Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Dada Factory Humanitarian Division: Teaching Film in Palestine!

All's been quiet on the productivity front for this boy. Last time you heard a peep from me about work it was either my job as mobile teacher with the 337 Project's Art Truck or back with the Tale of Don Giovanni. I've been busy, here and there, ever since, but it's time for another big project, which I'm very pleased to announce.

I'm going for 3 months to teach film in Palestine as a volunteer with Project Hope. This is a culmination of several personal goals of mine that stretch so very far back to the last time I was in the Middle East, the summer of 2006, in Egypt. Also embedded in this trip are my desires to use the mediums tentatively under my control to do some good and spread ideas, stories, and information worth hearing about, in this case through film. I'm a little leery of the role a documentarian holds, the recorder of other people's stories, it seems to walk a fine line between authorship and ownership, I'm attracted to other ways.

The premise of my project in Palestine is simple: Give kids cameras, let them tell their stories. If that particular mission rings a bell, it's with good reason. I've always been inspired by co-SLC'er Geralyn Dreyfous' Kids with Cameras project, most well known for their involvement in the excellent movie Born into Brothels. Then there's my co-conspiritor John Schafer, of Children's Media Workshop, who goes around with the audacity to use cameras to make education fun. I'd be working with these folks, hopefully, and following in their footsteps, but in a whole different direction.

Palestine's a hard place to get your head around, harder still to articulate, and often divided along contentious ideological lines that go back generations and even epochs. I hope to do a little good while I'm there, make some friends with Jews and Arabs, and learn a ton.

I'll be living in the City of Nablus, north of Jerusalem, entirely Arabic speaking, surrounded by Israeli checkpoints. The city has a beautiful, warrenous old city Kasbah and sits in the hills, it's a mix of humming contemporary development and impoverished decrepitude.

via Velvetart

Unemployment is at 60%, as high as 80% in the refugee camps I'd be teaching in. I'm excited to explore there, this image search has a smattering of relevant pictures. Notice, even in the rhetoric and claims behind those images, how ideologically contentious this area is.

My goals: To enable students to capture aspects of their situation, stories, and lives on camera in a skilled and watchable manner.
My teaching will have an emphasis on narrative, clarity, and image control, with very little agenda when it comes to content or message. If the youth I work with want to write a screenplay and execute it to practice their English they can, if they want to do stop frame animation or mini-documentaries we'll go in that direction. I'll encourage it all. Due to the social and political climate in Palestine my lesson plan in the program will be very flexible, but my goal is to enable a few kids to get their images out, both through blogs/youtube/social media and hopefully through international children's film festivals.

It is important for underprivileged youth to be connected with the world at large and to be able to express their perspective in a creative, compelling manner. This has the benefit of giving the youth a constructive outlet for frustrations and creative energy. In teaching students how to construct a comprehensible film narrative you also build their analytical and communication skills across the board, while allowing them to invest, explore, and break rules.

After the production-based learning experiences, the product of these explorations can be published on a variety of scales. All of which inform the external world about a situation whose media coverage is typically biased, glossed over, dehumanized, or distanced. Further, Internet access is one of the few amenities Palestinians have, it should be used to its maximum capacity both as a connector and a validation for the youth.

In any case, it'll be quite the experience, I'm incredibly excited and looking forward to it. If you're in Salt Lake I'll be having a going away party on the 16th of December at the Salt Lake Art Center:

Music, food, fun. The race before'll be cold and great. I'll maybe play a scene or two from "Paradise Now" and maybe some film stuff I've done. I'll be raffling off two of my bikes to raise money for the trip too, more info soon :).

If you feel so inclined, you can even donate to the project through the sidebar on the right, I'd really appreciate it.If you're not the money type you can make a music mix to speed me along my way, or bring food/snacks/drinks to the party at the Art Center.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Go To Hell: New Theater from... a New Theater.

Go To Hell. A flippant condemnation, and a preview of things to come. There's lots of skin-deep but fiery anger behind the first production from The New Works Theater Machine, and a whole lot more to behold.

The New Works Theater Machine occupies a black box theater nestled in that delicious space, the Pickle Factory. Its ambitions are to push new ground in storytelling and to break away from conventional theater. In fact, Go To Hell's writer/director Jeremy Catterton seems to shudder at the very word 'theater.' He prefers other pseudonyms for live performance. One can support his claim, in a way, because he and his crew are certainly throwing a lot at you.

The play chews up and re-imagines the Myth of Orpheus, a classic tale of love and descent into the depths of hell. It does so with sprightly, rapid-fire dialog and snappy shifts between deeply energetic emotional drama, a kind of lounge comedy, sensational horror, and tiny interludes of multimedia revery. That variety, set in a contemporary frame story of a love gone sour, twists the audience's neck and keeps us very entertained, true to the Greek roots. The vodka-swilling, trash talking, motorcycling Charon (John Kuehne) steals the show with his Bar-room brooklynite attitude and drunken tirades. Equally impressive are the nightmarish sequences of Hades and his Shades who, with the help of consistently creepy performances and nerve-jangling special effects, do justice on a very small budget to the kinds of shocks horror films have desensitized us to.

