Sunday, May 31, 2009

Waltz with Bashir

Zeb and I went to see this movie, and it was very devastating but also very good. I think that animation can make horror even more terrible, by removing it a bit from reality. See Maus, which permanently scarred me in 7th grade.

Design*Sponge + Hyde Park = Cool

Hey look! This cool artsy apartment is in MY neighborhood! Hooray for Hyde Park!
Now if only I can get MY apartment to be filled with original artwork from friends, we'll be in business.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blog Stalking Success! Also, Weddings.

So I have been stalking this one wedding for a long time, because I really liked the photography and the way the bridesmaids look so good with their unmatching dresses and bright colors and also how it's all outdoorsy and rustic and fun-looking. And I found it!
via Joanna from Cup of Joe's other blog, Smitten

Monday, May 25, 2009

HDR Imaging

Today I learned something new: High dynamic range imaging, which as far as I can tell from my quick scan of the wikipedia article, means combining several different exposures of the same image in order to get detail at all different light levels. From what I've seen, it usually looks a little freaky and futuristic, but also blindingly cool.
These cool photos are from Chicago photographer Dave Tamburu whose flickr group I stumbled upon.
Also check out this flickr photostream, and his favorites are amazing too!


Zeb & I & two other friends went to see this movie, Fados, about Portugese flamenco-esqe music & dance. The two friends are both dancers, and one is an artist and one is an anthropologist, so they had a lot of intelligent things to say but I just thought it was mostly very beautiful. For awhile there was a shiny reflective floor that I really liked, and the walls/projection screens/changing colors reminded me of Olafur Eliasson and I wished that these dancers could perform inside his "360° room for all colours" that I saw at the MCA.

We went to see it at the Gene Siskel Film Center downtown, which is generally a very nice place to go, but this time there was a lot of ridiculous drama in which an older couple was saving seats for two friends who had not yet arrived even several minutes after the show was supposed to start. They claimed that their friends had already bought tickets, but all the seats in the room were taken but two, and there were four of us standing around who had already bought tickets. There was speculation that two people had sneaked in without tickets, something the young manager told us "rarely but sometimes" happens. Christina whispers to me, "do you think this would happen if we were older?" Louis makes jokes in French to Christina. Eventually the manager told them them that they could not save seats anymore, and they freed them, and another couple obligingly moved so that three of the empty seats were together, but unfortunately the only other free seat was alone in the front row, which each of the four of us gallantly volunteered to take. People can be so ridiculous.


Last Tuesday, Kim & I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see two things: the Buckminster Fuller exhibit, and the Olafur Eliasson show. To be honest, I know almost nothing about modern art, but I had heard of Eliasson from the above picture, taken from The Weather Project at the Tate Modern in 2003-04. I think I saw the picture on a blog somewhere, or perhaps when I was looking up info on waterfalls he created in the rivers around NYC last summer. I did not get a chance to see them the one day I was in the city, but I hear from New Yorkers that they were pretty cool. The MCA exhibit is more of a random mix of his various projects, rather than an installation around a single theme, but it was awesome. We started in a long hallway filled with single-spectrum yellow light, washing out all colors but shades of black and yellow. The Inverted Berlin Sphere was particularly awesome, sending bits of light all over the room, and was a definite connection to the fantastic geometric shapes of Buckminster Fuller upstairs. There was a wall of live reindeer moss (if only it was live reindeer, huh?) from floor to ceiling, bulging out a bit at the bottom (maybe from gravity) which was both serene and a little creepy. There was a circular room whose walls gradually changed all the colors of the spectrum, which I have been thinking about and wishing it could be used in conjuction with other things (dance studio?). After leaving this, we almost missed the dark entrance into Beauty, truly gorgeous installation. We blindly climb up a short ramp, the ground feels squishy, there's a strange dampness, a funny smell. As we round the corner we realize it is water that we are smelling and feeling, and we see a fine mist spotlighted, falling from the ceiling. We were in the museum on a free afternoon, so the room was packed with every kind of Chicagoan, but after a short time everyone fell silent. You know the strange stillness when everyone in a crowded room, say, a party, or a movie theater, stops talking all at once? It was like that only it hung and hung. Maybe everyone realized how nice it was to be silent and feel the quiet and the darkness and the mist.

