Monday, March 30, 2009

Johnny Rex's super-8 movies from Minneapolis' skid row circa 1960

Visitor's to Minneapolis often remark about how much drinking goes on here.

They point out the few remaining buildings with any character downtown (There are really only one half a blocks worth left) and remark, "What happens in there?" but seldom wander inside.

And I'm glad.

Because, I tend to tipple in these places, to get away from the suits, the college kids, the convention goers, and the suburban sports fans. I enjoy cheap, stiff drinks, earnest conversation, and little or no distraction from either. It's a slice of heaven.

If I had a time machine, I would go back to skid row. Perhaps I'd see my grandpa brawling outside The Sourdough. He worked for the railroad. And from what I hear, he liked to get into his cups.

Enjoy this little slice of permanent happy hour. I hope it makes you as thirsty as it makes me.

Down on Skid Row by Johnny Rex.

Steve McQueen's Bullitt Car video and syncopated map!

I made a very rudimentary version of this route the first day I discovered that Google opened up their maps for route sharing. I just discovered Seero which allows users to watch a video, of , say, the best movie car chase of all times side by side with a map where the route is drawn out simultaneously!

Sorry, the embedding is a little wonky still, Click here for the full experience:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mr. Doob's Unknown Pleasures AV

Mr. Doob has created a really sweet live version of the cover of the classic Joy Division Unknown Pleasures album cover that reacts to the music of the same. Click image above to check it out.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Another Gem from Unemployment Haiku Weekly

There is a certain zen to entering the folds of the unemployed. Some take it with grace, some take it with a short length of rope and a chair. We all, however, take it at least once in our lives. In recent times, purely as a result of some sort of BS on Wall Street, my pal and heckuva writer Matthew Bottkol and his pal and sometimes Mad Magazine contributor, Todd Eisner were both ejected out of the infernal bunghole we ad-men call The Industry.

And on days where I feel like i just can't take it anymore, without fail, I get a RSS ping that tells me Matt and Todd have posted another haiku. And I laugh. Not because I know these guys. Not because I still have a job. Mostly, I just laugh at the grace which which these two respond to the truisms around being an out of work creative in 5/7/5 form. Thanks, fellas.

You should too: Unemployment Haiku Weekly

The Amazing World of Song Poems: What is a song poem?

I can think of no better way to introduce you to song poems than through the words and music of an artist who is actively engaged in the process. The clips above are taken from an amazing documentary called Off The Charts, by Jamie Meltzer, which can be found on Amazon and Netflix, and help tell the story and present the work of Caglar Juan Singletary.

Singletary, like many song poem artists, stumbled across an ad in the back of a magazine that encouraged writers to submit their work, and the obligatory fee, to a company that will set their words to music with the promise of promotion through the music industry as a songwriter. What I find wonderful about many of these artists is that fame is usually not the primary goal for engaging in the song poem process. The artist's desire is to create a piece of work that expresses some heart-felt message that the artist is not able to create independently.

More to follow through the week as I will be introducing you to song poem organizations, artists, musicians and ultimately some of my own personal collection.

Tip of the hat to KEANON, whose comment over on Boing Boing led me to begin speaking about song poems with Singletary's story.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Uncharted Zone - Say Goodbye to your Friday.

Thanks to Mr. Cornelius Coons and Ms. Domonique Franchesca for turning me on to this. The spirit of these singer/songwriters coupled with the video handiwork of Phil Thomas Katt has totally motivated me to spend the next week indulging myself and introducing you to the world of Song Poem Music. Stay tuned!

Until then, you can soak in more of this fine homegrown work on The Uncharted Zone's YouTube channel.