Where the show falters is with the frame story between Orpheus (Tyson Brett) and Eurydice (Rhiannon Ross). This tale of two lovers, I speculate, is intended to invoke in the viewer an emotional push-pull between the prison that banal love places us in and the infuriating depth to which we are invested in those normal agonies of human relationship. The clever dialog of matrimonial loathing seems targeted towards the interpersonal hells and suffering we create in failed relationships. The problem is the audience isn't given much to invest in. The setup for Brett and Ross' relationship is short and almost effective, but they so quickly degenerate into hateful, scathing tirades toward one another that their characters become two dimensional. The lead woman in particular is given a pretty difficult task to overcome, as her character direction seems to allow her only operate within the predictable and uncreative confines of over-the-top-anger, over-the-top-fear, and over-the-top...domesticity, if such a thing is even possible.

Further, the basis on which the lead relationship is defined seems so incredibly vague (issues with jobs, material concerns like countertops and mortgages) that rather than being examining or critical of a mainstream existence they simply appear unimaginative and uncompelling. Further compelling dramatic chances are missed when Eurydice's ultimate betrayal of Orpheus isn't confronted by either character, leaving us with merely suffering of the flesh. For an ambitious drama about the infinite hells we create between us, there's a simplicity to the drama that seems unambitious.

All in all, I would and will go to this play again. It provides an impressive conflux of genres and stories, its dialog dazzles, and the laughs and terror are genuine. Further, this is the first work of a fledgling theater company, they did a damn good job, and if anything the nit-picky specificity of my criticisms show how well-executed the company really was. They got me invested enough to deal with sub-textual flaws, rather than being embarrassed into silence on the show's behalf.

Go watch it, it's running Thursdays and Weekends through December 18th.
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A Conflicted Radiance A new film on Jean-Michel Basquiat

by Davey Davis
Originally Published in 15 Bytes.
Of the people who know the childlike, energy-filled, and massively busy works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, most are familiar with the orbiting cautionary tale of success and the art market which consumed and destroyed him, as typified in the 1996 eponymous Hollywood film.

The newly released The Radiant Child contributes an excellent human dimension to that story, a sad portrait of the artist which praises the depth of his work and examines the subjects of his struggles. It is crafted lovingly: bright, lively edits and grainy hand-held film give it an intimate touch, a rarity. One of the great resources of the film is director Tamra Davis' raw interview with Basquiat reflecting candidly on his situation. There's a hypnotism looking into the the long-dead artist's face: he was such a charmer and a cipher. But unfortunately this documentary is not just about the work of the artist and the artist himself, and around that issue Radiant Child is discomforting.

The problem with this film is that it is a praising retrospective of a martyred young artist by all his friends, patrons, collectors and admirers, who seem to have grown up, sleeked up, and landed careers as psychiatrists, designers and massively influential curators. Their youthful freedom and immaturity was something Basquiat didn't live through. It is not unrealistic to expect people to grow up, but the contrast between the youthful energy of Basquiat's era and the established, wealthy art world remembering it loads the film with tension.

If Basquiat's story is admirable and tragic it is because he was a fragile creative soul who was destroyed by his skyrocketing success--which he was unable to adapt to--and the art market's insatiable appetite for "the new." The film is peopled by the individuals who contributed to his success and continue to work within that market, yet they never reveal direct remorse or accountability for their role in the whole destructive process which led to his demise. Rene Ricard’s early Art Forum cover story on Basquiat, for example, is presented with little scrutiny from the filmmakers as a prescient chance for the artist’s star to rise, yet the journalist’s words -- “the next person I wrote about needed to be totally unknown, terribly young, very ambitious, I wanted to latch onto a career that I could watch and write about for a long time” -- seem more than a little bit foreboding and parasitic given the context. To this day curators like Diego Cortez and artist Kenny Scharf are quick to take credit for exposing Basquiat to the world at large, but nowhere is there a sound bite from any of these people acknowledging the possibility that their friend was destroyed by the repetitive machine that is their bread and butter. The film does an interesting tap-dance of condemning these insatiable market forces while only referring to the participants in the art game obliquely, “this artificial world,” in some cases, and anonymously in others, placing blame on a faceless "new crowd" of doting groupies that the filmmakers do not provide a spokesperson for. One is left to wonder who this evil art world is composed of, if not the artists, critics, collectors, curators, and gallery owners interviewed in this film.

To Radiant Child's benefit, it excellently portrays Basquiat's work, especially with a series of side-by-side comparisons of various visual and cultural influences to Basquiat’s pieces that literally pop with color and artistic virtue. There is some truly priceless footage of a fellow with a Ph.D. stuttering and stumbling as he attempts to interview Basquiat and backpedal from the racial implications of calling the artist’s work primitive, and the film's connection of his work to be-bop and jazz is a neat insight. It gives the viewer an honest, loving picture of Jean-Michel's rise and fall in the words of the people closest to him. What it fails to do is critique the overall consumptive art market of which they are a part. In fact, the film's treatment of Basquiat's inability to survive as heroic reinforces the mentality that destroyed him. It lapses into a predictable "good die young/'too rare for this world" kind of mantra that fails to engage with the real problems behind a system that quickly consumes a unique style and simultaneously stifles it from changing and demands that it evolve. The collectors and curators ceaselessly argue for the validity of the works in the highest language possible, and their values ever inflate. Now is it a requirement that a film looking back on the career of a young iconographic artist pick apart the mechanics of art-world capitalism? No. But by making this film at this time the interviewees and participants in Basquiat's life and career are put in a very uncomfortable, one could say complicit, position.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, a film by Tamra Davis will be screened at the Salt Lake Art Center November 12 at 7 pm.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lars Bengtsson solves some problems for me.

