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by Sachyn Mital

25 Nov 2009

The National Portrait Gallery in London is currently running an essential exhibition for music lovers, Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed. For their fans, or those of the Rolling Stones, the Who or music in general, the exhibition book containing classic photographs would surely be unexpected and makes a beautiful gift from the other side of the pond.

Or better yet, purchase large prints of some of the unique portraits in the exhibit and build your own gallery. Print-on-demand portraits are available in a variety of sizes and likely will become the most talked about present when properly presented. Though, with over 200 images, some never previously exhibited, and vintage memorabilia at the NPG, maybe a London holiday is called for instead.

National Portrait Gallery

by L.B. Jeffries

25 Nov 2009

If there’s a definitive theme to 2009’s games, it’s one of refinement. All of the major titles used familiar game designs and honed them to perfection. One DS game, Retro Game Challenge, took that theme and really created something new with it. You play a person whose been sucked back in time to the ‘80s, playing old Nintendo games until you can win your way back home. To do this you hang out at a friend’s house, reading through old magazines for tips, counting the days until games come out, and playing out new challenges. You play through eight careful parodies of old Nintendo games, all perfectly designed to be both easier to play but challenging if you want them to be. With so many games channeling the familiar at players this year, it’s refreshing to see one do this in such a unique way. By recreating the magazines and sleep-over culture of playing games in the 1980’s, Retro Game Challenge makes you into a kid again.

by Katharine Wray

25 Nov 2009

Everyone knows someone who has no interest in the current music scene. Whether it’s denouncing manufactured pop like Miley Cyrus or whining about the authenticity of Kings of Leon, some people just want the Rolling Stones (and maybe some Zeppelin). This book is for that guy/gal. Let It Bleed chronicles the Stone’s 1969 tour from the perspective of rock photojournalist, Ethan Russell (who joined the group on tour). With never-before-seen photographs and interviews, this is a great coffee table browse. Apparently, when asked why the Stones wanted to give a free concert in San Fransisco (the ill-fated Altamont), Mick Jagger answered with, “Because there’s a scene there and the climate’s nice.” This book is simply full of rock-and-roll cool.

by Rachel Balik

25 Nov 2009

When you think about it, the legacy of the Iranian elections last year isn’t going to be anything that actually happened in Iran. The thing we’re all going to remember about that election is how profoundly it demonstrated the power of Twitter. One of the biggest selling points of Twitter at the time was that it was “the only way” to get information out of the country. We all got to participate, too: a Twitter location stating one was in Iran became akin to the latest fashion accessory. So, if you do get to read 44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World, don’t be shocked when you learn that during the Iranian revolution, photographer David Burnett had to smuggle his film out of the country by going to the airport and searching for “pigeons” who might be willing to carry it to Paris where they handed it off to a correspondent. The photographs still made it out, but their journey required physical, not digital ingenuity.

44 Days is an annotated compilation of the photographs he took during that time. The book chronicles the last days of the Shah’s rule, the protests and bloodshed that followed and the return of Ayatollah Khomenini. The photographs are accompanied by Burnett’s journal-like descriptions of each experience. Essentially, it’s a compilation of his Twitter stream, except, there was no Twitter. He writes objectively about the political situation, the emotions of the crowd and his own investigative journey. Burnett also writes about the relationship of the press to the government, and to the protesters.

Of course, Burnett’s book chronicles the events leading up the real crisis, the capturing of American hostages for 44 days. He shows us what Iran was before it became the sort of place that would cut off email in 2009, and his notes as a journalist reflect the painstaking devolution of democracy. While his photographs are certainly not to be missed, one of the more fascinating aspects of the book is watching the new government piece itself together from the perspective of a journalist. At certain points, the press was restrained. Burnett notes that he had to tell everyone that he was Canadian, because as an American, he says he was treated as though he personally had put the Shah in power.

But at other times, the government gave instructions to accommodate foreign press. He tells a story about passing film to a fellow photographer across a crowd of protesters; after the roll Burnett threw to his colleague failed to go to the distance, it was caught handed over from person to person until it reached the other journalists. That attitude shifted when the Ayatollah came to power, but Burnett was able to secure a private shoot with the religious leader by suggesting that in large crowds, he appeared too much like Hitler and was going to garner distaste from the rest of the world. In a private shoot, he argued, he could show the man’s softer side. Burnett’s journalistic maneuvers are certainly quite different then the ones employed to get information out via Twitter. While his experiences seem more real and more vivid, it is valuable to note what the change in freedom of speech says about the changes in Iran. Burnett’s account carries us across the River Styx; he captures, in words and images, the experience of Iran as it crossed the threshold from old to new.

by Eleanore Catolico

25 Nov 2009

NPR’s Cake Lady Melissa Gray offers her delectable cake recipes in her new cookbook All Cakes Considered. Gray’s recipes are easily read and practical for anyone who loves to bake. The book is divided according to each genre of baking and recipes according to techniques, ingredients, and supplies in order to make treats for the office, a party, or your family. With sensuously luscious illustrations of over 50 cakes including Brown Sugar Pound Cake, Peppermint and Chocolate Rum Marble Cake, Lord and Lady Baltimore Cakes, Dark-Chocolate Red Velvet Cake, just to name a few, this book is an essential for friends with a dessert fetish. All Cakes Considered is mmm mmm good and then some.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Knee Deep' Has a Great Setting That Ruins the Game

// Moving Pixels

"Knee Deep's elaborate stage isn't meant to convey a sense of spatial reality, it's really just a mechanism for cool scene transitions. And boy are they cool.

READ the article