So great to see LA Weekly shine a light on Eden Ahbez, one of the more intriguing figures in the Exotica pantheon.
Eden Ahbez: protohippie, musician, mystic, Nature Boy. At the Lake Shrine ashram in Pacific Palisades, CA.
If you come across Ahbez’s only solo LP in the wild, Eden’s Island (Del-Fi, 1960), then lucky you. Ahbez composed all the music on it. He sings and plays a wooden flute. Dreamer of “untellable dreams”, he recites his grasp of the elusive in a peaceful, hypnotic cadence. It’s a rare and beautiful record:
Eden Ahbez’s Eden’s Island, 1960.
And since it was the Retro Cocktail Hour that introduced me to Eden Ahbez, it’s only fitting to plug the most recent show, the All Exotica Special. In it you’ll hear Ahbez’s “Full Moon” as well as a zoo-full of tropical animals or people imitating them. If you’re wondering what Exotica is, this program is a great primer:
“‘If every fashion school graduated one talented person each year,’ Mr. [Bryan] Bradley said, ‘I don’t think there’s room even for them in the business.’” (Cathy Horyn’s “The End of the Affair” New York Times September 7, 2006). This is a discouraging outlook for young designers wanting to make it in the fashion business as it functions today. It is possible that this opinion can be proved wrong, but as Bradley has been designing for his independent label Tuleh since 1997, he likely understands these stark realities all too well. There is, however, an alternative. Now may be the time to forego the ambition to present at fashionable courts in Paris, New York, London and Milan in order to maintain local talent and production. The following is a perfect summation by the folks at JC Report: “We believe that the future of design — at least, the most exhilarating and original concepts — is in the variety of indigenous artisans.” Indeed, cultural diversity is a precious resource that must be maintained and celebrated.
Oaxaca gold silk embroidered dress from Xochiquetzal
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