Icarus Descending

Dust jacket illustrated by George Underwood

 
 

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1963 science fiction novel by American author Walter Tevis, about an extraterrestrial who lands on Earth seeking a way to ferry his people to Earth from his home planet, which is suffering from a severe drought. The novel served as the basis for the 1976 film by Nicolas Roeg, The Man Who Fell to Earth, as well as a 1987 television adaptation.

 
 

Illustration by George Underwood

 
 

The original novel opened with the section Icarus Descending 1972, the revised version opens with Icarus Descending 1985. The second section of book is Rumplestiltskin, 1975, in the revised version this is 1988. The final section of the book is Icarus Drowning, 1976, and 1990 in the revised edition novel.

 
 

William Carlos Williams’ poem and the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus appear side-by-side 22 minutes into the 1976 film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie.

 
 

The painting seen early on in the film is Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, which (as we stated in a previous post) was long thought to be by Pieter Brueghel. In Greek mythology, Icarus succeeded in flying, with wings made by his father Daedalus, using feathers secured with wax. Ignoring his father’s warnings, Icarus chose to fly too close to the sun, melting the wax, and fell into the sea and drowned. His legs can be seen in the water just below the ship.

The film depicts the arrival of an alien, Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie), who has travelled to the Earth on a rescue mission to aid his dying planet (a prescient theme tapping into our ever growing concerns about global warming). His superior technology, and the unique patents it offers, allows him to play and control the markets and create a vast conglomerate. Amassing the financial benefits of the consumer products he has introduced, he sets out to create a space programme that will enable him to return to his world and bring his family back to Earth.

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Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, perhaps painted in the 1560s, is now usually seen as a good early copy by an unknown artist of Bruegel’s lost original, although recent technical research has re-opened the question.

 

“According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
near

the edge of the sea
concerned
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning”

 

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is an ecphrastic poem by the 20th-century American poet William Carlos Williams that was written in response to Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, traditionally attributed to Pieter Bruegel. Williams first published the poem as part of a sequence in The Hudson Review in 1960,subsequently using the sequence as the basis for his final book, Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems, published in 1962.

 

The Son of Man in Popular Culture

The Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973) movie poster

 
 

René Magritte‘s The Son of Man appears in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain, on a wall in the house of Jupiter. The film was produced by Beatles manager Allen Klein of ABKCO Music and Records, after Jodorowsky scored an underground phenomenon with El Topo (The Mole) and the acclaim of both John Lennon and George Harrison (Lennon and Yoko Ono put up production money).

 
 

Robin Williams in Toys (Barry Levinson, 1992).

The set design, costumes, and promotional poster reflect the painting’s style.

 
 

A parody of the painting, with Bart behind the floating apple, can be seen briefly at the start of The Simpsons episode No. 86  Treehouse of Horror IV (1993)

 
 

The painting appears briefly on the video for Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s song Scream , on the “Gallery” section:

 
 

Still from Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s Scream music video (Mark Romanek, 1995)

 
 

The Thomas Crown Affair (John McTiernan, 1999)

 
 

The Son of Man appears several times in the 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair, especially in the final robbery scenes when men wearing bowler hats and trench coats carry briefcases throughout the museum to cover Crown’s movements and confuse the security team.

 
 

Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster, 2006)

 
 

This is not an Apple, illustration by John Cox, 2007

 
 

In the film Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Zach Helm, 2007), the painting is seen hanging on the wall half finished; at the end of the film Mr Magorium is seen to be painting the rest of it.

 
 

This painting also shows up at the end of the film Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008). British prisoner Charlie Bronson takes a hostage and turns him into this particular portrait

 
 

 In the movie 500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009), the bowler hat and green apple can be seen in Summer’s apartment

 
 

The cover of the book Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business (2009) has a version of the painting, with a pomegranate

 
 

In Jimmy Liao’s illustrated book Starry Starry Night (2011), the protagonist girl, with the painting illustrated behind her, imitates the painting to express her protest against her parents’ long term fighting.

 
 

In Gary Braunbeck’s novel Keepers (2005), the antagonist figures (the “Keepers” of the title) resemble the nattily-dressed, bowler-hatted figures of Magritte’s painting. Also, in the opening scene of the book, the reference is directly made and explained to this resemblance because of an apple-scented car air freshener printed with the image of the painting hanging in the protagonist’s car.

