Blair Pfander

Blair is a Brooklyn-based writer, eBay scavenger and apple pie baker who'd rather be on two wheels in stilettos than stuck in a taxi - unless the cabbie's listening to Prince.

Design Dish: Pantone for Visa & the biggest dining table ever

Article: Design Dish: Pantone for Visa & the biggest dining table ever

The Liyuan Library: I’m a sucker for unusual library spaces, and this new construction in Huairou, China hits all the sweet spots. Tucked away in a small mountain village, the long, narrow structure blends into its surroundings with a reed-like outer layer that still allows for sunlight to trickle inside.

Art Buzz: Freaky rhyming couplets & a farewell to the New Museum slide

Article: Art Buzz: Freaky rhyming couplets & a farewell to the New Museum slide

The Syphilis of Sisyphus: Now on view at Fredericks & Freiser gallery, Mary Reid Kelly’s newest video installation, “The Syphilis of Sisyphus,” portrays the artist (with ping pong ball eyes) as a pregnant French bohemian reciting twisted rhyming couplets. Her keenest words of wisdom: “My blistering wit and its deep lacerations are signs of advanced forms of Syphillization.”

Best of Kickstarter, 12/5

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 12/5

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

FILM

GIRL WALK//ALL DAY: This Thursday, Kickstarter will premiere its first film, “Girl Walk//All Day,” at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Described as a “music video of epic proportions” and set to infectious Girl Talk tunes, the film tells the story of a young ballerina who follows her heart to New York City. Admission is free, but you have to RSVP.

Mountain Dance Trail: For her forthcoming documentary, dancer Gerald Milnes plans to tap-dance her way through West Virginia’s Route 33, hitting every square dance, hoedown and hootenanny she can find along the way.

Cai Guo-Qiang's explosive new exhibit

Article: Cai Guo-Qiang's explosive new exhibit

It would be fair to say that Cai Guo-Qiang is “blowing up” on the art scene. Since the mid-80s, Guo-Qiiang – who grew up within spitting distance of a Chinese military base – has been making unusual paintings with gunpowder and other explosive materials. His charred, smoke-covered canvasses, some of which look like they might have been recovered from actual disaster scenes, capture the duality between destruction and creation by shockingly literal means. You’ve likely already seen one of his most memorable installations without even knowing it: in 2008, Guo-Qiang designed the opening fireworks and explosives for the Beijing Summer Olympics as its Director of Visual Effects. Clearly, this is evidence that I should have cultivated my early pyrophile tendencies as a child, because I’d definitely be famous by now…

Best of the Web: ALIENS on ice & a Fozzie Bear biopic

Article: Best of the Web: ALIENS on ice & a Fozzie Bear biopic

ALIEN on Ice: If one thing is awesome about America, it’s that you can put just about anything “on ice.” This past month, the Old Murder House Theatre in Austin, Texas performed a live rendition of the 1986 sci-fi classic, ALIEN, and clips from the performance have, predictably, totally blown up on YouTube.

Design Dish: Moleskine logo winners & Prague's floating bathtub

Article: Design Dish: Moleskine logo winners & Prague's floating bathtub

Moleskinerie Logo Competition: This week, Moleskine and Designboom unveiled a shortlist of 117 designs that were submitted for the notebook company’s logo competition. The winning design by French artist Sylvain Bouyer offered a poetic definition for a “Moleskinerie,” the name of the company’s new blog: “A small graphic digression illustrating the idea that the greatest dreams often arise from just small things.”

Art Buzz: Hugo Boss Prize finalists & a musical shantytown in New Orleans

Article: Art Buzz: Hugo Boss Prize finalists & a musical shantytown in New Orleans

Hugo Boss Prize Finalists Announced: Six finalists including Danh Vo, Qiu Zhijie and Monika Sosnowska have been announced for this year’s Huge Boss prize, which awards a $100,000 grant as well as a dedicated exhibit at the Guggeinheim to innovators in the contemporary art scene. A winner won’t be announced until next fall, but the nomination alone is sure to launch the young artists into the spotlight, at least for the next twelve months.

Best of Kickstarter, 11/28

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 11/28

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

TECH

Portals:  Sure, we all feel pretty modern and fancy about our touchscreen technology (last week, I played Fruit Ninja for two uninterrupted hours in a turkey stuffing-induced daze), but the future isn’t about what you do on the screen – it’s what you do underneath or inside it. Using green screen technology, grad student Jayne Vidheechar designed a set of “portals” that allow users to interact with different objects in a myriad of environments and settings.

