Ray Sumser

It's sort of unfortunate that the only place to see the work of Ray Sumser is in his shop, where the images don't really enlarge that well. Because the majority of his work is an onslaught of familiar faces and characters - all jammed into a tight space. Dig into Comicosm 2.1 and you'll see no less than 30 characters mashed into one square inch. It's great! It's like a pop culture brain dump all into one piece - and there's tons of them!

VHX Subscriptions

Today, VHX officially launches our Subscription service offering - a way for video creators to easily cultivate their own network of offerings on a regular basis. There's a great FastCompany article on the service that I highly suggest you read as it points out that while VHX may be known for some of its bigger releases - Sound City / Sonic Highways, This American Life, Harmontown - we are able to empower people with smaller audiences (at least, smaller for the moment). This is true of VHX in general but the ongoing subscription relationship makes it much more possible to actually build a career by making video.

We've been working our butts off on this and I think it's turned out great. Honestly, it feels like the start of the next phase for the company.. and I couldn't be more excited about it.

Check us out on ProductHunt for more.

In The Studio - Jeremy Okai Davis

I love hearing about the creative process and insights into an artists decision making - it's why we all read The Great Discontent, right? - but it's even better when it's someone who has a catalog of work you're very familiar with. So, it was a great time to read this Jeremy Okai Davis interview in which he talks about his history with art, his move to Portland and how he chooses his subject matter. There's also a nice gallery of studio photos, so dive into that too.

David Simon On Baltimore's Anguish

I try to veer from the political here because there really isn't any sense in discussing a thing online that just results in opinions being flung around without regard to open mindedness. That being said, I implore everyone to please read this piece - David Simon on Baltimore's Anguish. Simon, best known for creating The Wire, was also a police reporter in Baltimore for over a decade and saw first hand how things came to be the way they are. It's a nuanced and complicated landscape and he's able to eloquently boil it down and explain what went wrong.

I know there are tons of thoughts on the activities in Baltimore (and elsewhere) but having a minor understanding of the root of the problem is essential to having an opinion.. and Simon does it better than anyone else.

Sophie Gamand Photography

I've never felt more endeared to tiny dogs than when viewing this Sophie Gamand series Watchdog. Toy Dogs often just end up shivering in someone's purse but it's great to see them emboldened into historical soldier costumes. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a huge fan of dog clothing (it's comes naturally for them) but this is just too well executed not to enjoy.

via Becky.

Shannon Hoon Film

It's easy to get burned out on Kickstarter projects - particularly when you're not sure if the person behind the undertaking is looking for actual monetary help to bring it to life or just leveraging KS for exposure. But reading this Shannon Hoon Film pitch grabbed my attention right away. If you are not aware, Hoon was the frontman for Blind Melon that tragically overdosed in 1995. The news wasn't frontpage headlines by any means but Blind Melon was well on their way to being far more interesting than just the poppy "No Rain."

The project is real close to reaching its goal and I think the end result - hours of Super 8 footage shot by Hoon himself documenting their rise and his struggles - would be quite compelling. They've released a number of public backer treats to entice people to get involved - namely, covers from Jim James covering Sleepyhouse or Seth Avett covering St Andrews Fall.

Long story short, if you've got a few duckets to spare, this seems like a reasonably worthwhile project to help out. Particularly if you, like myself, have listened to this song ad nauseam.

Friday Videos - May 1st, 2015

It's May. In New York this means 50 degree temperatures. Can't say I'm a fan. Regardless, lots of travel coming up this month to some warmer regions. Looking forward to some legit spring!
  • Cat Riding Magic Carpet (A Whole New World) - I neglected to include this video last week and, frankly, it's one of those classics that delights at any time. Watch it twice.
  • Tidal - End The Suffering - only the British could properly pull of this little skewering. It's pretty much impossible for mega-rich people to undertake schemes to become more mega-rich without looking like a buncha jerks.
  • Dog in a fountain - Spring. This is how I wanna feel.
  • RATATAT - CREAM ON CHROME - apparently these fluorescent lights were developed by Anamanaguchi.. nice effect. Great to hear RATATAT return.
  • MLC 2012 - Competitive juggling championships. I can say no more.
  • Best News Bloopers 80s and 90s - News bloopers are choice but vintage design bloopers are just slightly better.
Have a great weekend. Get outside!

