Thursday, April 30, 2009

Movie Releases: May 1st

Goodchild already did a bit on the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, but here are some more films being released today.

NAKED AMBITION, AN R-RATED LOOK AT AN X-RATED INDUSTRY:


Aside from the fact that I probably will watch any documentary on the porn industry, this is kind of a cool angle from the eyes of photographer Michael Grecco. Although I'll have to admit I won't go to the theaters for this, but I definitely want to check it out at some point.

+ Naked Ambition: And R-Rated Look at an X-Rated Industry [Variety]

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


THE MERRY GENTLEMEN:

This is Michael Keaton's directorial debut about a love triangle that forms between a woman starting a new life from an abusive relationship, a suicidal hitman and an alcoholic detective. I'm definitely curious about how Keaton does as a director, and people have been saying good things about the film. Let me know how it is if anyone sees it.

+ Sundance Review: The Merry Gentlemen [Cinematical]


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

THREE MONKEYS:

A politician working on his re-election finds himself in a hit-and-run accident. He then convinces his driver to take the rap in return for some under the table financial compensation. This Turkish film explores the effects of this devil's bargain on the driver's family. The trailer is pretty intense, and I'm sold.

+ Cannes Review: Three Monkeys [Cinematical]

- Sonic

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Video Pick: Passion Pit - The Reeling


Everbody is talking about Passion Pit! The breakout band of last year's CMJ Music Marathon is making lots of noise but they also make really cool videos. This is one such video for their song The Reeling. The group from Cambridge MA will be doing the Rocks Off Concert Cruise series on May 18th aboard The Temptress, but that show along with their June 19th and 20th performances at the Bowery Ballroom are already sold out! Keep and eye out for additional dates but in the mean time check out the video.

- Sonic

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Discover: Gustav Klimt


Gustav Klimt was born on July 14th 1862 in Baumgarten, a town near Vienna in Austria. He was the second child out of seven and spent most of his youth in poverty. At the age of 14 he received a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts where he was trained as an architectural painter. His professional career began as he was commissioned to paint interior murals and ceiling in large public buildings.


In 1897 Klimt became a founding member and president of the Vienna Secession, an organization of artists during the Vienna Art Nouveau period. The government supported them and commissioned many projects but as Klimt began to use women as his primary subject and portray a frank eroticism, he became a target of public outcry from political and religious groups. Although he stopped accepting public commissions after the incident, he kept painting and would eventually receive critical acclaim and success around 1907 during his 'golden phase' which derived from his prominent use of gold.


Klimt died in 1918 having suffered a stroke and pneumonia, but his paintings have brought some of the highest prices recorded for individual works of art. In 2006 a portrait Klimt painted in 1907 sold for $135 million which surpassed Picasso's Boy with a Pipe by almost $31 million.

+ Gustav Klimt at art.com

- Sonic

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

News: Pirate Bay Verdict


Recently, it seems we just can’t get away from news of pirates and piracy. On the one hand, you have the stories coming out of Somalia about real life pirates hijacking vessels on the high seas - stories of captains being taken prisoner by desperate men in small motor boats. This even begets parodies of real life horror in the shape of last week’s South Park episode.

On the other hand, there is another type of piracy that’s been in the news. Two related stories I wanted to touch on here. First is about the new Wolverine movie posted below, and the second, the stories out of Sweden concerning The Pirate Bay. Taking the stance that you, dear reader, have never illegally downloaded any type of copyrighted materials – and, in fact, that you don’t even know what “bit torrent” means – I’ll explain to you that thepiratebay.org is a site where people all over the world share files that are almost exclusively pirated, or illegally copied and shared.

Now, my day job consists of working for a rather large and well known cable television network, and I have great pride in my company. When I hear from people that they’ve downloaded our network’s programs – even if they live outside the U.S. and don’t have ready access to our network – well, I see how companies can lose money through internet piracy. If people are illegally downloading our programs, then they seem less likely to purchase the DVD sets that we release for retail. At the same time, it is nice to see people from other markets in the world that are already spreading the good word of our company name and who are huge fans of shows that have yet to debut in their corners of the world. With these conflicting views rattling around in my head, I took a great interest in the story when I saw that the people that run thepiratebay.org were on trial in Sweden. In short, the 4 defendants were charged with knowingly making copyrighted materials available for public use. In defense, they claimed that their site hosts no actual files, and it is the users who choose to perform such activities – even though their site is named for pirating.

