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.
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.
Saskia’s Guide to Producing: The Film Package This is a series of posts delving into the gory details of what it takes to produce an independent film. Covering the entire process — from development to fundraising, production, distribution, online strategies and beyond — they will be written in real time, from first hand experience, as I go through the process of producing a feature-length documentary.
WTF IS… read more
New Breed LA: Engineering Serendipity [vid] For the community of working-class filmmakers at New Breed a constantly evolving creative process of telling our stories is the one thing we can count on in these changing times. Embarking on journeys through deeper methods of collaboration & engaging with fans across various platforms is certainly exciting – but one thing is for certain, the creative needs to be… 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
This week’s installment RADAR NYC is brought to you by Mary Mattingly (RADAR ep 17 – Waterpod), a well-known New York-based visual artist who uses a variety of different mediums from photography to living installations to explore themes of different relationships. She shared with us some things that inspire her and offer a glimpse into her world, including a book from a famous experimental composer, an Italian organization that focuses on smart city planning, and an avant-garde turntablist from Peru. And while they all come from very different backgrounds, each of the artists she chose have something in common – they all find creative and brilliant ways to reevaluate things that are part of our everyday lives, from time to silence to the city itself.
Christian Marclay – “The Clock”
This is kind of amazing. Would you watch a clock for 24 hours straight? What if it was the most captivating clock ever? Artist Christian Marclay spliced together thousands of film clips from across the history of cinema, each one referencing a different moment in the day. So think of whenever a movie character looks at his or her watch, or mentions what time it is—Marclay has somehow crafted an entire day out of these moments, and presents it in real time, as a living clock. So if you tune in at 8:37 a.m., that’s what time it will be for the characters on screen. The Clock will be showing at the Paula Cooper Gallery until February 19.
Frazey Ford has lived quite an interesting life. Born in a Canadian commune in the late 70s, she spent the 80s traveling Asia with her family. Then in the late 90s, she formed the Canadian band The Be Good Tanyas, which split in 2008. And just last year, she released her debut solo album, Obadiah. The album is full of wonderful soulful folk (or is it folky soul?) that’s definitely worth a full listen, but the song “Blue Streak Mama” stands out particularly well. It has a distinctive blues-rock feel to it, sort of like a female-fronted Black Keys. But with more stripped-back instrumentation, the amazing vocals and lyrics take center stage and really shine through.
I have nothing to say/ and I am saying it/ and that is poetry/ as I need it.
-John Cage, “Lecture on Nothing” (1949)
Composer John Cage was a pioneer of American experimental music and one of the most influential American composers of the 20th Century. His most famous composition, 4’33”, consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds without a note being played, and instead encourages the listener to focus on the sounds of the environment as it is played. Silence is Cage’s first book, published in 1961, made up of a collection of essays and lectures he wrote from 1939 to 1961, including “Lecture on Nothing,” quoted above. It is also his best known book, in which he discusses the nature of writing and ideas.
Maria Chavez is a Brooklyn-based experimental turntablist from Peru. She uses both new and broken needles (she calls them “pencils of sound”) on different records to create live sound installations, of which no two are ever exactly alike. Above is a live video of Chavez at a show in Queens last November. You can see her use a variety of different objects to create her sound, including (very) broken records, showing that a turntablist can many things beyond getting people onto the dance floor. She’ll be joined by harpist Shelley Burgon at The Stone on March 1.
Tuesday, March 1 · 8:00 pm
East 2nd Street @ Avenue C
New York, NY 10009 EVENT INFO
As we make our way through the 21st Century, one important issue for all urban-dwellers is the ever-growing and changing landscape of cities. Any New Yorker can attest that cities continue to grow quite rapidly. Cluster is a non-profit organization based in Turin, Italy, which seeks to answer these questions, looking for innovative and creative ways to plan and design modern cities. Their goal, to improve and revitalize urban life, has already helped Turin to become a cultural center in northwest Italy, and now they want to reach out to other cities in Europe and beyond, from improving drinking water in Haiti to experimental architecture in Brazil.
The lovely Glennis McMurray (RADAR Ep2 - I Eat Pandas) shared a bit of her world with us by curating AND writing this weeks edition of RADAR NYC. Glennis is co-founder of I Eat Pandas, Founder of G.L.O.C (Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy), can be found on numerous stages, and all over the internets. Last time I saw Glennis was at the URDB Christmas event breaking the world record for the longest musical chairs interlude clocking in at 04:53.90 min/sec. And so, without further ado…
Space Unicorn – Parry Gripp
Nerd trifecta alert! Parry Gripp, unicorns, and space! Parry Gripp, lead singer of Nerf Herder, called for Space Unicorn drawings to accompany his latest meme and the result is a highly watchable, totally danceable and pretty darn adorable video. My one regret in life is that I didn’t submit a drawing. Well, that and the perm disaster of ‘94.
