All posts by la_xeni

Paging Sean Bonner — couture ugg boots spotted in Beverly Hills

So I’m standing in a puddle of drool in the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue footwear department — manhandling Manolos and gawking at Guccis — when all of a sudden, my shoefetish narcosis is punctured by this.

I’m confronted by what can only be described as a couture monstrosity, phonecammed here for your vicarious viewing pleasure. What’s more ridiculous in LA than an underfed, Hummer-driving, fake-tanned, trust-fund teen wearing a pair of Ugg boots in July? Marc Jacobs ugg boots in July, that’s what.

In both Saks and Neimans, I found remixes of the snowboarding boots Sean Bonner loves to hate, redone by various designers. I forgot to phonecam the price tag, but it was {beaucoups x >lots} to the Nth power.

And in other news, I was grabbing a cold coffee at Urth Cafe in WeHo this afternoon, and my car thermometer says it’s 101 fucking degrees outside, and the AMW (actress-model-whatever) behind me is wearing hot pink Uggs. Unless they’re filled with dry ice, that’s just so wrong for so many reasons in LA in July.

Pyro Geek Fourth

I spent the 4th of July with a bunch of pyrotechnic geeks. By day, they’re pyro experts, prop creators, and special effects managers for movies in Hollywood. For fun, a bunch of them — all pals of a special effects technician named Hutch — got together to do a fundraising fireworks display for the Southern California city of La Crescenta. I followed them around all day long as they wired mortars and stuffed them with shells, I learned the difference between concussion and detonation, and finally — witnessed a beautiful fireworks display. Afterwards, everyone walked the firing field performing a safety sweep for un-exploded shells, embers, or other dangerous debris, and there was this. What you see here is what happens when one of the fireworks units doesn’t blow up as planned (shoot up into the air to make a pretty display). Instead, the composite detonated down inside the shell, creating what’s known as a “flower pot.” There’s not much left of the pot part, but the stunted blast did create a beautiful sort of pyro flower.
Link to full-size image, more snapshots later.

Lessig speaks on tech IP law and indie filmmaking at LA Film Festival

Not tomorrow, but next Saturday June 26 at the Directors Guild in Los Angeles from 10AM – 1PM:

Symposium on Copyright, Piracy, and the Future of Independent Filmmaking: The MPAA’s screener ban was a wake-up call to the independent film community. With our future threatened, the community joined together and was eventually successful in defeating the ban in federal court. But policy is being created every day, at every level, that impacts the channels for distribution, access to independent films, and the protection of creative rights. This symposium (the first of two parts) offers a forum for critical analysis and debate about these important issues — issues that are not easily or often addressed among the very people they impact most: independent filmmakers. Our goal is to form strategic alliances that will help us maintain and extend a production and distribution environment where independent filmmaking can continue to thrive. Part II of the Symposium will take place at the IFP Market in New York on September 26.

Join Lawrence Lessig, named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries and author of The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace examine copyright and anti-piracy policies affecting the motion picture industry today and the future of the independent filmmaker. Following a coffee break, a panel of experts and advocates will join him, including Robert Greenwald, (Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, Burning Bed), producer, director and documentary filmmaker.

$15, located at 7920 Sunset Blvd. @ Fairfax. More on the fest: Link

SENT phonecam art show launches online with Motorola

Phonecam photographers, contribute to SENT! The phonecam art show I’m co-curating with B.LA’s Sean and Caryn — the first show of its kind in America — is online, and you are invited to share your futurephone snapshots of the world with the world. The website is live now, and a gallery show will open at a downtown Los Angeles space on July 9.

Motorola is sponsoring the show, and they’ve provided some late-model camera phones for each of the 30 participating artists. The list includes B.LA’s own Jason D., Wil Wheaton, and Kathleen McGivney, as well as Megan Mullally of TV’s “Will and Grace,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, “Weird” Al Yankovic, and a number of renowned photographers and filmmakers.

The invited artists’ images will debut at the gallery show in July, and images submitted by the public are available for viewing right now.

National Public Radio’s “Day to Day” program issued a “Phonecam Challenge” to their listeners in partnership with the show — NPR listeners from around the world submitted images to SENT, and five winning entries will be recognized after review by a panel of judges including “Day to Day” host Alex Chadwick.

Link, and instructions on how to submit your phonecam art are here. the NPR “Day to Day” Phonecam Challenge is here.