Well, the verdict came back guilty, which was not at all what I was expecting, I knew the defendants would appeal almost instantly. What I did not expect (though in retrospect, it isn’t all that surprising) was that the judge in the case was actually biased in the case, having a seat on the national board for protection of intellectual properties. So, that trial was probably a wash, and there will be a retrial before any need for an appeal. My guess is that the defendants, when all is said and done, come out not guilty.

- Goodchild

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Piracy: X-Men Origins - Wolverine


Months before X-Men Origins: Wolverine's actual release date – this Friday, May 1st - an actual mastered copy leaked onto the internet. Fox was quick to release a statement saying that it was only a workprint, and wasn’t finished – in fact there were entire scenes missing, and/or with unfinished visual and audio effects. As the film’s release nears, reviewers have seen the “finished” copy and have noted that the leaked workprint wasn’t far off the mark – in fact, with the exception of the scenes with unrendered effects, it is the same film. So, this becomes an important moment in the industry’s case against piracy – will the leaked copy hurt ticket sales opening day?

Personally, I would never watch the leaked copy if it wasn’t 100% done. I’m excited for this flick, and I want to see the finished product. Even if it’s only a few seconds of missing material, that will throw off my whole experience of the film – maybe I’m a bit snobbish about this, but I couldn’t deal with that. I’ll be seeing the film this weekend – will you?

+ Wolverine Origins Review [Comic Book Movie]

- Goodchild

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Quick Guide: Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival is going on right now and although I can't feature even close to all of the films that are part of the festival I figured I can do a few that caught my attention. There are a ton of films so make sure you browse through the site yourself!

- Tribeca Film Festival

THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE:


You may have heard about this film, but this is the film by Steven Soderbergh about a NYC call girl which stars real life pornstar Sasha Grey. I don't think there is much else to convince me to see this, but from the looks of it Soderbergh mad a bold but great decision in casting Grey.


+ Public Showtimes:
Tue, Apr 28, 9:00PM BMCC Tribeca PAC
Wed, Apr 29, 8:00PM SVA Theater 2
Sat, May 02, 5:30PM AMC Village VII 2

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


KOBE DOIN' WORK:

This is a Spike Lee film about the day in the office kind of thing but a day in a game rather of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Spike is a hardcore Knicks fan mind you, but out of all the stars I think he made the right choice as Kobe is probably a more mature and experienced player than the likes of Dwayne Wade or Lebron James. I love basketball so this is another one I would love to check out.

+ Public Showtimes:
Thu, Apr 30, 3:30PM AMC Village VII 3
Thu, Apr 30, 9:30PM BMCC Tribeca PAC
Sat, May 02, 9:30PM Tribeca Cinemas Theater 2

- Sonic

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Featured Artist: Dave Cooper

Tree Helix © Dave Cooper

As you might be able to tell, Dave Cooper used to be a cartoonist. He now focuses on being an oil painter and his work is awesome. His style is fun and freaky all at once and his self proclaimed love for "fat ladies who roll around on the ground and bite or squeeze one another" shines through in many of his paintings. Cooper has many of his current works in progress posted on his Flickr page so you should definitely check that out. It's really cool to be able to see an artist's process, watching a sketch turn into a finished painting.

Flock of Girlies © Dave Cooper

Dave Cooper also made a line of toys with a company called Critterbox which I would love to own, but I believe they are all sold out at the moment. He should be having a gallery showcase real soon so keep an eye out for that, but in the meantime check him out in the internet world!

On The Ceiling © Dave Cooper



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Monday, April 27, 2009

Featured Band: The Helio Sequence

The Helio Sequence

Whether it's on recording or live The Helio Sequence is just two guys, Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel. You may notice that their songs don't have any bass, which I think is a brave move on their part but also the reason they can pull off their songs live with just them two. Honestly you hardly notice though, and their electronica blended indie rock sound fills up a lot of the audio spectrum as is.

This duo from Portland Oregon will be in the NYC area on May 27th at the Radio City Music Hall opening up for Keane and Mat Kearney, and will be headlining their own show on May 28th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

On a side not did you know Benjamin Weikel used to play for Modest Mouse? Interesting stuff, but anyway check them out!

+ The Helio Sequence on Myspace

- Sonic


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Highlark Was There: Alkaline Trio, Saves The Day - Starland Ballroom 4/25/09

This is a first, hopefully of many photo-blogs from shows that we go to. I haven't been to a show in a while and this was kind of a great kick-off as we head into summer. It brought me back to almost 10 years ago when I first started listening to these two bands. Goodchild and Panda Bear were there also! Good times.