Mr. Lars Bengtsson has the fanatic honor of having biked 30000+ miles around the world in about every configuration imaginable. I stumbled upon an excerpt from an interview of him that seems appropriate to my current situation:

"The whole world has, as you know, really gone nuts when it comes to fear of a non-existing threat from Islamic countries for example. Almost ten years has gone by since the 9/11 attacks but the fear is still alive and growing, which is very sad.

Me, on the other hand, have spent a long time in about 15-20 Muslim countries over several years and have never had a bad day. Sometimes I wonder what I would be thinking of Islamic countries and the many other minority cultures within them if I had never travelled in them. Maybe I would be one of the many people who feel an unnecessary fear too. Who knows?

At the same time I wish that ordinary people in Muslim countries had more opportunities, so they too could travel around the world and learn about atheism, the West, Christianity, Mother Earth herself and so on. Metaphorically speaking, the best way to build a bridge between two cultures is to start from both sides of the river, not just one side. Things are never painted in black and white but in every colour imaginable. Islam is misunderstood in the West and the West is equally misunderstood in the Muslim world.

I am afraid that if the bridge over the broad cultural river is built from one side only, the whole thing could turn to neo-colonialism. And we have seen that road before, haven´t we? And we don´t want to walk that path again.

But of course – an average woman in Yemen just can´t go to Canada or Romania or Chile for a couple of months to learn and hopefully got a wider perspective about the world and it´s people – but it would be amazing if she could. Today only people from the West can afford the luxury to do that kind of travel." Read More......

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Greg's Hasselblad x Lindsey Collabo

I think good things about this picture.

Especially considering the conflux of people and technologies it took to make it. Greg, who burns fast and brightly forward with a yearning eye on the past, and Lindsey, made of steel, wool, wood and horsehair, quietly transforming the world onto a real scale. A film image on the highest-quality camera of yesteryear (I think), uploaded hi-res into pixels on flickr.

Well done. Read More......

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Laura Decker's up to!

My ol' buddy Laura D's been busy, she and her boyfriend Max make all manner of art together, their styles contrast greatly and the overlap is the precious thing to me! I love Max's pictures of Laura:

Coupled with Laura's pictures of them:

Together they are Bird Brain Press, they just had an interview write-up in Gavin's underground, check it out and see what's on their minds!

Cute buggers. Read More......

sebastian errazuriz: american kills

Found this via Greg Hebard, more info at designboom.

Public Art, public statistics. Putting the two together. Instantly more appealing to me than any number of theory-based conceptual art pieces. Keep it up. Read More......

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peaceful Uprising and performance that matters

I haven't been that into art of late. I've spent a lot of time being underwhelmed, not feeling that lifting feeling of inspiration that got me into this world of expression in the first place. When I think of communicating the importance of expression I get disdainful, failing to see how expression for expression's sake can do anything more than provide a consumptive market with MORE. NEW. STUFF.

This perspective forgets, of course, the huge power that comes with expression. The power to awaken people, to make things clear, to teach and spread truths in the hope of a better world.

And what a better way than to be reminded of that by Peaceful Uprising.

If you aren't familiar, Peaceful Uprising is a group "committed to defending a livable future through empowering nonviolent action." They're Utah based, and (quite effectively) sprang up around the case of Tim DeChristopher, who used direct action as an attempt to block illegal land auctions in southern Utah, an action which in part led to the government realizing its mistake and dissolving the agreements Tim was disputing. Tim is still being held on federal trial, however.

The trial has been posponed multiple times, it becomes clearer and clearer that the prosecution is unwilling to allow Tim to make a case for himself while he holds a media spotlight. So he and Peaceful Uprising decided to hold the trial themselves. In public. With puppets. And excellent, directly political dialoge that provides specific ideas and actions to take in its commentary.

I went to the Exchange Place Plaza last Friday to film the performance. Here're some highlights:

You can see the entire half-hour long performance here. I'd suggest checking it out, there's a ton of informative stuff about how we got into the current state of affairs. The performance outlines how corporate power came to weigh so heavily in the civic domain, and what we can do about it.

So what we have here is art. Street theater. It may not be as polished and perfected as the majority of gallery shows out there right now, but it has something most of them do not: Direct, actionable content. I'm sick of vague dithering, and very happy this group is working hard to awaken people to their options in the face of vast environmental injustice. Read More......

Some thoughts on economy and activism

Next post up: Peaceful Uprising's Climate Trial 

I got a second to pull Tim away into a darkened pinball room later that evening and grill him about Economics. We talked about various ways to make anti-consumerism more economically viable, alternative economic models to the current hyper-growth that most of America thinks is the only way. He made the point that in our current model all forms of resources are subsidized heavily. All forms of labor, however, are taxed. This provides as financial incentive for consumptive business models over social business models. If you reverse those subsidies and taxes then labor becomes valued.  

We also talked about steady-state economics, models where your economy needn't grow at a massive rate to keep up with the inflation of national debt, among other things. The problem being that shifting from that consumption system to a stable one is in practical terms impossible. 

The system, most likely, needs to be shown it is unsustainable by completely collapsing. Strap-on-the-boots style collapse. Peaceful Uprising and others try to shift the tide as much as possible before that collapse because that creates an alternative to build towards. 

It needn't be embraced by the community at large to be effective, either. Tim made the point that if 10% of America can be convinced that business-as-usual industrialism is not a working model, then there are 30 million people who can be activated. And what can any force do in the face of those numbers? The trick is getting them to care, and act. 

