Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm Chillin'

Wednesday's Old Skool Hip Hop video (a day late) is a collabortion of Kurtis Blow with DC's Trouble Funk performing I'm Chillin'. Trouble Funk pumps the live go-go, electro-funk beat with Kurtis Blow leading the raps.

Very cool with a nice club-party groove, a vox voice synthesiser and lots of 80s dancers. Kurtis rappin' in the chilly club (icicles hangin' off the air vents- you know it's chillin' in there)!

Fades out a little soon though just as it gets to the bridge. Enjoy!

You can break (if you want to)!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Ledge

Ban Comic Sans!

Preserve the sanctity of type! This website has various "Ban Comic Sans" propoganda for you to download to join the cause. For graphic artists: is CS possibly the most hated font ever?!? Possibly.... The site includes examples of Comic Sans usage, graphics and background info.

Details: In 1995 Microsoft released the font Comic Sans originally designed for comic book style talk bubbles containing informational help text. Since that time the typeface has been used in countless contexts from restaurant signage to college exams to medical information. These widespread abuses of printed type threaten to erode the very foundations upon which centuries of typographic history are built.

The comic panel above is from a pretty funny "ban CS" comic strip you can download. "I'm not kidding, I really hate that shit," says Mr. F***in' Snapcase.

There are bad types and good types, and the whole science and art of typography begins after the first category has been set aside.
- Beatrice Warde

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Watch The Sunrise

It was a nice cool weekend- perfect for moving all the office equiptment, furniture & tools. We are up and running in the new space, above the old office. The move came out super, and a lot of hard work went into getting up here. Everything isn't up here, but enough to actually work, comfortably. The old office space dowtstairs is another story- but that will be a Phase Two project.

This also will be a good chance to weed through old job files (and files and files and files and files...) and recycle! Less paper- save trees!

I am looking forward to launching into this new office space tomorrow AM. This move will come with a renewed spirit (as most do). It really is bigger, better & mostly brighter. We have Mother Nature's rays coming in and won't have the lights on during the day anymore. Yeah!

Super shout out to Pharaoh for the xtra lifting help Friday & Saturday night & j. the mastermind beghind the whole affair!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gone Daddy Gone

The big move is well underway.

By the time the next blog post appears, it will be from our renewed office space. Yeah! Our office is in a barn within the city of Buffalo and we are moving our workspace up to the 2nd floor. We are switching things up. We are moving what is upstairs downstairs and what is downstairs upstairs! The new office space will be brighter and less compact with stuff (I hope).

We have been working on this for weeks (and I am sure for weeks to come). But we have finally prepared the upstairs to begin to move the hardware up this weekend. Moving is a royal pain, yet cleansing and rewarding at the same time. I am looking forward to my larger "executive office" (as Jill calls it) and a brighter room, a more organized workspace. The downstairs will be a lounge, with DJ setup, bubble hockey and a place to chill.... Yeah!

Photo above: records in the bathroom (and a lot of stuff temporarily in many other places).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Ain't No Joke

Wednesday's old-skool hip hop video is an Eric B. & Rakim classic. Inspired by Joe at Faherty's (they have Eric B & Rakim's Gold remastered cd in the jukebox).

I Ain't No Joke, I Used to Let the Mic Smoke...

No Joke is from the Paid in Full record released on October 10, 1987. This is their 1st official full length LP and featured the legendary Paid in Full- a club classic from back in the day. The video includes a young Flavor Flav dancin' up a storm. Enjoy Wednesday's old skool hip hip video: I Ain't No Joke.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Little Mascara

Beyond the hearsay, half-truths, legends, and allegations. Minneapolis music writer, Jim Walsh will release his story of The Replacements in mid-November. "The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting" promises to tell the true tale of the band's rise to indie fame, to major label signing (some say 'sell out') to the implosion and self-destruction that eventually finished the band.

Featuring interviews with family, friends, & fans; former manager Peter Jesperson; Twin/Tone record label cofounder Paul Stark; and musicians around the nation influenced by the band- this book promises to be, if anything else, an entertaining read. Bob, Tommy, Chris and Paul were a force to be reckoned with and their path in the world of rock and roll burned quick and bright. Sloppy rock and roll like no other.

