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Art

October 28, 2004;/h3>

{     Punchgut Studio     }    

Punchgut does a little bit of everything, from logo design and t-shirts to gig posters and fine art. They're a part of that new breed of artists/designers who never bothered to learn the lines of separation between art and design, (or just chose to blatantly ignore those lines) with incredible results. They're also committed to a certain brand of accessibility that I truly respect- owning a Punchgut piece won't clean out your wallet, and there's no cutting corners on their end when it comes to quality. The prints I've received are unbelievably sharp- crisp colors, excellent transfer and screening, printed on deliciously thick stock. Styles vary, it's one of the things I most admire about Punchgut- some designs rock a seriously traditional hard-lined lowbrow/comic feel, while others carry off a very raw vibe- combining several intertwining layers into something a bit more abstracted. I won't dare say that all tastes are catered to, but there's a lot of ground covered here, and it's nice to see that kind of variety. The Punchgut online store is packed full of other goodness too, from fine art pieces and t-shirts to cheesy belt buckles and some uniquely "customized" antique toys. I highly reccomend checking out the Fine Art section, if for nothing else than to pick up the mullet-tastic ROCKER print offered there. I felt like I was trolling the aisles of a flea-market turned art gallery as I perused their wares, and I'm betting that's exactly what was intended.

     » Punchgut Studio

Twelves

October 27, 2004;/h3>

{     6 x 2 = 12 Reasons to Vote For Kerry     }    

We've got a special guest Twelve this time out. The winners of our ShopChop t-shirt contest provided us half a dozen reasons each that they're voting for John Kerry this November.


Shona Sanzgiri

Voting for Kerry because:

1) The idea that this country was founded on religious freedoms should still stand. No president should force his faith onto the nation. Faith Based Initiatives are absolutely insane.
2) The ban on partial birth abortions is an atrocious law in respect to women’s health issues.
3) A President who goes into war with ill-conceived plans that in no way account for the second half of it should not be allowed to continue. Any president who loses a war that was started from his own camp should not be allowed to win re-election.
4) I would rather not have a former Halliburton CEO as Vice President. Coupled with the fact he may have ordered an unconstitutional shootdown of a second plane during September 11th shows that within this adminstration, it seems no one is responsible for anything.
5) Gay marriage should NOT be a political issue, it is a matter of personal freedoms. The fact that the President takes such a strong stance on it and takes such a weak, unconvincing stance on other issues goes to show that his Presidency is being run by his religious ideologies, not his political abilities.
6) Every time Bush gives that smug little wink and squint look, don't you just want to bash him in the head with a hammer?


Chris Stave

Six reasons I'm voting for John Kerry:

1.) The Libertarian candidate isn't even on the ballot in New Hampshire this year.
2.) He may not be the best man for the job, but at least I think he could do the job.
3.) I'd like to have at least some civil liberties left four years from now.
4.) His brain may have been dug up from a graveyard and implanted into his head in a weird mad-scientist scenario, but hey, at least he's got a brain.
5.) Because voting against Bush will make the baby Jesus cry.
6.) Because I remember when comedy and satire about the President didn't just further point out his gross incompetence and make me sad.


Thanks to Shona and Chris for such great responses!
Remember to vote Nov. 2!!!

Music

{     Earlimart - Treble & Tremble     }    

It's been a long time since I've listened to something that felt so unobtrusively essential. Perhaps it's Aaron Espinoza's wonderfully not-perfect singing, or his almost too-perfect structuring of song and melody. Likely it is the marriage of both. Treble and Tremble is an amazingly well-crafted album, and it would be easy for something this multi-faceted and layered to come off sounding a bit crowded, but it never does. Each element rises and falls perfectly in time; breaking, decaying and falling away just as another bit of instrumentation or vocalization slips in. It's a delicate yet vigorous dance of acoustic strumming, piano plunking, whispered coos, rising synth, and pattered beats. There is such sincerity here, an honesty and obvious love of music, that I can't help but admire the results.

