Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.
Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
LA has never competed with Silicon Valley for dominance in the tech sphere. Which is why this LA-centered news is so puzzling. Apparently Lisa Brennan-Jobs, long denied daughter of Tech-God Steve Jobs briefly involved herself in Frequency, an LA startup that developed a video app for iPads. Given Lisa's potential connections to Apple itself, one wonders why she didn't just work with the Apple Mother Ship if she was interested in developing new software. Perhaps she took on this project to prove something to her deceased father? Perhaps she did it to claim some kind of family legacy?
Whatever the reason, it seems to contradict the little that we know of her. Take this account from Apple Insider:
When asked why she didn't follow Jobs' footsteps and pursue a field in computer science, Brennan-Jobs said that her father was lucky to have found something he truly loved that he could do 24 hours a day. She adds that Jobs dissuaded his children from entering the computer field because he saw that they were more multi-faceted, where Apple was a more "one-dimensional" endeavor for him.Perhaps this was something Lisa felt she needed to get out of her system. Perhaps she felt that this sort of intellectual exploration would lead her to learn more about herself. Perhaps this was a lark inspired by LA-based friends of Lisa's and her role wasn't particularly critical. Who knows? But, for the time being, Apple fans have a new Jobs-inspired toy they can look forward to.
"So he encouraged us to follow our dreams, [and] I had big shoes to fill if I wanted to go into science," Brennan-Jobs quips.
Download Link here-- http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/frequency/id465034728
Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.
Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.
Duck & Cover return from their hiatus. Apparently, they have been hiding out watching movies.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Our thanks to "Duck & Cover" and creator Storey Clayton.
Check out his other projects, here, at the Blue Pyramid.
Duck & Cover return from their hiatus. Apparently, they have been hiding out watching movies.
Launched a little over six months ago Farmigo is a sign-up platform for farmers to find local consumers, consumers to find local farmers and consumers to find each other. Like so many recent internet innovations, layers of middleman are removed in one feel swoop. It is peer-to-peer produce, if you will.
The idea for Farmigo is a social media platform for discovering, signing up for, and sharing Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) programs. CSAs are groups where enrolled members of the community agree with farmers to purchase a certain amount of produce, and then pick that food up at local dropoff points at regular intervals. For example, some CSA's in the Durham area deliver food to be picked up at the Farmer's Market. CSAs have been around for ages and the Clarion Content knows more than one person enrolled in such a program.
But as we understand it, the difficulty for both farmers and foodies has been the information bottleneck, finding each other. A little Google searching revealed a site where one can find North Carolina CSAs locally, see here. Farmigo plans to aggregate this information.
Who needs or wants more intermediaries between you and your food. Less middlemen, means less time on a truck, mean less gas used, means less pricey, and closer means fresher, too, all while supporting the local economy.
An interesting idea to be sure!
Farmigo operates with a similar methodology to Google search, information of available is increasing powerful and relevant as more people use the site.
Read more about it here.
What is most disturbing in the modern age is the lack of apology or embarrassment shown by authority when it comes to wiping the slate clean. King George the II simply told reporters they could not report what they saw in Iraq. The New York City Police Department pressure washed and scrubbed clean all traces of the Occupy protesters they booted out of Zuccotti Park.
Whitewash the truth, delete the emails has become the socio-political norm in America. So, it should probably come as not surprise that the compound that housed former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, before he was executed, is being bulldozed to the ground. Of course, in keeping with the Man's standard methodology, security forces blocked journalists and photographers from getting close to the site as it was being leveled.
"Nothing to see here, folks. Move along."
It is a bitter irony of the Information Age that the malleability of history has become ever greater.
1Somewhere in China around 1944-45, or perhaps it was in the jungles of Burma, or Laos, America switched sides in the confusion between nationalists/militarists/freedom fighters/communists/people power/oppression. It was a complicated equation and an easy one to get lost in, amongst the particulars. Joe McCarthy was able to ruin lives because wide swaths of otherwise good folks were not able to grasp the details. Then, in a bi-polar era, nefarious action was easy to justify, America simply portrayed itself (to its citizens, too) as the lesser of two evils. When the Soviet Union collapsed, that rationale disappeared with it.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Thanks to one of our L.A. readers for sending this clip our way.
Friday, February 24, 2012
by: Cady Childs
Mechanized music meets mechanical man
In the late nineties, Mark Dixon and his friend, Bart Trotman, responded when Raleigh’s Lump Gallery called for art installations that made noise. And, they haven’t stopped creating since.
