News / Arts & Entertainment

    David Bowie Exhibit Breaks Box Office Records

    A neon flash representing David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" stage character is seen at the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the "David Bowie is" exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    A neon flash representing David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" stage character is seen at the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the "David Bowie is" exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    Reuters
    Ziggy played guitar. But as a new exhibition devoted to singer David Bowie's long and innovative career makes clear, he also wrote lyrics, checked every detail of his outlandish costumes, appeared in movies and helped design his own stage sets.

    "David Bowie is," which runs from March 23 to Aug. 11, has broken box office records at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, with 50,000 advance tickets sold.

    Organizers at a press preview on Wednesday were at pains to point out that more tickets were available and the demand underlines 66-year-old Bowie's lasting impact on music, fashion, video and beyond.

    It also coincides with the release just over a week ago of Bowie's new album "The Next Day," his first new material for a decade. The record hit number one in the British album charts at the weekend, marking his return to the top after 20 years.

    "His radical innovations across music, theatre, fashion and style still resound today in design and visual culture and he continues to inspire artists and designers throughout the world," said Martin Roth, director of the V&A.

    A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    x
    A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    Drawing heavily on the David Bowie Archive, the show features more than 300 objects, with pride of place going to Bowie's stage costumes which allowed him to adopt alternative personas and create an aura of mystery and invention.

    Among the recognizable outfits are a striped bodysuit by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour in 1973 and the Pierrot costume by Natasha Korniloff which featured in the groundbreaking music video for "Ashes to Ashes."

    "Seismic Shift"

    Among the costumes on display from Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" phase is the blue, gold and red padded jumpsuit by Freddie Burretti that marked a turning point in Bowie's career.

    The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    x
    The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
    He wore the suit for a performance of "Starman" on Britain's TV chart show "Top of the Pops" on July 6, 1972 complete with flame-orange hair, make-up and red patent boots, representing what organizers called a "seismic shift" in pop culture.

    People were intrigued and appalled in equal measure at the sight of the otherwordly androgynous being, a bold new creation which has inspired performers ever since.

    True to Bowie's multimedia experimentation, the show includes footage from famous concerts shown on giant screens as well as a mime show enacted by Bowie in 1969 which anticipates the downside of becoming famous.

    His attention to detail can be seen throughout.

    On a design sketch for an outfit to be worn on the U.S. "Saturday Night Live" show Bowie wrote: "may be I'm wrong about color? What do you think."

    He also appeared not to take himself too seriously, describing a short bodysuit, designed by Yamamoto, as his "impossibly silly 'bunny' costume."

    He soaked up culture and history wherever he went, including his stay in Berlin in the late 1970s where he absorbed Brecht, cabaret and Expressionist art and produced three acclaimed albums - "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger."

    He recorded a Mandarin version of his 1997 song "Seven Years in Tibet," reflecting his interest in the region and its Buddhist religion.

    The track prompted one Chinese fan to write, in a note on display at the exhibition: "I think I am flying in the sky when I listen to your Mandarin song, you know!"

    The displays are accompanied by an impressive soundtrack that includes hits like "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Under Pressure," which he released with Queen in 1981.

    FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.
    x
    FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.
    FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.
    In fact, all that is missing from "David Bowie is" is the man himself. If he were to visit, it would most likely be incognito, as Bowie has shunned the limelight altogether for much of the last decade.

    "We're really hoping David does appear at some point," said co-curator Geoffrey Marsh.

    You May Like

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: Bannersi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 04, 2016 1:07 PM
    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.

    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.