     » Hear a bit...(with links to buy)
     » earlimartmusic.com
     » The Ship collective
     » Palm Pictures (w/bio and info)

Toys

October 26, 2004;/h3>

{     Mr. Wizard Micro Plush - Friends With You & StrangeCo     }    

I love Friends With You. Unabashedly and with all my heart- they make some of the most incredible, unique and beautiful hand-constructed toys and plush in the collectible market, every piece is a treasure. The folks at StrangeCo are well aware of the appeal and arcane powers of Friends With You products, and the two have teamed up to share the love in a whole new way. The most recent expression of that love is the Mr. Wizard Micro-Plush series. They couldn't have picked two better characters for the micro-treatment, with Malfi and Red Flyer representing in a 3-inch format. If you've ever owned a Friends With You piece you already know all about the special luck-enhancing powers of these strange creatures, and the micro versions pack in just as much mojo at a fraction of the cost and size. Included with each blister-carded piece are a random set of three magical luck amulets for you to collect and add to each character's tie cord. Just make sure to hang them somewhere close-by to get the maximum benefit of their mysterious power. Improving your life has never been easier, or more adorable.

     » StrangeCo
     » Friends With You (see Mr Wizard and the Legend of Speed)

Clothing

October 24, 2004;/h3>

{     ShopChop - BUSH BRAINS and FRANKENKERRY T-shirts     }    

**Update** We have selected the winners of our t-shirt give-away, and their prizes will be in the mail shortly. Keep your eyes peeled for a special "Twelves" entry featuring lists provided by our winners. Thanks to ChopShop for hooking us up with such a wonderful product for give-away, and thanks to everyone who participated and continues to read CrownDozen on a semi-regular basis. We've got more contests scheduled soon, so keep checking in. **** Tensions are running high with election day nearly upon us. The 2004 election will likely go down in history as one of the most significant and heated rivalries in the history of the presidency. In one corner you've got a US President and Yale graduate who can barely string two semi-coherent mildly-intelligent-sounding sentences together. In the other corner is an almost-too-glib Senator who has a knack for saying all the right things to all the right people....

     » Available on the internets from ShopChop.com

Reading

October 21, 2004;/h3>

{     Get Your War On II - by David Rees     }    

Utilizing a handful of clip-art images and some of the most intelligent and humorous writing to have ever graced a comic strip, David Rees has managed to capture the utter tragedy, irony and absurdity of post 9/11 American existence with his Get Your War On series. It's funnier than a bag full of G.W. Bush soundbites, and frighteningly incisive. I noticed a dull ache in my gut after reading this latest published collection, and I had trouble deciding if it was because I'd just been laughing so hard throughout or whether this was the onset of a wave of naseua induced by the failings of our government so hilariously discussed therein. I came to the conclusion that it was an equal measure of both. Rees' characters vacillate between being completely petrified by a sense of federally-sponsored terror and bombastically swallowing the latest line of governmental dogma with a cocksure level of confidence. They are strangely confessional in their everday-office-oriented chit-chat about world affairs, allowing Rees to expound upon the profound insanity of the current administration's approach to war, foreign policy and Constitutional rights. These aren't conversations you'd necessarily have in real life- they're amalgamations of prevailing assumptions, propaganda and harsh reality delivered off-the-hip, inevitably pointing the reader to some larger truth or fault. It's the laugh I needed and the honesty I've been looking for all at once.

     » Buy it!
     » Official website

Interviews

{     Interview : the Drama     }    

In the span of only a few issues, the Drama magazine has infiltrated the art and design communities and has become a quick staple of creative coffee-tables, trendy backpacks, and quality-controlled magazine racks the nation over. The magazine is sold mostly from the online store of the same name, which features not only said magazine, but also limited edition posters, other magazines of the same calibre, and tons of other miscellaneous artworks, drawings, knick-knacks and paddy-wacks from both within and without the Drama's very own collective of artists and creatives.

All this D-d-d-d-drama is roped and wrangled by the headmaster of Drama estates, a mister Joel Speasmaker, one of the nicest guys on this or that side of the Pacific. Pulling it all together in a crisp website and a stylish mag hasn't been easy for my man Joel, but he's certainly made it appear so. As I've said before, the Drama is honest, made with love for nothing but love, and I just got done talking with Joel about that. Here's how it reads....

