RADAR is a series produced by WBPLabs -- a division of the WorkBook Project. The series is a timely, insiders view into the cutting edge of storytelling and creativity, and the attendant tools, tech, models and community.
What do you do when there’s a pothole in your street? Try avoiding it? Call the city to fill it in? Effective ideas, though they aren’t especially imaginative. With the help of Claudia Ficca and Davide Luciano, a couple of Montreal-based artists, these folks in several US and Canadian cities turned their potholes into works of art—at least temporarily. But the photos on My Potholes capture a number of whimsical moments created from minor nuisances. Watch as they turn common road hazards into swimming pools, donut fryers, gardens, rabbit holes, and more.
Noveller, a.k.a. Sarah Lipstate (RADAR ep 28 – Before I Die) has just released this gorgeous black and white video on her website for her song “Alone Star” off her new album Glacial Glow. Directed by Matt Kleiner, this video chronicles several days in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. It’s some powerful stuff when paired with the musical storytelling of this Brooklyn-based guitar goddess. Contrasting the busy city with vast desert, it creates a truly surreal scene.
Writer Ben McCool (RADAR ep 41 – Memoir) has a new comic series coming out this September, but in the meantime you can check out a preview of it as well as an interview with USA Today. Titled “Pigs,” the comic takes a gritty look at the Cold War, which if you can believe it, ended two decades ago this year. So now it’s far back enough in our collective subconscious that we can take another look at the whole terrifying era of mutually assured destruction, secret agents and the Cuban Missile Crisis and see that things weren’t quite as black-and-white as we all thought at the time.
Our friends at the Poetry Brothel (RADAR ep 20) are bringing it back this weekend, with a magical twist. The “whores” will be teaming up with a master magician for some old school, Houdini-esque illusions.
Sunday, June 12th, 8pm-1am
The Back Room
102 Norfolk Street
New York, NY
$5-$15 EVENT INFO
Newmindspace Bubble Battle NYC 2011
The folks at Newmindspace (RADAR ep 10) want to make New York a more bubbly, effervescent place for its residents. Join hundreds of other bubble battlers with your own bubble-making supplies, and let the air fill with soapy, prismatic orbs (and yes I was trying to avoid saying “bubble” again).
Saturday, June 18th 2010 @ 6:00pm
Rain or shine. Free and all ages!
New York, NY EVENT INFO
Second Avenue Sagas
New Yorkers, be honest, how often do you find yourself silently (or not so silently) cursing the MTA for all the service changes and fare increases? Second Avenue Sagas hopes to answer some of the questions as to why all these annoyances happen. What started as a blog chronicling the progress of the long-delayed Second Avenue Subway, is now a blog covering all forms of New York City transit, offering opinions, insight, progress reports, and ideas to make transit better, as well as listing all the weekend service changes every Friday. It’s a great place for New Yorkers to get informed and involved with the city’s decisions on transportation.
At this year’s DIY Days, I had the pleasure of getting to see Molly Crabapple (RADAR ep 8) speak about how she created Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School and turned it into a global affair with branches of amazing models and artists all over the world. And while she was speaking, I asked myself “why haven’t we gotten her to curate a blog yet? She’d have some amazing stuff.” And she did.
Serge Gainsbourg – Poinconneur des Lilas
In this classic clip, legendary French musician Serge Gainsbourg disguises himself as a ticket puncher (“poinconneur”) in the Paris Metro and sings a song about the monotony of the job. It sounds boring, but the song is quite catchy and builds up a rather frantic pace, and the unexpectedly morbid lyrics (at least, for those of us who speak French!) keep it interesting. Definitely something to think about as you ride the subway to work!
Dave van Ronk – “Luang Prabang”
When I first heard this song, my first impression was that of a very dark folk song, or an Irish rebellion chant. It’s actually, of course, American and much more recent—a Vietnam protest song, though the tune is based off of an old English folk song about coal miners. Here, Dave Van Ronk challenges the idea that going to war and sacrificing yourself makes you a “hero”—what good does that actually accomplish? Is it really worth it?
You can find the song on Van Ronk’s album Going Back to Brooklyn, HERE.
Kiki de Montparnasse: The Graphic Biography
You probably recognize the above image, based off the famous photograph by artist Man Ray, though odds are you don’t know much about the model of said photo. Alice Prin, a.k.a. Kiki de Montparnasse, was truly a liberated woman of the 20s: born into poverty but quickly rose up as a muse for many artists, as well as an artist in her own right. Now you can read her story in graphic novel form—because words alone wouldn’t do such an artistic figure justice.
Beginning April 25 and continuing for a week, the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature returns for its seventh year. The festival will feature speakers, panels and films, and will discuss the role of literature and writing, and where it all fits into today’s ultra-connected world of social media, WikiLeaks and revolutions in the Middle East. Be sure to see Molly Crabapple’s live painting installation in the plaza of The Standard hotel—she’ll be working on it every day of the festival.
