Saturday, June 29, 2002
Four late night funnymen, one joke.
Friday, June 28, 2002
Pets and Design, a gallery brought to you by Evan Izer. Our cat Eames could fit in with any of these mod objects.
Kitschy/Awesome Compilation I've Been Digging The Rough Guide to Bollywood sparkles with all the typical elements of the genre: helium voices, crappy sound, sped up tempos, weird song structures. The selections date from the early '70s to the present; perfect mood music for anyone who grooved to the opening credits of Ghost World. Listening to this, it occurred to me that there's not much Bollywood music out there packaged especially for the English speaking market (although you can pick up this stuff pretty cheaply on imported cassettes if you happen to live near an Indian grocery store). Vijaya Anand's wild Dance Raja Dance from 1992 was the earliest disc I know of, the filmi equivalent of cheezy synth pop. The DJ remix projects Bombay the Hard Way and its sequel followed several years later. Other than those and the occasional crossover soundtrack success, the well's been pretty dry.
P.S. - if you can handle the barrage of annoying pop-up ads, Rare Bollywood Covers is cool, cool, cool.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Depressing songs of the seventies - a critical survey from Janet of the spiffily redesigned Snarkcake. Somehow, the ones involving pets ("Wildfire", "Shannon", "Ben") always choked me up, while the dead guy/girlfriend ones were just funny.
Having never seen it in a bookstore, I had kind of low expectations when I bought Gowns by Adrian : The MGM Years 1928-1941 sight unseen off amazon. I was expecting a lovely but frivolous coffee-table book, long on style but short on content. I was wrong. It's a beautifully designed tribute to the artistry of Gilbert Adrian - with plenty of thoroughly researched text to support the many photos of movie goddesses in gorgeous gowns. Separate chapters on the three women whose images he was instrumental in creating - Garbo, Shearer, and Crawford - are filled with wonderful publicity stills and sketches. There's also a long, informative chapter on the making of The Women that's thankfully light on camp. Had I some extra cash, I'd buy copies for PJ and Bill who both have it on their wish lists.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
The media is falling in love with Adrian's fashions - more on this subject tomorrow.
In the midst of summer blahs, me and Christopher have been watching a lot more TV than we should. Oh, well. One of the shows we've been absolutely glued to is Forensic Files on Court TV. They play two episodes a night, and if I tune in any more I'm liable to think the world is full of regular people getting horribly maimed and murdered at random. It's only a matter of time before I'm next, slowly hacked to death using a housekey that contains vital protozoa DNA that links to gunk under the killer's fingernails. The secret to that show's creepy effectiveness is narrator Peter Thomas, who is in his seventies and has been in the voiceover business forever. I would characterize his voice as one of calm reassurance, with a palatable undercurrent of unavoidable DREAD. He'd do an aspirin commercial with such worry that you'd think you'd die if you didn't take it. He's wonderful (all these people seem to agree).
Clear Channel Sucks, fighting the good fight against a world that wants to put "I Don't Wanna Wait" on an endless repeat until we all have blood flowing from our ears.
P.S. I'd like to thank Max for getting the snoozy classic "Just Once" stuck in my head. Thanks, pal!
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Weezer just finished filming the video for their next single, "Keep Fishin'". It was made to look like a guest appearance on ... The Muppet Show. Scroll down to the 6/21 and 6/22 entries on their news page for pics of them on the set with Kermit, Piggy, even Gonzo's 'lil chicken sweetie. Cute!
An amazing page of album cover design knockoffs and homages, via yipyop. Takes a long time to load, but worth it.
July 1942: United We Stand "During July 1942, seven months after the United States entered World War II, magazines nationwide featured the American flag on their covers. Adopting the slogan United We Stand, some five hundred publications waved the stars and stripes to promote national unity, rally support for the war, and celebrate Independence Day." An eye-popping history and visual resource put together by the Smithsonian; thanks to Design Writings for linking to this.
Monday, June 24, 2002
Neat-o 1940s Cutaway view of the UPS distribution center in downtown Los Angeles. The building is now being refashioned as a trendy loft community.
A generalized but pithy description of white vs. black moviegoer behaviour (via Fimoculous). Race issues aside, I wouldn't tolerate talking back to the screen from anyone. No wonder I don't go out to the movies anymore.
Purple wins, whoop de do. This fills me with trepidation. Whenever M&Ms introduces a new, unnatural color, they have to get rid of one of the older, nicer shades. After the blue ones were introduced, they quietly discontinued the light brown ones, my own fave color. Suddenly the dark brown M&M comes off like the Spotted Owl of bite-sized candies.
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Print out Your Guide to Spotting the North American Rock Critic (via rockcritics.com) and take it to your next concert outing. Fun! All of my Arizona Republic co-workers fit squarely in the "Harmless Shill" species.
Friday, June 21, 2002
Gael is right - this skyscraper site is wonderful. Just go there, and don't miss the vision page of unbuilt designs like Frank Lloyd Wright's 528-floors-tall Illinois tower.