Interviews

{     Interview : Threadless     }    

In the everlasting search for the freshest t-shirt that nobody else is gonna have, there is one place where you can always get your fix for limited run tees, and that is Threadless.com. They've got the bestest shirts at the cheaperest prices, and although I've ordered tons of shirts off these guys at the couch-scraping price of $15 each, I still catch myself thinking about doing laundry waaaay too soon so I don't have to wear anything else.

To give you a quick idea of how they work, it goes like this: people like you and me make our designs and then post them on the Threadless site, ready to be voted on by those registered on the site. After a short period of time, the highest voted designs are printed in a limited edition run and sold on the site for lower prices than you will find damn near anywhere else on the web

This idea was hatched by a couple of guys that met on the web, and have since gone on to create not only Threadless, but several other highly successful web destinations under the name SkinnyCorp. We recently spoke with Jake Nickell about Threadless, and a few other surprises they have coming out their sleeves...

Live

October 20, 2004;/h3>

{     Lucha Va Voom - Mad Mexi Monster Party     }    

It's like somebody took all the stuff I love most in the world, threw it in a blender and hit "Grind". Authentic Mexican Wrestling Action? 50's and 60's style rock en Espanol? Snarky commentary by comedians I actually like? Midgets? Beatiful buxom burlesque performers?! I was beginning to worry that in order to see all this in one place I was going to have to be transported to some magical dream world where my wildest fantasies would be turned to reality. As it turns out, all I have to do is drive to Cleveland. Lucha Va Voom is hitting the road this year to help us all celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday in style. With dates in Chicago, Cleveland and Toronto as well as the usual west coast performances, more of us than ever will be able to experience the Mad Mexi Monster Party phenomenon first-hand. Tickets range in price from $25-40 for ringside (dependant upon city and venue) and even cheaper for general admission seating. To quote the official press release- "This intense, highly combustible burrito of forbidden pleasures is not to be missed!"

     » Lucha Va Voom
     » Mad Mexi Monster Party Tour Info

Film & TV

October 18, 2004;/h3>

{     Team America: World Police     }    

"America! Fuck yeah!" These are dangerous times we live in. Global tension rises. The threat of terrorism is always lurking, like a shadow creeping down the next dark alley ready to snatch the purse from the shoulders of the free nations of the world. The smoking gun, they say, will come in the form of a mushroom cloud. WMDs, or "Weapons of Mass Destruction" as we used to call them back when we had the time to linger over such grim thoughts, when they were little more than a fantasy and not frantically being swapped about by foreign despots in countries with names so filled with consonants as to make them nigh-unpronounceable to Western tongues. Times like these call for heroes to stand up and fight for what is truly good and right. Times like these call for Team America. From their secret base hidden deep within Mount Rushmore Team America monitors the world for outbreaks of terrorism and stops them by whatever means necessary. Deadly times require deadly measures, and Team America has some of the deadliest.

     » Official movie site

Film & TV

October 13, 2004;/h3>

{     I ♥ Huckabees     }    

pf.jpgDavid O. Russell, of "Three Kings", "Flirting with Disaster", and "Spanking the Monkey" fame directs this tricky little film.  "I ♥ Huckabees" is a study of the interrelatedness of all things, as seen through the eyes of Albert Markovski, (Jason Schwartzman) a struggling political activist in the midst of an existential crisis.   Albert hires "existential detectives" Bernard and Vivian (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to investigate the coincidental nature of why he has three times crossed paths with a tall African autograph hound. Concluding that all the factors in Albert's life are related to the incident, the detectives delve deeper by observing him at work where he's struggling to deal with man's man and Huckabees department store representative Brad Stand (Jude Law) who he's teamed-up with to save an endangered marshland with a program called Open Spaces.  To complicate things even further, Albert has a crush on Huckabee spokes-model Dawn Campbell (Naomi Watts), Brad's girlfriend.

     » The Huckabees corporate website.
     » The Open Spaces website.
     » The official I ♥ Huckabees website.
     » The I ♥ Huckabees trailer.

