Art, Design, Fashion March 31, 2011 By Lizzi Reid

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tp title 2 Tejal Patni  Gothic Fairytale Calendar
“I never like to shoot what’s shown to me – I only use that as a guideline” remarks photographer and advertising graphic designer Tejal Patni about his style of work. Patni’s high fashion editorials expose a dark surreal reality reminiscent of Tim Burton’s taste for gothic allure. Utilizing teams of stylists, set designers, makeup artists and photo retouchers Tejal’s photography blurs the lines of conventional photographer remixing fantasy and high fashion in a way that make’s one stop and question “ Hey, how’d he do that?” Splash, a fashion retailer from Dubai took notice, commissioning the young indian photographer to create the images to accompany the limited edition 2011 calendar for their international website. To help him articulate his gothic fairytales, Patni partnered with New York photographer Kirstan Hermans, who specializes in theatre costumes. The result in a nearly monochromatic future with some seriously dark undertones; a spectacular vision of a post-apocalyptic theatricality.

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Fashion March 30, 2011 By Mary Biosic

m 18 Marvielabmarvilab title Marvielab
It’s said that only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. And, if you’re a fashion designer, there’s a third: chaos. Chaos that begins right after you take a bow for your latest collection –– because now, you have to start from scratch –– and do it all over again. It’s this allegiance to the industry’s rule book, which dismisses a designer’s creations every six months in favor of something/anything new, that keeps the chaos rolling in as predictably as most collections are rolled out.

On the opposite end of that arc is where you’ll find Mariavittoria Sargentini, the Perugia-based designer behind minimalist’s dream label, Marvielab, deviating from the status quo by following a very different set of rules: her own. First rule: Take your time. Rather than creating 4 separate collections a year (designing both men’s and women’s means two for each), Sargentini channels her energy into producing pieces for 5 distinct categories, which she calls “projects”. Because the projects are kept ongoing rather than seasonal, it allows her work to evolve over time –– rather than a ticking clock. The beauty of such evolution, unhurried, is that it leaves little room to get distracted by the trend du jour – a pitfall even the most authentic designer can fall in to.

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Music March 29, 2011 By Benjamin Gold

Thrill Jockey Records

Thrill Jockey Records

skulldefekts1 The Skull Defekts: Peer Amid
The best way to listen to Peer Amid, the latest album from Swedish noise-makers the Skull Defekts, is to simultaneously stare at the album cover. The image is a road map for a record that begins with a sustained mystic Eastern chant, awakening a lumbering bass line that explodes into a chorus of Steve-Albini-esque guitar noise. The rest of Peer Amid follows a similar pattern, creating a dense song cycle of industrial destruction with former Lungfish singer Daniel Higgs at the center. Higgs’ presence on Peer Amid, his first collaboration with the Defekts, will likely draw many new listeners, but aside from a few shared sections of a Venn diagram, don’t expect many similarities between this album and anything produced by Higgs’ former band.
     Each song is built around a propulsive and repeating rhythm that seamlessly morphs between songs for an effect that’s less punk and more hypnotically psychedelic. Jarring guitars and multi-layered tribal drumming are built on top of prominent bass-lines, with suites of distortion buttressing all the rhythmic chaos.
filler29 The Skull Defekts: Peer Amid

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Buy this at Other Music or iTunes.

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When the Killing's Done cover image/ courtesy: Viking

tc title T.C. Boyle
In his latest novel, T. Coraghessan Boyle considers the real life story of the National Park Service’s systematic slaughter of wild animals. To be clear, the species in question at the center of When the Killing’s Done are the invasive rats and non-native pigs whose presence has disrupted the ecological balance on Anacapa and Santa Cruz, two of the Channel Islands off the Southern Californian coast. Getting rid of these pests, according to the argument presented by the Park Service, would enable a return to the conditions as nature intended, before the arrival of sheep herders and shipwrecked gold prospectors introduced the undesirable creatures in the first place and set off a chain of habitat-altering ramifications.
     Using this highly contentious campaign to frame the story, Boyle constructs a fictional tale of characters touched by the arguments over which lives are worth saving and just when it is reasonable to play God. Alma Boyd Takesue, the good-intentioned Park Service biologist who supports the extermination process, is pitted against the hotheaded and dreadlocked animal rights activist Dave LaJoy and his band of perfervid followers. The battle lines are drawn, the passions are intense, and nearly everyone, no matter their position on the killing, is out for blood.
     Animals verses animals, humans taking on animals, and finally, humans up against humans – the conflicts presented here make this only the latest in Boyle’s literary explorations of the complexities present where fights over nature occur.

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Art, Events, travel March 24, 2011 By Lizzi Reid

gc 1 Gui Christ   Three Kings Daygc title Gui Christ   Three Kings Dayfiller29 Gui Christ   Three Kings Day
Drawing on Brazil’s Portuguese heritage, the holiday “Three Kings Day” is held annually on the sixth of January. Signifying the end of Christmas festivities, it is celebrated to commemorate the day when the three wise men are said to have delivered their gifts to the baby Jesus. The holiday includes a religious feast colorfully known as “the Mass of the Rooster,” as well as customary dance, jester and vocal performances that warmly embrace Brazil’s diverse culture and community. Native to the country, photographer Gui Christ was inspirited by the tradition and took advantage of the opportunity to shoot local individuals enjoying the festivities. Giant Jester masks and nativity scenes, each picture is a personal vignette, a window into Brazil’s rich cultural and religious customs. Gui Christ’s photographs exhibited at the Sugar Factory Amsterdam last fall, however his work is infused with a timeless quality; capturing the moment and the history of Brazil’s unique legacy.

