2/24/2010 3:50:56 PM
Rearrange your bookshelf, make a cup of tea, and watch this video before getting to work. In it, Johnny Kelly mixes an astounding range of animation styles into one mesmerizing short film about procrastination—the art of “doing eight things at once and not getting one done.” Watch:
Procrastination from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.
2/22/2010 11:41:19 AM
Drifting above Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter in a motorized paraglider, photographer George Steinmetz has captured a series of extraordinary images of severe beauty from the hottest desert on Earth.
Centuries ago, trade routes bringing frankincense from the southern Arabian Peninsula passed through the Empty Quarter, but now most of the towns that supported the route are in ruins. Steinmetz’s photos show those remnants as well as the scattered farms, towns, and oil refineries that are the modern equivalent, drawing outsiders into the sands in search of wealth. From the herds and homes of the Bedouin who still follow their traditional ways of life to the rippling dunes and barren salt flats that have held their shape for hundreds of years, Steinmetz's photos are stunning.
Source: Saudi Aramco World
Images courtesy George Steinmetz.
2/18/2010 4:32:09 PM
A group of high school students in Orange, New Jersey, have put together a fascinating audio tour of their town, with a project that weaves citizens’ stories about seemingly ordinary places right into the fabric of the city. When you walk around Orange, Shelterforce reports, you see bright green ear-shaped signs calling attention to nontraditional landmarks—a hospital, a freeway overpass, a funeral home, a café—and you can use your cell phone to access oral histories of these places.
The students’ work is part of the larger “Murmur” project, wherein residents of a handful of cities—Montreal, Edinburgh, São Paulo, Toronto, and a few others—have installed museum-like audio tours to enrich the urban experience. “The stories reflect personal history: windows into the individual experiences of residents, rather than a rigid history of the area,” Shelterforce notes. Even from the remote distance of the project’s interactive website, the stories are powerful and, due to their brevity and down-to-earth nature, a bit addictive: I dare you to listen to just one.
Anthony Monica, looking out over the massive I-280 freeway, recalls that the interstate’s construction, which broke ground when he was a kid, “took quite a chunk of Orange away.” The brother-and-sister proprietors of Serrani’s Bakery, an Orange staple since their father opened it in 1948, explain that they’re still using the same “very old and very delicious” bread recipes their father brought back from Italy—for baguettes and stone-ground wheat loaves—but they’ve broadened as the town has grown more multicultural. “We have a large, wonderful, wonderful Ethiopian community,” Jean Serrani says, who buy what she describes as a traditional Ethiopian bread (if it’s injera, and I’m guessing it is, I just love the image of an old-school Italian bakery selling the large spongy rounds). Serrani’s, she says proudly, “has now become not only an Italian bakery, but, we feel, an international bakery.”
Image by Andrew Currie, licensed under Creative Commons.
2/18/2010 2:28:36 PM
Stop surfing YouTube. Stop staring at your computer, pulling out your hair, and waiting for inspiration. The blog ISO50 cobbled together 25 ingenious strategies from designers and artists for overcoming creative block. The ideas can also apply to any kind of creative work.
Some are totally unexpected, including this recipe for creativity from British graphic designer Michael C. Place (aka Build):
Slice and chop 2 medium onions into small pieces.
Put a medium sized pan on a medium heat with a few glugs of Olive oil.
Add the onions to the pan, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Chop finely three varieties of fresh chilli (Birds Eye, Scotch Bonnet & Green/Red).
Add the chilli’s to the pan, stir together and cook for eight minutes.
Add about 500g of extra lean Beef mince to the pan.
Stir in so that the Beef is coated and lightly browned (should take approx. 2 minutes).
Add salt and pepper.
Add Red Kidney Beans and tinned chopped Tomatoes.
Add a pinch of Cinnamon.
Cook on a low heat for approximately 20 mins.
Measure a cup and a half of Basmati Rice into a medium pan.
Add two and a quarter cups (the same cup you measured the Rice in) of cold water to the pan with the Rice.
Boil on a high heat until the lid rattles.
Turn down the heat to about half way and cook for eight minutes.
After eight minutes turn the heat off the rice, leave for four minutes (with the lid on).
Plate up the Rice (on the side), add the chilli.
Large glass of Red wine (preferably Australian or New Zealand).
Now the important problem solving part–
Take the plates & pans to the sink.
Run a mixture of hot and cold (not too hot) water.
Add a smidgeon of washing up liquid (preferably for sensitive skin).
Start washing up, the mundane kicks in.
The mind clears and new thoughts and ideas appear.
Enjoy a second glass of wine to savour the moment.
2/12/2010 4:02:37 PM
From 1940 to 2001, only six African Americans won an Academy Award for acting. Only one of those actors, Sidney Poitier, won the award for best actor, and all the rest won for supporting roles. The academy has gotten better at recognizing African American actors in recent years, Todd Boyd writes for The Root, but the awards are plagued by its troubled history. Though Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Forest Whitaker, and Jennifer Hudson have won awards since then, Boyd writes, “any improvement over the way things were before 2002 must be considered relative to a previously dismal history.”
