Friday, February 27, 2009

Xbox Live Deal of the Week: Braid


So – it just came to my attention that Xbox Live’s deal of the week is a 33% discount on BRAID for this week (that’s almost over). This is a GREAT deal.

The Xbox Live Arcade game is a real trip –if you don’t know it, it just looks like a silly little platformer. Looks, however, are very deceiving (at least in this case). In short, you wade your way through a philosophically abstract storyline while trying to “rescue the princess” (she’s in another castle). As you traverse the levels, you collect puzzle pieces – but you soon realize the game is actually a puzzle game that uses time manipulation (a really nifty rewind feature) in order to figure out how to get the pieces. Soon, you see the platforming is simply a dressing up of the actual puzzles, means to the end of collecting the pieces.

Wrapping my head around some of the early puzzles (I’m not all too far into it yet) was odd at first, and I might have been a little slow see where I was supposed to be going with it. Some of the puzzles really made me think hard, complete with talking out loud to myself, the television, and eventually resorting to ice cold beer to cool the warm throbbing in my head (this was a good thing, trust me).

The graphics are a psychedelically cool watercolor aesthetic, the music is eerily haunting, and the simplistic gameplay (re: 3 buttons. Jump, use, rewind time) is engaging. And it will make you think.

Check it out (on the cheap!) if you have an Xbox Live account before the week is up!
PC gamers, the game releases on Valve’s STEAM service soon!

+ Braid Review [Game Spot]

- Goodchild

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Williamsburg Fashion Weekend Review: Racecar! Apparel for Men

Considering that I was in Williamsburg for a fashion show, I was prepared to see a lot of over the top, absurd and crackpot ideas on stage. Well... I did, and I was very entertained. But the saving grace of the show was the very sensible and über stylish line Racecar! for men. Or, as the designer Nettie Tiso likes to put it, "for helpless boys."

Nettie was quite accommodating and gave me an interview via email.

Clothes Coach: How did you come up with the clever name "Racecar!"?
Nettie: It comes from my Dad's lifelong hobby of restoring old hot rods, I grew up around this my entire life- he even taught me how to build an engine by the time I was 12.

Photo by Kristin Ezell

CC: My first sewing experience was making really risqué doll clothes by hand out of old elbow-length gloves for my Little Miss Makeup? When did you start?
Nettie: I am a self-taught sewer, starting with my great grandmothers' old Singer. I used to alter all my clothes. When I was 11 or 12, I was always uncomfortable in my own skin, literally, I used to even wear my clothes inside out because the seams on the inside were too harsh for me! But then I learned how to fix that by altering my clothes, which slowly evolved into making my own clothes, and clothes for friends and family.

Photo by Kristin Ezell

CC: What were the influences for the pieces in this line of Racecar!?
Nettie: This latest Racecar! line was influenced by menswear of the late 1880's. I am in love with that part of fashion history. Besides that, this line was primarily inspired by my goal of creating a perfect fit for my customers. By "perfect" I mean, clothes that fit them well, that are stylish, comfortable, versatile, and not over the top.


CC: Which piece from Racecar is your favorite and why?
Nettie: My favorite Racecar! piece is the denim vest, it is by far the most flattering and versatile piece in the collection. It is sleek enough to be dressy, but down to earth at the same time- by the mere fact that it is denim.

Photo by Kristin Ezell

CC: When will Racecar and Nettie's latest lines be available for purchase?
Nettie: All Racecar! pieces are custom fit and handmade to order by emailing racecarapparel@gmail.com to set up an appointment. The vests are available to order at racecarapparel.etsy.com.


These models look so sharp, the clothes aren't screaming "pay attention to me." I totally dig the plaid tie, and I think I might ask Nettie to make me a more feminine version of the white vest!

Nettie also has a women's line called Nett, which you can view on her myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/tisodesign

+ Williamsburg Fashion Weekend [YouTube]
+ Bogdan Tiflinksy at Vagabond Journal

- Kristin Ezell aka The Clothes Coach

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Your Best Bet at the Movies This Weekend - If You Must Go


Today, Feb. 27th, 2009, there are some new releases in the theaters. The following is a brief list of some of them, with links to trailers worth checking out.

+ Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience
+ Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li
+ Crossing Over

Follow the links … and you’ll know what to go see!

- Goodchild

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Lesser Known Movie Releases: Echelon Conspiracy / The Trouble with Romance

Not too many movies have come out in February worth seeing besides Coraline, but here are 2 indie flicks coming out in limited release tomorrow which look a little more promising... or maybe not. You Decide!

Echelon Conspiracy:


The Synopsis - A young American engineer comes into possession of a cell phone that bestows unlimited wealth upon him, never realizing the danger posed to him by the device until security agents close in and start shooting to kill.

+ Echelon Conspiracy is a Classic Omniscient Phone Thriller [I Watch Stuff]


The Trouble with Romance:


The Synopsis: A provocative, sexy and insightful exploration of relationships between men and women and why we all still yearn for love despite the trouble with romance.