"The Stiff Collar Guild was founded by a group of like-minded Gentlemen who had begun to despair of the overwhelming tide of so called designer t-shirts, body-fascism, and the cult of 'Yoof'." Is it gay? Is it a joke? I'm too busy playing Shuffle the Fogey to find out.
Around the Sims has some stylish furniture and skins and a well-designed interface. Which reminds me, I just got Hot Date earlier this week. Despite how my little orange iMac can't handle the hustle and bustle of downtown very well, it's fun. I sent a Sim named Fred Darling downtown. Fred is a dirty, chubby older man in boxers and a wifebeater tee who, oddly, is the neighborhood chick magnet. I tried getting him friendly with a guy in a gladiator suit, with no luck. Then he tried charming a woman named Salome who happened to dress exactly like his own wife. They clicked. Success.
Thursday, June 20, 2002
The latest Dollarshort.org coloring contest is a John Tenniel illustration from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. You know I'm gonna enter this one.
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Finally, via TV Tattle, someone has done a nice article on the British inspiration for "Trading Spaces" - the short 'n' leisurely "Changing Rooms" (currently airing on the BBC America network). Am I the only person who finds "CR" is a vast improvement over "TS"? The designs seem more livable, there's not as many excitable type-A personalities, and the hostess seems like someone I'd like to invite over for a spot of tea - as opposed to obnoxious Little Miss Pixie 'Do who never fails to ask the most redundant questions ("Are you painting the walls?"). Plus, Handy Andy is much cuter ...
Scopitone of the week, a way gear early music video presented by Sharpeworld. The first selection is "Because You're Mine" with Time Tunnel star James Darren and a bevy of writhing go-go dancers (it will be replaced with a different one
this weekend Friday). Weird and wonderful stuff.
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
The AP announced today, separately, that Pamela Anderson and Amy Fisher stuck deals to write columns. Cory Haim, Jenny McCarthy, Kato Kaelin and the guy who played Urkel are still column-less.
Travelers Diagram linked to a site of scrumptious fake foods. Scrumptious, but expensive. 72 bucks for a chocolate sundae?
Monday, June 17, 2002
Hard to tell what's better - listening to funky tracks from the Gator soundtrack, or digging Burt Reynolds and his hot chick on the album's cover.
Salon Masterpiece: Pac Man, wocka wocka wocka. This History of Pac-Man fills in the gaps alluded to in the Salon piece, dealing more with such Pacflotsam and Pacjetsam as Super Pac Man, the Atari 2600 Pac Man, and Pac Man Cereal.
Elvis is at #1 in the U.K. with a remix of a 1968 track, the only such remix approved by the Presley estate. Why can't the U.S. singles charts be this interesting?
Sunday, June 16, 2002
The Bottom Five Most Tasteless Porcelain Figurines. All I can say is - Baby's First McDonald's Fries, you wuz robbed.
Napster Nation by Carly Carioli, from the 8/3/2000 issue of The Boston Phoenix. I just read this in the book Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001, and it made me feel wistful for those halcyon times of two years ago. Even if there are now many file-sharing alternatives to Napster, Carioli may as well be writing about the joys of 8-track tapes. It's a different world.
Saturday, June 15, 2002
New feature on this page - you can now do Google searches on Scrubbles! Complete with a cool graphic. Spend hours counting the number of pages where I (over)used certain words:
cool - 35; great - 34; groovy - 29; excellent - 22; fascinating - 20; fabulous - 16; psychedelic - 16; fantastic - 15; nifty - 15; hip - 15; bizarre - 15; stupid - 14; mod - 7; "in love" - 5; dumb - 4; swank - 3; crap-ola - 2; greasy - 2; "agressively weird" - 1
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Discards: photographs that time forgot - When Christopher purchased a shoebox full of old 35mm slides a couple of months ago, about 200 or so, we spent hours looking through them. I knew some of them had to be put online. And here it is. From what I can divine from the photos, they were taken by an older woman who lived or had family in the midwest. She then relocated to the Phoenix area around the late '60s. Subject-wise, they cover the usual territory: holidays, church, a trip to the zoo, Mexico, other getaways. The wax museum (1, 2) was in operation here back in the '70s - I went there once as a kid and recalled that the place freaked me out for weeks afterward. From the pics, I can see why.
The 18 photos picked for the site are beautiful in ways the photographer probably never intended. Interiors look strangely still and banal, like Diane Arbus' work - only with the human subjects erased. This one is my favorite, a Garry Winograd-ish party scene with an absolutely perfect composition. Enjoy all of them.
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Small changes to the site - the archive pages finally all have the same design, so July 2000 looks just like May 2002. Whew, that was a lot of tedious work.
