Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Bowie Film 101

The latest program at the College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee, commenced today taught by John Michael McCarthy. The six week course, titled "The Film Class That Fell To Earth," was inspired by a visit to the college by David Bowie 35 years ago in February 1973.

The night before, Bowie had played at the city's Ellis Auditorium on the Ziggy Stardust tour, playing two sold out shows at 7 and 10 pm. The next day he toured the college at the invite of teacher Dolph Smith. Accompanied by Mick Ronson, Woody Woodmansey and rock photographer and Andy Warhol cohort Cherry Vanilla, who was working as his publicist at the time, Bowie spent a couple of hours looking around the campus. McCarthy saw a photo of the visit, taken by Vanilla, when he was a student at the college in the eighties, and was inspired by it to start the course.

This being Memphis, he was particularly taken by the idea of basing the course around Bowie because of parallels he saw with the city's most famous former resident, Elvis Presley. Bowie and Presley share a birthday, January 8th, and both recorded for RCA. Other connections include the fact that Elvis began his concerts with the Strauss music from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and that he felt that the glam rock movement that Bowie spearheaded in the seventies was very much inspired by the flashy stage outfits Elvis was using at the time.

Students on the course will learn to make a short, 15 minute rock and roll film using Bowie as a metaphor. McCarthy said "in a figurative sense, I want the students to cut their hair and dye it orange." At the conclusion of the course, the films will all be aired at a public showing.

Here's the man himself on that famous 1973 tour.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Ground Control to Major Sam?

At the risk of turning into a "movie news" site, we have more... well... movie news today.

"Moon" is a new project in production, the first full length movie from director Duncan Jones, better known for directing advertisments, particularly a well recieved French Connection campaign, and music videos. The film is set to star Sam Rockwell as an astronaut who becomes stranded on the moon and has to survive there for three years before a rescue can be attempted.

Of course, readers to this site are interested in this because Duncan Jones is more familiar to them under another name, his full name being Duncan Zowie Heywood Jones, or Zowie Bowie as he is better remembered. Bowie's son by first wife Angie, he is also of course the subject of the song Kooks on the Hunky Dory album.

The script is by Nathan Parker, and doesn't the plot sound a bit like it might have been inspired by this?

Monday, 4 February 2008

Back to High School?

As Bowie's new film debuts at Sundance, Variety is reporting that he is in talks to take on his next movie project. And one can only hope it is a better move than it sounds.

Will is a musical comedy/drama very much in the style (and possibly image) of the excrable High School Musical series of films, and even starring one of it's leading actresses, Vanessa Hudgens. The movie will be directed by Todd Graff and revolves around a group of high school misfits who decide to form a musical group to perform in a Battle of the Bands competition. Aside from Mr Bowie, the only good news here is that the mother of one of the girls will be played by the wonderful Lisa Kudrow.

No news is forthcoming on what role the the great man might play in the film, but one can only hope it isn't too cringeworthy. In the meantime, I really should be posting up an image or a video that relates to this story in some way or other. But I just can't bring myself to do it. So instead, here he is performing Heroes on the 1977 Bing Crosby Special.