+ Alkaline Trio, Saves The Day - Starland Ballroom: Sayreville, NJ - 04/25/09

Saves The Day - photo by Sonic

Saves The Day - photo by Sonic

Alkaline Trio - photo by Sonic

Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio - photo by Sonic

Alkaline Trio - photo by Sonic

The Crowd - photo by Sonic

- Sonic

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Movie Releases: April 24th

IL DIVO:


- SYNOPSIS: Award-winning filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (The Family Friend) writes and directs this cinematic portrait of seven-time Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti, whose controversial legacy peaked when he was tried for Mafia ties and subsequently acquitted. A leader with close ties to the Vatican, Andreotti was also tried and acquitted for the murder of an Italian journalist, and remains a senator for life.

I'm very interested in this one, the film is based on a true story and a rather crazy one at that. The performances look great but I'm really curious to see what went down.... and since I'm too lazy to research it, this film should get the job done!

+ IFFR 2009: Il Divo Review [Twitch]

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

TYSON:


- SYNOPSIS: Assembled from over 30 hours of interviews with the controversial heavyweight champion, director James Toback takes the helm for a feature-length documentary exploring the life and career of self-destructive pugilist Mike Tyson. From his early years under the wing of famed boxing promoter Don King to his notorious match against Evander Holyfield and his conviction on sexual assault charges, Tyson's turbulent life is explored in the kind of comprehensive manner that could only have been made possible with the subject's willing participation.

I'm totally down to see what Mike Tyson has to say about his crazy life.

+ Tyson Movie Review [View London]

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

THE SOLOIST:


- SYNOPSIS: The Soloist is a biographical drama about real-life musical prodigy Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, who dropped out of Julliard after developing schizophrenia and became a homeless musician on the streets of Los Angeles. Journalist Steve Lopez discovers the former classical music prodigy, playing his violin on the streets. As Lopez endeavors to help the homeless man find his way back, a unique friendship is formed, one that transforms both their lives.

All 3 of this week's featured movie releases are based on true stories, and I can honestly say that I am intrigued with all of them. I mean it's not everyday a journalist encounters a schizo-homeless-musical prodigy on the street.

+ The Soloist Review [City Beat]

- Sonic

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Video Pick: Alkaline Trio - We've Had Enough


Recently, I read an article by Mike Doughty – singer, songwriter, and one hell of a rock ‘n rolling New Yorker. In the aforementioned article Doughty talks about his newest video, which was made on the (extreme) cheap and about how a video that tries to do too much with too big a budget can fall short – then he even lists his favorite cheap videos of all time.

While it didn’t make the list, one of my favorites is a video by Alkaline Trio, for the song We’ve Had Enough. The video does a lot with seemingly little. Firstly, it takes a pop-punk rock song that seems to yell at commercial radio and turns the message on its head. Instead of running with the song’s anthemic feel, the video takes a much darker turn and tells the story of a haunted house, a young boy possessed, a terrified family, and what appears to be a horrible murder.

Wow. From the moment the old radio clicks on and the father jumps up from his slumber, you know something just isn’t right. Once the band members start showing up as ghosts, you need to know what is going on. In less than 3 and a half minutes, you get this whole story, hear a kick ass song, and have chills down your spine.

Its rock and roll, baby.

If you’re anywhere near the Starland Ballroom on Saturday night, Alkaline Trio is playing with Saves the Day – Come out and have a drink with Sonic and myself!

[For the record, Sonic doesn’t drink – but that doesn’t mean I’m not dragging his ass to the bar section with me]

- Goodchild

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tech Check: Phillips Cinema 21:9

photo from Technabob

Not another LCD HDTV!! Well it is, but this one is not your average TV. This is the Phillips Full HD 52" Cinema 21:9 LCD TV. Ok, so what does 21:9 mean? It's the aspect ratio which for most HD TVs out there is 16:9. When you are watching movies with your standard HDTV you see a lot of black bars or you are stretching the image out. The 21:9 however is a very close ratio as the cameras/films used in shooting most hollywood films so there are virtually no black strips for the first true cinematic experience right at home. On the negative however, when you are watching standard 4:3 HD content on this beast there will be some serious black bar-age going on. It could just be a matter of preference but this one maybe more in lines of whats to come. Take a look at the link below for more specs and details!

+ Phillips 52" Cinema 21:9 LCD TV [TFTS]

- Sonic

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plan Your Wednesday Night!


