July 31, 2010

Continued

raf-simons-the-influencer-via-hypebeast

  • Nice interview with Raf Simons (WWD via HB)
  • Lengthy inverview with David Andrew Sitek (BV)
  • Awesome interview with Bill Murray (GQ)
  • Telling interview with Penn & Teller (Telegraph)
  • Decent interview with Ari Marcopoulos (Dossier)
  • Hip interview with Pedro Winter (Busy P of Ed Banger) (OC)
  • Strange interview with Spike Lee (Gothamist)
  • Passable interview with Rafael de Cardenas (S×H)
  • Brief interview with Tara McPherson (PSFK)

China:

20100715_LivingRooms_China-slide-YE61-slide-via-nyt

  • Urban China, ever the work in progress (NYT)
  • China’s Banks: Great Wall Street (The Economist)
  • Bad PR for the nouveau riche in the PRC (WSJ via Gawker)
  • The other oil spill (NYT / Salon)
  • A green movement grows in China (The Economist)
  • The Economist also draws an ophidian metaphor for China’s growth / lack thereof.

Music:

Media & Technology:

terrafugia_fly_away-via-psfk

Food:

Mark-Bittman-101-Grilling-Recipes-the-Minimalist-on-NYT

NYC:

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Random:

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July 27, 2010

Backlog

…a.k.a. link dump / linkage /clickage from the past month; more to come…
inplanesight-bushwick-via-gothamist

  • Very Bushwick and very fabulous (NYT)
  • You know how we do in Brooklyn (Inc.)
  • Pitchfork is Times-worthy.
  • I managed to avoid reading any commentary on Inception until I actually saw it for myself yetserday, though at this point, I cannot possibly hope to catch up with all of the bandwidth that has been spilled (not to mention plot spoiled)—in theory and in practice, for example—over Nolan’s polarizing masterpiece. Also: A.O. Scott on film criticism in the digital age in theory and in practice; Dileep Rao (who plays Yusef) gives us the straight dope; Jonah Lehrer speculates on the neuroscience behind the film. Plus, Jonah Lehrer on LSD (in a manner of speaking)
  • Am I guilty of “a breezy writing style”? (The Economist; related: China’s microblog macro-crackdown)
  • Amid all the talk of his new book Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis also finds time to reflect on American Psycho (The Guardian)
  • Sasha Frere-Jones endorses music in cloud form (The New Yorker)
  • Tom Vanderbilt included a link to Dave Horton’s unabashedly self-righteous five-part essay on the fear of cycling in his own musings on bicycle highways for Slate. Definitely required reading for anyone who chooses to bike for transportation (as opposed to simply for leisure), with the caveat that it feels a bit too much like justification for my sense of entitlement that I feel when I tell pedestrians to get out of the bike lane. Still, the car culture of the US is easily worse than that of the UK (where Horton’s expertise lies; at least London has congestion pricing) and the essay actually affirmed my fear that cycling still has a long way to go.

04deitch4-popup

pulpo_paul-via-salon

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July 21, 2010

The Fabled Chinese Hipster – Parts 2.1-2.3

See also: Part 1, One Point Five and 2: Reprise.

PBR: three letters that spell the beginning of the End for Eastern Civilization.

pabst-blue-ribbon-landai-beer

However, as with just about every Chinese variant, the adjective ‘bizarro’ prevails: Evan Osnos of the New Yorker applauds Danwei‘s eye for PBR’s PRC rebranding as Blue Ribbon 1844 (蓝带啤酒), a premium craft beer.

That reliably blue-collar Milwaukee lager, later adopted by unbearable hipsters on the coasts, has turned up in China. And P.B.R., best known in the U.S. for being the cheapest beer on the grocery-store shelf, has—like so many expatriates before it—taken the move as an opportunity to change its image. For a beer, that appears to involve an elegant glass bottle and a fantastically ridiculous price tag. One bottle: forty-four dollars.

–Evan Osnos, Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Pabst Blue Ribbon
Letter from China blog on The New Yorker, July 19 2010

Osnos, ever duly diligent, also includes this link to PBR [advertising] through the ages. In fact, the story is so fascinating that he has just posted a follow-up post with a few choice quotes from PBR / BR1844 Brewmaster / Chief Representative – Asia Alan Kornhauser. Short of outright plagiarism, the relevant excerpt is reproduced below:

I formulated a special high-gravity ale called “1844.” It’s all malt, and we use caramel malts from Germany. The initial aging is dry-hopped rather heavily. Then we do a secondary aging in new uncharred American oak whiskey barrels. We bought 750 brand new barrels to the tune of $100,000. This is a very special beer; it’s retailing for about over $40 U.S. for a 720 ml bottle.

