Friday, November 30, 2007

The Third Mind

Bruno Gironcoli

I picked up the current issue of PALAIS Magazine today, which documents the Palais de Tokyo's The Third Mind exhibition, curated by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.

The exhibition [and magazine-cum-catalog] offers "an MRI scan of his influences, inclinations, and obsessions. This exhibition is constructed as a stroll through a brain in perpetual activity, going straight to the source of the artist's references and discoveries. For the first time his gift for building systems of connections is placed at the service of the works of other artists, not his own. The systems of connections activated as well as the artists and works chosen make The Third Mind an exhibition that no curator/art historian would ever have been able to dream up."

Among the 350 works included are William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin's cult book The Third Mind, the "intimate and strange" wall sculptures of Lee Bontecou, the masks of Nancy Grossman, Andy Warhol's screen tests, and the work of Austrian sculptor Bruno Gironcoli.

Until this afternoon, I was unfamiliar with Gironcoli's work. Shame on me, because he has a museum dedicated to him! From the black and white images presented in PALAIS, my first impression was that this must be the work of an early 20th century surrealist. Upon further inspection (and some Googling,) it makes a great deal of sense that he is Austrian and contemporary. There are certainly hints of Miro and Ernst, but also a uniquely Viennese perversion [which I mean that in the best possible way] that can be seen in everything from the work of H.R. Geiger to the decor of amusements at Prater, rooted in Vienna's distinctive version of Art Nouveau. "Through the transformation of play objects and symbols, often associated with sexuality, the themes of alienation and the absurd are imposed in space. Gironcoli's giant organic and mechanical sculptures are improbable forms that seem to be endowed with a secret life."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bat for Lashes

It's not often I sing high praise like this but the new Bat for Lashes record Fur and Gold just hit me like thunder on a quite night. I wore out my digital copy of "What's a Girl to Do" this summer and today got myself around to buying the whole record. These songs are honey. Dark, somber, and full of fantasy, this is one of the best records of the year...

Here's a videos from the record:

She says her songs come to her in dreams. There could be no other root for music this honest and private.

Besides, how can you not love a band with Bat in the name.

R.I.P. Kevin DuBrow

Leader of Quiet Riot, Dies at 52 [New York Times]


This is one of the best videos i have seen in a long long time...i feel like i´m watching WGPR channel 62 circa 1985...Where is R.J. Watkins??

my 2 new fav bands are one you´ve probably heard of and one maybe not...1st is Modeselektor who manage to dabble in just about every part of electronica and bring a certain charm and class to it (check out "suckerpin", the edits and turn-arounds are genious). 2nd is Paul White, part dilla, part flying lotus, part rjd2, part none of them...and he´s english...? check "let your imagination go" for rjd2 and "a silent cry" for a song dabrye would swoon over (i think?)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Circuit

This apparently came out about a year ago, but I'm first seeing it now. I can safely say that your life won't be complete until you watch this advert. (And make sure the sound all the way up, of course.)

Shell "Circuit" advert
Circuit is a stunning display of Ferrari race cars over the decades. Watch five different Ferrari Formula One cars dating back to 1952, take to the streets of Rome, New York, Rio, Hong Kong and Monaco in a celebration of the ongoing Shell and Ferrari technical partnership.

That's all you need to know. Oh, and that the production budget is estimated at $3.9M. Or roughly 3.9 Enzos. Stream it in super duper high-res here [WMV] or view in somewhat smaller resolution at Daily Motion.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Heidelburg Block Burns...

Arsonist Torches Heidelberg Project House - "Taxi House," down. Sad.

Taxi House and surrounding sculpture (and Cowboy Mark) 4.15.07

Business is GOOD

Business of Death: a GOOD Magazine original.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Elektrofon Records

Yes, please. Do you have a sister?... or a brother?
I've been super duper into Franck Kartell lately. Pretty much everyone on Elekrtofon rocks it Belgium '81.

Par Avon

A quick notice: My e-mail has been down all day. If you're trying to contact me, I'm not ignoring you - I just can't hear you. It's a Media Temple issue: o2 [where I work 10AM to 6PM] and Ghostly [where I work on a spectral plane] share a server there, and both sites have been down since this morning. Until the mail server is up and running again, you can send me postcard.

I'd quite like that, actually.

edit: we're back!


2046 is my vote.

