Xia Xiaowan

Born 1958, Beijing and currently a professor of Stagecraft at the Beijing Central Academy of Drama, Xia Xiaowan surpasses the boundaries of painting. He draws his inspiration and method from X-ray photographs, giving two-dimensional painting a three-dimensional effect. He combines material, technology and painting, thus maintaining the hand-made qualities of painting while adding elements of installation and sculptural art and displaying the cold, absurd and strange qualities of realism.

Achieved via an arrangement of glass panes, varying from 14 to 21 depending on the work, glass paint and pencils, the recent works of Xia Xiaowan involve a different pictorial process - a process of analysis, construction and re-assembly of the image that implies a multi-faceted vision and a new psychological approach. Different from sculpture, Xia Xiaowan's suspended paintings are not molded from any rough material and, as the artist says, "despite this overwhelming sense of mass, they still maintain that 'emptiness' of painting or drawing, and that's because these glass works are also the result of mental or emotional projection".

In this sense, his painting installation alters the way the audience views art. The audience is encouraged to appreciate the artwork from different perspectives and to think about the method by which the work was created. As an integration of sculpture, painting, installation art, photography and medical technology, Xia Xiaowan’s works exude an air of ambiguity. His distinct artistic approach represents the trend of China’s contemporary new painting.

Inversion: Tunnel House Installation

This tunnel house is an installation created by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck in Houston's Montrose neighborhood, from a house scheduled for demolition. As Aaron Tang from designverb said, a perfect example of how creativity kicks in when time is running out.

"The exterior skin of the houses is peeled off and used to create the narrowing spiral as it progresses eastward through the small central hallway connecting the two buildings and exiting through a small hole into an adjacent courtyard"

Press Release
High Resolution Images


Hip Hop Anonymous

Rick Ross - Trila
Will.I.Am. - I Got It From My Mama
Saigon - Homegirl
Strange Fruit Project - The Feeling
Common - Drivin' Me Wild ft Lilly Allen
Nicolay & Kay - Tight Eyes ft Oh No & The Luv Bugz
Keith Murray - U Ain’t Nobody ft. Redman and Erick Sermon
Kia Shine - So Krispy Remix ft. Swizz Beatz, Jim Jones, LL Cool J, E-40, Slim Thug, Young Buck & Remy Ma

Kanye West gives us "Can’t Tell Me Nothin’" featuring Zach Galifianakis, Will Oldham, and a tractor.

Way better than his more commercial attempt (channeling Madonna's "Frozen" much?)...



Brand new promo video for "Buttons" from chanteuse Sia, from her forthcoming album "Some People Have Real Problems" on Astralwerks (2007). Video directed by Kris Moyes.



Zeitgeist, a German expression that means "the spirit of the age". Literally translated Zeit = Time and Geist = Sprit; it describes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era. "Zeitgeist" refers to the ethos of a select group of people, that express a particular (predominantly post-modern) world view, which is prevalent at a particular period of socio-cultural progression.

The film rocked my socks. It's a little over two hours long, but worth watching if you feel like interneting your brain until it explodes into genius shrapnel. To quote a dear and like-minded friend: "If you wanna sit with me and talk about existence; we'll need more than 15 minutes"

Message from the filmaker:

Zeitgeist was created as a not for profit expression to inspire people to start looking at the world from a more critical perspective and to understand that very often things are not what the population at large think they are. The information in Zeitgeist was established over a year long period of research and the current Source page lists the sources used / referenced.

It's important to point out that there is a tendency to simply disbelieve things that are counter to our understanding, without the necessary research performed. For example, some information contained in Part 1 and Part 3, specifically, is not obtained
by simple keyword searches on the Internet. You have to dig deeper. For instance, very often people who look up "Horus" or "The Federal Reserve" on the Internet draw their conclusions from very general or biased sources. Online encyclopedias or text book Encyclopedias often do not contain the information contained in Zeitgeist. However, if one takes the time to read the sources provided, they will find that what is being presented is based on documented evidence. Any corrections, clarifications & further points regarding the film are found on the Clarifications page.

Downloadable formats are also now available, along with DVDs
by request.

That being said, It is my hope that people will not take what is said in the film as the truth, but find out for themselves, for truth is not told, it is realized.

...and you thought this was going to be about the Smashing Pumpkins...


Michael Jackson looks different...

