Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stranger 149

Helvetica at MoMA!

Wait, how did I not know that the MoMA is running a year-long exhibit on Helvetica in honor of its 50th anniversary?! Amazing. I'm going as soon as I get back to the city.

(In related news, Slate has an interview with various writers discussing their favorite fonts. I never knew courier was so popular!)

Ridgemont Typologies

While unremarkable photographically, Mark Luthringer's "Ridgemont Typologies" are each an interesting study in a sort of bland conformity that emerges in many prefabricated, manufactured American buildings and products. As Luthringer puts it in his Artist's Statement, "The typological array’s inherent ability to depict prevalence and repetition make it the perfect technique for examining the excess, redundancy, and meaningless freedom of our current age of consumption."

Sure, why not.

Don't Fear Columbia

From a David Dinkins column in the NYTimes yesterday:

Columbia University’s proposal to develop the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone of West Harlem over the next two decades is the perfect example of a change that will generate growth and benefit all.


Of course, town-gown partnerships are not without their stresses and strains, and the relationship between Harlem residents and Columbia has not always been the best. Indeed, I was one of those picketing Columbia back in the 1960s, so I know the history and appreciate the concerns that some Harlem residents may have about the university’s plans.

But we should give each other credit where credit is due, and not lose sight of the ways in which the partnership has benefited both groups and provided hundreds of public health and human service programs, educational and cultural exchanges, and workplace experiences and opportunities.

Sigh. I'm pleased that Dinkins bothered to write up a column under the school of "hey guys, I've had my share of hating Columbia too, but..." but he's still failing to address the thousands of residents who are going to be abruptly displaced once Manhattanville construction begins. I fully agree that there are plenty of long-term benefits, but I'm pretty sure the residents of 3333 Broadway care less about "cultural exchanges" and more about having to find new apartments, new schools for their children, and new transportation routes to work...

(Thanks, Gothamist.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Eating Out: The Slanted Door

1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco, CA 94111

For anyone who lives in the bay area, The Slanted Door is quite possibly the best Vietnamese restaurant I've been to in America -- which is saying a lot, considering how frequently I go out of my way to find authentic Viet cuisine. The food is subtle and exquisite, the atmosphere (located right on the Embarcadero with a splendid view of the Bay Bridge) and architecture are elegant and surprisingly trendy, and the waiters are -- dare I say it? -- actually warm and friendly ... a rare occurrence in Asian restauranting. Try the green papaya salad and the oven roasted Alaskan halibut (above); you won't be sorry.

(After two years, I'm still searching for a good Vietnamese restaurant in the greater New York City area -- if anyone has suggestions, I'm getting desperate.)

Stranger 147

Saturday, May 26, 2007

"This Ad Is Not Exactly Kosher"

My favorite ad agency of all time -- Saatchi & Saatchi, creator of brilliant campaigns like 30% Off Everything -- might have put a bit of a dent in their sterling reputation.

Fact Magazine recently ran a series of Doc Martens ads designed by S&S and featuring four punk icons wearing nothing more toga-esque sheets and combat boots. The problem? None of the families/estates of the four deceased musicians -- Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer, and Sid Vicious -- were actually asked for permission before the images (from major stock house Corbis) were used. Once news of the ads reached America, Courteney Love and Mickey Leigh (Joey Ramone's brother) raised a big stink and Doc Martens immediately canceled their contract with Saatchi before issuing a public statement of apology. Said Leigh in his own statement, "And, not that my brother was terribly religious, but the fact that he was Jewish, and this ad is not exactly kosher, makes it that much more inappropriate, inconsiderate and contemptible."

Stranger 146

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stranger 145

Meet DJ -- the son of a Cambodian-Mexican restaurant-owning couple, and the most talkative kid I've ever met.

Eames On Design

"Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem -- the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible -- his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints. Constraints of price, of size, of strength, of balance, of surface, of time and so forth."

-- Charles Eames

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The Grand Canyon, luckily taken so as to avoid the $40 million glass and steel atrocity that is the recently-unveiled Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Stranger 142

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Stranger 139


1. The AIGA Tools/Trade Design Resource Expo is on Monday and features workshops and seminars on sustainability, branding, and a 90-minute preview/discussion of CS3.

2. 12 Important US Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know.

3. The definitive argument for why bikes are better.

4. The web style guide for typography.

5. The NYTimes has really been producing some brilliant web-only graphics recently; first there was a look at the Met's new Greek and Roman galleries (take a look at those scrolling panoramic views!), and now there's an extensive slideshow up on the reconstruction of Juilliard's Alice Tully Hall. Beautiful!

