I didn’t post this yesterday in order to stay, at least to a degree, in line with the internet-wide blackout in support of stopping SOPA; however, I do believe that the cause is vital to address. It’s important to become educated in order to help prevent our freedoms from being taken away. Know thine enemy, yes? So:
What is SOPA anyway?
Great question! And one that many others have asked, particularly in the past day or so. Yesterday, January 18th, you may have visited your favorite website (Wikipedia, Google or Wired, among others) only to discover that they were participating in a “blackout” for the day. Sure that may have been inconvenient, but what if that one-day blackout was permanent?
SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are two bills that have been in Congress and are set to be voted on by the Senate on January 24th. The point of the bill is to crack down on copyright-infringement by restricting access to sites that host pirated materials. If passed, these bills will set regulations on web content and allow the government to block these websites from the internet or its search engines. Giving unnecessary power to the government to control our now open and free internet is worrying to say the least. Many sites have become active in encouraging its readers to sign petitions that will show our distaste of this bill. Google’s “motto” for the blackout, “Stop Piracy, Not Liberty”, resonated most clearly with me. While I appreciate an effort to protect our citizens’ privacy, I think it’s just as important to protect our citizens’ freedom of speech.
We already have many freedoms censored: literature, art and video games all get censored on a regular basis. When we allow one thing to be stripped of free speech, it opens the floodgates for everything else to be amended or suppressed as well. Cutting social networks, blogs and other internet resources in turn cuts our access to knowledge and information. With the potential to harm functionality of small businesses, it cuts jobs as well. Most importantly, it cuts our basic constitutional right to speak our mind and be individuals in a nation of such varied cultures, races, backgrounds and lifestyles.
4.5 million people spoke up today and signed Google’s petition
103,785 people signed petitions through the We The People website (according to the White House blog).
25,000+ blogs on WordPress went black to support the cause
12,500 WordPress blogs added a “Stop Censorship” ribbon to their sites
50,000 sites promised participation in the online demonstration on Fight for the Future.org
An average 2,000 calls per second were made through Engine Advocacy, a service that helps people call their local Congress members
4 million people used Wikimedia to look up contact information for their local representative
Our efforts are working: PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced yesterday that he is withdrawing his support of the bill! Just because the blackout is over, doesn’t mean the fight is. Support the protest of SOPA and PIPA by spreading the word, signing a petition, making sure you Twitter this article, share it on Facebook and LinkedIn (using the buttons below this article) or re-post it on your blog* to enlighten your peers, colleagues and readers.
(*If used on a blog, simply let me know that you’re using it by emailing me a link at firstname.lastname@example.org and you must also link back to this site!)
Our site’s founder, Mary Alice Franklin, was DigThisDesign.net’s expert contributor yesterday! She weighed in on the hottest upcoming style, color and pattern trends for Spring and Summer 2012. The article is still on Dig This Design‘s homepage, but you can visit the permanent post here:
In the article, you’ll see how these trends have been put to good use with examples by designers like Christian Soriano, Gucci, Rachel Roy and Alexander Wang, who have all used them in recent runway shows. For even more examples of how designers are using these trends, visit our “Spring 2012 Colors & Trends” Pinterest board!
Dig This Design is the blog of national award winning Interior Designer, Patricia Davis Brown.
This week, you can help save a child’s life for just $1.99. That’s right: with all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let’s not forget to be thankful for what we have and to help others get what they deserve.
Ruckus Media has paired up with St. Jude Children’s Hospital, as part of their Thanks and Giving campaign, through the end of the month. When you buy one of their “Read-Play-and-Record-Along Rabbit Ears” interactive storybook apps for your iphone or ipad, 100% of the net proceeds will go to St. Jude’s important research and ground-breaking strides toward the cure for children with deadly diseases.