Tonight in LA: 24 hour Midnight Moviemaking madness screening

Winning films created in last year’s edition of the 24 hour Moviemaking Madness competition will be screened tonight in LA. I covered the event last year for Wired Magazine, together with Gawker’sl Choire Sicha. It was probably the zaniest, most surreal 24 hours of my life. In the competition, filmmakers have exactly 24 hours to make a short digital film — writing, blocking, shooting, editing, freaking out, it all has to happen in 24 hours. No sleep ’til Brooklyn. Winner takes home $10K and a serious case of sleep dep. Snip from the announcement on tonight’s LA event:


Don’t forget to come to the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood this Saturday for NYC Midnight’s Los Angeles Area screening of top 2003 movies followed by a Q & A session. This will be a great chance to see some award winning shorts and ask questions about the 2004 competition. Also, you may drop off your entry documents & entry fee at the info session.

Link to Wired article, and Link to event home page with details on tonight’s screening in Hollywood.

Tonight in LA: 24 hour Midnight Moviemaking madness screening

Winning films created in last year’s edition of the 24 hour Moviemaking Madness competition will be screened tonight in LA. I covered the event last year for Wired Magazine, together with Gawker’sl Choire Sicha. It was probably the zaniest, most surreal 24 hours of my life. In the competition, filmmakers have exactly 24 hours to make a short digital film — writing, blocking, shooting, editing, freaking out, it all has to happen in 24 hours. No sleep ’til Brooklyn. Winner takes home $10K and a serious case of sleep dep. Snip from the announcement on tonight’s LA event:


Don’t forget to come to the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood this Saturday for NYC Midnight’s Los Angeles Area screening of top 2003 movies followed by a Q & A session. This will be a great chance to see some award winning shorts and ask questions about the 2004 competition. Also, you may drop off your entry documents & entry fee at the info session.

Link to Wired article, and Link to event home page with details on tonight’s screening in Hollywood.

Tonight in LA: 24 hour Midnight Moviemaking madness screening

Winning films created in last year’s edition of the 24 hour Moviemaking Madness competition will be screened tonight in LA. I covered the event last year for Wired Magazine, together with Gawker’sl Choire Sicha. It was probably the zaniest, most surreal 24 hours of my life. In the competition, filmmakers have exactly 24 hours to make a short digital film — writing, blocking, shooting, editing, freaking out, it all has to happen in 24 hours. No sleep ’til Brooklyn. Winner takes home $10K and a serious case of sleep dep. Snip from the announcement on tonight’s LA event:


Don’t forget to come to the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood this Saturday for NYC Midnight’s Los Angeles Area screening of top 2003 movies followed by a Q & A session. This will be a great chance to see some award winning shorts and ask questions about the 2004 competition. Also, you may drop off your entry documents & entry fee at the info session.

Link to Wired article, and Link to event home page with details on tonight’s screening in Hollywood.

Xeni on PBS-TV “California Connected” tonight — RFIDs and privacy

On this week’s edition of the PBS television program “California Connected,” I join host Lisa McRee with guests Beth Givens, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, State Senator Debra Bowen, and Mark Roberti, RFID Journal to debate consumer privacy issues related to radio frequency ID tag (RFID) technology.

There’s a great online discussion salon going on concurrently, too, with Professor Shyam Sunder of the School of Management at Yale University, Chris Hoofnagle, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the EFF, and Dr. Daniel Engels of the MIT Auto-ID Labs.

Dubbed by one skeptical journalist as “Big Brother in small packages,” RFID chips are tiny transponders that can be attached to almost any consumer good. While companies are set to use these radio frequency identification tags to track their merchandise from assembly line to warehouse to store shelf, privacy watchdogs suggest these same RFID tags could be used to keep tabs on consumers — beyond the confines of a store or supermarket.

Link to show home page. Link to stations and airtimes for both the TV and radio editions of the show. Video will be archived online later.

UNWIRED schmooze tonight in West Hollywood

In LA tonight? Work with wireless tech? Join me tonight — Tuesday, May 4 — as members and friends of the unwired list get together in West Hollywood to swap gadgets and beam business cards at each other under a full moon, on the rooftop of the Wyndham Bel Age on 1020 N. San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood. Event starts at 7PM, goes to 10.

Big thanks to the event’s two co-sponsors for making this gathering possible — TELEMEDIA DEVELOPMENT and YAPmobile. See you there!

