Kooky people with kooky obsessions and hobbies like the fellow in my previous post make me happy. I truly admire the spirit of people who live life marching to the beat of another drummer, even when that means driving a car that looks like a giant telephone. Here is the trailer for Automorphosis, a documentary on art car enthusiasts. On a similar note - check this out.
I remember once seeing something on TV about a woman who can swim long distances in extremely cold water. In fact, she successfully swam a mile in the frozen waters of the Antarctic wearing only the usual swim suite, goggles and cap. This ability is absolutely rare. I thought of her when I heard about the subject of Thomas Hilland’s short documentary Sweat - Timo Kaukonen is a four-time World Sauna Champion who enjoys sitting in the extreme heat that would cause other people serious skin burns.
While going through some notes, I came across a quote from Mark Twain that I am quite fond of.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Meet Ed Houben, a sperm donor who is responsible for 46 children and counting - lovely.
Alain Robert aka the French Spider Man has an odd hobby/career. He is an urban climber who has made a habbit of scaling skyscrapers without the aid of ropes. He has scaled 85 towering buildings around the world.
I’ve lived about a mile from Flatbush and Fourth Ave. for nine years and have never once seen the dancing traffic cop. Now I feel that my life in Brooklyn won’t be complete until I see him.
These ex-advertising creatives have turned lemons into lemonade.
While doing some research, I came across the death masks of a few historical figures. Some even date back to the 1300s. It’s truly fascinating to look at the cast of a person who lived several hundred years ago and realize that you are essentially seeing exactly how they looked in their final moments.
Check out interviews with some of the most established documentary filmmakers talking about their occupation at the Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary site.
A few nights ago, I caught on television Brian Lehrer’s interview with DJ Spooky from a year ago. The timing coincided with Spooky’s book and CD of collected essays - Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture published by MIT Press. This very notion of sampling culture makes for a fascinating and timely discussion.
I’ve been looking for a new hobby and think I just found my inspiration in Rufus Hussey aka The Slingshot Man.
Whether or not you realize it, the corporate visual environment that you live in has at it’s best been designed by a few select people. Ivan Chermayeff is one of those people. With his partner Tom Geismar, he has designed the identities for some of the most known brands worldwide. He has done this with an intellectual sense of elegance and class that has always proved an iconic result. His identities for NBC, Chase, Mobil, PBS and Barney’s New York are all case in point examples. Here is an interview in which a very experienced Chermayeff gives greater insight into his work and process.
Gordon Parks is to photography as Jackie Robinson is to baseball, an African-American male who began the process of tearing down walls that should never have existed in his field. A collection of his work containing 4,000 prints and 20,000 negatives has just found a home at Purchase College - State University of New York.
I suppose that there is a certain amount of truth to the adage that every generation is bound to grow older and proudly talk about how things were different when they were younger. Looking back. I find that I often use film and music as a mile marker to help create sense memories of what a certain time or age was like. The films of John Hughs left a huge impression not only on me but probably everyone I grew up with. His work touched on a profound awkwardness and sense of aloneness in the world that comes with being a teenager. These films defined a generation. To me, they very much help to keep the memories of my childhood fresh.
Just a few years ago, I rented The Breakfast Club because my girlfriend had somehow never seen it, even though she grew up in the US during the 80s. She was definitely ambivalent about watching a film about a bunch of high school students. I couldn’t blame her. After all, the teen genre really has since offered nothing to speak of. All that I had to say to ease her doubts was that this film was a classic created by the guy who made Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And by the end of film, she truly understood why this film is so important to me. Sounding a bit older and fulfilling that cliche that comes with age, I can whole heartedly say that they don’t make them like they use to.
Bobby McFerrin puts a visual face on the power of the pentatonic scale.
If you were given two to five years to live what would you do? A friend once shared with me the oddball reel of a young filmmaker named Patrick O’Brien aka Transfatty. His perverse sense of humor spawned projects with titles like Super Model Meat Sports and The Man With the Smallest Penis In Existence And The Electron Micro-scope Technician Who Loved Him. At the age 30, Patrick was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
On average, ALS takes two to five years to claim the life of it’s victim. Regretfully, there is currently no treatment to prolong life or subdue the terrible pain onset from ALS. In a bold move, O’Brien’s film work has taken a more serious turn as he has made it his life’s work to document his journey living with ALS. This trailer for the film is absolutely the most moving reminder I’ve seen in quite some time of the fragile existence of the human experience. I can’t urge you enough to get involved and donate to the Patrick O’Brien Foundation to see that this project sees completion.