The people behind the success of American Apparel are no dummies. They have created what seems like an overnight clothing empire. They maintain a progressive work environment that provides educational opportunity and fair pay to their employees. Their simplistic stylish clothing is made from good quality materials and is manufactured entirely in the US. However, their CEO has made public his interest in orgies and the use of “the camel-toe” as a means to advertising (thanks Terry Richardson). I didn’t realize the extent of his silliness. The company is being sued by Woody Allen for using his image in a billboard campaign; apparently they didn’t even bother to get his permission first.

 

Controversial photographer Joel Peter Witkin is best known for his sepia toned images. Often employing the use of cadavers and societies “freaks” for models, his photos are created with painstaking detail. For the most part his work has been celebrated by the fine art world in museums and galleries by audiences with a taste for the macabre. Fashion designer Alexander McQueen, tipped his hat to Witkin’s odalisque when he created a filmed homage to show off his Spring/Summer 2001 collection.  I never would have expected to find Witkin’s work in a NY Times fashion spread, highlighting designs by the Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren and of course McQueen. This feature dates back to 2006.


Photographer Carrie Levy began to win applause for her work at a very young age. Her photos have been displayed in countless exhibitions around the world. She has published her work in several prestigious collections and produced a book including a documentary series on her family’s coping process from her father’s incarceration, entitled 51 Months. Levy has launched a beautiful gallery of her images. She also happens to be one of my favorite people in the world. Her collaboration on the design of the site with Mandy Brown, another one of my favorite people (& better half) proves that simplicity is key when displaying work.

When REM’s Losing My Religion music video began to air on MTV, a new chapter in music promos began. A brilliant young director with a taste for ornate art direction named Tarsem was the visionary behind the video. His theatrical style and Hieronymous Bosch-like sense of detail paved the way for a successful career as a commercial director. Having garnered a slew of awards, it was clear that he would begin to make feature films, and unique ones at that.

Tarsem Singh’s first feature film, The Cell (2000) received very mixed reviews and was often criticized for placing style in front of content. Regardless, the director proved his masterful ability to deliver a spectacle. And now, 8 years later he has finished his 2nd feature film The Fall. The project sees him again paired with renowned costume designer Eiko Ishioka (Bjork’s Cocoon, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and appears to be slated for a Spring release. If the website is any indication, we should be in for a visual feast.

Muxtape is a new service that allows you to make an online streaming mix-tape up to 12 songs.  If you are courting someone and want to put together a clever little compilation to let them know what you think of them, you can do it just like we used to on cassettes. Here is my muxtape.

 

The Bush administration often talks about the so called international war on terror when they legitimize spying on American citizens or torturing detainees, who don’t even have the right to legal council.  They speak about “homeland security” and safeguards to protect Americans. Somehow we are suppose to feel more secure now with the TSA restrictions limiting us to only 3oz bottles of liquids in our airplane carry-on luggage. And of course, we hear how they rationalize stricter immigration policies that would include building a wall on the Mexican border, making it harder to penetrate the US. So I have to wonder what the rationale is when the administration gave a $300 million contract to a 22 year old with a criminal record to supply weapons in the Middle East. 

First the bees and now the bats. Overwhelming numbers of bats are exhibiting very peculiar behavior and are perishing at startling rates. Scientists have yet to solve the mystery of what is killing the animals. Several species are facing potential extinction. Could this be another sign that our planet is dying? 

Martin Scorsese and The Rolling Stones are continuing to make film and music history with Shine a Light. If you’ve never been able to afford the Stones outlandishly priced concert tickets in the past, here is your opportunity to see the band perform at the legendary Beacon Theatre through the lens of Scorsese. The film releases April 4th and will be playing in IMAX for those of you interested in seeing Jagger and Richard’s wrinkles in super sharp detail. I can’t imagine whose genius idea that was. 

I am greatly embittered by the war in Iraq. The US is 5 years deep into a quagmire situation that never should’ve taken place. While many politicians don’t mind thinking of American soldiers as pawns or collateral damage, they are real human beings with names, faces, families and friends. Our country is five years deep into this war and has just surpassed the mark of 4000 American soldier casualties. Featured in the NY Times online today is a memoriam to all of those who gave their lives entitled Casualties of War.

 

Film directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris are both profoundly unique in the stories that they tell. Here is a conversation between the two in which they trace back their long friendship and discuss topics ranging from each other’s work to their experiences going together to visit serial killer Ed Kemper in prison.

Additionally, Errol Morris has a new documentary called Standard Operating Procedure releasing to theaters April 25th.  The film focuses on the events and photos surrounding the Abu Ghraib prison torture affair.

 

In between deep fried burritos and bratwurst sandwiches, I had the opportunity to see an array of different performers at this years SxSW Music Festival in Austin. However, I really never could have foreseen in a million years that I would spend my final night watching the cavemen themed Scandinavian black-metal band Goat the Head awe such a large crowd. Shrouded in animal pelts and smeared with blood, these Norwegian rockers made me realize that to see them was to believe them. Here is a short promo for their forthcoming album.

What would the earth be like without humans? Journalist Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us explores how traces of civilization would crumble and nature would take over. There is quite a bit of interesting stuff on the book’s website including a time line of the decay of NYC.