Monday, September 29, 2008

My Little Ingenuity

My dear friend Matt Harper passed this on to me, via The Great White Snark.

Being a child of the eighties, I can't imagine a more fitting way to celebrate the pop-culture that has so heavily impacted our lives.

While I didn't play with many "girl" toys (if I recall correctly, my three favorites were Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, along with the All Dogs Go To Heaven happy meal toys), I did adore My Little Ponys. They had hair, delicate and oddly sensual faces, cool traits and they all did something (sparkled, smelled like candy, had some moveable parts).

So to re-connote them as awesome and threatening pop cultural icons is really clever, and to do so so successfully is even more impressive. Take a look at these Ponys, all dolled up, with their "My Little" gimmicks:

My Little Cthulu

My Little Storm Trooper

My Little Pan (from Pan's Labyrinth)

My Little Alien

My Little Batman (This one is so cute)

You can see more of this stuff at the artist's DeviantArt page. Now, if they only had Ponys like this when I was a kid, I may have turned out totally different, unafraid to mix pop cultural references and with a predeliction for dark humor.

Get it? Cuz I do that stuff now. So I wouldn't be different at all.

My sad affair with Spore

So, EA (the makers of Sims and other such life absorbing games) released Spore, which you can see with all of these goofy ads around the city about evolution. (Which, delightfully, has angered the intelligent design folks.) And being the crafty little journalist I am, I wrangled myself a copy, hunkered down in front of a large screen/high def iMac, and tried my hand at playing God.

Immediately, I was hooked. Designing my little critters in my own image, they started as vegetarian (which received many laughs from the peanut gallery, running defenseless from giant things that I could barely see with dreamy Brian Eno music playing in the background). Like, here:

Which is beautiful and fun (but really stressful), but then the fun began. I ate enough of something and killed enough of something else that my tiny little cells turned into brains and I got to walk onto land. And I looked like this:

Those things on my butt? Apparently, they are for speed. So I evolved a bit and changed, got myself a family, and went about my herbivore lifestyle. It was entirely engrossing. I was getting my arse handed to me by those who chose to give themselves fangs and a taste of blood (because the Spore database draws from other users creations - I've heard my little guy has since been seen in space in other people's games).

Openly, admittedly, my goal was to create the cutest frakking thing you have ever seen. I wanted to literally melt the heart of my enemies. So I became a pig/bird:

Gosh thats adorable. I had horns for fighting, arse wings for speed, and HUGE cat ears (we all know huge ears = dangerously cute). What you have to do is run around this little world, befriending other creatures by doing a dance for them and singing (or making them extinct by chowing down on them) and then you gain a bit of power - another trait, more DNA points to purchase an upgrade. Well, being as cute as I was, I had all the charm in the world, so I quickly became this:

This is not my cutest development - but as someone pointed out - hands are necessary. Though, I am a fan of those toes and tail combo. I had great flying skills. Anyway, I was having a blast - tweaking my nose, dancing for six armed bird-men, singing songs and making friends and using my wings to sneak into carnivores homes and stealing traits. And then, BAM - I had to evolve.

I mean, Will Wright (aka the Sims Daddy) didnt' really think this evolution thing through enough. Its great that I can control almost every aspect of my body. It's wonderful that I am not locked into any type of quadra/bi-pedal tradition here, but what if I don't want to evolve? What if I want to run around as a duck/deer all day? But alas, there was nothing more I could do. No more points to score. No many steps up. I had to end up like this:

And then, to my dismay, like this:

As soon as I hit the tribal stage, the stage that Will envisions our human traits begin to emerge, that our ability to interact on a social level develops, I totally lose interest. You literally have a choice between conquering, or befriending. Not developing weapons. Not exploration. Not farming or planting.
(Note: The above is not nearly cute enough, much to my dismay)

That's it. Diplomacy or war-making. This dichotomy is disturbing to me as an observer of social behavior, and boring to me as a game player.

