Friday, January 30, 2009

SHOW'n The Way

Todd Lynn project on SHOWstudio

Anyone who has happened to notice that we have updated the sections on the right of this page may also have noticed that we have put SHOWStudio at the top of our links section. This Nick Knight-driven venture is all class. Say no more. Check it for yourself...

8 Inches Of [Computer] Love

OK. Time for some unabashed gadget-gushing!

Just as you may be a glass half full or glass half empty person, so may you be a Mac person or a PC person. For many years the PC geeks guffawed at Apple's perceived slowness and lack of processing power. For just as many years Mac users didn't care. PC? What's that? Pathetic Computer? Poor Cousin? Petty Crime? In recent years the difference between the two platforms has narrowed to the degree that both seem to have each other's attributes. However, in the field of design, user-friendliness, and sheer cool factor Apple has tended to lead the way. Until now.

The Sony VAIO P Series is, at 8 inches, pocket-size - yet bigger than the plethora of hand-held/mobile devices, and let's face it there are Blackberrys and IPhones everywhere to do that job. No the lovely P Series is big enough to be a laptop or notebook but small enough to slip into your jacket's inside pocket. It has all the bells and whistles, Sony's cross-media connectivity and it looks hot.

The VAIO P series notebooks will be in stores from Fenruary 2009 with an RRP of $1,699 (hard disk drive, models VGN-P13G) and $2,299.95 (solid state drive, models VGN-P15G).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Black Rock of Varvatos

Here at Black Magazine there are a number of fashion and style signatures that we simply cannot go past, or refuse to avoid. The effortlessness of black and the conceptual integration of rock'n'roll influence for example. Every now and then we come across a collection which ticks quite a few of our boxes at once and the John Varvatos, Fall/Winter 2009 collection on show in Milan last week most certainly does. The palette is dark, moody and elegant and the silhouette is chic and sleek, and somehow, we just felt like we were looking at a Black Magazine editorial on a runway. The collection clearly heralds the arrival of a new John Varvatos era.

The John Varvatos Fall/Winter 2009 runway show took place Tuesday, January 20th 2009 at Chiesa sconsacrata di San Paolo Converso, Milan, Italy.

Ship Of Fools, Sculpture Anchored In Gulf

Fletcher Vaughan's Ship Of Fools

At last. A good reason to go to Waiheke Island that isn't of the jazz festival, wine festival, dance party at a vineyard, hope-you-make-the-last-ferry ilk. The Headland Sculptures On The Gulf exhibition is more than likely the most impressive outdoor sculpture exhibition yet staged in New Zealand with works from 26 sculptors and artists on display. The 2009 exhibition is the fourth in a series which began in 2003 and has quickly become a drawcard on the island. What better way to see art than to wander around the gentle island cliffs perusing the artworks framed against the Hauraki Gulf. We are particularly excited to see that Fletcher Vaughan, whose work appears in the latest issue of Black Magazine, is an entrant this year with a work entitled Ship Of Fools.

Headland: Sculpture On The Gulf, Waiheke Island, 2009
Friday 23 January - Sunday 15 February

Exhibition opens 9am - 6pm daily for 3 weeks only

Word Of The Week - Euphonious

euphonious \yoo-FOH-nee-uhs\, adjective:

Pleasing or sweet in sound; smooth-sounding.

"She combines alliteration and deft word choices with the grace of an oral storyteller, creating euphonious and precise sentences that are perfect for reading aloud."
-- Amy L. Cohn, "Children's Books", New York Times, March 10, 1991

Or perhaps:

"It was strange to observe the Fijian leader Frank Bainanarama perched above the parade. In name, so euphonius. In nature, so erroneous"
--My Life As A South Pacific Reporter, Wolfgang Schultz, 2008

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Knight Light, Knight Heat

The Lights of West Moreland

Who is your Light In Shining Armour? Find out yourself at Simon James Design. Or Backhouse Interiors, Staple, Decode, Native Agent, Port Chalmers Design Store or Whiteroom. These simple, sexy and ultimately wearable-like-your-embarrassing-uncle-at-a-party lamps are otherwise known as the David Moreland designed Knight Light - in black and white

You can buy these from David direct or go here.

Katherine Mansfield, Society

Katherine shows her snazzy hairstyle, side-on, early last century.

New Zealand's greatest writer Katherine Mansfield has been honoured today with the announcement of the establishment of the international Katherine Mansfield Society. The influential modernist writer inspired a fundamental shift in the way writers in New Zealand and most notably abroad, put pen to paper. The Society, anchored by a pantheon of literary leaders including Emeritus Professor Angela Smith of the UK and Emeritus Professor C. K. Stead of NZ, is chaired by Emeritus Professor Vincent O’Sullivan who says the K.M.S aims to educate:

“Katherine Mansfield’s influence is still being felt by writers and readers today, and we want to ensure this recognition continues. The Society will work to ensure Katherine Mansfield is on school and university curricula in New Zealand and overseas and aims to establish a Mansfield memorial in her home town of Wellington. We will also be creating a biennial Katherine Mansfield Society literary scholarship – a Rhodes scholarship for literature as it were – for work in the modernist sphere.”

This is good news for the emerging Mansfield-inspired writers of the world, but the online presence of the K.M.S as a comprehensive resource for all things Katherine, may just be the icing on the cake. It includes images, literature on Mansfield and downloadable versions of all her short stories. Membership options range from a 'donation' to a 'student/unwaged' membership of 15 pounds a year right up to the champagne club-level three-thousand-six-hundred pound Life Membership.

Still, we wonder. Will the Society explain the Mystery of Maata?

Erdmann Masterclass

Erdmann shot from the latest Crash Magazine, Paris

Hello, hello, it's good to be back...after a week shooting with Robert Erdmann and crew here in Auckland. Like a photographic whirlwind, Mr Erdmann, assistant Chek and master H&M artist Eric Gabriel flew into town, took over Kingsize Studios and whipped up two world class shoots. It was fascinating to watch a photographer of Mr Erdmann's level operate and even more fascinating to see the quality of the creative collusion between the Americans and our own Black Magazine crew; fashion director Rachael Churchward, fashion editor Atip W and assistants Ant Gratten, Dan Max and Phil Grindle. To see it, you will have to wait until Black 10 goes on sale at the end of March, with, again, a boy cover by Robert Erdmann - but this time featuring our own male model king Vinnie Woolsten - and between 24 and 36 pages of undeniably the best fashion and photography to appear in Black Magazine yet.

To get an understanding of the level and quality of Robert Erdmann's work go here to his agency site. This is his arty site.

Robert Erdmann and crew stayed at New Zealand's fashion forward Westin Hotel which they described as 'world class'.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gran(d) Torino

For a long time now - too long, of course - I've been wanting to spend time visiting the elderly in their nursing homes. I'm assuming they'd want my company, of course, but I think there's nothing sadder than being alone, and to be alone when you're old and have so much to share, and deserve such respect and admiration, is the saddest thing of all.

As much as I want to do something nice for the people who may not have friends or family to visit them, I also want to spend time with characters, with people with great stories and even greater wisdom. If I could design the person I'd like to visit, their name would be Walt Kowalski. He's acerbic, he's blunt, he grunts and snarls and by God he says the most hideous, inappropriate things - and yet he is a great man, and completely lovable.

Walt is the character played by Clint Eastwood in his latest directorial effort, Gran Torino. It's a terrible, uninspired/uninspiring title for the best film I've seen in a long time - and that's saying something.

If for nothing else, see the 78 year old Eastwood in what may be his last performance ever - and what a performance it is.

No doubt about it

I can't be sure why - in fact I have my doubts (boom boom), but from the poster art and some mixed reviews I was anticipating Doubt to be a slow, excruciating, black and white period piece of a film which I'd appreciate, but certainly not adore. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, Doubt is a beautiful film, fast paced yet considered, smart yet utterly entertaining. With Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the lead roles, I always knew the acting would be incredible but, as always, still managed to be surprised at just how good, good can get.

It all went so fast and left me so enraptured that as the credits rolled and the lights went up, I felt almost as if I'd been watching a short film. It doesn't get better than that.

The Town Bike

The Bike In Town

Ok. So you don't live in town. But you've got a bike. You want to ride to work, play, study, lunch, visit the art gallery etc - but you don't want to ride all that way, shackle your precious cycle to a handy chain-friendly fire-hydrant and turn up dishevelled and sweaty. Oh, your bike needs a little fixing, you are hungry and you need a coffee to boot. So where you gonna go in Tamaki Makaurau?

Bike Central of course. Situated across the road from the venerable K Rd Post Office or at 3 Britomart Place downtown, Bike Central's two locations offer those living in the inner suburbs - or beyond - an opportunity to realistically take the bike instead of the car. In-built shower and bathroom facilities, towels, lockers etc, and the ability to park the bike up for the day plus get a morning coffee/snack means that Bike Central is offering something unique. A sustainable/eco-friendly, one-stop shop that acts like a 'town terminus' or, if you wish to hire a bike and go sightseeing, a 'bike station'.

We love it.

Downtown Auckland: 3 Britomart Place, Auckland. Ph: 64-9-3651768
Uptown Auckland: 305 Karangahape Rd, Auckland. Ph: 64-9-307 0710

Here's the website.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We're Feeling IQONic

A month or so back we were feeling a little chuffed when our MySpace friends total lurched over 20,000 and 100,000 profile views. We have had our MySpace profile since late 2006 and it has been a useful way of communicating with and finding out about fashion photographers, beauty personnel, model agencies, other publications, online communities and the like. It has also had a hand in positioning Black Magazine as New Zealand's international fashion, beauty, arts and culture title among a community of international fashion people. On the other hand for a magazine that doesn't take submissions we receive around 100 finished fashion shoot submission per week - we'd need to employ somoeone full time to reply to them all so we don't.

We have also been present on several other communities and networks for some time - including the London/Paris-based fashion community IQONs. We set our profile up in early 2007 and up until yesterday morning had received about 8,500 'profile views' which was reasonably good given the community is largely populated by fashion professionals like Diane Pernet, Bernhard Wilhelm etc

Yesterday, IQONS named Black Magazine as its recipient of '15 Minutes Of Fame' - in other words, the profile of the day. We were unaware and surprised to discover our inbox full of friend requests this morning and another 8,000 'profile views' or hits over night. We've had another 3,500 since 10 am this morning and it's still going strong.

It's nice to feel loved...thanks IQONS.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Canine couture may soon be a thing of the past, with London's RSCPA declaring that doggie dress ups is "humiliating and sends out the wrong message about pet care." I, for one, aren't sold. Yes, it's self indulgent, naff and probably completely unnecessary, but when well executed, it's also cute as hell. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Got wood?

As our regular readers are aware, I spend Tuesdays in Newtown at Club Dendy. Please note that I refer not to the club that you pay to join for discounted tickets etc, but instead a club that serves solely as an excuse for my friends to get together regularly and see great films. It doesn't hurt, of course, that I get to choose them. Control freak? I prefer discerning...

Tonight, being Tuesday, I just got home from this week's screening and am buzzing with the pure, unadulterated excellence of Woody Allen's latest effort, Vicky Christina Barcelona.

Now, old Woody has to work hard to get my respect. I adore him as a director - Annie Hall, enough said - but the whole incest thing took a little of the shine off. But with Vicky (may I call you Vicky?) he is one shining, shimmering, sparkling sequin of a man.

This is the tale of two American women who travel to Barcelona - the free spirited Christina (Scarlett Johansson) who dreams of "a counterintuitive love" and is unwilling to settle for safety, stability and a white picket fence, while Vicky (Rebecca Hall), the yin to Christina's yang, is engaged to a man whose Pantone colour would be an unassuming yet irritating beige named Doug.

