Entries from May 2009 ↓

Best. Barbecue. Commercial. Ever.

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I don’t know how actor/comedian Chris Hardwick keeps getting work, but I’m suddenly glad he does.

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Don’t Try Scratching These Glasses.

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Scott Urban of Urban Spectacles, the Chicago-based custom eyeglasses maker whose “Beergoggles” delighted readers of MEDIA ASSASSIN weeks back, is at it again. This time, its his “Singing None” frames, fashioned from vinyl records, that will make your eyes happy. Look closely: You can still see record grooves in them. Scott Urban’s frames, made to fit your very own nose and noggin, start at $500 a pair. For that money, what’d be really cool is, when you put them on, if they made the music industry disappear.

The Shape of Jazz to Come.

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Michigan-based graphic designer Logan Walters recently uploaded 21 albums by Wu-Tang Clan and their extended family into his iTunes app. As a working visual artist, however (with “mild OCD” that he blames on his mom), Walters says

I need to have decent-quality album art for every album on my computer, which currently equals over 90 gigs. The problem was that almost all of the Wu-Tang album art was horrible (ODB’s two albums being the only real exceptions) — no offense to the original designers, but as iconic as they might be they’re looking pretty dated these days. So, armed with inspiration from what Olly Moss and others are doing (as written about by me here, and later by Kottke here) and a book of Blue Note Records covers, I set out to remake all 21.

bobby_digital_is_stereoThus far, he’s done 12 of these so-called “Wu Note” artwork mashups. His latest, above, reworks the cover of RZA’s 1998 album, Bobby Digital in Stereo, right, replacing its “blaxploitation” palette with the cool hues and playful typography designer Reid Miles fashioned for jazz greats of the 1950s and ’60s. While, to this writer, not all of Walters’ “remixes” are Wu-bangers, these pieces for Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers and GZA’s Liquid Swords are a sweet delight. Now, all we need are liner notes. That, and better graphic design in hip-hop.

That’s How Her Riding Hood Got Red.

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With a single, masterfully-composed image, above, designer Dina Prasetyawan‘s obliquely-titled T-shirt, “The Red”, undoes centuries of fairy tales, recasting storytelling’s most vulnerable victim, Little Red Riding Hood, as a Doc Martened-out, Japanese horror-style psychopath. Given the heft of that chainsaw, and the surrounding drench of blood, I’m guessing the Big Bad Wolf, Grandma, and the Woodsman all got done. Only $18 from Threadless.com.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Then It Runs Down Your Chin.

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With its hint of nipple and textual/visual allusion to a cum “facial,” this classic 1970s print piece for Tipalet cigars, above, may be the most explicit of the 15 Sexist Vintage Ads in this collection. (As well, this one, for Tangee lipstick, proves that oral fixations aren’t new in the advertising business.) But for sheer outrage, you may like the husband showing his wife how to make his coffee, or better, this one for Mr. Leggs pants.

Hold it: In the ad, above, is that Vivica A. Fox?

Journey to a Strange Planet.

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The stunning frozen terrain, above, made of ice several feet thick, but clear as glass, was photographed by explorers on the surface of a planet millions of miles from our Sun.

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Take Me To Your Leader.

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Vancouver-based technical artist James Provost possesses a smooth, accurate style that renders complex technology visually straightforward and, thus, comprehensible. What attracted me to his work was this gorgeous image of a deadly taser, but what kept me there was this vision of the BigDog robotic pack mule, above, done for Boston Dynamics. Scanning his portfolio’s dramatic cutaways reveals a gift for variety that marks Provost’s as a talent to watch.

[via behance.net]

If He Attacks You, Honk His Nose.

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He’s called “GreatWhite Clown,” by furfree, one of 48 entries from Worth1000.com’s recent “Animal Clowns” Photoshop competition. Plus, if you think that’s amazing, you should see this guy and 11 of his friends squeeze into a tiny car.

The Man With Four Testicles.

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Dos Equis (Spanish for “two X’s”) wins again with their wildly tongue-in-cheek advertising. In the brewer’s latest campaign, their spokesman is “the most interesting man in the world”: A nameless, bearded, ultra-virile, ultra-Latin quasi-composite, above, who counsels us to “Stay thirsty, my friends,” as he proffers the brew. Though the copy for this spot, like all of them, is spot-on absurd (“He’s a lover, not a fighter…but he’s also a fighter, so don’t get any ideas”), my favorite piece may be Mr. Dos Equis’—can we call him that?—take on rollerblading.

The Force is Strong with This One.

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Saw Star Trek, above, last night. Twice. Needless to say, it completely and totally rocks. Don’t wait for the DVD: This is a theater must-see.

One detail, though: The IMAX format is growing in popularity, but not all the IMAX theaters are those massive five-story ones, like at the Air & Space Museum, in Washington D.C., or at Lincoln Center, here, in NYC.

For example, the one where I saw the movie, at AMC 25 on 42nd St, charges $17.50 for a single, precious IMAX ticket, but the screen is basically the same size as pretty much any of the 25′s big screens. The film was digitally-projected, and the sound was enormous, but if you’re looking for that monster IMAX screen, go elsewhere.

But Star Trek, man: I think the coolest aspect of it, and the reason that the movie, in 10 days, has grossed nearly $150 million domestic—besides those $17.50 tickets—is that producer/director J.J. Abrams truly found the correct way to reboot the series. He brings it up to date, but in a way that draws in people who don’t care about Trek, as well as those who care about nothing else.

This being the movie biz, Abrams’ job was to, especially, cater to the former, which he does courtesy of a good-looking, enthusiastic cast, especially Chris Pine, as Capt. James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Mr. Spock, Zöe Saldana as Lt. Uhura, and Eric Bana as the villainous Nero..

Meanwhile, for those of us who care passionately about such issues as, for example, what a starship sounds like when it goes to warp, the movie is nothing if not a revelation. In-jokes abound, and even in serious moments, of which there are many, the director nods to people who, say, know why, on a critical mission, Kirk and Sulu (John Cho) don’t get the red flightsuit.

Without question, Star Trek is going to be the movie to beat this summer. In fact, when the flick is over, the first thing one asks themself is, “When’s the next one?”

Here’s another question: I can think of at least one other much-beloved  sci-fi series whose name starts with the word Star, and which desperately needs a remix.

J.J. Abrams: You available?