Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Sound of Arrows: From Sweden with Unicorns

The Sound of Arrows - Into the Clouds (Music video) from
The Sound of Arrows
on Vimeo.

Duo from Sweden, now working on an album in London. Over-the-top live performances and huge choruses will definitely increase their mark on the radar screen. But, to be honest, my first thought when seeing the video was, "The new Pet Shop Boys??" However, love the song and video. Check out The Sound of Arrows Myspace Page for a great interview they did for The Manchester Evening News by Gary Ryan.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

These New Puritans


Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Signs" by Patrick Hughes

This is a nice little film by Patrick Hughes. It's won a couple awards and such. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Xavier Martin: Sleek and Modern Designs

Xavier Martin is a designer located in Barcelona, Spain. Most of his work seems to be in the realm of interior design. However, he has also worked on projects in graphic design and architecture. It's not everyday that a designers website gives good browse, however, Martin's site is very interesting. His interior designs, like that for a Pharmacy above, are sleek and modern, allowing the product contained in the shops to shine. I also love the idea Martin gives for a shoe store based on Cherry Blossoms in Japan. See it for yourself on His Site.
Xavier Martin SITE HERE

Monday, November 30, 2009

Japan's Herbivores Make NPR

More on the "Herbivores" of Japan. I posted awhile ago about the new trend in Japan which finds the country's men rebelling against the long standing norms of gender, sex, machoism, and all around lifestyle decisions that have been apart of the Japanese culture for decades (original Post here). The new breed of younger, twenty and thirty somethings are breaking the mold and pursuing their passions without shame.

NPR has recently produced a story to investigate the trend further. My original post was made after reading an article on Slate.

Find out more about Japan's "Herbivores" HERE and HERE

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Null Stern Hotel: Switzerland

This video is a short film that gives insight into a very interesting feat in hospitality taking place in Switzerland. Null Stern means "No Star." No star hotels could very well be the new trend in travel accommodations.The entire project is a part art installation and part real functional hotel. This being so, guests are treated to unique experiences as well as comfortable beds. The set up may not be for every traveler, but definitely for those looking for a refreshing and original approach to hospitality.

Null Stern SITE

Monday, November 23, 2009

2 Trios to check out

Micachu and The Shapes & Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

Both groups have built great word of mouth for their music. And both groups include talented musicians. The videos (below) are fun, and reflect the flavor of each act.

Micachu is a student of music and experiments with sound like a "noise researcher." She is joined by two friends to help her in doing so. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are a family act heavily influenced by music their parents introduced and made apart of the family fabric.

Check out their sites to learn more and to hear some great stuff.
Micachu Site
Micachu Myspace
Kitty, Daisy and Lewis Myspace

Kitty Daisy & Lewis 'Going Up The Country'

Sunday Best | MySpace Music Videos

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Theo Adams Company: London

Theo Adams is a performance artist from London and this is a video of a piece put together and presented for W Magazine. Adams has a vision and he goes for it along with fellow creatives and members of his eponymous Company. He is the kind of person who wears braces on his teeth well after they were due to come off. The company is all self funded. I am sure that will soon change.

Theo Adams Company will be performing for one night only in Tokyo, Japan at the end of November. If you can't make it, check out the video above or the links to the Theo Adams Company blog.

You can truly get pulled into the pieces and may also feel slightly disturbed while watching. The artists do pour so much of themselves into their work. I find it poetic, exciting, and great to watch.

Interesting Theo Adams Interview
Theo's Blog site HERE

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obamitas Cookies: Based on President Obama

A Branding and Design firm in Spain have created a cookie inspired by President Barak Obama. Maybe you have seen this before. The firm, Neos Brand, gained some coverage on this chocolate treat in various publications, but I am just coming across it. My first thought is: Is this racist in any way? In all fairness, I am sure that the firm did not intentionally make the cookie as a racist gesture and to be mean spirited. On the contrary, it is probably a nod and a compliment to America's first Black President. But, the group must have known that there would be questions about RACE raised by their design. And maybe that is part of the project. Unfortunately, I do not speak nor read Spanish. If you do, however, Neos Brand have provided a case study for the "OBAMITAS COOKIE" (link below). 

