Friday, April 28, 2006

Wes Anderson Amex commercial

Full, as yet unpublished, DEMF lineup.

Greetings from Coachella Valley, California! I'll post a report on Team o2's installation later on today, but first, a Burnlab scoop regarding the DEMF...

DethLab (Ms. Toybreaker and myself) are playing three events Memorial weekend with some of our very best friends and biggest influences. More details on the Saturday and Sunday parties a bit later, but right here is the first published line-up for Monday's (5/29/06) industrial showcase, brought to you by Darkcourse Productions:

Kill Memory Crash
The Final Cut
Nitzer Ebb

This is the official line-up, however our friends at Darkcourse are still seeking sponsors. Write to me or Ms. Toybreaker for details on sponsor benefits and contact info if you'd like to contribute to the first ever proper industrial showcase at the DEMF. (Sponsors get a merch booth, comp tickets, free advertising, fire breathers branded with your logo, lifetime supply of rivets, a goat, etc., etc.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 is one of the coolest blogs on the interweb. Its page after page of inspiring and fascinating illustrations, engravings, and book art from the past.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

From laser cut hot dogs for sale to benefit a Detroit home-building project (architecture), to inspiringly well-crafted chairs (3d design), to felt benches with "tumors" (3d design), to really really disturbing re-inventions of My Little Pony (ceramics), and finally to an animitronic wolf head spitting blood into a crucifom coffin (2d design) [ read that one right] - Pop, with a much darker rather than just cheeky ironic bent, thematically ruled this year's Graduate Degree Show. Even moreso than simply a trope on the increasingly ominous aesthetic dominating both high fashion and design, ambitious seems to best sum up the success of this year's exhibition.

Thomas Gardner + Matt Miller, Laserdogs. Architecture

Paul Julius Martus, 3d From File to Form. High impact acryliclonitrile-butadiene-styrene with over molded ABS, steel.

John Truex, 3d Tumor Benches: Steel, felt; Sprawlpaper: inkjet print; Streetlamp #3: Steel, wiring.

Jessica M. Stoller, Ceramics. Untitled. Ceramics, latex paint, mdf, digital prints, glitter.

Christoper Williams, 2d. Untitled. Mixed media.

Keetra Dixon (2d) even has an automatic photobooth set up, not only to take your picture, but also to interpret your image and predict your future! (Click the link and you may even find a photostrip of two, ahem, area bloggers.)

There were 900+ attendees to the Member's opening this past Saturday and the exhibition runs until May 12, 2006. Come up and see what all the fuss is about!

Also see the Flickr Gallery of nearly every piece in the show.

Jane Jacobs, author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," dies at the age of 89.

"Ms. Jacobs's enormous achievement was to transcend her own withering critique of 20th-century urban planning and propose radically new principles for rebuilding cities. At a time when both common and inspired wisdom called for bulldozing slums and opening up city space, Ms. Jacobs's prescription was ever more diversity, density and dynamism -- in effect, to crowd people and activities together in a joyous urban jumble."

For a few more musings on her life and work, click here and here.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Last week I decided to hand off my responsibilities in planning, promotion and design direction for Dorkwave. The project has been successful beyond my wildest dreams - working with my best friends to throw out all the rules and facilitate a friendly, safe, fun, and totally unique experience for everyone who has ever been called or considered themselves a freak. We never expected it to turn the nightlife scene quite so on its ear or become such the party (okay, maybe secretly we did...), so it's been mission accomplished x10 for me personally, and (being ultra-ADD) there are dozens of new ideas begging for my time and energy.

Not to fret, this doesn't necessarily mean the party's over. Even with Rob Theakston and I both moving on to focus on other projects, Dorkwave remains in the best of hands, and if half the ideas that have been discussed for this summer happen, expect some fantastic events! Very best of luck to Jon, Mark, Mike and Allen.

Right now I'm very excited to put more energy into DethLab, projects with o2, more print design (including work for two great electronic-indie-pop bands, Detroit's The Nice Device and NYC's Hypefactor) and a variety of other schemes, adventures and art crimes.

