Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fate Wears a Fedora

The other week I went to see The Adjustment Bureau. For months I had seen previews, highly anticipating the new film. The earnest expression in Matt Damon's eyes along with the inspirational background music had me convinced of a life-changing film. To my dismay, Hollywood proved me wrong.

Who controls our fate? That is the question human have been pondering over for years, and that director George Nolfi helps viewers to investigate. It turns out that after centuries of diverse theories we can stop worrying. Middle-aged men with tiny notebooks and stylish fedoras hold that power. Duh.

The film tells the story of David Norris (Damon,) a politician running for the U.S Senate. While practicing a speech in a men's bathroom he unexpectedly meets a dancer named Elise (Emily Blunt.) The two have instant chemistry. The encounter leaves Norris confident enough to present an honest speech. They will never meet again.

Unless of course an angel/ fedora-wearing caseworker just so happens to fall asleep during his shift...

Unlike the trailer, The Adjustment Bureau is more comic than chilling. In the end, it seems as if the characters became tired of the never-ending plot. The little suspense that exists simply disappears. For those wanting a watered down version of Inception, I highly recommend The Adjustment Bureau.

- Laura

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fun with Craigslist

Finding the right apartment can be tough, especially when that apartment needs to be 800 miles away. I was faced with this dilemma when I learned that I would need to find a place to stay in Georgia for the summer, so I did what any tech-savvy 20 year old would do: I turned to Craigslist.

While I still haven't found a place to live, I did come across a couple amusing posts. After a little more research, I discovered that Craigslist has a "Best of..." list where users vote for posts that made them laugh. Whether these posts are meant to be taken seriously or simply the work of some creative minds, you might say that there's an art to crafting a truly hilarious Craigslist ad. Below are some of my favorites from my apartment search and from the "Best of Craigslist."

$600 Furnished room - great house- all utilities included- summer rental (Midtown/Ga Tech)

Date: 2011-03-26, 9:34PM EDT

8 people live in this three bedroom house. Bring your own mattress - we just put them on the floor. only one bathroom works but that's okay because most of us don't take showers.

Pets are welcome. we already have five dogs, seven cats, two piggies, and two python snakes. dont worry the snakes won't hurt you but they do eat a hamster occasionally yes we have a few hamsters and gerbils running aroud.

We all play in bands and like to make good music at all hours of the day and night.

420 friendly

  • Location: Atlanta

Looking for a beard mentor

Date: 2010-03-04, 3:40PM CST

I've had a moustache and beard off and on over the years, and I've tried styling it in the past but I just can't seem to get it to the next level. I'm looking for some srs protips with this, as well as possibly some styling services by someone with skilled hands. Please submit to me your beard/moustache resume. Also if you have pictures of you achievements that would be greatly appreciated.

I'm currently having trouble with getting my handlebar working correctly as well as keeping the sideburns even.

This is 'srs bsns' (serious business) as I've been informed I need to style it up, shave it off, or loose my job. (I work in adult daycare.)

• Location: Chicago

stomped on your fire, you choked on a biscuit

Date: 2010-02-21, 9:09AM CST

You: passed out on the grass after choking on a biscuit and slamming your car into a guardrail at Franklin and Harding

Me: driver of silver bug with 2 women in the car who stopped and put your car fire out.

It's been a bad month, so if you would get me a new fire extinguisher, I would appreciate it. Also don't eat while driving in the future, it's dangerous, as you discovered.

  • Location: Nashville, TN

Spacious Studio Igloo

Date: 2010-03-01, 8:10PM EST

Looking for a renter for a 70 square foot igloo (4' x 5' entrance tunnel, 4' radius living area.) An excellent choice for EMU art students as it is located right next to the Ford Building on Eastern's campus. Quiet neighborhood consisting mostly of squirrels. Heat, plumbing and electric not provided.

Water included (must be melted by occupant.)

Includes hole in roof for bonfires to prevent asphyxiation.

Neighborhood security provided free by campus police.

$200 a month OBO.

*Landlord not responsible for property melting.

• Location: Ann Arbor

Gong Ringer

Date: 2010-01-24, 5:26PM EST

Looking for someone to ring a gong in my living room when prompted. Part time position, I imagine mostly weekends. Experience not necessary, but history of gong-related ceremony in bloodline preferred. Serious inquiries only.

  • Location: Atlanta
-Riley Ubben

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Montaigne For President

The headlines these past couple weeks have left many of us feeling captivated and concerned by what may happen next. Even those who don’t typically lend an ear to current events have been gripped by the stories of turmoil in Japan and the Middle East. A 9.0 earthquake triggering a 10-meter high tsunami traveling at jet speeds is not something you hear everyday. The last time the earth shook like that was in the 18th century. What about civil war? With rebel groups rising in Libya, the Middle East and North Africa region just got a little hotter, and it’s causing the rest of the world to sweat.

You see, the world is flat now. Everything is connected. Not just by technology, but advances in environmental sciences have raised awareness that our human actions effect the entire world. You can’t just go around spraying DDT in the atmosphere any longer. With that we’re more aware of each other, even across hemispheres. There’s been the growing fear of the rising radiation levels coming from the tidal wave battered nuclear reactors in Japan. All we can do is continue to read the news, hoping we’re not next on nature’s list…

There’s perhaps a better way to grasp these things we cannot control. Look back.

History is the greatest tool in seeing into the future. As the centuries have passed, people have been through the most devastating hardships and disasters one can imagine- yet still we’re here. Just as many people do in these difficult times, past generations made rash decisions out of fear of the unknown. People are naturally afraid of change, therefore when it happens they abandon their reason. Not all did this, though. French philosopher Michel de Montainge was a voice of sensibility in an otherwise shaken world.

