The 94th Oscar event is this Sunday. Coming out of the static that was the pandemic, the Oscars this year will surely be something different. Will it work, will it engage and audience that has been dwindling? Will Packer will produce the event. With three hosts, Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes the event will be held at the often-used Dolby Theater in Hollywood. But what about the Oscars, this crazy race to hold the golden man, the winners, losers, the gowns and tuxedos? The big picture, the Best Picture Award will likely go to CODA—a great, unpretentious movie with a happy ending. The spoiler could be the thoroughly complex, Drive My Car, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s film about love, sex, celebrity, theater and betrayal all told primarily through words. The Power of the Dog, also a great movie with a complex storyline may be just a little too complex, although it is hinted that Jame Campion could win the coveted Oscar, much to the chagrin of that old tired Sam Elliott. Passing on actors and actresses, the other moment of joy will be when Summer of Soul wins the best documentary award. Questlove! Other minor but important nominations are best score—Dune, for sure; No Time to Die (was there any competition?) But lastly, a word about Dune and art direction. A big category in terms of creating the environment of a movie—Dune was especially remarkable for its art direction, taking us to a space that that felt oddly felt new, which is hard in this category (space).
Getting hydrated and plump skin can be hard to achieve, especially if you live in a place with a hot and dry climate. Dr. Caren Campbell, a dermatologist in California, stated that residents living in places with hot and dry climates are more likely to suffer from dry and dehydrated skin. Due to the lack of water in the air, the natural moisturizing components on your skin evaporate at a faster rate than normal. Recognizing the impact of the climate on your skin, you need to hydrate regularly to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Here’s what you need to do:
Maintain a regular skincare routine
You may not be able to control the climate in your area but you can still provide the best conditions for your skin by practicing a regular skincare routine. Though this may sound like a lot of commitment, a proper skincare routine for dry skin can be completed in just three steps. First, you need to cleanse your skin from irritants and dirt using a cleanser. Next, you can address dullness and dehydration by applying a moisturizing treatment at least twice a day. Then before heading out, you must protect your skin against environmental aggressors by applying sunscreen all overexposed areas.
Apply a hydrating serum for an added boost
On extra hot and dry days, you can apply hydrating serums to complement your regular skincare routine. Many people prefer serums since they contain high concentrations of ingredients for maximum efficiency. So, if dry skin is your concern, you can apply serums with humectants before you put on moisturizer. An example of this ingredient is glycerin/glycerol, a moisturizing component that naturally occurs in the body. Another kind of humectant is urea, an organic compound that is part of your skin’s natural moisturizing factor. Thus, applying serums with humectants on extra hot and dry days can help in restoring your skin’s natural hydration levels.
Keep yourself hydrated from within
Aside from following a moisturizing skincare routine, you need to maintain your body’s natural hydration levels by drinking lots of water. After all, your skin contains 64% water, so you need to consume enough of it to maintain optimal health. In fact, our article on the bad habits that affect your skin emphasizes that dehydration can actually lead to dryness and even breakouts. Aside from drinking about eight glasses per day, you also need to avoid drinking sugary beverages and coffee, which can make you urinate faster. On top of that, limit your alcohol consumption because it causes your body to remove fluids from your blood, making you dehydrated at a faster rate.
Use a humidifier at home or in your office
Finally, you can improve the air quality in your own space during extreme weather conditions by utilizing a humidifier. These appliances produce and disperse water vapor that adds more moisture to the air. Since your environment can affect your skin’s health, humidifiers can ease irritation and dryness caused by poor air quality. You can even opt to purchase humidifiers that emit cool mists to further balance the environmental conditions in your home. To illustrate, evaporative humidifiers contain a fan that evenly distributes the cool humidity across a room. You can also alleviate dryness by using an impeller humidifier, which has a rotating disc that releases mist into the air. Whichever option you opt for, a humidifier should make it easier to maintain your skin health.
You can keep your skin healthy and hydrated by caring for it, both inside and out. Following a proper skincare routine, adding a hydrating serum, drinking enough water, and using a humidifier are good practices that can boost the hydration levels of your skin. Stick to these tips and, before you know it, you’ll have hydrated skin all day long.
Recently, the world was treated to nearly eight hours to of a kind of Beatlemania—in the form of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back. Whilenot for everyone, it will appeal to those interested in the Beatles as a group, and as personalties. It is as Peter Jackson said, a “documentary about a documentary.” It lived in a previous life was “Let it Be”, a documentary by Michael Lindsay-Hogg back in 1970. In that documentary, one was left with a bad feeling—they would break up months after filming, yes, there was animosity and they didn’t like each other for a long time. This documentary makes it clear that none of those things are quite true. Yes, they break up, yes, there were some bad feelings in the end, but that is expected as this is nothing less than a love story about a group of friends who came together to make music, and changed the world.
