May 29, 2008

Everybody (in New Westminster)

Over the last 18 months I've taken pictures for a personal photo-project Everybody (in New Westminster). The goal of the project is to...well, you can figure it out. Please look forward to additional images. Comments are welcome.

May 17, 2008

KRAZY! show leads to crazy thoughts

The Vancouver Art Gallery opened this week with an exhibition that wants to change the way people think about comics, animation and video games.

It's called KRAZY!

Bruce Grenville curated the show with the help of a squad of guest curators who are distinguished practicioners in the fields of manga, comics, graphic novels (aren't these three categories all the same?), animation and video games, including Art Spiegelman - the creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic, Maus.

KRAZY! is built around the premise that it is time to reconsider the importance of popular "visual culture", ie comics and all, with culture as a whole. And the act of hanging on the gallery wall the work, be they original comic pages or animation cels, will somehow provide the critical space to assess the phenomena.

Spiegelman in his opening remarks that felt more like an apologia to the media that the artists included in KRAZY! was "just the tip of the iceberg."

But Spiegelman and this show has it all wrong.

Visual culture isn't an iceberg, and KRAZY isn't its tip. Visual culture (KRAZY culture, if you will) is an ocean and as it increasingly dominates big "C" culture in total they may be little left outside of anime, comics, etc.

Music, literature, visual arts and other story-telling and representational activities may soon be the distilled and frozen chunks floating in KRAZY culture.

If it comes down to Astro Boy versus Hamlet or the Mona LIsa, the 1 000 000-horsepower robot creation of Osamu Tezuka may be the champion.

It's not that KRAZY culture is more important than high culture or the fine arts and literature. It's just that KRAZY culture is bigger and more pervasive in the popular is the near essence of the popular imagination.

KRAZY culture - having been outside the validatiing discourse of museums and galleries or art journals - has developed its own discursive environment of comic shops, meetups, conventions, blogs, zines and chatrooms where there can be on occasion a fairly sophisticated analysis of all this cutural production. KRAZY culture already has a critical framework to address the importance of itself built on fandom instead of academia or the curatorial class.

So what is the KRAZY! exhibition for? What does the frame of a gallery provide? It does validate the appetites of the nerds who support KRAZY culture and its attempt to crossover into and become the respectable and profitable mainstream (take for example the success of the film, Iron Man). But does KRAZY! add to the conversation? Or is the exhibition intended to help visual art culture and its institutions catch-up?

In a content-is-king world, KRAZY culture is King Kong AND Godzilla and what a gallery may only offer is, perhaps, some gilding.

May 16, 2008

Red alert! We can see up your skirt

Flashing fannies makes for a fashion faux-pas

Love this season's renewed ardour for minis and high hemlines.

But the now-dead trend of wearing jeans under dresses (finally) still reaches from its grave to deliver a deleterious after-effect on women.

Some of this city's beauties have forgotten how to move in a short skirt without flashing the pan.

Twice this week, I've had the displeasure of viewing the undercarriage of fellow female pedestrians as they've stooped over to pick up a Georgia Straight (today) and dropped change (yesterday). Now I know how crotch stitching on a set hoses comes together. It does not look good.

Jocasta...pass me your brooches. I need to gouge my eyes out.

It is incorrect to bend at the waist to reach down.

The right way is to bend at the knees and slowly lower your erect torso so that you may pluck something off the ground.

With such a maneuver, a woman can display decolletage and honey calves at great advantage and avoid embarrassment.

May 13, 2008

Tailor Made wins in LA

“Tailor Made: Chinatown’s Last Tailors” has won the prestigious Golden Reel Award for Best Short Film at the 2008 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Directed by Calgary director Leonard Lee and Vancouver filmmaker Marsha Newbery, “Tailor Made” follows 80-something brothers Bill & Jack Wong for one year as they face the reality that they’re getting too old to run the little tailor shop their father opened in 1913…and letting go isn’t easy. With tailoring being a dying trade, finding someone to take over the family business has proved impossible, but Bill refuses to give up. From taking on a fashion journalist as an apprentice, to selling the shop to a young hot-shot corporate tailor, Bill becomes especially determined and pulls out all the stops.

Catch TAILOR MADE on The Lens on Tuesday July 15th at 7pmPT (10pm ET), 10pm PT (1am ET) and 1am PT (4am ET) – Newsworld.

May 7, 2008

Perfect wedding pics: fashion photographer offers tips on how to make better snapshots for special occasions

Professional photographer Kris Krug offers some pointers on how to make your snapshots works of art...

Follow these tips and you'll have great wedding photographs worth posting! (Originally aired in December.)

Listen to it through Google Video.

WISH I WAS THERE DEPARTMENT: Superhero costumes at the Met

Zac Posen at Costume Institute Gala

Okay. If you read my last blog about pulling off black tie well, I presented the safe, not-sorry option. But there are always exceptions to the rule. Zac Posen's Met gala outfit is one of them.

His shiny blue suit and red bow tie captures perfectly the spirit of dressing up and smartly reflecting the theme of the current exhibition at the Met's Costume Institute, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.

The fashion designer must be a fan of comic books like writer Michael Chabon. Chabon wrote in the New Yorker recently:
a superhero’s costume is constructed not of fabric, foam rubber, or adamantium but of halftone dots, Pantone color values, inked containment lines, and all the cartoonist’s sleight of hand.
Posen's look is graphic, colourful and it bears classic suit details of the 1940s (low button stance, a ticket pocket and wide peaked lapels). It seems he was inspired by Superman's earliest issues, where you could find Clark Kent in a sharp blue double-breasted, a red tie and a tan fedora. How could Lois overlook him?

Posen may have not gone black tie but he certainly dressed for the occasion. Great Scott and Holey Moley!

May 6, 2008

Tuxedos: from celebrities to the common man

It's about trying but not trying too hard.

My recent visit to Toronto to stand as a groomsman coincided with the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Gala.

And despite the fact that my close childhood friends are just a bunch of regular Joes (Sean Ingram, left, and F. Galiana), as yours truly, they handled their sartorial responsibilities with aplomb.

The same can't be said about the celebrities who attended the grand New York event. With overly long sleeves, long ties and boring notch lapels (shame on you, George Clooney, just stop wearing those bloody notches), the grandees at the ball looked sloppy. In the search for individual expression, many of them ruined a near perfect form of dress.

It's always far better, like when one plays the blues, to innovate and improvise within the set structure of a particular form. One can choose a batwing, butterfly or a nifty straight bow tie. There are myriad styles of cuff links and pocket squares as well.

Put together right, it can be pure magic. The choices and adjustments are simple - their impact can be impressive. Joes 1 - Celebs 0.

Quick tips:
  • Show the shirt: getting the right ratio of white shirt to black jacket to provide a graphic punch. Go for a open lapel that creates a strong white triangle

  • Tie it: Have the patience and panache to tie your own bow tie. Long ties never look as sharp

  • Show some cuff: You're wearing French cuffs for a reason, non?

  • Keep it buttoned: Unbuttoning your coat makes you look fat and so does your cummerbund and so does our vest. Buttoning your coat will give you a waist and hide the fact you had to wear a vest or a cummerbund