No, this isn't a blog about his failed attempt at building a fifty foot robot (that shoots lazers) in his likeness to roam the deserts of Las Vegas as a promotional tool or about the droidz known to accompany him onstage, but it probably should be. Below are videos featuring a few gentlemen that look more like MJ than MJ himself as of late.

This gem by director Kodanda Rami Reddy came out quite some time after Michael Jackson's Thriller and is a Tollywood parody. Tollywood refers to the film indutries of both the Bengali and Telugu regions of Eastern and Southern India; not to be confused with Bollywood (Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry) and Kollywood (Tamil-language film industry based in India). The actor is either Rajnikant or Chiranjeevi; anyone care to confirm or deny?

This offering is Hindi and features comedic actor Jagdeep. Although it is nowhere near as dynamic as its South Indian counterpart, at least they rep Wacko at the end. Thankfully, there are blackface and orange haired zombies to keep us occupied until that time comes.

I couldn't leave you without the real deal. Khatham, gatham (க்ஹதம் கதம்) = the past has passed. Anyone know what's Telugu or Hindi for plagiarism?

Personally, I'd rather see everything done with Legos.

Browsing on Extra Grind the other day, I noticed something along the same lines. CPDRC inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (Cebu, Philippines) practice a routine.



"It 'aint what they call you, it's what you answer to" - Bill Clinton

Preface: David Sylvester, a personal trainer/fitness guru and community volunteer to the young and aged, thinks beyond the box. When his best friend, role model and neighborhood mentor, Kevin Bowser, never made it out of the 97th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower on September the eleventh David was inspired to honor his memory. Sylvester rides his bike, and raises donations for The Kevin Bowser Scholarship Fund. Please make checks payable to:

Kevin Bowser Scholarship/
Philadelphia Foundation
Mailing Address:
The Philadelphia Foundation
1234 Market St., Suite 1800
Philadelphia, PA 19107

I can't bring myself to type the world and friends have made fun of me for refusing to recite it in lyric form, but I'll paste it for the sake of this message just as I will embed a video uttering the term for the sake of hip hop. I thought this was poignant and well written; the N letter, viscerally verbatim. Blessings to GORDON GEKKO for bringing this to my attention.

Hi Folks!

I recently completed a charitable bicycle trip in Africa, riding over 7000 miles from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa . The trip made me the first and only African American to cross two continents on a bicycle. I have plenty of great and fascinating stories. Many are funny, others bittersweet, some are poignant, but all are entertaining. Surprisingly one story has stood out and if it was not for the fact that I have a picture of it, many would never believe it. and it is for that reason that I am sharing it with you.

While in Lilongwe, Malawi, I came across a store by the name of "Niggers" ---that's right " Niggers"! The other riders, who were all white, could not wait to inform me of this to see my reaction. Initially, I thought that it was a very bad joke but when the other riders were adamant about the existence of the store, I had to see it for myself.

What I found was a store selling what the owner called 'hip hop' style clothing . It was manned by two gentlemen --- one of them asleep! (Talk about living up to or in this case down to a stereotype) I asked the guys what was up with the store name. After hearing my obvious non – Malawian accent and figuring out that I was from America, the man thumped his chest proudly and said "P-Diddy New York City! we are the niggers!"

My first reaction was to laugh, because many things when isolated can be very funny, but it quickly dawned on me that this was so not funny at all. It was pathetic. I did these bicycle trips across the USA and through the 'Mother -Land' in honor of one of my good friends, mentors and fellow African American, Kevin Bowser, who died on 9/11. Here I am, a black man riding across the world on his bicycle in honor of another black man, riding 'home' and what do I see?? Some Africans calling themselves Niggers! They
were even so proud of it they put it on their store front to sell stuff. When I relay the story to folks back home in Philadelphia, most of them laugh too and rationalize it by saying 'well, we can say it to each other' or 'there is a difference' or even 'they just spelled it wrong. It should have been 'nigga's' or 'niggah's' Gee like that would make a difference.

The issue is not the spelling. I was wrong. We are wrong. There is no justification for an infraction of this magnitude. The word and the sentiment behind it is Flat out wrong! We have denigrated and degraded ourselves to the point that our backwards mindset has spread like a cancer and infected our source, our brothers, our sisters, our Mother Land. I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of "Jew Devils", 'spic bastards' , 'muff divin''' dykes' or anything like that- Only the store niggers!

