Wow. There is something so magical about having the Natural History Museum as the backdrop for a friday night filled with science, food/wine, live music and exploration... especially when in between all of that you add some wild lighting and simple glowing modern furniture... As part of the Los Angeles Natural History Museums First Fridays, tonight we got to see The Bird and The Bee with a bison diorama as the backdrop! Listened to DJs spin in front of elephants... learned about "Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters" from Dr. Don Prothero in front of some moose. Got wine from in front of some apes... Saw projections on and around the skeletons of a t-rex and triceratops... All in all it was a hell of a night, and a fascinating multisensoral experience. Check out images of some of the very surreal situations encountered on the next page!
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On adventures in the snowy NYC this week, Proximo Spirits has out done themselves once again... they were kind enough to invite us out to NYC to experience the launch of their latest: Gran Centenario's Rosangel hibiscus-infused tequila! I already knew the bottle was a beauty, and the branding... *swoon* i LOVE the graphics they've used everywhere from backgrounds to bags to glass etchings... how beautiful does that look? But they really carried that rose colored (or should i say hibiscus colored?) world into the full day of bartender immersion and launch party... unfortunately, i wasn't able to make it out myself, but luckily our favorite Liqurious expert, Anita Crotty, was able to rearrange her life ever so slightly and pop out to NY for a few days to check things out! It also doesn't hurt that she took so many breath taking pictures so we don't feel left out! So on the next page you can check out her adventures ~ from the gorgeous gift bag on the bed at the new Thompson LES ~ to the camera crews filming them at the Clover Club ~ to the launch party with live music from Vanessa Trouble at the exquisite Ella Lounge... You've got to see the pictures to take it all in!
Not to name drop, but Anita's link laden story on the next page reads like a who's who of must see bars across the country... makes me want to roadtrip to experience all the places linked! Enjoy!
Unique Los Angeles is coming up December 13th and 14th at the California Market Center! And with a massive number of indie designers peddling their wares, its a potential one stop shop... We have been offered 10 pairs of tickets (perfect for you and a shopping buddy!) to giveaway, so please leave a comment with which store you're most excited about from their 200+ and we'll pick 10 random winners on Weds (dec 10th)! To help you get started, we even tried to go through as many of these as possible, so some old favorites and new discoveries are on the next page! A lot of the vendors slant a bit more crafty than we're usually into, but quite a few seem interesting as well!
On italian design icons, the Sacco is legendary, it's impacted every college kid since 1968... it's the original beanbag as designed in 1968 by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini and Franco Teodoro for Zanotta... it is the first mass-produced bean bag chair, filled with polystyrene pellets... Can you believe it? 40 years? To celebrate, Zanotta invited us to breakfast at DZINE in San Francisco, and unfortunately i wasn't able to make it up there, but Marcia Simmons was nice enough to step in and help out! Highlights were meeting Martino Zanotta, the current head of the company, having access to the ORIGINAL DESIGN SKETCHES of this legendary piece, and the picture she sent me of her cat, Olive, who has happily claimed her mini Sacco... See more images and her comments on the next page!
Ok, i need a teleportation device. Please! Today, National Geographic opens their first retail space and it is a 3 story 1,800 square metre world of its own on London's Regent Street. We were lucky enough to get an invite to the launch party, but i was unlucky enough not to be able to teleport over for this stunning event! However, my sister, Justine (Rugenius) and her boyfriend, were kind enough to take a break from her PhD thesis writing to pop over and give us her take of it... and i think her animal loving, scientifically minded side really came out and fell in love with the space! She even has me excited about the upcoming talks, as well as dying to go shop the store in person...
So here's the deal, she's done a very thorough, visual walkthrough of the store for you on the next page, and she sent me SO many pictures that i've pulled out a few for the post, but you can view them all in Gallery NOTCOT. A few standout things to take note of? The layouts! Incredibly fun use of crates, industrial feeling containers, gorgeous gallery spaces... no one will be able to resist going into the magical red chamber with the GIANT block of ice to try on cold weather gear, and see where their heat is escaping on the screen... it looks like whether you're planning a trip, looking for an adventure, or just escaping for a quick snack, this museum-esque store is going to be a hit. So, check out our first look on the next page!
