Let’s say you always go to a certain coffee shop, where a certain cute waiter/waitress does his/her afternoon shift. You spend your entire time there hunched behind your laptop, but sneak occasional peeks over the screen. Suddenly you see this hobbling creature come in, so short no one can see him, and as he quietly puts his hand in the almost-full tip jar, you pull out your handy dandy snazzy Secret Book Camera that’s been lying next to you, waiting to be opened, and photograph him in the middle of the robbery. He runs out without anyone noticing, and when the baristas hear the sound of coins hitting the bottom of an empty jar, they realize what happened and freak out. You dash to your home photo lab, develop the 110 film, bring it back to the coffee shop, and stand there beaming while everyone cheers for you in slow-mo and your crush gives you the recognition you’ve been waiting for. This, dear readers, is the type of story this Book Camera will tell. All with happy endings.
Very Nearly Almost (VNA) enjoyed modest beginnings as handmade black and white photographic zine showing off all things dope about the culture and art scene on the U.K. streets. Slated to launch its seventh issue, the precocious periodical has blossomed into the top street art and graffiti glossy in the land of the Britons and beyond. Their latest issue boasts 84 pages on their favorite topics in full-color, including features on the stencil work French artist C215, a look at the New York/London crew and design collective One Trick Pony and plenty more off the urban creativity you crave. If you should find yourself down in London town tonight there’s still time to check out the shindig at Concrete Hermit from 6 to 9 p.m. If you don’t live in Europe don’t worry, you’ll still be able to secure a copy thanks to VNA’s international distribution and their online shop.
Say your co-workers or significant others are a bit exhausted hearing you talk about moral hangups and problems. They'd like you to pontificate … well … anywhere else. They can thank Bay Area documentarian Chip Rees for putting your quandaries to use with The Dilemmas Project, an audio collection covering the problems people face in everyday life. It’s easy to upload your stories and generate a dialogue about the issues you're concerned about. The collection is starting as an audio platform, but could move to illustrated, written, and, of course, apparel form. Witness The Way We Live, the company behind the project, has the philosophy that we become better people by listening to one another. Electronic Arts, Ray Ban, and other companies have taken the filmmakers up on their invitation to listen to people's predicaments — a great example of multimedia storytelling as a compelling model for bringing consumers to the table.
While CBGB’s is gone forever, we can recall its hey day with the OMFUG Masters series; recordings of exceptional live shows performed at the once-iconic rock venue. This installment features New York’s very own Living Colour, a band that surpassed its novelty with an exceptional funk infused style. Coupled with vocalist Corey Glover’s powerfully delivered, political lyrics, the band’s sound yielded something unforgettable. The performance featured on the CD occurred in 2005 during a less-than-prolific reunion period. The band is expected to release something new next year, but until then, this is a pretty solid set of songs from their finest era.
Mic legend the Gift of Gab and Quannum producer Chief Xcel, known commonly as Blackalicious, give us 4/20 Live in Seattle, out now on DVD and Blu-Ray. The show is one of typical quality for the Bay Area duo, and has them performing their finest work, kicking off with the well-known exercise in lyrical prowess “Alphabet Aerobics”, originally produced by Cut Chemist. The energy of a Blackalicious show is hard to capture. No matter the setting, the machine gun pace at which Gift drops knowledge captivates the crowd, whose feet stop moving as their minds try to grasp the MC’s content. We recall a 2003 show at SOB’s in New York where Gift, ailing from diabetes, performed the entire set sitting down and still had everyone there hanging on his every word. The DVD succeeds in conveying the experience of a Blackalicious show and is a must-have for anyone who’s lost faith in what the majority of contemporary live hip hop shows have become.
Designers Shipley & Halmos are down at New York’s Den, a venue for various designers’ pop-up stores — and why aren’t you down there now? The entire fall collection is available, showcased in a setting styled after Robert Wiene’s 1921 Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which will be projected along with a Shipley & Halmos animated short. The collection features the signature conservative style of the former Trovata designers, with just a touch of wild side. It will be running until the end of November.
Wine blogs seem to be about a dime a dozen, especially with the rise in opportunities for city dwellers to bottle their own reds and whites. Sommelier Courtney Cochran’s book Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine from Viking is a nice change of pace. It has helpful tips on pairing wine with food and selecting good bottles and gadgetry for upcoming holiday get togethers. Cochran, who started taking sommelier classes while studying for her MBA, now runs a California wine events company that was born out of tastings she hosted for her fellow students and wine club members. Her book offers that same peer-friendly encouragement, telling readers to trust their instincts. It’s also hard to argue with the pitch of “no paisley tie-wearing wine auction-attending dilettantes here … just real people getting to know real wine, one great party at a time.”