New employment opportunities for little people.
New employment opportunities for little people.
Photos by Krista Simmons
As eagle-eyed readers may have noticed, we are currently running banner ads for The Gap and there is a little widget in the bottom left-hand side of the screen. This post is what you call advertorial, a mix of advertising and editorial, that hopefully will serve the dual purpose of being a “word from our sponsor” and equally be something of value for Dangerous Minds readers.
Los Angeles is the denim design capital of America. Even after most American clothing companies outsourced their manufacturing overseas, a robust denim infrastructure for receiving, sorting and finishing denim garments still existed in the “Fashion District” of Downtown Los Angeles.
Eventually these tasks, too, were outsourced, but the denim finishing infrastructure (wash facilities, garment assemblies, embroiderers, etc) remained behind. Beginning in the late 90s, small boutique jeans companies began to take advantage of what the district offered, producing small runs of high-quality “premium” jeans—you know, the kind that cost $300—and creating the luxury denim trend.
The Gap is currently re-branding itself in an interesting new way: They’ve recently opened a denim design studio in Downtown Los Angeles, not only to take advantage of the denim industry’s support structure as it exists here, but also so they can recruit from the ranks of the finest, most forward-thinking jeans designers in the world. The goal is to “democratize” high-end denim and make it affordable for everyone.
Los Angeles is a “strange attractor,” drawing in some of the most creative, intelligent and innovative people from all over the planet. It’s THE city where nearly everyone you meet has a connection to the creative arts. I’m a big civic booster of my adopted hometown. I love LA and absolutely consider myself a “Los Angeleano.”
I am especially fond of Downtown. It’s the part of the city where LA’s creative momentum can be most viscerally experienced. Forward-thinking street fashion, art galleries, restaurants and gourmet coffee. Iconic modern architecture like Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall. The gigantic, megawatt Staples Center. The nightclubs and bars. The trendy, chic hotels. The film festivals. Underground comedy clubs. Downtown has it all within walking distance and there’s still a sense of slight menace and danger—like pre-Giuliani New York—giving DTLA some extra points to my mind. You really feel like something is happening all around when you’re in Downtown Los Angeles. I love that feeling, like I’m right in the thick of it. It makes perfect sense to me that The Gap has opened up a denim design studio here to soak up some of this world-class creativity as they seek to renew their brand.
There is a lot to appreciate about DTLA. These these are a few of my favorite things:
Usually the first place I take visiting out-of-towners is Little Tokyo. The architecture in the area, the things for sale in the shops and especially the people… all of it seems so much like a little piece of Tokyo was broken off and dropped into a spot on the eastside of LA. I’ve been to Japan and I think Downtown’s Little Tokyo district really deserves its name. The streets are slightly narrower, there is a fair amount of cobblestone and the it feels a bit more cramped than other parts of town. It really does feel like you’re in Tokyo. The details speak of the area’s authentic Toyko-style experience: Sweet shaved-ice desserts can be found everywhere, the best toy stores in town are in the vicinity and practically everyone smokes…
The vendors at the Little Toyko Square mall sell real Japanese stuff to Japanese people living in Los Angeles who want the same food and products they have at home. Even though the Kinokuniya bookstore—my main reason for going there in the past—is no longer in the mall, I still love it. A visit to the big grocery store there is an event in itself.
Inside the mall you will find an insanely advanced video arcade, a bowling alley, clothing boutiques, karaoke bars, noodle houses (like the delicious Hana-Ichimonme where lunch is around $6) and those stores that sell herbal remedies, foot massagers and questionable Japanese electronic “health” devices.
More of the Dangerous Minds guide to Downtown Los Angeles after the jump…
Here are three TV commercials that jumped on the hippie bandwagon in the Sixties. While condemning the counter-culture, mainstream media sure loved to use the energy and colors of psychedelia to sell, as demonstrated in these go-go crazy ads, clothing, sparkplugs and cameras.
Here’s a trippy/weird commercial for IHOP. Thanks to DM reader Wandering Mort for turning us on to this.
Via Copy Ranter
I remember when cocaine was considered a benign social lubricant, a status symbol, and surefire way to get laid. Back when an elephant’s tusk was nothing more than a nifty accessory for the cokehound flush with money and a perverse sense of hipness.
Each of our exotic spoons, straws, and vials is delicately carved by skilled artisans from the finest center cuts of imported African ivory…the ideal coke surface. Ideal, because moisture does not condense on it, no particles will stick to its surface. The unique quality, coupled with the exquisite beauty of each hand carved design, makes each piece worth its weight ins snow.”
