Robin Hood’s L!braries

I’ve had libraries on the brain recently–both the invisible kind and the visually enhanced kind, like this one Maira Kalman designed for PS 47 in the Bronx for Robin Hood’s L!brary Initiative.  The L!brary Initiative transforms elementary school libraries in high poverty areas into bright, beautiful temples of learning that inspire creativity and academic achievement.  Artists like Kalman are brought in to reimagine the space, while publishers Scholastic and HarperCollins have donated over a million books in an unprecedented effort to improve the state of education in NYC’s neediest neighborhoods.  What a marvelous program!  Art & literature make wonderful bedfellows.  Also check out the awesome PS 96 library that illustrator Yuko Shimizu and designer Stefan Sagmeister collaborated on here.

PS 96 Library Mural by Yuko Shimizu



Tricks of the Devil

Mass: We Pray's Controller
Mass: We Pray's Wii-like Controller

Holy crap!  Or shall I say holy marketing genius?!  I was dumbfounded when I saw this website advertising what appears to be a new Wii-like game called “Mass: We Pray” that simulates church services.  “After all, a family shouldn’t have to wait until Sunday to worship the Lord,” says the voice-over in the Snuggie-like infomercial that beggars belief.  It claims to be developed a Boston-based company called Prayer Works Interactive and the site features a whole gallery of images from this virtual church experience.  A press release about this game went out a couple of days ago, pitching it as “a revolutionary videogame that allows families to go to church every day from the comfort of their own home.”

Of course, if like most normal people you are blown away by the idea of this game even existing, you are likely to click on one of the site’s other buttons for more information or to see an up-close image of this ridiculous crucifix-shaped controller.  And just like that you are made to realize that OMG, you have just been marketed to by Electronic Arts for their upcoming videogame Dante’s Inferno!!!! Suddenly you are faced with a message calling you a heretic for taking part in a Mass not celebrated by an ordained priest, and told you will burn in the 6th circle of hell.  Then, with a damning touch of banality, you’re asked to enter your birth date to watch a trailer of Dante’s Inferno and then share it on Facebook.  Did they really just go there? Yeah, I think they did.  A lot of people are gonna be pissed off — but a hell of a lot more people are gonna go buy this game next February.  Marketing is the devil’s work!

Two T’s for Tuesday

Two wonderful typographically inspired T-shirts from Veer for your Tuesday-before-Thanksgiving consideration.  First spotted the Chest Hair one on the Swiss Miss blog.  (Tina rules!)  Veer is also the purveyor of those funny “human heart ironically made out of Comic Sans font” T-shirts I’ve blogged about before.  Their merch section certainly is the go-to spot for the font-obsessed this holiday season, so stock up now for your Garamond-loving friends.  Word.

From AOL to Aol.

AOL released previews of their new brand identity developed by brand and innovation consultancy, Wolff Olins.  The new look features clean, simple white type that now uses lower case lettering instead of all-caps and adds a firm little period at the end.  The white typeface-only logo is meant to be combined with an array of different backgrounds in lieu of a static icon to emphasize the company’s dynamism and its future as a platform for creative content.  The word on the street is they’re getting ready to shed about a third of its workforce so by the time “Aol.” officially gets spun out of Time-Warner on December 10, who knows what this brand formerly known as America On-Line will actually be about?!  All I know is I certainly will not miss those ugly triangles.

Ghetto Gourmet

I am totally in awe of this new cookbook, Cookin’ with Coolio, which, according to the Village Voice, REALLY DOES EXIST.  From the Voice:

Chapters are titled “It’s Hard Out Here for a Shrimp,” “Appetizers for that Ass,” and “Salad-Eatin’ Bitches.” Salt is not measured in teaspoons, but doled out in “dime bags.” Chicken isn’t carved into breasts, but “breastesses.” The pantry is the “pimptry.”

WOW.  I had no idea that Coolio (of “Gangster’s Paradise” fame) had been cooking in online webisodes on My Damn Channel.  Leveraging social media to get a book deal!  Sound familiar?  So entrepreneurial.  God, I love this country.

Coolio interview here.

Cover Up!

Swoon!  These paper bag book jackets by Book City Jackets in Williamsburg are so beautiful and nostalgia-inducing!  Love at first sight!  Emma Gaines-Ross and Jeremy Schwartz founded Book City Jackets in 2008 and they have so far released two “artist-editions” featuring the illustrations of Eveline Tarunadjaja, Matthew Caputo, and Morgan Blair in the first edition, and Nishat Akhtar, Cheeming Boey and Michael C. Hsiung in the second.  It’s great cus I’ve often wondered out loud why the Japanese ritual of wrapping books never really made it over here outside of public school requirements.  Hope to start seeing beautifully covered up books on the subway now, just like in Tokyo!

Book City Jackets will be at the Brooklyn Flea’s Gifted holiday market which opens November 27 at their very first Manhattan location on E. 4th and Lafayette.  Should be chock-full of lovely stuff as usual!

Mamachas in NYC!

Yes, it finally happened. Mamachas del Ring, the documentary by Betty M Park which has been traveling the world from festival to festival, finally screened in NYC!  It screened as part of the Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History this Friday to a sold-out crowd.  The Mead is the longest-running international documentary festival in the United States.  The director was joined by animator Christophe Lopez-Huici for the post-screening Q&A.  Composer M.G. Espar was also in attendance, along with about a hundred of Betty’s closest friends.  Shout out to Momoya on Amsterdam for hosting a great afterparty!

Mamachas Q&A
Q&A with Betty & Christophe
Signing Mamachas Posters
Signing Mamachas posters for fans!

AI/AP Party

Great party last Thursday to celebrate the publication of American Illustration 28 & American Photography 25 at the Angel Oresanz Foundation in the Lower East Side. Fabulous art, people and venue.  The annually published AI and AP are the go-to directories for illustration and photography talent across all creative industries.  A mammoth tome, it also makes a classy doorstop or murder weapon.  Perfect gift for the holidays!

American Illustration 28

American Illustration 28
From the pages of AI28
Angel Oresanz Foundation
Angel Oresanz Foundation

Awesome work by Yuko Shimizu, Adam Kidder, Melinda Beck and a hundred other talented people. Briefly met Felix Sockwell, who by random coincidence is the guy who illustrated my friend Hua Hsu’s cover story for the Atantic a few months back.  New York is full of surprises.  Thanks to June Kim for the gatecrashing tip!

Last Night: Robin Hood’s FEED NYC Benefit

Sister Mary Alice @ Robin Hood Foundation's FEED NYC Benefit
Blurry Tweet: Suite 2046 in the house!
Robin Hood goes VIRAL

Last night’s benefit for Robin Hood Foundation‘s Food for Good program in conjunction with FreshDirect was their first ever viral event and it was a rocking success with a huge turnout at the cavernous M2.  Over a thousand people showed up and there were laptops set up to connect people directly to FreshDirect’s donation page.  Lots of Twitter action leading up to and during the event, with posts being projected up on big screens.

Many more people still need to be fed for the holidays so please go online and make your donation now!  Then follow up by sharing it with at least 5 friends to spread the goodness.  Props to the host committee for a great event, and very happy birthday wishes to Sister Mary Alice who turned 70 yesterday (and has been feeding hungry New Yorkers for decades).  Check out my old blog post on the program for more info.