Obama Inspires Artists to Bring the Brushes Out…Online


via NY Times

Mimi Torchia Boothby’s job as a technician puts her outside a wind tunnel every weekday at the Boeing plant south of Seattle, but in her free time two years ago she took up watercolors. Among her favorite subjects are cats, idyllic scenes of Italy — and, of course, Barack Obama, whose contemplative, sun-splashed portrait she completed a few weeks after his election as president.

She was so happy with it she started offering fine prints of it on the Web, her first proud professional act as an artist, and has since sold more than two dozen at $40 apiece. “Talk about viral,” Ms. Boothby, 57, said. “Most of the people who bought them were people I didn’t even know.”

Perhaps not since John F. Kennedy, whose dusty portraits can still be seen in kitchens and barbershops and alongside the antique beer cans at bars like Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, has a presidency so fanned the flames of painterly ardor among hobbyist and professional artists.

Mr. Obama’s campaign was well known for inspiring art, including Shepard Fairey’s ubiquitous “Hope” poster, a version of which is now in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. Months after the election, with the glow of the administration’s first 100 days dimming, it might have been expected that enthusiasm for Obama art would be dimming, too.

Yet the still-ample offerings of original paintings of the president and the first family on eBay and at places like the annual Affordable Art Fair in New York — along with a crop of presidential-art-obsessed Internet sites including obamaartreport.com, artofobama.com and, inevitably, badpaintingsofbarackobama.com — are indications that it might just be a growth industry.

The phenomenon has been a boon to the near-anonymous painting factories crowded together in the suburbs of Shenzhen, China, famous for cranking out copies of masterpieces, along with landscapes and semitasteful nudes. Another one, seemingly based in Germany, offers stately Obamas amid air-brushy likenesses of Tupac Shakur, Bruce Lee and Al Pacino (in his “Scarface” role), advertised as “real hand-embellished” paintings on canvas. Continue reading

First Look at Google Wave

via AP

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc. is hatching a new species of e-mail and instant messaging, but the Internet search leader first wants the hybrid service to evolve even more with the help of independent computer programmers.

The free tool, called “Google Wave,” runs in a Web browser and combines elements of e-mail, instant messaging, wikis and photo sharing in an effort to make online communication more dynamic. Google hopes Wave simplifies the way people collaborate on projects or exchange opinions about specific topics.

Google offered the first glimpse of its latest offering Thursday during the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s annual conference for software developers who build programs on top of its services. The rest of the Web-surfing public won’t be able to hop on Google Wave until later in the year. (Go to for a preview.) http://wave.google.com

By the time Wave rolls out for everyone, Google hopes independent programmers will have found new ways to use the service.

Among other things, Google is counting on outsiders to figure out how to weave Wave into the popular Internet communications service Twitter, social networks like Facebook and existing Web-based e-mail services, said Lars Rasmussen, a Google engineering manager. Continue reading

[video] Young Conversatives Record “Young Con Anthem”

via HuffPost

“The Young Cons” are apparently some conservatives from Dartmouth College who think a good way to spread their beliefs is through rapping, specifically with their “Young Con Anthem.”

Lest you think this is a parody, I direct you to their website, where they lay out their goals in a lengthy mission statement hailing “Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., and arguably Jesus [as] the flag-bearers of the true conservative movement.”

Brazen Paris jewel thief takes $8m haul


via BBC

Jewellery worth more than 6m euros (£5m, $8m) has been stolen from an exclusive Paris store in broad daylight by a lone gunman, police sources say.

Dressed in a suit and fedora, the man entered Chopard on Place Vendome and reportedly made staff hand over 15 pieces of jewellery at gunpoint.

The mid-afternoon hold-up lasted two minutes, after which the robber, said to be in his 50s, calmly walked out.

Chopard jewellery is worn by stars at the Oscars and Cannes film festival.

Place Vendome is an elegant old square known for its luxury hotels, and is also home to numerous jewellery stores as well as the French justice ministry.

In December, armed robbers stole jewels worth at least 80m euros ($102m) from a store near the French capital’s famous Champs-Elysees avenue.

As many as four robbers, two disguised as women, raided the Harry Winston’s store and stole nearly all its valuables.

‘Like any other customer’

The Vendome robber struck just before 1500 (1300 GMT) on Saturday, at a time when, in good weather, the square is usually full of strollers.

