Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Mr. Six-pack-abs, my 7 year old.

Just a few of a big gang of "rollers" waiting for a flight at O'Hare.

Orange County airport redhead, from last week...

Hmmm, this is probably way in style, but I can't help but want to call the fashion police!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

"I see you..." Girl and salaryman on Japanese subway. David Crawford's Stop Motion Study.

Japanese Tommy Girl, one of David Crawford's Stop Motion Studies.

Stop Motion Studies

Imagine sitting on a bus or train, entering a trance-like state. You slowly become aware of how the shadows cast by objects outside the vehicle move along the walls, how the people move in sympathetic motion with the train, and how everything moves through space. This is the feeling of watching Stop Motion Studies.

Now consider the people-watching possibilities of public places (or on public transport). Imagine taking slices of time, capturing peoples gestures, to be repeated so they can be studied and amplified, allowing the emotional content of those gestures to hit you repeatedly. There is one more facet to the work, the subjects can see you watching them, and you see their reactions.

David Crawford has distilled slightly disjointed slices of time, capturing people in moments from blissfully unselfconscious to moments full of discomfort, amusement, hostility or nothing. What he has distilled is compelling in its distillation, strangeness and voyeuristic view of other people.

The artist chose subways as the locale because many types of people converge there, resulting in interesting dynamics and interactions.

I won't bore you with a bunch of post modern babble about "probing socio-cultural boundaries within our emerging digital environment" or "the project...not [being] about the transparency of these actors, but about exploring them" or "a stage upon which social dynamics and individual behavior are increasingly mediated by digital technology" (whatever that means). Almost sounds like a grant application, doesn't it?

Let's just say this is all way cool and worth spending some time exploring. My only disappointment is that there's no sound to go with the images.

One of Crawford's studies is like the movie Koyaaniskatsi, presented as series of vignettes focused on micro and macro levels of human activity.

Here is a good one, another one here and here.

To view this project, you’ll need the following free software: Netscape or Explorer 5.0+ & Flash 6.0+

If anyone knows where I can buy a disc with some of these on them, let me know via the comments below.

[via Turbulence]

David Crawford's Stop Motion Study of Japanese school girls on subway.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Day 15, model with mannequin

Day 15, castings of the model

How Are Mannequins Made?

Here's a photo essay on the making of a mannequin, from start to finish.

[via Fleshbot]

Friday, August 13, 2004

Francois Berthoud, man of fashion

Francois Berthoud

Fashion illustrator Francois Berthoud has been a leader in the field since the mid-eighties when he gained recognition as a regular contributor to the now defunct Vanity magazine. Over the past twenty years, his career has developed to make him a mainstream artist – one that recently had a solo show at the Swiss Cultural Center in Milan.

You can find a video interview here.

Update: Welcome those of you searching the web for Francois Berthoud. There's been a lot of you. I had no idea Francois was so popular. Let me know your interest in this guy...

Friday dogblog--Dakota

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Classic Raymi -- disrobing in the Ladies room for the camera.

Nietzsche's Superman, Mark Leyner...
say, doesn't he sort of resemble Raymi?

Nietzschean Power Fantasy; Leyner and Raymi

Well, this started out as an entry on Raymi the Minx, but its morphed into one mostly about Mark Leyner. Raymi's writing reminds me of Leyner, so I started to reread a couple of his books, My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist and Et Tu, Babe.

Leyner's writing is pretty deconstructed postmodern stuff. Imagine a de Kooning rendered in words, or a less coherent (but no less entertaining) Hunter S. Thompson. His writing only verges on a narrative or plot. His work is "a very hyperactive mix of a biology thesis, a pop culture dictionary, and a homicidal terrorist weaving through rush hour traffic in an ambulance with an AK-47." When he's good, he's white-hot; when he's less inspired--well skip it, its not like there's a plot anyway.

Raymi is a female web-based analog to Leyner, an intersection of ego, stream of concousness writing, photography, some original artwork, and the public interaction between Raymi and her readers (currently referred to as douchebags), friends, acquaintances and family from Toronto. Here's one of her recent entries I especially liked.

Her writing demonstrates the same quest for emotion, juxtaposition, and fun as Leyner. Raymi is more mysterious to me than Leyner, perhaps because she is presented as a person herself, whereas Leyner's writing is just that--writing. I don't know whether Raymi would be as mysterious if I actually knew her. I am sure though, that Raymi is even thinner in real life than she is in her photographs.

Leyner tries to "give people a very unique form of pleasure. So I think they have a very kind of erotic appeal. But it's a kind of cerebral erotics. I'm talking about the feeling of pleasure that every person gets from reading. I want to make people laugh."

