Monday, June 30, 2008

Love The One Your With

OtherWisz Live (& in person)!

J. and I are giving a presentation during Typecon- so if you have a desire/need to see the team OtherWisz live and in action, this will be your chance! We are one of the presenters during the Pecha Kucha night at Hallwalls in Babeville. Those of you who are not familiar with the Pecha Kucha, it was formed by a couple architects (Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham) looking to speed up and make the presentation given by architecture more palatable. It seems architects want to ramble on and on and on (often). The PK format requires presenters to show 20 slides while only talking for 20 seconds per slide. This makes the whole presentation only 6 minutes and 40 seconds long! Sort of speed presenting!

As we plan our presentation, I gotta tell you I am a bit nervous, but excited to be part of such a cool event. As we move along with our planning, I will keep you posted as to what we are going to do. I was thinking of demonstrating the fun & challenges of a husband and wife design team working in Bflo, NY.... what do you think?

I do hope a lot of you OW fans come on out to see how nervous we are both going to be in public amongst our peers. Last time I spoke in public the audience was a lot younger, but I wowed 'em! Run, Joe, run!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heaven 90210

"Straighten me out Bert, I musta got some bad liquor."
Dave Koch's Top Ten Quotes From It's a Wonderful Life (#4)

Slack issue #5- The SLACK TV Issue
Holidays 93/94 (published 12.12.93)

I turn on the television and my kids stop and stare-- they literally become zombies! It is amazing the effect it has on them. They don't watch a lot of TV at all. I read in the newspaper last week the national averages of 2-3 years old kids that have TVs in their rooms-- and it makes me nuts-- why should a 3 year old child have a TV in their room!! My kids don't have a TV in their room. They maybe watch 2-3 hours of TV a week! A week!... some kids younger that 3 watch that much a day- it is crazy!

Now when I was a kid I did watch a lot of TV. I watched it in the morning before school, after school and in the evening. Some Saturdays I literally watched TV from 6:00 AM (the Canadian station had the original Spiderman cartoon on, the one with the catchy theme song) until noon. I somehow managed to turn out all right... if you disregard my short attention span, irritability issues, wild mood swings and an inability to concentrate.

This fifth issue of Slack- the SLACK TV ISSUE is when the magazine really hit it's stride and got going. Sixteen pages chock full of musings on TV including the marketing of It's a Wonderful Life, TV as a drug, the heroes of Beverly Hills 90210, and an article about how TV isn't to blame for all the violence in the world (in 1993).

This issue features a great interview with Mr. Lance Diamond, one of our first angry letters from a reader (a Miss Holly Sinnott), a thorough list of Batman TV villains, Top Ten Xmas Gifts From the Dollar Store (how slack can you get), 14 DJ lists, and a compiled list of the best Xmas rock songs.

Some Notes about this issue:

> Charlie Quill, I borrowed your Reverend Horton Heat CD cover to scan to include with your review in this issue- I still have it, if you want it back. Your CD may be lonely without the liner notes.

> A great Lance Diamond quote:

"A busload of Nardin Academy girls passed me the other day and they hollered, 'Lance Diamond... we saw you on MTV... you were awesome." You know... I felt good about that."
> The photo (to the right) of me with my face pressed against the inside of a TV screen was achieved by scanning my face on the flatbed scanner- with my eyes open... I am still seeing spots 15 years later...

> The space issue (or lack of) is really apparent in this issue- I think the Horrorscope is probably 3 pt. type. Again, get me the magnifying glass.

> The Batman Villains list was apparently incomplete- the next issue features a letter from a reader named Southpaw Joe (the 'King of Ice and Snow'), that filled in the blanks with some missing villains including: Lady Penelope Peasoup, Clock King, Lola Losange, Nora Clavicle and lawyer Lucky Pierre, who was played by former JFK press secretary Pierre Salinger. The fans got a little creepy once in a while...

Download it here: Slack Magazine n. 5, The SLACK TV Issue Issue (6.1 mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n. 4, SEX in the '90s Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 2, The Travel Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

BONUS BEATS: Lance & Goo Goo Dolls on MTV Bitch- -click here-- Rockin in 93!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Black Diamond (well, actually, the 2 of clubs...)

