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I don’t really have anything to say about this gif except that it features two of my favorite artists and is hilarious.
If you wanna own it for yourself, here it is. Thank you Jimmy.
- Tunes we can believe in
I get the feeling that as we get closer to the election, we’re going to start hearing more and more Obama-inspired music. I’m all for it. This week I’ve heard two new songs. One by Nas from his very good new mixtape.
The other is from Cody Chesnutt, a soul singer from Georgia who a few years ago released one of my favorite albums, The Headphone Masterpiece, a double LP of songs recorded in his bedroom, often from his bed. He had a big hit with the Roots, but since then Cody’s kind of retreated from the music scene, and I hadn’t heard anything new from him for a couple years. Then today my friend Robin sent me his new song “Afrobama”. As the name suggests, it’s about Obama and it sounds like Afrobeat. How can you go wrong?
Cody ChesnuTT – Afrobama (The Unified Party Anthem)
right-click + save link as (mac) / save target as (windows)
- The Big Picture
Today while I was spending time on the Boston Globe site checking on the local coverage of my Celtics (who are currently engaged in a life-death struggle with their arch enemies, the villainous Los Angles Lakers) I stumbled on a really cool photo blog compiled by Alan Taylor.
It’s called The Big Picture and, far as I can tell, is mostly concentrated on large-format photos of news stories from around the world. It only started in May, but they’ve already got some amazing things on there. Here’s a sample (click to enlarge):
- live news cameras
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, of is it something worse?”
- Bruce Springsteen
You know when you’re just sitting around and suddenly a good idea occurs to you? And you start to think about it and your enthusiasm grows, and the more you think about it, the more you start to feel that this is not simply a good idea, this is a potentially GREAT idea. This is something that could really work. This isn’t just clever, this is something that is NEEDED. You know what, this is such a good idea, you might even end up getting PAID from this. Then maybe you grab a pad and pen and start sketching out some possibilities, writing notes out, thinking up names, slogans even… And you marshal all your positive energy toward this for a few minutes, but over time a dark cloud begins to form in your Teletubby land of inspiration and enthusiam. At first you attempt to block it out, but that effort only saps the vitality needed to further develop the idea, until eventually it becomes impossible to ignore the fact that you have NO IDEA how to make the idea work. Plus an idea like this needs to be done right and that takes money. And making a business plan is really last thing in the world you want to be doing right now. Plus this isn’t even really in your realm of expertise, so to make it happen you’ll need to find a partner of some kind. Somebody to handle the practical side. And man you feel tired just thinking about that. And no, it’s not even worth it…
And with that you discard a good idea, something that just minutes before you could imagine dedicating your life to. And most of the time you forget it and it’s just dust in the wind as they say. But sometimes it comes back. Sometimes you’re just sitting there and you see your old idea, and somebody else has done it. Not as you would have (not as good), but still, there it is…
I mention all this, because a couple years ago I had an idea for a website that streamed the evening news from stations all over the world. It was when youtube first came out, and I was thinking it could be user generated. On slow news days, you could see which stories took priority in different places, and during major events (the world cup final, 9-11, etc.) you could compare and contrast the coverage without even leaving your window. Even had a name for it – worldviews.org
- Lady Sovereign
Today I discovered www.livenewscameras.com, a site that basically does what I was thinking of, except live. It’s still in beta version so there are a lot of bugs, and watching on a Chinese connection requires more patience than I have, and the interface is ugly as sin, but it’s there. So respect to whoever pulled this together. I’m sure if we check back in a year or so, it’ll be official. Something to look forward to…
Thanks to neatorama for the link…
- Fixtape 4: Habibeats
It’s mix time again.
This is one of those geographically-oriented mixes like the Dirty South one from last year. But this time we’re headed out to the Persian Gulf. So we lose the 808 drums and pornographic chanting and pick up tablas and tambourines, heartfelt declarations of devotion and longing, and an absolutely amazing amount of synthesized strings.