+ Screengrab Review: The Trouble with Romance [Screengrab]

- Sonic

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Video Pick: H2O: What Happened?


In this week's video pick we're gonna kick it old school NYHC style with H2O and their video for "What Happened?" It features Sick of it All's Lou Koller and Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba as well as Michael Rappaport doing a little intro. The song is off their latest album Nothing To Prove which came out last year, and it is awesome vintage H2O just like the old days.

They are currently on tour with Dropkick Murphy's and will be in NYC on March 6th at Roseland. It's sold out, but don't worry they just added another Roseland show on March 7th. As a matter or fact I have to grab some tickets myself.


- Sonic

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Featured Photographer: Kathryn Cook

photo and copyright Kathryn Cook

There is something about black and white photos that is very intriguing, and Kathryn Cook's photos do exactly that. Her use of the style is not only a preference, but a means to better communicate a message. I love the way she utilizes light to create depth and capture all the subtle shades and gradients.

No doubt she is a talented photographer, but what I find most inspiring about this American photographer is the fact that she follows and pursues her passion. Two years after she graduated college she began working for the Associated Press Agency, but left for Latin America few years later to document the campaign trail of Bolivia's first indigenous president. She now lives in Turkey and Italy, but has traveled all over the world to document stories that intrigue her.

Make sure you check out the links below, she takes some amazing photos.

photo and copyright Kathryn Cook

Kathryn Cook [Official Wesbite]
Kathryn Cook [Agence VU]

+ A Better Time [Look Underfoot]

- Sonic

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Spot: Tea & Sympathy

The Food at Tea & Sympathy

When a friend of mine told me about Tea & Sympathy, I was instantly excited to try it out. I mean, it has the word "tea" in the name, and I of course love tea! It was small but somehow cozy inside and although I was there for the tea, I was ready to eat! I had shepard’s pie which was the best I’ve had, and apple crumble for desert. It was ummm…. banging!? I was slightly worried it would be too sweet but it actually wasn’t at all. Trust me on this, go here and try it!

When you order tea, they bring you a personal pot of loose tea which gives you about 3~4 cups. The prices are a little high but it’s a cool little spot to get some good eats or have a pot of tea and chat with some friends. They also have a shop next door that sells loose teas, British candy, tea pots and what not. It's great, just freakin' go!

+ Tea & Sympathy is located on Greenwich ave. between 12st and 13th st in NYC

[Official Website]

- Sonic

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Artist Feature: Mark Ryden

The Butcher Bunny by Mark Ryden

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with Mark Ryden's work but if not that is what The Highlark Emissary is for. Besides the obvious mastery in his technique as a painter, his unique style is what makes him one of the better known and popular artist in recent years. His paintings take a lot of familiar culture references and places them in surreal, sometimes unsettling settings.

The world Ryden creates, as odd as it maybe has a quality of innocence to it as if a child had envisioned it. When I was a kid I use to imagine the weirdest things in my mind, and Ryden's art inspires to not only embrace the oddities we all have but to let it fly free. Our imagination afterall is the essence of creativity and what keeps us sane..... at least that is the case for me.

Anyway, make sure you check out Mark Ryden's website for more of his work, especially if you are discovering his art for the first time. It will definitely be worth your while.

The Birth by Mark Ryden

[Official Website]

- Sonic

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Game of the Week: Cuboid (PS3)


I love puzzle games so I was excited when I discovered Cuboid. The concept is very simple, you flip around a rectangle across the board and drop it in the hole. Of course there are special squares and rules that come into play but it is a fun puzzle game and a great brain exercise. You can get this game for under 10 bucks from the Playstation Network.... sweet.

+ Cuboid Review [IGN]

- Sonic

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Featured Band: The Thermals

photo and copyright - Alicia J. Rose

It's good to see the punkier indie rock bands getting more popular these days, and although The Thermals have been around since 2002, they definitely have that punk flavor in their sound. In their career this band has gone through several member changes and put out several EPs and studio albums with Sub Pop. On April 7th, their fourth full length Now We Can See will be released by their new label Kill Rock Stars.

Their single and title track "Now We Can See" is a pretty awesome song, but you can check out a bunch more songs on their myspace page. Kill Rock Stars just announced their U.S. tour dates, so be sure to check that out as well. For all you New Yorkers they will be at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on May 8th and 9th.

[Official Website]
[Official Myspace]

- Sonic

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part III)


(continued from Part II)

Watchmen is a very special story, a truly amazing book. It’s a great psychological study, and an archetype for character development in storytelling. Will the shorter story as presented in the film be as good? We can’t know that yet. But I’m open to the fact that it might just be super freaking cool. Snyder, as director, has a pretty good track record for the big spectacle flick based on graphic novels (300), and with making a kick ass action movie with something to say (his remake of Dawn of the Dead).

From the clips that are in the various trailers and TV spots, the film seems to have the look and feel of the book down pat. It’s got a decent enough cast with Billy Crudup and Carla Gugino playing two of the main characters. And finally, a chance for all of us fans to see Rorschach in action. Everyone needs to just step back, open their minds, and be ready – because this one looks like it might just be great.