Deal me in (though, you gotta know when to fold 'em...)!

P22, the local typeface foundry, has released a second set of Type Specimen Playing Cards as a follow up to the first set from 2004. Each card in the deck is an original design using a different P22 font. The cards work as a clever and cool collectors item as well as a unique take on the font specimen book (which is the method type foundries display their fonts for sale, a 'type catalog', if you will).

All 52 cards were designed by either an internal P22 designer as well as local and international designers including Jim from Typeco, Paul Hunt and Hajime Kawakami. Last year Richard Kegler from P22 put a call out to designers to submit designs using their favorite P22 font. I am proud to announce that the deck includes an OtherWisz designed card. Yeah!

OtherWisz used P22's London Underground Extras on a balanced design for the 2 of clubs (see graphic to the right). I was very excited to see one of our designs included in the set. It is an an honor and a privilege to part of this project.

The London Underground, a humanist san serif font, originally designed by Edward Johnson for the London Transit Authority has had quite a re-birth since P22 digitized it for release in 1997. The new expanded release of the Underground Pro has really taken the fontface further with several additional weights to the original design. It has always been one of my favorite P22 fonts and one of my first P22 font purchases.

The cards can be ordered on the P22 website (click here) for $10 (plus shipping) or they are FREE with an order of over $100 from P22. I am sure they will for sale at the upcoming Typecon, as well.

More about the London Underground font here.

BONUS: View the complete set of OtherWisz rejected submissions (click here)
you only need one winner, to be a winner!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sexy MF

Yo, what's up? Here you have SLACK issue #4 and it is so over filled with copy that it'll take U the whole month 2 read it! - from start of the Editor's Desktop

Slack issue #4- SEX in the '90s Issue
November 1993 (published 11.10.93)

Often when my neighbor Nate comes over and we hang out in the OW lounge, we get stuck on a Prince thing. We will go back and forth playing Prince LPs, 45s and CDs for an hour or more. It may not be for everyone, but if you like funky grooves- the P-man has a lot of good songs.... I mean a lot of really good songs. Sure, there are a few stinkers-- the Dolphin Song (and I am gonna stop there). But pound for pound, the good P songs are a-good and a-plenty.

Well this Slack issue came out following the release of the 3-CD Prince collection The Hits/B-sides. So this means, these 3 CDs were all I listened to while I designed this issue (I have 2 Prince songs in my DJ list). For a lot of people, songs remind them of special and memorable moments. Well, a lot of the Prince B-sides remind me of designing this particular issue of Slack. Wierd, huh?... especially She's Always in My Hair and 17 Days.

Slack Magazine, Issue no. 4 is really so full of text that most of the typefaces are pretty small and some articles are extremely ledded- gettin' the Led out! The Special Feature by Brad as Dear Mr. Heartthrob is set in Optima, so dense, it looks like a set of squares on the page. Man, oh man. The mag is 16 pages, could never afford to add 4 more to 20, so I just crammed it all in-- great writing, as many ads as possible, small graphics-- and I filled a lot of the leftover fractions-of-a-column-inch with in-house ads for SLACK advertising and the phone number.

This is the 1993 Sex Issue and the article on Digi-Porn has definitions to help you out including 'modem: a device that hooks a computer up to a phone line' and 'America-On-Line: a popular above ground bulletin board information service' what tha?! Highlights include a drunken rebound story, a voyeurism tip guide, a sex in pop music piece ridiculing Buff News' Tony Violanti's review of a Toronto Madonna concert (1993), and well, the Prince CD review is a little sexy too.

This was a very popular issue with the now deceased, Anna Nicole in her glory days on the cover. She was a 1993 sex symbol for sure, especially with the little tattoo on left breast of a small SLACK logo and a little heart. Sweet. 10 DJ lists, an Andre Bad Brains interview, a bizarre Strick jury duty/Jim Morrison tale- what more could you ask for. Delirious.

Download it here: Slack Magazine n. 4, SEX in the '90s Issue (3.7 mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 2, The Travel Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

Monday, June 16, 2008


I like almost all types of music. As a DJ, the eclectic mix of different things has always appealed to me. That is why, when I first started playing music in bars & clubs back in the late '80s- early 90s, I loved being able to play a mix of rock, alternative, hip hop, funk and soul. The 3rd Room, the Concrete and the Old Pink were places you could play that sort of variety and get away with it.