What is wrong with the world today when there are still tickets available for the show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ for this Wednesday, April 22nd? It’s THE BRONX, people. They rock harder than almost anyone in the world. Get your ticket, and I’ll see you there!

- Goodchild

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Featured Artist: Doug Boehm

Hopefully some of you got to catch a little show of our featured artist Doug Boehm at Charmingwall in NYC few weeks ago. I did and I was really wishing I had a thousand bucks lying around to pick up some of his work. I really love his style and that touch of creepy always works for me. He uses simple shapes and lines but creates highly imaginative pieces that are truly one of a kind and are unique to his style.


The Pennsylvania native uses wood as his canvas and it definitely adds a nice texture to the paintings. The piece above was done for UK band Munroe Effect's album, and they made an awesome choice in the artist I would have to say. Check out the links below for more Boehm, enjoy!

Death of Nerve by Doug Boehm


+ Doug Boehm's Official Website
+ Doug Boehm's Blog
+ Doug Boehm Interview [Charming Blog]

- Sonic

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Tabloid Sports VS. Tabloid News


Living in New York City, there is always something interesting going on. There are 5 entirely different boroughs here, and you don’t necessarily have to be in Manhattan to be near the weirdness. Picking up any of the local papers, you have a great chance of seeing a story about the Boulevard of Death in Queens, or about ninja burglars in Staten Island. There are errant arrows piercing people in the Bronx, and cross-dressers impersonating Mets pitchers at night clubs in Manhattan. Brooklyn, of course, is not immune to this – click here and read all about our self mutilating sex offenders!

The problem with the aforementioned local papers here is that most of them are sensationalizing tabloids. Sure, there’s The New York Times, but there is one thing I find the Times isn’t tops for – sports reporting. While I never look at Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid rag for fear that even acknowledging its existence will rot my brain, the New York Daily News isn’t all that bad for a rag – the news may be a bit lacking sometimes, but their entertainment coverage (especially movie reviews) and their sports reporting is excellent. And so, I found myself at their site earlier looking to read about the Yankees (new) home opener earlier today. I tooled around a bit, reading some other articles when I came across this. And it made me a lot upset, and a little angry.

The story seems to be that a 9 year old boy, who received special education, was left alone by his mother. He got the idea in his head to try and jump off the roof with a makeshift parachute tied around his waist. He went up to the roof, which should have been locked and should have had an alarm, but found the door unlocked and unarmed. He jumped from the roof of the building and died shortly thereafter at the hospital. It is upsetting that the child’s mother left him unsupervised. It is unfortunate that the building’s roof was left open. It is terrible that a young life was extinguished because of what seems to be negligence on so many levels.

But aside from that, is the sensationalized portion of the story, and that angered me further. The reporters for the News spoke to the child’s best friend, who admitted to not knowing what his friend had been doing, or that his friend had died. Then he tells the reporters that he may have been imitating a wrestler from a wrestling video game. Now, this friend is an 11 year old who had already said he knew no facts. So, the reporters decide to run a story that mentions the facts (mother being absent, roof too easily accessible), but instead focuses on the wild theories of an 11 year old who was not at the scene and is purely speculating. The article mentions games as a tie in to the death of a 9 year old in the headline (what caught my eye), then proceeds to get the point of the event wrong and instead talks about the child’s love for a wrestling game (of which, the reporters get many “facts” wrong – the title of the game, the name of the wrestler – and his move – that might have been being emulated). The reporters even called the wrestling organization (WWE) for a quote.

I’ve been saying this for so long now; I don’t even know why I continue to do so. Video games do not ruin children – bad parenting does. If a parent leaves a special education student alone, that is bad parenting. If a child plays a video game and thinks it has anything to do with reality (or if the child thinks wrestling has anything to do with reality), then the parent is not teaching the child to separate fantasy from real life, and that is bad parenting. Blaming the multimedia (be it games, television, movies, etc) that the parent uses to raise their children by proxy is a cheap, lazy and pathetic excuse. These are the people social services should be taking children away from.

Did you see that I’ve been writing reporters throughout this? It took two people to write this article up, and neither of them thought it might be a good idea to talk about the facts. Neither thought the story about a negligent mother would fly. Neither thought to focus the story on the door to the building’s roof being left unlocked or its alarm being disabled – how about using this incident to create an expose on slacking landlords who don’t keep their buildings up to code, and the dangers they might present to children? Instead, it took two people to sensationalize the speculation of a non-witness 11 year old into an article about video games convincing children to act violently and unpredictably.

