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August 18, 2015

Fan Phenomena: James Bond gives 007 fans more; while Sugoi invites you to the world of Bill Murray

Jack Yan/12.09

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In the year of a new James Bond movie, many books emerge. Invariably, there’ll be one on the films themselves, taking readers through the 50-plus years of the Eon Productions’ series, and, if it’s very comprehensive, the 1950s CBS TV version of Casino Royale, the 1967 spoof of the same name, and Never Say Never Again will rate more than a mention. There’ll be something about Ian Fleming, and another book on one aspect of the Bond world (gadgets, stunts, music, or something else). Seasoned Bond fans will think the circus is in town again, because the new book about the films adds little to their existing knowledge.
   Claire Hines’s Fan Phenomena: James Bond, from Intellect Books (£15·50, US$22, releasing November 15), is something different altogether: Bond from an academic and completely cultural viewpoint. Intellect is famous for its titles on popular culture and creative practice, with a rigorous academic bent, and Fan Phenomena: James Bond continues the series but takes the reader into the world of Ian Fleming’s super-spy.
   Hines serves as editor, and there are 11 very distinct contributions to her volume, dealing with everything from canonicity to 007’s appearance as ‘Ladykiller Jimmy’ in Alan Moore’s comics; Bond as a cult brand and cultural phenomenon to the clothes he wears; from the James Bond films through a feminist viewpoint to analyses of his masculinity and identity. Interspersed between these are four ‘Fan Appreciation’ sections, featuring an interview with über-fan and former Bond novel continuation author Raymond Benson, artist and collector Peter Lorenz, 007 Museum owner James Bond (who had his name legally changed by deed poll) and cross-players CousinCecily and Winter.
   Even the most seasoned Bond fan might not have considered the impact of the character, books and films, and the book fulfils a very important role: it gives them something new. William Proctor’s analysis of continuity gets the book off to a healthy start after Hines’s introduction, though typographically it suffers: the type is inexplicably small, though the layout is modern and the visuals help lift things. Getting Raymond Benson in there early on also helps position Fan Phenomena: James Bond as a book for the cognoscenti as well as those who want an academic examination, and Benson reveals a little more behind the scenes of his years as the official continuation author.
   Matthew Freeman, in considering the many media in which Bond occupies, including the gaming world, shows just how the phenomenon breaks the established rules and succeeds, while Jesús Jiménez-Varea and Antonio Pineda’s chapter on Moore’s comics is bound to take many fans into uncharted territory. Joshua Wille’s chapter on fan edits does the same: while many know about ABC-TV’s cutting of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when it aired on US TV, but there are numerous fan edits made in the digital era that had this author hunting the forums.
   Artist Peter Lorenz’s Bond film posters are stunning and present a nice visual break before Lucy Bolton’s chapter analysing the phenomenology of Bond. Bolton’s piece is perhaps closest to those Bond “collectable” books that come out with the films as she analysed the films from Dr No to Skyfall, and fans may have their own interpretations of their cultural significance through the years. Editor Hines’s own chapter looks at Bond as cult brand, and is fascinating in her study of the 1960s Eon films. Hines reconciles how cult and mainstream come together with the Bond series, successfully. Lisa Funnell gives Bond a feminist slant and the enjoyment she derives as an assistant professor teaching women’s studies.
   Stephanie Jones looks at the Bond lifestyle but primarily through the analysis of one work, The Complete James Bond Lifestyle Seminar, which she reveals is relatively light on Bond references, leading to a less satisfying chapter—though it could hardly be blamed on Jones. Llewella Burton’s chapter on Bond and fashion, and how it became a style through the rise of merchandising as the movies became blockbusters with Goldfinger is punctuated by photos from Galeries Lafayette as it opened a James Bond boutique in 1965, again gold dust for Bond fans. Karen Brooks’s and Lisa Hill’s chapter analyses the new and old masculinities through the three Daniel Craig films of 2006, 2008 and 2012.
   Crossplayers CousinCecily and Winter talk about their love of James Bond and Q, leading neatly on the final chapter by Elizabeth J. Nielsen, which deals with Bond’s homoerotic moments and subtexts. She traces them to Fleming himself in the torture scene in Casino Royale, before covering the flirting between Bond and the new Q in Skyfall, which itself has a phenomenon, attracting both women and the LGBTQ community.
   This is a volume for the intelligent Bond fan, someone who appreciates learning about the impact of Ian Fleming’s creation. Of course the films are covered more, as it was through them that Bond became a global phenomenon. The reader walks away having been better informed: this is not a Bond book for the light reader who wants reassurance of the facts they already know, but one which gives them something more satisfying to consider.




