Tuesday, June 13, 2006

PRADE Is Back With More Tape Creations

PRADE apologizes for the lack of updates recently, but we're back with an update on a PRADE favorite - street installation artist Mark Jenkins.

Mark's latest work Embeds is another variation on his series of works based on human forms made from clear tape. This time Mark opts for a more severe approach that seems to speak to the aggression and violence of urban life. It is a thematic departure from the hopeful innocence of the infants from the Storker project, but no less engaging.

Needless to say, the works are inspiring a plethora of double takes from passers-by.

I'm a huge fan of Mark's work, and it is fantastic to experience an artist while he is producing such inventive and original work.

As always, check in on Mark's website for updates on all his projects.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Two For Tuesday

This Tuesday, two fantastic albums drop on the same day. While the styles vary between the two, they are both solid releases from proven innovators in the music world.

First up is the much discussed release from Cee-Lo and DJ Danger Mouse, collectively known as Gnarls Barkley. Really, this purchase is a no brainer. While Crazy has the potential to become the overplayed hit of the summer, there are plenty of other great tracks on the album that you can put on your own permanent rotation. Smiley Faces alone is worth the price of the CD in my opinion. But on top of the few slammers, you also get some noteworthy hip hop innovation from both members of the tag team.

Cee-Lo claims he doesn't "sing" but he can "sang" and I have to agree. His voice is just melodic, and his vocal delivery spans the gammit on this album. I have been a huge fan of both of Cee Lo's solo albums, and Gnarls Barkley really showcases his abilities as a songwriter more than just an MC (love him or hate him for it, but he penned the Pussy Cat Dolls' hit "Don't Cha"). But don't get it twisted, the rotund one can still spit fire, so be on the lookout for the Goodie Mob reunion album later this year.

Meanwhile, Danger Mouse continues to evolve, not falling into any one signature style despite the successes of The Grey Album, his work on the recent Gorillaz album, or his critically acclaimed effort on the DangerDoom album. While many producers wait for success and then become nothing but beat factories churning out versions of the same style, Danger Mouse claims he is constantly learning and improving. Word from Gnarls Barkley's recent 14-piece ensemble, Wizard of Oz-themed Coachella performance also indicates that their innovation will carry over to their live performances as well.

The album is called St. Elsewhere and is in stores on Tuesday.

Also hitting shelves on Tuesday is the new double album from PRADE's favorite rock band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, called Stadium Arcadium. I listened to the album while it was streaming on VH1 last week, and it is another in a long line of fantastic RHCP releases. While some fans chide the Peppers for straying from their early punk/rap/rock style, I enjoy the fact that each of their albums has its own unique sound, while still retaining elements of the band's signature style. This release is no different - with some tracks continuing the sound explored in 2001's By The Way, but others pushing new funk-rock boundaries and giving guitarist John Frusciante room to flex his musical inventiveness.

The Peppers will also be touring to promote the new album, so look for them at a Stadium near you shortly.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Scion Dashboard: San Francisco

Scion recently opened set up shop on Hayes St in San Francisco, opening up a gallery space for one month that will have weekly showcases of some of the most promising emerging artists.

There is a Saturday opening night event every week, and I went last Saturday to drink Heineken and wax intellectual with the hipsters and indie rockers. Apparently, you really shouldn't come in unless you have tattoos, cool sneakers, and some type of hat. I squeaked in because I went with two girls, and combined the three of us met all of the prerequisites (because you know my sneaker game is tight).

Below is by far the coolest piece I saw at the show - and to be honest, one of the most disturbingly original pieces I've seen. The artist's name is Michael Hussar.

All in all, it was a great event - good music, free beer, and plenty of people watching to undertake. While Scion is obviously trying hard to associate their brand with the cutting edge of the art world, I think they tastefully reserved their marketing efforts and let the art take the main stage.

Tons more info here and here.

There are two more opening night events left, so if you are in the area, definitely try to make it out ot Hayes St. Although, I suggest making sure to come correct with your tats, hats, and kicks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Architecture on Film: Sketches of Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is one of a handful of contemporary architects whose work has transcended his field and permeated popular culture. Even those that might not recognize his name will likely have read about his work or even seen it in person. His use of dramatic curved surfaces and shiny metal exterior skins are trademarks of Gehry's style that every novice could point out.