In my opinion, these “reporters” should be ashamed of themselves for using a child’s death as an excuse to concoct shocking, scandalous crap. And the Daily News should be ashamed for running this, when there were NO facts supporting it. From now on, I think the only tabloid I will read will be the best paper in the country – The Onion.

- Goodchild

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Featured Band: Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura at Myspace

This group has been around for over ten years but they are definitely reaching a wider fan base and getting some well deserved recognition of late. You may remember this UK band's last record Let's Get Out Of This Country which came out in 2006, but they will be releasing a brand new record titled My Maudlin Career April 21st which is tomorrow!

Camera Obscura plays mellow indie pop with a real nostalgic feel; at times very fun and at times well.... mellow. The voice of main vocalist Tracyanne Campbell is as their bio says sweet and sad, and the melody lines she sings is quite addictive as well. They will be at Webster Hall on June 24th for all you New Yorkers out there, but check out their myspace for their complete tour routing.

- Sonic

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Story of Anvil!


I forgot to mention this flick in last week's movie releases, so here we are. Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a documentary about the rock and roll band Anvil who toured with some big bands back in the 80s and are still doing their thing today. A friend of mine already saw it and said it was great, but I think this film is going to have a lot of hardships and stories that many musicians and bands can relate to.

- Sonic

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Movie Releases: April 17th

AMERICAN VIOLET:


- SYNOPSIS: Based on true events in the midst of the 2000 election, American Violet tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts, a single African-American mother who struggles to clear her name after being wrongly accused and arrested for dealing drugs in an impoverished town in Texas.

Hey guys, I usually put a quick blurb on what I think about the film, but I haven't slept in 40 hours so yeah, it's about that time... for sleep that is. Have a great weekend everyone!

+ American Violet Review [Metromix]

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

LEMON TREE:


- SYNOPSIS: A drama based on the true story of a Palestinian widow who must defend her lemon tree field when a new Israeli Defense Minister moves next to her and threatens to have her lemon grove torn down.

+ Lemon Tree Review [Variety]

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

STATE OF PLAY:


- SYNOPSIS: A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to the Congressman and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye, Cal begins uprooting clues that lead him to a corporate cover-up full of insiders, informants, and assassins. But as he draws closer to the truth, the relentless journalist must decide if it's worth risking his life and selling his soul to get the ultimate story.

+ 'State of Play' a Slick Political Thriller [Yahoo News]

- Sonic

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Video Pick: Andrew Bird - Imitosis


This week's video pick is from Andrew Bird and it's the video for the song "Imitosis" from his 2007 release Armchair Apocrypha. This is one of those videos that kind of go along with the theme of the song, but once again a simple but cool concept. Stop motion is always great and they do some really fun stuff with color as well. He is dressed all nice with a tie and vest but it shows him wearing these rainbow colored socks towards the end it's pretty funny. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the video!

- Sonic

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Featured Photographer: Tim Hussin

photo and copyright by Tim Hussin

Tim Hussin is an American photographer and although he is only 24 his eye and talent for photography are clearly evident in his work. He snaps great images and emphasizes the fact that photography is definitely art.

photo and copyright by Tim Hussin

I really love the angles and object placements he finds and captures which exist organically in our world. Every single one of his photos is just pretty to look at but makes you say, "wow, that's really cool." I'm definitely going to be checking out his blog often just to see all the great photos he takes in his everyday life.

photo and copyright by Tim Hussin

+ Tim Hussin [Official Website]
+ Tim Hussin's Blog

- Sonic

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Browse Worthy: Gelaskins

Customization is always a popular thing, especially with all the gadgets out right now. People always want cool graphics on their phones, iPods, laptops, and whatever device they might have. What better way to protect your device from some everyday wear and tear than to do it in style? That's what the folks at Gelaskins.com had in mind. Gelaskins provide skins for everything from your iPhones, Blackberries, Mac laptops, PC laptops, PSPs and iPods with artwork from great artists old and new from across the world.


Sure skins are cool, but what I go to this site for are the prints. As you may have read I started my little art collection, and this is another site I spend hours at picking out my next art print purchase. It's no secret I pull many of the featured artists at Highlark from this site, but this is an exciting site for me where I can discover some great artists. So browse away and pick up a skin, or just take a look at the all the awesome artwork!