Tim's actions are effective because he's willing to articulate his motives to anyone who will listen. That gives him the advantage over big industry and big oil, who are forced to backpedal and refute his claims from the get-go rather than determine the framework of the issue. I find a pretty illuminating contrast in the case of Jordan Halliday, a local guy who was just sentenced with 10 months for resisting a Grand Jury.  Jordan's tactics, for whatever reason, haven't been as successful as Tim's. In my opinion, Tim's openness to talk to the press and publicize on his own terms turned him into a media figure, while Jordan's commitment to silence on any ideological stances he may have meant the prosecution was able to walk all over him. Tim's also had a lot of practice, now so his arguments have become very convincing to most anybody who takes a second to think through what he's saying. 
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This really happened...

I have an extreme dislike for stuff. That is to say, consumerism. Stuff for stuff's sake.

I created a scene this week when I was accosted with various pointless money schemes by a poor unsuspecting Wells Fargo teller, who then tried to solve my problems for me. Our exchange went a little like this:
"I like my banking to be simple. If I could put my money in a box and knew it'd be there when I went back for it I would do it. I've never been in debt and don't plan to be, I've never taken a loan and don't plan to."
I said this with a look of hopeful expectation, as if bankers, of all people, would understand the desire for firm, dependable capital. Not so. A mere second later my bubbly, hipster-housewifey teller replies:
"You know what you should DO?! You should open a holiday account!"
I felt like I was talking to a monkey.
"The last thing I need is another account. I don't spend money. On anything."
"But, look, you'd get this horse!" She replies, with a look of 'aha' triumph. She grabs a stuffed animal horse from nearby. I'd noticed the things proliferating around the bank branch.
I lost it.
"I don't want a horse! I don't want another account!"
"But look how cute and fluffy he is!"
"He's not cute and fluffy! He's been unlovingly stitched together on a third world assembly line and stuffed with processed crap! No one needs a new account and no one needs a stuffed horse!"

I realized at this point the branch was rather full of recently quieted, worried-looking people.

I smiled. "Sorry about that. See you later." Read More......

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In the screen.

I was planning on watching only a moment of this Miwa Matreyek performance/animation, but was transfixed. Imposing screens onto live actors or 3 dimensional space does odd things to the mind of the viewer, who is expecting a discrete world to be drawn into and instead finds an interaction. Is it possible this path might lead to 'performative' video games that, unlike the current genre, are actually fun to spectate?

Brilliant. I have some idea how she does it too, though the illuminated hands are a mystery to me. There's incredible potential in this medium for dancers, I think, and combining with projection mapping:

Which Al is working on for the Leonardo at the moment, I believe.

On an unrelated note, I don't listen to enough music. These guys do. This local blog has been an immense undertaking in the last 3 years, I don't know how I didn't hear about it. Hats off, Potters! I've recently become aware that all my previous music sources are more or less dysfunctional or broken, and as I hate CD's and paid-for music that can disappear if you switch platforms I'm on the lookout for new downloadable venues. Read More......

Thursday, October 28, 2010


"The Higgs boson is the only Standard Model particle that has not been observed and is thought to be the mediator of mass. Experimental detection of the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass in the universe. The Higgs boson would explain the difference between the massless photon, which mediates electromagnetism, and the massive W and Z bosons, which mediate the weak force. If the Higgs boson exists, it is an integral and pervasive component of the material world."

via wiki, and of course this. Read More......

"Hi," said Hayduke, grinning. "I'm a hippie."

Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang: An incredibly sad old book, by the end of things. I wanted desperately to believe old Hayduke made it. Filled my heart with hope that he'd outfoxed them again. The book's free-heeled carelessness up until the butch-cassidy-style standoff was what really did me in, I loved those irreverent anarchists scrabbling at each other, trying to do the right thing, whatever that was. When they finally drop off, one by one, in the dusty canyons and against implacable, stupid greedy conservative militarism you really feel hopeless. The saddest thing about it is what an antiquated book it is, too. Abbey's grasp on the unstoppable industry machine was 35 years ahead of its time, and we're too shocked and awed by all the bullshit going on right now to get our heads around how to respond. It's a slippery world of uselessness and manipulated media out there all right, the damming of Glen Canyon seems like a petty trifle in comparison. We need a hundred Haydukes, some proper outrage. Read More......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Revelations, Destroy All Nations.

Two quick things:
It's pressing and apparent to me now more than ever how artificial and restricting national identities are in terms of jobs, freedom of location, and culture. Nations are on the decline, common ground as a currency of identity on the rise. Most rockin' case in point: fantastic music video of Gogol Bordello's "Immigrandia" and interview with lead singer Eugene Hutz.

In a tangential but very related note, XKCD has come out with a boggling comic mapping the amount of social time spent online and dividing it into 'nations.' Maps like these seem as relevant as the old fashioned ideas of a shared culture or nation in grouping human energy. Maps of belief, network, community, language fluency, skill set, and so on should serve as a counter-identity to the rigid box of 'American.' Those boundaries are as imaginary as they are based on convenient circumstance to enforce.

It must help that right now I'm applying to volunteer in a part of the world reduced to country-wide incarceration and war over abstract notions like statehood and deity worship. There's something terrifyingly disproportionate about the correlation of human-created categories and actual widespread human suffering. Read More......

