Boozin’ in the Hudson

rock out with your torch out, in tha Hudson

rock out with your torch out, in tha Hudson

So as my Graduation weekend wrapped up to a close, I found myself stuck in traffic outside the Lincoln Tunnel to New York City. This is especially torturous because we all know that by the time you get to Lincoln Tunnel, you already have ants in your pants to just be in NYC already, but this time was worse than others, for I was going to ride a boat around the Hudson. A booze cruise, if you will. Not just an ordinary one, but one in which my new favorite band Passion Pit would be playing.

were sad cause were missing our legs

we're sad cause we're missing our legs

Passion Pit has a chronic toxicity to their music. The kind you find yourself listening to over and over again because its Spring, getting to be summer, and everyone is losing their heads and their pants with excitement for a multitude of reasons. Whether its continuing being an undergrad with ill intentions of drinking away your summer, a graduate like myself who has a degree that says I know what I’m doing when I have no clue at all, or just someone who knows summer in Philadelphia is a hell of a lot more fun than the winter. Anyway, I’m at an exciting point in my life, and this music echoes that excitement for me. Chunk of Change, their LP, has been on repeat in my apartment since the end of April. The story behind the LP is that the singer/keyboardist Michael Angelakos originally recorded a set of songs for his then girlfriend. I wish someone made this album for me. Lucky lady.

The boat was rockin’ and rollin’ to some of their new songs off their soon to be released record, Manners. The first single, The Reeling, was recently thrown up onto YouTube, with a great collage style and rapid cuts that mimics the quick beats and rapis synthisizing of this band. Obviously, I’m friggin’ crazy about this band. Also, the guys who made the video seemed to be a pretty awesome group of dancers on the front of the boat.

So if you read this, a year from now, you can say you were listening to them before they were huge. They are also starting a long, long tour, you can check for dates here. A little bird told me theres an August date for Philadelphia.

-posted by samsquared

May 20, 2009 at 10:47 PM Leave a comment

Bromantic Comedies

bromance original recipe

bromance original recipe

Unless you have been under a rock, you may have heard the word Bromance being thrown around. For those of you who may be confused by the abstract idea, it involves two guys, probably between the ages of 16 and 36, who have a best friends forever  type of relationship. This friendship can also deter women from getting involved with either guy, since he’s already in a monogomous relationship with his BFF, thus, Bromance.

summer lovin': happened so fast

summer lovin': happened so fast

I watched The Wackness yesterday. Ben Kingsley plays a perv, and pervs Mary Kate Olson, and does a lot of pharmaceutical drugs to early 1990s rap jams.  I especially enjoyed the parts that make fun of the inadequacies of high school guys in the bedroom. Anyway, I realized by the end of the movie, the two main characters shared a special summer Bromance in NYC in 1994. How cute.

Bromantic Comedies have been popular since before the word Bromance existed. Take Weird Science for example. This is especially interesting because they create a woman, who helps them eventually get other women. The whole premise of this is romantic in  that they solve their romance problems together. They would probably like my idea of a four way marriage. This comprises two men and two women. So when you get sick of one husband you can have another one, and it’s less responsibility for everyone involved. Plus in hard economic times like this, its better value for your money.

the right idea

the right idea

If you aren’t up to the responsibility of a long-term Bromance, or even a summer Bromance, you could try just a weekend bender sort of thing. You should make sure your boss invites you to his sweet weekend house by the beach. When he accidentally dies the first day,  make hilarity ensue with your bromantic counterpart by pretending your boss is still alive. Instant memories.

its such a perfect day, Im glad I spent it with you

it's such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you

So I guess all I’m getting at is if you want to make a really good movie, it should be based on a Bromantic story. This is a guranteed success, with males and females alike. Although, if you are lucky, it will only be popular with males, and you can make like, 100 more bros to share bromantic adventures and times with.

