One City to Check Out One Night

sure, it looks nice from over here and with a nice filter...   © Flickr user nicoatridge

sure, it looks nice from over here and with a nice filter... © Flickr user nicoatridge

If you’re like me, you probably have no reason to go to Newark most of the time. Unless it’s to pick up some German friend of yours from the airport, or because your friend from Jerz swears they have a good reason to go. There is a good reason to go next week, March 6th 2009, and I want all of you to go because I unfortunately cannot. It’s sure to be an impressive show, I give you:

holy crap that's a lot of people!

holy crap that's a lot of people!

One-hundred artists? That’s amazing. One-hundred artists who are all alive and producing art? Even more amazing. Collective shows are always interesting in the way that the pieces inevitably show some sort of relation from one artist’s work to the others. It’s that idea that if you spend enough time with other people you start to pick up on  their mannerisms, and in this case, artistic preferences. I don’t know how many of these people know each other, and the reality is that most of these people probably don’t know each other, but that makes it more intriguing to me. The scope of this show is going to stretch a wide variety of mediums and topics. This is held at a place called Jajo Gallery, and it looks like they have a fairly good time here judging by the party pictures.

I found out about this show because my best friend, Emily Kane, has been working a full-time job during the day, and dedicatedly working on new works for the show at night.

this is her day job with Jeni, Fritillaria Earring © De Mi A Ti

this is her day job with Jeni, Fritillaria Earring © De Mi A Ti

The most impressive artists to me are those who are severly dedicated. I’ve never questioned her dedication, even if she could talk her way into good math grades in art school. I am definitely disappointed I will be missing this show, not just for the 99 other artists who will be there, but to miss a good friend’s first show. You will definitely see more coming from her in the future, but here’s and example of her work:

holy crap, that's a big drawing! © Emily Kane

holy crap, that's a big drawing! © Emily Kane

Another friend of mine will be showing his work at the show too, but he’s a great deal more secretive about his process and what he’s working on. Pillis has been up to some really spectacular video and animation lately, and I would hope he is going to share some of that at this show. You can check out some of his past work at his blog.

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February 23, 2009 at 4:15 PM 1 comment

Nifty Fifty Shmifties

everybody must parade!

everybody must parade!

I haven’t done a design or illustration post in a while, and I need to redeem myself as an illustrator. While paging through an old Print magazine, I came across a book review for Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation. I could only see the cover, pictured above, but I knew that this book was for me, and I will soon be in ownership of it! The author, Amid Amidi has also put together a very nice blog, which I have now added to my ever extending list of bookmarks. This is a great supplement to those fans of the wonderful retro blog, GrainEdit, who wish they would update more. They definitely believe in quality over quantity, and I’m not complaining.

the hardest way to play!

the hardest way to play!

I’ve mentioned being into fun drawings before, whimsical characters and drawings. I have not mentioned Jim Flora, who’s work is pictured. He was a really great designer from the fifties. Now I also translate this appreciation to 50s animation as well. Fifties animation had a great style, that also featured off set inking. (Note for non-artists: off -set is when the ink color and the line don’t match up, aka off-registration printing) It also features really great textures and color themes and mixtures that are really unexpected. I wasn’t able to figure out why I was so drawn to this style until about a month ago when I saw a Mr. Magoo cartoon for the first time in several years.

caution: blind man with a temper stuff in traffic

caution: blind man with a temper stuck in traffic

When I was younger, I really had a thing for old men, Mr. Rogers and Jim Henson included. The cartoon old man Mr. Magoo is really great, and I know why I liked it so much. He’s such a strong willed little man for being blind, and he always knows what he’s talking about. I think I developed a great deal of my personality from watching Mr. Magoo navigate his way around the world. He’s very sassy, which I think I’m pretty sassy. He also inadvertently becomes the center of a catastrophe frequently. Plus he acts like he’s drunk the majority of the time, becoming increasingly demanding and condescending of other characters. The cartoon is a visual feast of stuff I’m about to rip off! Netflix will be delivering a DVD to me shortly.

