December 06, 2011
Paris: The Loves, The Peeves, The Fashion, The Rules & The Men
Every time I arrive in Paris, there's always a "dating and mating" period, where I have to become re-acquainted, re-accustomed and re-united in a way that is less natural than New York City, where I go through the same ritual despite how many umpteen times I've been there.
It typically takes about two days and my curses at the bureaucratic schtuff that gets in my way starts to subside a bit and Paris becomes Paris in all its glory, dark chocolate, crepes, brasseries, grand boulevards, shopping, cafes, gastronomie chefs, quaint Marais and Latin Quarter alleys and all.
The getting re-acquainted period goes something like this as I walk into my first shop, cafe, restaurant, hotel or bar. 1. Bonjour Madame. 2.
Not awake and still jetlegged, I'm thinking: Oh yeah, French. Rewrite your brain but oh my brain is so tired. "Bonjour" I say with perkiness in my voice to hide the fact that I didn't sleep on my 10 hour flight and the fact that I'm pissed off that I always used to sleep through everything including flights and now long flights are brutal rather than a napping or grazing day.
I adjust my scarf and hat to avoid looking too American a k a a sloppy, uncaring, horribly dressed female with an oversized coat and white sneakers for comfort. (note you won't find the latter on my feet in Paris -- ever).
Who said looking fabulous, sexy, French and stylish meant you could wear comfortable shoes, especially masculine flat-soled sneakers for crying out loud? I agree with the French on this one.
3. I roam for hours, not wanting to interact with anyone. On the first day, I just want to look and meander, look and meander AND as presently as I can amidst drizzly rain drops and 30 degree temperatures, take it all in as if its the first time.
4. Return to hotel within the first 24 hours. Something or another doesn't work for some strange reason - some stupid rule that doesn't make sense to anyone west of France, some design decision that got in the way of practicality or old plumbing. Fatigued, I ask as if on automatic pilot: 8 more hangers, 2 blankets and another towel knowing that I've probably only been given 4 hangers, a small blanket that will be sure to leave me freezing cold in the middle of the night and one or possibly two small towels that the Parisians call bath towels. (yes, often even in a 4 star hotel).
Then there's the European hotel lighting system...you know the one; your key must be inserted into a slot at the door before any of your lights work and one light often controls some random one on the other side of the room and you spend countless minutes trying to figure it out (no Renee, it's typically nearly an hour).
I know the logic is centered around sustainability and conservation but crikey, they make it so complicated that it becomes exhausting even when you know the concept. What's wrong with a simple on and off switch? (BTW, I have noticed that many of the 4 and 5 stars in South America and Australia
Simplify grasshopper, simplify.
As I walked down very long and very wide boulevards on my "first night of many first nights," Boulevard St. Germain which I know fairly well and L'Universitie and Rue Saint Dominique which I don't know as well, I took in every face and accent as I ended up having to talk to 90% of them.
Of course I got lost - despite how many times I've been here, I always get lost when I walk the streets at night. It seems to be another part of the annual ritual even if it is in fact, a familiar road.
The same thing happens in the states - it's just not the way this 'right brain' is wired. You'd think by now, I'd find one hotel or apartment I absolutely love and just book the same one every time.
A Sag who loves spontaneous adventure is less likely to make those practical decisions although more times than not, I wish I had. No one was from Paris and those who were, did their best to guide me in the right direction in their broken English (the majority) and I did my best to understand in my broken French (which used to be a helluva lot better).
I always seem to find my way home and the blind exploring isn't necessarily a bad thing. (it's better in May than it is in December however. Did I mention it's supposed to be 3 degrees C this week?) Below is the "Things That Bug the Crap Out of Me" in Paris List:
- Rules & Regulations: I realize that some of the "rules" in Paris are cultural. For example, don't mess with a French chef's menu by saying hold the cream or hold the cheese even if it means you'll have an allergic reaction and be sick.
- God forbid you muck with his ingredients. Or, don't dare ask for a taste of an open bottle of wine even if you've told them in advance you plan to order a bottle and drink and eat well into the night. In my case, I even mentioned reviewing their restaurant on 3 different venue occasions and still got a "no way we can do that madame."
