Date Archives June 2012

LEGO Haunted House

LEGO Haunted House

LEGO Haunted House minifigs

LEGO Haunted House Interior

Aliens, pirates, vikings, castles, dinosaurs, even the wild west! Over the years, the folk at LEGO have brought kids (and grown-ups) to all manner of great places, yet for some reason they’ve never had a LEGO Haunted House. That is until now! Coming this September LEGO will release their first official Haunted House.

Home to Lord Vampyre and his bride, the three-story house is served by a monster butler and a zombie chef, as well as being haunted by two glow-in-the-dark ghosts! It’s a fantastic looking set and the designers have really done an excellent job with it. Retailing at a hefty $180 the set is still incredible and with a release date of early September, it means that you’re just in time to have the perfect accompaniment for your house at Halloween.

The LEGO Haunted House is released September 1st 2012

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

When I was in New York last week I had a chance to stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wandering around while the New York weather was spitting down on everyone. I’ve been to the Met a few times before, but it felt like I actually had time to see quite a few of the exhibits. While strolling around I decided to start snagging photos of pieces I really enjoyed, thinking that some of you might grab some inspiration from these. Some are full images, some are close-ups of random parts of the art which really stood out to me. Hopefully you can pull some sort of inspiration from these images.

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Curating the curated: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Artist As Scientist

The Artist As Scientist

The Artist As Scientist

The Artist As Scientist

The Artist As Scientist

The intersect of art and science is so fascinating to me. I’m very familiar with how art works and how to make a lot of art–but science? It’s another language that I can only pretend to fully understand. One artist fuses these two subjects together in large, abstract paintings that are equal parts Audobon and Dürer as they are contemporary art. Her name is Lily Simonson and she is one rad artist, training her brushes to create everything from fossils to yeti crabs to tube worms, all these scientific items that we all only vaguely are familiar with.

Lily’s work is currently the subject of a solo show at CB1 in Los Angeles but is also widely recognized in scientific circles. Lily has traveled everywhere from Parisian laboratories to Scripps College’s Levin Lab to study these rare creatures. She has even been invited to join scientific exploration teams that will explore the San Diego Margin as well as Antartica, where they will examine rare creatures and she will be able to see her subject matters live. In a sense, she’s become an It Girl in the science world as she’s made newly discovered creatures sexy.

I was very privileged to be able to sit down with her in her studio to talk about her discovery of subject matters, her speaking at various scientific conventions, her work with the Census of Marine Life, the use of black light in her work, and even her extreme love of Beck. She is definitely a Los Angeles artist to watch. You can check out our interview with her here.

A space within a space: The Ant House by mA-style architects

Interior of the Ant House by mA-style architects

Interior of the Ant House by mA-style architects

Interior of the Ant House by mA-style architects

The spatial complexity that exists in the Ant House by mA-style architects arrises from a fairly simple operation: floating a home-shaped volume in the middle of a cubic one. The program of the Ant House is organized around this house-within-a-house: the kitchen, the living room and the bedrooms all revolve around the light wooden, gabled form. The openings aren’t exactly randomly placed because they allow for views between spaces and highlight the relationship of the volume with the section of the house– but they also help animate and lighten up a space that would otherwise be dominated by the limited material palette.

You can see more photos of the interior and exterior by clicking here.

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

The automobile you see above is a concept vehicle by Toyota called the Camette. From what I’ve read the Camette was created to provide “an excellent opportunity for parents and their children to experience the driving joy, car enthusiasm, customization and a fun family experience.” Ok, that sounds like a really stupid reason to make a car, at least in my opinion.

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

The way I see a car like the Camette is a renaissance for small vehicles. Some of you may remember how I would rant against large cars, especially in a any urban environments. To often do I see assholes cruising around in giant SUVs here in Los Angeles, as if these three person families need a vehicle like that. Seeing something like the Camette is such a joy, like seeing what the future of small vehicles could be.

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

I think the body details are what really sells me on this car. I love the configuration of the vehicle, that you have a driver in the front and two seats in the back. I can’t help but I think of how perfect a car like this would be for Kyle and I and our two dogs. We could all cruise around the city in this, and I’m sure there’s room in the trunk as well if we need to put a beach bag in the back or run and get groceries. Sure, this wouldn’t work for families of 8, but there still aren’t a lot of good options for sub-compact cars beyond the Yaris, the Fit, the Fiat and the Mini.

Toyota Camette Concept: A new take on the sub-compact car

Each year a lot of the major car companies put out small concept cars, but few actually follow through with them. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, a company like Toyota will actually start to make a car like this one a reality.

