A Yearly Burning Sensation

Although there’s plenty of press on Burning Man during the event, there still seems to be a lack of understanding of what the event – which takes place for the week prior to Labor Day in Nevada’s Black   Rock Desert, is really all about. People I know and work with think it’s a:

– music festival
– art show
– extreme camping challenge
– hippie crystal exchange
– nudie love fest

So, it’s none of those, all of those and so much much more. What I CAN say is that it’s one week out of the year that the normal constructs of life, the context in which we typically live our lives is no longer in place, relevant or valid. It’s 55K people all contributing in their own little (or sometimes massive) way that produces an unimaginable feast for all the senses. This year was my 11th time out on the Playa and I put together a little slide show/video that captures some of the flavor of what it’s like – although no amount of photos/videos (no matter how beautifully shot) simply cannot capture a fraction of the scale of the event. That being said – here’s a taste:

Gonzo Christmas Lightshow

There’s no keeping up with the Jones’ here. This takes it up to a whole new level. Wonder if these guys take their magic to The Playa? I’m keeping the kids from seeing this. Don’t need the pressure.

I’m almost waiting for the house to blow-up on queue in a big gas bomb flame out. It’s cool but I’d hate to be their neighbors.

Artsy Art from Artists

Sick of all those Tony Hawk and Hannah Montana posters in your kid’s rooms? Maybe you need to update your man-cave or perhaps surprise the wifey with an unsupervised addition to the home’s wall decoration.

Here’s a resource… check out Society6, a great destination for anyone interested in seeing (and buying) all kinds of art, directly from the artist.

Describing itself as a cooperative, Society6 enables artists from all over the world to share, sell and show their work.  I’ve come across some awesome photographs and graphic prints that are truly brilliant. Plus there’s a lot of very cool kid/teen-friendly work as well.

Here are some examples that I thought are noteworthy. Above is “Late to Dinner”.

In descending order below are;  “Dark Side of Deathstar” – luv it!!!, “Aludd: Running Away” and the really cool yellow tiger girl print is “Rock Candy”.

Suprisingly, most of the prints are quite affordable with prices ranging from $30 to $50.






The Red Balloon – Pre-Pixar Movie Magic

You know you’re watching something special when mom, dad, an eight year old boy and a three year old girl are all equally immersed and captivated by a 34 minute French movie with English subtitles that’s over a half a century old. Granted there’s only about five lines of dialogue in the movie (and amazingly still won the 1957 Academy Award for Best Screenplay – which really does prove that “less is more” once and for all) so there’s very little reading that is required. The Red Balloon, an almost wordless motion picture, is a fantasy piece by director Albert Lamorisse – who cast his son in the starring role as the little Parisian boy who finds a red balloon on his way to school and begins a magical, intimate and ultimately trusting friendship with the bright red shiny orb. Red_balloon

The movie has almost a living story book feel, with amazingly composed shots of the Ménilmontant neighborhood of Paris which apparently was razed in the late 1960’s. So the movie actually also serves as a recorded preserve of the Belleville area of the city which was a unique neighborhood of steep staircases, narrow passageways and cobblestone streets.

Typically “Friday Night Movie Night” is a boy’s event since little sister is usually in bed by 8pm but tonight was our first family movie night, and thanks to grandma Mama Mela – who spent weeks hunting down the movie – which was only recently released on DVD, we all got to experience a wonderful, touching, beautiful movie.

And the real magic IMO….is that there wasn’t one single computer graphic, blue screen shot, motion capture, 3D animation or technical special effect used. Nor was there a celebrity voice-over, merchandising tie-in or super cool soundtrack with hit singles from Black Eyed Peas or Hannah Montana – just a sweeping string-based score, a great, simple, compelling story, a balloon, a very very thin piece of thread and the opportunity for any and all of us to be connected by pure imagination.

Click here to get it on Amazon: The Red Balloon


Motion Painting Masterpiece

Came across this truly amazing video of Italian street artist Blu and NY based artist David Ellis mashing-up their two distinct styles into a graffiti-based motion painting collaborative called COMBO for this year’s Fame Festival in Grottaglie Italy. It’s a four minute piece (it loops twice) that took them one entire week to create. In it you’ll see Blu’s familiar characters and designs crawling and interacting with the building itself. Makes you breathe a sigh of relief that creativity and originality still exist out there in the world.

If you liked COMBO – then check out Blu’s piece MUTO from last year. Click here.