Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ware & Burns

Chris Ware and Charles Burns are two of the brightest lights in the world of contemporary comics. Ware - whose work is marked by exquisite attention to the smallest details of sorrow - and Burns - who uses stark imagery to paint haunting pictures of everyday paranoia - both have new books out this fall. Ware's "Building Stories" is being hailed as a masterpiece by no less than the New Yorker magazine. Burns' "The Hive" is the 2nd in a 3-part nightmare homage to Tintin. The two giants of graphic literature will be at Town Hall Seattle on Monday October 22 as a joint presentation with Fantagraphics.

Tickets are just $5 over here, and the price of admission may be used toward the purchase of either book.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cardboard Bike

Israeli bike enthusiast and designer Izhar Gafni built a functioning bicycle out of cardboard, and mass production is just a few months away. The bicycle is a surprisingly attractive, working bike that costs as little as $9 to make. “So you buy one, use it for a year and then you can buy another one, and if it breaks, you can take it back to the factory and recycle it” according to Gafni.

“Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right,” he said. You can see images of the crafting process right here.

Once the shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a finish made from organic materials to make it waterproof and fireproof qualities. He predicted that in the future, cardboard might even be used in cars and even aircraft “but that is still a way down the road.”

“We are just at the beginning and from here my vision is to see cardboard replacing metals ... countries that right now don’t have the money will be able to benefit from so many uses for this material.”

Friday, October 12, 2012

Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp is one of the most talented jazz piano players of this era. Nearly 50, he has released a string of dazzling recordings that range from solo acoustic performances to electronic collaborations with DJ's and the Antipop Consortium. He was part of the celebrated David S. Ware Quartet for 16 years, and has also mentored younger or less-known artists by releasing their albums through his Blue Series on Thirsty Ear records and provided a home for other established artists. Live, his music isn't so much an experience as it is an adventure. According to people who have seen him play live, he brings entire worlds when he takes the stage - delicate nuance, snatches of standards, floor-shaking cataclysm, and unexpected bits of dazzling classical technique.

Shipp comes to Seattle this Sunday with a trio, playing at the Seattle Art Museum as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival. Tickets available here. For music's sake, don't miss it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cadillacs and Owls

Richard Marshall reviews Bob Dylan’s Tempest.

"Seventy one years ago, there was nothing like a Bob Dylan, so he invented one. An American boy with an appetite, no reasons, no explanations, no more involved now than anyone else, struggling to keep the sun over his head, trying to do the job he’d been given to do – which was to sing some songs – to be a poet out of that humble profession, to make that profession submit to the poet in him. He was like Eliot in his bank, Kafka in his Insurance Business, William Faulkner writing the film script of ‘The Big Sleep’ for Howard Hawks out of Chandler, or ‘To Have And Have Not’ out of Hemingway – and then one day he found electric music for each voice he’d put on up on stage, night after night – Richard Widmark, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Humphry Bogart, Brando, Dean, Monroe, Lucy Ann Polk and the thousand others. His originality is hidden in plain sight."

Bob Dylan plays Key Arena in Seattle this Saturday night, October 13. Tickets here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Marker

In the 1950's, the hugely influential filmmaker Chris Marker, who died earlier this year, worked for the publishing house Editions du Seuil and, among other projects, he was responsible for Seuil’s series of travel books, Petite Planète.

The books bear telltale signs of both Marker's wonderful sense of design and his eye for suggestive narrative details. In 2006 Marker collected a copy of each book that he designed for display at an exhibition titled Having Been Described in Words. After the show, Marker decided to produce a poster depicting the covers of the Petite Planète guides from 1954-64. A rare edition of the poster is currently for sale on the site Light Industry. Even if you're not in the market for a poster, take a moment to look at the hypnotic image created by all of these lovely books in one place.