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Retro wonderland: exploring the postmodern aesthetics of ‘90s Taco Bell interior design
02.07.2017
09:23 am
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Taco Bell in Las Vegas, NV courtesy of @heycomet‘s instagram
 
The year is 2017, you’re driving across the country and you’ve decided to pull over at a random offramp for a quick bite. You’re not familiar with your locale, but you see a familiar restaurant and you’re hungry so you put your better judgment aside and walk into a Taco Bell. As soon as you enter you are instantly transported 25 years into the past, a time capsule of early 90’s interior design. You are standing in one of the very last Taco Bell franchises that have not yet succumb to the horrible, present day faux-Tuscan make-over.

It was the Milan-based Italian design and architecture company The Memphis Group and their fun, colorful, geometric, postmodern aesthetic that were responsible for this specific style of design. The Art Deco and Pop Art movements collided in all their concepts throughout the 1980s. By the time the 1990s rolled around the style had become so mainstream and widely popular that it could be seen all over television, such as on shows like Saved by the Bell where the gang from Bayside High School hung out in a similarly wacky diner called The Max.

Los Angeles-based interior designer Jared Frank of Topsy Design explains just how quickly Memphis trends trickled down into popular culture. “On TV you could find it, most noticeably all over MTV, which was postmodern not just in design but also in its very style of programming. Another thoroughly postmodern show in both design and concept was Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The Simpsons flirts with it. And of course, every coked-out ‘80s movie about a movie producer, record executive, or radio deejay is guaranteed to show sets that look like Otho from Beetlejuice was asked to design an office space.”

Luckily I was not alone in my nostalgic love of Taco Bell’s past designs. Photographer Phil Donohue (not to be confused with talk show host Phil Donahue) began using film to document the few remaining Taco Bell locations in California that were still home to that beautiful pink, purple, red, and turquoise color combination, artificial plants, and squiggly geometric shapes. “Most of the design from the ‘80s and ‘90s was so quickly discarded for something even more corporatized and mediocre that I wanted to contextualize what was left before it was gone,” Donohue said via e-mail. “Capturing it digitally seemed to only highlight this mediocrity so shooting on film was, for me, the best way to translate this feeling of what the past was, with what is still present. I probably have another year or two before a lot of what is genuinely out there is gone — before everything is stuccoed over or faux-Tuscan.”

Of course, true experts of the postmodern movement will not be fooled by imitators. “In light of Robert Venturi calling out emergent ‘70s architecture as, ‘communication over space’ these Taco Bell interiors are cleanability over communication.” explained Matthew Sullivan of AQQ Design. “Hyper-cleanliness is the designer here—from the impermeable upholstery, to the visible floor drains, down to the drip or crumb channels or whatever the fuck those recesses in the banquets are called. It’s operating room meets diner- super Ballardian. Personally I could never make a value judgment—should be labeled something like disinfranchisementarianism. Looks as fine a place as any to stomp on someone’s face or make-out or enjoy a double-decker-taco-supreme.”

So why did it go away? “Culture eats itself” designer Jared Frank concluded. “Folks then reacted against the exuberance of PoMo and found safety in the corporate style of the ‘90s. And then folks reacted against that with the ‘new sincerity,’ the ‘authentic,’ all those horrible reclaimed wood walls. And of course, Taco Bell followed suit, jumping onboard the latest trends just as they’re flaming out.”
 

Taco Bell in Milpitas, CA courtesy of yelp user Maria A.
 

Taco Bell in Anaheim, CA courtesy of @heycomet‘s instagram
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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02.07.2017
09:23 am
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Wear with Confidence: Nick Cave’s beautiful and empowering Soundsuits
02.06.2017
12:04 pm
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Nick Cave is an artist, performer, educator and “foremost a messenger” who works in a wide range of media including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance.

Not to be confused with the antipodean singer and screenwriter, this Nick Cave is best known for his beautiful Soundsuits—“sculptural forms based on the scale of his body” which “camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment” or prejudice.

The idea for Soundsuits came about as a response to thinkingthe brutal police beating of Rodney King in 1991. As cave recalls:

It was a very hard year for me because of everything that came out of the Rodney King beating. I started thinking about myself more and more as a black man—as someone who was discarded, devalued, viewed as less than.

