beirut blogger

as war continues to unfold in israel and lebanon, Mazen Kurbal has chronicled his experiences in his KERBLOG through simple illustration, right from beirut. his blog is a shining example of how the sheer ease and accessibility of blogging lends itself to unadulterated, embedded, and creative journalism, as well as testament to the ever expanding reach of media. i'll definitely be keeping an eye on this..

i've always had a thing for clandestine underground submarine bases and what not, so i thought these pictures from a defunct Soviet submarine base were pretty sweet. it looks like the perfect readymade set for the next bond flick - and its already been what, two or three movies without a russki villain? i'd say its high time for jimmy to head back to the motherland..



ZUMBAKAMERA is the home of jossie malis, "realizador, animador, ilustrador." the illustrations are very cool but his film shorts and animations are especially swank. his charming little stories present a social commentary and are imbued with a Lumiere brothers-esque visual style. Bendito Machine (top picture) is my favorite but they are all worth checking out. quality stuff.


black swans

last night i decided to go and see the black swans in perhaps the most unusual venue that i've been to yet, a cool little gallery called brooklyn fire proof. i hadn't heard anything of theirs prior, but i was pleasantly surprised. it was along the lines of beck's sea change, but better and about sex (or lack thereof) and sung instead by E of eels after a rainy night of drinking. they have a couple of mp3s on their website that are worth checking out... pictures:

i also started playing with low-light digital photography yesterday. call these experiments in digital painting..

somewhat of a dreary friday, im afraid. next week looks promising though, with danielson, the hold steady, a silver mt. zion, and bloc party (among so many others) all playing shows. and, hopefully, some sunshine.



summer flicks

i did some catching up this week in theaters and saw a scanner darkly and once in a lifetime.

a scanner darkly was directed by waking life creator richard linklater, who again uses the interpolated rotoscoping technique of digitally shading and editing single frames of film to portray a dark vision of anaheim in our not-so-distant future. it's adapted from blade runner writer philip k. dick's novel, which is based largely on his first-hand observations of various aspects of drug addiction, combined with the dystopian future society angle. the film succeeds in creating a persistent sense of paranoia derived from layers of secrecy, surveillance, anxiety, and suspicion. linklater implements the visual aspect seamlessly. it only enhances and never diverts attention from the highly compelling subject matter and psychological turns of arctor. keanu's performance was unfortunately (but appropriately) flat, but robert downey jr. takes full advantage of his animated state and steals the show. throughly enjoyed this movie.

i first heard about once in a lifetime whilst watching the epic germany/argentina quarter final a couple of weeks ago. co-directed by john dower and paul crowder, it documents the brief late-70s reign of the new york cosmos soccer club, after the initial signing of pele and subsequent additions of international stars such as giorgio chinaglia and franz beckenbauer. i really had no idea of these few strange years which gripped new york in soccer hysteria before disappearing almost as quickly. it was interesting to see the sudden, unexpected rise of a completely unfamiliar sport at the time, into a phenomenon that managed to sweep normally hard-to-please new yorkers off of their feet. the film did a great job in digging through the archives and finding video gems of legends like pele and beckenbauer in action. the movie is a fun little package - short but sweet, with a nice funk soundtrack and nostalgia-laced interviews with some of the players who were in the thick of the madness. must-see for any soccer fan.


siren music festival

yesterday was the annual siren music festival held out on coney island. there were 14 acts on two stages throughout the day, making it the free concert event of the summer in new york, topping off an already impressive roster with the likes of tv on the radio, seu jorge, jose gonzales, belle & sebastian, eels, cut chemist, etc etc.. unfortunately i missed man man's set, but saw tapes 'n tapes, serena maneesh, and art brut. all three were quality, high energy shows. here are some pictures from the tapes 'n tapes set and the ridiculous grand finale of the serena maneesh set.

...and some other pictures of coney island. a very strange, otherworldly place and one worthy of another visit before the end of the summer.



there was a pretty spectacular lightning storm tonight in the city, so as if i didn't spend enough time staring at a computer screen at work today, i decided to spruce up the old blog a little bit. there are now links and, well, a sidebar. all that's missing are people to actually read it.

i guess i should also explain exactly why i started the blog in the first place. i'm spending the next term abroad on a media studies program with stops in new york, london, amsterdam, and berlin, with professor john schott, carleton college's resident media guru/avant-gardist. all of the trip's participants are required to keep a blog of their travels and projects and so forth. here is the site for the trip, and here is john's blog.

so, as i'm starting the trip early by spending the summer in new york, i thought i would throw something up so i could post photos and such from the summer. which, eventually, i might actually do.
stay tuned



education and zizou

i was impressed by this article by john taylor gatto today at work. he addresses public education as an althusserian ideological state apparatus that perpetuates the societal structure at its most basic level: childhood.

It's perfectly obvious from our society today what those specifications were. Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults. We buy televisions, and then we buy the things we see on the television. We buy computers, and then we buy the things we see on the computer. We buy $150 sneakers whether we need them or not, and when they fall apart too soon we buy another pair. We drive SUVs and believe the lie that they constitute a kind of life insurance, even when we're upside-down in them. And, worst of all, we don't bat an eye when Ari Fleischer tells us to "be careful what you say," even if we remember having been told somewhere back in school that America is the land of the free. We simply buy that one too. Our schooling, as intended, has seen to it.

its somewhat disconcerting to read a distinguished teacher's scathing review of the state and implications of the machinistic educational system we see today. disconcerting, but eye-opening.

the world cup is now over...italy did what they had to do and they take home the cup. having only allowed two goals (an own goal and zidane's penalty kick) throughout the tournament is no small feat, and in my mind cannavaro fully deserved the golden ball, but giving it to zidane may have restored at least some dignity after his late game breakdown. still, very sad to see zizou's career end in such ugly fashion...

and now soccer returns to total obscurity in america and we have nothing but baseball until the premiership begins again. it was nice while it lasted and 2010 will certainly be worth the wait.



unnecessarily morbid 1st post

very slow day...

can't wait until tomorrow; what i'm sure will be an amazing game between germany and italy followed by a bbq and fireworks. but mostly just excited about the soccer. i think germany will win 1-0, but much will depend on the referee and penalty kicks! also rooting for france and for zidane to cap off his legacy with a strong outing and perhaps even a cup. deutschland, deutschland!....

i got to see tv on the radio at a free show in brooklyn on friday after checking out the moma's vast and excellent dada exhibit. i only had time for about a sixth of what was there before the museum closed but i will definitely be back next friday. and tvotr sounded great for the most part but a couple of the new songs translated awkwardly live. i'd still really love to see them in a smaller locale...their new album, return to cookie mountain, has basically been on repeat since april. they have a blog.

and, speaking of fireworks, here's a bunch of videos on nuclear testing from the US Department of Energy. they have that great 50's cold war aura to them.

happy 4th.




...is this thing working...?

yes...hello consciousness...