The company manufacturing these lovely products was located 20 miles east of Boulder, Colorado. In the mid-70s, Boulder was flooded with high-grade cocaine and some young dealers/entrepreneurs became very rich. Allegedly, some of the blow money ended up being funneled into small businesses that pioneered Boulder’s natural foods industry. At the time, no one knew just how nasty cocaine and the culture surrounding it would become. As the quality of the drug became increasingly degraded, the experience of using it correspondingly became more and more unpleasant. In the end, the scene went from being fun to being pathetic.
Cocaine is the only drug that I continued to use long after it was making me miserable. Decades later, the thought of snorting a line makes me shudder with revulsion.
This Guinness commercial is a decade old but I just discovered it. I don’t think it ever aired on television outside of the United Kingdom. It may be new to some of you as well.
It’s brilliantly directed by Jonathan Glazer who has also done outstanding videos for Nick Cave, Radiohead and Massive Attack. His feature length film Birth is a hugely underrated film released in 2004. Fans of Stanley Kubrick should view it immediately.
Film footage of surfers riding waves in Waimei Bay in Hawaii were digitally combined, using the blue screen effect, with footage of specially trained Lippizaner stallions jumping over hurdles in large pools of water. The images together create magic.
Mike Saputo’s poster design for this year’s Fantastic Fest.
I’m convinced there’s no better city in the world to be a movie fan than Austin, Texas. Add this to our bragging rights:
Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library is partnering with the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse theater chain to archive the company’s growing collection of original film posters designed by contemporary graphic artists. The first group of the Alamo Drafthouse’s Mondo posters arriving at the Herrick will include the latest print, a poster for the classic horror film “Frankenstein” (1931), created by Drew Struzan.
The Alamo Drafthouse began producing limited-edition silkscreen posters in 2003. Mondo, the company’s art boutique, now produces more than 120 posters annually, and through it prominent artists such as Martin Ansin, Shepard Fairey, Olly Moss, Tyler Stout and Ken Taylor are commissioned to create new art for classic films, as well as alternative posters for contemporary movies such as “Inglourious Basterds,” “True Grit” and “Thor.”
“We are always seeking out the unusual, and the Mondo collection certainly fits the bill,” said the Academy’s graphic arts librarian, Anne Coco. “We are looking forward to working with the Alamo Drafthouse to ensure that its contribution to the art of movie posters will be around for future generations to appreciate.”
This ongoing gift from the Alamo Drafthouse will be housed along with the Herrick’s existing collection of more than 38,000 movie posters. The posters in the library’s collection are stored in climate-controlled vaults, and are scanned and entered into the library’s online catalog, where they can be viewed by the public.
“We’re extremely grateful to the Academy for its interest in archiving Mondo’s poster collection,” said Mondo Creative Director Justin Ishmael. “We’re fans of movie art, first and foremost, and to have our artists’ work archived alongside some of the classics of movie poster art is an incredible honor.”
The Margaret Herrick Library poster collection includes a wide range of works created by noted graphic artists, such as the Stenberg brothers’ constructivist poster for “Man with a Movie Camera” and Wiktor Gorka’s arresting poster for the Polish release of “Cabaret.” The library also holds all of the film posters designed by Saul Bass, including his groundbreaking key art for “The Man with the Golden Arm.”
The Austin Film Festival and Fantastic Fest are coming up in the next few months and Dangerous Minds will be there.
Check out some of the stunning movie posters at Mondo’s website.
Here’s a taste:
Graphic design company The Library created these ads for Australian printing company Colour Chiefs. The models are wearing printing machine parts as their costumes…ready for the digital Pow Wow. Nicely done. Cyber punk meets the classic Native American portraits of Edward S. Curtis.
More photos after the jump…
Letterheady is a pretty nifty website devoted to uniquely designed letterheads and stationery of famous people and businesses, from Frank Zappa and Frank Lloyd Wright to the Church Of Scientology.
These are some of my favorites but there are many many more graphic delights (and in some cases absolute atrocities, see the Scientology stationery) to be viewed at Letterheady’s site.
Designed by Barney Bubbles; used in 1973 by Stacia, then-dancer for the band Hawkwind.
Charles Manson. ATW stands for air, trees, water and animals
More letterheads after the jump…
This commercial for Vivident will stick to the underside of your brain like a piece of gum to your shoe.