Sunday, March 31, 2013
New Yorker - "Harlem Chic"
"How a hip-hop legend remixed name-brand fashion."
by Kelefa Sanneh
"Wear a G on my chest -- I don't need Dapper Dan." - Jay-Z
"Not long afterward, this curiosity spread to lawyers at the Manhattan firm of Pavia & Harcourt. They came across a picture of [Mike] Tyson wearing an odd Fendi jacket -- odd because the firm represented Fendi, and yet no one there had ever seen a jacket like that. Tyson's shopping habits had become notorious, so it didn't take long to figure out where the jacket came from. One of the lawyers assigned to Fendi was Sonia Sotomayor, the current Supreme Court Justice. In her autobiography, "My Beloved World," Sotomayor explains that the firm's primary target was the growing wave of "cheap knockoffs of Fendi handbags." Although there were federal and state laws against trademark violations, prosecutions were rare, and so companies like Fendi often used civil actions. Lawyers would get a sealed order from a judge, allowing them to seize suspected counterfeit goods and hold them until trial; when the suspected counterfeiters failed to appear, as they generally did, the goods were destroyed.
In researching these cases, Sotomayor often relied on Dempster Leech, a private investigator with a thoughtful manner who had emerged as perhaps the city's foremost expert on luxury counterfeiting. His raids frequently took him into the tunnels beneath Canal Street, where Asian gangs dominated the profitable knockoff market. He didn't know what he might find at Dapper Dan's Boutique, so he prepared for the worst: he added extra security, and he made sure to schedule the raid for daylight hours, in case it got chaotic. Sotomayor, Leech, and half a dozen private security guards rushed into the shop, where they found no violent resistance but lots to look at. The racks were full of name-brand clothing, and the walls were lined with celebrity photographs; in the window hung the most impressive custom jackets, waiting for their buyers to come up with the final payment.
Leech was accustomed to grim back rooms full of assembly-line knockoffs, so he was imrpessed by Day's quirky, do-it-yourself enterprise. "It was a much more artisanal process -- a high-fashion place," he says He was especially struck by the hand-operated silk-screen table, and by a Jeep with a Fendi-logo roof, which was among the goods seized. Day was unhappy, of course, but he stayed calm; the raid was, by all accounts, a polite affair, especially compare to the tense, sometimes violent raids on Canal Street. Leech says, "I recall, Sonia was -- I can't say that she didn't mind it. Obviously, she was representing the Italian designers. But she thought it was kind of funny. And kind of fun, too."
From the perspective of a trademark owner, a counterfeiter gets no points for creativity or quirkiness."
Trance, out April 5th in the U.S., is directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, The Beach, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting, the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremonies) and is starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel.
On a related lavish art note, billionaire Steven A. Cohen bought this Picasso from casino magnate Steve Wynn last week for a reported $155 million.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
What is a Bitcoin?
According to Wikipedia, "Bitcoin (sign: BTC) is a decentralized digital currency based on an open-source, peer-to-peer internet protocol. It was introduced by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.
Internationally, bitcoins can be exchanged by personal computer directly through a wallet file or a website without an intermediate financial institution. In trade, one bitcoin is subdivided into 100 million smaller units called satoshis, defined by eight decimal places.
Bitcoin does not operate like typical currencies: it has no central bank and it solely relies on an internet-based peer-to-peer network. The money supply is automated, limited, divided and scheduled, and given to servers or "bitcoin miners" that verify bitcoin transactions and add them to a decentralized and archived transaction log every 10 minutes. The log is authenticated by ECDSA digital signatures and verified by the intense process of bruteforcing SHA256 hash functions of varying difficulty by competing "bitcoin miners."
Lifehacker - "What Is Bitcoin and What Can I Do With It?"
Mashable - "Cyprus Gets World's First Bitcoin ATM"
The Atlantic - "Is This North Korean Hovercraft-Landing Photo Faked?"
Gizmodo - "North Korea Photoshopped Its Hovercraft Fleet To Make It Look Less Terrible and Sad"
Gizmodo - "Iran Photoshopped Its New Stealth Fighter Jet to Look Like It Was Flying When It Totally Wasn’t"
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The Guardian - "Shane Smith: 'I want to build the next CNN with Vice – it's within my grasp'"
NPR - "Using 3-D Printers To Make Gun Parts Raises Alarms"
WDA - "“And if Washington isn’t going to send their Generals then we’ll send our Globetrotters.”"
Design Week - "Daniel Weil redesigns the chess set"
"Weil says he looked to the Staunton Chess Set, first produced in 1849 and used for competitions since then, for initial inspiration.
He says, ‘When the initial Staunton set was produced there was great precision – since then a disrepair had set in. I had to unravel the rationale behind the original set.’"
"Carrying through the Classical theme, Weil linked the eight major chess pieces to the eight columns of the façade of the Parthanon. He redrew the height of the pieces to reflect the pitch of the façade, so that the pieces before play would evoke the structure of a Classical building."
Link courtesy of TWBE
Scheduled to be released May 23, 2013.
"During his storied career as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of professional sports. Even more important, he succeeded in never wavering from coaching his way, from a place of deep values. Jackson was tagged as the “Zen master” half in jest by sportswriters, but the nickname speaks to an important truth: this is a coach who inspired, not goaded; who led by awakening and challenging the better angels of his players’ nature, not their egos, fear, or greed.
