This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 9 months, 1 week, 5 days, 11 hours, 4 minutes ago.
Hope you had a good weekend. Mine was cool - saw some movies (Scott Pilgrim, The Vinyl Frontier (more on that below), and The Kids Are All Right), ate a lot of food, and biked around the empty city.
Friday started off with some time-warp, wrinkle-in-time shit:
Saw this dude at the Apple store with a “Clobber” shirt on - like whoa. Clobber was a big rave clothing line from Los Angeles circa 1991. Nice one guy! Don’t make me break out my SJobeck or ConArt gear! Meet me at the smartbar!
Went past Ryan McGinness’ studio for a visit on Saturday - this is him run through my favorite iPhone app of the weekend, Percolator. It turns your photos into these circle abstractions. Don’t base your next design project on it no matter how seductive it gets. We all know 500 people out there already are.
On Sunday headed out to Queens for a few spots on the CreativeTime Key To The City project by artist Paul Ramírez Jonas; it was the last weekend before it ended. Long story short, you could go a kiosk in Times Square, get a Medeco-supplied key presented to you, then go to various places around the city and get access to locked doors that would open with the key, places not normally open to the public.
Started by going out to the Louis Armstrong House in Corona, Queens, where the ‘Key To The City’ granted you access to Satchmo’s downstairs bathroom, unchanged since his wife Lucille passed away in 1983. No, you could not use it. There’s a tour, you should check it out if you’re a fan. There were some art pieces up on the walls, some collages Armstrong used to make out of photos and newspaper clippings, usually of some stuff he liked or was into - sports, other entertainers, politics. I had no idea he was into anything visual like that but it turns out he’d do these things on his recording tape boxes, etc. There’s a book there about it, The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong.
I didn’t get any flicks, but the coolest thing for me was seeing some envelopes from some fans that were on display - All that was written on them was “Mr. Louis Armstrong, USA” and the postal service still got them to him - THAT is balling out, people.
Next, headed south over to the next Key To The City spot, Tortillarea Nixtamal restaurant, a Mexican spot in Queens that has some excellent food going on, and a small factory for making corn tortillas in their basement. They told us that they supply the fresh corn tortillas for many restaurants all over the city. Using the key let you wander downstairs into the kitchen, where you got a tour of the tortilla area and got to make a tortilla to eat. Upstairs while I was waiting to take the tour, I had some excellent enchiladas and a cane-sugar Coca Cola. Gringo making a tortilla. I kinda do this at home occasionally, so I knew what was up with the masa, hermano!
Me and The Sucklord heading uptown, fitting in a little interview for my podcast
On Sunday I met up with fellow Star Wars enthusiast and toy maker Morgan ‘Sucklord’ Phillips, and we headed up to a screening of The Vinyl Frontier, a movie about vinyl toys that we’re both in. There was a Q&A afterward with us, sculptor Mike ‘Nemo’ Mendez, and Daniel Zana, the filmmaker who put it all together. Check it out if you have any interest in the mild world of toymaking - Daniel put together quite an informative film.
Daniel Zana, filmmaker
I finished up the weekend doing some Photoshop. Back on that same ‘ol, hallelujah…
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 10 months, 3 days, 9 hours, 11 minutes ago.
That quote is from Charlie Wilson, brother of The Gap Band’s Robert Wilson, who died yesterday. A quick obit over here. Damn. If anyone knew how to utilize a bassline, it was The Gap Band. Warning: they also liked cowboy hats and sassy syncro dancing.
Bonus: Check out this official ‘Party Train’ video shot on the Venice Boardwalk in the 80s: classic popping, locking, lycra and meathead Cali sunshine culture. In a total dick-move, embedding the video has been disabled, so you gotta click here if you want to see it.
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 10 months, 2 weeks, 1 Day, 16 hours, 21 minutes ago.
My new gallery show CHECKS CASHED opened on Saturday, awesome night over at the HVW8 Gallery for me, great seeing the work finally finished and on the walls. Several months of stress, work, and shifting money to make ends meet finally over. Heads rolled out, I saw some surprise faces from NYC and LA, and then I crashed out, having only slept 2-3 hours a night the previous six nights.
