Monday, 14 October 2013




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Thursday, 03 October 2013





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Monday, 09 September 2013

Dziga Vertov's 1924 - Soviet Toys - Animated Soviet Propaganda film @presentfuture_




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Friday, 30 August 2013



In honor of R. Crumb's 70th birthday I have posted the trailer of 1994 documentry about Crumb directed by Terry Zwigoff. This documentry is a very intimate, irreverent, and often disturbing portrait of Crumb and his work as well as the an amazing cast of characters of friends, family and fans around him.

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Friday, 23 August 2013





Presenting our new film recommendation series... "SEEK AND LEARN", at @PRESENTFUTURE_ on TWITTER presents KUROSAWA AKIRA's KAGEMUSHA. Watch the trailer and the film.






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Tuesday, 20 August 2013



Was happy to find the trailer for Jodorowsky's new film, LA DANZA DE LA REALIDAD (DANCE OF REALITY), which debuted at Cannes last May. My dear friend in Mexico City Alisarine Ducolomb did the production design on the film, which she has been telling me about for sometime. I am look forward to seeing LA DANZA DE LA REALIDAD, which is described as "a magic-realist memoir" of Jodorowsky's youth.


Here is an interview with Jodorowsky from Xan Brooks at The Guardian.

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Thursday, 08 August 2013


My dear friend, LA stylist Laura Duncan who works with Dita and styles Perry Farrell, spent the weekend at Lollapalooza 2013 in Chicago. I asked Laura to give us a report and here are some words and picutures from her weekend.

"How do you bring 300,000 people together to one park to dance, sing and rejoice to their hearts content?  Leave it to Master mind Perry Farrell to work his magic to gather some of the best musical acts in the world to play over the course of 3 days and 8 stages in center of Chicago's Grant park. Lollapalooza 2013 was not to be missed!

Our little crew of fashion mischief makers made the pilgrimage in high style from Los Angeles to Chicago as guests of Perry and Etty Farrell to attend this mind blowing festivity.  Miss Dita Von Teese (needs no explanation), Jody O'Keefe (jewelry Designer), Danielle Motor (from the band Swagger) Jessicka Adams (singer of Scarling), Tosh Sherman (fashion Designer), and Eric Szmanda (CSI star).

The mission at hand, to have the most magical experience of our lives!  We danced, laughed and got all together down right silly. Bands like New Order, NIN, Queens of the Stone Age, and of course The Cure rocked our little hearts into a pleasure frenzy.

Yacht day! We went on a beautiful champagne fuled river tour of chicago's amazing skyline!

Dita Von Teese enticing us with her stunning ensemble. Donning her new Argentinean gambler hat, Dress by Maria Lucia Hohan and Vivienne Westwood heels.

Perry looking  chic with his Sandast bag

This is the card I got for the platform...My number! 7 of diamonds, I knew it was going to be a magical night.

Socked in the clown!


Robert Smith and Dita

The Cure being the highlight of our adventure sending us all home back to our beloved Lala land with beautiful dreamy smiles and life long memories."

Danielle Motor poem



Thank you Laura. You can follow Laura on instagram:  lauraduncanart. 



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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Secrets of the Circus Maximus: a temple of Mithras & the ateliers of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

A few weeks ago, while I was in Rome, my friend the fashion designer Paola Balzano drove me in her Smart Car from Myriam B & Mario Salvucci's wonderful nature-themed collaboration in San Lorenzo over to the ruins of the Circus Maximus, which was the chariot racing stadium in Ancient Rome--and, I believe, where Charlton Heston and hunky Stephen Boyd romped around in leather gladiator skirts and engaged in clandestine homoerotic minglings behind the scenes of the filming of "Ben Hur" in 1959.

The reason that we came to the strange building adjacent to the Circus Maximus was because fashion and culture writer Rebecca Voight had mysteriously scribbled the address down on a cocktail napkin and thrust it into my pocket at the 17th-century Angelica Library and commanded, "Go here at 7pm. You won't regret it." I had no idea what, where or who was going on there but she mentioned something about people "having to make appointments months, maybe years, in advance to see what they have there." Naturally, I was intrigued. Plus: I heard they were serving complimentary prosecco and outsized capers. So, I folded myself into Paola's Smart Car and we were off to the races.


 We arrived in this warehouse that had a bit of a pared-down Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel to it....the spooky leather pieces hanging in the back were part of Alta Roma's Limited/Unlimited fact, Alta Roma had organized the tour we were about to go on, which at this point was still rather mysterious...


After a small group of us had gathered at the prosecco bar, we were taken down to this subterranean passage by a guide...the explanations were only in Italian so at first I wasn't sure what we were supposed to be looking at...


 And then I saw this! My favorite Persian pagan god du moment: Mithras. I had first heard about Mithras when one of my colleagues at Tiffany's, Christopher Voigt, suggested I visit the Temple of Mithras (a "mithraea") that lies deep below the Cathedral of San Clemente. And as fate would have it, I was taken there on my second day of this Rome trip by Paolo and Antonio of Roam Around Rome, a boutique tour company. Mithras had his 15 minutes of fame (which actually lasted for about 300 years) in Ancient Rome, from around the end of the 1st century A.D. to the end of the 4th century.The "mystery religion" is believed to have been centered in Ancient Rome.

