Saturday, April 12, 2008

Elephant's Memory

Furniture Study No.2
Perry Scott Woodfin (my uncle)
1981, watercolor on paper

Friday, April 11, 2008

Point of View

Congratulations to Christopher Bollen, who is leaving his long-held post as V magazine's editor to take the helm at Interview for its forthcoming re-launch, along with the dream team of Fabien Baron and Glenn O'Brien.

I have been obsessed with magazines since I can remember. As a kid I would take the bus to the University of Washington bookstore and spend hours browsing through the gigantic newsstand; at one point I remember my mom making a rule that I was not allowed to spend all my paper route money on magazines. Interview was the first one I really connected with (not counting, of course, much earlier interest in Ranger Rick's and BMX Action).

The variety of people within the pages of Interview opened entire new worlds to me and outlined a high-society-meets-punk-rock aesthetic that has influenced countless followers. In recent years, attempting I suppose to compete in the increasingly rough and tumble print media world, it has become more of a celebrity rag. It seems to me, however, that the so-called death of print actually presents an opportunity for a magazine like Interview to own a niche by re-creating or referring to its original spark. On some level, Chris Bollen has been referencing that vision and its high/low mix better than just about anyone out there with his work for V, The New York Times Magazine and others. In my time as a designer at V, I always enjoyed finding out what he would put in the next issue, and I can't wait to see what he does with Interview.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quiet Storm

I mentioned in a previous post that I had been hoping The Quiet Ones would open for Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper at Bowery Ballroom a couple weeks back, as they had been doing so on select West Coast dates. Alas, it was not to be, but my enthusiasm for this band (from Seattle, by way of Knoxville TN) is nowhere near diminished. Their new Sound of Fog 7" arrived in my mailbox yesterday and it is a truly enjoyable three-song vinyl nugget. The double A-side features "Sound of Fog" and "Valerie," both from their forthcoming LP Better Walk Than Ride Like That, and the B-side features an older cut, "Oceans in Your Eyes," recorded live during a KEXP studio session.

Taken together, the three songs are a solid representation of the The Quiet Ones' sound, placing them somewhere between the current crop of their fellow Northwest bands and the poppier side of recent Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore releases. You can preview these and a bunch of other songs on their MySpace page (don't miss "Girls and Uniforms," very likely to blow up when the album drops).

When you're done there, head over to Sonic Boom and order the 7" for a measly $4.99, before it sells out. It comes with a CD so you can easily put all three songs in your precious little iPod.

Mark my words, this band is headed for greatness.

Note: I first heard The Quiet Ones on Setlist, The Stranger's weekly podcast of Seattle bands. It's a little hit-or-miss but they cover a lot of ground and I recommend it if you're interested in staying up on new stuff from the PNW.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don't Front:

Hi there, it's Don't Front, the ongoing series in which I tell you that some of the stuff you think is "wack" is actually "dope."

#1: Billy Ocean "The Love Zone"
#2: Beef Jerky

This week:

And in particular, my phone camera. The Treo is a total piece of S, but its internal camera is serious business. And while my hatred for talking on the phone is well documented (or at least person or by e-mail), I carry the little bugger around so I can quickly snap shots of the various crap I notice in the streets. I am far from alone in this endeavor, I know. My point is that just because it's a phone doesn't mean your shots are less composed or thought out, and just because the quality leaves something to be desired doesn't mean that what comes out is necessarily "bad." Sometimes the weirdness of the colors makes photos look like paintings or video stills, and there's something cool about that, if you calibrate your expectations.

As Henri Cartier-Bresson said, "For me the camera is a sketchbook." Don't Front.

I just uploaded a bunch of phone camera shots to my Flickr page—click here to check them out.

Rules of the Game

Sister Corita post part two:
Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules:

1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.

2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.

3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.

4. Consider everything an experiment.

5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.

7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.

8. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They’re different processes.

9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

10. “We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” –John Cage

Helpful hints: Always be around. Come or go to everything always. Go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully often. Save everything, it might come in handy later.

There should be new rules next week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

This is for my brother

And if the other 14 of you haven't seen it, enjoy. We used to watch The Young Ones and IRS' Cutting Edge in our pajamas on Sunday nights and my mom would fix a big bowl of popcorn.
Man, those were the days.

Give a Damn.

I first became aware of Sister Mary Corita Kent (1918-1986) through an article in a 1999 Mohawk Paper paper sample book, and have been looking out for her work ever since. There's a great book that came out last year which I have yet to pick up, but I have a few older things, including this book she produced in 1970.

The Corita Art Center's website has a good biography on her which I won't go into here—suffice it to say that she was a nun who came to prominence as an artist during an extraordinarily liberal time in the '60s Catholic church, both through her own work and by leading the art department of the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Her friends and admirers included Charles Eames, Saul Bass, and Buckminster Fuller, who described a visit to her classroom as "among the most fundamentally inspiring experiences" of his life.

Damn Everything but the Circus, Corita's sixth book, came out after she had left the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to focus on her artwork, and is essentially a decorative alphabet using various quotes she found inspirational and relevant at the time. Like so many things from that era, it seems just as relevant today. Click to enlarge any of the images.

"Damn everything but the circus!" –e. e. cummings

"I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice."
–Albert Camus

"Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries." –Theodore Roethke

"love is the every only god" –e. e. cummings

"But do your thing and I shall know you." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 7, 2008

God Don't Make No Junk

Freezing cold and slightly hungover or not, digging through junk is a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. As I mentioned in Friday's post, the first Brooklyn Flea was this weekend in Fort Greene, and while there were a few too many crafts and new products for my liking, all in all it shows a lot of promise. It's definitely the biggest market I've seen in New York and was packed to the hilt—Brownstoner estimates that 20,000 people showed up. It was a little chaotic and I didn't end up taking pictures, but here's a selection of the records I found (top to bottom, left to right, click to enlarge).

Bob Pinodo Show Master of Africa (Essiebons) Africa MP3

Hopeton Lewis & Hugh Roy with Tommy McCook & the Supersonics (Treasure Isle) Tom Drunk MP3

The Arbors I Can't Quit Her / The Letter (Date) Hey Joe MP3

Charles Earland Dynamite Brothers OST (Prestige) Snake MP3

The Status Quo "When My Mind is Not Live" (Cadet)

Nina Simone I Put a Spell On You (Phillips)

Minnie Riperton (Janus) Les Fleur MP3

(Various) Ride Me Donkey (Studio One)
Marcia Griffiths Feel Like Jumping MP3

Brother to Brother In the Bottle (Turbo)
Hey What's That You Say MP3

The D.O.C. "The Doc & The Dr." (Ruthless)
Somethingtabumpinyacar MP3

The Grateful Dead Studio Sessions (white label test pressing)
Dark Star MP3

A.C. Reed (Nike) Boogalo Tramp MP3