Monday, November 22, 2010

Sign Painter Documentary Looks Timely

I remember being really curious about the signage I saw around town when I was growing up in Saginaw, MI. From a very early age I was interested in signage and typography - though I had no idea what those terms were - and was struck by how beautifully precise the lettering was. In particular, I used to see the tag "Signs By Walt" at the bottom of some of my favorite signs. Maybe ten years old, I would ask my Mom - "Who is Walt? He's so amazing! Look at how cool these letters are!". Honestly, I was so curious about who this mystery genius was, I always looked for his name at the bottom of signs.

Seems I wasn't the only one into sign painting and sign painters, as evidenced by Sign Painting: a new documentary by Faythe Levin and Sam Macon.

From ImPrint:

Filmmakers Faythe Levine (Handmade Nation: the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design) and Sam Macon are working on a new documentary on sign painters persisting in their hand-lettered craft. So far, they’ve shot in Olympia, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, and Syracuse, with Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and more to come. The film, by capturing the stories of sign painters both young and old, illustrates that although digital vinyl lettering has decimated the profession since the early 1980s, the craft still continues to draw in many young painters with an eye for the handmade quality that digital work so clearly lacks.

Then there are the old-timers, like 90-year-old Rey Giese of San Jose, who has been painting signs since the Great Depression and is still going. And everyone seems to have a story about how they picked up the trade, whether it was from a friend, in a trade school, in prison, or as a way to continue a youthful love of lettering first brought out in graffiti. Stay tuned for more updates on this feature, projected for release in 2012.

For more information and images, go here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This Is Where I Want To Live

I have long been a big fan of converted industrial/commercial properties becoming living/studio spaces. This is still what I want to do - I am very interested in finding some industrial building here in Greenville and renovating it. My ultimate dream would be to find some small decrepit mill (of which there seems to be many) just outside the city, in the woods, all brick, etc. and create my ultimate home and working space. Btw, if you know somewhere like this, and it is cheap-to-reasonably priced, please let me know.

Above is one image from a gas station renovation in Los Angeles - so amazing.

Much more can be found here.

Unknown Pleasures Is Everywhere

Joy Division's seminal masterpiece Unknown Pleasures seems to be everywhere these days. Original JD bassist (and New Order alumni) Peter Hook is currently touring (and soon to be hitting the States) behind the 30th Anniversary of the album, performing it in it's entirety.

Everything about the album has become iconic, from the songs themselves to the album sleeve. Legendary designer (and personal hero) Peter Saville created the iconic cover image of a digital view of a sound wave, and from that abstraction the cover was born. Today you can buy shoes, skateboard decks, iPods, or even mittens with the cover printed on it.

The album itself has held up amazingly well by the way. It sounds so, so contemporary. Everyone should go out and buy it, it should be essential listening for all members of the human race.

This is a really long way of saying that I love Joy Division, and the image of the doorway in Manchester above reminded me of that today. Really, that's all - I really love Joy Division.

Typekit Is Totally Legit

One of the major reasons I have never gotten too into web design is that the designer can be quite limited by the typographic options available. And since I'm a serious, hardcore typophile, I had little interest in having my typography change depending on the computer that is interpreting it.

Recently several new technologies have sought to solve this problem. TypeKit is one of them, and by all accounts, works cleanly to this end.

Check them out here.

Typographica Is Beautiful

If you haven't been to the phenomenal Typographica, then go there right now.

No really, leave my site, and go check it out. It's a beautiful thing.

Get there here.

Minimal Sites Is Inspiring

We are all always looking for inspiration right? Well, Minimal Sites provides a boatload of it. I love the pared back, less is more approach to websites - though you might not guess that from my site.

Anyway, check out Minimal Sites for some serious fire.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Arcade Fire Video Is Beyond Epic

As I have previously noted, I am a big, big Arcade Fire fan. I think they are one of the best bands in the world right now. Their new video for the title track of the their latest album - The Suburbs - is absolutely phenomenal. Directed by video legend Spike Jonze, The Suburbs is an example of an art form which has died a horrible, untimely death - the music video as art.