Dystopias On Film

Blade Runner
Blade Runner, 1982

Wired Magazine ranks sci-fi films on their dystopianess and finds that often the darker the movie, the lower the box office draw. I would argue that box office draw is more often than not converse to the quality of a film, and particularly in the case of sci-fi darker=better (which I suppose may just be more of a personal mantra than anything else.)

Get your geek on and take part in the reader poll by adding your favorite bleak visions of the future and ranking other submissions.

Brazil, 1985

Also check out this great list of the Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time.

Alphaville, 1965

Pas/Cal LP exclusive + Richard Panic Interview

I was fortunate enough to preview Pas/Cal's debut LP and interview keyboardist Richard Panic several weeks ago. The album will be titled I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura (not Citizen's Army Unifrom as previously reported,) and will be out early next year.

This is the most anticipated LP from a Detroit-based band in a good long time. It took long enough to complete: about three years. Some of us were wondering if it would ever get done and if the band would still be intact when it was finished. Not only did the wait prove to be worthwhile, but all fears have been put to rest.

I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura is an elaborate and extraordinary piece of work. For those expecting simply an extension of Pas/Cal's EP trilogy, this is not. It is a self-contained album, and somewhat of a departure from the Pas/Cal we're familar with. There are reworks of familiar songs, such as personal faves Little Red Radio and O Honey We're Ridiculous [which was never formally released until now, but a crowd pleaser at live shows,] along with unexpected conceptual works such as the "Cherry Suite." There are moments it gets too proggy for my taste - the overpowering production on The Glorious Ballad of the Ignored detracts from the crisp songwriting for example. Obsessive production, clever songwriting and charisma are Pas/Cal's main strengths, and they strike just the right balance the majority of the time. One of the finest exaples is Citizen's Army Uniform. The LP goes well beyond a synopsis of the band thus far: presenting a new, unexpectedly eclectic and solidly unified vision. If this doesn't make the decade's top 10 lists, the critics simply aren't paying enough attention. In the spirit of Pulp and The Smiths, it's a near perfect pop album: earworm infectious on first listen and still fascinating on the 100th listen.

behind the scenes stills from the "Summer Is Almost Here" music video

Without further ado, here is the interview:

Michael Doyle: The LP has been in the making for almost three years. I imagine that's had an impact on both the personal and creative dynamic of the band. How has the album evolved over that period of time? How does it compare to what you had in mind when you started it, and how do you and the rest of the band feel about it now?

Richard Panic: I don't think this album could have been recorded in less than a year even working full time on it. We were of course only able to squeeze it in after work and during the odd Saturday. Most of my parts were born out of exhaustion and while half dreaming at 2 am on a school night just trying to nail that perfect riff. For me, recording the album over the course of three years was therapeutic. I was able to spend late nights with Casimer and visit his family and kids. Sometimes we wouldn't get anything done musically but cemented a friendship. Some of the songs were recorded several times until they finally reached the product we have now. I think the more time we took the better the record became. The songs became more realized the way songs do with touring bands. We didn't spend any time on the road and we didn't spend much time rehearsing the album so the recording process was the only way for these songs to evolve. Normally a song writer will only fully realize what hes written after performing it many times. For Pas/Cal this was always happening during recording. So to answer the question, it is much better than when we started. I think the band has grown to love it and it is extremely excited to perform it.

Doyle: Some of my favorite things about reading the band's blog are the very technical and quirky narratives about the recording process. One favorite is the story about the Ace-Tone organ, and the trick of turning it off while holding down a key to get just the right sound. LIstening to the album, it's evident that every sound is carefully considered and has a story behind it. What are some of the more unusual techniques and/or happy accidents that occurred during the process?

Panic: Yes, that is also one of my favorite aspects of this record. The techniques employed on this record were far from normal. The piano was abused, punched, and smashed to get sounds out of it. Old Frankenstein, hand built, guitar amps, pianos trying to be guitars, guitars that want to be organs and more microphones than the state of the union address. One story off the top of my head is the studios Rhodes piano. Several keys had missing tines. As a result, I always had to reconsider my arraignments. This would always pose a challenge and end up creating melodies and harmonies I would have never came up with if not for the obstacles of the randomly missing notes. Also see the answer to the Cherry question below.

Casimer in Toronto [photo by Beth Hamill]

Doyle: In an interview once, Casimer talked about the contrast of PAS/CAL's upbeat, "sunny" music and often dark, morose lyrics - in the tradition of The Smiths and Blur. I'm quite drawn to and appreciate this kind of deception. It gives people who listen a little deeper something to appreciate - like they're in a secret club. Is this strictly an aesthetic choice, or a very deliberate one?

