“Ah yes, the summer of 2014, I remember it well,” you’ll tell your robot grandchildren. “The world lost Elaine Stritch…Robin Williams—tragic! And everyone was dumping buckets of ice water over their heads.” The latest celebrity to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—the DIY dunk-tank-for-charity viral sensation that involves chilly water, a video camera, and the magic of social media—is Ai Weiwei. No word as to whether the Chinese artist made a donation, but he definitely got soaked. Two buckets were required. Watch the scene unfold in the courtyard of his Beijing HQ, much to the delight of onlooking studio assistants.
“I have this idea for a sweet comedy about death. A middle-aged author of e-books, with middling sales, retreats deep into the mountains of Japan to build a grave for his recently deceased father. After getting scammed out of all of his money, he falls into despair, but for some unknown reason he is visited by a savior in the form of a middle-aged woman. And then his divorced wife from ten years ago appears unexplainably too. Then this young woman with whom he spent a single night in a club many years ago is being treated for an incurable disease in the mountainside sanatorium, and she comes to him for emotional support. I’d love to do that story.”
-Artist Takashi Murakami discussing his filmmaking aspirations in a recent interview. Also on his wishlist? “Some form of a collaboration with J.J. Abrams.”
“At one point my older brother and I decided we wanted to make an entrance to our house through the roof. So we cut a hole in the roof and went into the attic. We had a plan for the whole thing, and it took days. Then my father saw it, and I don’t ever remember seeing him like this. He couldn’t believe it. It was unthinkable. We’d cut a hole in the roof of our house! Now that I think of it, I realize how horrifying it would be.”
-Wes Anderson, in an interview that appears in the March 6 issue of Time Out New York
In the deepest reaches of an IKEA superstore, no one can hear you scream. OK, so they can hear you, but they cannot be bothered to listen, because who can heed the anguished cries of others when attempting to decide between the Söderhamn (in Replösa? in Isefall?) and the Härnösand, or maybe the Tidafors, but what about the Strandmon (does that still come in Skiftebo)? Grab your morning course of meatballs, pull up an Esbjörn, and treat yourself to Daniel Hubbard‘s dramatic reenactment of the lost-in-IKEA-by-way-of-Alfonso-Cuaron‘s-Gravity experience. We think it’s out of this world.
The feline world takeover continues apace, one adorable kitten Vine at a time. Cats have even infiltrated the highest reaches of the creative community, as evidenced by the Laser Cat that has been gobbling up the work of designers such as Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser and Sue Walsh, Kevin O’Callaghan, and James Victore, with plans to project the artworks onto Miami’s Bass Museum of Art. Then it’s onto the moon. Say what?
Laser Cat is an art installation dreamed up by Barcelona-based Hungry Castle, also known as Dave Glass and Kill Cooper. The poptastic duo has joined forces with O’Callaghan, the original Mr. Big Stuff, to create a giant cat armed with powerful “laser” projectors that will be part of the Art Directors Club’s 93rd Annual Awards + Festival of Art and Craft in Advertising and Design, which takes April 7–9 2014 in Miami Beach. Still confused? Just watch these videos—pew, pew!
Now that the literal feasting of Thanksgiving is over, the retail gluttony can begin. We have a feeling that you’re eschewing “doorbuster deals” in favor of web-surfing your way to elegant gifts (that don’t require resorting to fisticuffs or even leaving your home), but what do you get for the design-minded person who has everything? The answer, of course, is nothing—in the form of Helvetica the Perfume.
Technically, it is two ounces of distilled water, but to the typographically savvy, it is the olfactory equivalent of Max Miedlinger and Eduard Hoffmann‘s sans-serif marvel: pure, modern, neutral, and profoundly Swiss. Decanted into a glass bottle labeled in 24-karat gold Helevtica Bold and tucked into a letterpressed box, the limited-edition fragrance is yours for $62 from Guts & Glory.
An illustration by A. Robida that accompanied Octave Uzanne’s 1894 essay.
“Reading, as we practice it today, soon brings on great weariness; for not only does it require of the brain a sustained attention which consumes a large proportion of the cerebral phosphates, but it also forces our bodies into various fatiguing attitudes.”
-French bibliophile and writer Octave Uzanne (1851-1931) in “The End of Books,” an essay that appeared in a 1894 issue of Scribner’s Magazine
And now for something completely different: Baz Luhrmann‘s 21st century take on The Great Gatsby, recently released on DVD, gets a “supercut.” Editors at Tribeca Film scouted the latest cinematic adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel to find all of the utterances of the “old sport” that peppers Gatsby’s speech, turned up at least 43 (for the record, we counted 45 in the book), and strung them together into this mesmerizing video. “After a while, the ‘old sports’ start to tell their own twisted tale of lost love, delusion, and desperation—or something,” say the editors. “Enjoy! Just don’t turn this into a drinking game.” Bottoms up, old sport.
We first discovered the genius that is John Hodgman in late 2005, when we spent Christmas reading aloud to our family (and anyone else who would list) the lists of “hobo facts” and wacky state mottoes (e.g., Nebraska: “Birthplace of Unicameral Government!”) in The Areas of My Expertise. That inspired volume, the first in his since triumphantly completed trilogy of Complete World Knowledge, would go on to catalyze Hodgman’s transformation from a literary agent-turned-magazine writer to global renown as an author of fake trivia books, The Daily Show‘s resident deranged millionaire, judge, and most recently, star of his own Netflix special. In addition to the highly enertaining Judge John Hodgman Pocast, he adjudicates disputes (in 100 words or less) in a wee column of The New York Times Magazine, and his latest is a doozy:
Sophia writes: My father eats corn horizontally. I eat it in a circular motion. I believe that his way of eating is inefficient. Could you please issue an injunction stating that the proper way to eat corn is in a circular motion?
Your father eats corn that way because, as I do, he remembers what a typewriter is. It’s hard for us to see a roller-food and not proceed left to right before returning to the next line. Sometimes I even hear a bell ring. You dismantle your corn like a 3-D printer in reverse: vertical stack by vertical stack. Your argument from efficiency is specious, so I find in your father’s favor: I would rather look like Hemingway while eating than like some kind of mechanized chipmunk any day.
Among the Morgan’s 250,000 works is a 1630 Rembrandt etching, “Self-Portrait in a Cap.”
There’s always plenty to see at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum, which unveiled its stunning Renzo Piano-designed expansion in 2006, and the place is a magnet for school groups who take in Mr. Morgan‘s majestic library and visit the latest exhibitions. So what leaves a lasting impression with the youngsters—Charles McKim‘s Italian Renaissance-style palazzo? The illuminated manuscripts? A Rembrandt self-portrait? Try the high-tech toilets. Time Out New York recently flushed out the secret from Nicole Haroutunian, a museum educator at the Morgan:
We spend 90 minutes looking at one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, at 1,000-year-old books decorated with gold, at a secret staircase; yet often what most impresses the students who visit is the automatic toilets in the bathroom. The kids usually come piling out saying, “Even the bathrooms are so fancy! The toilet flushes on its own!” They also always think that the water fountains are made of gold.
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