Category: Friends of PMD

David Bowie is… Alive and Well in Brooklyn.

DAVID BOWIE IS …  alive and well.

The international touring exhibit that showcases Mr. Bowie’s transformation throughout the years, with hundreds of artifacts that he himself collected, is being seen at its final venue, the Brooklyn Museum. A fitting end to the 5 year tour that brings him back home.

Traveling the world since 2013, DAVID BOWIE IS … the first retrospective on the life and career of the music legend. It’s truly an iconic show – like the man. The idea for the project first took life when Bowie gave permission to Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes, curators from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, to explore his personal artifacts, stored in a secret location in New York City.

This exhibit features more than 400 pieces pulled from the artist’s personal archives, including handwritten lyrics, over 60 stage costumes, album artwork, diary entries, and photography. There’s also footage from select films, performances, and music videos, such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and Bowie’s 1979 Saturday Night Live appearance.

For this final Brooklyn stop, 80 new pieces have been added to the show, focusing on Bowie’s years in New York City, including the backdrop from the Broadway production of “The Elephant Man,” which starred Bowie in the ’80s, and large-scale film projections from his 1990 “Sound+Vision Tour.”

Most important, from my perspective, is the music. Visitors are provided custom headsets, to wander among the displays, listening to interviews, and Bowie’s music. I often found myself stopping in the middle of one room or another, closing my eyes, and enjoying the soundscape.

Room after room is packed to the gills with memorabilia. Everyone has their favorite David Bowie moment: The Thin White Duke. Ziggy Stardust. The Goblin King. The “Life on Mars” ice-blue suit. The Aladdin Sane knit jumpsuit with one shoulder. The Ashes to Ashes clown suit.  They are all represented in this exhibit.

Since Bowie’s career has such longevity, there is always more to discover. Because of the headsets, each visitor experiences their own individual journey, finding new versions of Bowie to love.

DAVID BOWIE IS … currently on view and running until July 15th. Tickets start at $25.

Brooklyn Museum is a long time friend and partner of PMD Media. While this exhibit is a special one, we would be remiss not to mention the other exhibits on view, including the upcoming Radical Women: Latin American Art exhibit, and the amazing Visible Storage in the Luce Center for American Art.

SOUND & VISION: THE 2018 GRAMMY DESIGN AWARDS

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards air live this Sunday, January 28th – and for the first time in fifteen years, the National Academy of Recording is foregoing sunny Los Angeles and holding the event on the freezing East Coast at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Nominees this year brought their A game – and we’re excited about “Best Album” category – though not for the reasons you might think.

While the sounds of “Best Album” nominees Childish Gambino, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and Bruno Mars all deserve praise for sonic artistry and emotional reach, as poster people, we can’t help but focus on the creativity evident in these artists’ respective album covers – and how the compelling designs generated publicity for these albums long before they hit the shelves.

If we were judging album covers like a red carpet, we’d say there are three big trends this year: the use of light, the color blue, and typeface (or lack thereof). Here are – in our opinion – the top “looks”.

music advertising posters wildpostings

Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love!

Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! first entered the public consciousness via a tweet that linked to what would later be revealed to be the record’s cover. The linked image – featuring the face of a black woman, cast in a cobalt blue light, her eyes rolled back and mouth open as if in ecstasy – instantly evoked curiosity amongst fans, who were particularly fascinated by the intricate headdress adorning the disembodied head.

A small internet conspiracy grew from this initial frisson of mystery – intrepid fans of Gambino (aka the writer-actor-producer and “Friend of PMD” Donald Glover) noted the image appeared again as a prop in Glover’s television show Atlanta. By the time sleuths had traced the headdress back to Brooklyn artist Laura Wass, Gambino covertly announced a series of secret concerts to promote Awaken’s release – effectively harnessing the buzz generated by his mysterious artwork drop into a three night experiential bonanza.

poster advertising

Lorde’s Melodrama

In a stark departure from the minimalist, text-only cover of her debut album Pure Heroine, Lorde (aka 20 year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, another “Friend of PMD”) embraced the delicacy of portraiture for her sophomore record Melodrama.

The cover of Melodrama features a painterly representation of the artist (an oil composition by Brooklyn-based Sam McKinnis), her head cradled in a mess of pillows, the light illuminating the exposed half of her face.

Intended to capture “the last two wild, fluorescent years” of Lorde’s adolescence, the record’s synth-heavy beats and new wave sound back heady vocals. Lorde’s lyric abilities shine just as brightly as they did on her much heralded debut – perhaps even more so. To crib Pitchfork’s assessment of the album: it’s nothing less than luminous.

poster advertising

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

Compared to the relatively contemplative hues employed in Awaken! and Melodrama‘s artwork, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is loud and abrasive – and that’s just how designer Vlad Sepetov, a long time Lamar collaborator, envisioned it.

After the initial album preview, Twitter lit up as fans questioned the album’s minimalist look… or what some perceived as “bad design”. Sepetov fired back, noting, “Just given the bare bones, we fleshed something out that has a lot of people talking.”