The Cannes Golden Palm (image from 1998 festival)

The Cannes Golden Palm award is designed by Chopard

“According to the first set of information we received, it was a man in his 50s, dressed in a chic costume and wearing a Borsalino [fedora] hat,” Olivier Lebon, a police union representative, told Reuters news agency. Continue reading

Exclusive: Atlanta Braves Custom New Era Fitted

Picture 17
By huge demand Rock-N-Jocks just got back in stock this Atlanta Braves Custom New Era Fitted. Act quick on this because it will sell out again being it is only limited to 30 total pieces! The front, sides and back of the hat are yellow. The embroidered “A” logo is teal outlined in black. The bill is all teal. The back of the hat has the embroidered m.l.b. logo in teal, black, and yellow. Hurry, and get yours only and exclusively at http://www.rocknjocks.com

[Op-Ed] Guardrails for the Internet: Preserving Creativity Online

via HuffPost

In March, an unfinished copy of 20th Century Fox’s film X-Men Origins: Wolverine was stolen from a film lab and uploaded to the Internet, more than a month before its theatrical release. The studio investigated the crime, and efforts were made to limit its availability online. Still, it was illegally downloaded more than four million times.wolverine

That kind of wide scale theft was very much on my mind when I was on a panel the other day which opened with a question about the impact of the Internet on the entertainment business, and I responded, “I’m a guy who sees nothing good having come from the Internet. Period.”

Now, the blogosphere does not take so kindly to provocations like that, and it didn’t take long for online critics to compare my words with those of one of my Hollywood predecessors, H.W. Warner, who famously said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

But, I actually welcome the Sturm und Drang I’ve stirred, because it gives me an opportunity to make a larger point (one which I also made during that panel discussion, though it was not nearly as viral as the sentence above). And my point is this: the major content businesses of the world and the most talented creators of that content — music, newspapers, movies and books — have all been seriously harmed by the Internet. Continue reading

Gustavo Villoldo, Man Who Tracked Che For The CIA, Awarded $1 Billion In Lawsuit


via HuffPost

MIAMI — A judge on Friday awarded more than $1 billion in damages against the Cuban government for the 1959 suicide of the father of a Cuban-American man who was involved in the CIA-backed capture and killing of revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Peter Adrien said he wanted to send a signal to Cuba’s government with the huge damage award, which likely will prove difficult if not impossible to collect. But the attorney for Gustavo Villoldo, 76, and his younger brother, Alfredo, said his law firm would scour the globe for Cuban assets to satisfy the judgment.

“They finally get justice,” said lawyer Jeremy Alters. “We will use every bit of our resources to collect this.”

The award came in a lawsuit filed by Villoldo, who blamed Guevara, Fidel Castro and others for his father’s 1959 suicide in Cuba. The family fled to the U.S. and Villoldo later took part in the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion and was involved in catching Guevara in Bolivia. Continue reading

Octo-Mom Gets Reality Show


via US Mag

It’s official: Nadya Suleman and her brood of 14 are coming to a TV near you.

After weeks of meetings and negotiations, Suleman’s attorney Jeff Czech confirmed exclusively to Usmagazine.com that Suleman signed a deal Thursday night to star in her own reality series.

“[Nadya and the producers] are hoping to have an arrangement whereby several events in the children’s lives would be filmed in a documentary series,” Czech told Us.

“One of the events in the children’s lives might be their first birthday.”

Describing the as-yet untitled show as a “quasi-reality TV series”, Czech said that the production company, Eyeworks, was moving ahead to make a deal with a network. Continue reading

[VIDEO] Wanda Sykes Mocks Media’s Michelle Coverage: ‘They’re Waiting For Weezy’

Vodpod videos no longer available.

via HuffPost

Wanda Sykes made fun of the media skirting the race issue when talking about Michelle Obama during an appearance on Leno Wednesday night.”She is just so sweet,” Sykes said of meeting the First Lady, “Both of them are just very genuine.”But Sykes says the media didn’t know how to cover her.”There are little subtle ways they dance around the race issue,” Sykes told Leno.

“‘When are we going to see the real Michelle Obama?’ And you know what they’re saying… They’re waiting for her to throw all his stuff on the White House lawn… They’re waiting for Weezy to jump out.”Sykes headlined the White House Correspondents dinner in May and drew fire for jokes she made at Rush Limbaugh’s expense.

