Category Archives: Culture

Low brow art, hyper extroverts, mindful simplicity, rawkin out, technoists.

American Gothicr

Earlier this month Michael David Murphy, a great photographer that should be in everyone’s flickr contact list, as an aside, pointed out the americangothic tag was worth a look. Until I met Molly I had presumed American Gothicism died with Faulker. She showed me where to look and who to read and how to see that it’s proven to be an ineffeable zeitgeist as much a part of America as pickup trucks and prom. And there it was staring me in my flickr, in my web, in my home.

Derek Dukes saw my twitter, and sent me a link to the americangothic tag viewed in Dipity (Dipity is a web service that pulls in all sort of media related to a topics and sorts it all out by time). So you could explore I posted a couple of the interfaces. There’s also a map mashup to compare the am-gothic zeitgeist in different states at different times.

Flipbook Mode

Timeline Mode

[If you do not see interactive sections above, click thru to the site.]

I found it all very interesting. Way to go David and the Dipity team.

Here are some other words that have a lot to show: terrorism, freedom, science, and peakoil

Out and About in SF with ICHC’s Ben Huh

I met up today with Ben Huh, CEO of to catch up and take in some SF culture. We hit the galleries and the graf and street-style stores in the Lower Haight and then took in the finishing touches of a 3-story LOL Cat mural painted by Josh aka Jazlink .

Fifty24 Gallery
Hit the lower haight w/ ben huh (ICHC)

Ben Huh / Armsrock

D*Face Stencil

Cosco Busan street stencil
Three color stencil of the Cosco Busan accident
Seeing this made me think how events become part of a shared consciousness and mold culture.

Art at D-Structure

The Chicken Colonel is Lord

Lower Haters
Spidey Senses Tingling
8-bit art piece that says “My Spidey Senses are Tingling.” Yes if you really insist you can buy this piece of art for me.

Invisible Bike Mural, Quincy St, SF
Three story Invisible Bike at Quincy St.

O Hai!

Looking at all these photos I realize something very important … I gotta figure out how to clean the lense on my camera phone or bring my real camera with me more often.

The Raconteurs Performing Carolina Drama

I took and edited this footage of The Raconteurs complete performance of the Bob Dylan Hurricane-esque song Carolina Drama that’s on their new album, Consolers of the Lonely.

Carolina Drama, Raconteurs, May 4th, 2008. JazzFest, New Orleans, LA

Half the pleasure of the song is figuring out the words, and thus figuring out the drama. But I posted them if you want to figure it out up front.

I’m not sure if there’s a point to this story
But I’m going to tell it again
So many other people try to tell the tale
Not one of them knows the end

It was a junk-house in South Carolina
Held a boy the age of ten
Along with his older brother Billy
And a mother and her boyfriend
Who was a triple loser with some blue tattoos
That were given to him when he was young
And a drunk temper that was easy to lose
And thank god he didn’t own a gun

Well, Billy woke up in the back of his truck
Took a minute to open his eyes
He took a peep into the back of the house
And found himself a big surprise
He didn’t see his brother but there was his mother
With her red-headed head in her hands
While the boyfriend had his gloves wrapped around an old priest
Trying to choke the man

Ah Ah Ahhh…

Billy looked up from the window to the truck
Threw up, and had to struggle to stand
He saw that red-necked bastard with a hammer
Turn the priest into a shell of a man
The priest was putting up the fight of his life
But he was old and he was bound to lose
The boyfriend hit as hard as he could
And knocked the priest right down to his shoes

Well, now Billy knew but never actually met
The preacher lying there in the room
He heard himself say, “That must be my daddy”
Then he knew what he was gonna do
Billy got up enough courage, took it up
And grabbed the first blunt thing he could find
It was a cold, glass bottle of milk
That got delivered every morning at nine