I suppose my main concern is that, unless you count the addition of slightly large ears on the "face" of the cookie, there is truly no likeness to President Obama. And giving nods to the ears is pushing it, I think. And a chocolate cookie nonetheless... The cookie does give an example of the power of the "Obama Brand" and the president's apparent mass appeal. But where do we draw the line? Black gummy Obamas anyone?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kris Van Assche: Londerzeel

I was taking a look at Kris Van Assche's website to see his SS 2010 Menswear collection. But I found more than fashion on his pages. Kris Van Assche is a designer. He is also an artist and the Artistic Director for Dior Homme. What I found, and what I have linked to below, is a magazine put together by Kris with help from several artists and creatives. Londerzeel starts with a quote from The Little Prince; to tame… something too often forgotten. It means to create ties.”Ties between him and other artists, between him and men, between him and you.

The magazine showcases work by Van Assche, including an installation entitled  Poet On Strike (pic below), and others such as Ali Kazma and Andrea Mastrovito (the drawings by Mastrovito, like the one above, are very moody and incorporate looks designed by Van Assche).

I recommend taking a look at Londerzeel for inspiration and/or thinking about the life of a creative individual as he relates to the world around him.

As for Kris Van Assche's Mens Fashion designs: I feel like the man who wears these clothes may be introverted yet there is some "thing" that is a created product of his deeply inward thinking and lifestyle and this "thing" is shared with the rest of the world and "ties between men" continues.

Kris Van Assche site HERE

Londerzeel HERE

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Tokyo Vice" by Jake Adelstein

When I first heard of this book, I thought it would be a low key affair. But Jake Adelstein is truly promoting his newest book, "Tokyo Vice," even appearing on 60 minutes about a week ago ( I watched by chance, happy to hear they were doing a Japanese story, and was surprised to see him on TV). The 60 minutes piece was not actually on his book, but about a Top Level Yakuza (Japanese Mob) who received a liver transplant here in the USA. It seems that now Adelstein must watch his step after bringing forth such a revelation: His life may be in danger. It is no surprise that Adelstein would make some enemies while putting in time as a Crime Beat reporter for a Tokyo newspaper. But it is hard to tell just how much danger he may be in, particularly when he is appearing on TV, print, and even NPR (this coming week) to talk about his book. Regardless, I am a Tokyo fan and will definitely give the book a read in order to understand the city's underground a bit better.

What is a bit "messed-up" is that, on a Japanese internet site who gave Jake's book a thread, someone who is not too nice actually posted his parents address and suggested that affiliates of the Yakuza pay them a visit. Perhaps Adelstein is at more of a risk than I thought...

Linked is a interview given by Adelstein for Random House who is the "Tokyo Vice" publisher. HERE

Tokyo Subculture: site edited by Adelstein about Japan Underground

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yayoi Kusama

Obliterating the world with dots: Yayoi Kusama has given us some fantastic works of art. I am just now learning a bit more about the Japanese artist and think that other art lovers who don't already know Kusama's work need to take a look. Check out the trailer for a Kusama Bio film by Heather Lenz and Karen Johnson (below). Kusama's official website is also very informative.

She has done happenings, sculpture, painting, performance, installations, and more. Her name is known, but her work is probably not as known as it should be. Kusama has lead a very intriguing life and lives in a Mental Hospital in Tokyo with her studio down the street. 

Kusama Website HERE

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cory Doctorow and His Publishing Experiment

Cory Doctorow is a writer, blogger, and culturist. He is embarking on a new project in which he will track how much money he makes by pushing DIY publishing to new levels. The plan is to compare the money he makes himself to that which he receives when he publishes traditionally. It's the smorgasbord approach and should be very interesting to follow. Doctorow will chronicle his experiment in a Publisher's Weekly column. Read the first article HERE detailing the experimental parts to the DIY project.

