Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Looking for video of a recent Portishead unannounced live gig I stumbled upon this amazing UK promo for the first season of "Lost"

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Open City: Tools For Public Action @ Eyebeam, NYC
Opening Reception March 1, 6-8 PM.

Open City - a glimpse into the current media and tactics of artists who take their practices into the street. Be it through projection, writing on walls or robotic pamphleteering, Open City presents the work of artists who communicate through the surfaces and structures of our communal spaces and offers a deeper look at the means and motivations of urban action and creativity.

Invited Participants:
Aram Batholl, BORF, Graffiti Research Lab, Institute for Applied Autonomy, Improv Everywhere, Mark Jenkins, KATSU, KR, Object Orange, Leon Reid, Matthias Wermke, Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I have quite a fascination with old amusement parks and recently came across this site about Freedomland USA. The park was only in operation from 1960 to 1964 and was situated in the Baychester section of the Bronx, where Co-Op City now stands. Some of the unusual attractions included a recreation of the Chicago Fire and the Tornado Adventure ride!

Happy Paczki Day!

Flock of Dodos is screening at the Rose Wagner Center in Salt Lake City tonight. Pictured above is senator Chris Buttars.

Monday, February 19, 2007

This Saturday night our friend Lauren Hill is hosting a little dance party/birthday celebration for Ayron Nelson and our very own Ms. Toybreaker at the Elks Lodge in Ann Arbor. We're told the space is right out of the 1960s, with all the charms of a secret society rec room - including a mirrored ceiling. How could we turn that down? We'll be playing records along with Stallone (a.k.a. Samion Consiglio) and BMG of Ectomorph. Fun and weirdness guaranteed, everyone is invited and it's free! Map here.

p.s. for all our Detroit area friends: we know you have people you can crash with in Ann Arbor, and it's not that much of a drive to be there for Bethany's birthday. Besides... what could possibly be better than dancing to Sam and Brendan at an Elk's Lodge?

Diller Scofidio + Renfro have updated their long static website with selected projects. Nothing we haven't seen before, but still beautiful and provocative.

Ouroussoff weighs in on the Freedom Tower

If built, the lamentable Freedom Tower would be a constant reminder of our loss of ambition, and our inability to produce an architecture that shows a genuine faith in America's collective future rather than a nostalgia for a nonexistent past.

Nowhere is that failure of ambition more evident than in the tower's base. In a society where the social contract that binds us together is fraying, the most incisive architects have found ways to create a more fluid relationship between private and public realms. The lobby of Thom Mayne's Phare Tower in Paris, for example, is conceived as an extension of the public realm, drawing in the surrounding streetscape and tunneling deep into the ground to connect to a network of underground trains.

By comparison the Freedom Tower is conceived as a barricaded fortress. Its base, a 20-story-high windowless concrete bunker that houses the lobby as well as many of the structure's mechanical systems, is clad in laminated glass panels to give it visual allure, but the message is the same. It speaks less of resilience and tolerance than of paranoia. It's a building armored against an outside world that we no longer trust.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

NIN update: the single "Survivalism" and the previously leaked planted "My Violent Heart" have been uploaded to the official Nine inch Nails MySpace page.

This new record has me in such a nostalgic state, Friday Night Videos is all about The Golden Age: when real men were angry waifs in eyeliner and leather pants.

All the pigs are all lined up.

1990 French TV interview.

Sin live in 1989.

Dance Party USA in '89 + covering Sex Dwarf in '94.


Modern technology has changed the way we all work and play.

Bonus: When I was a sophomore at the Center For Creative Studies I saw a rough VHS dub of the short film for Broken a friend had borrowed from a professional dominatrix. The tape was rare almost to the point of mythology among NIN fans back in '92. Bootlegs had circulated in the S&M community, but Trent said he would never release the film because it wasn't what he wanted to remembered by, and felt it was so controversial that it would become his legacy. The film was made shortly after the Jeffrey Dahmer trial and about the same time Madonna's book Sex and Erotica LP were released (which look overly pasturized in comparison.) Thanks to the wonder of YouTube, now you can be just as scarred. (For some reason the clip for "Help Me I am in Hell" is missing from the above video. Here it is.)

Last minute Detroit event plugs:

Electro-industrial protoge Softcore is performing tonight at The Labyrinth with Monsieur Jimmy Edgar (and there's a fashion show too!) Get your synth on.

Also tonight, our good friends The Nice Device are playing at The Lager House. Check the very nice poster.

