Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin: The New Old America

Kind of like "New Country" to his Merle Haggard, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was swept in the spotlight today as John McCain's vice presidential nominee/running mate.

Watching her acceptance speech, I couldn't help but be reminded of a certain episode of The Simpsons where Cletus "The Slack Jawed Yokel" calls his children for dinner. Download (or click to listen) to that soundclip here.

So after she introduced her husband Todd, a snowmachine world champion, she named off her kids: Track, Bristol, Piper, Willow, and Trig. And I think those monikers speak for themselves.

On a more serious side note, I'm not even going to get into how disgusting it is that the mainstream media (eg. CNN) is already implying that Palin's youngest child's down syndrome is somehow a testament to her strong principles and pro-life, anti-abortion stance. Like somehow not-aborting your disabled child is some great mark of distinction.

The real exciting part of her nomination is that now the two-on-two basketball game between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin looks a little more competitive [see picture left / see video].

Looks like Palin will run the point against Obama, and McCain and Biden will bang inside.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday: Ben Gazzara

The amazing actor Ben Gazzara turns 78 today. One of the best voices and laughs in the business.

You may know him as the porn producer Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski, where the Dude accuses that he "treats objects like women, man!"

Though, his real genius is exposed in the films he made with John Cassavetes. Husbands, Opening Night, and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Here's the trailer for the latter:

It's creepier, and even more amazing than it looks.

Also, check Gazzara out on the Dick Cavett show with Cassavetes and Peter Falk. Talk shows were really a lot better when you could smoke and be drunk on TV.

Women Are Heroes

"Women Are Heroes" is a photography project celebrating women who must struggle with the hardships in often terrible circumstance. The artist behind the work is JR and the results are wonderful.

JR travels to the women and gets them to tell their sometimes brutal stories - then, they turn around this moment of profound sadness and make a funny face for the camera. The photos are then enlarged to huge sizes and posted within the women's own communities.

The project has taken place in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Sudan, Liberia, and Brazil and is headed to Cambodia, India, Laos, and Morocco. Afterwards the photos will be displayed in Western cities, which has already happened in Brussels.

'Morro da Providencia' favela in Rio de Janiero, Brazil:

Brussels, Belgium:

There's a video on the official site where you can see more about the process.

You can read more about the "WaR" series here or see another gallery of the Brazil photos here.

Thanks to the awesome Wooster Collective for the tip, a site that celebrates ephemeral art placed on streets in cities around the world.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Best Song Ever of the Week: Roky Erickson's Ghosts

Okay, so we all know Rock n' Roll is based on the Blues, and as the incomparable Son House has taught us, the Blues is all about love. Still, aren't you sick of rock songs all about lost love and girl troubles?

If so, then see Roky Erickson's 1981 album The Evil One. Here we find the former 13th Floor Elevators frontman in full-out psychedelic blues rock mode, but instead of lamenting ex-girlfriends he wraps his tunes around tales of Zombies, Vampires, Demons and Two Headed Dogs. Or at least thats what he seems to be singing about.

Here's one of the many standout tracks from the album: If You Have Ghosts [right click for mp3].

I never put much faith in Roky's solo stuff equalling the genius of the Elevators, but thanks to the impressing documentary You're Gonna Miss Me, I've now seen the darkness. The movie's kind of like a less enigmatic and less joyful Grey Gardens, but somehow more depressing. Definitely worth seeing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

FauxPolitik: Barack Obama Picks Vice President Running Mate

I'm no political expert... (hell, I can't even vote in November's election being Canadian and all).

Still, I was quite surprised to see Barack Obama pick such a political neophyte for his vice president/running mate.

Watch this video and you'll know what I mean:

Sorry I made you watch that :)

If you're confused: read about the Senator Joe Biden here and the rapper Joe Budden here.

Best Music of 2008 (so far)

With music prizes on the horizon like Polaris and Mercury, I wanted to put forth a list of my best albums of the year - mostly to massage my obsession to make lists, but also to lessen the listening burdens that come with the year-end list.

So catch up on some great tunes from the past few months (or balk at my lame taste). There are links to myspace pages for your sampling pleasure.

I've got things in alphabetical order only to sustain suspense for the real-deal list in December.
Don't worry I'm not totally wussing out with an unlisted list.

15 Greatest Albums from Jan-Aug (in alphabetical order)...
The Black Keys - Attack & Release
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down in the Light
Born Ruffians - Red Yellow & Blue
Constantines - Kensington Heights
Destroyer - Trouble in Dreams
Foals - Antidotes
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
Islands - Arm's Way
Ladyhawk - Shots
Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue
Sigur Rรณs - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
Spiritualized - Songs in A&E
Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

To be decided... (stuff I haven't listened to yet that portends greatness)
Evangelicals - The Evening Descends
The Great Northwest - The Widespread Reign of The Great Northwest
Holy Fuck - LP
Human Highway - Moody Motorcycle
Quest for Fire - Quest for Fire
Subtle - exitingARM
Times New Viking - Rip it Off
Women - Women
Why? - Alopecia

Still to come...
Bloc Party - Intimacy (digital - Aug 21 / plastic - Oct 28)
Okkervil River - The Stand Ins (Sept 9)
Kings of Leon - Only by the Night (Sept 23)
TV on the Radio - Dear Science (Sept 23)
T.I. - Paper Trail (Sept 30)
Annuals - Such Fun (Oct 7)
Deerhoof - Offend Maggie (Oct 7)
Deerhunter - Microcastle (digital - now / plastic - Oct 28)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crap for Sale: Tape Recorder = Digital Message Reminder

Butter, Milk, Eggs... was that really so hard?

