Maximus

Let the crazy online propagation begin!

If Tobias Rapp is right, then it won’t take much longer than a week or two before a song becomes a hit on the internet and, then goes into the clubs. In the day and age where every DJ downloads tracks, here’s a fresh one (with a phat video to boot!) It is unbelievable how fast music moves from city to city these days.

Maximus by Beni, featuring Sam Sparro. Berlin via Ghent via Los Angeles with pieces of Chicago and Melbourne.

Berlin Minimal with touches of House.

WHAT A GREAT TRACK! … and the kids are kind of cute, too. Betcha buck the thing was shot with a 5D Mk II and a 24mm f/1.4 L. The colors just look Canonesque, if you know what I mean….

Check it in HD and Full Screen, of course:

… and if you’re not seeing the video, click through to my blog and see it there!

Get up and DANCE, y’all!

Disturbing Image of the Day

I don’t know much about Patricia Piccinini, except that one of Karen’s neighbors growing up shared the same name. Her most recent work is being exhibited in Sydney, Australia at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. The series of covers some highly-realistic looking fleshy creatures interacting with small children. There’s one image that I find oddly disturbing, so I’m posting it here until someone can explain to me what the hell is going on.

Yikes. Click on it to enjoy a larger version…

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Guilty Pleasures

The internet can be interesting and informative, but it can also be silly, entertaining, or down-right creepy. I have written previously about sites that I really like , such as The Brick Testament or Post Secret, but over time I have aggregated a number of sites that I consider a guilty pleasure. I enjoy them more than I should, especially at times when I should be working.

A new favorite has got to be My Parents Were Awesome, a photoblog that collects pictures of people’s parents before they became… well, parents. I over-share as it is, so I’m not about to submit my favorite parental image… but let me at least post it here on my home site. My parents at a night club in 1960 or 61.

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With the 50,000+ images that exist of Karen and me, I doubt the kids will ever print one and say “Wow, check out how cool they were…” That’s probably because the old prints are fewer in number, and because the color-balance of faded Polaroids will always be hipper than another poorly compressed .jpg file… It is more likely that pictures of me will be found on the Poor-Cousin version website, Dads in Shorts.

While our parents were speedily abandoning any coolness, we were somewhere in school, going through our own agonies of self-invention and self-definition… or at least trying not to be blatantly, obviously UNcool. The last week before summer break came with a Year Book, which gave the nerds and dorks a chance to sidle up to pretty girls and otherwise important kids (within the brutal hierarchy that is high school) to ask for a quick, memorable quote for the front inside cover. Well, some of us forgot to bring in the money and were never issued our book, but there was definitely some people who asked for it… And that “it” can now be enjoyed by everyone, thanks to a brand-new site called Awkward Yearbook Signatures. Oh my!

As if Year Book entries aren’t awkward enough, the next step up from that would be bad dating experiences. Of course, there’s a site for that now, too. It’s called A Bad Case of the Dates, and gives people a chance to recount their worst first date. Some of them are funny, but it gets creepy pretty fast. Seems to me that some of the issues being described border on mental illness, whereas some of the comments are slightly inappropriate, if not down-right juvenile. Nonetheless I found myself reading  just one more… I guess it’s not as hostile as Why the F*#k Did You Have A Kid, which is egregiously over-the-top… but just as captivating.

A totally different kind of time-killer are the Hot-or-Not sites that really don’t require a lot of coding, but provide hours of entertainment. My favorites are of the “Can You Tell The Difference” variety. Check out Steak House Or Gay Bar?, a site that makes you guess whether the name you’re being shown is a place for beef or beefcake. For the truly geeky among us, there is Cheese or Font, a place where the epicurian technorati can test their ability to discern between Helvetica, and a good Swiss Emmenthaler.

…and finally, because there really is no bottom end to the internet, you can always check out Failed Blog Ideas, which gets tasteless REALLY quickly, but is hilarious nonetheless. Particularly promising was ThingsThatWontGetYouLaid.com and JewsVsBreakdancers.net.

350!

Another fun protest! Saturday the 24th of October is the International Day of Climate Action, and all over the world people will be raising awareness for the number 350, which… well, read the mission, freshly pasted from the 350.org website:

350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that science and justice demand.

Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet. Our focus is on the number 350–as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. But 350 is more than a number–it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.

To tackle climate change we need to move quickly, and we need to act in unison—and 2009 will be an absolutely crucial year.  This December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The problem is, the treaty currently on the table doesn’t meet the severity of the climate crisis—it doesn’t pass the 350 test.

In order to unite the public, media, and our political leaders behind the 350 goal, we’re harnessing the power of the internet to coordinate a planetary day of action on October 24, 2009.  We hope to have actions at hundreds of iconic places around the world – from the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef to your community – and clear message to world leaders: the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.

If an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to the latest climate science, we can start the global transformation we so desperately need.

Unfortunately we are already way over 350 parts per million, which means we need to actually bring it back down – not just reduce the growth curve, actually reverse it. Check out this simple video, made without words so that everyone can understand it.

I don’t expect the onus for change to ride solely on the backs of consumers, but every little bit helps. There’s another major climate conference coming up, and hopefully people’s awareness will make it easier for leaders to come to a sensible agreement.

How can we make people aware? There are a number of activities planned in Berlin, but two sound particularly fun:

scp_logoThe Silent Climate Parade will be held at 2 PM in Berlin, but you have to sign up first. There’s only going to be 350 participants, each of whom will be wearing radio-connected headphones. Then these 350 protesters will make the ultimate sacrifice, which is having to listen to Dr. Motte DJ while they silently move through town… just like Love Parade 1989, I guess…

Afterward, you can join Berlin’s CarrotMob, who will be invading a willing Imbiss Bude and spending a lot of money there, in return for which the mobbed owner will voluntarily spend most of that money greening the greasy spoon. This time the “victim” will be eve&adam, which features lower-case spaceless spelling for extra coolness! Come to Rosa-Luxemburg Strasse 24-26 to be part of the fun and some really good food, whether you’re cool in real life or just on the internet.

Carrot Mob is a world-wide movement as well, take a look at their website.

Fun Protest: Stadtschloss

Berlin has some lovely old buildings, which always impresses tourists, especially those from the U.S. coming here in the hopes of experiencing something distinctly different than the suburban enclave they usually steer their Prius into. But like many European cities, the second world war led to substantial destruction. The English and Americans, fed up with Germany’s unwillingness to quit, decided to carpet-bomb the city centers because just hitting the industry was not sufficient. Frankly, in those days manufacturing and industry was still in the cities anyway, rather than somewhere on the outskirts.

Berlin used to have a city center with tiny streets and densely-clustered buildings, but a major firestorm toward the end of the war pretty much gutted the area around Alexander Platz. After the war, the Russian-influenced DDR decided to model Communist-Germany’s capital along the new Socialist architecture that ensured the State was perceived as larger and more important than the individual. This meant wide-open spaces, a lot of cement, and the complete removal of anything cute and Euro-urban. It would have been our 6e Arrondissement, but instead turned into our La Defense – but without tenants.

Near Alexander Platz was a big Baroque monstrosity called the Stadtschloss. It grew organically from a small river castle to a formal Palace over the centuries, and at one point was given a large extension with a pretty facade. It served as the seat of Prussian power, and was host to a number of historical events.

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But after the First World War there was no royalty, and the palace was turned into a quasi-museum. It got badly damaged during the bombing runs of world war two. Finally the Communists tore down the ruin, using the site to build their own Palace of the Republic, thus participating in a long line of linguistic misuse. What they built was neither a palace, nor was it for the republic. It was an asbestos-filled rubber-stamp structure (with cool lights, by the way) that was torn down over the course of the last few years.

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NOW some Berliners (mainly tennis-club members who never enter the city much deeper than Charlottenburg) have bamboozled the State and some private donors into rebuilding the original Stadtschloss. Or at least some modern-day samizdat version, the way VW’s New Beetle or the New Mini are supposed to resemble their 1960s versions. No one needs a €600M+ building, and so it required a committee to come up with a usage. It was decided to name it the Humboldt Forum, to tie it to the university across the street, and to vaguely dedicate it as a cultural exchange program. There have been endless lawsuits around this Reconstruction, and the current plan is on hold as it turns out that the winning architectural office is too small to build a garden shed, never mind the defining structure of Berlin’s city center.

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Over the weekend there was a protest on the spot where the palace is slated to be built. The current plot is covered in a lawn and a temporary modern art museum. The protesters had some fun and put up an inflatable play-pen, declaring that the only good castle is a bouncy castle. It also subtly made the point that the children would be the ones having to pay off the debt incurred by this useless building project.

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What Berlin actually needs is a museum for Contemporary Art. Insane as it sounds, Berlin doesn’t really have one. There are a number of private collections being shown, and we host traveling exhibits at the Neue Nationalgallerie, but the City doesn’t have the one museum that actually showcases what we’re known for around the world: art created in the 20th Century. What we really need is Zaha Hadid or Santiago Calatrava to come to Berlin and put something truly awesome and psychedelic right in the heart of the city. That is worth spending money for.

Berlin Street Names

Berlin is a huge city, with millions of people distributed over an urban bowl of spaghetti-like streets which go on for miles… but change their names every twenty blocks. Since I was a child I’ve wondered who the various streets were named after, or what the names meant. Occasionally there would be a tiny sign on top of a street sign, giving a birth and death date and a full name, but no indication if the person was a composer, politician, murderer or famous cook.

Well, rejoice! For those of you with absolutely nothing else to do, there is now a comprehensive index of Berlin street names. Nothing Wiki-based, God forbid, or even something that cross-links to any actual useful information… that would be too much to ask… but it’s a start. Berlin Geschichte is a site that covers our capital’s history, and in the process the site operators have put together a list of all streets, their names and location, and the source of the name.

It answered one question for me. It irked me when people pronounced it “Fränklin Strasse” but it turns out the street is really named after Benjamin Franklin.