Then, we went upstairs to the Buckminister Fuller exhibit. Not only was this guy a visionary, but he was coming up with sustainable, affordable, pre-fab housing as early as the 1920s! Way before any of those terms were even in use, much less popular. This reminded me of something Zeb had been saying to me just a few days before, that the 20s and 30s were a "moment" when people thought that the world does not have to be the way it is, and sought radical ways to change it. Then came the war, and the 50s, and people were scared back into conformity. He claims that therefore the radical 60s were really not all that radical, and that people today have largely lost the sense of potential for change. (Sorry to digress on the topic of my boyfriend, the Marxist. Back to Bucky). Bucky had a few ideas that I'll have to dismiss as the Le Corbusier fallacy, which is that people want to live in simple-looking high-rise structures. I read this silly book by Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness, and pretty much the only time I agreed with him is when he says that Le Corbusier's plans for super-high-rise public housing structures to replace Paris were basically doomed to failure, and it would have been a major loss had they actually been built. Bucky had similar ideas of putting lots of people very close together, in floating pyramids and huge balloon spheres, which look beautiful and amazing and futuristic but I think would drive people who lived in them crazy. Kim studied biochemistry, so she could really appreciate the geometrical designs drawn from nature, and I liked it because I am a big dork and it reminded me of my mathemetician father, and also because I love geodesic domes. There is one across the bay from my grandparents' house in Alabama, and it looks really funny but is almost hurricane-proof.
And by "I am a huge dork" I mean: look at this! They are stellated icosahedrons! They are so cool!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ruche: New Eco-Friendly Shop

Today I found this store, Ruche, which has an "eco-friendly" category. I checked it out, and it seems to have the lovely, feminine, vintage aesthetic of Anthropologie with the eco-friendly attitude of something like Stewart & Brown. But wait, there's more! The organic cotton dress, it's $37, the tank top, $25. For someone like me used to shopping at Unique on half-price Mondays, that's a bit much, but in the real world, it's reasonable. So, hooray for Ruche! And thanks to Lola B, who commented here and for whose blog Ruche is a sponsor.

Also, how pretty are the model's freckles? So Pretty.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book Design

A lot of the blogs I read are really into book covers, but somehow none of what they post really excites me. This gets close: a collection of vintage Penguin & Pelican paperbacks.

But what I really want is a collection of the covers of novels printed in India in the 70s. I'll post some photos later that I've taken at work. I don't think any of them are in English.

Here are some amazing ones! Apparently someone else (in Minnesota, of all places) shares my little obsession.

Bengali Painters

Sometimes when I'm shelving & pulling books at the library I work at, I come upon some real gems, like these two painters.

Zainul Abedin painted the suffering he saw in the famine in 1943, and was also a part of the Bangladeshi independence movement. The famine pictures are the first ones I saw. He was part of the Calcutta Group, the first group of modern artists in India.
Abanindranath Tagore has a more romantic style, lot of soft colors and traditional subject matter. Unfortunately I couldn't find many good images online, but the whole school of art he started, the Bengal school, has a similar aesthetic.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Adhan

Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo - Teaser from On Look Films on Vimeo.

This video pretty much brought me to tears. Maybe it's just that kind of day, or maybe it's the most beautiful sound in the world. How do I reconcile that thought with my Lutheran-ness? Good question.

Baby, I need to slow it down just a little and take my time

Amazing, truly. I found this from Megsie, who would be just like Sharon Jones except she is a skinny white super-glam marine biologist.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alicia Bock

I was recently reminded of Simple Shoes, in my last post, by comments on this post from Unruly Things. One person who recommended Simple was this lovely photographer, Alicia Bock, of whom I instantly became a big fan. See her blog here, and her photos, like this one, which I love, because it's both romantic (Paris! rooftops! lovely soft gray tones! and unexpected (look at all those orange chimneys and air ducts).

