Date Archives December 2012

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of December 10


Pressing Ahead: An Interview With Rosanna And Joel Kvernmo Of Iron Curtain Press
Letterpressing is such an old, wonderful printing method. Not as many people as you would think practice the craft but the few who do practice it are doing an absolutely brilliant things. Rosanna and Joel Kvernmo are huge letterpressers and run LA boutique printing company Iron Curtain Press. We visited their studio to see how the crazy tools and products that’ve made over the years. They’re super awesome! Also, if you like what you see, please enter the Iron Curtain Press calendar giveaway we are doing. Entries in by Tuesday!

How Is Echo Park Lake Looking?
Echo Park Lake has been under a screen of construction for what seems like forever. We heard news that it was starting to be filled and that things were on the up and up for the Lake: we had to see for ourselves. Last Sunday we spent the day wandering around the lake and peeping over the fence to see what was going on: there is a lot of work to be done on the lake but it is coming along. A big thing we noticed is that they’re going to be restoring a lot of elements that the original lake had. Cool!

Playa’s Mexi-China Menu
Chef John Sedlar’s Playa on Beverly Blvd is a little beacon of culinary curiosity. Sedlar is not a complacent chef and is always finding ways to intrigue and innovate. His latest effort is the Mexi-China Menu, a sampling of food experiments that pair Mexican and Chinese flavors, dishes, and more together for Transcpacific mishmashes. We had an absolute hoot and holler here.

A Chocoliday With Jonathan Grahm
Compartés is a small chocolate brand based out of Brentwood who make chocolate with an amazing taste and incredibly beautiful packaging. We spoke with young chocolatier and brand head Jonathan Grahm about his chocolates, the holidays, and what he’s most excited about in his collection. There is some really, really mouthwatering stuff. You’re going to want to gift these as he is the design driven, West Coast answer to the Mast Brothers.

A Tour Of First Congregational Church Of Los Angeles
You don’t think of LA as a city you where you’d tour architectural landmarks, especially churches. Surprise: there are a few great spots like this! First Congregational Church of Los Angeles is a perfect example of this. The 1931 built church is a step into LA history and home to many curiosities (a chapel built to the dimensions of the Mayflower, turn-of-the-century stained glass windows, the world’s largest pipe organ). They hold a free Sunday tour once a month and it is well worth the trip.

PS. If you haven’t been checking, keep up with our LA Holiday 25 gift guide!!

Space Suit of the Week

Space Suit Of The Week

President Kennedy & President Johnson are fondly remembered for their contributions to the US Space Program; they each have a respective NASA Center named in their honor. Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter is not similarly remembered, although as a vocal activist for global peace and democracy, he looks quite appropriate suited up and ready to forge the last frontier. Here Carter is immortalized in shades of blue and grey.

In this rendition, his blue eyes are clear and piercing. Instantaneously they reminded me of The Blue Marble shot of the Earth taken by Apollo 17 in 1972 during Carter’s Presidential term. That photograph is one of the most distributed and celebrated images in history: the Planetary Institute presented a short on the ‘Overview Effect’ on the 40th Anniversary of describing the experience of seeing Earth from Space and its profound effect on conveying the interconnection of all life on Earth.

That blue and white swirling marble is a delicate place in the vast emptiness of the universe: here we need more individuals like President Carter advocating to make it a better place.

ps. I stumbled across this space faring Carter a while back–I am unable to locate and give credit to the creator. Dear Internet, do you know who created me?

Are Ads Coming To Instagram? Maybe.

Instagram Ads

My buddy Jon sent me this article from Business Insider stating that ads are coming to Instagram, but I’m still not sure I agree. Here’s what ad sales chief Carolyn Everson said about the issue.

BI: Will you put ads in Instagram?

CE: Eventually we’ll figure out a way to monetize Instagram.

BI: How far are you away from figuring that out?