When Scott and I started deja blu, over 10 years ago, we played a groovy mix of what was then called electronica- which was basically all music that was electronic based, and was later further classified into, nu-jazz, neo-soul, alternative hip-hop, space age bachelor pad music, smooth groove and more.... Besides the deja blu era, I have never tried to play only one type of music at a time. Ask anyone who has been to a party here, or hung out in the OtherWisz lounge while I spin tunes- I like to play it all and mix it up good, really good.

The opening spot DJ last night at the Pearl Street (during Sunset Sundays)  played a whole set of songs that were very similar. It was good, very precise technically, but it was really a bit boring. It all fit into a housey-techno vein- which is always better in small doses. I think more DJs playing different types of music would work better... I'll check it out again and we'll see. There are different DJs every Sunday.

My recent online CD purchase sums up my musical taste pretty good.
I just bought (and they came today):

Noting like a bunch of new (old) music to give the day a fresh outlook. All three CDs have a similar quality to them, they are all a bit on the mysterious and dark side, now that I look at the 3 together. Mope rock rules!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mirror People

The early 1990's were a heady time for us independent publishers in the Queen City. There was a lot of hanging out at dance clubs (hey, someone had to do it!). A club that ruled Buffalo in the '90s was the ICON at 391 Ellicott Street.

As I have been posting the Slack Magazines archives, I have been noticing all the great bands listed in the ICON ads that have played the club days gone by. The Drost brothers brought some great acts to Buffalo as well as having some of the best club music. Techno was king and the third floor on Thursday nights-- with reggae DJs Chief and MKO- are now legendary.

A few great club shows (that I remember) include:

  • Peter Murphy
  • David Byrne
  • Gil Scott Heron (2x)
  • 808 State
  • Dread Zeppelin
  • Urge Overkill
  • Gwar
  • Adrian Belew
  • Buzzcocks
  • Wu Tang Clan- which I think was the gunshots-show, the final show that finally forced them to shut the club for good.
While searching for some old files, J. ran across a box filled with some vintage goodies including an Artvoice from Aug-Sept 1991. Since there was a good 1/2 dozen of them stashed, I knew I must have had an ad or something that I designed in it. I did find a Wizard Graphic's designed ICON ad in it, but then I found this photo in the Photo Section (above). This was from Canadian ska masters King Apparatus appearance at the club, and it must have been an encore (notice the lighters lit- a pre-cellphone show of appreciation).

Oh, the good ol days... scary, huh?

If any one remembers any other great ICON shows, comment below. I'd love to hear them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Diamonds On The Souls of Her Shoes

This is one of those below rate favors but rewarding jobs!

An aqauitance was going to Senegal to hang out with his drummer friends for a week and he promised to bring them T-shirts for their band, Ballet Syllaba Thiaroye.

He waited until the last minute and contacted me to help him out. So I gladly created the design the night before it went to print.

We searched online to find images of similar african drumming bands like theirs. Found some great reference, performed some 'hand' tracing in Illustrator, found a worthy typeface, balanced it all together and viola! Called the printer in the morning and arranged to get the tees, saw an email proof and they were printed and ready for pickup a few days later. They were packed into a suitcases and off they went to Africa!

Pretty cool, I got this photo emailed earlier of some of the band members enjoying their new Ballet Syllaba Thiaroye gear. They look happy!

Here is the final artwork below: BST rocks!


A Review of the HOW Design Conference in Boston

Ever wonder what is like to attend a big design conference out-of-town? Well my friend Nate attended the HOW Design Conference May 18-21, in Boston a few weeks back and has 'detail blogged' about it. He gives us a play-by-play diary of what he saw, what he did and how HOW changed his life!

I have a few under my belt starting with the an Adobe Conference in Toronto back in the late 80s, various Paper Shows and J. and I were at the Toronto Typecon several years back (which was coolio). Reading Nate's tale is really getting me stoked for Typecon in Buffalo next month, where we get to play the host-city-- showing out-of-towners a real good time.

Read about Nate's trip to Boston and the the HOW Conference- click here.

