Sunday, November 30, 2008

Craft show overload: buy local

This upcoming weekend is a busy one for alternative shopping. Plan your Saturday schedule properly and you'll be able to hit up four craft shows in one day -- and catch some live music while you shop. Peruse unique alternative goods and support local crafters at these upcoming events.

To the point in presentation-ready short-form:

  • Punk Rock Flea Market: December 6th
  • The Vera Project Bazaar: December 6th
  • Hollow Earth Radio's Local Label Record Show and Crafts: December 6th
  • Urban Craft Uprising: December 6th and 7th
  • I Heart Rummage: December 21st
Here's the long-form details:

Punk Rock Flea Market, Dec 6th
10am - 6pm, Underground Events Center (Belltown)

In addition to handmade craft goods, the Punk Rock Flea Market typically offers artwork, vintage stuff, books, housewares, records, and whatever else DIY people want to sell. And don't worry that you might not be punk enough to go: "punk rock" refers to the DIY spirit of the event rather than a specific music genre or lifestyle. All are welcome. Sale ends at 6pm, bands play into the evening. A buck or two donation is requested for entry.

The Vera Project Bazaar, Dec 6th
10am - ??, Vera Project (in Seattle Center)

The Vera Project Bazaar features local artists, craft-makers, musicians, and designers. The style tends toward the street sensibilities. Last year nothing was priced more than $40 and terrific art bargains abounded. Get there early if artwork is on your shopping list. Free.

In addition to the Bazaar, the non-profit, all-ages music and art venue is hosting it's annual Bring It, Screen It/Bazaar fundraiser, where you can learn to silkscreen with a Vera project instructor for $5. Here's how it works: bring an article of clothing (or anything of fabric), select one of 10 newly-designed Vera Project logos, pay $5, and a Vera instructor will help you silkscreen the image onto your item.

Hollow Earth Radio's Local Label Record Show, Dec 6th
3pm - 8pm, Healthy Times Fun Club (Capitol Hill)

Crafts and 'zines will be featured along with 20+ local record labels in this local-music-oriented DIY event. (Yes, Sub Pop will be there, but so will other worthy local labels worth checking out.) This first annual show is organized by internet-only local radio station Hollow Earth Radio and will be held at Healthy Times Fun Club. I'm particularly looking forward to checking out the 'zines and picking up some affordable, ultra-indie, and ultra-unique gifts. Free.

Five bands will be performing during the sale. The evening continues with a four-band lineup starting at 8:00; a $5 donation is requested for the evening performances. Email healthytimesfunclub at gmail dot com for exact address, or in cases of super last minute address requests call Rebecca at (206) 422-5387.

Urban Craft Uprising, Dec 6th and 7th
11am - 5pm, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall

The annual Urban Craft Uprising is an upscale event with higher-end goods and prices to match. You won't find many items selling for less than $20 here. However, quality leads: you definitely get what you pay for. Last year I picked up a couple of leather wristbands and a T-shirt and have been very happy with the purchases. Your favorite vendors from neighborhood street fairs will likely be at this event. Early arrivers will be rewarded with a gift bag of freebies. A $1 entry donation is requested.

I Heart Rummage, Dec 21st
12pm - 4pm, Chop Suey (Capitol Hill)

December's I Heart Rummage sale is for procrastinators and folks who regret not buying that special something from a local crafter earlier in the month. All items are orginal and handmade (no imports) and jewelry is limited to no more than six of the 35 spots. At previous IHR events I've bought awesome hand-knitted wrist warmers and unique cuffs and jewelry. Prices tend toward the reasonable end of the spectrum. Free.

have new tee from Revival Ink

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Video: autoKratz "Stay the Same"

"Stay the Same" is a fun animation vid, perfect for autoKratz's bleepy, noisy, irresistable beat. It gets bonus points for being particularly appropriate for the holiday turkey dinner season.

Tracks from British duo autoKratz are burning up DJ decks and bouncing dance floors these days. They are represented on the Kitsune label, also home to Digitalism and Simian Mobile Disco. (Love those guys, too!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My SF Reading List

Here's what's on my nightstand currently.

I intend to read these books in top-down order. I fully expect they will be much better than the last two books I read -- which really were pretty awful so it took me months to finish them. (Trust me: don't read Waking the Moon or Island in the Sea of Time.)

I'm reading The Watchmen right now but it's a bit of a slow go for me. Its a graphic novel (new format for me), and the text size is done for eyes younger than mine. Ha! The movie trailer looks pretty good, so I thought I'd give the graphic novel a try. Not sure if I'll make it all the way to the end, though.

Neal Stephenson is one of my very favorite authors so I am looking forward to his newest novel Anathem. He did a reading in Seattle not long ago, where he shared that he is ambivalent about pronounciation. AN-a-them, a-NATH-em. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Not sure what to expect from The Algebraist. I read an earlier work by the same author and was underwhelmed. I hope I don't have to do any math problems.

The book on the bottom is a re-read in case I finish or abandon the other books: the classic Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A good re-read, particularly since it's been years and years since I read it. I still remember, however, that the answer is 42.

Movie Trailer: Coraline

I like Neil Gaiman's fiction work, so I'm looking forward to seeing the movie Coraline, due out in February, 2009. Coraline is a children's picture book written by Gaiman and illustrated by Gaiman Dave Mckean, in Gaiman's odd and slightly creepy way. (Where the Wild Things Are, redux.) However, the movie wasn't written by Gaiman, so I'm a little worried the story will just be a vehicle to show off awesome animation in 3-D. The trailer looks pretty good, though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Big Rabbit not named Harvey

Just to balance out the rant in the previous post, here's a picture of one of the ginormous rabbits I saw at a r-urban (rural, but almost urban) hobby farm in Monroe on Thursday. These bunnies were about 30 lbs each. I am NOT kdding. Almost Night of Lepus big.