- Sonic

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Featured Artist: Jeremiah Ketner

The Petite Grove by Jeremiah Ketner

Jeremiah Ketner is a Chicago based artist who draws influence from Japanese pop art. He mostly uses acrylic paint on wood, and if you look closely at his work the texture of the wood plays a big role in his style. He beautifully uses pastel colors and creates images that are so pleasant to look at.

Small Whisper by Jeremiah Ketner

I think the best way to describe Ketner's work is 'dreamy' as everything kind of floats and sways harmoniously. I would love to have one of his paintings hanging on my wall, but for now I will have to settle with some prints. Make sure you guys check out the links I added below to see more from this amazing artist.

Bathing in Starlight by Jeremiah Ketner

+ Small and Round [Official Website of Jeremiah Ketner]
+ Jeremiah Ketner on Flickr

- Sonic



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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Spot: New York Adorned

The Tattoo Artists at New York Adorned photo by Worship Worthy

Tattoos are much more commonplace nowadays, but this also means an abundance of bad, sometimes really bad ink jobs. Especially in NYC where there are tattoo shops everywhere, how do you pick out your spot? My answer is easy, just go to New York Adorned. This shop features some of the best tattoo artists in the world and don't just take my word for it, the press and anyone who is involved in tattoo culture will tell you that you can't go wrong at NY Adorned. I get all my work done here.

Aside from the obvious artistic talent that all of the artists at NY Adorned have, their workmanship is incredible. That means every spot will be colored in evenly, the shading is perfect and the lines are straight and fluid.

What I also love about this shop is that they charge you hourly whether it's just black or color. They're not going to come up with some bullshit price they pulled out of their ass, you pay as long as it takes and they're very good at estimating. It isn't cheap, but I'd much rather have something permanent on my body that is quality.

Don't think you're just going to waltz in this place and leave with new ink either, these artists are booked weeks or often months in advance even for a simple consultation. Even if you have the greatest idea, if they believe it will not look good they won't do it. You won't leave the shop with a tattoo that they're not happy with, and that to me is a great peace of mind.

They also sell really cool handmade one of a kind jewelry in the shop, so if you want to pick up some stuff no one else will have definitely stop in.

+ NYAdorned.com
+ New York Adorned is located on 2nd Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Street in NYC.
+ New Brooklyn Location! Brooklyn Adorned: 376 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

- Sonic

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Featured Artist: Pomegranates

Pomegranates

Pomegranates from Cincinnati Ohio are another one of those bands that got signed within months of their inception. It's truly amazing what the world of internet social networking and blogs can do these days, but listening to their catchy tunes how can you resist?

These guys maybe young, but they write great melodies and harmonies and craft them into fun indie pop tunes. They are on tour now, and will be at the Mercury Lounge (NYC) on May 13th with Wye Oak. Their new record Everybody, Come Outside! will be out tomorrow, so go check them out on their myspace page.

- Sonic

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Reflect and Review: Adventureland


Adventureland is one of the films we covered last week, and I got a chance to catch it in the theaters. This is a film written and directed by Greg Mottola who was also the director for Superbad. I was expecting a laugh-out-loud kind of comedy and although there are some good laughs in there it was a bit more serious. In that respect it wasn't really marketed that well, and I can see people being disappointed.

Set in the 80's this film was a rather authentic reflection of just everyday life and situations, and the comedy wasn't over the top. I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate to this film which I feel is it's best attribute. The performances are great and you can't help but feel connected or even fall in love with the characters.

It gets a little slow at times, but it's definitely a good one to catch.. just don't go in there expecting Superbad.

+ Adventureland Review [Twitch]

- Sonic

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Movie Releases: April 10th


Ok everyone, it's about that time to go over the films being released this week. BUT.... it's not looking too promising this weekend so I am going to do a quickie.

The trailer posted above is for the film Lymelife, which is about an awkward family whose lives get turned upside down due to a Lyme disease outbreak in the community. It stars 2 Culkin brothers, Emma Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton and Cynthia Nixon. Looks like the performances are pretty good, kind of an interesting plot, but just not one I would jump on.

Other movies being released today:

Dragonball: Evolution - I mean I loved the manga/anime when I was younger but a live action movie? I'll give them credit for doing Dragonball rather than Dragonball Z (where Goku turns into the Super Saiyan with over the top spikey blonde hair), but I'm gonna have to pass.

Hannah Montana: The Movie
- You know it was coming.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh - At first glance this looked kind of interseting.... College graduate with mobster dad's coming of age story as he meets a hot chick and her thug boyfriend. Graduate lusts for the girl, but befriends her boyfriend who lusts for the him? Huh? Sienna Miller looks super hot in this but I don't think that can save this one.