Here is the review:
At once sad, poignant, nerve-wracking and compelling, it is really a love story and yes it ends in divorce. The Lennon-McCartney connection was intense—they read each other, conspired to reach the heights of silliness, waste time and when the moment came, to turn it out. Harrison fought for his rightful place, he was up against giants, but he managed—and—his songs were just as good—Lennon was funny and clever in ways we hadn’t been shown before. Yoko, oye—while not a nuisance, she was a huge distraction. She sat there for hours and you wondered why she didn’t have better things to do. McCartney, astrology can explain him— A Gemini with Virgo rising—music just flows from this man and what is evident is, he loves it. Gifted with a voice that could be soothing to do raunchy without strain, to watch as he evolves some of his classic songs, was a gift unto itself, and I think we can safely say, the man never looked better. But back to Lennon—a much better guitar player than expected—in one scene, he suddenly plays the theme from the classic film, The Third Man—brilliant. And then there is Ringo—beautifully tailored, always good natured, more witness though as always his drumming is a thing of perfection. Billy Preston arrives just in time to add another layer to the music and a much needed so-called fifth Beatle position to keep them on their toes.
What was the conclusion? They evolved, they became individuals who wanted to play their own music—their break-up was inevitable, though so sad. Unknown hero—Glyn Johns, who would go on to produce every great act in music. In the studio, his choices, his advice is always spot on. And as for George Martin? His debonair looks were about all he could offer as this was a striped down version of the Beatles—not the musically complex version that he so helped to create.
Sad. John Lennon assassinated. George Harrison dies of cancer as does Linda Eastman. One is reminded of the fragile nature of friendship, of collaborations, of creating something from nothing, of time. Odd that after nearly eight hours, you are left wanting a little more—what happened after the rooftop?
LOS ANGELES, NOVEMBER 2021 – Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and United Artists Releasing have partnered with the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising for a limited time House of Gucci exhibit at the FIDM Museum from November 23 – December 4, 2021 (10AM – 5PM PT).
House of Gucci is inspired by the shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire. When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately… murder.
Presenting an exclusive mix of never-before-seen House of Gucci photography, film footage, and costumes curated by costume designer Janty Yates, this exhibition offers audiences an immersive experience and backstage access to director Ridley Scott’s upcoming crime drama starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, with Salma Hayek and Al Pacino.
With exhibition curation and creative direction led by Melina Matsoukas’ De La Revolución, in conjunction with MGM and United Artists Releasing, we invite you to explore the world of the House of Gucci through exclusive new film stills, unit photography shot during film production, behind-the-scenes photography and cast portraits shot by photographer Cuba Tornado Scott.
“Making this film has been an extraordinarily rewarding experience, and this exhibition serves as an extension and showcase of the terrific work by my remarkable team of artists,” said Ridley Scott.
FIDM will be hosting a series of activities around the House of Gucci exhibit for their past, present and future students and the exhibit will be open to all students of FIDM and the community.
House of Gucci is only in theaters this Thanksgiving.
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
919 Grand Ave. Suite 425Los Angeles, CA 90015
Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s
HOUSE OF GUCCI
A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film
Photo credit: Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc
© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Every once in a while, someone brings to music a voice, a sound, a note or a chord that is different. Enter Lady Blackbird, who back in 2020, brought to the ears of the world, the song, Blackbird. A composition written and sung by Nina Simone, Lady Blackbird delivered a vocal that on first impression, felt like Nina Simone was alive and well.
The LA-based artist, who formally was known as Marley Munroe has re-invented herself, and we like it. That song and now an album, Black Acid Soul, and to our delight she joins Vintage Trouble for a night at the Ford Theater on Thursday, September 16th. For tickets head here.
If you are fan of jazz, of crazy orchestrations that sound like the soundtrack of a dark, smoky night in a Southside joint, with vocals that may instill a permanent awe of the human voice, join the lady who Gilles Peterson has labelled the “the Grace Jones of Jazz” for a night of music.
From a published biography:
Lady Blackbird didn’t mean to soundtrack a revolution. But last spring, that’s exactly what she did. On 27th May 2020 the Los Angeles-based singer Marley Munroe released her debut single.