Panic: Before I joined this band, I was impressed by the lyrics. Obviously the Smiths were an influence but for me personally Morrissey is something of a religion. It was Smiths lyrics that enlightened and informed me in so many ways. So such a comparison coming from me is really saying something. Caz's writing was the closest anybody I had ever met came to being as inspired as Moz. His lyrical content and stories are different but the essence is there. I love the wit, sarcasm, and slightly skewed perspectives. I read somewhere once that the typical Morrissey fan is a self loathing egomaniac. I think that is true of Pas/Cal and yes it is quite deliberate.

Doyle: In the music as well as the lyrics, there are many layers - a lot going on that can only be appreciated by listening very closely. Yet at the same time, one could hear your music in the background at a bar and be inspired to... well, shake their ass a bit. It works in different ways in different environments. Was this a goal when creating it?

Panic: I think being from Detroit and all being about the same age delivered us into a special musical aesthetic space. It is the sum of the influences of all things Detroit. This city loves motown, hip hop, techno, and dirty rock n roll. This town knows how to party all night and this town has one of the tightest friendliest music scenes anywhere. Pas/Cal has a deep sense of rhythm which is very important to our songs. LTD is the most talented musician I know and brings the funky beats and the big bottom. Caz secretly or not so secretly wishes he could have just been RUN DMC so I think the dance element is just something we could not help avoid if we tried. Its the collision of everything we are and everything we wish we could be.

Panic and Betty in Toronto [photo by Beth Hamill]

Doyle: The band members come from a wide range of musical backgrounds - many from very experimental roots. How did you all decide to be part of a pop band? What were some of the motivations behind that, and how do you think your backgrounds carry over into this format?

Panic: I think in truth everyone in the band is the same. Everyone may have done other things but Pas/Cal was the answer to what everyone really wanted to do. I think its universal within Pas/Cal that our influences could just be listed as "all great music through out time". The band was formed through bonds of friendship and a similar love of music.

Doyle: You mentioned that the "Cherry Suite" was produced by different members of the band. How did that come about and what was the philosophy there?

Panic: The "Cherry Suite" was just an idea to see how a complete group song writing effort would turn out. Normally Casimer is the principal song writer but this time we did an experiment. The only thing that would link these songs would be the word Cherry and we took it from there. We split off into little groups and did our thing, Burgundy, Trevor and I recorded ours in my basement while Gene and Bem recorded theirs in Brooklyn. I am very happy with results and think each song reflects those particular peoples personalities. Two little recording secrets on the Cherry Tree song are as follows: a tin of Dean and Deluca grilling rub was used as our shaker and the bell was none other than a glass of Cabernet.

Doyle: I have to ask now, that release of the album is eminent, what are PAS/CAL's plans? More to the point, will there be a second album - or is it just too soon to ask?

Panic: Yes. there are already more songs written. I think the next album can be completed faster but we always say that. I really don't know what the future holds but everyone in the band has been writing songs lately for Pas/Cal and for other projects that are just blowing me away.

I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura will be released first quater of 2008 on Le Grand Magistery.

O Honey We're Ridiculous live at the Magic Stick video clip here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Magas, Goudron and Perspects tonight at MOCAD

MOCAD has been really getting their events programming together, made evident by this powerhouse of a bill on Thanksgiving Eve:

James Marlon Magas has become a Midwestern superstar for bringing primal, progressive sounds to the world through his previous bands Couch (featuring future Wolf Eyes member Aaron Dilloway), Lake of Dracula, his Many Moods of Marlon Magas, and as co-founder of seminal 90's noise rock label Bulb records. Now, simply known as MAGAS, he builds from his history with harsh no-wave punk, creating his own his own darkly eccentric, electronic music, tinged with shades of dirty Detroit Ghetto-tech, early electro and booty music. Having, in the past, worked producing and releasing records with Adult. on their Ersatz Audio imprint, Magas has now produced and released his own record "May I Meet My Accuser" which "showcases a rougher, more rough hewn sound" focusing on the "thunderous roar of an old ARP [to create] a new style of electronic motor-punk."

Also performing will be Detroit artist-musician, circuit bender, dance floor shaker, and former Ersatz Audio recording artist, Ron Zakrin, as Goudron. Along with Artist, msucian and former member of Ersatz Audio's Le Car duo, Ian Clark will open the evening, performing a live set utilizing electronics, drums and voice, as Perspects.