In Lev Grossman’s 2009 novel The Magicians the antagonist is a man wearing a suit, with his face obscured by a leafed branch suspended in midair.

A Dedication by Ginsberg

Presentation copy of Howl to poet and scholar Richard Eberhart – inscribed “For Richard Eberhart in gratitude for his original vision of Nature both in his poetry and in his early sympathy for mine, Allen Ginsberg Dartmouth, October 17, 1960

 
 

Allen Ginsberg wrote drafts of the poem Howl in mid-1954 to 1955, purportedly at a coffeehouse known today as the Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California. Many factors went into the creation of the poem. A short time before the composition of Howl, Ginsberg’s therapist, Dr. Philip Hicks, encouraged him to quit his job and pursue poetry full-time. He experimented with a syntactic subversion of meaning called parataxis in the poem Dream Record: June 8, 1955 about the death of Joan Vollmer, a technique that would become central in Howl.

Ginsberg would experiment with this breath-length form in many later poems. The first draft contained what would later become Part I and Part III. It is noted for relating stories and experiences of Ginsberg’s friends and contemporaries, its tumbling, hallucinatory style, and the frank address of sexuality, specifically homosexuality, which subsequently provoked an obscenity trial. Although Ginsberg referred to many of his friends and acquaintances (including Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, Lucien Carr, and Herbert Huncke), the primary emotional drive was his sympathy for Carl Solomon, to whom it was dedicated; he met Solomon in a mental institution and became friends with him.

Ginsberg admitted later this sympathy for Solomon was connected to bottled-up guilt and sympathy for his mother’s schizophrenia (she had been lobotomized), an issue he was not yet ready to address directly. In 2008, Peter Orlovsky told the co-directors of the film Howl (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 2010) that a short moonlit walk—during which Orlovsky sang a rendition of the Hank Williams song Howlin’ At the Moon–may have been the encouragement for the title of Ginsberg’s poem. “I never asked him, and he never offered,” Orlovsky told them, “but there were things he would pick up on and use in his verse form some way or another. Poets do it all the time.” The Dedication by Ginsberg states he took the title from Kerouac.

The Same Rediscovery of Individual Soul’s

“The influence was that originality of taking the materials from your own existence rather than taking on hand-me-down poetic materials, speech units, rhythmic units and trying to adapt your life to them – you articulate your rhythm, your own rhythms. The concept of that led, in the ‘forties, to Abstract Expressionist painting and (Willem) de Kooning and (Franz) Kline, it led, in music, to Ornette Colman and all, and uh.. who was a teacher there? – the guy who died two [actually, four] years ago – John Coltrane. It was the same rediscovery of individual soul’s impulse that led into Coltrane.”

Allen Ginsberg
In Partisan Review, in 1971, (speaking of William Carlos Williams)

 
 

Patti Smith photographed by Danny Clinch, 2000

 
 

To watch a documentary short chronicling the influence John Coltrane has had on other musicians, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

On The Spanish Steps

Piazza di Spagna in an 18th-century etching by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, seen from south. The street on the left is Via del Babuino, leading to Piazza del Popolo.

 
 

The Spanish Steps or Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

The monumental stairway of 135 steps (the slightly elevated drainage system is often mistaken for the first step) was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, and the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, both located above — to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi located below. The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi.

 
 

In the piazza, at the corner on the right as one begins to climb the steps, is the house where English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821; it is now a museum dedicated to his memory, full of memorabilia of the English Romantic generation.

 
 

At the top the stairway ramp up the Pincio which is the Pincian Hill. From the top of the steps the Villa Medici can be reached.

During Christmas time a 19th-century crib is displayed on the first landing of the staircase. During May, part of the steps are cover
ed by pots of azaleas. In modern times the Spanish Steps have included a small cut-flower market. The steps are not a place for eating lunch, being forbidden by Roman urban regulations, but they are usually crowded with people.

 
 

 
 

In the Piazza di Spagna at the base is the Early Baroque fountain called Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the ugly Boat), built in 1627-29 and often credited to Pietro Bernini, father of a more famous son, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who is recently said to have collaborated on the decoration. The elder Bernini had been the pope’s architect for the Acqua Vergine, since 1623. According to a legend, Pope Urban VIII had the fountain installed after he had been impressed by a boat brought here by a flood of the Tiber river.

