It began as simple fun: four college friends squeezed into barely livable quarters, wearing jumbo-sized Halloween costumes while humping the air feverishly to a looped beat. After fifteen seconds the beat drops and hell breaks loose, well not exactly they just start having seizure like symptoms that very few may interpret as dancing. Thus began the greatest meme of 2013: The Harlem Shake.
The genesis of the movement began last year when Brooklyn-based DJ Baauer got his track released under Diplo’s Mad Decent label. The initial critical reception was warm with the-ALMIGHTY-Pitchfork labeling the song as one of their “Best New Tracks”, but even with this slight acclaim there wasn’t much commercial success. That is until YouTube was hit with an onslaught of videos that ranged from corporate employees flopping on the ground like fish kidnapped out of water, oversized chickens running amuck across Times Square and pale teenage boys with pink briefs doing things that pale teenage boys with pink briefs do whilst accompanied by DJ Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” track. In a matter of two weeks, hundreds of videos have been uploaded to YouTube with folks putting their own spin to the wildly contagious meme.
With every fairy tale though there comes drama. And in this fairy tale drama’s maiden name is Banks. Miss Azealia Banks, a born and raised Harlemite, took it upon herself to create a remix of the song and posting it on Soundcloud. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, right? WRONG! After a few hours it was pulled from the music-streaming site and Azealia Banks tweeted to Baauer, “Why you cockblockin tho??? Lmaooooo”. Baauer then responded with “cause its not ur song”. Clearly both artists don’t care much for the proper use of the English vocabulary, but that’s beside the point. Thus began Harlem Shake-Gate. Both artists have waged war on each other, slinging insults back and forth via Twitter. With Baauer saying that he didn’t approve of Azealia’s remix because it was sub par and Azealia retaliating by calling him every single name under the sun.
As the dust has cleared, it seems that both artists have come on top. Azealia has put up a video of her remix to Baauer’s song and it has yet to be pulled from Vimeo and due to Billboard Magazine now including YouTube plays to calculate it’s Billboard Hot 100; Baauer now has the number one song in the country. A lot can happen in a couple of weeks.
Here’s Azealia Banks rendition of the “Harlem Shake”:
I’ve been in New York for seven months now and it’s true what they say about staying in your Burrough and never venturing off. When I first landed, I was like a fat kid at a bakery; I wanted to touch everything that New York had to offer. Overtime though, I became set in my ways and the thought that these sites and wonders would always be there began to sit in the back of my mind. Currently, there’s a three-mile radius that I spend the majority of my life in. If I do venture off, it is out necessity. I go to Manhattan because my job is there. I visit Queens because my girlfriend lives there. I have no need for a Long Island or for a Bronx. In all seriousness, why would I want to go anywhere but Brooklyn? Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either, but it happened today and it was a pleasant surprise.
I had to venture off to Harlem to see my tax lady because it is that season again. Since it was my day off, I decided this was a perfect time to get back to my
tourist taurist-y self. I can say with much assurance that Harlem is the next best place compared to Brooklyn. To all you non-new Yorkers out there, Harlem is not one of the five Burroughs. It is a subsidiary of Manhattan, much like a Soho or a Greenwich, but at a much larger scale. The diversity of the city is breathtaking. Of course you’ve got Spanish Harlem and a high Asian population, but there’s also an elevated level of Africans that call Harlem home. The importance of this last fact correlates with my sudden urge for West African food. I’ve been deprived of any home cooking since I’ve been in New York so the ability to eat white rice with peanut soup was a blessing from the heavens. I raise my hands to the sky with thanksgivings.
I tried to take a few photos of this touched-by-an-angel culinary experience, but sadly my camera didn’t have an SD card, so I was shooting blanks.
I plan on taking more trips to see Harlem. It has a bad rap for being dangerous and I don’t want to be naive and say its not due to one visit, but I’m a fan of culture and Harlem represent the melting pot that that New York so famously represents.
As you can tell, I’ve become a gif fanatic. This is a warning to prepare yourself for more visual porn in future posts and obviously I’m not talking about nudity–get your mind out of the gutter. Today’s visual extravaganza comes from the men of Animal Collective and their under appreciated 2012 album Centipede Hz. The Gasper Noé directed video takes us through a journey of watching a girl consume some sort of fruit while she gets attacked by an array of colors. In other words it is visual food porn.
It’s best to play the video in the dark because it enhances the experience, but if you don’t happen to possess the power to turn day into night you can still enjoy it during the sunlight hours.