Have you read the book and / or are you looking forward to the movie? Light up the comment section …

- Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part I)
- Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part II)

+ Watchmen: Kevin Smith says they pulled it off [Pop Critics]

- Goodchild

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Williamsburg Fashion Weekend

Want to go to Fashion Week but can’t afford it? You can in Williamsburg, tickets are $8. They have live bands playing and DJs for the after party. Doors open at 8. Four designers Friday, four on Saturday. I’ll be there, too!

I met one of their 8 featured designers Tuesday night at the Digital Moda event, Kaytee Papusza of Papusza Couture. Here's one of her couture pieces below. It's like a butterfly catcher made love to a fairy and this is the aftermath- I think it's really playful and clever.


Kaytee's dresses are created from another world, one in which I'd like to be. Each tells a story, as if they jumped off the page from a quirky fairytale book. They are dreamy pieces; sexy, yet fantastical. These two are my favorites from her website. Makes me wish it was summer already.




Get yourself to Williamsburg this weekend to see PapuszaCouture’s latest line, as well as the other 7 designers!

+ Williamsburg Fashion Weekend: February 20 &21 @ Glassland Gallery

+ Williamsburg Fashion Weekend [Official Website]
+ Papusza Couture [Official Website]
+ The Clothes Coach [Official Website]

- Kristin Ezell aka The Clothes Coach

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part II)

photo and copyright Jason Cross

(continued from Part I)

After all, the medium of film has set parameters, and once you go over the two hour mark, you’re going to start losing your audience. The print medium’s parameters lend themselves more forgivingly to larger and denser stories. This is why it is so hard to find a medium between the mediums, and why filmic adaptations of large novels rarely live up to what people want. But this doesn’t mean the films suck, or are poorer by default – it just makes them different, and they can still be excellent. A perfect example is one of my favorite books, and a pretty kick ass movie – Jurassic Park.

Being a fan of the author (Michael Crichton, who sadly passed away last year), my mother read the book right when it came out, and then passed it on to me, thinking I was old enough to get my head around it and really enjoy it (to date myself, I read it in 7th grade, a year or two before the movie came out). I did really enjoy it, reading the entire 400 page book in a 24 hour span, refusing to sleep, and entirely convinced by the end that raptors were on the mainland in Central America and working their way north.

When I found out later on that a movie was due – and that Spielberg was doing it – I was truly ecstatic. I wanted to see Nedry’s guts get ripped out by that dilophosaur. I couldn’t wait to see the looks on the faces of the characters when the computer showed them the animals had been multiplying and that there were a ludicrous amount of raptors. How great it was going to be to see the raptors on the boat headed towards the mainland, the cave full of baby and parent raptors on the island, and the climactic carpet bombing of the whole island.

Now, if you’ve only seen the movie, you probably have no clue about most of that. Nedry’s demise was made pg-13 (though, still pretty gruesome in its own right). While there was a brief mention that the animals were reproducing, that was all it was. There were only 3 raptors in the movie, none made it to the mainland, and the island never got carpet bombed. Was I upset at the changes made? Hell no! That movie was great! I wound up with a very comparable sense of enjoyment from a 2 hour movie that I got from a 400 page book that took me 20-24 hours to read. The mediums are different, so the film that is based on the book is just that – based on it. But different. And it’s still allowed to be awesome.

(to be continued)

- Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part I)

+ Adaptation Analysis: Jurassic Park [Fandomania]
+ Jurassic Park Movie Review [Rotten Tomatoes]
+ 15 book-to-film adaptations that live up to the source material [A.V. Club]

- Goodchild

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Video Pick: Titus Andronicus: Titus Andronicus


XL Recordings
has all the cool artists, and you can add one more to their impressive roster. Titus Andronicus from Glen Rock New Jersey is the latest addition, and they are pretty awesome. If you haven't heard about them from all the blog buzz they've been getting here is your chance to catch up on the hype.

I know, their song "Titus Andronicus" from their latest
The Airing of Grievances is what everybody is telling you to listen to..... and I don't mean to be the front runner but a great song is a great song. Anyway check out the video, enjoy the tune.

+ Titus Andronicus [Myspace]

- Sonic

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mercury Lounge Up for Sale!?

photo from vles (Virtual Lower East Side)

Is NYC's indie rock rite of passage really up for sale? Thankfully NO, but the building that it calls home is. Of course that building does include Mercury Lounge, so what does this mean for this cornerstone venue of promotions giant Bowery Presents? According to sources the venue's lease runs until 2018, and has an option to renew for another 5 years after that.

So we can rest easy for now, but the ridiculous rent prices may be cause for concern in the survival of music venues in the big apple. Mercury Lounge already pays $20,000 a month in rent with a 3.5% annual increase, can it even survive til 2018? Hopefully the answer to that is yes, but I guess we will find out in time. For the time being we'll just keep the good times rolling at the shows.