Might it not mean that the customer doesn't order something she doesn't want and then writes positive things about your place afterwards? Cultural or not, it's marketing 101 and old school protocols like these simply come across as inflexible and not listening to your customer in a world where listening and engaging are the easiest (and might I add, cheapest) things to do to gain a loyal fan.
- Arrogance & Attitude: This is related to the first point, particularly the inflexibility about what's possible and not possible. Paris isn't India after all based on a caste system where "if its not in my job description, no can do Madame." Crikey, it's the romantic international capital of the world. If a woman wants a splash of wine, give it to her. The tip and good PR for months and quite possibly years to come will more than make up for it.
When I checked into my hotel, I couldn't get over the attitude of the bellman when he realized he had to move my fairly large bag to another room on a different floor (it's a small place and even though there was an elevator, he would have had to navigate a bit).
Isn't this your job I'm thinking? I can't imagine my bag was larger than any other woman's bag coming to Paris for nearly two weeks, particularly given the fact that I was only 45 pounds of my 50 max for the airplane and at least a third of it was camera equipment.
The bag even had wheels for crying out loud. In the end, I just smiled and said I'd take care of it myself - his bad attitude wasn't worth the extra time I had to spend looking at his sour face when 10% of his job is to get my bag from A to B and the other 90% is just about being nice, warm and pleasant, so my overall hotel experience is a memorable one.
- Snobbery Towards Americans: This one pisses all yanks off, yet frankly I actually get it. To be fair, after spending 7 years+ living and romping around Europe, yanks wore on my nerves as well. And so, I sympathize, however one of the things that I've noticed over the years is how similar French are to Americans.
- Sure, the average knows a helluva lot more about culture, literature, global matters and geography, but it doesn't go without the characteristics of complaining, whining and the belief that they're the best country in the world. How is that different from Americans for the most part?
That said, having dinner along Rue Saint Dominique on my first night, I moved tables because the American accents and loud voices were so obvious and tacky, I couldn't tune out. And so, it was simply better to move, politely of course.
I think my main issue with it all is how blatant and vocal the French are about it, rather than acknowledge the differences, but also the positive side of American culture and its people: friendliness, fun spirited, energetic, entrepreneurial, authenticity (minus a chunk of LA - a boat load of friends living there are bound to email me about this one, but I think a boat load is a fair enough statement since its so clearly not all), and resourceful.
Yanks know how to get things done and if something doesn't work the first time, chances are they'll try a different approach and keep trying until they succeed.
- Internet Connectivity in Hotels: The "having to connect using tons of codes & often" issue doesn't apply just to Paris or France for that matter but other cities in Europe as well. (London less so). When I was in Budapest and Prague over the summer, I had to go through the same thing. Munich too. You're given a code, you enter it with a password, then you have to fill in your life's particulars and in the case of my Paris hotel, I had to agree to spam mail and so I used a spam email address.
The problem is that it only works for 24 hours and often if your laptop goes to sleep or hibernates for a bit, you may lose the connection and have to go through the process from scratch.
To make things even more inefficient, you have to get a new code from the front desk and most of the time, they are printed off on little slips of paper they hand to you. Often the codes are so long, its more efficient to trek all the way downstairs to get the paper than the painful process of having them read it to you with errors over the phone.
Below is the Love the Crap out of Paris List:
- The Formality: Part of the rules and regulations part of their "culture" and frankly, the way things are done, is a formality aka a formal way of behaving in the world. Protocols exist damn it, follow them or take your barbaric uneducated unsavvy self home.
- Part of this I find fascinating, anthropologically speaking. For example, when you order from a menu, even if its a price fixe menu that includes a dessert, you don't tell them what you want for dessert while you're ordering course one and two, even if its listed there and the waiter is standing there writing it all down.
One year I was staying with a friend in one of the burbs (the year I learned to master the RER and beyond) and he had left 4 little bottles of wine for me in the fridge as well as some interesting pate. I decided to drink one of them, which was a tough decision, but opted for the one that looked the most unusual in the end. He later informed me that I was supposed to open all of them and sample some of each, not drink just one. Who knew?
- Attention to Decadence and Design: While Rome and London do a pretty great job on the design front, there's no better experience than going into a chocolate shop or bakery and leaving with a beautifully wrapped piece of something that looks as good as it tastes.
And, it's not just about their chocolate and patisseries, but all of it....linens, towels, scarves, hats, jewelry or frankly, something as small as a barrette or card. They take care to wrap it and the packaging is fabulous, every time.
