Date Archives January 2013

Family Band’s ‘Moonbeams’ – A Beautiful and Haunting Video

Family Band - Moonbeams 1

Family Band - Moonbeams 2

Family Band - Moonbeams 3

I love this strange and surreal video from the Brooklyn indie-folk outfit Family Band. Directed by Sam Macon, it shows a pair of skeletons share a day together; finding love in the suburbs and put a whole new spin on the phrase “till death do us part”.

It’s a very sweet and spooky video and set against the Family Band’s mournful ballad it feels rather touching. Family Band’s album Grace & Lies was released last July on No Quarter.

‘The John Wayne’ – An Illustrated Video by Little Green Cars

Little Green Cars

If there’s one band that’s poised to break out in 2013, it’s Dublin’s Little Green Cars. Already named ones to watch by XFM, Virgin Music, and by BBC’s annual Sound Poll, their album is due stateside on March 26, along with a string of US tour dates and a SXSW debut. I don’t know if it’s the five-part harmonies, driving guitars, dramatic crescendos, or the simple yet powerful lyrics of their single, The John Wayne, but there’s magic being conjured here. What’s more, the song includes two arresting videos. While I highly recommend checking out the official video, I’m taken with the artwork version featuring the work of illustrator Peter Strain. Who knew the Lone Ranger hung out with amorous plushies?

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of January 14

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of January 14

Painting With Patterns: An Interview With Alika Cooper
Alika Cooper is a Los Angeles artist who you would describe as a painter but she isn’t making what you would call paintings now. They’re kind of like paintings but they’re a lot more like collages but even she is not sure what to call them as they are pieces on canvas having to do with the female body and femininity done through cut fabric. They are incredibly detailed works for being made of *just* fabric and represent an artist challenging herself to make differently–and redefine what it is to make a painting.

Clover Canyon + Alexandra Grant
Los Angeles fashion label Clover Canyon recently teamed up with LA artist Alexandra Grant to make a small collection of clothes. Clover Canyon is known for their very bright and hyper-patterened clothes. This style paired perfectly with Grant’s own pattern making and recent use of text in her work, both of which were the basis for these super chic outfits. The collection is made in support of a show up at LAXART and 20% of sales goes to the aforementioned art non-profit art space. We need to see more people wearing these!

Metro’s New Canopies
It was mentioned last year that some Metro stations were going to get some canopies over the top from them to add a little architectural flair and protection from the elements to stations. We had noticed they were being constructed over the past few months but all of a sudden they were complete at the 1st and Hill Civic Center station. We took a bunch of photos and had to share. They look great!

A Crane Castle In Arcadia
We didn’t know if we wanted to share this story or not but we will: in Northeast Los Angeles in Arcadia, hidden within a little strip mall at the far corner of a Japanese bazaar is an entire shop of just toy crane games. You can win anything from stuffed Hello Kittys to an iPad Mini. It’s super crazy place and will certainly suck ten dollars out of your pocket, easily.

Thanh Nguygen’s Arrogant Bastard Conceptual Recpackaging
This is a few years old but really great: local designer Thanh Nguygen repackaged California beer brand Arrogant Bastard’s beers to look a lot more sophisticated. This redo of the packaging is clean and simple and still is very much on brand for the Arrogant Bastard. Someone needs to hire Nguygen to adapt this look to their beers!

Also, you like food week on The Fox Is Black? Check out our food posts on LAIY this week: Jessica Rath’s Apple Studies, The Digest: Din Tai Fung, and Free Range’s Chicken Heaven. You can also check out more every Wednesday as that is our food day.

What Makes A Meal Enjoyable?

Tara Donovan Styrofoam

How can senses other than taste contribute to a great meal? It’s a question that the folks over at the Cooking Architecture blog have been asking as they host dinner parties. But these aren’t your typical dinner parties, there are dinner parties in the dark, or dinner parties with tightly controlled acoustics so you can better hear yourself eating. I think I would get a little grossed out hearing myself chew that much, even though I would be fascinated to hear the foodstuffs moving through my stomach and into my intestines. To help dampen the sound around the table for their dinner party, architects Claire and Juan covered the ceiling of their dining room with thousands of styrofoam cups (hence the image of a Tara Donovan installation made with styrofoam cups) and they passed out earplugs to their guests.

I think what their experiments with sensory restriction are really about is creating an immediacy with food. But it doesn’t work for all the senses: restricting the sense of smell during a meal would probably make the food taste much more flat, and meals certainly wouldn’t be as enjoyable if all the food had the same texture. It wasn’t until I started reading about their parties that I realized how much the company of good friends enhances the whole experience of eating for me. I’ve been to great dinner parties that had almost nothing to do with the food, and sometimes were great in spite of the food. Still, the idea of a dinner party in the dark sounds like a good idea even if I’m not willing to turn my ceiling into a silent sea of styrofoam cups.

