Distractify: 3D Illusion Street Art in Germany

Distractify featured German artist 1010’s 3D illusion street graffiti.  Follow him on facebook here.

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7 Magazine-type blogs: Culture-curation’s really where it’s at now, I guess?

1.  Flavorwire  – “Cultural news and critique

I like the relationship between this cultural news magazine, and Flavorpill, which is their web app to “find events in your city”.

A well thought-out experience, of learning about, finding and going to interesting things.

In fact, I would probably measure the success of a “culture news” website by the number of individual articles I feel like spontaneously opening, plus the number of outgoing links that I also open.

In that case –

Articles:  4

10 Criminally Underrated 90’s songs

Video of the day: If Pinterest were Invented in the 90’s

What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links that Made the Rounds in Our Office

Glowing Night Photos of Urban Grocers

Clicked external links: 4

Jawbreaker Shot Glass

and, from probably one of the most addictingly viral “pop culture news” magazine sites – Buzzfeed:

The Top 10 Most Legally and Illegally Downloaded TV Shows

14 Trends from Coachella 2012 You’ll Probably See More of This Summer

13 Untapped 90’s Fashion Trends

2.  Domus I love this magazine/site.  It looks just immersing and beautiful, and the features are good slices of the art and design world.

3.  Kempt

I like this.  In comparison to hearty (#6 in this list), this is more like what I’m talking about.

Distinct voice, even if isn’t exactly for me.

Feels crowded, but the content seems well-written enough – fresh takes on even “normal”-seeming things.

4. The SuperSlice

Slick and snazzy.

Altogether glossy branding and design.  With the slim category colors and clean serif title fonts.

5.  Social Design Zine

In Italian and English, I think one of the more high-brow and intellectual among this bunch, with reviews of design books and analyses of logos.

6.  hearty magazine

Love their logo, and the look of their header.

Unfortunately, I don’t fully know what to make of the magazine’s “voice”.

Not as youthfully luxurious and fashionably brash as Nylon, but also not as insightful a cultural lens as Thought Catalog.

For me it’s like the “Cosmopolitan” magazine of the web: it’s a bit too full of fluff, I’d rather read a men’s magazine.

7.  The DEFGRIP blog.

Bike culture and art.

I love that it has such a clean and crisp aesthetic for a BMX culture magazine.

Diversity is so beautiful.

Kitty Pryde: This makes sense.

This is Kitty Pryde.

You are going to want to, at least, know about her.

Why?

Because if you want to intellectualize about the state of music and the “blurring of boundaries”, she is a great example to name-drop.

Kitty Pryde has been talked about on ComplexVulture, Fader, Vice, HypeTrak, Idolator, PopDust and other culture blogs.

Even the New York Times has talked about her.

She is, as Fader describes, “the internet’s preeminent coy white girl rapper”, and her video “Okay Cupid” has been making the rounds.

Now, I’m sure her music will get A LOT of flack.

Because, damn it, when I was watching the first 20 seconds, all I was thinking was “whaaaaaaaaat.”

In fact, I’m impressed that the blogs picked this up pretty quickly.  Her main Okay Cupid youtube video only has 85, 475 views, which kind of suggests this topic is at its infancy.  Of the 1,429 people who actually cared to click a button on what they felt about this, 38% clicked the thumbs-down one.

And, she gets comments like:

“what the fuck is this shit”

“omg please stop singing”

and “She’s 17 writing the lyrics of a fucking 14 year old girl trying too hard.”

and, one of my favorites: “its like rebecca black all over again :/ with more.. words.. ”

along with: “i give up on life”

From HypeTrak, there’s also: “Really Hypetrak? so many trill nigggas doin they thing and this is what you post? smh….RIP HT”

So what’s there to like?

I actually don’t enjoy her Okay Cupid song as much as her Justin Bieber song.  Which is actually a response to his cult of fans and the baby-daddy incident.  Listen to it.

But, as usual, I love her in a “meta” way.

What do I mean?

I mean: I love what she represents.

For one, I love the whole “package”, the whole “non-marketing marketing*” approach.

