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Watch the Wall Street occupation live!


Revolutions are great places to meet members of the opposite sex… just sayin’

There have been a lot of people wondering why they major media seems to be ignoring the Wall Street demonstrations. Some are calling for the protests to be brought to the media and it seems like a decent tactic would be to take the demonstrations directly to the headquarters of the various networks and news organizations so they simply can’t ignore it. In the meantime, until the networks deign to cover them, you can watch a live feed of the Wall Street protests on the Global Revolution Livestream channel.
 

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com
Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.26.2011
03:04 pm
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Support the Wall Street protestors with some pizza!


 
If you’d like to show some support for the brave and persistent protestors who are occupying lower Manhattan to call attention to rapacious finance capitalism run amok, why not consider sending some… pizza?

Some local pizzerias listed by Get Smart News who’ll deliver to the anti-capitalism protestors. Liberatos Pizza & Parmigiana at 17 Cedar Street are offering a “Stand-Up-for-Your-Beliefs” special, “The Occu-Pie,” but you might want to consider ordering some meatless (if not vegan) options for this bunch—call Liberatos at (212) 344-3464

For some healthier options click here; below, some lower Manhattan pizzerias:

Adrienne’s Pizza Bar Restaurant, 54 Stone Street, (212) 248-3838
Harry’s Italian Pizza Bar, 2 Gold Street, (212) 747-0797
Papa John’S Pizza, 21 Maiden Lane # 23, (212) 608-7272
Underground Pizzeria, 3 Hanover Square, (212) 425-4442
Zeytuna, 59 Maiden Lane, (212) 742-2436
Big Al’s Chicago Style Pizza, 9 Thames Street, (212) 964-3269
Caruso’s Pizza & Pasta140 Fulton Street, (212) 267-2927
Cucina Bene Pizza, 41 Exchange Place, (212) 635-0345
Grotto Pizzeria & Restaurant, 69 New Street, (212) 809-6990
Caruso’s Pizza, 42 Broadway (212) 785-7747
Friendly Gourmet Pizza, 59 Nassau Street, (212) 791-180

Some non-pizza local restaurants that will deliver to the protestors:

Lemon Grass Grill, (212) 809-8038
Toloache Taqueria, 212) 809-9800
Alfanoose, (212) 528-4669

Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination (Guardian)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.26.2011
01:48 pm
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Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid
09.23.2011
07:25 pm
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Was it a case of more money than sense that led Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, formerly of the KLF, to burn 1 million pounds sterling on the Isle of Jura in 1994? It’s a question neither man has fully answered.

After the event, both said they wouldn’t talk about it for twenty-three years. Since then, Drummond has spoken about it twice: once in 2000, when he said he was unrepentent; then in 2004, when he admitted to the BBC he regretted burning the cash.

The money allegedly came from royalties Drummond and Cauty made through the success of their band the KLF - the world’s most successful band in 1991. After retiring from music, Drummond and Cauty reunited the K Foundation, and established an award for the “worst artist of the year”, which they gave as a £40,000 prize to that year’s Turner Prize winner, Rachel Whiteread.

The following year, the pair carried out their biggest stunt - burning a million quid of their own money.

Was it real? Did they actually burn a million? Or, was the money bogus?

One theory suggests it was all a hoax and the notes burnt had been intended for incineration, being purchased from the Bank of England by the K Foundation for £40,000.

Seems possible, but Drummond and Cauty were accompanied by journalist Jim Reid who wrote the whole event up in the Observer newspaper:

“The money is not beautiful, and it is only intimidating for a while. It is impossible, looking at it, to imagine what you might buy with it. Four bundles for a nice flat in Chelsea, the whole lot for a lifetime not working. It doesn’t look that impressive. The next thing you feel is the need to do something, not to let it just stand there. Because, of course, I, like anybody else with healthy appetites, want it.

“Lying on the floor in its proud plastic packages, the money represents power. But it is a power that is painfully vulnerable. Cauty separates two fifties from a bundle, hands one to Drummond, and taking his lighter, lights them both. Despite the rain and wind outside, the money is going to burn. In fact, nothing could burn better.