Dad and Kid in Brooklyn send video camera into space

... And back again! So amazing:

These guys probably used a GoPro Camera, the resulting footage is spectacular. Read More......

Monday, October 11, 2010

Davey D, Hardest working man in Hip-hop.

Did you know?

I appear to be a respectable black journalist!
Check out Davey D's Hip-Hop Corner.

I'm going to jump ahead through the train-of-links that got me to this video, because if you watch one thing from this blog post it's going to have to be this little message of Cornell West's. I love this man:

But back to Davey D. He's not only got a great and distinguished sobriquet, but he seems to be fighting the good fight, as well. This clip particularly resonates with me, I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about messaging in mainstream hiphop and the lack of humanity in it.

Next, linking away, I found Mr. Davey D talking with aforementioned favorite eloquent brother of all time, Cornell West:
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A year ago I met a fellow on my travels in Paris. He was American, working a fairly stable but uninspiring job on Berkeley campus, but was taking an extended holiday (or internship) in Paris. On one of his last days there we were out running around until late in the evening, he was jubilant, snapping pictures, buying things for people, and lamenting that he had to leave.

"Come back, Zach" I said. "You could live here. You speak the language, you've got everything it takes!"
He shrugged. "I can't just up and move. I have too many people relying on me at home, and nothing really set up here."
The night was fresh around us. People walking to and fro over ancient bridges, kebabs and snacks in their hands. "Seriously, my friend" I said, tossing a chip into my mouth, "It's as simple as wanting it."

He works here, now:

I need to learn to take my own damn advice. Read More......

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lloyd Kahn: Post Domes

Great little 16mm film about building your own home, working with your hands, why Geodesic domes suck, the privilege of the hippy movement, and longboarding in the suburbs.

SHELTER from jason sussberg on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some kind of Madness

The 25th and 26th of this month'll be fun.
First, I'm taking the Art Truck up to Ogden for 8 hours or so, then traxing/riding back. Next I'll be involved with this:

I have no idea what it is, but I do know it's 48 hours of straight performance art, and I'll be working at the art center 9pm to 4 AM (!!!) The night of the 25th to 26th. Further, knowing Gary Vlasic's antics and looking at the flier art, I'm expecting something equestrian and ritualistic, like the climactic scene of Equus slowed down 500 times:

wow. All I can say is wow. Then, it's up the next day to race in Chris's Techtastic Alleycat, Happening at 2:00 PM on the 26th on the U campus, somewhere. I'll get the specifics on that forthwith.

All in all, sounds like fun! Read More......

Monday, September 13, 2010

Technomadism and Sense

I've found a movement that immediately appeals to me: technomadism and neo-minimalism, the move from many things you don't need to a few things that do everything at once, in order to be comfortable and productive anywhere, anytime. A quest that for me began with my bicycle began shaping my choices of luggage, computers, camera equipment and clothing. Cameras must be smaller and more portable, justifying their presence in cross-continental journeys but still delivering high-definition footage. Pants should never wear out, and be versatile enough that one can get away with carrying one pair. Everything should fit easily in a bicycle saddlebag or small backpack.

Boing-boing's released an excellent special feature by Sean Bonner, an account of his own adventures and a bit of a manifesto on throwing away the excess crap that slows you down: Neo-Minimalism and the Rise of Technomads. Sean also has a cute little tumblr site with zen tidbits and general decluttering advice to go with the movement.

This is great and all, this striving to travel light as a feather while still maintaining your link to the glowing webs. But as a featherweight chronic traveler I also know where there's danger in going too far. Bouncing from place to place is glamorous, sleek-designed objects give the appearance of solving all problems. But there is tons of hard, concrete work that supported the creation of those i-whatsits and allowed for easy travel to all points on the globe. Not all of that work was done in ethical or environmentally sustainable circumstances. Further, Sometimes all the digital extensions of an online individual seem just as cluttered as a house full of junk, but with a variety of accounts, interests, spin-off avatars, instead of spare tools, knicknacks, lotions and extra clothing. Sometimes bouncing between digital interests and forums and blogs makes my head swim, and I wonder how productive we're actually being.

Take for example Sean's 12-Hour trip to Dublin. Highlights include patronizing an art museum, a veggie Kabob shop, and drinking 10 cups of coffee. I wonder if this frantic nomadism is justified when the end-result is just some intercontinental dilettantism. Having the tools to get things done quickly is great, and being able to spread the results over a variety of outlets equally validating, but it's important to focus on... staying focused. Don't let the digital pace overwhelm your ability to spend time on deeper contributions in your area of fascination. Read More......

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Alphabet Soup

My favorite boing boing post today comes from a reader, who compiled a zeitgeist alphabet based off of Google's new insta-search feature. Know what the world is thinking about, in all its crummy glory!

A is for Amazon, to get all your books.
B is for Bank of America, which holds all your crooks.
C is for Craigslist, no services adult.
D is for Dictionary, to define your result.
E is for eBay, to spend all your cash.
F is for Facebook, web pages like trash.
G is for Gmail, world domination ambition.
H is for Hotmail, Gmail's competition.
I is for Ikea, for a lamp named Bljampäjese.
J is for Johns Hopkins, where they cure your disease.
K is for Kohl's, a store that's old-school.
L is for Lowe's, to buy your tool.
M is for MapQuest, for the place you go to.
N is for Netflix, to add to your queue.
O is for Orioles, a Baltimore obsession.
P is for Pandora, an audio digression.
Q is for QVC, for goods without esteem.
R is for Ravens, another Baltimore team.
S is for Sears, appliances and more.
T is for Target, a Wal-Mart like store.
U is for USPS, where mail you submit.
V is for Verizon, Steve Jobs should use it.
W is for Weather, for forests in flames.
X is for Xbox, a console for games.
Y is for Yahoo, a home page for Chrome.
Z is for Zillow, to value your home. Read More......

