Saturday, June 30, 2007

Minus the bomb scares, is The Splasher proof that art can still matter?


The Splasher analysis continues with yet another extensive piece in the Arts section of today's New York Times: Splashing the Art World With Anger and Questions.

Some highlights:
The current agitators, although they’ve got some of the revolutionary patter down, seem to lack clearly defined targets or priorities. Is the problem gentrification or the art market or artists or late capitalism? What’s troubling them — the street art they’re defacing or the fact that some of the street artists might also show in galleries?

And, by the way, what’s wrong with artists, even street artists, making a buck? The spectacle, as Debord might have said, of the present art world in thrall to Mammon is incredibly depressing. But selling art isn’t selling out, necessarily, and making art for people on the street doesn’t preclude showing (a different sort of) art in galleries. Physical endangerment in the form of bombs, stinky or otherwise, then crosses the line from mischief to mayhem.

New York neighborhoods are indeed changing, not all for the better, as the city becomes more affluent and homogeneous, and art shouldn’t exist in it simply as a symbol of wealth and privilege. It should seize public spaces where it can, to make itself more part of daily life, more relevant in the world, and to become a source of serendipity, pleasure, trouble, controversy and interest to people outside the art world, not just inside it.

With this much attention, The Splasher will no doubt be showing soon in a Chelsea gallery near you.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Envy, Hypocracy, and the New Era of Street Art: Interactive Graffiti

Has street art peaked?

Now even the New York Times is covering The Splasher. Most recently, in today's article, As Street Art Goes Commercial, a Resistance Raises a Real Stink.

The Splasher, is creating quite a stir among the Street Art scene, because he/she/they are "splashing" several well known street artists' work with white paint and random messages. You can read the 16-page Splasher Manifesto here to learn a bit more about the intent, but it seems pretty obvious:

The blurring lines between commercial art, advertising/marketing, and street art are creating a lot of friction between the haves and the have nots. The street artists who are getting famous, making lots of money, and becoming recognized as "legitimate" artists, are hitting quite a nerve with the hard-core graffiti artists (aka those who have not yet made it).

On one hand you have a new street art elite who now hold conferences and art shows in famous galleries and pontificate about "meaning", "trends", "style" and other haughty topics. On the other you have those desperate for attention and dying of envy. And then you have a bunch of people who are trying to figure out whose side they are on anyway.

Is the Splasher making some genius statement -- perhaps the last creative concept in street art? (What do we call this...how about: Interactive Street Art) Have the elites grown fat and lazy and lost their way, seduced by money, power and fame? Is the destruction of another artist's work an act of war? Should we be reading about these debates in the New York Times and on panel discussions? What happened to the underground!

Not that it necessarily divides along the lines of who is achieving success or financial reward, but money and cozy connections to the establishment seem to be at the root of the conflict. (Isn't that usually the case in these situations?)

Successful street artists and many who love their work don't want to see their pieces destroyed. That seems fair. But The Splasher and those who support him/her/them, believe they are pointing out an obvious hypocracy. After all, isn't The Splasher just communicating via Interactive Graffiti?

37Signals Features OrganizedWisdom


A few months ago, 37Signals interviewed me and my partner about how we use BaseCamp to help run OrganizedWisdom. We are big fans of the Getting Real philosophy and use BaseCamp to collaborate daily. We recommend these tools to our best friends and colleagues. Here's why:

Click here to watch the video interview with Steve and Unity.

Click here to read Getting Real for FREE!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Movie Every American Should See: Michael Moore's 'Sicko'


I went to one of the first public screenings of Michale Moore's new documentary, Sicko, yesterday and it was truly an inspiring event. Inspiring because it forces you to think about yourself, about our country, about our values, and perhaps most profoundly asks: "Who are we?"

No matter your political leanings, your income level, your religious beliefs, or the company you work for, Sicko is a must-see film for all Americans. It should be shown in schools and universities and at company lunches all across the country. It's so important because it sheds light (in a way that only a powerfully edited-film can) on an issue that is threatening us all: the loss of our collective moral consciousness and the erosion of our humanity.

Are we really becoming a nation of sociopaths who have so little compassion for each other that we are willing to let our elders be dropped off on skid-row and our 9-11 heroes whither without proper care?

Well of course we all want to help our family and friends and neighbors. And we do. Sicko even shows communities coming together to help search for missing children and privately organized raffles to help our 9-11 heroes. But do we really care about each other as human beings? Do we care about the collective well-being of the people we don't know who live in "The Greatest Nation on Earth"?

I am not sure how we can and should come together as a nation to resolve this erosion of our culture. Finding ways to fix our health care system is certainly a start, albeit a task of hurculean proportions.