April 25-May 1
The Standard Hotel
848 Washington Street
New York, New York 10014 EVENT INFO
Coilhouse, Biorequiem, and Gala Darling
Coilhouse is part blog, part published magazine, and devoted to the expression of love for alternative culture. Expect to see everything ranging from short films, fashion, photography and art—anything that’s forward thinking yet still has a vintage style.
Zoetica Ebb is one of the co-founders of Coilhouse, and has her own site too, where she posts blogs, art and photos of her own, all done in a very distinctive and beautiful style. You can also buy some of her work as well.
“Hello! I’m Gala” is what greets visitors to the blog of Gala Darling, a bright and sunny corner of the web that celebrates femininity and promotes “radical self-love.” I found it impossible not to feel awesome after reading a few entries—and I’m a guy, not even the target audience.
BEHIND THE SCENES – putting on an event Since I’m knee deep in pulling together the next HEAD TRAUMA cinema ARG, I thought I’d share some of my promotional materials. The following is an invite followed by a press release for the event. We started by hitting horror blogs and then moved into some indie film and general movie outlets. When I come up for air next week… read more
BTS – A look inside the IFP rough cut lab In a special multi-part series along with live updates from the IFP Film Market, filmmaker Tom Quinn (The New Year Parade) will document his journey as part of the IFP’s narrative rough cut lab. Selected out of hundreds of submissions Tom’s film joins 10 other projects as the IFP helps to pull back the curtain on post, festivals and… read more
Diana Eng’s profile (RADAR ep 31 – Fairytale Fashion) just keeps rising and rising in the fashion world. And now she’s released her first line to the public—a collection of Smart Scarves, and they each showcase what she does best: combine hip fashion with science geekery. Using inspiration from things like Fibonacci numbers and the biometric Miura Ori structure, she’s once again created beauty from brains. Who says geeks can’t be fashionable?
The Gregory Brothers and Charlie Sheen – “Winning”
In the lightning fast world of Internet memes, no one can seize on a cultural phenomenon quite like our friends at Auto-Tune the News (RADAR ep 27). And in terms of satirizing potential, Charlie Sheen’s spectacular crash and burn is a gold mine. So it was only inevitable that the Gregory Brothers would take on the task. The above video does not disappoint. Even if you’ve been following the news and are suffering from Sheen overload, this could be the Sheen video to end all Sheen videos.
Personal anecdote time: I posted a Missed Connection once. I was at a Sleigh Bells concert and met a girl with awesome hair, kind of like the singer La Roux (I have weird taste, don’t ask). And while I never heard back on the ad, I did end up randomly running into her on a dating site. But there is something about missed connections—each one’s a tiny love story with mystery, humor, and artistic potential. In this interview, Sophie Blackall (RADAR ep 16 – Missed Connections) talks for a bit with NPR about some of her experiences with her Craigslist-based artwork.
Many people, including a lot of our contributors, will be spending the next week in the Lone Star State for Austin’s South by Southwest Festival. But for those of us who can’t make it out, our own music supervisor JC Scruggs helped put together a show at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory. Mother Mother is an amazing Canadian indie rock band with some awesomely catchy and crazy songs that should get you dancing wildly this Friday night. And make sure to get there early for opening acts Elijah Bonfire (ex-Stars of Track and Field) and Bajzel, a one-man Polish act who Newsweek calls the Polish Beck, “only better.”
Friday March 11 · Doors @ 8:00/Show @ 8:30 pm
361 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
$10.00 – $12.00 EVENT INFO
A few years ago, Natasha Allegri drew a journal comic on Livejournal that I followed pretty religiously. She discontinued it after a while, and kind of disappeared for a few years, only to return pretty recently as an artist on the show Adventure Time, of all places. Now she has a Tumblr, where her original artwork and comics have returned to the Internet once again, and it’s all come full circle. Expect to see some gorgeous portraits, cute cartoony drawings, and more hilarious journal comics.
Yeah, I don’t know about you guys, but my recently single self spent Valentine’s Day at an event called “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” a night of speed dating to the soundtrack of the Smiths. But as upbeat and happy-go-lucky as that sounds, for some people Valentine’s Day can be kind of tragic. But luckily, for those people (and anyone else who appreciates amazing artwork and a good story), Dean Haspiel (RADAR ep 1 – Next Door Neighbor) created “The Angel,” an impressive motion comic with a soundtrack by Moby. Rather than a voiceover, the story is told by typography slowly revealed over time, which creates quite a powerful experience and a wholly satisfying story.