“Drummond is standing to the left of the fireplace throwing fresh bundles in, Cauty is to the right, screwing up three or four fifties at a time. After five minutes their actions become mechanical, almost like it is peat or coal that they are fuelling their fire with. But this is going to take some time. ‘Well that’s OK,’ says Cauty, rolling a cigarette. ‘It’d take a long time to spend it. Can I spend an hour out of my life to burn a million quid? (Drummond laughs)... All the time you say about things: ‘I haven’t got the time to do that.’ Well, I’ve definitely got time to do this.’

“The fireplace is a rough affair. Occasional fifties get wedged in crevices above the fire before they eventually fall down to be destroyed. Cauty is poking at the fire with a stick, moving the bigger bundles into the heat. Whole blocks of 50 grand remain resolutely unburnt: singed, charred, but perfectly legal. We have a bottle of whisky with us and it is passed round as if nothing could be more natural than burning £1 million on a remote Scottish island in the middle of the night. This is the truly shocking thing about the evening. It almost seems inevitable.

“It took about two hours for that cash to go up in flames. I looked at it closely, it was real. It came from a bona fide security firm and was not swapped at any time on our journey. More importantly, perhaps, after working with the K Foundation I know they are capable of this.”

A few days later, a total of £1500 in charred notes were washed up on the shores of Jura, much to the islanders’ disgust.

Did they actually burn £1m? And what did it mean? Julian Cope called the stunt “intellectual dry wank”, while the Observer in 2000 returned to it stating:

“It wasn’t a stunt. They really did it. If you want to rile Bill Drummond, you call him a hoaxer. ‘I knew it was real,’ a long-time friend and associate of his group The KLF tells me, ‘because afterwards, Jimmy and Bill looked so harrowed and haunted. And to be honest, they’ve never really been the same since.”

Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid questions our strange and fetishistic relationship with money - who has not considered how they would spend a million? - as it reaffirms a moral responsibility wealth (in any form) brings, by exploring a one-off event that now runs counter to the current global obsession with failing banks, bankrupt economies and corrupt financial markets.
 

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.23.2011
07:25 pm
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Ralph Nader: USA is a two-party dictatorship
09.16.2011
11:43 am
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Last night Ralph Nader appeared on Fox News to discuss a democratic primary challenge he’s helping to organize against Barack Obama to “hold his feet to the fire.” I think what Nader means by this is that Obama needs to start doing some liberal stuff.

“The important thing here is if he’s not challenged from the progressive-liberal wing of his party, that elected him, it’ll be a very dull campaign, people will not be very enthusiastic, more and more people will stay home, it’s not good for him,. If he’s a good debater, if he knows his facts, he’ll want to be challenged because he’ll come out much sharper.”

It’s surprising how little Neil Cavuto challenged Nader in this segment. To his credit, he hardly even tried and let Nader say some things you wouldn’t normally hear on Fox News without someone else trying to shout over it.

Or maybe it’s just that Nader isn’t exactly saying anything too positive about Obama… Either way, I’m glad Cavuto’s audience got to hear this.
 

 
Via Mox News

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.16.2011
11:43 am
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Subverting American Apparel: an interview with the amazing Nancy Upton
09.11.2011
02:25 pm
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You might have seen the name Nancy Upton trending online in the last few days. After taking offence at the language in a recent talent-hunt campaign by American Apparel (a company whose image is already a source of much controversy, and who are looking for a plus-size model to advertise their new range), Nancy decided to do some satirical beauty shots of herself sexily consuming food and enter them into the contest. Well, the photos came out very well and have proved wildly popular with the public, who have voted Nancy into first place in the competition (even though she has stated that she would not accept the prize if the judges chose her to win). 

All in all this is a pretty awesome story, which touches on female sexual empowerment, body image, sexist corporate branding and the acceptability of sizeism within the mainstream. I sent Nancy some brief questions for Dangerous Minds, and she was kind enough to answer them in some detail:

How did you feel about American Apparel before their “plus size” competition? What was it about this particular campaign that made you want to enter?

I feel like they’ve always gone above and beyond other companies in objectifying women. Basically it was the fact that they were trying to take advantage of a new market but make it seem like they were doing people a favor. I answered this a bit with my Daily Beast article.

“The company was co-opting the mantra of plus-size empowerment and glazing it with its unmistakable brand of female objectification. The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind.
...
American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products.”

 

 

What’s your reaction to being voted no. 1 by the public?