Criminal (podcast)

Becky recently tuned me in to the existence of Criminal, a podcast series focused on "Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle." Great example of this is the Animal Instincts episode, that revisits the Michael Peterson case (see Death on the Staircase if you have not) and talks more in-depthly about "The Owl Theory" - a seemingly ludacrious solution to how Peterson is innocent that, given some thought, might actually be the stranger than fiction truth of it all.

The episodes rarely exceed 30 minutes, so they remain interesting without being overly time consuming.

Cloud Music Storage pt2

A few weeks ago I posted about the archaic problem of having an iTunes folder that is sucking up entirely too much harddrive space. Given that cloud storage is so easy and ubiquitous these days I really should not be having such a problem, so I turned to services like Amazon Music Player, Google Play Music and even iTunes Match.

After posting, Paige pointed out her solution - put the entire iTunes library on an external drive, point your iTunes Library over there and sync that to Dropbox. It sounds brilliant! I can continue to function having a local iTunes library that behaves as normal and rest easy knowing that I've got a backup of the whole thing offsite. I can even use an app like Tunebox to access that music on the go.

But it didn't work. I copied the Library over to an external drive and started to sync the files to Dropbox using this handy little SymLink creator so Dropbox thought the folder was local, even though it wasn't. Maybe I set it up wrong but the files never fully sync'ed - 10 days into the process and Dropbox still reported 23+ days to go until completion. And beyond that, every time I unplugged my laptop from the harddrive, Dropbox saw the folder as empty and started emptying the contents (see Problem #1).

Overall, I'm happy to see that Google Play Music syncs my iTunes folder with their cloud and I can access that anywhere - but is there no tenable solution with having that drive sync'ed with a file service - not a Google Powerhouse? I'm certain I'm overthinking this and I know I'm close but I'd love some insight to connect the final dots. Are people seriously just fine with having Spotify and Rdio at their disposal and that's all they need?

Nate Bargatze

I recently discovered the goodness of comedian Nate Bargatze through his comedy special Full Time Magic. My favorite part is his outfront admittance of not being too bright and then regaling his audience with evidence of such. There's plenty of great clips floating around but I'm just now diving into all that. Chuckles abound.

What We Do In The Shadows

Last night I watched What We Do In The Shadows - a mockumentary from Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi that follows a group of vampire roommates around. Everything from the mundane of getting house chores done to finding subjects to feed off of - it's all in there. I was fairly confident that I would enjoy it but it surprised me how enjoyable it was. While it's goofy and absurd, it's performed perfectly straight and takes the subject matter seriously. The comparison to a Christopher Guest movie would likely be met with hems and haws but I don't think it's unfair. High rewatchability and quotability on this one from my perspective. Watch the trailer for a taste and then seek this out - it's a good one.

Shea / Finch

Shea'la Finch is (maybe) best known for her work as one of the founding brains behind Tiny Showcase, the long running limited-print run for quality art pieces. What I did not know is that she partakes in her own creative exposition in the form of photography. Her site promises more images soon but you can get a taste of her style over on her Tumblr. This may sound odd but what strikes the most about it is that so much of it features people but not as the forefront subject, just as pieces of a landscape. There's an excellent human element to it all and I look forward to seeing more.

Deth P. Sun 2015

I am sure I have mentioned my mild obsession with his work before but I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Deth P Sun this weekend and gorged myself on purchasing his various zines and illustrations. I'm consistently thrilled with his other worldly characters and tales being told - without being overly specific about what that story is. There's just enough there to fill in the gaps and just enough missing to make it your own.

I've dug through his work from 2008 to now and it maintains that mild ambiguity while, somehow, continuing to define itself a little more. The characters are more realized and confidently drawn but the story continues to be what you make of it. Long story short, I love it.