Art School Girl

This weekend- Allentown Craft Fest!
June 14 & 15th, 2008

Pottery, jewelry, yarn things, things made out of wood, metal-molded crap for your garden... oil paintings, maybe?

I hate to be a critic (really) but is there ever going to be an Allentown Artfest poster that doesn't have the prerequisite paint brush in it? Lord knows, you can't say "art fest" without a paintbrush, eh? I know they have a contest every year to design the poster. I wonder if the rules state: "Must say Allentown Art Fest, must have the date and location, must have a paintbrush (?)"....

This year's poster makes me want to ask aloud, "Will there be a lot of Greek mythological statues available, or funny clown faces?" I need more of those in my life... except the clowns maybe, they scare me....

Click here for all the gory details.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Knockin on Mine

I Have Been to the Mountain & I Have Walked With Kings- My Revelations at Graceland
Slack no. 2 - The Travel Issue
Sept. 1993 (published 9-8-93)

As I got the pop-up up in the yard, I was musing on camping trips of the past and how much I really like hitting the road. I am hoping this summer can include a camping trip, roadtrip, trip to Earl's Diner... and more. I am going to sell my 1980-era Viking Popup Trailer and it could be yours. You my friend can 'live the dream!' We are a cabin family these days.. we went from tent camping to small trailer to cabin.

So I had to pull another oldie out with issue #2- the Travel Issue. Cooler that a new shirt! This 2nd issue of 'all the news that's fit to be tied" followed a return from a roadtrip to Graceland and is good issue at sticking to a theme. Chock full of travel text including Strick's Rastaman Dictionary, the Elvis-Graceland report, top roadtrip songs (including lists from musician's Matt Smith, Dave Meinzer, Charlie Quill, Terry Sullivan, ICON manager David Drost and BNY dj Rich Wall) and a Dave Koch tale of hitting America's highways with the family in tow.

Again this issue manages to be stuffed to the gills with a lot of music copy including Dre's interview with My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and surf record reviews from Mr. Quill.

Highlights of this issue:
> Slack of the Month is the Buffalo News for a typo on the first word, on the first page of the the first issue with the new masthead and layout.
> Smashing Pumpkins being referred to as the 'new kids of rock.'
> A really weird 3rd Room ad.

Download it here: Slack no. 2, The Travel Issue (3.5 Mg)

Don't forget these issues already up:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Down With OPP

I spend the evening in Orchard Park Town Court last night to pay a fine for getting caught speeding on the 219 a few months back. Three hours later I received a slap on the wrist, a warning and a 150 dollar fine. Hey, sure beats points on my licenses and a day in driving school.

All and all it was a long time sitting around and talking to my long lost contractor (who I haven't seen in 3 years or so), so it wasn't all bad. But I notice some interesting things while in OP....

Top 10 Things I Observed in OP Town Court:

  1. Guy wearing a "Keep Kids Off Drugs- Amherst Police" tee- was he ironic or just kissing up?
  2. No air conditioning. That goodness it wasn't August!
  3. Only caucasians appear to live in OP (or only the white people speed in their cars and get caught- all the other races must be smarter...?).
  4. A lot of people speed on the 219. Maybe it's because the speed limit changes from 65 to 55 right in the middle without any warning (Hey, I didn't see the sign.... but it really is a mute point, since I was going 80 in a 55!).
  5. Late night hockey (triple overtime) leaves a town clerk sleepy.
  6. Speeding in OP makes a lot of money for the town.
  7. The average parking ticket in OP is going to net you a fine of ninety-freakin-dollars! My advice is to not park illegally in OP.
  8. Stalking is popular in OP.
  9. Dressing appropriately for court apparently means wearing shorts and t-shirts. I was over dressed in a suit (maybe that's why my fine was the max!)
  10. All the 16-year old criminals (non-traffic violations: drugs, stalking, stupidity, etc.) are slouchy and wear black-- all of them. You know they say that the bad guys always wear black.
Two other highlights I'd like to add:

> When I got the $150 parking ticket (everyone else was getting $90 tiks) I swore I heard a gasp in the crowd- or maybe that was just me gasping!

>The 16 year old goth kid that protested when the judge rescheduled him for a Thursday in August. He was upset he would miss Thursday in the Square. Wha?