Archive for November, 2012

Weave your own art with Silk.

Just ran across an interactive art generator named Silk that empowers you to weave graphical interfaces by simply clicking and dragging. At your fingertips lays an entire world of color and flowing shapes. You choose from a number of outputs and colors that then allow you to generate different types of art. So many different things you can make. Just sit back, relax, and draw to the never-ending soundscape. You can check out a few examples below, then head over to the site to give it a whirl. Imagination’s the limit.

Silk was created by Yuri Vishnevsky as an experiment in generative art. You can purchase the app for iPad or download wallpapers designed by the Anand Sharma.

Holiday Matinee’s November Mixtape!

November’s been good. We re-elected probably the only president that would ever be cool with posing like this for a photo (not to mention playing hoops and throwing back some beers) although a good number of us are sadly obsessing over Twinkies as if that Family Guy episode of the apocalypse were coming true. Now it’s time for Thanksgiving where we’re hoping you’ll be chowing down on something far more tasty and expressing your gratitude for all that you have. You’re really lucky, you know. Seeing as how you may be traveling this week, some jams are in order and this month we’ve got AIR, Jens Lekman, Rhye, Earl Sweatshirt, Old 97’s and plenty more.

Alan Spearman’s “April” is visual poetry at its finest.

This short film by Alan Spearman is stunning. Spectacularly rich shots that slowly unravel against soft metaphorical secrets and soul. It’s an intimate look at the ephemeral moments of youth and the aches of growing old, a bittersweet story of two convergent lives in Memphsis’ Soulsville neighbourhood.

True-to-life, Spearman’s short 4-minute film is unlike anything I’ve seen recently. Gone’s the gaussian blur and post-rock soundtrack of most modern shorts. Instead, there’s eerily familiar whispers of childhood, palpably warm glows of nature, near-to-heart melancholic moments of old age. It’s more than just film, it’s vivid storytelling.

The film follows the too-young-to-be-traumatized Faith and her magical magnolia tree April, interweaving the sequence with an older woman named Hattie Mae who conjures up dreams of days past. She may remind you of a much older version of Faith, an implicit comparison Spearman himself gives in the description. He excellently contrasts the two, his story is almost all in the edits.

This is a piece soaked in metaphor, almost songlike. Less narrative, more reverie. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Alan Spearman is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and photojournalist who has been featured in numerous publications like The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. You can check him out on his website and Twitter. I recommend you head over to his Vimeo to watch other expertly made shorts, like As I Am.

Hidden Gem: Catch & Release

This is the first of a new series titled “Hidden Gems” that’ll focus on unique and independent locales in all parts of the world.

This Saturday I sat down with Lee, the owner of Catch & Release, a little boutique in Shoreditch that specializes in independent and vintage eyewear. His store mixes it up – anything from rare vintage clothing to nice English-made shoes. As Lee describes it, the store’s “a bit of this, a bit of that.” Basically, it’s a shop with tremendous taste.

Lee’s got eyewear on lock. He’s the kind of store owner who will know – as soon as you walk through the door – what’ll suit you and what won’t. His store is offering something different than everywhere else, with the emphasis on independent sellers. That’s hard, but somehow his store seems to pull it off and sell only the best of the best.

I was curious to find out what inspired Lee to open a store like this and wanted to learn a little more about vintage eyewear – a world completely foreign to me.

How did you get the idea to start Catch & Release?
Well, I worked in the eyewear business for quite a few years but then became a bit disillusioned. You see, most of the eyewear world is controlled by this one big Italian company. I wanted to offer something different. I thought I’d open a store to try and support independent companies.

Why independent?
Well, I think independent’s great because of the quality you get from the people. It’s more creative when people do it themselves. When you’re creating something independently, you look to make something different, something that will make you stand out from everything else. So independent’s where you find the most interesting products.

How do you find these independent dealers?
Well, you have to spend a lot of time doing research. I do things like read blogs, follow fashion Tumblrs, even look around Facebook. It’s social media really, but sometimes I get to travel to exhibitions. I’m just always looking for new and interesting things.

