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The Sneaker Commandments

"Collaborations. Everyone's at it "“ stores, brands, websites, blogs, magazines, toy companies, musicians (often in the very loosest sense of the term) and pretty much anyone who wants to get involved." The collaboration has long since departed from the time when it was thought special and unique. Upset with the hoardes of collaborations, or as was so eloquently worded, “collabortions”, the team over at Sneaker Freaker have created the Top Ten Sneaker Collaboration Commandments: a witty advisory to those looking to design sneakers, including commandments like, "Thou Shall Take More Than Five Minutes to Design the Product," and "Thou Shall Leave the Colorway in the Hands of Those Who Know What They're Doing." The Commandments are a great set of rules for any designer to take into consideration, and hopefully they will aid in stopping all this "collabortion" madness.

La, La, La, La, Library

Say goodbye to the P2P music gathering hassle and hello to LaLa's new online music library. You might recall LaLa as the CD trading, artist aiding, music site that aimed to change the way consumers trade old music. With a freshly updated site, LaLa is stepping up their online presence by providing users a way to listen to and share all their iTunes and digital music online. That's right: LaLa will sync all the music from your iPod and music library to an online account that users can access from any computer with an internet connection. In addition, you can grab music from other users and add it to your online library allowing you to keep expanding your listening selection, free! As if that weren't enough, you can also purchase new digital music at up to 30% less than Amazon or iTunes and side load it straight to your iPod from the site. We are really excited about this next step in LaLa's evolution and the way they are changing the way we use the internet for music.

North American International Auto Show: Top 3

We had the fortune of being General Motors’ guest to the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, and the world’s largest auto show was an eye opener in more ways the one. We got a first-look at the directions many auto manufacturers will be taking in the near future with their designs and drive technologies. Our experience was much like an abbreviated relationship. It began with a honeymoon phase– in awe at the sheer magnitude of the venue and the millions of visual effects– including mesmerizing light displays, gorgeous cars, and beautiful women (the kind every hetero man wants to fill his exotic sports car with). Then enter the dating portion"“ repeating the process of vehicle viewing and photo taking to the point where only something brand new and astounding would really satisfy our expectations. Then of course, the marriage: meeting with representatives from different car companies– designers, marketing heads, and executives. Usually it goes well, but it's a pretty short relationship at best, and in a blink of an eye it's over and you're back at home watching news snippets on CNN, feeling a sort of cautious optimism for the future of the auto industry. But all that aside, let us get to our top 3!

Lots more after the jump…

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Thundermutt Series 14 Launch

BA-Reps, an illustration agency based in New York launched a limited edition collection of designer toys last week by artist Tristan Eaton, Gary Baseman, Stephen Bliss, Dave Needham, and Andrew Rae. This collection is an addition to the popular Thundermutt Series and is particularly special in that each of the 100 figurines have an added bonus, a hand made or hand painted object that has been inserted into the hollow heads of each little figure. One artist stuffed their Thundermutt's noggin' with hand painted bottle caps, another with hand painted peanuts, one set even includes glass vials of captured rain water straight from the NYC skies! This, the 14th series in the Thundermutt lineage should prove to be of the most detailed and personal, if not the most unique, sets of toys ever crafted by Thunderdog Studios Inc. The project will be released in two waves, the first was September 29th at Neo Studios NYC (628 Broadway, between Houston and Bleeker), and you can look for the second release in February 2007. Only 50 pieces will be available to the public with the remaining being reserved for the Mutt Club. Full flyer after the jump!

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Monsieur T Fall/Winter ‘06

Our friends over at Monsieur T in Portland, OR have been creating great skateboard and indie art-scene-inspired screen printed tees since 2004. We got a sneak preview of their new Fall/Winter ’06 line at their launch party and art show which featured work from Monsieur T artist Ryan Berkley. Not only was this the first time for the public to view and purchase items from the new line, which featured designs by local celebrities Bwana Spoons and Martin Ontiveros, but it was also Berkley's first solo exhibition. Berkley has created some of Monsieur's best selling tees including a turtle ravaging the city of Portland and has also illustrated the book, Super Crafty: Over 75 Amazing How-to Projects, which was published last fall. Monsieur T's are sold at select independent boutiques nationwide and of course on their site as well.