–Interview with Alan Kornhauser, All About Beer, July 2010

Indeed, Osnos’ colleague (New Yorker Beer Correspondent) Jesse Rodriguez notes that:

Traditional P.B.R. is light and fizzy with a distinct cloying malt profile, while the B.R. 1884 [sic] has a rounder mouthfeel with a notable hop presence on the front palate and finish. Is it worth the money? Probably not, but it’s definitely not a P.B.R.

–Jesse Rodriguez in Pabst in China, Continued,
Letter from China blog on The New Yorker, July 21 2010

pabst-blue-ribbon-1844-via-danwei

The interview continues with a few more telling tidbits:

There’s an audience there for it?

There’s the nouveau riche, and in China, perception is everything—look at me, I’m rich. Then also, there is another group that may be part of our market, and that’s state banquet dinners. Normally, you’d drink brandy, and this beer kind of has the look of brandy—it’s a reddish-brown color, but it won’t hurt you as much.

The beer combines a new flavor and a Western status symbol. Apart from the prestige, how are you selling these new tastes?

It’s new on the market, so I’m not sure exactly how it’s going—I have very little to do with the sales side. There is a TV commercial that’s quite attractive, that uses old still photos of the early days of Pabst, back when they used wooden barrels there.

What’s Pabst’s story in China?

We were the first foreign brewery in China, since the liberation in 1949—as it’s called there. We’re doing about one and a half million barrels there. Our first brews were, I believe, 1993; I didn’t get there until 1998. At that time, the largest-selling foreign brand in China was Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Read all about it

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Possibly more related than one might think: the hipster fashion cycle.

hipster-fashion-cycle-infographic-via-flavorwire

I would hypothesize that Chinese fashion fundamentally differs from Western trends (to which the infographic applies) at the mainstream and conservative stages, where the former tends to correlate with (said) nouveau riche and the latter is either mainstream in the Western sense or more traditional Chinese. Nostalgia, then, would be informed by Western trickle-down imagery, while the ironic stage is virtually non-existent.

Though there are examples of ironic style on display in China—Mao’s face, red stars, military regalia are today worn with something less than earnestness—there is also more at stake in young people’s fashion choices.

–J. David Goodman, Are There Really No Hipsters in China?, Slate, April 21 2010

Flavorwire via PSFK

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chinese-dorm-via-newsweek

Why the FCH is still a rare breed: Smart, Young and Broke; insert bad pun about higher education not necessarily being hire education. (Thanks Eugene; cf.)

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May 26, 2010

Assorted Links

UPDATED, one last time before midnight.

Os Gemeos & Blu (Works in Progress) in Lisbon

Os Gemeos & Blu (Works in Progress) in Lisbon

Street art’s symbiotic relationship with the Web makes you wonder whether the genre’s broad popularity stems from the fact that its characteristic features—swift execution, quicksilver response to pop culture and politics, the dominance of quotation and commentary, snarky attitude, fragmented statements embedded in the world rather than meant to stand apart from it—actually reflect the way that plugged-in people process information, more so than “traditional” art. There is something particularly contemporary about street art’s whole M.O., in this sense.

–Ben Davis, Is Street Art Over?, Slate, May 26 2010 (Highly recommended)

Fresh Stuff from Ron English in Queens

Fresh Stuff from Ron English in Queens

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Two perspectives on Marina:

She and MoMA have brought some magic back into art—the sort of magic that all of our courses in art history and appreciation had encouraged us to hope for.

–Arthur C. Danto, Sitting with Marina, The Stone blog on NYT, May 23 2010

There are euphoric moments and then intensely sad feelings of heaviness. Whatever you’re feeling becomes intensified. Certain truths about things I need to fix in my life are revealed to me. Marina says that in her own life she’s not so disciplined—that the performance gives her structure.

–Deborah Wing-Sproul, The Performer Made Bare, NYMag, May 23 2010

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prokhorov-bloomberg-jayz-via-espn

[As Prokhorov] explained to “60 Minutes,” “I don’t use a computer. We have too much information and it’s really impossible to filter it.”

You know what? He’s not necessarily wrong. Do we REALLY need all this information? Like, right now—you’re reading this column and hopefully enjoying it, but ultimately, could you have survived the weekend if you missed it? I say yes. Just about everything online fits that mold—you have to sift through loads of bad writing and irrelevant information to find the occasional entertaining/funny/interesting thing, and even then, it’s not something that’s making or breaking your week. Ever been on a vacation and had little-to-no Internet access that week? You survived, right? Maybe the big Russian is on to something.

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Candy reminds us of the postmodern notion of self-creation—the way we don social signifiers with the same ease as clothing, constructing our selves bit by bit from cultural cues and images. Rather than the solid frameworks we cast them as, our selves are more like sweaters we put on and take off. When it comes to social identity, we’re all a wee bit in drag.

