Snap Art and the New Yorker

I am very happy with my purchase of Alien Skin software, curious what happened to this question from last year?

We are pretty sure that the cover of the September 15 issue of The New Yorker was made using Snap Art. I couldn’t get anyone from the magazine to return our e-mail, so we’re not 100% sure. However, Tom Welsh, the author of Snap Art, says he would recognize his baby anywhere. You can check out the cover on The New Yorker web store. Eric Drooker made the art. There was probably some careful work done by hand too, but we think that most of the painterly brush strokes are from Snap Art. [From Messages from Alien Skin Software]

Hmm, here’s the cover, you decide:

Reading Around on May 15th through May 17th

A few interesting links collected May 15th through May 17th:

  • A Mattress Here, A Mattress There….Why are they everywhere? | Today's Photos: Today's best Chicago photos, handpicked by our editors. in Chicago – Carryout on 17 East Ohio

    by: swanksalot

  • Chicago for the Architecture Buff – my photo of the Rookery stair used here:

    "Rookery Building

    Photo: swanksalot
    209 S. Lasalle St.
    Mon-Fri: 9am-8pm
    Sat: 9am-4pm

    Named for the giant flocks of pigeons that once roosted onsite, the Rookery is really two buildings in one."

  • City Room – Metro – Alderman Destroys Public Art – "BALCER: You know I don't know if there was hidden gang meaning behind it with the cross, with the skull, with the deer, with the police camera's. Was there something anti-police about it? I don't know what's in his mind.

    MARSZEWSKI: It's really too bad that he didn't know that was art.

    Ed Marszewski is the art festival organizer who asked Villa to paint the mural. And it's his mom that owns the building that Villa painted on.

    MARSZEWSKI: We didn't realize that you need to get a permit to paint your own wall. Do you know if that is in fact a law?

    A spokesman for Chicago's buildings department says section 13 25 50 of the City Code requires building owners to have a permit for painted signage or to alter or repair painted signage on a building. But a spokesperson for the city's law department says there's no permit necessary for a mural on the side of a private building as long as it's not an advertisement and as long as the property owner has given their permission. "

Reading Around on May 14th through May 15th

A few interesting links collected May 14th through May 15th:

  • Alderman says he had this mural destroyed | Chicago Public Radio Blog – Man, that sucks, especially since the owner of the building gave the artist permission

    "This week artist Gabriel Villa was putting finishing touches on this mural in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. Now someone has brown-washed the work. Ald. James Balcer (Ward 11) told WBEZ this morning that he called the city’s Streets and Sanitation Department to have it destroyed."

  • Liquid Dilemma: Godzilla vs. Ralph Records – I stumbled upon a collection of LPs from San Francisco based label Ralph Records, mostly recorded in the 80s and now out of print. They blew my mind. The record dealer claimed that he got them directly from the keyboardist of weirdo experimentalist band, The Residents.
  • Shaquille O'Neal's Secret Performance Enhancement Recipe – TrueHoop By Henry Abbott – ESPN – Shaquille O'Neal was on Atlanta's 790 The Zone and was asked if he had ever taken performance enhancing drugs. He proceeded to described his recipe as follows:

    Frosted Flakes Athletic Performance Enhancement Cereal.

    They ain't even out yet…

    For all the little kids, the Performance Enhancement Cereal is you take the Frosted Flakes, and you take the Froot Loops, and you mix them together, and then you get some of them sliced bananas and you put them on that thing, and then you get a big old bowl. The kind of bowl if you pull out out your mother say, "Boy, you better put that bowl back!" And, then you pour that milk … "You better get a job eating all that milk."

John Cale and The Velvet Underground

“The Velvet Underground & Nico” (The Velvet Underground, Nico)

Like a lot of musical obsessives, The Velvet Underground was essential listening when I first began exploring music.

Jonathan Jones had the good fortune to check out John Cale’s exhibit in the Venice Biennale. Sounds like an interesting exhibit, but of course, The Velvet Underground’s history is always on the agenda:

It sounds at first like an electronic whine, a build-up of noise in the amplifier. Then there’s Lou Reed’s voice, young but hardened: “When the smack begins to flow, and it shoots up the dropper’s neck, and I’m rushing on my run, then I feel just like Jesus’s son.” Behind it all, there’s that strange keening, humming note. Listen to the Velvet Underground’s Heroin on headphones and you realise it’s not feedback after all, not a synthesised warble, but the rich timbre of a violin playing a single note, held for a disturbingly long time. It’s the darkest thing in the darkest of songs. If Reed sounds as if he’s made a pact with the devil, then the musician who plays that buzzing fiddle – John Cale – must be the devil himself.