Complete and utter shock. I never expected to actually be accepted into the contest, and I certainly never expected for people (other than friends who knew what I was doing and why I was doing it) to want me to win.

You’ve taken a bit of flack for supposedly insulting large women with the pics - how do you respond to that?

It’s actually very upsetting for me to hear from women that they feel insulted by what I did. I feel like, being a plus-sized woman myself, it should be very apparent that the photos are done to mock people who are the ones judging overweight men and women. Also, that they were done in the spirit of silly shenanigans and having fun being yourself. I feel like watching a plus-sized model get brutally airbrushed or only shot from one specific, slimming angle for an ad campaign is way more insulting. It’s interesting that by insulting a company that has a history of negativity towards women, I’ve managed to insult the same women the company marginalizes.

You have already said that if you do win you wouldn’t accept the prize - but wouldn’t it be better if you did?

Would it be better? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t appear for American Apparel because I disagree with their business practices, specifically their system of advertising. I feel like putting your face on a product or brand you can’t actually get behind is pretty gross. I’m also not sure it would send a great message. I feel like I’ve had an opportunity to make a statement about standing up (or at least satirizing) for what you believe in, and if I turned around and accepted a job from AA, that statement would be negated to a degree.
 

 
Do you have any favourite other models in the comp you think should win?

I’m not going to play favorites, but I definitely think the person chosen should ACTUALLY be unknown, especially since there’s no monetary compensation. Some of the women in the competition not only had modeling experience, but are actually signed with agencies. I’ve always been under the impression that once you have representation, you should avoid contests and stunts like this. But what the hell do I know about the world of modeling?

What do you think as to how large people are treated in mainstream culture and fashion in general, and is there anything anyone can do to affect this?

I feel like it’s a dialogue/presence that is always in a flux between shrinking and expanding. For every “fat best friend” throw away character on television, we get one who is brilliantly written and portrayed. Increasingly we see different shapes and looks being incorporated into major ad campaigns and runway work. Are large people treated well across the board? No. Has their level of representation and respect grown from where it was 10 years ago? Yes.

I think people are becoming more and more outspoken about the role of the plus-sized model in fashion, as well as in other aspects of entertainment and art. If we continue to keep those lines of communication open and express our desires directly and dynamically, change will happen.
 

 
Are there any designers/labels/outlets you think DO respect plus size people?

I think some designers have cuts that are more generous or have become more generous as time has gone on. Diane Von Furstenberg, for example. I believe they go up to a 14 now, as does Kate Spade, which is interesting considering their clothing line isn’t even the company’s main selling point.

I’m a big fan of the Dove campaigns. They’re very natural and don’t feel patronizing or cheap. They’re honest, simple and encourage individuality. The Gentlewoman had a great article on Adele earlier this year, and I’m a big fan of the way they profile strong, interesting women in their magazine. Target has a great selection of sizes and, I swear, every time I walk in there, the clothes are better and better.

And finally the photographs are beautiful - can you tell us more about the photographer?

Shannon Skloss, the magnificent. She has a website that will be launching soon, but for now you can find her business page on Facebook. She’s incredibly funny, vibrant and talented. We had so much fun on the shoot, and her work is just outstanding. We were introduced through a mutual friend when I needed some headshots done a few months ago, and I’m so glad it worked out that way.

Voting has now closed on the American Apparel “Next Big Thing” campaign, though we await with interest any kind of statement from the company. Shannon Skloss’ Facebook photography page is here.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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09.11.2011
02:25 pm
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The End of Work: A conversation with Charles Hugh Smith

Charles Hugh Smith, author of Survival+ and An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times discusses why the Great Recession is here to stay, the structural unemployment that will affect many people and the future of the US economy. Plus, investing your money and time in your own life and in your own community and not getting burned by a publicly traded company you’ve never personally visited. Charles Hugh Smith blogs daily at Of Two Minds.com.
 

 

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.03.2011
11:19 pm
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Greenmeme: The (profoundly) eco-conscious artforms of Brian Howe and Freya Bardell
08.29.2011
03:38 pm
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Above, Greenmeme’s Freya Bardell constructing “Migration of the Marine Tumbleweed.”