It's the same way they serve their coffee and everything else for the most part. It's not as grand as it was ten years ago but I think this is more of an economic consideration than anything else.
- Shopping: see above. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the boutiques and higher end shoe/boot shops in Paris.
- The Men: the same things that frustrate the hell out of me with French men are some of the things that I love. I could easily lose the patronizing attitudes and the trend that mistresses are as common as having a therapist in LA. But French men are charmers and unlike any experience I have ever had in northern California, they make me feel feminine.
American men from the South know how to bring this out in a woman (while we're on making sweeping generalizations but if you can remember that they're generalizations based on a combo of observations and direct experiences, bear with me and read on). It's the way they talk to you, pay attention to you, delight in the small details of your eyes, your hands and your life story.
Additionally, like Italian men, they care about design, the way they dress and the way a woman dresses as well - the more feminine the better. And, they cherish in this and it rubs off. (No doubt, there will be a lot of woman who disagree with me over this one and might even be pissed off, but we can have that conversation -- or rather debate -- offline sometime over a glass of Bordeaux).
- The Food: Need I say more? Even the tourist restaurants where the food isn't out of this world, it's presented in such a way that it could fool you.
Something will be memorable about it in the end. Go to local brasseries, restaurants and cafes wherever you can of course and take the time to explore especially if you're in Paris for longer than a 48 hour business trip. For more on food/wine in Paris, click here.
October 22, 2011
Bryan Doerries' Theatre of War
At PopTech this week, Bryan Doerries, a New York-based writer, translator, director, and educator read poetry to us, his eloquent use of language and intonation resonating with nearly everyone in the audience.
He is the founder of Theater of War, a project that presents readings of ancient Greek plays to service members, veterans, caregivers and families as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the challenges faced by combat veterans today.
Over the past year, Bryan has directed film and stage actors such as Paul Giamatti, Isiah Whitlock Jr., David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Charles S. Dutton, Gloria Reuben, and Jeffrey Wright in readings of his translations of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes for military communities.
When people are in pain or have undergone crisis, it's important to be able to speak the unspeakable. He says, "Imagine soildiers in Athens, seated in the order of tribe and according to rank. They have come together to hear plays that only those who have been to war or cared for those who have gone to war could understand. They were there to laugh, weep and bear witness to the truth of going to war."
He goes on: "Now imagine American soldiers in a drill hall or a field house where they are seeing a play about a depressed warrior who has slipped into depression because he has seen his best friend murdered. He then takes his own life."
"Being separated from my troop is like being stripped of my humanity," said a soldier to him. He is doing this project to restore humanity for these individuals who feel like they lost their humanity along the way. And, he wrote these plays to help people heal.
Sophocles wrote these plays to comfort the inflicted and to inflict the comfortable. "This is what happens everytime we perform Theatre of War," he says. "In an environment that combines live theatre and community dialogue, people are comforted by what brings them together across time. They are inflicted by the understanding that empathy is not enough. Theatre is an ancient military technology which we are licensing from Sophocles, to raise awareness, to raise stigmas, and to stir our fellow citizens to action."
His other recent theatrical projects include “Prometheus in Prison,” which presents Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound” to corrections professionals to engage them in conversations about custody and reentry, and “End of Life,” which presents Sophocles’ “Women of Trachis” to palliative care and hospice workers to engage them in dialogue with other medical professionals about medical ethics and pain management.
For more on his work, read Bryan Doerries' op-ed in the Washington Post about his experience taking Theater of War performances to military bases.
October 01, 2011
San Francisco Art Scene: Art Explosion Takes You on a Creative Journey
Every year shortly before San Francisco's Open Studios, I attend an opening hosted by Art Explosion, a studio space which profiles over 100 artists from the greater Bay Area.
Work ranged from pottery, photography and jewelry to abstract oils on canvas, watercolors on paper and mixed media.
I loved a mishmash of creations and paid more attention to photographers this year since I've been shooting more myself.
I liked the warm abstract mood of Dan Pask's photos and abstract art of Eve Shen.
Georgianne Fastaia's work continues to impress me and this year, I learned that her work has gone up 10-fold in price since I first walked into her SOMA gallery a few years ago. There's a piece I so want to hang for the world to see, but sadly out of my price range. Love her work.
