IRON & AIR ISSUE NINE RELEASE PARTY | A TRAMP GROWLS IN BROOKLYN…

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So, I don’t know if you’ve heard– there’s a party coming to BROOKLYN. Iron & Air is throwing down for the release of Issue Nine at Fast Ashleys Studios— and you’re not gonna want to miss it. I might be slightly biased, but I ‘m pretty stoked that the bike built for me by Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs will be unveiled that night, and will also be featured in Iron & Air magazine. There will be lots of local Brooklyn eats ‘n’ drinks– The Shop Brooklyn will be dishing out their special slow-cooked brand of goodness. And their will be plenty of badass bikes to ogle, and some cool art going on.

tsy the selvedge yard tramp motorcycle

The TSY ‘Tramp’ a collaboration built by Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs coming to Brooklyn.

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ZIGGY STARDUST | YOU’RE JUST A GIRL… WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MAKEUP?

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Brian Duffy photograph of David Bowie for the Aladdin Sane album cover, 1973. “Bowie’s sixth studio album marked the birth of the ‘schizophrenic’ character Aladdin Sane who was a development of the space-age Japanese-influenced Ziggy Stardust. To create the compelling album cover image, Bowie collaborated with photographer Brian Duffy and make-up artist Pierre Laroche. The result was one of the most recognizable images in popular culture– a ‘lightning flash’ design which has been reproduced in multiple forms world-wide.” via

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Look, there are those that revere Bowie as an ahead-of-his-time visionary who revolutionized Rock ‘n’ Roll. And there are those who see him very black & white, as a plodding opportunist who coldly studied what was happening around him (heavily borrowing from  true innovators at the time like Marc Bolan), and then expertly went about merchandising himself for mass commercial consumption. Both are fucking true. Bowie is an epic genius who learned through years of toil, trial, and error how to create a magical out-of-this-world persona and artistically sell it to us on a silver platter. No one has done it better in recent memory, and it’s unlikely that anyone in our lifetime will top him. Period. End of story.

There’s an incredible account by Glenn O’Brien in the recent issue of Out Magazine. Gay or straight, get over it, go buy it, and devour the entire spread on David Bowie. It is brilliant. You can read a chunk of it here after the jump. Now go– oh, you pretty things.

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“David Bowie (AKA Ziggy Stardust) wearing a sensational creation by Kansai Yamamoto. Born in Yokohama in 1944, the Japanese fashion designer was only 27 when he held his first international fashion show in London in 1971. The Japanese division of RCA records made MainMan aware of Yamamoto’s work and Bowie purchased the “woodlands animal costume” from Kansai’s London boutique– which he wore at the Rainbow Concert in August 1972 and which was later remade by Natasha Korniloff. Bowie subsequently viewed a video of a rock/fashion show that Kansai had staged in Japan the previous year and reportedly loved the costumes which were a combination of modern sci-fi and classical Kabuki theatre. Kansai and Bowie met in New York where he gifted Bowie two costumes during the 2nd US Tour. Kansai was then commissioned to create nine more costumes based on traditional Japanese Noh dramas for Bowie to pick up in Tokyo in April 1973. These were the flamboyant androgynous Ziggy Stardust costumes Bowie wore on the 3rd UK tour in 1973.” via The Ziggy Stardust Companion –photo by Masayoshi Sukita, the David Bowie archive

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust –photo by Mick Rock via

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UNITED STATE — SELECTED WORKS BY CONRAD LEACH | FEBRUARY 9TH @SUBVECTA MOTUS GALLERY

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English artist and motorcycle fanatic Conrad Leach is having his first solo exhibition in the US– happening February 9th at Subvecta Motus Gallery in LA. His graphic Pop style is instantly iconic, and not to be missed– especially when you have the rare opportunity to be face-to-face with the large-scale punchy paintings. Leach’s work will knock your socks off. –Curated by friend Stacie B. London of Triple Nickel 555 & ESMB.

