Archive for the ‘Editors’ Picks’ Category

“New York Biotopes” and the Overcrowded Sea of Visual Effects Reels

March 18, 2013

What you just watched, if — I mean, you watched it, right? What kind of weirdo reads video analysis on a blog without having watched the video itself? Holy cow, we need to at least respect some ground rules here.

“New York Biotopes” was created as a thesis project by German graphic design student Lena (no relation to Dunham) Steinkuhler. In her words, she wanted to explore the “assimilation of structures and forms…biotopes shaped by the existing living environment but also [shaping] the newly developed living environment by their presence.” It all sounds unbelievably German.

Keep reading!

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“Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?” RELOADED

September 4, 2011

In a summer where one of the most talked-about movie releases is the latest in a 40-year-old franchise and the average age of baseball’s best team is, like, 35, it’s no surprise that David Bowie’s Major Tom, a character first introduced in 1969, has gotten a new lease on life. It JUST MAKES SENSE. To wit: Breaking Bad‘s deceased nerd chemist, Gale Boetticher, a few weeks ago sang a karaoke version of “Major Tom” (by Peter Schilling).

(Was the catalyst for his murder rooted entirely in this performance? We’ll have to wait for the season finale to know for sure.) And now for the kids, illustrator Andrew Kolb has put together the saddest book ever in his illustrated version of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Keep reading!

You Should Watch ‘7 Minutes in Heaven’

August 18, 2011

Late night interviews have since the dawn of television (or before that, when the interviews just weren’t recorded) relied on a pretty traditional physical layout: desk for the host, couch or comfy chair for the guest, and a span of about two feet keeping appropriate distance between them. This has always felt right, and to suggest another arrangement was probably tantamount to treason.

But one day this summer ‘SNL’ writer Mike O’Brien — the guy most responsible for the Kickspit Underground Rock Festival sketches, or more simply: the person who dreamed up “Mrs. Potato Dick” — said ENOUGH. People should be interviewed in a cramped, claustrophobic setting! Standing uncomfortably close to one another! Maybe drunk! And with that a truly revolutionary interview show, ‘7 Minutes in Heaven,’ was born.

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A Momentary Break from Stupid Internet Crap

May 6, 2011

Last year GOOGLE interrupted a perfectly dry-eyed Super Bowl to air a heart-rending commercial about boundless Franco-American love, and in the process made me cry (Editor’s note: JK!). This Tuesday, stuffed into an episode of Glee, they released a new commercial that makes their former triumph look like Nazi propaganda.

There is almost nothing I can write here that Thought Catalog hasn’t already explored with more eloquence and understanding, but it bears (refocused) repeating:

The Internet, these days essentially a semi-anonymous microcosm of the larger physical world, can be a nasty place that seems infinite in its capacity for snark, artifice, and general bullshit. It’s like a horribly backwards Wild West, populated entirely by saloon owners and snake-oil salesman (and showgirls — PORN) with few lawmen around to keep the peace. The Dark Knight Rises costuming rumors and Perez Hilton doodles run wild in the town square, unchecked.

But every so often, a determined cowboy rides into town to redress this imbalance; to set things back on the side of the consequential, and good. Whether it’s Dan Savage and the “It Gets Better” campaign or Arab Spring social mobilization or something else, it’s a powerful reminder that in the best hands, this stupid network of chattering computers might actually do something to change the world.

“There’s art to be made…there are songs to be sung.”

I know I’m re-appropriating that message for an entirely different end, but it remains too true regardless.

In conclusion: let’s all make a pact right now to not let things like Charlie Sheen or Rebecca Black happen ever again. On 3…2…

BDA: Austin City Limits, for the Musically Challenged (10/8-10/10)

April 13, 2011

People infinitely cooler than I are right now packing their bags (or bindles, I don’t know what’s in right now) for Indio, CA and Coachella: a weekend of KILLER sets from an impossibly great lineup of musicians. But you know what else is cool?