Look for the book in the Fall. Here is some more info on the top Paul Westy fan site: Man Without Ties.

Another book worth mentioning, that I have read about the indie rock scene of this era is Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. This is a great book with a chapter dedicated to each band featured including, Husker Du, Minutemen, Black Flag, Minor Threat, as well as The 'Mats. It was writen by Michael Azerrad and is a great read. This is the book that got me into Big Black and I haven't turned back!

Bonus Beats: Something To Du (video clip)- Recorded Sept. 1981 at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis. These young kids know how to rock, especially Bob (R.I.P.).

Friday, June 15, 2007

What About the Alien on My Jacket

I have just heard about Mark Freeland passing after a fight with cancer (Thursday, June 14, 2007). He was a true Buffalo artist. I will always remember when I first saw the "guy dressed in indian headgear, hand painted leather jackets with an ear full of earings" walking around Elmwood. I always thought he was wasted and quite a freak! A friend turned me onto his music in the '90s (awesome Fems videos here) and then I started to understand the artist that is Mark Freeland. Here is a link to his screentest for the movie Buffalo '66- this is great!

About 3 years ago, Mark called me about setting up a website to display and sell his paintings online. I met him at his apartment on Forest, right off Elmwood. I was a little intimidated to go see him at first. But when I arrived he welcomed me with open arms. Large finished and unfinished canvases were stacked up in the living room as the furniture was pushed aside to make room. We talked for about 40 minutes or so and I really liked he genuineness. That is what I will remember about meeting him. Man, he was nice.

I never did do his website, but I would still occasionally see him around over the past few years and he always said hello.

Buffalo lost an original yesterday. RIP, Mr. Mark Freeland.

Beer makes you smart, drinking is art," chanted Mark Freeland and Electroman in their funny, eclectic twist on the sex-drugs-rock theme, American Googaloo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Check The Rhyme

Alright, back to a design posting.

Though I would like to post a different old school hip hop video every Wednesday to break up your work week with some funky grooves- but we'll see how dedicated I can be as Summer happens....

This is a great article from Dynamic Graphics magazine. I am not sure how much actual typography they teach in school these days- but the rules of fonts, faces, text and display still hold true. As this article states:

"The ability to successfully combine typefaces is clearly a valuable design skill.But with over 100,000 fonts to choose from, the task can seem daunting. The good news is that there are four basic rules for combining different typeface designs. Follow these and you are well on your way to successful typographic mixology."
4 Rules for Combining Typefaces by Allan Haley
Dynamic Graphics Magazine (February/March 2007)

click here to read it!

Allan's basic rules for combining different typefaces are:
  1. The family comes first
  2. Embrace diversity
  3. Combine similar proportions
  4. Limit combinations
  • Plus bonus beats: Don’t Combine Electronic Distortions!!! This is one of my biggest type-peeves of all times. You might say the computer is the GREATEST invention in setting type and the WORST invention in setting type. I am always learning and this is a great refresher course.

Throw Yer Hands Up in The Air...

Holiday Inn.

Sugarhill Gang's Rappers Delight- a classic for a Wednesday! This is why the internet is a good thing!

Why was clothing so bad in the seventies? Didn't we know any better. I think I am going to start dressing like it is 1980 and see if anyone notices.... Where my Kangol?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Shake Appeal

Raw Power.

Iggy and The Stooges!

Yeah Rock! Rock! Rock !

So this was 1973. There was no punk rock yet. There were no Sex Pistols, or Clash, or X-Ray Specs or any of that stuff. There was no Malcolm McLaren, no 'god, save the queen,' no bloody Sid ("I wouldn't piss on Keith Richards if he was on fire...." said Sidney).

But there was Iggy. There was The Stooges. There was 'Raw Power.'

This album has become my new favorite (Pitchfork Media review here). It seems the older I get, the more I flashback musically... deep crate digging that has surfaced some of my old favorites. I have back tracked to the beginnings: old school hip-hop circa late seventies/ eighties and lots and lots of punk rock! While cleaning the office in anticipation of a remodeling/major shifting of stuff- I found the first Stooges LP. Yes, a vinyl record kids. And this let me to rediscover the gem that is Raw Power, the second Stooges LP, credited to 'Iggy and The Stooges.'

The Raw Power CD was remastered by Iggy in 1997 and I can't believe I missed this event. The original LP was mixed by David Bowie and he polished the raw Stooges by ruining the 'raw'. Oh yeah, he ruined the 'power' too. The usual 'sonic cleaning' and 'delicate touch' has not been performed to this remastering project. This CD was remastered to make it louder, more distorted, heavier, violent, bolder, brasher, tougher, and oh man, is this a good one!

And the cover- says it all. Classic Iggy in eyeliner and dark lipstick, shirtless in tight rock pants, clutching the mike stand and staring into space. A classic images to a classic LP.

The back of the CD has this statement from Iggy:

People kept asking me-- musicians, kids I would see, 'Have you ever thought about remixing Raw Power?' Everything's still in the red, it's a very violent mix. The proof is in the pudding."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fun House

Here is another vintage comic book, again from 1980. Man, I loved this ad, it was almost as good as the comic I was usually reading. This is for Super Gifts & Gimmicks from Palisades Park, NJ's Fun Factory.

I always loved a good practical joke and I had ordered some gags from ads similar to this in my youth. I was always a big fan of the Whoopee Cushion, Disappearing Ink, Snappers and the classic Snake In A Can. My grandma Vicky always loved the cackling of the Bag of Laughs and I was always intrigued by the supposed power of the Hypno Coin, Throw Your Voice instructions manual and the classic X-ray Vision Specs ("X-Ray Vision Can Be Yours!" it boldly proclaimed).

This ad boasts some awesome little comic illustrations for the items: the Pocket Spy Scope dude looking at a bathing beauty, the Joy Buzzer actually shocking someone and the muscle man trying, to no avail, to open the No Tear Sugar packet.

Other highlights include:

  • The before mentioned, small, hard-to-read blotchy type.

  • The fantastic statement of "Offer valid until March 1988"- an ad with prices good for 8 years!

  • The warning statement of "Some Adult Supervision Needed"- probably for the Silent Dog Whistle- you don't want 20 neighborhood dogs to come running at cha after emitting the silent call! Or the Giant Evil Snake- could scare your mom!

A classic for all- click here to see it.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Kind Of Blue

déjà blü- the remix.

I have designed dozens of flyers, posters and postcards (a few here) for déjà blü- the DJ team of myself and Scotty. Scott as well, has designed a few. But for our next gig, a Happy Hour at the prestigious Burchfield-Penny Art Center, they had their designer put something together for the event. So it is really cool to see someone else reinterpret what I have been interpreting for over the last 10 years.

The postcard (linked below) was designed by Ann Casady- a wonderful designer, as well as past chair of the Design Department at Daemen College. She has since moved from Buffalo, but still does some design work for the Burchfield.

Not only do I feel honored to DJ at such a great venue-- this adds to our Gallery resume that includes several performances at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, CEPA and the big Spencer Tunick Event at the Central Train Terminal (photos here by Joe Cascio) a few years back-- but it makes me feel honored to see something so close to home reinterpreted and designed so well. I was ecstatic when I received this postcard in the mail- considering we usually have to do all our own promotions and graphics.

I like the balance of the 'deja' to the 'blu', the correct use of our unnecessary accent marks (for the record: option E 'A', option ` 'A', option U 'U'), the insertion of the "DJ" (though it should be 'DJs'- there are 2 of us), and the recreation of our signature blues. Simple, balanced, clean and pleasing.

The event is next Friday, June 8 from 5:30-7:30 at the Burchfield-Pennny Art Center. It is presented by the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative and is sponsored by the Buffalo Spree. Admission is only $10 and, of course, Scott and I will be floatin' the smooth grooves for your aural pleasure.

Hope to see you there- see postcard by clicking here.