LUCKY13

Lucky 13 by Conrad Leach

NORTON JACK

Norton Jack by Conrad Leach

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VINTAGE MENSWEAR | A COLLECTION FROM THE VINTAGE SHOWROOM’S BOOK

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I was pretty stoked when Doug Gunn sent me a copy of — Vintage Menswear — A Collection from the Vintage Showroom — as I’ve long been an admirer. Being in the menswear trade myself, London has always been a favorite stop for inspiration, and there’s no better place to be inspired than The Vintage Showroom. The collection is insane and beautifully presented, covering everything from academia, sporting, hunting, motoring, military wear, workwear, denim– it’s no surprise that they are one of the most complete and prestigious vintage dealers in the world. Of special interest to me are all things related to motoring as you see below including vintage leathers, Barbour, Belstaff, etc., and all the great snippets of the history, construction, and function behind the pieces.

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CHAMPION CAR CLUB JACKET, 1950s– “This is a simple, zip-up cotton jacket with fish-eye buttons at the cuffs and a short collar. What it signifies, however, is so much more. The hand-embroidered, chain-stitched imagery on its back places it squarely in the 1950s, at the height of the hot-rodding craze in the US. Hot-rodding was said to have been driven by young men returning from service abroad after World War II who had technical knowledge, time on their hands, and the habit of spending long days in male, if not macho, company. Rebuilding and boosting cars for feats of both spectacle and speed — often 1930s Ford Model Ts, As and Bs, stripped of extraneous parts, engines tuned or replaced, tires beefed up for better traction, and a show-stopping paint job as the final touch — became an issue of social status among hot-rodding’s participants. This status was expressed through clothing too. There were the ‘hot-rodders’ of the 1930s, when car modification for racing across dry lakes in California was more an innovative sport than a subculture, complete with the Southern California Timing Association of 1937 providing ‘official’ sanction. But by the 1950s, hot-rodding was a style too.  decade later it was, as many niche tastes are, commercialized and mainstream, with car design showing hot-rod traits.”  –Vintage Menswear, Douglas Gunn, Roy Luckett& Josh Sims

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ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE MAKING OF PSYCHO | TSY REQUIRED READING

Hitchcock. Are you kidding me? Oh, hells yes. I will see this. Based on Stephen Rebello’s 1990 classic Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho — a literary deep-dive into Hitch’s low-budget (intentionally budgeted and shot for under $1M because he wanted to one-up the B-movie movement of that time…), black & white (because Hitch knew the film would simply be too damn gory for viewers and censors alike if shot in color…) menacing masterpiece. Scheduled for release on the big screen sometime in 2013 — and starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. You’ve got time, so I recommend that you bone-up now and check out the book beforehand. It’s a great read for Hitchcock (and classic cinema) fans.

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller “Psycho” was covertly referred to as “Production 9401” or “Wimpy” — the name Wimpy coming from cameraman, Rex Wimpy, who appeared on clapboards, production sheets, and studio stills. Cast and crew (Hitch borrowed his same crew from his TV series, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”) were forced to raise their right hand and sworn not to utter a word about the film. Hitchcock even guardedly withheld the climactic ending from the cast all the way up until it was actually shot. via

Alfred Hitchcock had a vacant cast chair marked “Mrs. Bates” placed eerily on the set of his 1960 “Psycho” throughout shooting, and even falsely reported to the press that he was auditioning for the role of Mrs. Bates to further add to the mystery around the film. — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Actress Janet Leigh and Director Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his chilling 1960 masterpiece, “Psycho.” The much-talked-about Janet Leigh bra scenes had a definite method to their mammory madness. In the film, prior to swiping 40K for her lover, the bra is white– symbolizing innocence. After the dirty deed, the bra is black– symboling her crossing over to the dark side. Same with her purse…

A young Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the role that dogged him for the rest of his acting career. When asked decades later if he would have turned down the role in retrospect, he noted that he’d absolutely do it all over again. “Pyscho” had many bird references– for example, Norman Bates was into stuffing birds (taxidermy, people…), Janet Leigh’s character was named Marion Crane, etc. “The Birds” would be Hitchcock’s next film.

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THE BROOKLYN BLACKBIRD EVENT AT FAST ASHLEY’S STUDIOS | THANK YOU!