Thanksgiving at MOCAD
Wednesday, Novemner 21 | 8PM doors | 9PM show time | $9 admission | all ages
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit: 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
Click here for all the details.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Flavorpill Extreme Makeover

This is apparently a week for culture aggregator re-designs. Our good friends, and one of the biggest dogs in the business, Flavorpill have just launched an all new site.

Well, dear readers, pumping up the same enterprising spirit that first brought our weekly updates to inboxes over seven years ago, we've just successfully relaunched Flavorpill. You'll notice a bunch of changes and improvements, both delivered to your inbox and online. We'd become a bit cramped in the old email format, so we revamped and pushed a bunch of our content to our new site, now at (Yeah, we bought a ticket to ride on the dot-com bandwagon - but it'll take us far, wait and see). We’re still the same hardcore culture filter, bringing you only the most exciting events in film, music, DJs, art, theatre, and more. But with all this wide-open web space, we've cast our sights even further, now culturizing your calendars up to a month in advance.

This news comes from one of the masterminds behind this new version: culture savvy code ninja Miguel Senquiz, who created the superb LISTD before getting snatched up by Flavorpill just over one year ago.

New Lowfish LP released + Now We Are Dead tour announced

Hot off the wire: Burn The Lights Out is an uncompromising 12 tracks of new school electro released on New York's uncompromising Satamile label. The first Lowfish full length since 2004, "Burn" sees a darker & harder Lowfish obsessing about the details while staying true to his signature mix of analog electronics, catchy melodies and industrial strength bass. Recorded over 3 years, the title is a reference to machines broken (literally burned out) in the process of making this record.

Lowfish: Burn The Lights Out
Listen to The Controlling Hand and more at LowfishSpace.

+ Toybreaker and I are packing the distortion pedals and blood capsules and hitting the road with our two favorite snow robots to warm some of the coldest cities in North America next January!

Now We Are Dead Tour teaser flyer
Now We Are Dead: featuring Solvent and Lowfish LIVE with DJs Dethlab

Montreal, Zoobizarre - January 18, 2008
Toronto, The Rivoli - January 19, 2008
Detroit, TBA - January 24, 2008
Chicago, The Empty Bottle - January 25, 2008
Milwaukee, Stonefly - January 26, 2008

Watch this space for more details.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


WHY at Work:Detroit Gallery
November 17, 2007 through January 26, 2008

WHY goes beyond a traditional art exhibition to explore the Artist's diverse inspirations. Each artist's recorded and transcribed response to the question "why" will be presented as a compliment to their work. I watched a sampling of videos last night and they were pretty fascinating.

Featured exhibitors include: Shiva Ahmadi, Lynne Avadenka, David Barr, Adnan Charara, Jim Cogswell, Larry Cressman, Topher Crowder, DMC, Denise Fanning, Beverly Fishman, Phoebe Gloeckner, Adrian Hatfield, Sadashi Inuzuka, Charles McGee, Anne Mondro, Janie Paul, Ted Ramsay, Kathy Rashid, Stephen Schudlich, Sintex, Gilda Snowden, Nick Tobier, Ed West, and Elizabeth Youngblood.

Detroit Institute of Arts - Artist Party

Graham W. J. Beal, Director
Invites you to celebrate the New DIA at...

The Artist Party
Friday, November 23, 9:30 p.m.
MidnightKresge Court

Featuring performance by "The Immigrant Suns"

All galleries will be open, admission is free

Artist's Party Host Committee: Hartmut Austen, Glenn Barr, Kristin Beaver, Martyn Bouskila, Taurus Burns, Mitch Cope, John Corbin, Lynn Crawford , Andrea Eis, Mary Fortuna, Scott Hocking, Richard Lewis, Andy Malone, Glen Mannisto, Kathleen McShane, Dennis Nawrocki, Jim Pallas, Valerie Parks, Tom Phardel, John Richardson, Dave Roberts, Phaedra Robinson, Mel Rosas, Mark Sengbusch, Clinton Snider, Gilda Snowden, Sally Schluter, Tardella, Graem Whyte, Robert Wilbert, and Elizabeth Youngblood

Friday, November 16, 2007

Speaking of friends and family

Two of our good friends have shiny new websites well worth checking out:

Housing Operative
See the latest progress on 2126 Peirce Street - a prototype low income single family home on Detroit's East Side.

