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Awesome vintage ouija boards
04.04.2016
04:20 pm

Topics:
Design
Games
History
Occult

Tags:


Mecca Answer Board, Lee Industries, Chicago, c. 1940
 
There are two facts that a visit to the incredibly terrific Museum of Talking Boards website will cement in any viewer—the high point for ouija consumption was the 1940s and Chicago was the place where most ouija boards were manufactured.

The Museum of Talking Boards has done an excellent job wrangling what must be a chaotic field with a lot of damaged or substandard exemplars. Every board is lovingly photographed, and informational details about the time and place each board was created are always easy to find. Truly, a tremendous job.

These images are enough to drive me to eBay, where you can get many of these design marvels for prices ranging between $20 and $500.

ADIOS, FAREWELL, AU REVOIR, LATER DUDE, RECEPTION BAD, uhhhh, STATIC?
 

Black Magic Talking board, Gift Craft, Chicago, c. 1944
 

Crystal Gazer, A Barrel of Fun, c. 1940
 

Father Time Mystery Talking Board, T. Eaton Company, Toronto, 1945
 

Guiding Star Board, Palmer and Associates, Chicago
 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Leigh Bowery’s shock therapy: ‘When I’m dressed up I reach more people than a painting in a gallery’
03.28.2016
12:00 pm

Topics:
Art
Design
Fashion

Tags:

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The dictionary defines the word “legend” as:

1. a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated.

2. an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field.

It would be fair to say this word fits rather snugly with the performance artist, designer, would-be pop star, icon, artist’s model and “work of art” Leigh Bowery.

When asked recently, “Who was Leigh Bowery?” I was briefly flummoxed as where to begin in any attempt to describe this wonderfully extravagant yet self-indulgent character. There were so many facets to his life—so many fictions, so many facts—it seemed rather unsporting to choose only one.

Leigh Bowery was born on March 26th, 1961, in the small working class suburb of Sunshine in Melbourne, Australia. He was was the eldest of two children born to Tom and Evelyn Bowery. His mother had lived her entire life in Sunshine and raised Leigh and his younger sister Bronwyn in a house opposite her own childhood home. Sunshine was that kind of community. People lived and died there—they knew their place and rarely ventured beyond its boundaries.

Leigh was a large beefy child with a head of golden curls. Because of his build, his father hoped Leigh would become an Australian rules football player or at the very least something sporty. Yet Leigh showed no inclination for such physical activities. He preferred gardening and later needlework—something he first learnt while convalescing in hospital after an operation to help his testicles descend.

At school he was a very bright pupil. He had a keen and enquiring mind, was constantly reading books and showed great aptitude for classical music—in particular playing the piano. His life changed after he won a scholarship to Melbourne High School.

Leigh later claimed that he had known he was gay from the age of twelve. During his time at Melbourne High, he began his sexual adventures. On his way home from school, Leigh cruised the public toilets at the central railway station. He discovered wearing a school uniform made him highly attractive to the older men.  By his own estimate—which may or may not be true—he claimed he had sex with about one thousand men before he left school.
 
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His parents had hoped Leigh would study music at university. Instead, he chose to study fashion design at the Melbourne Institute of Technology. Leigh was one of only two boys in his year. He quickly learnt how to machine sew and began making some of his early flamboyant designs. These were not exactly appreciated by his teachers who wanted him to design ladies’ underwear and children’s clothes.

But Leigh had moved ahead of such small ambitions and wanted to create his own designs. He was eighteen and had fallen under the influence of punk—as he later explained in an interview.

The thing which made everything click for me was the punk movement where people used themselves and their appearance to describe so much and I just loved Busby Berkeley movies—all those sequins and feathers—and I would always have my nose in a National Geographic, gazing at women with stretched necks and rings going in strange places.

Leigh was also very enamored with the club scene in London, which he read about in all the imported pop and fashion magazines he got his hands on.

I wanted to hang out with the art and fashion people. I wanted to go to nightclubs and look at the clothes in the shops. I loved the idea of punk and the New Romantics. England seemed the only place to go, I considered New York but that just seemed full of cheap copies of London. I don’t think I made a mistake.

He quit college and worked in a department store to raise the funds for the London move. When he arrived in the city of his dreams, Leigh lived with a friend. When this friend moved out, Leigh decided to change his life and become more involved with the city around him. According to his friend and biographer Sue Tilley, Leigh made a list of four resolutions on New Year’s Eve 1980:

1) Get his weight down to twelve stone.
2) Learn as much as possible.
3) Establish himself in either fashion, art or writing.
4) Wear make-up every day.