Indeed: DAMN. managed to make perhaps the greatest cultural impact of the year. While Jay-Z’s 4:44 succeeded as a marketing effort before the album’s release, inciting curiosity among the general public by plastering transit stations and billboards with the cryptic numbers (or is it a time?), Sepetov’s bright red lettering incidentally aided a sustained marketing campaign – the instantly “memeable” typeface continues to appear across the internet, months after Lamar’s album dropped.

What were your favorites this year? Want to chat about good design? Drop us a line! In the meantime, and enjoy the Grammys!

MAKE THIS SEASON WARM & WONDERFUL FOR THOSE LESS FORTUNATE

Poster Advertising Wildpostings Nonprofit

Every night, 62,000 New Yorkers sleep in a shelter. Over one third – 23,000 – are children. With just a simple gesture, YOU can keep them warm.

This winter, PMD Media has teamed up with New York Cares to promote their 29th Annual Coat Drive. Over almost three decades, New York Cares has collected nearly 2 million coats. We’d like to make this year their most successful yet.

There are a few ways for you to help – and most of them don’t cost a cent. 

And for those of you not in New Yorkkeep reading – we’ve got you covered as well!

If you’re breaking in a new jacket or parka, please consider dropping off one of your older, gently loved coats at the many designated donation locations, all handily mapped out here.

Still sporting your trusty winter wear? With a quick text message, you can provide a coat to someone in need – just text “COAT” to 41444. Your $20 donation will furnish a NY neighbor with high-quality, warm outwear to get through the coldest months of the year.

Finally, the easiest way to participate is to spread the word! Tweet, Share, and Post about the Coat Drive across platforms using the hashtag #CoatDrive.

Not in New York? We’ve posted a list of coat drives occurring across the country. And for those of you lucky enough to enjoy sunny weather year-round, please consider organizations supporting ongoing relief efforts for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, collected below.

 

Non-NYC Coat Drives:

One Warm Coat (Nationwide)

Salvation Army – Chicago Bears – Jewel Osco (Chicago and Denver)

NBC – Telemundo (Chicago)

Jersey Cares (New Jersey)

 

General Giving Opportunities:

Hispanic Federation (Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief)

Unicef Emergency Relief (Hurricane and other disaster relief)

Charity:Water (worldwide clean drinking water)

 

And here are some tips if you’re looking to making the holidays special for little ones:

9 Ways to Donate a Gift to a Child in Need This Season

 

 

POST NO BILLS: NEW YORK’S CLOSED ICONIC VENUES

poster advertising wildpostings

Earlier this fall, we spent some time thinking about the alarming vacancy rate amongst retail storefronts in New York City. We were shocked at the volume of responses our post inspired: friends from across the country contacted us to express their anger at the difficulties faced by small businesses even in prosperous, cosmopolitan cities. This week, we’re happy to look at these vacancies in a different light: through the lens of art.

If you haven’t heard, we’ve developed a reputation for being pretty poster-obsessed. When we read about Poster House, a museum dedicated to the media we so adore, we couldn’t wait to check out their collection of vintage poster advertisements.

Though Poster House doesn’t officially open it’s doors to the public until early 2019, the museum’s staff organized a pop-up show, “Gone Tomorrow”, to honor New York’s iconic, now-defunct venues – and the posters used by local promoters to advertise the parties, “happenings”, and other events that occurred in these long-shuttered hot spots.

The exhibit features over one hundred posters and handbills, each providing a window into a particular moment in New York history.

Poster Advertising Wildposting
Upon entering the gallery (housed in the former Tekserve space on W. 23rd Street, itself an out of business New York landmark), visitors find themselves at the southern tip of Manhattan via a conceptual floor map of the city of New York. The posters, displayed on temporary construction barriers spray-painted with “Post No Bills”, are arranged within the space according the general geographic location of the venue they advertise.

Featuring a mixture of well-known classics and one-off DIY works, the show highlights the democratic nature of poster art. Posters are at their very core a form of advertising: as a media that’s intended to sell, posters don’t necessarily receive their due in terms of artistic and cultural relevance. But because the nature of poster advertising is ephemeral – that is, poster advertisements go up and come down according to the needs of the campaign – the displays which survive their first life as an ad live on as snapshots of the past. 

While some nightclubs highlighted in “Gone Tomorrow” – like The Bottom Line, recently honored by the Schimmel Center’s “If These Walls Could Talk” show – remain relatively fresh in the city’s collective memory, other venues have faded from the public consciousness.

The impetus for the show, according to curator Angelina Lippert, came from a single display: a movie-poster sized bulletin advertising “Circus of Power” at the Virgin Outlaw Club hosted by one Tommy Gunn. When Lippert couldn’t find details about the nightclub, she found Gunn via Facebook. Gunn was a notorious nightlife promoter in the 80’s and 90’s who started his career with posters: he worked with a printer downtown to produce eye-catching advertisements to drive clubgoers to the parties he threw. As time went on, he developed a keen eye for design and became known for the splashy posters that adorned the sides of NYC buildings. Reminds us of someone else we know!