Clothing

{     Braveland Design - Blast Off!     }    

50 years ago, there was much speculation about the year 2000. Many theorized that flying cars and contact with alien life forms would become a tangible reality, and we would be witness to the dawn of a true Space Age. Dave Bravenec is keeping that dream alive with a series of new t-shirt and accessory designs for Fall of '04. Utilizing simple yet iconic depictions of aliens, space-men and the afore-mentioned flying cars, he's brought us a vision of the world As It Might Have Been. Pulp-action themes meet with 50's-styled design elements to create a strong retro-future feel. The World of Tommorow becomes the World of Today after all, thanks to Braveland Design.

     » Braveland Online Store
     » Volcano Fire Sale! (Page one of two- check 'em both!)
     » Braveland Design Main Page
     » CrownDozen interviews Braveland Design

By Adam in Clothing
Clothing

October 12, 2004;/h3>

{     Vans - Custom Old Schools     }    

DIY = Design-It-Yourself. Custom culture is all the rage these days, but usually that means you're just buying into somebody else's design. Vans remedies that and puts you behind the drawing board with their Custom Series, allowing you to completely modify the look of your very own pair of shoes. The Old School offers 11 different mod points, and a huge palette to choose from, so you can rock whatever sick colorway you like. I burned hours fiddling around with the options, torn between creating something fairly subdued that fits my drab wardrobe or whipping out a pair of beautiful eye-sores. I'm too lazy to do the math, but there are literally thousands of possible color-schemes and I tried most of them. Now I just have to wait a few weeks while they get stitched together and then WHAMMO!, I'm wearing a pair of Adam Barraclough originals. Aces!

     » Vans Custom Old School
     » Vans Custom Slip-Ons
     » Vans.com

Reviews

October 10, 2004;/h3>

{     Rob Sonic - Telicatessen     }    

sonic.jpg

2004 has already proven to be quite an interesting year in hip-hop. Overall, there has been a rewarding wave of excellent 'comeback' records from past favorites, serving as shoulder-tappers to refresh our memories of why we liked these guys to begin with (OK's Prince Po, De La, Artifacts' Tame 1 & Cage, the Mighty Mos). Lex Records became this year's indie darling with each project released being among the year's best (plus their fancypants packaging actually makes you want to spend money on music again.) We heralded the birth of 'pen-pal' rap as Madvillian, Jaylib, and Foreign Exchange all demonstrated a startling new method of making incredible records through the US Postal Service. We saw the ever-prolific Madlib outline his plan for world domination with countless quality releases under just as many different monikers and heard Kanye West's sped-up Cartman-esque soul samples replace the Neptunes' 60s spy synth as the mainstream played-out production mode of choice. And finally, Def Jux unleashed its secret weapon, Rob Sonic, with an amazing solo debut that would single-handedly restore faith in the label and establish Sonic as one of hip-hop's most promising new talents.


     » The Definitive Jux Homepage

By Eric in Music, Reviews
Music

{     Rob Sonic - Telicatessen     }    

sonic.jpg 2004 has already proven to be quite an interesting year in hip-hop. Overall, there has been a rewarding wave of excellent “comeback” records from past favorites, serving as shoulder-tappers to refresh our memories of why we liked these guys to begin with (OK’s Prince Po, De La, Artifacts’ Tame 1 & Cage). Lex Records became this year’s indie darling with each project released being among the year’s best (plus their fancypants packaging actually makes you want to spend money on music again.) We heralded the birth of “pen-pal” rap as Madvillian, Jaylib, and Foreign Exchange all demonstrated a startling new method of making incredible records through the US Postal Service. We saw the ever-prolific Madlib outline his plan for world domination with countless quality releases under just as many different monikers and heard Kanye West’s sped-up Cartman-esque soul samples replace the Neptunes’ 60s spy synth as the mainstream played-out production mode of choice. And finally, Def Jux unleashed its secret weapon, Rob Sonic, with an amazing solo debut that would single-handedly restore faith in the label and establish Sonic as one of hip-hop’s most promising new talents.