Urban Gallery All-Star Face Off

Mark off some time next weekend to check out the 337 Project's Urban Gallery All Star Face Off, a mural painting competition that's the best thing since last year's. The list of artists looks great and I can't wait to see what comes up, especially from Rachel Domingo and Kier Defstar. Yeah!
Read More......

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Yoinked from the soon-released Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Street Art. I'm very excited about this. It looks like an excellently curated compendium of permissionless work with some very good text too. I'll be getting it post-haste as it book-ends with my current writing project quite nicely. Read More......

Everynone: Words

Best Podcast Ever Radiolab has joined forces with a film group called Everynone on their most recent podcast: Words. The resulting video is an altogether great visual exploration of a word-association game, though a little cheesy at times:

full text and interpretation over at motionographer. The genre of videos that exist in this length, between story and music video, is a fun place to play indeed. Read More......

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Combat in Iraq Over

Majid Saeedi's  Photo of an Afgan woman's hands used completely out of context from TheBigPicture

It may be that I've lived to see an American war open and close within the scope of my awareness. President Obama released a newscast declaring an end to the American Combat phase of the Iraq War, as covered here in the Times. The article's quite good at capturing both the monumental importance of this moment and the bittersweet political and emotional murkiness that surrounds our seemingly unending militaristic nature as a nation. Because of course we have to end our wars. American hubris also requires, unfortunately, that we end them without staining the global tablecloth or our delusional clean-white conscience, and I'm afraid that just isn't the reality. The harm and trauma from this war will reach far beyond its official conclusion. Fingers will be pointed, political sides taken, egos bolstered or deflated in the glammy non sequuntur this country has become defined by. Iraq will be left in the wayside, broken, regardless of what we think. Animosity will have generated at an irreconcilable rate, regardless. We are responsible. America is responsible.

America is also broke. We cannot fight another war and shouldn't, yet it won't surprise me in the slightest if suddenly we dive into Iran, on another fabricated (or maliciously engineered) pretext as we did in Vietnam, Iraq, and I'm sure others. Only to find out years later that an entire generation of suffering, waste, death and hatred was no more necessary than the belief that star-bellied sneeches are better than plain ones. We have to stop or we won't survive this.

Seven years ago when this war began I was still in High School. I remember the entire landslide of falsehoods and fearmongering rancor. I was compelled to do something about it, and entered into college a Middle Eastern Studies/ Journalism major, with an emphasis on Arabic. I felt it my place in the world to correct some of the injustice toward the Middle East perpetrated by my country.

The tenacity of that goal has fallen by the wayside, and as complicated as it is I still curse my own weaknesses  which led to it. I know so little about the world, and seem to lose more ground every day as I learn more, but I cannot give up.  I resolve to try harder, and not forget. To read and think and learn about the course of things. To do otherwise would be a disservice to our global generation. Read More......

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The mustache vandal is clever as hell

The mustache vandal is clever as hell
Seriously, who is this person, and why are they so awesome?
Read More......

Friday, August 27, 2010


He realized how long he’d lived, in his short time on the planet, how much was forgotten, and how he’d changed. He’d grown up, simplified, knew less about the world than he did when he was young. Looking back on the pictures of the suntanned young man with the huge grin and tired eyes, in a country far away, he missed his old life like he missed a part of his soul.


See other egypt faves here. Read More......

Al by Vermeer

Oh hi there Internets.
I've been biking the Pacific Coast! But instead of talking about that, I wanted to post some pictures of Al playing music. He sure looks good doing it, eh?
Read More......

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Art Truck in the News

The UVU Review, in fact. Nadia was nice enough to write up this piece for us. There I am talkin' 'bout art a lot. Surprise Surprise :) Read More......

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Copenhagen's Bikes through North American eyes

If you're a city planner, cycling advocate, cultural enthusiast, or other liberal commie socialist, you've probably often wished you could just drag your backward-minded opposition to Europe and point around. "See, dammit! Things work great here!" Here's one such little film from Streetfilms:

Granted, the people in the video are already for cycling in the United States, but seeing workable examples certainly strengthens your case. Read More......

Monday, July 19, 2010

We will be biking this saturday...

Surprisingly enough!

Full story here!

Also wanted to post up this flier for the afterparty over at fresh, it's amazing!
Read More......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goin' to Oakland

An' This is What I'll See...:

I could make dance movies like that for forever. Read More......

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Street Films: The best teaching tool since speak-n-spells

I just stumbled upon a truly great website, a well-organized series of films on everything to do with urban-planning and sustainable, livable transport. An hour of watching Streetfilms means brushing up on some of the coolest ways cities are changing to accommodate people, rather than cars. Just click through a couple videos at random and I guarantee you'll see something interesting.

Read More......

Indy and Altertainment, coming up!

So we all know there's magic all around us. But the next couple weeks is extra magical, what with the upcoming Alt Press Fest at the Salt Lake Public Library!