And:

I started thinking about the role of identity, being racial profiled, feeling devalued, less than, dismissed. And then I happened to be in the park this one particular day, and looked down at the ground and there was a twig. And I just thought, well, that’s discarded, and it’s sort of insignificant. And so I just started then gathering the twigs, and before I knew it, I was, had built a sculpture.

Cave carried the twigs he had collected in Grant Park, Chicago, back to his studio where he drilled a small hole at the base of each one. He linked these together with a wire before attaching them to a large piece of material. From this he created his first wearable sculpture or Soundsuit:

When I was inside a suit, you couldn’t tell if I was a woman or man; if I was black, red, green or orange; from Haiti or South Africa. I was no longer Nick. I was a shaman of sorts.

Inspired by this incredible sense of freedom and empowerment, Cave began making more and more outrageous and fabulous creations from materials he found in flea markets and thrifts stores across country.

Cave admits he never knows exactly what he is looking for or how he will use it once found. When he does find some suitable object he will spend considerable time working out where best on the body this item can sit. When this is finally worked this out he then develops each design organically from this point. The finished sculptures are worn in performances devised by Cave. There is an obvious similarity between Cave’s Soundsuits and Leigh Bowery’s performance costumes from the eighties and early nineties. Both take traditional crafts (needlework, macramé  and crochet) and use them them to create powerful and beautiful works of (wearable) art. A selection of Cave’s Soundsuits are for sale at the SoundsuitShop.
 
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More of Nick Cave’s fabulous designs, after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.06.2017
12:04 pm
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‘Is this seat loaded?’ Artist makes a chair from gold-plated AK-47 rifles
02.02.2017
01:32 pm
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Well here’s something for the gun nut in your life…. a 22ct gold-plated chair made from a batch of AK-47 rifles.

Why? You might ask. Well why not?

There doesn’t seem to be any reason for this pricey butt-holder other than it’s a functional work of art created by Austrian artist Rainer Weber, who (apparently) “transforms his imagination into reality.” 

If this is your idea of reality then I’m pretty sure you’ll appreciate the way in which Weber has welded together these “still in service” AK-47s to serve as the legs, frame and armrests of this beast. Then finishing it all off with some damn fancy handwoven upholstery. If this is your heart’s desire then it will cost you $127,000.

Weber explains his inspiration stating he was always “fascinated by concepts such as design, technology and functionality” ever since childhood.

I have always been keenly interested in art and seating furniture of any kind. My incentive is to create seating furniture that is unique in its form, meaning absolutely different from other pieces of furniture.

The idea for the AK-47 chair was born while I was reading a book about Mikhail Kalashnikov and I decided to transfer the inspiration into a chair.

But if you think all these gold leaf guns are just a wee bit tacky then maybe you should go for Weber’s original AK-47 chair—price on request.
 
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More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.02.2017
01:32 pm
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The eyes have it: Classical art-inspired sleep masks
02.01.2017
10:13 am
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I’m always in the market for a clever sleep mask. Aren’t you? Who isn’t? It’s simply impossible for me to sleep with any light whatsoever in my bedroom. Even a tiny light from a TV remote control will disrupt my sleep. That’s why I’m totally digging these sleep masks based on the eyes of classical masterpieces. The sleep masks are by Belarusian designer Lesha Limonov. Even though they’re the eyes of iconic masterpieces, they’re still kinda creepy looking, right?

Sadly, these are just concept designs and not available to purchase… just yet. They were made for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam as part of the International Rijksstudio Award 2017. These must become a reality!


 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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02.01.2017
10:13 am
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Earrings that look just like ears!
01.06.2017
09:31 am
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If you totally want to FREAK PEOPLE OUT—I mean, if that’s your goal—then might I suggest these earrings that look just like ears? Everyone will think you have extra ears. Quite a look!

The EARrings are made by artist and jeweler Nadja Buttendorf. What’s cool about these is they come in dozens of different skin tones so you can probably find a pair that will match your complexion perfectly. The EARrings are made of silicone.