“I was curious about making instruments,” Dixon, who has a background in sculpture, said. “I really loved the interaction that performance and music can create with an audience.”
The New Obsolete, the group’s most composed and pre-planned show to date, is now in residency at 108 Morris Street, with three performances already on the books: Feb. 11th, 17th, and 18th, featuring different special guests at each show.
Dixon and company began composing the show in January 2011, about a year before the first performance.
“”We wanted to push ourselves to use the instruments more intentionally,” Dixon said.
This weekend marks Durham’s last chance to witness this ‘mechanical museum’ in action, with tools such as the Rhythm 1001 (an electro-mechanical percussion machine), the selectric piano (a typography to piano note transmitter), and Elsewhere’s Roof, a new drip-driven drum machine inspired by a leaky roof during a residency program in Greensboro. The experience of nature provided its own mixed tempo for the group. The moment was first recreated for an audience with ice blocks held up to heat lamps strapped to the ceiling. Elsewhere’s Roof is the portable version, with five small drips controlled by the musicians through glass valves suspended on ten-foot wooden legs, with a dune buggy gas tank.
“It always does something exciting,” Dixon said of the new machine. “No two drips are at the same rate, and they cycle in their relationships, forming complicated rhythms that no human percussionist or electronic drum machine could play.”
Their inventions tap into a connection between technology and true human interaction that we normally don’t see in this digital age, turning old junk into sound making, aesthetically pleasing devices, creating both the machines and the music out of primary and familiar elements of life, like a human’s pulse and dripping water. This methodology of repurposing goes beyond common artistic and musical forms, forcing the audience to look at the way technology shapes the way they see the world. Forcing each of us to confront how technology can change our impressions of ourselves and our setting.
“I kind of evaluate myself as a machine sometimes in a weird way, and I think that’s not uncommon,” Dixon explained. “That’s not necessary a permanent position, but a good one for exploring.”
To find out more about INVISIBLE and The New Obsolete, visit their website here, featuring videos of some of the above mentioned innovations in action. And don’t miss their last two performances this weekend, Friday and Saturday night at 108 Morris Street, with events starting at 7:00 and INVISIBLE performing at 8:30.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
And she is about to take the show on the road to Cape Town, South Africa. She addresses her fears, does and don'ts (mostly the don'ts) of preparing for a very big trip. She wants to hear from you, dear readers: tips and tricks, things to do and things to avoid.
Fingers crossed for the safe arrival of your luggage.
How to ruin an International Trip
by: Catherine Howard
We all travel – a commute to work, a road trip to visit family, a short plane ride for a weekend, or the few steps from the couch to the bathroom. Maybe every once in a while, though, some of us hop on a plane for a 30-hour flight to the other side of the world, too.
On February 29th, I embark on a two-month trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Thanks to the backing from many wonderful folks, I will be attending the "A Word of Art" residency program to work on my personal artwork and coordinate community art classes for children in the Woodstock neighborhood.
During the art classes, the kids and I will create drawings of our "ideal neighborhoods" and talk about them together. I will also fashion a giant maze (or maybe a big blanket fort – we’ll see what fits the space best) and cover it in the kids’ drawings and portraits, I will draw of each of the children who participated in the classes. Then, folks from all over Cape Town will be invited to come play a giant game of Hide & Seek in this “ideal neighborhood” during the opening reception.
Now, this will be my first international flight, so what was my first move? Google searching “how to pack to leave the country”, which resulted in a wide range of wonderfully helpful advice. However, in my discussions with frequent world travelers, the horror stories were even better than the logical advice:
How To Ruin an International Trip
• Start making a packing list the day before you leave.
• Pack only summer clothes without realizing that summer in one hemisphere means that it’s winter in the hemisphere where you’re going.
• Lose your itinerary with your hotel’s address.
• Leave your cell phone on and rack up massive roaming fees.
• Lose your passport without having ever made a photocopy.
• Wander excitedly around a city gazing upwards at the architecture and then wonder how someone pickpocketed you.
• Pack only sandals and get horrible blisters after day two.
• Forget to inform your bank that you are traveling and have your debit card blocked when you are trying to buy groceries on your first day in a new country.
• Get food poisoning and have no idea where the closest pharmacy is. Once you find a pharmacy, realize that Pepto-Bismol is not a universal term used all over the world, and that no one here knows what that is.
