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.
This week, we bring back the blog with help from Diana Eng (RADAR ep 31 – Fairytale Fashion), and she made it easy for me, since I’m already a huge fan of most of her choices. She’s been quite busy lately, with her amazing line and increasing popularity in the fashion world, including her new collection of Laser Lace Tees and Tops. You can also check out her shop, as well as read up on her inspiration on her own blog.
How long can you nyan for? This very well could be the last thing the Internet ever needs, as it combines the holy trifecta of cats, adorableness, and utter randomness. Based off of PRguitarman’s original Pop Tart Cat .gif (I suppose toast is healthier?) times how long you can, well, nyan. It’s so addictive, though, that you can nyan for hours on end if you allow it. Added bonuses here include putting the site into different languages such as Japanese (makes sense), Nyan (exactly what you’d expect) and Catalan, giving double meaning to the .cat domain name. We may think it’s cute now, but once cats successfully conquer the Internet, the rest of the world will surely follow. So cute though!
This was Diana’s pick, but I have to interject here—this isn’t just one of my all time favorite songs, but possibly my all time favorite music video, and a big part of my inspiration for wanting to get into filming bands. A ballad off their definitely-classic-by-now debut LP Fever to Tell, it showed that the (at the time) rising buzz band Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and more specifically, lead singer Karen O) could do more than thrash and screech, but also create one of the most touching songs of the last decade.
Tina Fey is just one of those people who do pretty much everything right—30 Rock is still the funniest thing on TV after like, what, 5 seasons? Then there’s Date Night and Baby Mama, and the fact that after she left Saturday Night Live the only time people talk about the show is when they mention how far downhill it’s gone since then. So clearly she’s some kind of sorceress and we should all be terrified. Or you can read her hilarious book and hopefully absorb some of its power. If nothing else, reading it on the subway is sure to piss off the disgruntled former frat bros who still insist, “women aren’t funny.” Tina Fey just happens to be at the top of a long list of women who prove them wrong.
Talk To Me is a new exhibit at MoMA that examines the ways humans interact with objects. Every day we interact with things like computers and increasingly smarter phones, which in turn, interact with us. Talk To Me offers a look at the history and future of these interaction, going back to products from the 1960s and looking forward with some products in development. A lot goes into it—visual design, interface, information. In keeping with the theme, the organizers encourage communication and feedback from the visitors, ranging from suggestions from designers to visitor interaction using cell phones. Be sure to check out the blog as well.
Talk To Me
July 24–November 7
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019 EVENT INFO
Thingiverse and Ponoko
Diana has picked a couple of nice blogs for you to check out, specifically if you like, well, things and stuff. Thingiverse is a blog co-founded by fellow RADAR contributor Bre Pettis of Makerbot (RADAR ep 19), focusing on digital designs from ordinary people and realizing them through the use of machines like laser cutters and digital printers. In a similar vein is Ponoko, which is sort of like a digital Etsy (or rather, a more-digital Etsy), exploring the art of digital making even further.
Do yourself a favor and watch this with headphones on, just to get the full effect. Symmetry is an inventive little short showing the dualities of life: peanut butter and jelly, faith and science, salt and pepper, and (spoiler alert maybe?) life and death, among others. And there are a few nice surprises and Easter eggs thrown in there as well to keep it from getting predictable. Tying it all together is a peaceful yet energetic soundtrack, a reminder to revel in the day-to-day things we often take for granted.
Brooklyn band The Antlers (RADAR ep 16 – Missed Connections) had the lovely challenge no band wants of having to follow up their nearly universally critically acclaimed 2009 album Hospice. Fortunately for them, their new LP, Burst Apart holds up well (or else I wouldn’t be writing this mini review). Although it doesn’t really burst, as the title suggests—it’s more of a nice slow burn record. Sounding at times like fellow New Yorkers TV on the Radio, other times taking a more electronic turn a la Portishead or Massive Attack, and many other times creating a sound all their own, they’ve crafted another instant classic.
I feel like I mention Sophie Blackall (RADAR ep 16 – Missed Connections) a lot in this blog, but really, it’s purely because she so consistently creating new work. And I should mention a personal bias—I really love her artwork. But this particular book is a bit different from most of her published works. Not only did she illustrate it, but also wrote the story. It’s based on a personal tale of her own, when her son was young and wouldn’t go to sleep. Definitely relatable for any parent, but what makes me particularly want to check it out is that based on her description, it sounds seriously gorgeous.
You can pick up a copy from IndieBound HERE
More about the book on Sophie’s blog
Dr. Sketchy’s – Koala Kunst
Another contributor that’s always busy with something new is Dr. Sketchy’s (RADAR ep 8), this month bringing Australian models Agent Cleave and Jess Daly for “Koala Kunst.” Surely a title as deceptively adorable as Australia itself, a continent home to fuzzy marsupials as well as spiders so big they have their own health bars. The night’s festivities are designed just in time for Amanda Palmer’s Down Under Tour.