I'm off to Coachella with o2 this morning to install what is possibly one of the weirdest sound installations you've ever seen. Granted we have wireless access in the desert, updates later in the week. If any of our readers or conspirators are going to be at the festival next weekend, hit me up.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

For some reason this piece of junk mail caught my attention:

The Technology They Tried To Ban... The Secret They Kept From You...

What if there's a fast and simple way for you to "steal" the advanced skill-set of the world's most successful people - their confidence, motivation, education, personality - and make it your own?

Utilizing a unique subconscious perception delivery system, Brain Bullet sits on the desktop of your Windows PC and fires SAFE and UNOBTRUSIVE "mental commands" to your screen, at speeds that are absorbed directly by your subconscious mind... and "activated" automatically by your brain cells.

"Brain Bullet"? WTF?!

Two Burnlab related events in Detroit this weekend:

TONIGHT - Friday, April 21

Fresh Corp presents My Friends R Electric
featuring DJs
Carlos D [Interpol]
DethLab [Burnlab/Toybreaker]
VHS or Beta DJs [a.k.a. Kit Chaps]

1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit
10pm | 18+ | $10

click for flyer front | back

TOMORROW - Saturday, April 22

Coitus Interruptus presents SASS
featuring DJs
Nathan Rapport [Lucid/Record Time]
Mike Servito [Burnlab/Blackbx]

1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit
10pm | 18+ | $5

click for flyer front | back

[designs by Bethany Shorb]

+ of course, check out the Cranbrook Degree Show [see post below.]

Thursday, April 20, 2006


(All Upper and Lower Galleries) April 23 - May 12, 2006

Seventy-seven second-year graduate degree candidates from Cranbrook Academy of Art take over the entire Art Museum and present their thesis work in the annual Graduate Degree Exhibition. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated color catalogue designed and produced by the students featuring all of the graduates of the Academy. The opening reception is this Saturday evening, from 6-8pm.

This year the projects seem particularly interesting so far, and there are a quite a few blank walls still awaiting work, reserved for those perennial procrastinators who probably haven't slept in a week. (Those are the ones I am most excited for. Heh.) We have acquired quite a few new "toys" this year, including a laser cutter and 3d rapid prototyper - the projects definitely utilize these newer technologies well. A sneak preview of some of the work being installed:




Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ice Bat is love.

Blue Puddle is an interactive online mapping tool developed by an interdisciplinary team of students at the University of Michigan. The Blue Puddle software takes advantage of the Internet´s distributed authorship capabilities to create maps that draw on users´ collective memory and subjective experience of a city. These maps foster the emergence of stories about the city that are more rich than any single author could create.

Most interesting of the applications, is perhaps the Free Electricity map which currently focus's on Ann Arbor, MI. I wonder how long someone could get away with a pirate Ann Arbor alleyway DJ dance party before the A2 cops throw everybody in jail.

I head about this and many other neat things happening in the world from we-make-money-not-art

Urban exploring pics from the former Soviet Union:

One of the design world's most influential couples since Charles and Ray, Katherine and Michael McCoy will lead a panel discussion with three former students next Wednesday as part of the Cooper-Hewitt Education Program.

As co-chairs of the graduate program in design at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for 23 years, the experimentalism and openness to theory they encouraged at Cranbrook continues to bear fruit. In 1995 the McCoys left Cranbrook to form High Ground Design, where they continued in their role as educators with studio-based programs for designers administered in the firm's Boulder, Colorado, setting.

Design Discourse: An Evening with the McCoys
Wednesday, April 26, 6:30pm
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Cooper-Hewitt and IDSA members and students: $10; non-members: $15

Milan Design Week photo gallery and an acrylic Rubik's Cube from Core77.

Monday, April 17, 2006

An undertaker, a cosmonaut, a dead hooker, and dozens of toe-tagged 'crane game' dolls strung form the ceiling of a hotel room: 800 Beloved photo shoot by Bethany Shorb. More here.

