Friday, August 22, 2008


Okay, we all understand that artists do what they do because the love expressing themselves. It doesn't matter if you're that Czech Photographer who takes pictures with cameras you made from toilet paper rolls and garbage, or you're Annie Liebowitz. Everyone has their art, and we cannot judge that. Really we're not allowed. It's the same reason that I once attended a gallery showing of a quilt exhibition, and I was forced to ooohh and ahhh, because the lady somehow managed to sew an eagle onto a blanket. However, this was in an art gallery, so it was "High Art". And when I made a sarcastic comment along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, an eagle? My Grandma made me a quilt with Bat man on it once." I was given the stink eye, and told that I couldn't participate in the cheese plate. My point here is that it's all subjective. I was bored and semi irritated while other people were almost weeping. It is amazing that one person's gold is another persons lump of coal when it comes to the subjective value placed on art.

However, as I understand this premise, I value it, I share it with others... I come across something like the video I am posting below, and I think to myself... is anyone stopping these guys and telling them... Hey, this really isn't that great... and you should change your Reel to be only 30 seconds... or more importantly... this is so bad, I can't tell if it is actually a prank video or something Tim and Eric would make. I mean come on, can we just have a standard for what is good and what is not and tell people who fancy themselves entertainers to keep your annual family Christmas Talent show in the house... don't take it on the road.

As an addendum to this video, I want to share a few comments folks left in regards to it. Wait, I can't because comments and ratings are restricted... I wonder why?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mission Paradox Blog

Hey, we made a new friend!

The Mission Paradox Blog wrote about "Art of Function". How super cool is that?
Check the Blog out here! To check out the blog, you can do it by clicking here, or hitting the link in our link bar!

We're so stoked for the positive feedback and the sharing and the such. This is especially cool, because our ideas have proven to even transcend online blooger services. We use Google's "Blogger" and Mission Paradox uses "Typepad". Okay enough nerd love.

We were first introduced to Mission Paradox over the little online tiff over the comparison of theater actors to poker players. That analogy brought some serious beefing. I participated in the beefing in my typical way, by not choosing sides and introducing a new question. My question was re-posted as an article by Adam Thurman and our little friendship began.

So, it's my job, and my duty to tell you to go check out Adam's blog "Mission Paradox". He is really discussing some interesting topics as it relates to how we produce art. Go check it you... You Turkey!

My Art Hurts... Who Again?

Okay, before you view the video below, please keep in mind the context. I work in Hollywood. So, the following story is kind of big news. For months and Months, you have seen billboards and teaser trailers, appearances and all kinds of hoop la for a movie called "Tropic Thunder". It's the latest creation of Ben Stiller, and as a comedy it's one of the big three this summer that is being praised for it's satire and wackiness (Pineapple Express and Hamlet 2 being the other two). However, this comedy has elicited some heavy criticism from certain groups because of a joke involving Ben Stiller. Stiller's character is a riff on Tom Cruise. There is a joke in the movie where characters give Stiller a hard time for his 'lack luster' portrayal of a mentally challenged person in a movie called "Simple Jack". This joke has created a proverbial 'shit storm' of controversy, because the N.D.S.S. (National Down Syndrome Society) has asked for a boycott of the film for a negative portrayal of people living with Downs Syndrome and the use of the word 'Retard".

So, in typical Hollywood, P.R. fashion the film makers have been mildly defensive and heavily apologetic towards the use of the work and the connotations of the joke in their P.R. junkets.

So, coming to their defense, sort of, are the boys who brought you the Internet sensation "Retarded Policeman", the Perry Boys. The Perry boys produce a comedy show featuring Josh who has Down Syndrome. They call the show "Retarded Policeman" and it's one of the biggest hits on YouTube. It might be bigger than that cross dressing kid who does video blogs under his covers (tee hee, that's my little joke for this blog). Anyway, there is no doubt that "Retarded Policeman" boldly plays off of all the jokes and snickering lauded towards those folks who face a variety of mental challenges. However, they make no apologies about what they are doing, and feel it should be a statement of empowerment. You can make your own call on that.

Anyway, History aside, the issues is the joke in the movie, the boycott and now this response posted on YouTube by the Perry Boys.

It's interesting to me that they've decided to compare the use of this word with the 'N' word, and how the African American Community has 'taken back' the word and turned it, into a word reflecting strength and a cultural identity. I don't know exactly how I feel about the analogy. However, I do believe they have a unique point of view on the issue.

It's an interesting debate the occurs within social groups who find themselves the victim of 'stereotyping' and subsequently media exploitation. One side always says, "This is wrong, and your portrayal of me is offensive." The other side says, "Lighten up, we're getting a chance to step in and re-write how we are perceived in society. Let's exploit the exploitation to our own benefits."

It's this latter statement, that I feel is the hot button issue in our country, and it's one that does not go away. When Michael Richards used the "N" word several years back in a stand up routine, people crucified him. However, many of the top of the chart Hip Hop artists use the "N" word routinely in their albums and they are rewarded for it.

In this case, look at a show like Retarded Policeman. Is is okay to 'poke fun' at folks with mental challenges, because the person doing the poking is a person with Down Syndrome?

I don't know, but I do know this... I love it when artists create this stuff either intentionally or unintentionally, because it does what good art or creativity should do... it pushes us to make a choice, or at least forces us to discuss it, either around the water cooler, dinner table or in a heated debate in the comments section of a video.

Damn as a blogger who loves art and what it is supposed to do, I love this stuff!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Jesus and the Rave!

To quote the legendary Dennis Leary from one of his great Stand Up Routines, "Explain it to me, God!" This is apparently a church service where they use "trance" or "rave" music to get in touch with the Holy Spirit.