Tonight and tomorrow, the saucy Rock Hudson/Dorris Day classic Pillow Talk is playing at the Historic Redford Theater. We'll be at tomorrow night's screening, then heading out to A2 for The Bang. Since Dorkwave is almost always on the same night, I've never had the chance to experience Jeremy Wheeler's mixtape dance rumble. Should be a hoot.

Speaking of my former dance disaster deejay squad, the latest incarnation of Dorkwave is holding it down at Corktown Tavern tomorrow night with very special guest DJ Juan Maclean.

One of the bands of the moment, Deerhunter, has put some comments they received on their Myspace profile. I think they´re worth the attention but some people had some quite hilarious other views:

"If I see your flier in my town, I will take it down, if you are booked anywhere within a state of me I will publically speak and tell people not to go. You are a pile of shit in this "thing" we call the music business. Go get a job. Fuckin' wannabe's man....fuckin wannabe's. In the words of a brilliant band called Travis..."Peace the fuck out!"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nine Inch Nails' new album Year Zero comes out on April 17th. If you're like me, and list The Downward Spiral among the primary influences in your life, your enthusiasm and faith has eroded a bit with each subsequent release. I am, however an optimist, and (despite that disturbingly thick neck Trent has going on) everything I've read and heard about the new LP is very promising.

One of the things that made The Downward Spiral so good was the simple yet powerful narrative that tied the whole work together and spoke directly to every eighteen-year-old within signal range. The message was raw and pure, and the meticulous execution demanded a level of critical respect the industrial genre (or arguably the broader "alternative" genre as a whole) had not achieved before. It was a rock opera for the black clad Generation X, but not contrived or over-worked. The main problem with the two following LPs was that they spoke from the point of view of a frustrated multi-platinum rock star, and that obsessive production which worked so well on Spiral too often came off as self-referential and dull.

Year Zero was recorded in a mere three months time, and promises to be more compact and immediate than its predecessors. Spin magazine says it is "probably the most minimalist Nine Inch Nails has ever been. Conversely, Trent's getting outside of himself lyrically - it's a real state-of-the-union message wrapped in a sci-fi concept album about a totalitarian government in the not-too-distant future." Trent says, "Essentially, I wrote the soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist." Set 15 to 20 years in the future, the narrative is a projection of what the world may be like if the current culture of fear and endless war continues to escalate. This is an idea everyone can identify with. The story is not limited to the recording however. Several websites have been created which - looking and reading like glitched out artifacts from the future - fill in blanks, tease and raise more questions.

We were tipped off by a friend in Boston that an unofficial MySpace page page was created last night, featuring one leaked track and a remix by little known Cincinnati band Common Man Down. According to Wikipedia, the track "My Violent Heart" was found on a USB drive in a bathroom at a NIN show in Lisbon yesterday. It's quite possible it was planted as part of an elaborate viral marketing campaign, which has so far included hidden messages and codes which direct eagle-eyed fans to URLs and phone numbers. I do love a well executed viral campaign, and better yet, the leaked song is awesome.

No. 01 - Burnished steel,Brushed brass, Textile cables, Globe handcrafted, glass blowing. Voltage: 230 V / 120V Tube lamp

Berlin designer Frank Buchwald's Maschineleuchten Series is what every single light in the house and studio needs to be. Each one of the lamps is manufactured by hand from up to 200 different parts, none assembled in the same way twice.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Our pals in Boston could have used this at their press conference: Hairstyle Names From 1970s Ebony Ad

Ever wonder what happened to all your lighters, cuticle scissors and Swiss Army knives confiscated by the TSA? (Besides the aforementioned artistic pursuits). Ebay of course! Is anyone else feeling a little ill?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I can only imagine Dick Cheney waking up in a cold sweat, screaming and cursing at the thought of oil platforms being repurposed for a massive windfarm off the coast of Texas.

[via Archinect]

Friday, February 09, 2007

The shift of content relevance from traditional websites to blogs becomes interestingly apparent with Google Blog Search.

BitBoy: Thank you!
Andy: Boot Camp

Contributing the epic resurgance of Friday Night Videos, here are a few of my own flick picks to get your weekend started:

No, but that's what makes you interesting

One of the secrets of the universe

Those ah, ah, ah, ah eyes!

Robots resurected from red light recklessness

Saturn dreams. Lazer beams. 21st century sex machines

Window Vista provides a clever parable for how the need for "security" can lead to the voluntary erosion of our quality of life.