• Pack more suitcases than you can carry by yourself.
• Leave your bag (your computer and cell phone and ticket and passport in it) in the front seat of your unlocked car while you go to pay gas. Come back to the car to find that it has been stolen.
My luggage is almost fully packed. I’m still debating on whether I can really fit the 16 inch tall ceramic Buddha head that my family wants me to photograph in every location that I go. My travel bitch-face is ready (for all of you that think I am only a congenial, sweet woman, walk around a big city with me – I’ll terrify you).
But I know I’m forgetting something. Something will go wrong. Help me prevent at least one more possible disaster. What are your international travel horror stories?
At the Clarion Content, we tell you, send us your links. If we like them, we will run them. See something cool, outrageous, outlandish, important? Have a great cause or website? Send us the link.
On that note, two musical project videos hit the Clarion Content editorial desk recently. Music to move the needle.
One came to us from a local source, though through the interwebs the creator is likely quite distant. Check out DJ Silence's fly entry for the PowerTools Remix Contest.
This second project, Dublab, out of Los Angeles is a bit more well known. They are an DJ collective for lack of a better term.1 This looks like it'd be a super fun place to work.
1Our system forces this kind of collective entity to incorporate to protect the individuals under our byzantine complex of laws (and then perpetuates the fallacy of corporate personhood).
The Republicans are still stewing over who the candidate they want to coalesce behind this Fall might be. The two front-runners went at again in Arizona last night, Santorum v. Romney was punctuated with an occasional blast from Ron Paul and the cipher rapidly fading into irrelevance known as Newt Gingrich.
There were no clear winners of last night's debate. And President Obama continues to lead them all in polls of hypothetical match-ups, although the prospects of any incumbent with $4 per gallon gasoline look awfully dim from the Clarion Content's editorial offices.
Another Republican party bigwig, former party chairperson, Haley Barbour, spoke out about the likelihood of the race going all the way to the convention in Tampa Bay. Barbour premised his remarks on the lack of conservative credentials for ostensible front-runner Governor Romney. ABC News quoted Barbour, "In our primaries the more conservative candidates have an advantage. Doesn’t mean they always win. But that is just a fact and I think Romney is showing himself to be moderately conservative. We still have a long way to go with three candidates who are to the right of Romney."
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Check out our Events Calendar here... You can bracket the DuVal opening with Beverly McIver at the Craven Allen Gallery and LiLa at the Lincoln Theater. Oh what a Saturday night!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
What's up next in social networking?
Every once in a while, you say something around the office, in the course of batting about ideas, and it catches fire. This is one of those cases. The Clarion Content's editor/publisher mentioned to our lead web programmer, and resident young genius, Javier Sandoval, that there is a dearth of professionalism in young people today, especially when it comes to networking.
We ruminated on how it seems odd for a generation tied to Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, but for all the socializing these kids do on the internet, they do not use it for traditional business networking and collaboration purposes. Sandoval, himself a mere seventeen, does not stand still when he hears a good suggestion.
He and his team are attempting to develop what they call a Linked-in for teenagers. They hope to develop a platform for young entrepreneurs to network, brainstorm, and collaborate. The tentative name is Pentaplate. They have submitted their idea to a Facebook based venture capital-seed money contest, The Next Teen Tycoon. The winners of a public vote receive $4,000 in start-up capital.
You can vote here at www.vote.pentaplate.com
Voting continues through Friday, February 24th.
Monday, February 20, 2012
This week we present, video blogger Jenna Marbles. She is hot. And we are not talking about her looks, her You Tube channel has more than 2 million subscribers. Why not? She is hilarious. Below, her advice on how to stop guys from grinding on you in the club. Fyi...the language is salty and R-rated.
Special thanks to one of our Chapel Hill readers for sending this our way.
Things that make you go hmmm...
Which, in our view, ought to be more than enough to convince you that it is worth the read.* Check it out here on Grantland.
*Warning. This article may not interest non-NBA fans.
Friday, February 17, 2012
For safety, the public was kept at some distance from the action. Still, one of our fabulous photographers, Beth Mandel, of Scenes from my Lunch Hour, was able to get a few cool snaps.
Check'em out. And don't miss Liberty Arts Grand Opening. Rumor has it Durham faves, LiLa, will be making a special guest appearance at the ribbon cutting and maybe even playing a few tunes.