 
 

The film Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953), starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, made the Spanish Steps famous to an American audience

 
 

The apartment that was the setting for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (José Quintero, 1961) is halfway up on the right

 
 

The Steps were featured prominently in the film version of The Talented Mr. Ripley(Anthony Minghella, 1999) starring Matt Damon in the title role

 
 

To watch Morten Harket’s Spanish Steps music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

The Great Pretender

 
 

The Great Pretender is a popular song recorded by The Platters, with Tony Williams on lead vocals, and released as a single on November 3, 1955. The words and music were created by Buck Ram, the Platters’ manager and producer who was a successful songwriter before moving into producing and management. The Great Pretender reached the number one position on both the R&B and pop charts in 1956.

The song was repopularized in 1987 by Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band Queen. Mercury’s version reached number four on the UK Singles Chart.

 
 

 
 

Mercury’s music video for the song became one of the most well-known of his career. It featured Mercury in many of his Queen guises through video medium over the years, including visual re-takes of Crazy Little Thing Called Love, It’s a Hard Life, I Want to Break Free and Bohemian Rhapsody. It was directed by David Mallet in February 1987, and also featured fellow Queen member Roger Taylor and Peter Straker (a friend of Freddie’s) in drag. Mercury had shaved off his moustache, which had been his trademark feature since 1980. An extended video version appears on the video single on VHS, Freddie Mercury The Video Collection on VHS and DVD and Lover of Life, Singer of Songs on DVD.

 
 

To watch the music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Chanel Reincarnated

 
 

Chanel has given us a preview of the forthcoming project starring Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Williams—and it looks as though the model has been transformed into a modern day Cinderella, with Williams as her Prince Charming. The pair, posing as Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) and Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, feature in a film directed by Karl Lagerfeld, to be unveiled during the Metiers d’Art show in Salzburg, Austria, on 2 December.

The film, Reincarnation, will pay homage to the iconic Chanel jacket and is set to an original song composed and performed by Williams, CC The World. Both the singer and the model will also appear in the accompanying campaign imagery for the Metiers d’Art collection.

“It was time to show the origins of the Chanel jacket, inspired by the one worn by the lift attendant in a hotel near Salzburg in the 1950s,” says Lagerfeld. “Reincarnation is the story of a lift attendant’s jacket being reincarnated as a timeless piece of women’s wear.”

It’s reported that six-year-old Chanel favourite Hudson Kroenig also appears in the film, alongside Geraldine Chaplin as Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. The story follows a chapter in the life of the legendary designer, who is holidaying in the suburbs of Salzburg in 1954. At her hotel she meets a young lift-boy played by Williams.

Text by By Sarah Karmali for Harper’s Bazaar

 
 

To watch the teaser, please take a look at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

The Male Nudes

“The depth and commitment he had in photographing the male nude, from the start of his career to the end, was astonishing. There was absolutely no commercial impulse involved — he couldn’t exhibit it, he couldn’t publish it.”

Allen Ellenzweig, art and photography critic who wrote the introduction to George Platt Lynes: The Male Nudes, published in 2011 by Rizzoli.

 
 

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During his lifetime, George Platt Lynes amassed a substantial body of work involving nude and homoerotic photography. In the 1930s, he began taking nudes of friends, performers and models, including a young Yul Brynner, and author Tennessee Williams although these remained private, unknown and unpublished for years. Over the following two decades, Lynes continued his work in this area passionately, albeit privately. In the late 1940s, Lynes became acquainted with Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his Institute in Bloomington, Indiana. Kinsey took an interest in Lynes work, as he was researching homosexuality in America at the time.

By May 1955, when Lynes had been diagnosed terminally ill with lung cancer, he closed his studio and destroyed much of his print and negative archives, particularly his male nudes. However, it is now known that he had transferred many of these works to the Kinsey Institute. “He clearly was concerned that this work, which he considered his greatest achievement as a photographer, should not be dispersed or destroyed…We have to remember the time period we’re talking about—America during the post-war Red Scare…” The body of work residing at the Kinsey Institute remained largely unknown until it was made public and published in 2011. The Kinsey collection represents one of the largest single collections of Lynes’s work.

