John Niedermeyer is a Brooklyn-based design manager and internets enthusiast at <a href="http://buzzfeed.com">BuzzFeed</a>. Previously, he was a digital designer and editor at <a href="http://nytimes.com">The New York Times</a>.
In a recent broadcast, the resident propagandist at Fox News takes Rockefeller Center’s vintage public art and architecture to task for promoting Communism and Fascism through murals, friezes, and engravings bearing symbols that subliminally project vile values.
Politics aside, just watching the video, what is Beck’s point? That oil money funds communist revolution? That he is as good a propagandist as the communists?
Lisa and I on the Brooklyn Bridge, taken some time in 2004. (I realize that it was not taken in the past year, but it’s a great photo!)
I can’t let this pass without a mention – last Friday was the 1-year anniversary of our move from Cambridge to Brooklyn. Since then, we’ve started new jobs, reconnected with old friends and made new ones, and had an all-around great time.
I miss Boston from time to time, but couldn’t be happier living and working in New York City. Why would anybody live anywhere else?
Workmen remove a flyer left behind by David Malone, who climbed the New York Times Building several hours before.
For the third time in five weeks, someone has scaled the outside of The New York Times Headquarters. This time, however, it was over and done before most of us got out of bed:
Unlike the two previous climbers, this one — identified later as David Malone, a 29-year-old activist from West Hartford, Conn., who studies Al Qaeda — did not attempt to make his way to the roof. Instead, he unfurled a banner around the fifth floor of the 52-story building, before climbing a few more stories.
I’ve been known to make some blanket pronouncements over the years – such as, “I don’t like cover bands,” only to be proven wrong later. What I discovered was that I quite loved cover bands when they play music that I like, as opposed to the baby boomer prog rock and frat boy drivel that you usually hear.
Apply the same lesson to light shows… fancy lights at rock shows always seemed ridiculous to me; a stoner cliché. Ahh, but fancy light shows accompanying music that I love? That’s awesome!
Ladytron is one such band. As good as many of their records are, their live shows are something bordering on the transcendent. Now, I realize that it is nothing new for electronic bands to have light shows synced to the music, but what is impressive to me about them is their seriousness about playing real instruments, live, in the room. It brings a lot more energy to the show.
But, it has me wondering… how do they sync the lights so perfectly? It’s almost like there is a computer with a line-in feed, processing everything as it’s played.
This morning, Lisa and I had lunch with her Grandma and Grandpa, who visiting this weekend from Buffalo. Grandpa Dick is a retired professional wrestler, who used to be quite big in Japan. In addition to winning numerous wrestling titles, the masked “Destroyer” was a star on the most watched comedy show in Japan’s television history, along with Wada Akiko. But he also was famous in the West – Debbie Harry of Blondie sported some camel-toe in a t-shirt from Dick’s bad guy alter-ego, Dr. X… Hott.
So, we ate a ton of Japanese food while Dick entertained the chefs and waitstaff with his antics and Japanese linguistic skills. The shot above is of a Japanese newspaper.
More photos, and a video of The Destroyer wrestling a bear, after the fold.
I didn’t make any exciting resolutions this New Year, except to get back to my fighting weight, and land a more permanent design job. Looking back on 2007, one thing that stands out is that my Flickr photostream finally became a more real-time photo reflection of my life, with the convenience of my iPhone and its unlimited data plan. Sure, the quality of my photography might have deteriorated, but I’ve always preferred to shoot from the hip anyway. The iPhone suits what I want to do with Flickr.
But for 2008, I’d like to make one small resolution: do more with video. I bought a new point-and-shoot camera that does OK VGA video, (Canon Digital Elph SD750), so I want to put it to use. It’s output is a little grainy, especially in low light, but I think it suits what I want to do with it.
