Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some random things I am feeling right now.

Iiiii'm soooo sorry. When I started this blog I pledged (possibly silently inside my head, or during a status conference with my trusty assistant Fang, pictured here) that I was going to post something at least every weekday. But yesterday, I'm sure you noticed, I missed a day. I have a good excuse: my cable modem broke and I had to take it to the Time-Warner service center on 23rd Street. If a tourist ever asks you where they can see "some crazy New Yorkers, you know, how New York people are crazy?" and if you aren't fond of that tourist, tell them to go hang out in the Time-Warner service center. At one point, a woman who looked to be about one-hundred and seven years old was literally screeching at the receptionist/traffic controller, and when that wasn't getting her anywhere, she turned and looked at me, and I could see it in her eyes, her beady little eyes that have seen so much, that she wanted to throw her cable box at my head, hard. I managed a weak smile/eyebrow raise which seemed primarily to confuse her. "I...I hate this place," she muttered, trailing off. I nodded vigorously. She scuttled away.

So anyway, I have a good excuse for missing a day, but now I'm back up and running. Full connectivity restored. Beep beep.

Unfortunately right this second I don't have much to say, so for today's make-up sesh I will write a lot about a little, with another installment of Some Random Things I am Feeling Right Now. First up:

Push-ups. There was an article in the NYT awhile ago talking about how push-ups are pretty much the best exercise you can do, and while I retain roughly the same physical composition as Burl Ives, I have been hitting the push-ups with the fury of something really furious and strong. I have a rule that every time I pass the record room in my apartment, I have to do 20 push-ups and I'm up to about 120 a day.
This exhibition at Howard House in Seattle, by Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon. Not that I've seen it in person, but the photos on the website look really cool.

Above: Oscar Tuazon's Poulsbo (folded digital c-print, mounted on aluminum, 19.5" x 29")

This book by Adrian Shaughnessy. A lot of the stuff is pretty obvious but sometimes you need to hear those things so you have some back-up that you're doing stuff right. There's no technical information, it's all just ideas on how to set up a design studio or freelance business effectively. Stefan Sagmeister wrote the foreword and short interviews with Neville Brody, Andy Cruz, and others break up the chapters. It's also a beautifully designed book. Order it online from Powell's.

Café Bustelo. It's not easy to find a good cup of coffee in New York. (Anyone who thinks differently, point me in the right direction. If you're wrong, you will be dead to me, but if you're right, I'll buy you a delicious cup of coffee.) Luckily, the glorious bodegas of this city have an abundance of finely-ground, extremely strong, vacuum-packed Café Bustelo for your home brewing needs. You can always buy beans, but why? They're much more expensive and in general they're not much better, unless someone brings them to you from Seattle. I wasn't going to add this to the list but I just took another sip and realized how much I love the stuff. It also tasted a little bit like weed. Pacific Standard is proud to be powered largely by Café Bustelo.

Seltzer. While we're on the topic of drinks, let's really surround the story and add this to the list. I used to drink a lot of diet Coke. No, I mean a lot. I started having these weird heart palpitations and my doctor (who is the doctor in Super Size Me, thank you Sarah Honda) told me in his barely understandable accent—it's like having Keith Richards for a doctor—that I shouldn't drink so much and I shouldn't drink diet soda at all. I stopped drinking diet soda for good, and the heart thing completely went away very quickly. Thing is, I like to have a beverage by my side at all times, and fizzy beverages are particularly enjoyable. So I drink a ton of seltzer, which is fun and hydrating.

Vince Aletti's column in Interview. Aletti is (as far as I know) the foremost holder of knowledge on magazine photography and art direction and I'm really interested to see what he pulls out of his vault in coming issues. For May he covers Jerry Schatzberg, who photographed stories for Vogue, Esquire, Life, and others in the '60s, and went on to direct films such as The Panic in Needle Park.
Barbed wire stirsticks at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. That's another semi-underrated spot. I'm not a fancy guy, I don't need the hippest place in town. They have a good selection of tequila, the food is good, and I've always had fun there. Among other cool cowgirl and Western memorabilia, they have a big display of different kinds of barbed wire. These are the stirsticks you get if you order a cocktail that requires stirring.

Some random things I was feeling on March 24, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Know I Need a Small Vacation

Another quickie today as I am still overwhelmed with pesky "professional projects" and "deadlines." There are many great versions of the Jimmy Webb song "Wichita Lineman" out there—Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam...The Fatback Band—but I love this one because The Dells' singing is beautiful, and it has all the epic elements of a classic Charles Stepney production (he was the one behind Rotary Connection, and legendary production for Minnie Riperton, Ramsey Lewis, and Earth Wind & Fire, among many others).

The Dells Wichita Lineman/By the Time I Get to Phoenix MP3

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Responsible Abstraction

Jen Graves, art critic at The Stranger, has a good audio interview with Geoff McFetridge on the occasion of his year-long exhibition at Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park. Here's a little video intro:

The Low Road to Victory

This morning The New York Times editorial board (who endorsed Clinton) has this analysis of yesterday's political race:
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

Read the rest here.

Maureen Dowd's op-ed is also worth a look.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Soliloquy Of Chaos

Today I'm introducing a new series at Pacific Standard wherein on days when my life is nearing TOTAL CHAOS I will post a series of completely random images from the vault. Pacific Standard is nothing if not image collectors, and over the years a hard drive and ten big sketchbooks have been filled to near maximum capacity with stuff I've found or scanned for photo and graphic inspiration, or for no reason than that they somehow grab me. Might as well start sharing them.

I don't know where this is from—I've had it since high school. I think it might be a still from Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie, but I'm really not sure. For some reason I love this image and have held on to it. When I was in college a friend of mine started a band called Mental Bullring based on this image on my wall.

This is an ad that I grabbed from the extraordinary selection of images available online through the British Library archives.

This is a record that Keith Haring designed for some Princess who had a party and wanted to sing the invitation. I think I clipped this out of one of my mom's magazines in the early '80s. Wish I could find the record, I've never seen it.

This is from a photo shoot for the July 1968 issue of American Vogue. Diana Vreeland sent Veruschka along with stylist/designer Giorgio di Sant'Angelo and photographer Franco Rubartelli to the middle of the desert in Arizona with a bunch of fabric and told them to make a fashion story out of it.

The Vogue story has influenced a ton of subsequent stories (like this one from Pop magazine several years ago, photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott) and ad campaigns by Missoni, Calvin Klein, and others. It's interesting to see images from the sixties and track how they've been re-discovered and recycled. I don't mind it as long as the new thing is good enough to justify itself.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent a lot of time in the library at Parsons when I went back to school there. I always came back to this book. The book itself is boring as hell but there's something about the check-out card that I really love—"The search for the robots" typed out on this beautiful antiquated, analog thing. I don't know, I don't have time to explain it right now but I think it's cool. I scanned it and printed it out really big.

This is from another book I got at a library sale—Bill Brand't London Boy.

This is a picture I got of a cardinal in our backyard (there are actually two—if you click to enlarge you can see the other one at the lower right).

I can't remember where this came from but I think we can all agree it's pretty kick-ass.

And finally, this week's theme song:
Gang Starr Soliloquy Of Chaos MP3

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday Morning Coming Down

This weekend was kind of nuts (kidrobot party at Knitting Factory on Friday, national record store day, my man Joe Newton's party Saturday night) so it took every last shred of will to roll out of bed and stumble up to the flea market bright and early Sunday morning. The best of the four records I picked up (net total: $13) is Danny O'Keefe's Breezy Stories, produced by Arif Mardin and chock full of heavy hitters such as Donny Hathaway, Bernard Purdie, Hugh McCracken, Richard Davis, Dr. John, and Airto Moreira. This is a more soulful outing than the first two records (which I wrote about previously) and only makes me more excited to find the rest of them.

Danny O'Keefe Magdalena MP3

Photos from the liner notes by David Gahr

Space Oddities

The Monorail and the Space Needle opened to the public 46 years ago today as part of the 1962 World's Fair. Eddie Carlson (shown here holding an early architectural model with Senator Warren G. Magnuson) designed the Space Needle, along with John Graham Jr., Victor Steinbrueck, and John Ridley.

Much more info at