John Waters’ performance of “This Filthy World” at the opening weekend of Cincinnati’s FotoFocus Biennial was full of useful information: that “blouse” can be gay male slang for “a feminine top,” that “blossom” is something you never want to Google without your Safe Search on, that what appears to be a shot of Divine’s genitalia in “Female Trouble” is actually a stand-in. But amid the behind-the-scenes stories and Ansel Adams digs was a nugget of wisdom directly applicable to young filmmakers and photographers alike. Waters extolled the virtues of always having a unit photographer — that is, someone on set to take pictures of the filmmaking process — because, as he pointed out, that iconic shot of Divine from “Pink Flamingos,” gun brandished, was never actually in the movie. “You remember the stills,” he said, citing also the “From Here to Eternity” beach scene.
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First, David Bowie took over the MCA Chicago with every artifact he may once have sneezed near — and now, Fleetwood Mac singer (and everyone’s favorite witchy godmother) Stevie Nicks is poised to make her Chelsea debut with a recently unearthed shoebox of her old Polaroid self-portraits. Taken with a shutter release cable, the images show a young Nicks in a variety of poses — some dolled-up backstage shots, many almost painterly in their staging. “I would begin after midnight and go until 4 or 5 in the morning. I stopped at sunrise, like a vampire,” Nicks said in a statement, describing her process (and reaffirming suspicions that she is an occult goddess). “I never really thought anyone would ever see these pictures.” And yet, they will, at New York’s Morrison Hotel Gallery beginning on October 10.
If you remember one scene from 1999’s “Being John Malkovich,” there’s a good chance it’s the one in which the actor is confronted with a restaurant full of people who all bear his face, a sea of bald pates casually dining, including a gown-clad jazz singer crooning “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich.” Now, 15 years later, that thrice-repeated surname is the title of a new photoseries by Sandro Miller, which embarks upon a similar project: to recreate 35 iconic images from photographic history, in which the subjects are replaced by none other than John Malkovich. The series opens at Chicago’s Catherine Edelman Gallery on November 7.
After four decades of acquiring African American art, Bill Cosby and his wife Camille are loaning their once-private collection to the Smithsonian this fall. Featuring more than 300 heretofore unexhibited artworks (save, apparently, for one), Cosby’s collection will be on view alongside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in an exhibition titled “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue,” which will open on November 9 and remain through early 2016. Notable names in Cosby’s collection reportedly include Faith Ringgold, Augusta Savage, Beauford Delaney, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Jacob Lawrence.
Imagine you’re a high-profile chef and you’ve been given the task of creating a menu themed on David Bowie, an artist with decades of iconic persona-swapping and hundreds of song titles just waiting to be riffed on. Is it too much to hope that your brain would immediately fizz over with puns — “Cracked Peppercorn Actor,” “Heathen (The Fries),” “Teenage Wildfowl,” even a simple “Rock ‘n’ Roll Soup-n-salad”? Apparently so, if you’re Wolfgang Puck: To accompany the MCA Chicago’s upcoming “David Bowie Is” exhibition, opening on September 23, the museum’s outpost of Puck’s Café released a special theme menu that is just one glaring missed opportunity after another.
Sited in what was formerly a streetwear-focused shoe store, the bar currently known as Beverly’s opened in February of 2013 in Chinatown. Run by a group of friends—some of whom wish to remain anonymous—Beverly’s hosts a regular, rotating program of exhibitions, curated by co-owner Leah Dixon. (Full disclosure: One three-person exhibition earlier this year, “Phaint Smears,” included work by this particular journalist.) “We believe that more discussion can happen in a bar, with a more diverse audience, than can happen in a gallery,” Dixon said. “It’s also a function of our very specific space, that creates a more and less subliminal context for the pieces that are shown here: Some are barely even noticeable. Others are obtrusive.”