Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cindy Sherman takes on the botox set

Cindy Sherman has made a career out of transforming herself into different variations of females in the male gaze. In her latest manifestation, she takes on the aging beauty. Sherman Evokes Aging, Botoxed Dames in $250,000 Photos one often sees hanging over the mantel in the houses of the upper-crst. Sporting heavy makeup, wigs, fake nails and teeth, artist Cindy Sherman transforms herself into a cast of aging society matrons.

The exhibition at the Metro Pictures gallery – her first in New York in four years – consists of 14 large-scale color photographs; each stars the chameleon-like artist disguised as yet another bejeweled, Botoxed dame. Despite the variations of surgery and scenery,
all the women end up in a uniform of sameness - all seeming to fighting a desperate battle with time.

The caricatures are sad and oh so appropriate for these declining times, as the Tycoons fall what becomes of their faded wives. As usual, Cindy Sherman caricatures are merciless.

To see more from the gallery click here.

do schools stifle creativity?

It's a bit of a long lecture, yet a fascinating one, Sirken Robinson speaks about how school systems around the world, enforce the idea that there are only right and wrong answers, and therefore close off children from their creative potential. He also talks about the hierarchy of school systems, where the arts are secondary in education. According to him, we educate from the head up and from there only toward one side of the head, creating at the peak of the education system "disembodied professor types".

He gives one example of a choreographer who was told she probably had a learning disability as a child, because she fidgeted too much. The doctor, since they didn't have ADHD in those days, told the mother she wasn't sick she was a dancer. The girl went on to become a choreographer, for as she put she could only think while moving.

Many very funny observations and very true ones.

spot all 99 and be master of your domain

...well not really to be master of your domain... hmmm....should probably not get into the definition of that at work...anyway 99 references to Seinfeld. Know em. Love em. Here's the cheat sheet.

via sinktoswim

make peace with music

This campaign for RAM FM is visually appealing and has a very tangible point, music cross many divides. I've always felt that this was true. My dad is a big music fan. And he would often tell us stories growing up about how in The Ukraine people would primarily smuggle in two things on the black market, Levi's Jeans and music. He didn't care that much for jeans, but his black-market Beatles albums are his favorite to this day.

It may not seem like much. But, in small ways, music allowed people living under the communist regime to question the propaganda that implied the noncommunist world was this great evil. If the people under democratic regimes were so poor and oppressed, as the propaganda would have you believe, why were their songs so darn peppy? Music connects people that's what makes it so powerful. There's no culture they doesn't understand a love song. 

93.6 Radio is hoping to serve a similiar social purpose, also known as Peace Radio, the station attempts to create a cultural bridge between the people of Israel and Palestine, through the most universal social glue there is: Music.  This is a bit of advertising that I hope actually works.

who hates the MTA today. Everybody!

This morning everywhere I look someone is hating on the impending MTA fare hikes accompanied by a generous cut in service. What do these naysayers have to say? Nothing we all weren't thinking. Over at flavorwire, author Carrie Tucker of I love Geeks fame, expresses her outrage quite nicely in an interview:

FW: You are a superhero vigilante who fights for the rights of the downtrodden and jobless. If you had to pound on the villains behind our economic crisis, who are the baddies you would target and which of your powers would you use to dole out furious justice?

CT: One of my biggest targets would be the [New York Metropolitan Transit Authority]. I HATE the MTA. Total crooks who drove themselves into billions of dollars of debt just because they mismanaged a budget (well, OK, and relied on real-estate revenue), and then turned around and said, “Hey, Citizens of New York, how’s about you pay a lot more for your public transportation and get service cuts so we can cover our asses? What, you don’t like it? Then we’ll toll your East River bridges too, how’s about that?” I imagine them as cigar-chomping villains, with red eyes and smoke coming out of their asses. I’d have to go the “Death Note” approach here. I’d have to say that I’d go ahead and [write] an actual death note like the heroes [on that show] do, on the MTA. How would that solve the problem? I’ve no idea, but it sure would make me feel better, damn it! for more geekiness click

Over at the New York Times Miranda Purves  “wanted to find some way to convey the less tangible costs of service cuts and fare hikes.” The resulting project, created in collaboration with illustrator Jason Logan, is a series of simple, yet telling text-based graphics that provide a brief glimpse into the lives of some of the individuals being effected.  So here's a visual image of how much people think this fare hike will suck. You can see more of  the pics here. But you get gist, people need these services. Thanks for nothing MTA.

art of the title sequence

In one of my favorite scenes in High Fidelity Rob Gordan describes the making of a good mix tape. "For me, making a tape is like writing a letter. There's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention."