No doubt, as Mr. Moore suggests, an important first step is that we need to be able to answer this question with pride and confidence again:

"Just who are we, anyway?"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

White Stripes Live Bootleg - Irving Plaza - Icky Thump Tour - June 19, 2007


Just got back from an amazing White Stripes concert at Irving Plaza (Fillmore at Irving Plaza if you're New School).

It was a special show because their new album, Icky Thump, was just released today and they are just about to kick off a big tour (they're playing Madison Square Garden in July). It was also a special show because it was next to impossible to get tickets (i.e. no scalpers, no friends with extras, you must wait in line all night to get tix - thanks Greg!).

Rather than tell you all about it, you can just listen to it here. Thanks to the power of an Edirol-09 Digital Audio recorder, you have access to the White Stripes Live Show from tonight at the Fillmore.

The sound is rough (really rough for the first 2 minutes) because the levels are off. I'm also not an engineer. And the sound was a bit lousy for Irving. Perhaps because Jack White and Meg White pounded so hard.

Anyway, if you're an expert and you know all the songs, please send a set list and I'll post it here. Hope you enjoy the sneak peak at their upcoming tour, and I hope you get a chance to see the White Stripes LIVE soon. It's well worth any wait.

Set 1 - White Stripes Live:

Set 2 - White Stripes Encore:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to Protect Your Identify In 4 Easy Steps

More and more people are getting their identities stolen these days. Unfortunately, I've had to learn a lot about identity theft over the past couple of years so I thought I would share some quick tips to help you protect your identity.

Here are 4 easy steps to helping protect your identity. Each thing on this list can be done for free. There are also services who will do all of this for you for about $10 per month.


First
, contact the credit bureaus and ask them to set fraud alerts on your behalf.

Equifax: 1-877-576-5734; www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com/fraud
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com


Second, make sure you keep this Fraud Alert on your account. You will need to contact one of the credit bureaus every 90 days to make sure the alert is active. It's a simple call, so just put a reminder in your calendar to do this once a quarter.

Third, remove your name from pre-approved credit card and junk mail lists.

Fourth, order a free credit reports at least once per year and go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Look for any problems like addresses or credit cards you do not recognize. Make sure all of the information on your credit report is accurate, otherwise you should get it corrected as soon as possible.

I wouldn't worry too much about this. Just be aware so that you can catch fraud as soon as it occurs and you should be fine.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Old School Coney Island's Days Are Numbered

Here are some shots I took about a year ago when I was at Coney Island. My brother was just there this weekend to catch the rides one last time before they disappear. Click here to see his pictures. Here is today's NYTimes article about the new Disney-style development that is planned for the area...
 
 
 
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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party!


The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, which starts today in Madison Square Park, is the biggest NYC barbecue event of the year by far. And I can't wait! I'm on my way down now actually...

Here are some great BBQ tips from NYMag:

• Here’s the single most important thing to know: Barbecue is a specialist’s art, and this is your one chance to get the best of each kind. That means pulled pork from Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s; whole hog from Ed Mitchell of Mitchell’s BBQ; baby-back ribs from Mike Mills of the 17th Street Bar & Grill; beef ribs from Hill Country BBQ; sausage from Bryan Bracewell at Southside Market; and pork spareribs from Garry Roark at Ubon’s.

• When ordering, it’s not rude to ask the servers to give you particular parts of the meat. When getting pulled pork, ask for some of the “bark,” or “Mr. Brown,” the crusty exterior of the pork butt (a good pork sandwich should always contain some.) For brisket, ask for deckle, the rich, tender cap muscle where all the flavor lives. If someone is about to hand you a gnarly-looking rib or sausage, don’t be ashamed to ask for a different one.

• You can tell if barbecue is done right by certain signs that judges look for in competition. For example, if you take a bite of a rib, the meat should come away cleanly and easily and leave a clear bite mark behind. Pork should be soft enough to shred by hand, but not so soft that it disintegrates. The presence of a ton of sauce is a dead giveaway that the pitmaster has no faith in the taste of his meat.

• Here’s a quick and easy glossary of barbecue terms. “Carolina style” means served with a light vinegar dressing and centers around pulled-pork shoulder. “Pork butt” means pork shoulder. “Texas style” means simply smoked over oak wood, with only salt and pepper as seasoning. “Pink ring” is a coloration of the meat, caused by nitration, that is a sure sign that it has been cooked right. Spareribs are bigger but less tender than baby-back ribs, which come from the loin, the same area as pork chops. “Rub” is a spice mixture that is massaged into the meat before cooking.

Monday, June 04, 2007