The gallery has a thing set up with The Standard hotels here in L.A. where they put up murals to promote the show - here’s a flick of the CHECKS CASHED mural at the downtown location - cool ‘analog’ version of my work done by a sign painter:
We’re having a BBQ over at the gallery tomorrow (Thursday the 5th) if you can make it - 7-9pm, 661 N. Spaulding Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. If not, the show runs through September 14th, maybe you can fit it in to your schedule.
Thanks to everyone who helped out: The “colors” black and white, Luther and the Axelle team, SoHo Crates, Tyler, Usha and Mark at HVW8, Brooklyn’s one and only Eric Z (E.Z. Does It!), Max, the incredible Charlie Becker, my man Bart Blackstone, Colby and Kate, Vanessa, Teit, Claudio, the kind folks over at The Standard, and of course my mom, my brother Pat, and Yuki!
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 10 months, 4 weeks, 5 hours, 15 minutes ago.
Saturday, July 31st, 7pm-10pm at the HVW8 Art + Design Gallery in Hollywood. I’ve been deep in the trenches working on this show for the last several months, the time is nigh. Just getting everything ready, hope to see you there if you can make it. Here’s some sneak preview flicks…
Bill McMullen at the HVW8 Art + Design Gallery
661 N. Spaulding Ave. L.A. Ca 90036
Opening Saturday, July 31st 2010, 7pm-10pm
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 11 months, 3 days, 11 hours, 28 minutes ago.
Saw Inception last night and I really enjoyed it.
This film delivered something that I hadn’t felt for a while - a complete and consistent story that worked well, unfolding before you, offering fantastical turns that still work within the rules of its world, or at least work well enough to allow you to forgive the holes or contradictions. It’s a more organic Matrix, using dream states, sedative drugs, and a military-designed mystery machine to reach ‘virtual’ worlds - likely the way this sort of direct mind exploration could actually happen, and outdating methods we saw in The Matrix for me - dripping green type and a physical receptor at the base of the neck seem so quant now, and relatively unrealistic compared to Inception‘s methods.
The clever use of compounding factors of time the deeper one gets into the dreams, and that one of the characters was named ‘Eames’ made me sense a nod to the Charles and Ray Eames film Powers of Ten, but there were lots of great influences that were subtle and not banging us in the face with the obvious (like LOST always seemed to be doing). Some theory of reletivity in there, lots of architecture porn, Fassbinder’s World on A Wire, the cold cynicism of William S. Burroughs or Ballard, the slipping paranoia of Philip K. Dick (a friend just reminded me Inception owes a lot to Total Recall, the Verhoeven film based on Dick’s short story), some Frank Lloyd-Wright influence on several interiors, tough and timely visits to some of great cities of the world, allusions to the great public community projects and buildings like London’s Barbican or maybe even a little Brasília in there, as well as the video game action that I remember fondly from classics like Metal Gear Solid and GoldenEye... Lots of well-rounded influences were present. There’s a little bit too much exposition with dialog; likely going to get annoying when I see it again… But there were some rules that needed to be explained to the viewer, so I concede the necessity of the exposition. Small price to pay. The (relatively) sophisticated, pulled-back nature of the sci-fi reminded me of the nondescript timeframe of Gattica or even some of the non-action of William Gibson’s book Mona Lisa Overdrive.
But there was plenty of action. Despite the fantastical nature of the story, the movie reaches a fairly ‘realistic’ look in fight sequences and explorations of its environments that gets you believing that watching an “effects-driven film” doesn’t have to mean that’s a bad thing. There are some moments that put pure visual overload over substance, some Escher-esque visual gags that really only work for us, the audience, due to our camera angle. But visually it’s awesome. What I really liked is how scenes that are obviously not real still look very natural, with sunlight and haze and lighting that kept me believing in what I was seeing.
Also fairly ‘realistic’ was the sound - I didn’t really notice a lot of unnecessary juicing, sub-bass cues or goofy ProTools tricks when bullets were fired or fists were flying. Stark and vérité in the sound mix.
And in the biggest and most unexpected surprise of the night, Leo DiCaprio was excellent. Really kept his acting chops in order and there wasn’t an eye-roller of a scene for me in the entire film.
I went a little long here, pouring all this out, and I apologize… but I’m still trying to get my head around what I saw. It’s a definitive film, very ambitious, much the way Matrix was. It’s a little more low-key than Matrix (there’s no thumping techno or patent leather) and certainly not as sugared with guns and sunglasses. Comparisons are inevitable but I like them both. Inception is just a little more mature, a really great sci-fi film that evolves those ideas of the ‘virtual’ worlds somewhere in our future.