So, it was particularly exciting for me to learn that an architect of Gehry's fame and prominence was going to give the public a window into his creative process. In a new documentary directed by Sydney Pollack entitled Sketches of Frank Gehry, viewers get a glimpse of a renowned architect at work. For instance, many viewers might be surprised to learn that Gehry's geometric complexity evolves initially from a messy doodled drawing not a hi-tech 3-D model, as Gehry is not very computer literate.

I'm sure an architect on Gehry's scale is a skilled bullshit artist - at that level, you have to talk the talk about your "creations" if you want others to buy into the hype and pay you untold millions for your name brand. What surprised me, however, was that this documentary appears to be extremely candid in its portrayal of Gehry (at least, if the trailer is any indication). Pollack is a personal friend of Gehry, and, while I doubt there would be anything too scathing included in the film, it appears Pollack's access to Gehry allows for a much more intimate portrait of him than would otherwise be possible. And it seems that Gehry is enough of a character to make that portrait extremely interesting.

Check out the trailer here. I know this film is now high on my "must see" list.

Monday, April 17, 2006

My Kingdom For A Paperclip

Would you be able to find someone to trade you a house for a red paperclip? Sounds highly unlikely, but that is just what Kyle MacDonald is attempting to do. Kyle started with one paperclip and is making a series of trades in the hopes of eventually receiving a house in return. He is documenting all his transactions on his blog, One Red Paperclip.

While Kyle obviously doesn't have a career in web design (the site is SLOW), his ingenuity and sales skills are already paying off. Through a series of trades, Kyle is already up to a rental apartment for a full year in Phoenix (which he got by swapping a recording contract, which he obtained in exchange for a moving truck, etc.) His story has been covered on Good Morning America, and in a host of newspapers, and I'm sure that house is just around the corner.

If the story interests you, definitely keep an eye on Kyle's website. That is where he lists all the competing offers he has on the table for any given item. So far for the Phoenix apartment he has offers for a 24 hour lapdance, a low rider, and a summer rental in Hollywood complete with a Porsche.

I'm still amazed he found anyone willing to trade anything for a red paperclip, but it seems like the biggest jump was when someone traded him a snowmobile for a keg of beer and a Budweiser sign. That is a significant change in value in my eyes.

To me the most genius aspect of the project is that it correctly predicts that people are willing to sacrifice material goods to be a part of something bigger than themselves. That, and the fact that Kyle is getting a once in a lifetime experience for free, and will be a homeowner long before me!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Small Is The New Big

Two interesting media explorations into efficient modern living in cramped quarters.

The first comes from Apartment Therapy's Second Annual Smallest, Coolest Apartment Contest. What I enjoy about this resource is the variety of design ideas and styles exhibited by the entries, and the fact that many of the ideas are actually within reach of the average design fan. Not everyone can afford $4,000 Knoll couches, Sub Zero fridges and Ligne Roset storage units. There are a number of entries that show creativity in both their materials and their budgets that is inspiring for amateur design enthusiasts. Of course, there are also some drool worthy entries thrown in for good measure. Gideon and Tracy's Pocket Knife gets my vote as the most inventive, as they have an entire wall that pivots to alternately open up the living space or provide privacy for the bedroom. However, my favorite is probably Jane and Darko's Cozy Thicket - it is one of the few entries that looks lived in. The bold use of color and graphics are fun and interesting, and it has just the right amount of "modern" for my taste. James and Margaret's Iconic Studio should also get a shout out for best transformation - they transformed a confining floorplan into a comfortable living space.

Winners are annoucned on April 20th, but, for me, the contest is more about just perusing the entries.

A shot of one of the entires, James and Margaret's Iconic Studio

And secondly, this month's issue of Dwell features several interesteing homes, all under 1700 Sq. Ft. While that is about double the size of my apartment, it is reasonably small compared to the expansive homes normally featured in the magazines. I really enjoyed the ingenuity of the Puzzle Loft and the natural emphasis of the Kozely/Farmer Residence in Venice, CA. (The latter of which was featured in this year's CA Boom Home Tours program)

Is the Super-Size mentality of America changing? Unlikely. However, it is nice to hear about some designs that factor in efficiency as a desirable characteristic.

Photo of the wet room shower in the Kozely/Farmer Residence, via Land + Living.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Believe It

Hoyas the Team to Beat in '07

"They easily play the smartest basketball of all the major schools, and he’s the best coach of a major school. They can play a Princeton (slowdown) style with athletes. That’s a rare combination."