50 notes in 2010: viv again
October 18, 2010, 7:04 pm
Filed under: 50 notes for 2010

[see last two posts]

… and great words to live by!


50 best magazine covers: the tatler w/ vivenne westwood
October 15, 2010, 10:17 pm
Filed under: 50 best magazine covers

the tatler, april, 1989. vivienne westwood dressed as margaret thatcher!

50 amazing faces: vivienne westwood, 50 fashion mavens
October 15, 2010, 10:10 pm
Filed under: 50 amazing faces, 50 fashion mavens

vivienne westwood, provocateur, designer, artist, … born: tintwistle, u.k. (1941)

vivienne westwood is a hero here at pictomat. we have loved her since the punk days, when she and partner malcolm mclaren open “sex” , a clothing shop on kings road in london, and created the band that became “the sex pistols”. she is probably england’s best fashion designer of the past 50 years. throughout her now 35 plus year career she is still a vibrant voice in the fashion world, but remains close to her punk sensibility.

pictomat would normal not steer you away from this site, but the grande dame of english fashion is currently involved in a project “100 days of active resistance”. only she, and her website with its wonder film can explain the utter elegant simplicity of the idea. here is what she has to say, and at the end of her explanation is a link to her site, do check it out:

‘The principal idea of Active Resistance is that you get out of life what you put in and that real experience of the world involves thinking’ – Vivienne Westwood.

100 days of positive thought, active change, speaking up and being heard. From small personal actions to larger collective moments of change, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Lee Jeans encourage communication and individuality through an online installation, sharing interpretations of Vivienne Westwood’s Active Resistance.

‘It is not enough to follow world politics, see films and read the prize-winning best seller. This is superficial, you need to go deep in order to understand who you are, what the world is and how things could be better. This involves culture which can only be acquired by self-education: human beings should mirror the world.’

Every day for one hundred days, one image representing your ideas of Active Resistance in the world will be selected from submissions and shared online. At the close of 100 days, the 100 chosen images will become a part of an itinerant exhibition dedicated to the project. So stand up and speak out! Take a photo, write a slogan, create an image or an artwork and show us your Active Resistance!

The installation will commence on September 28th 2010, with the 100 days coming to a close on January 5th 2011. For more information on Active Resistance please visit www.activeresistance.co.uk

50 stiffs in 2010: joan sutherland, 50 best voices
October 13, 2010, 2:01 pm
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 stiffs in 2010

joan sutherland, opera singer. born: sydney, australia (1926 -2010)

while pictomat appreciates the opera, we are no experts on joan sutherland, her life, or career. however, dear jtm was sadden deeply by this news, and offered up his feelings on the dear woman:

arrivederci la stupenda!

joan sutherland died today. even though ms. sutherland hasn’t sung for years, hearing of her death snatched away a little piece of magic. joan was everyman’s sheila and everybody’s mum. she had the jaw of a linebacker, but she also had a voice that was like a slice of heaven. it was an amazing voice. the sort of voice that can convince you the human race has a higher calling … that you might have a higher calling. all this from a woman you could easily imagine had just hung up a fresh load of laundry or vacuumed the carpet. i will miss you joanie.

50 pictomat throwaways: s.w./005
October 10, 2010, 12:05 am
Filed under: 50 pictomat throwaways

throwaway no. 5 / the southwest

as promised, the very late, but not forgotten throwaway #5 is probably in your mailbox today, perhaps monday. it was meant to be sent when we were in monument valley in august. the classic western “stagecoach” was filmed there. this film made the then 35 year youngish, and rather handsome john wayne a huge star after years of struggling in “b” flicks. it was directed by one of america’s greatest talents, the very prolific and often cantankerous, john ford who frequently used monument valley for the backdrop of many a memorable film.

50 pictomat throwaways: late, almost forgotten throwaway is sent today
October 7, 2010, 6:00 pm
Filed under: 50 pictomat throwaways

throwaway s.w./005

you may remember we spent a good deal of august in l.a. and then traveling from gallop, n.m. through the navajo nation and to several wonderful national parks. in l.a. we were visiting our dear aunt, and had time to do more than a few bits about architecture, a favorite film that takes place in the city of angels, and an essay on how schizophrenic the wonderful city is.

we did not have that luxury in the southwest. it was a car trip that, as we said before started in gallop and wove its way in and out of states and indian reservations. we wanted to write, we had no time. it was a wonderful and interesting trip. pictomat has travel extensively in the this country and the u.k., europe, a small part of asia and another small part of africa and we have never met a vacation we didn’t like and learn tons about people, culture, and geography. and that includes our over the counter codeine stupor trip of 2008, miss e!

we did manage to use our pictomat stamps for the l.a. “throwaway”, but its companion piece, the s.w. “throwaway” and a pictomat stamp, which was meant to be sent from monument valley in the heart of the navajo nation, while on our person, never made it to the post.

this problem has been rectified. the almost forgotten “throwaway” was not thrown away. it is just very late, and although it will have a wonderful pictomat postage stamp on it, its postmark will be over a month and a half late and from the city of roses. we do apologize.