Emily Citraro is known for figure drawings - my favorite of hers is here. Steven Brock's documentary style photography is amazing and he had a large enough gallery to woo you in for hours not minutes.
Jude Fauconnier has an interesting style, where new Picasso meets abstract, colorful sketching.Victoria Veedell had quite a large number of finished paintings to hang out with, all perfectly lit so that the warm glows of the purples, greens and blues drew you in for more in that soothing sort of "sit with me and relax for awhile" way.
Although she's most certainly young, McKenzie Coonce caught my eye. My favorite painting of hers was not for sale (below) and her style was varied - color and style. If you opt for one style because you connect with a consistent artist's voice, there's "many" voices Coonce takes you to, but if variety and change is your thing, then she'll take you on that "tour."
And then there were jewelry designers. I felt (and said this to the artist) that this would draw a larger crowd in Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas. Below is an amazing piece of work - note that this "ring" that lays over your entire hand is one piece.
September 28, 2011
Installation Artist Shih Chieh Huang Transforms You With Luminosity Exhibit
I met installation artist Shih Chieh Huang in Louisville on the steps of the Kentucky Performing Arts Center earlier this month, who transforms spaces with everyday objects. In this case, they were setting up an almost sheer white hollow tube that floated in and around the steps of the center.
His most recent project “EX-I-09″ currently on show at the Beall Center for Art + Technology focuses on exploring the unusual evolutionary adaptations undertaken by creatures that reside in inhospitable conditions.
Huang creates analogous ecosystems made from common, everyday objects. He says, "I source my wholly synthetic materials from the mundane objects that comprise our modern existence: household appliances, zip ties, water tubes, lights, computer parts, motorized toys and the like. The objects are dissected and disassembled as needed and reconstructed into experimental primitive organisms that reside on the fringes of evolutionary transformation: computer cooling fans are repurposed for locomotion. Tupperware serves as a skeletal framework; guitar tuner rewired to detect sound; and automatic night lights become a sensory input.”
If that's not using creativity in a transformative way, I don't know what is...no surprise that artwithoutwalls embraced his work, a non-profit, non-collecting art organization that presents ambitious, unconventional projects in a wide range of media and locations with the goal of bringing "new art" to "new audiences."
Thanks to an intro by artwithoutwalls Director Alice Gray Stites and a fabulous woman I've known for awhile, Ruby Lerner, President of Creative Capital, I not only learned about his work, but was fortunate to attend an opening of his latest at Land of Tomorrow Gallery in Louisville Kentucky. All of this was done in and around the annual Idea Festival, where Huang also presented on stage with other Creative Capital artists.
Co-organized by LOT and Artwithoutwalls, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky's Department of Art, Luminosity (name of the exhibit) features Huang's signature choreographed, kinetic works, as well as videos documenting his practice and sources, particularly his study of bioluminescent organisms.
The space is dark as you walk in, but his brightly lit objects filled with a brilliant spectrum of colors fade in and out in concert with the buzz of electronics. Imagine a purple and pink tinted ocean that you're swimming through with an array of objects buzzing about you (in this case, hanging from the ceiling), that change colors and make noises, all made from everyday objects found in convenience stores and controlled by electronic circuitry which Huang assembles.
His work hasn't gone unnoticed around the globe. Huang's work has exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei; the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai; the University of California-San Diego Price Center; the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid and Burgos, Spain; and the New Museum and Queens Museum in New York.
Below is a video so you can get a better idea of the experience the artist wants you to have.
May 13, 2011
The Human Experience at Stanford: The Role of Humanities in Innovation
On May 11, 2011, leading executive officers and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley industry and Stanford University humanities faculty and doctoral students came together at an event called The Human Experience.
The goal was to have a groundbreaking discussion on the ways in which highly trained, skilled, and creative humanities doctoral students can play a role in Silicon Valley businesses. The idea is to enlist "humanities" in the role of innovation.
