Mar 23 2012

#328 Music Month (23)

 From Ol’ Bird in St. Louis, Missouri

Today’s Song/Video: “Werewolf Blues” by Guana Batz

Sep 22 2011

#145 “Outside the Box”

From “Colombo-Sia” in Brooklyn, New York

I love creative thinkers, and I believe Michael Colombo is just such a man. Take a quick glance at his website (here), and I’m sure you’ll agree. When you do click on the link, you’ll notice a tag line in the upper left that states that the site is “a chronicle of ideas and projects from a designer and thinker in repurposing obsolete technology and discarded materials.” This, in essence, is exactly what Michael does. Need to build a unique loft bed? You got it. Craving a fruit-powered sound machine? Done. What about instructions on how to make a candle from scrap wax? You’d better believe it. In a world so full of people who mindlessly travel throughout their daily lives in a haze of boredom and negativity, it’s comforting to know that there are still individuals with a keen eye for creation and a desire to milk the most out of each day, to suck the marrow out of life and live it to the fullest.

After a quick glance at Colombo’s wolf, I believe it represents everything about this man that the creations on his website suggest. The picture is bright and optimistic. It has a sense of nostalgia that could easily be associated with the 1980s, but it is also fresh and vibrant. It is hectic and almost “scatterbrained” but it also seems to display conscious thought and a sense of completion. It is original and wild yet accessible. And above all, it is genuinely interesting.

Thanks, Michael. Lives like yours make the rest of ours a little more interesting. Keep up the good work.


Sep 10 2011

#133 “Eye of the Wolf”

From Devin in Lyford, Texas

Whenever I gaze upon the profiled bust of this impressive wolf specimen, I can’t help but pick up on a clear and palpable sternness. But along with this keen sense of seriousness, there is a discernible fairness that is also evident here. There is a sense of pride here, a lupine virility that speaks of this wolf’s impressive strength and prowess.

I know that when Survivor released their biggest hit on May 29, 1982 that they were singing about the infamous tiger, but I can’t help but to think that the song is better suited to the wolf and that this illustration perfectly exemplifies the tone and mood of this song. It’s the perfect physical representation. Just look at the eye of this marvelous wolf. Notice that piercing gaze, that furrowed brow, that concentrated stare. There’s no denying it: eye of the tiger vs. eye of the wolf? Wolf wins every time.

In honor of this breathtaking illustration, I encourage you reexamine the lyrics to this famous song. And of course, all instances of the word “tiger” have been changed to “wolf.”

“Eye of Wolf”

Risin’ up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It’s the eye of the wolf, it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hungry
They stack the odds ’til we take to the street
For we kill with the skill to survive

It’s the eye of the wolf, it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the tiger

Risin’ up, straight to the top
Have the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop
Just a wolf and his will to survive

It’s the eye of the wolf, it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the tiger

The eye of the wolf (repeats out)…

Aug 19 2011

#111 “Teen Wolf”

From a stranger in Chattanooga, TN

You just can’t top an outlandish 1980s teen comedy flick. And there’s no better example than the perennial “Teen Wolf.” Overall, I think this illustration serves as a great accompaniment to the film. As you can see, this drawing appears to be inspired by the movie masterpiece, but it is not necessarily “about” the film. We can see the inspiration in the flashiness of the color which simply screams 1980s and the wildness of the strokes with which this drawing is composed. Nothing says 80s indulgence and excess like pop art with unusual and random angles that reach out towards you like lightning bolts.

Just in case you haven’t laid eyes on this piece of cinema gold in a while. You can check out the original trailer below.

Aug 15 2011

#107 “Sloth”

From E.B. in Little Rock, Arkansas

I can easily remember that as a child a movie called “The Goonies” represented everything about the world that I hoped (and believed) to be true.

In the film a group of prepubescent protagonists are faced with a crisis: the home of a young Goonie has being foreclosed. I remember the outrage and disgust I felt as I tried to understand how some unknown entity could have the right to barge in and forcibly take someone’s home. At the same time, though, I longed for an obstacle to overcome in my own life. I desperately searched for a trial to test the mettle of my infantile courage. In short, I wanted a threshold to cross into manhood, just like the Goonies.

As the film unfolds, several members of the Goonie clan are swept into an underground adventure after inadvertently discovering a treasure map and angering a group of wanted criminals. A chase ensues and the race against the clock is under way, and children must find the treasure of the notorious pirate One-Eyed Willie if they are going to save their home; but of course they must do so without being caught and killed by the notorious outlaws.

Overall the plot of the movie is totally outrageous and completely unbelievable, but this is entirely why I had such an affinity for it. I longed for adventure and danger as every young boy does to this day. I prayed that a journey of Indiana Jones proportions would fall into my lap just as it had for the children of “The Goonies.” The booby traps, the dangerous obstacles, the idea of being a part of a tight-nit group that was forced to pull together to prevail over evil, the feeling that you truly belonged to something greater than yourself- It was what I wanted, nay, what I needed in life.

In the end, the adventure never really came, but life has become an adventure all by itself. And if nothing else, this project has been an adventure- a journey of unpredictable twists and turns that has filled the last several months of my life with triumph and heartbreak.

I may never have had the opportunity to run through underground tunnels as booby traps snapped around me and dangerous bandits fired pistols over my head, but I did take something way from the film which was much more meaningful. For as any connoisseur of great film will know, “The Goonies” is not just an adventure tale. It is a story of acceptance and serves as a humbling reminder to accept the differences that we all possess.

Case in point, of course, is the beloved character of Sloth. Oh, Sloth, how you warmed my soul. You taught me these lessons that I will never forget. You taught me that Goonies never say day.

Sloth, I love you.

And with that, my friends, I will leave you with one of the greatest quotes of the 1980s.

“Hey, you guys!”

Jul 21 2011

#82 “The Night is Young”

As a child of the 1980s, a strong sense of nostalgia pulls me towards almost anything that represents that decade. Fashion, music, television, celebrities, it doesn’t matter. If it’s from the 80s, it holds a special place in my heart. I believe that is why I love this particular illustration so much. There is simply something about this picture that takes me back to those Saturday mornings spent watching A.C. Slater call Zach Morris a “preppy” which would then transform into afternoons practicing hopelessly on my neon yellow skateboard and then morph further into nights of listening to REM on my Walkman.

The skateboard, shades and t-shirt slogan are the elements that speak most clearly to me, and while they may not necessarily be designed to intentionally suggest an 80s vibe, I feel that the spirit of these items undeniably reference that decade of pure excess in an understated (if not overt) manner.

Also, though, when I look at this wonderful illustration, I am reminded of a very modern video that I ran across just recently. The name of this viral vid is called “Carving the Mountains,” and it features a group of very talented young ladies called the Longboard Girls Crew. I know very little about this group of hardcore skater chicks except for the fact that they have completely mesmerized me with their breathtaking performance in the beautiful Madrid Mountains.

As you can see, the connection between the illustration and the video is somewhat obvious. The wolf appears to be riding a longboard, just like the “foxy” girls in the video; and based on the fact that the wolf is wearing high heals, we can only assume that she is female. Besides this, the fashion sense of the wolf and the ladies seems somewhat congruent, and clearly no one can argue that both are just about as “boss” and “radical” as they come.

The night may be young, but alas, I am not as young as I used to be. I guess my vicarious life begins now. Skate on, wolf. Skate on, ladies. Skate for me while you still can. Skate for me so I can remember…