Thursday, February 05, 2004

Listmania!

Once again, 5 things I'm enjoying this week—once again, an idea stolen from Boy's Briefs:

1. A Day in the Life [www.adayinthelife.org]
Fantastic photo blog where some random person from some random part of the world posts a random photo of their life every day for a week; different person each week. These aren't professional photographers, yet the week's worth of shots (almost) always end up a unified, strikingly artistic whole. This week's photos suck, though, so dig through the archives—choice posts include Jan. 19-25 (anonymous soldier in Iraq) and Oct. 20-26 (shots from Rome that look like in-flight magazine stock photography).

2. Björk, Strings [Buy it]
Only available on Usenet in the hot-pink best-of/rarities box set Family Tree, this EP is a recording of a little-known "unplugged" performance Björk gave in 1995 at London's acoustically haunting Union Chapel, accompanied only by the Brodsky Quartet (hence "Strings") playing classed-up arrangements of her hit songs. Answers the age-old question: is it humanly possible for Björk to sound even more eerie, twee, demented, childlike, and moving than she normally does?

3. Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys [NY Times Review]
The first book where Chip Kidd (who I nattered on about yesterday) handles not only the covers but what comes between them, all while channeling Bret Easton Ellis (the cover of whose Glamorama is a highlight of Kidd's portfolio). Unsurprisingly, Cheese Monkeys is about art school, here gone Grade-A gonzo thanks to moonshine binges, gay frat sex rumours, a literal crock of shit (stinky!), and a masochistic design instructor (ex: the students are abandoned on a frozen highway and told to design their way home). A quick, engrossing read and a great overview of the theories behind "commercial" design, written as wittily and succinctly as you'd expect given the humor and economy of Kidd's covers. While his writing is rapier-sharp, his "look at me! aren't I designy" design sucks the big fat rapier: text runs across endpapers, the font changes half-way through, the Acknowledgements are printed on the edges of the cover....I get a headache just thinking about it.

4. Spicy Tofu Banh Mi, Mix Bakery [36 Beach St., Chinatown]
How did I ever live without these? Banh mi (a.k.a. "Saigon Baguettes"—tell me with a straight face that doesn't sound like a whorehouse or a sex toy) are basically Vietnamese sub sandwiches, made with tofu or Vietnamese-style cold cuts and an Asian slaw, served on colonially-appropriate French bread slathered with a sketchy pâté (the tofu version comes sans pâté, and is far superior). You can make your own, but at $2 a pop for the best in Boston, why bother?

5. Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! [Watch the Trailer]
I know I know, this looks baaaad, and not in a so-bad-it's-good way. But I desperately wanted to see it, and I assure you it's totally worth the download time uh, $10. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movies with fake websites and cameos by Bill "TPS Report" Lumberg. While Josh Duhamel was obviously hired solely to bare his diamond-cutting abs every time the pace flagged (no complaints here—look at him and tell me there is any way to describe him other than "soap hunk"), the rest of the funny cast—even wan future Princeton undergrad Kate Bosworth—makes this a surprisingly enjoyable 95 minutes out of your life. And girls, can you really resist a movie that exhorts you repeatedly to, and I quote, "Guard your carnal treasure!"?

6. Bonus Thing I'm Enjoying This Week. Employment!

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