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Posts Tagged ‘Ze Frank’

Core77 Owns Up to the Great Tobias Wong Switch

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When the guy to the left took the stage pretending to be Tobias Wong (the guy to the right) at Core77′s Design, Wit and the Creative Act, Stephanie’s BS radar blipped right away. However, this was a panel on design wit (more disturbing perhaps was the fact that the crowd of designers didn’t seem to get the joke). A few months later, Core77 has finally delivered the punchline. So who was this impostor?

Rama Chorpash, chair of the Undergraduate ID Dept. at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a great designer to boot, did what can only be described as a pitch-perfect job of presenting Tobias’s work (and later answering, Q&A as Tobias, remaining authentic to the designs as well as the philosophical underpinnings of the Wong oeuvre.

You can watch video of the event for proof of his acting skills; Chorpash never breaks character, and neither does Wong (oh, how we wish we could say the same for Jimmy Fallon). Wong assumes Chorpash’s identity during the cocktail hour and praises Wong’s “genius,” a priceless little moment in design wit itself.

Also up, and every bit as funny, are videos from the rest of the presenters: Ze Frank, Paul Budnitz, Steven Heller and Kelly Dobson.

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Internet Famous Class Gets An A+

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If you’re lucky enough to still be banging around the halls of higher education, your grades are likely being posted somewhere on the internet this week, calling for another half-dozen shots of Jameson to go with your depression-inducing groans or your sighs of damn-I-just-squeaked-by relief. But for the 15 students in Jamie Wilkinson‘s Internet Famous class at Parsons, the effect on their GPA, if any, was rather anti-climactic. They could have found out their grade at any time during the semester–with a simple Google search.

Don’t believe us? Check out their assignments along with the digital masterpieces they turned in which are posted among the popular memes they played upon (not surprisingly, feces, urine, boobies, and other things which cannot be posted on our PG-13 blog all figure prominently). And as if it wasn’t fun enough spending a semester trying to become a star by taking cues from ytmnd.com and Ze Frank, a nice article in Time last week boosted their collective web celebrity significantly. Oh, sorry, “famo”:

“Actually, we don’t call it being online famous; we call it ‘famo,’” says Wilkinson, who conceived the “Internet Famous” course along with friends and semi-famo digital artists James Powderly and Evan Roth. The trio came up with the idea after realizing that their online strategies for distributing and promoting their own art would one day become essential tools for emerging 21st century artists trying to break through the static.

And the essential tools for the 21st century almost certainly include feces, urine, boobies, and other things which cannot be posted on our PG-13 blog, which makes the last-day-of-class screening of Trapped in the Closet pretty much perfect.

Alex Steffen’s Changing Our World

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We met Alex Steffen last night and he seems like a pretty upbeat guy in light of all the bad news he must run into all day as editor of Worldchanging: “We have inherited a broken future.”

(We don’t think we need to go over all those problems right now and bum you out.)

But basically, we are Americans, living a five-planet lifestyle. We have to fix it because we caused the problem in the first place. Thank god we have moved environmentalism into the mainstream. But even the small changes–all those little steps–can’t solve these problems.

We can’t just swap out all the Hummers for Priuses, we have to think differently. Like Netflix, who has dematerialized the movie rental system. Or Ze Frank‘s Earth Sandwich project as a method of sustainability. If you know where you are and where things are you can relate to them better. Car sharing is another example of a brilliant dematerializing of resources. Power tools are another thing–we just don’t use them enough to own them. Shared tool libraries are the answer. Like a pillow on an airplane, once we use something, we don’t need to keep it, and we should give it back. More producer take-backs need to happen.

So. People want guilt free affluence, but we can’t just rely on the bombardment of information, we need to know the backstory of our decisions. For example, the speed at which people have decided they don’t want to eat crap, and know where their food has come from, has increased exponentially because it became trendy.

How companies tell their backstory is going to be the most critical job for designers of the next decade, and so here, designers, is the challenge. The rest of the world needs you to show us how to engage. and you need to show the rest of the world that you can be beautiful. We should build it to be better and build it to be more fun.

And let’s finish with this uplifting quote by Paul Hawken that we’re sure keeps Steffen going back to the office every day: “You are brilliant and the world is hiring.”

All AIGA NEXT coverage.

Core 77′s Offsite Highlights Design, Wit and the Creative Act

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You’d be crazy to miss an opportunity to see UnBeige heartthrob Ze Frank in the flesh, and in this instance you’d be especially crazy, since Frank will be headlining a well-rounded roster of folks all very special to the Un, for an entire afternoon sponsored by Core77.

Their next offsite event on November 9 features Paul Budnitz, Kelly Dobson, Steven Heller, Tobias Wong talking about using humor, wit, irony, even subversion, to entice and entertain a new type of consumer. It will be moderated by aforementioned witty designer Frank, who even has a fancy, new and quite appropriate job description: Digital Age Satirist.

Early bird prices end October 19, so snag a seat, won’t you?

Core77 presents Design, Wit, and the Creative Act:
Leveraging the power of humor towards great customer experiences

November 9th, 2007
Art Directors Club, 1106 W 29th St., New York, NY
2 to 6pm
$125 by October 19th, $175 after October 19th

Register here.

Ze Frank To Emerge From Post-Show Hiding On Tuesday

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Some of you have expressed your disgust about UnBeige’s near-obsession with Ze Frank. Well, let us be the first to tell you, there’s nothing “near” about it. The man is a god. A hero among men. And we miss him dearly.