As promised, here's a look into the "THE DRAWING ROOM" curated by Audrey Kawasaki at Thinkspace that opened last night. As can be expected ~ extremely packed, people flowing onto the streets, drinking and clutching their limited edition prints like gold, inside people following audrey around in hopes of taking their picture with her... all her works sold out instantly... really, amazing show... and you can see all of my random pics in the notcot gallery ~ and all of the pieces at the thinkspace site, but what was really above and beyond any normal gallery showing was Audrey's display in the front window space.
She basically recreated her studio in the window, like a dreamy lifesize diorama or creative goodness ~ filled with vintage finds and half finished sketches, it was like stepping into the world behind the works within the gallery, and it was beautiful! As she says on her blog, "i've been working on the front room installation for the past couple nights... it is suppose to represent an artist's workspace/studio/nook, and it pretty much turned out to be a duplicate of my own. i can practically live there!" I wouldn't be able to resist watching, pressed against the window, if she were to really "move in" and do some sketching in that adorable space!
At 6pm tonight the Paper Magazine 24 Hour Department Store 2008 opened its doors with a marching band (that we strangely managed to end up walking behind as we strolled over from the car not knowing what was going on... and turns out it was the LA High band) playing out front ~ and literally stopping traffic as people pulled over on sunset to see what the raucous was about. This year it's in a larger space, and the set up is far more urban and grittty with Johnston Marklee designing this fenced cubicle extravaganza. Did you know there are going to be 24 bands in 24 hours playing? Follow the blow by blow reports at PaperMag.com!
We went by early (hence, catching the opening act) to get some fun pics before it got too crazed in there to show you and fun products... lots of pics - so you can see them all in the gallery ~ but for this post, i've given you my highlights and some my of favorites worth stopping by to shop for: Citizen:Citizen's Peace shirt is awesome (so so so soft too), StrangeCo's Bumble and Tweet Special Edition (the woody and green are adorableness - and magnetic birds and bees!!!), Royal-T's golden tea's that come with COCKTAIL RECIPES on the back! So take a look at the craziness on the next page!
We ducked out of there pretty fast (1hr?) since we were famished ~ and really i was just dying to go to the Audrey Kawasaki show which was even crazier! Pics to come after i get some sleep... can't believe its 3 already ~ LA insomniacs should go buy up those adorable Tweets! UPDATE: i accidentally got thirsty and drank some of the RUBYY forgetting it was an energy drink, so now its 4:30 - too tired to post, but did clean up and put pics from the Audrey Kawasaki show up in the Gallery - click to view full sized... enjoy! sweet dreams...
NOTCOT Note: SO, jealous that linhchi (shade elaine) had a chance to get into the California Academy of Sciences! But luckily she took some gorgeous pics to share her experience with us!
I'd been waiting for the new California Academy of Sciences to open in Golden Gate Park for over a year, and when opening weekend finally rolled around late in September, I wasn't willing to combat the crowds. Luckily the company I work for was invited to a party there (hosted by AOL) this past Monday evening, and though we didn't get to check out the entire place, it was awesome being able to wander around the rain forest dome (I missed the planetarium show!) and get a glimpse of the other parts without enormous amounts of people, and to get a unique view of the place at night! My favorite pic (you'll see it after the jump) is from inside the rain forest dome looking up at the ceiling & lights. I'll definitely have to go back and check out the entire place for real. See a lot more pics after the jump!
On random inspiration ~ i was unpacking my bags from freshly getting back to LA ~ and realized being at a conference and sitting in talks was much like being back in school... flowing out of my bags come notebooks, pens, conference packets, scraps of paper, and more covered in scribbles and notes and doodles of an abundance of ideas!
On an even sillier note ~ i realized i'm totally obsessed with the DWR Tools for Living Press Kit that doubles as a super functional notebook that has nice stark white pages and fun super thick cardboard covers! And the Federated Media pen from the CM Summit has been great as well - both visually and functionally (so much, that i even stole dan's). Both have been ending up in my purse repeatedly enough that i thought they warranted a random sunday post! And while i was showing you that... my "speaker's gift" from FM was a nice and subtly branded Moleskine! Which is awesome, except playing with it during the summit, made me realize - i find a blank white piece of paper amazingly inspiring... but RULED PAPER, kind of freaks me out. I think there's something about lined paper that is just too rigid for me - definitely a big fan of the free form. Take a look at closeups of them all on the next page!
Another Outside Lands' Eco-lands discovery ~ that beyond the living roof, solar panels, and more sustanable architecture going into the new California Academy of Sciences building reopening in Sept in Golden Gate Park ~ they are using recycled DENIM insulation! So if you're not sure what to do with all those old jeans, apparently this is a great way to make better use of them!