I think a similar case can be made for a movie's title sequence, all be it brief, the title sequences is your first taste of a movie. It can entices you or shock you. It sets the tone for the movie, it peaks the curiosity, and sometimes a good title sequences, a really good title sequence, can be more memorable than the movie itself.
I recently discovered the art of the title site, a website solely dedicated to the best title sequences, including interviews.  Looking at each title sequence, on it's own, you truly come to realize what a labor of love each second is.

... and how often it's these first second that stick with us in our collective memories.

Monday, March 30, 2009

what the craigslist ad should have said






Chicks dig artists (for evolutionary purposes)

In a recent Newsweek article, Jeremy Mcarther discussed the " Art of Instinct" a new  book by Denis Dutton, the basic premise of which is that art serves an evolutionary function,  and that members of the species who could communicate and create better were essentially selected for by prospective mates. Here's his two central arguments;

"  First, creative capacities would have helped our ancestors to survive in the hostile conditions of the Pleistocene, the epoch beginning 1.8 million years ago, during which Homo sapiens evolved in Africa. An ability to invent and absorb stories, for instance, would have helped early humans work out "what if" scenarios without risking their lives, pass along survival tips and build capacities for understanding other people around the campfire. The best storytellers and best listeners would have had slightly greater odds of survival, giving future generations a higher percentage of good storytellers and listeners, and so on."

"Second, on those long, dull savanna nights after the day's hunting and/or gathering was done, a big vocabulary and a creative streak would have improved a man's chances of wooing a lover (and thereby passing on his genes to a child)—just as an amusing woman would have been more likely to entice the guy to stay (thereby boosting the child's odds of survival). According to this view, which Dutton derives from the psychologist Geoffrey Miller, evolution turns the brain into "a gaudy, overpowered Pleistocene home-entertainment system" for winning and keeping lovers."

I don't know about all this. Aren't creative types; artists, writers, musicians more likely to burn out then regular folks. The creative gene, in my opinion, somehow coincides with the one for self-destructiveness. And don't many artists, particularly the one's without trust funds, go through the majority of their best baby-making/survival of the species ensuring years broke. 

Yes, the artist will get more play, woe is me types always do ( at least from girls like me). However, I feel like the male artiste, while fun for baby-making, is probably not best adaptive choice for baby fathering. Perhaps, back in the day a big vocabulary wooed a woman. It still works on me, but I'm probably not the best hope for survival of the human race. However, I feel like many woman these days find a big checkbook more likely to ensure survival.

snow white and her apple

via modernet

a little fun with crap souvenirs

Born in Britain and now living in Germany, 56-year-old Michael Hughes is a freelance photographer. Hughes started this hobby back in 1998 and has accumulated a rich collection of over 100 fun images using this blending technique in 200 countries he visited.

the transformables

Deployable/Transformable Structures from Daniel Piker on Vimeo.

I love this new video by Daniel Piker, it's basically like functional origami.

fruity packaging

Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa has created a series of creative fruit juice packages that have the look and feel of the fruit they contain. I wonder if they taste as good as they look.

tar and feathers for everyone

Why are popular conservatives up in a tizzy about AIG and the likes? Bonuses never seemed to bother them before. In fact, the AIG bailout began under the bush administration.

But now, the fox news pundits are ranting and raving at every turn, suddenly they are all overcome with populist rage. Apparently when taxpayer money is involved corporate greed is suddenly a no-no. But shouldn't it always be a no-no? Wouldn't this crisis have been prevented if corporations were regulated? If capitalism wasn't just allowed to do what it will and  corporations didn't put short-term profits ahead of long-term progress ? Why is it all the rage for republicans to rage now.

In the upcoming weeks, Republican groups are planning to run a slew of attack ads based on AIG bonuses.  Some of the criticism is warranted. Yes, Chris Dodd and the Obama administration made mistakes with the package, and they took responsibility for them. But, I for one, think the discrepancies between executive pay and the pay for average american workers is always an issue, not just an issue during the recession. When you turn populist rage toward singular government actions, it distracts people from raging about the inequities that always exist. The American people being ripped off, while corporations profit, isn't an entirely new phenomena.

So what's the deal? Are Republicans really infuriated by executive bonuses or as Bruce Reed's points out in his latest slate article on lemon populism,  are conservatives just trying " to poison the well on government action". I have to go for the latter. 

snuggie v. slanket v. freedom blanket v. blankoat

The writers over at gizmodo have a battle royale raging between monk robe/blanket/mumu like garments. Here's the contenders, all equally hideous. What say you?

