Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Featured Artist: Evan B. Harris

photo from evanbharris.com

I actually just purchased a print by our featured artist Evan B. Harris over the weekend. I really loved the old time folklore feel his work has, and even though I looked through a bunch of great prints, it was an easy decision to make. What makes Harris unique is that he is a self-taught artist with no formal training. It is inspiring that his paintings are literally a visual translation of his creative and imaginative mind.

photo from evanbharris.com

Harris' paintings often look as if they were created decades ago. This is partially because of the different mediums and the sepia colors he uses. The secret ingredient however is the fact that he often beats, sands, scratches and polishes the paintings before he calls it finished. It really goes to show there are no rules when it comes to creating art.

photo from evanbharris.com

+ Evan B. Harris - interview & loads and loads of new work [Fart Minus F]

- Sonic

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Tech Check: Clarion MiND

Check out the full specs at Amazon.com

Navigation systems can be very helpful on the road, and the Clarion MiND does more than show you where to go. For starters the navigation system offers 2D or 3D view, lane guidance, display of speed limits, house number resolution and of course all the usual nav features as well as some new ones which utilize the internet and it's 4inch touchscreen display.

Yes, the internet! It uses wi-fi connections where available or you can use the internet from your phone via bluetooth. It has a FireFox based browser with quick links to MySpace, YouTube and all the good stuff. It had a media player so you can listen to music and store photos within it's expandable 4GB memory.

The downside is that this mini-computer costs about $650 bucks (although it may be cheaper and a lot better than a pre-installed nav option on a car), and if you don't want to rely on conveniently finding a free wi-fi hotspot or your phone's internet connection, you need to subscribe to its 3G service.... but we all know 3G is really not that fast. It is portable though to be used at home or at your office or with your bike and the navigation works anywhere. If you were looking to get a navigation device, you definitely should take a deeper look into the Clarion MiND.

+ Geekologie Review: The Clarion MiND [Geekologie]

- Sonic

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Featured Band: El Ten Eleven

El Ten Eleven Myspace

I actually played a gig with El Ten Eleven last year in Brooklyn, and these guys are of course great musicians but also really cool guys. When you hear El Ten Eleven you might think it's a full band, but they are a duo comprised of Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty. They use a lot of loops and effects as you might imagine but they definitely pull it off, and they are super tight live as well. They did most of the audio and songs (possibly all of it?) for the Indie Documentary Helvetica. The film as you may have guessed is about typography and a friend of mine has told me it is very good.

El Ten Eleven is one of those hard working bands that do a whole lot of touring, and they will be back in NYC in April. Go check out their music and swing by a show.

Upcoming El Ten Eleven shows:
- April 29 - Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
- May 1 - Union Hall, Brooklyn NY

- Sonic

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Reflect and Review: Tokyo!


Tokyo!, as you might have recently seen on our super awesome site here, is a recent foreign release that might currently be playing in an indie / art house movie theater near you. It is a compilation of 3 short films, by three different directors, all taking place in Tokyo.

(SPOILER ALERT!)


Being an avid follower of Michel Gondry’s work, and knowing he did one of the three short films that Tokyo! is comprised of, I was down to see the flick from the word Go. Now, if you know Gondry, you know to expect quirkiness, high imagination, maybe some good laughs, and a visual style sure to make anyone smile. To be honest, I was a bit surprised to find an engaging drama about a young couple who are down on their luck and move to Tokyo, crashing with a friend until they can get on their feet. The sheer simplicity, unabashed realness and the raw emotion of such cramped quarters entranced me in a way I just wasn’t ready for. I was really getting into it – and, thusly almost forgot who had made the film until it had about 5 minutes left and the female lead slowly started turning into a wooden chair.

Right. Gondry.

This was a bit jarring at first, but in retrospect I think it fits. The film showed the story of this woman growing further from all she knows – her boyfriend, the friend she stays with – as she feels useless, accidentally getting their car towed and not being able to get a job. Then she turns into a chair, and is able to support people that need to sit, and she feels useful for the first time. Weird, but I get it, and it was well done.


The second film, Merde, was by Leos Carax. I’ve been thinking for a while now how to say this, and I can’t think of a better way, so here it is: This film was not very good. And yes, that’s being nice. Well, the cinematography was actually pretty excellent, but that’s all I can say here as a positive.

It opened with a pretty cool crane shot of Tokyo, which eventually zooms in on a manhole on a crowded sidewalk. It is opened from underneath, and Merde himself (merde is French for shit) climbs up. He is filthy, one eye has no pupil, and his beard pulls off to one side in a manner I wouldn’t be surprised to see catch on in Williamsburg, just so the hipsters could be … well, hip. It’s not hip. It’s stupid. Anyone, Merde walks up the street in this cool long take, essentially freaking people out and at one point licking a young girl’s armpit before finding another manhole to disappear into. After his escapades make the news, we see him back in the sewer where he stumbles on to a long forgotten WWII weapons cache. He obtains a satchel filled with live grenades (it made no sense to me either), and proceeds to climb up onto the street in the middle of Tokyo that I recognized from the Jet Set Radio level, it’s like a bus depot with these big walkways going over it … He blows a bunch of people up, and is later arrested for this. Ok, so now the film can get good, right?