As things heat up, an interested observer looks on.
The molten vessel is lifted and attached to a small crane.
Liquid metal pours out.
Liquid metal overflow forming pools.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
by: Cady Childs
I’m sure you have all been hearing the buzz about the latest social networking hub to distract us from reality and face-to-face interactions. Pinterest, the spot that is bringing crafty back.
While there is certainly not a lack of male presence on the site, I’ve found most of the people buzzing to their friends about it, offering them an exclusive invite (that’s right, you have to be invited) are twenty-something women, who are just now honing their homemaking skills: they are, to generalize, obsessed with urban and modern interior décor, cocktail parties, recipes, and DIY.
Speaking as one of these individuals, it’s kind of our adult way of playing dress-up.
I can personally attest to visiting Michael’s Crafts on five different occasions since joining Pinterest. Simply type ‘DIY’ into the search engine on the site, and you will find an infinite variety of links to guides on how to re-create every canvas, throw, shelf, and candle holder found in this month’s Anthropologie catalog, a how-to on melting crayons to canvas for wall art, an explanation on transferring newsprint to fingernails, and of course, thousands of pictures of sparkling cake pops.
Pinterest literally functions as an online bulletin board to ‘organize and share the things you love.’ (See the example above.) Suggested board ideas include planning a wedding, redecorating your home, and saving your favorite style picks. DIY guides found through the site yield enough bookend, wall art, photo frame, jewelry, headboard, makeup organizer, duvet cover, and curtain options to exhaust one’s free time for the next ten years. And that’s only the beginning of the list--- we didn’t even mention the party decorations.
Co-founded by 29-year-old former Google Inc. employee Ben Sibbermann, the site launched in March 2010 through a series of invites sent to the creators close friends. All the growth of the site since then has been through this same process, spreading the web a little farther as each new user is added.
“I think Pinterest taps into a really common human desire to share your taste,” Sibberman, on his personal blog, noted.
The site is also a great form of brainstorming for bloggers, photographers, and artists. While picking items to link in a post, instead of saving the image to a hardrive and copying the link to a word document, this site allows bloggers (like myself) to click a simple ‘Pin It!’ button on their browser’s navigation bar, select their board, and all the information is saved without clogging up desktops. These boards can later be linked to in the post, for further content and networking.
Obviously boasting our lust-worthy lists and redecoration plans has the addictive nature that all opportunities for showmanship have on our mentis. But, in a world of Facebook feed refreshing detritus and nonsense, Pinterest is eye-opening. it’s take on a social network doesn’t assume we’re all narcissistic, boring, self-interested individuals. Instead of sharing a status update on what kind of sandwich you had for lunch, Pinterest gives you a chance to share what inspired you at lunch.
Much more interesting.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
by: Catherine Howard
We all have a trigger. That one phrase, that one off-handed comment, that one snide remark, that one cliché that makes us implode with fury. The Grove Book of Art Writing didn’t mean to hit that trigger. After all, it started out pretty chill between us. I mean, there was that touchingly intimate article about Bonnard’s life in his studio, about painting in a hollowed out space after the death of a lifelong partner, about pursuing beauty in the midst of grief-stricken depression. A few tears even welled up in my eyes. But then it had to go and make that stereotypical assumption that genius artists are male and that female artists are token aberrations. [Mumble, grumble, fume…]
Of the eighteen articles in the first section, “In the Studio: The Artist at Work”, only one is about a female artist’s studio. The New York critic Hilton Kramer is supposedly visiting sculptor Louise Nevelson. Now in the other writings in the section, artists are lauded for their personalities, for their intense focus. Writers fawned over the gritty nature of the “studio space”, drooled over the traces of “genius” left behind. However, instead of discussing Nevelson’s genius, Kramer references male artists Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti, and David Smith – lauding them for their creative accomplishments – but what does he have to say about Louise Nevelson, one of the most talented contemporary sculptors, who by this point had work in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection?