50 pictomat essays: facebook and the dumbing down of american discourse
October 5, 2010, 11:22 am
Filed under: 50 pictomat essays

mark “zuck” zuckerberg, 26 year old computer programer & billionaire, born: white plains, n.y. (1984)

yes, it is true that pictomat does have a facebook (f/b) account. we swear to the gods that the original reason we opened this account was to get “friends” over to this fabulous blog. we had and have a lot of issues with f/b that we are trying to sort out. here are some of the reasons we are afraid of facebook:

1. f/b owns all of your content. that means that they can use, say, any of your photos in their ads. but thinking logically, with one out of fourteen people in the world having a f/b account, the odds are better at winning megabucks than f/b using anything you post. but, still …

2. those damn farm games … what the fuck are they all about. f/b is going to start up their own version of paypal “to make it easy for f/b members to buy goods and services they see on the site”. they are going to make it possible for you to buy a virtual carrot for your virtual farm. hmm … do you really want to do that with your real money? any of you who play this game, please explain, if it is humanly possible, the logic going on here? call us vicious. we are not trying to be. we are however very curious, we honestly are vveerrryy curious.

3. after reading a longish biographical piece in the new yorker about the inventor and owner of f/b mark “zuck” zuckerman and watching david fincher’s masterful biopic about f/b “the social network” (which takes some dramatic liberty with the real story, but generally stays close enough to the facts), we don’t trust the guy. it is not because he might possibly have stolen the idea from people he was working with, or that he screwed his only real “friend” out of stock options. it is because we wouldn’t put it past mr. zuckerman to readily hand over, or even have a contract with the c.i.a. or one of the many private companies our government now employes to do dirty work the government used to do themselves. yes, we mean that we believe that f/b is, most probably quite illegally,pouring over, reading, looking at every link you post, and some pictures you put in your photo album, especially if you are a person of color, a muslim, or other than heterosexual .

remember f/b owns your page. that means the government and its minions can circumnavigate the judicial system and tap you on the shoulder with their strong arm any time they want. ever notice that photos in press that involving people of interest, or arrested for a crime, are now more than ever credited to f/b? in this supposed land of justice and liberty for all, you used to need a warrant for such things. we don’t trust our government and we don’t trust f/b. and because once is not enough, we will repeat: one out of every fourteen people on the planet has a f/b account.

4. we really are not surprised by items 1-3. here is what is really bothering us. f/b is either so poorly designed or very intelligently designed. that all depends on what your definition of human discourse is, because we find that f/b is built to dumb down discourse, not only this country, but worldwide. you can only “like” things, you can’t dislike anything, because that would be just too “unfriendly” in the f/b world. in certain “comment” sections you only have a limited amount of characters to say your piece (granted the smart and loquacious, as one of our dear readers and a f/b member is, figure ways around these tight constrictions and taught us -thank you “l”), but it is purposefully built to make talk short. it only allows you to be male or female. what if you are in the process of changing from one to another? there is only one line each to put your religious and polical views into your “info” section. we need at least a page! just try typing more in those two fields. you can’t do it. guess religion and politics are just too messy to talk about. god (or not) forbid, that you get into a  chat or spat on f/b over religion or politics, only the two most controlling subjects that govern our lives.

oh sorry, we did forget “amour”. and that is how f/b started back at harvard. it was a dating service for the university elite. zuck’s dating service morphed into f/b, and dating and sex are the two easy things “the social network” manages to do adequately. “amour”, you know the kind, where you actually can talk to your mate once you have hooked up on f/b? well, that is probably going to be difficult, especially when you have been encouraged to write in baby talk. without engaging in meaningful conversation on f/b, odds tell us that if you are honing your social skills by writing those one sentence, cute and friendly little chirpy bits, and punching the “like button”, it ain’t gonna teach you how to make that hook up last too long.

… and what the hell is a friggin’ “poke”? give us a break, f/b! sounds just too nasty, so if you “poke”, explain that one to us too. we are terrified to poke the “poke” button, tell us what is does. we figure only one person has to answer that question because the “farm” question and what a “poke” is or does can probably be answered by the same person.

our friend from the big apple has this to say, “i have a bad feeling about facebook. the subprime mortgage disaster of the internet waiting to happen.” but then another dear friend and frequent commenter here “whatsup girl” tells us she has found out things about people and met up with friends she would never found without “zuck’s creation, and encourages us to lighten up and think of f/b more  “like walking around at a party with small chit chat”. we will admit there is certainly room in this world for chit chat. so we see and agree with both our new york city friend and “whatsup girl”. what a dilemma! we have been reacquainted with old friends too, enjoyed a bit of “chit chat”, and checked out very interesting links our “friends” have sent us that we might otherwise not known about.

time to wrap this up. so why are we on f/b when we have just spent an entire post dissing it, and what have we done to make it work for us?

1. get rid of “friends” that we haven’t written to or never write to us. it was our fall clean up project last week. f/b, we checked, does not inform people that they have been (well, there is no official f/b name for it) “unfriended” or perhaps “defriended”. chances are they have wanted to do the same thing to us, but just felt we would be offended. the truth is they will never notice, because they are not a part of our real “social network”. if they somehow come back into our life, we will just ask them again to be our “friend” again. we hope we are right about them never even noticing, because then we can click that “friend” button once again, without fear of rejection. but then a true “friend” would always forgive us, right?

2. we try and encourage more of a conversation. a little push and shove. more chit less chat. it doesn’t necessarily have to be lengthy, but one can always be pithy. real “friends” like pithy, and will probably realize it is just fine to say what they really think back at you, because you are doing it. we ask our “friends” specific questions, and that invites specific answers. if they hit that old “like” button with making a comment, we ask them what and why they “like” something (if we are truly curious, and we usually are!)

if you follow these simple rules you will not be skimming through tons of silly and useless nonsense. you will be finding out thing you didn’t know, not only about your “friends”, but about their world, and the great big old world too. we say, in closing, subvert the f/b system. make it work despite itself. you know, “zuke” didn’t have friends when he first started f/b, and he is still a social introvert. we think he wants us all to feel like he does, lonely and misunderstood. don’t let him do it to you. fight the power!