Friday, April 24, 2009

Rising Sun

Visionaire 56 SOLAR uses an innovative printing technique that transforms black & white images to color when they're exposed to direct sunlight. Some samples:

Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

Richard Burbridge

Alex Katz's painting of my former Visionaire cohort and buddy Kyra Griffin

Looks cool, I'm excited to see it in person. Other contributors include Yoko Ono, M/M (Paris), David Sims, Olaf Breuning, Glen Luchford, Mario Sorrenti, Ryan McGinley, Peter Lindbergh, and more. Go here for more images/info and to pre-order a copy.

The Game is On

Last night we went to the Crocodile for a fundraiser to support Dow Constantine's bid for King County Executive (that's him on the left, with Emily). My friend Jason is working on the campaign and has been re-explaining local politics to me.

Krist Novoselic hosted the party, along with Kim Thayil, Susan Silver, Dave Dederer, John Roderick, Kerri Harrop, Victoria Gentry, Dave Meinert, and several people performed. I was really looking forward to seeing John Roderick from the Long Winters – my brother and I had planned to see them a few times in Brooklyn but each time we got around to buying the tickets, the shows were sold out.

He only played like five songs but they were great – they sounded kind of like this:

John Roderick/The Long Winters Shapes (live) mp3

So that was cool.

While we're talking politics, this deserves some attention – MSNBC is conducting a "live vote" on President Obama's first 100 days. If you are of the mind to do so, you can go here and choose a letter grade that represents your feelings on his performance. The Republicans, toadies that they are, are packing the ballot box with "F" votes, and it shouldn't really matter, but these polls do end up shaping public opinion, seems like. So, again, if you're inclined, head over there and give him an honest grade.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Our friend Sarah gave Mr. Littlejeans a new toy.

The mouse is very realistic-looking (well, if meese could fly).

Click to enlarge and have a look at those pincers – young Fang has been obsessed with murder all week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Opposite of Shuffle

When I discover a song I like, I tend to listen to it over and over again. Walking to my office takes about 20 minutes, and I'll repeat the same song the whole time, and when I walk home I'll do it again.

Here's what I've been listening to the past few days:

Telepathe In Your Line mp3

The way the song starts goes well with walking out into a clear cold morning before the sun has changed everything. I'm always extra aware of details in my neighborhood at that time of day (the dew on the pine needles, crows on the telephone wires...junkies in the alley) and the noise and cadence in this song kind of magnify that. The vocals are kind of flawed in parts but I don't mind – in this case it makes them seem more personal or vulnerable.

Busy Gangnes + Melissa Livaudais = Telepathe.
Photo by Andres Lazlo Konrath

Telepathe's new album Dance Mother, produced by David Andrew Sitek of TV on the Radio, came out last week on IAMSOUND Records. A bunch of artists (Diplo, No Age, Abe Vigoda) made little videos talking about it. Here's what Andy Milonakis had to say:

Well put, brother. More info on Telepathe at their website and at You can find Dance Mother at your favorite local record store, download it from emusic, or buy it directly from IAMSOUND.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This is probably the most coolhunterish-looking thing we'll ever post, but these new animations in Anne Lislegaard's show 2062 at the University of Washington's Henry Art Gallery are worth a look.

2062 is inspired by "seminal works of science fiction" by Ursula K. LeGuin, Samuel R. Delany, and J.G. Ballard (who, coincidentally, died the day after this exhibition opened).

All the conceptual stuff aside for the moment, the animations are visually stunning – the black, white, and shades of gray fold over and into each other to create a totally lush environment. The tension between the very modern interiors and the wild jungle outside is captivating; oddly enough, the light reminded me a little of this scene in Platoon, at about 1:25 when the jungle gets lit up.

There are color animations in the show as well, and structurally they are as interesting, but they didn't grab me quite as much as the black and white pieces. I guess maybe the colors are a little, well, coolhunter, or Karim Rashid, for me.

You can watch some video below, though it can't really do it justice – the real-life screens are huge.

Anyway, I recommend checking it out and I think I might even go back and see it again myself. Anne Lislegaard: 2062 will be at the Henry through August 23, 2009. More info and images at and check out Anne Lislegaard's website here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Print Is Dead / Long Live Print

The decline of print publishing has been chronicled just about everywhere over the past several years, and while it's always a bummer when good magazines or newspapers shut down or the New York Times seems to shrink a little more every week
, I'm certain that no matter what there will always be creative-minded people who are interested in producing and searching out beautifully tactile, self-contained printed objects. I for one look forward to seeing all the innovative new works that are sure to develop in the void – projects that explore classic printing methods, innovations with new techniques, and radical ideas about what even constitutes a publication.
One of the most promising of these I've seen lately is Abe's Penny, a new "micro-magazine" created by sisters and NYC residents Anna and Tess Knoebel. An issue of Abe's Penny consists of four postcards; subscribers receive one in the mail per week, and taken together, the images and text on those four postcards form a story. Contributors thus far have included photographers Melanie Flood and Tod Seelie and writers Sam Witt and Brandon Johnson; it's been highly enjoyable anticipating another installment of their stories in our mailbox each week. With all of that in mind I thought I'd take a moment to check in with Anna and Tess about how their new micro-magazine idea is coming along.

