set of every James Bond film on Blu-ray (including many that have not made it to the hi-def market yet). No street date has been set, nor news released about whether or not individual titles will be available at the launch for those of us who have already collected part of the series. I imagine that they will release as a run-up to the next 007 film debut in November. Check out this cool commercial! Pre-order on Amazon.

January 8, 2012


Like many teenagers in the early 1960s, David Bowie was inspired by American jazz and blues music. He took up the saxophone and guitar and formed a string of bands that played blues and rock covers for parties and local entertainment. As a keen student of graphic design, art (and mime!), his Mod beginnings transformed over the years as his ever-changing work explored areas of musical and theatrical production that we can now recognize as era-defining (60s Mod, poet, 70s glam, soul, experimental, electronic, dance, 80s pop, 90s alternative, cyber punk, jungle, etc). Bowie stayed in the fast lane for forty years, releasing albums and pursuing his acting career, until a heart attack on stage in 2004 made him take stock. Bowie now enjoys the life of a stay-at-home dad for his eleven-year-old daughter, and for the quieter life-long pursuits of reading and following the Art world. He is currently writing Bowie Object, an art book that will chronicle his process and career through 100 images and reflections. BBC radio is broadcasting Mark Goodier's 2000 documentary, Golden Years, but listen quickly while the chapters are still available for streaming. For a space-age Bowie celebration, check out Spy Vibe's post, Space Camp. The British music publication, Uncut, has released an iPad APP version of its Bowie album-by-album guide, complete with embedded music and videos. David Bowie is 65 today- many happy returns, David!

For Spy Vibers who have never explored the fascinating career of David Bowie, you have a lot to look forward to! Although it is difficult to choose a short list of his work, here is our essential Bowie. Check out the Uncut iPad APP to read reviews and preview songs. If you are a fan of the more cabaret theatrics of Bowie's music, check out the remastered edition of his original Deram album from the mid-1960s and the Baal album.

Movies: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), The Hunger (1983), Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983), Labyrinth (1986), Basquait (1996), The Hunger (tv/1999-2000), The Prestige (2006).

Concerts/Videos/Docs: The Best of Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Reality Tour, Storytellers, Under Review 1976-1979 The Berlin Trilogy.

Albums: Space Oddity (1969), The Man Who Sold the World (1970), Hunky Dory (1971), Ziggy Stardust (1972), Aladdin Sane (1973), Pin Ups (1973), Station to Station (1976), Low (1977), Heroes (1977), Baal (1981), Outside (1995), Earthling (1997), Bowie at the Beeb (2000), All Saints (2001), VH1 Storytellers (2001), Heathen (2002). Also, check out Bowie's song collaboration with John Lennon, Fame. A collector's edition of Bowie's 1999 album Hours will be released on January 31st.

January 7, 2012


Spy Vibers who have Turner Classic Movies have a chance to catch an out-of-print film this Wednesday, The Liquidator (1965). Made during the spy boom by the talented Jack Cardiff (Girl On a Motorcycle), the film stars Trevor Howard, Rod Taylor, and Jill St. John. Screening on TCM is at 11:45 am (EST). Poster available from Movie Goods.

January 3, 2012


It's interesting to see how one person can make a difference in so many lives. For anyone who saw Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life again over the holidays, the idea is probably fresh in your mind. As a person can act as a catalyst for others in daily life, like a conductor of sorts, so can a person conduct mass culture over the course of their career. Sir George Martin is the man with the golden ear. Blessed with musical genius and a sense of humor, Martin is a bit like the Wizard of Oz- the man behind the curtain- whose work as a producer and arranger defined the music and humor of the last half of the 20th Century and beyond. The artists he worked with include Flanders and Swann, Peter Ustinov, The Goons, Peter Sellers, Sophia Loren, Beyond the Fringe (with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore), Matt Monro (of From Russia With Love), Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cellia Black, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, Jeff Beck, Elton John, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Paul Winter Consort, and America. In addition to multiple Grammys and other major awards, George Martin has scored 30 #1 hits in the UK and 23 #1 hits in the US. (See Spy Vibe's article Peter Sellers to John Lennon and Peter Sellers posts for more about comedy in the UK). Of special interest to Spy Vibers, Martin also produced two James Bond theme songs: Goldfinger (1965) with Shirley Bassey, and Live and Let Die (1973) with Paul McCartney.

George Martin is most famous as the producer/arranger behind The Beatles career. Legend has it that a shared sense of humor sealed the deal between Martin and the Fab Four. The band loved his records with Peter Sellers and The Goons. In their first meeting in the studio on June 6th, 1962, the group recorded four test songs that didn't quite measure up. Martin gave them a bit of talking to about what they needed to do in order to become recording artists. When he finished, he added, "Is there anything you don't like?" Without skipping a beat, George Harrison responded, "Yeah, I don't like your tie." Jokes and laughter followed. The producer appreciated their irreverent humor and committed himself to recording the band. Martin's expertise fostered musical experimentation throughout the 1960s, allowing The Beatles to push their songs into new territory. Martin often contributed as keyboard player in the studio, in addition to arranging the accompaniment to well-know songs like Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, and Penny Lane. George Martin recently worked with his son Giles to produce the soundtrack to the Cirque Du Soleil show, The Beatles Love.

Sir George Martin is 86 today. Happy Birthday, George! Below is one of my fave George moments. In 1997, he rallied Paul McCartney and an all-star line up to support disaster relief for the island of Montserrat. The concert climaxed in a powerful performance of the "opera" side of Abbey Road, "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." The DVD is available through Netflix and Amazon.

January 2, 2012


Happy New Year from Spy Vibe! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and made it back to your secret lairs and bachelor pads in one piece. Here is an odd image that circulated this weekend. It has an initial campy vibe that quickly wears off when you notice how cold these ladies look. Spy Vibers, don't try this at home unless you have consent (and very high ceilings!). Does anyone know the origin of this photograph? Thank you to everyone who entered to win Spy Vibe's many holiday prizes. Your packages were sent out on Saturday and should arrive early this week. Enjoy!