“It’s a brave soul indeed who not only tackles one of Nina Simone’s starkest tunes, ‘Blackbird’, but also calls herself Lady Blackbird into the bargain,” noted Blues and Soul at the time. “The original is a stripped-down chant with claps and hand drums, a field hollering protest song that will darken the skies of anyone’s heart. Lady Blackbird has the same urgent grace as Simone and she really takes what is an essentially acapella song and adds her own powerful magic and spirit to
proceedings… There’s an unmatched regality throughout, proving Lady Blackbird is an incisive and adroit singer. She channels the agony and thick despair on the lyrics, too.”
Simone released ‘Blackbird’ in 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights struggle. Almost six decades later, the killing of George Floyd, two days before the release of Lady Blackbird’s version, gave this new rendition a coincidental but no less stark, awful yet uplifting power.
“There was so much emotion there,” Lady Blackbird reflects now of a recording she and her Grammy-nominated producer Chris Seefried had laid down in the legendary Studio B (aka Prince’s room) in LA’s Sunset Sound. Jazz, she agrees, has protest in its DNA.
“Ultimately, I’m in this to entertain, not to be any sort of leader. That’s a huge responsibility that’s so deep within itself. I want to entertain and push people’s buttons. But having that platform, having people willing to listen to you and your music, that’s a responsibility – and one of using that opportunity to share your views.”
As it happens, in actual fact they’d recorded ‘Blackbird’ a few months previously.
“And unfortunately, and disgustingly, it did ring so fucking true last spring,” she continues with a hint of the soulful fierceness that, on stage, makes Lady Blackbird a wonder to behold. “It’s always been one of my favourite songs of hers. I’d listen to ‘Blackbird’ on repeat on my headphones for hours at a time, just feeling it, getting into the bones of it. “I could picture myself singing it onstage – I often do that, close my eyes and imagine me interpreting certain songs on stage. And I thought: this song has to be done.”
Lady Blackbird isn’t the Nina Simone of the Black Lives Matter era (she certainly wouldn’t call herself that). But she is the talent, and the force-of-nature, and the talk-walking personality, that Gilles Peterson has dubbed “the Grace Jones of jazz” – an accolade reinforced by the remixes of recent single ‘Collage’ by jazz and house heavyweights Bruise, Greg Foat and KDA.
And she’s the woman who can flex in other areas, too, as seen in the jaw-dropping version of Tom Petty’s ‘Angel Dream’ that she performed at the virtual Birthday Bash held last October in tribute to what would have been the late musician’s 70th birthday.
We can also just call her the best new voice of 2021, a transcendent performer of songs old and new, an artist whose approach, outlook and vibe is summed up in the title of her stunning forthcoming debut album.
Black Acid Soul.
Minimal yet rich, classic yet timely, the album connects backwards to Miles Davis (his pianist, Deron Johnson, plays Steinway Baby Grand, Mellotron and Casio Synth throughout) and forwards to Pete Tong (he made the Bruise mix of ‘Collage’ his Number Two Essential Selection tune of 2020) and, yes, Victoria Beckham – Matthew Herbert’s remix of second single ‘Beware The Stranger’ soundtracked the designer’s Spring/Summer 2020 Fashion show.
Its 11 tracks have a sound, feeling and attitude that speak of Lady Blackbird’s deep experiences in music, stretching all the way back to infancy.
“I don’t ever remember not singing,” she says, recalling performances in church and at fairs from the age of five. “It’s what I knew how to do, and I don’t want to do anything else.”
By her early teens, Lady Blackbird was travelling to and from Nashville. She was signed to a Christian label but the only music that resulted was some work with rock/rap group DC Talk. After they split, she worked with former member TobyMac, appearing on his first four solo albums and touring together.
“But I realized that that whole Christian world, which my parents tried to place me in, was so goddam far from who I was. I did not want to do Christian music, I didn’t believe anything of what they did, and I quit the tour.”
A wise young soul already at the age of 16, she then found herself “in limbo, because I was in this contract till I was 18”.
Once legally an adult and free, she based herself out of New York while flying to and from sessions in LA. She was working with Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Sam Watters, Louis Biancaniello, Tricky Stewart and The Heavyweights. A production deal led to a record deal with LA Reid’s Epic. But creative differences led to her parting ways with the label.
So, the deal ended “and it was back to the drawing board and working with different people”. One of those was artistturned-writer-and-producer Seefried, who’d been Grammy-nominated for his work on the debut album by Andra Day (soon to be seen as Billie Holiday in biopic The United States Vs. Billie Holiday).
On meeting Lady Blackbird, he recalls thinking: “Wow, I’m working with the best new vocalists there are – Andra and Lady Blackbird are two of the greatest singers on the planet.”