I hope that Cory is successful in exceeding any profits he would have made by going the traditional route. With the way the publishing world is changing it is an approach like Doctorow's that will likely become most prudent for writers, Known or Unknown 

Read PW article

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tokyo! RENT IT NOW!!

I was finally able to see Tokyo! It's set in my favorite city and the stories told are brilliant. However, my favorite is the opening story "Interior Design." This first short was directed by  Michael Gondry. You can get the synopsis on the movie website (link above). But, I found it very powerful in the way it made me think about my life and what my purpose is. Don't we all want to fill useful? The story starts simple enough but slowly develops into a almost fablelike ending.

There are two additional shorts that are compiled into the whole by directors Bong Joon-Ho (story about a recluse or 'hikimori) and Leos Carax (story about a manlike creature that lives in the Tokyo sewers). The film is similar to "Je Taime, Paris" but focused on Tokyo, of course. There is actually another "city" film coming out soon, focused on New York City.

Tokyo! captures the vibe of the city and of the Japanese people and their society. The stories are very intricate yet simple at the same time. It's facinating to see the take on the city by non-Japanese directors.


Monday, October 12, 2009

This American Life takes on Health Care

I just finished listening to a fascinating edition of This American Life on NPR. There is a lot being said these days in regards to the Health Care debate, and as the show has done many times before with other topics, This American Life has given us a more clear, in depth, and pertinent view on the issues that impact the American Health Care System (Click the link below to listen).

There are so many parts to the Health Care puzzle that must be considered when developing the best plan of action to SAVE the entire system. Costs are spinning out of control and all major parties seem to understand this fact, including the Insurance Companies who would arguably stand to reap greater profits if NOTHING changed. But, these companies, just as doctors, hospital systems, and patients themselves understand, the system will collapse completely if nothing changes. In the past decade, costs associated with Health Care have risen 130%. If nothing changes, we could face a reality in which HALF of our income goes toward Health Care. That is only 9 years away if nothing changes.

But, what are the main problems and how can they be addressed and corrected? This American Life gives us a nice perspective of some of these In the show, we hear from doctors, patients, insurance reps, and journalists who have followed the issue for decades. The show today was the first of two parts, because there is so much to cover.

If you want a better picture of this very important debate, CHECK OUT THE SHOW HERE.

It is CODE RED for our Health Care System and it's an issue that can no longer be ignored.

THIS AMERICAN LIFE: 391: More of Less

Friday, October 9, 2009

Too Fresh to Die

I would call this collaboration between choreographer Christophe Haleb and the photographer Cyrille Weiner (both from France) a choreographed photo essay. It features La Zouze, a theatrical/dance company from Marseille. There are some captions that may assist those who can read in French. But it is all about the actions and scenes depicted in the photos.

The piece tells a story of a troupe of characters indulging in Life and it's offerings while running from it's ultimate conclusion. This is entertaining


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Freaky Fortnight on SLATE

Slate editor, Michael Agger, and his wife, Susan Burton, are in the midst of an experiment of sorts. They have swapped jobs for 2 weeks. The switch has just started and you can follow their entries on the topic on Twitter and Facebook, OR read the articles HERE.

I have just started to read and am truly intrigued and curious about how the experiment will turn out. I am a bit surprised by my interest. You see, Mike and Susan are Thirty-somethings, married, with children. I am definitely not any of those things, yet I find the perspective and thoughts the two are sharing entertaining and enlightening. The Park Slope parents seem to be happy with their current life, but tell about the difficult decisions they both have had to    make in regards to finding the work/life balance.