I think I would like to live here

I think I would like to live here

This brings me to a studio who is cleaning up with their monopoly of this style. Invisible Creature is two guys, brothers, sitting around and drawing, having a grand old time. At least that’s what I imagine, but I know they must be working very hard to be producing the amount of work that they do. I mentioned Grain Edit earlier, and they were great enough to have featured Invisible Creature in one of their artist interviews. These interviews are really great because they usually feature some tips from the artist on how to create these visuals yourself. How wonderful is that? Wonderfully nice! I’m not so nice, I probably wouldn’t reveal my secrets.

Don & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature

Don & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature

WOW! Doesn’t this all look like so much fun. Well, it’s the weekend, go off and have yourself some!

-posted by samsquared

February 20, 2009 at 8:04 PM 2 comments

Crazy Affirmation: Animal Conversations

sunset1

Sadly, I didn’t receive any requests for me to affirm anything for anyone this week. I would just like to say congratulations to all of you, for being so self-affirming. I’m proud of you. But the weekly post must be posted weekly, and so we press on. This week, I am going to address the phenomena of people who talk to animals. Those who are animaphonic (capable of speaking to animals) are a strange and mixed group.

Exhibit A:

I may or may not have view Dunston Checks In this week.  My point here is this. Some times talking to animals (usually monkeys who are robbers) can be hilarious. There are a slew of monkey movies out there that follow this framework, namely Monkey Trouble with a young, boyish Thora Birch and some more obscure movies like Funky Monkey, MVP: Most Valuable Primate, and MXP: Most Extreme Primate.

Exhibit B:

On the other hand, most people who talk to animals are a few marbles short, and you probably want to stay away. I also may or may not have seen a portion of a made for TV movie about Oliver Twist.Since most of you probably aren’t familiar with this version of Oliver Twist, in which a character named Fagin speaks to a crow in his rafters. He’s exceedingly creepy, and to drive the creepiness home, here’s a picture of Timothy Spall as Fagin in this movie. You may have seen him in Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban, Lemony Snickets, or Sweeny Todd being additionally creepy.

Timothy Spall is a professional creeper

Timothy Spall is a professional creeper

Exhibit C:

We also have the Wicked Witch of the West.Now this woman had all kinds of issues.  She may have spoke with monkeys, but they were flying monkeys.

everyone seems to be enjoying themselves here

everyone seems to be enjoying themselves here

If you haven’t at one point in your life wished for a legion of flying monkeys to do your bidding, you’re doing it all wrong. This is where the talking to monkeys thing stops being funny, and starts being freaky and sort of awesome. But I guess dressing in black and having green face doesn’t really get you too far, might as well embrace it.

Exhibit D:

Then we have the case of Alice in Wonderland. Ah yes, Wonderland. I still want to go here, and if talking to a OCD white rabbit with severe concerns about being punctual takes me there, I’ll talk to him. I’ll even sing him a song and dance. That is clearly the correct hole to fall down, even for all the troubles it causes her. Alice is simply one of those characters in a story who doesn’t understand how to make the best of a poor situation.

running so late, he forgot his pants

running so late, he forgot his pants

This goes for characters like Sara in the Labyrinth as well. Marry David Bowie, and his purple package. I don’t see the downside in the situation. He clearly states, “Forget about the baby.”  Win, win.

Okay. With all the evidence before us, I feel it’s safe to make our affirmation. I would like to affirm that its pefectly acceptable to talk with animals under a few conditions. It can be that it is hilarious. Its always good to do things for a laugh. It’s also acceptable if the animals understand you and do your bidding. Lastly, I find it acceptable to talk to the animals if it is going to be beneficial to you. (i.e. becoming Goblin Queen/wife of David Bowie) Never fail to be an oppourtunist. The only way talking to animals isn’t okay is if you are really crazy and creepy, or if someone is going to see you doing this and have you comitted. Now go make some friends, I’m sure there’s some pigeons or squirrels near by.

-posted by samsquared

February 19, 2009 at 9:14 PM 1 comment

What time is it?