For more on these beauties click here.

when blog posts mate

endlessly wired + mcqueen of trash =A fashion show in Medellin, Columbia?

proofread or else someone else will...

The P & A patrol is after errant copywriters everywhere. Now, people can buy  these P&A Stickers and have their copy-editing way with ads. According to the site,  these little reds stickers can be utilized for "miserable spelling, horrid grammar, malformed syntax, bizarre comma splices - whatever you see, arm yourself and educate others."

I'm glad they don't have these stickies for blogs. This idea may prove more annoying then useful, as other people correcting you often tends to be. The best impetus for proofreading ever presented to me still has to be this clever spoken word performance from Taylor Mali.  It makes a grammar lesson easier to swallow.

got character

It's nice to open a fashion magazine and see wrinkles. Or laugh lines. Or double chins. Or frizzy hair. After seeing magazine image after image  photoshopped -beyond the point of looking human- there's something really surprising and reassuring about flipping through a magazine and seeing people that look like actual people.
I was reading an old Vanity Fair today and after passing the ubiquitous fashion spreads without more than a second look, I came upon some of the photos from U.S.A networks character project. I couldn't look away. 

I have become so accustomed to seeing the photoshopped bodies and faces of actresses and models that natural occurrences like freckles,  wrinkles, and under-eye bags seem so out of place. It's odd, how we look in the mirror everyday and see these realities, and yet in a magazine we've almost come to expect every flaw airbrushed. 
The character project has actually been going on for awhile, but this is the first time I saw the images juxtaposed against a slew of fashion advertising, the affect is intriguing. The project according to the website is an ongoing artistic initiative to capture the character of American and pay tribute to the extraordinary people, from all walks of life, who make this country unique. The people photographed come from all over the country and the work is created by 11 world renowned photographers. All the photos are different but refreshing in their own way. You can see all the work and videos about the making of here. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm a Bettie

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.
  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.
  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
  • * Give me space to be alone.
  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.
So this Mad-Men era, which gal are you quiz, has been making the blog rounds. So I took a turn with it.If you want to know if you are a Marilyn, an Audrey, or a Bette like me, Do the quiz.

a bookish room

Since I was child I always had a passion for books. As a young girl, I felt a special affinity toward Matilda. At one particularly obsessed point, I spent an hour attempting to move a pencil with my mind, convinced that since Matilda read many books and I read many books, I too would have telekinetic abilities.

Due to my bookish passions, my ultimate decor fantasy has always been to have a grand library, Beauty and the Beast style. However, despite having enough books to fill a library, I do not have enough space for the actual bookshelves.

So instead, my tiny bedroom is stacked with books, every corner has become my library. One day I'll have the perfect study, but for now it's just nice to be surrounded by all the books I've loved before.

make me a superhero

The folks over at cpb integrated have created their very own hero maker. It's pretty fun to play around with on a hung over morning. Here's my alter ego. You can make your own hero on the site. I kinda wish I made mine more of a villain.

saturday morning cartoons

Friday, March 27, 2009

a cold war on pleasantries

Contrary to the song, eastern european women don't often come from Russia with Love. If you get know many eastern european you will notice one persisting phenomena... they will be blunt. I know this, because I am one, and I am often blunt. The frank talk, is not meant to bring you down, or demean your manhood ( as some interpret it). Frankly, there's just no european filter distinguishing between what you say and what you think. Honesty is by nature brutal, and eastern europeans are by nature, honest.

Perhaps, it's an evolutionary mechanism inherent to cold climates, but there just doesn't seem to be a point to bullshitting, flattery, and the backhanded compliments that Americans are so fond of. Americans, are the kings of sugar-coating and niceties. This often makes interactions awkward between the two cultures.  In fact on websites for russian mail order brides, men are warned to beware the bluntness of their russian brides. Oh my ! 

Americans tend to interpret eastern European honesty as being unnecessarily cold. And perhaps, in some cases it is. Recently, on an episode of Tough Love, Stasha was reprimanded for her extremely critical behavior. On the show, she does come off as cruel. Stasha, of course, tells fat people that they there in fact fat,  and annoying people that they are annoying etc. While this may seem harsh, for Russians such comments are thought as just tips informing others about ways in which to improve themselves.

For example, growing up I'd show my father a paper.  He would tell me to tear it up and say it was unacceptable. Meanwhile, I've found that many of my Americans friends were coddled through C averages and were told they were great and everyone is special in their own way and all that good stuff. Do their parents think a C is as good as an A, of course not. But for Americans, it's more important to be nice then to be honest, even if the honesty often fosters self improvement. Just as my aunts would foster our self-improvement by telling us all the exact areas in which we have accumulated the freshman fifteen, I often find myself giving overly honest relationship advice whenever asked.

So when on Sex and the City, the Russian told Carrie that Samantha may die, in his eyes, he wasn't being cruel. The Russian was being informative, for there were certain chances that Samantha would die and one must prepare for such chances, just like a russian bear prepares for a harsh winter. When Stasha tells a man he is getting fat, he just is. When Alina on Top Model showed disdain for the idiocy of the other contestants, it was just because they were stupid.

When a Russian women says you are "hairy like animal" it's because truly you look like an animal. Please shave.

Often, I try to keep my bluntness in check. But when I've had too much drinks or I find you obnoxious or cocky to the point of demeaning others. Watch out. My weapon of choice tends to be determining the Irritant's emotional weakness and stating it out loud, straight faced. At first they will think I'm joking (I appear deceivingly sweet) but the moment it sinks in they don't know what to say.  Often, it gives me a strange pleasure. Do I always mean harm, no. But, I merely recognize the areas needed for improvement and then point them out.  Americans are so unused to such biting honesty, that often it acts like a cold ice-pick to the heart.

you don't want to watch sports with me

I know I should have school spirit. I know everybody else in the world does. And I feel like it makes me seem like a real girlie-girl that I can't get all up in a tizzy about sports. I'm really not that much of a girlie girl, I promise. I just never quite took to it all.

Today I'm going to watch the Cuse game with friends, all of whom will be oranged out. I will be wearing an orange necklace, does that count? As always, I have been lured to such events by the promise of cheap pitchers and boneless buffalo tenders.  Without such promises, I probably would miss this game like I have missed countless others. Sigh.

My roommate and I discussed my lack of enthusiasm for sporting activities this morning. She blamed it on my noncompetitive high school. I countered, but we had a winning chess team, it was not much of a counter-argument. I guess high school is when the "enthusiasm" gets ingrained in you, or supposedly your parents contribute. I guess neither applies. My dad was always too busy lecturing me on communism to put on the game. So none of  it every clicked with me.

 I don't get it. I can't watch people running around not saying anything. I need a story. 

Perhaps, if I knew player one was the long lost brother of player 2, and if they just get the ball in the magical hoop, they will be able bring back their also long lost puppy from the dead, and said puppy runs on the stage and pees on members of the other team, I'd get it.

So my routine for sporting events, when I choose to go, consists of  analyzing whether the players are secretly gay and making passes at each other, concocting retarded cheers that have nothing to do with the game, asking ridiculous questions, and generally attempting to get drunk enough, to pretend as if I know what's going on. Perhaps, this is why they try to fill me full of boneless buffalo tenders and shut me up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

sketchy fun

drawing by artist Kris Chau

talking objects speak New Yorker

I lied. I lied. One more video. There's too many great videos on the internet today and I'm an oversharer. So a little bit ago I did a blog post about the New York Time Limit, or the New York of possibilities v. the New York of Realities, and my slow progression toward coming to terms with what New York has meant to me and what New York currently means to me.

So when I came upon this video I just had to post it. In it, Andy and Carolyn London interview people about their experience of living in New York City and then put their voices onto inanimate objects. Strangely enough, watching it you feel as if you can see the people. 

I love how gritty it looks. Apparently, to record two drunks used in the segment the cameraman got down on the ground with them in Penn Station. Now, that's New York.

The Lost Tribes of New York City from Carolyn London on Vimeo.

one more video just because it fills me cheer

.... see how it was made here.

Little Red Riding Hood 2.0

SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

" I think, we're in a viral"

Things I have lost ...

Headphones, cellphones, ipods, people, bracelets,
rings, bracelets that replace lost bracelets, gift cards, gift wrap, virginity, books (sadly), relationships (probably for the best), shirts, flip-flops, every other sock, every other earring, underwear, dignity, eyeliner, gum, notebooks, love notes, phone numbers, hats,faith, keys, replacement keys, childhood toys, childhood memories,  chapstick, muscle tone, friends, enthusiasm, a sense of wonder and countless pens. This week, I just lost the gift card.

robofish take to the seas

                                                                       via inhabitat.

Soon, the water in Gijon, a harbor in Northern Spain will be monitored by robotic, battery-powered fish. These mechanical, articulating sea creatures were designed and tested by the Robotics Department at the University of Essex. At a cost of $3.6 million, through a European Union grant, these fish will test the water for oxygen levels, detect oil slicks and other contaminants pumped into the water. 

A great idea, though it may be far more effective if these were robosharks.