If you’ve been reading Lifting Fog with any regularity over the past few years (which means you’re a relative, or you hate-check us), you know a few things:

1) Music trends are not something I can even pretend to know anything about. One time I tried to like Black Kids (the band! The band!); ten years after “What’s My Age Again?” I still sometimes listen to Blink-182. Meanwhile DJ Steve is named “DJ Steve” and GOD. DAMMIT.
2) Crowds I find generally unsettling, especially when there are unisex jeans involved.
3) “Oh, that? It’s from a Wes Anderson movie.”

The words I would use to describe my musical acumen, “not hip,” are already themselves the product of another time. Want to hear about “not hip”? Last fall I emailed a friend about this cool new mash-up artist, Girl Talk, who she should “really check out.” Girl Talk has of course been around for going on seven years now, and that I only found out a few weeks ago. So I’m very much NOT YOUR GUY on issues of contemporary coolness.

But in spite of that, or possibly because of that, I’m pretty sure I had a better time at Austin City Limits than any of the 100,000 other music-lovers in attendance. What was likely for all the cool kids just another cool weekend in cool city was, for me, an incredibly unique new cultural experience. Something totally off the beaten path. …And guess who just beat the hipsters at their own game!

The all-too detailed story just after the jump!

Without Hyperbole, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ May Be the Best Video Game Ever

March 23, 2011

We don’t usually…DO video game reviews, or analysis, or “reflections” (no one should do reflections as a general rule, but-) on this site, as 1) neither DJ Steve nor myself actually plays that often anymore and 2) who gives a shit, but something happened last night. I finished one of 2010’s most popular games, ‘Red Dead Redemption’…and I was deeply moved. It made me feel something…emotionally. And rather than bury that feeling with UFC fighting or expensive liquor that I buy with my emergency AmEx, I figured I would buck Lifting Fog tradition — buck my own standards of “journalism” — and share all that emotion with you. Anyone not interested in reading please BEAR WITH, we’ll be back to not writing tomorrow.

WARNING #1: What follows was originally an e-mail to a friend, which of course excuses any lack of clarity. Thanks!

Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are like a super-nice girl you date for a while. She’s funny, and pretty, and you get along great…then one morning you wake up and realize you’re just sort of treading water, that she doesn’t challenge you so much (although every once in a while she makes you perform these incredibly difficult jumps and leaps), and whatever spark ignited the relationship — you went to elementary and middle school with her — isn’t there, or at least has changed. You part amicably, because how else could you end things? She’s still great. You might even see her again.

Later that night your more unhinged friends have dragged you to a dogfight behind the Norm’s on Sepulveda, and there’s this…woman. Tattoos. Slightly mussed hair. She looks dangerous. Maybe she’s killed someone? Didn’t go to college? That’s hot. You get to talking, and it turns out she’s NOT illiterate but in fact one of the more fiercely intelligent people you’ve ever spoken to. Filled with natural insight in a way your Ivory Tower education can’t replicate synthetically. Born in England, so she’s got sort of an outsider’s perspective, and…

The mystery lady’s identity revealed…..after the jump!

Are You Ready For Some [Kleenex]?

February 8, 2010

Come on. I spend two hours reminding myself how I should hate my girlfriend, buy moderately priced new cars to reassert my masculinity, and check out GoDaddy! for HOTTT Web-only videos…only to be utterly emotions-slapped by a GOOGLE commercial all about finding love in a foreign land. (And not aborting the baby — Tebow approves!) You made me cry, and now I’ve got to drink twice as much Budweiser Golden Wheat just to break even on the man scale. And probably buy stock in Doritos, too. I hate Doritos!

Your striking, poignant storytelling? It’s killing me. Fuck you, Don Draper.

Love,
Henning

PS – Those Volkswagen and Late Show ads you did were also pretty good. Grizzly Bear is totally this year’s Phoenix!

Vampire Weekend’s ‘Contra’: A Triumph Of Fine Tuned Complacency

January 21, 2010

As of last week, Vampire Weekend released their follow up to 2008’s self-titled greatest hit. If you’re like me, you picked up the new “disc” just last week on the release date but most of the Western world have been listening to leaked tracks from it since at least a month after their first album was released. In the indie world, Vampire Weekend is as hyped as they come. For a band that has managed to garner a serious following in a few short years, their songs are often characteristically uncomplex; exercises in capturing the spirit of a Woody Allen film from the 1970s, a time when none of the members were born yet. If you can believe it, there was a time a few years ago when Vampire Weekend was nothing more than a whisper of Columbia University English majors, buzzing with an excitement not felt since word spread about whatever bullshit band came before them. But now, the band can boast several tours and two full length releases in the last three years. None can doubt their formidable presence in the collective consciousness of college frat bros and Brooklyn hipsters alike.

With Contra, Vampire Weekend has done the unthinkable: they made a sophomore album with only a tinge of sophomoric-ness. I would have said it was complete devoid of all sophomore release clichés until “Run” came on, horns a blaring. But the beauty of the band and their songs can be found in the drastically understated choice of album art this time around (see picture, right, click for bigger image). To me, this image captures the essence of the band and the album in many ways. The girl, young and beautiful, seen here in a moment of half-surprise. Her half-popped, yellow Polo an example of restrained high-class culture and leisure. The mildly bemused expression on her face seems to suggest a passive relationship with the rest of the world in love with her. This is Vampire Weekend: young, talented, brimming with irony and offering a whimsical music catalog to the world with a casual sense of self-awareness but not without an air of arrogance.

More?

MovieStinger Will Save You Minutes of Embarrassment From Your Geek Friends

May 28, 2009

Picture 3If you’re like me, all your friends are geeks. But like most things today, the range of the geek spectrum is so wide that the whole insult can be broken down into hundreds of niche (is it neech or nish?) categories. You’ve got your classic stand-by, the comic book geek who can tell you the backstories of all the characters (extras included) you see in the Xavier Mansion in X2. There’s the sci-fi geek who’s read every Robert Heinlein book, can summarize the plotlines of both new and old series of Battlestar Galactica, and can give you a rundown of the military classes of the Galactic Empire from the Emperor’s Royal Guard (red guys) down to the camouflaged peons patrolling the forest moon of Endor. Then you’ve got your techno-geeks; the kind of people that hang on every loaded word uttered by Michael Arrington, have 3 cell phones all with different service providers, and who jail-broke their iPhones on the 1.1.2 software release. These people thrive on a superiority complex. They are who my friends are of course, certainly not me in any capacity.

But regardless of your class of geek, there is one all encompassing tell that will always reveal a geek’s true colors: intricate knowledge about the movie scenes (aptly called Stingers) that take place after the credits have rolled. For your consideration, one of the classic Stingers from last summer:

Until recently these scenes were only made apparent by word of mouth and internet forum arguments. A great new site called MovieStinger, introduced to me by one of my geek friends Kyle, does all the work for you, giving you a list of every movie (past and present) that features some kind of post-credits Easter egg and letting you rate how important the scene actually is.

More MovieStinger goodness after the jump!

Passion Pit’s ‘Manners’ Delivers Fun For The Whole Family

May 26, 2009

The only reason a review of Passion Pit’s first and new LP is acceptable this late in May is because the Fog has never purported to be a music blog. It’s true that the official May 18th release of the Boston based synth-pop group has been greatly overshadowed by weeks of anticipation on music blogs around the web, but the tangible release of this album is still a call for celebration as the album is a celebration in itself. Not the kind of party your girlfriend promises will be more fun than the guys-night-out you just turned down… or the party  where you were the only one who dressed in business-casual instead of just business. Nope, this album is a celebration of the most primal and raw kind. It won’t take long upon listening to understand what I’m talking about. The challenge of not dancing is something few albums present these days. Even fewer albums present the challenge of not dancing upon listen after listen after listen. Manners will give you every reason to dance, sing, shout, and gyrate in a way that will make you stop and say, “Wait… who are these guys?” as you put “Little Secrets” on repeat wherever you are at the moment.

Try to stop moving your body and keep reading!