Floating Action (RADAR ep 38 – Weathervane) is the recording name of Seth Kauffman, a singer-songwriter based in Black Mountain, North Carolina. This week he released his third album, Desert Etiquette, and it’s mesmerizing. It’s really hard to believe it’s the work of just one guy. This album sounds like a mix of classic rock, folk, a bit of reggae, and a few other genres thrown in for good measure, all blended together expertly through production that manages to sound both crisp and warm. It’s available on the website of label Park the Van, as well as on iTunes.
Sleep disorders are Serious Business and nothing to laugh about—except when sleepwalking causes a guy to leap through and shatter a La Quinta Inn window and run across the parking lot, relatively unscathed. This is one of the many stories in the new book by comedian Mike Birbiglia, a frequent contributor at NYC’s The Moth and NPR’s This American Life, who manages to turn his many odd misfortunes into hilarious stories. So one could say that either the stuff that happens to him is funnier than most people’s problems, or he’s just a really good storyteller. I say both.
Once again, there’s a lot going on in the worlds of our contributors. Fortunately for you, you’re totally invited to join them in their adventures.
URDB World Record Appreciation Society #21: Blackjack!
Do you like watching people do odd things on stage, not for money, but for glory? The Universal Records Database (RADAR ep 4) is on a mission to capture that glory, under the mantra that everyone is the world’s best at something. This Thursday, 10 people will make their attempts to set their own records, and you can be there to witness them make history.
Thursday, February 24 · 7:30pm – 10:30pm
622 Degraw Street (between 3rd and 4th Ave)
Advance tickets $5 EVENT INFO
Story Pirates Main Stage Show
It’s amazing just how creative kids can be. They don’t hold anything back. On Saturday, you can see their creative minds in action at the Story Pirates (RADAR ep 30) Main Stage show, where the Pirates will act out stories written by elementary students. I mean, where else could you see a stage show about Tickle Monsters?
Saturday, February 26 · 2:00 pm
The Drama Book Shop
250 West 40th St. (between 7th and 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10018
$15 EVENT INFO
Dr. Sketchy’s Tribute to Transmetropolitan
Any time is a good time for people to get together and draw sexy pictures; that’s why Dr. Sketchy’s (RADAR ep 8) has become so successful. But this time it’s in support of a new art book inspired by Transmetropolitan, of which Dr. Sketchy’s founder Molly Crabapple is a contributor.
Sunday, February 27 · 4:00pm – 7:00pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
New York, NY
$12 advance, $15 at door EVENT INFO
If there are two things that the Internet is all about, it’s gross-out humor and pictures of adorable animals. Surely these things couldn’t be any more different, right? I mean, there’s no way you could possibly combine—oh wait, Eliza Skinner just did. We covered Glennis McMurray, the other half of I Eat Pandas (RADAR ep 2) a couple weeks ago, and now it’s Eliza’s turn. She’s made a blog of translating the thoughts of all those cute animals for us, and their thoughts are…surprisingly vulgar. It’s a surprisingly genius concept I’m surprised no one’s thought of before. And best of all, it’s updated every day, for your recommended daily dose of cuteness + vulgarity.
Weathervane – RADAR S4 Ep 38 [vid] Today’s world of DIY music production has allowed for nearly anyone with a song to find an audience. But without strong production and promotion it is even more difficult for today’s hardworking bands to stand out against the cacophony of other artists trying to do the same thing. With Weathervane, Philadelphia producer Brian McTear seeks out fresh talent and invites… read more
RADAR NYC 4.16.10 WATCH
Jason Bitner (RADAR 003 – Cassettes from my Ex) has a new film / book project called LaPorte, Indiana. Born from a chance discovery of over 18,000 studio portraits – a time capsule of personal milestones captured over the course of three decades by local photographer Frank Pease – LaPorte, Indiana is a candid look at a… read more
Can a Story Be Too Real? Maureen McHugh has a piece up on MimeFeed about The Illusion of Authenticity, in which she talks about the most compelling storytelling as an alchemical mix between the mundane and the surprising.
So achieving ‘authenticity’ requires novelty in an established convention. The audience needs some level of comfort and some elements of surprise. For now, Transmedia is pretty much always… read more
When an entire town’s memory is erased, it is dismissed by the rest of the world as an elaborate hoax. But one ambitious journalist is determined to expose the truth. Memoir is a graphic novel written by Ben McCool and illustrated by Nikki Cook who describe their collaboration as a “cross between Twin Peaks and the Twilight Zone.” It is a dark and sinister tale with gritty visuals that is sure to haunt readers long after they’ve put down the book.
CREATED by Lance Weiler & Alex Johnson
DIRECTOR Josh Cramer
EDITOR Jawad Metni
DP Tim Naylor
SEGMENT PRODUCER Janine Saunders
POST PRODUCTION House of Trim
FEATURED MUSIC by:
City Rain “How We See”
Evenings “Still Young”