     » The Definitive Jux Homepage

Music

October 7, 2004;/h3>

{     Hans Karl - Ambient Chair Music     }    

Thematically, this is perhaps one of the most unique musical endeavors I've ever personally encountered. Inspired by the lush and loungey illustrations of Ragnar, Hans Karl has produced a soundtrack to accompany the artist's "Chairs" series. The album contains ten tracks, each dedicated to a different piece. ( the illustrations are reproduced in the accompanying booklet, so you can "view" and "listen") The music is unobtrusive and subtle, atmospheric instrumental electro-lounge-pop at it's finest. The crisp sound and production of the album complement the very contemporary feel of Ragnar's pieces, and the whole project exudes a classy stylish vibe. The sound ranges from smoldering and sexy to brisk and breath-taking, establishing an increasingly elegant mood. While listening I found myself lulled into a reverie: Coming to, I was surprised to find there was no goblet of merlot in my left hand, no gorgeous vixen sprawled across a Bauhaus recliner before me. I wasn't wearing a velvet smoking jacket OR satin pajamas. The smell of expensive perfume and desire was not, in fact, filling the very air I was breathing. My mind attempted to grasp the fleeting sensation, and it dissipated before me like smoke....

     » Hans Karl Music
     » Ambient Chair Music at Ragnar's littlecartoons.com

By Adam in Music
Music

October 6, 2004;/h3>

{     The Beta Band - Heroes to Zeros     }    

The Beta Band is dead. As bandmember Richard Greentree so eloquently put it- "The Beta Band apple has over-ripened and become riddled with maggots, it must fall from the tree and let its seeds return to ground." While there are certainly some over-ripe moments on Heroes to Zeros, the album is also full of the strange energy that has always made the band so compelling. Some of my favorite tracks call to mind the electro-funk of their 2001 release, Hot Shots II, only with a more organic feel- due in large part to their use of live instrumentation supplementing the steady diet of programmed loops and beats. The Beta Band has always been known as great background music. Heroes to Zeros flips that script with some real "rock" moments. The band's vocals have taken a turn for the relevant as well, avoiding the vague spaciness of previous material in favor of a more up-front presentation. Whereas guitarist/vocalist Steve Mason had previously allowed his delivery to blend and meld into the song structure, with Heroes we see it emerging to the forefront. This directness allows the wry sense of humor and overarching themes of the lyrics to be much better appreciated.

     » BetaBand.com
     » Astralwerks Beta Band page

By Adam in Music
Twelves

{     Do Something     }    

Reposted for obvious reasons.

Learn the truth, pick a cause, get off your ass, and do your part to fight for it. Not to be all negative, but it's all falling apart around us, and we fat Americans won't get off the couch to do shit about it.

01. Learn the truth
02. Dig even deeper
03. You too, Punk
04. Support MoveOn.org
05. Read Real News
06. ACLU (Fight the Patriot Act)
07. Your Vote Matters
08. Move your feet
09. Spread the word
10. Mobilize!
11. Stop killing your planet
12. And finally, fuck this "War"

Twelves

{     Twelve things that I look at for a few seconds too long.     }    

1. strange growths
2. butts
3. people fighting
4. people falling down
5. stains on ceilings
6. closed window blinds
7. large birthmarks
8. car wrecks
9. cashier haricuts
10. ugly children
11. missing teeth
12. really bad tattoos

Film & TV

October 4, 2004;/h3>

{     Something Weird Video     }    

There is no greater repository or resource for Trash Cinema on the planet than Something Weird Video. That's Trash Cinema with a capital "T" boys and girls- nobody has done more to legitimize the wholly illegitimate underworld of the film industry than SWV. When the King of Trash himself, Mr. John Waters, wanted some vintage footage to splice into his pan-sexual masterpiece "A Dirty Shame" he went to Something Weird. The result: Concussion-induced sexual hallucination footage that is as hilarious as it is titillating. Whether you're looking for boobie-filled drive-in movies, vintage peep show reels, hallucinogenic drug-abuse propaganda shorts, 50's and 60's skin-flicks, Space-Age educational and instructional films, or just some straight-up horror/gore classics, Something Weird has got your back.