Link

To do: Sculpture from living Oysters, Mushrooms

Artist Philip Ross makes sculpture out of living oysters and mushrooms. A show of new work launches in Los Angeles this weekend.


Machine Project announces the opening of “Organized” by artist Phillip Ross, on Saturday April 10th from 5-8 pm. Mr Ross will give a talk on his work at the gallery the following Sunday, April 11th at 3pm. Artist, amateur bio-engineer and member of the San Francisco mycological society, Mr. Ross uses living organisms as the inspiration and means by which he makes his work. Through the design and creation of highly controlled environments, Mr. Ross manipulates, nurtures and transforms a variety of living species into sculpture.

Mr. Ross’s work lies at the disparate intersection of homegrown technologies, folk art, materials science, and D.I.Y. cultivation techniques. The show includes a series of Reishi mushrooms grown into highly artificed forms, the aforementioned sculpture grown out of oysters, and a self-contained survival capsule for one living plant. These sculptures are at once highly crafted and naturally formed, skillfully manipulated and sloppily organic.

Link (Thanks, Mara!)

Free film preview — documentary on ex-Squeeze Glenn Tillbrook

Rock-n-roll legend bassgoddessgreta (Moby, Debbie Harry, The Nuns, etc.) sends word of an offbeat new documentary film starring former Squeeze frontman Glenn Tilbrook. Twenty years ago with Squeeze, touring meant 18 wheelers, hotel suites and police-escorted limos. Now Tilbrook’s music now finds its audience through a more independent route — which involves a big mobile home and a new indie sensibililty.

In November 2001, to support the release of his debut solo CD, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, Glenn embarked on a different kind of independent route as he took to the road in America: One man, two guitars and a mobile home.

Glenn Tilbrook: One for the Road follows him on every step of that journey: arriving in the States; picking up his mobile home; performing the shows; meeting the fans; packing away his guitars; camping at campgrounds; traveling in the RV: All access, all of the time. It’s an intimate look at how an established musician adjusts to his new independent surroundings. It’s a commentary on the current state of the music industry. But, most importantly, it’s a human interest story that transcends its musical base.

Link to movie homepage, and check it out in LA at a free preview screening on Tuesday, May 11th, 8:00pm at CineSpace, 6356 Hollywood Blvd. 2nd Floor. 323 817 3456.

Wardrobe malfunction t-shirt

I don’t need reality TV, inky tabloids, or talk radio. To tap into the latest in lowbrow zeitgeist, I just walk down Vermont Avenue here in LA, past the front window of crazy t-shirt store Y-Que (say “ee-kay,” means “so what” in Spanish).

Today, I saw this Free Janet Jackson’s Exposed Boobie shirt. Other new ones were on display, too — like Robots, Powered By Pancakes, Condoleezza Rice: Employee of the Month, and Visit Lovely Guantanamo Bay.

I was walking with a group of people, some of whome were English speakers, some who spoke Spanish. One of the latter was a visiting Quiché Maya linguist from Guatemala. He noticed the rest of us cracking up over the “No Justice/No Quiche” Free Martha t-shirts — I had a really hard time explaining (in clumsy Spanish) the concept of quiche, and how the word quiche had nothing to do with the Quiché Maya people, who Martha Stewart was, and how all of this related to protest slogans from the American civil rights movement. But by the time we were done, he thought it hilarious that the biggest scandal currently shaking the USA centered on a wealthy woman famous for baking egg pies on TV.
Link to Y-Que online.

Mysterious celebrity-themed posters plaster LA streets

Click thumbnail for full size image. A mysterious epidemic of posters is reported in LA this week. They’re Robbie Conal-esque, and we know they’re some sort of sneaky underground campaign for some Hot New Thing Which Shall Be Revealed Shortly, and that posters sending up Wynona, Courtney, and Moby are also in the works, but we’re told we’ll be sent on a one-way ride to Naked Scientology Boot Camp for extensive botox torture if we reveal their true origin and purpose. (Thanks, Susannah!)

Where to study conversational Spanish in LA?

A friend of mine is looking for a good place to study conversational Spanish in LA. Berlitz is lame. Hunting and pecking through ads at the Coffee table isn’t working out for her, either. Any suggestions? The purpose is to be able to speak fluent, conversational Spanish with friends and business associates in Southern California, Mexico, and Central America. Post any pointers in the comments section, and thanks!