Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Whatever

So it's about to be 2009 okay, all across the USA. If you had a good year, a bad year, or if you're still waiting till the last second to make up your mind about it, this is your last chance to do something in it. So do that. Happy New Year.

Below is a short entitled Slow Rave (last moments of Trance Energy 2006)
by New York based video artist Damon Zucconi.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas, Burnlabbers, and a very fruitful New Year.

Best of 2008

I know it may be a bit early for the best of post, but I would like to use up my top ten for one album, which is The Secret Life by The New Bloods.

Their bio says they sound a bit like ESG and the Raincoats, but I honestly don't think they can be compared to anything. They are, sort of, super otherworldly, in a frantic dream sequence sort of way. They're one of those bands that in 10 years, all of the good bands are going to cite them as an influence. Trust me, if you can listen to anything in the next 10 minutes, make it this.

They're on the MySpace

They're also on Kill Rock Stars (KRS always a source for awesome)

Also look at this video. It's really cool.


Exyzt BoomBox

BoomBox is the latest installation by renegade media architects Exyzt [who created the mind-bending live visuals for Etienne de Crecy Mr. Black tipped us to earlier this year.]

Exyzt BoomBox
Exyzt BoomBox
Exyzt BoomBox

As the installation is primarily motion-based, you really have to watch the video.

I love everything about these guys - not just what they do, but why and how they do it.

Below is the Exyzt projects manifesto and "action methods":

Be utopian. We want to build new worlds where fiction is reality and games are new rules for democraty. We want to encourage creativity, reflexion and renew social behaviours. If space is made by dynamics of exchange, then everybody can be the architects of our world.

Experiment. Architecture can expand into a transdisciplinary field, where new tools can be explored. Our current recipe : marinate construction with video, music, graphic design, photography and gastronomy, without forgetting to leave space for interaction, freedom, informality and unpredictability. Our projects can result in spatial video games, architectural buildings, musical environments and/or thematic food feasts.

Even if we refuse to enter the current architectural practice which is under economical and political constraints, we do deal with the reality of construction. We design and build ourselves, live in our constructions and leave freedom for visitors to appropriate our designs.

What we produce is open source architecture. We collaborate to give free access to a structured living program and an interface for exchange. We only offer a framework for a direct and immediate emulation between people and space.

Our projects are always in movement. It is this dynamic process based on interaction between people and their environment that really make our projects. We are here to incite you to have conscience of your environment. React and act.

Thank you to : Yona Friedman, Archigram, Dada, Fluxus, hybrid architecture of the world (observed on our trips to Vietnam, Japan, Eastern europe, Africa). We owe you.


We usually choose sites that are not regulated by real estate economy or social control.
Among them : wasteland, leftover spaces, or abandoned spaces.
We also work on flexible/neutral spaces offered by events like festivals or exhibitions.

Even if we usually use identical materials like scaffolding, textiles, photo, video and sound material, our projects are non reproductible products. They are designed and built in the context of location, place and participants.

Architecture is an adventure in time. We like it short and dense so as to focus more on the project. And also because we want to multiply projects around the world!

We experiment endlessly different tools for our interventions like videogames, short cuts, and vj. We attempt to translate media into physical space. A video projection can constitute a facade, a video game becomes a spatial interactive game.
Films are the memories to our constructions.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Surprisingly, KTM X-Bow makes a helluva winter car

KTM X-Bow in the snow

From Jalopnik:

The rear-engined, 240 HP, 1,700 Lbs KTM X-Bow is one of the fastest ways to lap a racetrack. But with no ABS, traction control or even a windscreen, how does it the snow?

Some crazy Scandinavian motorcycle journalists had booked the up-specced, all carbon fiber KTM for a review, but when the car arrived, it started to snow. Rather than be put off by the inclement weather, they suited up in full winter riding gear and took it for a spin. The results are simply epic.

"The car is actually doing fine on the snow. It runs on winter tires, but no studs. Compared to an old Porsche 911 with a similiar set-up (rear engine, rear wheel drive and no weight on the front wheels) it's a beauty for winter driving. The steering is 'ultraquick' and there's no ABS, ESP or any other three letter electronic devices."


Institute Benjamenta

Brothers Quay - Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life ["classroom dance" scene, 1995]

Le Voyage dans la lune

Georges Méliès - Le Voyage dans la lune [1902]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

nospectacle transmission from MOCAD tonight

Curated by Irene Hofmann and co-organized by ICI, New York,
and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, the Broadcast exhibition
runs through Dec. 28 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Broadcast explores ways in which artists since the late 1960s have
engaged, critiqued and inserted themselves into official channels of
broadcast television and radio.

On Dec. 18, nospectacle and Paris '68 present Holiday in the Sun VII
as part of the series of special live transmissions from the museum at
4454 Woodward Avenue, Detroit. Guests include nosoul, noscene and

Music and conversation, 4 - 8 p.m.

Ben Trautman

Ben Trautman 2

From SF Weekly: The mechanical marvels of Ben Trautman defy categorization

Trautman has a Renaissance man's interest in the mechanics of how things work. He is inspired by bird wings, cricket legs, and fish spines, as well as clockworks, camshafts, and linked train wheels. Both elegant and humorous, his complex articulated sculptures are activated manually or by hand cranks (think Model T, not Porsche). Trautman works them like a puppeteer and each has its own distinctive character that is dramatically expressed when it moves. His kinetic sculpture — architectural, mechanical, and bio-morphic — eludes categorization.

"I am a sculptor. I believe in the mass and joints of bodies and bones and skin, but I am interested in how they move as well, the fluidity and quirkiness of organic motion," he explains. "The work inhabits a realm between art and architecture; the work wants to inhabit space, suggest architecture, create spaces for your mind to inhabit. The mechanical aspects of it also remove it from the typical gallery scene where you are not supposed to touch the art, where how things work is not part of the dialogue."

Trautman doesn't have a traditional fine arts background. He studied architecture and some basic engineering at UC Berkeley in the '90s. But he often found his mind wandering in school and would fabricate tiny structural "gadflies" that clamped to ceiling beams instead of working on his assigned projects.

"I was unable to break through all the constraints of architecture to get to the point where I was able to express all the forms and visions that were racing around in my mind. However, I do work with the language of architecture, just at a different scale," he says.

Trautman has three large works on display at the Franklin Institute's Amazing Machine exhibit, alongside several priceless examples of early automata - including Maillardet's Automaton.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jim Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation and The Change You Won't Believe

Wowzers - Kunstler's is the most realistic take I've read yet on the new economy we're facing. I'm lifting the below quote right from Bruce Sterling's blog, because everything is better with Bruce's inserted quips. [Not to get on a tangent, but I'd like an algorithm-based handheld device that would provide one-line Bruce Sterling commentary on anything and everything you point it at: objects, food, ideas, etc. We'd all live with a better - or at least a more challenging - perspective on things.]

Surely the public would be shocked to grasp what's in store. Probably the worst thing we can do now would be to mount a campaign to stay where we are, lost in raptures of happy motoring and blue-light-special shopping.

