Sunday, July 30, 2006

A new twist in bottled water marketing.

Ice. AquaICE is prepackaged disposible trays of bottled (municipal tap not spring) water. It even comes in different flavors. I think the cost works out to about 10 cents a cube. It was only a matter of time.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Concept for a NYC Bar: "The Neighbors"

When it comes to discovering fertile ground for new aesthetic or stylistic inspiration, looking where you think is the last place anyone would look is a standard approach. But to be truly revolutionary and iconoclastic you need to have the guts to look in areas that are scorned, disdained and held in contempt.

The granularly divided Social groups and overly stratified castes of Manhattan are united in their contempt and disdain for middle class, Middle America. This makes it, in my view, a great area for exploration.

This is what I was thinking about when I came up with a concept for a NY bar called "The Neighbors". Its a theme bar modeled after a lived in, pre-fab, suburban home in Middle America. I think a two-story model with a circular floor plan would work best.

Lets suspend the reality of things like fire codes and imagine how the concept would be executed, ideally. It would be a mess! There would be a 3 week old pile of newspapers on the ironing board. A laundry basket of unfolded clothes on the staircase. Dog-chewed legos on the family room carpet. Shoes cast off in very direction.

Of course the basement would house the VIP Action and the bedrooms upstairs would be for small private groups.

LCD screens would be installed to look like widows looking out on suburbia. The big bay widows in the living room would provide a view of the front yard and driveway. Occasionally you would catch a glimpse of the mailman coming up the drive or neighborhood kids walking past on the sidewalk.

(Let me make clear that I do not share in the ever increasing coastal contempt for Middle America. I belief the so-called cultural war is largely media manufactured. Its the majors news media's way of playing Jerry Springer and keeping the us distracted and divided.)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

HR Giger Bar

Its actually very Art Nouveau (infected with Giger's alien consciousness of course).
Makes the Hudson Hotel seem so very pedestrian.

HR Giger Bar in Switzerland.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Art School at The Sherman Foundation: Frank Zappa on Composing

Composing a Life. A great essay on creative process by Frank Zappa from Creators on Creating.

What Do You Do For A Living, Dad?

If any of my kids ever asked me that question, the answer would have to be: "What I do is composition." I just happen to use material other than notes for the pieces.

Composition is a process of organization, very much like architecture. As long as you can conceptualize what that organizational process is, you can be a "composer" - in any medium you want.

You can be a "video composer," a "film composer," a "choreography composer," a "social engineering composer" — whatever. Just give me some stuff, and I'll organize it for you. That's what I do.

Project/Object is a term I have used to describe the overall concept of my work in various mediums. Each project (in whatever realm), or interview connected to it, is part of a larger object, for which there is no "technical name."

Think of connecting material in the Project/Object this way: A novelist invents a character. If the character is a good one, he takes on a life of his own. Why should he get to go to only one party? He could pop up anytime in a future novel.

Or: Rembrandt got his "look" by mixing just a little brown into every other color - he didn't do "red" unless it had brown in it. The brown itself wasn't especially fascinating, but the result of its obsessive inclusion was that "look."

...A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.

Want to be a composer? You don't even have to be able to write it down. The stuff that gets written down is only a recipe, remember? ... If you can think design, you can execute design — it's only a bunch of air molecules, who's gonna check up on you?

Just Follow These Simple Instructions:

1. Declare your intention to create a "composition."

2. Start a piece at some time.

3. Cause something to happen over a period of time (it doesn't matter what happens in your "time hole" — we have critics to tell us whether it's any good or not, so we won't worry about that part).

4. End the piece at some time (or keep it going, telling the audience it is a "work in progress").

5. Get a part-time job so you can continue to do stuff like this.

I not loving it

I don't even understand what McDonalds is trying to accomplish with I am Asian. Something about Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage.

Do Asian people even think of themselves as Asian other than when they are filling out tax forms and are asked check a race category?

I tried to figure out what nationality the room in the flash interface represented. The clues are inconclusive.
Cat with raised paw=Chinese?
The dog is still alive.

This week in offensive cartoons.

What is with the polite little countries of Europe inciting international ire with their cartoons lately?

This one hails from Norway and features Israeli PM Ehud Olmert as a Nazi concentration camp commander. BBC Story.

Want to know how many deaths were caused by the Danish Muslim cartoon? Go to Cartoon Body Count.

The secret formula for creating New Yorker cartoons

Last year MM gave me a copy of The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, an impressive tome that boasts 2,004 cartoons. The cds that accompany the book contain all 68,647 cartoons from the magazine's 80 year history. How do they do you ask? I came across the secret formula on Emdashes. Simply select on item from each column and press-toe, you have yourself a funny.

A Men's Room Monologue

A Men's Room Monologue
A very amusing animated short I found on flash portal Newgrounds.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Creative giant Fallon ripping off old-school JWT?

I can't say for certain but it sure does resemble the Merrill+ Visa Card stuff I worked on at JWT over 2 years ago.

Screen shot of Citi ATM taken yesterday.