I’ve already gotten used to the idea my blog might cause some ruckus amongst my friends. Either because they sincerely disagree, think I am being too much of an ignoramus, or just to play Devil’s advocate. Recently, I noted people get very heated over Kevin Smith movies. Mostly because I refuse to acknowledge that Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back is crap. I believe that the part in the end in which they attend a Morris Day &  the Time concert in which everyone is dancing to Jungle Love really embodies everything life should be, could be and more. And thus, makes up for the crap that may or may not precede it. I wish life was more like Morris Day & the Time.

yes, more key-tars! more gold suits! MORE DANCING!

yes, more key-tars! more gold suits! MORE DANCING!

So this past weekend, we watched Purple Rain for Valentine’s Day. Who could ask for a better date than a date with Prince and Appolonia. I’m not going to discuss the details of the movie, most of you are already familiar with it. However, what’s important here is the movie trailer included with the DVD of Purple Rain, Graffiti Bridge. Here, enlighten yourself.

My favorite part about not having seen Graffiti Bridge yet, is that I can read the Netflix user comments and half care. One user said Prince must have been using the same stylist as Michael Jackson at this time, and I laughed, and agreed. Nothing like some sexy pasty men who know how to use a hair straightener. Oh wait, those are emo kids.

sorry to frighten you all

sorry to frighten you all

he's thinking he went wrong here, he's right

he's thinking he went wrong here, he's right

There’s really not much Prince has done wrong in his life. So I can excuse him for the bad hair, and other bad decisions probably involved in this movie. Some who find themselves jealous question his sexuality, but that’s okay, but Prince definitely knows he likes women and gets plenty of them, so this is a non-issue. Prince still rules, and always will. If you are unsure of that, there’s always this, (and thanks to Steve for sending this over):

you want some segway, bitches?

you want some segway, bitches?

Even in frilly shirts, velvet pants, and high heels, he’ll kick your ass.

-posted by samsquared

February 17, 2009 at 6:47 PM Leave a comment

Affirmation Station: Ginger-vitis

sunset

I have decided to do a weekly affirmation. If I am ever going to get my cult going, I am going to have to start addressing people’s concerns and issues. So if you feel something needs to be reaffirmed, feel free to send us an email. I’ll do my best to affirm its place in the world. Oh, it’s also for random bits of knowledge, because I’m really good at seeking out some weird stuff. I decided, since feeling down earlier this week, to reaffirm why I am awesome, and in particular, why Gingers are awesome.

we aint goin down like that!

we ain't goin' down like that!

Gingers are rather enigmatic. Some of us are gorgeous (I like to think I fall into this category) and some of us, are.. not. We do have lots more in common than just the recessive genes that gave us the ginger color. For example, I don’t know one Ginger who really enjoys references to our fiery colored pubic hair. For one, pubic hair isn’t something anyone really likes to focus on. That’s why waxing and shaving is such a big market, people are never going to want to stop getting rid of body hair. So what if it’s a new color variety you haven’t seen before. Second of all, don’t knock it til you tried it. I know you’re jealous because that hair coloring kit you bought in Summer Sunset tells you not to use it down there. But lets get back to why we are awesome, and subsequently not going extinct.

Yes, the new rumor, that we are all dying off. You know what the rumor used to be? That’s right, rumors about redheads have been thought up since the dawning of time. There was plenty about the “Redbeards” who took over America, floating in on their clouds, to wreak havoc on super advanced civilizations. I especially like the rumors from those days about how we came from space, and the ones where we are the spawn of Satan. That’s right. Hail Satan bitches.We are not dying off, but scientists get sick of talking about how the Earth IS dying off, and fat people are not.

ginger smarts

ginger smarts

While watching the inauguration, someone said I might understand why everyone was crying once a Ginger became president. Tough shit, there already was one! Thomas Jefferson. And technically, all those old fogies at the beginning of our nation wanted another Ginger, Benjamin Franklin, to be president. He politely declined and suggested George Washington. There’s all kind of righteous redheads, and we have to do a lot of cleaning up for the redheads, who are well, not so righteous.

Where was I? Oh yes, redheads who make up for shiteous redheads. I won’t put myself on the list, or people I know, but there’s a few of us out there, flaming proud. Ours is a light and it never goes out!

since when was I hot?

