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Archives: December 2008

Stefan Bucher Offers Up a New Monster for a New Year

Although now retired from his Daily Monster routine, our friend Stefan Bucher has taken pen to ink in front of a camera once more to record this special New Year’s Message:

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Redesigned Boston Hits Newsstands

boston mag.jpgWith the new year comes a new look for Boston magazine, the venerable guide to the Hub. Our sister blog FishbowlNY reports that the magazine’s January issue (with a restaurant focus that is right in sync with the current “Where to Eat 2009″ issue of New York) boasts a new look overseen by Patrick Mitchell, the magazine’s creative director. Mitchell first dazzled the magazine world while at Fast Company and has since redesigned, produced, or launched magazines including Nylon, Tokion, and the late 02138 (right across the Charles). Among the features of the revamped Boston is what FishbowlNY describes as “a front-of-book section that sounds a lot like New York‘s Intelligencer.”

Tucker Designer and Author Philip S. Egan Passes Away


During the long weekend, it would be very thoughtful of you to rent the great Francis Ford Coppola film Tucker: The Man and His Dream in honor of Philip S. Egan who passed away late last week. Egan was one of the designers of the short-lived, yet famous Tucker car, who went on to not only write a book about his experiences working with Preston Tucker, but had an incredible career as a jack-of-all trades designer with companies like Sears & Roebuck and Lucasfilm (where he helped with designing both sound and editing equipment). Here’s a bit from his obituary:

Mr. Egan designed the driver control area and other details of the car, a four-door, six-passenger sedan with a water-cooled six-cylinder rear engine. Only 48 vehicles were produced.

“I always thought of my father as a Renaissance man, with so many diverse talents,” said his daughter, Frances Anamosa of Napa. “He had a wealth of knowledge – ask him anything and he knew the answer.”

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum Struggles Financially and with Stolen Logo


It seems like all the really juicy museum stories have been coming out of California lately and we continue the trend here. The small Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is suffering, like most other institutions, lugging around behind it a seven million dollar deficit. While fundraisers and volunteers have helped to push the museum along, a new problem has sprung up: the grandson of one of the original founders of the club-turned-museum, Ryan Rittenhouse, has begun using their logo for his own clothing line, having discovered that the brand was never copyrighted and so he snapped it up as quickly as he could. Now that the museum is in more trouble than in financial hiccups in the past, they’re trying to reach out to Rittenhouse, but thus far, to no avail:

[Dan Young] said club members have asked Rittenhouse for their logo back and for partial proceeds to benefit the surfing museum, in exchange for licensing rights or another agreement. But a deal could not be reached.

Now, club members said, they’re looking at a court case. “He took sales away from us and never did give anything back,” said Howard “Boots” McGhee, a member of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club and co-founder of the surfing museum. “It’s not the Santa Cruz way.”

Bucking ‘Sucky Economy,’ Thakoon Panichgul Expands Label

thakoon runway.jpgIt’s been a mighty great 2008 for fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul. His collection for Target hit stores this week. His revamped website boasts some of the most stunning photos we’ve seen in a long time. And, oh yeah, Michelle Obama wore one of his designs at the Democratic National Convention. Now, even in the face of what he describes as “the sucky economy,” Panichgul is planning to expand his label with a new collection for spring called Thakoon Addition. But don’t you dare call it a diffusion line!

“I really want to clarify that Thakoon Addition is not a diffusion,” he told in a recent interview. “A lot of people have been talking about it that way, but the range represents a lateral expansion of my brand, not a vertical one. It’s like, I’d love to have a store where I could present a whole universe of Thakoon, and if the runway line is the center of that universe, Thakoon Addition is the first satellite I’m putting into orbit around it.” He went on to describe the new line, which will be priced about the same as his Thakoon runway line, as “a place to store ideas. In any given season, I’ve got ideas flying around that don’t fit what I’m planning for the runway, but belong somewhere. Now I don’t have to abandon that stuff.”

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Sneak Preview of Thakoon Panichgul’s Collection for Target
  • Cincinnati Museum Follows Renzo Piano’s Greening and Charles Young Talks About Landing MoCA’s Top Job


    Speaking of museums, in some miscellaneous news, it looks like Renzo Piano might have launched a new trend with his much discussed new building for the California Academy of Sciences. The Cincinnati Museum Center is in need of a new roof and has decided to take a page from Piano’s work, as well as countless others sprouting up across the country (pun only accidentally intended), by putting plans in place to install a completely green rooftop. So will this be the first of many museums that go green up top any time a new roof is needed? Even if it isn’t done out of any ecological concern, some notice must be being taken that the Cincinnati museum is hoping to save 30% off of its annual $900,000 energy bill.

    And in part two of this quickie museum roundup, here’s a piece from the LA Times about the new CEO of Los Angeles’ troubled Museum of Contemporary Art, Charles E. Young, as you’ll remember we reported on just the other day. Eli Broad may have given the museum a fairly hands off $30 million dollar donation, but his one string attached was that they take on Young as their lead, to help get things back on track. Here’s a bit about the call that landed him the job:

    “It must be about three weeks ago or four weeks ago that Eli called me at home — I had just come back from New York — and asked me if I’d heard about what was going on at MOCA,” Young said in an interview the day after Christmas. “He said, ‘If MOCA accepts my offer, I think you’re the person they need to do this.’