Well, turns out he only speaks sewer mutant, and the only person who can communicate with him is a French lawyer who has the reverse look going on (his opposite eye has no pupil, and his beard flips the other direction). The lawyer visits Merde in his cell, and they have a 5 minute conversation in sewer mutant language with no subtitles.

What.

The.

Fuck.

Now, this is bad, but it begins a series of scenes where the Japanese people want to ask Merde things (in his cell or at his trial), but can’t communicate directly with either Merde or the lawyer, so you have one character speaking in Japanese, a translator says it in French (this is when there are subtitles), the lawyer repeats it in sewer mutant, Merde responds in mutant, lawyer repeats it in French (subtitles), translator gives the answer in Japanese. Sound tedious and annoying? Imagine an entire courtroom scene of this. We find out ( if we’re still paying attention and haven’t gouged our eyes out) Merde hates the Japanese because “Their eyes look like a woman’s sex.” Wow. So, they hang him, but it doesn’t take, he disappears and then it says he’ll be back to terrorize New York City.

Merde. Goodchild here. Just want to let you know. You come to my city, I’m going to kill you myself.

The third film was called Shaking Tokyo, and was by Bong Joon-Ho, who you might know if you like kick ass monster movies (he directed a film in his native Korea called The Host a few years back – if you haven’t seen it, do so. It’s awesome). It was about a hikikomori, a Japanese man who never leaves his house and has not made eye contact with another human for over 11 years. He receives money in the mail from his father and orders food and groceries to his house. Every Saturday he orders pizza, and one day he makes eye contact with the girl delivering the pizza. As he does, there is a slight earthquake, and the girl collapses into his “perfect” home. This rocks his world – he hasn’t had contact with the world in so long, and no it’s in his house. The girl leaves a lasting impression on him, and he finds out the next week that she has quit to become hikikomori like him. This shakes him, and he finds the strength to leave his house to find her. He does, and along the way he sees that she is not the only person who has recently decided to never leave her house again. When he finds her, there are another series of quakes which shake Tokyo to its core. The message here might have been a bit heavy handed, but it was quaint and cute, and well made and thought out enough that I liked it.

So, there it is. Two out of three isn’t bad, right? While the two films I liked were good enough to recommend for people to go see, the middle film is so poor, boring, vapid and full of itself that I can’t in good faith recommend this as a must see in the theater – wait until it’s on dvd, and then you can skip the shit. Which means Merde.

- Tokyo! Trailer

+ Tokyo! Review [Spout Blog]

- Goodchild

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Movie Releases: Friday March 27th

GOODBYE SOLO:


- SYNOPSIS: A Senegalese taxi driver (Souléymane Sy Savané) befriends an elderly man (Red West) who is determined to kill himself.

This is one of those films that is probably really good, but I'm going to wait till it's available on Netflix.

+ For a Buoyant Cabbie, A Ride to Remember [NY Times]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

MONSTERS VS ALIENS:


- SYNOPSIS: When California girl Susan Murphy is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall. The military jumps into action and Susan is captured and secreted away to a covert government compound. There, she is renamed Ginormica and placed in confinement with a ragtag group of Monsters.

3D animated film featuring voices by Seth Rogen, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Stephen Colbert, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland and Rainn Wilson. Yeahhhhh, I'll watch it.

+ Monsters VS Aliens [Roger Ebert]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE EDUCATION OF CHARLIE BANKS:


- SYNOPSIS: Charlie Bank’s (Jesse Eisenberg) sheltered world at his Ivy League campus is shaken when Mick (Jason Ritter), an old acquaintance with a violent past, unexpectedly shows up at his dorm room. Intrigued by Charlie’s privileged lifestyle, the charismatic Mick quickly wins over Charlie’s friends and his crush, Mary (Eva Amurri) as he seamlessly integrates himself into Charlie’s life. Unnerved yet also in awe of Mick’s easy charm, Charlie’s unresolved feelings of jealousy, admiration and fear –as well as an unspoken secret between the two—threatens to come to a head with ruinous consequences.

This film is Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst's directional debut. Which tells me it's probably not going to very good.... but to be fair it looks pretty decent. I'll probably check it out at some point, but let me know if any of you catch this.

+ The Education of Charlie Banks [Variety]

- Sonic

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Video Pick: Radiohead: House of Cards


You can always count on Radiohead to come up with great ideas for videos. The video for "House of Cards" was done with all 3D plotting technology. Pretty damn cool.

