Friday, January 30, 2009

A View from the Mall

Here are some stupendous photos from the Inauguration last week, taken by our friend Kym Pham:

(All photos © Kym Pham)

Richard Dawkins on "Militant Atheism"

Below is a video of Richard Dawkins's presentation at the 2002 TED conference, a thought-provoking and—as related by Virginia Heffernan in last Saturday's New York Times Magazine—addictive series of "inspired talks by the world's leading thinkers and doers" ...

Here's Dawkins on Bill Maher's show:

And regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of (dis)belief, I highly recommend The God Delusion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Peek Inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Anyone who has passed the gates of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and peered in at the dilapidated and decaying grand structures has wondered what lies within. Thirteen has produced a short video that provides some wonderful answers...

The City Concealed: Brooklyn Navy Yard from on Vimeo.

"Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of NYC’s largest pieces of intact — though decaying — history. Sprawling over nearly 300 acres, it has both current industrial tenants, and plans are in the works for adaptive reuse projects for some of the buildings. It’s living history, dotted by pockets of contemporary industry."
— Tom Vigliotta, Producer

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Saturday...

John Updike: 1932–2009

Why is it that the deaths of some authors catch you off guard, while the passing of others seems somehow more natural? Maybe it was Updike's prolific nature that made it seem somehow unlikely that he'd ever stop doing what he did (write, write, write) for so many years.

You've probably read it, but if you haven't, here it is: "A&P"

[UPDATE: Here is an interesting video in which Updike discusses the recent election.]

An inhumane industry, an outdated tradition...

Here is the trailer for Blinders, the documentary about the controversial carriage horse industry in New York City:

And here is a Daily Show segment in which Liam Neeson and Jon Stewart debate the issue:

What do you think?

"Tonight" by Lykke Li (Video!)

Here's an elegant, no-frills video for a new bowed-cymbal-and-Twin-Peaks-bass version of Lykke Li's "Tonight," directed/filmed by Christian Haag in Stockholm.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Dear President Obama, my favorite food is soup..."

McSweeney's has just released a book called Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letter to President Obama, and it is full of equally heartwarming and hilarious sentiments from children all across the country.

Some kids are inquisitive; some congratulatory and supportive. Others, like this one, offer advice:

Dear Obama family,

When you move into the White House, turn on the heater so it won't be cold. You could also take hot baths in your new antique bathtubs. Or you could make hot tea and coffee.

When I moved to a new house, I helped my dad. He took apart a chair and I carried pieces of it. If I were your helper when you move in, I could move everything!

Have a nice day being the first family.

Nazrawit Dessie, age 7

In Marco's portrait below, what some might mistake for a misspelling I interpret as a deliberate substitution of a homophone to make a clever point... 

The innocent and candid curiosity of some of the letters is eye-opening:

Dear President Obama,

I would like to know if you could fix the economy and the war problem. How would you avoid shoes being thrown at you? And why did you choose the Democratic Party? Also, why do you think no other African Americans ran for president?

Edgar Laczano, age 11
San Francisco

Kevin here just has a few things he wants to share with Barack:

Dear President Obama,

My name is Kevin. I have one brother and one sister and their names are Anthony and Dayanara. My favorite food is soup and my favorite breakfast is cereal. My favorite fruit is a pear and my favorite thing at the store is Hot Cheetos.

Kevin Romero, age 7
San Francisco

This one is a bit long, but I think you'll agree it's worth sharing:

Dear Mr. Obama,

Hey, I'm Sheenie, I'm kina a poet.  I really hope you put America back together.  No pressure though.  I bet you get a lot of admiring letters from your millions of fans, but I hope my letter is special enough for your eyes to travel to the end.  I'm not much of a political follower, but I know people like me suddenly got interest.  I heard you on the radio, I saw you on TV, your face was cool and confident, but what stopped me was the eloquence in your voice.  The voice that was made for a thousand speeches.
One day my mom went to the library to find one of your books.  What was annoying and miraculous at the same time was the the book had sooooo many holds.  I think we waited two months for it.
I'm thinking maybe you're the kind of person who doesn't like to be treated like a king.  Maybe you want to be an ordinary person again and you can walk out in the street without someone screaming with delight at the sight of you.
I also want to talk to you about the problems in America,the economy, and of course the war. You promised, I think, to fix it, and I believe you're a person who keels a promise.
To your family, they might be excited, yet stressed, for the first days in the White House.  I'd think you'd not be ready to fix those huge problems yet.  Sit down, get a nice, icy glass of water or whatever you find refreshing, forget your powerful duty, and be an ordinary man that just got off a long plane ride.  Malia and Sasha, help your dad, give him strength, determination, and will.
I might be able to write to you all day long and the funny thing is, I don't even know you.  You really are just the confident figure on my TV screen, ready to take on a nerve-wracking job. I might see you in the rarest of chances, but then again you would just be a smiling, waving figure, maybe shrouded with your bodyguards.
I have hope in you, Mr. Obama, and I hope this letter gave you a little piece of happy-reading joy.
Sheenie Shannon Yip, age 13

I don't want to ruin any more (though there are so many more I want to share with you!), because you should all go out and purchase your own copies. If you need a further incentive, all proceeds benefit 826 National, a network of nonprofit writing and tutoring centers around the country.

[Buy the book directly from McSweeney's.]

"You're a part of me and I can't wait to see you again..."

LAKE - Heaven from Weston Currie on Vimeo.

Lake's album, Oh, The Places We'll Go, is out now on K Records.

Download the song "Heaven" HERE.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Medicine For Melancholy

This trailer for Medicine For Melancholy mixes a few of our favorite things: San Francisco, a Saturday Looks Good to Me song, and Daily Show regular Wyatt Cenac!

“In the face of an impending cultural extinction and the potential loss of SF’s soul, this excellent movie is part of a necessary discussion.”
—D. Scot Miller, San Francisco Bay Guardian

What the @*%#! Leapin' Lizards!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One of the best titles ever...

All the Wrong People Have Self-Esteem: An Inappropriate Book for Young Ladies or, Frankly, Anybody Else—the new book from illustrator/author Laurie Rosenwald—looks outstanding! From the back cover:
"If you’ve ever felt that you don’t deserve bottled water, this book is for you. If you’re a vegetarian but you eat meat, this book is for you. If you’ve ever gotten kicked out of yoga, this book is for you…"

For our warmer friends in the City of Angels, Laurie will be reading from the book tonight! (Let us know how it is if you go...)
All the Wrong People Have Self-Esteem Book Reading & Signing
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 7:30pm
Stories LA
1716 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026 [map]

Serge & Jane

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

I don't understand this Skittles commercial...

and it's not just the language barrier, I don't think...

Helen Sear Exhibit @ Klompching Gallery in DUMBO

(click on image for larger version)

Helen Sear — Inside the View
Opening Reception tonight, January 8, 6pm–8pm
Klompching Gallery | 111 Front Street, Suite 206, DUMBO | FREE
(Exhibit runs through February 27)

From the gallery's website:
"Inside The View is an exceptional collection of photographs, wherein Helen Sear addresses the notion of work, labor of the hand and time in the process of image making. Sear also contributes to the long history of montage by superimposing two images — one a portrait of a woman and the other a landscape. Each image is then erased through a complex and painstaking process of digital drawing, with a lace-like network of lines based upon the patterns of sewing or hand woven lace making."
(This is the British artist's first exhibition in the U.S.)

Andrew Wyeth, 1917–2009

Read the NY Times obituary here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Help Save New York State Zoos, Aquariums, and Botanical Gardens

Prickly Situation at the Bronx Zoo from Gothamist on Vimeo.

Get more info HERE.

Tiny Twin Marmosets Born at UK Aquarium!

Read about them HERE.

Interview with Kranky Records founders

There's a great interview up on Pitchfork today with Kranky Records founders Joel Leoschke and Bruce Adams...

Here's a nice, thinly-veiled jab from Adams:
"...I want to put out records that people 10 years from now could listen to and not say, "Oh, that's obviously done by a bunch of sprightly young Columbia undergraduates who have Paul Simon records!""

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Peter Bjorn & John Song!

—Kanye West (from his blog)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
(Originally uploaded by alistairh)

From the Great Ideas series, published by Penguin.
Design by David Pearson.

(See more of Pearson's work HERE.)