CE: Well, Instagram continues to grow incredibly fast and we’re still a very small team when you think about the amount of people they are reaching. There are many brands that use Instagram right now to try to get a feel for how to engage with their followers. We will definitely be figuring out a monetization strategy. When that will happen, I can’t comment, but it’s going to happen.

This to me doesn’t sound exactly like “ads” per se, but trying to come up with interesting ways of monetizing Instagram streams. Notice she mentions in particular that many brands use Instagram. Here’s a couple of ideas that I think they could go with.

Sponsored Photos
Taking a page from Twitter, you’d see a photo from Target or Red Bull in your stream, even if you don’t follow them. They get their brand in front of you, pushing an even or promotion.

Brand Filters
You’re scrolling through filters when suddenly come across a Gucci filter, which makes your photos golden and shining, or Mountain Dew which makes your photos dark and gritty with a hint of green.

Popular Page Gets Sponsored
We all know the Popular page of Intagram is a wasteland of tween self portraits, sparkly nails, cat photos, and of course, One Direction photos that were taken from the Internet. Would anyone even care if this entire section was sponsored? At least the photos could be better looking.

Would I be happy about any of these? Nope. But I think it’s interesting to think of what they might be thinking. I’m personally split over the idea of ads in Instagram. Half of me wants to say “Fuck them!” they can’t put ads in, how dare they! THe other half of me says “Well they have to make a profit somehow.” For the last couple years this service has been completely free. Running a business and not making any money is pretty stupid. Either way it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Meanwhile, in Miami, a midcentury landmark gets a new friend

Bacardi Building in downtown Miami

Bacardi Building in downtown Miami

In downtown Miami, the Bacardi Building– yes, that Bacardi- has a new friend: Frank Gehry. The Bacardi Building is actually two buildings: a tower building with enormous mosaics by Brazillian artist Francisco Brennand and a smaller museum building with stunning stained glass walls. Even though the buildings have been around since the sixties and seventies, the future of the complex has been unclear since Bacardi moved from their downtown home to nearby Coral Gables in 2009.

But now the complex has been sold to the YoungArts Foundation who has promised to keep the complex intact and hired Frank Gehry to help. His job will be to renovate the complex into something more functional for an organization devoted to “identifying and supporting the next generation of artists” without defacing the landmarked exteriors of the complex. The folks who started the YoungArts Foundation are the same folks who helped start the New World Symphony and hired Gehry to build the  New World Center just a few years ago. But the results in downtown Miami will not be the same as they were in Miami Beach and Gehry’s work there to develop a new masterplan for the foundation will not interrupt the visual legacy of the site.

Here is a video of Tito Bacardi, who passed away in 2011, giving a tour of the complex. He talks about the carpet in the building, surprising aerial branding strategies, the Bacardi Cup and his favorite part of the building: the bar.

Great food illustrations by Nicholas John Frith

Nicholas John Frith is an illustrator, designer & printmaker from Dorset in England. While his website is packed full of great work, I think it’s his illustrations of food that I love the most.

Three of the images above come from a quirky but mouth-watering little project he used to run on his blog called Pie-day Friday. The idea was simple, Nicholas would imagine a new pie-filling every Friday and share it on his blog. Each post would be accompanied by one of these great illustration. It’s an odd little idea but I love it and I think his illustrations are great. You should go check out his portfolio while I go see if I have anything in the house to make a pie with tonight!

The Miller House Archives


The Miller House Archive

The Miller House Archive

The Miller House in Columbus, Indiana is a pretty lucky building.  Not only was the house was designed by Eero Saarinen for Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia, but also the project has been meticulously documented and well preserved. The preservation for the house has largely been thanks to the longevity of the owners. Construction finished on the house in 1957 and the house was occupied by the couple until both died: Irwin in 2004 and Xenia in 2008. Now the house belongs to the Indianapolis Museum of Art who has continued to care for and preserve the house while opening it to the public for tours.