(*Yes, like “no makeup makeup”).

I love that her EP is entitled “The Lizzie McGuire Experience”.

I love that her Bandcamp page has close-up, self-taken pictures of her face with black mascara trails streaming from her eyelashes and showing off her inner lip tattoo.

She is authentic.

Or, at the very least, feigns authenticity.  The kind of current “real-ness” that proper adults and “good values” see as icky.

But, she does precisely what teenagers on tumblr do.

This is the best example to support how one teenage girl (who I interviewed last year) explained her liking Miley Cyrus, as a personality, over Taylor Swift.

Because, she said, Taylor Swift is “less real”.

Her songs are all about love and liking the boy who doesn’t like you back; she beams heart-shapes into the world, which might be relatable for her 12-year old fangirls.

On the other hand, you have Miley Cyrus, who is out there making mistakes, trashing her own name, trying to break out of the mold her parents brought her up in.

Which sounds much more like a 17-year old.

And, I think authenticity especially matters when making music.

In my opinion, successful music is authentic.

Meaning it represents something true about a culture, an image or an experience.
It’s why, for me, although many great songs have universal appeal, the way they sound and the way they’re made is culturally specific.
We tend to laugh at people who just mimic or copy musical styles. But, as it has often been said, good artists steal and we now have a culture where “everything is a remix“.
What gives away that something is just a copy is when it isn’t owned.  South Korea creates successful pop songs, because they embraced it.  They got Western ingredients and made it their own.  They practiced it from childhood and honed their pop sensibilities.

Try to listen to popular songs about the social condition from the 70’s, and from the present decade.

Popular music about society’s ills in the 60’s or 70’s were either folksy, rock or reggae. Sardonic, weary or lashing out.
Now, you have the addition of hip-hop.  Which, I think, also represents society’s ills, like poverty, and violence.
But it has swagger, a gritty machismo not present in the aggression of the 70’s.  A swagger that developed from the earlier years of blues, which was also a form of dealing with slavery and sorrow.
How does this relate to Kitty Pryde?

Because if Kitty Pryde made music any other way, it wouldn’t have made sense.

She can’t rap like Nicki Minaj because she doesn’t talk like Nicki Minaj or live like Nicki Minaj.
It was a lot more valid for Eminem to rap the way he did because he lived in the same kind of anger and survivalist aggression.
It’s probably like how it’s annoying to hear non-American musicians, who try to sound American when they rap, when you know they didn’t grow up talking that way.
It’s just fake.
Kitty Pryde’s songs are about her crush and social media culture, and she ‘raps’ the way she talks because that’s how it makes sense to express herself.
Not everyone’s a songstress, you know.
There have been weirder things — like Miranda July’s spoken-word songs, yet those are considered art.  More on music appreciation in a future post. (Seriously.  If you think Kitty Pryde was weird, you should listen to these.  I almost find them disturbing.)
[Watch video at your own risk.  I tend to get traumatized.]

I guess I’m just not a “hater” when it comes to people who write their own music. I may not always like the songs, but I respect the difficulty in creating them.

Lastly, I like that they actually can’t pigeonhole her.

I think that if they stopped calling her a rapper there’d be much less negativity surrounding her video.

What this means for culture is that her music can’t really be defined as…anything, which is going to be a good description for the media genres of tomorrow.  Hip-hop and rock have crossed over for a while, and I’m pretty sure I recently read an article on the alternative sound of today’s R&B. Or was it the other way around.

This kid sounds like a teenager talking on the phone crossed with a Garage Band track from someone’s basement crossed with frozen yogurt.

I don’t even know what genre you’re supposed to call that.  And that’s why I think she signifies the start of something interesting.  Because this’ll open up doors for girls who just want to sound like they’re talking on the phone, and want to express themselves, but feel pressured by Taylor Swift and Jessica Sanchez.

Link to her tumblr account: kittydothedishes

Random “Top Links” link from Complex: 15 Sexy GIFs of Celebrities Dancing

5 Things I found nice today: the quietest place on earth, homemade butter, anime, prints and Harvard cooking lectures

1.  Cool..

It’s so quiet that after 45 minutes, some people have had hallucinations.

