Saturday, August 31, 2002

Al salaam a'alaykum!

Here's my advice for folks travelling in North Africa (when you're tired of the museums, architecture, beaches, mountains, shopping, etc.):

1st: Seek out a Murde la Mort (Wall of Death) in a local carnival. If you can stand the chokingly strong exhaust fumes, you'll be treated to a suicidal driver who drives cars and motorcycles on a rickety cylindrical wall (7 meters off the floor). He does this via the power of mathematics. As an added bonus, he'll grab money from you if you hold it out. Apparently, this attraction is gaining popularity in other countries, it was worth the trip just to hang out with African carnies(!)

2nd: Check out a small town near Marrakech in which every resident drives the same car; A late sixties Peugeot 404. According to local legend, it's the only car that the town's lone mechanic knows how to fix. Ain't that a blip.

3rd: Don't eat a prickly pear from the back of a smelly mule. It's like eating Indian food from a gas station ;)

Friday, August 30, 2002

On Monday- Sep 9th, after a 1.5 year absence, I'm finally making my way back to NYC for 36 hours of pure mayhem. The main purpose of this trip is to see Derek Plaslaiko play the 2 Year Anniversary Party of Tronic Treatment, but I'm also hoping to make it out to Tony's bar- perhaps in the early evening. All burnlabers should really try make it out. Derek is an amazing DJ, and there are two wicked 'suprise' DJs on the bill as well.

After much delay, the Purgatory Department is back online [see left]. I ditched the notion of re-designing the whole section because... well, that just wasn't going to happen in any reasonable timeframe, and the current architecture works pretty well. I will be going through and updating some files and adding new documentation of old projects. For example, I'm looking at two VHS tapes of "Hamletmachine" footage which needs to be transferred to digital video and edited. Some day soon.

I spent yesterday up at the MIT Media Lab with Jaron Rothkop talking to researchers about everything from mass customization and rapid manufacturing in architecture, to wireless switches and instruments for automobile interiors to stereo video. I hope to sort through all this info and document it as something concise for a more traditional medium - such as print.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

More on the new Einst�rzende Neubauten internet project: In the sponsor-exclusive video section are rare and splendid video streams of set designer Erich Wonda's theatrical piece "Das Auge des Taifuns" ["The Eye of the Typhoon"]. This legendary performance took place on a rolling stage on the Ringstrasse in Vienna in 1992, and was to some extent Neubauten's Guernica. The "stage" looked something like a cross between a B-52 cockpit and the nearby rooftop office designed by Coop Himmelblau, and [from the liner notes of Strategies Against Architecture III] "incorporated elements such as artificial snowstorms and huskies on conveyor belts."

Monday, August 26, 2002

Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated:
Never ever eat Indian food from a gas station.

I got my tickets just in time!

Disney's El Capitan theatre welcomes Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most revered film makers in the world, to a one time only screening of "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" (Spirited Away). Original Japanese version with english subtitles to be followed by a discussion with the master himself! Sponsored by the great American Cinematheque. This event sold out long ago, so watch for the general release as posted below. Guys - I own the official Japanese dvd and the region "all" bootleg, and I can not tell you how amazing an experience this film is. Japanese culture is very accomodating of ghosts, spirits and such; and being a "non-Christian" people, ghosts are not generally seen as evil or even frightening...just a bit of very generalized context.

Miyazaki is a master film maker, animator, artist, and story teller. See this movie on the big screen and purchase for home use - it's that good. Banzai Anime in Los Angeles is a great source for difficult to wrangle films. they even carry films from hong kong that are not exactly studio approved...big cheers to Dave Pinter for the good taste.

This past rainy saturday night made for perfect video viewing at home. A friend of mine got the latest Hayao Miyazaki film that has wiped out all previous box office records in Japan. She got the authentic Studio Ghibli version with all the trailers and up coming previews. The film's title translated in english is 'Spirited Away' and is set to hit America next month. The previous Miyazaki attempt with Princess Mononoke did ok here but the Spirited Away release will have a significant boost as Disney is marketing it.

The film visually is classic Miyazaki with rich settings and a period feel. This film skews more towards a Chinese setting in both locations and costumes. The character design is also fantastic as usual. Having no english dialog or subtitles to go by I had to rely on my friend to translate the basic plot. She was able to clue me into to some of the underlying themes on Japanese culture that are so prevelant in Miyazaki stories. I'm curious how Disney approached this in the translation.

The trailer for the American release is on the apple web site here. You can also find out more info and a city and theatre list from The film starts with a limited release on Sept 20 in cities including LA, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

"Peter Greenaway's 'The Tulse Luper Suitcase' is encyclopedic in its scope and will result in four two-hour feature films, a book, 52 TV programs and several CD-ROMs. It concerns the life of one man - Tulse Luper, a writer and project-maker, caught up in a life of prisons all over the world. The story covers some sixty years of the Twentieth Century from 1928, with the discovery of Uranium, up to 1989 and the break of the Berlin Wall at the end of the Cold War."

A few years ago I was very excited about this massive multimedia project, but after the official website seemed to fall out of maintenance some time back, it was assumed the project had collapsed under its own scope and was placed on the shelf. Just today I received an e-mail form an associate of Mr. Greenaway's with news that the project is still active and a book has just been released. "Tulse Luper in Turin" is a collection of drawings and paintings by Greenaway, as well as an unpublished screenplay. The website for the book has all the info you need on this installment of the very mysterious project about a very mysterious character.

This inspired some further digging, and after a long drought of information, there is now a lot of buzz about the project again. Two good places to look are Kasander Films, and this very informative fan site. Shooting of the first of now three films: THE MOAB STORY, started on the 12th of June 2002 in Barcelona. All three films are scheduled for festival releases during 2003.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

That Paxahau event certainly made me homesick for the Motor City, however, this weekend NYC is full of great events...

Mr. Steve Bug, Ben Sims and the lovely Magda will be playing that clicky Techno aboard a boat on the Hudson this Sunday 8|25, compliments of Tronic Treatment. The ship boards at 7pm from Peir 40 at W. Houston and the West Side Highway. Mike and Troy provide after-party beats at Remote Lounge on Bowery.

"Picture Red Hook" is an ambitious multimedia site specific performance right here in our sleepy industrial neighborhood. [See Olivia's post from Tuesday.] It was created by choreographer Joanna Haigood, video artist Mary Ellen Strom, composer Lauren Weinger, lighting designer Jack Carpenter and set designer Wayne Campbell. Performed by the Zaccho Dance Theatre and produced by Dancing In The Streets, "Picture Red Hook" brings all these elements together on the side of the massive old Red Hook grain terminal. There's one more performance tonight at 9pm. I've gone to see it the past two nights, and it's well worth trudging out here for you Manhattanites and Willimasburgers. For those who live a bit further afield, we've documented the performance at Burnlab with photos and two short video clips.

Of course you know that Einst�rzende Neubauten is to music what Heiner M�ller was to theatre and Marcel Duchamp was to art. [Okay, that would actually be John Cage, but Blixa and co. are worthy successors.] Since they set the precedence for composing music with power tools and garage crafted devices which would make any mad scientist envious more than twenty years ago, the boys from Berlin are now redefining the way music is produced and distributed. Their next album will be created without the support of a record company, but with the support of the fans. A nominal sponsorships fee gains you behind the scenes access to the production process, exclusive downloads, and the album itself [when finished.] On Neubauten's brand new website, you can purchase the back-catalog in digital format, directly from the artists. These aren't radically new ideas, but to see a group this established simultaneously go back to indie ethics and embrace/exploit technology so comprehensively is pretty darn cool. We'll see if the Backstreet Boys and the like follow suit and ditch the support of record companies entirely.

News from the spirit world: Being friends with a liqour rep is a mixed blessing indeed. Cathryn Davis, who helped make Bombay Saphire the official beverage of industrial design, is now promoting a new super-premium vodka from Estonia called T�RI. Set to launch on September 1 with the support of *Surface magazine, T�RI features a gorgeously designed bottle and tastes splendid... for vodka. Tip top shelf stuff. Start asking for it now at your local watering hole.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

To follow up Michael and Israel, I don't love the Happy Mondays, but for some reason the first Black Grape album is terrific. As for the film, I definately like New Order better, but how many legendary New Order stories do you know. Rave, drugs and the Mondays make for better cinema.

And as for you big city folks who think you have the market cornerd on good night out ,Detroit has some shit going on this weekend.

Friday, Paxahau is bringing Steve Bug to Time Square along with Matthew Dear, Clark Warner and Rob Theakston. Bug just did a track with Richie Hawtin on M-nus and I just heard the promo of Dear's new record for Plus 8. Great clicky-dubby-tech-house.