Being a bit younger, unmarried, and without children, I am taking notes as to the circumstances and subsequent outcomes of the couples decisions and challenges. I think there is some definite value in the articles Mike and Susan are writing.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gentle Friendly

Gentle Friendly is from London UK. Their MySpace page lists influences as: british invasion,kraut jerk,caveman techno,cavepunk,,huge glistening party anthem,,anything screwd & chopd,buddhist bubblegum music 

It is quite the mix, but done so well. Check'em out on their MySpace or the label site: UPSET THE RYTHM

The art, including lyrics (above) is product of Gentle Friendly

Monday, September 28, 2009

Head On Competetion: Australia

This image is by Edwina Pickles and is apart of the HEAD ON photography competetion of Australia. The Comp has been around since about 2004 and puts the focus on the image, not the subject or photograher's name. It's an exhibition of Portrait. Click the link below to check out the other finalist photos.

Check Out the HEAD ON site HERE

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Projects by Gary McLeod

Gary McLeod is a researcher/traveler/photographer who documents much of his subjects using a lense from the 19th century over his 21st century camera. The result (after accumulating upwards of 400 pics per final image) is a tiled effect. It's a creative process and brings a quality to the work that would not be there otherwise by uncovering a bit more of the image than would be seen with the "pure" photo approach.

The project that got my interest was that entitled "Privilege." McLeod photographs English Teachers in Japan using the "tiled" process. Being a English teacher in Japan myself, at one time, the images took me back. I even noticed that most of the teachers wore watches. This is typically a must for the profession. You have to keep the pace of those 45min lessons. The "Privilege" project gives a good look at the expat work force in Japan: who they are and where they come from. McLeod notes that the photos, "are a record of people taking an opportunity that may or may not be around forever." The idea for the project was heavily influenced by "native race" photos thru-out history.

His website is worth checking out, particularly if you like photography. CLICK HERE


If you like RaRaRiot or Vampire Weekend, you should check out the new band, Discovery, comprised of Wes Miles (RaRaRiot) and Rostom Boltmanglij (Vampire Weekend). Their vibe is described as Experimental RandB'ish. I think it is definitely more on the experimental side. Cool stuff. The band's site is great, you can listen to the entire album. I like so many of the synth/keyboard breaks in VW's stuff, and this is heavy on it with Rostom on board.

Check Out http://dscvry.net/


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sandy Lam's "Spaceless"

Sandy is a designer working in Canada. I came across this design in a magazine. The "Spaceless" is an award winner and serves to add more function and space to your outdoor living area. I thought it was pretty clever, particularly if you are living in a small space. The bench and table fold up from the floor. Very smart.

Check it out HERE.

Sandy is an all 'round designer. Here site shows her renderings, interactive, communication, and photography designs. But, it is her INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS, including "Spaceless" that stand out.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bruce Weber Special Exhibition

There is a lot that can be said about Bruce Weber including his vision, amount of work, effect his work has had, and the array of his work. It's prolific to say the lest. There is a special exhibition brought by Sundance Channel that is ONLINE. It features photos, interviews, video clips, and even a playlist. It's a great look at the man. I enjoy his work so much because he is able to reach into his subjects and pull out a feeling that only he can and that feeling is represented throughout all his work.



GONE FISHING - A LITTLE JOURNEY IN MY BACK YARD is the first online exhibition of the films and photographs of acclaimed filmmaker and photographer Bruce Weber. The exhibition features clips from Bruce's award winning documentaries and shorts as well as the full-length Pet Shop Boys music video BEING BORING, and YOU FEEL ME, a documentary short film. --Sundance Channel Site

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Grass Eaters on SLATE

A recent article on SLATE took a look at the trend of "grass-eating boys" in Japan, or soushoku danshi and examines why trend is present and what it is all about.

Definite CHECK OUT.

