Entries from October 2008 ↓



A hundred years ago this month, Henry Ford’s company drove its first Model T automobile off of his Highland Park, Detroit, MI assembly line…and changed the world forever.

Priced at $850, not only was it the first affordable, mass-produced car the world had ever seen, but the Model T—that’s a 1912 one, above—revolutionized manufacturing, caused an upheaval in labor, forced a reengineering of the American landscape, and reorganized our nation’s social order.

So argues author Lindsay Brooke, in his new book, Ford Model T: The Car That Put the World on Wheels. Lindsay is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, October 31, at 2 pm ET.

Then, tomorrow, the Machinima Filmfest 2008 animation gala is taking place at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology (540 W. 21st St., bet. 10th and 11th Ave), here in New York City. On NONFICTION, I’ll be talking with Friedrich Kirschner, festival director; Chris Burke, creator of This Spartan Life; and Frank Dellario, director of animation, ILL Clan about the fest, and about machinima, the art of using video and/or computer games to make movies.

Machinima directors use the game’s controller to move, or animate, characters on-screen. They then digitally record that action with a capture card on a computer; dub voices and music; add effects; then edit the output.

How’d I get here?

The results can be wildly diverse. For example, “A Few Good G-Men” remakes the climactic courtroom confrontation between Lt. Daniel Kaffee and Col. Nathan R. Jessep (from Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men) using the Half Life 2 game engine. Working in Unreal Tournament 2004, on the other hand, Egils Mednis’s “The Ship”, above, creates an impressionistic and eerie mindscape.

You can hear these thoughtful individuals’ ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, you can check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, check out our archive for up to two weeks after broadcast.

Jones-ing for “The Clear.”

In mourning?

I don’t think disgraced track star Marion Jones-Thompson, above, was entirely forthcoming during her one-on-one appearance, yesterday, on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Loving Those Meeses to Pieces.

Jerry Fricassee.

James Cauty was half of The KLF, the 1990s duo who, backed by a collective of dancers, vocalists, and other artists, lit up dance floors with “3 a.m. Eternal” and “Justified & Ancient,” featuring country great Tammy Wynette.

Now, he and his 15-year-old offspring, Harry, under the name J. Cauty & Son, are making a new kind of art: Sculptures, limited-edition prints, and a film short, “Splatter,” pushing popular cartoon violence to its blood-soaked maximum. The five-foot resin Aim Point, above, for example, shows Tom, of Tom & Jerry fame, finally bringing their popular cat-and-mouse act to a brutal end.

U.K. anti-crime nonprofit Mothers Against Violence called Cauty & Son’s exhibition at London art gallery Aquarium L-13 “sick.” To my ears, that’s a rave review.

[via BoingBoing]

Forget the Sniper Scope and the Red Dot: It’s the Green Dot You Need to Be Worried About.

I. See. You.

New York University’s GreenDot Project attempts to computerize the identification of individuals on the basis of unique, unconscious movements and gestures as exclusive to each person as their fingerprints.

The goal of the project is to train a computer to recognize a person based on his or her motions, and to identify the person’s emotional state, cultural background, and other attributes.

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McCain and Obama Beheaded and Dipped in White Chocolate.


Sike. They’re actually just clay molds for Madam Tussauds Wax Museum‘s upcoming sculpts of the two politicos. Relax.

Dead Ringers.

Fly guys.

Is it me, or were the director of The Fly’s 1986 remake, David Cronenberg, above left, and Vincent Price, above right, star of the 1958 Fly original…separated at birth?

[via WorldOfWonder]

Best. Back-To-School. TV Ad. Ever.

Puttin’ it down…

Going to school for the very first time can be hell for kids, and, after leaving home, itself, the hardest part is definitely fitting it.

So, the sight of these three munchkins, above, power-sliding to Parliament’s “Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” tells me that, even without mom, they’re gonna be all right.

Keep Hope Alive.

“Where’s my Oscar?”

It almost goes without saying that Shepard Fairey’s posterized image of Barack Obama, below right, is the definitive graphic of the Love me.candidate’s campaign. This is saying a lot, in a contest long overflowing with visual irony, metaphor, allusion, and symbology.

This hasn’t, in any way, however, halted the creation of—as I write this—dozens upon dozens of parody poster images. There are at least eighty-nine (89!) at Rene Wanner’s Poster Page, including the Bob Hope jab, above. Plus, many more can be found elsewhere on the web; for example, the slightly creepy, They Live!-ish Believe poster, below, and a sampling of others, beneath.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to vote!

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That’s What’s Going Down.

Things are not looking good.

Director Charles Stone III’s original 2000 “Wassup!” commercial for Anheuser-Busch may be one of the best-known TV ads ever made. It’s easily the most parodied. Not only did it inspire take-offs, and some of the internet’s first viral videos, twisting the bit’s tagline around everything from Transformers to a Jewish brit milah, but Anheuser-Busch even followed up with their own riffs, like this yuppie-themed one.

That was right before Bush trashed America, though, and in “Wassup 2008,” above, Stone and his boys, having suffered the last eight years’ untrammeled evil, return jobless, absent health insurance, mired in Iraq, grasping at vanishing 401Ks, and helplessly battling what looks like Hurricane Katrina’s big sister—until, at the piece’s end, they get a glimpse of the dawning Obama Age.

It’s probably the best satire of the original ad yet. I don’t know what’s cooler: The way Stone densely packs each escalating moment of the new work with biting commentary, or that, effectively, he’s doing this on Budweiser heiress Cindy McCain’s dime.

Obama and McCain Are Locked in Vicious B-Boy Battle to the Very End.

“Can’t touch this!”

“I’m fresh!”

It’s getting tight out there on the campaign trail, with Obama and McCain fighting it out for every single vote. But when it comes down to it, there’s really only one way to settle a campaign so harshly contested: A dance-off, plus an extra-special tie-breaker!