RARE COLLECT

RARE COLLECT

Oakland's own Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment is a video game archive for the people

The first time I walked into The MADE, it was a trip. A trip because I hadn’t expected to confront my childhood and feel the nostalgia of remembering how dope it was to be a kid. As the bleeps and bops, loading screens, and box art images flashed in my head, I kept asking myself, “how haven’t I heard about this place?”

If at some point in the past, you were obsessed and consumed with video games, The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment is quite literally a safe place you can go to relive and reflect on a time when NBA Jam Tournament Edition was all that mattered and which one of your homies got all 120 stars in Super Mario 64. Looking around at everything for me started to trigger vivid memories of once meaningful video game achievements and that one time on my birthday when I wanted Street Fighter 2 for the SNES but that shit was sold out everywhere. Haven’t fucked with birthdays since then.

The MADE is a non-profit museum that houses a collection of historically significant works in video games. It is dedicated to educating and teaching the public about how video games are created, and how they’ve changed over the years. Its main goals are preserving the history of video games and heralding them as an artistic medium.

Oh, and you can play them.

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GANGSTER DOODLES

GANGSTER DOODLES

Marlon Sassy puts the rap game on post-its

Gangster Doodles

In my humble, Marlon Sassy and his passion project known as Gangster Doodles is nothing short of brilliant. Brilliant in the same way Bun B and Shea Serrano’s Rap Coloring Book is brilliant. It’s just a cool idea. Yet where Bun and Shea urge readers to fill in the color of their illustrations, in Gangster Doodles, Marlon brings the colors out, using sharpies and cheap highlighters to create his work. Even better is his medium, choosing to use his beloved 3×3 post-it notes as his canvas.

Having released his first book courtesy of Valley Cruise Press, it seems as though Marlon’s once small project has really taken legs. More from Marlon very soon, but for the time being snack on a small selection of his work, and peep his full collection at Gangster Doodles.

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WHIPS ON WHIPS ON WHIPS

WHIPS ON WHIPS ON WHIPS

A new series from shooter Ian Flanigan captures the details of LA's vehicular community

Ian Flanigan

Growing up watching the “#1 Stunna” video, I told myself I would one day have a collection of whips as illustrious as Baby’s. At 25, I’m still not even sniffing Turk, but despite the two cars I technically own totaling about 3 grand in value, I can still appreciate an icy one when I see it. Living in LA though, my whip envy turned pretty quickly to eye-rolling after witnessing a never-ending parade of leased stuntmobiles roll by.

Whips Two though, a recent series from our good friend Ian Flanigan takes a distinctive approach to LA’s vehicular community. Having already Los Angeles by skateboard, and occasionally snapping shots of the cars lining Downtown’s weathered streets, Ian decided to zoom in on a particular set of details that caught his eye. Narrowing the shots to car emblems and logos, Whips directs your focus to compositional choices, and the design elements of new and vintage cars. It’s not all luxury either, with subjects running the gamut from crispy new Bentleys to beat up ’80s Volkswagens, and everything in between. Like a bunch of Ian’s work, the series is playful and off-the-cuff observational–but it’s the attention to detail that makes it stick with you. Peep the collection below, and read our interview with Ian here.

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HOW RICHARD HAMILTON WENT POP

HOW RICHARD HAMILTON WENT POP

Interview looks back at the life and work of one the 20th century's most dynamic creators

Richard Hamilton

Almost two and a half years ago, the contemporary art world lost a pretty towering figure with the death of Richard Hamilton. Half a century before that, Hamilton had created pieces that left a permanent mark on global culture. He had left behind enduring images that became emblematic of pop art’s cultural ubiquity: collages, paintings, screenprints, and album art that would become reference points for art school discussions for decades. As the piece below demonstrates though, Hamilton’s career was not one you could squeeze into a single movement. In the years since his death, his work has been on display plenty, naturally, since there’s a lot of shit to show. With a recent retrospective on display at Tate Modern in London, Interview sat down Alan Cristea–Hamilton’s good friend and the distributor of his artistic estate–to talk about Hamilton’s work and legacy, both of which are still very much alive.