Saturday, my man Traxx from Chicago is playing a party at the old Submerge building. If you've never heard Traxx, I really can't even describe the insane way he plays electro, new wave, Chicago acid and techno. Every mix sounds like its about to fall off the tracks, but he keeps the beat rock solid.

And Sunday, 3rd Street Saloon has Miliwaukee hardcore, courtesy of Dan Doormouse.

One final note. Go immediately to the store and buy Mali Music!
Imagine the Buena Vista Social Club, only with Ry Cooder replaced by Damon Albarn and Cuba replaced by Mali. Seriously cool, beautiful, experimental and profound.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Out of Site The New Museum of Contemporary Art is featuring 15 artist�s take on the future of mankind through the creation of imaginary spaces and virtual cityscapes in various media. The works are a response to advancing technologies, urban expansion, population growth and their impact on contemporary society.

Ono, I dropped my Yoko � �I mean, I was like 30 years ahead of my time� says Yoko Ono in a recent interview. It seems these days you have to be a tweaked-out club kid to appreciate the subtle nuances of her delicate vocal styling. Lately far into the early hours of the morning you can find Yoko and her band the Plastic Ono squealing out her latest project, a collection of her earlier works remixed club-style, at various dance clubs across the country. Apparently she has found her place in the world of electronic music. Further into the interview she states that her new found success perhaps has something to do with a certain camaraderie she shares with the people of clubland. �They know my history of being attacked all the time � ostracized is the word. I mean everything in the world that was done to me.� After a remix of �Open Your Box� made it to the charts last November, Yoko�s producer suggested an entire album (due out in 2003). Will she at age 69 finally find some respect?

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Apologies for those outside the NYC area as all these event postings can probably get a little tired. For those here though, if you have not yet had the opportunity to hear or see Dr Alex Paterson DJ yet, don't miss him at the Knitting Factory this friday night. I'm always amazed by the breath of what he manages to work into a set. I saw him last winter at the Knitting Factory and even though the sound system is geared more towards a band set up it was still a great night.

Also of note, Jonah Sharp [Spacetime Continuum] will be at PS1 for a live PA this Saturday as part of the WarmUp series. It's the second last one and only 6$

Hang out with leather daddies, local families, and Silver Lake hipsters at the Sunset Junction Street Fair -3600 to 4200 Sunset Blvd
Saturday August 24
with Dublab, Plug Research & Ubiquity ,Mannequin Lung, Jimmy Languis, J Love, Carlos Nino, Damon Aaron, Simon James, Backyard Bangers, Nobody, Cody ChesnuTT, Tom Chasteen, Mia Doi Todd, J Logic, Daedelus, Jun & more.
Sunday August 25
with Motion Man feat. KutMasta Kurt & The Skhool Yard Feat. Planet Asia & KutMasta Kurt, The Kids of Widney High, Midnight Moves, Vartek, Kill Whitey
Stephen Hauptfeur, Snake vs Wizard, RD, Trichcome, Skinny big guns, Big head & Jaime & more.

Form and FunctionDuring the 1970's and 80's, a Conceptual architecture movement flourished as a generation of talented architects played with ideas for buildings that, because of a sluggish economy, were never built. The AXA Gallery looks at this period with an exhibition of drawings by five architects who juggled the structural and the intellectual, creating "paper architecture" that was inspired by philosophy, linguistics, literary criticism and other theoretical pursuits. "Perfect Acts of Architecture", with some 140 drawings made from 1972 to 1987 by Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Thom Mayne and Bernhard Tschumi, runs through Oct 19. The gallery is in the Equitable Tower at 787 Seventh Avenue, at 51st Street. Information 212.554.4818.

2 new tracks from Squarepusher's, AKA Tom Jenkinson, forthcoming album 'Do You Know Squarepusher' (released 30th Sept) and Squarepusher digital downloads are currently available at WARP RECORDS .

As anticipated, the LMDC issued an RFQ for "innovative design" for the World Trade Center site yesterday morning. This is a major step in the right direction for lower Manhattan. Engram's work on this matter [mentioned last week] is moving along, and we'll publish the results when the time is appropriate.

As Paul Petrunia pointed out, a few minutes at CNN's reader gallery will prove the true value of architects in society. Ouch. In all fairness, though the designs have something to be desired, there is a lot of value in many of the written intentions.