Also, I just got wind that a gonzo-filmmaker fella is coming to town from Austin, Texas, and playing a double feature:

Check the trailers, and some of his other stuff too. He seems to have an unabashedly grungy take on things, sort of a redneck-meets-counterculture kind of focus, I'm excited to see how it goes.

Read More......

Monday, June 28, 2010

More biking!

Just lettin' yall know there's a couple great alleycats coming up, on Saltcycle, as always. Here's the most upcomingest! Read More......

Friday, June 18, 2010

Art this weekend an' beyond!

I got a chance to check out the 337 Project's Mini-Golf Course at the Art Center last night, everyone has to give it a play, some really impressive stuff! I wrote a little preview of things to come this weekend over on the 337 Project Blog, including the arrival of Banksy's film at the Broadway. Sweet! Read More......

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The internal world

The internal world
Originally uploaded by Der Blaue Reiter
A hive of infrastructure, rarely seen or understood by the throngs of
consumers it's intended for. Thousands of people, thousands of hours,
years of individual expertise resulting in a sprawling entity
that boggles comprehension.

Why can we build this mecca to buying things we don't need with the
seriousness and focus of an army of ants, yet we're incompetent,
incapable on so many other levels? Everyday people seem fine, and
kind, and genuine, especially if you extend your kindness first, but
their popular culture and political actions at large seem monstrous,
shallow, or selfish. 1 in 4 women are raped in situations so grisly or
so urbane that both seem impossible and outside of my scope of
experience. A medical emergency is enough to debilitate my fragile
world of self-sufficiency, living like a monk in the most excessive,
affluent nation on earth. Oil spills destroy the world for Nigerians
every day and we can barely care on an individual level when there's a
spill near our shores. How do I fit in to all this? I work,
volunteer, and organize community things every day, supposedly
sharpening my skills and effecting things for the better, but for all
I know I'm making things worse. Should I only care about the things
within the scope of my comprehension? Keep my head down and quietly
work on bikes at the collective, spreading enthusiasm for this thing
called art that has no tangible benefits? Or should I care about
everything and do everything I can to destroy this overgrown system of
pointless excess and eroded interpersonal relationships? Or should I
strap on a hard hat and fight for a city that reflects my values?

I don't know. I do know I'm tired, and I have some emails to write,
and I've got to eat dinner tonight and I hope I can summon up the
energy to insure it's not processed garbage. I'm not unhappy with this
situation, I'm just trying to be as realistic and effective as possible.
Read More......

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm always in need of more hats.

Not real hats though, they don't suit me. What I mean by that charming bland colloquialism is that I do lots of things. I'm a man of hyphens, for better or worse. My most entertaining title right now (well, maybe more entertaining than iphone-dumpsterdiver) is: Davey Davis, Art Truck Driver/Docent. Along with my job showing a strange travelling installation piece to diverse little (and big!) people around the state, I also now blog for the 337 project! Check out my seminal blog post on my life as truckdriver/art teacher over here. Read More......

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tools and limits.

Blake, via Wendall Berry on the proportion of just control: "No bird soars too high if he soars on his own wings." Only when our acts are empowered by more than bodily strength do we need to think of limits. Think of the axe. Before the tool, a fight between two people could be healthy. Harm could be caused, an issue subdued in physical form, a dance of fists ending with lasting pain, but rarely death. Suddenly a simple hatchet appears, and the force that goes into, say, a slap, ends in a decapitation. The invention of tools led to a very real need for restraint.

In all phyiscal activity I often find myself coming back to something I first realized skiing. The model of human body I was delivered is capable of about 12-18 MPH unaided, and is built to sustain a fall of 12 feet or so from a little cliff. Into soft things, like dirt and foliage. Something to remember when zipping through a city of concrete grids in between 2 ton chunks of metal on a bike at 25-35 mph. It's a little bit like cheating. A psychological balance, a suspension of disbelief. The high that comes with playing this game is not unlike the experience of an urban Icarus. Except in place of something ambivilant and poetic, like the sun, on a bike you're snuffed out by a trucker with an eagle tattoo and a penchant for Rush Limbaugh.

This is the talisman of restraint, the quiet check and balance that keeps me alive. It is renewed, from time to time, with gruesome stories floating in from friends or the web. 6 cyclists in Montreal scattered like bowling pins. A friend with no memory. An acquaintance with no face. Life is a normaling network, days strung together, how quickly it changes. I consider myself fragile, consider myself lucky. Read More......

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fight like hell until it changes.

In 2010, 4 dark skinned women in aprons shine the shoes of 4 light skinned men in suits.

Outside my window well dressed men are imploring a woman they don't know to perform a handjob on the man she's with.

Burn it all down. Read More......

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Done and Done

Cein Watson... A poet and a saint, a ruddy-faced smiler, even his bitterness is sweet. We're losing him to the backwoods of Vermont, where he plans to camp on his newly-acquired land until he builds himself a studio and a treehouse. Will you let us visit?

Check this out if you need a reminder about how great this guy is. Read More......

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Don Giovanni Premiere Recap

Spoiler: It went incredibly.

(clicky make biggie, thanks Greg!)

I'm one of those people that's hard to please, as a general rule. But I can firmly and happily report that if not one more thing came from this entire movie project I'd be satisfied. Everything went off without a hitch, and exceeded my expectations. From the turnout to the weather to help from strangers to my two best friends winning the race, I was blown away. My only worry is how I'll ever top it, in terms of things I organize and in terms of personal satisfaction.