I would have never thought of myself as a Goth kid growing up. In fact, I was—and still am— the totally opposite. As a kid, I was forced to wear polka-dotted bowties and to tuck my shirt into my pants and on top of that wear a belt to ensure that even through the deadliest of tornados my shirt would stay securely inside of my slacks. Church was a place that I didn’t go to just once a week, but twice.
So my love affair with Crystal Castles would shock my elementary and high school friends, but good music is good music and I’ve never felt the need to discriminate. I had an earlier post about their dark “Plague” music video, which may or may not be truly authentic, but passes creeptastic qualifications for a Crystal Castle video. Their latest visual for “Sad Eyes” mixes their live performance with some eerie street masquerade ball.
*WARNING* Beware of you Pupils Exploding *WARNING*
“It’s the only airlines in the last 40 years that has not changed their identity. All of the airlines come and go and they change it. American Airlines [is] still the same and how can they improve? They’ve got the best already.” They had the best, but yet and still were unsatisfied. After more than 40 years, American Airlines has stepped away from the identity that has become so synonymous with brand. The man who gave the above quote is the designer of the 40-year iconic logo and also the Italian graphic design legend, Massimo Vignelli.
Vignelli’s work has been celebrated across the design community, using key elements of the Swiss design handbook; one can still see his work while riding underground through New York’s transit system, shopping on the streets of your favorite department store and until a week ago one was able to see his work in the heavens. It’s a big deal not only because one is updating one of America’s most known airlines, but also because your updating someone’s work who is seen—not only by himself, but by the world—as one of the best.
There’s been a lot of talk amongst designers about the new identity and that’s rightly so. The flying eagle with two A’s surrounding it has been as much of an American icon as a slice of apple pie. The folks at Futurebrand, who have worked with brands like Intel, British Airways, Beck’s and UPS, had the task of updating the logo and bringing it to the modern age. So how does one improve on the best?
American Airlines is one of but a handful of brands considered true American icons. Strong and proud, its silverbirds are fixtures in the sky, and its namesake sense of possibility inspires deep loyalty. Today, the company’s also invested in that most American of ideals: progress.
American recognized it was time for a new look to better reflect the progress of its multi-year journey towards modernizing the airline and its customer experience.
The new look—the next step in American’s overarching transformation—is inspired by the company’s heritage and incorporates colors and symbols universally associated with American. A reimagined logo—called the Flight Symbol—evokes the star, “A”, and iconic eagle of American’s past, all brought to life in refreshed shades of red, white and blue. Together, they reflect a more modern, vibrant and welcoming spirit.
The logo also debuts alongside a boldly reimagined livery. With proud stripes and a timeless silver body, the livery expresses American’s origins but also the spirit of modern America: innovative, progressive and open to the world.
The New Identity
The new identity is good. It isn’t bad. It’s close to being great, but it is really good. Futurebrand was able modernize American Airlines without ruining the brand’s history. The eagle can clearly be seen between the red and blue color of the airplane wing. It’s strong without being obnoxious and flashy. The misstep with the new identity comes with the overuse of gradients. It feels like a design decision that came from American Airlines and not the designers at Futurebrand. I can almost hear them in the conference room asking the designers for a logo that shines. “We want something that’s flashy and sparkles.” I personally believe that the logo would improve if you took out the gradients, but that is just a personal belief. Overall, as far as the identity is concerned I do feel like that their work is equal to that of Vignelli’s previous design work and in terms of the overall look it may surpass that of the great designer.
I’m not going to talk about the livery (a.k.a. the implementation of the identity on the airplanes) because it sucks.
It’s always nice to reconnect with old friends. Friends that you think would be long forgotten due to the challenges of becoming a “grown up”. I, on the other hand, have been lucky with the people that I consider to be more than just acquaintances. They all have a similar “down to earth” quality that ensures me that even though I may not talk to them everyday or every week—like I would like to— I know we can always easily reconnect when need be.
My friend and fellow Georgia State alum, Briyonah, visited New York to celebrate her birthday and I had the pleasure of meeting her twin sister Briyyah as we broke bread in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The original plan was to meet at Clinton St. Baking Company and dine into their delicious menu of pancakes and omelets, but just like most things in life plans change.
It was all for the best though. We ended up dining at the Essex Restaurant, which is a few blocks away from the Delancey St./Essex St. stop on the F train. I advise making a stop there for their brunch special for one reason and one reason only: drinks. Their brunch special included the option of three bloody mary’s, screwdrivers or mimosas. Drinks aside, the food was good too, especially the sausage patties even though I had originally wanted to dive into some of their apple sausages that they had inconveniently ran out of—DO BETTER, ESSEX! The best part of the brunch was being able to meet up with an old friend and spend hours talking about everything and nothing at the same time.