"731 days, 66 all-nighters and a new show reel later... our new site is up and running. Hope you all enjoy our latest work."


One of the most important parts of the new design is rebuilding our network directory. Since a major focus of this site is where creative disciplines cross, it's exceptionally difficult to break things down into categories, so for now it's simply musick and design, art and culture (which is everything else.) Even with only two categories, there are a few I'm not quite sure where to place.

I know for a fact that I missed some of our good friends with this first round of links. If there are any websites you think are missing, please let me know by e-mail and we'll sort it right out. The network directory will be updated constantly.

Remember that the directory is Burnlab friends and family only. Everyone on the right has at least some loose connection to this site. There are thousands of other cool websites out there, but linking to them all would diminish the specialness of the network.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What's this?

We're finally catching up to 2003 and re-doing the site.

I'm trying Blogger's online tools to create the template, and things will be changing around here for the next few days as we sort it all out. It seems silly to manually enter code or use web publishing software nowadays with all the online tools available. (Of course, I'm sure this will become just as frustrating as we work with it more and discover its limitations...)

Editors will note that there is now a title field. Please use this to help delineate entries. I might even go back and add titles to the previous 4,341 posts over the past six years... or not. There is also a new comments function - something we've been lacking for a long time - which should help promote and focus expanded discussion of a given topic. (All the comments will be moderated to control the amount of Viagra being hocked on the site.)

Due to the new layout, the standard image size has been increased from 360 to 500 pixels across - which just so happens to be Flickr's standard preview size. This should make posting much simpler and provide bigger, better photos and graphics.

I can already say that the on-page quick edit feature and the Burnlab specific search bar at the top of the page totally rock. The site is finally dynamic and self-contained, rather than held together with duct tape and limited by my 20th century coding skills. Viva the future!

Live From Red Hook

Our favorite New York City blog Curbed has been all Red Hook all the time since that New York Magazine article on the degentrification of the next hot neighborhood/sleepiest corner of King's County (depending on if you read about it/actually live there) at the start of the week. Two whole pages and counting of nothing but Red Hook coverage!

On top of that, my entry here from Monday was quoted with David Byrne's thoughts on the Hook.
For real.

Burnlab Red Hook: roof
Burnlab Red Hook: library & studio
Related: It just so happens that I uploaded some photos of the old Red Hook Lab this morning. I've been going through my back-up hard drive the past couple days and archiving old work on Flickr. If you care to peruse - a smattering of design work here, including an unfinished portfolio site, the early UNTITLED flyers and just about every Dorkwave flyer. Still have several gigs worth of old design work and photos to sift through. Man, I love Flickr.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Embers of Gentrification

Red Hook: The Embers of Gentrification
My old 'hood is even more like Detroit than initially thought.

[excerpt from New York Magazine]: For the last two years, people in Red Hook have been waiting - some hopefully, some fearfully - for that wave to crash, the hordes to come, the towers to sprout. Weirdly, though, none of that has happened. In fact, for all the heraldic attention, the neighborhood now seems to be going in reverse. The Pioneer bar has shut down. So has the bistro 360 and, just recently, the live-music venue the Hook. Buildings put on the market for $2.5 million have stayed empty and unsold. Landlords hoping to get $2,500 a month for a Van Brunt storefront - the rent that Barbara Corcoran was asking - have found no takers. In fact, Corcoran's spot sat unrented for over two years, until a local business took the space at the cut rate of $1,800 a month. The perception of the neighborhood got bad enough that in August the Post ran a story headlined "Call It 'Dead' Hook." Somehow the neighborhood went from "undiscovered paradise" to Dead Hook in just over a year.

It's a terrible shame to see some great businesses close in a neighborhood on the brink. Stalled gentrification in itself though is not necessarily a bad thing. Gentrification is like cholesterol: there's a good kind a bad kind. Rather than chain businesses and loftominiums popping up like dandelions (like in Williamsburg and other parts of the city,) a slow, deliberate and neighborhood contextual development can take place. This is exactly the kind of development Red Hook was experiencing, but unfortunately is incredibly rare and difficult to maintain. The only time it works well is when a number of dedicated small investors are doing it at the same time, combined with new residents seeking diverse and legitimate neighborhood businesses. Big development money seems to either come in a reckless flood or not at all.