Speaking of rabbit movies, The Grand Illusion Cinema on 50th is showing the classic Jimmy Stewart film Harvey through Thursday, Nov 27th.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This painting pissed me off

More specifically, an art writer's catalog description of the work pissed me off. The painting itself only made me uncomfortable. And curious.

Temma on Earth (Tim Lowly, 1999) hit me hard. My impression of the work and my emotional reaction was disconcerting and uncomfortable: This is a crime scene. This child is a victim. Good god, who would paint such a thing, and why?

Tim Lowly @ Frye Art Museum

The work hanging opposite of Temma only reinforced my impression. Robert McGurdy's untitled work is a large photorealistic oil-on-canvas portrait of an expressionless man and woman, looking straight on - - as if to bear witness to the crime across the room.

I was uncomfortable enough with Temma to later research it on teh internets. Temma is a portrait of the artist's child, physically and mentally disabled since birth. This backstory fits my initial impression of the work and what was visually communicated: a tragedy, a child who isn't living the life we wish for her. Deep sorrow. Inability to change the outcome. Ok. Get it.

My irritation is not with Temma or the artist. Rather, it is with a catalog description of Temma in which the writer completely recasts the work as something uplifting and even "peaceful." In a 2001 essay, John Brunetti describes the piece using words such as poetic expression, calmly rests, peaceful, free of the earth's gravity, luminously celestial, lighter than air, transcend. Are. you. f*cking. crazy? Are we looking at the same painting?

The hubris and I'm-smarter-than-you attitude of many art critics and writers is what turns off ordinary people from the art world. I honestly and truly do appreciate backstory and context of a work: it deepens an understanding of the piece and of the artist. However, at the end of the day a painting is a visual communication medium and a good one must be able to stand on its own visually, without reliance on context to explain, nor require backstory to help a viewer get 'the point."

Should art critics and art writers to use context and backstory to completely recolor an art work's visual message?

Hell no. By doing so, the art establishment creates a self-serving barrier between the artist and the viewer, as in: "You little ordinary people can't understand or appreciate a work unless one of us important and much more knowledgeable people interpret it for you."

To that I say, "F*ck you."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Video: Anti-Prop8 Rally and March

I participated in the rally and march for marriage equality on Saturday in Seattle. The turnout was phenomenal. Crowd estimates are varied, ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 participants: gay, straight, young, old, married, single, hipster, techie, professional, children, dogs -- even a hedgehog.

Here's a super-short compilation of vid clips I recorded during the march from Volunteer Park to Westlake Center. View a few photo snaps here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vinyl: Rickie Lee Jones

I'm having a hard time breaking up with Rickie Lee Jones.

In the effort to get rid of more stuff, I'm going through a box of old vinyls which haven't seen daylight in years. I repeat: years. But I'm having a hard time letting go of Miss Rickie on vinyl. I am still loving on this cool chica's music style and street attitude.

I remember seeing her on SNL in 1982, performing Chuck E.'s in Love. I was blown away. I could hardly breathe. It was so different than anything else going on at the time: different from what my friends and I heard played on KJR radio and the like.

And what a cool-headed performer she was. After singing Chuck E., she was unexpected signaled by the producer to play another song because the producers had mis-calculated the show's running time. Seven minutes remained before the end of the show and they were out of material. (That's the "live" part of SNL, kids.) She and her band quickly rolled into Woody and Dutch on the slow train to Peking and filled in another 5 minutes of the show. Woody and Dutch was later released on her second album, Pirates.

I was a youngster and a music neophyte back then. My friends did not understand why I liked her music nor could they see how she was disrupting the pop nonsense of the time. The SNL version of her (stoned?) performance isn't available online, but here's the next best thing: a music video of Chuck E.'s in Love. Stands the test of time, doesn't it? As do several of her other tracks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Too Cute: Shiba Inu Puppy Cam has Twitter updates

Have you been checking in on the Shiba Inu puppy cam? Cute puppy addicts, you can now get puppy updates on Twitter. Follow Pupdate and you'll be alerted if the pups wake up and start doing something. (They sure do sleep a LOT.)

The Pupdate Twitter account just started today and sprang from a casual suggestion from Alexis Madrigal (via Twitter, of course), a writer for Wired Magazine. The Pupdate account is run by a virtual puppy watcher and not the owner of the puppies.

No guarantee on the frequency or quality of the tweets, folks. But it is an interesting use of Twitter, all the same.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seattle Celebrates and Obama Flickrs

What happened one night in my neighborhood.

I am thrilled to learn Barack Obama has a Flickr photostream.
I love that he is so tuned in to modern communication channels.
A president for our generation.

My current fav in the Election Night set -- so candid, so unguarded:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Google street view Seattle: Hey, I know this girl!

What are the odds? I spotted someone I know on the newly-launched Google street view of Seattle!

Bon Bon, you have been captured forever in Google-land. This was probably taken in June 2008 when you were living at my place for a minute.

Not a bad picture here, particularly when compared to this poor guy (third pic down).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's hottest fashion accessory

Absentee ballot stub turned cuff +
I Voted sticker =
the hottest fashion accessory
on November 4th.
You know
you want it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The brown fox is still quick: I gotz mad skillz

I took a touch typing/keyboarding class in junior high and hated it.

Looks like I could still pass that class today though, thanks to millions of pages of user documentation, presentations, instructor guides, online and print articles, emails, business plans, class guides, management reports, team performance reviews, marketing plans, proposals, RFPs, SOPs, project plans, requirements, specifications, case studies, customer communications, and other what-have-you written word.

Can you beat this typing test score?

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog, yo.