+ LES Building That Houses Mercury Lounge Hits the Market [Curbed]

- Sonic

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Featured Director: Laurie Thinot

Autokratz - "Stay The Same" Music Video: directed by Laurie Thinot

Directors obviously have a big role in films and movies but I think short projects like music videos and commercials are really where they get to showcase their talent. Although few minutes of footage often require a serious production, a lot of music videos like the one above is all done by the director, and in this particular case by Laurie Thinot.

I consider Thinot to be more of an artist than a director; for example if you snapshot any frame from the music video, it is great graphic design on its own. Since her art is in motion however, I guess naturally you would call her a director. All directors are artists you say? Well, yeah but what I mean is Martin Scorsese can't make a video like that on his own, while Thinot created the images, animated them, edited the video and directed it all by herself.

Unfortunately there wasn't much I could find out about this French director, but she is signed to Partizan (a record label for directors if you will) so you should be seeing a lot of her work out in the world. For now check out the videos I have posted, they're really damn cool.


+ Laurie Thinot Channel [YouTube]

- Sonic

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Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part I)

photo from Pop Critics

(If you haven’t read Watchmen, this might have a spoiler or two – plus, you’re a dumb-dumb. Get your ass to a book store and buy it already.)

After some absolutely ridiculous legal battles, two things are certain now for the upcoming Watchmen movie. It will, thankfully, be released on time (March 6th of this year), and when the movie starts, just about every studio logo will grace the screen before the Comedian gets knocked out his window.

Now that seemingly everyone in Hollywood is going to get paid from the profits the film will surely make, we can focus on the film itself. Yes, Warner Brothers made the film, but hey, why shouldn’t 20th Century Fox get paid, too? They heard about it before it was made, doesn’t that entitle them to money? But seriously, on with the show, all. There are some crazy fans that have been waiting for this to happen since the mid eighties.

So, with over two decades of anticipation, you’d think the fan boys were simply waiting with baited breath … but instead their breath is being exhausted as they rant their opinions that the film will be horrible (no one has seen it yet, remember) because there are changes from the book.

Fan boys. Shut up.

Watchmen Poster Comparisons by Plasmic Studio

Of course there are changes from the book. The “book” is actually a graphic novel combining 12 books. Do you realize how long the movie would be if you left every little detail in there? Probably 12 hours. And, no, don’t say you’d go sit there for 12 hours in a theater and watch the whole thing. You wouldn’t. No one would. Zack Snyder wouldn’t and he’s making the movie. Dr. Manhattan himself wouldn’t have the patience to do that. So, of course there must be edits made.

The biggest controversy I’ve heard about is the removal of the pirate comic that runs parallel to the story throughout the entire book, and culminates with the giant squid/alien attack on New York City. Well, how are they going to make the whole artist collective-making-the-squid-monster make sense without the pirate comic to introduce us to the characters? They don’t have to. Apparently the squid attack on New York has also been cut from the story.


And so, the fans are up in arms over this. “It’s going to suck because it’s not the same thing”. Know what though? That doesn’t make any sense. Of course it can still be good. It can still be excellent. For starters, there is so much source material to work with, that even after some edits, there is a great story there that can be told much more succinctly.

(to be continued)

+ Watchmen Settlement Update [IGN]

- Goodchild

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Featured Store: HBO

photo by lang_inprint on Flickr

Hey, you know what everyone loves? HBO.

Seriously, we all love HBO, and we all know they make the best programming on television ever. Of course, maybe I should say we. I actually work for HBO, so this could be construed as me being a bit of a homer, but I just figured I’d give us a shout out here.

If you’re in New York City, we have a pretty sweet shop for all things HBO. Did you want a Cleaver hat or mug, like Christopher gave everyone on The Sopranos? Maybe Carrie’s necklaces from Sex & The City? How about Jemaine’s awesome poster for Flight Of The Conchords? Or crazy director Billy Walsh’s “Suits Suck” t-shirt from Entourage? You can find all the coolest swag from all the coolest shows there, so come on down to the Shop at HBO!

+ The HBO store is located on 6th ave, between 42nd and 43rd streets in NYC.

+ Shop HBO [Official Online Store]

- Goodchild

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Artist Feature: Brian Despain

The Exchange by Brian Despain © 2007

I am really happy that this blog is making me look around for amazing artists because I come across talent like Brian Despain. Despain's work although different seem like they all come from the same fantasy world he created where robots and various creatures interact peacefully. Using his skill in oil paint, Despain brings to life a scene we may all have imagined as a kid. The first time I saw his art I made an instant connection with it somehow and it even gave me a sense of nostalgia.

Rise of the Red Star by Brian Despain © 2005

What I love about Despain's work is that it tells a story. The painting gives us his vision, but from there the viewer naturally is able to open up their own imagination and envision a tale of adventure. You can really tell that he enjoys what he does, and at the end of the day that's what art is all about.

