Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Saturday Night Style

It's hard to believe I have been DJing for over 15 years. Scott and I have gone under the moniker of déjà blü for 10 years this November. That is why, in this reflective state I have been in lately (man, I must be really old?!) I have been reminiscing about the last 10 years of team déjà blü. Playing this Saturday at Pearl Street will really be a pleasure and I hope all you old timers can come on out to reminisce with yer grooves on!

When we started, we played at the corner of the bar at Kingsnake on Tuesday nights- that is where the re-rebirth of the kool began. We moved on to special events and some memorable Saturday nights with vibrating speakers falling from the walls, Curtis doing backflips off the wall and the place packed wall-to-wall.

After the demise of the original Kingsnake, we moved to Wednesday nights and then Friday happy hours at 658 on Main Street. In 2001 the party moved to that sushi joint on Main Street near UB and then a group of Saturdays at Off The Wall.

Anyway, that's the brief history of our residencies. Scott did a bunch of stints at the old Pink and Prespa for a while, but besides that, we have been on the events-only train. I like DJing art openings and gallery events the best- the crowd is very receptive to the deja-groove (except for the staff party at AKAG that one time- ugh) and they pay well!

Hope to see you this Saturday night on the patio at Pearl Street- should be a good one! See cool flyer and deja web 4 more info. Peace.

My top 10 déjà event gigs (so far):

Wed Nov 27th, Thanksgiving Eve, 1999
658, Bflo, NY
The people danced for 5 hours straight to old school hip-hop and straight up Acid Jazz.

Fri Nov 20th, 1998
South Loft Party, Main St., Bflo, NY
The other DJ passed out while at the party, so we had to keep the grooves flowin'.

Sun May 9th, 1999
Kingsnake Lounge, Bflo, NY
Open for Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at this little club and that band loved us!

Thurs Sept 5th, 2002
Albright Knox Art Gallery, Bflo, NY
New Ambience One: New Group Event w/ Odiorne
Got to spin intro/background while Jimy Chamber's band made cool noise!

Thurs Dec 23rd, 2004
Mohawk Place, Bflo, NY
Revolution Rock - A Tribute to Joe Strummer & The Clash
We spun punk and dub between bands at the rock club.

Fri Nov 7, 2003
Daemen College, Amherst, NY
p22 presents Typografia feat. déjà blü with Odiorne
One of our many Daemen art opening gigs, again sharing bill w/ astronauts Odiorne

Thur Aug 10th and Thur Aug 17th, 2000
Thur Aug 23rd 2001
Calumet Arts Café, Buffalo, NY
Open Space Open Mind guests of The Waz- 3 great outdoor patio gigs!

Sat. Jan 18th, 2006
Off The Wall, Bflo, NY
The last of Funk Skool with Dj Pharoah

Sat.May 13th, 2005
Central Train Terminal, Bflo, NY
Spencer Tunick/Albright Knox Art Opening
See photos to see for yourself- simply awesome- great space, great event!

Sat Dec 26th, 1998
Kingsnake Lounge, Bflo, NY
déjà blü Christmas Party
Their biggest crowd in the 'Snake (pre-swing days)!
Scotty referred to this event the following year as "our best gig ever!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monkey Gone To Heaven

At first it seems kinda strange to be typing on my computer in the middle of a cabin, in the middle of the woods in the middle of a steady rain (while listening a live Pixies cassette). Then I just have to think of Bill Murray portraying Hunter Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam and it seems alright. I haven't see a giant bat, though I am in the woods, so you never know.

When you own your small-medium business, it is hard to truly get away. We have a few clients, and some new prospects on the horizon, than need constant attention. Good thing the campground's 'entrance/store/owner's home' offers a free wi-fi hotspot. Although I cannot get internet access at The Longhouse, our cabin, I can get it up top of the hill. So I will do a few things- drive up tomorrow AM and afternoon and answer some emails, etc. I can make some calls on the cellular (another camping intrusion I would have never believed) from the cabin which is nice as well.

And although there has been a steady rain since this morning, it has not dampened our camping spirits. We have had a fire cooking in the cabin stove for the last 9 hours, which we cooked dinner in, and I got a beat-up suitcase (labeled the 'Vacationeer') full of old cassette tapes. A lot of them are mix tapes from our first road trip to Graceland some 15 years or so- they are good-fun-travel mixes circa early '90s....

.. so I gotta go back and stoke the fire a bit, the only reason I am writing this is everyone else is sleeping and I gotta charge the laptop. Happy trails to ya!

Top 10 Cassette Titles (I have in the suitcase)
Which, Over The Years, Have Become Some Of Our Campin' FAVs:

10. Hillbilly Music

09. NIGHT: Four Songs

08. July 18, 1994ISM's

07. tim, let it be & more mats

06. The Journey Continues VOL. 48

05 Rare Hip b/w DJ Brac vs. Space Ghost

04. SwelterFest '98 b/w Turn Up Dat Heat- FL, USA

03. Let's Pretend We're Married; the Prince collection vol. 1

02. ROAD TRIPPIN' 1993 + BEYOND b/w The Tape that actually has ELVIS Songs


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Concrete Jungle

The Return of the Product.