The economy we're evolving into will be un-global, necessarily local and regional, and austere. It won't support even our current population. (((Let 'em eat fruitcake.))) This being the case, the political fallout is also liable to be severe. For one thing, we'll have to put aside our sentimental fantasies about immigration. (((Unless we're Americans emigrating somewhere else, in which case, hey, sentimental fantasies, who can't love 'em.))) This is almost impossible to imagine, since that narrative is especially potent among the Democratic Party members who are coming in to run things. A tough immigration policy is exactly the kind of difficult change we have to face. This is no longer the 19th century. The narrative has to change.

The new narrative has to be about a managed contraction -- and by "managed" I mean a way that does not produce civil violence, starvation, and public health disasters. One of the telltale signs to look for will be whether the Obama administration bandies around the word "growth." If you hear them use it, it will indicate that they don't understand the kind of change we face.

It is hugely ironic that the US automobile industry is collapsing at this very moment, and the ongoing debate about whether to "rescue" it or not is an obvious kabuki theater exercise because this industry is hopeless. It is headed into bankruptcy with one hundred percent certainty. The only thing in question is whether the news of its death will spoil the Christmas of those who draw a paycheck from it, or those whose hopes for an easy retirement are vested in it. But American political-economy being very Santa Claus oriented for recent generations, the gesture will be made. A single leaky little lifeboat will be lowered and the chiefs of the Big Three will be invited to go for a brief little row, and then they will sink, glug, glug, glug, while the rusty old Titanic of the car industry slides diagonally into the deep behind them, against a sickening greenish-orange sunset backdrop of the morbid economy.

A key concept of the economy to come is that size matters -- everything organized at the giant scale will suffer dysfunction and failure. Giant companies, giant governments, giant institutions will all get into trouble. This, unfortunately, doesn't bode so well for the Obama team and it is salient reason why they must not mount a campaign to keep things the way they are and support enterprises that have to be let go, including many of the government's own operations. The best thing Mr. Obama can do is act as a wise counselor companion-in-chief to a people who now have to leave a lot behind in order to move forward into a plausible future....

(((I wonder if there are any Obama cabinet members who actually read this guy. Do people talk about him in the Davos Forum?)))

We still think that "the path to success" is based on getting a college degree certifying people for a lifetime of sitting in an office cubicle. This is so far from the approaching reality that it will be eventually viewed as a sick joke -- like those old 1912 lithographs of mega-cities with Zeppelins plying the air between Everest-size skyscrapers...

[Okay, maybe just digest that image for a minute before you read on. No, seriously. I'm going to sound wildly optimistic in comparison.]

I've said before that our economy needs to shrink. By that, I mean Western Culture, and America in particular needs an intervention when it comes to consuming endless quantities of shiny new stuff with theoretical money. The mindset is partly to blame on easy five and six figure credit - which has really only been around for a couple decades. When I talk about the economy shrinking, I certainly don't mean lowering standards of living, but do mean reexamining what a good life really means.

I don't think it's hard [at least for the Richard Florida poster children who read and write this blog] to live with little or no credit if we reject a new car every couple years and a 4,000 square foot house being shoved down our throats as The American Dream. The real American Dream is capital F Freedom. Massive debt and mountains of expensive, useless crap anchoring us to a garage aren't the stuff of Freedom. That's entrapment. I'd go so far as to call it the indentured servitude of the middle class. [This is where I say Democrats and Republicans are just factions of the same party, rant about our distorted memory of the 1950s and blame Ronald Reagan for absolutely everything... but I'll skip the details for your sake.]

If the current crisis isn't an intervention, I don't know what is. If there's a second tap on the shoulder, it won't be so soft.

Read Jim Kunstler's whole article here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Detroit By Design 4 Year Anniversary / Cyberoptix Tie Lab show, in pictures

Ms. Toybreaker has a mega-post about last Saturday's Detroit By Design Anniversary Party.

"Thanks so much to the hordes of people that made it to a magnificent show, Detroit By Design's 4 Year Anniversary was our first runway show in a long time. How do you make showing a tiny little accessory into something that people will bother taking a look at? Super interesting models and photographers sure don't hurt. ;) Binding them with hundreds of ties (and tape) is a good start too. Special thanks to my main photographers Amy Hubbarth, Josh ( and Christos ( for capturing all the brou-haha and my models...of course. Without them, neckties just really aren't all that exciting..."


Click here for the rest + tons more photos.

Independent Greenland [get it before it's hot!]

Beyond the Ice [This is about the only place I'd be buying real estate right now.]

Greenland is four times the size of France, but with a population of only 57,000 - and as its huge ice sheets begin to melt, it could find itself sitting on a fortune in oil and gems. Now, it has voted to cut all ties with its Danish rulers.

When it does shake off the last of its colonial shackles, Greenland will become the newest and the most extraordinary country in the world, as well as one of the most isolated. Although its remote north-west coast is little more than 100 miles from Canada's Ellesmere Island, it is nearly 2,000 miles from Europe. Four times the size of France, Greenland contains the longest fjord and largest national park in the world; 85% of its territory is covered with ice. Ten per cent of the world's fresh water is frozen on Greenland's ice-sheet; if it melts, sea levels will rise by seven metres, sweeping away capital cities and countries around the world.

It's a Lex Luthor style strategy - you know: like buying up land along the San Andreas Fault - but without the hijacked nuclear missiles, bad wig and meddling guy in underpants. Hear me out though. Once you figure out how to harvest and sell all that melting fresh water to the expanding desert nations [like France and the United States,] you have not only a mind boggling amount of untapped mineral resources, but a new agricultural region the size of the Midwest - the breadbasket of the 22nd Century. Your formerly frozen Danish colony is now the most powerful nation on the planet. [Time to start learning Kalaallisut.]

"Green Banksy" walks right into power plant and shuts down turbine

"Act single-handedly cuts UK carbon output by 2%" [I love how the Guardian frames this story. In the US he'd be labeled a terrorist in a hot second.]

The £12m defences of the most heavily guarded power station in Britain have been breached by a single person who, under the eyes of CCTV cameras, climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading "no new coal". He walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence.

Yesterday the hunt was on for the man dubbed "climate man" or the "green Banksy". Climate activists responsible for hijacking coal trains and breaking on to runways said they knew nothing about the incident.

"It looks from the CCTV like he came in via a very remote part of the site by the sea wall and got over the double layer of fences."

The intruder then crossed a car park and walked to an unlocked door. But instead of going to the power station's main control room, where about eight people would have been working, he headed for its main turbine hall, where no one would have been working at that time.

Within minutes, says E.On, "he had tampered with some equipment" - believed to be a computer at a control panel - "and tripped unit 2, one of the station's giant 500MW turbines".

"This caused the unit to go offline," she added. "It was running at full 500MW load and the noise it would have made as it shut itself down is just incredible. CCTV shows that he then just walked out, and went back over the fence.