It made me wonder if a trend like this could find its way to the American society. Particularly due to the slow down in our economy. The Recession has already caused people to reevaluate personal spending and priorities. I believe that it is plausible that many young guys will, more and more, turn away from the larger corporations that may have generated huge incomes, but in a volatile manner and at a cost of free spirit and free time, and they will turn to means of income that are more in line with a more "humble" lifestyle. I know that there are already several "Grass Eaters" in my neighborhood. I, for one, hope that the trend does pick up. I think that the way we consume in America is shifting and that includes the ways in which we use our consumption to evaluate our lives in terms of "measuring up." The eating of grass symbolizes turning away from "the hunt" and finding greater solace and value in what you already have and in what may be more easily obtained.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Real Housewives of Atlanta & Project Runway

If it is on BRAVOtv, then I will probably watch it...at least a few times. They know me, they have researched me, they have me hooked. I will even watch the Rachel Zoe show in which the cast is in a constant scramble to find the perfect dress for Anne Hathaway. I will watch Flipping Out, where a house flipper spends most the time abusing his assistants.

But, the BEST show on BRAVO right now is...THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA

Hands down. This is my favorite show at the moment. I have watched a few other housewife shows, but none can match what they are doing in ATL. The show even looks more glossy (which I love) and the women just have more going on, literally. They jam pack their shows with so much and they have a good time doing it. There is enough drama, gossip, and "hood" luxuriousness going on in this show, how can you not watch?

In what other show will you get a housewife stripping on camera or hamming it up with her Best-Gay as he puts on heels during a photo shoot? Oh, NENE. An entire show could just center around this lady. Oh wait, it already does. It's called THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA.

A guilty pleasure of mine.

WATCH IT...site here

This leads me to what used to be my favorite BRAVO show, PROJECT RUNWAY
It's definitely different than Housewives ATL because I watch on a much more mellow level, watching artistic creations take shape. Tim Gunn's voice can put you at ease and his Gunnisms are the best. And Heidi Klum, she can be mean sometimes, but look so good at it.

Watch HERE

Unfortunately the cast of designers this season are a bit lackluster in the personality side. In previous seasons, you could count on having at least a handful of spitfire personalities, but that just is not the case this season which finds the show moved to LIFETIME. It's not as fun, and the designers are just so serious. Even worse, the entire show looks cheaper: It doesn't have the glossy sheen it had when on BRAVO. Like some of the designs on the show, the show itself just isn't constructed as well as it has been.

But, I will keep on watching. Hoping it will get better as I invest time in the cast of designers. Truth be told, I do tune in a 10 and then flip to BRAVO for Housewives ATL. Luckily BRAVO knows me so well, they are smart enough to rerun the show immediately at 11. So intuitive. And, lets be honest, RUNWAY is the only show I am tuning into on LIFETIME no matter how hard they try to pull me away from my true TV mistress, BRAVO.

Oh, and funny enough, when I did a Google search for "Project Runway" the BRAVO site is listed first, followed by the LIFETIME site.

Three Olives Vodka AD

I like this ad. I've never really thought that much about Three Olives, but know that I have had it before. I'm not much of a liquor drinker, preferring beer or wine, but this ad definitely makes the brand stick in my head.

The set up is bizarre, and a bit racy maybe: Guy slapped in the face with fish and gets an "O" face... It's funny.

I think the suit is cool in a work-a-day way and I love the close-up of the socks.

There are actually several commercials featuring this guy in similar setups.

I'll have to check those out, too.

Good Job, Three Olives.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Fumi Nagasaka's work has a bluntness to it. Perhaps this is to do with her love for Rock and sometimes grittier side of music in general. On her site you can find edge, but also a softness in her work. The site is well organized and I am loving that she uses her inspirations so well in her photos. I'm loving the Fleetwood Mac inspired spread so much (picture above featured). Her work can be found in many magazines including Dazed and Confused. You can check out her blog, too. There you will find more of a "behind the scenes" feel and a look at Fumi's world.