What catches your eye?
I look for real classics. It’s a mixture of design and practicality. It’s no good to have something that looks great but doesn’t fit.

Quality is definitely important, but really it’s a mix. Design, quality, comfort. I want to offer frames that are completely unique and unusual – frames that are cutting edge with regards to materials and look. I might buy up a vintage frame because it’s just unlike anything on the market. And of course there are definitely things that I just don’t do, won’t sell.

Like what?
I tend not to do high street. Because you buy that on the high street.

What role do you think eyewear plays in society?
What do I think about eyewear? Well, personally I think it’s probably one of the, if not most, important pieces of fashion you can wear. When you meet somebody, when you talk to somebody, you look at their face. You look in their eyes. How you frame your eyes really represents how you want to present your self.  Eyewear has largely become part of our identity. When you think of certain people, you don’t think of them you think of them with their eyewear. Woody Allen, for example. He’s worn the same glasses his whole life. It’s become part of him.

What sort of advice do you give to someone buying glasses in your store?
Fashion changes. You have to feel comfortable in what you buy. I take into consideration how you’re dressed, what I think will represent how you want to present yourself. But really, a lot of it’s down to the size of your head, how wide the bridge of your nose is. So many different things. Everyone’s different.

A lot of us wear glasses, so it’s pretty interesting to take a moment and realize that some merchants put a lot more thought into selling it then just “What’s hot right now?”. Styles may come and go, but classic eyewear is forever. Kinda like diamonds, minus the whole bloody European-African trade shenanigans.

You can find characteristic eyewear at Catch & Release on Redchurch St. in London or online at their website. The store’s also on Facebook and blogspot.

The power of music with memories

You know how the smell of a certain meal your parents cooked you has the ability to conjure up a host of memories? Like you can taste the food and picture yourself at the table in the company of your family? Music has the same supremely rad connection to our memories. Sometimes I’ll hear a song and feel like I’ve time-traveled back in time to a specific place where I experience the exact same feelings from my past. It’s the power of music with memories.

It’s not like I ever need another reason to bring up Hall & Oates, but Maneater is one of those songs for me. Hit play and stay with me here.

Music and Memories: Hall & Oates - Maneater

Picture this. I’m in my Dad’s silver Volvo 240DL as he gives me a ride to Beecher Road Elementary School one morning. I’m in 6th grade and while this should be just another day at school for me, it’s not. The 6th grade dance is coming up and I’ve decided today’s the day I’m going to ask my platinum blonde-haired crush Chelsea Fairbanks. She’s the type of tomboy girl that plays touch football with the guys and is cute to boot. My heart is already racing in anticipation and whatever the answer, I just want to get it over with.

STAR 99.9 (the default radio station for my Dad) is on and Daryl and John enter the airwaves with a tune that feels like it was written just for me. This makes me even more nervous than I was (if that’s even possible).

(Oh-oh, here she comes)  Watch out boy she’ll chew you up
(Oh-oh, here she comes)  She’s a maneater

These guys are right, just the mere thought of asking Chelsea to the dance is tearing me apart.

I wouldn’t if I were you
I know what she can do
She’s deadly man, she could really rip your world apart.

God, if she says no it really will rip my heart out. I’ll be devastated.

Mind over matter
Ooh, the beauty is there but a beast is in the heart.

Alright, I’m just going to ask her and see what happens.

I walked into school that day on a mission. Come recess I was going to pull her aside and see what happens. Except Chelsea didn’t come to school that day, or the day after. I was slightly relieved I could procrastinate, but I later found out she was going with someone else (before I got a chance to ask her).

Though I’m no longer terrified of the opposite sex, every single time I hear Maneater, I’m brought back to 1996. Chelsea, if you should happen to read this, I want you to know that you are forever Maneater for me. I have no clue what happened to you, but should we ever cross paths again, you can sure as hell bet I’ll be asking you for a dance and probably going to make you listen to this song.

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