Observe and Report - Mall cop comedy with Seth Rogen and Anna Faris. I'm sure it's going to be decently funny but it seems like they are just counting on Seth Rogen's charm. I'll Netflix it.

- Sonic

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Video Pick: Bat For Lashes - Whats a Girl To Do


This week's video pick is from the UK group Bat For Lashes. They really have a unique sound with a little bit of a Bjork feel, but they do some really interesting stuff. There is definitely a creepy mood to this video for "Whats a Girl To Do", but there is something lighthearted to it as well. This is another one of those videos that are simple in concept but is really cool.

They just released a new record Two Suns last Tuesday, and will be in the NYC area for some live shows; Bowery Ballroom on April 30th and Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 2nd.

- Sonic

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Game of the Week: Grand Theft Auto - Chinatown Wars (Part II)


continued from Part I

The missions so far (I’m nowhere near done with the game yet) are typical GTA fair. Steal cars, drive stolen goods around, intimidate people for money, kill people for money and power, deal in the drug trade, race fast cars, etc. The thing is, it all works perfectly. Driving is a treat, and simple to control. As your map is on the bottom touch screen of the DS, while the game’s action takes place on the top screen, the game compensates for having to look down at the other screen by using an automatically straightening out your car if you are driving on a road. It won’t make turns for you, but this comes in mighty handy while involved in high speed pursuits. Pursuits that will happen very often, as anytime you bump into a cop car, they will come after you – but this is one of the game’s most fun aspects. Cops chasing you, and having a wanted level, turns the game into a round of bumper cars as you need to smash the cop cars up in order to lower your wanted level.

The touch screen is not only used for the map – in the pause screen, it’s a touch screen PDA with all the pertinent game info. When you steal a parked car off the street one of a few different mini games may pop up asking you to perform tasks – jam a screwdriver into the ignition and jiggle it, open the steering column and twist ignition wires together, or hack into the computer and start the car electronically. The varied uses of the touch screen are really fun and seem oddly organic in the game experience – they never seem simply tacked on just because there’s a touch screen to use.

Out of the cars, it is extremely easy to lock onto targets with the right shoulder button for either melee attacks or to fire at them. Running around is fun, especially hopping over walls to look for new dealers. Oh, right, the side game.

So, remember when you were in high school and you had that Texas Instruments graphing calculator? In my math classes, all the kids and I had this game called DrugWars on it. No graphics, just text. The point of the game was to buy drugs at low prices in one area from one dealer and sell them at higher prices in another area. Well, aside from all the missions and story in GTA:CW, and aside from all the hidden things to search for and find, properties to buy, aside from territories to explore, and aside from random people to run over and terrorize, there is a side game that is like an updated and way cool version of DrugWars. The main reason that I’m nowhere near done with the game is because I’ve spent maybe 50-60% of my time with it just running around town buying cheap acid, ecstasy, coke and weed and then selling it to fools across town who don’t know how cheap I just got it for.

All in all, the game is way more fun than I thought it would be, or even hoped it would be. It seems there is no shortage of things to do, and everything works well when doing them. If you’re a hardcore gamer and don’t mind a few dozen F-bombs every few seconds, dust off your DS and pick up this game as soon as you can.

+ Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review [Gamespot]

- Goodchild

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Tech Check: Wild Things in Brooklyn Laboratories


Click this link and read the article now.

As reported in the New York Times, scientists at a state university in New York, where I live in Brooklyn, seem to have found the molecule in the brain that reminds us of trauma. Also, they’ve developed a drug that can block the molecule. While it’s only been used on animals so far, they potential for this is great – a sort of traumatic memory eraser. This, of course, reminds me of Michel Gondry’s kick ass film, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, where a new service can erase memories for people so they can get on with their lives.

Now, reading this article – which I really hope you did by clicking the link at the top of this post – made me think about a million and a half things. I started thinking about all the things I’d want “erased” out of my mind: My absolutely overwhelming phobia of dogs. Any memories of any Michael Bay movies I’ve ever seen. Junior High. Any time I ever spent in Boston. You get the idea.

While the practical – let alone the designer – applications for this are a long ways away, it’s very interesting to see where the research and development is headed. And, if nothing else, it made me think about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again, and I said to myself, “Hey, self, wasn’t Mark Ruffalo in that? I don’t remember seeing him in anything recently, not since Zodiac - I wonder what he’s been working on?”

