Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My new favorite images

Images from a Leo Burnett's campaign for Amnesty International addressing the silencing of civil activists worldwide, specifically Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan who was imprisoned in 2008 for the making of a documentary about the human rights violations in Tibet by the People’s Republic of China.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Queen

To keep calling her the Queen of Soul seems lazy, but the woman is a majesty. There's something very cool about Aretha, and by cool I mean something very warm in her voice that talks directly to you and makes you feel good. Yes, her mumu was a size too small at the free concert she gave us at Metro Square as the kick off to Toronto Jazz Festival, but whatever - she could've dressed in anything she wanted.

And here's the very end of "Say a Little Prayer."

Living in cars

A great concept. The house charges the car with solar energy absorbed on the roof. And when docked, the car becomes a living room by rotating the seats.

Performing Arts in Kansas City

And kudos to one of my old haunts, Kansas City, for building something nice that is not sports related. The new, state-of-the-art Kaufman Centre will be home ballet, contemporary dance and music, Broadway productions and the like. Project by Moshe Safdie, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My new favorite picture

Soviet monument "vandalized" in Sofia, Bulgaria. It has since been scrubbed clean.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Green Lantern

As exciting as it is for a comics geek to see parts of the GL universe brought to life, the movie is less than brilliant, and the liberties taken with the original story end up creating more confusion than avoiding it. Ryan Reynolds looks pretty and gets tossed around a lot, Mark Strong is dead-on as Sinestro, and I liked the Guardians looking like alien zen masters. Blake Lively as Carol Ferris plays the cliché love interest without being too gooey. But the ring could have had a bigger role and some more imaginative constructs. How human, indeed. Overall, the narrative was clunky and the ending abrupt, but it’s not bad for a rollercoaster ride.

Less Than Super 8

When setting out to do a piece of sci-fi or fantasy, every writer knows to make the backdrop of the story as real as possible.  However, in their attempt to recreate small-town Americana for this monster movie, JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg create a hollow pulp copy and commit the largest of sins in the monster-film genre: they make their monster incongruous and not very scary. JJ is so good at making families of spies and space-age heroes real to us, but he somehow failed to make the human characters in Super 8 seem like more than cardboard-cut plot devices. The emotions were forced, the set-ups too nicely concocted. This seems like it could have been a movie by M. Night Jambalaya. And that’s not a good thing.

My favorite new picture (not really)

The craziness that took over Vancouver last week.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No One Escapes DC Comics

“Over the next 3 years there will be no escaping from the DC Universe."
That quote is from a SVP of sales and business development at Warner Bros, parent company of DC Comics. The next 3 years will see new Batman and Superman films, Green Lantern of course, and a world arena tour for Batman Live.  All that plus the renumbering of its digital comics should make DC stop wasting the goldmine they’re sitting on, the “huge and largely untapped DC portfolio.”
Batman Live

Daft Mashup

A very cool mashup of 23 of Daft Punk's tracks, accompanied by a video/sound integrated piece of code. A thing of beauty and the mashup rocks. By The Man in Blue.http://daftpunk.themaninblue.com/

X-Men First Class

Who knew it was the X-Men who solved the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962! This retrofitted look at everybody’s favorite mutants adds a new layer of interest into an already rich mythology. More of an ensemble piece than an all-out geek fest, this is a competent entry in the X-men filmography.
Directed by Kick Ass’s Matthew Vaughn (who is also married to German supermodel Claudia Schiffer) with story by original X-Men director Bryan Singer, even the acting is first class too. Michael Fassbender is excellent as Magneto and the rest of the cast of unknowns is also very good. Plus Kevin Bacon as the big villain, a cameo from Wolverine and lots of nods to the comics series. Only Banshee didn’t convince. Now, it's all eyes on Green Lantern.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


In the music world, the live concert is an art form in itself. Something that sounds exciting and visionary on record, can sound less than extraordinary live. Case in point, Swedish pixie Robyn this past weekend at Echo Beach.

Don’t get me wrong, Robyn got shown a lot of love and her set was filled with pop stompers that were worth the price of admission (she has, after all, put out a trilogy of excellent electronic music last year). But there was a lack of visual style to the whole production that made the whole thing look like an aerobics competition at times, with Robyn as the only contestant.

The fact that she decided to have a team of tech guys doing by hand what sequencers are for can be be seen as idiotic, considered insane or lauded as avant-guarde.
In the end, is it cheesy pop? Maybe, but one fact remains: Robyn is doing the best cheesy europop out there right now. And speaking of out there, Toronto’s own Boy George (or white Grace Jones) Diamond Rings opened for Robyn with a spasmodic but fun concert.

Diamond Rings

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Take That, Boys

The Boys are supporting Take That in their tour with a mini Pandemonium tour, and apparently boosting the economy of the Northeast of England. For those who never understood the popularity of Take That or the scale of this tour, it's enough to say that this is the UK's biggest stadium tour of all time with 1.34 million tickets snapped up within 24 hours of going on sale. The Guardian said that having the Pet Shop Boys as an opening act "felt a bit like bringing Michelangelo in to do the kitchen ceiling."

(It looks like Chris is under a tent?)

The Take That boys even got into the new X-Men movie soundtrack. Notice how Robbie Williams doesn't even open his mouth.

Hawkman movie

DC goes digital

And speaking of superheroes, DC Comics will enter the digital era in earnest this summer, renumbering its books to coincide with the release of all its titles in downloadable format.  Jim Lee is providing the slightly new look of the characters (mock turtlenecks are in) and Justice League No. 1 will be out for digital distribution on August 31st.

My new favorite image

"The Kiss" by Daniel Irizarri Oquendo.