The museum is also making the documentation surrounding the home’s construction open to the public. Since it’s 2012 (at least for another couple of weeks) the museum has started a tumblr with hundreds of memos, sketches, letters, et cetera that all tell the story of the house taking shape.  The digital archive continues to grow and likely will grow for a while– there are over twenty thousand individual documents associated with the house that the museum now owns. And then there is the house, itself.  If you’re not familiar, the IMA has plenty of website devoted to the house. But if you’re more interested in the sometimes surprising artifacts and correspondence behind the house’s day-lit walls, the Documenting Modern Living Tumblr may be more to your liking.

Rivendell Bicycle Works Posters by Daniel Blackman

 Daniel Blackman - Rivendell Bicycle Works Posters

 Daniel Blackman - Rivendell Bicycle Works Posters

 Daniel Blackman - Rivendell Bicycle Works Posters

 Daniel Blackman - Rivendell Bicycle Works Posters

Earlier this week New York based designer Daniel Blackman relaunched his portfolio with new work and it’s looking great. One of my favorite projects that he posted was a series of posters he created for Rivendell Bicycle Works, a bike shop in Walnut Creek. The posters have two functions: To inform customers about the different styles of bikes they have as well as providing them with some sweet swag to take home if they do buy a bike.

I love these posters because of their bold imagery and their use of type. The imagery definitely does a great job of describing the bikes, like the Sam Hillborne which is a tough country bike, so of course you could venture into space and explore. I’d totally put one of these on my wall, wouldn’t you?

Intimate and Epic Photos by Trevor Triano

Trevor Triano

Trevor Triano

Trevor Triano

Trevor Triano

Trevor Triano understands scale really well. A photographer based in Aspen but often found in New York, Trevor’s work does an incredible job of showcasing the largest things in life or the most mundane in the most beautiful of ways. I think this juxtaposition can be found in the work of many but there’s something that pulls at me in Trevor’s work that makes me want to be in his photos. He has an incredible amount of work on his site, so click here to start exploring.

Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ Trailer

Zack Snyder's 'Man of Steel' Poster

When I think of comic book movies I tend to split it in two: Marvel and DC. Marvel Comics, who was recently purchased by Disney, has had soem really huge successes in recent years with films like Iron Man and The Avengers amongst many, which truly brought comics to the mainstream. On the DC side though Christopher Nolan’s Batman series has really been the only shining star to emerge from the bunch (let’s never speak about Green Lantern ever again). So from my nerdy perspective it’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming Man of Steel fares.

Directed by Zack Snyder, Man of Steel will retell the story of Superman yet again. I’m guessing DC wasn’t happy with Bryan Singer’s 2006 attempt to revitalize the character in film. Based on what I’m seing in the trailer I’m not really sure what the point of this movie is, but I’ve always thought Superman was a tough character to nail. How do you feel anything for a man/alien with only one real weakness? Watching a movie about a perfect person who’s “misunderstood” doesn’t sound so hot. Visually the trailer is impressive, like Terrence Malick took hold of the camera and brought his touch to the world of comic books. The story is being helmed by David Goyer, writer of the Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and Nolan is attached as a producer, so there’s a lot of great potential here.

I just feel like I’ve seen this trailer before. I’ve seen this film before. How will these filmmakers really make something that excites me and tickles my funny bone like The Avengers or engage me in some masterful cinema like Batman did? I guess we’ll find out on June 14.

‘Mama Said (Sorry Mama)’ by 2veinte

I spotted this video by the Argentinian animators 2veinte and thought it was a lot of fun. I think the idea behind it is something that a lot of people can relate to, i.e. trying to do something really simple and it ending up becoming really complex in the process. 2veinte reckons that it is just simply in our nature for this to happen and they’re probably right. Fortunately, there’s something awesome in what they make and if a “more is more” philosophy every needed support this would come as a pretty great endorsement. You can check out more gifs and images from the project on their website here.