Granted, I just hit civilization and I'm hoping things pick up here. I made a building bit Spore quit on me and it wasn't saved. It was a cute building - I'm still trying to charm myself out of any sort of confrontation. But the "if you can't eat em, join em" mentality is a little dismaying, especially from someone as enlightened as Mr. Wright. I was really hoping to have an open ended, super intuitive and intertwined experience - not a guy that directs me to my destiny: be a war lord or cute pig/cat-winged thing who dances for acceptance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The man is finally 10!

From NY1:
It's been a decade since a young wizard named Harry Potter put his spell on the hearts and imaginations of millions of fans across the world.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first book in the series, is 10 years old today, and to celebrate, fans are reading it aloud cover-to-cover in SoHo.

Harry Potter devotees, who lined up for hours to get a chance to read, say the book's rich description is what makes it special.

"I think it created such a world, there was such much detail in every facet of it, and it made it come alive for everyone," said one fan.

"You're seeing the world through Harry's eyes and he's seeing it new and you're seeing it new and that introduction is really resonating," said another.

"That really blows people away," said a third. "They read this book and they fall into this world that they never really expected."

The reading is going on at Scholastic headquarters on Broadway between Spring and Prince Streets.

The reading can also be followed at

From a boy that lived under a cupboard to the symbol of a generation growing older, happy birthday to the series that charmed me into waiting 2 hours in Soho for the darn last book to drop...

Monday, September 22, 2008


Yesterday I found this music video that was utterly absorbing. Sometimes, every now and again, I run into a music/visual collaboration that is totally moving ("Atmosphere" by Joy Division, "Rabbit in your Headlights" by UNKLE/Radiohead, etc.) but this is by a relative unknown so I must pass it on. Steve Reich/Philip Glass disciple Volker Bertelmann is Hauschka, a one man + many collaborators experimental pianist with charming folk sensibilities. His music tends to be less esoteric than his contempories, and thus, has that haunting quality that only a piano and a violin can have.

The video itself is made by a Massachusetts couple who do design/animation work under the name Overture who recently got a write up in a design competitor of ours named Die Gestalten. Apparently this is one of three videos they are doing for the composer. They are delightfully humble, and make this video a gorgeous combination of loss and hope, sadness and innocence. With the lingering music and over a backdrop of snaps and pops (electronic) the video is a narrative of a little plump bipedal creature exploring a land that looks like a still from Princess Mononoke, if it was done in water color.

"Eltern" by Hauschka

The album is out today, and you can buy it here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Videos

The Cramps "Garbage Man"
If its wrong to love The Cramps, I don't want to be right. I just don't love those people who are make loving The Cramps a part of their identity. This is such a good/crappy quality video. When I get really upset at work, I listen to this album. Therefore, my theme for this week is creepy and wonderful front peoples and how music is only improved by personality.

Ministry "Same Old Madness"
This is that weird era that spawned "Everyday is Halloween" where Ministry was flirting with the dark side but still had pop sensibility. And its incredible. I love AJ's dominator/cop/latex costume. Man, I want this now. I want this to be my now.

Fleetwood Mac "The Chain"
It was recently pointed out to me that "The Chain" is the first appearance of post-punk. You have that amazing bass breakdown that occurs in 1977, two years before Joy Division started making the exact same noises in Manchester.

Ice Cube "Good Day"
I didn't have to shoot my AK. Today was a good day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Aaron Perry Zucker, a senior at RISD, launched Design For Obama, a clever grassroots based website that allows designers (or aspiring designers) to upload campaign images for the presidential hopeful to be voted upon. Users can download images and print them, creating their own Obama '08 signs (that are usually cooler than anything political campaigns send out).

My darling readers, this is an example of grassroots meeting the global community. This is an example of youth getting involved in politics in an effective and anti-aggressive way. This is an example of how art can become influential without being commodified!