"RVL7 - "REVEL SEVEN". Revel means "to celebrate" - the 7 comes from "24/7". RVL7 has been created to celebrate living a sustainable lifestyle 24/7."
Discovered RVL7 in the Eco-Lands of Outsde Lands - amongst the standard white tents, it was refreshing to see this pre-fab woody oasis of a t-shirt bar filled with stickers, buttons, and gorgeous graphic organic tees... see the pictures on the next page to see some of my favorite designs, and the experience within!
Unfortunately the RVL7 site doesn't have a store, gallery, etc etc etc up yet, but hopefully coming soon!
Just confirmed, dan, linhchi, and i will be running around and "covering" (having some fun, and sending pics to that new crowdfire page via mobile) all three days of Outside Lands in SF this coming weekend. Things that sound interesting about it so far... first time anyone gets to play at night in Golden Gate Park, and it is going to be Radiohead friday night! There is an "Ecolands" section - green pavilion sponsored by PGE, with solar powered stage, farmers market, tech recycling station, solar and wind cell charging stations, etc... a taste of the bay area with food from places like askew grill, bombay station, sambazon, the chieftain and more... the Winehaven, a tent of artistan wines... and FM will have a tent filled computers and wifi to share the experience digitally... and lots of art as well? I suppose i'm most excited to get a mini trip in and see some of our SF folks! Anyone else going? See the full lineup on the next page...
I Am 8-Bit #4 had its opening last night at the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery in Hollywood... and although larger venue, the crowd was even MORE insane than last time, the press tables even more chaotic, and the crowd control and speed of getting people in and out was a bit lacking, however the bouncers were incredibly nice... that said, once you got in, the music was thumping, few were dancing, but many were guzzling, as the floor was pretty much coated in spilt beer... and there was much crowding around the incredible array of gamer inspired art work! But my favorite moment of the whole night... the guy who was taking pictures with his PSP! And the window displays, they made great use of the large storefront windows - from random installations with old controllers, to that couple playing arcade games in their underwear, and the street fighter bricks and more... anyhow, i tried to streamline the pics i took to give you an overview of the experience on the next page, and you can view the full unphotoshopped selection in the gallery.
Ok, so i am still kind of giddy from how awesome it was to meet Shepard Fairey and his studio pretty much blew my mind. To see what type of space other creatives work in is one thing... but to feel like you walked into a gallery filled with history and inspiration and visual food for thought in every detail, well that just floored me. I really need a larger space to spread out and fill the walls ~ how can you NOT be creative surrounded with all of that? For now, i share my wall of inspiration with you as NOTCOT.org, my portable digital version... you will enjoy exploring Shepard Fairey's studio through the pics on the next page, and since there is so much in the details, i left the high res version for you to click through to.
And for the record, he was one of the kindest, humblest, down to earth folks i've met in a while. It was great to see that he still has so much passion for what he does, and gets down right giddy when talking about his new projects (and politics). Also above is a new print that he is releasing on Thursday at noon, Duality of Humanity 3 - if you want one, these things disappear within minutes.
Inspiring spaces ~ call it studio envy, fascination with creative spaces, growing up seeing the work of Shepard Fairey and his crew on streets not walls... as promised, here's part 1 of 2 on the little tour of Obey Giant HQ, Studio Number One, and the Subliminal Projects Gallery while i was at Simple Pleasures 01 (Thank you, Yosi and Joycie!) So instead of flooding you with words, just browse through the pics on the next page for my visual tour of their inspiring spaces and things that caught my eye! (and check out the Studio Number One portfolio too!)
Perfect way to spend a saturday? With good friends, old and new, surrounded by inspiration of all forms (zines, art, artists, designers, photographers, musicians)... in the world of OBEY Giant... as magically facilitated by Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One, who graciously opened up their parking lot to set the scene for the first Simple Pleasures event, "an on-going series of cultural investigations" - This one was focused on zine culture, and in addition to many booths ~ there was an Obey raffle (5$ got you a tote bag of goodies and a chance to win some limited ed posters) ~ the delicious Green Truck lunch truck (amazing burgers, all organic and local, and runs on biodiesel) ~ bake sale of 1$ tempting sweets ~ and we got to kick back to tunes of the DJ Diabetic (Shepard Fairey) and Daedelus... oh and on mind blowing experiences, i got a tour/sneak peek of the studio space of Studio Number One, a chance to take in all the art and inspiration filling their walls... and even chat with Shepard Fairey in his incredible office (wall to wall art and books and toys)... peek at some upcoming works... and wander the Subliminal Projects Gallery downstairs as well... all in all, a phenomenally inspiring day all around. I can't wait for Simple Pleasures 02!
Ok, so it's 4am on a Saturday night, i just got home... and as much as i claim i'll head right to bed... after i take a peek at my pics... you know me... i can't help but share them with you before i crash. SO, here's the compromise... first things first, see the next page to see the experience of Simple Pleasures, and coming soon will be a peek into the Studio Number One and Shepard Fairey's studios!
So i took a bit of an internet break the last few days (blame the Sands motel in Bird Rock ~ but the relaxation and beachiness was awesome)... so unlike most die-hard comic-con-ers, we just popped by for a few hours on thursday - then went to the zoo for a few hours, and then found ourselves at the G4 + StrangeCo party for the new "Wonder Women of America" book which featured a few hundred photographs of the cosplay women of comic-con 2007... and many were present! They also had Nerdcore performances, and the place was a madhouse! But what grabbed me that you'll definitely want to see... the boys of Polite in Public, have come a long way since we last saw/talked to them. (Catch up here for their back story and to see the old set up.)
So what's new with this young revolutionary photobooth company, Polite in Public? With their impressive hollywood and technical backgrounds - they have taken their glossy, gorgeous imagery filled with props and sets and real prints on the fly! - to a whole new level. Instead of laptops, screens, printers, and more set up on a desk, we were amazed by their new set up with one large sleek machine that took the pictures, processed them from original form to the glossified form, and had a nice interface for their photobooth attendants to quickly browse and print from. It seemed like a large simple UI, and i was dying to run up and poke it, if only they weren't SO busy! Also, from only being a small 2-3 man operation, sounds like they are expanding quite a bit, since on the same night as the San Diego event, they were also doing events in SF, NY, and LA! I got a few pics of the crazy scene - and some video of their impressive automated photoshop like filtering on the fly to give you a feel for how incredible their process is - check it all out on the next page!
So, for those of you who follow my twitter or facebook ~ you already know i ran away to San Diego. It's been far too long since i've been back in these parts, and i'd forgotten how much i missed it! So, spent yesterday popping by all my old houses/apartments/neighborhoods/etc, getting a burrito, and hiding out in little italy. Anyhow, we just popped by comic-con today for a few hours, and it's absolute insanity, massive crowds, yet everyone is so nice, and they keep things flowing so well. Also - SO giddy to see the toys i've been lusting after... in person! And super nice to meet up with a bunch of the comics and toy guys in person as well, of course. So here's a mad roundup to show you some of my favorites, click the pic to see the full gallery of my images running around the convention floor... and now i think i'm off to the zoo.
Another find at at GLOW ~ was a collection of suspended robots under the pier, EX-SE-08, Shieh Chieh Huang. Made from plastic bags, plastic bottles of various sizes, computer fans, portable dvd players - all combined with circuit boards and what looked like many power adapters for the larger pieces... these robots were buzzing and breathing (well the bags looked like inhaling and exhaling oxygen bags that come down in airplane emergencies?) and spinning about - while filled with glowing lights, black lights, and uv glowing liquids... It was mesmerizing to say the least, especially when i wandered back in around 5am in a bit of a haze... i ended up taking more video of these creatures than pictures, so check out the video below for an overview of them in action, and a few more pics as well on the next page!
On so many levels, this was an incredible art installation ~ a GIANT screen of water that with rear projection, set up such that the dark night sky served as the perfect backdrop for the perfectly clear visualizations - but it's not just about watching, the group interaction element was there too: a series of microphones against the fence encourage the audience to participate by screaming into them in order to directly alter the visualizations. It was the only piece that truly sucked everyone into it, and kept them there for ages. Kids of all ages were absolutely mesmerized. And yes, i admit, it was one of the first things i was drawn to, even from up at the park - and i went back multiple times in that 12 hour window... and there were ALWAYS crowds at the piece... even at 5am. See images of Usman Haque's Primal Source from all angles on the next page ~ as well as a video to give you the full effect of how awesome this was to behold in person!