One word: cohones.
"It could be that no one has taken responsibility because they were so frightened by the noise it would have made. It's probably taken them a week just to get over the shock."

E.On, which wants to demolish the station and replace it with Britain's first new coal-fired power station in 34 years, said it was reviewing security, but doubted it was an inside job or the work of a big environment group. The intruder may have had some experience at one of Britain's other major power stations, insiders say.

"He left a banner but it was a real DIY job. It was really scrappy. This was an old bedsheet with writing done out of gaffer tape. It was very crude," said Highmore.

"People at the station are gobsmacked," she added. "This is a different league to protesters chaining themselves to equipment. It's someone treating a power station as an adventure playground."

Wait, what... they're not?? [Okay, there is a big difference between getting your situationist kicks by having tea time in an abandoned factory and shutting down a portion of the UK's electricity grid with the supreme coolness of some kind of eco-Batman. I don't agree with his actions, but I gotta admire his method.]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Minilogue - Animals

Minilogue - Animals [2008]

Just lovely.
Via James at KinoSport.

Secret Vintage Junkyard in Switzerland

Swedish junkyard

Situated in Kaufdorf, Switzerland exists a peaceful junkyard, holding over 500 classic machines hailing from the 1930s through the 1960s. The government wants it paved but locals want to preserve this history.

Legend has it a car dealer, buying cars for parts, couldn't bring himself to scrap these beauties and began parking them in his yard. The dealer retired in the 70s, passing the business on to his son, who left the cars untouched.

As is the common plight of every forest junkyard, the Swiss government says the grounds must be cleared, paved and sealed to prevent fluids from seeping into the ground. Local crusader Heinrich Gartentor says rare trees and moss will be destroyed if the car graveyard is cleared, not to mention all of the steep automotive history that will be lost in the process.

The cars are agreeably too far gone for restoration, but the collection is arguably more thorough than most car museums. The current owner of the yard agrees to pave the area holding newer models, but refuses to disturb the vintage iron. We say keep fighting the good fight!

More gorgeous pics at Jalopnik

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Retro Burnlab

As some of you may know, I've been working from home most of this week, on pain killers due to having two wisdom teeth extracted from my head. [Age 36 is not the ideal time to have this surgery, let me tell you.]

Unable to concentrate on much else, I stumbled across some old Burnlab pages from the totally amazing two years I spent working in Singapore. I'm very glad to find these pages weren't lost in the ephemeral information tidepool.

Without further ado, BURNLAB MOBILE LAB, 2001

This is Agostina

From three of our favorite Mikes: This is Agostina

Agostina is new font designed by Mike Cina. The fabutastic promo video was created by our old friend Mike Young, with sound design by our even older friend Mike Madill [who is perhaps these days best known for the award winning sandwich that bears his name at Mudgies Deli in Detroit.]

See the video here and buy the font here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

INSENSATE film project by SHOWstudio + Gareth Pugh

insensate by SHOWstudio+Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh and SHOWstudio present INSENSATE

Conjuring a macabre phantasmagoria that unfurls before your eyes like a sinister but beautiful bloom, Insensate showcases the brutal geometry and raw creative fire of Gareth Pugh's A/W 2008 collection to truly bewitching effect. Set to a thundering, atmospheric soundtrack specially devised by artist Matthew Stone and utlising Pugh's twin cinematic inspirations of Predator and The Wizard of Oz as an aesthetic starting-point, this film takes us on a mesmerising, monochrome whirlwind ride, creating a chilling yet compelling world of complex reflection, refraction and glittering incandescence melting in and out of inky black.

Artois: Le Passage

This stunning animation for Stella Artois was created by Alphabetical Order.

Le Passage is an interactive animated short film inspired by early 20th poster design and constructivist cell animation.

The film guides you through the content of the site. The story is told through a character representing the Artois brewmaster, as he takes a typographical journey through the world of Artois on a quest to fill his chalice with the fabled Artois liquid.

The Stella website is also wonderful - like the opening titles of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Josh Keyes



I've been meaning to post about Josh Keyes for quite a while. His symbolically loaded and beautifully executed paintings are like illustrations for a science book from a dystopian future.


"I often think of the paintings as stage sets that I use to play out my thoughts, feelings, and ideas about global events and personal experience. The scientific format I use in my work screams rationality and precision. It suggests and stands for the intellect or empirical knowledge, which is concerned with the absolute model of things in the world. I use this dry form of illustration to contrast the personal and emotional response I have to current events and issues. The polarity between the hard, factual, realism, and emotional expression creates tension. The intersection between things known and things felt is what interests me. The scientific, dissection and cross section model expresses a certain hidden or underlying beauty of how all things are interrelated. A cross section can expose the root structure of a tree, or express geological time through the different layers and strata of the earth and soil."

"My intention is to create work that asks questions about the implications of urban sprawl and its impact on the environment. I am interested in creating psychological narratives set in closed systems that express the behavior and interaction between humans and animals. The dystopic model provides a dynamic playing field where I can explore the possible future effects that human activity might have on ecosystems, human populations and the geography of the earth."



Thursday, December 04, 2008

A positive twist on Sturgeon's Law

"10% of everything is extraordinary."

[I might make this the new tag-line. What do you think?]

previously: Ninety percent of everything is crap.

Inclusive [Eamespunk] Objects

Inclusive Objects by David Pompa
Inclusive Objects by David Pompa, 2008

From 3rings:

Pompa envisions the collection as an antidote to workplace drear: “why do we always think about functions
when we talk about inclusive design? Interaction is often reduced to a functional basis; this collection is an approach to help objects and humans interact on an emotional level with the aim of stimulating creativity.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Core77 Gift Guide

Our cohorts at Core77 have just published their 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.

C77 has always provided a distinctively whimsical, often practical, sometimes edgy and certainly nerdy alternative to the troves of trendy design object du jour roll calls, but they've really topped themselves this year. There are too many highlights to mention, so just head over and check out all the goodness.

core77 gifts 1
core77 gifts 2

Monday, December 01, 2008

Richard Florida: "Financial recovery needs a massively different mindset."

I've made an effort to lay off politics and industry in recent days, but Dr. Florida summed up almost everything I've been thinking in his most recent article.

The recent collapse of banking and manufacturing were not only inevitable, but a rare opportunity to approach the 21st Century economy with fresh thinking. We need to take bloated old systems off life support and stop throwing money we don't have at them in order to preserve stagnant, age-spotted power structures and some sick sense of nostalgia. [The 80s weren't really that good, and the 50s were even worse... unless you were a rich white guy with an oppressed wife.]

We should seize this time to do what we do best: be innovative. American business and government needs to take actions relevant to contemporary circumstances if we want to not only progress humanity [which should be the whole point of this life on earth thing,] but to survive. Giving money [which we will have to borrow from China] to banks and car manufacturers is only going to prolong the pain. Let those who've sown their own destinies through greed and lack of vision fail, and reward and support new thinking in every possible way we can.