Well! Jesus Christ's followers were having none of this, dolls! So they made sure by the time circa 5th century A.D. rolled around, the Cult of Mithras was given the heave-ho. The impressive bas relief which we saw during this tour (above) is probably from the 4th century--quite an impressive piece of work for such an early period, I feel! The pagan cult of Mithras was popular amongst hunky working class men and strapping, young military members. It was a tres masculin cult and involved a complex series of initiations. No women allowed! Like at The Mineshaft. Because the trappings for the ceremonial slaughtered-bull (depicted above) blood bath are more impressive in the San Clemente shrine I visited with Paolo and Antonio, I will save my vivid fantasy description of it for that post!


 Some ancient tablets which--I think!--cryptically document the mysterious doings of the Mithraic cult.


 Another relief of Mithras slaughtering the sacrificial bull. At one point, Rebecca Voight and I wandered away from the group into an area which was apparently converted into a pasta factory after the working-class Mithraic men were evicted from this space at the end of the 4th century. Those artisanal pasta makers sound like proto gentrifying hipsters to me!


 After we asceneded from the mithraea, we were told to climb a few flights of steps to continue the tour. The building was quite plain and run-down so I was a bit perplexed as to where we were being sent. We eventually arrived in this room, above, and I thought, "We're in a tutu factory?! Why?"


 Things became more and more surreal...

P1010192 you can see...and the sound of Italian opera music started drifting towards us..



 Finally it dawned on us that we were in the ateliers where the costumes for Rome's opera house were created! The costumes were rather cartoonish and exaggerated--because they need to "read" on a large stage viewed from afar. Now, I'm sure that the costumes used for La Scala in Milan and the Met Opera House in New York are of a more refined quality...but I loved the garishness and flamboyance of the Roman costumes.





 Campy and wonderful sets and costumes for an Egyptian-themed opera. I wonder which one?


During this visit, I had bit of a dejavu as it reminded me of my wonderful experience during Fashion Rio in 2010 of touring the samba schools in Rio de Janeiro where the floats and costumes for Carnaval are created.



 Finally we discovered the source of the opera music: this beat-up, paint-splattered boom box!



 We were all mad for the pea-pod boy! (That's Rebecca Voight in the white jacket in the back.)





After seeing the costumes, we climbed up more stairs to the studio where the backdrops are created. Even this ersatz Mouth of Truth knows I'm a big, fat liar!


 Paola Balzano demurely dips her hand into the mouth...she passed the test with flying colors.

And here, the famous scene: As the legend goes, Gregory Peck ad-libbed this moment of his hand being "bitten off"--causing Audrey Hepburn to be genuinely alarmed:






Out the window, you can see the Temple of Venus on the lower right-hand side.



In the distance, the ruins of the Circus Maximus.


The Temple of Venus at sunset. Such beauty.


Lovely, talented and with a healhty appetite! After the Mithraic-opera-costume tour, Paola Balzano and I drove to Trastevere for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants of all time: Roma Sparita. Nunzia Garoffolo introduced me to this place back in the summer of 2009. About two years ago, Anthony Bourdain did a segment here, but he didn't succeed in ruining its local appeal (and, to his credit, he expressed concern about that and did not give the name of the restaurant.)

The most famous dish is the cacio e pepe: pasta with cheese and pepper sauce served in a crispy, baked cheese bowl.


I couldn't wait to dive into my cacio e pepe...


After dinner, we strolled around Trastevere. It was a Monday night and the streets were virtually empty. I only took this one photo as I really just wanted to enjoy the sites without feeling like I "was working."

At one point, we discovered a strange medieval castle that looked like it was inhabited by very chic witches. Spooky!

Thanks for reading.


Glenn Belverio


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Tuesday, 02 July 2013

What a Mess - the latest from Pierre Carrilero



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Mathieu Bitton By Aradna Sharma Photos by Mathieu Bitton and Julien Bitton

“ Like a little brother, it is a real pleasure to have him in my life. I am very touched and impressed by his passion and talent.” These are the words of the great Quincy Jones describing Los Angeles based  2010 Grammy nominated artist for classic interpretation of Jane’s Addiction Cabinet of Curiosities and the recipient of France’s highest decorations the 2012 medal of  Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from French Republic) among many other awards.This is Mathieu Bitton,  an Artist, a photographer, a film maker, a director, a producer, and a designer.


This  multi-talented French born artist moved to United States when he was 14 Years old bringing with him curiosity, passion and determination. Young Bitton brought  with him love and admiration for  art and R&B, the Dada surrealism movement, 1920’s Jazz age art. The influence of the first real French rock star Serge Gainsbourg and rocker Prince  was and still is undeniable for Mathieu.

I came across Mathieu Bitton’s work about two and a half years ago while in NYC and I have been following his inspirational work  ever since. I could not have been happier when I got a rare chance to ask a few questions via email to this  brilliantly creative man and a loving father of two  beautiful boys.



