Ragamuffin Day

This is all new to me so, please, bear with me if you're already familiar with the history of Thanksgiving and Ragamuffin Day.

Shortly after Lincoln declared a fixed date for Thanksgiving, New York City instituted its annual parade. Along with that, loads of residents, immigrants and the working-class came out to celebrate and mock the "stuffed shirts" putting on the fanfare. Kids picked up on the fun, started wearing masks and dressing like hobos - going door to door ask for treats. In the early 1900's, it was equally known as Ragamuffin Day.

Over the decades, the middle class stopped dressing up but the practice continued from the well-to-do youth dressing as the impoverished, continuing to ring doorbells. Folks got so annoyed that they'd heat up pennies in their oven and throw them into the streets, hoping to burn the fingers of the greedy passerbys.

The Great Depression put a stop to all that and Thanksgiving became more of what we know it to be now. This all actually happened! There is lots and lots and lots of coverage of all this if you're curious to learn more.. which I suggest you do.

Vermin Supreme 2016

If you're not familiar, Vermin Supreme is a performance artist who wears a giant boot on his head, maintains a wizard beard and often carries a large toothbrush. He's known for running for political office - including US President - multiple times. Now he is at it again and filed to officially participate in the 2016 elections.

Part of me finds political mockeries like this exhausting and wasteful but, Vermin has previously talked about his willingness to kill Baby Hitler if the opportunity arose and now that's an actual political discussion. So, if this guy is shining a light on the frequent absurdity of the system, I welcome his boot hat to the table.

Battlefront Toddyhancer

I haven't played a first person shooter game regularly since Doom 2 was top of the line. I also know next to nothing about "mods" beyond their conceptual existence. So, with that in mind, a lot of strides in gaming don't always impact me as they do the rest of the community.

However, Matt Bergman's Toddyhancer MOD manages to push the look of modern gaming right up to the line of believably realistic. Seeing it applied to Grand Theft Auto V is impressive but these Battlefront with Toddyhancer images are damn near indiscernible from live action.

Motion will be a huge factor if this holds up in the Realism department but the days of Creepy Tom Hanks animation are over.

via Chris

Two Dots: Escape The Chaos

The folks at Dots have launched their first live action commercial - Escape the Chaos. It's a simple undertaking that posits that playing Dots helps you escape the cacophony of the world. I'm just happy to see how much it features the sound and music of the game! I'm very proud of my pals for making a distinctive, memorable and enjoyable thing.

Sylvio: The Movie

I consider myself a passive fan of Simply Sylvio, the gorilla outfitted Vine creator that pumps out a steady stream of clever, hyper reality, animations and ridiculous scenes. I don't seek it out but I always enjoy it when it comes across my radar. That being said, when I read that there was a project for Sylvio - The Movie I rolled my eyes a bit. Maybe it's my innate pessimism or maybe it was the inability to forecast how these little clips could possibly be stretched into anything resembling a feature.

Then I read this NoFilmSchool interview with the directors, Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley, and my mind changed completely. The piece is filled with insightful bits about the disposable nature of, and the unstoppable flow of, the Internet. This really got me:
I really like the idea that the movie being the last Vine - it's an attempt to break free from the desperation loop that we're in and make a larger comment about how dangerous these disposable forms of media are becoming. So much of this disposable entertainment doesn't get deep at all, it's just these superficial bytes of nothingness. It's very important for our sanity to make this movie and break out of the cycle.
It seems like the movie is somewhat of a statement against the things that they've had to embrace in order for Sylvio to succeed.

Long story short, these seem like far more interesting and compelling creators than you might believe from first glance. Definitely recommend backing their project or, at the very least, enjoying some Sylvio.

Glitch Rug

Faig Ahmed is a Azerbaijani artist that makes glitched out rugs. That is not a phrase I thought I would ever utter but there it is! This gallery of his works is fascinating as the majority of the pieces look like very traditional, very intricate, creations that seem to melt away or distort in place, in a way that you would not think fabric would even be capable of.

Buster Keaton - The Art Of The Gag

I've loved every piece that Every Frame a Painting has released and this latest on Buster Keaton - The Art of the Gag is no exception. Tony Zhou walks through what makes Keaton such a comedic genius and his absolute dedication to the joke - loss and life and limb be damned. One of the most engaging portions of the piece is seeing how directly influential Keaton's work has been on the likes of Wes Anderson (very), Jackie Chan and Bill Murray. Watch it at your absolute earliest convenience.

Five-Year Green Machinery

Today marks the five year anniversary of the release And The Relatives album Green Machinery. The vinyl edition is sold out and the band has since broken up but the album stands up. Actually, their whole catalog stands up. I'm clearly biased on Green Machinery since yk records released it but if you haven't heard their non-yk EP Animals, do so now.
I realize I just posted about another artists album anniversary but I think many of the albums that I've released haven't been fully appreciated by as many folks as should appreciate them. Clearly I just want you to have great music in your life and this is how I'm gently reminding you to revisit.

Listen on Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Apple Music.

Rem Koolhaas

I stumbled into the work of Rem Koolhaas this weekend. A Dutch architect and urbanist, he also has a large repository of fine art illustrations that depict cities and structures from on high, often in strange isometric* configurations. Tihs Coney Island Dreamland depiction is fascinating - as it's an overhead view of the beach playground but, to me, also appears to be depicting an underground liar. What I'm saying is, his work is grounded in architectural depictions but there's plenty of room for interpretation and further enjoyment. Dive in.

some are Axonometric, Dimetric of Trimetric but you get what I'm saying.