The movies nominated for this year’s Oscars shouldn’t be considered a step forward, according to John Pilger in the New Statesman. He writes, “This year's Oscar nominations are a parade of propaganda, stereotypes and downright dishonesty. The dominant theme is as old as Hollywood: America's divine right to invade other societies, steal their history and occupy our memory” Pilger takes down most of the Oscar favorites, including The Hurt Locker, Avatar, and Invictus, asking the question, “Why are so many films so bad?”
Sources: The Root, The New Statesman
, licensed under
2/10/2010 5:15:42 PM
Through her camera lens, Nadya Kwandibens sees Native people in urban settings as an opportunity to both empower and showcase indigenous lifestyles and cultures. In This Magazine, Lisa Charleyboy profiled the First Nations photographer, who transformed her own feelings of isolation and an "impluse to heal through art" by connecting with other indigenous people in the city and photographing them. Charleyboy says Kwandibens “asks her subjects, ‘Who are you as a Native person within the city?’ The resulting photos are witty, meticulous, poignant.”
Kwandibens has also formed a vibrant online community called Concrete Indians, where First Nations artists across the United States and Canada can connect with each other and post photographs. According to Kwandibens, the name originates “from a nickname the older folks back in the '60s used to call young Native people moving/living/working in the cities.”
She tells This, “By sharing and being so giving with the Concrete Indians series, people really started to connect and find something they can relate to in the images. They are able to see these beautiful brown faces all over North America. We are all so connected.” You can view photos of Kwandibens’ work through her gallery, Red Works Studio.
Source: This Magazine
Image by Brooke Anderson, licensed under Creative Commons.
2/10/2010 4:44:40 PM
Nearly every one of the 33 million people around the world who are infected with HIV/AIDS are forced to struggle with a stigma surrounding the disease. In the March-April issue of Utne Reader, we reprinted stories that demonstrate the discrimination, shame, isolation, and fear faced by people with HIV/AIDS every day. In the project INFECTED and AFFECTED, photographer Joan L. Brown asks people to show how they would fight, communicate love, and express the sadness surrounding HIV/AIDS stigma. According to the project’s website, “Collectively, these portraits present to the world a mosaic of dignity and courage that challenges stigma.”
We’ve reproduced a few of the photos below:
INFECTED and AFFECTED
All images by Joan L. Brown / www.infectedandaffected.com
2/5/2010 3:47:25 PM
Exploring the relationship between meat and popular music is something you’d only find in Meatpaper. That’s why we love it so much. In the latest issue Tony Michels tackles that juicy history and insists that “meat has always fed music.” He writes:
Indeed, the history of American popular music, in its entirety, may be traced through beef, poultry, and pork. The history of rock ‘n’ roll bears out my claim. Scholars have yet to ascertain the precise number of songs about meat recorded in the 1950s and early 1960s, but a safe estimate would run into the hundreds and perhaps thousands. Any complete repertoire needed at least one song about hot dogs, pulkes, fatback, or ribs. A crowing achievement of the early rock ‘n’ roll era was the Starliters’ hit “Hot Pastrami with Mashed Potatoes,” arguably the most eloquent paean to smoked meats ever performed. Pigmeat Markham and Sleepy LaBeef, who were among the earliest singers to adopt meat-themed monikers, further consolidated the alliance between meat and music. Alas, meat, like all things, is cyclical. With the rise of the counterculture in the late 1960s, animal flesh temporarily lost its appeal. Mind-bending sounds were in; sausages and tube steaks were out.
Michels goes on to discuss the punk revival of meat rock in the ’70s and the magazine also features a menu unearthed from a New York restaurant. It’s a “deli menu” organized into Poultry Albums, Poultry Songs, Meat Songs, Bands/Musicians, Meat Albums, and Little Bites. We can’t bring you that, but you can listen to Joey Dee and the Starliters. Do you have a favorite meat-themed song?
Source: Meatpaper (article not available online)
2/2/2010 11:09:55 AM
You may not know what library music is, but no doubt you’ve heard it. It’s the ready-made instrumental music commissioned and owned by production music libraries, which sell it for use in television and film productions. Music supervisor and library music collector David Hollander headed to Europe to visit archives and hunt for vintage records. Hollander offers a good primer in Wax Poetics for those unfamiliar with how the genre evolved:
The basic business model at work here involved the libraries setting up recording sessions where everyone involved—composer, musician, producer, and engineer—were working “for hire,” and the library would purchase the completed music tracks as well as the publishing rights outright. By securing the masters and the publishing rights completely at the very beginning, the production music libraries were able to offer the music for film/television/radio synchronization at well below the cost of creating original music for a given project.
Hollander says adult films from the 1970s were keen on library music tracks, as were British cop shows and other television programs. He located and lavished praise on Alan Tew’s albums Drama Suite Part 1 and Part II, declaring them “the pinnacle of the British cop-funk sounds.” You know Tew’s music—it entered American pop culture as the theme song to The People’s Court in the ’80s. Here’s a clip of his track “The Big One,” with vintage stills from the show:
Source: Wax Poetics (article not available online)
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