-posted by samsquared

May 18, 2009 at 4:05 PM 3 comments

Non Sequiturs, Vol. 2: Verizon culture wars

- posted by russellmania3000

This isn’t really my attempt to be clever or write Twitter-style without using Twitter or whatever, these are just things that if I were in a more self-indulgent mood, I would try to stretch into full written pieces but I’m not so here they all are.

On the subject of Twitter, I registered a few accounts on Twitter for my name and working alias, and one for Redikulus more as just a joke for Sam. I came down pretty hard on Twitter before, and I haven’t entirely had a change of heart, but the issue comes down to one of 1) protecting your name/personal brand, and, especially for design and marketing people like myself, 2) cultural/tech/media literacy. Twitter may be stupid or turn out to be a passing fad, but it’s important to be familiar with the new ways people chose to communicate. You may not like TV or fashion mags either but you won’t go far in design and marketing if you don’t understand or at least make an attempt to learn the nuances of the media you deal with. Besides, if you meet someone you want to have in your corner and they ask if you’re on Twitter, you don’t want to be the guy who obstinately says “I don’t do that.” You don’t have to use it, just have it available for a rainy day. It’s just a good idea in the same way registering the URL for your name or having a Gmail account using your name is a good idea.

I used to feel guilty or slack-ass for not writing more blog, and Sam and I would get on each other’s case about it, but since we’ve lost a little interest and don’t have the time or sense of urgency as much as when we first started, I assuage my anxiety by convincing myself that the relative rarity of our posts makes our blog more valuable, more like a quarterly journal of literary review or something.

I’ve got the cheapo freebee kind of phone (12-button keypad, not a full qwerty keyboard) so when I send text messages, its inordinately difficult to use profanity. The mode that guesses what word I want refuses to admit that I might be interested in cursing and hammering that shit out manually is just stupid and time-consuming, especially because I have to switch from guessing mode to manual and then back to guessing mode when I’m done. People who pay more for phones get the added benefit of the Verizon moral police leaving them the hell alone. Fuck that shit. What business does Verizon or Samsung have making it more difficult for me to use in private conversation words that the FCC unilaterally decided aren’t appropriate for public broadcast? Speaking of, if this digital TV transition ever actually happens and over-the-air goes away, wouldn’t that leave no reason for the FCC to exist?

It just occurred to me that while at first skydivers seem really impressive, what’s more impressive is the skydiving cameraman. Clearly he’s performing the more challenging activity of the two. I don’t necessarily mean skydiving, maybe rock climbing or hang gliding or skiing or other dangerous/physically demanding activities where some people do it and then some other guy does it too but with camera in tow and manages to get some good shots.

I’m not a big soda drinker, but here’s the key to enjoying a carbonated beverage: ginger ale/Sprite-ish stuff tastes much better close to room temperature but cola/root beer/Dr. P is better refrigerated. I say refrigerated and not chilled because putting ice in soda is just about as bad as putting ice in good scotch. I don’t want to hear anything to the contrary.

May 12, 2009 at 8:12 PM Leave a comment

Self-indulgence is the new black

~or~

If you think now is a good time to write an article about Twitter or Facebook or “social media,” you’re high as shit

- posted by russellmania3000

Because really, the last thing I want to hear or see is someone else just now catching on to one of the dumbest things to get big on the web. How about you write me an article about 10 things I should be doing on Twitter and I write you an article about 10 things you should be writing about instead of Twitter? Does that sound like fun? By the way, if you think the fail whale is an ok tattoo because it’s a cute piece of illustration despite what it means, you should know that the same dude also has an Adobe AIR logo tattoo, which is…ugh nevermind.

The Sr. VP of Biz at work sent me this the other day, not as like a joke or a sarcastic musing, but as her way of saying that even though she doesn’t really get Twitter or Facebook, she’s excited that our organization is involved on those platforms. Thanks to me. And I don’t feel great about it, but if I didn’t get them on Twitter, I wouldn’t be doing my job. And that’s the sad state we’re in. What’s sadder than that? My old intern Zack just interviewed with the San Antonio Spurs for a social media position. I’m not familiar with their front office, and maybe they have a new media team that runs 7 deep like the Suns, but I doubt it, and seeing as how their team site isn’t a gleaming example of modernity, I’m not convinced that spending money to lose focus is the right idea.

