Charles and Ray Eames: User Experience Extraordinaires

If you are a mid-century furniture buff (or you just like watching Mad Men, visiting Apartment Therapy, or have a Pinterest account), you probably know the name Eames.

Or if you don’t know the name, you know the look:

Eames molded plastic chairs
via Herman Miller

Yup, that Eames.

Well if you are a bit of a neophyte, to furniture design such as I, what you may not have realized was the name Eames actually refers to two people – the husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames, who collaborated on nearly all the amazing design work for which they are known.

I recently watched the documentary Eames: The Architect and the Painter, which was an OK film — but what I found particularly interesting was some of the insights on their philosophy on how art and life are intertwined.

My knowledge of Eames design was limited to furniture, but over the course of the documentary I discovered that their contributions extended to far greater reaches.

Charles once said, “eventually, everything connects” — architecture, furniture, film, toys, photography, exhibitions — all of their work is tied together as part of the Eames experience. Eames the “brand” signified creativity, innovation, but most importantly there was no sense of elitism.

They believed in an egalitarian approach of wanting to bring the best, to the most, for the least (their partnership with Herman Miller was an example of that) — no doubt providing direct inspiration to companies like IKEA. Through their careers, they worked with the biggest companies of the day (IBM, the US Bicentennial Commission, even the US government itself, for the American National Exhibition in 1959 in Soviet Russia) on the most ambitious projects. They were creative powerhouses who never felt that they were “selling out” by working with the Man — it was simply the best way to bring joy and beauty to the widest audience possible.

Charles also once said that “design is the appropriate combination of materials in order to solve a problem,” and that’s what Eames design is all about — solving a problem, whether the problem is how to make a comfortable chair out of plywood, or how to convey the spirit of America in a sincere way to Russians during the Cold War. Consider the Eameses as user experience extraordinaires.

If anything, this film gave me a new appreciation for the Eames name and the thinking that went behind some of the greatest designs in the last 100 years.

Watch the trailer for “Eames: The Architect and the Painter”:

White Stripes First Ever Live Performance Vinyl to Be Released!!

File this under “amazing”:

Vault Package #13 also includes a red vinyl 7″ of the White Stripes first ever live performance recording from an open mic night at the Gold Dollar on July 14, 1997 and a tote bag featuring the iconic peppermint logo.

Relive the memories of Jack and Meg TOGETHER, with this clip from Under the Great White Northern Lights:

Nikolai Fraiture Performs with Mick Jagger and Arcade Fire on SNL

What’s that? Oh it’s Nikolai Fraiture performing “The Last Time” with Mick Jagger and Arcade Fire on SNL, that’s all:

Here he is:

Jack White Tries to Get Into Guinness Book of World Records with “Most Metaphors in a Single Concert”

As you may have heard, Jack White has recently revealed some beef he has with the Guinness Book of World Records folks over the White Stripes’ record for “Shortest Musical Concert” , which was recognized in the 2009 edition, but removed in subsequent additions.

Guinness says that since publishing the record, which was set with their 2007 one-note concert at St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada, others have challenged its validity — some claiming that just appearing on stage was enough to break the record.

As a result, Jackie has taken the piss out of the whole situation and decided to very seriously attempt to set a new record of “Most metaphors in a single concert.”

Concert-goers of his upcoming tour are encouraged not to “interfere or interject with any metaphors that they witness” during the show “as to not disqualify or worse yet, trivialize the metaphor in question. Audience members are encouraged to “entice as many metaphors to occur during the show… as long as they don’t’ endanger themselves or Mr. White.”

Methinks this is going to make for an interesting concert tour.

Full press release below:
Continue reading “Jack White Tries to Get Into Guinness Book of World Records with “Most Metaphors in a Single Concert””

Step Into DJ John Peel’s Legendary Record Collection

This is pretty much the coolest thing ever. In a partnership between John Peel’s family, The John Peel Centre for the Creative Arts, Eye Film and TV, and website company Klik, and sponsored by the BBC and Arts Council England, the record collection of famed BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel will be available for the world at large to peruse via the interwebs.

John Peel's record collection

The beloved disc jockey, who died in October 2004, was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of music of all genres and his supremely cool music tastes. Mr. Peel was an early supporter of The White Stripes and helped introduce them to a wider audience by having them on his show multiple times in 2001 and was a huge collector of their vinyl.

His family have given exclusive access to the collection which includes 25,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and many thousands of CDs.

You can browse the collection at, complete with the album covers and John’s hand-typed index reference cards for each album.

Please also check out this awesome documentary done on John Peel in 2005 on Channel 4 about John Peel’s “Record Box” which included his favorite records ever:

I’m looking forward to discovering some great music!

Why Moquu Is My New Favorite App

An eagle-eyed reader tipped me off to a new app called Moquu that has some very special filter names. Check it out:

“Jumble,” “Sugar,” “Aluminum,” “Biscuit,” “Coffee,” “Blue Orchid”… anyone else sensing a pattern? Yup, the folks at Pangalaktik Media (the Budapest-based creators of the app) are most definitely fans of Jack and Meg — all the filters are named after White Stripes songs! If you needed any more confirmation, check out their March 11th tweet declaring their love of the Stripes.

Sadly no “Big Three” or “Icky Thump”, but I like your style Moquu, I like your style!

Extra! Extra! All the Jack White News Fit to Print

In this week’s edition of “Jack White Weekly” there are a number of exciting updates:

1. Jack’s debut solo album, Blunderbuss has been released! What are your thoughts? I’ll be taking an in-depth listen this weekend during a road trip.

2. Jack White is going to write, produce, and perform the score for Walt Disney Pictures’ version of The Lone Ranger which stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie “Winklevii” Hammer as John Reid, the Lone Ranger. Wait a minute – are Johnny Depp and Jack White allowed to be attached to the same project? Isn’t that kinda like them being in the same room together — impossible?

Although Jack contributed songs (and appeared in) Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain and one of those James Bond movies (please, let’s all try to forget that duet with Alicia Keys), this will be his first outing into feature film scoring.

3. Jack will be doing a special show for American Express Unstaged right here in NYC on Friday (April 27th) at Webster Hall. Even if you can’t be there in person (like me), you can watch the whole affair courtesy of the internets and Jack White’s VEVO channel starting at 9pm EST. The stream will be directed by eternal bada**, Gary Oldman. Yes, that Gary Oldman.

Trailer for the show:

The Third Man Records Rolling Record Store will also be in town starting tomorrow, giving out clues to where you can find one of the five pairs of free tickets to the show. Hit them up on the Twitter to see if you can sleuth it out.

4. Anyone else see something weird about everyone mentioned in this post?

(From L-R: Johnny Depp, Jack White in Another Mag, Gary Oldman in Dracula)

Morning Benders No More: Band Switches to “POP ETC”

Out of complete random curiosity today I googled to see what was going on with everyone’s favorite almost all-asian band from New York (via California), The Morning Benders and to my surprise they’ve changed their name to POP ETC.

Why the name change? According to a message posted on March 25, 2012 on the old Morning Benders website by front-man Chris Chu, the original name was chosen in haste — but the band discovered a hidden meaning to their name while touring in Europe for the first time in 2010:

Fast forward to 2010, many a dive bar, school quad, house party, county fair, pizza parlor later. We had just released Big Echo, and for the first time we were preparing for a world tour. We had toured a fair amount leading up to Big Echo, but never overseas, so when it came time to tour the UK and Europe we were quite excited. The touring went well, and we had an amazing time, but also something happened that we hadn’t anticipated. As soon as we had landed in London people started asking us about our band name. “What does ‘Bender’ mean to you?” people would ask. “Are you seriously called ‘The Morning Benders’ ?” was a common question. For those of you reading from America, you may still be confused. Well, it turns out that the word ‘bender’ in the UK and many parts of Europe is a slang term for ‘homosexual.’ We were told our band name was the equivalent of ‘The Morning Fags’ in America. We had been called The Morning Benders for 5 years, and we were just finding this out now? It was shocking. And quite sad, to say the least. We had spent those years touring night and day, championing our name everywhere we could, only to find out that the name had an alternate meaning- one that made us look hateful, or at best, ignorant.

Now that the band are readying to release their newest album on June 12th, they felt it an opportune time to change their name for the following reasons:

1. We simply cannot go on using a name that is demeaning to the gay community. The reason we are making music is to reach and unite as many different kinds of people as possible, and the idea that our name may be hateful towards anyone makes us sick.

2. In the UK and many parts of Europe the name has simply become too distracting. The MUSIC has always been our number one focus, and we want to present that to people in as pure a way as possible

Continue reading “Morning Benders No More: Band Switches to “POP ETC””