Leigh managed to meet three of these resolutions over the next decade.

Read more about Leigh Bowery, plus a documentary about him hosted by Hugh Laurie, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Stunning mosque ceilings highlight the intricate beauty of Islamic architecture
03.21.2016
01:19 pm

Topics:
Art
Belief
Design

Tags:


Fatima Masumeh Shrine, Qom, Iran
 
There are really no words to describe the beautiful intricate geometric forms and explosion of colors found on mosque ceilings found in the Arab world and elsewhere. But why bother trying to describe such totally mind-melting eye candy, anyway? I’m left speechless. Just look…

If you’re interested in a high resolution of any of these photos, you can download ‘em here.


Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
 

Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
 

Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
 

Vakil Mosque, Shiraz
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Vintage Vespa scooters turned into office chairs
03.14.2016
01:17 pm

Topics:
Design

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I’m digging these upcycled Italian scooter office chairs. I mean, aren’t they a nice change to all the Aeron chairs you see everywhere? These scooter chairs have functioning headlights to boot! The chairs, made by Spanish workshop Bel & Bel, are manufactured from ‘80s vintage Italian scooters.

The chair has a reclining feature, a reinforced internal structure and a base with hydraulic piston to regulate and adjust to the most convenient height. It is a very comfortable ergonomic chair, imitation leather upholstered and soft tread silent wheels.

Its traditional character and high-end components only makes it a unique product and a great sample of contemporary design.

It is also a piece emotionally charged for all lovers of this classic and iconic motorcycle.

The chair is being made in strictly limited quantity. Sadly, there’s no price for them on the Bel & Bel site—you can contact Bel & Bel directly to get a quote—but they smell expensive.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Fascinating vintage promo film on the making of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
03.12.2016
08:39 am

Topics:
Books
Design
Heroes
Movies
Thinkers

Tags:

02001dave.jpg
 
In 1964, Stanley Kubrick wrote to Arthur C. Clarke.  He told the science fiction author he was a “a great admirer” of his books, and “had always wanted to discuss with [him] the possibility of doing the proverbial really good science-fiction movie.”

Kubrick briefly outlined his ideas:

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.

A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Clarke liked Kubrick’s suggestions. A meeting was arranged at Trader Vic’s in New York on April 22, 1964, at which Kubrick explained his interest in extraterrestrial life. He told Clarke he wanted to make a film about “Man’s relationship to the universe.”

The author offered the director a choice of six short stories—from which Kubrick picked “The Sentinel” (published as “The Sentinel of Eternity” in 1953). The story described the discovery of strange, tetrahedral artefact on the Moon. The narrator speculates the object is a “warning beacon” left by some ancient alien intelligence to signal humanity’s evolutionary advance towards space travel.

Over the next four years they worked together on the film—two of which were spent co-writing the screenplay they privately called How the Solar System Was Won.
 
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Director and Author.
 
Kubrick and Clarke decided to write a book together first then the screenplay. This was to be credited: “Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, based on a novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick.” It turned out slightly differently as the book and screenplay were written simultaneously. While Kubrick made the film “a visual, nonverbal experience,” Clarke widened the story out, explaining many of the events Kubrick left open-ended. The director wanted to make a film that hit the audience “at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does, or painting.”

In an interview with Joseph Gelmis in 1970, Kubrick described the genesis of both the book and script:

There are a number of differences between the book and the movie. The novel, for example, attempts to explain things much more explicitly than the film does, which is inevitable in a verbal medium. The novel came about after we did a 130-page prose treatment of the film at the very outset. This initial treatment was subsequently changed in the screenplay, and the screenplay in turn was altered during the making of the film. But Arthur took all the existing material, plus an impression of some of the rushes, and wrote the novel. As a result, there’s a difference between the novel and the film…I think that the divergences between the two works are interesting.

Clarke was more direct. He wrote an explicit interpretation of the film explaining many of its themes. In particular, how the central character David Bowman ends his days in what Clarke described as a kind of living museum or zoo, where he is observed by alien life forms.
 
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The director on a sound stage at MGM Studios, Borehamwood, England.
 
Kubrick was less forthcoming. Though he did share some of his thoughts on the meaning and purpose of human existence in an interview with Playboy in 1968:

The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfilment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

 
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Similarities between shots and designs in ‘2001’ and Pavel Klushantsev’s ‘Road to the Stars’ (1958).
 