I’ve been making a concerted effort to avoid own-industry-bridge-burning-slash-mud-slinging, but fuck it, I’ve always wanted to drive a truck or be a cop or something. Here we go.

This is Chris Brogan, and he is high as shit. He writes about social media marketing on his blog, makes good money banking on his reputation, and has all kinds of followers on Twitter. He writes disposable bits about personal branding or storytelling in marketing or how to not be a toolbag when attending a marketing conference, forgetting of course that attending the conference in the first place is grade A toolbaggery. He has no sense of humor. He formulaically ends his posts with cute little open-ended/rhetorical questions like “Now that we’re done discussing turd-polishing, what do you think? What turds have you polished lately? Are there turds you’re leaving unpolished when you should be scrubbing away?” with the intention of generating discussion, or probably more likely the intention of getting some CEO to think “gee wiz I’ve never thought about our business that way. He’s good. We should pay him to polish our turds”, but in practice it reads like he’s writing to third graders or belittling his audience, as in “what did you ever do? Nothing! I invented the piano key necktie.”

The other day I was having a beer with my friend Becky, a card-carrying member of the North American Society of People Who Couldn’t Go 5 Minutes Without Touching Their IPhone Even If They Had No Hands Or Feet. I love Becky, but she’s one of those people who, when you’re hanging out with them, you’re not really hanging out with them, you’re just sort of sharing the same physical space while they tap away at their phones. It’s a whole different thing than people who are always talking on their phone, because at some point the phone call ends and you can reasonably assume their attention has returned to the here and now, at least until the next one begins, but for compulsive texters/emailers/Twitterers/Facebookers, the time spent not tapping away, you know, existing fully in the temporal plane, it’s really just a lull spent in anticipation of that noise that used to mean “your CD is done ripping” but now means something entirely different and I’m not sure exactly what because my phone is the cheap-o free kind that you get three more of when you buy one for like $20. The other pertinent bit of information that makes this whole thing make sense is that she had recently fornicated with a guy whose girlfriend was pregnant and so Becky was currently being ostracized by this particular circle of friends, and understandably so. Mid-beer, roughly the following words were exchanged:

Becky: “I hate those guys, they never tell me what’s going on.”

Me: “Huh?” (I wasn’t paying attention because she had spent the last 5 minutes burried in IPhone)

Her: “They put where they’re going on Twitter, but you know how you can put, like, @-someone? They never put @-me.”

Me: “Why don’t you just follow them? Isn’t that the point of Twitter?”

Her: “I guess, but don’t you think that’s kind of desperate?”

My job is in new media marketing, just like Chris Brogan only I’m not high as shit. I don’t mean to pick on Chris; there are hundreds if not thousands of others just like him but I’m not readily familiar with too many because I don’t live in San Francisco. I know what’s up in the web/tech world, most of the time. Personally, I don’t use Twitter, but I do on behalf of the professional sports franchise that employs me. I thought I was aware of most of the mores and norms of this platform, but apparently not. The new thing I learned that day: actually following your friends on Twitter, you know, using it as it is intended and most effectively used, is so faux pas.

Let’s stop picking on Chris. This is John Chow, who, as he puts it himself, “make[s] money online by telling people how much money [he] make[s] online.” The fact that he can state such openly and still be taken so seriously and make so much coin is a good indicator of just how much Kool Aid is being passed around at the new media cult meeting, I mean party. He is, in point of fact, high as shit, though not in the same way some other guys like Brogan are high as shit (Whoops. Sorry Chris. It just comes so easily.), because deep down I think he gets that what he does is simple Simon nonsense, and to a certain extent he’s honest about it. He also made an adorable video about parenting.

