In the five years since his death from cancer in January 2016, David Bowie’s estate has kept fans captivated with an extensive, tastefully curated series of reissues that have presented a vast amount of material in a non-overwhelming manner. Happily, that same approach is evident in the “Bowie 75” pop-up stores (so named for his 75th birthday in January of next year), which opened in London and New York on Monday.
The locations function not just as stores — although there’s a bounty of T-shirts, vinyl, CDs, posters, stickers, hoodies and other swag — but also as a sort of mini-museum destination, where fans can watch videos, listen to immersive audio and other stuff (see below), and attend events as well. It is open through late January.
The first of those special events sounds exceptionally awesome:
SUNDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2021, 11AM – 7PM ET: FAN EVENT: Drop By Dressed Up As Your Favorite Bowie! Wow the Bowie 75 store staff and other fans with your best take from any of David’s iconic looks. Don’t forget to share your images and tag #bowie75
Equally awesome (if less impressive on the costume front) is a reading in early December by Chris O’Leary, whose books and website present arguably the most far-reaching and thoughtful observations on Bowie, his music and his era:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2021, 3PM ET SPECIAL APPEARANCE: Chris O’Leary takes us inside and behind each and every song in Bowie’s vast catalog by reading from his books Rebel Rebel: All the Songs of David Bowie ‘64 to ‘76 and Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016
“Bowie 75” producer Lawrence Peryer explains the significance of the New York location, which is just a short walk from Bowie’s longtime residence, in the introduction to the booklet accompanying the New York store:
David Bowie spent over 20 years living and creating in New York City. In 2003, he told SOMA Magazine, “I can’t imagine living anywhere else…It’s amazing. I am a New Yorker.” And indeed, he was. He frequented our restaurants, bookstores, and art museums. He performed in our clubs, theatres, arenas, and stadiums. He mourned with us at the Concert for New York after 9/11 and celebrated with us the following Spring on stage in Battery Park, joyously welcoming us back downtown. He recorded albums…made art…raised a family. All here in New York City. Not far from this very location.
Below are descriptions of some of the elements in the store (from the booklet); more info can be found at Bowie75.com:
The CUT-UP Magnet Wall, inspired by Bowie’s use of the cut-up technique, a method of lyric-writing wherein a written text is cut into word or phrase-sized fragments and rearranged to generate a new text. This approach was used on songs as early as Moonage Daydream from the Ziggy Stardust era on through Bowie’s later career, when paper was replaced by The Varbaszier, a custom piece of software David co-developed with Brian Eno and Ty Roberts.
The Custom K2, modeled after the iconic British phone box seen on the album sleeve for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Take a picture to share on your socials, but make sure you place a call while in the box…
Be a Bowie, another great photo op. Snap yourself as part of various David Bowie iconography.
I Am a D.J. David’s history with radio in general, and the BBC in particular, manifested in an on-going series of appearances as both a performer and – in Spring 1979 – a D.J., on BBC Radio. Learn more about Bowie’s performances and his time spinning his favorite tracks.
Ground Control. This is where we all get to express our love, admiration, and any other sentiment to David Bowie. Guests of Bowie 75 in New York and London can leave and read messages, shared between the two locations. Visitors to bowie75.com can see the tributes as well.
David Bowie in Sony’s 360 Reality Audio – An Immersive Music Experience. Visit the kiosks throughout the shop or drop into the immersive room to experience the music of David Bowie like never before, featuring mixes in 360 Reality Audio, a new immersive music experience, overseen by Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti. Exclusive to the Bowie 75 locations, updated with new content throughout our run.
Music, Collectibles, Apparel, Fine Art and Photography. In addition to our ongoing curated offerings, we will be announcing limited quantity “drops” of in-store music releases, special edition collectibles, exclusive apparel, beautifully framed and limited in number fine art prints of classic and rare David Bowie images, as well as an exhibition wall and later in our run, Celebration Prints from the world of photography associated with David Bowie.