The list of topics and speakers below:
Keynote Address: Vivek Ranadivé
Session II: Silicon Valley Entry Points for Humanities Ph.D.s: Google, Social Media, Marketing, Product Design, and More
Keynote Address: Marissa Mayer
Keynote Address: Damon Horowitz
Keynote Address: John Hagel III
Keynote Address: Patrick Byrne
Keynote Address: Michael Moritz
April 17, 2011
Build Your Dreams at Do-It-Yourself Workshop TechShop
I recently learned about a fabulous concept called TechShop during the Singularity University Executive Program at NASA. (Singularity has a fabulous event coming up on the Future of Medicine btw -- there's even a contest to win a full scholarship).
TechShop allows you to build anything you desire, anything you've ever dreamed up, anything you'd like to invent. How cool is this?
It is a membership-based workshop that provides members with access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a community of creative and supportive people so they can build the things they have always wanted to make.
You can think of TechShop like a fitness club, but with tools and equipment instead of exercise equipment. It is sort of like a Kinko's for makers, or a Xerox PARC for the rest of us.
TechShop is perfect for inventors, makers, hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, youth groups, FIRST robotic teams, arts and crafts enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to be able to make things that they dream up but don't have the tools, space or skills.
They provide you with access to a wide variety of machinery and tools including milling machines and lathes, welding stations and a CNC plasma cutter, sheet metal working equipment, drill presses and band saws, industrial sewing machines, hand tools, plastic and wood working equipment including a 4' x 8' ShopBot CNC router, electronics design and fabrication facilities, Epilog laser cutters, tubing and metal bending machines, a Dimension SST 3-D printer, electrical supplies and tools, and pretty much everything you'd ever need to make just about anything.
They encourage you not to be afraid to try new things, whether it is welding, using a milling machine, working with fabrics and leather or plastics, or cutting keyways in a gear.
March 30, 2011
Long Live the OLD & Traditional Adirondack Chair
One of my favorite memories (period) is sitting in an Adirondack chair with my grandfather in the Adirondack mountains where I grew up, talking about Indian arrow heads while overlooking a peaceful Caroga Lake at the end of a sunny August day.
The weather was perfect with only a slight breeze and the waterskiiers were coming out for their late afternoon ski when the lake once again turned into a glassy glaze as the wind settled down. I was often one of those afternoon skiiers as a teenager, around the time I had started to ban early mornings. As a kid however, I'd scurry out at dawn ready to take a dozen or so cuts on the not yet touched water we all loved about early mornings on the lake.
We had both just gathered some twigs and dry wood for the fire pit where we'd often cook burgers and kielbasa on an old small grill that my grandad would throw over the pit.
Equally magical to gazing out over the lake in our Adirondack chairs was reading a novel on an Adirondack hammock overlooking the same lake, but that's for another blog post.
Alas, the Adirondack chair. When I was really young, we had about four of 'em, all made of wood, all rustic, some with splinters from wear and tear and years of rain. We painted a couple over the years, always dark green, since that was the traditional Adirondack color (same goes for the hammocks), and as they would fade and the paint would wear away, we often wouldn't touch them up right away since the half painted, half natural wood look and feel of the chairs often told the story of our lives at the camp.
In other words, it was outdoor living: life wasn't perfect, it most certainly wasn't modern, we didn't have central heating, the water tank for the showers was small, the plumbing was outdated, our small TV set rarely got a channel, Internet didn't work and until we sold the place, it had an old fashioned rotary phone. (the one we had since the early 1970s).
The Adirondacks are not modern and to try to throw a modern title, label, or experience on top of "Adirondack" anything feels just plain wrong, at least for someone who grew up there. You can imagine my horror when I received this subject line in my inbox: The Classic Adirondack Lounge goes Eco-Modern. The Eco of course is there to make you feel good about buying it. Take a look at their visual:
All I can say is UUGGLYYY. It feels like Walmart plastered blandness on top of authentic Adirondack wholesomeness. Gotta love the tacky plastic looking orange circular thing with the pretzels next to them to add to all that modernity.
It's not as if I don't love modern things. Sure, my house has more antiques and woods than it does modern pieces, but its a mix. And while I have some classic pieces of art, there are some abstracts (photography and oil paintings), as well as some Salvador Dali-like pottery and toy-ish etchings scattered along my walls.
This felt more like a classic American marketing decision: take something that was and is great and cheapen it, while throwing some fabulous persuasive language (and of course sustainable messaging since "green and eco" are important adds right now) on top of it to make it appear that you're going to purchase something of substance.