Top A scene from What About Bob?, by Jon Boam. Centre Lost in Translation, by Grace Danico. Above Lost in Translation, by Henry Kaye.

On a briefer note, but still tied with film, Sugoi Books has released an A5 book called Cook Your Own Food: a Bill Murray Scratch and Sniff, retailing at £6. There are 20 pp., with 10 smells, with some stunning illustrations, with artists reinterpreting key moments from Murray’s films, focusing on his culinary habits. ‘Scratch the smelly pads at the top right and enter the world of Bill Murray,’ the publisher asks, and you are spoiled with scenes from Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, What About Bob?, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and others. For £6, the illustrations are so good it doesn’t even matter if you have a poor sense of smell.—Jack Yan, Publisher

June 28, 2015

Lucire’s Instagram round-up, June 28

Fenella Clarke/15.00

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With so much going on in the fashion world 24–7 we at Lucire thought you might need a quick Instagram update on what’s been happening in the lives of models and designers in the last week as we chronicle this world.
   With the spring–summer men’s runway shows in the last couple of weeks, most of the designers have runway shots or close-ups of details: we see that in Vivienne Westwood, Gucci and Valentino’s photos. Moschino released this beautiful illustration by Natalia Sanabria of Daphne Groeneveld in a look from their men’s show.
   The models’ Instagrams are a bit more interesting: Gigi Hadid and Liu Wen are giving us a sneak peak into their different photo shoots, the former with her sister and latter a shot of herself from Vogue. Cara Delevingne’s latest doesn’t have much to do with fashion at all: she is traveling around the world at the moment, promoting her new movie, Paper Towns. Kendall Jenner was also promoting something a little unexpected: a signature lipstick collaboration with none other than Estée Lauder, whom Jenner now represents.—Fenella Clarke

May 18, 2015

Karst is the New Zealand School of Dance’s most innovative season yet

Jack Yan/13.09

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Stephen A’Court

Top New Zealand School of Dance third-year contemporary students. Above Latisha Sparks, William Keohavong and Jadyn Burt.

The New Zealand School of Dance always puts on a stellar performance, especially with its final-year class, but Karst, its Choreographic Season for 2015, adds some unexpected and welcome twists, and puts audience members into the performance, at least during the first half.
   Arriving at Te Whaea, you’re aware something is different: instead of the waiting area that you’re accustomed to, there’s blackness. The auditorium, meanwhile, has become the new waiting area, with TV screens showing the final-year students’ faces in the centre, and the tables moved within. As the show started, we were escorted to the catwalk above the plaza, where the show takes place.
   Wind over Sand (See below) gives you a different perspective as we viewed this from above, or on the stairwell, and there was some getting used to seeing a performance while standing. However, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all, and, as it turned out, Wind over Sand was simply a prelude to the cleverer and more entertaining numbers that were to follow. Audience members in wheelchairs were wheeled to ground level and watched from there, but would have had the same appreciation we did.
   Felix Sampson, one of the class of ’15, motioned us comically to come down from the stairs, surrounding the stage, where Jadyn Burt danced to Exhibit: J, using a single box as her prop, positioning herself on each side as she explored it.
   Seated at what would be our vantage points for the rest of the evening, Samuel Hall and Jag Popham began their number stood at different corners of the set, one motioning ever frantically while the other stood still. Without Regard contrasted movements and styles as the pair moved closer on stage.
   Another seamless segue, as bright lights shone from the end of the building, and we were into Volume, set to Planningtorock’s ‘Public Love’, with the notes asking, ‘If you could live in that place every day? Think of the possibilities.’ But, like some of the performances in Karst, those possibilities had a catch, the choreography signalling the old adage of, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ (Manifest) the Subliminal, similarly, strikes at the idea of balance, with backgrounds moving, essentially reiterating that the universe is structured the way it is for a reason. Upset that balance, and there is chaos. Loscil’s ‘Esturine’, with its repetitive rhythms and crackles contributed to an airy, almost lonely effect.
   Fragile Mortalities was the first number that blended visual effects as each dancer brought out a television screen with their face on it, looking cheerful, yet each began revealing their insecurities more and more, performing their internal collapses. In a similar world of paranoia, You Are My, set to the Harry Roy arrangement of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ saw cheer erupt each time the music started, but the despair soon strikes one dancer, then more and more, in different forms; words displayed at the back of the set disintegrated from hopeful to hopeless. At this point, one wondered if this reflected concerns students had about their lives in 2015; after all, who are better insights into the Zeitgeist, and more focused on the future than those who have settled in their careers?
   The 79 Bonnie Special brought the mood up slightly with the background video showing what appeared to be an old cassette-recorded programme. A tribute to New Zealand singer Connan Mockasin, using his song ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy?’, this was a comedic take, with Georgia Rudd donning a silk gown and shades, and lip-synching into a microphone, perhaps telling a tale of fleeting fame and the low-rent world that some inhabit, thinking they are on the A-list. Again, it seemed to be on the pulse of where popular culture is, in what might be deemed a post-reality-show world. Such shows still air, but in terms of the cycle, are they beyond maturity?
   Unfortunate Help, with Jessica Newman and Latisha Sparks in the main roles, see the dancers together with lengthy cardboard tubes, but pulled apart, others’ attempts at rejoining failing to unite the pair, who also fall into their darkness. At its end, Rowan Rossi emerges on stage, curious about the state of affairs, and we hear Sampson utter complete sentences for the first time, beckoning others to go as he and Rossi begin Only in Istanbul. Sampson narrates the piece, joking about Rossi and providing personal details about him, and the two come to dance in unison. Only in Istanbul is described as ‘A rigmarole’ in the programme notes, and the description fits: the movements are expert, but the story culminates in ‘Istanbul, Not Constantinople’ and the entire cast reemerges for Absent Ritual, a number that leaves Karst on an upbeat, positive note.
   Te Aihe Butler’s music, which is at the fore in Absent Ritual, actually comes through in many of the numbers, and is the effective, unseen uniting force behind Karst. It deserves special mention.
   Taken together, one does have to ask: where are society and culture today? Are we in times where we are leaving some of our citizens behind? What is the value of fame if it lacks fulfilment? If the students, who choreographed the works, are forcing us to ask these questions, then they have succeeded.
   The season is directed by Victoria Colombus, an NZSD graduate, and is the most innovative Lucire has reviewed at the venue. Colombus rightly used the space to great effect, and we hope that there will be future performances there. Removed from the traditional shape of the auditorium, the students made very effective use of their new stage, and the architectural structure helped give a scale beyond what the auditorium offers.
   Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School students worked on the lighting, which also showed a youthful passion combined with professionalism, while Donna Jefferis’s costumes were the icing on the cake.
   The season runs at Te Whaea in Newtown, Wellington, till May 23, with tickets from NZ$12 to NZ$23. Bookings are available at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

February 23, 2015

Sponsored video: Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Dan Single help reinvent Impulse for the mid-2010s

Lucire staff/23.53

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A Lucire special promotion


‘If a man suddenly gives you flowers, that’s Impulse,’ has been one of the most famous catch-phrases of the last generation, since Fabergé introduced it in South Africa in the 1970s. Variations on the theme have come and gone, and in 2015, Impulse moves to a new generation with Bambi Northwood-Blyth—one of Lucire’s newsmakers of 2013—and her husband Dan Single, formerly of Ksubi, fronting its latest campaign.
   Northwood-Blyth has been securing campaigns, including fashion label Ba&Sh, because she somehow taps into the Zeitgeist. She also has her own fashion line, B.BAM, and her sense of style and levity have made her more real and endearing to her fans. At Impulse, she joins former Lucire cover girl Zippora Seven and Erin Heatherton and was even placed in charge of the brand’s Instagram for one week.
   The new video, which broke for Valentine’s Day, is not just about the day itself, but embracing love, life and friendship every day. It’s unusual in featuring a real-life married couple who are very much in love, and Northwood-Blyth’s popularity among fashion cognoscenti, plus her social media following, bring it right into the mid-2010s. Gone is the “flowers” theme in favour of the couple on a getaway, and emphasizing that true love isn’t just about that initial “impulse” that drove the original, and perhaps dated advertising. It’s about a real partnership between a couple, in everything they do.
   Like Northwood-Blyth’s other appearances, there is a genuine feel to it, even though the Impulse campaign is more stylized than her own social media, which have shown more behind-the-scenes material. It’s bound to earn her even more fans, while helping to reinvent Impulse as less fanciful, and more part of a real, lasting, romance.


Post sponsored by Unilever

February 21, 2015

The most talked-about film of the month: Fifty Shades of Grey

Lucire staff/3.07

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A week has passed since the release of the cinematic adaptation of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey.
   If you haven’t seen the film directed by Sam Johnson-Taylor, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, you may be the small part of the population who is choosing to ignore the hype.
   In a nutshell, the movie is about Christian Grey (Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Johnson), who are from completely different worlds. He is wealthy, sophisticated and seems as though he has his life together, while Anastasia is about to finish university with an arts’ degree and hasn’t really given any thought as to what her next step is going to be. They meet by chance, and, boom, you see Mr Grey fall in love with Miss Steele instantly. It is a classic love story with a twist, in the sense that Mr Grey has ‘singular taste’ when it comes to his sexual tendencies. He introduces Miss Steele, a virgin, to a world of power, dominance and at times, cruelty, but as the movie progresses, you see a different side to Mr Grey. He genuinely seems to be falling in love with Miss Steele, but he cannot bear to bring himself to say it, or feel it. ‘I have had a rough start in life,’ he tells her and, ‘I’m not the man for you; you should stay away from me.’ But she doesn’t. She presses on, she is determined to uncover what his “issues” are and how she can help him heal, in a sense. But there are dark moments, too. You see Mr Grey falling apart because he simply doesn’t know how to respond emotionally to Miss Steele’s needs, so he responds in the only way he knows how to: through BDSM. Sure, his BDSM is a turn-on for her, and she’s willing to explore his world, but she doesn’t understand why he’s not willing to explore hers—and that’s when it gets messy. You have give Miss Steele credit: she has that fire and spark that Mr Grey loves, and yet, he has no idea how to be a ‘hearts and flowers man’ and as he plainly tells her, ‘I’m fifty shades of f***ed up.’
   Dakota Johnson was made for this role. She steals every scene with her lightness, naïveté, her interest in exploring her sexuality and for wanting to help the man she loves find his way to her world. Jamie Dornan is the brooding Grey, all dark and mysterious, but you get the sense that there is so much more to him and his story than he is willing to share, and that’s the beauty of this series. We find out why he is the way he is, and in the end, we want to be able to answer the age old question: is love enough to save someone?
   If you want a thought-provoking movie, go see it; don’t be intimidated by other people’s reviews and make your own judgements. Mr Grey will see you now.—Snjezana Bobič

January 23, 2015

Cara Delevingne poses with a lion cub as she becomes TAG Heuer’s new ambassador

Lucire staff/21.30

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Cara Delevingne’s status as one of the celebrities of our era is further confirmed with TAG Heuer selecting her to be one of its new ambassadors. Calling her ‘the most disruptive “it girl” of the moment’, TAG Heuer has tapped into the model’s social media following (9 million on Instagram, 2 million on Twitter, 1·7 million on Facebook) to promote its range to a new audience.
   She was welcomed into the TAG Heuer family at the Salle Melpomène at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, posing with a lion cub, in front of an audience of 150 VIPs and journalists. Tying in with the lion cub, the new TAG Heuer campaign will be hashtagged #Dont­Crack­UnderPressure.
   The lion is a symbol that Delevingne identifies with, and she had one tattooed on her right index finger in mid-2013.
   Delevingne wore a Karl Lagerfeld jacket at the event.
   Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and President of LVMH Watches Worldwide, presented her with a TAG Heuer Formula One Steel and Black Ceramic Chronograph set with diamonds.
   Biver said, ‘The TAG Heuer family is not just an idea, it is a team, with true team spirit. We needed someone disruptive yet elegant like Cara to open our minds to the brashness and boldness of today’s youth. TAG Heuer has set its sights on “it-ness”, and Cara is just the person to help us get there.’
   The Daily Mail reported concern from Dr Neil D’Cruze of World Animal Protection, who told the newspaper, ‘Lion cubs are not photo props. Their health and well-being should not be compromised.
   ‘They belong in the wild, not draped over a celebrity just to sell a designer watch.’








Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

December 29, 2014

Ellen DeGeneres your most-searched celeb for 2014; Miss France 2015 article tops our chart

Lucire staff/8.17

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David M. Benett/Getty Images

Above Candice Swanepoel was the most-searched professional model in Lucire’s online news pages this year, coming in sixth.

