Friday, February 27, 2009

Mind the gap

This is pretty impressive. With the help of 5 assistants, Edgar Müller created this 3D masterpiece of pavement art in one day.

Thanks Natalie for the tip.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jemaine sleeps with an Australian girl

I'm really enjoying the 2nd season of the Flight of the Conchords. I'm loving that they are playing up the Aussie vs. New Zealand rivalry - although I'm not sure how it is playing to US audiences. In this excerpt, Jemaine wakes up and discovers to his horror that he has slept with an Aussie girl.

As Bret says to him in panic "You gotta get out of there. Just get out of there"

In this scene, Bret makes a poor attempt at breaking up the relationship.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

15 of my favourite podcasts (updated)

In an earlier post I'd listed some of my favourite podcasts. Here's an updated list of random stuff I'm enjoying right now, in no particular order

1 - This American Life
2 - Slate Political Gabfest
3 - Slate Cultural Gabfest. A wonderful summary of the week in culture.
4 - WNYC's Radio Lab
5 - Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen
6 - PRI: The Sound of Young America. It's hard to beat the tagline on this one - "A public radio show about things that are awesome". Recent episodes featuring interviews with Neil Gaiman and the Letterman writers are well worth a listen.
7 - Big Ideas
8 - NPR: Fresh Air from WHYY. Consistently great and Terry Gross is one of the best hosts around. Her interview featuring Demetri Martin is hilarious.
9 - KCRW's The Treatment. Wonderfully insightful interviews by the host (Elvis Mitchell) with today's most influential and creative forces in popular art and entertainment
10 - CBC Radio: Q The podcast
11 - Democracy Now with Amy Goodman
12 - The Word. I just discovered this podcast. A bunch of blokes from the UK talking about culture, telly, music - whatever they want. Lots of fun
13 - Net@night. Featuring Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte. If it's new on the net, it's here.
14 - The Nature Podcast. Wonderful storytelling from the natural world. Loved the recent episode on Darwin
15 - NPR Pop Culture Podcast. The name says it all.

What hidden gems out there are you enjoying? I'd love to hear about them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Too much beauty

Urban cycling at its most gorgeous, hypnotic and tranquil. Nice to escape for a few minutes. Thanks to Cool Hunting for the tip

It's Your Ride from Cinecycle on Vimeo.

In a strange way, it reminds me of this famous scene from American Beauty, where even a flying plastic bag can seem beautiful (nice framing and music helps of course).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The most beautiful bookshop in the world?

Over the weekend I was reading through the The Guardian newspaper, and stumbled across a review of the city of Porto in the travel section. In it they mentioned what sounded like an incredible bookstore called Livraria Lello. Apparently it's often on the list of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. It's easy to see why.

Image source

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Right now, I can't imagine a day better spent than getting lost amongst the shelves at Lello, followed by a sunset dinner at Praia da Luz. Summer still seems a long way off.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Obama's elf

A bit of inspired silliness on a drab Monday.

Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the post.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Coraline and the wonder of small

We headed out last night to watch Coraline (in 3D). It's an utterly magical and beautiful world and it's just mind-blowing to think that everything in it was hand-made. It's truly an incredible combination of imagination, crafting and attention to detail, even down to the little sweaters and outfits that the characters wore. This short little video demonstrates the talent of just one of the people who worked on the movie. Using tiny knitting needles the dimensions of a hair, Althea Crome might just be the "smallest" knitter in the world.

Their marketing of the movie was just as creative. In an inspired "Willy Wonka Golden Ticket" type promo, they sent out 50 specially created boxes to 50 lucky bloggers. Here's Coraline box 21/50


My of my favourite blogs is The Year In Pictures. It's a wonderful collection of inspiring and thought-provoking images and video's. This quote from British Vogue sums it up pretty well.

"If only all blogs were as life-affirming and tender-hearted as that of gallerist James Danziger. Whether his focus falls on the work of an individual artist or a particular theme, The Year in Pictures is compulsive reading."

I especially look forward to his regular Weekend Video posts. A while ago he posted this great song, covered by a cute duo out of their bathroom somewhere.

And yesterday he posted the official video by the actual singers, Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait.

It's a great song - but it's hard to beat the authentic fun and joy of that first video. What do you think?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The WTF blanket

Just found this over at American Copywriter.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

A year of optimism?

When you see charts like this from the US, it's hard to be optimistic. Obviously there's a lot of pain and hardship behind these numbers.

But mixed in amongst these challenges are stories of creative thinking and ingenuity, and a focus from brands, marketers and agencies of all types on delivering even greater value to their customers. An initial gut reaction might be to tighten the belt, but as Steve talks about recently, brands do so at their own peril. He cites the example of Post Cereal during the depression of 1929. They were the leading cereal brand at the time. They cut back their marketing budget, Kelloggs did the opposite - and never looked back.

For a dose of optimism, I like to look to the story of Etsy - the online marketplace for handmade products who are experiencing continued and rapid growth through 2009, despite the overall global downturn.

In a recent interview, Etsy founder Robert Kalin talked about value, and what it means.

"When you don’t have as much money to spend, what is value to you? And I think to a lot of people, value isn’t how cheap something is, value’s how meaningful something is"

Or there's more creativity to be found at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. They needed to increase visitors, particularly amongst the younger set - quite a challenge when you consider that natural history is unlikely to be high on their bucket list.

So they re-invented the museum experience, and called it First Fridays - a truly magical idea that fuses t-rexes and triceratops, cool live music, great food and wine, and sexy lighting - pure awesomeness. Building on an experience that was all about discovery and knowledge, they mixed in some modern relevance resulting in a unique and memorable experience (lots more images over at Notcot). Surely we need more of this type of creativity and less of this?.

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Friday, February 6, 2009


So continuing on the Greek theme (kind of), I'm really enjoying this music video by Fleet Foxes (directed and animated by Sean Pecknold). It's a paper cut beauty. Thanks Cartoon Brew for posting

Mykonos from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

My family and other animals

I just finished watching a wonderful film adaptation of the classic book by Gerald Durrell - My Family and other animals. It's based on his experiences as a young boy when his family escaped a cold and dull life in England and moved to beautiful Corfu.

I love how it really captures the characters and setting from the book, especially the snobbish yet endearing older brother (and famous novelist) Lawrence Durrell. Matthew Goode's performance as Larry is brilliant (and very funny).

It's inspiring to know that the childlike wonder and fascination the young Gerald had for the animal world continued throughout his life. He went on to become a famed naturalist, conservationist, author and television presenter.

If anyone's looking for an escape from the winter blues I highly recommend both the book and movie

Sunday, February 1, 2009

If you hold my hand

This isn't new, but it's so awesome & hypnotic, I thought I'd post. As someone commented, it has a real "Kill Bill" feel to it. It's by Sonny J

Here's the original, by Donna HighTower (from the 50's). Apparently she was discovered when she was doing two things she loved - cooking and singing in a diner in Chicago. A bit more about her here.