This time I’m going to try really hard not to make fun of Chris. This is Guy Kawasaki. He’s a former marketing guy for Apple, now doing stuff far less interesting, and this is going to shock you, but Guy is high as shit and luuuvs Twitter. Like I mean, he really hearts it, so much so that he’s so busy going to conferences to talk about Twitter that he doesn’t have time to actually do it so he pays other people to do it for him, not like for his business, for him personally like you might pay someone to do your food shopping or dog walking. And this is I believe a good illustration of the internet meme You’re Doing It Wrong(sic). Can you tell I’ve been reading Infinite Jest? But that’s not why I brought Guy up. Guy gave a talk on Twitter at SES recently. I wasn’t there because I’m not a toolbag, but I heard he went on a tangent about how he doesn’t understand why Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s CTO and holder of the world’s second most awesome name (first being Moxie Crimefighter Jillette), was on so many people’s recommended-to-follow list on Twitter and he wasn’t. Guy, if you’re out there, the answer is because maybe you’re the kind of guy who gets upset over Twitter. That and you don’t work at Apple anymore. Cisco is important and Alltop isn’t. Twitter also probably hates Hawaiians.

The VP of Technology at our team’s parent company sent me this article, right before he sent me a bunch of other stupid articles about social media. Probably around 90% of the people who write for Ad Age are high as shit, but their niche is in being staggeringly behind the curve and painfully speculative, vague and obvious, so one can only fault them so much. But the point is already there are ad agencies that offer placement in Twitter feeds, and Twitter itself is developing paid account features. Like hell it can’t be monetized. That’s exactly what happens when a platform’s user base nearly doubles in a little over one month.

Facebook recently changed the way most of their pages look and behave, and while the word on the street is they’ve gotten enough complaints that they’re already rethinking and making changes, the makeover is a tell that while the network isn’t over yet in the way that MySpace is over, it will be over sooner or later. Facebook’s ui is now clunkier, inelegant, straying from the near-perfect identity that made it such a success. But the upshot, I suppose from Zuckerberg’s view, is that it’s now more like Twitter. That idiot turned down all kinds of ducket in a buyout offer a couple years ago. In a couple more he’ll be kicking himself.

Here’s the thing about Twitter. It’s not all the rage because it’s simple or easy to use or “enables you to communicate in new and interesting ways” or any of that new media cult jargon. For one thing, it’s not simple. If you want to use Facebook, where do you go? Facebook.com. If you want to use Twitter, where do you go? Twitter.com? Amateur. Excuse me. Noob. There are enough third party desktop apps, feed aggregators, publishing tools and tracking utilities to make your head spin. All the really neat/lame/neat again/lame again shit people are doing with Twitter isn’t built in at all. And it’s not even that it’s compatible with mobile devices. There’s this arcane technology called email that’s been on phones for years. Hell, you wouldn’t believe, but phones actually make phone calls, or voice chats if you will, so you can fucking communicate in real fucking time and keep in touch with people and let them know what the fuck you’re doing.

Remember when you used to really like mentally invest yourself in thinking up the perfect song lyric that ever so poignantly expressed how you were feeling, right at that moment, man, so you could put it in your away message on AIM? Don’t lie, yes you do. Remember sitting around just sort of looking at other people’s away messages for the better part of an hour? Or coming home and checking your computer and the surge of pride and validation you felt when you saw all the people who responded to your away message while you were out, or the pang of disappointment you felt when no one responded, not even the person you expressly crafted the message for in the hopes that she would read it (you little emo fucker) ? I have to reach back about 7 years for that kind of warm and fuzzy memory but some of you might not have to go so far. Hell, some of you might have done this same sort of thing a couple months ago with your Facebook status, before you took up, in a nostalgic throwback to crafting AIM profiles, writing lists of 25 things that no one wants to know.

