Mark Romanek

Beyonce "Lemonade" Visual Album

Beyonce goes very big with Lemonade, a visual album that mixes the personal with the universal with the political in a nearly hourlong special consisting of poetry, music and visuals.

In terms of the visual, the biggest stamp seems to come from director Khalil Joseph, but the longform also has set-pieces (aka: songs) directed by Jonas Akerlund,, Melina Matsoukas, Jonas Akerlund, Mark Romanek, Todd Tourso and Dikayl Rimmasch.

U2 Premieres "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" Video at iTunes (of course)

OK, you ingrates. Now you can't even buy the U2 album at iTunes. It's up for "pre-order" for $6.99, so if you're realizing now that maybe you shouldn't have removed it from your library in a fit of meme rage, your only choices are to stream at Beats, or you can buy a fancier physical version for more than that. Happy now?

Freeloading music fans still get one thing for free, however: The video for "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)," which is available for free streaming from, where else, iTunes. It's not drastically different from the iTunes commecial, except with an edgier post treatment, more colors and some lyrical shout-outs to the song and The Ramones.

Watch the video at iTunes, if you can find it: Direct linkage seems impossible — sharing is not caring — so look for the big banner in the Music carousel.

Taylor Swift "Shake It Off" (Mark Romanek, dir.)

Taylor Swift might be going much more pop than you'd have expected — and maybe the thought of seeing her as a B-Girl, or a ballerina, or a hyper-stylized Gagaesque artist makes you very nervous, but no need to worry. It's all in fun with a "just be yourself" message, with an '80s golden age of pop video that directly references "Mickey" by one-hit-wonder Toni Basil. 

Jay Z "Picasso Baby" (Mark Romanek, dir.)

"I decided that I want to have a work that connects me more with the public, that concentrates … on the interaction between me and the audience.

I want to have a simple table, installed in the center of the atrium, with two chairs on the sides. I will sit on one chair and a square of light from the ceiling will separate me from the public.

Anyone will be free to sit on the other side of the table, on the second chair, staying as long as he/she wants, being fully and uniquely part of the Performance.

I think this work [will] draw a line of continuity in my career."

- Marina Abramovic, artist [in a letter to her curator about her 2010 MoMA show The Artist Is Present]

Director Mark Romanek Talks Jay Z, Marina Abromovic and Picasso Baby

Let's not shit ourselves: The new Jay Z video is an event, regardless of what you feel about the new album, his responsibilies as an artist, or the fact that as an astoundingly rich, well connected, smart, and powerful man he operates in rarefied circles

It premieres on HBO @ 11p tonight, immediately after his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. And it's not being called a video: It's a Performance Art Film. 

Director Mark Romanek — who occupies a similar position in the music video world as Jay does in the hip-hop world — talked about the video and its inspirations with Huffington Post

The admitted main influence is performance artist Marina Abromovich and her "one on one" staredown show at MOMA — documented in the HBO film Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present. Romanek says, "What I pitched to Jay was: 'You regularly perform to 60 or 80,000 people at a time. What if you performed for one person at a time? What if it was like Marina's piece?"

And that reminds me of one of the advantages music video, or any music performance captured on video, over the live experience: The ability to focus. To get close. To provide angles and access that's not possible in even the smallest club, and certainly not in stadiums.

The interview is full of great insights, so I recommend you check it in full, but here are some of my fave quotes from the director:

HBO to Premiere Jay Z "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film" and Releases Preview Clip

That Jay Z video shoot pulls further into focus with a preview of "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film" that hints the word "art" equally applies to its surrounding words — it's "performance art" and an "art film." 

We'll get to see the whole thing via a big broadcast premiere, but it's not (m)TV, it's HBO — "Picasso Baby" launches exclusively on HBO next Friday, August 2 @ 11pm, immediately after Jay Z's appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.