The hard lesson is that we need to consume less, not more. Our economy needs to shrink. We should make fewer and smarter purchases. With few exceptions [such as higher education] there's not much any of us really need to borrow money for. Nobody needs a new car. If you want to be "green", buy a used car with good mileage. It's environmental footprint is astronomically less than a brand new hybrid, with it's toxic batteries and all. Until we're all driving hydrogen fuel cell cars powered by wind, everything else is simply corporate public relations to make you feel good. Even the idea of home ownership is an outdated notion tied to an outdated idea of lifelong employment in one location. That "great investment" is just an anchor in 20th Century industrial mentality.

It's not just an economic shift, but a cultural shift that happened more than a decade ago. The economics are just starting to catch up.

I'm going to stop ranting and let Mr. Florida speak for himself:

The Way to Recovery

What’s needed now is to massively shrink expenditures on houses and cars to free up spending for newly emerging goods and services. Part of this rollback will naturally occur as the real-estate bubble deflates and housing prices fall. But we need to take it a step further if we truly want more demand for new kinds of economic activity.

Our reliance on single-family homeownership is a product of the past 50 years – and the experiment has outlived its usefulness. Not only is it now readily apparent that not everyone should own a home, and that the mortgage system is a big part of what got us into the current financial mess, but homeownership also ties people to locations, making it harder for them to move to where work is. Homeownership made sense when most people had one job and lived in the same city for life. But it makes less sense when people change jobs frequently and have to relocate to find new work.

Housing production remains a cottage industry that needs to be brought into the 21st century. As a sector, it holds huge potential for making environmental gains, reducing energy use and overall consumption, and introducing new technology.

Government can also encourage a shift from ownership toward flexible rental housing. Instead of bailing out homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, tying them to houses and locations for life (and taking up 38 per cent of their income or more), why not take the houses off their hands and rent them back at a much more affordable rate? This would allow people to move more freely as their job, career and lifestyle prospects change. Government incentives spurred a massive increase in homeownership after the Second World War; it can do the same for the expansion of new, more flexible forms of rental housing today.

Both energy and transportation must become significantly cheaper before we can shift into a new era of economic growth. Every economic revolution has been premised on the rise of new and less expensive sources of energy to power growth, and a drastic reduction in the costs of moving goods, people and ideas. The car will surely remain part of our life, but we need to improve rail, subway and bus transit. We should also make a major effort to reduce widespread commuting patterns.

Imagine a future where people live in plug-and-play rental housing units – able to move quickly when they change their jobs, with many shrinking their commute to a short walk or bicycle trip and many others able to trade in their cars for accessible mass transit.

Last but not least, government investment can help to revolutionize the way we develop people. Human capital investments are the key to economic development. But many of our schools are giant creativity-squelching institutions. We need to reinvent our education system from the ground up – including a massive commitment to early-childhood development and a shift away from institutionalized schooling to individually tailored learning. This will require a level of public and private investment of a magnitude larger than the widespread creation of public schools and modern research universities a century ago.

Only by catalyzing such a wholesale shift in our underlying socio-economic system – and thereby unleashing the massive innovative and productive potential of our time – can government investment restore our economy.

Black Friday... meh. It's Blue Monday!

I don't think we've ever written about a sale before, but figured you'd want to know about this one. Everything at the Ghostly Store is 40% off today only. [That's a good chunk of change.] Simply use the coupon code TGSHOLIDAY when checking out.

Be sure to see new releases like the Centrifugal tee designed by Mike Cina and the brand new Kll Memory Crash EP Of Fire.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Put a Spell On You

[Oh, yes.]

Sreamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put a Spell On You [live, 1959]

Nick Cave - I Put a Spell On You [live, 1984]

Nina Simone - I Put a Spell On You [live, 1968]

Marilyn Manson - I Put A Spell On You [fan video, 1995]

Bryan Ferry - I Put a Spell On You [1992]

Setherial - För Dem Mitt Blod [live, 2006]

[I'm not sure if that last one is really a cover or not, but it came up in the search and rules.]

Cabaret Voltaire

Not these iconoclastic heroes, but these iconoclastic heroes. [We'll very likely revisit the former sometime in the near future.]

In Cabaret Voltaire's case, their early training as media guerillas vested them with the mobility to slip in and out of the mainstream earshot almost at will. As yet to be properly pinned down, they've sustained a campaign of civil and dancehall disobedience through more than 15 years. Filtering influences as diverse as Stockhausen, Can, early Roxy Music, Velvet Underground and James Brown through various tape and electronic devices, they have in turn infiltrated all manner of heresies and subversions into the often conservative territory of dance music.
-Biba Koph, 1990

[I have a cross stitch version of the above quote framed and prominently displayed in my house - like some might have Footprints in the Sand or the Lord's Prayer or some shit.]

Cabaret Voltaire - Nag Nag Nag [1979]

Cabaret Voltaire - I Want You [1985]

Cabaret Voltaire - Ghostalk [1985]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Doing it Right: Ford [Yes, Ford.]

Ford Scion Looks Beyond Bailout to Green Agenda

[Poor choice of words on the New York Times' part. Did your copy editors not know Scion is another car brand, or did they just think that was a quaint play on words?]

Bill Ford Jr. wasn't viewed as an effective manager when he was CEO of his family's company, but the guy has vision the other players in town could learn a lot from. Ford clearly has a powerful design team in J. Mays and Freeman Thomas [who penned the Audi TT and New Beetle while together at Volkswagen AG,] Peter Horbury [who accomplished the no-small-task of making Volvos sexy,] and major league talent like Anthony Prozzi and Camilo Pardo. Even with arguably the best design staff in the business, Ford is in similar hot water as GM and Chrysler right now. The two things Ford Motor Company have going for them is 1) enough liquidity to survive the next year, and 2) [more importantly] an aggressive plan to make products which are relevant to not only consumers, but to the next president's vision for energy independence and start-up mentality leadership.

Mr. Ford has been working behind the scenes, meeting one-on-one with Mr. Obama in August, conferring with his senior economic advisers, and teaming up with Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan to push a vision of a leaner, greener auto industry.

With Detroit on the brink of disaster, the great-grandson of Henry Ford could play a critical role in how the Obama administration decides to assist the companies financially and shape broader energy policies.

“One of the things that I feel very encouraged about is the president-elect and where he’d like to take this country in terms of energy, and I completely buy into his vision,” Mr. Ford said in an interview, his first since the Big Three approached Washington lawmakers about a rescue plan.

He can afford to take a longer view because Ford, unlike G.M. and Chrysler, does not need an immediate infusion of government aid to stay in business.

While Ford’s chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, joined his counterparts from G.M. and Chrysler in testifying before Congress last week, Ford is not asking for an immediate bailout from Washington for now.

The company has enough cash on hand — $18.9 billion, as well as a $10.7 billion line of credit with private lenders — that will keep it running through 2009 without cutting development of its next generation of more fuel-efficient cars.