“From the street, the house hardly looked like the sort of place where an artist, especially a sculptor, might be engaged in serious work.”Kramer goes on for another few paragraphs about the status of “sculpture” versus “painting” in the art market. Then he goes into a description of Nevelson’s home, with a passing appreciation of her productivity:
“It was certainly unlike anything one had ever seen or imagined. Its interior seemed to have been stripped of everything – not only furniture, rugs, and the common comforts of daily living, but of many mundane necessities – that might divert attention from the sculptures that crowded every space, occupied every wall, and at once filled and bewildered the eye wherever it turned.”But how is Nevelson truly treated? As an abberation. Her studio is strange, uncomfortable place, but where is she? She does not exist. All that is mentioned is this eccentric sculptural world that alludes to her existence. But where is she? There are no descriptions of her working, like in the other articles. No mentions of conversations with her. For all intents and purposes, Kramer is describing a haunted house. Louise Nevelson is the ghost.
As I continued to read The Grove Book of Art Writing, this disorienting imbalance persisted: no female artists speaking for themselves, only truncated mentions of women as anything more than models or caretakers. So if I am to be honest with myself (and you), why am I so angered by the oversight of female artists? Why do I take an imbalance of accounts in an anthology so personally that my skin crawls and my nostrils flare? I suppose it’s truly because this ignorant disrespect still catches me off-guard. After all, this book was written in 1998. 1998! My expectation when I pulled the book from the shelf would be that I would find guidance from other artists, insights into their perspectives and processes. But (once again), I realized that “art” wasn’t always for my kind of folk (you know, the kind of folk with vaginas).
And realizing that complaining without action rarely solves anything, my takeaway from this book will be Germaine Greer’s discussion of Artemisia Gentileschi’s artistic career:
“Artemisia did not choose to dwell on her disappointment. She refused to deal in pathos and softer emotions, and, as a result, alienated all those critics and historians of art who nurture the usual presuppositions about women. She developed an ideal of heroic womanhood. She lived it, and she portrayed it.”Touché… Back to the studio.
Wet, lame and dangerous is how these three are perceived.1
Do not believe for a moment that former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum, is going to win the nomination.2
When pigs fly!
The triple loss by bumbling frontrunner, former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri signaled dissatisfaction with his milquetoast campaign rather than a surge for Santorum. This is a race that none of the above would be winning right now. More evidence for that argument appeared this week, when Romney barely eked out a win in Maine3 over Representative Ron Paul.
Santorum's wins and Ron Paul's close calls are signs of the Republican party's overall distaste for the field of candidates. And it is not just the party's elite that don't like the candidates, the rank file, especially Tea Partiers and Evangelicals, are not buying Rommey, who got so twisted up trying to claim the social conservative mantle last week, he ended up calling himself "severely conservative."
That's not exactly in the positive lexicon there, Governor! As many have pointed out "severely" is most often paired with words like "depressed," "ill," and "damaged."
Which would be far out, if the Governor had morphed into a teenage Valley girl. Instead, he, once again, simply sounded foolish. The Clarion Content continues to believe that this year offers the best chance of a brokered convention, and for a last minute candidate coming off the sidelines, that we have seen in generations.
The favorites to emerge, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan or the next Bush king, the lordly regent of the State of Florida, Jeb.
Keep your eyes peeled, if Governor Romney loses Michigan's primary, even the mainstream media's dunderheads will know the race is wide open.
Notes and Jibes
1In that order, Santorum is all wet, Romney is lame, and Paul is...
2Santorum is simply too socially conservative to win a national election, and the party's elites know it.
3Maine, which we would say borders Governor Romney's home state, except that he is such a carpetbagger, it is hard to declare anywhere his home state, was a "bad" win by less than 200 votes over Paul. He is about to get whomped this week in Michigan where he grew up silver spoon in hand, scion to his father, the governor.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Men pine for ladies all year long. No seasonal excuses needed.
This Valentine's Day, we shot our Fashion Drive-by #3 in two of Durham's finer establishments for meeting and greeting, wining and dining. If you already have a date, you could hardly do better than to bring her to one of these swank lounges. If not, well, we can't promise you that you will meet somebody this beautiful, but, we will give you gentlemen a few wishes to build a dream on.
Our fashion partner for these gorgeous photos was Fifi's of Durham located at #1000 West Main Street. Their super selection of resale designer and name brand apparel for women combined with eyes and sensibilities of the Clarion Content team to make magic. Right down to the shoes!
The Clarion Content's phenomenal fashion and pop culture guru, Cady Childs, styled and made-up the models, as well as, hand-selected their outfits. Necklaces were provided by Tammi Floccare. All of the photos were shot by Jessi Blakely.
And, of course, we thank our models: Catherine Howard, Sara Stevens, Tracy Gill and Cady Childs. Ladies, your beauty makes us look good.