This is the story of a preacher’s kid from North Dakota who grew up to be one of the most innovative leaders of our time. In his quest to reinvent himself, Jackson explored everything from humanistic psychology and Native American philosophy to Zen meditation. In the process, he developed a new approach to leadership based on freedom, authenticity, and selfless teamwork that turned the hypercompetitive world of professional sports on its head.
In Eleven Rings, Jackson candidly describes how he:
- Learned the secrets of mindfulness and team chemistry while playing for the champion New York Knicks in the 1970s
- Managed Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the world, and got him to embrace selflessness, even if it meant losing a scoring title
- Forged successful teams out of players of varying abilities by getting them to trust one another and perform in sync
- Inspired Dennis Rodman and other “uncoachable” personalities to devote themselves to something larger than themselves
- Transformed Kobe Bryant from a rebellious teenager into a mature leader of a championship team."
Monday, March 25, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
New York Times - "In Swirls of Stain, the Art of N.C.A.A. Branding"
"It was part backyard deck, part art installation. More than anything, it was a conversation piece.
“When people look at that, they’re going to think ‘mountains,’ ” said Dan Butterly, the Mountain West’s senior associate commissioner. “And they’re going to think ‘Mountain West.’ ”
Butterly represents a growing number of college administrators who see the basketball court as a blank canvas atop 90 feet of northern maple. It just needs a coat of imagination."
Oregon Ducks Basketball Court
Sunday, March 10, 2013
via Aerogramme Writers' Studio.
1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
After producing this summer's "Man of Steel," Director Christopher Nolan's next project has been officially announced: "Interstellar," a film set to be released November 7, 2014.
Story according to Slashfilm:
"a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding” built out of the theories of theoretical physicist, gravitational physicist and astrophysicist Kip Thorne."
Story according to the Los Angeles Times:
"Written by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, "Interstellar" is a time-traveling epic based on scientific theories developed by Caltech physicist Kip Thorne, who will executive produce the movie."
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
M83's Anthony Gonzalez is scoring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman's upcoming Sci-Fi movie Oblivion with the assistance of collaborator Joseph Trapanese, the same musician who helped Daft Punk score Tron: Legacy a few years ago.
StarWaves is the first track release of the soundtrack.
M83 - "Outro"
Sunday, March 3, 2013
New York Times - "Are We in Danger of a Beer Monopoly?"
"We are still in the very early stages of what appears to be a global version of the scale-based consolidation we’ve seen in the United States over the past century. Before Prohibition, beer was largely a regional business, with thousands of small breweries serving markets often defined by city blocks. Until fairly recently, retail, food manufacturing, banking and countless other industries were also largely the domain of local or regional firms. And while in recent decades companies have scrambled to command international markets, the global fights have largely been over dominance of the United States, Western Europe and Japan.
But the goal of the Grupo Modelo merger, the company has stated, is to gear up for the big beer fight of the 21st century. As the traditional beer markets of the United States, Europe and Japan age, the most lucrative markets will be in China, India, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the wealthier countries of Africa and other places where, every single day, millions of young consumers will buy their first legal beer. On this front, AB InBev is already facing staunch competition from Denmark’s Carlsberg, Britain’s SABMiller and Japan’s Asahi. It’s not exactly worried about Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada."
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Grantland - "The Best Bargains in the NBA"
"1. LeBron James (Heat): 2 years, $36.6 million
Here's your MVP. Actually, this is always your MVP, as long as he's playing 39 minutes a night, slapping up 27-8-8s, shooting 55 percent, playing four positions and defending the other team's best guy. Just stop. Stop bringing up anyone else. He's the greatest player in 20 years.
For the purposes of this column: If the NBA operated with an open market like baseball does, and teams could spend whatever they wanted without any real fear of the luxury tax, then LeBron would earn more than four times what he's making right now. You heard me … $75 million per season. That's not a misprint. The Lakers, Knicks and Nets would pay him that without blinking. Think of what you're getting: He drives up your courtside prices, your suite prices, your cable ratings (Miami's jumped 34 percent last season) and your sponsorship packages; he makes you the league's most relevant franchise; he guarantees you 10-12 playoff home games every year; and oh yeah, you might win a few championships, too.
And actually, that $75 million number might be low. Once a year, Forbes magazine breaks down the team value of every NBA franchise. This year's report was especially fascinating — Forbes reported that the average value of the 30 teams had risen to $509 million, a 30 percent increase from last year, saying that "the increase is due to higher revenue from television, new and renovated arenas, and the NBA's new collective-bargaining agreement, which reduced player costs from 57% of revenues to roughly 50%." Translation: The owners didn't just beat the players in that last lockout; they trounced them like it was one of those Cowboys-Bills Super Bowls.
Anyway, in 2009, Forbes valued the Cavaliers at $476 million and the Heat at $364 million. Four years later, they valued the Cavaliers at $434 million … and the Heat at $625 million.
Gee, I wonder what changed.
(LeBron James, you deserve a raise. A massive one. Just know that you won't get it.)"
ESPN - "Magic Johnson Offers LeBron $1,000,000 To Do Dunk Contest"
Having officially announced their signing with Columbia records, the influential masked electronic French DJ-duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are reported to be releasing their fourth album this year, their first since 2005's Human After All.
Complex - "Why Daft Punk's New Album Will Matter"
Pitchfork - "Daft Punk Confirm Alliance With Columbia"