Fumi Nagasaka ONLINE HERE

Monday, August 24, 2009

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in NYLON GUYS

The September issue of Nylon Guys is jammed packed, like usual, with great looks, clothes, and cultural tidbits. It is sporting a slightly new look, too. On the cover is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is featured in an article where he discusses what he thinks of fame, but more importantly, his newest work in 500 Days of Summer and GI Joe. Gordon-Levitt does not want to come off as self-important and even compares acting with prostitution.

BERLIN, the city, is featured. These days, it seems as if the German City is destination number one for creatives and outliers. Burlesque Dancer Miss Marz Star says about BERLIN, "[It's] like New York was 30 years ago."

ALSO IN are plenty of interesting creatives/artists/designers.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Current Issue of DAZEDandCONFUSED

The August Issue of DAZED features a look into the movie industry in Africa, specifically Nigeria. NOLLYWOOD is allegedly the 3rd largest movie industry in the world. It's an industry unto itself minus the exploitation that takes place with films that are shot in Africa by folks from abroad. The movies of NOLLYWOOD are made by and feature local talent. Themes are those apart of Nigerian culture: from folklore to very modern issues. They have a distinct flavor. Photographer Pieter Hugo, with the help of local makeup artist Gabazzini Zuo, embarked on a project creating vibrant images to help showcase some of that flavor.

Dazed article by Federica Angelucci


ALSO IN: Hal Hartley Boxset, "Dogging: A love Story," and a look at Tantric Sex in Sweden

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch in PASTE

Paste Magazine has a nice article about Belle and Sebastian frontman, Stuart Murdoch, in the issue on stands now. It's actually apart of Paste's International Issue #2 (the first out after devoted readers helped to save the mag from financial collapse). Anytime is a good time to peer into the life of Glasgow Scotland's best known music man. And, the article takes readers on a ride from Glasgow, to the countryside, to Murdoch's own church. The frontman talks about his latest project, "God Help the Girl." He decided to make a movie, but before filming a single scene he has produced a soundtrack. Unorthodox, perhaps, but fans won't mind. We can only hope that the movie will turn out as good as the music which features fellow Belle cohorts and vocals from several female vocalists. Best quote from the article (Scotland Bard: Stuart Murdoch Finds Inspiration in Glasgow, Girl Groups and God by Nick Marino for Paste Magazine): Murdoch trying to calm the nerves of his wife says, "What's somebody going to do, beat me to death with their knitting needles?"

Read Article: Stuart Murdoch in Paste Magazine

ALSO IN: Album reviews featuring Regina Spektor and Moby. Movie review of 500 Days of Summer. Meet artists from around the globe including 4 from Iceland. Funny homage to the eccentrics of Bjork.

PASTE, Online Here

Thursday, July 9, 2009

J.A. Daye: Designer in Hong Kong


J.A. Daye is a designer located in Hong Kong. He moved there about 3 years ago from NYC. The website is worth checking out for more than just fashion. It gives great insight on the most interesting parts of Hong Kong. You can download a guide on the city from the "about" page. The site is very fresh. Daye, himself, poses for pictures wearing his designs, taken at various spots around Hong Kong.

Daye wants to provide a more tailored option for guys. A nicely tailored suit, shirt, or pair of slacks can truly set you apart from the rest of the men in the room. Daye's clothes are tailored in Hong Kong, but you can watch videos on his site that explain how to properly measure yourself (Daye recommends having a friend to help, a glass of wine, and the measuring tape, of course) so you can input those measurements into a personal account, created right on the site, and wait for your personally fitted garment(s) to arrive. The designs have a classic feel but with a modern edge. The colors and materials are also unique; coming from a wide range of places including Japan and China. Prices are very reasonable.