     » Something Weird Video
     » Main Index Page

By Adam in Film & TV
Reading

{     "10 Minutes A Day" Foreign Language Series     }    

Never have foreign languages been so easy to learn. I'm currently working on Spanish in 10 minutes a day and after I'm finished with the espanol, I'm on to Italian. These nifty little books come with stcky labels you can paste around your house like, el perro, which you can stick on your dog or bano which you can slap on your bathroom door. This series makes learning another language extremely enjoyable and fun. You even get a restaurant guide and flash cards. I'm halfway through the Spanish book (which by the way has lots of fun cartoons to help you learn) and already I'm starting to speak Spanish like a pro. If you want to become bi-lingual or even learn many different languages, this series is a great place to start. There are also 10 minutes a day books for Japanese, Norweigan, Italian, etc. Check them out. It's the best resource I've found so far to have me speaking Spanish in no time at all. Contributed by: Stacy Broce

     » Buy it...

Art

October 1, 2004;/h3>

{     Wear It With Pride - Unplugged     }    

Expanding on their original concept of limited edition hand-drawn pin-badges, the boys at Wear It With Pride cooked up the Unplugged project- offering up not only one-of-a-kind pin designs, but also original hand drawn artwork from 14 different pervasive artists all tossed into a unique gallery setting. (Take a look at the pics from the reception night linked below to see just exactly how much fun those of us who couldn't make it missed out on.) The show will be up throughout October, housed in the ultra-hip DreamBagsJaguarShoes Gallery (see links for more info on this incredible space.) WIWP is donating a big chunk of the proceeds made from the sale of the artwork to Cancer Research- as if owning an entirely original piece from one of these super-talented artists and designers weren't incentive enough already to want to pick one up, you'll also be supporting an entirely worthwhile cause. They've even made the work available online (again, see below.) The roster of participating artists reads like a Who's Who of emerging and established art and design talents- Dalek, Scary Girl, Tado, Michael Gillette, Insect, Jon Burgerman (whose piece is pictured here), Nu Design, hellobard, The Null, Devilrobots, Anarkitty, The Boy Fitz Hammond, Fons Schiedon, Sick Boy, Sweden Graphics and Yuck. I fired off a few brief questions to WIWP's Darren Firth, concerning the Unplugged project and future plans....

     » Online Gallery, Original Pieces Still Available!
     » See pics of the show
     » Wear It With Pride Main Page
     » DreamBagsJaguarShoes Gallery

Games

{     Katamari Damacy (PS2)     }    

KATAMARI DAMACY! I want to shout it from the rooftops! My love for this game is as pure as driven snow, and I will suffer no others before her. Handily the best video game I've played in 2004, and it has already garnered a spot on my top 5 games of all time. Katamari Damacy takes everything I love about gaming and rolls it up – quite literally – into a huge gibbering, shrieking, twitching ball that has plowed straight through my heart. I feel positively goddamned _evangelical_ about this madcap bit of oddness and joy. Here's the basic gist of it: you control a teeny-tiny little guy rolling a ball that picks up anything it touches. Your goal is to make the biggest ball of stuff that you can. Then you do it all over again, and again, and again.

     » Buy it from EBGames.com
     » Official Japanese-language site. Much cooler than anything on the American site. Be sure to hit the downloads section (second link down in the center of the page, check the URL)


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Interview : Parskid

Interview : Parskid

Interview : Shawn Wolfe

Interview : Arbito

Interview : Jeremy Fish

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Interview : Gary Baseman

Interview : Nathan Jurevicius

Interview : Ugly Dolls

Interview : Friends With You

Interview : Fudge Factory Comics

Interview : Kozyndan

Interview : Jeff Soto

Interview : Rockin' Jelly Bean

Interview : Jon Moritsugu

Interview : Pontani Sisters

Interview : Big Pinky

Interview : Above

Interview : Jenny Hart

Interview : Yumiko Kayukawa

Interview : Threadless

Interview : Dave Kinsey

Interview : Ragnar

Interview : Little Friends of Printmaking

Interview : Seripop

Interview : Nate Williams

Interview : The Drama

Interview : Junko Mizuno


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