Caterpillar Changes

It was a poster for Caterpillar Changes. Printed in red on yellow paper. Typographically designed in the shape of a butterfly with psychedelic-style lettering

 
 

Barbara Rubin (1945-1980) was a filmmaker who was highly active in the New York avant-garde cinema scene in the early to mid 1960s. Her 1963 film Christmas on Earth has become a cult classic and important document. She was heavily involved with Jonas Mekas and his Filmmakers’ Cooperative and was a key figure in counter-cultural circles: she introduced The Velvet Underground to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan to Allen Ginsberg.

 
 

Gordon Balls’ intimate recollection of a fascinating time in American history allows a vicarious experience for those unwilling or unable (due to age) to participate.

 
 

In 1967 Rubin mounted a two-week multimedia production entitled Caterpillar Changes, one of the first showings of films in a fragmented installation setting. In his memoir ’66 Frames Gordon Ball discusses the production and the poster they created: “among filmmakers lending their work were Harry Smith, Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, D.A. Pennebaker, Jack Smith, John Cavanaugh, Stan Vanderbeek, Robert Breer, and Bobbie Neuwirth; among the musicians scheduled to perform were Gato Barbieri, the Free Spirits, Angus MacLise, and the Velvet Underground.

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For the Other Half of the Sky

Front cover for the 45rpm vinyl single Woman by John Lennon. The photograph was taken by Jack Mitchell

 
 

Woman is a song written and performed by John Lennon from his 1980 album Double Fantasy. Lennon wrote it as an ode to his wife Yoko Ono, and to all women. The track begins with Lennon whispering, “For the other half of the sky …”, a paraphrase of a Chinese proverb (“women hold up half the sky”), once used by Mao Zedong.

This song was chosen by Lennon to be the second single released from the Double Fantasy album, and it was the first Lennon single issued after his death on 8 December 1980. The B-side of the single is Ono’s song Beautiful Boy.

 
 

 
 

In an interview for Rolling Stone magazine on 5 December 1980, Lennon said that Woman was a “grown-up version” of his song Girl (which was, by the way, the last complete song recorded for Rubber Soul) . On 5 June 1981, Geffen re-released Woman as a single as part of their Back to Back Hits series, with the B-side “(Just Like) Starting Over“. In 1965, Lennon’s then-songwriting partner and fellow Beatle band mate, Paul McCartney, had written a different song entitled Woman for Peter & Gordon using a pseudonym. Thus, both Lennon and McCartney have individual credit for writing different charting songs with the same title.

Music Project

1034339 slimaneMarilyn Manson, Kim Gordon, Beck Hansen, Daft Punk, Sky Ferreira, Courtney Love and Ariel Pink, photographed by Hedi Slimane

 
 

In 2013, Kim Gordon half-wears a Le Smoking, photographed by Hedi Slimane as part of his Saint Laurent music project, premiered here. A portrait series drawing on the relationship between rock icons and the house since its earliest days, the killer move being the artists style themselves in its seasonal and permanent collections to create an image of their own expression.

Inaugurated when the creative shot Christopher Owens as part of Saint Laurent’s reset, the ex-Girl was succeeded by Beck for the SS13 campaign. And follows Slimane’s history clothing Bowie, Jagger, The Libertines, The Kills, Franz Ferdinand; his ongoing photographic Rock Diary featuring emerging and established talents; commissioning show soundtracks by Daft Punk, Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees as well as shooting Sky Ferreira for Saint Laurent’s pre-fall lookbook.

Gordon maintains the signature brilliance of a mannish woman in her picture, even nabbing Hedi’s own scarf. Part suited she treads a tightrope familiar from Sonic Youth, a free spirited girl with total TCB steeliness.

Courtney Love, photographed several times by Slimane over the past decade, is seen at home in a pinstriped suit and silk ruffle shirt wigging out over her guitar. Let It Bleed, Love’s ink locked in standoff with an evening dress, is a statement Mick J has history with, cake sculpture optional.

Marilyn Manson, he who drawled “I’m not an artist but a fucking work of art” follows, complemented by Ariel Pink who shows off his party trick with chipped nail polish. Both wear bikers.

If Yves Saint Laurent was fascinated with the arts – think of the epic Ballet Russes collection of AW76, though not only – this quartet have a subliminal link in Hedi’s exploration of West Coast cultural mythology.

Beyond that? They wear it well, a reminder of the magnetic insouciance that separates a rock star with someone who is simply in a band. Vive la difference.

Text: Dean Mayo Davies
Dazed and Confused