Here it is…
right-click + ‘save link as’ (mac) / ‘save target as’ (windows)
Elissa – Saher E’ini
Sa’b Tghib – Ragheb Alama
Irini Merkouri – Siko Horepse
Studio Pagol – Yelele
No Blues – Farewell Shalabiye
Souad Massi – Soon
Elissa – Betmoon
Mystery Track #1
Cheb I Sabbah & Michal Cohen – Im Ninalou
Shereen – Ah Ya Leil
Soma – Tesadda’a Haram
Mystery Track #2
Mega Muzik – Instanbul Grooves
Yasar Akpence – Shaking The Time
Yasar Akpence – Drums of Joy
Ethem Zeytinkaya – Crazy
Fairuz – Nassam alayna (live)
I am forever indebted to my Lebanese heart L.A. for supplying me with most of the music for this and my gracious Iraqi nutritionist L.L. for hosting. Hope you like it.
- Chinese Gvt: Don’t be a spastic – get drastic about plastic
I’m back in Beijing and the big piece of non-earthquake/non-Olympic news here is the new ban on free plastic bags. According to China Daily
From June 1 on, all Chinese retailers, including supermarkets, department stores and grocery stores, would no longer provide free plastic shopping bags.
The number of plastic bags consumed in China is literally unbelievable. It’s estimated that Beijing alone consumes nearly 10 billion plastic bags annually, which is equivalent to around 27 million bags per day. Really.
So this is great news for everybody I guess, but especially for China’s overworked, underappreciated environmental activists. Last year I got to know a bunch of them while I was doing research for the 桌志 | Eat Up project and I thought, to celebrate the new policy, I’d post up a conversation I had with Takeshi Ikeda, an organizer for Global Village Beijing, one of China’s earliest environmental NGOs. At the time he was spearheading an information campaign aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags. He talked a lot about the challenges of doing environmental activism in China, and he actually ended up saying the public advocacy doesn’t really work here. Anyway, I found it really interesting, check it out….
I’ve been in Dubai for the past few weeks making a publication for it. That comes out today too – available at the Vitra Museum (Fire station campus) for those in the neighborhood and as a supplement to Gulf News for those in the UAE. Here’s a pic of the cover…
The show features the work of my girls Charlie & Reineke, two European photographers who over three weeks took something like 16000 photos of Dubai in all its multi-culti, shimmer and sand glory. Both of them have very nice display techniques for their exhibits so I’m going to wait til I get proper photos from the museum to show their stuff.
UPDATE: Here are some pics from the opening…
For now though, here is a group discussion with four of the Emerati artists featured in the exhibition about life and art in Dubai. I had to edit it pretty drastically in the print version, so here is the fuller, more interesting edit….
Here’s an example of each artist’s contribution to the exhibition:
What I noticed first about your pieces is the emphasis on solitude and isolation. All of the images have very quiet quality, which goes against the common perception of Dubai as a kind of free trade adventureland. What do think this shared perspective says about life here?
Jalal Abuthina: What a lot of the work has in common is some sort of conflict with the surroundings – a new environment that’s opposed to the old. A struggle between the new surrounding and what was before.
Lamya Gargash: There’s a sense of loss in all of them.
Reem Al Ghaith: They all relate to the surroundings. So that’s a question: why are we saying this about Dubai – why are we talking about the struggle of stepping into this new environment? Because all five of us are saying the same thing.
Mohammed Kazem: We are living in a very horizontal culture in the UAE. If you go through the streets, you can see people of different nationalities, different kinds of buildings, different foods, you can smell different things – none of these elements have been part of the UAE for a long time. So it’s affected the people here, including the artists… But not all artists use art to criticize politics or ideology, because art doesn’t solve problems of politics or economics. Art has its own policy. So I use many elements from the society, but sometimes I am not provoking anything. Many times artists here are criticizing themselves to find out new things. In this case, they’re not focusing on what’s happening in the society.
- So fresh, so clean
VERY FEEL has been down for a minute, and I just want to take a second to thank everyone who wrote to me and asked if things are ok. It’s really cool that you’re checking and makes it worth doing. Respect.
The reason I haven’t updated is because some lame hacked my little site and installed some malware that caused spam to go out if you clicked on certain posts. Not a virus or anything horrible like that. Just some pop-ups for products and services you don’t want. Google found this and flagged the site and told me I had to improve security.
So I thought it would be smarter to just lay off til I get the site safe and sound. Usually if I don’t make new posts for a while the traffic goes way down, so it was a kind of anti-promo campaign. And MAN did it work:
But this whole time I’ve still been making posts, just not putting them up. So I’m going to post them up now…. I’ll keep the original dates, because otherwise it’d be totally confusing. Peace.