Ringo Starr’s Boyhood Home In Restoration ‘Limbo’

Ringo Starr
Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2010, we reported that the birthplace of Ringo Starr was threatened with demolition. The rowhouse, located at 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool, England, has fallen into disrepair. As you can see from this photo, it hasn’t been lived in for some time and is all boarded up.

It’s not alone. The BBC reports that many of the homes in the neighborhood are abandoned and crumbling. The city government approved a £15 million ($24.4 million) plan to rework the neighborhood, building 150 new homes, knocking down 280 others, and restoring 37, including Ringo Starr’s. There have been calls to preserve the home as a bit of music history. While John and Paul’s childhood homes are now preserved by the National Trust, Ringo’s place doesn’t even have an historic plaque.

Now the city’s plan has been put on hold by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has called for a full review. That’s bad news for the few people still living in the area. They don’t know whether they should move, or pay their own money to restore their homes, or do nothing. It all depends what happens with the government funding, and nobody can answer that at the moment.

So will the homes be knocked down or will Ringo’s birthplace become yet another of England’s historic homes? We’ll just have to wait and see.

It may be a long wait.

Courtney Love Opens Her First Art Exhibition

Courtney Love
Courtney Love has opened the first museum exhibition of her artwork at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut.

“Mentoring Courtney Love: David LaChapelle and Courtney Love” showcases Love’s artwork and examines the role artist David LaChapelle has played in mentoring the musician’s experiments in a new medium. Love’s artwork on display are all portraits sketched on paper using a variety of methods such as pastel, watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, acrylic and marker. Some are self-portraits, such as this one shown here courtesy of the museum. It’s titled “Don’t You Know Who I Am, 2012.”

David LaChapelle is an artist and photographer who focuses on realistic portraits. He was a protégé of Andy Warhol.

“Mentoring Courtney Love: David LaChapelle and Courtney Love” runs until August 10. If you can’t make it to the exhibition, a 360-degree view is available on the museum’s website.

[Image courtesy the Lyman Allyn Art Museum]

A Look Inside The David Bowie Exhibition At London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

David Bowie
David Bowie is a pop star. David Bowie is a designer. David Bowie is an actor. David Bowie is a painter.

David Bowie is a lot of things, which is why it’s appropriate that his retrospective at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is titled “David Bowie Is.”

The museum gained unprecedented access to the David Bowie archive to select five decades of mementos like this striped bodysuit designed for the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour. There are plenty more of Bowie’s crazy costumes on display, as well as photos, video, handwritten lyrics and original album art. Many of the pieces are by Bowie himself, showing off his range of artistic talents. More than 300 items make up the exhibition and it’s the largest of its kind ever shown in public.

The exhibition traces Bowie’s evolution as an artist and his collaborations on various projects. Video screens show some of his music videos and excerpts from films such as “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

There is also a series of special events related to the exhibition, including lectures and a chance for kids to design their own album cover.

“David Bowie Is” runs until August 11.

[Image © Sukita/The David Bowie Archive 2012]

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Ringo’s boyhood home threatened with demolition

If you want to see where Ringo Starr was born, you better hurry.

Number 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool, where the Beatles drummer was born in 1940, is one of a neighborhood of decrepit homes slated for demolition. The little Victorian rowhouse was never glamorous, and fell into disrepair years ago. While John and Paul’s childhood homes are now preserved by the National Trust, Ringo’s place doesn’t even have an historic plaque.

Fans are up in arms and are hoping to save the house. They’re even comparing it to Shakespeare’s home. Starr himself had a more measured response, yet nonetheless said he’d love to see his old address saved from the wrecking ball. Currently the house is unoccupied and the windows boarded up. That doesn’t stop a steady trickle of tourists coming to the rundown area to see a bit of music history.

A Liverpool City Council representative offered a ray of hope by saying the city is “currently in discussions” with the city museum about options for the building.

Image courtesy user Tima63 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Afro-Punk Festival: not your mama’s punk show

Each week, Gadling is taking a look at our favorite festivals around the world. From music festivals to cultural showcases to the just plain bizarre, we hope to inspire you to do some festival exploring of your own. Come back each Wednesday for our picks or find them all HERE.

You think you know what punk is. But you haven’t seen anything until you’ve joined the thousands of head-bangers who make the pilgrimage once a year in June to Brooklyn’s Afro-Punk Festival.

This two-day celebration of music, skating, and film has become a Mecca for the burgeoning movement of Afro-Punk, a collection of African-American bands, fans, and misfits who are embracing hardcore rock culture and making it their own. Launched in the summer of 2005, the festival was the brainchild of record executive Matthew Morgan and filmmaker James Spooner, who wanted to give voice to the growing popularity of indie and punk rock in traditionally urban communities. It has ever since been a focal point of musical and cultural cross-pollination, fueled by an audience as diverse as the music itself.

Each day of the festival features bands ranging from eclectic rockers like Houston-based American Fangs to genre-bending artists like crooner Janelle Monae, that by turns, awe and electrify the crowd. Afro-Punk is the wild, weird alternate universe where anything is possible (I personally will never forget seeing bass guitarist Ahmed of Brooklyn’s Game Rebellion strut onstage sporting a fan of giant peacock feathers). Want to learn more about the Afro-Punk Festival? Keep reading below…

For first-timers, the Afro-Punk mashup of grunge guitar and streetwise swagger can be overwhelming. But have no fear: punk is a contact sport, and no one can stand still for long. Crowd surfing is encouraged, from the tiniest faux-hawked kindergartener to the heaviest thrasher, so dive away! And if you yearn for the days of good ole-fashioned moshing, you’ll have no trouble finding a scrum for a little full-body ping-pong.

Other thrill-seekers can get their kicks on the festival’s custom-built skate park. The dizzying array of jumps, ramps and rails is also the battleground for the annual URBANX skate and BMX competitions, where pro-skaters and bikers defy gravity and common sense for a coveted $5,000 prize.

Listen for the distinctive clink and hiss of spray cans and you’ll also find a one-of-a-kind outdoor art exhibit. At Afro-Punk, graffiti is king, and true to form, the artists work at lightning speed, to the delight of onlookers, tagging a rich tableaux of original pieces along a 30-foot wall of wooden panels.

On Sunday, the festival closes with a block party featuring live DJ’s, fashion, and food. But before you go, take a moment to enjoy the greatest spectacle on display: the crowd itself. Revel in being someplace where piercings outnumber iPhones two-to-one, and ‘business casual’ means keeping your shirt on. There are few places on Earth where dreadlocks and leather chokers so seamlessly co-exist. Afro-Punk is the center of a movement that defies definition. In the end, what could be more punk than that?

The 2010 Afro-Punk Festival hits New York June 26th and 27th, and will this year open in two new cities: Chicago and Atlanta. Check out afropunk.com for dates and updated details.