The Mad Men Aesthetic

•August 5, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I always love comparisons and it makes it even sweeter when it’s a comparison of two things I support so strongly Mad Men, the show about liquor swilling, lovablely hateable, non-P.C. ad executives from the 1960’s, and G.Q., the iconic men’s magazine celebrating 50 years of dictating classic American style seem to share the same aesthectic leanings. That is classic American business and sportswear. An appreciation of women boarding on objectification, and the whole black and white silhouette figure icon. Kind of noir, sort of classic American. Kudos to both

The 4 C’s of Peak Williamsburg

•July 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

One thing that has fascinated, surprised and horrified me to a certain extent, is a phenomenon that I call PEAK Williamsburg. The hippest neighborhood in New York City, arguably in the entire U.S., is growing and changing. Some folks thinks it’s great. Ask any NYU student stumbling giddily down Bedford Ave on any weekend night. Other folks are not so excited. Think families and people who have lived in Williamsburg for a while or for generations, but are now being pushed, or more accurately priced out to make way for condos, yuppie dream castles, and nubile, hipper than thou Midwesterners. The pro and cons of gentrification are complex and this is not a forum in which I want to make value judgments on the current situation that is Peak Williamsburg. Instead what I’d like to point out the 4 C’s of Peak Williamsburg. The increase of these 4 C’s usually can be made applicable to most any area that is in the middle of gentrification or at least areas experiencing what I’ll call for my purposes here a non organic turnover in population. That means a neighborhood whose residents are fundamentally shifting not due to age, birth , and or death rates. These 4 C’s do not apply to neighborhoods experiencing fluctuating crime rates due to focus or neglect of a city’s limited allocations and resources, or lack there of, or anomalies like when interstates are built in the middle of existing communities either. These 4 C’s are limited to shifts where economic upgrading and or development act as overt driving forces Continue reading ‘The 4 C’s of Peak Williamsburg’

Urban Outfitters are Slow Learners

•July 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Internet has spawned many things; one of most culturally impactful is the emergence of a definite web aesthetic. It’s more like an inherent change in visual communication.  Graphic designs whether designed for the web or not, look as if they belong there. Grade school textbook pages look like a web layouts with colorful graphics and snippets of info. Connecting the dots is left up to the student… and we all were students so we know that ain’t happening the majority of the time.

Digital photography, the immediacy of image creation, and instant picture sharing has fueled the amateur photographer like never before. This digital imaging revolution is a huge component of the web aesthetic. Seemly more real, true, and gritty this direction is a ‘perfect companion for your web 2.0 marketing strategy’. Emulations of amateurism have gained popularity as a more sincere form of advertising photography.

AA AdAmerican Apparel is an obvious early purveyor of this amateur aesthetic.  It probably didn’t hurt that in the beginning, Dov, the CEO seducer, took the photos. He managed to get hot young models to pose for next to nothing, then exploited the spontaneous feel – by photographing without flattering lighting or sets; instead the girls were in bed or somewhere similarly intimate. Of course, they were AA clad usually in a state of undress.

Now it would seem that Urban Outfitters is finally catching on, much like their shoppers.

Continue reading ‘Urban Outfitters are Slow Learners’

‘Look Ma No Cams’, Lasers Record Radiohead’s Latest Music Video

•July 17, 2008 • 4 Comments


Real-time 3D recording had eluded us – until Aaron Koblin, Scott Hessels, and Gabriel Dunne (a group of researchers at UCLA), inspired James Frost to direct the world’s first music video shot entirely without cameras. Instead he used a LIDAR Laser and a geometric texture-mapping laser (for facial closeups).

His inspiration came from a project called “Celestial Movements”. With this project the aforementioned researchers used lasers to record the movement of manmade aerial vehicles in the night sky. They then compiled data sets into one image, or animated still images to create stunning visual representations of the data. But, rather than being strictly creative, this project “combines science, statistical display, and contemporary art”.

The first purely creative endeavor using 3D laser imaging is this new effort from Radiohead, the video for “House of Cards“. Known as innovators, Radiohead was the obvious choice for real actualization, especially because James was in tight with their manager. Realizing this piece required two rented lasers, teams of technicians, and scores of quad cores. Luckily, the moneymen trusted James’ vision.

The end result definitely has a psychedelic vibe, psychedelia for the post-information age…

Continue reading ‘‘Look Ma No Cams’, Lasers Record Radiohead’s Latest Music Video’

MAD MEN returns to save your Life

•July 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment
just in time it\'s back
(Just in time it’s back)

At building with bricks we’re not so into the current state of TV.  Reality shows, and old series rehashes seem to the rule the airwaves, but Mad Men has a special place in our hearts. The portrayal of the life and times of 1960’s ad man Don Draper has captured our minds, imaginations, and made it seem not so depressing to be a full grown man.

Last season was an eye opener to the world of work before things like computers, copiers, and sexual harassment. When drinking liquor by 11 AM daily, before meetings,during lunch,anytime really, and smoking like a chimney were as right as rain. Continue reading ‘MAD MEN returns to save your Life’

A New New Deal

•July 3, 2008 • 2 Comments

Many of us are inclined to believe that in regards to the election (and America’s trajectory) there are only two scenarios in store:

(1) A presidential victory on the part of McCain (at which time we would be in serious trouble for a myriad of reasons, which I will not get into here)
(2) A presidential victory on the part of Obama (at which time we can breath easy)

Continue reading ‘A New New Deal’

Men=Womyn

•July 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

=\'s outCulturally speaking men and women are excepted to do certain things, handle situations differently, and generally experience the world in ways particular to whichever set of genitals they’re born having. In this new-modern world that notion may seem a bit antiquated,but at least in part these old fashion ‘rules’ are based in biology. Men are physically stronger , so they hunt, protect and do the heavy lifting. Women can bear children so they nurture, and provide a foundation for family and home. Where it can get a bit tricky(even for the most progressive) is when the reality does not meet the expectations. Lesson: painting with such a broad brush, leaves no room for the details and the variety, and it’s the various details that make it all so good, and so does this the Pulp track about a most vulnerable man and dirty woman.