Mix of the Week: Road Trip

Painted Lips, Dirty Knees

01 Elefant - Lolita
02 Vienna Teng - 1 br/1 ba
03 Regina Spektor - Hotel Song
04 The Grateful Dead - Throwing Stones
05 Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
06 Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song
07 The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
08 Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
09 Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
10 Sondre Lerche - The More I See You
11 The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses
12 The Kinks - Mr. Reporter
13 Elliott Smith - Waltz #2
14 Dar Williams - The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed
15 Rilo Kiley - Better Son Or Daughter
16 Rufus Wainwright - In With the Ladies
17 Paul Simon - Still Crazy After All These Years
18 Nick Thompson - Serenading the L Train
19 The Romantics - What I Like About You
20 The Fire Theft - Chain

Friday, May 18, 2007

Stranger 138

Duck, Duck, Orca

Dear Birds of the World,

Really, most of you have the wrong idea. There you are, foraging for crumbs in Central Park or diving for anchovies off the coast of Sri Lanka when you could just as easily be kicking back at Sea World -- taking advantage of soft, generous tourists and stopping by for dinner in the buckets and buckets of fresh fish that are just casually left out every few feet around the entire facility. Who needs survival of the fittest when you can dine with flamingos?


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stranger 137

Final Blair & Bush News Summit

I swear that Tony Blair just said "America, if you want to be popular, you should get on a tank and attack your President."


Lions & Tigers & Bears, &c.

Brazilian graphic designer, typographer, artist, and children's book author Roberto De Vicq De Cumptich has a beautiful website up called Bembo's Zoo, an animated flash accompaniment to his children's picture book of the same name. The premise of the zoo, naturally, is that all of its animals are composed of letters from the classic Bembo typeface (which Stephen Heller explicated enthusiastically and geek-ily in an NYTimes book review, saying that "You do not have to be a type maven to enjoy the conceit of Bembo's Zoo. But it would not be surprising if, after you spend some time with the book, Bembo becomes your favorite typeface."). It's a beautiful little site (the dragon and the turtle are my two favorites, personally), for the typography geeks in all of us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Stealing & Other Douchebaggery

I feel like this is a topic that I specifically need to address, given that several of my friends have recently been subjected to severe bouts of internet plagiarism. And when I say severe, I mean that entire blogs, collections of poetry, and photo galleries have been ripped, copied, and passed off as another individual's work.

This is very, very uncool.

Let me make a few things clear:

1. I believe in a Creative Commons share and share alike approach to all intellectual property on the internet. If you want to source my writing or my photographs with attribution, that's perfectly fine by me. In fact, my narcissistic self gets a kick out of seeing my number of Google hits increase (yeah, yeah, I egosurf -- sue me), so attribute away.

2. I strongly feel that anyone who doesn't want any of his or her images or ideas reproduced at all should just keep all such work offline, because honestly -- you're asking a little much of several billion people not to pass around your nonsense if you're sticking it up on the aptly-named World Wide Web.

3. To that end, I don't go to any great lengths to protect my images. They're up on the internet, they're easily saved (can anyone explain to me why people try so hard to prevent others from right click + saving images when there's this handy little tool called a screenshot?!), and they'd be, in theory, very easy to steal.

4. But. If I ever, EVER catch anyone trying to plagiarize my work, the shit will hit the proverbial fan. Even worse -- and this actually happened to someone I know recently -- try to sell my work, and I will come after you with a baseball bat.

So, you know. Don't say I didn't give you fair warning.

Stranger 135


1. The International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Jacob Javits Convention Center next week should be absolutely glorious. (And, particularly given my recent obsession with chairs, an endless source of sketching inspiration.)

2. A new Australian-based publication called Open Manifesto is taking a critical approach to writing about design and visual communication. Their most recent issue simply asks "What is graphic design?" and features answers from artists, professors, and writers from around the world.

3. For any Pentax users, their 40mm prime "pancake" lens (only 0.6 inches long!) is one of the most beautiful little bits of photographic elegance that I've ever seen.

4. Admittedly, given the amount of time I spend blogging I can't exactly fault anyone for having too much time on his or her hands, but seriously, this is just ridiculous.

5. I recently wanted to point a friend in the direction of one of my favorite books of all time -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince -- and found a wonderful Flash site that provides side-by-side German, English, and French versions of the text. (And this site cataloging images of the book's various covers is a good browse as well.)

The Real Story of JPG Magazine

I've long been a huge fan of JPG Magazine and the idea behind it. Crowdsourcing and all of its resultant projects have always fascinated me, and JPG was an early and efficient implementation of the eager-and-willing internet community's photographic talent. Co-founders and husband-wife duo Derek Powazek and Heather Champ (who also works at Flickr), however, both recently -- and abruptly -- left the magazine. I just recently found out why. I stumbled upon each of their respective posts (Derek's; Heather's) about what catalyzed their departure, and it's a pretty depressing story.

In short, the company's entire history is being re-written (without Derek and Heather, incidentally) and the first six (stunning) issues of JPG have been taken off the site. I don't currently have the PDFs of their first two years of production, but if anyone does and would be willing to e-mail me the files, I'd like to host them off of my site for posterity's sake. Can anyone help?

In the meantime, good luck to Derek and Heather in all future endeavors. I, for one, don't think I'll be uploading any more images to my JPG account any time soon...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007