Could be director Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece. See it and let’s talk.
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 11 months, 5 days, 17 minutes ago.
I’m in the middle of getting ready for my next art show at the HVW8 Gallery in Los Angeles, so I’ve been a little slow on the blog roll lately. More on that soon.
Anyway, found time last week to finish up a new episode of the Emmy-winning (that’s a lie) Flavor Bin podcast I do with my friend Colby Parker Jr., click over here to listen to it: The Flavor Bin.
It’s the seventh one so we switched it up and made it a road trip episode - we visited Skywalker Ranch, and interviewed our friend, film editor Mike O’Halloran and got his story on what it’s been like to work with George Lucas on his upcoming film Red Tails. We got the usual mess in there, some World Cup discussion, some tunes, some Flavorcules, and of course, the audience favorite, The Peter Berg Motivational Moment.
Here are some flicks from the ‘Ranch, some with Mike showing us around. We had a kick-ass BBQ. We rode bikes. Yes it was very bucolic and relaxing/verging on boring. No Star Wars anything in sight; such a letdown. Except for one tiny, closed store that carried Legos and plush dolls.
Amsterdam-style - grab a bike and go.
Hot grill, don’t go more than 4-5 minutes per side on those flat cuts! Danger! Overcooked BBQ is NOT the move… You can always put it back on if it’s too raw, but you can’t UN-cook anything, boss
Is that a limited-edition Ice Cream Maker Guy figure? No, maybe it’s a Jar Jar Binks toothbrush…
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 2 years, 11 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 22 hours, 34 minutes ago.
SDSU/Cardinals/Chargers football coach Don Coryell died yesterday at 85. As a San Diegan during the simultaneously exciting and heart-breaking “Air Coryell” years, it’s sad news. Don Coryell and my personal favorite QB, Dan Fouts, led a truly great team of wide receivers, running backs and tight-ends like J.J. Jefferson, Kellen Winslow, and Chuck Muncie, some classic defense and special teams from Louie Kelcher and Hank Bauer (and the always-clutch kicker Rolf Benirschke) to a few AFC championships, a classic nail-biter in Miami, and a lot of record-breaking passing yards. The Chargers’ “Air Coryell” ridiculous passing offense still has ripples of influence in today’s game.
Sometimes in the early evening, after high school, while riding my lame Nishiki 10-speed over to my friend’s house to hang out and play Intellivision, I would see Coryell and his family walking around the neighborhood, as he lived only a few streets away. I waved one time and he smiled and waved back.
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 3 years, 1 week, 2 days, 10 hours, 36 minutes ago.
“Damn, Strike… What the hell is that you got on you back, B?”
Stumbled across this guy’s YouTube channel while I was looking up some BMX parts… Dude puts up some funny videos. Check out his Obama/Osama rap where dude singlehandedly solves the ills of the world and gets caked up with a cool $25 million for his efforts. Of course he does! Strike Ice stays PAID, Yuhhh!
“Just in case things get hectic…Might have to uh… get hectic with ‘em, ya feeeeel me?”
This article was posted by Bill McMullen 3 years, 1 week, 6 days, 21 hours, 8 minutes ago.
Had lunch with a friend today and he told me some sad news I had missed - artist and designer Tobias Wong died last week. Seeing his work and the reactions to it, it seemed he had a really honest awareness about what his creations were about, what they should be used for, and the multiple levels of consideration that they should be taken at. The luxury chrome box-cutter. Capsules to take so your next bathroom visit sparkled with gold or silver flakes. The “Killer Engagement Ring” with the diamond’s cut point facing outwards (ideal for marring mirrors at an ungracious host’s party). The gold McDonald’s cocaine spoon from his Indulgence collection. A winter glove with a hole in it to more easily hold your cigarette.
I didn’t really know him; I met him once, on the sidewalk on the opening night outside of a small pop-up store he did in Chelsea, called the ‘Wrong Store’, where a large group of people gathered, chatting, seemingly waiting for the chance to go in, but that was the joke: you were never allowed to go in - it was perpetually locked shut. He wandered amid the crowd, talking with those there, in his element. Behind the crowd, beautiful and rare objects seen through the store’s windows, masterfully curated, were all there to set up the stinging gag that you still couldn’t buy them. It always looked like he executed his ideas with such ease. I will miss seeing new work.