Friday Videos - April 24th, 2015

Week in review: Listen to my new mix and the latest WeOwnThisTown podcast. Also, treat yourself to some Super Dino Boys and the videos below: If you need more, just watch Magic Carpet Cat for a few hours. It never ceases to be entertaining.

30 Pieces.

The subject matter of the Species in Pieces site is rather sad - a showcase of the world's most endangered species. 30 of the world's animals closest to being wiped off the planet permanently. Pretty crazy. They do a phenomenal job of making the subject matter compelling by drawing each animal with only 30 geometric pieces - shape shifting into one another as you traverse the list. Being informed on the matter is nice but it is rough to know there's not a whole lot you can do. Ultimately, it's a real bummer! But it's well done so you can at least educate yourself and try to enjoy the ride.

via Will

Sarah Bernhard

There is a wonderful selection of photographs from German photographer Sarah Bernhard but I'm particularly drawn to the Lighthouse series - there's an alluring simplicity to alot of it that I find rather stunning. The rest of the portfolio is enjoyable but the black-and-white captures really have something special.


Q1 2015

Back in 2013, I attempted to start making quarterly mixes that documented what I'd been listening to for previous few months - mostly just for my personal documentation. I failed miserably and only put out that one installment. But, I'm trying it again! The ole college try. Swinging for the fences. Going for it. This is Q1 2015.

[ Stream It | Download MP3 | Download ZIP ]
With the proliferation of Spotify, Rdio, etc., making mixes like this outside of the streaming service ecosystem makes less and less sense because it creates a barrier for people to listen but I find myself listening to a good bit of stuff that only exists on Bandcamp or other services. I'd hate to cripple my own personal documentation of enjoyed music just because an artist can't afford to distribute digitally.

Long story short, here's a mix! I hope you enjoy it.
  1. Todd Terje - Svensk Sas
  2. Gay Vibes - The Stab
  3. Sleep Good - Nightwave
  4. Gaz Coombes - The English Ruse
  5. Black Rivers - Voyager 1
  6. Talking Heads - Stay Up Late
  7. R. Stevie Moore - Found A Job
  8. Mystery Twins - TV Talk
  9. nightblonde - I Belong In Your Arms (demo)
  10. Disasterpiece - Title
  11. Makeup and Vanity Set - Hand in Hand
  12. Mini Mansions - Fantasy
  13. Broken Social Scene - Golden Facelift
  14. Pfarmers - The Ol' River Gang
  15. Joe Pisapia - Burned Out
  16. Robert Orsi - He Hit Me
  17. Jessie Baylin - Lungs
Continue Reading...

Bob Lefsetz: Tidal

There's been a great deal said about Tidal and it's schemes to lure people with exclusive content. Bob Lefsetz has thrown his hat in the ring with this great piece about the service, filled with great quotes about the basic misunderstanding of how tech, investments and artistry work. Here's one:
So first and foremost you've got to pay for Tidal.

And therefore it's dead on arrival. Just like Apple's new music service. Because people are CHEAP! They love their money more than their favorite artists, never forget it. And the kind of person who pledges devotion to Tidal artists is the same kind who's home alone, broke, waiting for their parents to put cash on their debit card. Now if Tidal had a free tier... But it doesn't. It can't afford to lose that much money. It's not about the long haul. No one in music has been about the long haul since the turn of the century. First you get traction, then you monetize/charge. Can you say Instagram, can you say Snapchat? But suddenly, just because Jay Z is a famous musician he expects all of his fans to pony up ten bucks a month? Raw insanity.
The emphasis is my own in that second paragraph but it's the part that really grabbed me the most. He goes on to talk about how the app fails to create a plan for critical mass. It has to be about the long haul, not the big launch.

So, yea, another writeup about how Tidal is probably not a great idea. But it's a well written one and well worth your time.

HT Mr. Adam Klaff

Animation Sequence Project

It's unfortunate that the Animation Sequence Project embeds their submissions so tiny because the concept is great. Ask anyone with animation, video or art skills to create a 10 second animation that begins and ends with a 250x250 square dead center. That's the only requirement and it allows every animation to be linked together, despite being entirely unrelated.

The above embeds two pages of submissions but there are tons more.