Twine: Feel like everyone is text-addicted? Soon, even your laundry machine will be sending you text messages. If you don’t believe me, check out ”Twine,” a clever new gizmo produced by freaky MIT geniuses that enables you to receive notifications from pretty much any object in your house…

Oded Ezer's expressive Hebrew typography

Article: Oded Ezer's expressive Hebrew typography

Ever marvel at how a particular font can totally change the tone or meaning of your text? You’d never write, say, an academic research paper in Comic Sans (see “I’m Comic-Sans, Asshole,” for a strong rebuttal) because it would make your thesis seem flaky or unserious. Nor would you choose Cooper Black (a big, bulky typeface) for a casual e-mail to your boss, lest he or she think you were trying to outmuscle them…

Best of the Web: Send emails with a vintage typewriter & shop from your favorite flicks

Article: Best of the Web: Send emails with a vintage typewriter & shop from your favorite flicks

Type-o-Matic: Feeling frustrated by the aesthetic limitations of your email account? Drop a line to ‘Type-o-Matic,” a wacky new service that types up your emails on vintage typewriters and postmarks them for a small fee. They say it’s terrific for “special correspondence,” but I think it would be kind of funny to use it for more mundane messages, like “check out this YouTube video.”

Design Dish: Miami gets the rainbow effect & McLaren's new yin-yang factory

Article: Design Dish: Miami gets the rainbow effect & McLaren's new yin-yang factory

Coming Up Rainbows: After his first installation was removed in 2002 due to tightened 9/11 security measures, multimedia artist Christopher Janney is installing his colorful glass tiles in an overpass at Miami International Airport just in time for Art Basel…

Art Buzz: Buy art on your iPhone & real bullet holes from Iraq

Article: Art Buzz: Buy art on your iPhone & real bullet holes from Iraq

Geert Goiris: For his latest photo series, “Resonance,” Belgium-born photographer Geert Goiris offers up seemingly benign snapshots which, upon closer inspection, reveal uncanny, or off-putting elements. Most peculiar of all is an image of plastic office chairs arranged AA-style around an unremarkable wood table (which, you soon realize, has no legs)…

Best of Kickstarter, 11/21

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 11/21

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

TECH

Desktop 3-D Printer: The 3-D craze continues with the first personal three-dimensional desktop printer. As it turns out, a 3-D printer is not something that makes weird images you can look at with 3-D glasses, but it actually prints out three-dimensional objects.

Capta: I’m a major dropper/smasher of iPhones, so this weird octopus-like contraption, the “Capta,” seems like an excellent solution for clumsy folks like me. Rigged with a magnet at the back, you can mount the suction cups to different surfaces to keep your phone out of the way but still accessible…

The world's slowest roller coaster in Duisburg, Germany

Article: The world's slowest roller coaster in Duisburg, Germany

Not to sound like a pageant contestant or anything, but I really like roller coasters. Big loops, crazy heights, upside down swirls—you name it, I’m into it. This isn’t true, however, of most of the friends and family members I find myself with at amusement parks, many of whom prefer to calmly eat their sugar-dusted funnel cakes and then maybe take a ride on the Ferris wheel, if they’re feeling saucy…

Best of the Web: Smell your Facebook updates & Google gets jiggy wit it

Article: Best of the Web: Smell your Facebook updates & Google gets jiggy wit it

Google Music: Yesterday, Google launched its first music sharing and downloading platform, “Google Music,” as a direct competitor to iTunes. Yes, you have to buy the songs (drag), but users can share whatever they purchase with friends for one free listen…

Design Dish: Winemaking at home & chairs that flip

Article: Design Dish: Winemaking at home & chairs that flip

Flip Chairs: Each of Daisuke Motogi’s candy-colored chairs can be flipped upside down or sideways to create new seating options. A high-backed chair becomes a low seat, or a lounger becomes a rocking chair. Come to think of it, it’s about time the rocking chair had a design makeover…

Art Buzz: Getty's massive LA art project & Tokyo's squished subway riders

Article: Art Buzz: Getty's massive LA art project & Tokyo's squished subway riders