Then again, you might not have to go back that far either. If you’re a Twitter user, chances are you participated in this same sort of time-honored fishing-for-attention ritual earlier today. What Twitter really brings to the table is a diabolical tightening in and expanding upon the core of what makes self-indulgence and voyeurism so appealing to so many while stripping away all the extraneous features of social networks that might cause you to lose focus on yourself. Don’t have digital camera? Can’t edit video worth a damn? Screw that shit, relegate it to links to other sites. Can’t formulate cogent thoughts and arguments in written English? Fuck it, 140 characters is no place for nuance, complete sentences/spelling/punctuation optional. Don’t have any hip interests or feel weird lying about what bands/books/movies you like? Profiles are a thing of the past. Don’t have any real friends to friend? Plenty of people you don’t know will follow you for no reason. Your life is so stunningly uninteresting that your Facebook page is a barren waste of inactivity? Tweet on behalf of your pet. Or real people who have better things to do. Bored by friend counts or unable to generate comments? The following-to-follower ratio provides a brave new paradigm for competing for status.

From a business standpoint, I totally get the whole Twitter cult. There’s no compelling reason not to join and that’s why I helped get our organization on board. People might ask how much money you’ll really make or traffic you’ll generate or engagement you’ll create in your audience and the answer is I don’t know, but however much it is, it’s more than you would get by not doing it. And even though I don’t have a personal account, I can see the potential value for the individual. I just don’t see the potential being put into practice all that much. The kind of people who use Twitter in valuable ways are the kind of people that would get the same shit done if Twitter didn’t exist. They’d be awarded the same jobs, have the same reach to the same audience through blogging or something else, contribute to the same communities, and so on.

But for the laymen, the students, accountants, bankers, (ahem) fabric designers, media figureheads, entertainers and scores of other people who have joined the cult, something vile and absurd and uncomfortably revealing about what it is to be human is coming out of them on Twitter. It is a gateway drug, an enabler of a kind of short and not-at-all-sweet celebration of self, or the celebration of circuitous, silly shit, like tweeting about how to use Twitter better. It’s another way to shout at the world about nothing of consequence, another way to wear ourselves obnoxiously on our sleeves, another mirror for us to look into. It teaches us to use characters efficiently at the cost of using language well. It encourages us to believe the way to be interesting is to be proliferate rather than thoughtful. I mean for fuck’s sake, athletes are Twittering at halftime instead of listening to their coaches and Congressmen are Twittering instead of listening to the President speak. I don’t know what that speaks volumes about more: how little respect they have for Obama, how much Congressmen are shitty people, how much they don’t really care about how fucked this country is, or how clear it is that, even though we might like it and much like a lot of other things we happen to like, Twitter isn’t a good thing for us.

March 29, 2009 at 6:55 PM 3 comments

Affirmation Station: Vampire Liars

mmm, blood and glitter

mmm, blood and glitter and man rings

As promised, I will do my best to affirm things for the readers out there. (I know, I’m almost as surprised as you are that we have readers!) Moving on, my friend Tony asked me to speak on the subject of those pretending to be Vampires. Ah yes, less known about than the Fury community, we’ll call this group the Fampires. (Fake Vampires)

I can has silly hat?

I can has silly hat?

If you would like to see these idiots in their natural habitat, may I make some recommendations? Travel to the dirtiest, trashiest mall in the area, but they should have a Hot Topic. This is like the corner bodega to the Fampires, if a facial piercing falls out, they’ll need a replacement pretty quickly. They can also access the freshest black t-shirts with bad graphics and hair dye. It’s a one stop shop for these losers. Also, the glass they use on the skylights in malls is sealed with a special magic, that allows these fake vampires to not be burned by the sun. Now don’t piss them off, its well known that these fake vampires also have spirit familiars. Oh, not familiar with the spirit familiar? Think of the hardest, most gothic animal you can think of. That’s your spirit animal, and it follows you and does your bidding. Fampires love to have wolf familiars, they will talk about what this made up creature has been doing all day and compare notes.

Now, people pretending to be vampires have existed for quite some time. I’ve known about them since I was 13, which is a prime age to find yourself hanging out at the mall and learning about those who are dedicated to being a vampire. Part of the problem is that these people think vampires actually exist. Seriously? Well, these people didn’t get the memo, they do not exist.

why am I famous?

how can I look more like a Vampire?

