From rock stage to big screen, a 'lost' look

Times Staff Writer

THE photographs capture two of England's most iconic, androgynous rockers -- Mick Jagger and David Bowie -- in their gamin prime but also chronicle the dawn of their respective movie careers: Jagger pouting on the set of his psycho-sexual 1970 gangster flick "Performance," his first film. And a strung-out Bowie appears in full alien makeup in 1976's sci-fi art house epic "The Man Who Fell to Earth," the Thin White Duke's first lead role.

Both films were directed by Nicolas Roeg (Donald Cammell wrote and co-directed "Performance"), and both were savaged by critics. Although the movies would eventually become cult classics, the set photos of Jagger and Bowie were lost to archival obscurity for more than three decades.

All that is set to change on Saturday, however, when Glassell Park's Drkrm. Gallery will mount "Performance," a photo exhibition focusing on the films of Cammell and Roeg. The pictures, most of which have never before been shown publicly, were chosen from journalist and film historian David Del Valle's vast collection of rare photographs -- and notably featuring British fashion photographer Cecil Beaton's moody portraits of Jagger.

"The unifying link is that in both movies, Mick and David play these outsiders -- alien characters who are weird recluses," explains John Matkowsky, Drkrm.'s owner and curator. "Image-wise, the photographs kind of mirror each other: these British rock stars who both worked with the same director."


After 18 years,

it's a sleeper hit

FOR Michael Bishop, the question had become an embarrassing coda to his four decades working in the music business as a journeyman singer-songwriter, producer and filmmaker: "Did you do the song for 'Bloodsport'?" Little did he know that his quickie soundtrack contribution would inspire the zealous Information Age adoration of movie fans around the world.

In 1988, Bishop -- who had previously written and performed songs for B movies such as Chuck Norris' "Firewalker" and for "Death Wish 4: The Crackdown" -- was enlisted to crank out a one-off for the Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts vehicle "Bloodsport" after filmmakers discovered that landing the rights to a Tears for Fears song would prove too expensive. "I got the call, watched some footage in the editing bay with Jean-Claude and the director and said, 'How long do I have?' " recalls Bishop. "I had one day to come up with something that might fit."

He wrote and cut the propulsive electro-pop single "Steal the Night" -- think the "Rocky" theme meets Ultravox -- in just two days; it's sequenced beneath a key scene in which Van Damme's competition pit-fighter character eludes police in Hong Kong. The movie became a modest hit, launching "the Muscles from Brussels" actor's career, and it went on to become a midnight movie mainstay. Its soundtrack release, however, notably omitted "Steal the Night." Bootlegged copies of the song, meanwhile, began to sell on EBay for hundreds of dollars.

Flash-forward to late 2005. Bishop, a TV and film composer who now operates Radius Arts, a song placement company, began finding his e-mail in box chockablock with entreaties from around the world. Where could they buy "Steal the Night"? Turns out the song had become a club hit in Iceland, a soccer anthem in Germany, a subject of blogger fascination in England and an underground hit in China.

"It made me feel like I had written 'Imagine,' " Bishop recalls.

He made a deal with an iTunes-affiliated company, Ioda, to get the song online. And although Apple has not made sales figures available, anecdotal evidence suggests that "Steal the Night" has become a below-the-radar hit in the U.S. and France -- VH1 is preparing to do a segment on Bishop and "Steal the Night" for an ode to the '80s.

"This song has taken quite a journey," says Bishop. "It just shows you: The strength of music is timeless."

Hip-hop and, they hope, a clean slate

SOURCE magazine honchos Raymond "Benzino" Scott and David Mays, who concocted the so-called bible of hip-hop in a Harvard dorm room 19 years ago, launched Hip Hop Weekly earlier this month, touting their new offering as the "first glossy weekly publication for the hip hop generation."

The biweekly "lifestyle" title, patterned as a dishy rap version of Us Weekly, aims to ramp up the already rapid hip-hop news cycle. But more important for Mays and Scott, it offers the frequently embattled executives a fresh start after recent controversies.

Last January, Mays and Scott were fired by the Source's board of directors in light of nearly $50 million in debts and a dramatic circulation drop. In November, Hip Hop Weekly Editor Mimi Valdes quit without explanation just days before it went to print. And soon after, former Source Editor in Chief Kim Osorio was awarded $15 million (subsequently reduced to $8 million) by a Manhattan district court in an explosive retaliation and defamation lawsuit against Mays, Scott and the Source -- a jury found she had been fired for complaining about her bosses' ribald sexual behavior.

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