Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paint Yourself A Song

(via Labuat)

Very Short List introduced me to a Spanish group called Labuat that has a gorgeous music video. And the icing on the cake? It's interactive. You paint along to the song "Soy Tu Aire," translates as "I Am Your Air," while beautiful graphics pop up in sync with the lyrics. And when you're done creating your masterpiece, you can share it with friends. It's simple, clean, and absolutely exquisite. Most artistic music video I have seen in a long time. Here is the link, so you can treat yourself to a little creativity today: http://soytuaire.labuat.com/ 

You can also go to their website to check out their album: http://www.labuat.com/

Friday, June 19, 2009

Music City

Greetings from Nashville! I am posting from The Perch, an adorable coffee shop near my hotel in the suburb of Brentwood. And as of right now, I am eyeing their extensive crepe menu. To be honest, Nashville was never high on my list of places to see. I figured I'd get to it eventually. Well, here I am. My boyfriend and I traversed the highways from Dallas to Music City last Sunday, and while that was a harrowing ride (a semi-truck tire tread did some major damage to my car), my time here has been smooth sailing and very relaxing. 

Since Chad is here for a history grant program, so that leaves me free during the day to peruse antique shops and explore neighborhoods at my leisure. He would be none too happy if I dragged him through as many furniture stores as I have been to. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much high design is here. Yesterday I stopped at Epiphany Design Studio on 8th Ave S. to encounter several fabulous pieces and some of the nicest people I have ever met. I also went into A La Maison, for some beautiful European imports. Both of these stores I found courtesy the article "Elle Decor Goes to Nashville." In the Berry Hill neighborhood, I stopped off at Gilchrist Gilchrist- two shops in side by side houses that boast an all white interior which evokes a 1920's beach house. They had some beautiful linens and decor, but it was all a bit girly to be on display on our bed or throughout the house. I sometimes have to remind myself that a boy lives in the house too. But, the one store which knocked me on my heels was Highbrow Furniture, which is actually inside the store Pre & Post Modern on 8th Ave S. They feature all furniture Mid Century Modern! I walked into my own personal Heaven. As I drooled over the Eames chairs & rockers, Saarinen tulip tables & swivel chairs, I sat down in a Herman Miller lounge chair only to look up and see a George Nelson Bubble Lamp. EEK! And the best part, everything was on sale! The Ghost Stool by Kartell 50% off! Too bad my furniture funds are non-existent right now (teardrops are falling on my keyboard as I type). They do have a website, but you have to specify that you want to buy from the showroom if you want a discounted item, and it's only if they are having a sale. 

Aside from shopping, I explored the Hillsboro Village area, which is my personal favourite. Early 1900's bungalows, some residential, some commercial businesses, a very college/hippy vibe on 21st Ave S. A lot of Nashville reminds me of Austin; this area definitely said "the Drag" and Hyde Park neighborhood to me. Belmont University is nearby, which probably is where the credit for the granola feel is due. Music Row is nearby, which is very cool and worth driving down. Monday evening we ate at Cabana (2 for 1 drafts and pizza). A very hip, young outpost with a nice patio. It was an added bonus to have such great specials going on. If you sit in one of the "cabanas," you can plug in your iPod and play your own mix- how hi-tech! We didn't get the pizza, but instead I had the Tennessee Sliders- chicken or pork on sweet potato biscuits with peach preserves. Tres bien! Fido is a great little coffee shop, ran in there to get out of the tornado like weather one afternoon. The Bookman was a small shop with many twists and turns, used books awesomely piled from floor to ceiling. The couple that own the shop are extremely knowledgeable. And despite books spilling out into piles on the floor, they know exactly where each one is. I was duly impressed! I finally bought the one and only Jonathan Lethem book that I have yet to read, Fortress of Solitude. Another eatery in the same area we tried was Mafioza's, an Italian joint that is PACKED during their Tuesday night special of 2 for 1 drinks (excluding wine) and pizza slices. Delicious pizza, even though the kitchen was turning out custom slices left and right. All I have to say is get there early. 