    “I thought, ‘This is kind of strange…’”

    The Continued Growth of the ‘What Will Michelle Obama Wear?’ Cottage Industry


    As with election night, when all parties interested were abuzz wondering which designer Michelle Obama would pick to design her attire, so it is again with the upcoming inauguration. Nearly every paper in the country, like here with the Detroit Free Press, are calling on local designers to talk about what they think she should choose, what it will say, and even drawing up some of their own sketches, perhaps hoping that lightning strikes and they are blessed from on high to land the commission. Elsewhere, the NY Times has this interesting story up about Mrs. O, a site dedicated to tracking the future First Lady’s wardrobe selections and where you can buy what she buys (the piece also delves into the ad agency behind it, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and the idea of building content for yourself and skipping the client work, or attracting more, which is an interesting read in and of itself). Finally, nearly every museum within a hundred mile radius of Washington D.C. have broken out the dust mops, the Pledge, and the Windex and are sprucing things up for the upcoming arrival of millions of potential visitors — something akin to the one-time-only museum version of the Friday after Thanksgiving, we’re thinking.

    Legendary Automotive Design Firm Pininfarina Forced to Sell Itself to Banks


    Following the tragic, sudden death of the head of the company back in early August, the famous automotive design firm, Pininfarina, has fallen on extremely hard times, now carrying with it almost 600 million euros in debt. Without many options left, the family-owned company has announced that it will be selling itself off to various banks in order to settle its many debts. While it doesn’t mean that the group behind countless Ferrari and Fiat designs will be forced to stop doing what they’ve done for decades, it’s a sure sign of the end of an era in Italy. Here’s a bit:

    The deal has to be implemented by the end of January. Without the deal, 2008 losses will wipe out the company’s capital, the statement said.

    At the end of November 2008, net debt was 597.7 million euros.

    The potential buyer of Pincar Holding‘s stake will have to launch a bid on the remaining stake in Pininfarina.

    Andrée Putman Returns to Morgans Hotel, Bearing Chairs

    morgans chair.bmpDesigner Andrée Putman recently returned to Morgans, the ur-boutique hotel she masterminded for Ian Schrager back in 1984, to lead a complete renovation of the property. Putman aimed to keep her original “home away from home” aesthetic while bringing the hotel into the 21st century. Enter the Putman-commissioned art installation on the lobby ceiling (the work of Trafik, the French design collective), lighter and brighter guest rooms (their minimalist purity intact, if slightly softened at the edges), a mess of technological upgrades, and 300 Putman-designed “Morgans” chairs in high-gloss white. The all-aluminum chairs are manufactured by Emeco, those Pennsylvania-based aluminum wizards known for their Navy chairs and successful collaborations with the likes of Philippe Starck and Frank Gehry.

    In designing the Morgans chair (pictured above), Putman went for a hybrid of the iconic Robert Mallet-Stevens chair she used in the hotel’s original design and Emeco’s Navy chair. “She told me she wanted to do with for the Emeco chair what her friend Coco Chanel did with the little black dress—create a simple, smart, sexy chair that never goes out of style,” said Emeco chairman Gregg Buchbinder in a statement issued by the company. He also mentioned that Putman, 83, arrived at the first project meeting wearing six-inch stilettos. heels. You too can never go out of style (and without having to navigate the tricky process of “borrowing” a chair from the Morgans Hotel): the chair make its world debut in a few weeks at Maison & Objet in Paris.

    How John Coster-Mullen Learned To Stop Worrying and Reverse Engineer the Bomb

    nagasaki.jpgSure, you’ve blocked out this week to return unwanted gifts (“Thanks, Uncle Felix, I do so love angora. And what a stunning mustard hue!”), find the perfect 2009 calendar, and make collage-based tributes to the late Eartha Kitt, but we suggest that before 2008 is out, you read David Samuelsfascinating New Yorker profile of John Coster-Mullen, the Wisconsin truck driver who has solved myriad mysteries of the first atom bombs. Say what?

    Coster-Mullen, 61, is the author of the self-published book Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man. He has spent the last decade compiling the most accurate known account of the Hiroshima bomb’s inner workings, what Samuels describes as “an unnervingly detailed reconstruction,” and building a full-scale model bomb in his garage. Samuels teases out the details of the bomb’s design, the “community of civilian nuclear obsessives,” and Coster-Mullen himself by tagging along with him on a series of cross-country trucking runs and bomb-related research adventures. We learn, for example, how an old photograph and a 1942 Plymouth were the catalysts for a breakthrough in Coster-Mullen’s knowledge of the bomb’s exact measurements. Also, he really really likes Diet Coke. Meanwhile, his quest to know—and publish—all there is to know about the bomb continues apace. Says Coster-Mullen, “The secret of the atomic bomb is how easy they are to make.”

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