Your children will love their favorite stories as read by celebrities. Really, it’s a win-win: You instill the gift of literature into your own child’s life while instilling the gift of hope into another’s. Don’t have a child? Why not buy the apps and donate anyway, or gift the apps to someone else? It’s for a great cause! There are 11 classic stories, as read by the likes of Robin Williams, Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and more. Buy one, several or the whole collection (all for under $22). All are available on itunes (see links below). Whatever you can give will support the struggle of a child in need.
The apps are especially convenient on the go, when you need something to occupy a cranky child’s attention! Maybe your favorite story as a child was “Goldilocks”—well, now is the time to introduce your son or daughter to that same story (as read by Meg Ryan!).
St. Jude is the nation’s leading pediatric research and treatment center devoted solely to children with cancer and other deadly diseases and the only hospital that covers all of the costs for treatment, travel, food and lodging for each patient and a family member.
One of my photographs, “Vinyl Underground,” has been featured on RedBubble.com’s homepage today! This truly gives me a feeling of accomplishment because only 3 in 1,000 ever make it onto the homepage features. In case you miss it today on RedBubble.com, here’s the screenshot with a permanent link to the photo:
For those who don’t know, redbubble.com is an online marketplace for art and writing. They feature an array of work which you can buy in the form of a print, t-shirt, greeting card and more.
Did you recently move into a new residence and still have bare walls? Or maybe you just can’t decide which wall art speaks to you most. No matter the problem, you now have a solution. Match.com is to dating as Netflix.com is to movies as, now, TurningArt.com is to art. Leave your commitment issues behind—you now have a gentle way to ease yourself into the idea of design by renting your artwork!
That’s right, folks: Rent art prints by emerging artists and swap them various times depending on the payment plan you’ve chosen. A monthly fee of $10 to $30 depends on the frame size you want (16×20 or 24×30), but both allow for unlimited print rotation. Develop a queue of artwork you love by browsing art by a number of different factors including medium, color and style.
After choosing your first work, a framed and matted, high-quality print will be sent to your home. Turning Art will send you your next print whenever you want. Since all works are printed at the same size—to fit your frame—simply swap out your old print for the new one and mail the old one back (with pre-paid rental mail label).
The best part? Your monthly fees convert to credits which you can save up and use to purchase an original piece once you’ve finally found something you truly love.
Your Design-phobias lose all weight when you’re in a non-committal, inexpensive relationship with your wall-space. Try things out and don’t be afraid to amp up the opulent, the flirty, the uber-modern, the bold or the patterns. This no holds-bar approach to styling your home will help you discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Your identity crisis doesn’t have to suffer as trends emerge and fade, because now your taste can emerge and fade with them. See what works for you and then support an emerging artist with your confident decision. Interior design has never been so easy.
*UPDATE [10/25/11]: A video of the full episode of Smithsonian’s “Hip-Hop: The Furious Force of Rhymes” can now be viewed at the link posted at the end of this article*
As part of their “Inside the Music” series during the month of October, the Smithsonian Channel presents their latest feature— Hip-Hop: The Furious Force of Rhymes— this Friday (October 21st) at 8pm. View a Sneak Peak of the show as well as Director Joshua Atesh Litle’s remarks on “Women in Hip-Hop” below.
Hip-hop began in 1970s inner-city South Bronx but proved to be universal as it spread across the world and spoke to those with political, societal and personal hardships. This reinvention of music proved itself as a way for these individuals and communities to get their message heard as they rapped about their own culture’s struggles.
As poets use verse to express themselves, hip-hop is a lyrical and rhythmic way to use music as a reflection of their culture and the conditions that surround them. It has served as more than entertainment; for those who don’t have a voice, rap has become a universal language.
This special by the Smithsonian Channel spans globally, by exploring a number of different countries and stories, to discover why hip-hop acts as a way for individuals to revolt against and be elevated from their burdens: Germany’s Berlin Wall, Senegal’s female circumcision, rampant conflict in the Middle East. We meet hip-hop artists from the Bronx who formed the art; but also from France, Senegal, Germany, Palestine & Jerusalem, among others.
“What it really consists of, or what it was really intended to be, you’ll see that hip-hop is a saving grace for a lot of people around the world.” –Grandmaster Caz, from The Cold Crush Brothers
I recently had the pleasure of attending a film screening to preview Independent Film Channel’s Brighton Rock, (and even though I’m sad that my interview with Helen Mirren fell through, I still plan to report objectively about the film!)
Brighton Rock tells the story of a low-ranking teenaged criminal, Pinkie (Sam Riley), who is determined to prove himself to the other gangsters of an organized crime ring and position himself as their leader. Innocent and naïve waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough) links this stranger to a local murder and Pinkie sets out to seduce her into silence.
Rose’s protective boss and boss’s close confidant (played by powerhouse pair Helen Mirren and William Hurt) are observers to the unfolding situation and they try to prevent her from falling for Pinkie, who is in over his head. Because of her commitment to her faith, she refuses and quickly falls under his influence—effectively setting the mood for the peak of the film.
Based on the classic 1938 novel by Graham Greene, it’s hard not to compare first-time director Rowan Joffe’s adaptation to Greene’s book or the book’s first film adaptation in 1947 (which starred a young Richard Attenborough). The film is fine where it is, but my frustration comes with the potential of the movie that wasn’t reached.
Though styled as a film noir or neo-noir, the film highlighted too much visual pizazz and not enough depth of intended subject matter. It could’ve been more, but Jaffe doesn’t take us all the way there. The melodrama seemed a little heavy-handed at times and relied too much on film-school trickery. The lighting and set, on the other hand, were extremely well-done and appropriate for the tone of the film, creating a perfectly eerie and enveloping visual presentation.
The era-shift from 1930’s to the 1960’s was a clever decision on the part of Joffe, but the switch lent itself more to aesthetics than to furthering character development or adding anything new to the complexity of the plot. During a time of unrest in London’s resort towns, the oft-shown riots of the film, based on Britain’s “Mods and Rockers” riots, didn’t garner much explanation. Knowing about the time period helps the viewer to see how the plot does falls comfortably within this socio-historic narrative.
Of course the movie doesn’t have to be such a literal interpretation of the novel, and I appreciate the modern take and era adaptation, but the movie doesn’t do enough to justify itself in terms of creating a fresh take on the original. Joffe does do a great job of exploring elements of dark vs. innocence and right vs. wrong, as represented by the main couple of the film; however, in the novel, Greene tackles the philosophical theme of religious belief vs. skepticism as well.
The movie doesn’t delve into this religious topic much passed visual cues of things like crucifixes or Rose’s hesitation in leaving Pinkie. This is really where the core of the book grabs the reader and engages them in thought and feeling—the characters were driven by their beliefs. The lack of religious backdrop in the movie often pulls the viewer away from the story, leaving viewers to wonder what each of the characters’ motives were for their actions. For this reason, sympathy wasn’t developed fully for either character and I didn’t care as much about what happened to them.
I would’ve liked to see more of Pinkie’s panic and realization that he got himself deep into something that he doesn’t know how to pull himself out of. His fear of eternal damnation should have played a larger role in the plot, but the absence of this point leaves little explanation of the character’s actions. Similarly, Rose’s dedication to her faith kept her from straying from the love she felt for the mobster. We fail to see these characters’ internal conflict between their beliefs and actions, which would have given much greater purpose to the film, its mood, its purpose and its significance.
Still, the movie, for what it was without comparison to its predecessors, was engaging—cinematically breathtaking and lusciously dramatic. Mirren, as always, delved into her character’s persona—an Auburn-haired British floosy with strong morals. She was believable and I wish there was a bit more of her in the movie. Rising star Andrea Riseborough gave a very convincing performance—one that made me look her up after seeing the movie.
A movie that had so much promise, and lived up to a great deal of it, also fell short in its character development—a flaw that was detrimental to the final result of a still-captivating and visually-stunning thriller.
Seeing as how this is a website dedicated to arts & culture, it’s quite necessary that I acknowledge the passing of Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs. After all, he all but created our current culture by altering both the way we communicate and the way we view the world. He enhanced our lives with his innovative mind and opened up a world of possibilities to us all.
Steve Jobs turned passion and ideas into reality and taught us that our own powerful dreams can become a reality, too (in fact, his own accomplished visions are what pioneered the way for ours to come true as well).
May we all live life the way he did: with zest, dedication, passion and hope for our future.
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart… Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” — Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.
New York Fashion Week paraded the new Spring 2012 looks. Fashion Week merges innovation with fashion to predict upcoming style trends and this year didn’t disappoint. To view some of the highlights, check out our new NYFW Pinterest Board, created just for you!: NYFW Spring 2012 Highlights
FIT displays never-before-seen McQueen pieces: Missed the Met’s record-breaking Alexander McQueen exhibit? Fear not: The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is currently displaying a some of the designer’s exclusive works. A fashion icon in her own right, beer heiress Daphne Guinness had an exhibition planned at the time of McQueen’s death. It was then that Guinness, a close friend and long-time fan of McQueen’s, decided to prominently display some of his pieces from her personal collection that have never been publicly seen. Also in the exhibit are works from Guinness herself, Karl Lagerfeld, and more. The show runs through the first week of January 2012.
Nirvana’s Nevermind Turns 20: Two decades ago from this past Saturday, the music world was torn apart and placed back together in an entirely unique way, thanks to Nirvana’s Nevermind record. Brimmed to the top with intense cords and harrowing lyrics, the album changed the landscape of music and helped to form the early-90′s grunge scene. The album has rightfully been named one of the top influential albums of all time. With an innovative fusion of punk meets metal meets a new generation, frontman Kurt Cobain was thrown into the spotlight as he became an unwilling spokesperson for an entire generation. Torn between personal angst and wanting to take the world by storm, Cobain became recognizably conflicted in his fame. The band tore down industry standards in a few short years but left us wondering what more the band would have produced had its career not been cut short by Cobain’s apparent suicide in 1994.
R.E.M. Calls It Quits: After 30+ years, the rock band surprised fans and critics this week when they announced that they’ve decided to end their career as a band and call it a day. The announcement was made on their website, on which they state: “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.” In what appears to be a friendly parting among members, the band has updated the website to include personal remarks from each band member regarding the split. Lead singer Michael Stipe said “all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.”
FILM & TV
Lost Hitchcock Screened: The White Shadow, a recently-discovered Hitchcock film we reported about last month, was finally screened this week. The previously-lost film was found after 80 years and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre had the honor of its official unveiling. The White Shadow is the earliest-known film by the famous director. He went out to create legendary classics such as Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, The Birds, and Dial M for Murder.
The 63rd Prime Time Emmy Awards: granted high honors to “Mad Men” and “Modern Family” this past Sunday. Surprises included the snub of Steve Carrel as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in his last season as Michael Scott for “The Office” (the award went to Jim Parsons for “The Big Bang Theory”), and Melissa McCarthy’s win over Amy Poelher and Tina Fey for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in “Mike and Molly”. For a full list of nominees and winners, click here.
This Saturday is Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day (read: free)! Museums are a great rainy-day activity, so rain or shine, you have no excuses! For the seventh year, Smithsonian is partnering with hundreds of museums throughout the country to grant free admission to those people who arrive with proper tickets. Search for participating museums near you by heading to the Smithsonian Institute’s website and entering your state, address or keyword. Then simply download a set of free tickets,—one for you and one for a guest—BOTH for free. With hundreds of choices, you’re bound to find one nearby that suits you. Don’t forget: You MUST have your ticket on you to be granted free admission.
Even though admission is free, I encourage you to still support the arts on your visit. Make a donation at the door, buy something from the museum gift shop, or if you really loved your visit, become a member. Your funding is what allows projects like these to continue year after year and remain successful!
So revisit an old friend or dive into unexplored waters. That’s what this day is all about—the discovery and appreciation of magnificent art, both old and new.
Be sure to report back on your adventures in the comments below! What museum did you attend? What did you think of it?