+ Brian Despain [Official Website]
+ Interview: Brian Despain [Arrested Motion]

- Sonic

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Featured Band: Portugal. The Man

photo and copyright - Emily Ibarra

One of my fave bands lately is these guys, Portugal. The Man. What's interesting about this band is that most of them are from Alaska! I mean, how the hell do you get your band out there from Alaska? I have no idea, but the band began in Alaska as Anatomy of a Ghost who quickly gained popularity around 2002 but broke up. Half of that band teamed up with some new members to form Portugal. The Man, and they moved to Portland Oregon to do some recording and touring. As they finished a demo in the summer of 2004 they somehow landed a tour with Chiodos that fall and after some more member changes the band had a release with Fearless Records in 2006. They are now with Equal Vision and their latest release Censored Colors came out last September.

Portugal's sound is a good mix of indie rock, soul, blues and folk. I would recommend listening to a few songs before you make a decision on them because they switch it up a bit from song to song. You can stream a bunch from their arsenal on their myspace page. Check them out.

Portugal. The Man [official website]

- Sonic

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GOW3 Spells Awesome

Awesome. It’s a simple word, and it gets highly overused by most people these days. What it means is to be filled with awe. In slang terms, the true meaning gets watered down. But here, I’m not using it in slang terms. I’m using it for its purest meaning – because, believe me, I am FILLED with awe.

So, how do you spell awesome? G. O. W. 3. Which, of course, stands for God Of War 3, coming later this year exclusively for the Playstation 3. Can you say PS3’s first true system seller?

There will be plenty of hype when this game hits – and if what was unveiled at Sony’s recent media day is even remotely close to reality, then this will certainly live up to all of it. This footage is all supposedly IN GAME. Enjoy, but don’t drool too much on your keyboard.




- Goodchild

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Movie Release: Gomorrah


Most of the films coming out today didn't look too promising but here is one that may be of interest. Gomorrah is an Italian film and is a crime drama depicting the underbelly of the Neopolitan Maffia. It is based on a book by Roberto Saviano who reportedly is or was under police protection for exposing the Camorra crime syndicate. So yes, it is absolutely based on a true story.

+ Gomorrah is out in limited release today!

Robert Saviano: Living with the Threat of Death [euronews]
Gomorrah [RottenTomatoes]

- Sonic

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Langerado Festival Canceled


What a way to kick off the festival season.... the 7th annual Langerado Music Festival scheduled for early March this year at Miami's Bicentennial Park has been canceled due to poor ticket sales. So what exactley happened here? For one Langerado's line-up although excellent didn't have any big headliners (last year they had REM, Beastie Boys and Ben Folds). Meanwhile other big festivals like Bonnaroo will feature Bruce Springsteen, Phish, NIN, MGMT, TV on the Radio and the Beastie Boys this summer. You can't forget about Coachella either who will have Amy Winehouse, Morrissey, Paul McCartney, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, The Cure and recent buzz bands like No Age, Lykke Li and Fleet Foxes. The festival market has become saturated as it is but the competition which also happens to be more established are bringing a lot of big acts.

The main reason I feel though maybe in their decision making. Previous Langerado Festivals were held in the Everglades where fans could camp out throughout the event and overnight. This year they decided to move the festival to the more urban Miami where camping is not permitted. As far as big festivals go camping is not only part of the attraction but a necessity. Who wants to spend the money or time in a hotel for 3 days when they're used to sleeping in tents and being a part of the "Festival." I have a feeling that the overhead for the event in Miami was a lot higher as well.

A lot of people are simply giving our dismal economy the blame, although that may be a factor I don't think it can stop music lovers and festival goers from having a great time. At least I hope so, but we will see as summer rolls around if other festivals may face the same fate as Langerado.

+ Statement from Langerado Co-Promoter Ethan Schwartz and ticket refund information:
“Langerado has always put the fan experience first. Unfortunately, during these difficult economic times, and facing a first year in a new venue, it’s become apparent that we cannot execute a production that lives up to the high standards of our past events. Putting Langerado on hold was the toughest decision we have ever had to make. We are very grateful for the support of the greater-Miami community and the music community during this difficult time.”

All tickets purchased will be refunded. Please look for ticket refunds to be processed in the next 5-7 business days. Each order will be refunded to the credit card in full, minus the included order processing fees. Shipping fees will also be credited for those orders that did not select the free shipping promotion. Visit www.musictoday.com for more information.

Langerado Music Festival 09 [Highlark Emissary]
Langerado Music Festival canceled due to poor ticket sales [Miami Herald]

- Sonic

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Video Pick: Los Campesinos!: You! Me! Dancing!

This week's video pick is "You! Me! Dancing!" by the Los Campesinos who I have gotten into recently. These Brits have been pumping out albums and EPs left and right and this song is from their first studio record Hold on Now, Youngster which came out in the UK in February of 2008. The song is also on an EP they put out in July 2008 called Sticking Fingers into Sockets. Anyway, Enjoy the video.



- Sonic

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Featured Photographer: Dorothy Hong

photo and copyright - Dorothy Hong

Dorothy Hong is a NYC based photographer born in Long Island, NY. She graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2005 but quickly built a name for herself as she was named one of PDN's 30 Emerging Photographers to watch in 2007. I actually got a chance to work with her on a Happy Anarchy shoot and she was really cool and professional.