Friday Videos - Nov 20th, 2015

Additional weirdness: This Gamewave album came into my life yesterday and I can't explain how weird it is, yet I love it. More classic goodness in that genre here.

Jean Jullien

A week has passed since the attacks on Paris and I feel a bit remiss for not mentioning it. Not that changing a profile image or posting a blog makes any difference in the world but I do think a lot about it. My heart goes out to everyone involved - both directly and indirectly. So much has happened in a week it's hard to imagine. I've seen and read many great thoughts on the subject but this little snippet from Jed hit home the most:
Lifehack: if you err on the side of loving people and taking care of the defenseless, you'll probably be on the right side of history. Also, you'll be the kind of person who loves people and takes care of the defenseless.
It's in reference to this article and the controversy surrounding allowing refugees into our country* but it's sound life advice in general. Suicide bombers certainly aren't living by that ethos just as much as anyone refusing the helpless isn't living by it.

Long story short, be kind, be safe.

* I, personally, would not call it a controversy. Clearly, helping people is something we should do and these people are wrong.

Place turns 3

Today in 2012, the Nahnee Bori album Place emerged into the world. Many of the records that I've released feel like wonderfully crafted pieces of art that haven't fully found their audience yet. To be fair. Nahnee Bori (aka Cody Uhler) receives plenty of praise for his work as Upright T-Rex but these solo albums have something particularly special to them.
It's, admittedly, a little oddball but that's exactly its charm. The album is layered and warm. Optimistic yet melancholy at times. Organic yet spacey. It's a lot of things but it's always a good listen. Pass the Salt, Singing to the Night and the title track are my personal faves but I've listened to the record hundreds of times and still enjoy it. I hope you will too.

Available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music and, for the next little bit, Rdio.

VHX + The Verge

We had a big day at VHX yesterday when this article on The Verge went up - This startup makes it easy for anyone to launch their own streaming TV service. Basically, if you've never quite understood what VHX was or did, this is the article to get the insight you seek. The big lofty goal is that we're helping to re-invent TV. The more down to Earth version of that is that we're making a platform to help publishers setup subscriptions and sell their video content.

I'm shocked that my own visage is at the top of the article but I'm excited at how well the article came out and explains what we're up to.

Horizontal Press

The shop at Horizontal Press is filled with visual offerings that are sexual in nature. That's both a warning and a recommendation. If you're browsing at work, you probably don't want to browse upon the amazing collection of handmade "Tijuana Bibles", nude women prints and sex based pins. However, if you're in an environment where such things aren't frowned upon, I highly recommend giving the whole thing a good looking over. The pieces aren't pornographic, they're fun and funny and entirely enjoyable.

Discogs Fifteenth Anniversary

The massive discography database over at Discogs.com recently turned 15 years old. They launched this great stat breakdown of some interesting data they've been able to mine in that time such as Most Contributed Genres, Most Collected Album and Most Expensive Releases Ever Sold. It's a quick browse but an interesting one. If you want more on their history - and a funny walkthrough of their site evolution - steer yourself over here.

Why Rdio Died

Nice piece over on The Verge about Why Rdio Died. It doesn't go too in-depth but it does cite a lack of proper marketing and improper focus that largely lead to their demise. It's rather unfortunate because the design really was hands above everyone else but they, apparently, didn't grapple on to the right things - i.e. incredibly fast streaming and a free, advertisement based, version.

I'm sure some flavor of it will re-emerge once their bankruptcy is fully filed and Pandora, their new parent, has moved things around. I look forward to it.

Brand New Noise

Over the weekend I encountered these curious devices from Richard Upchurch, aka Brand New Noise. The boxes are a variety of sound recorders that capture sound quickly and allow you to play it back in a variety of manners - primarily pitch shifted and looped.

The intro video for Lil Mib shows how it works. It's easy, it's clever and it's pretty fun. If I were a small child and encountered this I know I wouldn't put it down for days. Correction, as a full-grown adult, I would still play with this for days.

Made In Japan

I'm rather intrigued by this Made in Japan documentary that tells the tale of Tomi Fujiyama, the first female Japanese country music star. She played the Grand Ole Opry in the mid-60's but she's still going strong. The film documents her interest in country music through singing at American Army and Navy bases to her quest to play the Opry one more time. Not sure where to watch it quite yet but I'm keeping my eyes open.

Brian Eno, Light Paintings

The pioneering, influential, work in the world of audible creations from Brian Eno is no small feat. It's an impressively long list that I think I, personally, comprehend a small percentage of. That being said, he's also an accomplished visual artist - his 77 Million Paintings project is a generative undertaking that viewers must sit and experience over time, not just a quick glancing. There's a new exhibit at Medimex that showcases said project but also displays some of his Light Paintings; simple geometric configurations bathed in various colored lights that interplay with one another through shadow and mild movement.

Long story short, these images from the exhibition are wonderful and I'd love to see even more of them.

Tati Compton

I stumbled into the work of tattoo artist Tati Compton through her collaboration with Prize Pins. Her handpoked creations are perfectly simplistic with a great blend of celestial, mystical and maybe a bit cultish subject matter. I absolutely love the style and her implementation is just perfect.

Teppei Kaneuji

There's a wide variety of fine art works available from Teppei Kaneuji. I am pretty confident that I don't "get" any of it but I'm certainly intrigued by the more chaotic and cacophonous pieces.

The series of Teenage Fanclub pieces are a great example of that. There's clearly something familiar lurking as the base form underneath the globbed on shapes and drippings but it's whole new thing.

The works are viewed easiest as series instead of trying to take it all in at once. Don't miss the odd White Discharge collection - one of the more weirdly alluring for me.