Friday, December 28, 2007

Rural Massachusetts Through the Viewfinder

While home with my family over the holidays, I spent some time playing around with "TTV" - a technique known as Through the Viewfinder, where you shoot through the viewfinder of a 1950s era camera with another camera, using the older camera solely as a lens. In trying this out, I was inspired by the flickr group Through the Viewfinder. This technique produces a slightly distorted effect, softens the colors, and allows you to capture the crackles and scratches on the older lens.

Though not without its difficulties - I found myself wishing I had a third hand to help juggle two cameras while also keeping my image framed, in focus, and out of the sun's glare - I like the new way it lets me see the world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Flashback to 1979: Military Ads

Since America ended the draft, the military has had to recruit. Like any good advertiser, they've learned how to couch their message in the style and medium of teen culture. Today, they produce video games where you can fly combat aircraft. In 1979, their target audience wore bell bottoms and rode Harleys. And in that more innocent time, the selling point could still be the path to an affordable college education that the Army could provide.

Army National Guard ad, November 1979, from Currents Events magazine

Army ad, December 1979, from Scholastic Search magazine

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Extravanza

To those of you who, like me, have an odd soft spot in your heart for suburban homes dedecked with over the top Christmas decorations (yet have no car), look no further. Let me point you to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights.

Dyker Heights sits between Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, and Gravesend Bay, with a lovely view of the Verrazano Bridge. Its residents go to town at Christmas time, festooning their homes and yards (yes, Virginia, they have yards) with lights, moving reindeer, and plastic blow-up Santa dolls. I wouldn't want to pay anyone's light bill, but it's quite a spectacle.
In the early days, I'm sure each family was responsible for their own decorating, and a few clearly still do the work themselves. But many call in the professionals. B&R Floral Decorators, for example, take some time out from their usual work providing floral arrangements for funerals to decorate some of the most elaborate houses.

If you plan to visit, the epicenter is 84th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. And, if you don't have a friend with a car and are too lazy or cold to brave the walk from the subway, you can watch Conan O'Brian's trip in 2000 from the comfort of your warm living room.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lost in Red Hook

Seen on the streets of Red Hook - someone lost their cat.

Despite the cat's technical difficulties ("does not meow properly"), mediocrity ("not worth very much") and "general scruffiness and bad behavior," the owner does sorta love kitty and wouldn't mind having him back, if just for the whoa-dude trippiness of its two different colored eyes.

Mini Concerts in Back Alleys

Totally last minute but this looks cool. Enjoy before we're all confined to our mini-apartment muffled worlds by tomorrow's snow. Here's the 411 on today's performance, presented by Lower East Side gallery Smith-Stewart and local nonprofit Creative Time, just back from a nationally-acclaimed performance in New Orleans of Waiting for Godot:

Though your mother may have warned you not to go into the back alleys, this certainly won’t be the first time you ignore her, and this time for good reason. Creative Council Member Carlton DeWoody, with Jen DeNike and Smith-Stewart Gallery, invite you to a one-day rock out in Lower East Side.

Mini Concerts in Back Alleys
Saturday, December 1, 2007
2:00 – 11:30 PM
locations throughout the Lower East Side (see schedule below or click for more info)

Mini Concerts will make various interventions on sites chosen by each artist throughout the Lower East Side. Be it on a mews or median, in an alley or cellar, each site specific location marries the audience to the performance, which collectively can only be described as shiny moments in dusty corners. All performances are between 5 and 15 minutes long, and are only performed once, serving to expose the drama of time. In a land where ‘before’ and ‘after’ are as significant as the ‘during’, the planned meets the impromptu and the important meets the forgotten.

Here’s the musical line up featuring Creative Time curator Mark Beasley.
2:03 pm Rachel Mason Hamilton Fish Park- Pitt btw Houston and Stanton
3:11 pm Mind Castle Freeman Alley- Rivington btw Bowery and Chrystie
3:41 pm Dirt Mound Rivington btw Chrystie and Forsyth
4:29 pm Artic Circle Hester btw Chrystie and Forsyth
5:43.21 pm Y.O.U. 1st btw 1st and A
6:27 pm Mads Lynnerup 227 Bowery btw Rivington and Stanton
9:03 pm Georgia Sagri Delancy and Allen
9:36 pm Caroline Breton 162 Eldridge btw Delancy and Rivington
10:16 pm Brian Bellot 71 Hestor btw Orchard and Ludlow
11:01 pm Mark Beasley and Rose Kallal 35 Orchard btw Hester and Canal