Brian Howe and Freya Bardell work under the studio name Greenmeme, a cross-disciplinary design collective, based in Los Angeles. Bardell and Howe create site-specific artistic environments that encourage the public to participate and think, promoting both environmental and cultural awareness of given landscapes and ecosystems. Through their public artworks they can hope to provoke creative dialogue about deep ecological issues that matter to all of us.

I recently caught up with Freya Bardell over email:

Richard Metzger: What is your “River Liver” installation about?

Freya Bardell: The first “River Liver” was created in 2005 in the Los Angeles River, seeking to raise awareness of the many ecological and cultural conditions that line its concrete banks. Since that time, the “River Liver” project has become a yearly ritual, designed to “restore” the health of different types of stressed and polluted bodies of water. “River Livers” are functional sculptures, made through community events. They take place “down by the river,” in communities where doing so is not normal.
 

 
We encourage people to create their own River Livers, based around developing community strategies for culturally and ecologically reclaiming their water resources. River Livers re-mediate their environment but ,most often, we see the most significant remediation within ourselves, walking away with new friendships based in an enthusiasm to come together and pro-actively clean and reclaim our environment.

Richard Metzger: How many locations have you installed in 5 years?

Freya Bardell: Beyond the yearly Los Angeles River ritual, we have installed a series in Stowe Lake and we are planning a 2012 launch of one on the Trinity River, Dallas, TX.

As I keep mentioning our work is site specific, and therefore we were excited to have the opportunity to utilize the paddle boat culture on the Stowe Lake in our artwork by inviting the public to hook the River Livers onto their paddle boats and tow them to different parts of the lake that they thought needed remediation.

Coming up in Dallas, there will be something totally different. We’re anxious to delve into the site history and see what emerges. Maybe we could create more of an atoll or invite people to inhabit one of the islands. We have to get there first and see.
 

“Migration of the Marine Tumbleweed” in Santa Monica bay.

Richard Metzger: That amazing glowing, floating trash project you did for the big Glow festival in the Santa Monica bay was also, obviously, about water. What is the connection, if any between these two pieces?

Freya Bardell: We are particularly interested in the environmental and cultural systems at play around our studio and in the city we live in. The ideas that watersheds and air-sheds, cross all kinds physical, political and economic boundaries, picking up all kinds of crap on the way and depositing it out into the oceans or into the atmosphere. The “River Liver” projects looks at the source of these contaminants. Other projects, such as the “Migration of the Marine Tumbleweed,” the one you saw off the beach in Santa Monica look at the collection points of these toxic sources, pollutants gathering in the pacific ocean at the “the trash vortex” or “great pacific gyre”. The project is essentially a story that talks about plastic pollution in our oceans.  In the narrative we reconstruct tiny pieces of plastic pollution into fictitous sea creatures, that evolved from the toxic soup of plastic and electronic parts which litter the vortex. The Mum, Dad and Baby tumbleweeds, communicated through a light based language to a team of “scientists” from the “Center for Marine Intelligence,” who could decode to those at the Glow festival the tales of their journey from the vortex
 

Above, the Environmental Learning Center project, recently completed, at the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Los Angeles.

A third piece in the theme of watersheds, water usage and waste water it our latest project, “Hyperion-Son of Uranus,” a giant 3D topographical map of the Los Angeles sewer system. Based upon the Thomas Guide grid of Los Angeles County, reclaimed Caltrans road signs have been made to represent levels of sewer infrastructure lying beneath LA County.

Richard Metzger: What led you both in your careers to do work like this? There’s almost no precedent for the sort of interdisciplinary environmental and scientific blend of the art you make. How did you get into, or even create this field you’re in?

Freya Bardell: I studied Environmental Science in Manchester, UK and my first job was designing and constructing learning gardens for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Life led me to Los Angeles and I began my professional career here as art director. Brian comes from architecture and earthship building. I think the meshing of these various disciplines has helped mold our studio and the type of projects we feel compelled to create. We often work with teams of experts to help us overcome some of the more challenging technical aspects of our work.

Richard Metzger: Is it often major corporations and their foundations who underwrite your grants or do the budgets come from the local governments in areas where you work?

Freya Bardell: Our first projects were actually self-funded, in kind donations, small stipends from artwalks, and some private commissions. With a small portfolio of environmental art, we began applying for art grants the first of which was for $500, then $1000. Most of our projects have been funded though local governments such as The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The projects are very site specific. We rarely have an idea of a form before we have a site, before we understand the environmental and cultural factors at play and most importantly, who will be the audience.