J.A. Daye, his business, and website are a real example of a new-wave global business. It has an international feel but delivered with local (in this case Hong Kong) flavor.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Sounds "Beat Box"

I can't speak enough about this band. The Sounds have been around for awhile, but they still haven't had the mainstream success that they deserve. However, that means nothing to me as long as they are able to continue as a band for sometime longer. They make some of the best party music out there and they put on great shows. I have had the pleasure of seeing them live many times. The Sounds are currently on tour with No Doubt as well as playing some shows in Europe before returning to the USA to embark on their own headlining tour. It should not be missed. The video is a clip of "Beat Box" performed during a show with No Doubt in California. It looks to be a fan clip, but I tend to like to no gloss quality.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong

This is a good read. It moves quickly and there are moments of humor and sexual mindgames to keep you turning the page. It is somewhat of a travel novel, too.

The book printing that I have is older with very small type that takes up the entire page. From an aesthetic standpoint: the cover is a bit questionable, too. But with this being an old book, those issues are beside the point.

There is humor here no matter how self-depreciating it sometimes becomes. There are many famous names, ideas, and passages used throughout the novel. The main character, Isodora, drops these intellectualisms at a steady frequency as if to demonstrate her breathe of knowledge. The character is written as such that you can't help but think it is a very close self-depiction by author Erica Jong. Of course, I could be completely wrong. The education that our protagonist holds is a hindrance as much as it is an asset. At moments she is completely confident in her brilliance and at other moments she tends to resent her education entirely. Points in the novel demonstrate how great knowledge can sometimes drive a person to the depths of human despair. It is also evident how using ones knowledge to self-evaluate your mental state can prove lethal. Isodora is a mixed-up character, literally and metaphorically, who seems to relish in the effect.

I have heard that this book is supposed to be a statement on female sexuality. I hardly found it sexy in the narrowest view. But, in a broader view of sex and the female state, it is quite sexy in a realistic way. In many instances, what you think is going to lead into a passage about great sex actually implodes with no sex happening between characters at all. There seems to be more written about when libidos fail or when even good sex is missing a much wanted, possibly needed, extra something. There is a sleazy, dull, or unfulfilling aspect to many of the scenes that Isodora finds herself in sexually. The sexiest moment in the novel is when readers are presented with the idea of the "zipless fuck." We are given a story to show how such a rendezvous works. However, the bliss and freedom that makes a "zipless fuck" what it is never materializes for Isodora. I suppose that is the main statement of the book.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Photography books can be quite expensive despite being well worth the cost (if you are fortunate enough to have it). That is why it is great to find sites that give you a look inside a book of photos for free. One such site is home to a sample series of works by photographer Masataka Nakano (link above: you do not need to hit the english button to navigate and will see more of the site by not hitting it). There are several books featured on the site. The title with the greatest popularity is most likely "Tokyo Nobody," the first book Nakano had published. In it, the great city of Tokyo is photographed minus a certain, almost vital, part of any functioning city: People. The book took about 10 years to complete and for good reason. The series of photos were taken predominately during Japanese New Year Observations when most city dwellers return to the country side to be with family. This fleeing, in turn, leaves the streets of Tokyo relatively vacant.

The absence of people gives the cityscapes an naked feeling. The newly exposed structures take center stage and to fantastic effect. As inhabitants take a break from the city, the city enjoys a break from it's inhabitants. What is most enjoyable about looking at Nakano's work in "Tokyo Nobody" is observing streets, buildings, alleys, parks, and getting a sense of the uniqueness and presence that the structures have. They live, even without a human presence.

Another great Nakano book to check out is "Tokyo Windows." Again, you get to see parts of the city (even if you have visited Tokyo before) that you have never seen before. What is unique is that Nakano sets up each photo from the vantage point of looking out from a window onto the scene beyond. By doing so, you can better understand how a neighborhood and surrounding aspects can be very strong contributors to a person's state of mind. Many of the photos have a slight voyeuristic feel to them. One photo taken from the office overlooking the Mori Tower in Roppongi. In it, you can even get a glimpse of a random picture laying on the desk. Looking out onto the cityscape left me feeling as if I were there, standing over my desk, ready to escape the office and be taken in by the living, breathing, city before me.