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Art, Design March 23, 2011 By Lizzi Reid

jd 1 Jim Darling  View from an Airplaine Windowjd title Jim Darling  View from an Airplaine Window
Painter and Designer Jim Darling has a fresh take on the view from an airplane window. His six paintings, display the classic airplane window complete with pull down shade, rendered in a classic trompe d’oeil technique of the old masters. However within the window are wonderfully abstracted scenes capture the essence of patchy farmlands, nighttime aerials of lit cities and skylines. Darling’s graphic design background includes work with MTV, Coor’s light and Cambell’s Chicken noodle soup, each picture strongly rooted in his ability to draw. His illustrative mastery and graphic have pulled together in these fun oil on wood panels. The airplane series is part of a larger collection exhibited at Open Space in Beacon NY. Other paintings in the collection are themed with aircraft flight, and include a few humorous yet artful caricatures of passengers. Jim Darling definitely has created a spirited way of looking at the world.

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Music March 22, 2011 By Lily Moayeri

Razor & Tie

Razor & Tie

mondo amore Nicole Atkins: Mondo Amore
Nicole Atkins leaves a big impression. Her powerful lung capacity, her barreling backbeat, her blustery presence, none of these indicates a shrinking violet. On her second solo full-length, Mondo Amore, Atkins veers towards elaborate arrangements and layered instrumentation to showcase her Roy Orbison-meets- Carole King delivery. This is a mainstream step away from the torch singing of her previous album, Neptune City. Atkins may have taken this step to bring more attention to her striking vocal prowess — and she can certainly pull it off — but it is the smoldering burn of Neptune City that sets Atkins apart. The smoke of Neptune only occasionally seeps out, on the billowing “Hotel Plaster”, which shifts easily into the gravelly crunches of “You Come To Me”. On the flip side, Atkins’ vigorous belting out of the trite lyrics to “This Is For Love” makes them sound novel while in contrast, “The Tower” is all bluster with no substance. Instead of playing it safe, which is what Atkins does on the majority of Mondo Amore, she should focus on one instrument: her undeniable voice.

Buy this at iTunes. After the jump, check out the video for “Vultures”.

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Architecture, Art March 21, 2011 By Nalina Moses

stl title1 Sze Tsung Leong
Cities have a power that’s highly impressionistic. More often than not, what we remember best about the ones we’ve visited isn’t the famous monuments but the mood of particular neighborhoods and streets.Sze Tsung Leong’s series of photographs “Cities,” on display now at Yossi Milo Gallery, consists of big, bird’s-eye views of different cities around the globe. In capturing the organization, architecture and geography of each metropolis, they go a long way to convey the character of these places.
     Most of Leong’s photographs don’t fall into easy postcard views. They’re elegantly composed but richly textured and shadowed so that they have an impressive tactility. And they have a greater depth and angle of vision, so that they take in broader stretches than a typical cityscape. It’s a point of view that reveals some of the historic and technological forces that have shaped each place. In Ghent the low, twisting streets around the Medieval Cathedral give way to square blocks with modern commercial buildings. And in Cairo satellite antenna sprout from the debris-strewn roofs of dusty concrete apartment buildings.

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Art, Events March 18, 2011 By Dan Sutti

sp-#1sp title Steven Brahms The Survival Projectfiller29 Steven Brahms The Survival Project
We live in an age in which technology brings news to us in an instant, live images flood in from so many points of view – a satellite, a helicopter and on the ground from the mobile device of someone fleeing for his or her life. Watching the footage of last week’s horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I can’t help but think about my own ability to survive in an imminent situation. And as the heartbreaking aftermath of this disaster unfolds, it is all too clear that there is something very peculiar about our relationship with nature and the future.
     Steven Brahms’ ongoing investigation Survival Project prods at the very basic idea that sits in our minds – we cannot control mother nature. In carefully composed scenarios, Brahms’ images play out themes of doom and paranoia light-heartedly as if realizing his boyhood Lord of the Flies fantasies. The Evasion Series repeats the action of long-haired Asian men running in various terrains. Though we can not be too sure of what these men are running from, the sense of urgency becomes real as images from last week’s disaster will stay in our minds forever.

The Survival Project opens at 3rd Ward Gallery in Brooklyn on March 18th. Brahms’ work can be seen at: www.stevenbrahms.com

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Art, Design March 17, 2011 By Lizzi Reid

fg-1fg title Fritz Goro   Inventor of Macro Photography
The late Fritz Goro inventor of macro photography saw his goal as “making visible the world that lies between the microscope and the naked eye.” Turning to photography after the Nazi’s forced him out of Germany, Fritz Goro started a career with LIFE Magazine, shooting scientific photoessays and was the magazine’s scientific and medical specialist for twenty-seven years. Fritz Goro photographed many scientific breakthroughs and discoveries including the creation of penicillin as well as the separation of the isotopes of uranium and plutonium that made the atomic bomb. Chairman of the board of Scientific American, then science editor at Life Mr. Gerard Piel said of Goro, ”it was his artistry and ingenuity that made photographs of abstractions, of the big ideas from the genetic code to plate tectonics.” Fritz Goro’s legacy lives on in the beautiful geometric black and white images of America’s biggest scientific breakthroughs of the twentieth century.

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