Ah Ah Ahhh…

Billy broke in and saw the blood on the floor, and
He turned around and put the lock on the door
He looked dead into the boyfriend’s eye
His mother was a ghost, too upset to cry, then
He took a step toward the man on the ground
From his mouth trickled out a little audible sound
He heard the boyfriend shout, “Get out!”
And Billy said, “Not till I know what this is all about”
“Well, this preacher here was attacking your mama”
But Billy knew just who was starting the drama
So Billy took dead aim at his face
And smashed the bottle on the man who left his dad in disgrace, and
The white milk dripped down with the blood, and the
Boyfriend fell down dead for good
Right next to the preacher who was gasping for air
And Billy shouted, “Daddy, why’d you have to come back here?”
His mama reached behind the sugar and honey, and
Pulled out an envelope filled with money
“Your daddy gave us this,” she collapsed in tears
“He’s been paying all the bills for years”
“Mama, let’s put this body underneath the trees
and put Daddy in the truck and head to Tennessee”
Just then, his little brother came in
Holding the milk man’s hat and a bottle of gin singing,

La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la, la la la…
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la, la la la…
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah
La la la la, la la la la, yeah

Well now you heard another side to the story
But you wanna know how it ends?
If you must know, the truth about the tale
Go and ask the milkman

Meet Amanda Shaw: Violin Firecracker

At the New Orleans JazzFest this year just one of the many standout acts we happened to catch (vs. all those we didn’t) was an adorable 17 year old firecracker of a violin player named Amanda Shaw. I took some video of her and her band, The Cute Guys, simply ripping up the Fais Do Do stage. World Music Central described her as “part of a new breed of young, roots-based musicians who have embraced both traditional and pop sounds.”

Molly, who played violin for years, pointed out how hard it is to dance and play a fiddle. “It’s not a marching band instrument,” she said.

Twitter is to Blogging what Telegrams were to Airmail

Scott Beale (via twitter of naturally), pointed me to a new cartoon by Hugh MacLeod that sums up the affect twitter has had on the method of message posting on the web since the year 2000.

Cartoon by GapingVoid

Blogging (née web logging) was a phenomena that took hold after the turn of this century where people would compose their thoughts (some less so than others) into essay-style statements. While short messaging was popular with some (see LJ) many people provoked themselves to really dig deep into something that had grabbed a hold of their thoughts lately. While true writers complained blogging robbed them of the fire to work on their bigger projects, blogging motivated many non-authors to draw their line in the sand and share their perspectives with others.

Twittering, or tweeting or micro-blogging took hold in 2007 and was a way of send text messages to many friends at once. It quickly moved from the phone to the web but maintained it’s limited character format. If you ever paid to send a telegram instead of writing a letter, it’s like that. You have to distill your important message down to as few as characters as possible. This has it’s benefits in that you’d don’t need to labor through four paragraphs to know that someone is, say, displeased with their elected leaders. Yet, the down side is its allows one to share with many the impression of their thoughts without having to fully compose and explain them. So now I may know, for example, that my friend is quitting his job, they haven’t shared what precipitated the big decision. So even though my friend’s important message made it over the transom, I’m still mostly in the dark.

The ease of messaging in this format, interestingly, is taking the personal blog with it. While professional blogs still abound, the number of people sharing paragraphs of thoughts is dropping as furiously as it started. It’s obvious to explain why. It will take me 20 minutes to write this, another 10 to edit and rework it, and another 5 to decide if it’s really worth it – and this will be a quick entry. Or I could twitter ‘He he: this cartoon is right‘ and have convey the same message.

But I’ve been missing my friends deeper thoughts. I’ve been living via 140 ascii character updates as if that sums up the wealth of their thoughts for that day (granted some people twitter each and every 140 character thought they have … which means I usually stop following them altogether.)

So without trying to squeeze my feelings into a single sentence I just wanted to share that I think people (and I’m talking about those people that once shared paragraphs of thoughts via blogs) are starting to sell themselves short. I wonder if people really think they are connecting with their friends when it’s more likely they are sending a smoke signal. I know people’s passions, as the cartoonist’s Gavin’s are, are much deeper than what you could share in a text message and I just wanted to say I’m missing it.

I still have all your blogs in my feed reader and if you ever want to tell me (as a web reading friend) why you’re looking for a new career or having children or going skiing or boycotting china or the best/worst hope for humankind, you know I’ll read it. I look forward to hearing more not less from you (well most of you, some of you I’m still looking for a bit more of a filter ;)