I think i've waited 25 years for GLOW to happen - i love my beach towns, and Santa Monica is where i grew up, and the first ocean and beach i ever touched... and FINALLY, the City of Santa Monica let go of all their many rules for 12 precious hours (and we went, from 7pm to about 6:30am) - with an incredible first GLOW festival - the pier, with its new crazy uberbright-LED ferris wheel, the whole park overlooking PCH, the neighboring restaurants and shops, the beach, the work out rings and ropes - all packed with people of all sorts and all ages all night long... enjoying various music, techno/eco-art installations, and ultimately just each others company, and how nice it was to have all of this come together so beautifully and so playfully in Santa Monica. So before i get into the specific installations i have to show you video of... here's an overview post to give you a feel of what an incredibly nice 12 hours it was... highlights are definitely lying on the beach listening to pirate lullabies at 3am, the interactive projection on a HUGE water spray, the computer fan driven upcycled electronic organisms under the pier, and watching people from such varying walks of life coming together for this Santa Monica first. (Oh and for really odd things, in the midst of all of this, we even ended up at Google for drinks, since the bars were just maddness - which led to a finger rocket war through the cubicles.)
It's felt like Friday every day this week! No idea why, perhaps its the weather, or how productive we've been suddenly... today's been quiet because we've been busy playing with iphone apps, trying the rather hyped new Anisette Brasserie, finally seeing Wanted (LOVE it - but i'm a sucker for action), and checking out the launch of the new Indigo Farm Pop Up Shop at Fred Segal Man in Santa Monica.
Ok packaging fetish time: the denim in this beautiful 20 piece limited edition collection, and only 50 or 60 units per style, come in engraved wooden boxes. And to top those gorgeous boxes... "For the truly devoted collector, there are also three 3-piece sets of handmade denim luggage, each one including a steamer trunk lined in 100-year-old Asian woodblock printed poplin." See the close ups of the black and white woodblock print on the next page, i was absolutely taken by these woody/denim steamer trunks.
Next thing i gushed over: the space! "Warhol Factory X Levi's X Damien Hirst designer Adrian Nyman presents his second installation at Fred Segal Man in Santa Monica, a capsule collection with cult Hong Kong denim brand Indigo Farm, making its U.S. debut here exclusively from July 1st to August 14th." What does this mean? Much like those steamer trunks, the whole room was denim or wood, from floor to ceiling. The walls were all denim or stacked with firewood, creating a fabulous multifaceted effect. And to add to the ambiance, there was the tattooed rocker of a banjo player, Elijah Trotsky, which was quite mesmerizing. So take a look on the next page to catch up on tonight's scene...
Happy 4th of July ~ sorry posting went quiet, i popped down to Laguna Beach yesterday to see some old friends ~ and relaxing out at the beach house was perfect. BBQ, beers, and ironically playing rockband next to a wall of Rickenbackers, while watching all the beach goers frolic down below. So here are a few fun fireworks shots (some looking a bit more apocalyptic than festive!) to share!
Today is truly a beautiful, possibly cliche, Los Angeles beachy summer's day ~ and as i wandered the few blocks to pick things up for the party tomorrow... it was great to see the whole town (yes, Pacific Palisades, totally feels like a town!) out and about, setting up chairs on the sidewalk for tomorrow's parade, kids running around in packs and swinging in their yards, tons of dogs and strollers being walked... and then i checked my email and saw the preview for Edwin Ushiro's first solo show, "While Tides Guide You Back Home" ~ which so perfectly captures that glowingly carefree summer day moment, and his use of textures is just breathtaking!
"While Tides Guide You Back Home", will be opening at the Project:Gallery in Culver City on July 12th, and they were nice enough to let me share the show preview ~ so on the next page you can see some of my favorites! (If you're looking to purchase, act FAST, i hear many are sold or on hold already!)
A bit of background on Edwin Ushiro: "Aloha. My name is Edwin Ushiro. Transplanted from Maui to California, I attended the Art Center College of Design and attained a BFA in Illustration with Honors. Since then, I have been working in the amazing world of entertainment as a Cinematographer, Production Designer, Visual Consultant, Art Director, Storyboard Artist, and Concept Designer." This should come as no surprise once you see his works! Also, check out some of his corporate work on his site as well - beautiful! I can't wait to see what else he produces.
We can't go Whaleless! The Strychnin Gallery London will be opening the international group show, Whaleless, on July 11th! It contains a fun selection of pieces all reminding us how much we love whales, and that we need to help save them ~ a portion of the sales will be donated to Greenpeace. I've rounded up some of my favorites from the show on the next page for you to preview!