With the vocabulary of Nabokov, Leyner writes word after word, creating a prose poetry that strives for poetry-like intensity, line after line. His third book, Et Tu, Babe, is a shocking, tell-all, celebrity-studded chronicle that blends media, culture and trends with the same description-defying style as the rest of his work.

This is from My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist:

I was an infinitely hot and dense dot. So begins the autobiography of a feral child who was raised by huge and lurid puppets. An autobiography written wearing wrist weights. It ends with these words: A car drives through a puddle of sperm, sweat, and contraceptive jelly, splattering the great chopsocky vigilante from Hong Kong. Inside, two acephalic sardines in mustard sauce are asleep in the rank darkness of their tin container. Suddenly, the swinging doors burst open and a mesomorphic cyborg walks in and whips out a 35-lb. phallus made of corrosion-resistant nickel-base alloy and he begins to stroke it sullenly, his eyes half shut. It’s got a metal-oxide membrane for absolute submicron filtration of petrochemical fluids. It can ejaculate herbicides, sulfuric acid, tar glue, you name it. At the end of the bar, a woman whose album-length poem about temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) had won a Grammy for best spoken word recording is gently slowly ritually rubbing copper hexafluoracetylacetone into her clitoris as she watches the hunk with the non-Euclidian features shoot a glob of dehydrogenated ethylbenzene 3,900 miles towards the Arctic archipelago, eventually raining down upon a fiord on Baffin Bay. Outside, a basketball plunges from the sky, killing a dog. At a county fair, a huge and hair man in mud-caked blue overalls, surrounded by a crowd of retarded teenagers, swings a sledgehammer above his head with brawny keloidal arms and then brings it down with all his brute force on a tofu-burger on a flower paper plate. A lizard licks the dew from the stamen of a stunted crocus. Rivets and girders foat above the telekinetic construction workers. The testicular voice of Barry White emanates form some occult source within the laundry room. As I chugalug a glass of tap water milky with contaminants, I realize that my mind is being drained of its contents and refilled with the beliefs of the most mission-oriented, can-do feral child ever raised by huge and lurid puppets. I am the voice…the voice from beyond and the voice from within—can you hear me? Yes. I speak to you and you only—is that clear? Yes, master. To whom do I speak? To me and me only. Is “happy” the appropriate epithet for someone who experiences each moment as if he were being alternately flayed alive and tickled to death? No, master.

Regarding his writing style and choice of subjects, Leyner says:
"A lot of these things are funny because they're true and disturbing. We're often given horrible news in very cheerfully cold pronouncements, from doctors or nurses. You know -- you go into the doctor, then you're suddenly diagnosed, and the next thing you know, you've been handed this brochure about how to deal with your pathetic, remaining five years with some horrible illness. And of course the Q&A brochure has to be upbeat. It's probably been written and printed by a drug company whose drug you will be taking for the next few years.

"I used to write those Q&A brochures when I wrote advertising copy for medical advertising agencies. I was intrigued by the form because it's ostensibly a dialogue between two people. That's why one of my favorite parts of that Q&A brochure in the book is where one of the questions says, "This is a change of subject," and asks a question about baseball, and the brochure has this long tangent in it, making fun of the premise that this is a real dialogue.

Coincidentally, I do medical marketing.

Here's a review of his latest book, The Tetherballs of Bougainville.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Kate Winslet and Jim Cary in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Eraserhead, the Love Story

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;

Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard

If you could selectively remove memories, would you do it? Past embarrassments, loves lost, life’s failures or disappointments could be excised with scalpel-like precision. And if you had the technology to selectively remove someone else’s memories, would you do it? For money?

Selectively removing memories would change who one is in more than obvious ways. I would lose part of my humanity, part of my potential as a person, the part of my life that ripples out from that which they erased. My reaction to everything that has come before, as much the bad as the good, is who I am today. To erase that would be like receiving a noninvasive frontal lobotomy.

To provide such a service for money is immoral.

This is the premise of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Love is cast as the experience that resonates in the character’s lives in spite of what’s cut out and cauterized from their memories.

This psychological premise provides the backdrop to a fragmented non-linier plot about love and destiny. A major portion of the movie occurs in the imagination of Jim Cary’s character, Joel. There are numerous flashbacks reinforcing the emotional storyline. The origami plot can only be put all together once the movie is over--very nicely done.

Kate Winslet plays Jim Cary’s love interest. She's a insecure girl who admits, “I’m not a concept, I’m just a freaked out girl who’s looking for her own peace of mind.” (Okay, since I saw this on a plane, she probably doesn't say "freaked" in the movie.) Jim Cary does well in this dramatic role—a more “pure” dramatic role than he played in “Truman.” In one of the beginning scenes on a train, Cary does a great a great Jack Nicholson impression, so subtle that I missed it the first time around. The rest of the cast is great as well.