I don't see either Red Hook or Detroit ever being truly gentrified places, due to blatantly obvious but seemingly insurmountable barriers. Red Hook is a bit simpler: a subway stop less than twenty minutes away would all but change everything (all but housing projects, crumbling infrastructure, etc.) Detroit is more complicated and an awful lot bigger, but there are perhaps quixotic yet theoretically plausible solutions there as well.

I wouldn't call either place "dead" - just "stalled". Neither will see a brush fire of big development any time soon or any of the major changes needed to cure what ails these places, but there is always another wave of optimistic enterpernuers with a bit to invest and the best of intentions on the horizon. Getting the magic formula right is the trick.

Brooklyn's first boutique hotel... on the Gowanus

We haven't specifically done a hotel review here before, but I think this one is pertinent to many of our readers:

We were in New York this weekend for one night (for SV4's birthday - which was a fantastic time BTW,) and instead of couching it with friends we decided to check out the brand new Hotel le Bleu in Brooklyn. It's billed as a discount boutique hotel in Park Slope. At $333 it's hardly a discount hotel in most markets, but a steal in New York - where you can't touch the most basic of rooms for less than five or six hundred a night.

The Park Slope address is pushing it a bit: Hotel le Bleu is located at Fourth Ave. and 5th St., which by all accounts is the Gowanus - an industrial area between the Slope and Carroll Gardens. I'm personally a fan of the Gowanus area (the Gowanus Canal, as legend has it, is "70% guns" and has a great deal of old Brooklyn industrial charm.) The hotel is one block from the restaurants, shops and bars of 5th Ave. in Park Slope and a 10 minute walk to Smith and Court Streets in the other direction.

The decor pulls out every cliche in the book: smooth, minimalist white surfaces accented with dark wood, stainless steel and blue lights... even the canned "hotel lobby house music" in (you guessed it) the lobby. It's nice enough - just not imaginative in any way. For the special internet rate we got a king bed and a balcony. The bed was super comfy, the room was (again) nicely designed and appointed, but neither particularly clever or luxurious. The large west facing windows and balcony provided views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, just beyond local landmarks such as the Eagle Clothing sign and the elevated 9th St. subway platform which straddles the canal. Free wireless internet, above average linens, a big glassed-in shower and an enormous plasma TV were much appreciated touches.

eagle sign adjusted
industrial-awesome fourth floor balcony view toward New York Harbor

The service was very friendly, but somewhat clueless. The hotel has been only open a week, so we'll give them some slack to work out the bugs in this area. It generally tries too hard and fails at being hip, and could try a little harder in other areas. The quirkiness of the area and the high quality of the rooms themselves keep it form feeling like a Best Western that flipped through a copy of Surface Magazine eight years ago, but for the price, the amenities and the location, Hotel le Bleu a solid option for a home-base in Brooklyn. Overall, it's a decent Standard knock-off in an unusual but very convenient area. Best to take full advantage of the local dining, shopping and strolling options - which are some of New York City's finest gems.

I should note that any gripes aside, Brooklyn - South Brooklyn in particular - has a severe hotel shortage, and for being pioneers in this area with a very decent product, our hats off to Hotel le Bleu. My only suggestion would be to embrace the charachter of the neighborhood and not try so hard to be stereotypical "hip".

Some snapshots of the room and photos from Sam's party here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Can't Touch This

It's November, and Microsoft's $10,000 coffee table has yet to surface.

Meanwhile, Jeff Han's company Perceptive Pixel has reportedly been shipping large format multi-touch walls for almost a year. Granted, Han's system will set you back something in the six-figure range, but that's pocket change for clients like this.

Will the Real New Coney Island Please Stand Up

Having as hard a time as us keeping up with the ever-changing proposals for a "New" Coney Island? This may not help, but it's fun: Coney Island Rendering Hit Parade Pop Quiz [from Curbed]

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Burberry Rocks

We're obsessed with Burberry's current ads.
So simple, but the clothes, the models (these two pictured especially... she's clearly French, Belgian, Danish and is that Patrick Wolf?,) everything is right on. I'm apprehensive about saying this, but they're kind of kicking Dior's ass at the moment.

Now, if they would just get rid of that plaid...

*edit: Turns out that is indeed Patrick Wolf.
Go figure.

**edit 2: Patrick's friend is Agyness Deyn... who is indeed English.
[Thanks Jamie Latendresse!]

Things that will never go out of style: smart detail, S&M/military fetish, formal wear, and of course everything black and cut super narrow. They nailed it all here and put it on people who look like they're actually interesting to talk to and hang out with (Deyn herself is a designer and plays in a band, and Wolf is... well, Patrick Wolf.) Bravo.