[From The Velvet Underground’s John Cale on reconnecting with his Welsh roots at the Venice Biennale | Art and design | The Guardian ]

and doesn’t sound like any feel-good reunion between Lou Reed and John Cale will ever occur

Andy Warhol produced the Velvets’ first album and designed its banana peel cover. No figure in modern culture is more misunderstood than the Velvets’ manager, and nobody speaks up for Warhol more eloquently than Cale. He won’t hear a word against Andy. The Factory, he insists, was a true underground – “it was outrageously creative and vital” – and Warhol cared about, and properly curated, the Velvets. A rare bit of footage Warhol shot in the Factory shows Cale fiddling with the amplifier, while Reed strums and drummer Maureen Tucker knocks out her steady, dry beat. Warhol listened carefully, and remembered it all. “He was the one who’d remind us of an idea we’d forgotten.”

Cale is still smarting from what he sees – amazingly – as the tragic waste of the band. Warhol took them to the west coast, he tells me. While they were away, Bob Dylan’s manager took out a lease on their Manhattan venue. This was part of Dylan’s feud with Warhol, whose world is caricatured in lyrics on the 1966 album Highway 61 Revisited. Then Reed sacked Warhol and Cale. A new manager, says Cale, “appealed to Lou’s desire for glory”. In the years since, Reed and Cale have occasionally got back together – but from the furious way he talks, I’d say any further reunion was unlikely.

All through the solo career that followed, Cale has returned again and again to his Welshness. He has recorded Dylan Thomas poems, and in the early 1970s composed a nostalgic Thomas-inspired song, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. And apart from the Thomas obsession, there is a lyricism to his music, one that struggles with his severity and evokes all those years in the Welsh Youth Orchestra.

“Paris 1919” (John Cale)

If you own just one Cale solo album, Paris 1919 is my favorite.

One of John Cale’s very finest solo efforts, Paris 1919 is also among his most accessible records, one which grows in depth and resonance with each successive listen. A consciously literary work – the songs even bear titles like “child’s christmas in wales,” “macbeth,” and “graham greene” – paris 1919 is close in spirit to a collection of short stories; the songs are richly poetic, enigmatic period pieces strongly evocative of their time and place. Chris Thomas’ production is appropriately lush and sweeping, with many tracks set to orchestral accompaniment; indeed, there’s little here to suggest either cale’s noisy, abrasive past or the chaos about to resurface in his subsequent work – for better or worse, his music never achieved a similar beauty again.

Reading Around on May 8th through May 11th

A few interesting links collected May 8th through May 11th:

  • TidBITS Opinion: SFMOMA’s ArtScope Offers New Way To Browse Museum Collections – “The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s ArtScope is a great example of an innovative approach to bringing a museum’s collection to the Web. ArtScope is a visual browsing tool comprised of a thumbnail grid displaying 3,500 works from the SFMOMA’s permanent collection. The grid is zoomable, displaying a lens which can be moved over it to magnify certain areas, enabling users to view hundreds of artworks simultaneously, or just one at a time in close detail.”
  • Death Star & Star Wars Spacecraft Fly Around San Francisco – If you haven’t already seen this…

    “Speaking of great Star Wars videos, Michael Horn made this absolutely amazing video on Current featuring the Death Star and various Star Wars spacecraft flying around San Francisco during Imperial Fleet Week”

  • The Official George W. Bush Presidential Librarium – Completion of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas may be stalled indefinitely, due to an apparent lack of funding, public support, and basic legality. Make no mistake, the public’s desire to endlessly relive Bush’s greatest achievements may go unanswered for years to come—and his legacy remain (like America) in limbo.

    All hope is not lost. We at Origen & Golan Architects are proud to unveil the plans for the George W. Bush Presidential Librarium! Themed attractions provide more entertainment than a library, and more accurately represent Bush’s remarkable legacy—start by exploring The Stax, Supreme Food Court, Book BBQ, and the ever-popular Golden Parachutes. We ask for your support in promoting the Librarium among your colleagues. We cannot blink.

Amazon’s top 100 Jazz albums of all time

Justice Stevens Is an Oxfordian

I wonder, did Shakespeare wear blue jeans? Would George Will talk like a peasant in honor of Shakespeare?1

Unload the Culture Truck

In his 34 years on the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens has evolved from idiosyncratic dissenter to influential elder, able to assemble majorities on issues such as war powers and property rights. Now, the court’s senior justice could be gaining ground on a case that dates back 400 years: the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays.

Justice Stevens, who dropped out of graduate study in English to join the Navy in 1941, is an Oxfordian — that is, he believes the works ascribed to William Shakespeare actually were written by the 17th earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. Several justices across the court’s ideological spectrum say he may be right.


In a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Justice Stevens observed that the purported playwright left no books, nor letters or other records of a literary presence.

“Where are the books? You can’t be a scholar of that depth and not have any books in your home,” Justice Stevens says. “He never had any correspondence with his contemporaries, he never was shown to be present at any major event — the coronation of James or any of that stuff. I think the evidence that he was not the author is beyond a reasonable doubt.”

All signs pointed to de Vere. Justice Stevens mentions that Lord Burghley, guardian of the young de Vere, is generally accepted as the model for the courtier Polonius in “Hamlet.” “Burghley was the No. 1 adviser to the queen,” says the justice. “De Vere married [Burghley’s] daughter, which fits in with Hamlet marrying Polonius’s daughter, Ophelia.”

Shakespeare dedicated two narrative poems to the earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, “who also was a ward of Lord Burghley and grew up in the same household,” Justice Stevens says. “The coincidence…is really quite remarkable.” He asks, “Why in the world would William Shakespeare, the guy from Stratford, be dedicating these works to this nobleman?

[From Justice Stevens Renders an Opinion on Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays –]

[non-WSJ subscribers use this link to read the entire article]

  1. for the record, George Will is one of the biggest pricks working in media today, and recently wrote a jeremiad against the practice of wearing denim. According to Mr. Will, only working class folk should wear jeans, middle class folk and higher society should dress as if they were in an Edith Wharton production []

Reading Around on April 15th through April 16th

A few interesting links collected April 15th through April 16th:

  • The White House – Blog Post – A Vision for High Speed Rail – "The report formalizes the identification of ten high-speed rail corridors as potential recipients of federal funding. Those lines are: California, Pacific Northwest, South Central, Gulf Coast, Chicago Hub Network, Florida, Southeast, Keystone, Empire and Northern New England. Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston to compete for funds to improve the nation’s only existing high-speed rail service:"

    Sign me up!

  • Broward Palm Beach – The Juice – Fort Lauderdale, You Have Tea On Your Face – "And I'm a reporter, I took an (imaginary) oath to comfort the afflicted.

    "What freedoms have you had taken from you?"

    She looked confused. I thought, perhaps in the places Jane gets her news (cough cough Fox News cough) reporters don't worry about those pesky follow-up questions. There was a long pause.

    "Uh…uh…the freedom to choose…the…uh…" Awkward moment"

    idiots – protesting without any clue what they are even protesting.

  • honoria in ciberspazio – Proposal for Live Art Blogging Interactive Austin 2009 – "Problem: After a stimulating conference, attendees' notes lay black and white and sometimes unreadable on the page while vital insights are bright, yet fading in participants' memories.

    Solution: Honoria Starbuck creates live colorful abstract artworks that zing with the high energy in the conference room. Honoria's drawings highlight epiphanies and explore expanding new directions with dynamic aesthetic gusto. These abstract drawings keep the open nature of inquiry buzzing in the wake of the conference."

Reading Around on April 14th

Some additional reading April 14th from 14:44 to 18:08:

Reading Around on April 12th through April 14th

A few interesting links collected April 12th through April 14th:

  • Adventures In Foodie Land: darkness, lasers, ninjas, and child labor » NileGuidance: A Travel Blog – “Moto: In Chicago, the epicenter of the molecular gastronomy, Moto is the place to go for an adventure in food technology and what even qualifies as ‘food.’ Listed on the edible(!) menu are post-modern, multi-sensory concoctions by chef Homaro Cantu using mediums such as liquid nitrogen and Class IV lasers. Chili-Cheese Nachos as a dessert, made with chocolate and flash-frozen mango? Sounds like an adventure to me.

    photo of swanksalot

  • The Inevitable Clash of Management and Unions | new curatorWhat’s the best way to diffuse a situation between the management of a museum and a union representing your disgruntled workers?

    Hint: Don’t go saying they give “the public sector a bad name”.

  • Can the Statusphere Save Journalism?Recently, I enjoyed a refreshing and invigorating dinner with Walt Mossberg. While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the discussion shifted to deep conversation about the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?”
    [photo by swanksalot]

Deadwood officially dead

“Deadwood: The Complete Seasons 1-3” (Michael Almereyda, Timothy Van Patten)

Beth passed on confirmation of what we already expected, namely that Deadwood creator David Milch would never film the four hours of follow-up as promised by HBO and David Milch. Boo.

If you’ve been holding your breath about “Deadwood,” you can now exhale.

The HBO western drama is officially, categorically, absolutely dead — with no possibility of a movie to wrap up storylines that have been dangling for nearly two years.

“Deadwood” departed in August 2006 when creator David Milch, apparently weary of the project, moved on to “John From Cincinnati,” a truly bizarre sci-fi drama starring Austinite Austin Nichols that caught on with a few critics (including me) but very few viewers. It was deemed a gorgeous head-scratcher by most.

After “Deadwood” ended, HBO tried to calm frantic fans with the promise of a future movie that would address the conclusion of the violent goings-on in the Dakota Territory. But as time dragged on, the prospect faded. Actors moved on to other projects, and now Milch is working on another HBO series about a corrupt NYPD squad in the 1970s.

[From “Deadwood” officially dead … no movie planned | TV Blog]

Bummer, but not unexpected. Apparently too expensive a set, too many high profile (expensive) actors, and a high-strung creator with a recent high profile failure (John From Cincinnati). Oh well, another unresolved, flawed drama, just like real life.

RIP Brendan Scanlon aka Solve

Solve Danger

[click image for full version]

RIP Solve aka Brendan Scanlon. Died entirely too young. My condolences to his family, friends, and many fans. I’ve taken several photos of his work, but didn’t know him personally.

Prominent renegade Chicago street artist, Solve, was one of four homicides registered in Chicago this weekend, raising even more the already large number of violent crimes and shootings in the city this year.

Only twenty-five years old, Solve, A.K.A. Brendan Scanlon, was found with multiple stab wounds to the chest at 3032 W. Palmer Blvd. at 2:40 a.m.

A suspect is in custody for the stabbing incident, but no charges have yet been filed.

The murder Of Brendan Scanlon delivers a overwhelmingly saddening blow to the art and graffiti community of Chicago. Solve was a major influence and participant in the emerging and struggling Chicago street art scene in a city with one of the strongest anti-graffiti laws and tactics in the United States.

[Click to read more .: Chicago Street Artist Killed in Weekend Violence, R.I.P. Solve]

see also discussion here, and brief article at the Sun-Times.

Brendan Scanlon, of the 2800 block of West Palmer Blvd., according to the medical examiner’s office, was found with multiple stab wounds to the chest at 3032 W. Palmer Blvd. about 2:40 a.m., Kubiak said.

As of 6:30 a.m. an adult offender was in custody, but no charges have yet been filed.


— update: obituary in the Sun-Times

At least one person is in custody for the fatal stabbing of a well-known local graffiti artist in the Logan Square neighborhood early Saturday.

The man was found with multiple stab wounds to the chest at 3032 W. Palmer Blvd. about 2:40 a.m., according to police News Affair Officer Laura Kubiak.

The man, identified as Brendan Scanlon, was leaving a party when he got into a “verbal altercation” and was subsequently stabbed, police said.

Police were “talking to people” Saturday evening and as of 6:30 a.m. an “adult offender” was in custody. No charges have been filed.

Scanlon, of 2846 W. Palmer Blvd., died of a stab wound to the chest, an autopsy determined Saturday. His death was ruled a homicide by the County Medical Examiner’s office.

Scanlon graduated from the Illinois Institute of Art in 2007, and worked as a freelance artist and graphic designer, according to his Web site.

Scanlon is reportedly the man behind SOLVE, a local graffiti and street artist. Many people discussed his death on a Chicago Street Art online discussion forum Saturday.

“The Chicago street art and graffiti community has suffered another devastating blow to our family,” one of the forum members posted Saturday. A memorial featuring Scanlon’s work is reportedly being planned.

Scanlon wanted “to be a respected member of the international design community,” and thought “art is one of the things that makes life worth it,” according to his Myspace profile, where friends posted mournful comments Saturday.

Grand Central Area detectives are investigating.

[From Fight leads to fatal stabbing of local artist :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State]

GapersBlock profiled Solve, and some other Chicago street artists a while ago.

His handle is a verb, not a noun. SOLVE uses his street art to “foster a more positive, productive society.” His work tends to be among the most confrontational in the Chicago street art scene — and that’s precisely his aim. Although he primarily works in larger format paste-ups, SOLVE brings his inventive and colorful style to other aspects of the North Side, especially signal boxes.

SOLVE wants you to know that he is not in a gang. And neither are most street artists.

RIP Solve closeup

Solve RIP Heartbroken tiny RGB

Continue reading “RIP Brendan Scanlon aka Solve”