Dorothy uses film and natural light in all her photos which is why they have that warm quality about them. Aside from having a good eye and aesthetic, she is able to bring out and capture all the tones and nuances that the sun gives off on her subjects. Check out more of her work at dothong.com, there are some incredible shots in there.

Happy Anarchy - photo by Dorothy Hong

+ www.dothong.com

- Sonic

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Website Feature: Rotten Tomatoes

photo by ScottWJ on Flickr

Rotten Tomatoes is a site dedicated to movie reviews and information. It has a lot of features on the site which is not easy to navigate through sometimes, but it's a pretty cool site otherwise. The main feature of the site is their tomato meter which compiles reviews on a particular movie from amateurs to pros all over the net and calculates and tabulates it into a percentage value. That percentage value is what I have been using recently to decide what to rent or go see. I can't say that the values they come up with are always right or to my liking, but it's surprisingly on point.

For example, a great lesser known Mike Judge comedy like Idiocracy which didn't get much attention or good reviews when it came out has a 72% on the tomato meter. Not all but a bunch of the movies have a general consensus part which in a few sentences sums up what people are saying about the movie. Once again, there's some science to it I guess and it ends up being rather accurate.

So if you're not sure what movie to check out or if people are telling you different things about a film, visit this site and it might help you make a good decision.

+ www.rottentomatoes.com

- Sonic

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Merchandising Art: Tokidoki by Simone Legno

© TOKIDOKI LLC design by Simone Legno

When you first see this artwork you automatically think the artist is Japanese. While they are one hundred percent Japan inspired, the designs are actually done by Italian artist Simone Legno. What started as artwork on his personal website eventually became the monster art brand Tokidoki. Legno chose the Japanese word for "sometimes," Tokidoki as his brand name because everyone wait's for the moment that changes one's destiny. It doesn't really make sense to me but hey, to each their own.

Tokidoki makes everything from toys, apparel, shoes, watches, bags, snowboard gear and even soccer balls or anything you can put a design on which is pretty much everything. I even own an USB flash drive made by them. It's great to see artists finding ways to make money, and Legno's Tokidoki designs are taking the pop culture by storm much like Sanrio did years back. I mean just look at the artwork how can you resist!?

+ Shop Tokidoki [official website]

- Sonic

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Game Release: F.E.A.R. 2 - Project Origin


Games are just getting crazier and crazier these days especially with the whole HD thing. I didn't play the first F.E.A.R. installment, but I got a chance to download the demo for F.E.A.R. 2 on my PS3 and it's pretty um.. scary?

THE PLOT: The second heart-stopping shooter by Monolith (after F.E.A.R.) continues the spine-tingling supernatural suspense story of an escalating paranormal crisis that threatens to destroy a major American city. At the center of the calamity is the mysterious Alma, whose rage against those who wronged her triggered a chain of events that has spiraled completely out of control. Now that she has been loosed upon the world, the consequences will be unimaginable. [IGN]

So in this horror first person shooter you can expect lots of blood, eerie surroundings, crystal clear graphics, intense action and a ton of terrifying imagery. For more on the game and it's features read the articles I listed below.

+ F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin comes out today (02.10.09) for PS3, XBOX 360 and PC

[official website]
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Preview [Game Pro]

- Sonic

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Stop-Motion Gem: Coraline 3D


When I saw the trailer for Coraline I was instantly sold. Just say creepy stop-motion fantasy and I'll pretty much be there every time. I had the chance to catch Coraline this weekend and I have to say I was blown away. Ok, it wasn't the best story and parts of it got a little slow but the visuals and the artistry behind the film was incredible. All I can say is that we've come a long way since Gumby. The entire film is in stop-motion, and everything you see in the film was hand made. Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach) directed this film and did a great job as he usually does, but kudos to the creative and talented artists who literally brought this thing to life.


Coraline is also the first stop-motion feature shot in stereoscopic 3D. This means you have to watch it with those 3D glasses. I wasn't sure what I thought about all this 3D hype, but it was really amazing. I wish I was tripping my face off watching this, but anyway, this is definitely a movie you need to catch in the theaters.

- Sonic

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Artist Feature: The Submarines

photo by William Lewis on Flickr

My discovery of The Submarines was completely by chance. They're songs are super catchy and are also well written. When I heard their music for the first time I didn't know anything about them, but as I was doing some research for this post I learned that this duo was all over the place! They had a bunch of their songs on a load of TV shows and commercials.... let's do the list; Nip Tuck, Grey's Anatomy, Weeds, Gossip Girl, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and of course the iPhone 3G commercial. How did I not hear them till now? Oh yeah, I don't watch TV.

So the band is husband and wife John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard, who is the grand-daughter of American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Their story goes something like... the couple that wrote songs together kind of didn't stay together but that made them write even better songs together.... so they got back together? Is their story and sound too sweet or is it a formula for great pop music? You decide.