The materials may be solid - that's not what I'm arguing here. And, I'm all for environmentally friendly materials. But, let's call a spade a spade and let it have its deserved glory. A little history is in order.
The Adirondack chair (also called the Muskoka chair) is used in rural, outdoor settings. The precursor was designed by Thomas Lee in 1903 when he was on vacation in Westport, New York, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, and needed outdoor chairs for his summer home.
After arriving at a final design for the then called "Westport plank chair," Lee offered it to a Westport-based carpenter Harry Bunnell, who manufactured these chairs for the next twenty years.
The original Adirondack chair was made with eleven pieces of wood, cut from a single board. It had a straight back and seat, which were set at a slant to sit better on the steep mountain inclines of the area. It also featured wide armrests, which became a hallmark of the Adirondack chair. In searching for a chair that was closer to what I grew up with, I came up with the following image on the web although even this one isn't quite right....ours tended to lean back a bit more but those I found with stronger slants, were painted in shiny colors or their original design was altered.
In the yards, patios and on the docks of all the camps we used to hang out at including our own, the chairs were rustic and wooden, often made by locals. Sadly, more of the modern Adirondack chairs are made out of plastic lumber or engineered wood instead of wood.
There have been so many replicas and variations of Adirondack chairs, that its original design is getting muddled, I guess you could call it a furniture mashup. Take a look at the variations from a Google image search:
Remember that I live my life in the modern technology world where mashups happen in my circles every day. In fact, I may be at an event where a mashup of an old technology and the creation of a new one may occur within the hour and a new way of creating, curating or organizing the web is born before my very eyes. I think mashups are great as long as the original "piece" whatever that is, is honored in some way for what it stood for.
In the case of Adirondack chairs, they are all about life in rustic rural environments and frankly, experiencing the Adirondacks on any lake in a modern home with tons of bells and whistles isn't the same, including the furniture. Of course, the designer of this new modern eco chair Mark Daniel will likely not be impressed by my opinion.
While the sustainable, FSC-certified solid eucalyptus wood with a grey stain which is made in China btw (how ironic for an all American piece of design), may be a fit for some, it doesn't preserve what the Adirondacks is all about.....in my humble local opinion that is.
Long live the old and traditional Adirondack chair for sitting in anything other than an original is like experiencing China in Orlando's Disneyland instead of China itself.
March 23, 2011
Tom McCarthy's WIN WIN Includes One of My Favorites: Paul Giamatti
We had to arrive an hour and a half before the producer, actors and director arrived. During that time, the film publicists checked you in and lined you up in a particular location at the edge of the red carpet, which was set up in an L shape that led into the theatre.
The cast included talent Paul Giamatti, most known for his stunning and humorous performance in Sideways (aka I don't drink Merlot), Amy Ryan and new to the stage Alex Schaffer who was a young boxer who tried out for a part for the first time. Tom McCarthy was the film's Director/Writer.
Below is a live broadcast interview they did the day before the premiere which I attended as an observer.
Should you see the film? Absolutely! Here's the storyline: disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy's mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. As always Giamatti brings you in for more of his quirky and funny personality regardless of what role he plays.