Also fixed a disfunctional image on the syd mead project by replacing it with an entirely new image. Ladies and gentlemen, Syd's art for three concept spacecraft.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
The 50 Greatest TV Guide Covers - just received this gorgeous issue today in the mail. It's highly recommended, with some reservations. I would argue that the cluttery look of their recent, gimmicky multi-part cover designs do not hold up well at all. You know, all those "special collector's" issues on Star Trek and crap. Stop patting yourselves on the backs over this stuff, TV Guide! Still, with clever past concepts like the Bradys on toy blocks, how could they go wrong? The issue also has a great sidebar on the various illustrators whose work has adorned TV Guide's covers over the years (not in the online version, unfortunately).
Sunday, June 09, 2002
I'm taking a vacation at home this week, taking care of various stuff. The difference between blogging at home and at work is the difference between trudging through a poky 56bps connection and blasting through the company T1 lines surreptitiously between projects. Which a long way of saying there won't be as many posts this week.
I do plan to work in the background on this site, however, with a surprise coming up.
One of the highlights of this past weekend was seeing The Naked City with our friends Darren and Steve. This 1948 film is unusual in that it was filmed entirely on location in a crowded, dirty New York City, with no Hollywood stage sets. It used real people as extras; often my mind would stray away from the plot in checking out all the little things in the street scenes. You'd see a middle aged woman in a floral housedress walk by and wonder - what's she doing? Bringing home a roast to cook for her family?
This took me back to when I visited NYC exactly twelve years ago. I did lots of walking and took note of little things that aren't captured in movies, like how all the sidewalks are completely peppered with fossilized gum and other stains. On the side streets, you might glance a beautiful turn of the century building fašade, burnished with decades of vehicle exhaust. Me and my mom did all the touristy stuff. We saw shows on Broadway. We took the Circle Line tour, and I tried fitting the huge World Trade Center in my camera's viewfinder by tilting it. With all its contradictions, I loved it there.
The postcard is from this neat site, by the way.
Friday, June 07, 2002
Music Industry Unveils New Piracy-Proof Format: A Black, Plastic Disc With Grooves On It
Now this is a brilliant idea whose time has come: garden stones shaped like M.C. Escher's interlocking reptiles. Via Boing Boing.
Thursday, June 06, 2002
"There is a funny moment when the flashbulbs fade and the paparazzi lenses swing on toward the next famous face, when celebrities are left standing in the psychic residue of their own brief performance. It's an odd moment that no one knows quite what to do with." The rest of this N.Y. Times fashion piece is pretty standard, but what a dynamite lead sentence. I salute you, Guy Trebay.
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
For $499, you can order an entire cd of fake superhero stock illustrations from Digital Vision. Strange in that they look like real comic superheroes, but they're just bland and generic enough to avoid potential lawsuits from Marvel and DC. For instance, their version of The Hulk is purple and sixty feet tall.
On a related note -- Salon has Marvel's Forgotten Heroes, an article about how the Fantastic Four has so far failed to translate to big screen success. Personally, I would pay to see a Fantastic Four film.
Create your own South Park kid. For your enjoyment, I made this one in my own likeness. He looks like Butters wearing Mr. Garrison's glasses! There are some other creations on the Metafilter discussion where I swiped this link. They're super, thanks for asking.
Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Things were slow at the office today, so I made a special lunch hour trip to my favorite dusty bookstore. The place is called, I kid you not, The Book Store. It specializes in magazines, aisles and aisles of them. After lots of looking, I picked up the June issue of the Brit music mag MOJO, which is a special issue on movie soundtracks with a free CD (all for $8.25, natch). MOJO is one of those magazines that I've seen on the racks before, but I never really studied it until now. What a cool publication!
What is it about British music magazines that's so appealing? This old Salon article really nails it down. Where American magazines want to promote, hype and bedazzle the reader into a drooling, submissive state, the Brits want to flatter you and your eccentricities. Plus, they're not afraid to be goofy. Daft, even.
A highlight of this particular issue is their "100 Coolest Movie Soundtracks" list. Most of their selections date from 1967-73, which automatically makes it infinitely cooler than Entertainment Weekly's pathetic stab at the same thing from last year. It's about time somebody recognized the aural genius of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
The edible portion of my lunch was good, too: melted cheese and beans on indian fry bread. Yum.
Monday, June 03, 2002
Freakin' hilarious: Ads from Early '80s Biker Magazines. Thanks to Sharpeworld for unearthing these gems from a time when feathered roach clips were a hot fashion accessory. Warning: some nudity, excessive tackiness.
1930s views of New York City, courtesy of photographer Berenice Abbott. Her scenes of skylines, storefronts and endless streets are very evocative. Via Travelers Diagram.
Look, Christopher -- Bad Scrabble Hands! We know all about this stuff. Getting three or more "I"s on a rack sure is a bitch. Via iconomy.
Sunday, June 02, 2002
"Max Martin started his career as a singer, then as Martin White, in a heavy-metal band called Its Alive." A bio and discography of the enigmatic Swede. Via the other Max.
Meet the Bugs of Cricket magazine. I'm surprised that many of the same critters from twenty plus years ago are still there. George and Tail were my faves. Did anybody else read Cricket?
Cory Doctorow on the value of bl*gging - good points on blogkeeping as a sort of indexing system for the brain. Now I want a Tivo even more.