- Sonic

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Game of the Week: Final Fantasy XII

screenshot by Swotti

It's a bit of a throwback, but I must have spent over a hundred hours easily on this game. I am talking about Final Fantasy XII, which is the latest of the FF series. As far as PS2 games go it probably has one of the best graphics, and it is the realest of the FF series. The maps are huge and extensive and the battle system is really awesome. Unlike the RPG standard turn based fighting, the enemies are visibly around on the world and fighting commences once you get close enough.

The only thing I didn't like about the game was that the sidequests eventually become a lot more interesting than the actual story. Also as great as the sidequests are, some of the sidequest bosses have a gazillion HP and it literally takes an hour to beat. If you can withstand the battle for 10 minutes you are obviously strong enough to beat him, there really isn't a need to keep fighting for that long.... but I guess that's why they are called sidequests.

Anyway, a great RPG and you can get it for really cheap now. Check out the links for more details about the gameplay and go here for a quick gameplay video.

+ Final Fantasy XII Review [IGN]
+ Final Fantasy XII Review [GameSpot]

Oh, one more thing. If you haven't seen the gameplay trailer for the upcoming PS3 game Final Fantasy XIII, do it now! It looks insane. FF 13 should be out at the end of the year, definitely one of the games I am excited for.



- Sonic

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Browse Worthy: Hi-Fructose Magazine


I randomly came across their website, and I pretty much subscribed to it right away. Hi-Fructose Magazine is a quarterly art magazine that has been showcasing underground and not so underground artists since 2005. I am patiently waiting for my first issue to arrive, but their website is pretty awesome on its own. It has a calender section that tells you all the up and coming events and galleries, and the blog section allows me to discover some really great artists.

I only hope the art section at our Emissary here will grow to be as informative and extensive as Hi-Fructose one of these days. If you are into art like I am, definitely go subscribe or at least bookmark the page.

+ Hi-Fructose Magazine

- Sonic

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Featured Artist: Nathan Spoor

The Neatly Strung Messenger © Nathan Spoor

Storybooks and movies have implanted certain fantasy world imagery into our heads. Whether it be Chronicles of Narnia, Neverending Story or a Disney Movie, there is an undeniable consistency in the realms they all create. Nathan Spoor however takes that imagery and completely re-imagines them.

Citizens of War © Nathan Spoor

Spoor is a genius when it comes to using shapes to create his images. You are not so much a plant or an animal, or even a person but a shape that exists in his fantastical world. There is something very fluid about Spoor's paintings; although it may not make sense logically, nothing feels out of place. If you are a fan of surreal art, Nathan Spoor is definitely someone you want to check out.

+ Nathan Spoor Interview [Party Like An Art Star]

- Sonic

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Special Post: Japan Wins World Baseball Classic 2009

We don't usually post about sports, but it was a pretty historic moment and I have to show some love to my Japanese heritage. Baseball is America's greatest past time, and along with the U.S, the South American teams have traditionally dominated the sport. The World Baseball Classic is the World Cup of baseball featuring a slew of major leaguers and each country's best players. It takes place every 3 years and in 2006, in it's very first year of existence, Japan defeated Cuba to become the World Champions. Now in 2009, Japan are the champs once again as they defeated the U.S. in the semi-finals and defeated Korea in the finals last night.

So congrats to team Japan, but I definitely consider myself an American.... and America, you need to get back to the basics, stop crying about potential injuries that may affect the regular season, and step up your game! Now here is a longer blurb by Goodchild which I believe he wrote during the 9th inning.

- Sonic


Iw. Akuma.

That’s not to say I think Akuma is gross or anything. Actually, he’s always been my fav Street Fighter character. If I ever get around to getting and playing SFIV, I’ll go online and kick your ass with him.

Promise.

No, this is more about Iwakuma, pitcher for the Japanese World Baseball Classic team.

First off, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on what might one day be a much bigger deal here – an international tournament for baseball that truly gives any real team a chance at becoming the best in the world. Secondly, I just wanted to say that I’m an American. Brooklyn born, I live in Brooklyn now, and I see no home but New York City for me in the future. I’m never going to move to Europe, or Australia. I’d like to visit them, but who knows if I’ll ever get the chance. I love my country and as hokey as it might be, I root for team USA in whatever the competition is.

Except soccer. I only look that dumb.

Back to the classic and Iwakuma. So, this Iwakuma guy is insane, he kept Korea to 1 run in 7 2/3 of baseball, didn’t even allow a hit in the first few innings. And the Korean pitching wasn’t shabby, either. Japan had 1st and 3rd, no one out – Korea got out of it without giving up a run. Japan had the same situation again – Korea gets out with only 1 run given up. Tight pitching, excellent defense and sound fundamentals, and something else you don’t see in the MLB – a reliance on constructing runs by stringing together hits and aggressive running – or, not just sitting back and waiting for the home run. This is exceptional baseball, something only National League fans get to see here in the USA, and even then not all too often. This is the 5th time in the WBC that these two teams have met, they split the previous meetings, and this one just went into extra innings.