Speaking of our commercial division, the free shirt offer is still on [see post from last Wednesday.] The black-on-black Braille design is a big hit so far. For those who've already inquired, the t-shirts will ship as soon as the mailing labels come in from Klever :)

I'm heading up to Cambridge next week to check out some of the advanced research projects at the MIT Media Lab . Our own Jaron Rothkop [on behalf of Lear Corp. ] is working with the teams there on a number of projects, including a prototype vehicle for the US Postal Service and a concept car designed by a certain well known Canadian architect. Jaron's own in-dash coffeemaker design was quashed, but it should feature a plethora of dramatic innovations.

And, yeh... I second Israel's assessment of the Happy Mondays. As many of our editors will concur, growing up in Detroit it was baffling to see what the Brits called "Rave" and "Acid" circa 1991.

For Brooklyn burnlabbers, Zaccho Dance Theatre (choreographer Joanna Haigood) presents 'Picture Red Hook'
"A breathtaking site-specific production at a massive grain terminal on the Brooklyn waterfront focusing on the hopes and aspirations of the Red Hook community. Aerial dancers scale the grain terminal's 12-story facade, interacting with large scale video projections and a live electronic music soundscape."

this Aug. Thursday 22 through Saturday 24
Gowanus Industrial Park
699 Columbia Street Marine Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn

just saw 24 hour party people last night. excellent! i would have to agree with mike that there was far too little new order and far too much happy mondays (at the risk of committing cardinal factory sin, i will admit that i fucking hate the happy mondays). ian curtis was brilliant and he was portrayed with dignity and respect. excellent dance moves.
"i just saw god."
"what did he look like?"
"he looked like me."

Friday, August 16, 2002

Condolences to everyone in New York who didn't go hear Carl Craig on Thursday night. Brilliant as ever, Carl [in an "Acquaviva-style maneuver"] played a special version of the Talking Heads' Once In a Lifetime for the NYC crowd. Nice.

A short break from the Techno for news from my favorite indie-rock band: LA's UNIVAC has finally landed prestigious gigs at Spaceland [Silver Lake] Tuesday August 20 and The Knitting Factory [Hollywood] Tuesday September 10. They will also appear on FM KXLU 88.9 on Monday 9/9 [time TBD] and are set to release their 2nd EP on Thursday October 10 at 56 [I don't know where 56 is... some help from the LA Lab please.] UNIVAC percussionist Dave Lentz's former band American Mars continues to get praise from the music press and appears at Detroit's Magic Stick on Friday September 6, and the Magic Bag [not to be confused with the Magic Stick, but also on Woodward Avenue, only eight miles north or so... that's a whole lot of magic for a band that writes moody songs about a gloomy city] Friday September 13.

Detroit Burnlab-

My girlfriend Doris is having her going away party (she's off to for example grad schoolin rural Illinois) this Saturday Aug. 17

Music by- Myself, Rob Theakston and Mike Fotais

You are all more than welcome to attend.

Forans Irish Pub 612 Woodward (3 blks N. of Jefferson)

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

NYC event reminder: Carl Craig at Club Shelter Thursday, August 15. [Tomorrow is also the deadline for tax extensions, for all you fellow procrastinators.] Shelter is at 20 W. 39th St., between 5th and 6th Ave's. For those who experienced the last fiasco at Shelter, Carl promises this one is for real :)

Monday, August 12, 2002

Hey Mike, that's a nice flyer for THE FIX. I'm glad to see Jonnie up to his old tricks around Detroit.

For Detroit-area calendars, it looks like 24 Hour Party People will be hitting Detroit (er, Royal Oak) on Friday, August 30th at Main Art Theatre.

Also, thanks to Dave Pinter for his comments on radio from 7/31.

Burnlab 3.1 just went live - with a handful of tweaks, updates and enhancements. Note the new EVENTS section at left. Also of note (only for those who REALLY care), the logo is now set in Autoscape by LINETO, as opposed to Andale Mono, as it has been since the late 90s.

News from our sister organization, ENGRAM_design: we have several new projects in the works related to the World Trade Center, which will be released to the public toward the end of this week. We also just received the t-shirts from the printer, and they are really cool... if I do say so myself. We're feeling especially generous and will ship a free shirt to anybody who wants one for a limited time. Just send your mailing address and shirt size to We only ask that you wear it with pride and not use it to buff the car.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Last post from me about Factory Records for a while... I swear: Peter Saville interview from the AIGA and ID Magazine.
More here and here.

