Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Everything Is Cinematheque

I think we’re all a bit crazy; those of us outside the asylums only hide it better–and maybe not that much better. We’ve all known people who talk to themselves, people who sometimes squelch their faces into horrible grimaces or pick their nose when they believe no one is watching, people who have some hysterical fear of snakes, the dark, the crick in their neck, the long drop, and of course, the worms waiting ever so patiently underground. When we pay our twenty bucks and seat ourselves in a comfy movie theater we are daring ourselves to go for a ride and to escape from within. We go to the movies to re-establish our feelings of essential normality. Movies provide psychic relief on a level inviting us to lapse into simplicity, irrationality and even outright madness for an extended period of two, sometimes three hours. If we are all insane then sanity becomes a matter of degree. Exercising our emotional muscles helps maintain the status quo of our civilization. Love, friendship, loyalty and kindness are emotions we applaud, emotions that have been immortalized in motion pictures and in poetry. The mythic movie has a job to do. It deliberately appeals to the worst in us, and what we aspire to be. It unchains our most base instincts while realizing our fantasies.

Strange Things Happen

Los Angeles is an overflowing ocean awash in wit, kitsch, horror, cartoons and the ultra chic rebel yell-it's a city with a future and a remote control past. Residents of Los Angeles are a remarkable bunch of people. It is a strange place, but far more relaxed than you might expect. If you suddenly find yourself here talking to Hollywood royalty you’ll find Los Angeles is a warm generous place filled with talent, opportunity and remarkable insight. If you take the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, Ocean Front Walk, Venice and then to Hollywood Hills–you’ll see the charm that is Los Angeles. Mulholland Drive or Sunset Boulevard is the spine that connects the valley to the rest of the city. When you are on Mulholland you can see both sides of Los Angeles. It is serpentine; all at once it locates you as nothing else would here. Los Angeles does not feel like anywhere else on earth and this is good but soon everywhere else is going to resemble Los Angeles. Pulsating daily into the airwaves the dream is alive and well in the entertainment capital of the universe. Now go out and watch a movie at a nearby cinematheque.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Culture You Say

Architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, music, film, cartoons, advertising and graffiti are relics of our time. Each serves as purveyor of change within a social context. The culture we perceive remains a force but largely for consumerism. The post modernism of resistance arises as a counter-practice to question rather than exploit cultural norms.

Embracing Sustainability As Necessity

Architecture vocabulary is overflowing with timely buzzwords like sustainable architecture, ecological architecture and green architecture. Green implies energy management to reduce pollution by using solar, wind, water recovery and recyclable or reused materials as the basis for design. At a time when the world is experiencing a serious energy crisis, when the planet is dangerously overheating and when the population explosion brings with it a frightening increase in urban squalor – sustainability has become an urgent necessity. Neither architects nor anyone who is concerned about the future can ignore the effects of climate change and ecological responsibility.

7000 Years Of Stylistic Evolution

In the 7000 years of human civilization, the story of architecture has principally been the story of great buildings. Shapes of dwellings have represented to us the image we have of ourselves as societies, cultural beliefs, codes and values. The aesthetic today, however, includes ornamentation and a concern for renewability for future generations. This new context imposes moves beyond the minimal, embraces the culture of high technology and purity of line in design.

Imagine New Shapes With Information Modeling

In architecture invention, imagination and progression – continuously flow into one another. The architect is a creator who confronts past values with new ones ripe for the picking. New materials and technology such as lightweight metals and polycarbonate allow architects to get closer to the dream of infinitely malleable structure and space. The computer has also proven to be a real ally with 3D information modeling, allowing extraordinary leaps of the visual imagination. Architects now more than ever, are able to stretch their imagination and aim for the stars.

Structural Expressionism

Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology lets architects play with form unlike ever before. 3D Autodesk software not only helps put together what buildings looks like, it also tells exactly how much an extra curve here or projection there would cost the client. Structural expressionism for newer shapes and styles is also improving collaboration between architects, engineers and building material contractors who measure, cut and construct the emerging designs. CAD technology has been liberating for architects to bring forth new designs and for clients who commission the buildings.