Welcome to the quietest place on earth.

Anechoic Test Chamber - Orfield Laboratories

2. The Little Friends of Printmaking

via Think.BigChief

3.  Q&A with Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry

Butter is a great one start with. It always works, it’s quick, and it’s totally magical.”

Yay 🙂

4.  Cooking and Science – brought to you by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. via Open Culture

5.  5 Centimeters Per Second

5 Favorite Finds: Wendy MacNaughton, Zeldman blog, The Atlantic Cities, Emily Badger, Citizens for Optimism

I am floored by people’s amazing brains.

1.  Via The Littlest Comma, I found my way to Wendy MacNaughton’s blog and illustrations.  I am definitely going to buy one of her pieces from 20×200.

She’s clever, and her illustrations are accurate, but quirkily fun.

2.  The Zeldman site, by Jeffrey Zeldman, A List Apart‘s main man and founder of Happy Cog.

He recently featured notes from An Event Apart, as taken by Luke Wroblewski: on Kim Goodwin’s Silo-Busting with Scenarios, Zeldman’s Content First, and Whitney Hess’s What’s Your Problem?

3.  The Atlantic Cities

"Subway Platforms Around The World"

I like how they have a special (and engaging) section on Neighborhoods and urban planning.  It’s such a content- and category-rich site :O

Yes, that was an emoticon.  I can’t express how amazed I am at the sections they thought of.

Like “The Democracy in America” section!  Where they have a This Week in Bans feature!

Why I find this cool – this week’s feature, for example, on parents in New York’s Park Slope trying to express how they want ice cream vendors to be banned from the park is a genius example of freedom of speech. Particularly, this one line from a comment stream, that just shows the interplay of different economic forces at work: “I should not have to fight with my children every warm day on the playground just so someone can make a living!”

Other articles I bookmarked were: The Map Geeks Behind “Bostonography” and America’s Urban-Rural Work Divide (which I want to use as inspiration when categorizing occupations).

4.  Emily Badger, whose articles I found in The Atlantic Cities.

I like the way she writes, and what she writes about.  She writes about cultural trends regarding architecture and urban spaces, but in a relatable and un-hoighty-toighty way, like in I Can’t Stop Looking at Photos of Absurdly Tiny Homes.

5.  Citizens For Optimism, a group of designers who created posters based on words that a survey of New Yorkers associated with “optimism”.

Joe Hollier - "Sing"
Pablo Delkan - "Dream"

5 Pretty things: rainbow thread art, Pantone tarts, design and wedding blogs, beach nostalgia-hue business cards

1. Gabriel Dawe‘s Plexus No. 9 via Designspiration

Made of just thread, painted wood and hooks.

Plexus No. 9 - Gabriel Dawe

2.  Katani Lifestyle business cards by Motherbird. via Designspiration

3.  Pantone Tarts by Emilie de Griottes via designboom

4.  Decor 8.  A group I found through an Emilie de Griottes post (she just joined their team).

Really pretty content.  Watercolors, wallpaper, crafts.  Excellent visual femininity orgasm.

Sushi Print - by Miss Capricho
Catalina Estrada Wallpaper
Therese Sennerholt prints

5. Browsing through Decor8 led me to this picture:

Which was featured in Green Wedding Shoes.

Frankly, the best wedding idea blog I’ve seen.  Each featured wedding is beautifully photographed and I bet brides’ll go crazy over the little detail inspirations in the posts.

The image above is of a backdrop created from rolled paper ribbons, made by the bride herself.

Most handsome wedding ring I've seen!

Yellow ombre cake!

The most arresting commercial I’ve seen, of late: Sony Bravia ‘Bouncy Balls’

* my heart bleeds *

It’s that beautiful.

Note: I am a bit biased, because I have a special place in my heart just for bouncy balls. There was a time when I used to always have one with me wherever I went.  I was 25, then.

Damn it, I don’t have a category for “Just Plain Beautiful”.