When did you discover your passion for the art of  photography and music?

As far as I can remember from going to flea markets in Paris and exhibitions as a kid, I was hooked on art and photography. Music started with my parents records, Cat Stevens, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens and Serge Gainsbourg

 When you are taking photos, which is more important to you the subject or the way you execute it?

 It's a combination of both but of course the subject is the most important aspect. ModelMB

Mathieu Bitton captures  the raw naked  truth with his lenses. Each photo whether it is a photograph of musical and Hollywood icons, nature, or nudes, all seem to evoke a certain emotion within. His first ever travelogue exhibition of photos from his travels of many years are on display in Hollywood in  the famous Sheats/ Goldstein mansion.   One of my  favorite  photos of his is in the “After Dark” series  which shows a nude female subject  in bed with warm glow of yellow light, with a man’s mask on. For me, personally, the photograph had soul and  and I could feel the vulnerability. The most intriguing aspect in the photo is the  mask that the subject puts on as if she  is trying to elude the pain of the world and assume a different identity. 


Does your audience influence how you take your pictures or do your ideas alone drive your work? 

Ideas come to me and I execute them from instinct.


Does what is going on in your life at that particular time play out in your images?

Very often yes. Lately I have been doing "darker" things.

 How do you pick your subjects?

Instinct and feeling. I'm very picky. I get a lot of crap from people asking me to shoot them and me being unresponsive. Has to come from within.


Over the span of  his career, Bitton has designed more than 700 albums covers and has worked with who is who of cinema and music world  from Miles Davis, Sting, Quentin Tarantino, Prince to name a few and most recently his collaboration with  the rocker Lenny Kravitz .  His directorial debut documentary “Looking Back on Love” , a journey behind making of Kravitz’s   last studio album “Black and White America” was a huge success.


Which one of your many works has brought you the greatest satisfaction?

 As far as design goes, definitely the Jane's Addiction "Cabinet Of Curiosities." Photography wise, the New Orleans impromptu shoot at Preservation Hall in 2010 and the Mark Gonzales shoot in Paris last year. Both seen in my travelogue exhibition. 

When you look back on the photos you have taken over the span of your career of 20 years, does any particular photograph comes to mind that you wish you could go back and relive that moment again?

Maybe shooting Mick Jagger in New York CIty in 2009. I wish I had shot more.


 In Addition to being a renowned photographer, Mathieu Bitton is also known for his love for Blaxploitation genre films, collections of original movie posters and the collections of rare records. Bitton’s personal collection has been used many times for a reissue or a box set or compilations.

 When did you realized that you were drawn to the Blaxploitation genre ?

Very early on. It started with the soundtracks and then the films. I was a kid in Paris and snuck into a triple-bill Blaxploitation feature when I intended (and told my mom) I was going to see 101 Dalmatians.

 Why did you decide to direct a documentary? Isn’t it a departure from what you have been doing or do you like feel there is a overlap between music, art and movie?

It's all the same to me. Still and moving images. It just happened out of necessity and being in the right place at the right time. 

Would you be directing more movies/documentaries in the future?

Yes I am working on another one now. More shall be revealed.

 It seems like the talent  gene runs in the  Bitton family. A few months ago,  photograph taken by  Bitton’s   young son Julien Bitton was published in the Rolling Stone Russia magazine. 

 Have your sons taking  after you artistically?

 They really are their own persons but they do follow in my steps with music and taste in art. They like to do photography as well.

 What is the one piece of advice that you would want to give to your sons?

Always follow your instinct and never compromise your art.

 If you were not not doing what you do right now, what would it be?

I don't really think about stuff like that. I am who I am. But I would love to be a painter or Jazz pianist.

 Do you make goals? Where will you see yourself in 5 years from now? 

I always set goals yes. I would like to be a feature film director.

 Where do you think future of Art and music is going in this digital age?

Music has become a free commodity, as kids don't connect with the financial value of it. I think special packaging will continue to sell for people like me who love to hold a physical product in their hands. But artists will never stop making music. So they better be able to tour and entertain people if they want to keep their mansions. 

Can you give us a preview on your future projects?

I am really intent on directing a film on the history of Dada, the surrealist art movement. The 100th anniversary is in 2016. That's coming up fast. We already have a script. Aside from that I am working on a new Earth, Wind & Fire album right now. And producing (and designing) the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Lenny Kravitz's breakthrough album "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Also planning on doing a photography book and taking my exhibition across various continents. Just finished designing James Brown "Live At The Apollo" 50th Anniversary CD and Jane's Addiction "Live In NYC" DVD, CD, BluRay, LP and CD-DVD sets. 


Here are fun/random questions I asked Mathieu Bitton with his answers..

Your  dream is to work with...

Kanye West and Jay-Z

 Prince is...


 Serge Gainsbourg for you is..

the beginning of everything

 Fashion for you is...

the cherry on top

Your boys are ...

my life

A woman’s love  is...

my armor

Your favorite movie...

Orfeu Negro

Your favorite song...

Day By Day by Jimmy Scott

Fatherhood has made me...

A man


 I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Mathieu Bitton. 

Aradna Sharma.












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