TANNER from Hecklewood

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Hecklewood, the maker of fine tees and hoodies has upped the ante with their new TANNER leather products including nice slim wallet/card holders and finely crafted messenger bags. “TANNER leather goods are designed and constructed to be functionally sound, utilitarian, and durable,” and because each piece is cut, sewn, and branded from a single hide of leather, you can expect unparalleled quality. Two styles of messenger bags are available for pre-order and there are currently a limited amount of the wallet/card holders available through PayPal, at least until the new site is up and running. We personally can't wait to get our hands on one of the Spaghetti Western wallets. Like a good pair of jeans, continued wear will only enhance the appearance of these amazing products. Look for more bi-fold wallets, women's clutches, and more this fall, only from Hecklewood! More product pictures after the jump…
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System Kings

From the minds of Jared K. Nickerson (J3 Concepts) and Leigh Flurry (Font Deli), System Kings is an "idea" that consists of exclusive artists brought together by their motivation to express art beyond its typical convention. It is not an art group, but rather an active unified portfolio which allows the 10 talented artists to submit at anytime. This lack of project deadlines and due dates leaves the artists, including 83grafik, Abstractmix, Cycloidbeta, Docvek, and Ovrmde, to be driven solely by emotion, imagination, and experiences and shows art in a more pure form – the antithesis of corporate media. System Kings online art gallery of mixed media is art beyond its typical conventions and is definitely not to be missed!

ACL Wrap Up Part II

Saturday's beautiful weather was not to be outdone, but the music continued on through the weekend with Sunday bringing more and more of what we had come to expect "“ amazing artist and passionate performances. The Shins were the first act we saw and even though we couldn't see very well the music rang perfectly in everyone's ears especially when they played "New Slang" for the masses to hum along to. Matisyahu really got the crowd going and exposed us to a lot of freestyles and new tunes, which we can't wait to get our hands on. But not to be outdone was the one and only Oklahoma's psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips. After seeing and meeting the oh so polite Wayne Coyne by his tour bus the Lips put on a show that, following the spirit of the dancing Santa's, giant alien and astronaut, and the Jetson-esque dressed ladies on stage, turned into more of a musical party than a rock show. We saw Austin's own, What Made Milwaukee Famous and Ghostland Observatory, and didn't miss the soothing blues of Ray Lamontagne, but we must say that without a doubt the best performance of the weekend had to be the instrumental rock of Explosions in the Sky! Watching from back stage we saw the crowd growing and getting larger with every passing minute until finally the sun had set and you could no longer see where the people ended and the night began, all that remained was the continuously flashing cameras. Even calling it perfect wouldn't do Mark, Michael, Munaf, and Chris's performance justice, but surely the chanting crowd, desiring only "One "“ More "“ Song" can lend an idea to the amazing music of the instrumental quartet that is Explosions in the Sky. Thanks to Munaf for letting us join in the wonderful experience! More pictures courtesy of Pentax after the jump!
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Pentax Optio W20: Party Proof

There aren't a lot of waterproof digital cameras among the point and click crowd, but the Pentax Optio W20, which boasts 7.0 megapixels, is sure to save you from puddles, tubs, and rain, because it is fully waterproof up to 5 feet. The slim, flat body design fits nicely in your hand above and underwater and can withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes of continuous operation. It has everything you've come to expect in a digital including a new high ISO mode that selects ISO up to 1600 and 2.5 inch LCD which is easily visible underwater. Also, at about $300, it's quite a good deal. Using ours at ACL really saved us from spilled beverages from our excited friends and unpredictable rainy weather. So while others put away their environment sensitive digital cameras, we snapped away without worry!

Bossaball

We have to admit that our adolescent desire for the inflatable "Moon Walk" has never really left us. A friend of ours told us about a sport, Bossaball that seems to be embracing this desire for the birthday party apparatus of yesteryear and combining it with sports. Originating somewhere between the rock of Gibraltar and the Port of Antwerp, Bossaball combines many sports "“ soccer, beach volleyball, capoeira, and gymnastics into one giant pitch that consists of trampolines and inflatable cushions. Bossaball has become somewhat of a "phenomenon" in Spain with players using all parts of their bodies to pass the ball over a net volleyball style. Bossaball also embraces the crowd with the referees entertaining fans and bands playing live percussion combined with whistles and a DJ. It doesn't matter if you are looking to embrace that inner Ronaldhino or want to move like Le Cirque du Soliel, Bossaball welcomes it all and seems like one great party to boot! "“ Thanks Jennifer

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