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WINE & BOWTIES PRESENTS: PARIS IS BURNING

WINE & BOWTIES PRESENTS: PARIS IS BURNING

We make our 2014 debut at Oakland Surf Club with another cult classic

Paris is Burning

It’s crazy how some small corner of the world can end up having such an outsized influence on the world. I suppose all it takes is having a scene that’s unlike anywhere else. New York in the ’80s may been a high-water mark for human history in terms of subcultures per square mile–particularly the kinds of subcultures capable of weaving themselves into a society’s cultural DNA. From Madonna to Kool Herc to O’Brien to Byrne to Haring to Basquiat…as time goes on, the legacies of the folks who made Downtown’s dilapidated landscape home only seem to appreciate in impact.

Paris is Burning encapsulates a scene within that scene in a powerful way. Jennie Livingston’s 1990 doc, shot over the course of a few years in the late ’80s, tells the story of the city’s drag ball culture through the word’s of some of its most compelling figures. A few decades later, it’s a touchstone for the fashion and film worlds, and a poignant document, as valuable for the individual portraits as it is for its historical implications. It’s a film about a community doubly marginalized–primarily black and latin, and almost exclusively queer and trans; but it’s also deeply personal and intimate, even as digs into big, burning questions of identity and class and sexuality.

For us, it feels pretty fitting for what we’re trying to do here in Oakland circa 2014. I mean, in a broad sense, what are we doing for if we’re not providing a space for folks to do them? Like really do them. With that in mind, we’ll be screening Paris next Thursday, in the January installment of our screening series with the homies at Oakland Surf Club. Tell a friend, come through, grab some brew, swoop some icy gear. Voguing also heavily encouraged. You know the drill; trailer after the jump.

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BEAT BOX: A DRUM MACHINE OBSESSION

BEAT BOX: A DRUM MACHINE OBSESSION

A 200-page love letter to music-making technology over the years

Beat Box

A decade or so ago, an L.A. musician named John Wood popularized the now ubiquitous bumper sticker/T-shirt combination that reads, “Drum Machines Have No Soul”. Now, while the relationship between pop music and technology certainly warrants some healthy skepticism, I’m inclined to say fuck all that noise. From “Family Affair” to Stop Making Sense, to Kraftwerk and New Order to Prince and Quincy, to well, damn near every hip-hop and house record that ever existed, the drum machine has been a vital medium for the last forty-plus years of music. And, as the 200-page anthology, Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession suggests, that history is one worth celebrating.

Since the early ’80s, producer Joe Mansfield has been accumulating gear, collecting drum machines of all shapes and sizes and sounds. Beat Box turns a photographic eye to Mansfield’s collection, and in the process, documents the evolution of a technology over time, from the design to the sound, to the music it became a part of. Below, check out a few shots, but you can cop that thang here.

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ENCOUNTER ON THE GREAT PLAINS

ENCOUNTER ON THE GREAT PLAINS

A passion for storytelling brings an unlikely cultural intersection into focus

Encounter on the Great Plains

“I remember when we were kids when we’d go in anywhere; we never knocked on the doors. We just open the door and walk in. Because a tipi had no door. And so you couldn’t be standing there knocking on a tipi…They just opened the flap and walked in. So, we did the same. We opened the door and walked in. When I think of it now I always think, “My, we were rude.” [Laughs]

The excerpt above finds Grace Lambert, an elder on the Spirit Lake Dakota Indian Reservation, reflecting on her childhood memories of growing up alongside the Scandinavian immigrants who also called the territory home. Amusing though it is, this seemingly small fragment of memory points to larger dichotomies. With this example comes a brief collision of ideas about public and private space and property, a product of the intersection between two distinct cultures. Exploring the complexities of intersections like these are at the heart of Karen Hansen’s compelling sociological work, Encounter on the Great Plains.

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SAFE SEX BANG

SAFE SEX BANG

Buzz Bense's safe sex archive documents creative communication that saved lives and fought fear

Safe Sex Bang

“These posters do more than chart the tragedy of an epidemic, of an outsider community reeling from grief, loss, and the decimation of a blooming culture of sexual liberation. The history of these posters is a story of a fight against stigma, hatred and ignorance; of a community stepping up to take care of its own; of finding a way to extinguish fear and build pride and self-esteem; and of devoted efforts of committed activists to communicate a path to health and survival.”