And its also pretty cool. I highly doubt McCain supporters would get together and start designing and the democratizing their projects.

Its not very good right now, but I believe it just came up because I've noticed more additions each time I've visited the page. So go, sign up and vote or contribute a creation (and vote in November too!)

via Core 77

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Like the smart shopper I am, I've decided to convert my addiction into something possibly lucrative. I've dug through my closet, my roommates' closet, my friends' closets and several other second hands locales to find some clothing I feel like other people would like, and I took pictures of them, used fancy words in their description, and BAM, I'm on the eBay.

So far, I've sold a Fendi watch for $140, David Yurman perfume for $70, and some old, fairly gnarled birkenstocks for $25. Which I think is pretty impressive, for someone who runs their shop out of a curtain-cum-closet hanger and has to peel cat hair out of everything.

Check it out here:

There isn't a tremendous amount of good stuff up there, but every now and again I get some amazing cosmetics you should check out. And its also funny to see me parading around in clothing long forgotten.

Also, while I'm at it, be a friend of mine on Facebook, which you can do here:

I'll list some of my goodies from fashion week, which would have been much more interesting to write about if I didn't leave my camera at the Gagosian halfway through.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fashion Week and the Pain That Follows

I am certainly no, but I've managed to wrangle myself a couple of good invites for New York's Fashion Week, which kicked off last Thursday. Naturally, I forgot to bring my camera (not once, but twice), so I am being very 21st century and showing you the images I snapped with my Blackberry.

I took my roommate Georgia to the opening of FIT's Gothic: Dark Glamour, at the school. There was a lot of fun outfits (from both people in and out of the show), but Georgia brought up a decent point: What's the difference between a gothic look and an Eduardian look, besides spikes? I would love to actually have gothic defined - is it Bram Stoker inspired? Is it something one can purchase fully realized from a mall? How did these two looks combine?

We enjoyed drinking blood red cocktails, but the thing that really thrilled us was the history of fashion section, right off of the reception hall. Goth be damned - we got to see Chanel froom the 40s, YSL from the 50s, Dior from the 60s and Halston from the 70s. We almost lost our minds over a pair of McQueen thigh-high boots that were literally the most dramatic things I've seen, probably ever.

We headed uptown to the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion at the Grand Ballroom. Somehow we got great seats and a pretty good giftbag (including a $200 gift certificate to get hair removed?!). But the show was lack luster at best. Eight designers showed, new faces that have generated some buzz, like Crhee and JF and Son, but nothing really impressed me. In Georgia's words, there were way too many shirts on the runway, and I know S/S isn't as thrilling as the colder weather, but khakis and boatshoes have never been revolutionary.

The one designer I really liked was Richard Ruiz. He actually had structured and feminine cuts, and had this weird geisha thing going with girls and umbrella's. He also was actually glamourous. Here are some horrible, Blackberry-esque shots.

On Friday, I headed west by myself to see the Form collection. They took a huge risk and had the show in the Skylounge of an apartment building, but because the day was textbook perfect, it ended up being gorgeous. You can see the images of the models against buildings and the blue sky. The collection had a lot of wavy, gauzy material blowing in the wind, a lot of wrapped layers, and a bathing suit that I literally could die for (Super deep V, pleasant amount of side-boob, delicate cream color...)

Afterwards, I headed to the tents to see Erin Fetherston, which was hellish. People were clawing and panicking, and I was so hot and sticky from the Form show, I left early to meet a coworker at the Academy of Art show. The Academy of Art, which features emerging designers much like Gen Art, had a pretty decent show. Yes, there was knitwear, but there were also some more experimental, edgier designs (like the geometric forms from Warot Subsrisunjai). You can see MUCH better photos here:

Tomorrow I brave Rodarte, Betsey Johnson, Max Azria and Vivienne Tam. I think. I left my schedule on the train. I'll remember to bring my camera this time...I swear.