Recap | 16th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival

September 29, 2009 · Print This Article

This month the Gene Siskel Film Center hosted the 16th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival hosted. Not too much of a surprise that both of the films I did catch this year were both documentaries.

American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein


American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein

American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein directed by David Ridgen (Mississippi Cold Case) and Nicolas Rossier (Astride and the Endless Revolution), follows the American born academic and activist as he lectures across the country and fights for tenure positions in both New York City and Chicago. Often referred to as a “self hating Jew”, Norman is most well known for his views on America’s and Israel’s relations with Palestine. He is also the author of six books including his most controversial book to date, “The Holocaust Factory.” Throughout the film we retrace Norman’s life beginning with his upbringing in New York City by two Holocaust survivors. He studied with Norm Chomsky and soon became an outspoken activist and scholar about the Israel and Palestinian conflict. The film itself attempts to convey the complexities of Finkelstein’s character. Providing interviews with his supporters and his opposition the directors demonstrate Norman’s devotion to his work while showing his greatest downfall is his persistence in expressing his opinion.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo


Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Let me start off by saying that I was expecting something very different from this film. When I first read the title Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (BQCT), I had imagined a contemporary low budget Godzilla film, not a nature documentary. After my expectations were dashed I decided to press on in hopes of finding an enlightening film on Japan’s obsession with insects. I had just watched David Attenborough’s documentary Life in the Undergrowth and expected Jessica Oreck, an employee at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City,  to follow in the same vein. According to BQCT’s facebook page, the film “delves into the ineffable mystery of Japan’s age-old love affair with insects. A labyrinthine meditation on nature, beauty, philosophy and Japanese culture that might just make you question if your ‘instinctive’ repulsion to bugs is merely a trick of western conditioning.” On paper that sounds great, but in reality I found the film poorly edited and suffered from clichéd insect-like camera perspectives. Attenborough uses the same shots with much greater success. He let the shots linger for much longer, creating a more languid motion that appeared much more subtle. I could get over these shots when learning that this was Oreck’s first film. But, what I found unforgivable was the limited amount of subtitles. If I am going to watch a foreign film, I expect to be able to read all of the dialogue and not selections. I happened to watch the film with an entomologist who helped explain some of the scenes that had no subtitles or explanations on what was happening. But in the end, I asked countless questions and  felt more frustrated than informed.

Is Buckminster Fuller the Future of Coke?

September 28, 2009 · Print This Article

New Coke CanIf you follow graphic design you might have noticed the new trend is minimal pseudo-50’s style graphic, minimal logos and faded hues with geometric underpinnings.

Coke has followed (and some might say lead this trend) by simplifying the cans from full of bubbles and ribbons to a slightly antiqued red with a flat single ribbon. Now would the next step be a can that doesn’t roll? Designer Dzmirty Samal thinks so and has proposed an alternative to the cold forming manufacturing process all cans undergo today to make them fast and round out of aluminum with instead using impact extrusion in which aluminum is pressed at a high velocity into a mold.

What you get is a can that Buckminster Fuller himself could easily get behind and pound a few away with.

New Coke Can 2


Music File Sharing Debate Creates Music?

September 26, 2009 · Print This Article

Over the last week the music file sharing debate has found new fodder to play with in the form of Pop singer Lily Allen. Lily Allen started a proactive discussion on the net complete with website to address her concern with the negative effects of file sharing. In only a few days the site and most of her postings have been deleted but you can read much of the archives here.

As with any good debate it’s in the light of opposite views that you find informative and interesting contrasts and in this case one of the better opinions came in the form of a new song by artist Dan Bull who sampled Ms. Allen’s song “22” to make an open singing letter titled “Dear Lily”

Friday’s Twitter Roundup | 9.25.09

September 25, 2009 · Print This Article

Photobucket On this week’s twitter roudup I checked out The Walker’s show, “The Quick and the Dead”, Vito Acconci modeled for J Crew, and it looks like blackface is in fashion again. If your looking for something to do tonight  stop by the Co-Prosperity Sphere for the release party for Proximity’s latest issue.
Proximity Issue 005 Release Party
Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan
Friday, September 25, 9pm – 1am

For more info check out their website.

MythBusters Build a 1100-Barrel Paintball Gun to Paint the Mona Lisa in One Shot

September 25, 2009 · Print This Article

This is the final in the series of posts about Painball works and Pointillism and is a year old but is a sight to see never the less. MythBusters hosts Jamie Hyneman & Adam Savage (Who I always contested reminded me of two other hosts) built and presented at a Nvidia announcement a 1100 barrel paintball gun that illustrated the parallel processing available on GPU’s to make a recreation of DaVinci’s Mona Lisa in one single group shot.

The gun itself is a sight to see and looks like it was removed from the midsection of a Rocket. All this paintball junk video makes me want to forget city wide kickball and start a Bad at Sports paintball league hahahaha. I bet our Meg can kick the butt of your Meg anytime 🙂