14 February 2011

Shark Ridden Waters

Neal is on an aesthetics roll lately; he recently sent me this video for Shark Ridden Waters by Gruff Rhys* --

It sounds like a boppy version of Iron and Wine, with a hint of 70s. Similar to Joanna, I'm mostly taken by the video itself - it's shot beautifully and features this French actress Roxane Mesquida, whom I embarrassingly know nothing about. She is pretty captivating, and reminds me a little of Parker Posey (at least in this video). The whole thing blends the absurd, pretty and wistful seamlessly, which doesn't seem like an easy thing to do. Well done.

The inspiration for this album (Hotel Shampoo) is really interesting; in this bit he talks about it while setting up a domino-style layout of hotel products he'd collected from 15 years of touring. Cool stuff.

* Gruff Rhys was once the frontman of Super Furry Animals, which Neal also introduced me to years ago.

09 February 2011

The Teenagers - Made Of

Here's another touch from the recent music past; a Teenagers track that came out a few (to several, woops) months ago, but I only heard it yesterday. It's fantastic, and you can totally hear how they've grown over the past couple of years.

The Teenagers - Made Of by tokyohanna

The sound is fuller than I've heard from them, and it makes me feel simultaneously like I'm flying a plane through a laser-filled tunnel, and feeling like I'm the only person smiling in the middle of a packed dance party. And just because it is very cute, here is a preview video of the track I found on their MySpace page, which makes me smile even more:

I can't wait to hear the rest of this album they're working on and catch them on their next tour. Enjoy!

08 February 2011

American Trash

I've lately been very music- and lifestyle-nostalgic for 2007. A visit to GBH.tv did the trick - check out this video for American Trash by Innerpartysystem --

As GBH put it, this is what it would look like if Adbusters made a music video. Pretty spot on, with the rough cut-out and overlayed mostly-pessimistic, sometimes-political text. The aesthetics also mildly reminded me of some other stuff I saw at MoMA last week - a bunch of hilarious posters from Guerrilla Girls, who are these gorilla-masked (I see what they did there) feminist artists who formed in the 80s and appear to be going strong today. Anyway, enjoy. It made me want to go back to the Dafterparty in the middle of the day.

04 February 2011

Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen

I took the day off today, and set out for the MoMA bright and early for some much-needed inspiration. I didn't know what I would find, really, as I haven't been great at reading my member emails. The most delightful surprise was an exhibit that's been around for around 4 months, called Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen.

Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen @ MoMA

In their words:
Over the course of the past century no other room has been the focus of such intensive aesthetic and technological innovation, or as loaded with cultural significance. Kitchen design has been both a central concern of modernism and fundamental to our concept of modern life. Drawn entirely from MoMA’s collection, this exhibition explores the twentieth-century transformation of the kitchen as a barometer of changing technologies, aesthetics, and ideologies.
I read this description after walking around for a bit, and found that I'm definitely not alone in my fascination with kitchens. I don't do a ton of cooking, though I love the idea of it and always plan to do more. I always love kitchen-related gifts the most (you should have seen me when I opened a wine foil cutter at Christmas), love kitchen-related photography, and always daydream when I apartment-hunt that I'll find one with a window to filter Saturday morning sunlight in as I make tea. Not sure why, the way I frame kitchens in my head... it's almost like peering into a dollhouse.

Anyway, the exhibit. What a delight. There were rotating models of 70s modular kitchens, movie stills from the 50s, a plastic food collection from Japan, old appliances, historical photographs and ads (I noticed one on loan from DDB's archive, how cool is that), kitchen efficiency books, and a ton of stuff about the "Frankfurt Kitchen," which was part of a movement in 20s Germany relating to egalitarianism. Here are some pictures I took with my phone (why I didn't bring my camera today, I have no idea) --

Irving Penn's egg
This is an Irving Penn photo. I recently found out that he shot the first Clinique print ads, in the 1960s. Cool, no?

Vintage GE ad
I have worked with GE for quite some time, so this was far out and awesome to see.

Gravity-defying breakfast
This was the first thing I saw when I walked in. Looking closely revealed old egg shells in the egg cups and cigarettes in the ashtray.

I also saw this thing – and I'm really annoyed that I didn't take a picture of it – that looked like a small bicycle wheel. I knew was it was before I even read the plaque: it was a cake slicer. My head blew up a little, because I've throughout my life always remembered this Betty Boop cartoon that features her inventor-friend, Grampy, opening an umbrella skeleton and pushing it down onto a cake to slice it instantly. I always thought that was so cool, and I can't believe it's actually a thing that existed once. Why don't I ever see those now? It seems like the most efficient way to do things, ever.

Anyway. I recommend paying this exhibit a visit if you're in the area and this sounds remotely interesting to you. Here is the exhibit site (there is a blog, too!). Also a few more pictures with commentary in this Flickr set.
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