Scotty and I return to DJ once again!

This being the 10th anniversary year of the birth of déjà blü (gigography here). We started way back spinning records on the left hand corner of the bar at the Kingsnake Lounge on Chippewa on a Tuesday night in November 1997. Damn!- see some old photos here.

Back then, there was little to no DJ music being played anywhere in Bflo. on a weeknight that wasn't rock at the Old Pink or some 'boom-chick-a-boom' club thingy. We were playing what was called trip hop, acid jazz, abstrakt hiphop and drum + bass.

This special event is gonna be a real mover- a Saturday nite on the patio of the Pearl Street. The admission (and the sunset)-- free! We are spinning all kinds of good grooves from 8 PM until Midnight.. its an early evening casbah and an excellent way to start your Saturday night on the first weekend of Sept.... Damn, the summer is fast, eh? Whoooosh....

I know I am always going on and on about the similarities between DJing and graphic design- the cut and paste aesthetic that makes it all so unique as we appropriate other ideas into something new. Come on down and witness it in action for yourselves....

The event is titled Concrete Skyline, as we are DJing outdoors in this wonderfully urban setting that is the Pearl Street patio... and if you look really closely, you can still see a sliver of the lake between all the steel and concrete. This is the inaugural event of the new Land of the Lost DJ Sessions (more info to come on this one).

Clcik here for more details and to see the groovy poster.

Some of the rejected names (for your amusement) from the design/development process of the Concrete Skyline poster:

Final Movement 07

Fire in The Kingdom

Aging Rebel DJ Party

Original Sin Saturday

Summer Regrets

Beats + Pieces

Saturday City Lounge

The Happening

Future Bitter Memories

Hope to see you there- September One!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Somewhere Down That Lazy River

Today the New York Times ran an article about one of our clients, Vintage Canoeworks. The website we designed for them (linked above) is mentioned in the article and linked off the online edition. Very cool!

read the article here:
Boats With Stories to Tell, Rescued From Obscurity
Published: August 14, 2007

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Philosophy

As I was just playing some records (mixing some Steve Martin over a great Young MC instrumental- no foolin'), I thought about the design of mixing and layering and coming up with something new... and then I thought about this cool video I saw once and found it.

This Wednesday video is an old school super jam for "the last Arsenio Hall show". I originaly saw this on the krudmart blog, but ran across it again on YouTube. As Arsenio sits on the edge of the stage, we run through the likes of Yo-Yo, Naughty By Nature, Tribe including Q-tip, Fu-Schnickens, CL Smooth, Guru, Das EFX, Wu-Tang (buy their shoes), and the teacher, KRS-One.

This is an old star super jam and the place goes freaking nuts- giant hip-hop group hug at the end.. and I never ever knew who was DJing?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sheila Take a Bow

Type geeks unite (in Buffalo next summer)!!!!

Typecon 2008 in Buffalo, NY!

Big news for all design freaks (especially us topography lovers)-- brought to you by SOTA- The Society of Typographic Aficiondos.

From P22's Richard Kegler:

We will have more details soon, but what this means is 500 people will be
coming to Buffalo July 15-20, 2008 for this annual conference of
international type designers, graphic designers, information designers,
programmers, calligraphers and typographic aficionados.
The OtherWisz team attended Typecon a few years back in Toronto and it was great! Look forward to more info coming soon!

Here is the link to this year's past Typcon in Seattle.

Police On My Back

Snap to guides.

This feature is common to most designers using computers (that would be all of you). This feature helps you to keep everything lined up to the exact pixel. I was wondering if the 'snap to' feature forces us to line everything up, keep all balanced and to stay within the lines? Is this good?

Most great design is a perfect balance between positive and negative, object and space, born of symmetry.... but isn't there a lot of design that is also great that is unbalanced, lopsided or hanging one way more that the other? The visual cacophony of Art Chantry vs. the exquisite balance of say, Paul Rand.

Does that line that is a few pixels too far on one side or the other throw it all off? Being a clean, classic designer myself, I have toyed with the punk rock ethic of Chantry and "grunge" design (as my old mentor Steve James used to call it). But when I venture that direction, it is on purpose. And even then I am forced to balance it all out in some way. It never looks right unless there is some sort of aesthetic balance to the whole piece...

Sure some great designs have been born of accidents, but they are thoughtful, 'snap to grid' accidents.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Biz vs. The Nuge

BuffaloRising vs. block club

While Buffalo Rising (the print and the web versions) redesigns themselves, yet again, I thought I would compare them to the new kids on the block- the block club (all lowercase, mind you). Both local magazines are pro-Buffalo booster clubs attempting to remain hipper that you, full of ads for Buffalo bizs with short articles, listings, review, etc, etc, - same audience, right?