The Blackbird event— a collaboration between TSY, PRPS, TRIUMPH, and friend & photographer Scott Toepfer in celebration of denim & machine. The Blackbird jean was inspired by the 1953 Triumph Blackbird. Handmade of super rigid & raw 14 oz Japanese denim– these jeans are not for the faint of heart. The black hardware and Thunderbird (tail) inspired stitching on the back pocket pay homage to the iconic motorcycle. The event was held on 4/13, as only 13 pairs of the Blackbird jean were made. Why 13 pairs? As a tribute to “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando, that was based on the epic motorcycle clubs– 13 Rebels and The Boozefighters. Anywho– it was a helluva night! Thank you to Fast Ashley’s and everyone who came out! You winners out there that have my babies– please keep me posted on how they’re wearing, and send postcards & photos to info@selvedgeyard.com !

The Blackbird jean hangtag blown up poster-size for the event at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn –photo by The Vintagent

The scene outside on The TSY Blackbird event at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn – yep– lots of bikes, Triumphs, a Ducati or two and plenty of other nice rides. Donwan Harrell of PRPS even drove his 440 6-pack Road Runner! –photo by The Vintagent

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The iconic bike that inspired it all– the 1953 Triumph Blackbird at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn –photo by The Vintagent

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BLACKBIRD– A CELEBRATION OF DENIM & MACHINE | THIS FRIDAY 7-10PM

Just a friendly reminder that the event is this Friday evening. We will be shutting down RSVP sign-up promptly at NOON, Thursday 4/12. The response has been incredible, thanks to all who are coming, and sign up now if you haven’t already. There will be beer by The Brooklyn Brewery and spirits generously provided by our friends at Art in the Age. A taco truck will mosey on over and park outside Fast Ashley’s for your convenience. We’ll be giving away some goodies as well. Look forward to seeing you there!

I hope to see you all there for what will be an epic night. A night that was born many months ago when Donwan (of PRPS) and I decided to collaborate on a limited edition jean run of 13 pairs of badass jeans for The Selvedge Yard called the Blackbird. What was the inspiration? The iconic ’53 Triumph Blackbird motorcycle, a sexy-as-all-hell Thunderbird offered for the first time ever by Triumph in all black. Also– the 13 Rebels MC, who inspired 1951′s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who rode his own Triumph bike in the film. The Blackbird jean is handmade in Japan from the best selvedge denim you can get your hands on – 14oz raw chunky goodness that may out-live us all.

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REBEL TAILOR TOMMY NUTTER | THE LEGENDARY SAVILE ROW STRUTTER

The flamboyantly natty Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter with his dogs. “Although tailoring was quite distinct from fashion then, Tommy Nutter changed the way men dressed,” says Dennis Nothdruft, who co-curated the 2011 retrospective (Tommy Nutter: Rebel on the Row) at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London along with tailor Timothy Everest. “And he changed the way Savile Row was seen. Before Nutters it was an exclusive, closed-off world. They didn’t even have window displays. Though, of course, the rest of the row looked upon him as an upstart whose shop was on the wrong side of the street.” (The huge purple candles in the shape of phalluses can’t exactly have endeared him to his neighbors… Another legend, Simon Doonan, was Nutter’s window dresser back in those days.) via

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Tommy Nutter will always be known as the flamboyant bee in Savile Row’s stuffy bonnet. Trained as a traditional tailor, the sexy and innovative Nutter was not happy following the status quo of stuffy Savile Row and literally took matters into his own hands. He created a sensation with his bold, signature look– wide shoulders, unapologetic lapels, bold fabrics & patterns. Nutter soon became the darling of the celebrity and rock ‘n’ roll scene– clothing the likes of The Rolling Stones, Bianca Jagger, Elton John, Eric Clapton, The Beatles,  Vidal Sassoon, Twiggy, David Hockney, and many others. His influence can still be seen today, through the apprentices who worked under him (John Galliano for one), and in the young new designers of today (E. Tautz) who are rediscovering his work. Tommy Nutter has forever left a mark on Savile Row, and defined a moment in time when bigger truly was better.