Found through Campsite

An intense look at the making of the visual effects of ‘Prometheus’

An intense look at the making of the visual effects of 'Prometheus'

As you could possibly tell from my recent review of Prometheus I’m mildly obsessed. After watching the film Kyle and I did so much research the next few days after seeing it, but I think we only get like 60% of the film. That’s a part of the excitement, in my opinion! This article from FX Guide doesn’t answer the questions to the plot, but it does give you the rundown of how the visual effects were created. Before you click the link, be warned that the article is filled with a ton of spoilers, so be sure to see the film before reading it.

In the history of modern visual effects films there is a small handful of universes worthy of religious veneration: the bed chamber in 2001, the hover cars of Blade Runner, the initial flyover from Star Wars and of course, the fallen broken ship of Ridley Scott’s Alien. This last hallowed and sacred site is known to all serious visual effects artists, but for a select few artists at companies like MPC, Weta Digital and Fuel, they got to rebuild and reimagine these ‘consecrated’ assets – the map room, the ship and of course the pilot’s chair from Alien. The film has erupted a blogosphere of arguments over the meaning or symbolism these objects have in a creationist tale of mankind, but virtually without question even the harshest critics of the film have applauded the stunning visual effects of Prometheus.

‘Erica America’ by Jens Lekman

It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Jens Lekman. Last year his An Argument With Myself EP seemed to float by unnoticed by many, and it’s been a whooping five years since the release of his incredible album, Night Falls Over Kortedala. The good news is that the Swedish troubadour has returned, and he’s bringing a whole new album with him. Entitled I Know What Love Isn’t, the LP is due out on September 4th.

The first song from the album comes in the form of Erica America; a beautiful and finely orchestrated track filled with the warmth and charm that we’ve come to expect from the singer. Rich in Spanish guitar flourishes and backed by soaring vocals by the Melbourne singer Sophie Brous, the song is hopefully a promising taster of what to expect from the new album.

I Know What Love Isn’t comes out September 4th via Secretly Canadian. Make sure to check if Jens is coming to your town by taking a look at the show dates on his site.

How Anthony Bourdain became Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain and his family

I was reading the new issue of Bon Appétit and I came across this nice piece from Anthony Bourdain about his relationship with his father. As we all know, Bourdain is one of the big “eaters” out there, travelling the world and eating with an open-minded. In his article he goes into depth about the influence his father had on his eating habits, the snippet below being my favorite part.

He was delighted by different. Thrilled by discovery. In the early ’70s, he “discovered” sushi because it was being served in the signless, some-what sinister back room of a run-down hotel on 55th Street that some Japanese colleagues had tipped him off to. When he walked me, 14 years old, through the shabby hotel lobby for the first time, opened an unmarked door, and ushered me into a smoky room crowded with Japanese people eating raw fish, he was bubbling over with childlike glee.

El-P’s Cancer for Cure

To keep up with the New Yawk Cit-tay trip that Bobby and Kyle are on, it’s some coincidence to highlight a great new album outta Brooklyn. El-P, Def Jux labelhead, Company Flow founder, and reputable producer has put out his first album in four years and its a real cracker. If you aren’t familiar with his work, well, his brand of anti-bling hip hop is jagged, abstract and especially dense. His first record, 1997’s Funcrusher Plus, is a classic of the genre whose influence can be heard today and spawned thousands of bedroom rappers and producers everywhere. I swear to you: they are everywhere.

Cancer for Cure is another great record from him. It’s really future rap. The Full Retard just hits hard, refuses to be soft on the ears and demands to be heard. I mean seriously. “So you can bump this shit like they do in the future” is a command with a hint of truth. Also, I have to mention the video is cracked-out awesome. It is an absolutely ridiculous party, but I will warn you it is 100% NSFW. Definitely something to listen to this summer.

Space Suit of the Week

Spacesuit - Andrew G. Hobbs

Emerging from a void, Andrew G. Hobbs‘ hallowed portrait of an astronaut is striking. Looking over the many space suits that we have put up here over time, most are the Luke Skywalker types in their white, pillowy Apollo suits that embody the epitome of the hero archetype – full of wholesome goodness and hope. Hobbs’ astronaut falls on the dark side. The helmet frames no visible human inside as the suit weighs heavy on the shoulders of a form that it may house. The multitude of fabric, buckles, hoses and claps that decorate the suit are suitably highlighted in his grey scale portrait against the dark emptiness of space.