 
And if having extra ears isn’t enough, Nadja also makes FINGERrings. At this point it’s probably pretty self explanatory what this might be, but it’s a ring that’s made to look like you have an extra finger. Again, it’s made of silicone.


 

 
I couldn’t find any prices on Nadja’s website. Perhaps these are prototypes and not for sale. I don’t know. You may want to contact her website to find out.

via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.06.2017
09:31 am
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The world’s most perfect gold-plated turd
01.04.2017
11:53 am
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If you’re into “decorational defecations,” have I got the piece of crap for you, bucko. In fact, it may be considered the king of decorational defecations! It’s called the “Archimedean Turd” and it’s damned near perfect-looking, if you ask me.

If you’re curious about the turd’s geometry, here is its formula, below:

The turds’ geometry is based on the combination of an Archimedean spiral (r = a + bθ) and the Golden Ratio / Phi in triangles (a = 1, b = √φ, c = φ). The latter proportion is found in Egyptian Pyramids.

The “Archimedean Turd” comes in 18K plated gold for a mere $350 or in a regular matte charcoal porcelain for only $20. It’s entirely up to you and your preference for turds.

I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with this if I got one, although this golden bowel movement might make for a shitty paperweight?


 

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.04.2017
11:53 am
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Sub Pop really nailed the retro packaging of Sleater-Kinney’s new ‘Live in Paris’ cassette
01.04.2017
09:34 am
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I’ve seen Sleater-Kinney play three times, and all three shows rank as highly memorable concertgoing experiences. It was in support of The Hot Rock that I saw them play the second time, in 1999. During the spring tour someone in the band got sick and they had to postpone a bunch of dates, including the original NYC date, which I had a ticket for. They came back a few weeks later, in May, and because of the catch-as-catch-can nature of rescheduling a bumped date at the last minute, S-K was forced to schedule their show for 2 p.m. on a Saturday in late May. The experience made me wish that more rock gigs took place in the afternoon. Sweaty and galvanized, I emerged from the darkened cavern of Irving Plaza around 5 o’clock—the sun was still shining! It was such an odd experience, I remember that my chums and I made a snap decision to see Rushmore, which was playing around the corner (third showing for me).

TL;DR: Sleater-Kinney kick ass live.

2017 will see the first official live album from Sleater-Kinney. It’s called Live in Paris, and it comes from the band’s triumphant reunion tour of 2015, recorded at Paris’s venerable La Cigale venue on March 20, 2015.
 

 
All three members of Sleater-Kinney are veterans of the D.I.Y. movement of the Pacific Northwest of the early to mid-1990s, so it makes sense on some level that someone involved with the project came up with the clever idea of designing the album’s cassette edition to be an utterly perfect representation of a dubbed cassette. Believe me, if you love music and you were born before about 1980, at some point you bought 60- and 90-minute cassettes by the dozen and made mixes for your friends—but even more centrally and importantly, you dubbed entire albums off of your friends because you were too fucking cheap to pay full price for that goddamned .38 Special album. (Sometime in the mid-1980s, I made a cassette with Revolver on one side and Rubber Soul on the other, and they will never not be pretty much one long mega-album in my stupid head.)
 

 
Live in Paris is slated to be released on January 27, with the LP priced at $16.98 on Amazon—you can pre-order it here (it’s slightly cheaper from Sub Pop). The CD is $12 and the brilliantly designed cassette is just $7 direct from the label.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.04.2017
09:34 am
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Is the ‘Privacy Bed’ that turns into a dark ‘fort’ perfect for people with anxiety?
12.19.2016
11:16 am
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So I’ve been seeing the so-called “Privacy Bed” making the rounds on the Internet and being touted as “perfect for anyone who suffers from anxiety.” The “Privacy Bed,” actually called the Bed Tent, is a tent that fits your bed (depending on size) and gives you complete seclusion and darkness in your own bed while you sleep, relax, read or whatever… It reminds me of making a “fort” when I was a kid out of blankets and a folding table.

I’ve noticed a lot of blogs claiming it’s good for people with anxiety to get a full night’s sleep. While this may be true for some who suffer from anxiety—I guess it would give you a cozy cocoon-type environment—for me it would probably make it worse. I’d feel like I was suffocating. Perhaps it’s not for folks who suffer from claustrophobia or cleithrophobia along with their anxieties. 