A Cultural Rebirth Of The City

The brave new world of early architecture was based on capitalist ideals of the industrial revolution. By the second half of the twentieth century, the rise of the aesthetic resulted in a rush to live in the suburbs and decline in urban centers as places to live. Today, there is a rebirth in the cities around the world. Integrated approaches to new dwellings – encompassing environment, culture and community are making downtown as a place people want to live.

Discover Your Own Ritual

Our son goes swimming for the first time at 4 months young. It's a riot being a parent = love wrapped in a package of enthusiasm so large it is nearly uncontainable. He is strong and healthy as all kids should be. An aristocrat in the pool.

Design Is Innovation

What Makes Design Powerful?

Web design is a form of graphic communications – a point of difference between companies that give their audience similar products or services. Outstanding Web design goes beyond site architecture to position the company through content and user experience that is undeniably relevant. Design creates an environment where the audience feels control over the experience and empowered, but not so much control that it is overwhelming.

Transforming User Experience

Designing the experience that’s right for the audience is critical to having good design. Take Facebook for example. Facebook’s popularity is due to two main things: it’s a simple idea – telling your friend what you’re up to and users having control over what we see or post without feeling overwhelmed. The lessons from Facebook are users have enough control over the experience to make us feel as if we are expressing ourselves, but not so much control that the experience becomes overwhelming or intimidating.

Organizing The Aesthetic

Elements of style such as size, scale, color, texture and depth are integral components that designers leverage to communicate content and appeal of design. An effective design unity takes precedence over the individual elements, so that the audience perceives design as a cohesive unit. Creating visual language means grouping the elements of design together, either through meaning or function and shaping the visual relationships between them. An effective design synergy takes precedence over the individual elements so the user perceives a synergistic design from page to page.

Importance Of White Space

Deliberately constructing empty space is overlooked as an element of Web design. In fact, a common mistake is to focus on the objects to be placed on the page. For example – words, images, points and empty space. Usually, white space is simply what’s left over when design is finished. Empty space is essential for creating relationships that inform design language. The use of white space in Web design has extra significance over other forms of communication, since the elements of a design aren’t just elements, it’s the interface that people need to navigate and to find information. Design leads the user through a layout for maximum usability.

Stylistic Elements Of Design

A design style connects with our audience’s need to relate to things. The elements of design style include: color, texture, typography and imagery. Additionally, there are means of manipulating these elements to create a sense of scale, or depth through the use of animation and variation. The crafting and manipulation of these aesthetic elements of style make a practical design memorable. Design style comes primarily from two areas: the trends of our time – what’s fashionable and the technology available now to create design.

Importance Of Color

More than any other design element, color has the ability to guide, direct and persuade the audience. Color appeals to each person’s emotions by setting a mood or a tone for design. Colors signify meaning for many people and culture, making it a powerful tool for every designer. The immediacy with which colors can be recognized makes it valuable for forming clear relationships.

Texture Informs Tactile Experience

Adding texture to design gives the audience greater sense of a tactile experience and helps connect her/him to the content on a page. Types of texture can range from smooth, shiny buttons, to rough or grungy treatments, type imagery or backgrounds. Aside from the stylistic treatments of texture, it’s important to remember that on a macro level, every design has a texture, intended or not. Type images and illustrations combine to make an overall texture that the user perceives on a subconscious level.


A designer’s choice of imagery should be deliberate and add to the branding or the message of the page. All images add to the page’s file size, so gratuitous use of imagery can impede a good or fast user experience.

Depth And Dimension

Applying depth + dimension to a page gives it an element of realism giving the audience a more tactile experience. There are many ways to create depth of design. From overlapping design elements, adding gradient color, shadows, three-dimensional elements, of course, all in moderation add visual interest. Design with depth and dimension draws the audience into design.


Animation is a tool used by digital designers to layer information, create a sequence of information or simply surprise and delight the user. Animation can be the focal point of a design – like a slideshow or video in the main feature area – but animation can also be simple and subtle, like small amounts of movement where a user mouses over a button. Too much repetitive animation becomes distracting to audience. The designer should always give the audience the ability to pause a large animation or if an animation is looping to cycle for no more than three cycles.


