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.
Parts + Labor is a cute short film made by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Sean O’Malley and starring Barak Hardley and Tipper Newton. In it, a girl on a budget tries to get her motorbike fixed and strikes up a conversation with the mechanic. What follows is a simple yet extremely well made and funny short about a short but sweet connection between two people. It’s nice to see a comedy short that feels natural and doesn’t rely so much on awkwardness as similar films tend to do. If you’ve been having a nasty day so far, this should quickly turn it around.
Javelin – Canyon Candy
Electro/hip-hop duo Javelin (RADAR ep 27 – Auto-Tune the News) just wrapped up their latest 10” entitled Canyon Candy, which will be out later this spring. Their next project will be a film to go along with it—a surreal, epic western, shot in Brooklyn of all places (but if the final product is anything like the preview video, it should be quite amazing). They’ll be shooting it this April, and you can actually help out—they launched a Kickstarter campaign, and as of today they’re quite close to reaching their $9500 goal. Maybe your pledge will be the one that accomplishes that feat? Either way, there’s also something cool in it for you—a $25 pledge gets you the full album on a sheriff’s badge Playbutton.
Thought Catalog is exactly what it sounds like: a catalog of thoughts. It’s a regularly-updated site where writers from all walks of life, from bloggers to published journalists, publish short opinion pieces on various subjects, ranging from Facebook to the New York City Subway to house parties. The reflections are more cultural than political, and clever without being pretentious, and the pieces are packaged together on a clean, well-designed site that doesn’t inundate the reader with ads. Take a look; odds are you’ll find something that interests you on the first page.
Now that the snow’s all thawed and everyone’s back from SXSW, spring has finally arrived in New York! And that can only mean one thing: funny, sexy pillow fights?
Dr. Sketchy’s Tribute to Cynthia Von Buhler
Dr. Sketchy’s (RADAR ep 8) is back, and what better way to celebrate spring than showing off your art skills? This Sunday’s show features doing a tribute to artist Cynthia Von Buhler.
Sunday, March 27 · 4:00pm – 6:45pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
New York, NY
$12 advance, $15 at door EVENT INFO
G.L.O.C. Launch Party
When Glennis McMurray (RADAR ep 2 – I Eat Pandas) curated for us a while back, we mentioned her new project G.L.O.C. (Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy). Now that the website TheGLOC.net has launched, it’s time for a party! Expect to see some hilarious comedy from some of the funniest women out there, as well as some other surprises.
Thursday, March 31 · 6:00pm – 8:00pm
200 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
$6 EVENT INFO
Newmindspace Pillow Fight NYC 2011
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Newmindspace (RADAR ep 10), but they’ve returned with a new website and big plans for the 4th annual Pillow Fight Day! Bring your own feather-free pillow and meet at Union Square for the pillow battle of a lifetime.
Saturday, April 2 · 3:00 pm
E. 14th St. & Broadway
New York, NY EVENT INFO
You know, when I used to think of Etsy, I always thought of cute things, like polka dotted dresses and hipster-ish girls selling scarves and ribbons and such. So I was not prepared for what lurking horrors awaited me on Regretsy. And by “lurking horrors” I mean things like “vegan” soap made with human breast milk, ball-exposing man thongs, and actual dead mice dried up (mummified?) and made into craft… things. I’m actually not sure what the mouse things are, except terrifying, and a constant reminder of one’s own mortality—which can be yours for $12.00! Regretsy does us all the service of digging deep into the bizarre, frightening, and occasionally depressing world of the very worst stuff people try to hawk on Etsy, and blogs it to the world with a healthy dose of snark.
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.
RADAR NYC 6.9.11 LOOK
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… read more
RADAR NYC 7.29.10 LOOK
Before I Die – The Website
Inspired by the pending death of the Polaroid camera, K.S. Rivers and Nicole Kenney (RADAR 028 – Before I Die) sought to discover what people value most in their lives. They traveled the world, met hundreds of people, and snapped a Polaroid of them as they answered one simple question: What do you… read more
If it doesn’t spread it’s dead Henry Jenkins and WorkBook Project founder Lance Weiler sit down for a conversation about participatory culture and how “if it doesn’t spread it’s dead.”
NEW BREED – A Conversation on Transmedia – Part 1 from The Sabi Company on Vimeo.
This week’s edition of RADAR NYC is brought to you by Marc Horowitz (RADAR ep 18 – Google Maps Road Trip). When we last checked in on him, he was working on The Advice of Strangers, a project where he had strangers vote on all his life choices. His latest project is a series of short video “studies,” showing a day in the life of things like talking random objects and dust. Many of his selections for this blog seem to fit the theme of “a day in the life,” whether it’s the life of a city or the life of an imaginative teenager.
Directed by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, Manhatta is a short film depicting the city in 1921. And it’s honestly amazing how much hasn’t changed since then—the film depicts shots of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry, as well as a few buildings modern New Yorkers would certainly recognize. These are things we see every day, just as we did 90 years ago. A series of shots filmed to show the creators’ love of the city, the stark images of steel and steam invoke a feeling of strength and power It chronicles a moment in the life of not just any city, but The City.
At first glance I thought this was a music video, but it’s actually much more than that. Martin Creed is a Glaswegian conceptual artist, though many of his works mix music and visuals. The song itself manages to be both catchy and chaotic, which contrasts nicely from the minimalist video of two dogs of (very) different size representing Thinking (the small one) and Not Thinking (the large one). It’s quite a funny juxtaposition, reflecting the different roles of consciousness and unconsciousness.
Zombie? Spaceship? Or wasteland? Take your pick, if you like awesome things. Or if you’re a teenager with an overactive imagination. According to comedian Patton Oswalt, these are the themes we tend to gravitate toward as young storytellers. Oswalt shares his thoughts on growing up in this hilarious memoir of his own experiences (of the three above topics, he picked wastelands), from dealing with relatives as a child to working in a “grim Canadian comedy club.” It should definitely be a great read for all those creative kids who grew up in the suburbs.
This week’s even goes out to our readers in LA. Roman Signer is a Swiss Artist who specializes in what he calls “momentary sculptures,” essentially small live installations that are captured on video. One work, “Barrel with Camera,” is of Signer placing a camera in a barrel and rolling it down a hill, though the video withholds this information until the end to give the viewer a humorous revelation. Many of his works invoke humor, ranging from slapstick to dark comedy, all laced with social commentary against pretensions. The art world could always use a bit more humor.
Ongoing through March 14
8687 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA EVENT INFO
News, Words, and Drawings of the Day
Finally, Marc gives us a few things to follow, including a couple we can follow on our smart phones. The Fluent News app gives us a break from the cacophony of all the different news outlets out there, and aggregates the top stories into a mobile newspaper that the viewer can customize to his or her own tastes. For all the language geeks out there, there’s the Dictionary app, which includes a Word of the Day feature for those of us who like to confuse our friends with our ever-expanding vocabularies. And this last one isn’t an app, but artist Lauren Nassef posts a new drawing every day on her website, ranging from current events (Gaddafi) to some rather beautiful vintage-esque portraits.
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.
Transmedia Talk 24 – Him, Her and Them Welcome to Transmedia Talk, a podcast covering all things Story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia, Dee Cook, and Haley Moore and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.
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Transmedia Talk 30: 2011 Half Year in Review with Michael Andersen Welcome to Transmedia Talk, a podcast covering all things Story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia, Dee Cook, and Haley Moore and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.
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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.