We somtimes forget where we are...

We somtimes forget where we are...

Im hot when I dont date Marilyn Manson

I'm hot when I don't date Marilyn Manson

we wish you were still this hot

we wish you were still this hot

We also have the fakers, or the unsures, or the trainwrecks who aren’t doing anyone any good.

please leave

please leave

please make the pain stop!

please make the pain stop!

I think this shows that despite a few of God’s, we’ll call them ‘mistakes’, gingers have been relatively successful and attractive humans. Gingers generally affirmed.

Also, if you missed it, Jim Gaffigan made a guest appearance on Flight of the Conchords this past week. Aside from him knitting, he refers to his ginger down low as a fire belt. Murray refers to his hair color as electric copper. This was a special episode you need to catch, especially if you have ginger love.

February 13, 2009 at 7:58 PM Leave a comment

A conversation we have all of us had

– posted by russellmania3000

It begins something like this:

Act I, Scene I: The scene opens to the cold light of dawn. Two middle-aged men exit a makeshift trading post/tavern made of rotting beechwood located on the desolate main drag of a lonely rural mining town. Their skin is leathery and worn full of crevices such that a close-up photograph of one of their cheeks might look like a topographical image of the Himalayas. They walk together, blowing steamy breath into clenched fists and speaking in hushed tones. They wear silly fur hats.

Dmitri: What is this, this Sonic? Day after day I see their advertisements on the moving picture box, teasing and tempting me with their patties of ground beef, and slushie happy hours, and tots! Oh, the tots! But here, in the frozen wastes of the Urals, such an establishment there is not. Believe me comrade, I have looked, for my eyes long for the sight and my tongue for the taste.

Vladimir: They are places of legend, my friend, for in all my wandering I have happened upon nary a one for many moons. You will not find Sonic and her fresh bounties within 500 leagues of this place. But I have many fond memories of a carefree childhood in Omsk, for it was there that my family took my sister and me weekly to market and, after a long day of trading and peddling our wares in the village square, we ate a hearty meal of breakfast burritos and onion rings. Those were happier days. But here in the mines of Narodnaya, for us there is only sweat and dust and the meager root stew.

Dmitri: But why, Vladimir, tell me, why do they mock us with promotional messages for goods which we cannot procure? Surely such a ruse is not worth the price!

Vladimir: It is a strange and cruel fate that we should be cast so from the light and warmth of the simple pleasures we desire most.

Exeunt Dmitri and Vladimir stage left. End scene.

Or in 3-panel strip form, if you prefer it.

Like many of you, for years I have seen Sonic ads on TV, shaken my fist at the heavens, spat at almighty God and persevered. Or just went to Five Guys. I don’t want to make pithy banter with a balding friend or dumpy-looking wife or chubby Paris Hilton lookalike and even more busted female. And by busted I don’t mean she has nice mammaries or resembles a plaster cast from the shoulders up. I mean that when photons bounce off her body and are recorded by a camera, and this recording is played back so that more photons in the pattern of her visage scurry in the direction of my ocular cavity, the net result is an unpleasant sensation in my cerebellum. No, I just want a burger.

Last week some coworkers and I took a little 20-minute excursion up I-95 to get to the nearest Sonic, which was out in Bensalem in a run down industrial area that I would have no reason to go to otherwise. This kind of thing isn’t uncommon for us; we’ve driven a half hour to get to an Arby’s because, let’s be honest, time out of the office is time out of the office any way you slice it. Sonic’s website says “[t]here are more than 3400 SONIC® Drive-In locations across the country.” Just none where you live. Especially if you live in a city. Bensalem is not a city. In any case, if you haven’t been or even seen one (both my seeing and tasting cherries were popped with one thrust), Sonic is indeed delicious, though it would have been more delicious if a girl on roller skates brought out our food on one of those trays that hooks onto the car door.