I'd consider switching to Apple, but running 3DS Max on a PC emulator is like trying to play tennis underwater.

Reminder: tonight at MOCAD is an evening of underground electronic music with live performances by Ectomorph and Viki.

MOCAD 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit
performances start promptly at 9 PM and are FREE

Saving a Modest Mid-Century Classic

"The community of Grosse Pointe, Michigan has a cultural treasure that is in danger of being demolished - the Central Library, designed by noted architect and educator Marcel Breuer. Such stories are becoming commonplace across the country. Modern architectural gems are slowly disappearing despite the protests of those who recognize their value as part of our shared twentieth century artistic and cultural heritage.

"But there is a chance to save this local landmark from demolition! The Modern Architecture Protection Agency (MAPA) was organized by a group of concerned Archinect members with the express purpose of demonstrating that design ingenuity can lead to solutions that accommodate contemporary needs while respecting modern landmarks. To this end, we have organized a Design Charrette that will show the Grosse Pointe Library's Board of Directors that imaginative solutions can solve their programmatic needs while saving the Breuer-designed facility from demolition."

Read on, including details on the Design Charette - which is open to all and noncompetitive.

Submissions should be emailed to BreuerLibraryCharrette@gmail.com on or before midnight, February 21, 2007. Archinect will host a gallery of submissions.

This effort is brought to you by MAPA and supported by:
The Grosse Pointe Library's Board of Directors
AIA Urban Priorities Committee

[Thanks Neil at M1]

Thursday, February 08, 2007

WK hit by Splasher

Street art is ephemeral by its very nature, but when high quality work which has become a community treasure is vandalized/added to (depending on your point of view) by work which can only be equated to an attention starved monkey flinging poo, it's really... Visual Resistance sums up my feelings about "The Splasher" here.


Sigh. This in itself is a mini-treasure: photo essay of WK Interact creating the murals on Ludlow street in 2002. (The panel on the right may look familiar.)

The Splasher really stepped over the line by invoking Dada, and indirectly Fluxus in his manifesto. Throwing paint and calling people "bourgeois?" What are you, twelve years old and just picked up your first art history book?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ikea Hacker highlights ways to make Ikea's well loved and well hated products a whole lot better - from sturdier combinations to simple DIY modifications that are far less shoddy.

Exploring Niagara's Hyrdroelectric Plants

I've been particuarly interested in the Toronto Power Company Hydroelectric Plant since visiting Niagara Falls last year. The plant has gotten a lot of buzz in the urban exploring community recently, and its 33' dia. brick-lined discharge conduits (which empty just behind the Horseshoe Falls) are somewhat of an UE Holy Grail. The 100 year old plant (no longer in use) worked on simple gravity: taking water from the upper portion of the Niagara River, dropping it down a 10+ storey shaft into turbines, then releasing the water at the base of the falls. It sounds simple enough, but the sheer scale of the project makes one marvel at the power of both nature and engineering.

Toronto Power Co. tailrace by Sleepy City

This past November, Sleepy City published a thorough DIY guide for exploring this subterranean lair [previously posted on Burnlab by Toybreaker.] While reading the always excellent BLDGBLOG last night, I was reintroduced to Sleepy City via Geoff Manaugh's article Urban Knot Theory. The kids went back to Niagara just a week or so ago, and returned with some stunning photos. [edit to the edit: photos are back.]

Ontario Power Co. by Vanishing Point

The Vanishing Point is a great site run by 23 year old Toronto resident "Kowalski." It documents many types of infrastructure and underground systems, but focuses mainly of the drains of Ontario. Kowalski descended into the Niagara tailrace back in 2004, and offers an excellent report here. Also be sure to view his well documented report on the Ontario Power Company hydro plant - located inside the Niagara gorge.

Rankine outfall/Niagara Gorge by Work Songs

Another explorer who has descended into the bowels of Niagara is Andrew Emond, who runs the photo blog Work Songs. Read an interview with Emond here, and be sure to check out his other exploration photography. (I want a mercury vapour rectifier!)

Cant you remember the days when life was all about wanting toys like Monchichis? (I actually had one...dear God)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Beautiful circuit-bent goodness.

Jeff Koons proposes a dangling (and smoking) locomotive for downtown LA.

Addendum to the last post: Yo La Tengo makes their first rock'n'roll video + original video for Birdhouse In Your Soul - one of the first songs nerdy enough to trump Just What I Needed at Dorkwave.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I have a glass of wine, an hour or so to kill, and it's two degrees F outside, which means... Monday Night Videos!