Here's a handful of snapshots I took at the Red Carpet Event:
Amy Ryan: warm, engaging, charming and playful
Here's a review by the Christian Science Monitor. One other note: Tom McCarthy's latest film (The Station Agent & The Visitor) was also a big fan favorite at Sundance. I had a chance to talk to him briefly and in my brief exchange, all I can say is thumbs up. Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 mashes items possessing an On/Off switch with old-fashioned human curiosity, resulting in a round up of robots, musical Tesla coils, fresh-squeezed sunflower oil, futuristic chariot races, antique pinball machines, super-sized Lego projects, and more neon, flame, and brightly gaseous glows than are normally seen outside an MIT lab. Whoah Nelly. But yes, it's all that and more. Maker Faire combines the best of Burning Man's sizzling creativity with the hottest creations of the DIY community and serves it all up in a dazzling two-day event guaranteed to engage every member of the family. Now in its sixth year, Maker Faire Bay Area runs May 21-22 at the San Mateo County Event Center and will host some 100,000 visitors as they learn from and play with over 600 crafters, makers, engineers, vendors, and artists who come from all over the country to exhibit their particular brand of genius. Produced by MAKE Magazine and O'Reilly Media, Maker Faire's geek culture flourishes with droids, DIY kits by kids for kids, and mobile land sharks roaming in the dark. Longtime favorites the Flaming Lotus Girls return, this time bringing their fiery Mutopia pods. The SF Model Yacht Club has "Race and Shoot" games not to be missed; the Stanford Solar Car Project soaks up some attention; the Madagascar Institute whips things up with their zany chariot races; and robotics and animation engineer Dr. Mike Regalbuto showcases his Posables, lifelike forms that literally bend to your will. None of this would be complete without rockets, bikes, food, and a huge children's area for young dreamers and makers. Focused on making education so fun as to be seamless, Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 embraces the universe, loosely titling the weekend "From Maker Space to Outer Space" in honor of a recent collaboration with MAKE, NASA, and Teachers in Space in which students conceive experiments to be conducted during suborbital flights. To purchase tickets, including weekend passes, go here: http://makerfaire-marketwire.eventbrite.com. I'd recommend seeing The Future, a film which previewed at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) last week. The film tells the story of a thirty-something couple who, on deciding to adopt a stray cat, change their perspective on life, literally altering the course of time and testing their faith in each other and themselves. Characters Sophie and Jason are strange the way all couples are strange when they’re alone. They live in a small LA apartment, have jobs they hate, and in one month they’ll adopt a stray cat named Paw Paw.
March 22, 2011 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Conference Highlights, Entertainment/Media, Events, On Technology, On Women, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW | Permalink
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Below is the video footage I took of the cast and director getting interviewed along the Red Carpet while I largely shot stills:
Maker Faire 2011 in Bay Area
March 22, 2011
Miranda July's THE FUTURE: Living in 2 Terrifyingly Vacant & Different Realities
Here's a review by the Christian Science Monitor. One other note: Tom McCarthy's latest film (The Station Agent & The Visitor) was also a big fan favorite at Sundance. I had a chance to talk to him briefly and in my brief exchange, all I can say is thumbs up.
Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 mashes items possessing an On/Off switch with old-fashioned human curiosity, resulting in a round up of robots, musical Tesla coils, fresh-squeezed sunflower oil, futuristic chariot races, antique pinball machines, super-sized Lego projects, and more neon, flame, and brightly gaseous glows than are normally seen outside an MIT lab. Whoah Nelly. But yes, it's all that and more.
Maker Faire combines the best of Burning Man's sizzling creativity with the hottest creations of the DIY community and serves it all up in a dazzling two-day event guaranteed to engage every member of the family. Now in its sixth year, Maker Faire Bay Area runs May 21-22 at the San Mateo County Event Center and will host some 100,000 visitors as they learn from and play with over 600 crafters, makers, engineers, vendors, and artists who come from all over the country to exhibit their particular brand of genius.
Produced by MAKE Magazine and O'Reilly Media, Maker Faire's geek culture flourishes with droids, DIY kits by kids for kids, and mobile land sharks roaming in the dark. Longtime favorites the Flaming Lotus Girls return, this time bringing their fiery Mutopia pods. The SF Model Yacht Club has "Race and Shoot" games not to be missed; the Stanford Solar Car Project soaks up some attention; the Madagascar Institute whips things up with their zany chariot races; and robotics and animation engineer Dr. Mike Regalbuto showcases his Posables, lifelike forms that literally bend to your will. None of this would be complete without rockets, bikes, food, and a huge children's area for young dreamers and makers.
Focused on making education so fun as to be seamless, Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 embraces the universe, loosely titling the weekend "From Maker Space to Outer Space" in honor of a recent collaboration with MAKE, NASA, and Teachers in Space in which students conceive experiments to be conducted during suborbital flights. To purchase tickets, including weekend passes, go here: http://makerfaire-marketwire.eventbrite.com.
I'd recommend seeing The Future, a film which previewed at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) last week. The film tells the story of a thirty-something couple who, on deciding to adopt a stray cat, change their perspective on life, literally altering the course of time and testing their faith in each other and themselves. Characters Sophie and Jason are strange the way all couples are strange when they’re alone. They live in a small LA apartment, have jobs they hate, and in one month they’ll adopt a stray cat named Paw Paw.
March 22, 2011 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Conference Highlights, Entertainment/Media, Events, On Technology, On Women, Reflections, Social Media, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack