Tequila 5150

Tequila 5150 is a new American tequila, or rather an “eau de vie de agave,” and the first of its kind. Frank Leal, owner of Leal Vineyards in Hollister, CA is the first American to legally import blue agave into the U.S. He decided to apply wine making techniques to the tequila-making process, such as using wine barrels instead of old bourbon barrels. Crazy? Absolutely. While Frank was telling his good friend and local county sheriff about his California tequila making plans, the immediate response was "Frank, you are so 5150!" (5150 is the California police code for a mentally disturbed or insane person).

Tequila 5150 is currently available in California (BevMo) and Florida "¦ keep an eye out for the spirit coming your way soon.

CORRECTION: Turns out that while Frank Leal is the first to bring in blue agave plants, Tequila 5150 is currently bottled down at Frankie’s Mexican distillery. As soon as his agave plants mature (which, apparently takes eight years) you’ll have 100% U.S. of A. tequila. Hence the Hecho en Mexico sticker on the bottle.

Jonathon Keats' Bee Ballet

Lately, all we’ve been hearing is sad news about the plight of the honeybees and their declining numbers. Thank goodness for conceptual artist Jonathon Keats‘ newest endeavor. Next week (July 19th to be exact) Keats will choreograph the first ever bee ballet.

By planting hundreds of precisely arranged flowers in neighborhoods in San Francisco, Keats claims the bees will “dance according to the locations of the flowers they’ve found.” Except, well, you won’t really be able to see it because they’ll be dancing back inside their hives. Says Keats, “The bees will dance for themselves, not for us.” Dance bees. Dance like nobody in is watching.

Check out the bee lines (sorry) after the jump

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Turnleft's Free Urban Guides

We’ve written about plenty of travel guides, but this time we thought a) what’s one more? and b) it’s free! Whether you have a hankering for a happening lounge or a dose of architectural innovation in a distant land, Turnleft has got you covered. While their sphere of tourist influence currently only encompasses Paris, Helsinki, Amsterdam, and Berlin, the around-the-world adventure advice guides will be expanding their reach from the Americas to Scandinavia shortly. Pretty soon you’ll be able to find a tasty concept restaurant in Reykjavik or a dope design spot in Denmark. Did we mention it’s free?

Timbuk2 x Threadless

For all of the modern, urban, design-savvy males out there, please don't call this bag a “murse.” Lots of guys these days have figured out the convenient utility of a good old messenger bag, but what happens if you want the ease of carrying around everything you own but still want to look a little street? That's where San Francisco-based bag makers Timbuk2 and perennial Josh Spear fav Threadless steps in.

Pumping up classic messenger bags from Timbuk2 with some of the most popular T-shirt graphics from Threadless, they've combined high-end graphic design with the need to carry stuff around with you. Even better, you can rock the matching bag and tee at the same time — if you think you're man enough to handle it.

Hot prints from New England-based design duo GlueKit, eclectic visual artist Julia Sonmi Heglund, and self-taught fine artist Robert Hardgrave adorn the three limited edition bags. Held to an exclusive 200 of each print (read: buy them now before they're gone) these bags are up for grabs now, directly from Timbuk2.

Oups' Cartoon Craziness

I know for a fact that I’m not the only person on Earth who’s always harbored secret dreams of starring in my own cartoon adventure. The idea of bopping funny-looking animals on the head, or being bopped myself until I’m flat as a coin and then springing back to normal size–that stuff would be more insane that going out to a nightclub in the real world and doing tequila shots.

It’s not entirely the full effect, but a team of three artists are bringing us that experience halfway with their novel Oups interactive video installation project. A participant gets in front of a screen, and through pre-programmed animation that’s divided into three layers, follows the person’s movements and becomes the star of the show. The sample videos on their site show people strapped to rockets, being electrocuted or chased by spacecraft. The artists just closed their requests to designers to help add to the Oups library, and will be showing some of those submitted in the showcase at Sao Paulo’s and Rio de Janeiro’s animation fest, Anima Mundi 2008, happening at the end of this month. I’d take this over a free open bar any day.

Magrette Timepieces

When I think of the small businesses I’d open up, I keep them limited to the realm of practicality. I’m talking clothing boutique, small restaurant, etc. When I hear about someone who starts their own car, shoe, or watch company, I am intrigued. Over the years, my interest in watches has progressively increased while my counterparts ditched them for cell phones. I think of the timepieces as work of art, both aesthetically and mechanically. It’s only fitting that a watchmaker would be considered an artist.

Dion McAsey started Magrette Timepieces while he was still a Managing Director of a creative agency. Surprisingly, he says it was an easy transition because he took it slow, learning along the way. He’s formed partnerships on a global scale, using straps from Canada, hands/dials from Germany, and a Japanese movement. Everything gets assembled by hand in New Zealand and tested (water and regulation).

Last year’s release, the Regattare Valencia, sports a 21-jewel Miyota movement, 2mm sapphire glass, a beautiful dial and luminescent hands, and two leather straps to match any occasion. Like all the Magrette watches it’s nautically themed, with this particular model displaying the America’s Cup colors. What impresses me most about Magrette is that you are buying a total package. Customer service, the packaging (you have got to see the leather roll case), and the extras (straps, tool, handwritten warranty card) make for a very pleasing experience. If you’re looking for a dependable watch that can work at both the office and a the post-work bar, check them out.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, this watch looks strikingly similar to the historic Panerai, one of my favorite timepieces. It is, however, significantly cheaper for those of you without rich girlfriends, good jobs, or a taste in extraordinary time keeping. Thanks for all the comments, we love them.]

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