a tale of a few cities

Oscars, Best Dressed



Licensing slip up: Velvet Underground sues over Giorgio de Chirico banana symbols

The Uncertainty of the Poet,  1913
L’Incertitude du poète


Rock group The Velvet Underground filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to stop any future exhibition/reproduction of Giorgio de Chirico’s 1913 masterwork, The Uncertainty of the Poet.

The 1960s rock band formed by Lou Reed and John Cale accused the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico of trademark infringement, retroactively claiming in a lawsuit that the use of banana symbols are synonymous with The Velvet Underground.

Each of the bananas featured in de Chirico’s iconic artwork bare an uncanny resemblance to the banana featured on the cover of Velvet Underground’s 1967 album “The Velvet Underground and Nico.”

The fact that de Chrico’s work was created decades earlier was not mentioned in the lawsuit.

Although Velvet Underground broke up in 1973, the album later came to be regarded as one of the best albums of all time, and was also referred to as “The Banana Album”.

“The symbol has become so identified with The Velvet Underground … that members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the use of bananas as a symbol of The Velvet Underground,” the complaint added.

The lawsuit said the aging control freaks behind the band had repeatedly asked the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico to cease all future exhibition and further reproduction of the 1913 work, The Uncertainty of the Poet.

Velvet Underground is seeking an injunction stopping the use of banana symbols by other parties, a declaration that the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico has no retroactive copyright interest in the use of banana symbols, unspecified damages and a share of previous profits made by the Fondazione Giorgio de Chirico from any licensing deals of the iconic artwork.

He Xiangyu, Der Tod des Marat

Posted in All is not as it seems., Art, artists, China, Exhibitions, Homage, paris, portraits, RIP, Sculpture, surrealism by petercombe on November 3, 2011



In an edition of three, “Der Tod des Marat” (“The Death of Marat”) consists of a life-size version of ’s body laying face down on the floor, dressed in a suit. He Xiangyu, an artist represented by Beijing’s White Space Gallery and Galerie LOFT in Paris, reportedly hand-knotted actual human hair onto the plastic and fiberglass effigy to create a representation of the artist plausible enough to shock and offend unsuspecting locals. The sculpture was on view at the Künstlerhaus’s Laden No. 5 exhibition space until November 1. According to Xiangyu, the sculpture was the exhibit was intended to praise Ai’s defiant actions despite the Chinese government’s constant threats of imprisonment. Ai, who helped lead the design at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, remains one of Beijing’s most vocal and outspoken critics.

Passersby are mistaking it for a human corpse, and, not surprisingly, have already alerted local authorities. “Several people had already called within days of the exhibition going up,” said Peter Steger, a spokesman for the police in Bad Ems. A local resident also filed charges for disturbing the peace of the dead, thinking the corpse was real.

Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral >

Currently, I am in London

Peter Combe, London Bridge, T, 2011

Le bois a trouvé dans Nestlé


Peter Combe, ‘Nest, le bois‘, 2011


Another altered logo inspired by the rampant use of cellulose (wood pulp), by the leading producers of processed foods, this particular design attributed to the guilty culprit, Nestlé. Wood pulp is used as an extender whose use in a roster of food products, from crackers and ice creams to puddings and baked goods, is now being exposed. What you’re actually paying for – and consuming – may be surprising.

Cellulose is virgin wood pulp that has been processed and manufactured to different lengths for functionality, though use of it and its variant forms (cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, etc.) is deemed safe for human consumption, according to the FDA, which regulates most food industry products.  The government agency sets no limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in food products meant for human consumption.

Humans are unable to digest cellulose since we lack the appropriate enzymes to break it down. This is a food adulterant and another example of the wholly corrupt nature of the federal agency responsible for food safety but continues to prove itself more concerned with corporate profit. More >




The following is a snippet from Food Freedom‘s article on wood as a food additive. I couldn’t resist playing around with the corporate logos of the guilty food producers.

The recent class-action lawsuit brought against Taco Bell raised questions about the quality of food many Americans eat each day.

Chief among those concerns is the use of cellulose (read: wood pulp), an extender whose use in a roster of food products, from crackers and ice creams to puddings and baked goods, is now being exposed. What you’re actually paying for — and consuming — may be surprising. Kraft Foods, General Mills, and Jack in the Box, Nestlé and Kellogs are just a few of the food producers that save as much as 30% in ingredient costs by opting for cellulose as a filler or binder in processed foods. [Note: Humans are unable to digest cellulose]. More >


Peter Combe, ‘ˈwoŏdˌkraft’, ‘Lumberjack in the box’, ‘General Pulp Mills’, 2011

The Kiss

Posted in All is not as it seems., canadiana, Crisis, Photography, riot, Vancouver by petercombe on June 16, 2011

Photo: Rich Lam/Getty Images

The kiss that defies explanation. Riot police walk the street as a couple kiss on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, as the city broke out in riots, following the Vancouver Canucks loss in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. 

National Post >

Riot related, see also Craigslist >

Tokyo Update – Don’t Panic

Posted in All is not as it seems., Crisis, Japan, Photography by petercombe on March 20, 2011

The Tokyo underground is deserted, save for a few hardy salarymen.*

A punter takes his chances on the lottery.

The trains are running less frequently, and needless travel is not recommended, so I won’t be doing this every day. I’m sure the images you have paint a picture of near total breakdown. It’s not that bad. It’s fascinating, in its way, the feeling here, compared to the kinds of scenes you might get in the west. A kind of resignedness, or perhaps resilience. There’d definitely be looting by now, elsewhere…somewhere. Maybe riots. Here it’s all so calm. They’re just getting on with it, which is admirable. Come cherry blossom season, I’m sure there’ll be parties and drinking as usual. It’s just another event. That’s their strength. The Japanese are just getting on with things, like they usually do.

-Words and photos extracted from an article by peterfg (a british expat living in Tokyo) @Wet Canvas>

* Added note: The top photo reminds me of a Yasujirō Ozu film still. Also, I found these words and photos after a Google search for ‘Tokyo Update’. I’m glad I Googled, how else would I have found such calm in the eye of the world’s perceived storm?

Peter Combe, TfL, 2011


Peter Combe, TfL, 2011

ig•nis mu•bar•ak•u•us

Posted in All is not as it seems., appropriation, Art, Cairo, Photography, Wordsworth, WTF? by petercombe on February 10, 2011

ig•nis mu•bar•ak•u•us |igˈnəs moōbärˈæk’ū-əs|

noun (plural igˈnəs moōbärˈæk·u·i /ˈigˈnəs moōbärˈæk’o͞oˌī/),

something deceptive or deluding (on a grand scale).


used to describe the narcissistic & delusional dictator’s trait of (preoccupation with) chasing rainbows.

gut feeling,

also known as externating one’s inner disgust.

early 21st century: modern Latin, derived  from dictator Hosni Mubarak’s spotting of Cairo’s rainbow filled sky & his ‘WTF?’ Feb,  10,  2011 speech for Egypt.

see also: ignis fatuus (ig·nis fat·u·us)

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