For one night only last week, Gunn provided guests of the Poster House with an oral history of the venues – the Ritz, the Peppermint Lounge, and Danceteria, among many others – highlighted throughout the show. Though you may have missed the chance to be regaled with stories of vintage NYC, the exhibit is still open to the public via appointment!

 

VACANT NEW YORK: THE SLOW DEATH OF AN INDEPENDENT CITY

The last few years bear witness to the continued good economic fortune of New York: from the well-tended foliage at Madison Square Park to the throngs of tourists visiting the Williamsburg waterfront, the city remains not only a destination for culture, but for consumption.

So why, then, are the traditional retail corridors blighted with empty storefronts and red “FOR RENT” signs?

Economist Tim Wu, in a 2015 New Yorker article, speculates that many of these unfilled vacancies can be attributed to landlord greed: why lease your space to a mom-and-pop shop when you can hold out for the big bucks corporate retailers – like Duane Reade and Citi Bank – are willing to pay?

This tendency seems to be exacerbated in areas with landlords who hold mini-monopolies: dropping the price on a single storefront may cause the prices on nearby locations to fall. As Wu notes, “That suggests waiting for Marc Jacobs instead of renting to Jane Jacobs”.

That remark proved uncanny: In May of 2017, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman released a special report entitled Bleaker on Bleecker: A Snapshot of High-Rent Blight in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. The report detailed the unusually high retail vacancy rates along Bleecker Street between 6th and 8th Avenues: 18.44% of retail spaces (or 26 of 141 shops) were vacant in the spring of 2017.

Vacant Storefront

Film Center Cafe, 9th Avenue, NY (1933-2011)

Hoylman’s figure is astonishingly high (The New York Times cites 5% as the standard commercial vacancy rate associated with middle-class metropolitan areas) – and is even more extraordinary given the neighborhood’s reputation as a high-end retail destination. It seems that even Marc Jacobs has priced himself out – in the past two years, the company has shuttered five of its six retail locations along Bleecker.

Though Jacob’s team remains quiet on the brand’s exit from the neighborhood, the turnover rate of merchants is high, a symptom of what Wu termed “high-rent blight”, a phenomenon unique to upscale (and rapidly gentrifying) neighborhoods. On Curbed, writer Emily Nonko summed up the situation nicely: “High-end companies pushed out longtime, diverse businesses that called Bleecker Street home, and when the newcomers couldn’t get enough traffic to justify the sky-high rents, they shuttered and left the block empty”.

Unfortunately, this affliction has spread throughout the city.  In early June, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced that Broadway, historically a prime retail corridor, currently features 188 empty and/or vacant storefronts. Fifth Avenue, another destination for high-end fashions and furnishings, saw vacancy rates increase year over year: according to real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield,  the vacancy rate for 5th Avenue between 49th and 60th Street was 17.4% in the first quarter of 2017; the stretch of 5th Avenue between 42nd and 49th boasted a vacancy rate of 32.8%.

These vacancies are pervasive enough to inspire Vacant New York, a website run by one man intent on mapping all available storefronts in the city.

So why does this matter?

It’s discouraging to see beloved neighborhood establishments shutter their doors, only to be replaced by corporate chains. This erosion of local character makes the city less vibrant and diverse… and now that we’ve reached the point that the chains have priced themselves out, it’s time to reevaluate the way we approach local businesses.

Independently owned stores, cafes, salons and other small businesses are PMD’s business. We exist because our clients get SEEN in these windows; our outdoor advertising network is comprised of these same indie storefronts.

When our network partners move, close, or just disappear, we notice. And you should, too! Small businesses attract foot traffic, create jobs, and bolster neighborhood economies: 68% of money spent at independent businesses is funneled back into the local economy, compared to only 43% via big box chain stores. Most of all, they foster a sense of place and community – an invaluable service that neither Starbucks nor CVS can provide.

 

ANOTHER NY STORY: BROOKLYN STEEL

As a friend or client of PMD you may be familiar with our origins: way back in 1991, Dean Stallone started PMD Media from his NYU dorm room.

We’d like to take you back to the musty, carpeted halls of NYU’s Brittany dorm for a moment to introduce another character who’s been around since the beginning of PMD Media.

When Dean and George Eliou first met as freshmen in 1989 they were just young goofy kids. Twenty-eight years later, the two remain friends and colleagues.

Last night, George’s firm, Eliou & Scopelitis Steel Fabrication, in partnership with Bowery Presents, debuted their latest venture: Brooklyn Steel, a live music venue named for the red brick building’s original purpose as a steel works factory.

The East Williamsburg concert hall opened with a bang – LCD Soundsystem’s five night run sold out immediately – and promises a scintillating spring line-up, with future performances by indie rock superstars The Decemberists, Chairlift, Slow Dive, and lo-fi legends The Jesus and Mary Chain. We can’t wait to check out a show – and try one of the venue’s three (!) bars.

In celebration of the grand opening of Brooklyn Steel – and to thank George for his contributions to the New York performing arts scene –  we’re sending our best wishes to Eliou & Scopelitis Steel Fabrication and Bowery Presents!

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