Kubrick involved himself in every aspect of the film’s production—from costume and set design, technical specifications, the requirements of specially designed cameras, to the building of a 32-ton centrifuge used to create the interior of a space craft. Kubrick was greatly influenced by Pavel Klushantsev’s Road to the Stars from 1958—and exploited many of the designs, crafts and ideas featured in that film.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Steampunk style guitar effect produces vibrato with fire—for only $6000
02.26.2016
10:16 am

Topics:
Design
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:


 
The Minneapolis, MN ZVEX guitar effects company has been an extremely reputable builder for a couple of decades—their Fuzz Factory distortion box was one of the devices that kicked off the mania for boutique effects in the first place—and they may have crafted THE ultimate boutique pedal: a terrific sounding, incredibly lovely, prohibitively expensive, and completely impractical vibrato. It’s called the Candela, and at $6000, you’re not going to see it on many pedalboards very soon. In fact, its unique 19th-Century-meets-Rube-Goldberg construction and 15lb weight make it totally unsuitable for live performance regardless of its price. But its most notable feature is its power source. Where most guitar effects take a 9-volt battery, the Candela is ingeniously powered with a tea candle. I suppose it must go without saying that holy shit I totally want one.
 

 
Read more after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Scouting merit badges for cool shit like prank-calls, grave-robbing and arson!
02.15.2016
09:45 am

Topics:
Design
Fashion
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
These are totally badass. Artist Luke Drozd is responsible for these “Alternative Scouting for Girls and Boys Merit Badges.” The badges are based on a comic strip from his Threnodies book.
 

 
The patches are standard merit badge size, about 4.5 cm diameter, and can be sewn or ironed-on to your favorite jacket or scouting sash.

If these had been around when I was a kid, I may have actually joined the Cub Scouts. They almost make me wanna have a kid, just to pridefully watch them try to earn some of these lovelies. The full line includes badges for Grave Robbing, Arson, Violent Revenge, Curses & Hexes, Espionage, Money Laundering, Cryptozoology, Spirit Medium, Prank Calls, Home Dentistry, Mind Control, Cannibalism, Invisibility, Time Travel, Necromancy and Mob Justice.

Home dentistry! Now that’s a skill that will come in handy throughout one’s life. Math can’t help you perform a root canal. Fuck math.
 

 
You can order them individually or in sets HERE.

After the jump, some young would-be scouts going for their merit badges in pill-popping and glue-huffing…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Heavy metal heroes Valentine’s Day cards
02.08.2016
09:25 am

Topics:
Design
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


Glenn Danzig

I realize that I’m blogging about these cards just a week before Valentine’s Day. Perhaps I’m too late to the game on this one, but maybe they can be rushed delivered? Anyway, here they are in all their glory… heavy metal heroes Valentine’s Day cards! For those who, you know, don’t want to get all mushy-gushy on the holiday.

You get nine different metal heroes that come in a set of 27. The set of cards sell for $15.00. Get ‘em here.


 

Wendy O. Williams
 

King Diamond
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Badass cat motorcycle helmets from Russia
02.05.2016
10:08 am

Topics:
Animals
Design

Tags:


 
I never saw myself writing “badass” and “cat” in the same sentence, but these are some seriously cool cat motorcycle helmets straight out of Russia. I dig the one that looks like an extra evil Cheshire Cat with that devilish grin. That helmet looks like it ain’t gonna take no shit.

The Neko helmets come in 12 different designs and are made by Russian company Nitrinos. The prices can range anywhere from $495 to $595 depending on which style you want.

I’m sure these things have been crash tested, but I wonder how the impact with the ears on the helmet affect the human skull? Is it safe? Perhaps I’m overthinking this?


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Young Ones, Ab Fab, Einstein and more, recreated with LEGO
02.05.2016
09:16 am

Topics:
Amusing
Design
Movies
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


The Young Ones
 
I’m not huge fan of LEGO, but every once in awhile I do come across some LEGO minifigures that make me smile. These The Young Ones minifigures by Etsy shop Glinda the Geek do the job quite nicely. They’re kind of adorable, right?

Not only is there The Young Ones, but there’s also Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, Jane and Blanche from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Charles Dickens.

There are more LEGO minifigures at Glinda the Geek‘s shop, I just picked the ones I liked best.


The Young Ones
 

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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