I do like the idea of being in complete darkness, though. Any light is a complete distraction for me when I sleep.

The Bed Tent is reasonably priced and sizes range from Toddler to King-size.


 

 
via Bored Panda

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.19.2016
11:16 am
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Stripping and Kissing: Ukrainian singer has a novel approach for winning Eurovision 2017 (NSFW)
12.16.2016
08:47 am
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Well, where do I begin with this little gem? Probably the history….

So, the Eurovision Song Contest that tacky annual sing-a-long started off as a way of bringing together those many battle-weary nations of Europe after the long bloody devastation of the Second World War. It was the brainchild of Marcel Bezençon—a Swiss TV exec who pinched the format from an Italian music festival where unreleased tracks vied in competition for the title of best new song. So far so good—though it behoves me to mention that Switzerland was neutral in WW2 which might explain why Eurovision is such a bland, inoffensive and unbearably condescending idea…anyhoo...

Since the Eurovision’s first appearance in May 1956—when it was called Eurovision Grand Prix—the competition has come around every year with that unenviable certainty of death, taxes and a visit to the in-laws every Christmas. Over the years there have been some fun things—ABBA, Sandie Shaw, Lulu, that heavy metal band Lordi and the first transgender winner Conchita Wurst. Then of course there has always been a lot of crap—way, way too much to mention. Still the Eurovision remains incredibly popular—some 200 million people watched the show go out live in 2015.

Winning Eurovision usually guarantees a lot of money, fame and shedload of sequins. The stakes are always high for anyone hoping to be win the privilege of officially representing their country in the competition. To find the most suitable artiste—each year, every participating country holds a national televised contest to find the person they think is going to win. As you can imagine, this brings out some of the most talented, strange and downright weird.

All of which brings me to Alex Angel who auditioned this week for the honor of representing the Ukraine in next year’s Eurovision. Most acts have a good song. Most acts can sing. But Alex doesn’t need any of that. He has a novel approach to booking his place in the final—his stripping partner Natasha Olejnik. This week Alex and Natasha tried their best to impress Ukraine’s Eurovision selection panel with their song “Running For Love.”

Let’s just say, they made an impression….
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.16.2016
08:47 am
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Condomania: Vintage contraceptive packaging, 1910-1950
12.09.2016
10:15 am
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A pack of British condoms—sometimes known as ‘johnnies.’
 
Condoms in one form or another have been around since 3,000 BC. The Egyptians used layers of material—most likely a loincloth—to cover the penis to prevent pregnancy. Most men used potluck. Contraception was usually left to the women to deal with—plus ca change. Most men used a hasty withdrawal or practiced anal. Up until the fifteenth century there is some speculation of the limited use of oiled silk and sheep’s intestine as a form of barrier protection. This mainly by those who could afford it.

Circa 1564, the first documented mention of condom use appears in a medical text about syphilis called De Morbo Gallico or The French Disease by Gabriele Falloppio. A linen sheath tied with a ribbon was used. Falloppio apparently carried out an experimental trial on some 1100 men to test this form of contraception.

By the 1700s condoms were still made of leather or animal intestine. These were kept and washed after use. The big turning point was the vulcanization process patented by Charles Goodyear in 1844, which led to the manufacture of the first rubber condom in 1855.

For many decades, rubber condoms were manufactured by wrapping strips of raw rubber around penis-shaped molds, then dipping the wrapped molds in a chemical solution to cure the rubber.

These original vulcanized condoms were reusable but uncomfortably thick and unfortunately stank of sulphur, a bit of a mood killer.

It wasn’t until Julius Fromm had the bright idea of using glass molds dipped into rubber solution did condom manufacturing become widespread. This was quickly followed by the production of Latex—“rubber suspended in water”—in 1920 and the modern condom went global.

Condoms were sold in tins or paper packets—many of which had purposefully “elegant” designs, a few of which can be seen below.
 
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Early circa 1910 condom tin.
 
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The Sheik—a highly popular brand—the brand name allegedly inspired by the Rudolph Valentino movie.
 
More fancy condom packaging design, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.09.2016
10:15 am
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