"Crack, Back and Sack"

NY Mag has all the gory details about political columnist Christopher Hitchens' recent mandatory manscaping for a Vanity Fair article.

"The thing is that, in order to rip, you have to grip. A point of leverage is required; a place that can be firmly gripped and pulled while the skin is tautened..."

You're asking, "why on earth would I want to read about - Christopher Hitchens of all people - having his... er, 'stuff' waxed?"
Yet you're going to anyway.

This is hard hitting journalism, and yet another inexplicable reason why New York is awesome.

Saabs Gone Wild

Saabs Gone Wild!
Even though I just switched teams yesterday and bought my first used BMW (after owning five consecutive Saabs,) this is a beautful story. Kinda warms the heart and brings a tear to the eye. Love the Viking horns.

More photos of the '07 24 Hours of LeMons by Team Saabs Gone Wild here.

Wind Dam

Wind Dam [via Pruned]

From Building Design: The dam, which would be located over a gorge at Lake [Ladoga] in north-west Russia, includes a cup-shaped spinnaker sail, believed to be the first of its kind, which will generate renewable energy by funnelling the wind through an attached turbine.

Click the first link to read Pruned's wonderfully imaginative extrapolations, including new kinds of prayer flags and sonic landscapes.

Drive Wrench Repeat

My friend Karter! (a.k.a. designer Keven Carter) has just released a new limited edition poster series. Check it at

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Kreemy Detroit

Karim Rashid speaks at CCS (4PM) and DJs at MOCAD (9PM) next Friday, November 16th.

Last time I saw him DJ was in July of '02 [<- read this whole archive - quite a timewarp!] at the Cooper-Hewitt. Our very own Dave Pinter played a superb designer techno set beforehand. (Still have a copy of the set-list around here somewhere.) I clearly recall Karim opening with this.

Hometown Pride

Congrats to our hometown of Ferndale Michigan's new mayor Craig Covey!
More about Craig here.

"We are showing the region a new way," said Covey, 50, an an eighteen year resident. "This city embraces diversity, smart growth, efficiency, bi-partisan compromise, and eco-friendly policies," he added. "We reject urban sprawl, partisanship, waste, and the old ways of division and fear among communities."

R.U. Sirius interviews The Woz

[Cyberpunk geek alert] Can't believe I missed this! The Woz interviewed by Mondo 2000 founder R.U. Sirius about the fine art of pranks.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Voltage reviews Control

Max reviews Control/hits nail on head.

It's a restrained, bleak, fairly naturalistic look at the turmoil that overtook a depressive, creative young man in a particular place and time.

Like Max, I too would have liked a deeper look into Curtis's/Joy Division's vision and creative process, yet agree there's only so much you can do in 100 minutes. As one of several Joy Division bio-pics and documentaries, Control does an excellent job by focusing on one area very well.

Bauhaus Tour

Die Nachtzeit betragt die rechte Zeit.

Bauhaus Dessau walkthrough (with nice choice for the soundtrack - first to guess it gets a free high five.)

Goth Juice

Goth Juice: made with the tears of Robert Smith.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: Burton. Depp. Christmas.

I hope they use some of the Stephen Sondheim songs from the musical. What would it be without, "...and we have some shepherd's pie peppered with actual shepherd on top!"?

Los Angeles 2106

Los Angeles 2106 [via Bruce Sterling]
Somewhat related: Los Angeles 2019

Inside 40 Bond

Herzog & de Meuron's first New York project, 40 Bond is complete. NY Times review + slideshow.

The Swiss duo best known for the Tate Modern and the Beijing National Stadium are currently on the boards for a new tower in Tribeca. (No renders yet.)

Love Will Tear Us Apart Poster

Love will tear us apart again.


Friday, November 02, 2007

The Undertaking

FRONTLINE: The Undertaking

Thomas Lynch, 58, is a writer and a poet. He's also a funeral director in a small town in central Michigan where he and his family have cared for the dead - and the living - for three generations. For the first time, Lynch agreed to allow cameras inside Lynch & Sons, giving FRONTLINE producers Miri Navasky and Karen O'Connor rare, behind-the-scenes access - from funeral arrangements to the embalming room - to the Lynches' world for this film, The Undertaking.

Related: Lynch & son & that other TV show.