Six Plates Wine Bar, located at 2812 Erwin Road, is tucked nonchalantly into one of the anonymous modern buildings that line the west side of the street as it winds south away from the main Duke Hospital complex. If you didn't know, you would never know what lies behind the glamorous red curtain shielding the door. Plush seats, sumptuous spots and mirrors abound. The concept: six tapas-sized portions, perfectly paired with six glasses a wine, custom selected for your dining pleasure.
And what a pleasure it is...
The Whiskey Bar is located prominently inside the downtown loop at Durham's Five Points intersection. Its classic neon sign and big windows, foreshadow the elegant film noir stylings found inside. Nary a detail is missed, from luxurious couches and chairs, to the bartenders garb, and the view through the huge windows out towards the Durham Arts Council and beyond, it is first class all the way.
So we wish you a Happy Valentines Day. We hope the season finds you warm and well.
We leave you with two final images. And couple of links below to take you to even more, as Winter disappears in the rearview mirror...
Keep an eye out for our next Fashion Drive-by, Spring, shot in Durham's Secret Gardens.
See accessories close-ups here.
See even more photos here.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
All they did was shut down the CIA's website, as reported by CNN here. The CIA, of course, admitted nothing. Remember, folks, "We the People" and the fact that our taxes pay their salaries, guarantees you nada. When the Leviathan takes over, it doesn't answer to Congressional Subcommittees, let alone peon ordinary citizens,3 like us.
The Anonymous team also shut down the State of Alabama's website in what its press release touted as a protest of Alabama's House Bill 56, fascist immigration legislation, that became law in the state last year.4
Voice of America5 reported the CIA would only say, "We are aware of the problems accessing our Web site and are working to resolve them." The site was back online Saturday.
Nothing happening, nothing to see here. Go on about your business.
Notes and Jibes
1Try to imagine this phrase governing actual and active political resistance, rather than a publicity loving, but late game loathing basketball player.
2Quash the knowledge, quash the knowledge and maybe they won't fight it. Sung to the tune of "Oh my Darlin, Clementine".
3Ordinary becomes a necessary and important modifier for citizens in a society in which not all members play by the same rules. See the American judicial system and its treatment of the rich for further clarification.
4You might recall this law, straight out of the Politburo's Central Committee, gave Alabama cops the right to demand people show their papers and prove their citizenship, lest they be summarily locked up until they can.
5You know the government run media-arm. Certain friends of the Clarion Content have vociferously disputed our position that a government for and by the People has no need to run a news information outlet. VOA is only necessary when the government needs its position spun to palatablity.
Friday, February 10, 2012
by: Beth Mandel
Full speed ahead
9:15pm, February 8th: I am lazily scrolling through tweets on my phone, deciding whether or not to watch another episode of Daria on DVD or just collapse into bed for an early night. Suddenly a tweet pops up from @avantgame, the handle for famed game researcher, GDC ranter, and TED talker Jane McGonigal. It’s an auto-tweet from Kickstarter, indicating she backed a project called Double Fine Adventure with her added description of “Point and click adventure games are my FAVORITE xoxoxoxo”. I have deep respect and admiration for Ms. McGonigal, considering her to be far more than a researcher and more of a modern-day philosopher, whose philosophy of games could quite possibly change the world (which, by the way, is the theme of her book: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Given Jane’s recommendation, I pull out my laptop to hop on Kickstarter and take a look.
Google+ is still open in my browser from earlier in the evening. I notice as my feed refreshes that one of my more “ahead-of-the-curve” online friends*, @rulesaremyenemy, has already posted that he’s funded Double Fine Adventure too. I head on over to Kickstarter to read the pitch. Unlike Jane, point and click adventure games are not my favorite type of game. And this pitch, despite being written by industry icon Tim Schafer, (creator of Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, Psychonauts and several other important pieces of game canon) was a little lacking on details. Nothing about the game concept, or plot gave me nothing to latch onto and say – “This. This makes me want the game immediately.” I was momentarily tempted by the fact that just pitching $15 was enough to get a copy of the game on Steam upon release. But then I thought to myself, “With backers like Jane spreading the word this will surely get enough pledges to be made, and I’ll just wait to hear how it is when it comes out before I buy it.” In fact, as I checked out the page around 9:30pm, it had already raised $50K of its $400K target. It just wasn’t swaying me enough to contribute.