On Wednesday night we decided to be the ultimate tourists and hit the downtown Broadway area. Even though gift shops abound, it actually has a fairly authentic feel (if you can overlook your fellow tourists). We stopped at the famed Jack's BBQ for some delicious brisket and tried all three of their renowned sauces. After we got a belly full, we popped next door to Robert's Western Wear. It is astounding how many legends have set foot inside that hole in the wall- a few of my faves being King George and Merle. Chad's being BR-549. Robert's is not only known for playing traditional country music, but for the boots lined up on the wall for sale. Not sure how many boots are sold each year, but a neat idea. The band that played was greatness- they covered everyone from Cash to Merle to Stevie Ray Vaughn. Tonight we are venturing back over to the area to check out the band at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge the other very famous C&W bar. I plan to find out the meaning behind that name. Good thing I brought my boots! PS. Parking is something of a myth- we ended up parking at least a half a mile away. And they gouge you at the paid parking lots. The Broadway area absolutely reminded me of 6th St, including the parking situation, but a bit more country oriented and family friendly, and never a cover. I hate to constantly compare Nashville to Austin, but the similarities are undeniable! And I mean it as a compliment, as my heart is still in Austin. 

With only two more days to go, I'll be sad to leave Nashville, but plan to make the most of it. My car will be out of the body shop today- yay! There are a few more antique shops to hit and I will be meeting up with a long time friend this evening- can't wait to see her! The landscape is beautiful here. Now that I have been, I can only hope to return here soon. But, I am also looking forward to coming home. I can't wait to see my Boo-Boo (my dog, for those who don't listen to me talk about him on a daily basis)!

Have a beautiful weekend, and be sure to wish your dad a Happy Father's Day! 

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Long Lost Polaroid Film

Today's post from the New York Times blog The Lens is all about large format, positive-negative Polaroid film. They feature a slideshow of several examples from photographers who have used it in the past. The two films are Type 55 and Polaroid 665. Photographers who opted to use this film toted white buckets of sodium sulfite to rinse their photos after developing. They were then hung out to dry. Both films had a unique border to them that I think make the photo look more aged than they truly are. 

In this digital age, it's nice to go back to the basics once in a while and appreciate what film can do for your art. Unfortunately, Polaroid no longer makes this film. And for that matter, I don't think Polaroid manufactures any film these days. 

But, for a little film nostalgia, check out the blog post and read the stories some of the photographers have from their experiences shooting with the Polaroid films. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Transparency. Participation. Collaboration.

President Obama, in an effort to make the government more transparent and accessible, has begun the Open Government Initiative. Vivek Kundra has been appointed as Chief Information Officer, a position that did not exist until this administration. The purpose for the Open Government Initiative is to make all those public records and data that the government collects more easily accessible. Previously, the way to access most of this information was to march down to Washington DC and view the data in person. For example, when the website is complete, you will be able to hop online and see all the data that the Health Department, has collected, everything from peanut allergies to flu deaths. And not only can you view the information, you can submit your own ideas and opinions about the data or the Initiative itself. Obama is attempting to bring the government to the people, let them voice their concerns directly. This is an amazing new step into the 21st century for our federal government. With a powerful tool such as the internet, we can now have the President's ear faster than ever. Information and feedback will flow easier, certainly a precedent for future administrations. As I see it, we will be closer to a republic form of government- placing power back to the people themselves, instead of solely relying on our representatives to voice our concerns, wants, and needs.

To learn more about the Open Government Initiative please visit the official site. You can also visit the Open Government Dialogue site to voice your new ideas, vote on current ones, and help shape how this initiative will take effect. And furthermore, you can listen to the piece on All Things Considered regarding this topic here

This is the PEOPLE's government, time for us to utilize the power we've always had!