Join the Brothers Quay Friday 4/21 for their first speaking engagement in the United States as they discuss the influences on their work and screen several of their acclaimed films. Prepare for a unique experience of handcrafted animation that manages to push the boundaries of art. Details at

Complete auto show coverage from the NY Times + Cool Hunting visits the show

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I'm a little embarrassed, especially as an explorer and former New Yorker, that I only recently came across JINX. I'm certainly glad I did though. The group has been scheming, executing and thoroughly documenting all sorts of grand and enviable adventures for many years. [See the Urban Adventure section of the main page, and their book Invisible Frontier for some of this well done documentation.] Most admirable of course, is their sharp sense of style. Forget lurking around like some scruffy, paranoid art ninja. Urban exploring ought to be exciting and sexy.

The warm weather has definitely awakened the adventure bug. The question is, how to top last year's tea party, croquet social and jurassic breaking and entering...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Baltimore's Best Non-Art Museum", the American Dime Museum sadly closed its doors at the end of last year due to a lack of funding. However, due to an outpouring of encouragement, this national treasure of oddities will re-open for group tours by appointment and for special events, starting April 15th.

Very nice review of the Les Infants Terribles anniversary party from the Wayne State University paper.

A few choice clips:

"As the nerd-herd spun the hottest new wave, electro and synthpop tracks, the crowd got down and dirty. There was sleazy bumping and grinding that may be considered inappropriate considering the music.

Although it's truly cliche, the second floor shook. But as opposed to an earthquake, it was more like a nuclear holocaust as the Dorkwave boys dropped bombs. Dorkwave lovers flailed their limbs as though they were giving praise for the second coming of every deity known to mankind appearing in front of the mushroom cloud.

It probably doesn't help that there was the fire at Corktown Tavern in February of last year, which always leaves some wondering whether that's the night that the floor will collapse. Saturday potentially could have been the night people will have had to crawl out from piles of rubble and hipster bodies.

Dorkwave is like an Amtrak disaster with numerous train wrecks thought the night, as many of the beats aren't exactly matched. But who cares? It's all about having fun and not being a pretentious all-star DJ; shoot, it's a free party. "

JINX are some of my favorite urban explorers for two reasons:
1) They know how to have fun. (read: break lots of laws.)
2) They look good doing it. (As the great Jarvis Cocker once said, "I don't own any casual clothes - you never know who you'll bump into.")

On the matter of lunacy...

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." He added, "I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, 'What are they smoking?' "

As David reported here last week, the Danvers State Hospital is one of several former asylums currently being transformed into condos.

The next best thing to jetting off to MA in full urban exploring gear before "the world's scariest building" becomes 497 luxury homes (to what I can only presume will be Boston's most adventurous goth yuppies,) is Danvers State Insane Asylum dot com. The very well done website includes historical and up to the minute information about the site, as well as photo galleries.

The Edward Gorey House in Yarmouthport, MA opens for the season this Sunday. The first exhibit, Mystery celebrates the work of Academy Award-winning animator, producer, director, and writer Derek Lamb (1936-2005), who brought life to the artwork of Edward Gorey in the opening and closing credits for the classic PBS series.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

This is why god created lions. is a blog filled with strange and wonderful things, from curiosity cabinets to Devo.

Renzo Piano and the new Morgan Library, from the NYTimes.

+ if you didn't see it Sunday, The Bjork-Barney Enigma Machine.

Check out what Depeche Mode has been playing before their recent shows: playlist includes Audion, Motor, Heartthrob, James T. Cotton, T. Raumschmiere and more.

[thanks SV4]

Tuesday's Morrissey Moments:
Moz on Kilborn (Is that a pirate shirt?!)
Moz on pop (Couldn't agree more.)
The Importance of Being Moz (Simply amazing. And on the matter of celibacy, we have evidence to the contrary... of course... we're Burnlab.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

MOTOR will release their new single Black Powder April 10th, and their debut LP Klunk April 24th on NovaMute.

In other MOTOR news, Martin Gore of Depeche Mode has called their remix of Precious (in heavy DethLab rotation) his favorite DM remix of all time. (No argument here.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that they cover, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them.