From Lady Blackbird’s point-of-view, “I fucking loved his shit!” she hoots, relieved to have finally found a musical partner who got her. “Chris listened to me, asking, was I feeling this vibe, or that vibe? He was able to dig inside what I was feeling. Next thing you know, he had some amazing sounds worked out. We really just connected.”
They took their time, working in Seefried’s LA studio, feeling out the bespoke musical path that would work with the fiercely individual performer. Finally, in hitting on the idea of stripping everything back, “we cracked the code”.
“I’d written a song, ‘Nobody’s Sweetheart’, a jazz ballad kind of thing, and asked her to do a vocal,” explains Seefried. “I laid the tune on her – and it’s quite a complicated piece of music – then I played it again. And she goes: ‘OK, I got it.’ And in two takes she nailed it, live. It’s a real natural genius kind of thing to have that kind of musicality intuitively.
That song, when he began playing it to people, stopped them in their tracks. “In fact, when I played it to my therapist, he started crying.”
“When you break a therapist, that’s when you know you’re winning!” Lady Blackbird laughs.
A sad, elegantly simple tune, ‘Nobody’s Sweetheart’ was, too, a pathfinder song, and also the first one they recorded (with, ultimately, on the finished album, a beautiful trumpet solo from the great New Orleans virtuoso, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews). After working on big pop bangers, this was the motherlode. After going all out, they were going all in, deeply in, getting out of the way and letting shine the voice of Lady Blackbird.
For the singer, a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, that approach, however, didn’t – couldn’t – diminish her onstage persona. “I loved my over-the-top costumes and all this elaborate shit on stage. Chris convinced me we could be jazz and still keep that attitude.”
Suffice it to say that, when Seefried played ‘Nobody’s Sweetheart’ to Ross Allen – the British label exec, DJ and crate-digger who’s signed Lady Blackbird to his new imprint Foundation Music – he was astounded.
“I also showed him this picture of her, this radical woman on stage, and it was from the back, wearing this incredible dress and Pattie LaBelle headgear. Ross was like: ‘She sings like that and looks like that? Fucking hell!’”
“Yeah, it was my ass!” she shouts, delighted. “Ass out, always!”
You can hear that personality in ‘Collage’. An instant earworm which she inhabits in multiple colours, it’s Lady Blackbird’s take on the “fucking quirky” James Gang original, a soulful psych-rock deep cut from 1969.
There’s more inspired reinvention on the aching ‘It’ll Never Happen Again’, written by Tim Hardin and which first appeared on the folk singer’s seminal 1966 debut. Forthright as ever, Lady admits, “that was one of the ones I didn’t like at first. It wasn’t boring, I just didn’t know how to give it some power or personality at first. But then I tried it, it was a beautiful session, and it’s ended up one of my favourites on the album. It just sounds magical.”
That spirit of adventure and invention is there, too, on ‘Beware The Stranger’. It’s a rerub of ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, a rare groove classic recorded by funk/gospel collective Voices of East Harlem in 1973 and co-produced by Curtis Mayfield.
“It’s a version of a version!” she laughs. “We changed the title, the gender, everything! But again, when I first heard it, I just could not hear it. Then Chris cottoned on to the choir piece at the end and suggested we build from there. It was this gothic-type sound, and we rebuilt that choir just using my voice. When we took it to a dark and dangerous place, that’s when I liked it, and when everything else just happened. Taking them down a jazz route was just about interpreting them in a way that could make them fit on a Kind of Blue, Love Supreme kind of space”.
Rounding out the album are two killer cuts written by Lady Blackbird and Seefried, ‘Fix It’ and ‘Five Feet Tall’. The former is an elegant piano ballad that sounds like a Great American Songbook standard sung by a woman on the side of the angels. Her ability to nail the song in the studio in minimal takes was clearly something to behold.
“Deron had never met her before the session,” recounts Seefried, “and she was recording ‘Fix It’ in Lady Blackbird mode. And he was like: ‘Damn, she’s like artificial intelligence! She’s like an Avatar! This is unreal!’”
As for ‘Black Acid Soul’, closing the album, it speaks of both the “Jackson Pollock jams” Seefried describes in the studio and the mantric soul evocative of Hot Buttered Soul-era Isaac Hayes. Explaining how the song became the title and then, again, the vibe, Lady Blackbird says: “We used to hashtag #blackacidsoul, as our sub-genre of music. It just encompassed everything we were doing. It cemented all those ideas and genres in this made-up shit!
“And because ‘Blackbird’ is a great start to the album, because it gets dark and violent and goes somewhere spiritual, we wanted to tail the album with another expression of acid soul. So that became the title track at the end.” This is Black Acid Soul, and this is the first crucial album of 2021. Are you ready to fly with Lady Blackbird?