Display of Brilliant Friends

Self-portraits

 
 

George Platt Lynes was an American fashion and commercial photographer. Born in East Orange, New Jersey to Adelaide (Sparkman) and Joseph Russell Lynes he spent his childhood in New Jersey but attended the Berkshire School in Massachusetts. He was sent to Paris in 1925 with the idea of better preparing him for college. His life was forever changed by the circle of friends that he would meet there. Gertrude Stein, Glenway Wescott, Monroe Wheeler and those that he met through them opened an entirely new world to the young artist.

He returned to the United States with the idea of a literary career and he even opened a bookstore in Englewood, New Jersey in 1927. He first became interested in photography not with the idea of a career, but to take photographs of his friends and display them in his bookstore.

Returning to France the next year in the company of Wescott and Wheeler, he traveled around Europe for the next several years, always with his camera at hand. He developed close friendships within a larger circle of artists including Jean Cocteau and Julien Levy, the art dealer and critic. Levy would exhibit his photographs in his gallery in New York City in 1932 and Lynes would open his studio there that same year.

By 1946, he grew disillusioned with New York and left for Hollywood, where he became chief photographer for the Vogue studios. He photographed Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Swanson and Orson Welles, from the film industry, as well as others in the arts among them Aldous Huxley, Igor Stravinsky, and Thomas Mann. While a success artistically, it was a financial failure.

By May of 1955 he had been diagnosed terminally ill with lung cancer. He closed his studio. He destroyed much of his print and negative archives particularly his male nudes. After a final trip to Europe, Lynes returned to New York City where he died in December 1955. He was just 48.

 
 

Dorothy Parker

 
 

Jean Cocteau

 
 

Gloria Swanson

 
 

Christopher Isherwood

 
 

Yul Brynner

 
 

Tennessee Williams

 
 

Paul Cadmus

 
 

Henri Cartier-Bresson

 
 

Alfred Kinsey

 
 

Salvador Dalí

Stamped Lips

Stamped Lips, Andy Warhol, 1959

 

Yves Saint Laurent Spring Summer 1971

 

 “ Lips print dress from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Harpers & Queen, early April 1971. Model Viviane Fauny. Photo Helmut Newton.Lips print dress from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Harpers & Queen, early April 1971. Model: Viviane Fauny. Photo: Helmut Newton

 

Dresses Yves Saint Laurent,  Vogue Italia, February 1971, Photo By Chris Von Wagenheim

 

YSL 1973

 

Zooey Deschanel for ELLE in Saint Laurent by Slimane Lip Print dress, Spring 2014

 

Rihanna wearing the sequined one shoulder top, also by Slimane. Vogue, March 2014. Photo: David Sims

 

Kristen Stewart on the cover of Marie Claire UK, May 2014

 

Marc Jacobs cosmetic bag

 

Lulu Guiness lips clutch

 

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, 2014

 

Peter Jensen SS 2014

 

Giles Deacon SS 2014

 

Alice and Olivia, Resort Collection 2014

 

Prada Spring Summer 2000 ad campaign

 

Michelle Williams on  the cover of ELLE, December 2011 wearing a Prada dress

 

Prada Resort Collection 2012 ad campaign

Kind of Twisted and Memorable Characters

Illustration by John Tenniel

 
 

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are fictional characters in an English nursery rhyme and in Lewis Carroll‘s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). Their names may have originally come from an epigram written by poet John Byrom. The nursery rhyme has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19800. The names have since become synonymous in western popular culture slang for any two people who look and act in identical ways, generally in a derogatory context.

Carroll, having introduced two fat little men named Tweedledum and Tweedledee, quotes the nursery rhyme, which the two brothers then go on to enact. They agree to have a battle, but never have one. When they see a monstrous black crow swooping down, they take to their heels. The Tweedle brothers never contradict each other, even when one of them, according to the rhyme, “agrees to have a battle”. Rather, they complement each other’s words. This fact has led Tenniel to assume that they are twins, and Martin Gardner goes so far as to claim that Carroll intended them to be enantiomorphs — three-dimensional mirror images. Evidence for these assumptions cannot be found in any of Lewis Carroll’s writings.