–Caroline Hagood, New Documentary Tries to Solve the Riddle of Andy Warhol’s Candy Darling,
The Huffington Post, May 21 2010

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Was2651110

The problem of negative externalities [refers to] costs that accrue when the self-interested actions of one person leave bystanders worse off. The biggest example of a negative externality is global warming: When we burn carbon-based fuels, we benefit ourselves while imposing a great cost on billions of other present and future inhabitants of the planet.

–Felix Salmon, The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic, Wired, May 24 2010

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j-bennett-fitts-land-of-ahs-via-good

GOOD Picture Show has a gallery of J. Bennett Fitts' incredible photos of Middle America

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May 22, 2010

Rick Owens on Nowness

“I can’t think of anything more glamorous than working on making beautiful things.”

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Nowness has an interview with Rick Owens and an image gallery of his current furniture exhibition, “Pavane for Dead Princess,” at Salon 94.

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Again, check out his Rules of Style for Details to get an idea of what he’s about:

1. I’m not good at subtlety. If you’re not going to be discreet and quiet, then just go all the way and have the balls to shave off your eyebrows, bleach your hair, and put on some big bracelets.

2. Working out is modern couture. No outfit is going to make you look or feel as good as having a fit body. Buy less clothing and go to the gym instead.

rick-owens-on-nowness-6

3. I’ve lived in Paris for six years, and I’m sorry to say that the Ugly American syndrome still exists. Sometimes you just want to say “Stop destroying the landscape with your outfit.” Still, from a design standpoint, I’m tempted to redo the fanny pack. I look at it as a challenge—it’s something to react against.

4. When a suit gets middle-of-the-road it kind of loses me—it has to be sharp and classic and almost forties.

rick-owens-on-nowness-1

5. Hair and shoes say it all. Everything in between is forgivable as long as you keep it simple. Trying to talk with your clothes is passive-aggressive.

6. There’s something a little too chatterboxy about color. Right now I want black, for its sharpness and punctuation.

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May 20, 2010

Imagery

Like Images… but, you know, ending with “-ry” instead of “-s”

http://tinyvices.verbsite.net/__data/tinyvices_andrew-kuo.jpg

  • Andrew Kuo’s “My Wheel of Worry, May 2010″ (Tiny Vices via TWBE)

cremaster-cycle-via-ifc

matthew-barney-bjork-marina-via-moma-flickr

paco-blancas-participating-in-the-artist-is-present-via-flickr

lichtenstein-at-gagosian-via-arrested-motion

When we think of still lifes, we think of paintings that have a certain atmosphere or ambience. My still life paintings have none of those qualities, they just have pictures of certain things that are in a still life, like lemons and grapefruits and so forth. It’s not meant to have the usual still life meaning.

–Roy Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein
Still Lifes
Gagosian
555 W 24th St (at 11th)
New York NY 10011 [map]
212 / 741-1111
May 8, 2010 – July 30, 2010

Banksy_NYC_2010-via-animal

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May 15, 2010

Items

“A low moan of agreement escaped Ellis’s mouth.” –Bret Easton Ellis

Once again, it’s too nice out to sit in front of a computer screen, so we’re going with assorted links today… A few interesting stories, including an article on the future of digital journalism. *UPDATED on 5/16 with even more recommended reading.

uniqlo-uniqlones-tadashi-yanai-via-nymag

bolano-haring

  • I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read any Roberto Bolaño, but I’d never seen a picture of him before—is it just me, or does he look a lot like Keith Haring? (GQ)
  • Alastair Harper on “George Orwell, Patron Saint of Hacks” (Prospect)
  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s “Theory, Literature, Hoax” after Borges. (NYT)
  • Claudia Roth Pierpont on Duke Ellington (New Yorker)
  • Nick Carr on the new New York license plate (below) (Huffpo)

new-nyc-license-plate-via-huffpo
Also worth reading, if you’re so inclined:

  • The current state of NBA point guards (GQ)
  • Kareem sounds off (ESPN)
  • The China Model (Economist)
  • How the Web Is Changing the Way We Eat (Salon)

rick-owens-via-slamxhype

  • Interview with Rick Owens (above) (Artinfo via Slam×Hype; images here)
  • Interview with Damien Hirst & Michael Joo (WWD via Slam×Hype; images here—the log piece reminds me of Ai Weiwei…)
  • Interview with Bret Easton Ellis (Vice)
  • Interview with Gorillaz (Wired)
  • Gus Van Sant catches up with Madonna (Interview)
  • Adam Kimmel raps with David Blaine (Interview)

how-our-brains-make-memories-Memory-microscopic-nerve-cells-smithsonian

  • Greg Miller on Karim’s Nader’s theory of mutable memory (Smithsonian)
  • Ryan Bradley on “Sex, Lies and Nature Documentaries” (GOOD)
  • Malcolm Gladwell on WWII espionage (New Yorker)
  • Gary Wolf on the Data-Driven Life (NYT)
  • Richard Lewontin on Jerry Fodor & Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong. (The New York Review of Books)—I’d heard a lot of the arguments before until I came to this bit:

Individual organisms are surrounded by a moving layer of warm moist air. Even trees are surrounded by such a layer. It is produced by the metabolism of the individual tree, creating heat and water, and this production is a feature of all living creatures. In humans the layer is constantly moving upward over the body and off the top of the head. Thus, organisms do not live directly in the general atmosphere but in a shell produced by their own life activity. It is, for example, the explanation of wind-chill factor. The wind is not colder than the still air, but it blows away the metabolically produced layer around our bodies, exposing us to the real world out there.

Plus, a short, sweet video for good measure:

Stick Monster Lab for Nike Sportswear (High Snobiety via Notcot)

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April 28, 2010

More Music Crap

optimo-oral-history-flyers-via-ra

Optimo flyers via RA (linked below)

Optimogeddon: a seven-hour Fin-de-Siècle blowout mix for your next seven-hour Fin-de-Siècle blowout. (I’ve only listened to Part 1 of 5 so far…)

On April 25th, the greatest club night in either Glasgow, the UK or the world (depending on who you ask) finishes. Optimo (Espacio), the brainchild of JD Twitch and JG Wilkes, arrived quietly at Glasgow’s Sub Club in 1997, and set about blowing the cobwebs off a stale, self-congratulatory Glasgow techno scene through a simple core philosophy: If it sounds good and makes people dance, play it.

Now, after 12-and-a-half years of sublime, genre-straddling, how-did-they-do-that acts of weekly musical witchcraft, combined with a zero-tolerance approach to “DJ culture”… it will all be over.

The Nights That Dreams Are Made Of: An Optimo Oral History, Resident Advisor

optimo-oral-history-residents

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GQ’s “Rock the Suit 2010” editorial anticipates forthcoming (/recently released) albums from a handful of indie superstars: MGMT (above), The National (below), The Walkmen, (surprisingly?) The Drums [previously], and David Byrne with collaborators St. Vincent and Santigold [previously] decked out in this season’s  (The notes about the designers read like Patrick Bateman’s internal narrative in Ellis’s American Psycho.)

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The National performed and discussed their fifth LP High Violet at WNYC’s Greene Space on Monday (I made it out there for the live session, but honestly, the webcast is just as good as being there). In a potentially lucrative promotional move, the new album was streaming in full alongside a recent NYT profile of the band (only “Bloodbuzz, Ohio” is available now).

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Chuck Klosterman asserts that Beck’s “Loser” is the defining song of the 90′s because it illustrates how MTV was instrumental to the mainstreamification of alternative culture in the pre-Internet era. (Incidentally, Vice, which recently declared that it wants to be the new MTV, was founded that very same year.) (Spin)

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[I'm a little late on this one, but] blogosphere darlings Pomplamoose put the Indie Pop Fun back in Viral YouTube Sensation… or something to that effect. (NPR)

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New Holy Ghost! track; they’re opening for labelmates LCD Soundsystem for the four upcoming New York dates during the latter band’s current world tour.

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Flying Lotus’s forthcoming Cosmogramma streaming on his MySpace.

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Mister Cee’s Guru tribute mix for Hot97. (RapRadar)

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Oh My Gaga.

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April 21, 2010

Nicholas K F/W 2010 Collection

http://www.hypebeast.com/image/2010/04/nicholas-k-2010-fall-winter-6.jpg

http://www.hypebeast.com/image/2010/04/nicholas-k-2010-fall-winter-2.jpg

http://www.hypebeast.com/image/2010/04/nicholas-k-2010-fall-winter-3.jpg

More at Hypebeast.

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April 7, 2010

New Bike Tech

Hypebeast.tv has a new interview with the guys behind Outlier, who craft cyclable basics.

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grafbike

Benedict Radcliffe Graffiti Bike = The Art of Going Brakeless / Instant Morris Louis

instantmorrislouis

Viktor Vautier via Juxtapoz.

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I’m not surprised to hear that electric bikes are all the rage in China: I remember seeing countless two-wheeled contraptions that had some kind of ad hoc outboard motor strapped to them. In fact, I passed an old Chinese dude riding an electric bike across the Manhattan Bridge just the other day…

ElectricBikes

Of course, besides legal issues, GOOD points out that electric bikes represents a stepping stone between traditional transportation (bicycles) and an emerging middle class aspiring to Western ideals of status (electrics automobiles)—an intermediate space in a rapidly developing economy that is nonexistent in our car-dominated nation.

The Economist via GOOD. Also on NYT.

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