I loved the movie, and the critics agreed. Okay, the movie is sort of a downer, but it has a happy ending. And the character’s reactions to their plights is noble and compelling.

(Apologies to David Lynch.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

Christina Ricci at Bald Stars, whoa!

Oni -- Japanese demon who steals the souls of evil people before they die. From Encyclopedia Mythica

Really Old Stuff That's Fun

There is a great resource on the Classics, called Encyclopedia Mythica. Lots of great info on ancient societies--from Mesopotamian mythology to Japanese kami.

[via neurastenia]

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Xocolatl, the Aztec name for chocolate.

You Can Deprive The Body,

...but the soul needs chocolate.

A few years ago I spent the weekend in Paris. As I roamed the city, every time I passed one of those little chocolate shops, I'd stop and buy a bar of 70% chocolate. At the end of the weekend, I must have had a dozen bars.

I've always loved chocolate. Before this trip, Dove dark chocolate was my fav. It took me a few months to consume the bars from Paris, and then I was ruined for any chocolate I could find here in the states.

Finally, I found Scharffen Berger chocolate - I don't remember where exactly, but it was probably at the world's best grocery store, Larry's Market. Founded by a former physician (who went to Paris to learn chocolate) and an ex-wine maker (champagne actually), Scharffen Berger's bars are every bit a match for boutique chocolate from Paris.

When they started their company they went to Europe and bought old fashioned chocolate making equipment, brought it back to South San Francisco, reconditioned it and started making chocolate the old world way. They've since moved to Berkeley and now offer factory tours and even have a cafe. The secret to their unique flavor is their blend of beans. They travel the world buying beans for their hand crafted blend.

In addition to their bars and cocoa powder, they sell cocoa nibs. Nibs are roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits. They're ideal for baking into biscotti or cookies, and great on ice cream or even cereal (yes, I'm a real chocoholic). For the ladies, they have cocoa perfume.

Buy Scharffen Berger here.

Today I found a worthy competitor to Scharffen Berger for "best chocolate" in the U.S., Dagoba Organic Chocolate. At the Portland Farmers Market, there was a booth selling bars of Dagoba.

Founded on Yoda's home world, er, by a chocolate obsessed musician in Boulder, Dagoba has grown and moved to Central Point, Oregon. They had two stand-out bars, both dark of course. The first is a 59% lavender and blueberry infused bar, the other a 74% bar called New Moon. I've made lavender shortbread before, and this lavender chocolate is great - floral and earthy with a hint of blueberry flavor and occasional bits of blueberry.

Dagoba's claim to fame, is the "alchemy of flavor infusion, an art they explor with "mystery and integrity." Their lavender bar lives up to that billing. Dagoba also has their own unique blend of cocoa beans - also top quality.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Like many highly sought after things from Latin America, Dagoba comes in 2 pound bricks. No nibs though. You can buy Dagoba organic chocolates here.

[Hat tip: Beast Blog]

Friday, August 06, 2004

Alien space dog, Cocoa in Mason's tent.

Dog blog Friday - Dakota after a bath, nice and shiney.

She's No "Pretty Woman"

She's smart, articulate, and urbane. Her blog is titled Postmodern Courtesan, and in it she describes her observations on life from the perspective of a high class prostitute - to hear her describe it, it's not that unusual a life.

Her blog is erotic with a paradoxical blend of intimacy and anonymity. Her writing is straightforward and matter of fact; she sounds self confident and authentic, comfortable with her life and herself (no inferiority complex here). She describes what its like, how she provides "cover" for her professional life, her personal life -- from the folks, to past lovers. If you have questions, she will answer.

Her blog handle is Olympia, and she provides a fascinating glimpse into her life. I don’t feel voyeuristic reading her – she comes across more like a platonic friend telling you about her semi-secret life. I just wish I had an image (a hand, knee or shoulder) to go with this post.

Dear Diary

In what was a watershed event for me, this blog was bestowed some serious cred in The Bronxxx Diaries. I am now officially a "mothafucka", a considerable step up from my most recent designation, "asshole".

NAM:LIVE and Scream and Scream Again are two great and very worthy examples of "non-commercial" creativity to be found on the web -- if you know where to look. I was lucky to stumble across them both.

Sharing things I stumble across is why I do this -- and I'd love to hear from any visitors who have suggestions for music, literature, art and other pop culture.

Thanks to both Merlin and Chloe.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Spam Poetry

fruitless bait
nor spared

[what is Spam Poetry?]

Sunday, August 01, 2004

My Playstation buddy, Jessica Alba. She's pretty good, but I beat her