And now we have this Twilight crap, which I’m pretty sure is a Harry Potter-like craze, only Harry Potter went blond and started sucking everyone’s blood. This is going to make Fampires all the more abundant. I mean, everyone loves giving hickies in high school, so I can sort of see the allure. However, pretending to be a vampire is not a solid move. You know why? Because it’s pretend! You are not actually a vampire, you will not live forever, and you can’t convince me that you drink blood for kicks. Besides, being pale is not that cool, I should know, I’m a real day-walker.

must have: myspace fang shot

must have: myspace fang shot

So do us all a favor, turn off the shitty gothic music,  take out the platic teeth, and take off the damn make-up. Fampires equalling the suck: affirmed.

March 26, 2009 at 6:29 PM 1 comment

I Got Dance in My Pants

This is a magical dancing man. He will probably annoy you. His name is Mike Long, and I am pretty sure he is my soul mate. Turns out we have a lot in common. Dancing, design, fun, colorful sneakers, sweet shades and beards. I don’t have a beard, but if I was a dude I imagine I would have a really sweet beard like his. Also, he’s from Canada, and I’ve always liked Canada, unlike most of American. Anyway, he danced everyday for a year, and he pretty much still dances a lot. Its not something you can stop once you’ve started. This video features Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, who are an excellent band if you are not familiar. Let me tell you a story:

Amy Winehouse was an okay singer. Amy Winehouse had a shitty band and was never going to be famous although she looked just like she should be famous because she was very alt looking. Then she got really lucky because Mark Ronson was all up on the Dap Kings and got them to play her album. Everyone wins, because they all get paid. Except we lose, because we have to know who Amy Winehouse is and what a trainwreck she consistently is. Sharon Jones plays with the Dap Kings and she doesn’t do piles of heroin, not surpsingly, not many people know who she is. She also has moves.

make it rain!

make it rain!

Some of you may have also seen this dancin’ machine, who is a MFA student in Yale’s Design School. This guy has a much more electro-tronic taste, and is very Bootylicious. Now while Mr. Kim has a pretty awesome fashion sense, I still prefer the Beard and sunglasses look. I’m obsessed with sunglasses, here are some suggestions for your summer purchase:

note: do not wear at night.

note: do not wear at night.

I also may or may not have been in and out of the country lately. This would explain my abcense in the internetz and my blog. This also goes to show you can’t count on Russ to run a blog on his own. Anyway, I scored some sweet 45s because I like funny record covers, and now I will share some amazing songs with you.

Grenadine Heart, MMM!

Grenadine Heart, MMM!

I can’t embed this great one by Week’s & Co, but trust me when I say, this video is worth it. I promise silver boots, and disgusting choreography.

It may seem a bit harsh, but this picture does Imagination no justice to the one on the 45 I have. I guess a white Grand Piano just really gets these guys in the mood for seductive faces and crawling, and they are just not that into squats.

can you imagine, gold garters?

can you imagine, gold garters?

Happy Monday!

-posted by samsquared

March 23, 2009 at 8:25 PM Leave a comment

The things I chose to keep to myself

- posted by russellmania3000

To the best of my knowledge, I had thought Sam was either in France or dead of bowel cancer, and for my intents and purposes, there isn’t a big distinction between either scenario. But she’s back States-side and if I know her at all she’ll be riding the I-hate-it-here wambulance for a spell, so I guess we’ll see if any further contributions from her are forthcoming. I’ve been terrible busy and working on and off on a long-form piece on Jim Henson, but this is more temporally pertinent, and if I were to go another week without writing anything, I may as well give Redikulus up for keeps.

Until earlier in March, I hadn’t gone to see anything on First Friday in several months; all too often I’m too late getting there or too disillusioned from the last time I went so I skip the galleries and go straight to the bar. This month, I avoided Old City altogether and opted for a few spots I’d never visited, which didn’t really help with the disillusionment but at least it wasn’t ass-to-ankles crowded.