Here ya go head-to-head....

BR- Always seems to be printed on really crappy paper- and this is always going to be their design downfall. No matter how cool the pictures or covers are suppose to be, they are always flat and listless, with ink soaked up by the soft pulp it is printed on. I mean, I think the artvoice is on better paper, and it's newsprint for goodness sake!

bc- slick, glossy, beefy-- kind to the ink.

BR- flat and murky.

crisp and spunky.

BR- Well, this is the best layout of their many incarnations, but I still have trouble telling the content from the ads. The new page size is interesting... I am not sure if it such an economical use of the printed sheet size though?

bc- Nifty in it's pocket sized self-- half an 8-1/2 x 11" layout. Maybe too much of a booklet-size to be taking at face value for a magazine...more like a show program.

Name (and the band its make me think about):
BR- Jim Morrison and the Doors, do I have to explain this....?..
bc- Bloc Party (I think they're communists, they have no 'k').

Content (articles):
BR- bc- Both could benefit from some professional journalism, and editing perhaps- but, hey, I've been there...

Overall graphic aesthetics:
BR- This attempt to translate the web into a printed piece, even now carrying over some article branding such as 'tags" and a list of the number of 'online comments'... I don't know about all this..? I mean, who cares how many people have commented online? Does this make the article "hotter' or make me what to read or care about the topic more? No.
bc- It's all a little too rounded. I am surprised they haven't die-cut the corners of the mag itself! But I should talk.. I am always designing with curves- often predicting them as "the future."

BR- They haven't had a good one yet. The new tagline 'nothing happens here that's not on our screen' -- kinda lame. At least the cover paper stock is different that the interior- it's slicker and has a bit more punch. But then what's up with the gold laptops?
bc- single stock photo with the tagline cleverly written on the Popsicle stick. Nice colors, very eye appealing.

BR- There is a story with photos on some dude doing tricks in a parking lot on his trick motorcycle (with 11 comments online!!!!!) and those little personality, online chat-buddy heads- yuck. Ans lastly, what is up with the type graphics accompanying the 2 music articles- the typefaces doesn't change in the entire mag until here, I don't think this was necessary, in fact it was a bad idea... what gives?
bc- Excessive layout curvature; the maps in back- ugh.

BR- An ad with Matt Quagliano in it (just kidding- that's not really a highlight, man that guy is all over), good intent, they have their own typeface.
bc- Photoshoot at the lake- very refreshing, some nice typography (including the headline in 'mustard'), it's san-serify (and I'm a san-serify guy myself).

Final 50 cent-
BR- Their new brand color, this maroon, makes them seem a little snooty actually, the gold laptops, the boast of 'nothing happens here that's not on our screen' ... Always seems too have many stories about buildings (but they get a lot of online comments- NOTE: the proposed Gate Circle Condos story probably has the most at 159!!!!), getting a little tired of the constant redesigns- find something good and stick with it!
bc- seems young and fresh- better design. The funny thing is, with the great color reproduction and slick photos- it looks like a higher end piece that the BR is trying to be.

The winner- whoever sells the most ads, right?

Friday, August 3, 2007

On The Radio

I once went to meet a client at their office. I had already given the proposal to my contact and as we were reviewing it, the company president came in to meet me. We chatted amicably for a few minutes. We talked about OtherWisz and the fact that my office is is in the same neighborhood he lived in. We talked about the history of the OtherWisz barn/office, which was a band practice spot for years and how my house had been owned by some great, local musicians in the past.

Then he asked me a question that I will never forget.

He looked at me and asked, "What did you listen to in your car on the way over here?"

I thought to myself, "Why would a president of a corporation ask me such a question?" I smiled and answered, with no regret "Prince: Controversy."

He smiled back and said, "I don't have a lot of Prince." he didn't say he didn't or did like Prince, but I assumed he did, since he continued on, "I was listening to this great Bob Dylan CD......"

And we proceeded to chat, I thought what a great ice-breaker. I think I will use this when I interview freelance artists and interns from now on. What a great way to get to know a person. I mean if I ask someone and they say 'Kenny Chesney' or something equally offensive, I would have to take a close look to see if this is the sort of person that could work in our office.

What did you listen to on your way to work today? Let me know....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

3 Feet High & Rising

Or is just my De la clothes?

This Wednesday's video is De la Soul giving us Me Myself & I- live on the Arsenio Hall show. Its live, so its really cool- even for a hip hop act- it's a moment frozen in time. PA Mase mixes it up, even spinning in some of the piano break from "Ain't Hip To Be Labeled a Hippie!" As I write this I find De La has just released a new CD (more info here).

"Strictly from a Dan called Stuckie, It's just Me, Myself and I..." Those crazy suburban rappers!

If you search for "live Arsenio Hall" you will find live performances from Big Daddy Kane, 2Pac, Sugarcubes, Sinead O' Connor, Megadeath and more... (plus a lot of bad Whitney Houston type crap).