If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss over David Bowie was about, or if you just need a refresher course in Glam Rock 101, we heartily advise you to check out the first-ever DVD release of ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS: THE MOTION PICTURE (Virgin, $34.98). Ziggy, of course, was Le Bowie’s early-’70s alter ego, a putative alien pop idol in whose guise the real-life Bowie rose to superstardom. Directed by D.A. Pennebaker, the Ziggy DVD documents the Thin White Duke’s final concert as Ziggy, at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973. Thirty years on, one can only marvel at what a mesmerizing frontman Bowie was, and how fierce the three-piece Spiders From Mars sounded (check out the brain-melting jam on ”The Width of a Circle”). All the early hits — ”Space Oddity,” ”Suffragette City,” ”Changes,” ”All the Young Dudes” — are here, as well as a chilling rendition of Jacques Brel’s ”My Death.” As far as bonus material goes, you can listen to Pennebaker and producer Tony Visconti commenting on each song as you watch, but frankly, their chatter is more distracting than illuminating. Do yourself a favor: Set aside a couple hours to watch the show from start to finish, and prepare to be awestruck.
Ice Cube has the most intimidating scowl in hip-hop. Just try to catch ol’ sourpuss cracking a smile in any one of the 15 clips on ICE CUBE: THE VIDEOS VOLUME 1 (Priority/Capitol, $19.98). Dour or not, the dude spins a good tale and has screen presence to burn. Sometimes he’s downright scary, as when he kidnaps and terrorizes a bourgie brother for the supposed sin of dating a white woman on ”True to the Game” (well, no one ever called him politically correct). Yet the former Nigga With Attitude has his tender side, too, which comes out in the near-beatific ”It Was a Good Day” (although he has to end things with the appearance of a horde of bloodthirsty cops). These clips are also of interest for documenting the evolution of Cube’s tonsorial styles, from Jheri curls to a baldie to a bona fide ‘fro. We can only assume the dreads are yet to come.