Apparently, I was in the minority.
I watched another few episodes of Daria and checked my phone again before hitting the hay. Twitter was blowing up. Felicia Day (@feliciaday, writer and star of pioneering web-series “The Guild”, and geek chick icon), was one of about ten celebrity bloggers who had already funded Double Fine Adventure, not to mention about thirty of my PAX twitter friends. But it wasn’t just the auto-tweets from Kickstarter clogging up my feed; it seemed as if everyone who backed the project also felt compelled to retweet other people they saw backing the project. As if, it’s not enough to say, “Oh look at this cool thing I’m supporting,” but instead have to say, “Check out all these OTHER cool people who are ALSO supporting it.”
Eight hours after Tim Schafer posted his $400,000 project, it was completely funded! In twenty-four hours, it had doubled that number. As of this morning, not even two full days later, it has passed $1.2 million and is teetering near the edge of $1.3, with over 35,000 backers. Word is out – this is the most money a project has ever raised on Kickstarter, and moreover, the fastest it has reached such levels. According to game industry blog Joystiq, a Kickstarter representative said, “I can confirm that there's not been a project that has raised as much as this one in such a short timeframe.”
The phenomenon has captured great attention. McGonigal tweeted: “This feels like a historic day, now that DoubleFine has raised over half a million dollars in 12 hours on Kickstarter.” Schafer himself edited the text of the Kickstarter plea to acknowledge, “We're getting a lot of attention already and it seems like this little project could have an impact beyond itself.” Certainly their case proves that some Kickstarter maxims previously acknowledged as gospel might not be, such as “always include a video.” Now people will say, “Look what Schafer did without one.” Beyond that, this sends a clear message to the big dogs in the game industry – indies are no joke. If you don’t up your game creatively, and stop designing for your ability to market instead of your ability to captivate, people will look elsewhere for games. The discussion has so much prevalence at this point it’s even triggered a new meme on reddit, from which I pulled this imgur: http://i.imgur.com/LFspv.jpg. For those who don’t recognize him, the bottom picture is Schafer.
It even makes those of us (like me) who decided to sideline it ‘til release reconsider – if this many people are convinced the game is going to be awesome, perhaps I should jump on the bandwagon. Funny how mob acceptance can produce front-running that way. In any case, the message is clear: INTERNET, take notice.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
At the Clarion Content, we felt we had to know more, especially after an alert reader commented on the use of the murals as backdrops in our Fashion Drive-by.
Fortunately the recent of addition to the Clarion Content rotation of regular contributors, of the burbling fount of artistic enthusiasm and drive that is Catherine Howard gave us somewhere to turn.
Ms. Howard attacked the 'What is the "Face up" Pauli Murray Project' assignment with her usually vim and vigor. We reap the fruits of her labors below.
Pauli Murray Project Murals
by: Catherine Howard
Meander through downtown Durham long enough and you will run into any number of large, vibrantly colorful mural portraits of a warm, smiling woman. The joyous visage that bathes all our faces is the result of a collaborative public art project called “Face Up.” This project engaged more than 1,500 people in a series of events hosted between 2007 and 2009 that fostered dialogue and human connection, expanded awareness of local history, and ultimately resulted in the creation of fourteen permanent public murals.
Led by artist Brett Cook, who has more than twenty years of experience with collaborative community-based art-making, “Face Up” opened artistic and documentary processes to many groups and individuals whose paths had never crossed. While seeking a unifying theme or figure to solidify the project, the multifaceted and complex Pauli Murray proved to be a worthy symbol of Durham’s tenacious and vivacious diversity. Reverend Murray was a Durham native, civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, writer, and the first black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest. Cook eloquently summarized her importance:
"She is everything and nothing. She’s African-American; she’s not African-American. She’s academic; she’s not academic. She’s an advocate for peace; she’s a revolutionary… She’s been marginalized; she’s been on the cover of Life Magazine. All these pieces that literally and figuratively are what people can connect to. And using that as a major thread to build things to."This exercise in creating as a collective community culminated in a series of block parties that featured neighborhood discussions, quilting, sketchbooks, a community labyrinth, live music, and mural coloring, as well as an interactive, multimedia exhibition of images, documents, and artifacts that both inspired and came out of the many social collaborations of the “Face Up” project.