The words “Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee” make their first appearance in print in “one of the most celebrated and most frequently quoted (and sometimes misquoted) epigrams”, satirising the disagreements between George Frideric Händel and Giovanni Bononcini, written by John Byrom (1692–1763):

Some say, compar’d to Bononcini
That Mynheer Handel’s but a Ninny
Others aver, that he to Handel
Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle
Strange all this Difference should be’
Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!

Although Byrom is clearly the author of the epigram, the last two lines have also been attributed to Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. While the familiar form of the rhyme was not printed until around 1805, when it appeared in Original Ditties for the Nursery, it is possible that Byrom was drawing on an existing rhyme.

 
 

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum features as the opening song on Bob Dylan‘s 2001 album Love and Theft.

 
 

The track includes many references to parades in Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where participants are masked, and “determined to go all the way” of the parade route, in spite of being intoxicated. “It rolls in like a storm, drums galloping over the horizon into ear shot, guitar riffs slicing with terse dexterity while a tale about a pair of vagabonds unfolds,” writes Kot. “It ends in death, and sets the stage for an album populated by rogues, con men, outcasts, gamblers, gunfighters and desperados, many of them with nothing to lose, some of them out of their minds, all of them quintessentially American.

They’re the kind of twisted, instantly memorable characters one meets in John Ford‘s westerns, Jack Kerouac‘s road novels, but, most of all, in the blues and country songs of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. This is a tour of American music—jump blues, slow blues, rockabilly, Tin Pan Alley ballads, Country Swing—that evokes the sprawl, fatalism and subversive humor of Dylan’s sacred text, Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, the pre-rock voicings of Hank Williams, Charley Patton and Johnnie Ray, among others, and the ultradry humor of Groucho Marx.

Butterfly Omen (R.I.P. Robin Williams)

“When I was a girl I would look out my bedroom window at the caterpillars; I envied them so much. No matter what they were before, no matter what happened to them, they could just hide away and turn into these beautiful creatures that could fly away completely untouched.”

 
 

R.I.P. Robin Williams (1951-2014). Still from Patch Adams (Tom Shadyac, 1998).

 
 

After the murder of his girlfriend, Patch questions God about the suffering of mankind. Standing on a cliff, he contemplates suicide. He then sees a butterfly which reminds him of Carin’s telling him earlier how she always wished she was a caterpillar that could someday transform itself and fly away. The butterfly lands on his medical bag and afterward on his shirt before flying away. This appears to Patch to be Carin reincarnated and it revives his spirits, and he decides to continue his work in her honor.

 
 

Fashion of Their Love

I never was the kind of girl,
That’s naturally sure when it comes to love, oh no!
I was insecure, insecure!
But when it comes to you and me
I can’t deny this feeling inside,
Oh no, I never felt like this before!
This before, oh, no!

Chorus:
I’m seeing all the signs from above
I’m gonna be the one that he loves
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love
Oh yeah
I’m gonna be his first and last kiss,
‘Cause honey I was born to be his
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love

You know that I’d never cheat on a man
‘Cause I’m not like that
I’m physically crafted to be
As fitting as McQueen
But when it comes to clothing I’m bad
I’m fashionably just designed to be grand
Oh and he’s no accessory to me
Oh to me, no no, no!

No I just can’t seem to forget you
No I can’t for just as long as I met you
You’re my babe right through
I was made for you (I was made for you)

Chorus:
I’m seeing all the signs from above
I’m gonna be the one that he loves
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love
Oh yeah
I’m gonna be his first and last kiss,
‘Cause honey I was born to be his
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love

They say you need a strong man
Not just a friend
But baby my search is done
No longer reason to cry or to justify
How I feel for you my love

I’m seeing all the signs from above
I’m gonna be the one that he loves
I was made for loving him
OH YEAH

I’m seeing all the signs from above
I’m gonna be the one that he loves
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love (oh yeah)

I’m gonna be his first and last kiss,
‘Cause honey I was born to be his
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love

I’m gonna be his first and last kiss,
‘Cause honey I was born to be his
I was made for loving him
The fashion of his love

Lady Gaga

 
 

Image from Visionaire 58 SPIRIT

 
 

Fashion of His Love is a song Lady Gaga wrote to Alexander McQueen as a tribute. His last name is mentioned in the second verse. The song was one of the first song written for her third album, Born This Way.