Images from Merrill+ VIsa Card collateral. This was the second most sucessful product lauch in the company's history.

My eyebrows were first raised last week when I saw Citi collateral that used graphic elements exactly like those I developed for the Merrill+ Card website.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Snicker's Made-up Wrapper Word Contest. 7.23 update

View entries to the Snicker's Made-up Wrapper Word Contest at The Sherman Foundation's Flickr site.

Vote for your favorite by leaving a comment on the Flickr Gallery.

Make-up a Sniker wrapper word! Win a Case of TAKE 5 Candybars!
Come up with your own clever Snicker's' wrapper. Make up a word, create the wrapper using the jpg below (or scan the damn thing yourself). You can get the font here. Send it to me. We will let the disenfranchised masses vote for the winner. More details to follow.

Deadline August 4, 2006. Voting ends and winner announced August 11, 2006.

Participatory Media

The Archimedes' Lever to move any product

I was in a suburban grocery store Sunday evening when I spotted the pictured bag of clementines sporting the likeness of Spongebob Squarepants.

I did a bit of googling and discovered that Spongebob moves about $2 billion in annual sales of consumer licensed products a year. Dora the Explorer also moves $2 Billion. I love the fact that one gay and one lesbian cartoon character are pushing a combined $4 BILLION DOLLARS IN PRODUCTS.

It seems that the specter of child obesity and criticisms from advocacy groups has Nickelodeon backing away from the junk that Bob had been peddling (sugary cereals, macaroni and cheese... you name it.)

I like to imagine the meeting in which, knowing the power of Spongebob, Nickelodeon said "F*** it, we'll sell carrots and clementines and still hit our numbers".

In addition to the clementines Spongebob appears on carrots and is scheduled to appear on apples, pears, cherries and edamame. What about bananas? I personally would love to see a sicker of his face on bananas.

Businessweek article:SpongeBob SquareMeal? Responding to critics, children's TV shows and food giants are promoting healthy eating to kids. Even the Cookie Monster's in on the act.

Adobe Youth Voices

The Adobe Youth Voices website hosts videos by young artists from around the world about their lives and experienes.

This piece, Slip of the Tongue is outstanding.

From the site:
Adobe Youth Voices is a global philanthropic initiative that empowers youth worldwide to comment on their world using multimedia and digital tools to communicate and share their ideas, demonstrate their potential, and take action in their communities. Adobe Youth Voices employs an integrated approach in and out of the classroom to show the power technology brings to learning and enable middle- and high-school age youth to think creatively, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively — critical 21st century skills.

The initiative will engage youth from marginalized communities in exploring and commenting on their world using video, multimedia, digital art, web, animation, and audio tools; enhance the skills and knowledge of educators to use the tools more effectively with youth; and widely exhibit the student work in community, broadcast, and online forums.

Post Mortem Photography

I was aware of and had seen examples of Post-Mortem Photography. What I was not aware of was how common a practice it was in nineteenth-century America. It is in fact the largest group of nineteenth-century American genre photographs. Babies and children who had died were dressed and posed as if sleeping or dressed in their Sunday best and posed sitting on the edge of their bed or sitting in a chair.

PBS article and photogallery.

Essay: The Quickening of the Dead and the Dying of Death: Postmortem Photographs from Nineteenth-Century America.

Phallic Signifiers

A gallery of advertising images.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Entourage: Product placements.

Although not the clumsy, product placement whore The Sopranos became, last week's Entourage episode (season 3, episode 6) maybe one of the most ham-handed placement jobs to date. 4 Aston Martins, one for each of the 4 main characters. Stupid and insulting. Maybe I would be more forgiving if the storylines and writing hadn't slipped so much this season.

The previous episode (season 3, episode 5) also opened with a placement, but I dig that Drama was inserted into The Godfather videogame. Can you design your character/avatar in that game?

Bye (for now) and thanks for all the ham-handed product placements

Friday, July 21, 2006

Heatmiser still hates the French.

And has no intention of letting up on them this summer.

The BBC reports: Heatwave toll rises across France. People are being urged to stay in the shade and drink plenty of water. At least 20 deaths in France this week are probably linked to a heatwave gripping much of Europe, officials say.

The 2003 deathtoll was 14,802.

Meteorologists have placed some regions of the country on the second-highest warning level, the "orange alert". Previously, meteorologists would simply say "Heatmister hates us this much" (Heatmister nous déteste ces beaucoup) and hold their arms out and indicate level with the distance between their hands.

I on the other hand, dig the French. I love French food. Especially the food at La Grenouille in NYC. (Its old school, so don't roll up like somedowntownn ragamuffin.)

What's great about it?
1. The food.
2. The staff. Wonderful people, truly.
3. The flowers. I had the opportunity to meet proprietor Charles Masson and he gave me a copy of his book The Flowers of La Grenouille. The arrangements he creates are spectacular.

4. The men's restroom. All of the walls in the bathroom are mirrored so when you pull out your c*** out, you see a thousand reflections of it in the mirrors. Adolescent yes, but it puts a grin on my face every time.

Has anyone compiled the list of NY establishments with interesting restrooms?

Breast Augmentation TV spot

I didn't see an HP ripoff coming when I clicked on this.

The first contest submissions have arrived

You can now view entries to the Snicker's Slogan Wrapper Contest at The Sherman Foundation's Flickr site.

About the contest:
Win a Case of TAKE 5 Candybars!!!
The Sherman Foundation is hosting a contest. Come up with your own clever Snicker's' wrapper. Make up a word, create the wrapper using the jpg below (or scan the damn thing yourself). You can get the font here. Send it to me. We will let the disenfranchised masses vote for the winner. More details to follow.

Deadline August 4, 2006. Winner announced August 11, 2006.

Good Luck!

Who knew Verizon could get funky fresh?

I didn't. But they just did.

Verizon (with the work of R/GA has just launched the Beatbox Mixer as part of their Richer, Deeper, Broader' campaign. Very fun and very well done!

From: Verizon looks to extend its online mixing campaignVerizon_looks_to_extend_its_online_mixing_campaign.
"Visitors to the site can blend up to three pre-recorded tracks of music to create their own personalized mix, which can be saved and shared. The pre-recorded, digital tracks - or beats - were produced by five leading beatboxers: Rahzel of the Roots, Butterscotch, Click, Masai Electro and Max B. New York-based beatboxer Baba Israel is the voice of the tour guide on the Beatbox Mixer back story."

Hong Kong is Gung Ho for Nazi Chic

Apparently Nazi Chic is big in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Nazi chic? -Boing Boing
Weird fashion meme in Hong Kong: hipster clothing store Izzue has a "Nazi chic" moment.

Hong Kong Loves Nazi Porn
Visitors to Hong Kong can sing karaoke in a bar with photos of Nazis executing prisoners, buy a dress in a fashion store with swastikas hanging from its ceiling or watch TV on a station that likens its commercial advertising to “the final solution”.

Tokyo as well.

And South Korea. Actually, from the dates on some of these stories the fascination with The Third Reich has been going on for some time.

They're even mixing it up with their porn.
(Nazsymbolismsm and Asian porn.... I'm not surdysfunctionalal is the right word, but its one that comes to mind.
This came to my attention when I spotted a copy of Akasi magazine in a bodega on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

This seems to have gone over with a big yawn in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Nazi Porn Fails to Offend

Has porn magazine publishing jumped the shark?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Joel Peter Witkin

One of my favorite photographers Joel Peter Witkin.

Many of Joel Peter Witkin's photographs are restagings of other classic works of art.

Many people find Joel Peter Witkin's work to be a bit dark. I find these images of Amy Sedaris more disturbing.

Virtuosity vs Expression 2: The Boston Museum of Bad Art

In this series of posts I try and present work which lacks or has discarded traditional notions of virtuosity.
Here is an institution dedicated to such work.

The Museum of Bad Art
Art too Bad to be Ignored. The pieces in the MOBA collection range from the work of talented artists that have gone awry to works of exuberant, although crude, execution by artists barely in control of the brush. What they all have in common is a special quality that sets them apart in one way or another from the merely incompetent.

From the museum's FAQ: ) Q: "Is this some kind of joke?" A: This institution works long and hard at building the finest bad art establishment in the world. We take our mission very seriously. Frankly, we are shocked and indignant at your derisive innuendo.

From the collection:

Virtuosity vs Expression

Win a Case of TAKE 5 Candybars!!!

The Sherman Foundation is hosting a contest. Come up with your own clever Snicker's' wrapper. Make up a word, create the wrapper using the jpg below (or scan the damn thing yourself). You can get the font here. Send it to me. We will let the disenfranchised masses vote for the winner. More details to follow.

Deadline August 4, 2006. Winner announced August 11, 2006.

Good Luck!

Neologistic Tendencies
Another made up word from Snickers: Nougatocity

Snicker's campaign... subverted

The parodies are coming... Scaramouche just turned me on to this post on Brandspakin.

Neologistic Tendencies
Another made up word from Snickers: Nougatocity

Celebrity culture destroyed cereal advertising

One of the truly tragic effects of celebrity culture is the decimation of great breakfast cereal brands and their accompanying television ads. All those great cereal ads that my brain was irradiated with as a child were awesome. Great characters, action driven plots. Somebody was always after someone else's somethin'. Think The Thomas Crown Affair with a Batman villain-type protagonist (original live action TV series). Now days, Spongebob, Dora or the lead from the latest animated feature phones in a celebrity portrait shoot. Weak.

These are classic archetypes.

Picked on loser.

Your guide to the underworld.

Paranoid schizophrenic suffering from persecution delusions.

Fuckin Rabbit.

This isn't to say that a celebrity endorsement can't work within the cereal category. The Flintstones did it with brilliance and flair for Fruity Pebbles. Barney steps out of his bosom buddy, best chum character role and will stop at nothing to steal Fred's cereal. Some fucking friend. It borders on soap-opera. Absolutely gripping.

I was leading up to something with this post but I found this paraody and it has totally derailed me. Its too funny not to share.