South Central Farm

amazing...the Passion Boys legacy continues with an unexpected twist:

Passion Boys vs Snoop Dogg

Saturday, April 08, 2006

BunArchy bar "hop" tonight: hundreds of drunks in rabbit suits roaming the streets of Detroit. Class.

"No costume, no party for you."

The best part - the last stop is City Club.

"The modernists were the neocons of 20th-century art. They took a sound methodology - the questioning of conventional wisdom - and made it a dogma that brooked no opposition, even from reality..."

[via Archinect]

When Design is a Matter of Life or Death: a great article by Michael Bierut on design ethics and the Citicorp Center.

Muzak: The Soundtrack of Your Life.

"A business's background music is like an aural pheromone. It attracts some customers and repels others, and it gives pedestrians walking past the front door an immediate clue about whether they belong inside."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Our dear friends Office are Spin's 'band of the day'.


The ever cheeky and delightful PAS/CAL is on a mini-tour with NY noise-pop heroes Asobi Seksu, stopping in Chicago tonight and Detroit Saturday. Check the PAS/CAL site for more dates, and their blog for the latest on their long awaited LP.

gotta love foreign commercials:

zeh German Coastguard

Dutch parents

Gnarls Barkley, Danger Mouse's latest #1 in UK on downloads only

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A year or so ago I was in this sort-of Nabokov-only phase. During this time my friend Laura and I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by a well-known scholar of Nabokov regarding his short fiction. To my surprise (and I imagine everyone else's) we arrived to find that the scholar was blind. During the Q&A Nabkov's famous interview with Playboy was brought up and the man went into an uncomfortable rant regarding Playboy's introduction of their Braille publication.

'I spent the sixties on an anger-induced writing campaign to the editors regarding their lack of Braille-edition', he began.

'... and I heard everyone talking about their literary staff as being second-to-none at the time, but how was I supposed to know?', as he pointed to his cane (a gesture I found odd as I've never seen a blind man make a visual cue.)

Finally, he ended with these words which have stuck with me ever since:

'We did eventually get a Braille-edition, but it was the seventies then and all anyone cared about was pubes and it hasn't gotten better either, just pubeless'.

Art criticism.

Did you know that Playboy magazine is published in Braille? I didn't.

[thanks Wound]

Ghostly owns your Friday night (4/7/06) in Michigan, with superb events in both Ann Arbor and Detroit:

Idol Tryouts Two Party with live performances by Lusine and Twine at the University of Michigan U Club.
8:30pm | all ages

Vault featuring Ryan Elliott and the "rockno" of one Sheldon Sidney LeRock a.k.a. Pan/Tone at Oslo.
10pm | $5 | 18+

Here's more info about the Lee & Dan viral VW ad in Chris' post:
An investigation by
The official site with more ads

Cranbrook Academy of Art is hosting the 2006 WIRED Magazine Speaker Series. Tonight's session at 7pm will feature Bruce Mau, Creative Director, Bruce Mau Design. The lecture takes place in deSalle Auditorium on the lower level of Cranbrook Art Museum.

Renowned designer Bruce Mau begins with a simple proposition: We are at a point of history where the welfare of all life on the planet is a practical objective. Drawing on ideas and images from his acclaimed Massive Change exhibition, Mau explores how design is improving the lives of millions of people today and the possibilities that exist to extend this revolution to the entire human race. Mau is creative director of Bruce Mau Design in Toronto, founder of the Institute Without Boundaries, design director of Zone Books, and a former creative director of I.D. Magazine.

this has got to be a joke right? a very cynical but funny one

fans of prefuse/dabrye check out my bcn mate jahbitat, especially the first track "durazno"

Blast from the past:

Viva Sagmeister!

Sort of on topic - big news about Cranbrook tomorrow....

And completely unrelated (maybe...), Ringleader of the Tormentors might be Moz's best album since Kill Uncle.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

o2 is featured in today's Detroit News: Innovation Powers Design Firm.

Four new E-Snacks today! Get on this!