I am to blame for this. Every time I said the word I condoned it, by not correcting others or rationalizing it gave it respectability, by looking the other way when others said 'hey nigga what's up' allowed others to see it and ultimately that when I purchase CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other stuff, I enriched it. I now see the error in my ways and I am so so sorry black men and women. The flame that we called entertainment, that was only to warm and entertain us, now engulfs us and scorches our own self-esteem. If a child only knows to refer to men and women as niggers, bitches, pimps and hoes, then what is he/she to grow up thinking of themselves and others as he/she gets older?

This is no joke you can see my site and read some more stories. The bottom line is this I rode over 12000 miles on 2 continents through 15 states and 13 countries and broke 2 bikes in the process to get to a store in AFRICA called niggers. I am willing to step and admit my part in the havoc that we have wrought on our mindset but I think that We all are to blame.

The N Emai: PDF
A Call to Action: PDF



Real Blood on Fake Trees

Let me preface this by saying that the gentlemen that comprise Ela are among my favorite people on the planet Earth, so I may be a bit biased when I say that Real Blood on Fake Trees is the best thing since Stapled to Air. Once the boys sent me my copy, I decided to privately upload it and share it with my like-minded blog checkers. You'll have to ante up to take it with you; Real Blood on Fake Trees is available through Afternoon Records and can be found in your portable iTunes brand kiosk.

Track se7en is my personal favorite right the eff now; mostly due to the soaring vocals. Billy C's comedic verbalized concerns at the jump of the next track don't hurt the cause.
Bottom line? Support independent music.

Ela (ee-lah) is a container, a place to put the music of a group of people (respectively from Heiruspecs and Askeleton, but you may also recognize their efforts as Big Trouble and Bromance) in a specific time and place. Forming in 2003 in Minneapolis, Ela is comprised of members Bill Caperton (vocals, guitar), Sean McPherson (bass), Peter Leggett (drums) and Knol Tate (guitar, keyboards).

Ela's first record, Stapled to Air, was released in 2004 on New York's Third Earth Music label. The first rock release on 3EM, the band found itself in the company of underground hip-hop groups like Jean Grae, Oddjobs, and Mr. Len (Company Flow). Stapled to Air immediately entered full rotation at Minneapolis radio stations KUOM and KFAI, and received national play, eventually reaching 120 on the CMJ charts. Local and National press picked up on the band too; in Devil in the Woods issue 19, the record garnered a perfect review with 6 out of 6 pitchforks.

Worry, Worry (off of Stapled to Air) directed by Eli Ljung

Following this record, Ela played in the company of other up and coming bands including Stars, Carissas Weird (now Band of Horses), Tapes N Tapes, the Fever, Pilot to Gunner, Xiu Xiu, and Jeff Hanson. Notable larger scale shows at the same time included playing sold out venues with Travis Morrison in Minneapolis and The Wrens in Chicago. In April 2006, Ela received a call to go out on a 28-day tour with Los Angeles based indie-pop rising stars Say Anything (J Records). Playing sold out shows from Detroit to LA and back with only 2 days off propelled Ela's live act to a new level.

In the meantime Tate began running a studio in an old dry-ice factory in St. Paul. Building off the momentum of the Say Anything tour, the band got to work writing and recording a new demo. Straying from the blistering confessional work of the first album into a world more subtly haunting, Ela is ready for a rebirth.

Ela will be touring with Minus the Bear and Subtle in the fall, so catch a show broseph.

yanked in part from the band's MySpace
photos by Ellen Fitzgerlad


The Ronnie Johns Half Hour

The Ronnie Johns Good Times Campfire Jamboree Half Hour Show (Now on Television), or Ronnie Johns Half Hour is written and performed by the 3rd Degree and is produced by Laughing Stock Productions. The first and second seasons are available on DVD through Sony.

The title character of the show, the "comedy cowboy" Ronnie Johns (Heath Franklin) rides upon the "Good Taste Pony" (a papier-mâché horse worn around his waist). Ronnie appears in the opening and closing scenes of the show, as well as occasionally interjecting between sketches commenting on them and warning the audience about potential bad taste. He has a slight obsession with prairie dogs.

