24 November 2011


My friend Amber recently went to Brussels, and it got me a bit wistful and talking about Tintin with my parents. My mother had coincidentally torn out an article about Brussels from Elle Decor for me a few days prior.

Writing about this.

At first it read like any semi-boring, glossy magazine article about a European city might - romanticizing the beautiful buildings and landmarks that every travelers' guidebook points out. But it pretty quickly took an interesting path, painting the city as a curious hodgepodge mixture of people and neighborhoods. I know very little about the inner workings of Brussels, which is a shame since I was born and lived there for two years. Here are some random facts (some probably more common knowledge than others):

  • Le Pain Quotidien's original location is there
  • In the '70s, "Brussels suffered from a flight of the middle classes to the suburbs. This offered an opening for artists, who found one of the few big cities in Europe where they could live downtown relatively cheaply."
  • It's full of expats
  • It has more Art Nouveau architecture than any other city (even Paris, apparently, whoah)

  • The curious hodgepodge I mentioned came out the most to me in the photos (shops and museums that look like people's residences, a restaurant that looks like a train station) and these couple of sentences -
    You have to dig a little. People don't show off what they have. You find amazing apartments in completely unexpected places. And it's the same with people. [...] It's hard to get a grasp of the place, because in some ways there is no place to grasp.
    It sounds like a larger-than-life-sized cabinet of curiosities; the type of city that you really do strike gold in when you go off the tourist attraction path. I haven't been back since the summer of 1996; fifteen and a half years puts me overdue for a revisit, no?

    22 November 2011

    Dollar Note

    First it was the Barbican exhibit of zebra finches playing guitars, and then the antique pistols that mechanical birds come out of and dance around. I don't know why birds used in technology always make me happy, but they do. The latest is better to me than pistols or guitars –

    It's called Dollar Note, by Robert Gligorov. Apparently there are two white uprights standing back-to-back, and the perches in the birdcage attached to the top touch random keys on the pianos. When the birds jump from perch to perch, the respective notes are played.

    I'd love to see and hear the thing IRL, it's beautiful. (via today and tomorrow.)

    18 November 2011

    Dance Friday.

    It is Friday morning, and I'm exhausted. If you are feeling similarly, here are two dance pop videos that will serve both as eye and ear candy.

    Tiger Love: Gio Gio

    I've been looping this all week at work. Not sure why the imagery of sliding around in raw egg makes me feel less bleary-eyed, but whatever works, right? It also reminds me of this milk-pillow-fight video by Para One.

    The Amplifetes: Somebody New

    How nobody I talk to knows about this band is beyond me. They have made me dance more than any other band has in the past 3 or 4 years, and are probably my favorite discovery of the year; I don't understand how they're not through-the-roof famous. If you heard the song first, you'd never think that the lead singer looks like this a well-dressed Brooklyn lumberjack. Brilliant.
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