And that’s why we just can’t stop yakking about Frank’s upcoming moderating gig for AIGA NY: Designing Audiences, scheduled for Tuesday, May 29. But the obsession doesn’t stop there. We’re obsessed with Stefan Bucher and his Daily Monsters, which are being turned into a book. And we’re obsessed with Stamen founder Eric Rodenbeck‘s where-pictures-meet-places app Mappr. And we’re obsessed with all Katie Salen‘s pursuits–like Karaoke Ice and the Big Urban Game.

Besides, isn’t obsession, after all, what any good audience should possess? Buy tickets here.

Serving Inspiration (and Gelato) at the Portfolio Center

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Hotlanta delivered with a 90-degree day as we made our way to the sizzling little school we used to frequent only a few years ago. As always, the walls were slathered with fine work, the halls buzzed with laughter, Hank Richardson played tennis in a classroom, and students carted boxes of projects in various states of completion up and down the stairs. It was great to be back.

As promised to our incredible audience, we’re posting the links to the many, many people we noted in our presentation who’ve inspired us recently, which also reads like a Best of UnBeige list. Here goes: Steve Delahoyde and the cool kids at Coudal, Dave Werner and his killer portfolio, UnBeige 2006 Crush Ze Frank, Stefan Bucher‘s Daily Monsters, proud parents (of Speak Up and other little things) Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit, Materials and Applications, Treat Street (shhhh, don’t tell!), Jen Bekman and Hey, Hot Shot, Kate Bingaman and her Obsessive Consumption, the lovely Marian Bantjes, Sally Hogshead‘s Radical Careering, Debbie Millman and Design Matters (with Steven Heller today!), Eric Mahoney aka Samurai Love God, Dan Rollman‘s awesome t-shirts, Khoi Vinh‘s Subtraction, Nathan Davidson and his Unibrow, and Keith Scharwath, Aaron Rose and all of the Beautiful Losers.

Thank you to the kind people at the Portfolio Center for having us back and of course, to Ciao Bella Gelato, our favorite gelato in the whole wide world.

Ze Frank, Stefan Bucher and More Get Fresh

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In what might be the most appropriate event for our current moment in time, AIGA NY’s next Fresh Dialogue focuses on that elusive conversation we’re all pretending to have with our design audiences. “Designing Audiences” will feature the Daily Monster Stefan Bucher, Stamen founder Eric Rodenbeck and Katie Salen, driver of Karaoke Ice, perhaps the most brilliant merging of ideas we have ever seen.

But much more importantly, this event marks the long-awaited return of our internet crush: Ze Frank will be serving as moderator, his first foray into public since we accosted him at SXSW and he shut down “The Show.” Although we totally forgive him because it’s likely he slept for three weeks straight after leaving us to pump that area. May 29, NY, get tickets.

Ze Frank’s “Show” Ends, But Lives On Forever Thanks to Dewar’s

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Web designer turned bedheaded performance artist turned vlog heartthrob turned official UnBeige Internet Crush Ze Frank posted his final show Saturday, a teary, black-and-white highlight reel from the past 250 episodes. Perhaps the most bizarre moment from the show’s final days was a cameo by Jack Black, who we learn from this LA Times article is one of Frank’s biggest celebrity fans (Ben Stiller is another):

“Ze Frank is a rare gem, a brilliant comedian with an artistic undertaste,” Black said. “He might be my hero.”

Also earlier in the week we learned that “The Show” will be preserved in online archives sponsored by Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whiskey. It seems appropriate that Frank’s grueling year-long daily experiment forced him to turn to whiskey, so we’re hoping they sent him a well-deserved case to enjoy today. Congrats, Ze. We will miss you.

OwnYourC and Host Ze Frank Win Big At Web Awards

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The internet’s been good to Ze Frank, so it felt quite fitting to see him as the host of the 10th Annual SXSW Web Awards last night in Austin. For those not familiar with Frank’s videoblog “The Show,” he was a triumphantly witty host, full of ubergeeky, web-centric humor. But for those feverishly snapping photo after photo as Frank took the stage (sports racers; you know who you are), this was like the hour-long special “The Show: Live From Austin.” Frank did not disappoint.

His video intro (in the style of “The Show”) encapsulated the typical experience of a SXSW Interactive attendee arriving in Austin: “Oh, cool, SXSW, so are you in a band?” “No…” “Oh, so you’re doing the film thing?” “No…” “So, what are you volunteering?” “No, I’m doing the Interactive festival.” “What the hell’s that?” “Oh, you know, we’re the ones who have been fucking up the other two’s business models.”

The actual winners ranged from frighteningly-addictive Twitter (easily the most buzzed-about new thing at the festival) to The Fallen Alternate Reality Game, which seems like something between “Lost” and The Game, to non-profit winner OwnYourC, the tobacco prevention site that also took Best of Show. You can view the complete list of winners.

After the awards, we followed Frank and his hordes of adoring fans out to the patio, where we were finally able to snag an interview with our internet crush. Sadly, he could not reveal anything about his post-show plans (his year-long experiment ends on 3/17), but he did sing us a song. Sigh. You know where we’ll be this Saturday.

Back In Austin and Already Up To Our Knees In BBQ

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Torrential rains welcomed us to Texas last night, which we found rather soothing for our parched Southern California soul as we dashed from 6th Street bar to 6th Street bar catching up with old friends.

We’re a day or two late to the SXSW party, but we promise to make up for it with lotsa dirt on your favorite interactive designers, a one-on-one with Ze Frank (we were practically drooling), an appearance by mediabistro.com mom Laurel Touby, and of course, plenty of smoked meats. Stay tuned!

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