Underground Bands

The Finger Sketch

Paulie vs Edible Undies

Died at 27


Flight of the Conchords

I recently rewatched the comedy central One Night Stand: Flight of the Conchords and just about lost it. The musical comedy act comprised of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement (I fondly refer to him as WolfFace SquareJaw) are, in their own words "New Zealand's 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo" and deserve a listen. Flight of the Conchords now have a self titled series on HBO. I don't get HBO, but I get the internets and YouTube has my back and yours.

Steve told me about this one... "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros"

What's wrong with the world today? "Think about it, Think, Think..."

A jam Prince might appreciate, "Part Time Model"

Pet Shop Boys, eat your hearts out. Flight of the Conchords relate to "Inner City Pressure"



Underwater: go big and go under

Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

The first ever all-glass undersea restaurant in the world opens its doors for business at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa. Ithaa sits five meters below the waves of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and encased in clear acrylic offering diners 270-degrees of panoramic underwater views. This undersea restaurant cost less than $5 million and is part of a project to rebuilt the Rangalifinolhu Island into a tourist attraction.

“We have used aquarium technology to put diners face-to-face with the stunning underwater environment of the Maldives”, says Carsten Schieck, General Manager of Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa. “Our guests always comment on being blown away by the colour, clarity, and beauty of the underwater world in the Maldives, so it seemed the perfect idea to build a restaurant where diners can experience fine cuisine and take time to enjoy the views – without ever getting their feet wet.”

The Official Website suggests "smart" attire (High Tide Heels may not cut it). Check out the Flickr photosets for the visually enticed.

If you find yourself in Eilat Israel, check out the first ever underwater restaurant, the Red Sea Star, built seventy meters off the shore of Eilat (or take a virtual 3D tour of the space).

So much for the Hydropolis Underwater Hotel proposed for construction in Dubai. Dreams, however fabulous, remain unfulfilled without the cash to support the commitment, and the project has faced major delays. "The hardest part of the process was finding sponsorship to the tune of €550 million," admits Hauser. "That's what brought me to Dubai. Still, it was a battle which took two-and-a-half years and proved tougher than developing the project itself. No bank would pay such an amount. It's a risky investment, as there are no pilots. We had to convince investors that it is safe and will bring returns on investment." As of February 2007, Hydropolis' launch has been relaunched due to cost issues and concerns over the project's impact on marine life.



What about brutalized Bob?

Bob is a sulcata tortoise or African spurred tortoise, a hearty but endangered species that lives roughly 50 years in captivity and can grow to as much as 200 pounds, experts say. Bill and Dorothy Sullivan found Bob a decade ago wandering in the alley behind their house. They took him in and tried to locate his owners but couldn't. The state Department of Fish and Game told the couple the tortoise could not be returned to the wild, so they established a home for him in their backyard. They consider him family now, hand-feeding him strawberries and fondly referring to him as the "poop machine." They are thankful for his connection to their son.

Bob was more than a household pet to the Sullivans, whose 6-year-old son William is autistic and until a few years ago didn't speak to humans, communicating instead through sign language. With Bob, the little blond boy, who also has the rare neuron-genetic disorder Angelman syndrome, was a regular chatterbox. The approachable reptile opened an inexplicable window into William's inner world, and the boy would bare details of his days at school and of private life. "William was devastated and physically sick when he saw what happened to Bob," his mother said. "We call him a therapy turtle because he miraculously brings William out of his shell."

The family called the Ventura Police Department to report the missing tortoise, and within an hour had posted dozens of fliers in their west Ventura neighborhood. Sunday morning Dorothy Sullivan received a call from a man who wanted money for information on Bob's whereabouts. She refused to give him any money until he delivered her to Bob.

She finally followed the man, who never identified himself, to thick brush beyond a retaining wall behind the nearby Ventura Valley View apartments on Cedar Street. When she first saw Bob, she was relieved. But then she got closer, and she saw his shell had been stabbed and splintered. Emotional and yelling, she peppered the man with questions about what had happened. He quickly sped off on a bicycle and never returned.

Bob had lacerations on his head and legs as though someone had tried to remove him from his shell, and his dark green shell was stabbed repeatedly in a possible effort to re-create an episode of the discovery channel's Man vs. Wild cable television show, where the military-trained host kills and eats a tortoise to survive. It wasn't until she took Bob home in a small wagon that she realized he was bleeding badly from his underbelly. "This is one of the worst attacks I've ever seen," said Jeanie Vaughan, who founded and runs Turtle Dreams with her daughter Christine. Bob was initially taken to the animal rescue and rehabilitation center in Santa Barbara for treatment.

