The Birth of Brass


The Birth of Brass

Today Sang Bleu celebrates the birth date of Tinto Brass, the Italian filmmaker famed for his adaptations of erotic literary novels and general public debauchery. With a vast filmography from the 60s to the 00s, Brass has often been branded a pornographer, voyeur, Satanist, erotic genius and master of sex. Today we commemorate all his titles and delve into his most titillating works and the women he choose to be subjected to his loving depravity.

Prior to the success of Salon Kitty (1976) and Caligula (1979), although the latter was edited, against the wishes of the auteur in post-production, Brass had delved into the human sexual psyche with nEROSubianco (1969) an exploration of sexual and racial tensions cumulated by a chance meeting between a housewife and a strapping black man. Dormant desires now released, the lady in question begins to fantasise about the exploration of sexual intimacies. Shot through a series of montages between a real and dream world, similarities have often been made to Bunuel’s L’Age D’or, where the audience bears witness to the female protagonist straddling her consciousness.

With this thoroughly explicit turn from 1980, Brass withstood hauls of critics who could not ‘bare to watch such gynaecological films’ and continued to adapt literary novels with the release The Key (1983) from Kagi by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, The Mistress of the Inn (1985) from the three-act comedy La locandiera by Carlo Goldoni and Paprika (1991) from John Cleland’s 1748 novel, Fanny Hill. With these adaptations Brass continued to work on the sexual cravings of salacious women, who he expresses as either embracing unexplored taboos or awakening loins to carnal mischief. The [...]

Converse Fetish

‘Made by You’ is the latest carefully created marketing strategy slogan made for the quintessentially American shoe brand Converse. Huge billboards around the world are currently on show displaying individually modified trainers prying to the notion that the timeless shoes are to be bought and then customized to your own personality. Many of the trainers exhibited shown them in worn states alluding to the idea that sentimental values become attached to clothing which turns them into nostalgic memories and experiences.

The shoes are famously intertwined with notions of rock and roll and an air of effortless cool and in many ways are quite democratic. Worn by a huge array of the world population and at a relatively regulated price range, the canvas shoes provoke imagery of a counter cultural history. For a completely simple piece of design the Chuck Taylor shoes have managed to receive lasting popularity due to their musical associations. From the likes of Kurt Cobain and The Ramones to any subcultural club or venue in any city there is always someone within the cutting edge wearing a pair. But it can also be said that even the most conservatively driven individual would simultaneously own them, which is sort of fascinating for a fashion brand to remain that attention.  It seems almost impossible to dislike a pair of Converse and almost everyone has a memory of buying their first pair like a right of passage into adolescence.

So now, in 2015 it seems obvious that in our capitalistic world the company would do everything that they could to exploit this authentic association. These adverts sum up this desire to prove their intention by trying to show their global influence. Each pair of well worn shoes have their owners names signed underneath, ranging from people in all the continents and [...]

Red Comme des Garcon: innovation, provocation

‘Red Comme des Garcon: Innovation, Provocation’ is an exhibition opening tomorrow at London’s Live Archives that celebrates the radical spirit of Japanese fashion house Comme des Garcon and its head, Rei Kawakubo.

The pieces on display are all from Live Archives’ collection of directional contemporary fashion, which Comme des Garcon is considered the vanguard of. ‘Red’ showcases the work of the brand from 1994 to 2012.

The exhibition seeks to display pieces that are the archetype of the Comme des Garcon brand with their communication of the brand’s key aesthetic codes. Comme des Garcon’s experimental sculptural forming of the body and their subversion of gender stereotypes through dress is evident here.

Also on display will be a series of images by James Ari King and styled by Amanda Hansson that are a response to the pieces presented in the exhibition.

Exhibition curated by Jeffrey Horseley

There will be a live stream of the exhibition preview streaming on tonight, Thursday 19th March 7.30-9.30pm. curated by Jeffrey Horseley.

Live Archives 81-83, Mare Street, London E8 4RG

20th to 28th March, 12.00-19.00 daily. 

More information can be found here. 



An interview with Akasha Rabut her exhibition 504 Boyz


To celebrate Akasha Rabut’s photo series at the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice Space opening on Friday night we’ve spoken to her about the origins of this fascinating project. On Friday evening curator Hope Plescia will also be holing a discussion about the photos starting at 7pm.

How did you find out about this subculture and then go on to document it?

When I first moved to New Orleans I would always see well dressed men, holding a bottle of beer in one hand and riding a horse as fast as they could down the neutral ground. I would see these men all around the city. I started seeing them at second lines and took a few photos of them. I tried to track them down to give them the photos but failed.  I moved to New York for a few months and decided to move back to New Orleans. The first night I was back in town I was riding my bike through the city at 11pm at night and I randomly bumped into the 504 Boyz on horses in the Central Business District. We chatted and I told them that I wanted to hang out with them and takes some photos. We became friends immediately and I started documenting them.

What does 504 Boyz mean?

504 Boyz is a horse riding organization based out of the 504 area code (New Orleans area)

 How long would you spend at these gatherings?

I’ve been to one trail ride and have been shooting the 504 boyz for about 8 months.

 What was the diversity like between these people in regards to age and background?

Almost everyone is African American and between the ages of 18 – 60

 Where do you think the routes of [...]

Iain McKell’s An American Prayer

Tomorrow evening in London, iconic subcultural photographer Iain McKell will be showing a selection his new new worked named ‘An American Prayer’. Taken over a three week period last year, with a focus on a 72 hour coach journey from New York to LA, Iain McKell’s photographs of his trip are raw, honest and tarred with melancholy.

McKell embarks on a pilgrimage to what has been described as ‘the entrance to the underworld’ that is Los Angeles, revealing the underbelly that revolves underneath its blue skied surface.

The photos posses a kind of brutal human honesty exploring the essences of outsiderness and the individual which have existed simultaneously throughout McKells career which has spanned three decades.

Earlier this year we spoke to Steve Terry of Wild Life Press about the re emergence of McKell’s book Sub Culture which documented the Two Tone and Suede Head scene in Britain during the late 70s which you can read here.

Over 100 photos will be shown at this Salon evening starting at 7pm and ending at 11pm.

Curated by Roisin McQueirns.

More Information can be found here.

Iain McKell : An American Prayer.


The Wanstead Tap

Arch 352 Winchelsea Road Forest Gate, e7 0aq London



An interview with GRACE NEUTRAL

Grace Neutral is the social networking phenomenon and tattooer whose popularity has escalated at an accelerated speed over the last year.

She is perhaps best known for having her eyeballs tattooed a light lilac colour, her belly button removed, nose stretched, face tattooed, the shape of moons carved out of her cheeks  and ears turned into pixie shapes as well as having 90% of her body tattooed with manga and disney characters.

With almost seventy thousand followers on Instagram, Grace shares with us images of her hand poked tattoos of cartoon characters and mandala designs created at Good Times Tattoo in London and her own body modifications.

So what is it about Grace that people are finding so fascinating? Tattooing has become so common place within youth culture and body modification isn’t that far behind this current trend , so what is it that Grace has created within this culture to have accumulated all this attention? Working as a tattooer is increasingly becoming more and more popular so what does it take to grab the attention of so many in the way in which Grace has?

Is Grace Neutral presenting us with a new format where she has sabotaged a conventional form of female sexuality and our expectations of womanhood or is she creating a new one? And if she is creating a new one is this something that she is doing with an aim to actively challenge our expectations? The tattoo world still exists as a predominately masculine world so having this new young girl accumulate so much attention so quickly has certainly challenged what we expect of a female tattooer.

What does it mean in our contemporary culture that girls want to inlay their bodies with cartoon characters? This of course is nothing new, tattooed images of cartoon characters are completely intertwined with notions of flash design dating back [...]

Tonya Harding – Dark Days

Tonya Maxene Harding is an American figure skating champion, a two-time Olympian, and a two-time Skate America Champion. In 1991, she won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed second in the World Championships.

I think that she’s a powerhouse and her talent made her the Olympic medal winner and at one time the best women’s figure skater in the world. She has a taste for competition and a fighting spirit. However I think this gumption was fuelled by her sad upbringing with her abusive mother. She went from an abusive mother to an abusive marriage – a man whose actions would lead to her complete demise within the career she had spent nearly her entire life working towards.

“Her mother was married six times; she grew up in a trailer home, was called trailer trash, called a white nigger. Abused child, abused wife. Her insides must look like a broken glass. But she keeps smiling and keeps skating.” — Jesse Jackson

She’s kind of amazing, despite having had the most harsh and abstract life and carries on fighting and believing in herself all the way. After it was found out that her then husband Jeff Gillooly had indeed arranged for her bodyguard to smash the knee of her rival Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 Olympics with a metal bat, Harding was banned from skating either as a skater or a coach forever. There is no definite way of knowing if she was involved prior to the attack, as Gillooly states that she was but whether she would risk everything on such an outlandish plan is debatable. After the Olympics and under much pressure she signed a plea bargain which included her 1994 title to be revoked and all of her [...]