Tony! Toni! Toné! – “If I Had No Loot”
Da da da day, hey! Long before Cee-Lo told that money-grubbing ex what was what in “F*ck You”, there was a funky boy band by the name of Tony! Toni! Toné! (The third Toné had acute accent. Heyoooo.) and I, for one, have had this song on repeat as of late. The Tony/i/é trio called out the moochers in “If I Had No Loot,” providing the world with not only the best song of all time (I said it), but a song with a message. And that message? No one in this band is named Tony (i/é). Nailed it!
Julie Klausner’s – I Don’t Care About Your Band
Are you a lady? Were you, are you, or will you one day be in your twenties? Have you yet realized how much your twenties sucked BALLS (sometimes literally)? Then Julie Klausner’s book, I Don’t Care About Your Band is for you! She lays her poor decisions on the table like a sassy deck of sex cards and makes you feel a little less awful about being such an idiot in the second decade of your life. Empowering and hilarious and soon to be an HBO hit starring Lizzy Caplan!
I am really looking forward to Half Straddle’s “In The Pony Palace/FOOTBALL”. So much so that I’m going to be at every performance! That’s how much I love this show! OK, full disclosure: I’m in the show. Kristina Satter’s play about living for a feeling and being on a team features a marching band and live mashups by Chris Giarmo. (Lady Gaga meets the Stones, what the what?!) Tickets: http://www.thebushwickstarr.org/
NEW BREED: Tour De Fours: Episode 4 An entertaining look at what it takes to get your work to an audience. “Four Films, Six Dudes and One Van” As the tour hits San Francisco, the boys hit the streets harder than ever in an attempt to pack a full house. They look everywhere for a heart, a hand to hold on to, and a face of somebody… read more
My Cubee Infestation Hi there, Culture Hacker. I’m really sorry I’ve been gone so long. I have a good excuse – I mean, reason! – I swear! I’ve been delving deep into a viral art community, using publicly available tools to create free toys on the Internet.
The source of my new found joy (obsession?) is Cubeecraft, one of the many sites… read more
Olek seems to be some sort of knitting goddess. You worship her now! Just kidding. But in all honesty, how can you take your eyes away from the sheer eccentricity that is wrapping a monument in crochet work. That’s some crazy stuff. It’s great to see that the New Yorkers that were stumbling around Wall St. in the wee hours weren’t afraid to approach this woman on a mission. Seeing this makes me want to pick up some needles and knit one, pearl two. Whatever that means. I’m sure this will inspire some sort of knitting craze. Pity if it doesn’t.
Sarah Lipstate, a.k.a. Noveller (RADAR ep 28 – Before I Die) came in for a live session and interview on WNYC this past Monday, Jan 31. If you weren’t lucky enough to listen then, her appearance is now available as a podcast you can listen to right now. In the interview, she discusses the rising prominence of female guitarists, the background of her recording name, and the various pieces of gear she uses for her music. She also plays two beautifully sweeping and ambient songs, which should definitely add some much-needed warmth to a cold winter’s day.
This year, there was a Pandemic at Sundance Festival. Workbook Project founder Lance Weiler unleased Pandemic 1.0, a transmedia experience involving various aspects both online and offline, where players could work to stop a global pandemic that plays out like an apocalyptic supervirus. Centered around a short film and an upcoming feature, Hope is Missing, the project told a story through a variety of mediums, including Twitter, and various story objects planted throughout Park City. In the two interviews, Weiler discusses the project, what he hopes to accomplish from it, and the research and development involved in Pandemic 1.0 and Hope is Missing.
Wall Street Journal interview HERE
Sundance interview HERE
It seems like our contributors are in the mood for love this Valentine’s Day. And whether you’re a happy couple or forever alone, there’s no reason to stay in this year.
Dr. Sketchy’s Does Valentines Day
If your idea of Valentine’s love is cabaret performance art mixed with your own artistic expression, Dr. Sketchy’s (RADAR ep 8) has a special Valentine’s installment of their Anti-Art School.
Sunday, Feb 13 · 4:00 – 7:00 pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
New York, NY 10012
$10 advance, $15 at door EVENT INFO
The Poetry Brothel: Milonga
For those of you with a more poetic idea of love, but still have a taste for the cabaret, the Poetry Brothel (RADAR ep 20) presents Milonga, a Valentine’s edition of their inventive poetry readings.
Sunday, Feb 13 · 8:00 pm – 1:00 am
The Back Room
102 Norfolk St.
New York, NY 10002
$5 – $15 EVENT INFO
Missed Connections: A Love in Transit Party
And for those whose idea of romance involves falling for a beautiful stranger on the subway, Sophie Blackall (RADAR ep 16 – Missed Connections) invites you to find your Missed Connection at the New York Transit Museum.
Monday Feb 14 · 6:00 – 8:00 pm
New York Transit Museum
130 Livingston St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Free EVENT INFO
Factory25 dredges up the very best and the most interesting of the art/music news and plugs it into their twitter feed. This Brooklyn based film and music label is on top of the the happenings in the ever eccentric and changing industry of expression. Their linked articles are from acclaimed sources, and it is so convenient having them just show up on your feed. Factory25 does all the searching for you. It is a true service for us all.