Authorities are asking for the public's help in solving the case, believed to be one of the worst incidents of animal abuse in Ventura in years and one that could bring felony charges. Police are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects who mutilated a local family's pet tortoise; contact Ventura Police at (805) 339-4394.

Bob's condition has improved immensely, but he's not out of the proverbial woods. Anyone wishing to donate can send money to Washington Mutual, P.O. Box 877, Ventura, CA 93002.
Checks should be made out to William Sullivan in care of Bob, Account No. 492-105108-5. Wire transfer can be routed to Account No. 322271627


Street Art

While searching for inspiration from every day surroundings and not finding any in my vacinity, I once again turned to the web. Seduction of Place at its finest. If you would like to take on a similar endeavor, I would suggest streetsy; an amazing tagged archive of street art (searchable by location or artist) affiliated with the Wooster Collective.

Today, I came across Little People a tiny street art project by Slinkachu: Little hand painted people, left in London to fend for themselves.

I am also in love with the elbow-toe photosets on Flickr. There are many documenting his street art at its best, and I would suggest a search sometime soon.

Here is a video of Judith Supine installing a piece in Times Square back in 2005, with a personal photoset to boot.

Swoon is another artist that I have the utmost respect for. The New York Times ran a slideshow to accompany an article published some years ago. Her work can still be found on Cortland Alley (off of Canal in Lower Manhattan) and as always, on Flickr.

Troy-Lovegates knocks me out every time with a flurry of disjointed characters with ponderous expressions on their distorted faces.

I leave you with essential viewing: Blu's Wall Animation Done in Berlin for Backjump #3 (the video is stretched horizontally and looped; it was filmed with a camera in vertical position but youtube doesn’t accept that format).

pictorial during the animation process


Life Imitates Art Imitating Life

Kent Couch goes Danny Deckchair on our asses
Oregon resident fulfills childhood dream with 105 helium balloons

Last weekend, Kent Couch settled down in his lawn chair with some snacks — and a parachute. Attached to his lawn chair were 105 large helium balloons.

Destination: Idaho.

With instruments to measure his altitude and speed, a global positioning system device in his pocket, and about four plastic bags holding five gallons of water each to act as ballast — he could turn a spigot, release water and rise — Couch headed into the Oregon sky.

Nearly nine hours later, the 47-year-old gas station owner came back to earth in a farmer’s field near Union, short of Idaho but about 193 miles from home.

Couch is the latest American to emulate Lawnchair Larry Walters — who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons. Walters had surprised an airline pilot, who radioed the control tower that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair. Walters paid a $1,500 penalty for violating air traffic rules.

It was Couch’s second flight.

In September, he got off the ground for six hours. Like Walters, he used a BB gun to pop the balloons, but he went into a rapid descent and eventually parachuted to safety.

This time, he was better prepared. The balloons had a new configuration, so it was easier to reach up and release a bit of helium instead of simply cutting off a balloon.

Couch decided to stop when he was down to a gallon of water and just eight pounds of ballast. Concerned about the rugged terrain outside La Grande, including Hells Canyon, he decided it was time to land.

He popped enough balloons to set the craft down, although he suffered rope burns.

But after he jumped out, the wind grabbed his chair, with his video recorder, and the remaining balloons and swept them away. He’s hoping to get them back some day.

Oregon AP Article




For years, lines have been drawn...and then colored in yellow. Create your own Simpsons Avatar while you wait for the movie to come out as July nears its end. If you live in Springfield, you may be lucky enough to make it to the premier. 20th Century Fox is holding a contest to select 1 of 16 possible Springfields (spanning from Oregon to Nebraska to Massachusetts) to decide which city will host the debut.

*UPDATE* Springfield Vermont it is!

For the entire month of July 2007, as part of a campaign to hype the July 27th opening of the movie, 11 “7-Elevens” stores all over North America changed their names to Kwik-E-Marts, and begun selling products like Buzz Cola, movie doghnuts, KrustyO's cereal, and Squishees --including WooHoo! Blue Vanilla flavor. It was decided that Duff Beer would not be sold due to the movie being rated PG-13, and the promoters wanted to have "good, responsible fun," though it was noted that it was a tough decision (not one that they battled long enough over in my opinion) There's already a blog dedicated to the redoux, and a few Flikr albums worth perusing. More info is available at wiki if you simply must know more.