The Buxton Bag organizer brings us the Digital Message Reminder otherwise known as My Lil' Reminder. So forgive the apostrophical misuse (correct = li'l, as in Li'l Jinx), this product is truly amazing.

Don't believe me though. Check out this infomercial. My Lil' Reminder Video.

Yes, it's truly amazing how easily people are made to look (and buy) like idiots. "Where Did I Park My Car?" Indeed.

I know what I'd record: "Note to self, don't grow old."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bolivian Wrestling: No Holds Barred

My friend Mark snapped these photos (click to enlarge) a couple years ago at a wrestling match in Bolivia.

Don't worry, I'm pretty sure Michelangelo (the party dude) got out of that jam and went on to win the match.

Now National Geographic gives us the backstory behind Bolivian women's wrestling. An excerpt:
Yolanda spins too late; Claudina knocks her flat and clambers like a crazy person onto the ropes. "I'm the prettiest!" she yells at the audience. "You're all ugly! I'm your daddy! I'm the one the gringos have come to see!"
Via Neatorama.

They've also got little people wrestling (in the guise of a Chucky doll no less). I'm pretty sure this is not offensive (?):

Friday, August 15, 2008

Antidotes: Life Without Garfield

Your life suck?

Well, Dan Walsh has the perfect distraction/commiseration for you.

Garfield Minus Garfield

The concept is simple, yet genius. Everyday he posts a Garfield comic strip, but he removes all the panels of that gluttonous, sarcastic fuck. All that's left is the cat's owner, Jon Arbuckle, and his sad and hilarious existence:

It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

The site is so popular that Garfield's publishers are planning a book and Garfield's creator Jim Davis has given the site a gracious stamp of approval. Read what he said on Walsh's blog.

So if you're feeling a bit down at work or whatever, then make a quick li'l visit to Garfield minus Garfield and you might not feel as bad about your pitiful existence.

Go Internet!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Liam Neeson Will Kill You If You Confuse Him with Steven Seagal

Liam Neeson is a badass, always has been.

We saw his wise, noble typecasting turn on its head in Batman Begins, now he's seriously owning up to his ass-kicking potential.

Leave it to the French to make the kind of 90s style American action movie that Hollywood seems of incapable of making lately.

Taken comes out on September 19. A perfect way to cleanse your palette from all the serious and important films that will no doubt hit theaters during the fall awards season.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lysteria! Favorite Movies of 2008 (so far)

So, obviously I've sprinkled in not only movies that came in 2008, but other movies I saw for the first time this year.

So now I finally know that Aliens is, in fact, better than Alien.

The listing tool comes courtesy of a new IMDb widget, which is kinda neat-o.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Post-It Art Movement

Post-It Notes are everywhere, and now, not just in an nagging evocation of your doomed bureaucratic existence, kind of way.

Now these ubiquitous little pieces of paper are serving as the canvas for artists and doodlers all over the internet.

Follow link below to see more:

Even the Post-It company has caught on and are hosting a video contest on Youtube.

Check out how UC Santa Cruz Engineering students turned 6400 post-it notes into a completely rad Donkey Kong tribute. Or this post-it Calvin & Hobbes tribute.

There seems to be tonnes going on, and I've tried to collect just a sampling of some of the sites and notes that have stuck out to me (click images to enlarge).

The Post-It Project - a collection of various artists works:

Stickynote Theatre - another site that collect various cool stickies:

Close Without Saving by Kyle - an awesomely hilarious post-it comic strip blog

My Life in a Cube
by Shane Johnson - chronicles of an office worker on post-its, and other stationery scraps

Savage Chickens by Doug Savage - chickens running irreverently amok

just post it by TSO - this italian blog features some awesome moving post-it art

Ulf Nawrot's Post-it Art - some really magnificent stuff by this tireless post-it artist

It's also definitely worth checking out Fiona Harding's project "100 Notes in Japan", which led to the Post It Project in February:

Collisions of the Real: Fantastic Quotidian

Another photo series chronicling the fantasy's invasion into our lives has been caught in the internets.

Via the always entertaining Kung Fu Rodeo, comes artist Steve Schofield's oddly touching photos of superfans in domestic settings.

Follow link below to see more...

Half upsetting, half inspiring, these photos are reminiscent of Cedric Delsaux's photography and fall into the same category of work that I recently posted about:
there is some kind of need out there to invest in magic and make believe having a place in our physical world.

Is the real world that awful? Probably, yes.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Translating Magic: Foreign Film Titles Gone Right

Yes, "get the fuck out of here." In Spain, the Beverly Hills Cop movies are known as Superdetective en Hollywood. I love it. Here are some other gems I noted before.

Follow link below for more...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Constantines & Friends: Canadian Rock Royalty

Do What You Can Do - Constantines with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.

(Gord's rockin' the ROTJ shirt too!)

Follow link below for another collabo...

Street Fighting Man - Constantines with Ladyhawk