Pacific Standard Time: “Pacific Standard Time,” the Getty-funded series of exhibitions throughout LA county, draws together tons of museums, private galleries, homes and commercial spaces in a crazy, semi-random celebration of creativity. There’s literally no way you’ll get to all of the featured exhibits, but Angelenos should try and swing through a handful this week…

Best of Kickstarter, 11/14

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 11/14

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

BOOKS

“Plaster of Paradise”: One of my all-time favorite books, “I’m With the Band,” a groupie memoir authored by the legendary Pamela Desbarres, contains frequent mention of Cynthia Plaster-Caster. Cynthia, a fellow groupie, infamously cast rock stars’ private parts in plaster to be immortalized for all time. Now, she’s taken to Kickstarter to fund her memoir. The only bummer is that book stores will have to close forever after this thing hits shelves, because no book will ever be as awesome…

All the crazy things you can do Carsten Höller's New Museum "Experience"

Article: All the crazy things you can do Carsten Höller's New Museum "Experience"

If you’re in the NYC area and want to check out the Carsten Höller exhibit at the New Museum this weekend, here’s a word of advice: You should walk outside, hail a cab and get in line, because otherwise you won’t be in the building before Monday morning. I’m only slightly exaggerating, but after two attempts at “beating the crowd,” I found myself shivering in the cold on both occasions, defeated by 2 hour + wait times. So no, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of riding Höller’s 2-story slide (which required serious renovations to the SANAA-designed structure to install), but as soon as I do, I’ll amend this post with a description of exactly how afraid I was. In the meantime, here are a few of the “sensory experiences” we can get excited about together:

Best of the Web: "Goodnight, iPad" & a typeface made from leg hair

Article: Best of the Web: "Goodnight, iPad" & a typeface made from leg hair

Moustair: I don’t know why, but there’s something incredibly disturbing about this Tumblr blog, which, for lack of a clearer description, places images of mens’ faces beneath their facial hair to create a moustache-wig effect. I’m pretty sure Hulk Hogan’s is the freakiest, but it might just be because his moustache is so intense to begin with…

Design Dish: Why every home needs a fuzzy accessory & LA Auto Show's coolest cars

Article: Design Dish: Why every home needs a fuzzy accessory & LA Auto Show's coolest cars

LA Auto Show: The Batmobile is so passĂ©. Each year, top automotive design teams compete at the LA Auto Show to create “Hollywood’s Next Movie Car,” submitting outlandish designs accompanied by concepts for their feature films. I think somebody should consider pumping funding into the “341 Parkour,” a short, chubby vehicle that would help the star of ANNIE GET THE GRANNIES! solve the mystery of the missing granny robots. Who doesn’t want to see that movie?

Art Buzz: Hear 35,000 heartbeats, see painted people & a look back at 1980's pomo

Article: Art Buzz: Hear 35,000 heartbeats, see painted people & a look back at 1980's pomo

Heartbeat Island: French artist, Christian Boltankski, has recorded the heartbeats of over 35,000 people and stored them on a tiny Japanese island for his project, “Les Archives du Coeur.” His touring booth is slated to come through Finland in 2012, so you romantic types should probably start booking tickets for Valentine’s Day…

Best of Kickstarter, 11/7

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 11/7

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

FILM

SEFF Student Experimental Film Festival: Help rising student filmmakers work out their freaky inner psyches at an Experimental Film Festival in upstate New York. Granted, half the submissions will probably make you want to poke out your eyeballs (or will be about poking out eyeballs), but hey, it’s creative expression, okay?

ABACUS at Sundance: A team of 12 artists collaborating on a large-scale multimedia installation called ABACUS was recently invited to perform at our very own Sundance Film Festival. From what we can tell by their preview video, the presentation involves a lot of lights, loud sounds, flashing screens and possibly someone in a panda suit. What’s not to like?

Philips Microbial system fuels your home with your crap – literally

Article: Philips Microbial system fuels your home with your crap – literally

Do you fantasize about living your life like a microbe of waste-producing bacteria? Well, now’s your chance. Unveiled during Dutch Design Week, Philips’ latest home design concept, The Microbial Home, takes inspiration from naturally occurring processes to create energy-saving kitchen, dining and bathroom devices. According to the designers, “‘we view the home as a biological machine to filter, process and recycle what we conventionally think of as waste.”