Here is a little idea that I got while walking around the Meatpacking district this past weekend: the Theory store on Gansevoort street has these amazing pulsating colored lights in the window – so I shot them, and then looped them in iMovie, set to The Knife’s live arrangement of “Heartbeats”:
The Iowa Caucus results last night got me thinking about the many competing political cultures present throughout American history. Individualist vs. communitarian, rich vs. poor, urban vs. rural… but, at the core of our national psyche is this tension between the lofty ideals set forth by the Founders, and our attempts and failings to live up to them. For every shining example of Lincoln, FDR, and Martin Luther King Jr., there are generations of back-sliders who prey upon fear in order to gain political advantage. Sure, to everything there is a season, but I’m glad to see that the voters in Iowa embraced hope and rejected cynicism, on both sides of the political spectrum.
History is written by the winners, which is why Americans tend to think of our colonial past and democratic beginnings as built upon and in reaction to English institutions alone – but the story is a little more complicated. It’s not often that I do book reviews, but I just finished re-reading The Island at the Center of the World, The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America [excerpt] by journalist historian Russell Shorto, and wanted to recommend it to anyone looking for some interesting reading on the origins of this country.
The traditional telling of colonial America focuses almost exclusively on the English colonies in Virginia and New England. But, Shorto reminds us that the Dutch were the first Europeans to settle the island of Manhattan, and built some of the most lasting ideals and institutions into the fabric of American political and cultural life.
In six years, Kenny’s vision has grown into a trio of charter schools under the rubric of Village Academies, located in New York precincts where a muscular poverty has thrived for generations. The numbers alone tell a compelling story. Locally, passing rates for seventh-grade math hover around 30 percent. At HVA, the rate is a stunning 96 percent.
In High School, I was always jealous of other kids who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life – it took me until half-way through college before I really found my calling, which explains my liberal arts degree.
So, I’m amazed that there is a Design High School in the Lower East Side. It has a pretty interesting mission:
We believe that when students are engaged in the process of designing, they are learning to observe, seek problems, identify needs, frame problems, work collaboratively, explore and appreciate solutions, weigh alternatives, and communicate their ideas verbally, graphically and physically.
And they even invited artists, students, and staff to create streetart on the roof of the school. Here is a video, from Rocketboom:
MUJI opened in Soho yesterday, and if the crowds were any indication, people are excited. The shop has a nice mix of nicely designed inexpensive clothes and housewares. maxwellgillinghamryan has a video tour on vimeo.
More photos of MUJI, and the new CB2 store next door, after the jump. [from iPhone]
“The Wi-Fi HotZone, which is available today in certain areas, will be fully operational on by month’s end with a footprint of more than 20 city blocks from Times Square to Central Park South and from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue.”
Holy iPhone grail! Who needs to wait for muni-Wi-Fi?
A new Robert Scarano “luxury” condo building at 326 State Street, in Boerum Hill.
A week or two ago, I walked past a new Robert Scarano “luxury” condo building at 326 State Street, in the northern reaches of Boerum Hill. This past Saturday, Tyler and Sarah were down from Boston for a visit, and we walked by again – and they were having an Open House. Why not have a look? [from iPhone]
They were cleaning the Broadway-Lafayette station last night. It always struck me as a particularly filthy station, so I suppose this is good. But, people were walking through the suds, slipping around – the MTA must have some good insurance. [from iPhone]
I haven’t seen this movie since it came out almost 15 years ago, but it really is an animation classic. The stop motion method looks just as cutting-edge and inspiring as anything done by Pixar in the past few years, and I love the many homages to Beetlejuice and other Burton films, (details here). [from iPhone]
We saw it at the Pavilion Park Slope, but I think that it is up in other theaters around the city this week. More photos below the fold.
I’m not sure that I agree with this – we chose to live in Brooklyn over Manhattan, and I would argue that the neighborhoods to the north (Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill) are probably more fitting equivalents. Also, with few exceptions, Carroll Gardens is still very much a family neighborhood. Sure, it might be changing, but take a walk down our street during the day, and you’re going to see a lot of old men who’ve lived there for 50 years, as well as kids playing on the sidewalk. Err, maybe that is what the West Village is like.
Still, can’t deny that Carroll Gardens is awesome, and relatively affordable, considering the restaurant and bar options – we rarely make it into the city on weekends.