Archive for:June, 2008

Paper Rad Aren’t Pizza Symbols. They Are Peace Symbols

June 29th, 2008

Paper Rad are an art collective of wanderers who make cartoons, comics, paintings, videos, clothes, pizza, work on peanut farms, own two glitter factories, carve star charts in cactii, run a professional scab-picker’s service, respect the earth, breed oxen, respect oxen, love life and wrestle invaders in grand mal, glitchy glory.

They live in a reddish-magenta house and gather around green mac n cheese.

Strap your tentacles in and find them here.

Now, these folks also created a team of six adventurers called the Problem Solvers: Pandemonia, a witch who is angry & a black cone, Dewey a hairy free spirit, Riviera a floating gelatinous cube, T Bubbles who is cool, D-O-G who is canine & powerful, Buck a stern Duck.

The image below is of Dewey with a Pizza Cape, alarmed. It comes from the Problem Solver’s video #1211: “Give Pizza A Chance” (also below):

Dewey Pizza Problem Solvers


I’ve watched this video many times. Maybe too many. I get a warm honey-knot somewhere in my chest in response to the garish color-bursts, the video game bleep-tunes, the jerky robo animations, the 80′s nostalgia (day-glo outfits, trolls, the very name “T Bubbles”), the dream-like narrative skips & stretches, and the finale: candy-raver peace-symbol triumph/blossom/burgeon all over the city.

More favorite parts are: Dewey’s Scalding Pizza Cape, Riviera’s impassioned & rambling love of the “number one day” he’s ever seen, the slow rise and fall of the hat-wearing bucktoothed monster at the end.

Peace Symbols Problem Solvers

The video’s style: blunt & cartoony-brutish, fluoro-mallet, magenta-concussions. Reminds me of the scene in I Heart Huckabee where men are beating their own faces with red rubber balls.

As for the rest of Paper Rad’s productions — I eye-lap the fit-inducing strobe of their site, and the layered, massed impact of their printed works — dense with fluorescent ephemera, half-narratives & scrawls & repurposed cartoon characters. It all taps into the same hunger for sensory overload in me that I spend most of my waking time vehemently decrying as an inescapable blight upon the modern world.

Secretly of course I want to go on a neon bender staring at 116 youtube videos at once, 13 of which are playing obscure berlin disco, the rest of which are toxicolored beautiful beepy Paper Rad.

There is a comfort in noise, in the staticky womby bath of it. Paper Rad (not so much the Problem Solvers videos, but their site, cartoons & books, especially “BJ and Da Dogs”) offer the visual and color & nostalgic analogue of that noise & static: massed strobing mess, sheer assaulting saturation:


All the chunky pixels, all the pummeling graphics, all the Alf & Popples & Garfield cameos, and all the scraping-loud day-glo cascades — all this array massed and deployed on a monitor the size of the sky could never fully blot out the painful reality of being alive.

But it sure as hell helps (me, at any rate).

Go to Paper Rad & bleed a little play-doh.
C. Way/ © 2008

[posted by: C Way at 11:59 PM]

[file under: ABOUT ART]

Writing About Random Songs N. 94: The Knife – ‘The Captain’

June 20th, 2008

Another installation of this game I play where I open iTunes, enable Shuffle, listen to the first song that comes up, and write whatever comes to mind about it.

This time I was served up a song from The Knife, off their record “Silent Shout”, called “The Captain”. I love this song — it always settles & unsettles me with its cold vistas & brittle expanse.

First, the song:

The Knife – ‘The Captain’

And here, a poem I wrote for it:

Spray of marbles skipping 
along vast mesa of chrome.

Slow fanning wingspan of
hungry metal owls
sweeping over stone.

A long thunder, away.

Measured avalanche of 
straw, sand & aluminum 
upon meadows of 
magenta blossom.

Old indigo geysers, 
dusted with crimson flakes.

Gray coral spiking up from pink ponds.

The distant throaty lowing of beasts.

C. Way/ © 2008
Buy Records from The Knife at

[posted by: C Way at 10:00 PM]

[file under: Ekphrasis ||| Music ||| music - mp3s]

Sweet, meet Savory: emchocolatier of New York

June 18th, 2008

emchocolatier            emchocolatier

Basil, Balsamic vinegar, chocolate ganache.

Perhaps not flavors that you would think weep to share the same morsel.

But after my first bite of a Basil Balsamic Chocolate Truffle by emChocolatier, I couldn’t imagine anything tasting more harmonious, more singing with sympathy, than these ingredients bound and blended in a little dark bundle. Mouth-bliss.

Ellen Mirsky, owner of EMchocolatier, is clearly a gifted sweetster. She’s also quite seasoned: her website’s C.V. cites Todd English and Pichet Ong (whose P*ong is another study in whimsical and tantalizing flavor-play) as former employers. Her impressive past aside, what she’s doing in the present is wonderful: her artistry in this basil-balsamic truffle winningly showcases the power of spiking sweetness with savory elements. The result is a complex, transporting bouquet of a bite. The rest of her offerings — including chocolate bark, turtles and clusters — show the same adventurousness & spirit: sea salt, fennel and chili are among the flavors and ingredients that regularly show up in her confections.

It’s not often that chocolate makes me really slow down, focus on & wonder about what it is I’m experiencing. These truffles made it happen so often that I felt nearly guilt-ridden from the experience by the time the box was empty. Thank you emChocolatier.
C. Way/ © 2008

[posted by: C Way at 9:37 PM]

[file under: Culinary Arts]
1 Comment

I’m Going to Write About a Random Song No. 93: Los Panchos – ‘Si Tu Me Dices Ven’

June 18th, 2008

Los Panchos – ‘Si Tu Me Dices Ven’

My mom got me into Los Panchos when I was a teenager. She used to play the famous trio’s records all the time, and before I knew it their harmonies & romanticism had me hooked. It wouldn’t be until my late 20s though that I’d really start to fall under their spell.

This song in particular is a good example of what they do well. I love the rich panning, the spacious production, the hand drums on the left, the maracas on the right, that opening & decisive guitar solo so characteristic of this style of mexican ballad (known as the bolero).

I love too the lyrical themes, again so typical of the form, saturated with longing, ruefulness, graceful tragedy. This song’s title loosely translates to “If You Say to Me: Come”. Other lyrics, simple and trenchant: “If you say to me: come, I’ll leave it all behind”; “my secrets, which are few, belong to you as well”.

Then there’s the guitar solo at 1:44, always my favorite moment of Los Panchos songs: cascading, nimble, fleet & yet heavy with feeling.

The whole song makes me feel like I’m on a sturdy raft, making my way down a misted river at night, with soft, warm, puddling rain falling on embankments nearby.

Click here to buy Los Panchos records from
C. Way/ © 2008

[posted by: C Way at 4:47 PM]

[file under: Music ||| music - mp3s]

Shazam’s No Abracadabra

June 15th, 2008

A scanned image taken from a recent Exquisite-Corpse-ish drawing game I was involved in recently with close friends. This drawing (click to expand) courtesy of The New York Scrivener:

Shazam is no Abracadabra

[posted by: C Way at 5:42 PM]

[file under: ABOUT ART]