Thursday, December 31, 2009

Musical Year in Review



kinda cool?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mad Times

The NY Times is making a case for 1950s-1960s dressing (Mad Men)
See the whole editorial here.

While GQ's "GQ Eye" blog is making a case for turn of the century dressing.


What I see is a battle brewing between Williamsburg and Manhattan dressing. I do like the sleek (but often stiff) lines of the 1960s, but I have to say the necessarily tailored pieces of the turn of the century, and the level of detail and quality which they require appeals greatly to me. Uh oh... I think we can probably add the next stage to this.

In any case... young vs. old? Romanticism vs. Revisionism? anybody? anything?
Maybe I'm grasping at straws, but this new direction of fashion is bound to provide much of interest in the coming months.

The Rake's Progress - "Tailored Suits, Like We Mobsters"

Italian suiting is not what we once saw adorn the likes of De Niro, Pacino and Brando.
(I don't think anyone will have a problem with silk scarves any longer...)

(Wow! the Cuff of this jacket has five buttons!)

Taken from Rake Magazine via. Here.
(Shot in Tuscany)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This Week in Style

GQ Magazine does a good job critiquing what famous men are wearing each week...

This week jumped at me for some reason.


"The Kaiser's latest muse/model appears to be learning a thing or two from the master—though he's still a few pieces of neck-chain flair (and one pair of fingerless gloves) short of going Full Karl."
For whatever reason, I think Lagerfeld is a pretty awesome dude.


Their caption read "Never has a man holding a toy video-game turntable looked quite so badass" - awesome

check it out here.

Case in Point

These journal cases by Bythreads are sexy...




Click the picture to check out the others...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Flute Boxing

What is up with this flute beat boxing guy??



But its kinda amazing!

Love how this rapper ends his bar...

Gnome Chomsky


For all you SOAS kids...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Busking State of Mind

Empire State of Mind - not the way you've probably heard it before...



(More reasons why NYC is pretty damn awesome...)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Elisabeth Toll Photographs

These are pretty good...




Click the picture to see the rest.

Pursuit of Happiness



Thats one way to pursue happiness...-i've tried it-They tell me it has long-term side effects though ;) I suppose we'l see.

Why is Drake in this video?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who's Gonna Run this Town Tonight?

I just liked the way they interlaced the instrumental into this trailer...


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Evolution of the Hipster


Uh oh... There are many disconcerting things about this, mostly it is how closely I fit this progression...

Keffiyah? check, white belt? check, ironic t-shirts? check, faux-vintage t-shirt? check, checkered shirt? check, deep-v? check, and iphone, check.

fortunately I do not have the facial hair to grow some of these trends.


Check out the full version here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Where is Harper?

I suppose there was no way of taking a good portrait of him...


This is pretty cool though.





Click here to see all of them...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Militarization of Sex

This article in the FP drew my attention. Even in the constraints of religion, there are still ways of heeding to man's desires. From Korean Comfort Women to modern-day escorts, this is quite an interesting take on prostitution.



The Militarization of Sex
The story of Hezbollah's halal hookups.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Straight Killing it

I'm a fan of all three. They will be appearing in the next GQ. (From Kanye's Blog)



Here's the Text:
"Have you been listening to hip-hop this year? If not, we’ve got good news: The gangster persona is finally dead, and these are the kids who killed it. One song at a time, they built a new era in which duct-taped kilos, exotic firearms, and freaky girls are out and real life is the focus. That can still mean trumped-up egos and battle raps, but it also means family, drama, vicious hangovers, and regular chicks who will make good love to you, then stomp out your heart. (Weed? Weed is always in.) Wale is as famous for his live shows as for the slick-witted lyricism of his debut, Attention Deficit. Kid Cudi is the cutup who scored with the stoner anthem “Day N Nite” and his album Man on the Moon. And then there’s Drake, who found himself turning down multimillion-dollar offers after his single “Best I Ever Had” exploded. (It helps that the girls like Drake. A lot.) Drake’s debut, Thank Me Later is easily the most anticipated album of 2010 So what do these underdogs thing about being cast as gangster slayers? “The dope boy is going to be a fixture of black culture as long as “thug” is a legitimate option alongside a job” Drake says. But I’m not going to rap about how much crack I’ve sold.” Cudi also laughs at the idea of talking tough. “Anybody from cleveland will tell you I wasn’t in the streets” he says. “Ask them! They’ll say, ‘Scott was the goofy class clown.” -GQ

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Marriage of Art and Marketing

Burberry and the Sartorialist (Scott Schuman) have collaborated on a project called "The art of the trench". The site is an extensive series of Photograph's Scott has taken of people wearing Burberry Trench coats. Its pretty brilliant. My favourite is the picture of Garance Dore Rocking the Trench with the NY Yankees hat, but there are several other really good ones. What a better way to market a product than to let it sell itself on real people in real situations. Not that I think Hermione's new campaign for the brand is by any means bad (I think its quite good actually) this is just another great strategy.