Beautiful, confusing, visceral, hard to forget - in other words, everything great art should be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hero Joe Strummer Gets Biopic Treatment He Deserves

Clash frontman Joe Strummer has long been a hero of mine. The only band to write political songs that I ever really loved (band, not artist, thus disqualifying Bob Dylan) The Clash were the end of an era.

Now it seems that Strummer is about to get the full biopic. Rock biopics can generally be divided into three categories:

The Good - Control (fantastic film about Ian Curtis), The Doors (I love it for all the reasons people hate it - long, indulgent, over the top. Also Val Kilmer's Jim Morrison is the single best rock performance ever.), Walk The Line (Johnny Cash), La Bamba (Richie Valens), Velvet Goldmine (David Bowie and Iggy Pop).

The Decent - BackBeat (early Beatles), Sid & Nancy (solely for Gary Oldman's brilliant Sid Vicious).

The Awful - What We Do Is Secret (butchered editing style ruined a great performance by Shane West as Germs leader Darby Crash), Great Balls of Fire (silly Jerry Lee Lewis impression).

Anyway, here is more about the upcoming Strummer pic.

In what was only a matter of time, International Screen Daily (via the Playlist) has revealed that Clash leader and rock legend Joe Strummer's life will soon be adapted for the silver screen. British movie company Film4 will lead the charge on the flick, which has been given the rather mundane working title of 'Joe Publich.' Paul Viragh, the scribe who penned the Ian Dury movie 'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll,' is working as the lead screenwriter. Strummer was involved with the film world during his lifetime, starring in projects from indie auteur Jim Jarmusch and Finnish mastermind Aki Kaurismaki, and he's also been a popular subject of documentaries. His life as a musician and activisit has been recounted in both 'Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten' and 'Strummerville,' which was directed by Don Letts and received a partial premiere at the 2010 SXSW festival. So far, Damian Jones ('Millions') and Simon Halfon ('Sleuth') are both currently signed on as producers. No actor has been rumored for the lead role as of yet. Depending on his acting chops, Glasvegas frontman James Allan and his uncanny resemblance to Strummer could be an interesting choice.

Detroit City Map Poster Is Awesome

This killer poster of Detroit is predictably cool, but their is lots more great stuff over at Peaceful Traveler.

Enjoy his stuff here.

Listening To: The Cramps

SPINNING: Songs the Lord Taught Us, by The Cramps
FAV TRACKS: TV Set, Mad Daddy, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Tear It Up

Alright, so I'm binging on the criminally underrated band The Cramps at present. This is straight up rock and roll like nobody seems to play anymore - well, anyone other than Jack White. I defy anyone to write a cooler riff than the one for I Was A Teenage Werewolf. Killer stuff. Did I mention they had a girl lead guitar player, and that her name was Poison Ivy? No, really, what a raretie in rock and roll.

If I were to start a new band right now (other than Victory Formation, which is at present moving quite slow...) I would want to sound just like this. Or maybe just play Cramps covers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs (with Ozzy)

It's been awhile since I have done a Top Ten List, so it's about time I drop one. Black Sabbath was a very big part of my youth. In high school I would stay up really, really late and listen to Sabbath in the dark - I remember listening intensely to Planet Caravan on repeat, with only the blue/green glow of my stereo light humming in the background.

Alright, without further ado, here is my Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs (with Ozzy).

10. Children of the Grave

09. It’s Alright

08. Hand of Doom

07. Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Basically/NIB (this is all one song)

06. Black Sabbath

05. Sweet Leaf

04. Planet Caravan

03. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

02. Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener (again, one song)

01. Hole In The Sky

On a side note: I absolutely love it when bands use their own name in songs. You notice there are two songs above that do this. The Clash were the absolute best at this – We Are The Clash, This Is Radio Clash, Clash City Rockers, What’s My Name? – so awesome.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Minutes With Oden is Six Minutes of Emotion

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

This mini-doc, about a man having to put his dog to sleep, is hands down the saddest thing I've seen in a long, long time. Maybe it was the long tiring weekend, hours upon hours of work, sleepless nights, or all of the above, but it sure got to me tonight.

If you have ever loved anyone, an animal or human being, and lost them, then this film will speak to you.


BTW - thanks Andre for the heads up.