Richard Metzger: Knowing the long, long lead-time and planning stages it entails to pull off the kinds of projects you do, from finding the money to actually planning them out and constructing them, I’m wondering what your next projects are?

Freya Bardell: Our most current projects have incredibly long time frames, some not being installed until 2015 or later. We are designing the first traffic roundabout in the City of Los Angeles at the confluence of the LA River and the Arroyo Seco. Water will be a major element within the 100’ diameter roundabout. Underneath the roundabout is a water catchment cistern that captures rainwater and run-off hitting the roundabout. This water will be used to irrigate a California native landscape. Throughout the landscape will be nine large stone sculptures.
 

Above, a visualization of Greenmeme’s “Climate Clock” proposal.

We’re spending the rest of the summer developing our proposal for the San Jose Climate Clock competition, a 100-year instrument to aid in the visualization of Climate Change in the Bay Area. We were selected as finalists over two years ago, and since then we have been refining the prototype of our proposal with the University of California Natural Reserve system and Stanford University to develop an artist-in-residency program within their high-tech field stations. Our main focus in this phase is the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, a NRS Field Station near San Jose. There we have already begun a respectful transformation of a 100-year-old cabin into the first studio space for our art-science residency program. This will become the site for the first in series of yearly artist residencies over the next 100 years.

Richard Metzger: You certainly do plan things out well in advance, don’t you?

Freya Bardell: Yes, I think you can safely say that!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.29.2011
03:38 pm
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George Jackson: Soledad Brother 40 years later


 
Forty years after his death, George Jackson continues to reflect different things to different people depending on their ideologies and experiences.

To some, Jackson was a renowned author, Marxist, and activist truth-teller who brought the injustices of the American experience in and out of prison into harsh light as the once-vibrant ‘60s faded to a disillusioned and bloody end.

To others, he was a career criminal and prisoner turned violent radical whose acts and incitements brought misery to many and resulted in the kind of revolutionary martyrdom now worshiped by Islamicists and Tea Party extremists.

In a society that both thrives on a fundamental class-based inequality and manages to keep its prison population of 2 million over 40% black, Jackson remains a figure of some relevance, however legendary. Perhaps the best way to get a picture of the man is to read his words in Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson

On the ideological side of things, here’s George Jackson - 40 year commemoration, a video produced by Jonathan Jackson Jr:
 

 
After the jump: George Jackson in context, and Bob Dylan’s salute to the man…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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08.22.2011
12:16 am
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Syrians swiping and trashing portraits of al-Assad
08.16.2011
06:27 pm
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The destruction of a dictator’s likenesses has always proved symbolically powerful, whether it’s a Haitian kid taking a pick-axe to a Jean-Claude Duvalier poster in 1985 or Libyan protestors shoeing the televised image of Muammar Gaddaffi more recently.

It’s been a spring and summer of brave protest in Syria, and a bloody crackdown by the country’s president Bashar al-Assad has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,600. A squad of Madrid-based Syrian expatriates have taken a cue from fellow protestors in the Arab world and offered their own show of solidarity.

No portrait of Assad in a Syrianair office is safe now. Oh, and sorry, trash-bin.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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08.16.2011
06:27 pm
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DeLoot London: The opposite of a boycott
08.15.2011
04:50 pm
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Rioters may have helped themselves to the inventory of local shops, but DeLoot London wants to help insure that none of them shuts by pointing out to concerned people how they can support these damaged businesses with their purchases. DeLoot London aims to help these small business owners to get back on their feet with the opposite of a boycott:

DeLoot London’s mission is to make sure that not a single shop that was looted during the riots is forced to close. While a small number of people did the damage, we can all help our local, independent businesses recover by spending our money with them.

This map will show you where your money will do the most good. If you know a looted shop that’s not on the map, send details to help@delootlondon.co.uk and we’ll add it. Let’s go shopping, and DeLoot London!

I’m normally not one to try to encourage consumerism, but DeLoot London’s heart is in the right place. Find out more at De-Loot London’s efforts to mitigate the damage of the England riots at their official website.

Thanks, Gabriella Wingådh!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.15.2011
04:50 pm
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