Enter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) and his passionate, sultry, sexy saucy confronting incredible ex wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) - the kind of woman that I hope to be, even when wielding a gun.

It's this intensity, this ferocity that makes Vicky Christina Barcelona such a truly fabulous film. I can't help but think of the inspirational quotes that dot graduation speeches and greeting cards alike - be bold, live the life you've imagined, go confidently in the direction of your dreams et al. Vicky Christina is a two hour testament to exactly that, and in my books, a must see.

Olivia's Got It Covered

Olivia Hemus, one of our favourite local photographers is back from her overseas soujourn and starting to add some quality work to her book. She has recently shot for Anthem Magazine in the US and this hot cover for Frankie Magazine. Olivia will be shooting for Issue 10 of Black in the coming weeks. Here's her website.

Robert Erdmann To Shoot For Black Again, In NZ

Robert Erdmann shoot from Black Issue 9

Roll on next week. The last issue of Black Magazine ran two covers, a boy cover and a girl cover. The boy cover and a 16 page shoot inside was photographed by Robert Erdmann, one of the fashion/photography world's biggest names. Check out his Felix Management site here to get an idea of the scale of Robert's repertoire. We were chuffed to have him shoot exclusively for Black Magazine and figured that, given his schedule, it might be a while before he would shoot for us again. However, this week he is flying into Queenstown on a commercial campaign and next week he will shoot with our Fashion Director Rachael Churchward here in Auckland for the next issue of Black. We're feeling rather excited!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

She's Out, Out On The Street - Glam Canyon

"She's out, out, out on the street" sang Alistair Riddell in the eponymous chorus for Out On The Street in 1974. Riddell was the lead singer of New Zealand's one and only original 70's glitter rock band Space Waltz. He was our first androgenous rock star - all Bowie and Roxy Music meets Split Enz - which is not surprising given Space Waltz also included Eddie Raynor, and Paul Crowther. But I digress. We received an email on our MySpace site yesterday from Katja Hentschel, a London-based photographer and fashion eye who also populates the nicest places in Berlin. Her blog Glam Canyon is not about 70's glitter or glam at all but delivers a fabulous mix of Euro street style and vibrant at-the-party party pix from 2009 and beyond. Here is a selection of images from Glam Canyon to encourage the bookmarking of her blog - not least to see some of the excellent street fashion on offer in Berlin and London - last week.

Happy New Year - The End

Bag Raiders, in the Modular mix

Hey there! Happy New Year to all and sundry - we hope your break was of the good kind. Firstly a big congrats to our lovely Deputy Editor Helene Ravlich and partner Jooles Clements and a big kia ora to Wolf Milan Clements who arrived on Monday.

We have a number of thematic and editorial plans for BlackLOG this year, as we do for Black Magazine itself so stay tuned to the BlackLOG. Black Issue 10 - a landmark issue - is on sale late March and it will be a large bundle of Black goodliness.

In the meantime great news this week from the Sohomo people. Modular Records, one of the it-est (is that a word?) music labels in the world is planning a series of bi-monthly parties in Aotearoa entitled The End. Some of the bands on the Modular roster include Cut Copy, The Presets, Ladyhawke, Muscles, Wolfmother, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Robyn, Soulwax, Van She, The Klaxons, The Avalanches, The Bang Gang Deejays, Bumblesbeez, Chromeo, Colder, MSTRKRFT, New Young Pony Club, Leave Them All Behind, The Whitest Boy Alive and Tame Impala. You get the drift, hot, now, danceable - it's a who's who of electro grooviness.

The Sohomo partnership in this country can only add a touch of class to the whole thing. Headliners are The Bag Raiders, the Sydney dancefloor and remix kings whose impressive debut ep featured the seminal single (and delightfully named) "Fun Punch".

Should be special. Bring on The End.

27th Feb @ Good Luck - WGTN
28th Feb @ Cassette Number Nine – AKL