This may not mean anything for the MLB season, of which I am waiting for with baited breath (GO BLUE!!), but I feel that this is one of the best and most exciting games I’ve ever watched. I seriously think I could watch these two teams play all season long and love ever game.

But, Sonic forgive me, I think I’m pulling for Korea. I was certainly pulling for Japan in ’06, but with Japan shaming team USA in the semifinals (hey, at least we got there this time); I kinda want Korea to win just to stick it to them. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I think the WBC is really coming around – I really feel that by the next time it comes around, it’s popularity will have grown exponentially – around the world, and even in this country. This really is great for the sport, and it has me super excited for the MLB season.

Whoever wins this game, congratulations to both teams for their excellent showings, and for entertaining the hell out of baseball fans all over the world.

And, no matter who we might be rooting for, I think we can all agree that we all win on a night when Steve Phillips says so little. Now, if only we could get Joe Morgan to shut up …

+ Ichiro delivers as Japan Wins WBC Title [NBC]
- Goodchild

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Tech Check: Music Ownership or Streamership?

photo and copyright: Joe whk

The topic was briefly covered on some panels during last year's CMJ Festival and apparently it came up at Austin's SXSW Festival as well. We are talking about the way we see ownership, particularly in music. A lot of us already don't physically own music; we make playlists and stream it from our favorite service provider whether it be Rhapsody, Imeem, Myspace, PureVolume, Pandora or any of the other ones out there. So, once our internet and gadgets reach the point of becoming super reliable, we may not need to own music even in it's digital form.

Your iPod won't have gigs of songs on it anymore, it will just be an interface for you to call your favorite songs on which will be streamed directly and instantly to your device. You can obviously see where I'm going with this, but if you can stream music anywhere you want anytime you want, it kind of erases the need to own it in any physical form. I know companies like LaLa are already assuming that this will be the case.

This won't happen this year or maybe even next year, I mean 3G is really not that fast and even our internet at home craps out often enough..... but it seems that it will be sooner rather than later. Anyway it's definitely something to think about, hit me up with your thougts.

+ How Will The Cloud Change The Way We Think About Music Ownership [Crunch Gear]

- Sonic

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Featured Band: The Dead Weather - Jack White at it again.

photo by David Swanson for Rolling Stone

Jack White... you knew him as the singer slash guitarist for The White Stripes, then The Raconteurs, and now you can add The Dead Weather to that list, only this time he is on the drums. The Dead Weather also includes Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age, and The Kills vocalist Alison Mosshart.

They have released 2 songs so far, one being Hang You From The Heavens which you can watch and listen in video form below, and the other a Gary Numan cover Are Friends Electric? They are scheduled to release their first album dubbed "Horehound" on June 8th of this year. It's pretty rockin' check them out.


+ Jack White Plays Drums in New Band With Kills Singer [Pitchfork Media]

- Sonic

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Friday, March 20, 2009

XBOX Live Deal of the Week: A Deal I Can Sink My Teeth Into


So, I previously posted my professed love for Fable 2, though I’d never played the original game. Man, oh man do I still love me some Fable 2.

So, I was just sitting here watching Korea play Japan in the World Baseball Classic (the bottom of the first inning was one of the most exciting and incendiary half innings I’ve ever seen played in a game) after having watched team USA come from behind in the bottom of the ninth to eliminate Puerto Rico, listening to some Led Zeppelin while surfing the net a bit.

Guess what I found out? There’s a pretty sweet deal over on Xbox Live. Get the original Fable for 33% off!

I’m still not done with all I want to do with Fable 2, but I’m grabbing this now so my time in Albion is even longer!

Game of the Week: Fable 2 - Why Our Very Own Sonic Hates Peter Molyneux (Part I)
Game of the Week: Fable 2 - Why Our Very Own Sonic Hates Peter Molyneux (Part II)

- Goodchild

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Movie Releases: Friday March 20th

THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD:


- SYNOPSIS: When a law school dropout answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime.

You can usually expect a good performance from John Malkovich and although this film doesn't pop out at me it's been getting good reviews all around. If anyone catches it let me know how it is.

+ Sundance Review: The Great Buck Howard [Cinematical]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

HUNGER:


- SYNOPSIS: The film stars Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) (Bobby Sands was not a member of the IRA he was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army but acted with the IRA as part of a broader Irish Republican movement within the Long Kesh prison where this movie occurs) member who led the 1981 Irish hunger strike and participated in the no wash protest (led by Brendan "The Dark" Hughes) in which Republican prisoners tried to win political status. It dramatises events in the Maze prison in the six weeks prior to Sands death.

Just looks like a really solid flick, definitely covers an interesting true story. Director Steve McQueen is a well known artist and seems like he pulled off his first directing project. It also won Best Debut Feature at last year's Cannes Festival.

+ Cannes Film Festival: UK's Hunger wins best debut feature [Telegraph]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I LOVE YOU, MAN:


- SYNOPSIS: As his wedding day approaches, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) realizes he has no one to act as his best man. Through a series of ''man-dates,'' he finds Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), and the pair become instant friends. But as Peter's ''bro-mance'' with Sydney grows stronger, it threatens his relationship with his fiancee (Rashida Jones), forcing Peter to make a choice.

