Avant Garde (The Music Issue)

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In other news, we've just unleashed the latest issue of Avant Garde. 

So much is going on with this issue:
• We redesigned it from cover to cover, with new typographical treatments (soon to be replicated by others, I assure you) and with an even sturdier publication structure.

• Avant Garde is launching its very own online radio station on February 10th. (Stay posted by following this.) I will be "hosting" a weekly one-hour broadcast consisting of mixed electropop. I go on air on Saturdays at 5PM and replay on Sundays at 11AM. (EET)

• For this issue I interviewed and photographed Mr Costas Voyatzis A.K.A. (the awesome) Mr Yatzer, which was a great, insightful experience all together. The interview lives, digitally, here. (In Greek, that is)

• Also, in this issue, (irrelevantly enough with music) we drew inspiration from a very (retro) popular magazine trend in the 80s: Photonovels. Niki Lialiari, the editor-in-chief wrote the story & lines, Myria Konnari organized and produced it and I came in to direct and shoot it. Prokopis Agathocleous and Polyxeni Savva were the stars of this first episode and it was a huge pleasure (not to mention a breeze) working with them. You can view the first episode here. (In Greek) 

The gorgeous cover of this landmark issue was designed by the super-talented Anni Damianou.

(I) Went Missing...

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I know.

Hello, hi. I absolutely neglected to update this space for a full month or so. Not the first time, truth be told, and from what it seems; neither will it be the last. I lately find myself in a deep (yet pleasantly fragranced, well-lit and ventilated) pit of activities, thoughts, processes, daydreaming, brainstorming and -of course- some worrying and stressing (well-rooted staples, you see).

In the next few months memrants and the memrants tumblr feed will mainly focus on things that trigger inspiration and projects & work updates. I am trying to put something together for 2014, hoping that it will become as half as great as how I plan it to be.

Playlist: Remnants of a Memrant Volume Six

Let's welcome the new year with a new playlist. A bit on the dance-y side this one, with some gorgeous tracks by Katy B (my new obsession), Tensnake, Monsieur Adi (my other new obsession) and Chairlift among others. 

Hoping that whatever happens this year will also happen on a more energetic pace. Let's face the music and dance, y'all.

Cover image: Part of "Relics" (Paris, November 2013)

Adios 2013

I've been wanting to spill my brains out here for some days now and I will eventually get to that, but for now I'll just say goodbye to crappy ol' 2013. Maybe this last cluster of twelve months, was by far one of the most profoundly confounding I have experienced in a very long time, but I am more than happy and willing to put it all behind me, by saying what I have been (hopefully, more than just wishfully) thinking these past few weeks. 2014 does already sound like a plan. Fingers crossed. All the best for the new year.

PechaKucha Nicosia Vol.4

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If anyone is in Nicosia this coming Thursday Dec 19th, at 7:00PM, stop by INTOTO Gallery, where the 4th PechaKucha Nicosia will be taking place. 

I am more than honored to be one of the speakers at the 4th and final installment for 2013, along some other über interesting people. 

I shall be sharing a bit of my ongoing journey of Making things on my own terms* (*well… kind of) via a big “#SELFIE”.

I personally am intrigued to follow all the talks of the evening.

More information on the event: here. PechaKucha Cyprus is hosted by Love from Cyprus.

The rest of the speakers of the evening will be:
Viken Tavitian - Science Comedian, Sakis Manganis - Post Production Producer Green Olive, Halkios Kypros - Poet, a Photographer, a Video Artist, Antonis Ioannou - Founder of Zenboards, Alexis Yeratziotis - Information Technology, Daniella Georgiou - Accessory and Bag Designer at dD

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Erykah Badu X Givenchy SS2014

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And the internet will break down, again, soon as more of these gorgeous images by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott surface. 

Riccardo Tisci is taking Givenchy to magical places. Period. Apart from a brilliant collection, he is being creative with the campaign casting and overall direction as well. (the campaigns from the past three years have almost all been phenomenal)

Erykah Badu is one of the featured faces in the brand's SS 2014 campaign along with Asia Chow, Riley and Maria Borges. This season's campaign is already making history in the industry, as it's the first campaign to feature only women of color.  

“There was a lot of talk this season in fashion [about designers not promoting diversity]. I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I’ve always been supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we are all the same.”