While Ford cannot continue to burn cash indefinitely, it is also not on the verge of bankruptcy like G.M. and Chrysler. And the health of the company presents a unique opportunity for Mr. Ford, 51, who has been chairman of the company since 1999 and served five years as its chief executive.

“We have a plan that is high-tech, product-driven, which is a fuel economy plan,” he said. “And we have kept that plan in place under these tough conditions.”

In August, Mr. Ford shared those plans with Mr. Obama, then candidate for president, when he was in Lansing, Mich., for a speech on energy policy.

“We talked about the electrification of our industry and other fuel-economy issues,” Mr. Ford said. “He’s a great listener and he asked all the right questions.”

Mr. Ford said they focused on a few specific, industrywide issues. One was government help to put more electric cars on the road.

“One of the things we need to sort out as a country is batteries,” Mr. Ford said. “We really don’t want to trade one foreign dependency, oil, for another foreign dependency, batteries.” The main producers of batteries are Asian manufacturers.

He does not profess to have Mr. Obama’s ear yet on the how to save Detroit. But Mr. Ford is keeping close contact through Governor Granholm, a member of the president-elect’s economic advisory team.

“I think he is a key player,” she said of Mr. Ford. “He has tremendous credibility with respect to the serious issues related to renewable energy and energy security for this nation.”

Mr. Ford has been Detroit’s most vocal environmentalist since becoming the first family member to run Ford since his uncle, Henry Ford II.

Even when Ford was living off profits from its big sport utility vehicles, he was pushing to take the company in a greener direction. Ford was the first automaker to bring to market a hybrid version of an S.U.V., the Ford Escape, and it is introducing a new line of Ecoboost engines next year that will cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.

The Ford family controls the automaker by virtue of its 70.85 million shares of Class B stock, which carry 40 percent voting rights for the entire company.

But the family’s wealth has taken a drastic hit as losses have mounted at Ford and its stock price has plunged.

The family’s Class B shares were worth $101 million at Friday’s closing price of $1.43 a share, down 81 percent from a year ago when the shares had a value of $532 million.

Mr. Ford also owns 5.2 million shares individually, which have dropped in value to $7.4 million from $39 million.

“The family clearly has taken an enormous financial beating,” Mr. Ford said. “But the family still is here and standing behind the company.”

The company is in better shape than G.M. and Chrysler, but just barely. Ford has lost $24 billion since 2006, and it reduced its cash cushion by $7.9 billion in the third quarter this year.

Two years ago, Ford was seen as the riskiest bet in the industry to survive when it mortgaged nearly all its assets, even its blue Ford oval trademark, to secure a huge line of credit.

Now, with the collapse of the credit market, G.M. and Chrysler cannot borrow money on their assets and could face insolvency by the end of the year without federal assistance.

Mr. Ford said his company was interested in being able to access government loans only if the economy continues to deteriorate. “We’re trying very hard not to need it,” he said. “Our plan is to have our own liquidity and get through without it.”

Ford has already undergone an extensive revamping at the direction of Mr. Mulally, who succeeded Mr. Ford as the automaker’s chief executive in 2006.

Since then, the company has cut 40,000 jobs, sold off three of its brands and begun an effort to transform its truck-heavy vehicle fleet with an influx of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Mr. Ford remained in Detroit last week as Mr. Mulally endured two days of harsh criticism by lawmakers over Detroit’s financial plight, along with G.M.’s chairman, Rick Wagoner, and Chrysler’s chairman, Robert L. Nardelli.

In the interview, Mr. Ford said that some of the skepticism from Congress about the industry’s future was justified. “I completely understand the frustration that Americans feel and it came out loud and clear this week,” he said. “I don’t think we told our story terribly well.”

Knives Out

On Friday, November 28 at 8pm, Cranbrook Art Museum will welcome nospectacle for a program loosely based on "Exploding Plastic Inevitable," the multimedia happening organized by Andy Warhol in the mid-1960s and first performed at a dinner for the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry. The show will include reinterpretations of music by The Velvet Underground, visual elements that recall the milieu of Warhol's Factory and original sound and video material by Chris McNamara.

Formed earlier this year by Walter Wasacz, Jennifer Paull and McNamara, nospectacle performed at the Movement Festival, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's 8 days in June Festival and with dubstep innovator Kode9 at Pontiac's Crofoot Ballroom, as well as at Cranbrook Art Museum during the exhibition "Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future." Walter Wasacz is writer/editor/photographer and co-founder of the sonic collective art Paris '68; Jennifer Paull is a sound/visual artist; and Chris McNamara is a sound/visual artist, founder of the electronic music group Thinkbox and professor at the Screen Arts and Cultures Department at the University of Michigan.

The event is free for members and included with admission for non-members. A cash bar will be available.

Dandy Andy in FilterD
Event Info on Detroit News calendar

New Circlesquare

Circlesquare [a.k.a. Jeremy Shaw] has just launched a website for the upcoming LP Songs About Dancing and Drugs.

You can download the first single Dancers and preview five of the eight tracks - my personal favorite so far being Ten to One. Be sure the watch the behind the scenes video, in which Shaw discusses everything from his creative process to the LP's name ["Songs of/about..." is in the tradition of Leonard Cohen, Big Black and Talking Heads.]

Songs About Dancing and Drugs will be released on January 19th by !K7 Records.

Circlesquare - Fight Sounds Pt.1 [2006]

Survival Research Laboratories turns 30

SRL "The Demanufacturing Plant"
"The Demanufacturing Plant" from SRL's first show, Machine Sex

2008: SRL turns 30!

Id like to thank all those who have helped me make SRL what it is,
both voluntarily and involuntarily. Im still having a blast. Even
moving all 160 tons of my stuff to the new shop in Petaluma has been
kind of fun. In a few more weeks, Ill be totally out of here and SRL
will lurch into the next 30 year chapter.

2038 here we come!

Mark Pauline

[via Boing Boing]

Friday, November 21, 2008


[A brief reprieve from me bitching about people doing it wrong, to present something wonderful.]

JG Thirlwell and the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots rehearsing for the Robosonic Eclectic concert in 2007:

There's a big 'ol QuickTime of the performance at The Whitney + lots more musical robots here.

[Thanks Andrew for the LEMUR tip!]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And then sometimes, congress really gets it right

Congressman Urges Automaker CEOs To "Jetpool" When Heading To DC Begging For Money

There’s a delicious irony of seeing private luxury jets flying into DC, and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses. It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. Kind makes you a little bit suspicious as to whether or not…we’ve seen the future. There’s a message there. Couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled to get here? It would have at least sent the message that you do get it.

There's so much I could say about the state of the auto industry [living and working in Detroit and it directly affecting my livelihood and all,] but I don't even know where to start. Bless you, Congressman Gary Ackerman for cutting right to it. Unfortunately, the three men you were addressing will never get it through their skulls that this is indeed all their fault. [Not them specifically, but the deep rooted rotted corporate culture of Detroit.] They will smugly mock you later on their private jets, Congressman Ackerman - even as those jets are being nicknamed Titanic, Hindenburg and [insert third major disaster of choice here.] Going before congress and putting their arrogance and ineptitude on display was probably the worst thing the industry could have done for itself.