The murals, visual artifacts of our community's collaborations, are now installed on the walls of businesses, schools, and other publicly accessible spaces in Durham, and reflect the creative involvement of Durham's diverse panoply; toddlers and elementary school children, middle and high school students, college kids and professors, newer neighborhood residents and elders, both wealthy and working class, among them African-Americans, Latinos, whites, and Asians.
The Pauli Murray Project Murals sparked renewed interest in Pauli Murray’s story and has inspired this Durhamanian to read more about Murray’s legacy and to continue to weave insightful and sensitive community-building into her own work.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Like the our first two amazing shoots, which you can check out here and here, we could not have done it without our partners and collaborators.
Styling was done by the Clarion Content's phenomenal fashion and pop culture guru, Cady Childs, all of the photos were shot by Jessi Blakely.
So here is a little teaser of Fashion Drive-by #3, photographed in a couple of truly stylish settings.
Check back for our full Fashion Drive-by shoot #3, appearing here soon...
Friday, February 03, 2012
To see her artwork, check out www.catherinejhoward.com, and to see more of her writing, check out catherinejhoward.wordpress.com.
Read her first piece on the Clarion Content here.
Answering Linda’s call
---Catherine J Howard
In an interview last summer, I was asked if I was a feminist. After wiping a quizzical look from my face, I replied, “Well… I am a woman. And I create artwork from that perspective… So… yes. I’m a feminist.” Only afterwards did I realize why the interviewer even bothered to ask me that question. He was providing me an out--- an opportunity to back-pedal with, “Nononono! You see I just…” [cue self-effacing attempts to not seem like a heinous “feminist” bitch]. You see… I forgot that “feminist” is still used as a derogatory term in some places. So, I began to wonder: why is it that a female artist who creates artwork that openly discusses women’s issues can still be brushed off as a stereotypically overly-dramatic dissident? “Off to the library!” I said (because I am obviously an uppity, bookish, prude). And, whaddya know, I found that I am not the first to question why honest, socially conscious artwork seemed errant coming from a female artist.
In her 1995 essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" Linda Nochlin attacks attempts to justify female "greatness" as different from what has been labeled as (male-centric) "genius".
“The problem lies not so much with some feminists' concept of what femininity is, but rather with their misconception - shared with the public at large - of what art is: with the naive idea that art is direct, personal expression of individual emotional experience, a translation of personal life into visual terms. Art is almost never that, great art never is.” [italics added for emphasis]
When I tossed this essay into a conversation with a group of female artists, the response was a slew of knee-jerk reactions of "Who does she think she is?! My work is mine. My personal expression!" However, Nochlin isn't invalidating women's need to create. In fact, she lauds female artists for finding creative outlets, no matter the social pressures for them to abandon those needs. Nochlin is instead exposing the reality that the social support systems that allowed "Great Artists" to develop were only endowed to men. Rather than saying that female accomplishment is just “naturally” different than male accomplishment, she challenges women not to settle for segregated creative expression but to demand equal opportunities and create work that lives up to the label “genius”:
“What is important is that women face up to the reality of their history and present situation, without making excuses or puffing mediocrity. Disadvantage may indeed be an excuse; it is not, however, an intellectual position. Rather, using as a vantage point their situation as underdogs in the realm of grandeur, and outsiders in that ideology, women can reveal institutional and intellectual weaknesses in general, and, at the same time that they destroy false consciousness, take part in the creation of institutions in which clear thought – and true greatness – are challenges open to anyone, man or woman, courageous enough to take the necessary risk, the leap into the unknown.” [italics added for emphasis]Whether you claim the label “feminist” or not, we cannot deny that if young female artists are still being marginalized for addressing issues surrounding the female body, the playing field isn’t as equal as we would like to think. Now, I will be the first to say that creating work that is even remotely confrontational, especially about issues dealing with sexuality, is terrifying. Honesty is never easy. However, this discomfort is exactly why female artists have the power and opportunity to broaden so-called “universal” perspectives that are still largely male-derived. Yet too many of us are bogged down in making art into another form of diary. Rather than taking a stand and challenging others to change their perceptions of the world, we degrade our creative voices and sideline it as sugar-coated “self-expression”. We churn out the palatable mediocrity that Nochlin rightfully despises. Ladies, Linda challenges you to dive into your studio practice and make your creative voice pointed, thoughtful, vibrant, and public. She challenges you to create and demand recognition for courageous, horizon-expanding work. I’m ready to embrace this challenge.
Care to join me?