Kanye West’s Runaway Art Direction

Is it silly that I sat for thirty-five minutes glued to YouTube and my computer watching the latest, if not greatest, showcase of Kanye West‘s pleionosis? No.

Kanye’s new music video film shows off a handful of songs from his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy including the namesake Runaway and borrows heavily from the film styles of some of my all time favorite films. Continue reading

Jawbone JAMBOX Review

Unless you have had your head in the sand for the last five years you know the name Jawbone, the bluetooth headset with the infamous NoiseAssassin technology. The name “NoiseAssassin” takes greater importance (is even scarier) when paired with ti’s definition “[an] adaptive signal processing technology, which was originally developed for DARPA…”

Government conspiracy theories aside, the technology behind Aliph‘s headsets has been an industry leader since its inception. The JAMBOX represents a diversion for the company from headsets to speakers. And for a first effort, it isn’t so bad.

The JAMBOX is a marvel of design and sound output versus physical size. It is feature-rich and about as sexy as a tiny speaker can get. It is also too expensive for what it actually accomplishes (depending on your use case).

If you’re looking for a bedside iPhone speaker/alarm/dock system that just might fill a room with sound, charge your iPhone and not costa  bundle, check out the offerings from Altec Lansing, Logitech, Klipsch and iHome. For the full review, read on.

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Lady Gaga, Marketing Genius?

Lady Gaga isn’t shy about much anything.  Her sexuality, her body, her style and even her desire to, as Missy Elliot would say, “make more paper.”  It was probably R&B/Rap music that first popularized product placement in their music videos, typically showing off a particular car or alcohol.  Though, in these videos, more often than not, the placement was more for the rapper than it was for the company behind the product.

In Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s latest video, Telephone, I counted something like fifteen product placements and I think I might have missed a few like a Coors Light spot that appeared a few times during a dance sequence.  Check out the screenshots for an illustration.

(Diet Coke, Chanel, DOOM , GISM – Anarchy&Violence, Monster Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, LG cell phone, VirginMobile, HP, Plenty of Fish, Monster Beats by Dre, Polaroid, Kraft Miracle Whip, Wonder Bread, Kill Bill Vol 1, Chevrolet SS Truck)

See if you can find more than I did.

Leave your finds in the comments, would love to see what I missed!

I can’t decide if Lady Gaga is a genius or a case example of tasteless, superfluous, obnoxious marketing.  So far this 9:33 minute video has gotten 17,000,000 views on YouTube and many of the placements happen more than once.  It adds up to a minimum 25,000,000 product placements as of this posting.  That is insane.

Any guesses on how effective it might be?  Do product placements like this bother you?  Did you notice them?  Do you think it takes away from the artist with products conspicuously appearing in videos like this or is this just the way things are going anymore?

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True/False Film Festival

I’ve live in Columbia Missouri, off and on, since 2003.  In my nearly seven years here I have managed to miss True/False 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009!  That’s pretty despicable if you ask me.  This year, with the help of Laura (@BigRed77) I vowed to make it to at least one film.

True/False started out for me with a wine tasting at Top Ten Wines (@TopTenWines) with Laura.  The wines were delicious, a selection from Latin America, a wine region too often overlooked in a country seemingly obsessed with Australian, New Zealand and South African wines.

I feel I must confess that this picture isn’t exactly from the wine tasting but from a few days earlier.  I just wanted to feature Laura’s husband (@EricCox) in a post, it’s been way too long since we’ve gotten to hang out!

Just before our tasting began, the True/False Film Festival parade broke out.  It’s one of the most unique parades I’ve ever experienced, reminded me a lot of the Houston Art Car Parade. Crazy costumes, grandmas dancing, marching bands marching and artists just doing their art.  So much fun and love and happiness.  Oh, and a side of just weird!

I bumped into my friend Paul shooting as a volunteer for True/False, something else I always forget to do.  Apparently, volunteering not only gets you into the fun after-parties but also a sweet hoodie and access to the films!

Laura and I saw Colony together which investigates the vanishing bees all across America.  The film started out really strong, mixing comedy with the serious ramifications of a bee shortage but began to fall apart towards the end.  Still, a definite recommendation if you can find it for rent somewhere.

After the movie, and a little more time at Top Ten Wines, we caught a late dinner at Sycamore followed by a short stint at The Blue Fugue for some live music.  It was a great evening and a wonderful start of my very first True/False Film Festival.

The next day I wandered around town, shot some photos with my new Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens and just generally enjoyed the wonderful weather gifted to us for the weekend.

I managed to snag tickets to the closing ceremony and film on the last night of the festival.  The film was Last Train Home, a film about the annual migration of Chinese workers back home for Chinese New Year.  It’s the largest migration of people in the world and it happens once a year, every year.  The film was pretty great and will be shown again at SXSW.

However, perhaps the best part of the finale was getting to see a short recap video that the company I work for created.  As a bonus, it turns out a great friend of mine did a large portion of the video!  I was so impressed and pleased to see that they put it on Vimeo so I can share it with you guys right here.  If you’ve never been to Columbia Missouri, here’s a wonderful look at our amazing city.

True/False 2010 Closing Night Video from Boxcar Films on Vimeo.

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Klipsch Image X10i Headphone Review

If you read my wordy review of the Klipsch S4i headphones back in July, you already know how impressed I’ve been with Klipsch’s headphones.   Sadly, after around 800 hours of use, I managed to short out the left channel.  Legendary for their customer service, Klipsch of course was ready to send me out a replacement pair.  However, I had another idea.  Instead of replacing my Image S4i headphones with another pair, I decided to upgrade to the Klipsch Image X10i, the S4i’s big brother only, some how, much MUCH smaller.

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We Are the World

I vaguely remember watching the original We Are the World music video by Michael Jackson and company.  Obviously, since I was only a year old when it was released, I don’t remember the premier… but my elementary school was definitely a MJ fan, on rain days we’d watch Michael Jackson music videos (scary stuff).

Today, one of my Twitter friend @jungbow posted a link to the new, We Are the World music video, which I surprisingly had not heard about.  This time, instead of helping the people of Africa, the video is meant to help those caught in the tragedy of Haiti’s earthquake.  While I must admit, and I know this will sound horrible, that I’m a little tired of the Haiti commercials from various charity organizations, I am glad to see that people are making a difference.

The original video featured all the major players in the music business of the 1980s, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Willy Nelson… It was pretty impressive and moving.  Thanks Michael for that!

Now, on to the new one… You’ll see for yourself when you watch it but I must give a few critiques.  Opening sequence with Jamie Foxx.  Seriously dude, you’re in a recording studio, why the hell is your audio so crappy?  It sounds like he’s recording into a laptop microphone.  Secondly, what’s up with the guilt trip Jamie?  We can’t all donate a million dollars to Haiti, I donated what I felt was a generous and financially sound donation.  Did you donate the same ratio as I did?  I seriously doubt it.  While this video will bring in a lot of money, as we all hope, please don’t try and guilt people into giving.  You should instead, inspire people to donate.  That’s what the song is here to do.

That intro video with the Haitians working to rebuild their country, that’s great.  Can we choose a background track that isn’t ALSO from 1985?  Yeek!

Finally… opening with Justin Bieber?  I’ve already aired my grievances with Justin Bieber before, but I ask again, opening with Justin Bieber?!  When you’ve got the likes of Barbara Streisand, Josh Groban, Mary J Blige and Jennifer Hudson, among others, you choose this pop-tart, bubblegum white boy singer turned Disney star rapper as your headliner?

P.S. That auto-tuning you did on a few of the artists (even the less obvious versions)… I think the I am T-Pain iPhone app would have done a better job.  Yeeks.  On and that DMX-esque intermission… why?  Not that I didn’t like the pop-rap-rock-opera you’ve orchestrated, what a great update for the times, just seemed a little forced.

Ok, and that creepy video interlude of Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, just weird.  I realize it is an homage to the original video but jeeze.  At least mix the audio better.

Alright, I think I’ve chastised this do-good video enough.  It’s a great song, many of the singers are of my favorites and it serves a great cause.

Alright, now tell me what did you think?  What level of hell am I going to for ranting about the technicalities in a charity music video?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!  Don’t forget you can log in with you Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc etc, login and share your thoughts on this post with your friends on all your social networks.

Ciao!

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Packing My Bags, I’m Ready to Go!

In just an hour and thirty minutes the bus will pick me up to bring me to the airport in St Louis.  From there I’ll fly to Washington DC, then to Paris France!  I’ll meet up with the family in Paris for Christmas, travel around the country to various friends’ for celebration, fun and catching up.   Then I’ll be off to Bahrain for New Years!  Really excited about that.  After Bahrain I’ll be jetting off to Saudi Arabia, exploring around the country, making photos, having an awesome time.

I am all sorts of excited about the trip and hope to keep you all informed of my adventures here and on my Twitter. Wanna help?  Leave me some suggested sites to visit in the comments!

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