A city is the composite of characters, the sale of stories – and no, not the stories in buildings – but rather, the tales of the human topography. Many names and characters, once their neon burns-out, recess into the annals of dusty libraries and newspaper clippings gone dark in travel trunks. In the same way we should keep our buildings, our old viaducts, our worn-out storefronts, so too should we retain and remember the stories of those who came before; those who burned as bright as any gaslamp sign ever did.

The good folks over at buckfifty.org have been collecting the vital stories of Denver over the last couple of years (an amalgam of people in the Denver community). On their site I’ve seen photographs and heard stories about old places, now long gone, like: Denver’s 10 viaducts (we used to get drunk below the 16th Street Viaduct in the late 80’s before going in to Paris on the Platte), City Spirit Cafe and Celebrity Sports Center. One of those great stories, predicated by a place and a great personality is Eddie Bohn and his Pig ‘N Whistle H/Motel.

Bohn’s motel housed many famous figures like the Yankess Billy Martin (he managed the old Denver Bears) and boxers and newsmen. Some still have strong memories of Bohn: “He’d come and join you and if you were settin’ there and had French fries, he’d probably eat half of ‘em. Then he’d order more for you.” One of those around Bohn in 1950’s and 60’s said: “He was tougher than a three-dollar steak,” jokes another old timer. “Very outspoken. He had an opinion on everything. If you didn’t agree with it, he didn’t care. But he was very loyal to his friends.”

Read Keith Chamberlin’s complete piece on the charismatic Eddie Bohn and his famous Pig ‘N Whistle, here: buckfifty.org.

Here is a great 75 minute documentary film on new art and the young artists behind it. This was filmed live at ®Nova Contemporary Culture in July and August 2010, which brought together 140 contemporary artists in São Paulo, Brazil.

Here is James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem, in a conversation – back in 2006. He comments on much, including where and how technology has and hasn’t pushed music and art from the archaic to the weird.

“Part of what I loved about music was the mythology, the incorrect information that you had, and the work it took to look for things. There is something nice about looking for things.”

What is Art?

April 11, 2011

Or, really, the question here is: What three words describe how you feel about art?

Water: Cosmic Juice

April 11, 2011

Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst, was interviewed on NPR today. Fishman’s research has led him to create a fresh position on water usage:

“All the water on earth was formed in space, in interstellar gas clouds. It was delivered here when the earth was formed or shortly thereafter, in exactly the form it is in. So, all the water on earth… is 4.3 or 4.4 billion years old. No water is being created on earth, no water is being destroyed on earth.

“What that means is, the whole debate about reusing waste water, is kind of silly because: all the water we have right now has been used over and over again. Every drink of water you take, every pot of coffee you make is dinosaur pee because it’s all been through the kidneys of a Tyrannosaurus Rex… many times. Because all the water we have is all the water we have ever had…

“Water is incredibly resilient. It’s unlike fuel or other natural resources: it can be used over and over again. And it emerges, except for needing to be cleaned, ready to be used again: exactly as water.

“Water is cosmic juice that came from interstellar space.”

Hear Fishman’s entire interview, here: freshair.npr.org

Patrick Dethlefs

April 9, 2011

We love this kid.

Here he is with (the amazing) Ben Sollee:

Here is yet another beautiful short film from m ss ng p eces. This time, it is on Michael Wolff, the graphic designer.

“I have three muscles, without which I couldn’t do my work. The first is curiosity. (You can call it inquisitiveness, you can call it questioning.) The second muscle [is] the muscle of appreciation. It’s not questioning so much as it is noticing… how joyful things can be, how colorful things can be, what already exists as an inspiration. The muscle of curiosity and the muscle of appreciation enable the muscle of imagination.”

The Sartorialist

April 9, 2011

The Satorialist is a great photograph and fashion blog created by Scott Schuman that is predicated on the clothing he finds people adorning themselves with, on the streets of various cities. He then photographs them. Below is a beautiful short documentary about leading a visual life.

“It’s almost like going out there and letting yourself fall in love a little bit every day, letting yourself be seduced a little bit every day.” – Scott Schuman, The Satorialist

Rat Race

April 4, 2011

While musicians and artists continue to flock to the Metal Apple, I will always support their “dreams” by stating that New York equals LOW QUALITY OF LIFE. Apartments are small and shitty. And, most of all: they’re expensive. In New York, rats are not just a rodents – they are the people themselves. Here’s a great article that speaks to this idea – articulating the history of this kind of matchbox living. From “Sardine Life” in NY Magazine:

New York didn’t invent the apartment. Shopkeepers in ancient Rome lived above the store, Chinese clans crowded into multistory circular tulou, and sixteenth-century Yemenites lived in the mud-brick skyscrapers of Shibam. But New York re-invented the apartment many times over, developing the airborne slice of real estate into a symbol of exquisite urbanity. Sure, we still have our brownstones and our townhouses, but in the popular imagination today’s New Yorker occupies a glassed-in aerie, a shared walk-up, a rambling prewar with walls thickened by layers of paint, or a pristine white loft.

The story of the New York apartment is a tale of need alchemized into virtue. Over and over, the desire for better, cheaper housing has become an instrument of urban destiny. When we were running out of land, developers built up. When we couldn’t climb any more stairs, inventors refined the elevator. When we needed much more room, planners raised herds of towers. And when tall buildings obscured our views, engineers took us higher still.

Apparently the “fixed” size of our current CDs and CD-ROM was arbitrary (like most everything else). But how that size was fixed is rather interesting (because it involves the greatest piece of music ever written):

“Sony had initially preferred a smaller diameter, but soon after the beginning of the collaboration started to argue vehemently for a diameter of 120mm. Sony’s argument was simple and compelling: to maximize the consumer appear of a switch to the new technology, any major piece of music needed to fit on a single CD…Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was quickly identified as the point of reference — according to some accounts, it was the favorite piece of Sony vice-president Norio Ohga’s wife. And thorough research identified the 1951 recording by the orchestra of the Bayreuther Festspiele under Wilhelm Furtwängler, at seventy-four minutes, as the slowest performance of the Ninth Symphony on record. And so, according to the official history, Sony and Philips top executives agreed in their May 1980 meeting that “a diameter of 12 centimeters was required for this playing time.”

From, The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy by Tim Büthe and Walter Mattli.

Via MarginalRevolution.com