Check out the site by clicking on the image.

Also check out Garance's blog, it is rather brilliant in itself. She is also an incredibly nice person if you happen to meet her!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Empire State of Mind

Such a good song... the sound quality sucks for obvious reasons, but I think the video evokes the song better than anything else...



This article on music inspired by New York fits in well...

Heath Ledger, Director

I wasn't a fan of "A Knight's Tale" ... I then saw "I'm not there" and without a doubt knew this guy had talent. IT appears, he was good at more than just acting:

Made in his garage in Sydney, Heath Ledger directed the following Hip Hop video "Cause and Effect" by N'Fa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Wire Relevance

In the UK, after years and years of non-existent gun crime, it appears the honeymoon is over. Though, as most governments have done, the response has been to clamp down on gun violence with massive increases in policing, it seems that the UK government HAS indulged in some good ol' "The Wire" practices...

Read about it Here.


To quote the show... "The game done changed..."-Cutty "Game's the same, just got more fierce."-Slim Charles

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How I got Over



How I got Over, by the Roots. Great song... evokes a lil Seed 2.0

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rappers vs. Talk show hosts

David Segal analyses the similarities between rappers and American talk show hosts. I suppose, as John Stewart says of himself, that a rapper at least pretends to be no more than an entertainer, whereas a talk show host purports to "speak the truth" etc.

A very interesting article: (I have copied and pasted it in for those of you who don't have NY Times logins)

September 20, 2009
Call It Ludacris: The Kinship Between Talk Radio and Rap

By DAVID SEGAL
If you’re driving alone through the plains of Nebraska and need a little company, you can’t do better than the nationally syndicated maestros of political talk radio. Hour after hour, rant after rant, it is a feast of words and feverish emotion, interrupted only by regular commercials and the occasional call from the awe-struck fan.

I’d heard these voices before, but only in sound bites. When you don’t own a car and don’t tune in at home, you probably don’t run into Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin. On the highways of the Cornhusker State, they ran into me, every time I hit the scan button. After a while, it felt like a series of visits from very colorful and highly agitated relatives. Or it would if I had a lot of relatives certain that America is slouching toward a socialist abyss.

The apparent influence of these conservative talk professionals has caused more hand-wringing than usual in recent weeks, in the wake of our summer of angry town hall meetings and the “You lie!” outburst of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina. And when you hear Barack Obama likened to Pol Pot — as Mr. Savage did in a recent show— you can understand the concern. But to my uninitiated ears, there was something reassuringly familiar about political talk radio, and not because I know a lot about firebrands.

It’s because I listen to a lot of rap. Gangsta rap, in particular.

I’ll admit that the parallels between Jay-Z and Rush Limbaugh do not seem obvious, and to grasp them you need to look beyond the violence and misogyny that have made rap a favorite target of the right wing. (Come to think of it, perhaps each of these realms will be chagrined to be likened to the other.) But as soon as you dig beneath the surface, the similarities between talk radio and gangsta rap are nothing short of uncanny. And these similarities are revealing, too.

But before we get to the revelations, let’s examine the kinship. For great careers in both businesses you’ll need:

EGO Extolling your greatness is nearly as crucial to rap as it is to talk radio. One consistent theme of Jay-Z’s lyrics is the genius of Jay-Z’s lyrics. He claims a charisma that is almost mystical and skills on the mic that make him the “Mike Jordan of recording,” “the Bruce Wayne of the game,” a “god.”

Rush Limbaugh peppers his show with self-adulating incantations that would seem right at home on a Snoop Dogg track, calling himself “Chief Waga-Waga El Rushbo of the El Conservo Tribe,” “doctor of democracy,” and “a weapon of mass instruction.” Both he and Jay-Z have referred to themselves as “a living legend.”

HATERS You’re nobody in hip-hop until you claim to have hordes of detractors. The paradox, of course, is that the artists who regularly denounce their haters have a huge and adoring audience. How does Lil Wayne complain in song about the legions who seek his ruin even as he dominates the charts? Ask Michael Savage, who is forever describing himself as an underdog, marginalized by the media — on the more than 300 stations that carry his show.

FEUDS 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule. Lil’ Kim vs. Foxy Brown. Jay-Z vs. Nas. Every couple of years, one rapper will pick a fight with another and battle it out with the winner typically determined by sales. This will sound familiar to anyone who has followed, say, Bill O’Reilly’s broadsides at Mr. Limbaugh (“Walk away from these right-wing liars!” Mr. O’Reilly said of an unnamed rival, described as someone who smokes a cigar and owns a private jet) or Mark Levin’s attack on Mr. O’Reilly. (“He has a fledgling radio show, that has no ratings,” Mr. Levin said in 2008, “and he’ll be off radio soon because he’s a failure.” Levin’s predication came true in January of this year.) Liberal ranters can partake, too, as MSNBC host and fulminator par excellence Keith Olbermann has proven with his long running O’Reilly spat.

VERBAL SKILLS Without them, you can’t rap and you’ll never make it as a talk radio opinion-machine. Free-style rap requires precisely the facility with words that it takes to free-associate for two or three hours a day. Forget, for a moment, what the Fox TV and radio gabber Glenn Beck is saying and marvel for a moment at how long he can say it — and how sharp and funny he can be. In a recent and genuinely hilarious bit, he lampooned the sleepiness of NPR talk shows by affecting a plummy British accent and repeatedly urging a caller — a member of his coterie in actual fact — to “please use your indoor voice,” though the caller was talking at a perfectly reasonable volume.

Mr. Savage’s riffs are a quirky, zig-zagging flow of ideas that at their best are a kind of talk show scat, jumping from a mini-lecture about the Khmer Rouge, to a rave about barbecue chicken, to a warning that he feels a bit manic, which means he’ll be depressed for tomorrow’s show.

If Mr. Limbaugh is conservative talk radio’s answer to Jay-Z, Mr. Savage is its Eminem — a man whose own neuroses are one of his favorite topics.

Even beyond simple matters of style, rap and conservative talk radio share some DNA. Once you subtract gangsta rap’s enthusiasm for lawlessness — a major subtraction, to be sure — rap is among the most conservative genres of pop music. It exalts capitalism and entrepreneurship with a brio that is typically considered Republican. (Admiring references to Bill Gates are common in hip-hop.)

Rappers tend to be fans of the Second Amendment, though they rarely frame their affection for guns in constitutional terms. And rap has an opinion about human nature that is deeply conservative — namely, that criminals cannot be reformed. The difference is that gangsta rappers often identify themselves as the criminals, and are proud of their unreformability.

Finally, rappers and conservative talkers both speak for a demographic that believes its interests and problems have been slighted and both offer stories that have allegedly been ignored.

Obviously, there are limits to all these parallels, but there is one more worth noting: rap has inspired its share of fear and now, liberals and moderates are asking the same question about conservative talk radio that conservatives have long asked about rap: How dangerous is it?

There’s a curious role reversal here, with fans of Mr. Limbaugh, et al., now under the very suspicion that had long been cast on fans of gangsta rap. The suspicion boils down to another question: Can people listen to highly provocative words (and in rap’s case, irresistible beats) and still be civil?

This seemed like a good question to pose to a man uniquely situated to opine about the shaded part of the Venn diagram of rap and conservative talk radio. I’m talking about DJ Clayvis, né Clay Clark, an Oklahoma-based, right-leaning talk show host and rapper. He has written anti-Obama raps, including “Audacity of Nope” and, though he believes his favorite talkers are sincere conservatives, he has long understood that his two different callings have a lot in common.

“The differences between Ludacris and Rush Limbaugh are not that great,” he said. “Both have a huge egos, both bring a lot of bravado, both are sort of playing characters when they perform. And at the end of the day, they’re both entertainers""

Read the original here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shot in Raw


Boogie is a Serbian photographer who captures a more real side of New York (and other places)

Check his stuff out here. and this article here.

The Blueprint of the Blueprint 3 cover

Monday, August 31, 2009

From cover to Cover -Jay-z

This ad is incredible. Jay-z reenacts all of his classic CD covers.

Band of Outsiders F/W 09 with Jason Schwartzman

This shoot is pretty amazing. Hilarious yet complete with some really sharp looks that evoke Europe in the 1970s...

I almost wish there was a movie attached.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Micromortgages and property rights



Last week Muhammad Yunus and Hernando de Soto received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor. This has resulted in renewed debate surrounding both men's worthiness for this commendation.
Muhammad Yunus has become world famous for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in microfinance. The idea of microfinance is to extend credit in very small amounts to the poor so that they might participate in the economy to a greater degree, with the end goal of allowing them to pull themselves out of poverty using such loans to start small business etc. Yunus was able to implement this idea in Bangladesh, establishing a bank (The Grameen bank) that provides microfinancing. He discovered that once given the chance, generally speaking, the vast majority of loans were repaid.

His idea has encountered its share of problems, however. It has failed to truly be effective. Part of this can be attributed to the not-for-profit nature of the Grameen bank. Though loans are repaid, additional capital must be donated or acquired in a non-profit method (contrary to fundamental ideas of most banks - lend, make interest, lend more). In response, despite the moral implications of profiting from the poor, a group of Mexicans created a bank called Compartamos which uses a for-profit model and a 100% interest rate to achieve viability. Though such high interest rates are reasonable for such risky loans, they do hamper the end goal: allowing people to bring themselves out of poverty. In sum, microfinance loans are reaching very few of the world's many poor.


Perhaps more unfamiliar to the west is Hernando de Soto. He is a Peruvian economist who contributed extensively to Peru's economic development. (recovery? I think this is somewhat debateable...) Anyways, his role in aiding poverty has been important. He has been a pioneer for granting property rights to the poor. de Soto estimates that there are trillions of dollars worth of assets held by the poor that are not officially recognized (most importantly property). Consequently such people are unable to take advantage of potential sources of capital they are literally sitting on. That having been said, granting property rights is a massive undertaking, especially by developing countries which are still trying to cope with basic infrastructure.

Writing for Foreign Policy, researcher Peter Schaefer has honed in on a possible solution: Combining both ideas using micromortgages. A micromortgage would allow for long-term, low interest rate loans. Further, costs associated with property registration could be rolled into the micromortgage. This would then create a self-sufficient microfinance/property institution. I think some significant number crunching needs to be done though, before this is fully realizable. (It could also potentially a sub-prime mortgage crisis amongst the poor as banks compete to lend to riskier and riskier poor, or of a run to take advantage of profiting from the poor)


Though I think the debate is far from over, I think that Schaefer has come within arms length of what I see is a reasonable conclusion: despite the flaws in both innovations, there is no question that in a world that undoubtedly follows the capitalist system, these men are thinking in the right direction.

Read Schaefer's article here.
Wikis for Yunus and de Soto

The Threat of Zombies, explained via IR

Daniel Drezner, Professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and hilarious, yet brilliant (and practical?) blogger discusses how different theoretical approaches to IR would deal with the threat of Zombies.

I particularly liked his take on the Liberal Institutionalist approach:

"A liberal institutionalist would argue that zombies represent a classic externality problem of... dying and then existing in an undead state. Clearly, the zombie issue would cross borders and affect all states -- so the benefits from policy coordination would be pretty massive. This would give states a great opportunity to cooperate on the issue by quickly fashioning a World Zombie Organization (WZO) that would codify and promnulgate rules on how to deal with zombies. Alas, the effectiveness of the WZO would be uncertain. If the zombies had standing and appealed any WZO decision to wipe them out, we could be talking about an 18-month window when zombies could run amok without any effective regulation whatsoever.

Fortunately, the United States would likely respond by creating the North American F*** Zombies Agreement -- or NAFZA -- to handle the problem regionally. Similarly, one would expect the European Union to issue one mother of a directive to cope with the issue. Indeed, given that zonbies would likely to be covered under genetically modified organisms, the EU would likely trumpet the Catragena Protocol for Biosafety in an "I told you so" kind of way. Inevitably, Andrew Moravcsik would author an essay about the inherent superiority of the EU approach to zombie regulation, and why so many coluntries in Africa prefer the EU approach over the American approach of "die, motherf***ers, die!!" Oh, and British beef would once again be banned as a matter of principle."

Read the post here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Heartless, covered by The Fray

Some say this version is too cheezy, some don't even like the original song. I happen to like both, and I think the Fray successfully took the original song, and did their own thing with it.

Vimeo.



The video is pretty well done also.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Banksy Interviewed by Shepard Fairey

Banksy interviewed by Shepard Fairey for Swindle Magazine.

One of the most inappropriate nicknames of all time, at least in my opinion, belonged to Ronald Reagan: “The Great Communicator,” who we’ve come to learn did a pretty shitty job of communicating the government’s problems and indiscretions. A nickname like that deserves a more righteous, honest owner—someone like BANKSY.

Most people think of art as a way of conveying emotions, as opposed to language, the means by which we express ideas. Whatever line there is distinguishing art and language, BANKSY paints over it to make it disappear, then stealthily repaints it in the unlikeliness of places. His works, whether he puts them on the streets, sells them in galleries, or hangs them in museums on the sly, are filled with imagery tweaked into metaphors that cross all language barriers. The images are brilliant and funny, yet so simple and accessible that even children can find the meaning in them: even if six-year-olds don’t know the first thing about culture wars, they have no trouble recognizing that something is amiss when they see a picture of the Mona Lisa holding a rocket launcher. A lot of artists can be neurotic, self-indulgent snobs using art for their own catharsis, but BANKSY distances himself from his work, using art to plant the feelings of discontent and distrust of authority that anyone can experience when he prompts them to ask themselves one gigantic question: Why is this wrong? If it makes people feel and think, he’s accomplished his goal.

BANKSY’s work embodies everything I like about art and nothing I dislike about it. His art is accessible rather than elitist, since he does it on the street; it has a powerful political message that’s conveyed with a sense of humor, which certainly makes the bitter pill easier to swallow; it’s pleasing to look at, because it’s technically very strong but not overly complex and intimidating; and he pulls it off in such a way that its presence in its context communicates not only his message but his dedication to effecting the change he promotes in that message, whether he’s defying Israeli hegemony by painting the separation wall in Palestine or bypassing the elitist review board of a museum by hanging his work himself. He definitely has his share of critics, who say that he burns too many bridges by rejecting countless opportunities to gain money or fame, but he simply has no interest in doing anything that falls outside his goal of making provocative, powerful artwork. He’s a good friend and a tremendous source of inspiration; he’s The Great Communicator of our time, and the most important living artist in the world.

How long are you going to remain anonymous, working through the medium itself and through your agent as a voice for you?

B: I have no interest in ever coming out. I figure there are enough self-opinionated assholes trying to get their ugly little faces in front of you as it is. You ask a lot of kids today what they want to be when they grow up, and they say, “I want to be famous.” You ask them for what reason and they don’t know or care. I think Andy Warhol got it wrong: in the future, so many people are going to become famous that one day everybody will end up being anonymous for 15 minutes. I’m just trying to make the pictures look good; I’m not into trying to make myself look good. I’m not into fashion. The pictures generally look better than I do when we’re out on the street together. Plus, I obviously have issues with the cops. And besides, it’s a pretty safe bet that the reality of me would be a crushing disappointment to a couple of 15-year-old kids out there.

What got you into graffiti? I know that you did more traditional graffiti at one point.

B: I come from a relatively small city in southern England. When I was about 10 years old, a kid called 3D was painting the streets hard. I think he’d been to New York and was the first to bring spray painting back to Bristol. I grew up seeing spray paint on the streets way before I ever saw it in a magazine or on a computer. 3D quit painting and formed the band Massive Attack, which may have been good for him but was a big loss for the city. Graffiti was the thing we all loved at school – we all did it on the bus on the way home from school. Everyone was doing it.

What’s your definition of the word “graffiti”?

B: I love graffiti. I love the word. Some people get hung up over it, but I think they’re fighting a losing battle. Graffiti equals amazing to me. Every other type of art compared to graffiti is a step down—no two ways about it. If you operate outside of graffiti, you operate at a lower level. Other art has less to offer people, it means less, and it’s weaker. I make normal paintings if I have ideas that are too complex or offensive to go out on the street, but if I ever stopped being a graffiti writer I would be gutted. It would feel like being a basket weaver rather than being a proper artist.


Who are some of your favorite graffiti artists?

B: My favorite graffiti is done by people that aren’t in books. I’m really into the amateurs, the people who just come out of nowhere with a marker pen and write one funny thing for one night and then disappear.

“Street art” has been the cool buzzword, and artists have obtained instant credibility from these new fly-by-night galleries, skate companies wanting to do a new street art t-shirt series, whatever. All these people are picking artists that deserve to be picked and have really done work on the streets for 10 to 15 years, but then they also pick a lot of artists that have been doing something for four to six months and built themselves a nice little website. Where do you see yourself fit into that? If the pedestrians at these companies don’t really know who’s done what, how do you separate yourself from that?

B: Most graffiti writers arrive at a style by the need to work fast and quiet. If you arrived at a style by painstakingly drawing in your bedroom and touching up on Photoshop, then people can smell the difference from about five miles away.

How do you decide what commercial projects to work on?

B: I’ve done a few things to pay the bills, and I did the Blur album. It was a good record and it was quite a lot of money. I think that’s a really important distinction to make. If it’s something you actually believe in, doing something commercial doesn’t turn it to shit just because it’s commercial. Otherwise you’ve got to be a socialist rejecting capitalism altogether, because the idea that you can marry a quality product with a quality visual and be a part of that even though it’s capitalistic is sometimes a contradiction you can’t live with. But sometimes it’s perfectly symbiotic, like the Blur situation.


I’m sure you get offered jobs left and right. Are there things that you think about doing that you don’t do, or things that you wish you would’ve done?

B: I don’t do anything for anybody anymore, and I will never do a commercial job again. In some ways it’s a shame, cuz I’m sure I’d have had a good time doing posters for that frozen yogurt company in Hawaii and now I’d have friends I could go visit on the other side of the world. But it’s part of the job to shut the fuck up and not meet people. I never go to the openings of my shows, and I don’t read chat rooms or go on MySpace. All I know about what people think of my gear is what a couple of my friends tell me, and one of them always wants to borrow money, so I’m not sure how reliable he is.

I think there’s a lot to be said for the fine line between secondguessing yourself and respecting a dialogue with people whose opinions you trust, or even people that are great because they don’t know shit about art and you get the most honest reaction from them. Because so many artists, they worry about what trends are happening in art and design and street art, they read too many magazines, and they are too wrapped up in everything; they’re paralyzed.


What’s the most perfect non-traditional piece of art that you’ve seen that’s not currently hanging in a museum?

B: The most perfect piece of art I saw in recent times was during an anarchist demonstration in London a couple of years ago. Someone cut a strip of turf from the grass in front of Big Ben and put it on the head of the statue of Winston Churchill. Later, the demo turned into a riot, and photos of Winston with a grass Mohican were on the cover of every single British newspaper the next day. It was the most amazing bit of vandalism, because it was the perfect logo for this eco-punk movement that was trying to reclaim the streets, bring an end to global capitalism, and defend the right to sit in a park all day getting wasted on discount lager.

Your art is still free on the streets but costly in the galleries. What dictates that?

B: What I find is I don’t have much say in what things cost. Every time I sell things at a discount rate, most people put them on eBay and make more money than I charged them in the first place. The novelty with that soon wears off.

You were talking about how you want your books to be cheap because they show the work in the context of the street, as well as the installations in museums and other pranks, which are actually honest representations of your work. But then people want objects, so they’re going to want the canvases and things like that, and you’re just kind of accepting that people fetishize objects and are willing to pay a lot for the status of owning something that they can hang up.

B: I stenciled the door of an electrical block in south London and recently someone sawed it off and sold it at a famous auction house for £24,000, but in that same week Islington council power sprayed off eight of my new stencils on one road. What I’m finding is art is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it, or willing to pay to not have to look at it.

The redistribution of the wealth then allows you to have that freedom to put work on the street without the pressure of having to sell a thousand cheap canvases – work that’s free and accessible. It really means that the art objects, the canvases, only really play into the people that think in an elitist way and have the money. So really, it kind of balances out. That’s an issue that a lot of artists have. They believe that their work should be accessible to a lot of people, and that actually is the opposite of the way the art world works.

B: The art world is the biggest joke going. It’s a rest home for the overprivileged, the pretentious, and the weak. And modern art is a disgrace – never have so many people used so much stuff and taken so long to say so little. Still, the plus side is it’s probably the easiest business in the world to walk into with no talent and make a few bucks.


The murals you did in Palestine, I would assume, involved personal risk. You’re there, and you could definitely get some people pissed off and put yourself in jeopardy.

B: Every graffiti writer should go there. They’re building the biggest wall in the world. I painted on the Palestinian side, and a lot of them weren’t sure about what I was doing. They didn’t understand why I wasn’t just writing “down with Israel” in big letters and painting pictures of the Israeli prime minister hanging from a rope. And maybe they had a point. The guy that I stayed with got five days with the “dirty bag” for waving a Palestinian flag out a window. The dirty bag is when Israeli security services get a sack, wipe their shit on it, and put the bag over your head while your hands are tied behind your back. I spat out my falafel as he was explaining that to me, but he just goes, “That’s nothing. My cousin got it for two weeks without a break.” It’s difficult to come home and hear people complaining about reruns on TV after that. It’s very hard for the locals to paint illegally over there. We certainly weren’t doing it under the cloak of darkness; you’d get shot. We were out in the middle of the day, making it very clear we were tourists. Twice, we had serious trouble with the army, but one time the Palestinian border patrol pulled up in an armored truck. The Israeli government makes a big fuss about how they own the wall, despite building it right through the farmland of Palestinians who have been there for generations, so the Palestinian border police don’t give a shit if you paint it or not. They parked between the road and us, gave us water, and just watched. It’s probably the only time I’m ever going to paint whilst being covered by a cop from a roof-mounted submachine gun.

Did they realize that it favored the Palestinian perspective?

B: I have sympathy for both sides in that conflict, and I did receive quite a bit of support from regular Israelis, but if the Israeli government had known we were going over there to do a sustained painting attack on their wall, there’s no way that we’d have been tolerated. They’re very paranoid. They don’t want the wall to be an issue in the West. On the Israeli side of the wall they bank it up with soil and plant flowers so you don’t even know its there. On the Palestinian side it’s just a fucking huge mass of concrete.

You’ve never really been busted to the point of potentially not being able to do street art, but that’s always a possibility. I could be wrong – you could be incredible and never get caught, but everybody gets caught at some point. What would you do if you were put in that position? Would you rent walls? Would you try to find legal walls? Would you still try to find ways to have work on the street and still maintain your anonymity to a degree, but keep it out there through more legal means? Would you move to another country? What would you do?

B: I’m always trying to move on. You’re not supposed to get dumber as you get older. You’re not supposed to just do the same old thing. You’re supposed to find a new way through and carry on. I invest back into the street bombing from selling shit. Recently, I’ve been pretending to be a construction manager and paying cash to get scaffolding put up against buildings, then I cover the scaffolding with plastic sheeting and stand behind it making large paintings in the middle of the city. I could never have done that a few years ago. Plus, I’m always interested in finding new places to hit up; it’s easier to break into zoos and museums than train lay-ups, because they haven’t had so much of a graffiti problem in the past. Ultimately, I just want to make the right piece at the right time in the right place. Anything that stands in the way of achieving that piece is the enemy, whether it’s your mum, the cops, someone telling you that you sold out, or someone saying, “Let’s just stay in tonight and get pizza.”

BANKSY will be showing some of his work in Los Angeles from September 15-18, 2006. For exact location and other details, check out www.banksy.co.uk

Now and Then

Georges Seurat's famous painting "Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte" recreated with modern photography.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Flight Path

This video was created using long exposures to capture the light reflected off of bugs as they fly around street lamps.
Pretty cool, i'm sure there is some entomologist out there somewhere who would be quite interested in this. That having been said, it looks pretty cool.

flight patterns from Charlie McCarthy on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tape the streets red

Aakash Nihalani uses tape to express his reaction to his surroundings (New York). His technique plays with scale, perception and the usage of parallelograms to re-imagine the urban landscape.

"My street work consists mostly of isometric rectangles and squares. I selectively place these graphics around New York to highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself...

...My work is created in reaction to what we readily encounter in our lives, sidewalks and doorways, buildings and bricks. I'm just connecting the dots differently to make my own picture. Others need to see that they can create too, connecting their own dots, in their own places" says Aakash.






Saturday, August 1, 2009

Today was a good day

Word.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summertime

Dead Prez - Summertime



A bit of a different feel from "Hip Hop"... but a pretty good track nevertheless.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Strawberry Swing

The newest video by Coldplay is simply incredible. It is one of the most intricate stop motion pieces I have ever seen.

Novoclipe from stereopark on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Game, set, match...


The Game, a very good rapper in his own right came out swinging (all-the-while committing career suicide) when he released a couple Jay-Z diss tracks last week. Whether its silencing his critics at Glastonbury with Wonderwall or writing an entire album after having watched a movie... its undeniable that when it comes to hip hop, the pinnacle is Jay-Z.

Generally speaking, I ignore the "beefing" and whatnot in hip-hop. Though some good things can come of it (Jay-Z vs. Nas, 50 cent taking Ja Rule out of the game), it has done its share of damage to the genre (r.i.p. Biggie and 2pac).