The speed at which you the Web designer can apply changes combined with the need to continually “refresh” the site, gives you the ability to vary elements of a design. What was once considered unthinkable – altering a corporate logo, for example, can now be a playful way to add relevance to a Web site. The best way to keep a site fresh is by updating the content. But if that’s not possible, design variations can give the audience an impression that the site is fresh.

Art Of Typography

Typography has the greatest effect on the success or failure for a piece of communication. This is because type carries readability of the message and the craftsmanship of the typography can either enhance or take away from the message. Many designers share a passion for the art of typography and can spend hours learning new fonts, adjusting the rag onto a column of type or placing punctuation. It has been said that outstanding typography is highly invisible, but typography can also be aesthetically expressive and attention grabbing. In either case, type must carry the message further to our audience.

Creating Relationship Through Powerful Design

You the designer must create form that’s the new new. Design combines art and technology to communicate ideas. Designers push forward by dreaming big. The larger the idea – the better it can be made through design. If the idea is really outstanding, the designer may worry about how to create it. Sometimes the yardstick of a good idea is the “no,” of un-comfort that it may generate. The “no’s” suggest the idea is actually worth doing because if it doesn’t challenge the status quo it may be similar to other ideas in the realm.

Playing It Loud

Music is emotion. Music is a sequence of waves that propagates through the air and elicits ecstasy, desire or joy in the listener. Music provides many things from audible pleasure to religious prayer and an entertainment product for the marketplace. If you are like most musicians, you harness skills as a singer, drummer, guitarist, bassist, percussions player, sound editor – and much more. Maybe, you have reached a time when you want to compose, record, produce and rehearse the next platinum selling album.

Voicing Your Authority

Music is performance. Music is the physical expression of culture as sound. Many people make and perform music for their own pleasure. Many musicians are professionals who work in their own bands, broadcasting, film production companies or teaching at music schools. All such opportunities enable the secular advancement of music.

Making Music You Want To Hear

Every musician has a dream of taking the leap of faith with your band and putting music career onto the fast track. The time couldn’t be better to get involved in audio recordings. Not long ago, you needed to go to a commercial studio and spend thousands of dollars if you wanted to make an appropriate-recording. Now, you can set up a recording studio in your garage or spare bedroom and create music as good as those coming from the professional studios. Turning your tracks into a finished song is now easier than ever.

Performing Your First Take

Your palms are sweaty, pulse rate is up and hands are shaking – as you get ready to press the digital RECORD button. There’s something about knowing what you’re about to do is for keeps or at least could be. Relax. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re both the artist and the producer. You can take as many “takes,” till you get the “take,” you are happy with. Plug in your instrument, set up your routing, select the levels and choose the song you wish to play. Congratulations, you are on your way to taking your musical career to the next level. Let the fun begin.

Improvisation As Invention

Musical improvisation is the creation of spontaneous music. Instantaneous composition by performers where compositional techniques are employed with or without preparation is considered improvisation. Such improvisation is the basis for many forms of Jazz, Hip-hop, Rap and even some Country Western.

Assembling A Song

You’ve recorded all the parts for your song, placed arrangements and structure the way that you want. But suddenly, you wonder what the song would sound like if you started with the chorus instead of the first verse. Lucky for you – digital music editing software such as Apple’s GarageBand or Logic Studio allows you to copy, insert, move and paste your music. The best part of this process is you can make the music sound the way you like without compromising sound quality.

Being Heard

The true approach to playing live and getting exposure still holds true today. Now you can harness the Internet to open doors – that can lead you to national and international audiences. To do this, you simply have to get your music on the Internet and promote it well.

Giving Your Music A Human Feel

Do not be so hooked on getting every note completely perfect that you miss the feel for a performance. If you listen to some of the greatest music ever recorded, the Rolling Stones – for example, you may hear some of the small mistakes that often make that piece of music memorable. So before you go editing the life out of your music, give it a good listen and see whether that note you want to fix is what gives the part its character. Go for it. Make your music real.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Create What You Believe: Sausalito Film Festival

If you have the courage to rebel, you need self-confidence–and more than that, a sense of style.