A Stardust Is Born

by Jessie Roberts

PBS’s excellent Blank on Blank series animates a 1988 interview with David Bowie, who describes his alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, as “half out of sky-fi rock and half out of the Japanese theater”:

Meanwhile, Prospero’s C.G. reviews the Bowie exhibit at Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin:

Fascinated by the early-20th-century German expressionists of the Brücke movement, whose works he frequently went to see, Mr Bowie began painting in Berlin and gained inspiration and motivation for his music. … The exhibition takes visitors through the career of an artist who was constantly reinventing himself. Flickering video screens, quirky costumes, handwritten documents, soundtracks and interviews provide a kaleidoscope of impressions. Thanks to Christine Heidemann, the curator of the show’s new Berlin section, 60 items have been added to the retrospective to give a broader idea of what went on during Mr Bowie’s stint in the German city between 1976 and 1978.

Many items refer to Iggy Pop, whom Mr Bowie lived with. At first the two shared a huge, slightly run-down flat in an old building in West Berlin’s bohemian borough of Schöneberg, then and now home to a large gay community. But Mr Bowie eventually threw his friend out—Mr Pop is said to have done a bit too much fridge-raiding—and found him a flat in the back of his building. Other highlights include letters from 1978 revealing a short correspondence between Mr Bowie and Marlene Dietrich about “Just a Gigolo”, an unsuccessful film in which Mr Bowie played a gigolo who works in a brothel run by Dietrich’s Baroness (her final appearance on screen). According to Mrs Heidemann, Mr Bowie and Dietrich never actually met in person, since his scenes were shot in Berlin (pictured) and hers in Paris.