– Buzz Bense

It’s rare these days to find examples of art with a real sense of urgency. Looking back on propaganda posters about WWII scrap metal drives or Rosie the Riveter, it’s easy to lump them in with cutesy kitsch items, rather than thinking about the circumstances that led to their creation. In reality, we’re not too far removed from an era where posters were a vital, necessary form of communication, a pop art form that harnessed the power of good design with the deliberate goal of inspiring action.

In the wake of the devastation brought about by the AIDS epidemic, materials began to circulate that communicated the nature of the threat, and the most effective methods of prevention. Forward thinking creatives applied their craft with purpose, from art-world luminaries like Keith Haring, to advertising professionals, to everyday educators and community organizers. Over time, Buzz Bense made a habit of collecting and preserving those materials for educational purposes, and today his collection stands as a powerful document of an era, in the gay community and elsewhere, when creativity was applied to save lives.

For the last two years, Buzz’s collection has been housed at the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco, and starting this Friday, it’ll be on display both in the CSC gallery, and in their inaugural exhibition catalog.

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BURNING WITH CARL SAGAN

BURNING WITH CARL SAGAN

A good friend reflects on blowing trees with the legendary astronomer

Carl Sagan

Q: What was Carl Sagan like when high?

A: He was the same wonderful person, only definitely more relaxed. He had a great sense of humor, which really came out. He loved to smoke a joint before we went out to dinner, to stimulate his appetite. And he was always eloquent—could speak spontaneously like no other person I’ve ever known. We always had fun when we got stoned, and we had such wonderful discussions. It was exciting to smoke with Carl.

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DO THE DOG DANCE

DO THE DOG DANCE

Revisiting the glory days of the '70s and '80s with Brad Elterman's latest collection

Brad Elterman Dog Dance

Capturing the moments ain’t easy. Capturing candids doesn’t come any easier, especially when considering the subject. In Brad Elterman’s case, John Lennon, Michael Jackson and David Bowie only begin to scratch the surface. In his latest photobook, entitled Brad Elterman“>Dog Dance, Brad offers up the spoils won through decades of snapping on instinct. Designed by the refreshingly irreverent Sandy Kim, Dog Dance casts the icons of yesterday in a series of candid, intimate moments. Taking us back to the shows, parties and extravaganzas that characterized the times, Brad’s photographs are an endearing look into a classic era.

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FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

The turbulent early days of California punk, as captured by Ruby Ray

Ruby Ray

“For a brief period, Los Angeles and San Francisco hosted vibrant subcultures that threw up sounds, noises, ideas and images that remain some of the 20th century’s most vivid youth statements…These pictures are a record of a lost moment that is finally receiving the attention that it was always due.”

– Jon Savage

By the time Ruby Ray had set up shop in San Francisco in the late ’70s, California punk was in full force. Between Detroit, the East Village, and London, the story of punk’s genesis doesn’t always have room for the niche scenes that had begun to take to take root during the same era. But while CBGB and Sid Vicious grabbed headlines, a host of scenes had started to materialize a few thousand miles West–just as vital, just as anarchic, and just as loud. Armed with a Nikon FM, Ruby found herself the heart of a tumultous Bay Area scene that spawned The Avengers, The Mutants, The Offs and the Dead Kennedys, shooting stark, intimate black and whites for the now-storied punk zine Search & Destroy. Her approach, like the music she was cataloging, was decidely DIY, captured on the fastest film she could find, and developed in her bathroom.

From the Edge of the World, the first official publication from Oakland-based label Superior Viaduct, archives and curates a selection of Ray’s late ’70s and early ’80s work pretty epically. There are glimpses of towering cult heroes like Roky Erickson and luminaries like Devo and William S. Burroughs. There are onstage meltdowns and intimate bedroom portraits. There are even a few shots of Sid and the Sex Pistols’ fateful journey to states, snapped on the night of their final performance. Included below are selections from the book, which you can cop via Superior Viaduct, right here. It’s a powerful book, and beautifully put together. Highly recommended.

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