But all this skullduggery does have an explanation, and a method behind the apparent scattershot advertising strategy. National cable advertising is, at certain volumes, cheaper than regionally targeted advertising, so that’s a no brainer right there. But the genius of the whole thing is that it drives people mad with wonder and envy. How flabbergasting it must be, as say, a resident of metropolitan New York, to find yourself jealous of some yokel from Georgia or Tennessee or where-bumblefucking-ever because they have a Sonic and you don’t, and you have to pay out the ass for McDonald’s in NY. They’ve stumbled upon the holy grail of marketing, sort of. They’ve achieved the kind of viral, word-of-mouth-driven national discussion that everyone wants, over the subject of “where the fuck is there a Sonic,” simply by advertising something that’s not available. Now, whenever they open a new joint, they get all kinds of media coverage and blog hype and lines around the block because they’ve been advertising for years to people who want to be customers but can’t.

This is not a new strategy or phenomenon. Companies have been doing this for decades in areas where they plan to launch. You’ll notice the ambiguous “Respekt” outdoor ads for Cricket mobile phone services around Philadelphia presently. They’re not available here yet, but they will be soon, and at that point they’ll start to demystify their messaging and identify that top-heavy K with their wordmark/logotype (a befuddling design choice). The difference here is Cricket isn’t offering any specific deal or even saying who they are, which is…I don’t know, who cares. But Sonic is offering free tots and gigantic slushies for under $1 to anyone in the nation lucky enough to live by or drive by one and that’s apparently been pretty rabble-rousing. The more significant difference is that Cricket’s hype/awareness campaign, and most things of that nature, will last maybe weeks or months. I’m not positive but Leap, their owner, has indicated they hope to that by the end of this year they will have rolled out service in all 27 markets they won bids on in the 2006 FCC auction. By contrast, Sonic has been advertising in Philadelphia and other major metropolitan areas for years and have yet to announce any new locations there. In fact there may never be a Sonic in Philly. But their incessant advertising has given them a legion of customers-in-waiting who are ready for a cross-country road trip, or like me, the opportunity to take an extra long lunch.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as a marketing guy, I am delighted that a protracted campaign designed to frustrate and drive people bats might actually work really well. It would sure be fun to try.

PS: holy balls.

February 12, 2009 at 2:54 PM Leave a comment

Sam on Wire

Sometimes I’m sitting around, around my friends, and I think to myself, “Wow, I’m really lucky I know these people, they are really interesting and fun. They never fail to surprise me.” I have friends of mine to thank for these posts, because they surprised me with something fun and awesome. Last week it was tight-rope walking.

that high up? no thank you.

that high up? no thank you.

Not everyone rushes out to see little french men running across a tight-rope, or to see a french-language film. I am not one of those people. If the movie is in french, its enough to make me run out and see it. The last foreign film I saw in the theatre was Man on Wire. We have a ginger man, who is very animated, and very good at story telling (wow, kind of sounds like me, only I’m not a man). He desires to walk between the World Trade Center towers, and does so while they are still in construction. Despite this being a documentary, it’s very much like an action film, leaving you filled with suspense and wonder. Thus, I was enchanted with the idea, but I have a fear of heights, so this kind of walking was not in my future.

My friends have installed a slack line in their loft. One of my new friends is from California, and normally can’t stand the bitter cold of Philadelphia. (Although, we are enjoying a very nice warm spring-like week here currently). Next thing I knew, and my ambition knew, was that I was attempting to walk on the line several times with my barefeet. It’s with the utmost conviction you overcome the physical challenge of aligning your body straight, to balance yourself and be unaffected by the inevitable falls of a first timer. Here’s where I would post a picture of people slack lining, but apparently it’s really popular with hippies and people who don’t wash their hair. We are not those people, and I won’t post dirty hippies on my blog. So here you have some feet:

© All rights reserved. sun heefairee at Flickr.com

© All rights reserved. sun heefairee at Flickr.com

I also would recommend drinkin’ some beers. You are going to fall a lot. If you live in the cold and decide to do this inside, putting some mats down might be better than landing on the hardwood floor, or whatever other hard surface you may have in your large space for tight rope walking. Otherwise, just wait til it gets warm. I hear landing on the grass is easier, but I’m trying to get hard, so I’ll take the rough landing. Happy Circusing!

-posted by samsquared

February 10, 2009 at 4:23 PM 2 comments

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