Booyah.

Where The Wild Things Are. Are you kidding me? This was one my favorite books growing up – right up until I started reading Michael Crichton novels. And Spike Jonze doing it? Oh man. October can’t come fast enough. If only Brooklyn scientists could find a way to erase time between now and October 16th.



+ Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory [NY Times]

- Goodchild

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Game of the Week: Grand Theft Auto - Chinatown Wars (Part I)


On my commute home from work today, I managed to defibrillate a patient 3 times to keep him alive, all while also driving the ambulance as fast as possible to avoid the entire police department, who just so happened to be chasing me, blocking the roads to cut off my escape, and shooting at me with automatic weapons from helicopters. I got the patient back to where I was told to drop him, and the boss, so happy I got him there alive, proceeded to cut his heart out and laugh maniacally about it.

Put the kids to bed – the Nintendo DS has a brand new bag.

Take 2 Interactive, parent company for Rockstar Games has released Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for everyone’s favorite touch screen handheld game system, and in doing so has breathed fresh life into it again for hardcore gamers over the age of 15. I knew the game was rated M, and that it was so for all the things that make GTA games rated M – violence, drugs, sexual situations, a plethora of swear words, and plenty of situations no child could possibly understand. But still, this is the DS – surely on Nintendo’s family friendly handheld, a console so hugely popular and such a big part of children’s lives that some schools in Japan require the students to have it, the over the top adult antics would be muted in comparison to the home console versions?

Nope.

Now, I’m a fan of the GTA series, and always have been – but since the series moved to 3d with GTA:3 for the PS2, I feel that there are plenty of problems with many elements of the core gameplay (maybe not driving, but melee attacks, shooting controls, target locking, hit detection, graphical glitches, etc.). It seemed that the more seriously the series took itself, the more the games were trying to say as satires, the less the developers focused on fixing the basic controls of the game. Missions where you’d only have to drive were always fine, but anytime you had to get out of the car and interact with other characters under pressure of mission parameters was a maddening trip into control hell – in all of GTA:3, it’s 2 sequels, and GTA:4, there were plenty of missions that I had to do over and over again – mostly, it seemed, because the controls worked against me. As cool as the games were, I pined for the good old days of GTA and GTA:2, with their bird’s eye view of the action, simplistic controls, and sheer fun factor as they never took themselves too seriously. So, when I heard that Rockstar Games was going back to basics for the DS game, I was ecstatic – and so far, the game has not disappointed me at all.

The lightly cell shaded look the game has is cool as hell, and makes Liberty City more aesthetically appealing than its GTA:4 counterpart in HD on the home consoles. The map of the game is huge for a handheld – it is, for the most part, 4 of the 5 boroughs of Liberty City from the GTA:4 map. It has Broker (Brooklyn), Dukes (Queens), Bohan (The Bronx), and Algonquin (Manhattan). Even the Roosevelt Island and Liberty Island facsimiles are here, leaving only the electronic version of New Jersey out. I’m cool with that.

Cut scenes play out as motion comics, without vocal work – and I think that helps it, as all the characters are so over the top the acting would probably detract from the intended comedy – and it is very, very funny. But, this does not mean there are no voice overs in the game – random passersby will say things, continuously catching me off guard. Prostitutes ask if you want a piece of their pie, dealers ask if you want to get fucked up, civilians scream for social uprisings. And the audio cues in the game, from tire squealing to gun play to flatlining patients in the back of your ambulance, are excellent.

to be continued.

+ Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars UK Review [IGN]

- Goodchild

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Featured Artist: Nanami Cowdroy

Cable Cranes by Nanami Cowdroy

Nanami Cowdroy is an artist from Sydney Australia with a mixed Japanese and European lineage. She signs off her art with a signature but also with a red stamp that includes two Japanese characters which happen to read Nanami or Seven Seas. These two signatures are representative of her style which combines iconic Japanese elements with familiar subjects and environments.

Blow Fish by Nanami Cowdroy

Her creativity is limitless, but yet rather simple in concept. Blow Fish as seen above for example is kind of genius. Her details are just amazing, and in a piece like Ink Pond (seen below), you really start to wonder where the drawing starts. I would love to see a time lapse clip of Cowdroy at work. She is definitely one of my favorite artists right now, so be sure to check out her website for more amazing art.

Ink Pond by Nanami Cowdroy

+ Interview with Nanami Cowdroy [Noise Floor]

- Sonic

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