The alleycat swelled to 67 people, which I believe is a record for Salt Lake. It was a scramble downtown then up to the theater, check out the manifest here. At one of the stops Cory, Mark, Mark's friend and Meera decided to make a little high art with the help of the racers:

Pretty talented bunch, I gotta say. After that they got photo-shot by Tom Fleming halfway up the hill, here are some of the best ones:

Tony was first up the hill, and apparently took Tom by surprise.

Joergen's suffer face.

For more alleycat awesomeness check out this great little video shot by John Schafer. Thanks John! Check this shot of Heather and JC he nabbed through the Sketch Alley:

Once people started to accumulate up top we gathered up and went inside to watch the movie. Full house! 250 people came out to watch the inaugural screening! They were very kind and energetic and appreciative as an audience, they laughed in all the right spots and made me feel pretty great about the movie. I had to laugh, because as a filmmaker it probably never gets any better than an auditorium full of your closest friends and family. That experience will stick with me for quite some time, I imagine, I'm thankful for it.

Afterward I got to announce the alleycat winners and give them their prizes in front of a roaring crowd! Must be nice... We got some GREAT prizes from our sponsors:

For the top Women's Prize we got a brand-spankin' new pair of Outlier's Woman's 4Season Pants and a Pink Damselfly Saddle from Terry for runner up. We got a ton of great stuff from Pikey Bags, Blaq Design, Archive Bags, Discrete Headwear, Lifetime Collective, Velo City Bags, and Hold Fast. Schwalbe sent in 2 sets of Blizzard Tires, and Peonfx gave us a wild riding hoodie I wanted to keep.

But the top of the toppest, the best prize, by far, came from Burro Bags out of Jacksonville Florida. They sent us Salt Lake City's First EVER champion/bragging-rites bag, custom-made for the event:

And gawd damn it's beautiful.

Speaking of, this gawdy creation will rest on the shoulders of Alex Haworth whenever he feels like stepping his hipster-cred up a notch. Not only is this Al's first Alleycat win (He's placed second twice before, I believe), he's also my best friend and the Director of Photography on Don Giovanni! I swear I was surprised as everyone else when he won the race, even though between that and what comes next I should be accused of rigging it.

Because little Jessica Gilmore, my girlfriend, accomplice, and stunning supporter, won fastest woman and 7th Place overall. You go girl.

I can attest that she wanted the win BAD, going so far as to strap a map to her handlebars for the logistics of the race.

I felt great organizing this event, and extend my sincere thanks to all the friends, family, groups and organizations that helped me along the way. Off the top of my head I'd like to thank Dima, who helped land all the prizes for the race.

friggin' cutie.

Lindsey's Mom, who stepped in to help me sell tickets, otherwise I'd have been swamped. Greg Hebard, who is a good friend and puts up with me making mistakes. And for all of those who toiled, lent, waited, froze, and worried for me these past several months, I cannot thank you enough. You know who you are.

Here's the rough placement for the cat:
1st (Overall, 1st SS, General Badass): Alex Haworth (DP/Editor, Don Giovanni!)
2nd (Fix): Patrick Beecroft of Legal Messenger Inc.
3rd (Fix): Tony
4th (Fix): Joergen Trepp of Jason's Deli!
5th (Fix): Chase
6th (1st Geared): Greg Hebard of Jason's Deli!
7th (1st Woman's Fix, Overall, and Stubborn as Hell): Jessica Gilmore
8th: Max Hoagland
9th: Nate Borganicht (Birthday Boi!)
10th: Adam
11th: Lindsey (1st Woman Geared, 2nd Overall) (Plays Bike Punk in Don Giovanni)
12th: Benji
13th: Nate
14th: Peter Andersen
15th: Max Goldsmith
16th: Inacio Lopez (Plays Ottavio in Don Giovanni)
17th: JJ of LMI
18th: Zach Pina of Salt City Couriers
19th: Gary of SLCBikeCollective
20th: Tobi (3rd Woman)
21st: Dima Hurlbut (FLATTED, better luck next time :P)
22nd: JC of U of U Bike Collective
23rd: John
24th: Raphael
25th: James Miska (Musician on Don Giovanni)
26th: Matt Delporto (who designed our movie poster!)
27th: Luke Williams (Main Musician on Don Giovanni!)
28th: Connor Rickman (Producer, Don Giovanni!)
29th: Heather (4th Woman)
30th: Suzi (5th Woman)
31st: Gudrik
32nd: Skyler Chubaks
33rd: Simon Williams (UPM on Don Giovanni!)
34th: Matt
35th: Cat
36th: JD
37th: NOPE (First Tallbike!)
38th: Chris Rugal
39th: Vinnie of Jason's Deli! (He's a Car Driver, relax :))
40th: Al
41st: Lexie (DNF)
42nd: Joellen Morisson.
DFL: Matt Lemmons (Maybe?)

NOW, let's keep this sort of thing happening. Alleycats all around, everyone plan one. I don't care if there are no prizes and the stops are manned by pieces of paper, let's DO it! I'm waiting to hear if this movie gets into the Bicycle Film Festival, in the mean time lets make some more. I wanna ride in one! Thanks Salt Lake, and good night.

All the pictures we've seen and TONS MORE (Like EVERY SINGLE RACER GOING UP THE HILL) can be seen on my flickr page. Thanks to Tom, Al, Greg, and Zach Pina for the photos. Read More......

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