Designers like Tom Ford (who favors strong lapels and chunky neckwear) have famously cited Tommy Nutter as an influence. Bianca on Mick Jagger’s arm as he struts in his Tommy Nutter duds– from the book Day of the Peacock by Geoffrey Aquilina Ross that is an incredible visual chronicle of the flashy and flamboyant menswear style from 1963-1973.

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THE STORY OF THE PARASITE | JERSEY’S OWN TWIN-ENGINE TRIUMPH DRAGSTER

My friend Matt Smith over at Smoke and Throttle has been schooling me on the legend that is John Melniczuk. All this incredible Triumph racing/building history and a showroom of beauties to die for, and in my own beautiful home state (no joke) of New Jersey of all places.

“John Melniczuk is not just a Triumph enthusiast whose hobbies turned into an occupation. He’s been working in the field since the ’60s when he was just a young man at his fathers Triumph dealership– Bauer Cycles (established in 1953). John’s grandfather owned another dealership, Cycle Sports Center, which sold Indians and Vincents among others. John’s ambition and devotion for the sport of motorcycle racing eventually lead to a job turning wrenches for the late great Gary Nixon. After a while, being a behind-the-scenes guy was not enough, so John began to campaign his own custom built Triumph T110 drag racer– setting many track records throughout his career. Dragging Triumphs runs in the family as well– His father’s shop raced a twin-engine Triumph-motored monster dubbed The Parasite.”  –Smoke and Throttle

Check out the incredible story of the epic Parasite dragster below, which can be found on John Melniczuk Jr.’s J&M Enterprises site. This tale of the twin-engine Triumph marvel built by John Melniczuk Sr. and later restored by John Jr. is truly something to behold. The images alone are enough to make you crazy. Combined with the personal stories behind the bike and the family’s who shared in its history make it a truly special piece of history.

The story of the Parasite is a tale of two engines, conceived in casual discussion and created by two friends whose dedication and innovation propelled a one-off motorcycle into the Daytona Drags record books. –via John Melniczuk, J&M Enterprises

So Crazy It Just Might Work

It all started in the winter of 1958 when John Melniczuk Sr., a Triumph Dealer and owner of Bauer Cycles of Salem, NJ, and Tommy Grazias, a fellow racer, first toyed with the idea of building a twin-engine dragster. Both had been racing T-I10 Triumphs and the thought of taking the engines from each and building one dragster was too tempting not to try. John would design and build it and Tommy would race it. The best place to showcase such a motorcycle was the upcoming Daytona Drags. The bike would have to be ready to contest Daytona by March of 1959.

In the late 50s, the two-engine dragster concept was unheard of and John and Tommy spent hundreds of hours over a two month span designing, building, redesigning and rebuilding the motorcycle. Without the advantages of modern aftermarket and factory race parts, each part had to be fabricated by hand. The modified Triumph frame was hand built by John and included a girder fork front end brought back from England in a suitcase by Triumph Corporation’s Rod Coates. The half quart gas tank was made of two bicycle headlight shells and an empty can. The rear rim was reworked from an old Indian rim drilled out to save weight. Due to the horsepower created, most of the transmission gears were removed leaving only second and third. Finally, the drag slicks (not available at the time) were created from recapped Indian tires. But difficulties often follow the exhaust of innovation.

The twin-engined Triumph Parasite dragster getting ready for takeoff. –via Smoke and Throttle

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STEVE McQUEEN DOIN’ IT IN THE DIRT | TRIUMPH DESERT BIKE BY BUD EKINS

Nostalgia on Wheels posted these incredible pictures (quite a while back) of Steve McQueen and his Bud Ekins’ desert-modified Triumph Bonneville racer from the June 1964 edition of Cycle World Magazine. Original photos by Cal West. I re-typed the original text so it’s legible, great stuff. Hells. Yes.

“Actor Steve McQueen and his Triumph desert bike in their native habitat.”  –Cycle World Magazine, June 1964

“Many modifications make a desert bike. Crossovers, skid plate, giant filters, etc.”  –Cycle World Magazine, June 1964

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