+ Catch The Submarines live!
02.10.09 - MERCURY LOUNGE: New York, NY
02.11.09 - THE BELL HOUSE: Brooklyn, NY

[official website]
[myspace]

- Sonic

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Last Call: The Black Keys at Wellmont Theatre

photo by Mark C. Austin for Houston Press

You probably knew this but The Black Keys are playing tonight and tomorrow night (2/6/09 and 2/7/09) at Terminal 5 in NYC! The only problem is, both shows are sold out... but wait! There is hope! They added another show this Sunday on the 8th at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair New Jersey... and did I mention this show is all ages? Hurry up and grab a ticket, the minor inconvenience of leaving your borough will be well worth it.

You've been informed.

- Sonic

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Blomkamp (Part III)

(continued from part II)

And while we’re on the subject, is the idea of a HALO movie even a good one? To be honest, fan of the series though I may be, I don’t believe that it is a smart move. Counting only the 3 original Bungie-made HALO games (HALO: Combat Evolved, HALO 2, and HALO 3), which all follow the same central characters and story, there is a wealth of plot there that could not possibly be transferred to a 2 or 2.5 hour movie. Wouldn’t a better idea be something along the lines of a mature animated series on HBO? Think back to HBO’s SPAWN animated series and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

With an animated series, all the original voice talent could reprise their roles in order to keep the “authenticity” fans would be looking for. It would also keep costs down from a huge budget film, and more of the story could be left intact – for example, a single movie probably wouldn’t “humanize” our alien enemy as the story in HALO 2 did, taking time to show the fall of a once proud warrior, his one chance at redemption, and or the way his entire race was betrayed and excommunicated from their religion. An animated series, on the other hand, would be able to go into these details.

Of course, another question still remains: Do people really want to watch something that they’ve already watched AND played through? Video game movies don’t always do so well at the box office – sure, one of the main reasons is because they’re never any good, but maybe there’s more to it …

In any case, District 9 and its odd marketing has me interested as hell, and I can’t wait to get more information on it. And if anyone figures out everything on the website, drop a line and let me know! goodchild@highlark.com

Next Big Viral: Neil Blomkamp's District 9 [FirstShowing.net]

- Goodchild

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Video Pick: O'Death: Lowtide

My friend Dave is the drummer for this band, and he goes nuts in this video so check him out and his band O'Death. This is "Lowtide" from their latest release Broken Hymns, Limbs & Skin.




- Sonic

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Blomkamp (Part II)

(continued from Part I)

So, fans everywhere thought this proof positive that a HALO movie was in the works. And, of course, deals were being made … eventually, a writer was hired to pen the script, and the Jackson producing / Blomkamp directing / WETA engineering team was signed on. But no one could agree on anything, funding fell through, and the project remains in limbo.

So, what have this team been up to since they aren’t working on this? We’re all about to find out. Blomkamp’s feature length debut, District 9, is on track to release later this year (scheduled for August 14th, 2009). A viral marketing campaign by Sony, who is putting the film out, has already begun – check out http://www.d-9.com. Remember, if you’re a human, only click where you’re supposed to!

Now, I’m very interested in this project. The HALO shorts were cool enough that I’d be willing to plunk my money down to see Blomkamp’s film. And with the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Dead Alive, and Heavenly Creatures under his belt, I’ll trust Peter Jackson enough that if he says “Blomkamp’s my man for this”, well then how can it go wrong?

Thing is, people are already saying that this film is merely a means of getting a big budget sci-fi movie under Blomkamp’s belt so that studios won’t be so nervous about giving him the money he needs to do HALO. And, if this is simply a “Look, I can do it!” type deal, will it truly live up to the hype, or be a rush job?

(to be continued)

Peter Jackson to Produce District 9 [About.com]

- Goodchild

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Restaurant Feature: Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Brooklyn

photo by Dennis Mueller on Flickr

It's rare, but it happens; a perfect dining experience. I honestly can't think of a single bad thing to say about the Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Brooklyn. I enjoy going to those pricey, "nice" restaurants for a good meal once in a while but most of the time I don't feel like dressing up just to have dinner. Although Blue Ribbon is one of those nice restaurants, it has a very casual vibe about it. I was wearing a zip-up hoodie, jeans and sneakers but didn't feel a bit under dressed or uncomfortable. Even some of the staff had jeans on.

So the food... expensive? Yes, but when you measure the portions and quality against the price it's reasonable. The oysters and clams I had from the raw bar was really fresh, and my lobster entree was amazing. The best thing about Blue Ribbon aside from the awesome food is their service. As the side plate was getting full of lobster shells they would replace it with a new plate without us asking. The waiters were very knowledgeable and on point. You can't really ask for much more. I'll be heading back there again soon, definitely my new favorite restaurant.

+ Blue Ribbon is located at 280 5th Avenue between 1st St. and Garfield Place in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.

[official website]
Blue Ribbon Brasserie [Yelp Reviews]

- Sonic



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Blomkamp (Part I)


Did you see that?