Though the link seems obvious, its not until now that I've seen someone actually take the beefing of hip-hop and analyze it from an International Relations perspective. In sum, Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy asks:

"So what does Jay-Z do? If he hits back hard in public, the Game will gain in publicity even if he loses... the classic problem of a great power confronted by a smaller annoying challenger. And given his demonstrated skills and talent, and his track record against G-Unit, the Game may well score some points. At the least, it would bring Jay-Z down to his level -- bogging him down in an asymmetric war negating the hegemon's primary advantages. If Jay-Z tries to use his structural power to kill Game's career (block him from releasing albums or booking tour dates or appearing at the Grammy Awards), it could be seen as a wimpy and pathetic operation -- especially since it would be exposed on Twitter and the hip hop blogs.

The Realist advice? His best hope is probably to sit back and let the Game self-destruct, something of which he's quite capable (he's already backing away from the hit on Beyonce) -- while working behind the scenes to maintain his own alliance structure and to prevent any defections over to the Game's camp. And it seems that thus far, that's exactly what he's doing. We'll see if that's a winning strategy.... or if he's just biding his time getting ready for a counter-attack."

Read the whole article here.

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic goes further and ties in Obama, Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez for the purpose of analogy.

Mea Culpa

"In challenging the story of one witness who said he had been a prisoner at Tuol Sleng, Duch presented the curious defense that this could not be the person in question because, according to Duch’s records, he had already had him killed."

What is more-so a venue for national catharsis, the trial of Kaing Guek Eav aka Duch, the man in charge of Tuol Sleng Prison in Cambodia, continues in Phnom Penh with some interesting testimony.

It has become clear that despite the thorough documentation of the Khmer Rouge, many witnesses are unable to back up their testimony with proof. Further, the melange of law has been criticized, while failing to meet the standards of any particular legal system. However, despite the systemic chaos, I think that the primary aim of the trial is closure, to seek some form of pathos from Duch, and for the nation as whole to move on. As such, it seems almost secondary for testimony to be corroborated and for any international legal precedence to be set here.

Click here for a more detailed account of proceedings.

Jaydiohead Encore

Yes. More of that Jay-z mixed with Radiohead.

Click the picture to download.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter



Aha! Cheeky.

Malice Vlog

Malice, 1/2 of the Clipse has a couple things to say about that rap game.

Dope.

Malice Video Blog 5 from Malice of the Clipse on Vimeo.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Twitter Creator On Iran: 'I Never Intended For Twitter To Be Useful'

SAN FRANCISCO—Creator Jack Dorsey was shocked and saddened this week after learning that his social networking device, Twitter, was being used to disseminate pertinent and timely information during the recent civil unrest in Iran. "Twitter was intended to be a way for vacant, self-absorbed egotists to share their most banal and idiotic thoughts with anyone pathetic enough to read them," said a visibly confused Dorsey, claiming that Twitter is at its most powerful when it makes an already attention-starved populace even more needy for constant affirmation. "When I heard how Iranians were using my beloved creation for their own means—such as organizing a political movement and informing the outside world of the actions of a repressive regime—I couldn't believe they'd ruined something so beautiful, simple, and absolutely pointless." Dorsey said he is already working on a new website that will be so mind-numbingly useless that Iranians will not even be able to figure out how to operate it.


From the Onion. Satire, but unbelievably accurate.

Death of Autotune, by Jay-z - Amen

Featuring Harvey Keitel and Lebron James.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We are not Losers, we are Lasers

Lupe's L.A.S.E.R.S. Manifesto.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mustached Unstached







I think they should do Marx, Burt Reynolds and Heraldo Rivera. From here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Banksy Bristol

The Inescapable graffiti artist is back at it with a show in Bristol Starting June 13th, for 12 weeks.

Here's a sample.

(Click picture to watch the trailer/visit the site)




Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Union I don't know Jack

For whatever reason, it only dawned on me the other day, while sitting in a bar where the flags of England, Scotland and Ireland were displayed that the Union Jack is actually a composite of all three. Though this realization might be indicative of a deeper "slowness" I should probably address, it gave me new appreciation for the flag.


+

+





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Upon wikipediaing Union Jack, I came across some of the options the flag could have been, making the designer look like a bit of a genius. Its interesting that in fact this flag explores 3 dimensions on what is effectively a two dimensional object. Its like playing with the "order" settings on images in word - which cross goes on top?