Writing his essays during the 16th century, Montaigne was living in a world of war, disease, and polarizing religious reform. Many people were predicting the end times, but Montaigne kept his cool. He sat in his study and thought about the problems the world saw, and he came up with logical responses. Driven by “Stoicism,” based on rational principles, he writes his essays in an enjoyable and often funny way. While reading, one can see into the Renaissance with no disdain for its “age.”

He would’ve made an excellent blogger.

It’s true though, that too many abandon their calm and resort to methods that are out of control. If we all had a little bit of Montaigne in us we would have self-awareness, self-understanding, and self-control. We would also learn a lot about how much he loves books and the company of beautiful women, but that’s a different story.

-Eric Hawkinson

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

5 Artists I Wish I Could Have Seen at SXSW

Don't get me wrong, I had a great spring break. Rather than take the conventional trip to a warm beach, my friends and I headed north for one last snowboarding venture before the season was over. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.. until I saw the line-up for last week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX. The festival is one of the largest in the country and features music, film, and interactive media. SXSW always features some of the biggest artists in indie, punk, and hip hop, and this year was no exception. Here are five acts that I would have most liked to be in Austin for, along with some footage, because that's as close as I'll get to actually being there.

1. Kanye West

Don't pretend like you're not dying to see him too. Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was arguably the biggest release of last year, and his SXSW performance was just as big. Ye brought along many of the big-name artists that appeared on the record, including Jay-Z, Justin Vernon, and John Legend.

2. Odd Future

This out of control rap collective's set was one of the most anticipated at the festival, and from the insane footage that's showing up online, it looks like they lived up to the hype. The group's so-vulgar-it's-clever style is making them a bit of an obsession in the hip hop world, and for good reason. These guys are talented.

3. Glasser

Probably one of the more bizarre performers on this list, Glasser's ambient vocals and industrial beats have drawn comparisons to Björk. If the video below is any indication, Glasser's performances are capable of being just as trippy as her Icelandic predecessor's.

4. Phantogram

This electronic indie rock duo is getting attention with its combination of chilled out beats and mellow guitar parts. The band's appropriately titled debut album, Eyelid Movies, might be the perfect record to fall asleep to, and I mean that in the best way possible.

5. Theophilus London

Calling London a rapper would be missing the point. The artist does rap on his recent EP, Lovers Holiday, but the record is well-rounded with 80's pop influences showing through every big melody and synth-driven beat.

-Riley Ubben

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Red square, blue square, tiles of white

The spout spits rapidly

Thoughts of love, and future commerce

Thoughts of pain, failed attemps

Droplets sail over the synthetic,

mapping their trail across the wall

Others explode against the floor

to be filtered, amass to reap

Eyes follow the fall of one,

a plummet to the palm

Splashing splatters wet ravine

Enough to sustain

Enough to nourish

Blazing light beats

dark toned flesh

The dirt, rigid, cracks under foot

The stretched horizon widens sight

Faces gleam blank with plight

Tattered cloth and soccer balls

Scattered huts made of the earth

A silent wind breathes hope, a song

that’s hushed by tears of kin

The sandstone well,

a glimmered surface

Arid, hollow, thirsty within

A single drop would suffice

But nothing now

nothing now

-Eric Hawkinson

Bringing Back Your House

The decline of the record store has been talked to death, but not many people have been willing to do anything about it. That is, except for Jack White. The former Whites Stripes frontman is using his independent record label, Third Man Records, to get people excited about physical media again, his latest innovation being the Third Man Rolling Record Store. This is basically a record store inside of a bus, and White hopes to use it to show downloaders what they're missing by bringing the store to them. Here's the promo:

White also put together the first Triple Decker Record back in September, which is a 12" vinyl record with a 7" record inside of it. Fans can open up the 12" and play the 7" to hear an otherwise unreleased song. This one's probably better to see for yourself as well, so here's the video:

In my opinion, these are exactly the kind of experiments that record labels need to try, if for no other reason than to generate some hype about the label. Every time White does something like this, it's an interesting story, so music websites from Pitchfork to Absolutepunk post about it and give the label free publicity. Digital music is definitely not going anywhere, but Third Man Records is proving that it's still possible to get people excited about tangible music.

-Riley Ubben

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Goodbye Galliano

Chic French spectators will have more than elegant Chanel dresses and Jimmy Choo shoes to ponder at during Paris's fashion week. More shocking than the thin runway models is the latest news on Christian Dior's chief designer-John Galliano. According to The New York Times, a recent video showcased him yelling anti-semantic remarks in a Paris bar. He has since been fired from Christian Dior.

Wearing fish tail braids, a top hat, and trench coat, how could one not suspect that Galliano was slightly crazy? While many celebrities have lost respect for the designer (Natalie Portman commented that she would no longer be associated with Galliano) can we deny that his designs were an art all their own?

For his 2010 spring collection, Galliano used a laser lit runway. White balls (Galliano preferred the term "orbs") fell from the ceiling as models walked down the catwalk in flapper dresses and feather hats. The make up contrasted with the girlish garments, as women wore heavy black eye shadow, resembling extras from "Shawn of the Dead." Galliano claimed his vision derived from women in the silent era who were "meeting their technological demise."

Yeah. That's what I instantly thought too...

Called "one of the most influential fashion designers of our time," he often traveled to different countries to gain inspiration. While in Shanghai, he crafted a show that drew influences from the 1960's French new wave era, mixed with modern day Chinese culture.

While the man underneath the slightly creepy top hat is questionable, his clothing is undeniably fascinating to observe.