So, around the time that HALO 3 was coming out, we (the ever-consuming public) were practically assaulted at almost every turn by advertising for the game, and also by its many tie-ins in other media. Some of these tie-ins were pretty poor, and nothing but the horrid byproduct of a marketing meeting conducted by the foulest of all creatures, the faceless, soulless suits of ad agency executives (I’m looking at you, HALO themed slurpee at 7-11). Others, however, had some real merit.

Something called HALO: ARMS RACE popped up on the internet, and on Xbox Live for download. It was a very short “film”, not even 5 minutes long. It was a live action gear-up for the war humanity had to look forward to with the alien race of the Covenant in the upcoming game. It showed a large human battle (space)ship moving through the atmosphere of our planet as it left dock. Soldiers were having their heads shaved, warthog jeeps were on the assembly line, thousands of battle rifles and pistols were being produced, all in preparation of “finishing the fight” in the third game of the successful trilogy.

What was this short, and who had made it? A quick answer would be that it is, like everybody’s favorite folk duo Flight Of The Conchords, from New Zealand. The short was directed by a man named Neil Blomkamp, was produced by Peter Jackson, and Jackson’s WETA studios had done the special effects. Wow. That’s a lot of firepower behind such a short piece …

But wait, there was more! Soon after, an actual short film (more than the first, which was ostensibly an ad), broken up into 2 parts, was released. For the first time, fans of the series got a glimpse of some real action in the HALO universe as it might look like in a movie, with a “story” that helped bridge the gap up to the beginning of the new game.

The film was pretty damn cool – while the sets were minimal, the cast small, and the actual substance of the project slight, it was totally amazing to see the power of the Brute hammer, the speed of the warthog, and Covenant banshees screaming past overhead. Oh, and the fact that a Brute got blown up by a rocket launcher didn’t hurt it.

(to be continued)

Halo's Arms Race, or when live-action is more dead than CGI [Joystiq]

- Goodchild

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Boo 2009


My Blueberry Nights Trailer

Boo.

Last year was pretty cool, because last year there was a new Wong Kar Wai movie for me to go see. 2009? Not so much. With The Lady From Shanghai in pre-production and on schedule for a 2010 release, I’ll have to content myself with watching Norah Jones’ filmic debut in My Blueberry Nights.

In truth, I’ve only seen it the one time I went to see it in the theater – though I recently got my hands on a copy of the movie so I plan on watching it a few more times.

If you’ve seen Sonic and my recent video posts, you might like to know that my “unprepared-ness” was something of an homage to Jones’ performance in the movie. After seeing it I found her acting to be very odd, and so I went home to research it a bit. Turns out, Wong Kar Wai asked her to be in the movie, and when she offered to take acting lessons (having never acted), he told her not to – he wanted a non-actor who could just react. To further this notion, scripts were given to the real actors (Jude Law, Natalie Portman, etc) but not to Jones. WKW simply gave her a base synopsis for what he wanted for each scene and filmed her reacting to what was going on.

While a decidedly offbeat performance, it is, under these circumstances, very true to life – while she is an actor in a film, she truly comes across as a real person stuck in real situations.

And, she’s beautiful. Anyone out there know her? I’d like to meet her, and if she’s single, probably marry her.

Anyone?

My Blueberry Nights [imdb]

- Goodchild

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Grammy's 2009


We all know the Grammy's suck monkey balls but the ONE and only category I have an interest in is for the Best Alternative Music Album. This year the nominees are Beck - Modern Guilt, Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs, Gnarles Barkley - The Odd Couple, My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges and last but definitely not least Radiohead - In Rainbows.

The artists nominated in this cateogry are great but still predictable, safe choices.
Whether you like them or not Vampire Weekend and MGMT undoubtedly made the biggest noise in 2008 but I guess the Recording Academy was too busy looking at record sales to notice (Wait, but no one buys records anymore....) So the 2009 Grammy Awards will air on February 8th on CBS. I do want to see Radiohead perform but unless someone tells me the exact moment they are playing, I'm going to have to just YouTube it later.

[official website]
Who's Performing at the 2009 Grammy Awards [Associated Content]


- Sonic

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Artist Feature: Two Tongues

Two Tongues - look at more photos on their myspace page

Brace yourself, an emo supergroup!?!? Two Tongues is Chris Conley and David Soloway of Saves The Day plus Max Bemis and Coby Linder of Say Anything. Just like their band name the group utilizes dual vocals which offers a nice contrast between Conley's angelic singing and Bemis' growl. With this kind of music you're not going to hear anything ground breaking but I feel that Two Tongues is more genuine than their peers and they are definitely a solid band. The best way to describe their sound is... surprise! if you mash Saves The Day and Say Anything together. Aside from the standard power chords and familiar progressions you can hear some good harmonies and Soloway's cool little riffs sprinkled in.

If you don't like the genre you can skip right over them but otherwise take a listen. Their self titled debut album comes out tomorrow, February 3rd off Vagrant Records.

[myspace]

- Sonic

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