A favorite excerpt about the difference between making work and going to work. (Maybe this is why I will never have an office job again... )

Q: "Presumably the company found your notorious habits - the late starts, non-arrivals, and all-nighters - pretty baffling. "

Saville: "It baffled Pentagram when I was there, it baffles me actually, and of course in America, with the American work ethic, it's just unheard of. I have a real problem with going to work for the sake of going to work. When I have to produce something, I do it. When I don't have to work to realize, I'm looking for what to do. In a way, I work all the time, but I've never disciplined myself or been in a situation that disciplined me into going into an office at 9.30 in the morning and staying there until six o'clock and then going home."

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Here is the flyer I designed for Jon O's aforementioned "The Fix" night > Fridays at Lush in Hamtrack/DTW. Detroit finally gets an Electro night to call home.

So, we went to the premiere of 24 Hour Party People in New York. It's a great film overall, but as with any movie about music, there will be be some complaints. Mine? Not enough time spent on things I really care about [what's it like inside Ian Curtis' head] and too much time on things I couldn't really care less about [Happy Mondays... though the pigeon scene is genius.] And almost no New Order, except a small segment about Blue Monday. It was especially nice though to see Peter Saville represented: the brilliant and brilliantly unpunctual Factory Records graphic designer. For the unfortunate souls who don't live in New York or the UK, you'll have to wait a few weeks to see it for yourself. Worth the six quid, mate.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Here's a really cool portfolio site of an artist/illustrator friend of a friend. Fun with Flash! The main page is sensitive to the time of day of the viewer's computer. ...And I have a crush on the paintings link girl. Haven't felt this way since my Laura Croft screensaver }:->

Thursday, August 08, 2002

more on horror:
los angeles lurkers get lucky this week as the american cinematheque hosts STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, the British werewolf movie DOG SOLDIERS, and the insane yakuza / zombie action film VERSUS. does star trek count as horror? the fans are terrifying...

it also appears that all the good ideas are already taken as demonstrated by the origami boulder company.

keeping on the music-related tip, a recommendation to all open ears: 2manydj's -a 45 minute mix of tracks that should under normal circumstances be at best unmixed and at worst wiped from music history entirely, i.e. the opening mix of emerson, lake and palmer's version of peter gunn into basement jaxx, or better yet the stooges into salt 'n pepa. anybody for some dolly parten?..there are some great moments though, believe me. a plus to those (like mike) who love their electro and are from detroit, is the inclusion of adult and the detroit grand pubahs....simple but beautiful touch is the cd: it looks like a blank cd written on with a felt tip

Guess I've been doing a lousy job keeping on top of things this week, as Israel posted this on ARCHINECT first: Friday night our friends at Ersatz Audio present MISERY LOVES COMPANY [live] at the Detroit Contemporary. Performances include live sets from Lowfish, Solvent, Tamion 12 Inch and Gourdon, with turntable operation by Adam Lee Miller and Chris McCullen.

On the subject of No-Wave/Generic, our own Jon Ozias kicks off a new night called THE FIX next Friday, August 16th at Lush in Hamtramck Michigan. Also, last weekend I had the pleasure of driving around Reuben Wu of Ladytron, who was in New York promoting their new album due out in September. It's bloody nice work. Reuben recently quit his day job as an industrial designer to pursue the band full time. Maybe there's hope for us all yet...

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

The next few weeks are shaping up to be pretty good music wise in NYC. This friday night at Magda's openair party Theo Parrish is slated for the guest spot. At the very least it should be quite an evening of contrasting styles all for $5. For a double dose of Theo he is going to be at the APT tomorrow night. Also Derrick May will be part of the DJ Connection at De La Guarda tomorrow night. Check the link for discount tickets.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

In anticipation of the 24 Hour Party People premiere on FRIDAY >edited: that's 8/9 in the US, not 9/8...<, I've been brushing up on and dusting off all the old Factory stuff. [Thanks again to Josh for the heads-up.] An under-appreciated gem of a band is Scotland's The Wake. Formed in 1981, The Wake struck a serene balance between Joy Division's raw articulation and New Order's sometimes antiseptic minimalism. Truly great musicians and song writers in their own right, The Wake featured a young Bobby Gillespie [Primal Scream] on bass for the pivotal mini-LP Harmony.

And thanks to BitBoy for sharing PLEIX with us... that's sick and wonderful stuff :)

Friday, August 02, 2002

PLEIX is a virtual community of digital artists worth checking out. Of particular fascination is their tounge-in-cheek advertisments for "Beauty Kit", (plastic surgery kits intended for young girls), they're both horrifying and brilliant.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

NYC artist-photographer-designer-poet Jordan Crane has updated his site for the summer.

So beautiful and real.