First stop: Juanita & Juan’s for the launch of Megawords issue 10. In case visitors didn’t want to physically handle a zine, a copy had been unbound and the pages had been tacked to the wall, which really deprives you of the experience of paging through 112 pages of in crowd ego stroking that “reflects upon the exhibition’s thirty-one days as a physical outlet for creativity in a melange of color and black and white photographs, reproductions of storefront plans and proposals, and written reflections about the project.” In other words, a scenester scrap book, in effect a publication whose subject is itself. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that this was perhaps not their strongest issue.

Second stop: Vox Populi had a exhibition called Bivouac which included: creepy drawings of Snow White; photos of constructivist/readymade-ish sculptures; film of guy telling molestation story while molesting wad of clay; film of naked Juggernauts; film of hands paging through book. There was also a performance/installation piece called Rented Time, consisting of: balloons; giant cigarette carton spinning on wall; guy in Halloween costume making funny noises, breaking in and out of character. Also three really scrawny guys talking about their weightlifting routines in the corner. Next please.

Third stop: Tiger Strike Asteroid. No link for this place, not a huge surprise, because the name should be a dead giveaway that it was just some art students’ loft. In one room they had hung what looked to be someone’s projects from a freshman year design curriculum, over-performing homework assignments but under-performing pieces of art.

Fourth stop: Toy Factory. Again no link, but again this was just another loft apartment with a name, and in some extra space adjacent the kitchen were a couple found object sculptures and some pseudo-Giger-ish drawings with Game Boys, Transformers and a smattering of other pop culture ironies-du-jour. The antique movie camera converted into a music box was a hugely redeeming factor to an otherwise lackluster display.

I should also mention something about the ambiance of these last two places. As if going into smaller spaces doesn’t already sometimes feel like you’re intruding on a private engagement, entering these last two spots, glorified residences as they were, definitely felt like I inadvertently stumbled into the wrong room. Tiger Strike Asteroid was confined and crowded and full of chatter, the place was pretty sparse, most signs of inhabitation had been tidied away, and there were definitely, like, senior citizens there, presumably done with Vox Populi and just poking around, so that wasn’t so jarring. But Toy Factory was far more awkward in that the place was larger, emptier (of people) and had all the trappings of a very cozy, comfy home. Lived in, is the phrase. A small crowd was to one side and speaking quietly amongst themselves if at all, lounging about rather than huddling together like you do when in unfamiliar territory, and one guy was in an adjacent living room watching a skateboard video like it was Tuesday. And there was a blind dog with cataracts the size of dinner plates. It felt too personal for comfort.

Contemporary art, like much of all art, is self-indulgent to an extent, but usually it comes off as an adverb, as in “this piece self-indulgently but successfully renders so and so” or “this guy paints really well, albeit a little self-indulgently.” But this month more than any other I can remember, the work I saw seemed to embrace self-indulgence in a new and profound way, as sort of the object noun/central thesis/raison d’etre. You know violence for violence’s sake or sex for sex’s sake? Well…yeah. How exquisitely postmodern. More on this to come.

Bonus round: Khmer Art Gallery. You know how in like every kung fu movie there’s some smarmy Brit who’s stealing truckloads of Chinese artifacts and selling them to “the institute” for major ducket? This place is like that dude’s hideout, only substitute Chinese for Cambodian and smarmy Brit for portly, middle-aged hippy lady. I mean, their collection is so extensive it feels pillaged.

Bonus round 2: More recently I popped over to the PMA, because, you know, what the hell, can’t be worse than First Friday. They have an exhibition on called Cézanne and Beyond which is quite possibly worth the $24. Among others, there’s some lesser-known works by Picasso, Matisse, Jasper Johns, Max Beckmann, Giacometti, Gorky, Braque and Mondrian, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. There was also some Japanese photography and a small Gehry exhibition, which is neat if you’re into Gehry.

March 18, 2009 at 12:01 AM Leave a comment

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