I tried to come up with something witty here, but my brain is literally hemorrhaging, and I can barely form a complete sentence. I could understand completely if this were a group of twenty somethings who created some whacked out church in the Red Hook District called "Tribe of the Tree" where the pastor / life guide, delivers analogies to the sermon on the mount through the art of finger paint and mime, but this is clearly some basic white bread church... what the heck???? Watch the video at your own peril. I'm going to go try and shake this image out of my head. - Watch more free videos

George Lucas decides to be a Jerk

So, one of the latest crazes among independent software designers is coming up with cool aps (whether practical or silly) for the iPhone. This week for example, someone created an application that just put a red cube on your iPhone as a 'sign of the wealthy'. This little picture cost a whopping $1,000 dollars and was actually purchased by 8 people before it was pulled.

However, one of the most popular apps is one called "Light Saber". It was a free application developed by MacBox. The program was pretty smart. When activated a light saber popped up on the screen and when you swung your iPhone around like a sword, the program used the motion sensor tech to trigger specific battle sounds for the light saber. Pretty cool and the application was free.99.

Lucas of course forced iTunes to pull the application because he has an exclusive deal with THQ to develop mobile star wars content. THQ not wanting to be party to Lucas's overbearing ways, announced they would work with MacBox to come up with a legal and 'better' version of the program.

George, lighten up, a bit will you. You don't have to squeeze every freaking nickel out of the franchise. You have more money than the good Lord Almighty.

Original story posted by MacEnstien. Go check it out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Little Bit Political

It's election year, and folks are feeling a little more expressive about their opinions.
So, if you are one of those folks, join us in our little impromptu experiment, and vote in our polls to the right of this blog! I know we have some Global Friends who read the blog, so please, don't feel you cannot participate. Go ahead, pretend you were in our shoes... maybe your thoughts are better than ours... we put Bush in Office.

Obama's Energy Plan vs. McCain's Energy Plan

Okay, so, let's get a little topical. There are many, many issues that will sway the American Voter towards Obama or McCain in the coming election. Recent polls indicate that American's especially younger voters, are thinking more outside the box and voting on issues more and less towards "party lines".

I contend that Energy will be the single largest issue our nation faces in the next 8 years. It will be bigger than the Iraq War (which I believe will end victory or no victory within the first term of the new president), bigger than foreign diplomacy, and bigger than economic stimulus and the housing market. I say this because all of the aforementioned issues, while topical, are tied to our use of Energy resources in this country. We are in a war because of oil. We are spending less because oil is expensive. We are cutting deals with the wrong people over seas to get more oil. The issue is clear, the more we move away from a reliance on fossil fuels the more our problems will disipate and shift.

Recently Joseph Romm posted an article outlining Barack Obama's new Energy Plan that would fall in line with Obama's "new climate control" plan. This new energy plan is incredibly aggressive, and comprehensive because it focuses on several areas of energy development as opposed to the single area of development proposed by the current president, which mainly and not suprisingly centers around drilling for more oil in Alaska.

Here are some bullet Points from the Obama Plan. As I said, it's diverse, and fairly creative.

  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama will increase fuel economy standards 4 percent per each year while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers....
  • Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles and Put 1 Million Plugin Electric Vehicles on the Road by 2015: As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug‐in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which can get over 150 miles per gallon of gas... [more details below]
  • Partner with Domestic Automakers: Obama will also provide $4 billion retooling tax credits and
    loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel‐efficient
    cars can be built in the U.S. by American workers rather than overseas.
  • Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles
  • Develop the Next Generation of Sustainable Biofuels and Infrastructure
  • Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: ... The standard requires fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5 percent within 5 years and 10 percent within 10 years.
You can see this is not really about finding 'the next resource'. It's about finding the right energy resource for the right application. However, I see one major resource that is not being discussed in this plan. I ask, Where and to what extent does Solar Energy research play in this plan? It seems mostly 'fuel' centric still. So, it begs the question. Did the Solar Lobbyists fail to get some face time with Mr. Obama?

To be fair, let me also post John McCain's plan. He delivered a very poignant speech on his energy plan, and you can read about it here. The speech was very eloquent to read, but listening to him deliver it was like getting read a bed time story. You fall asleep at page two.

Here are some highlights:

"We have in use today a zero emission energy that could provide electricity for millions more homes and businesses than it currently does. Yet it has been over twenty-five years since a nuclear power plant has been constructed."

"If France can produce 80% of its electricity with nuclear power, why can't we? Is France a more secure, advanced and innovative country than we are? Are France's scientists and entrepreneurs more capable than we are? I need no answer to that rhetorical question. I know my country well enough to know otherwise."

"Let's provide for safe storage of spent nuclear fuel, and give host states or localities a proprietary interest so when advanced recycling technologies turn used fuel into a valuable commodity, the public will share in its economic benefits"

Do you see a trend here? I do, it's Nuclear power. Now, we as a country have our 'reservations' about Nuclear Power, and "The Simpsons" 18 year stint on T.V. satirizing Montgomery Burns has not helped the image. However, I see in McCain's plan to replace fossil fuels, a singular answer, which is nuclear power. While I agree Nuclear is part of the equation, it's not a the only answer.

What do you think? I pose the question, because this issue was over-looked in 2000 when Gore and Bush went head to head. At the time, Bush had the easy answer... Drill! Gore's answer was complicated, but comprehensive. He won an Oscar this year to prove his point.

This is not a GREEN issue. It's a fundamental issue, we all need to have a better handle on before we cast our votes in November.