October 7, 2009
You may have heard Walt Whitman on TV recently. A 39-second recording from 1890 is possibly an early Edison recording of Walt Whitman reading his poem America. Now, the recording is being used in a Levi's campaign [YouTube version] (the Whitman poem "Pioneers" in the second commercial is read by the blacklisted actor who once played Grandpa Walton); a campaign which some critics think is far too romantic for today's jaded youth.
"The quest to undercut fashion’s standards of perfection, and to find beauty in the disdained, overlooked or overripe, runs throughout Mr. Penn’s career. In an otherwise pristine still life of food, he included a house fly, and in a 1959 close-up, he placed a beetle in a model’s ear." So long, Irving Penn.
DSLR News Shooter is a new photo site featuring the use of the latest HD-dSLRs like the Canon Eos5DmkII, 7D and Nikon D300s for news, documentary and factual shooting. By Guardian news photographer Dan Chung, it's a place for professionals, educators, students and industry figures to discuss the practice and the art of cinematic photography in documenting the real world. For example, the time-lapse and slow-motion film of the recent 60th anniversary parade of the PRC. Other places to look for information and discussion of DSLR video are the Planet5D blog, and filmmakers such as Vincent Laforet and Phillip Bloom. (previous 1, 2)
"QSL cards confirm either a two-way radiocommunication between two amateur radio stations or a one-way reception of a signal from an AM radio, FM radio, television or shortwave broadcasting station. They can also confirm the reception of a two-way radiocommunication by a third party listener. A typical QSL card is the same size and made from the same material as a typical postcard, and most are sent through the mail as such." Here's a substantial collection of them.
The Hay in Art Database lists 6,779 works of art related to hay, such as images of haystacks (Rembrandt, Monet, Lichtenstein) or hay workers (Van Gogh, Picasso). The accompanying blog has essays exploring various themes of hay in art, including hay on water, hay in winter, and rolls in the hay. There is even an introduction to the poetry of hay.
"Gaza Love Story: The Bride Who Crawled Through a Tunnel" "He lived in the Gaza Strip, she in the West Bank. It seemed as though the Israeli blockade would prevent their marriage. Then May risked her life to crawl through a smugglers' tunnel into Gaza and join Mohammed. Now they face an uncertain future together."
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has filed suit against the City of Vancouver over a recently enacted 2010 Olympic bylaw which the BCCLA claims limits free speech and is in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. [more inside]
The Speaking Piano, and Transforming Audio to MIDI - Austrian Composer Peter Ablinger has transformed a child speaking so that it can be played as MIDI events on a mechanically-controlled piano, making the piano a kind of speech speaker.
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this week marked the unveiling of French marionette troupe Royal de Luxe's latest open-air theatre work, The Berlin Reunion. The story is of a young giantess and her uncle, attempting to reunite in the city of Berlin after the uncle destroyed a great sea wall that was thrown up by monsters.
"We’ve processed the messaging habits of almost a million people and are about to basically prove that, despite what you might’ve heard from the Obama campaign and organic cereal commercials, racism is alive and well." The people who run the dating site OkCupid continue to analyze the aggregate data of their users, shedding light on preferences and behavior. The most recent OkTrends post takes a look at their compiled racial data: Your Race Affects Whether People Write You Back. (previously 1 2)
"At 83, he has lived through one third of the lifespan of the United States. If anyone incarnates the American century that has ended, it is him. He was America's greatest essayist, one of its best-selling novelists and the wit at every party. He holidayed with the Kennedys, cruised for men with Tennessee Williams, was urged to run for Congress by Eleanor Roosevelt, co-wrote some of the most iconic Hollywood films, damned US foreign policy from within, sued Truman Capote, got fellated by Jack Kerouac, watched his cousin Al Gore get elected President and still lose the White House, and – finally, bizarrely – befriended and championed the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh." Johann Hari meets Gore Vidal
Winter 1900. You are in Dawson, Alaska. The Klondike Gold Rush is fading. Suddenly... news from Nome - Gold Strike! (on the beach of all things) You are snowed-in at Dawson, and recovering from tetanus. You have to get to Nome before the thousands of other gold seekers. What to do? How about hopping on your bike and riding the 1200 miles across snow and river ice!!! [more inside]
R.I.P. Mr. Magic. Mr. Magic's Rap Attack on WBLS was the first and for some time the only commercial radio outlet for hip hop. On October 2 Mr. Magic, John Rivas, passed from a heart attack. Previously 1 2 3.
Michelle Cottle takes a look at the rise of Betsy "Death Panels" McCaughey - No Exit: The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey: Since her earliest days in the spotlight, McCaughey has presented herself as a just-the-facts-please, above-the-fray political outsider. In reality, she has proved devastatingly adept at manipulating charts and stats to suit her ideological (and personal) ambitions. [more inside]