-Riccardo Tisci

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Original images: Style.com

House Of Cards Returns

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Netflix has struck absolute and pure gold with it's original series (and those adopted ones too. Hello, Arrested Development). House of Cards was perhaps the best surprise of 2013 when it comes to TV newcomers. The fact that they already signed for a third season before the second even aired does say a lot. All season two episodes become available on February 14th, 2014. Could this teaser mean that Claire Underwood takes (much more) control this season? Don't binge-watch (if you can). 

“Instant Crush” It Shall Be Then

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Though I was anticipating Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories for a long time, since that first 15-second teaser broadcast last March during Saturday Night Live. I went ahead and pre-ordered the album and when it started downloading I was as thrilled as a toddler on Christmas morning.

Long story, short; I guess, I comparing “RAM” to their 2010 release, which was the absolutely mind-blowing soundtrack to “Tron: Legacy”, was not that great of an idea. I (sort of) liked the album, but was not blown away. Maybe I expected to be obsessed with more than the 4-5 tracks I loved off “RAM”. I will say though that “RAM” is impeccably produced from all aspects.

Now to Instant Crush: This is by far, my favorite track off this album (and in my top 5 for 2013) and the Warren Fu-directed video is as amazing as the track. It’s that classic case of an unfulfilled love story that should have been but but couldn’t. :(

The last sequence is (so heartbreaking) genius!

Lana Del Rey's "Tropical" Decadence

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Lana Del Rey broke the internet today.

Of course, “This video is not available where I live” so I had to find ways to watch it. (Thus, I cannot vouch for the longevity of the video availability at the end of this post, but I will be checking for an official source to replace it soon)

So, naturally, as we all expected Lana Del Rey’s next step was to appear on the silver screen. Well, it did happen, but not quite. See, the trajectory this type of “superstars” usually follow is: Bad record / hot record / hotter record deal / massive cult success / movie deal; and from that point on it could either blow upwards, or just blow. 

But Lana Del Rey, being the unconventional “gal” she is, took the matter into her own hands: She wrote “Tropico”, had Anthony Mandler direct it and her co-songwriter Daniel Heath write the additional score to the film. 

“Tropico”, shot in a ridiculously widescreen aspect ratio, begins set in the Garden of Eden where Eve (Lana Del Rey) and Adam (model Shawn Ross) frolic under the approving figures of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Jesus and John Wayne (who also happens to be God). “Tropico”, just like the video to “Ride”, is heavily narrated by Del Rey, which can “register” as a tad of a lethargy-inducer if the visuals fail to fascinate you. The feel of the 27-minute short follows the same rugged and grungy direction of the previous videos of the “Born to Die” era which reportedly (and hopefully) wraps with this film.

The first of the three “Paradise Edition” tracks featured in the 27-minute short is “Body Electric” which “happens” while in the Gardens of Eden as the couple continues their frolic -eventually- down the dangerous path of exile. Del Rey seems to be fascinated by uncomfortable, unsettling and crude depictions, or versions, of reality, in which she is (again) drenched when she and Ross are exiled from the Gardens of Eden. Her out-of-paradise self is a stripper (of course) while her “Adam” runs a convenience store (not very adequately, as it seems). 

“Gods & Monsters” is the second track featured which, sort of, puts us well into the decadence Del Rey and her peers live in, in the film, while in between tracks we get a heavy dose of narration. Despite the fact that the narration is quite well written, it’s almost impossible to follow in its entirety without drifting away. One of the most fitting lines (and perhaps one that describes best the reoccurring theme in Del Rey’s “world” since the beginning of the “Born to Die” period) is (borrowed by poet Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”?): “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”.

The film climaxes after a robbery scene as “Adam and Eve” prepare to literally float into a grainy deteriorating sunset. “Bel Air” (one of my personal favorites off the “Paradise Edition”) gets it’s center stage moment as all the above happen.

Though “Tropico” is quite an ambitious effort, I think it’s something most of Del Rey’s fans out there will not see more than once (or it's just me; I am a fan, I’m not sure I’d watch it more than I did today to write this). I personally think this was a great (and oh so very smart) way for Lana Del Rey to bring a closure to the theme of “Born to Die”, while her decision to announce that the title of her next album (hopefully released soon-ish) will be “Ultraviolence” was a pretty smooth move. One that shows that she is most certainly planning ahead. And call me crazy (or a conspiracy theorist), but I think that “Tropico” may have been strategically constructed to act as a “Hey, cast me in your film, you daring director, you.” sort of nod. No?