This week [I guess this is a weekly program now, though the particular day of the week is at whim] is focused on female-fronted postpunk bands. So curl up with your sweetie/cat/favorite beverage, etc. and enjoy...

Black parasol + combat boots + that voice = melt...

Cold clear water. (1982)

My body is a weapon. (2001)

When you think your toys have gone beserk, it's an illusion.

I'm pretty sure I was born ten years too late.

Tell me that you adore me.


Is there anyone (male or female) out there not thinking they wish they were Budgie sometimes?

Next to Toybreaker, I think Amada Palmer is one of the artists most qualified to speak for Generation X: Eisbear - live!

Kill Your Idols trailer + Blixa adverts for German home improvement store Hornbach (yes, we posted these on Burnlab years ago, but they're still awesome) 1, 2, 3.

Since the close of Oslo, Detroit's bi-weekly gallery-in-a-bar night Ass Falcon has found a new home with Small's. Tonight's edition is a special evening with the art/music collective Under Cover Eskimo, featuring photography, drawings, video and live sound by Stevie (a.k.a. David Blunk) and Duo Die with DJ Isaac Royale (a.k.a. Rental.)

Small's is located at 10339 Conant, Hamtramck, MI
2.5.07 | 10PM | FREE

Zach age 3

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lots of art this past weekend. Friday was the opening of Shrinking Cities, split between Cranbrook and MOCAD. The two venues complimented each other wonderfully, and I think it's essential to visit both the same day to get the full experience. An extra treat up at Cranbrook is an unrelated exhibit of Gord Peteran's "furnitural" sculptures, which combine found objects, high craftsmanship and good dose of wit.

Make sure to come back to MOCAD this Friday, Feb. 9th for live performances by Ectomorph and Viki, and DJ Christopher Fachini with his Rock Box Sound System. Check the mega list for all Shrinking Cities related events. Exhibitions at both museums run through April 1st.

Saturday afternoon Bethany and I took Eames Demetrios on a tour of some of Detroit's most unusual sites. Mr. Demetrios was in town for the opening of The Eames Lounge Chair exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum and wanted to scout potential Kymaerica landmarks. [Kymaerica is difficult to explain, but is essentially a parallel reality - a different way to look at the world around us. Through installations, historical markers, trading cards and other media, Kymaerica will unfold over time as a broad, non-linear narrative - an elaborate art installation and a modern mythology of sorts.] We managed to pick the coldest day of the year to drive around Delray, Zug Island, the Michigan Central Station and the Heidleberg Project, but we love playing tour guide and had quite a blast... despite the frost bite. Photos can be found here and here. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to hit everything on the list, but Hamtramck Disneyland, Object Orange and the Packard Plant should still be here next time.

p.s. We've had a very positive respone to last week's Friday Night Videos and promise more next time I have a free night.

Jon Ozias and I were on the front page of The Consumerist the other day (looking "pouty, confused, and contemplative all at the same time," according to one reader. Heh.) Actually the entry is all about Cyberoptix. If you read The Consumerist, you know it's rare for them to say something really nice about a product, but they apparently love Bethany's subversive neckwear.

Speaking of Cyberoptix, check out the just-launched Filius Spring '07 collection by designer Alessandro Tomassetti, accessorized by Bethany's new Whiplash line of ties and ascots, exclusively for All Purpose in LA.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I thought this was some bad PhotoShop at first, but someone actually combined two of the ugliest shoes ever designed.

[More discussion on footwear atrocities at Core77]


Friday, February 02, 2007

Downloadable free of charge, Chrome Children Vol 2, a 16-track Stones Throw/Adult Swim compilation featuring two of Detroits finest, Dabrye producing MED (!) and Guilty Simpson produced by Four Tet (!!) along with regulars Madlib, Oh No, and Percee P. One would think a free album would be full of filler but there are some great tracks on this...especially the Mr. Oizo-esque track by Baron Zen.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mr. Doyle, the sign in that video looks an awful lot like a bomb!

Finally got around to uploading that clip I took of Covox performing at the Blip Festival back in December. Enjoy.

Also check out this great cover of Kraftwerk's Tour de France, and Nullsleep's cover of The Model from the tribute LP 8-Bit Operators, due out next week.

More on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force bombs signs:
Buy your own on eBay. (current bid $5,001)
Detail shots on Flickr.
Photos of one found in SF two weeks ago.
Graffiti Research Lab weighs in. (videos included)
Make your own Mooninite with Virtual Lite-Brite.