Brain Pickings

The Story of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust Character

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The curious rise, rise, and retirement of one of pop culture’s greatest cults.

David Bowie celebrates his 66th birthday today. From the BBC comes the fascinating story of his flamboyant Ziggy Stardust character, Bowie’s iconic androgynous glam-rock alter ego, which went on to become one of the 20th century’s biggest pop culture cults. The documentary is based on D. A. Pennebaker’s 1983 concert film Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which captured Bowie’s original surprising announcement retiring the celebrated persona at London’s Hammersmith Odeon Theater ten years prior.

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