In unrelated news: the 40 mile range Chevy Volt is still not ready, BMW's 150 mile range Mini E was launched today [with 200 already shipped] and Toyota will debut the third generation Prius in a few weeks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nah, Lieberman is still the USA's biggest douchebag

Though, this spineless, do-nothing Senate is now in the running. After a vast majority of Democartic Senators voted to let Lieberman keep a key security chairmanship, he didn't even publicly apologize. If anything, he sounded vindicated and defended his statements. [Remember, these are mostly the same folks who voted for the *hugely successful* banking bail-out and invasion of Iraq.]

If Hillary becomes Secretary of State, the hope honeymoon is officially over. Welcome to business as usual.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I thoght it was going to be a cage-match between Joe Lieberman and Bob Lutz for biggest douchebag in America... but enter The Purple One

Prince speaks out for Prop. 8

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”

Prop 8 has helped unearth the seething homophobia in much of black America. Even for a dandy, feminized midget like Prince. (Actually, black dandy, feminized midgets need to express more homophobia than most.)*

"The irony, it burns." The pop star who made his name on his effete, androgynous "Is he gay or not?" persona - now he hates us. Here's a guy who made zillions on some of the most deliciously filthy music in history (Head, Sexy Motherfucker, Erotic City, Darling Nikki) who now says that "people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever" were justifiably wiped out by God.

*I'm rather disgusted by the media's continual use of "black America" on this issue. Black Americans didn't vote for Prop 8. Bigots did. They come in every size, shape and color [even purple,] and all taste bitter.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So Long, Phoenix

So long, Phoenix

National Public Radio's Weekend America producer Ocean Kaylan delivered a moving tribute to the Phoenix Mars Lander today.

An excerpt:

...Now, I'm not a marshmallow. I like math and science. When the fox catches the rabbit, I get the circle of life thing. But space exploration seems pure to me in a way that little else does. I believe in the Constitution but I'm skeptical of government. I believe in a higher power but I'm skeptical of religion. I believe in beauty but I'm skeptical of "art."

I think when I find something believable, something pure, something honest, I can't help but love it. And when something I love dies, even if it's just servos and wire, I feel it.

Phoenix, you weren't ever going to make us rich. You weren't going to produce any product to sell. You weren't going to give us some new power. All you were doing was gathering data to help answer very small parts of very big questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? How does our universe work?

Friday, November 14, 2008

19th Century Vampire Killing Kit

19th Century Vampire Killing Kit

This beautiful real deal 19th Century Vampire Killing Kit recently sold at auction for nearly $15,000.

Also see the killing kit at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA and Alex CF's fantastical constructions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interim post: Sorry I haven't been writing much about design, art or music the past few days. Honestly, it's just not been of much interest to me, considering the big picture issues in society and culture right now. Rest assured, we'll get back on mission soon. [Thanks to Devan for posting some art this week!]

I have an inbox full of probably good stuff that's getting neglected, and I feel bad about that. If you have some creative output to send, best to wait a couple weeks. I think I need to get back to basics to get inspired.

Speaking of getting back to basics, I'm loving Mr' Sterling's Futurist manifesto postings. The Manifesto of Futurist Woman is a brilliant retort to F. T. Marinetti's original manifesto:

Humanity is mediocre. The majority of women are neither superior nor inferior to the majority of men. They are all equal. They all merit the same scorn.

The whole of humanity has never been anything but the terrain of culture, source of the geniuses and heroes of both sexes. But in humanity as in nature there are some moments more propitious for such a flowering. In the summers of humanity, when the terrain is burned by the sun, geniuses and heroes abound...

The Important Project

I recently came across The Important Project, a fantastic new site for social and political discourse run by our old friends James Reeves and Candy Chang of Red Antenna.

The Important Project is an organization that addresses political issues through research, writing, and design.

Check it out!

Post-election thoughts, part 2: A Case For Holbrooke

With the spotlight now on potential cabinet appointments, I'm surprised Richard Holbrooke's name isn't all over the news as the assumed Secretary of State. There's been a lot of talk about John Kerry. Kerry is a nice guy, but do we really want a nice guy leading tough negotiations in Tehran and Moscow? Certainly the most critical, world changing talks since the end of the cold war may occur in the coming months. If there was one position to fill with a hawkish bad-ass like Holbrooke, this would be it. Holbrooke was born for this job, and I personally couldn't think of anyone I would rather have negotiating on my behalf.

Here's a very insightful NY Times Magazine profile from 1995: Taming the Bullies of Bosnia

An excerpt about his early relationship with Milosevic:

Slobodan Milosevic, whose virulent nationalism unleashed the wars of Yugoslavia's destruction, is a very seductive man. Warren Zimmerman, the last American Ambassador to Yugoslavia, maintains that he deceives everyone once. He is a deal maker, like Holbrooke, quick, sometimes funny and extremely hospitable. He does not have Marcos's yacht, but he does have a couple of hunting lodges where he likes to entertain visiting dignitaries. Frasure, who spent many hours with the Serbian President, was plied with so much food that he once cabled Washington with the message, "The lambs of Serbia will be delighted that I'm leaving!"

When Holbrooke and Milosevic first met in mid-August, a rapport was quickly established. Frasure, just a couple of days before his death, described the relationship to the chief European envoy, Carl Bildt: "The two egos danced all night."

Holbrooke, perhaps more than anyone in the Administration, knew exactly with whom he was dealing. He had been in Banja Luka in August 1992, where he witnessed "an insane asylum, with all these half-drunk Serb paramilitaries and middle-aged men going and raping and killing young Muslim women." Later he was given a wooden carving from a Muslim survivor of a Serbian concentration camp. The pose, head bowed in abject humiliation, captures the Serbian terror of the war's first months, carried out largely by paramilitary forces equipped and financed by Milosevic. Holbrooke wrote about it for this Magazine and put the sculpture in his Washington office.

Asked if he thought of the carving when dealing with Milosevic, Holbrooke becomes defensive; when he's defensive, he does not answer questions. "The sculpture's sitting there. I point it out to people," he says. When the question is pursued, he says: "No, it's not that linear. I don't sit there looking at one of those guys and thinking of this piece of wood. You wouldn't, either. But I understand the connection. I'm sure we all do."

Holbrooke does care. There can be little doubt about it. He saw what happened to Bosnia's Muslims. But it was also clear to him that Milosevic was the key to closing down the war because he was the person who wanted most badly for it to end, so that trade sanctions against Serbia would be lifted.

This realization became overwhelming on Aug. 29 in Belgrade. NATO had embarked on its first serious bombing of the Serbs, following an Aug. 28 mortar attack on the Sarajevo market. Holbrooke had hesitated about going to Serbia in these circumstances, but he says he recalled Nixon's bombing of Hanoi on the eve of the SALT II signing in 1972. Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet President, signed anyway.

Milosevic does not even mention the bombing. He produces a piece of paper that becomes known as the "Patriarch document" because it is endorsed by the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch. In it, Karadzic and Mladic cede authority to Milosevic to negotiate on their behalf. The Serbian hall of mirrors -- the same one that put Holbrooke's team on Mount Igman just 11 days earlier -- had finally been shattered. A serious negotiation had become possible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post-election thoughts, part 1: Reason 1, Fear 0

The election is over and I'm still inspired that last Tuesday was a such an overwhelming victory for rationalism in a country that has been driven by irrational fear for so long. I'm also overwhelmingly impressed with the thorough, rigorous and transparent transition process. My greatest concern about Obama was that he would be a wishy-washy Clintonian centrist in progressive clothes. From what I've seen over the past week, I'm more than happy to be proven wrong. Within days, the unprecedented went live. In a clearly deliberate shift, the campaign's font Gotham has been replaced with a more "presidential" serif font. The site outlines policy agendas in great detail, calls for citizens to be part of the process and is very up-front about new public service programs. If says anything, it's "We have a plan and we know what we're doing. Here it is. Be a part of it."

The other thing that impressed me this week was an old interview with Obama on his faith. Now, I don't think anyone who publicly believes that an invisible man in the sky rules the world is mentally fit to make decisions for themselves, let alone for the most powerful nation in the world - but, even the founding fathers grudgingly acknowledged the political necessity of religion. [They had to deal with the nutty Puritans, and we have the Christian Right.] Obama's answers in the above interview seemed very much in line with Jefferson, Franklin and Adams. Although he calls himself a Christian, Obama comes off more as a spiritual humanist in the interview, citing Ghandi and King, and skirting the prayer question to talk about searching himself for answers. His spirituality seems to be more Jungian than anything.

To put it mildly: I think this is going to work. And I'm very proud of this country for choosing reason over fear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tory Fair

Cast rubber sculpture by Arlington Mass. based artist Tory Fair. I ran across the work randomly and am very impressed with the execution, as well as the solid conceptual vision throughout her most recent gallery show in Boston.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Faking the Books

Some lovely rainy afternoon music for you.

Lali Puna - Faking the Books [2004]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cooliris is really cool

cooliris screen grab 1

Cooliris is browser plug-in which allows you to visually browse web content wickedly fast in a fluid 3D interface.

You can browse images on Flickr, Google or deviantART, for example, by scrolling and zooming the 3D wall [which works especially well with two-finger scrolling on multi-touch laptop pads.] The images load lightning fast because you're not downloading all the other data that tags along and slows down normal web pages. If you find an image you'd like to save or see in context, simply drag and drop it on the little arrow icon which will take you to the original page. Toggle back to the Cooliris interface via the button on your toolbar.

I was skeptical upon first launch when it took over my screen from corner to corner. [There are few things I hate more than websites or applications that launch at full screen.] I quickly got over this. The interface is phenomenally intuitive and responsive. Although it looks like CoverFlow, Cooliris is considerably more sophisticated and useful.

The skeptic in me next asked, "Well, this is great for browsing images and short videos, but what about other content?"

Over on the left side is the "Discover" function. This allows you to browse everything from news to feature films - and watch them right in the Cooliris interface, without ever going to a web page.

cooliris screen grab 4
cooliris screen grab 2

I'm trying to restrain myself from making any Minority Report references, but... I just said it, and think this would work wonderfully with a VR glove. For those who respond more to images than words, this makes traditional web searches feel downright archaic. It won't replace traditional web pages and it won't replace Google - it needs Google, but Cooliris is a huge step forward in both speed and intuitive user interaction. This is how the internet should feel in 2008.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


After that speech, this cynic wants to fly an American flag from his front porch for the first time ever.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wabbit Season! Duck Season!

I'm still at work, but extremely happy to find one of my all time favorite - and most violent - Loony Tunes episodes is on YouTube. I find this apt for election night:

The big question... what happens to Joe Lieberman on Wednesday?

Might be an appropriate way to use waterboarding one last time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our Godless Founding Fathers

Much thanks to Sneak, we've had some lively dialogue today. I dug up this article from 2005, which should be of interest to all Secular Humanists... which includes [the late] Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Sagan and John Lennon, Noam Comsky, Salman Rushdie, Sneak, myself and I think about 90% of our readership: Our Godless Constitution

A few excerpts:

The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state." John Adams opined that if they were not restrained by legal measures, Puritans--the fundamentalists of their day--would "whip and crop, and pillory and roast." The historical epoch had afforded these men ample opportunity to observe the corruption to which established priesthoods were liable, as well as "the impious presumption of legislators and rulers," as Jefferson wrote, "civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time."

Franklin was the oldest of the Founding Fathers. He was also the most worldly and sophisticated, and was well aware of the Machiavellian principle that if one aspires to influence the masses, one must at least profess religious sentiments. By his own definition he was a deist, although one French acquaintance claimed that "our free-thinkers have adroitly sounded him on his religion, and they maintain that they have discovered he is one of their own, that is that he has none at all." If he did have a religion, it was strictly utilitarian: As his biographer Gordon Wood has said, "He praised religion for whatever moral effects it had, but for little else." Divine revelation, Franklin freely admitted, had "no weight with me," and the covenant of grace seemed "unintelligible" and "not beneficial." As for the pious hypocrites who have ever controlled nations, "A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law"--a comment we should carefully consider at this turning point in the history of our Republic.

Jefferson thoroughly agreed with Franklin on the corruptions the teachings of Jesus had undergone. "The metaphysical abstractions of Athanasius, and the maniacal ravings of Calvin, tinctured plentifully with the foggy dreams of Plato, have so loaded [Christianity] with absurdities and incomprehensibilities" that it was almost impossible to recapture "its native simplicity and purity." Like Paine, Jefferson felt that the miracles claimed by the New Testament put an intolerable strain on credulity. "The day will come," he predicted (wrongly, so far), "when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." The Revelation of St. John he dismissed as "the ravings of a maniac."

John Adams, though no more religious than Jefferson, had inherited the fatalistic mindset of the Puritan culture in which he had grown up. He personally endorsed the Enlightenment commitment to Reason but did not share Jefferson's optimism about its future, writing to him, "I wish that Superstition in Religion exciting Superstition in Polliticks...may never blow up all your benevolent and phylanthropic Lucubrations," but that "the History of all Ages is against you." As an old man he observed, "Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been upon the point of breaking out, 'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!'" Speaking ex cathedra, as a relic of the founding generation, he expressed his admiration for the Roman system whereby every man could worship whom, what and how he pleased. When his young listeners objected that this was paganism, Adams replied that it was indeed, and laughed.