Sun, June 05, 2011 • 4:00 – 6:00 pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
New York, NY 10012
$12 advance, $15 door EVENT INFO
FUCK! i’m in my twenties
A question for all 20-somethings: how many of you find yourself saying this on a fairly regular basis? Because I’ve done it at least 15 times. Today. But at least now you know that you aren’t experiencing your quarter-life crisis on your own, right? And existential crises are so much more fun when they happen to someone else, and that someone else has a gratuitous love of profanities. I have no idea who writes this blog, but really, it’s all of us. And someday we’ll all look back and realize that our twenties were actually pretty entertaining, if not utterly terrifying.
Thoughts On Audience Building In a recent post here, Ted Hope listed “38 More Ways The Film Industry is Failing Today“; many of the questions and points made among the 38 stood out to me, and I’ve spent the last several days trying to openly brainstorm steps that could lead towards change. But today, I wanted to write about one in particular: Ted asked… read more
Hard Knocks of Crowdsourcing: Don’t Throttle Participation Today, I am going to share a parable of net-native design for those interested in learning from the mistakes of others.
A few weeks ago, I launched the site and resources for my distributed object project, Sew By Numbers. Basically, I made a template that anyone could print out on a sheet of inkjet fabric, and if you followed the… read more
What a Filmmaker Learned From Farmville And Other Social Games Social games are rapidly becoming one of the most successful forms of entertainment:
Disney purchased Playdom for up to $763.2 million and Club Penguin for $700 million.
EA purchased Playfish for $400 million.
The research form Next Up for pre-IPO trading service SharesPost estimates Zynga is worth three billion dollars.
Why are they thriving (even in a recession):
Social games… read more
This week, we return to our contributor-curated series of blog posts with Lori Nix (RADAR ep 33 – Unnatural History). She found us a nice mix of beautiful works of art and some quirky, off the wall stuff–sort of like her own work.
That’s it, I’m officially jealous of the British. After outdoing us in music and comedy for years, they now roll out this oddly addicting TV spot for milk—which is undoubtedly a result of years of its creators spending too much time on the Internet. Because—and I’ve mentioned this before—the equation goes: cats + doing weird things = roughly 85% of Internet content. Also, note the strange milk cartons they use over there (hey, at least it doesn’t come in bags like in Canada).
Bodies of Water: Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink
The music from this extremely talented LA-based collective has this rolling, lively Spaghetti Western-esque epicness to it that hooked me pretty much immediately, sort of like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros without all the gimmickry. Ennio Morricone would be proud. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still enough theatrics and choral pieces to make this record the very definition of grand. Listen to it while walking down the street makes your life an instant musical. Just don’t blame me if people stare at you when you start singing along.
Despite new media’s repeated attempts to kill off the magazine once and for all (blogger’s note: hi there, sorry about that!), Hi-Fructose Magazine may be all the proof needed to show that there will always be a place for a beautifully-made, high quality, full color quarterly. Hi-Fructose aims to profile and discuss alternative artists, while at the same time dissecting what “alternative” means, bending genres and shattering norms in the process. Whatever you want to call it, there’s really some stunning work on display here.
You can pick up a copy at most bookstores, or check out their web presence HERE
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities
It may still be a ways off, but Otherworldly at the Museum of Arts and Design should definitely be worth the wait. Lori Nix and other diorama artists will be showcasing their different creations, extremely detailed microcosms of worlds that are both realistic and surreal—glimpses of our world both as it is and as it could be.
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities
June 7 – September 18
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
$15 Admission EVENT INFO
New York Mag (and comments)
When Lori told me she liked to liked to read New York Magazine online to laugh at the comments following the articles, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. But I didn’t have to look far to find out—the comments section is a nice concentrated cross-section of the Internet as a whole. You’ll find cynical, snarky millennials, sarcastic storytellers, political pundits who insert their opinions of Bush and/or Obama into every conversation, and trolls of course, because trolls simply are and always will be—they are as deeply ingrained into comment threads as the Pope is into Catholicism. It’s worth a laugh on any day you could use a bit of a confidence boost.
I’ll be honest; it’s difficult for me to describe this without just suggesting you watch it for yourself, and it’s even more difficult to classify this as “watch.” From the National Film Board of Canada, this project tells the story of Pine Point, a planned mining community in central Canada, the people who lived there, and its eventual demise—being completely razed and taken off the map. It’s told through interactive bits, archival footage, pieces of animation, and recorded interviews with the former residents, and it all combines with some lovely music from The Besnard Lakes (one of my personal favorite Canadian bands) for a truly engaging experience that tells more than a straight up documentary ever could.
Ernest Greene, better known by his recording name Washed Out (RADAR season 3) will be following up last year’s excellent EP with his just-announced debut LP, Within and Without (complete with NSFW-ish cover art), due out July 12. But if you can’t wait that long, you can download the first single off the album right now. Eyes Be Closed sounds like a dreamy, trippy journey through a beautiful desert, or perhaps flying through the clouds. Either way, it’d be cool to listen to on the subway just as your train bursts above ground, the sunlight hitting your face.