This doesn't come off all that funny to me, but I have faith in Paul Rudd and Jason Segel they are usually hilarious. The premise is pretty original also and it's rated R which is a good sign. I'm down!

+ I love You, Man explores dude awakening [MSNBC]

- Sonic

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reflect and Review: Watchmen (Part II)


continued from Part I:

One of the things I really liked about Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead was the soundtrack. To be honest, I really don’t like the band Disturbed, but when I heard the lounge version of their big hit in the mall, it was great. A montage with the characters getting used to life trapped inside a mall while besieged by legions of undead set to “Down with the Sickness”? Perfect. And the movie was pretty damn cool, to the point where, at the end of the movie when the real version of the song came on, I didn’t mind hearing it. The soundtrack was great here again, taking cues from the book, and finding ways to bookend the film with Bob Dylan songs. Bob opens the movie, Hendrix has his take on Watchtower, and then My Chemical Romance covers Desolation Row during the closing credits. Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel … great songs we’ve all heard a plethora of times, but their usage here makes them poignant again.


As for the look of the film, I loved the use of slow motion to illustrate the exact translation of panels from the book. Snyder used this technique a lot in 300 as well, a film also based on a graphic novel. I hope, as cool as both these films look, he finds a way to break out of this if and when he ever makes an original movie.

All in all, I really felt this flick – it’s quite the spectacle and should not be missed in the theaters. But as good as it is, and as much as you should check it out – you should still read the book!

Reflect and Review: Watchmen (Part I)

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

+ Watchmen Reviews [Rotten Tomatoes]

- Goodchild

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Video Pick: Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party Re-Sync


This isn't the resync I'm talking about, but the other one wasn't letting me share. The link for the Fatboy Slim resync is below.

So, I recently saw Coraline. I enjoyed it – nothing earth shattering in the storytelling, but the voice acting (Ian McShane, especially) was spot on, and the 3d animation was insanely cool.

It, of course, made me think back on Nightmare Before Christmas. This, in turn made me think of Danny Elfman, and how he’s the man. Of course, then I had Dead Man’s Party stuck in my head for a few hours, and I had to put the Farewell dvd for his band Oingo Boingo on and rock out a bit.

Know what’s better than a music video for Dead Man’s Party? The same song edited over an old Fatboy Slim video with Christopher Walken dancing. Great. Don’t worry, this song is supposed to stick in your head for days on end – it’s infectious and awesome.

+ Dead Man's Party Resync [You Tube]

- Goodchild

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tech Check: Linksys by Cisco Media Hub

photo from Crunch Gear

It was bound to happen, and now it's here. A remote access media server slash external hard drive with a ton of space. The Media Hub allows you to store all your photos, videos, music and files in a 500GB or 1TB storage unit and let's you access it from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.

You can even stream HD movies through your PS3 and XBOX 360 or listen to your favorite song at cousin Mike's. It even allows you to upload files remotely so those vacation photos you just took can be shared and stored before your flight home.

For more info and to learn how it works check out the website below. This is some pretty cool ish.

+ Linksys by Cisco Media Hub [Official Website]

- Sonic

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Reflect and Review: Watchmen (Part I)

So, Watchmen released last week, and after my previous rant (that was posted in three separate parts!) talking about my excitement and openness for the film, I thought I’d post some of my thoughts on the film.

First off, Let me just say that I really liked it. Was it the book? No. But, as I stated in the aforementioned rant, I was and still am alright with that. All of the Tales of the Black Freighter pirate comic was removed, and that was ok since the squid attack at the end was changed (though, when Jon transports the device to Antarctica, the scientist collective there is called S.Q.U.I.D., as can be seen on a sign quickly before the device arrives). A lot of people I know who read the book did not like the new ending because it was too vague and ambiguous. I had to point out that that makes it just like the original ending! Basically, Snyder (Zack, the director) and company just managed to find a different means to the same end.



What was important to me was if the backgrounds to the characters came across well. Some were, of course, lighter than I wanted. The film tells us that Dan is the second Owl, but never gets into us why he got into it. Rorschach calls him flabby at one point, but to be honest he’s not nearly as out of shape as his counterpart in the book – it would have been nice to see how much he had to go through to get back into the game, instead of just waking up after almost having sex and deciding it was time. I feel they did a pretty good job with both Laurie and Jon – I truly felt for Laurie, almost directly from the beginning. And, by the time Jon is narrating his linear history in what us mere mortals perceive as non linear storytelling, I felt his alienation comparably to how I did while reading the book. Time spent on Sally Jupiter was perfect, and Carla Gugino was just as hot, if not hotter, than Malin Akerman in any time period.