How did you come up with the idea of starting a publication in postcard form?
Tess: Writing and sending letters was a huge part of our upbringing. We sent letters to our grandparents and cousins who live around the Northeast. Whenever we went on vacation, we would send postcards to people back home. So the idea kind of stems from loving mail, the kind you find in your mailbox, and the very personal relationship that mail affords. We like that it’s so fast. You can finish a card in the time it takes to walk from your mailbox to your front door. We also talked about how, if you were to pare down a magazine to its absolute core, you get images and text.
Anna: It was definitely a while ago that we came up with the idea. 2004, really. But I think the bottom line was that we wanted to create something that didn’t challenge people so much as engage them. So, we were thinking of ways to bring art and writing into a harried world without adding any extra stress, which for me means, I already get the Wall Street Journal everyday, the New Yorker every week, a magazine every month. It’s hard to finish even that much. So we wanted to keep it short.

What's behind the name?
The name, Abe's Penny, came from the penny press, which we were enamored of because making newspapers inexpensive made the spread of information affordable. Using the word penny worked because of what we were saying before about paring down a magazine to its essence, or smallest form. We decided to call it Abe's Penny because it's self-contained and referential, like the postcards. But having said all that, we also liked the way it sounds, and I'm sure we counted the letters just to make sure we didn't get an unlucky number. That's a trick of our Mom's.

Have the two of you collaborated on projects in the past?
Anna: Never so seriously. Then again, we’re sisters and we’re close. For almost anything I’ve ever done, I could think of a way Tess was involved.
Tess: Our first collaboration was a pop-up restaurant in our garage in Elysburg, PA. The first customer was our father. We had a full menu, but every item was 86’d besides green jell-o. Luckily, that’s just what he wanted.

[ volume 1.1 – click to enlarge ]

How do you choose contributors, and how do you decide who to pair up for the words and images?
Tess: For Issue #1 we chose an old friend of mine from Pratt named Tod Seelie. I had always admired his work, so when we thought of Abe’s Penny, I asked him right away. Anna worked with Brandon Johnson, who wrote the poem. We are open for submissions. For me, it’s most important that we present images and words that are honest and true to each other.
Anna: We’re still starting out and trying to spread the word. We’ve been contacting all the artists and writers we know. It’s harder to find the second part. Everyone is enthusiastic to submit work, but no one has approached us saying, “What’s been submitted? I want to create something inspired by someone else.”

What are your thoughts overall on magazines and publishing these days?
Anna: It’s hard to say what will happen, but I’m practical. People get tired of being on their electronic devices. It’s basic human nature. We all want to relax and enjoy what [we] remember as simplicity. What’s more simple than reading the newspaper, reading a magazine, reading a book? We think of PDAs and computers as modern conveniences, but we forget how convenient print is. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, but they both have their place. We’ll even out in terms of appreciation.
Tess: It’s a shame that independent printed magazines and newspapers are struggling. There’s plenty of independent thought on the internet, but I find the physicality of holding and reading a magazine or book really important. The world definitely doesn’t need another shopping magazine, but it could use some more distinct voices on paper.

What other magazines or books have you been into lately – what inspires you?
Tess: I’m really inspired by the new administration in the White House. For the first time in my adult life, I don’t feel disillusioned. I see a renewed desire to concentrate on what is fair and right, rather than what is new and shiny. That’s really exciting.
Anna: I always read the New Yorker. The last book I finished was Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country. I’m inspired by almost any act of kindness. Like Ellen DeGeneres giving away cars on her show. I read a lot about what’s going on in New York because I edit an event newsletter for zingmagazine. People are still going off in terms of creative pursuits. That inspires me. Considering what’s happening around the world, it’s helpful to be in a creative city. We’re reconfiguring, deciding what’s important and going for it.

[ volume 1.2.1 - click to enlarge ]

A six-month subscription to Abe's Penny is $48 (or, in the parlance of direct marketing for traditional magazines, $2 per week!). Get more info at

Monday, April 20, 2009

Records...inspired by...Records!

Favorite Record Store Day snags:

El Perro Del Mar (At Your Best) You Are Love mp3
(a cover of Aaliyah's version of the Isley Brothers tune)
Lykke Li After Laughter (Comes Tears) mp3 (Wendy Rene Cover)

Jay Reatard "Hang Them All" b/w Sonic Youth No Garage mp3

There were also great, exclusive 7"s from the Flaming Lips, the Decemberists, a whole slew of Sub Pop bands, Wavves, Beck (also with The Sonik Youth on the flip), and many more. I realize that posting songs online somewhat defeats the purpose of Record Store Day, but my hope is that dear Pacific Standard readers will feel so sad at not owning these precious slabs themselves that they'll feel compelled to go to the record store and search out some other such treasures, as well as picking up these artists' other releases. Won't you please pay a visit to your local record store today?

See also: