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Showing posts from June, 2013

Cities for People, not Cars.

I've lived in cities most of my life, and I prefer to live in a city. However, there are frustrations with life in the city, but according to The Human Scale and the Jan Gehl, many of issues are due to poor planning, instead of just being inherent to life in the city.

The Human Scale presents the work to architect and city planner Jan Gehl on creating an inviting, safe, sustainable, diverse, and healthy cities. This could have been a dry, intellectual documentary, but I found it highly engaging. Mostly because it was so smart on the problems of cities and how cities can be changed to favor human connection.

Much of The Human Scale can be summed up by saying that cities have changed in the last century to accomodate cars, not people. And as a result, we have become more isolated from each other, less engaged in city life, and significantly less safe.

Out of frustration over the the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle, we bought a home in a condominium complex on the edge of the Central…

One story of a city in the desert

It is difficult to throw a rock in Seattle and not hit a burner, at least it seems that way. So many people have told me of the transformative experience of attending this event, held annually in the middle of the Black Rock desert. I've always remained skeptical and tend to see burners as affluent men and women that use the art and personal transformation as an excuse to take a week away from the real world and party. Meaning, I see Burning Man as mardi gras, in the desert. But stunning photography comes out of the festival each year and Spark: A Burning Man Story was an opportunity to challenge this perception.

That said, Spark was a well made film. Long time burner Steve Brown co-directed the film was Jesse Deeter, who brought to the project a decade of experience from working on Frontline. As a result, the film looks amazing. Central to the film are two artists that are creating giant art pieces for the playa, one is a burning man vetren creating Block Rock City's own wal…

The Final Member

In September, I'll be in Iceland for a couple of days, so in preparation I'm doing what all good world travelers do to prepare for immersion into a different culture, I'm watching Icelandic movies.  This is a surprisingly easy task as cinema is the largest industry in Iceland, so even non-Icelandic films have plenty of obviously Icelandic names in the credits. This year at SIFF, there is only a couple of Icelandic films. One of these is The Final Member, a documentary about the Icelandic Phallological Museum and as such essential viewing for a traveler. 

This documentary is centered on Sigurdur Hjartarson, or Siggi as he's called in the film, who was given his first phallus, a bull's penis, as a gift from an instructor which led to this life long habit of collecting penises. His collection of penis bones and jars of preserved members became a bit larger than the typical living room conversation piece and so the Icelandic Phallological Museum was born claiming to con…