And then, there was Rorschach. Everyone’s favorite gruff, rough and tough bad ass vigilante – and Jackie Earle Haley played him the exact way I envisioned him. Most of my friends who had not read the book but have seen the movie flat out loved him. So, Snyder and Haley had obviously nailed the feel of his character, but I felt it a bit lacking in certain areas – almost no connection is made between the unmasked Kovacs who carries the “The End Is Nigh” sign around New York and the masked Rorschach. In fact, most people I know who didn’t read the book didn’t realize the early shots of him with the sign were actually of Rorschach. Also, why not explain his mask and how it changes its appearance?

While Rorschach was lacking just a bit from what I’d hoped for, the only real disappointment was Veidt, or Ozymandias. Almost no time was spent on him, and what little was was only shown to show his detachment from those around him, and to vilify him. Before he is “attacked” in his lobby, it’s almost as if he’s about to tell the world leaders he is going to take them all on himself. Thankfully, respite from this was found in Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s take on The Comedian. He was excellent in the role, and in many scenes just stole the show.

(to be continued)

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

- Goodchild

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Game of the Week: Fallout 3


The game of the week is Fallout 3, which won game of the year last year at GameFly and bunch of other sites. I just beat the game and I am kind of sad I did. I won't be getting super anal with the trophies/achievements but I will definitely be playing it some more. Much like Fable 2 this shooting RPG allows you to control the type of character you are. You can be a good human being or a totally psychotic scumbag and anything in between. I played as a good character the first time around so I will probably play it again as a douche bag next time.

Considering the massiveness of the Fallout 3 world, I felt there should have been so many more side quests. The last bit of the main quest was kind of easy and short as well, but those are really my only complaints about the game. The freedom you have in the game is great. You can explore the entire map from the beginning of the game (as long as you survive), and do any quest you want as you encounter them. The only real order you have is the main quest which you will go in and out of as you do your other quests. I had a lot of fun playing this game, but instead of me trying to explain what the game is about and all that just watch the clip above.

- Fallout 3 is available for the XBOX 360, PS3 and PC systems.

+ Fallout 3 is no-brainer for Game of the Year [MSNBC]
+ GameFly names Fallout 3 Game of the Year [G4TV]

- Sonic

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Featured Artist: Yosuke Ueno

Forestia by Yosuke Ueno

If you can't tell by now I love the creepy cute style and so Yosuke Ueno's art is right up my alley. Ueno is one of those artists with amazing imagination and he brings his creativity to life with such finesse. The details and color schemes are so great and his paintings are simply beautiful. Like most artists he has his tendencies such as painting people in a fish/alien kind of way (but who knows if they're even people), but he can switch it up quite a bit. In Forestia and Possible, Ueno paints surreal worlds and situations but in pieces like Dimension Diver he focuses on one subject.

Possible by Yosuke Ueno

If you live in the Santa Monica California area, go see Hi Fructose Magazine's group exhibition which features this Japanese artist. The exhibit runs from April 4th to the 25th at the CoproNason Gallery. I wish I lived in Cali just for this!

Dimension Diver by Yosuke Ueno

+ Yosuke Ueno [Space Egg 77]
+ Yosuke Ueno Before and After.. [Sour Harvest]

- Sonic

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Spot: Yakitori Taisho

photo by LaTur © 2006

FYI, a majority of all Japanese restaurants (especially sushi restaurants) in the NYC boroughs are not really owned or even run by Japanese people. If you need an easy way to find some authentic Japanese meals, just go to St. Marks place. Yakitori Taisho is one of those spots on St. Marks that serve some awesome real deal Japanese eats. Yakitori means flames/grilled chicken, but it has become the general name for this Japanese style skewer BBQ. You can get all of the traditional skewers like chicken, chicken meatball, beef, pork, chicken gizzard, chicken skin and squid, to some not so traditional like scallop wrapped in bacon or quail eggs.

You can also order other dishes that aren't yakitori, which are all just as good. If Yakitori Taisho is packed, you can try Oh! Taisho few doors down which is an exact duplicate of the eatery. Both spots are usually packed during normal eating hours but it's definitely worth the wait. I can't get enough of this place and everytime I'm in the city I usually end up there. If you are hanging out in the area, definitely stop by.

- Yakitori Taisho and Oh! Taisho are located between 2nd and 3rd avenue on St. Marks place NYC.

+ Yakitori Taisho [Yelp!]
+ Yakitori Taisho [New York Magazine]

- Sonic

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Featured Band: Now, Now Every Children

Now, Now Every Children at Afternoon Records

Minneapolis is so hot right now. Oh, and not temperature wise, but music scene wise of course and Now, Now Every Children is one of the bands making it hot. This duo (poss trio?) is Cacie Dalager on vocals and guitar and Brad Hale on drums (according to their myspace page there is also a keys player Britty). The standard formula to a band's success nowadays is post some demos on myspace, gain some fans and a buzz before even playing a show! Which apparently applies to Now, Now Every Children as well.

Musically they are simple and relatively mellow, but the parts are catchy and they have some great song writing. You can catch them live at the Bamboozle Festival on May 3rd or at the Cake Shop in NYC on May 4th. For now go to their myspace page and take a listen!

+ now, now every children [Myspace]

- Sonic

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Movie Releases: Friday March 13th

TOKYO SONATA:


- SYNOPSIS: An ordinary Japanese family slowly disintegrates after its patriarch loses his job at a prominent company.

This film was written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa who originally made a name for himself by making J-Horror (which of course is Japanese Horror) flicks. I'm very curious to see how he does in the drama genre, but it's been getting great reviews everywhere so far. I'm definitely going to try and check this out.

+ Cannes Review: Tokyo Sonata [Cinematical]

--------------------------------------------------------------------

SUNSHINE CLEANING:


- SYNOPSIS: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business -- a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service -- with her unreliable sister.

The premise is great, I mean how many films have you seen based around a crime scene clean-up job? It has a great cast and looks like it will be a good comedy... well probably a little dark but that's probably going to make it better.

+ Sundance Spotlight: Sunshine Cleaning [Buzz Sugar]

--------------------------------------------------------------------

THE EDGE OF LOVE:


- SYNOPSIS: Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both.

This one is loosely based on true events surrounding poet Dylan Thomas during World War II. It stars Cillian Murphy, which is usually a good sign along with Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller. I'm not into love dramas but if you are this might be worth checking out.

+ The Edge of Love [Rotten Tomatoes]

Have a good weekend everyone! Let me know your thoughts if you catch any of these films.

- Sonic

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Alexander McQueen for Target = Giant Sucking Sound

I think the world of Alexander McQueen, and hope that one day I will be able to afford one of his beautiful suits. Wait, scratch that. Reverse it. I USED to think the world of Alexander McQueen... until I went to Target last week.

For those of you who don't know who Alexander McQueen is, he has been called everything from the English John Paul Gaultier to a Picasso in Cloth. His looks are edgy and tempered with a dark emotion, yet still very sexy and feminine. He also has a line of men's suits with impeccable and progressive tailoring.

Having said that, one can see how I and the rest of the general public was very excited when we found out that he was designing an exclusive and limited line for Target. I buy a lot of clothes from Target, I'm not ashamed to admit it. (It honestly doesn't matter where one buys their clothes, it matters how well the clothes are made and your attitude when you wear them.)

My monthly pilgrimage to Target in the Bronx last week was utterly depressing. I raced to the section with the McQ line like a kid at Christmas, and when I got there I thought I was lost. I felt like I had suddenly walked into Hot Topic/Gadzooks. McQueen's line was cheaply made, over priced, and actually quite unattractive (ok, I'm being nice- it was really trashy and fugly). I understand rocker chic, in fact I totally dig it. But all I could hear was a giant sucking sound as I pulled out each piece of clothing to make sure that I wasn't missing something.



Don't waist your time or your money on the McQ line at Target. Save it and wait until Project Runway winner Christian Siriano's new shoe line arrives at Payless this fall.

- Kristin Ezell aka The Clothes Coach

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Video Pick: The Bronx: They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)



How to spend Hitler's birthday in the New York City area:

So, Adolf Hitler was an asshole. He died at the end of World War II, and once the conflict in the Pacific was settled in such an e-fission-t manner (get it? Fission?! Like, nuclear fission? Don’t worry, it wasn’t funny) freedom ran throughout all of the formerly besieged allied nations.

So, what better way to spend Hitler’s birthday – April 20th – than to go to a kick ass rock n’ roll show, and remember what our boys were fighting for in the first place?

If you live anywhere near New York City, get your ass to the Bowery Ballroom on 4:20 to see one of the hardest working and flat out rocking-est bands today – The Bronx.

Just about everything they do is great. After their very first gig, they had a real manager. At their second show, major labels were there scoping them out. They put out their first album (self titled, as all their albums are) on their own label (White Drugs), with distribution through others (Ferret Records, for one – how I found out about them). Gilby Clarke, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist, produced that first full length. They didn’t get more than 3 takes of the songs, so as to not over polish their raw sound. That album is incredible.

So, they have 3 full length albums out now, all called The Bronx, and a fourth on the way soon this year – which is not a straight rock album, but a mariachi album. I shit you not. This threat is real.

If you know them, you’ll be there. If you don’t, you got a bit of time to check them out, and you will blown away by their energy at the live show. Look for me, I’ll be the guy at the bar downstairs before they come on, drinking and saying “This one’s for the guy that made the bullet that went through that fuck Hitler’s head”.

+ The Bronx [Myspace]

- Goodchild

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DVD Release: Let The Right One In


I got a chance to see this in theaters last year but it came out on DVD yesterday for those of you that missed it. We are talking about the Swedish film Let The Right One In of course. The story is about a 12 year old human boy who befriends a vampire girl, and the obvious issues that ensue. The cinematography is great in the snowy backdrop of Sweden and the vampire aspect of this film is an extra visual treat and a spin on an already well executed story.

+ Let The Right One In [Rotten Tomatoes]

- Sonic

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Featured Director: Vincent Moon of La Blogoteque

French blog site La Blogoteque started doing their version of video podcasts called The Take Away Shows around April of 2006 with founders Chryde and Vincent Moon. Here is a brief description from their website about The Take Away Shows:

"Every week, we invite an artist or a band to play in the streets, in a bar, a park, or even in a flat or in an elevator, and we film the whole session. Of course, what makes the beauty of it is all the little incidents, hesitations, and crazy stuff happening unexpectingly. Besides, we do not edit the videos so they look perfectly flawless, instead we keep the raw sound of the surroundings. Our goal is to try and capture instants, film the music just like it happens, without preparation, without tricks. Spontaneity is the keyword."

Although a bunch of other directors have joined the project since it's initial birth, it was Vincent Moon who took his desire to film music in an innovative way to new heights. If you've ever wondered what your favorite band would sound like walking down the street playing their song, here is your chance. Visit the site for more of Moon's projects along with the other directors.

+ The Take Away Shows [La Blogoteque]

- Sonic

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Browse Worthy: Verve Photo

Photo by Zackary Canepari on Verve Photo

Verve Photo is an awesome blog slash website created by photographer and editor Geoffrey Hiller that showcase some of the most talented documentary photographers. Each post features a photographer and an image they took with a brief bio of the man/woman behing the lense along with a description of the photo. The photos are beautiful to look at, but they also tell a compelling story.

Anyway, Verve Photo is a really cool site! Go surf and get inspired.

+ Verve Photo: A New Breed of Documentary Photographers

- Sonic

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Featured Artist: Heiko Windisch

SS Platypus by Heiko Windisch

This week's featured artist is German illustrator Heiko Windisch. I really love the simplicity of his colors which are primarily black and white. Instead of utilizing shading and gradeints, he uses lots of detailed dots and lines to create very three dimensional looking pieces. When he does choose to use color it is very minimal and highly effective.

Since Windisch uses solid colors and lines, you can almost visualize the components of his drawings as layers. Sometimes his drawings are transported into a three dimensional world like the SS Platypus (pictured above). Go check out his website for more fun drawings, and make sure you take a look at his animations to see these drawings in motion.

Der Fallout Und Wir 1 by Heiko Windisch

+ Pandas, skeletons and spaceships - Heiko Windisch [Life Lounge]
+ The State of Things [Heiko Windisch Official Website]

- Sonic

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Pre-Gaming: Star Wars - The Old Republic


Bioware.

If you know games, you know the name. They make some of the best role playing games (rpgs) ever. Mass Effect. Jade Empire. The Baldur’s Gate series. And, perhaps my favorite: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic.

SW: KOTOR was released between episodes 2 and 3 in the theaters, and it did something that, at that point, I was convinced could not be done. It told an excellent, engaging and well written story in the Star Wars universe. With the tepid taste of those horrid prequels refusing to dissipate from my palate, this game surprised me incredibly by making me remember why I had liked Star Wars in the first place. The game remains one of the best I’ve ever played.

Well, Bioware is at it again. Star Wars: The Old Republic is a massively multiplayer online rpg (or, mmorpg). This means it will be a bigger, better and an ever changing experience – and, it will be a lot more social, being able to potentially play with thousands of other people.

But what’s the background on the story, you ask? Well, why don’t you check out the new web comic that just launched and find out?

+ Star Wars: The Old Republic First Details [IGN]

- Goodchild

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Featured Artist: New Found Glory

New Found Glory

To be honest the pop-punk emo genre (or whatever you want to call it) has been recycling the same songs for over 10 years and it's getting quite ridiculous. Back then it was somewhat of a new concept that punk music although it may be intrinsically wrong, could be great pop music. And hell yes, I loved it, and I spent hours of my teenage days listening to bands like New Found Glory.

In 1999 NFG put out their first record Nothing Gold Can Stay, and on March 10th of this year (which of course is 2009) they will be releasing a brand new album Not Without A Fight. It's a little but crazy to me that this record is coming out on Epitaph, but if I get into that it will probably have to be a whole new post. I can't say that I will be bumping the new record in my car, but I have to pay my respects to these old school pop punkers still doing their thing.

+ New Found Glory "Not Without A Fight" Review [Spin]

- Sonic

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Friday, March 6, 2009

It's Better Handmade: Etsy.com

photo by Stella Loela on Flickr

Whether you are bored of shopping in the same stores or just looking for something different, Etsy.com is the answer. Etsy is a website where you can buy and sell anything handmade. Artwork, jewelry, clothes, pottery, toys, whatever it is, if it's handmade it's at Etsy. There is so much cool stuff on this site you can window shop (browser shop??) for hours, but you'll probably find that one of a kind item you are looking for.

Support your fellow makers of things! Go to Etsy.

+ Etsy Company Profile [Crunch Base]

- Sonic

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