Like Jefferson, every recent President has understood the necessity of at least paying lip service to the piety of most American voters. All of our leaders, Democrat and Republican, have attended church, and have made very sure they are seen to do so. But there is a difference between offering this gesture of respect for majority beliefs and manipulating and pandering to the bigotry, prejudice and millennial fantasies of Christian extremists. Though for public consumption the Founding Fathers identified themselves as Christians, they were, at least by today's standards, remarkably honest about their misgivings when it came to theological doctrine, and religion in general came very low on the list of their concerns and priorities--always excepting, that is, their determination to keep the new nation free from bondage to its rule.

I believe Governor Palin needs to brush up on US history. With his VP selection, John McCain [who has maybe two years of breath left in him] made this election about choosing a Christian Taliban administration or not.

Georgia Russell

Georgia Russell 3

From England and Co Gallery:

Georgia Russell is a Scottish artist who uses a scalpel instead of a brush or a pen, creating constructions that transform found ephemera, such as books, music scores, maps, newspapers, currency and photographs.

"bought and sold and paid for a long time ago"

Not quite perfectly on-topic (but, then again, neither is Herr Doyle's nonsensical GOP-slamming of the last few weeks), but still quite relevant to a subject near and dear to the hearts of many this week...

Here's my take on all of this, shared very eloquently by the late and great Mr. George Carlin:

Live via submarine cable from Berlin,

Medic Esthetic


From DesignBoom:

Gwendolyn Huskens is a designer studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, in the department of Man and Identity. at the recent graduation show, she presented a set of six shoes called 'Medic Esthetic'. Aiming to reveal the taboos associated with physical deformities, her collection of cream and skin-toned footwear for women is made from medical materials and supplies such as plaster bandages, steel and band-aids. The result is a line of functional and oddly stylish shoes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Los Minstrels Del Diablo tonight!

Our newest spiritual kin, Los Minstrels Del Diablo [a.k.a. Pete Coe and Jason McCombs] are performing their multimedia spectacular spectacular tonight at the Painted Lady in Hamtramck, MI. [Think Emergency Broadcast Network meets early Wax Trax!, filtered through Detroit Techno and tainted by Survival Research Labs and B movies... in skull masks.]

We had been planning our night around this, but just moments ago Dethlab was invited to play some music as well. Expect chaos!

Los Minstrels Del Diablo - The Invassion [live, 2006]

Wish we were in Mexico City.

Sometimes I can be kinda slow. We knew ADULT. was playing a Halloween show in Mexico City tonight, and yesterday our friend Bryan informed me that Douglas McCarthy [you know... Nitzer Ebb...] was DJ'ing there tonight as well. I thought, "Wow, it sure would be cool to be in Mexico City for Halloween!" Seriously, who does Halloween better than Mexico?

It occurred to me only moments ago to check airfares - which are absurdly cheap! Trouble is that the last flight leaves... right... about... now. [Damn!]

We'll be in Ferndale, MI tonight [apparently the depraved Marxist hub of the Midwest] kicking ourselves and handing out candy to grubby little goblins with the following on repeat:

Fixmer/McCarthy - Join in the Chant [live, 2007]

ADULT. - Inside [2008]

Next year: we'll be in Mexico for Halloween.
[Heck, we might be there a lot sooner if the theological oligarchy Palin Mandate wins Tuesday.]

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

We're still finding fake blood and Jell-O brains in strange places form this past weekend's Theatre Bizarre - possibly the most fun we've ever had on and off stage in one night. Check out some great photos from Amy Hubbarth and from Brett Lawrence.

That however, was just the start. Here are two essential Halloween parties coming up fast:

Everything's gone black and blood at Ghostly dot com in anticipation of TONIGHT's Halloween bash in New York City, featuring Audion [live], The Rapture [DJs], Danny Wang and more.

Back in Detroit is the 8th annual Interdimensional Transmissions Samhain party on Saturday night with DJs Mike Servito, Patrick Russell, BMG of Ectomorph, Carlos Souffront and more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christopher Hitchens at his feisty finest

From Slate:

In an election that has been fought on an astoundingly low cultural and intellectual level, with both candidates pretending that tax cuts can go like peaches and cream with the staggering new levels of federal deficit, and paltry charges being traded in petty ways, and with Joe the Plumber becoming the emblematic stupidity of the campaign, it didn't seem possible that things could go any lower or get any dumber. But they did last Friday, when, at a speech in Pittsburgh, Gov. Sarah Palin denounced wasteful expenditure on fruit-fly research, adding for good xenophobic and anti-elitist measure that some of this research took place "in Paris, France" and winding up with a folksy "I kid you not."

It was in 1933 that Thomas Hunt Morgan won a Nobel Prize for showing that genes are passed on by way of chromosomes. The experimental creature that he employed in the making of this great discovery was the Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit fly...

Read on: Sarah Palin's War on Science

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cats Love Eames: the Flickr group


For those who are really into pictures of cats being cats on mid-century modern chairs.

Theatre Bizarre Tonight!

It's once again time for Theatre Bizarre: a Detroit institution on par with automobiles, ginger beer and French city planning. If you've never been, imagine if Survival Research Labs ran the Coney Island Freak Show... or Burning Man without all the hippies and a lot more blood and gasoline. Few things represent the punk rock ethics and DIY ingenuity which defines Detroit so well.

Theatre Bizarre flyer

Dethlab+1 is delighted to performing this year in the new Theatre Bizarre Scaredy Cat Club. Zombie JFK [yours truly,] Jackie O [David Blunk II] and Marilyn Monroe [Ms. Toybreaker] will be playing all new edits and mash-ups from 10:20PM-11:10PM + custom visuals by Detronik.

It's been sold out for more than a week, but if you're one of the lucky few with a ticket, please come by and see us. We have some extra special theatrical elements just for tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let's feel bad together.

We had been anxiously sitting on this one to let Adam and Nicola announce it on there is a brand new ADULT. EP out NOW on Ersatz Audio and exclusively through Beatport - Let's Feel Bad Together. It's equally dancefloor friendly and anxiety inspiring... rather, "dancefloor anxiety inspiring"?

Here is ADULT.'s brand spanking new video:

ADULT. - "Inside" Music Video from Danny Kim on Vimeo.

Also, our dear friend Gregory De Rocher a.k.a. Lowfish has a brand new LP out on Noise Factory Records. Frozen and Broken is featured on the front page of Beatport right now.

We've been sitting on this for months and still owe our readers a review. Here's the gist: Frozen and Broken is certainly the darkest and most complex Lowfish record to date. Considering it took Lowfish over three years to produce the brilliant Burn The Lights Out, Frozen and Broken came as a surprise a few months later. This is Lowfish's "punishing analog electro and catchy melodic electronica" at it's finest, but with a level of broody introspection and emotional urgency we have not seen before. Powerful stuff.

Preview Frozen and Broken right here.

It feels like a Casiotone kind of week.

Wonderful cover, and I love the little distortion jam at the end:

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Streets of Philadelphia [live, 2008]

We've posted this one before, but it's such a great clip for such a great song - plus you can really see how busy Owen is with all his little boxes:

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Young Shields [live, 2007]