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

Happy Food by Yum Yum London

This charming little animated spot by Yum Yum London is short but full of detail. This multidisciplinary London studio has a distinct sensibility for character design that works just as well in its toys as in its warm, stylized 3D worlds. This story of ketchup conundrum is filled with expressive extras that give each character a surprising amount of personality in the short timeframe. I love the zoned-out guy behind the counter staring at the hot dog rotisserie and the girl taking video on her phone of the aftermath of the ketchup blast before the camera even gets back to it. Yum Yum has some great collectable toys, including the hot dog guy, for sale on their site here.

Weightlessness & Tastelessness: The NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory


space food - mercury

Space Food Apollo

Space Food Shuttle Tray

The responsibility of concocting the US astronauts’ meals falls on the shoulders of NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory (SFSL). Their mission is to “…provide high-quality flight food systems that are convenient, compatible with each crew member’s physiological and psychological requirements, meet spacecraft stowage and galley interface requirements, and are easy to prepare and eat in the weightlessness of space.” Those necessities are strict confines in the composition of a spacefarer’s diet yet another factor comes into play–the degradation of the sense of taste in weightlessness.

Foods tastes bland and flavorless; even astronauts who admit to not enjoying spicy foods and finding themselves reaching for the bottle of hot sauce. A few days into a mission, Astronauts lose their sense of smell in space and food in general doesn’t taste quite on point. I can’t figure out why exactly astronauts lose their sense of smell, but I can only imagine fluids in your body get all messed up when you’re floating delicately in space. To compensate for this sensation, the Food Systems Lab has prepared a slue of spicy, flavor packed foods. They have even called in Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, and Rachel Ray to created meals for lift off.

Generally, eating in space seems quite fun. It’s a lot easier to play with your food in the weightlessness. It does seem a little harder to start a food fight, though.

Smorgasboard – A Beautifully Illustrated Board Game For Foodies


Steve Simpson - Smorgasboard 2

Steve Simpson - Smorgasboard 3


Steve Simpson - Smorgasboard 4

Smorgasboard is a fantastic new board game for foodies. The aim of the game is to be the first team of chefs to graduate from Rick’s Culinary Academy and achieve gastronomic success! To do this, teams of 2 or more are set a series of challenges which involve tasks like drawing food-related words without letting the pencil leave the paper or spotting the ‘missing ingredient’ in a classic recipe. The game has a great selection of tasks on offer and if you’re a fan of team-based board games then this is certaintly one which is well worth adding to your games cabinet.

What I like most of all about it is how it looks. Illustrated and designed by the Irish-based illustrator Steve Simpson, Smorgasboard is the type of game that really catches your eye. Filled with rich colors, great looking characters and fantastic details, it’s the sort of game which is just perfect for playing with friends that you’ve invited around for dinner. You can find out more about the game (and buy a copy) online here. And also make sure to take a look at Steve’s Behance page where he gives a great insight into the project and shows off the game in all its wonderful detail.

Gaming: The Gourmet Way

Gourmet Gaming

Gourmet Gaming

Contrary to popular belief, not all gamers consume hot pockets and never leave their parents basement. Proper fuel is needed for gaming. After all, a promised reward is a fictious motivator. With the proliferation of food and cosplay, it would only make sense to bring the food from the screen into reality. So leave it to the creative crew at Gourmet Gaming to bring the fantasy to life. They dare you to sip the potion from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. But did you ever want to chug a health potion from Diablo? Or try your Pokemon‘s favorite Poffin? With recipes abound, shake things up for your next LAN party. Just remember: The Cake is a Lie.

Portal Cake

Incredible Looking Foie Gras Takoyaki by Luxirare

Incredible Looking Foie Gras Takoyaki by Luxirare

Incredible Looking Foie Gras Takoyaki by Luxirare

Incredible Looking Foie Gras Takoyaki by Luxirare

Upping the creative ante with foods is always an interesting experience, but the amazing creation above might just take the cake. This is a posh take on the takoyaki, a ball shaped, Japanese street food which are usually filled with octopus or ginger. Instead, these are a foie gras, scallop, caviar version drizzled with takoyaki sauce and truffle oil. Decadent, right?

They were created by Luxirare who has an amazing knack for creating (and documenting) the most amazing foods you’ve ever seen. If the images above get you salivating I suggest you take a visit and prepare yourself to get hungry.

FUD by Elsa Lang


FUD by Elsa Lang 2

“Blanabbas, urngs and purs!” You really just can’t beat some misspelled food. The Portland-based illustrator and designer Elsa Lang agrees and – inspired by the FUD meme – she’s made some fantastic FUD wallpapers. Don’t try and get either of us to explain why misspelled food is so funny… it just is!

Many of you might know Elsa from her work with Always With Honor (where she designs and illustrates with her husband Tyler and their dog Zoe). Her FUD wallpaper was made a few years ago and I just really love it. You can download a copy of it here. If you don’t download it you could end up with agg on your face!

Update: The other day Always With Honor created another great food-related illustration and so I thought I’d tag it on to the end of this post. It’s a portrait of Julia Child, one of Elsa’s favorite people of all time! It’s a great portrait and it really captures the character of Child. You can download it as a phone wallpaper here.

Always With Honor - Julia Child