By the time President Obama came on to announce the death of Osama bin Laden, it was already old news for a lot of wired people—myself included—who probably found out on Facebook or Twitter, and had about an hour to divulge their two cents on the matter. And it really showed how much the world has changed in the past 10 years. It was fascinating to watch the news unfold over the Internet, through mediums such as social media and imageboards, while major news sites struggled to keep up. Mashable has an interesting article on the role of social media in bin Laden’s death, complete with several fascinating infographics that reveal a lot about the world in 2011.
Shantell Martin (RADAR ep 26 – Hidden Oras) will be joining about a dozen other visual artists will be using the façade of the New Museum as a canvas for their collaborative projection installation, Let Us Make Cake, part of Flash:Light, a night time, site-specific series of temporary art installations that re-imagine public space. Other events are planned at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and on Mulberry Street, so it should be quite a night.
Saturday, May 7 · 8:00 pm
The New Museum
New York, NY 10002
Free EVENT INFO
Dr. Sketchy’s Does Jack the Ripper
Not even one of England’s creepiest and bloodiest legends is safe from the imaginations of the good people at Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School (RADAR ep 8). Though really, in hindsight it seems like the perfect backdrop for the grisly tale of murders that scared the petticoats off of Victorian England.
Sunday, May 8 · 4:00pm – 7:00pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
New York, NY
$12-$15 EVENT INFO
FreedomLab Future Studies is an Amsterdam-based think tank and research lab committed to finding creative solutions to issues in technology, business, and society. The site also features a blog offering thoughts on subjects such as social media, storytelling, and intelligent green energy, while also emphasizing the growing influence of non-Western societies, such as Brazil and Africa, on the world stage. This is definitely a site to watch if you want to get ahead of the curve in the 21st Century.
IFP filmmaker conference links and media A number of panels and interviews from last week’s IFP Filmmaker Conference have surfaced online. The following is a collection of media and links.
Scott Kirsner from CinemaTech talks with Brett Gaylor, a Montreal-based filmmaker who is exploring new ways that large groups can collaborate on documentaries. Shot at the 2007 IFP Filmmaker Conference in New York.
The Four Eyed… read more
RADAR Season 2 launches with 12 new shorts We’re pleased to announce the second season of RADAR which is produced by WBP Labs, a division of the WorkBook Project. RADAR is available on mobile devices and online thanks to a partnership with Babelgum. Starting today and running for the next 12 weeks a new episode of RADAR will premiere each Wednesday. For more info and to watch episodes… read more
EVENT: DIY DAYS In addition to discovery and distribution, From Here to Awesome has a special FREE educational section entitled DIY DAYS that is an extension of the Workbook Project. The DIY DAYS events are a joint effort between FHTA and Current TV and will consist of workshops, case studies, panel discussions, and screenings. LA and SF are locked and we’re working… read more
Eliza Skinner (RADAR ep 2 – I Eat Pandas) returns to the world of Internet videos with this short about a couple going through an angry breakup just as their friends arrive for an Oscars party. Hijinks ensue, guests are weirded out, and movie puns are thrown around—and for some reason movie puns are so much funnier when shouted in a fit of rage. Movie nerds will either cringe or chortle. Or both. Either way, Eliza is quite hilarious as a pissed off ex-girlfriend.
Morningbell – Lovefool
Before I watched this video, I thought the title was just a coincidence—surely they weren’t covering that classic 90s radio mainstay? But that’s exactly what Morningbell (RADAR ep 33 – Unnatural History) did. And they did it gloriously. They stayed true to the original while giving it a bit of their own odd flair. And the breakfast-tastic video definitely ups the weirdness factor. You know, for those of you who like your 90s nostalgia with a side of scrambled eggs.
Sophie Blackall has to be one of our busiest contributors. When she’s not creating beautiful blog posts about her father’s adventures or the Missed Connections of complete strangers, she’s creating amazing illustrations for children’s books. Her latest work is the illustrations for The Crows of Pearblossom, a short story originally written in 1944 by the legendary British author Aldous Huxley. Her vivid artwork gives a modern and whimsical flair to the classic tale.
Have you ever wanted to see Internet memes live on stage? As it turns out, the Gregory Brothers (RADAR ep 27 – Auto Tune the News) are among the many YouTube musicians performing as part of the DigiTour—and they’re playing New York on May 1. Go see the show, and then spend the rest of May with musical current events stuck in your head.
Sunday, May 1 · 7:00 pm
127 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
$18 EVENT INFO
Slam Theatre week 1
SLAM Theatre (RADAR ep 6) is back this spring with another round of their fast-paced playwright and actor competition. It will be going on for the next four weeks, but Sunday is the first round of eliminations for this series, and you don’t want to miss the beginning.
Sunday April 24 · 7:00 – 12:00 am
Sunday, May 1 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm
The Tank NYC
354 West 45th Street
New York, NY
$5 suggested donation EVENT INFO
Luke Williams is a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business who specializes in disruptive innovation—a constant stream of unexpected changes and challenges to the old status quo. And in this world where “recession” is the word on everyone’s mind, new, disruptive ideas are more important than ever. While his blog (and book), DISRUPT may have been written with businesses in mind, the ideas he gives in his posts are surprisingly applicable to anyone.