In 2012, Keira Knightley was the most searched-for celebrity in the news section of the Lucire website. In 2013, that honour went to HRH Princess Madeleine of Sweden, followed by Knightley and Penélope Cruz. They are, largely, what you would expect from a fashion magazine.
   The 2014 rankings were a surprise when we began crunching the data before Christmas. In first place, talk show host and selfie queen (or was it talk show queen and selfie host?) Ellen DeGeneres: this year, everything from the Oscars to a homeware line meant she was on the consciousness of readers the most.
   Showing you can’t keep a Doctor down, Matt Smith surprisingly leapt into second place, after showing up at Cannes post-Doctor Who. Smith has plenty of fans out there, and Whovians apparently form a good part of the internet, getting the Eleventh Doctor this unexpected honour.
   Camille Cerf, the new Miss France, found herself in third place, which is not a huge surprise given that our article on the subject is the first one online. Our former cover girl, and the new Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot came in fourth, while HRH Princess Madeleine, still getting plenty of press attention, was fifth.
   Candice Swanepoel, was the most searched-for professional model, finding herself in the second half of the top 10. Clémence Poésy came seventh, showing that France remains firmly on the radar when it comes to fashionistas. Rio de Janeiro-born model Camila Alves found herself in eighth place.
   Honor Dillon, now Honor Carter, has plenty of admirers, and might net herself a few more with the signing of her husband Dan to a rugby club in France. The sole Kiwi in the top ten found herself in ninth spot this year. Rounding off the top ten was Mădălina Ghenea, the Romanian-born, Milano-based actress and model.
   Our biggest surprise was that Lupita Nyong’o did not appear—we even called her our ‘Woman of the Year’ on our Tumblog.
   Pageant news was top, since we were the first to announce both Miss France and Miss Universe New Zealand—Camille Cerf and Rachel Millns—while the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Awards was the third-most-read news article of 2014 here (another news outlet beat us to it, thanks to a WordPress glitch). An advertorial for the Sports Illustrated Air New Zealand safety video was fourth, which perhaps is no surprise given that the cover announcement, historically, is well read. A “proper” fashion article, on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York’s fall–winter 2014–15 collections, came fifth. Matt Smith, along with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and Gemma Arterton, helped get an article from the Festival de Cannes into sixth place.
   Overall, traffic for the top 10 was down due to regular Wordpress glitches that prevented some articles from being picked up properly—highlighting how online publishers can now find themselves at the mercy of software.
   Hard data aside, pop over to the main part of the site where we name our news-makers of 2014—Ellen DeGeneres is in there, but there are some surprises, too.

December 6, 2014

Camille Cerf, Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais, crowned Miss France 2015

Lucire staff/23.11

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Laurent Vu/SIPA

Camille Cerf, Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais, has been crowned Miss France 2015 tonight from the Zenith in Orléans.
   Cerf is 19, and is 1·8 m tall. She is in her second year of business school, and says her ambition and spontaneity are her best qualities. She had emerged as an early favourite online.
   Hinirere Taputu, Miss Tahiti, was runner-up, Charlotte Pirroni, Miss Côte d’Azur, was second runner-up. Malaurie Eugenie, Miss Aquitaine, and Alyssa Wurtz, Miss Alsace, were fourth and fifth.
   The placings were determined by the viewing public, who made their decision through SMS and telephone voting.
   The live telecast on TF1 is expected to get near a 40 per cent share once ratings are confirmed.
   This year’s show featured sets commemorating different genres of film, such as dance, music and musicals (including the films Chicago, The Great Gatsby, Grease, Flashdance and Dirty Dancing), romantic comedies, and Disney–Pixar cartoon Frozen (the top five appeared as Elsa, the Snow Queen). The final evening gown set saw the top five in designs by Nicolas Fafiotte.
   Former Miss France winners were also present, including Delphine Wespiser, Miss France 2012, Malika Ménard, Miss France 2010 and Marine Lorphelin, Miss France 2013.
   Last year, Miss Orléanis, Flora Coquerel, was crowned the 2014 winner, watched by an audience of 8·3 million on television.
   The judging panel comprised Patrick Bruel (presiding over the jury), Olympic swimmer Laure Manaudou, singer Shy’M, TV and radio host Jean-Luc Reichmann, humorist Stéphane Rousseau, comedian Philippe Bas and Miss France 2008 Valérie Bègue. Comedian Kev Adams made a surprise appearance during the evening, with one performance.
   The top 12 contestants were Miss Aquitaine, Miss Roussillon, Miss Guadeloupe, Miss Picardie, Miss Provence, Miss Tahiti, Miss Île-de-France, Miss New Caledonia, Miss Alsace, Miss Côte d’Azur, Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Miss Centre.
   Thirty-three contestants, aged between 18 and 24, competed for the title.


TF1

Above Flora Coquerel appeared on stage alongside Miss France organizer Sylvie Tellier and host Jean-Pierre Foucault.

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