Shi Jinsong's Na Zha Baby Boutique is a withering satire of global consumer culture and its manifestation in China. Reimagining Na Zha, a mischievous mythic toddler whose entire body is a weapon, as the inspiration for a new line of baby products, Shi's deadly Boutique includes a stainless-steel Na Zha Stroller, Na Zha Walker, and Na Zha Cradle as well as detailed blueprints and photographs of his designs. The eccentric designs maximize the lethal capability of the nascent cutthroat capitalist: the stroller has a spiked handrail and brass-knuckle footrests, the walker is a concentric fan of razor-sharp blades, and a mobile made of knives hangs playfully from the cradle's canopy.
New York
Chambers Fine Art
Now through April 15

FYI, it's officially Morrissey Week at the lab.

(We also seem to have a light-up sign fetish this week.)

Catering to the lowest common denominator? New software enables Macs to run Windows.

"Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple's superior hardware now that we use Intel processors," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch."

In other news, Apple's stock was up by 5.5% within an hour of the announcement.

The old Traverse City State Hospital, a.k.a. Northern Michigan Asylum, got a nice mention in this article about the latest in condo crazes. They probably won't preserve the graffiti etched into the courtyard walls by former patients, and the developers don't seem to tout the site's past use to potential buyers. But it was amazing to tour in its abandoned state a few years back.

Also, from the headlines: "Detroit Sold For Scrap."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Graffiti Research Lab takes LED Throwies to the next level with Night Writer.

Hot off the MySpace bulliten boards: Panic skate decks and a brand new track from 800 Beloved.

Toybreaker's photos from Saturday night here.

Again... wow.
Thanks everybody for a great night.

Saturday's Dorkwave anniversary was nothing short of amazing. Despite there being very impressive rock and techno shows the same night, it was great to see all our friends choose to come out to share this special evening with us. Extra special thanks to Sarah Vidosh and Bethany for the custom Dorkwave couture, Keith Kemp for the stencilled balloons, Allen and Eric for the ridiculous and amazing light-up sign, and Ryan Elliott and Matthew Dear for the impromptu guest DJing. We somehow managed to squeeze about 1,000 people into a venue that holds about 200 (+ a Studio 54 style line around the block,) and everybody was dancing like it was the end of the world as we know it... literally - thanks Servito for that choice selection. The first batch of photos here - more tomorrow.

Also, the full set was recorded. We'll make available on the site as soon as we can.

For those interested, here is what I played:
Psyche - Goodbye Horses
They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse in Your Soul
The Hacker vs. Vitalic - Shari Vari
GD Luxxe - Don't Wanna Know If You are Lonely
One French Word One English Word - Geological Lust
Bomb Boutique - Yu Gunged
Passion Boys - Passion Boys are Firemans
TDR - Thorax
Vitalic - Newman

(there were so many more on my list, but alas we wrapped things up at 5am.)

The afterparty [24 hours later] was much more chilled out, but still a ton of fun. Nathan Rapport played an absolutely superb set, and it was somewhat surreal dancing to Joy Division and Blur played by the former bass player of The Smiths on a Sunday night. Well worth dragging ourselves out of bed for.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

We've had some technical difficulties getting Blogger to talk to Burnlab the past couple days, but all the ducks are happily back in their rows. [Many thanks to Sneak for the bug hunting and extermination!]

So back to the Blogging...

We had a lovely dinner with Allan Chochinov of Core77 last night, and gave him a little tour of the studio and some of Detroit's finer sights - like the old train station and Rouge Steel. Allan is speaking at the IDSA Mid-East regional conference this afternoon around 4pm. Check his recap of day one in Detroit here.

Tonight is the big night: the Les Infants Terribles Two Year Anniversary Party.

I have a bunch of recently acquired stuff that I'm excited to play on the huge frickin' Dorkwave system, including a GD Luxxe cover of Husker Du, a brilliant Einsturzende Neubauten/The Normal/The The mash-up by our friends Bomb Boutique, and a fairly new track called Soon by So Does the Fire, featuring Mount Sims [many thanks to Echo at East Village Radio!]

And then Sunday night, Andy Rourke of The Smiths(!) is DJing at OSLO with honorary Dorkwaver Nathan Rapport of Sass. Hot.