Category Archives: Art

10 Things to Like About Lana’s Del Rey’s Short Film, #Tropico

Here’s our review of “Tropico,” as written for the homies over at Thrive Magazine.

There’s a lot to love, and definitely plenty to hate depending on which side of the Lana del Rey fence you’re on. But that’s kind of her story as an artist – you either deal with the fact that her music is a hodgepodge of sadness, contradiction, and Nancy Sinatra-like crooning over dark synths and a backdrop of All-American imagery. Or you just find her really emotional and annoying, and at some point she changes your mind. “Tropico” is no different. With her first short film, Lana Del Rey tells the story of sin and forgiveness that begins in the Garden of Eden, before embarking on a journey through the gang culture of L.A., several strip clubs, and frolicking through golden grass-filled fields at sunset. It’s every bit as intense as it sounds, yet well worth each of its 27 minutes. Here’s our list of 10 things to love about the film:

10. Hey, we’re all sinners. When your Mom asks “When’s the last time you went to church,” at least you can say it’s ok, I learned the story of Adam & Eve by watching Lana Del Rey’s short film instead.

9.   6-4s, LA, and Cholos. For a moment you’ll feel like it’s 1993 and you’re back in a Snoop Dogg video.

8. Cameo appearances by John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. If two of the most important actors of the 20th century aren’t enough to make you wanna watch this thing, I don’t know what to tell you.

7. Lana del Rey in the strip club. Just in case you didn’t catch that from our short summary at the top.

6. The element of surprise. We don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that after watching “Tropico,” you might think twice the next time you pull out a wad of Benjamins at Magic City.

5.  It was directed by Anthony Mandler, who is best known for directing Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” and has worked with everyone from Taylor Swift, to  Eminem and M.I.A. It was also produced by a pretty important guy named Rick Rubin(Google him).

4.  It was actually written by Lana del Rey. She’s both beautiful and talented, sings her ass off, and stars in videos with A$AP Rocky – what’s not to like?

3. It’s refreshing. After first seeing Kim and Kanye screw on a motorcycle in the Grand Canyon, followed by Seth Rogen and James Franco’s reprise, followed by Miley Cyrus stripping on a Wrecking Ball, and then that guy Steve Kardynal doing his sexed up version on Chat Roulette, our brain needs a break from video porn for a while. While some might find the strip club scenes gratuitous, at least they fit into the storyline.

2. Great Music. Featuring the songs “Body Electric,” “Gods and Monsters,” and “Bel Air,” plus some singing by John Wayne, and classic poetry by Allen Ginsberg.

1.  It’s a segue into Lana’s Del Rey’s new album, which is reportedly titled “Ultra Violence.” Sorry guys, there’s no release date just yet.

*Bonus: It also includes a cameo by Pool Boy from Mad TV.

Goodbye to #5Pointz

5 PointzIn the same unfortunate fashion as many of Banksy’s spraystenciled gifts to New York City, 5Pointz has been whited out and erased. It was literally here yesterday…and gone faster than we could say “Grandmaster Flash.” Not at all surprising, especially in a City where monthly rents average three times the price of Macbook (about $3K).  As they say all good things must come to an end :(. For more details check out the New York Times.

Top 5 Tracks On MIA’s New Album #Matangi


The queen of paper planes, Tamil dance beats, and subversion-on-wax returns. We don’t do feature length album reviews per se, but Pitchfork’s got you covered. In the meantime, here are the top 5 songs we think you should hear, hosted by Spotify. For devoted M.I.A fans and newcomers alike, this album won’t disappoint.

  1. Bad Girls – By now everyone knows that bad girls live fast, die young, but at least they do it well. Take note Miley Cyrus.
  2. Y.A.L.A –  A response to Drake’s Y.O.L.O mantra (you only live once), which proclaims “Y.A.L.A” – you always live again.
  3. Double Bubble Trouble – A laid-back hybrid of Reggae and Dubstep.
  4. Sexodus – an entrancing exercise in seduction, with the sound of helicopter propellers diffused through the soundwaves.
  5. aTENTion – a tribute to Autotune, and the now-classic Bone Crusher war chant, “Never Scared.”

Photos: Gritty Times in NYC Revealed

From Mail Online: “Almost a million images of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet.

The city’s Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database.

Culled from the Municipal Archives collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs feature all manner of city oversight — from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings.”

They look like something out of The Untouchables, GoodFellas, Bronx Tale, and just about every gangster movie ever…combined. Read the full article here.

Google Pays Homage to Artist Keith Haring

I was a little confused when I saw this on Google’s homepage today. So I gave it a click. Turns out it’s a tribute to artist Keith Haring, whose 54th birthday would have been today.

Keith was a contemporary of Basquiat, Madonna, and Andy Warhol in the 80s. Much of his art was inspired by graffiti and sidewalk art, which shows in his style. For more of his work, check out, the Brooklyn Museum, and MoMa.

Keith Haring. “Untitled.” 1982. Currently on display at MoMa.

#AlbumCoverOfTheWeek – The Strokes “Room on Fire”

Lately we’ve been picking out some of our favorite album cover art of all time. The Strokes have always been known for their usage of some pretty elaborate artwork for their album covers, in this case for Room on Fire.  A little bit of research reveals that the album cover is actually a derivative of a work done by Peter Phillips, an English artist.

War/Game. 1961.

Slightly different than the album cover, but it definitely brings out the sentiments of the music. Rich, dark colors hypnotically arranged on tile mosaics, juxtaposed with gunplay. The Strokes always make you feel like that–a little grime. a little anger. That one of a kind New York-style Cool.