Simple Shoes

Should I buy these shoes? They are from Simple Shoes, which is very eco-friendly. Even though they are made of leather, the rest of it is all recycled & organic. The bottom is an old car tire! And I never claimed to be vegan. Still, they are $70! But I have been looking for comfy leather sneakers for awhile, to keep my feet dryer and warmer and to last longer. I have vivid memories of walking around Ukie Village with Jess, who was warm and toasty in her leather sneakers, while my toes froze in the freakishly cold wind (and chances are, although I don't recall, there was also "wintry mix"). That perforated nylon-like stuff on athletic sneakers doesn't do a thing, and converse & other canvas sneakers are more appropriate to less evil climates than Chicago's.

Soul Makossa

One of my good friends, the wonderful Lila, loves the Michael Jackson song "Please Don't Stop the Music," mostly for the little riff that sounds like "mama se mama sa mama ma cu sa." She had heard somewhere that the words were Swahili, but I did some research and it comes from this awesome "afrobeat" Cameroonian sax player, Manu Dibango. Apparently, this song was the first disco song.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I make my new year's resolution fashionably late, in May.

After some deliberation & guilt over buying pricey stuff from catalogs, I have decided not to buy any new clothing that isn't at least trying to be made in a sustainable & responsible way. This rules out pretty much all chain stores, which is both a bummer and a relief. Instead of wanting the stuff in the JCrew catalog, I can a) think about how to make stuff with my sweet sewing machine and b) think about other ways to wear the (endless piles of) clothes I've already got. I would prefer something from a company like Patagonia, Loomstate, Stewart & Brown, etc, or something with a similar "green" goal, but will also consider things made in the US by fairly paid people, like American Apparel (even though I hate their "sexy" and ever present ads, and their hipster aesthetic). I bought some boots from LLBean, who I think is ok. (they're from Maine, how can they be evil?) I needed a planner/notebook to keep my glamorous life in order, so I bought one made by a small company in Maine. It was made out of leather, and I did buy it from Barnes & Noble instead of the local independent bookstore (my old employer), which takes points off, but 57th Street Books only has Moleskine journals, and everyone and their mom has a Moleskine and Moleskines do not come in shiny bronze. So I think, even with all those points off, I made the right choice.

If anyone wants to recommend for me some environmentally or socially responsible leggings/skinny pants, I am in the market for some. I am completing my transformation into a total hipster, and I need some skinny pants. Like these, from AA:
Or these, that I found on ebay but will not buy because they don't fit my ideals, or these. They were made I think in South Korea, which may or may not mean they were fairly made, but then they were imported such a long way, and there is no environmental claims made, so I think they are out. Although they are cute.

These are what I am considering. I am willing to drop mad dough on these because I only buy pants like once every 2 years. I found this website with a google search for "green jeans leggings" or something like that and it looks like quite the resource.
Pivot Boutique, where I would buy all my clothes if I could afford it, and ever went up to the North Side. -- "organic. sustainable. green. hemp. made in the usa. ethical. lovely." Yes, please.

Looking at clothing I will probably not buy takes up most of my time online, so there will be more posts about this kind of thing. For now, a few photos.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lace Dresses & Music

I've wanted a lace dress for awhile, kind of like this one from Newport News, although this picture is totally ridiculous. I think they are feminine and pretty but also a bit unexpected.

Also, I stumbled upon deezer, an online jukebox/free streaming music from blogs like thecherryblossomgirl (her name is Alix, and she is very French) and ninainvorm, who is Dutch. I like it, and it's concept (cool Euro music for free) but I cannot figure out how it works and it only plays the one featured song all the time. With great difficulty I have managed to play other things, but the bottom of the site always says "you are listening to: Au Revoir Simone" but I am not! The player is playing the same song over and over again, and it is decidely not Au Revoir Simone. Any help?