Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google Maps Street View

Just a quick post to tout the latest super cool offering by google maps -- Street View! Every inch of Manhattan seems to be captured in 360 degree photographs. I saw the front entrance to my building in quasi-fuzzy detail, but it sure will help finding restaurants in the twisty west village. Hazza for Google!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jean Paul Goude

For some unknown reason, I had to see Grace Jones. Not personally of course, but it's probably part of a general Trevor Horn thing I'm going through these days. Horn's ZTT records and Art of Noise recording project confirm my belief that culture and high art are not beyond the reach of the public, and inform much of what we see and hear every day. But that's probably left for another post!

What I did discover is the work of Jean Paul Goude, a French photographer who applied his talents to video, live performance and media campaigns.

Above is a look at some of his work included on a DVD that accompanied a compendium of some of his life's work, So Far, So Goude. You'll notice that Grace figures into most of the pieces, and Goude later became Grace's partner.

What amazes me about their work is that they deal with images of race, or more specifically white images of black stereotypes, that is at once garish and thrilling. And all of it looks stunning. Even if you're weren't a Grace Jones fan, you'll remember Goude's work for Channel at the end of the clip. Vanessa Paradis whistling on a bird swing: who dreams of such things? Apparently, Goude.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

120 Years of Electronic Music

What's the oldest electronica track in your iTunes collection? Got anything from the late 1800s? For all of those interested in things musical and mechanical, has compiled a cool list of gadgets that make beeps, doinks and twitters. Lots of details for those tinkering history buffs.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Paris in NYC

The other night I attending one of the most French nights I've had in NYC in a long time. I attended a closing party at Point of View Gallery host by the almost stereotypically French Amelie Sourget, a young, well-to-do socialite who never missed an opportunity to be welcoming, charming and just plain fun to her many guest. My writing partner Andy Parsegian is a great friend of hers, and made sure to pass on the invitation to me.

After many glasses of wine, Andy and I went to Tout Va Bien, a great bistro in midtown. If you want to hear someone speak fluent French followed by a broad Brooklyn-Queens accent, make sure to chat with the owner's son, the Bistro's very capable and warm host. I even got a extra brownie points by recognizing Stravinsky's picture on the Wall of Fame. The owner said he use to drop by on a regular basis when he pass through the Big Apple.

A couple from the gallery accompanied us on our bistro trip, and as luck would have it, the young man was a wine seller. Make sure to check out Circus and Micheal Lynch at your local wine store. Fantastic wine for almost nothing!

With all the anti-French sentiment in the US right now, I hope that people don't forget that when it comes to living well and valuing the simple pleasures of life (friends, food, romance, etc) the French still seem to consistently deliver. Thank God I live in a town that has a little piece of almost every part the world in it's back yard.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Home Recording with Renee

My brother and I had an email exchange regarding Elvis Costello's appearance on Solid Gold at time of his single "Everyday I Write the Book", which I'm not posting for the single fact that Elvis' dancing is so horrible that it take away from the song. And there also exists a live recording of the song from the extending re-issue of Punch the Clock. I decided to see if there way any other video footage of Costello performing the song live on YouTube when I found this: a simple, humble, honest rendition of the song by a woman named Renee. There are plenty of missteps in her guitar playing, and the quality of the video is not great, but this little snapshot of home recording captures what I love most about the web: human beings communicating our most precious thoughts and feeling without recourse to gatekeepers, critics and big business, although I'd pressed to name a bigger company than Google, the company who runs YouTube. With all it's flaws, this little snippet held my attention for much longer than anything on that circus called American Idol. Oh well, I suppose the producers of that show will keep pitching people who will be forgotten in a year (or less) while I'll keep looking for people like Renee.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Free Ride Ending Soon?

I just downloaded the latest version of Skype for Mac, and I noticed a big change. It's not the technical changes you may have read about online, but it's something more disheartening. Previous versions of Skype greeted the user with the slogan "The World Can Talk For Free". Now, the words "Take a Deep Breath" appear on screen as the program loads. Not exactly the same thing now, is it. Are we to assume that the free ride is over? I hate to be a pessimist, but while great deals like Skype can't go on forever, did they have to use the word FREE in previous editions of the program? I suppose it's a small point, but free or not, with Nokia phones being able to run a Symbian version of Skype, it's still the best deal in telephony out there.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Unfinished Webern, Finished

Auto-Webern. Not really sure if this is an improvement, but I thought i'd post regardless.