Def Jam Karaoke Rap Game In The Works

Vodpod videos no longer available.

via XXL

Rock Band fans, it’s time for hip-hop upgrade. Yesterday (May 28) 4mm Games and Def Jam Interactive announced their collaborative project, Def Jam Rapstar, set for release sometime this winter.defjam_logo

Video Game authority IGN.com spoke to Lauren Wirtzer, Def Jam Interactive’s vice president of marketing and 4mm CEO Nicolas Perrett to get some incite into the video game. “There are not very many products out there that speak directly to the hip-hop consumer base,” said Wirtzer. “More than just a music game, this is a game that really incorporates all of the crucial elements of this lifestyle. It’s not just about music, it’s about swagger.” Continue reading

Eminem and Jay-Z got game

via USA Today

The upcoming DJ Hero video game just landed two heavy hitters as MCs: Jay-Z and Eminem.em_jay

Both rappers are bringing their music to the newest offshoot of Activision’s successful $2 billion Guitar Hero franchise. The game, played with a turntable-shaped controller, is due out this fall for PlayStation 3, PS2, Xbox 360 and Wii (no price or rating yet).

A special edition comes with the rappers’ new greatest-hits CDs, possibly including previously unreleased tracks, plus an advanced version of the controller, a DJ stand and metal traveling case. Jay-Z and Eminem will serve as consultants to Activision and the game’s developer, FreeStyleGames. Continue reading

Will Ferrell Screams For His Mother, Eats Eyeball On ‘Man Vs. Wild’ (VIDEO)

I have actually watched this show previously and found it to be very entertaining and a bit weird at the same time. Adding Will Ferell (who is also prepping for the release of surefire hit Land of the Lost) seems to be a rating bonanza for the Discovery channel.  Below is a ‘WTF’ clip from the episode which shows a really weird and creepy scene where Ferrell relieves himself in the snow. HuffPost explains more about the episode underneath the video.

via HuffPost

Will Ferrell’s much-anticipated appearance on Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild is finally set to air. Ferrell, next up in ‘Land of the Lost,’ and show host Bear Grylls are left in the arctic tundra of Sweden to forage for food (brains and eyeballs!) keep themselves warm with dead animals and hike through snow. The whole episode premieres Tuesday, June 2, at 10 p.m

[video] Dr. Dre Dr. Pepper Ad

When he’s not slinging The Chronic, the good Doctor is slinging Dr. Pepper and hopefully hyping the anticipation of Detox, which is quickly descending into the “Phantom of all Albums” category. Well, here is the world’s first listen to a Detox beat, courtesy of the good Doctor(s).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Spanish police arrest Voodoo extortion gang

via Guardian UK

MADRID (AP) — Ringleaders of a human trafficking ring that brought Nigerian women to Spain and forced them into prostitution by threatening them with Voodoo curses were brought before a judge on Saturday. voodoo19

Many of the 23 suspects were charged with human trafficking and extortion at the court in the southwestern city of Huelva, police said.

The arrests occurred during nationwide raids that began Thursday and were continuing, police said.

The crackdown was triggered by a woman who told police in February of the gang’s intimidation tactics.

The gang tempted young Nigerian women to travel to Europe with promises of prosperity and later extorted money and controlled them through intimidation, police said in a statement.

The victims, aged 25 to 35, were forced to pay large sums of money to the gang members, who told the women they would go mad or have their souls destroyed if they disobeyed orders given during Voodoo rituals that were held in Nigeria involving pieces of their fingernails or hair.

Voodoo is a religion practiced primarily in Haiti and parts of Africa.

Kicking & Screaming: Journo Dragged From Near AF1

Oh Lawdy, my President is BLACK chile!!

Oh Lawdy, my President is BLACK chile!!

via NBC LA

A reporter for a small newspaper was forcibly removed from a press area near Air Force One shortly before President Barack Obama arrived at Los Angeles International Airport to depart California early Thursday.

Airport security officers carried the woman away by the feet and arms as she protested her removal.

She later identified herself as Brenda Lee, a writer for the Georgia Informer in Macon and said she has White House press credentials. The newspaper’s Web site says it is a monthly publication, and a Brenda Lee column is posted on it.

Calls to the newspaper and the White House press office were not immediately returned.

Lee said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that she wanted to hand Obama a letter urging him “to take a stand for traditional marriage.”

She said she asked a Secret Service agent to give the president her letter, but he refused and referred her to a White House staffer. Lee said she refused to give the staffer the letter.

“I said, ‘I’ll take my chances if (the president) comes by here,'” said Lee, who identified herself as a Roman Catholic priestess who lives in Anaheim, Calif. “He became annoyed that I wouldn’t give him the letter.” Continue reading

Nike Mr. Cartoon Air Force 1 Livestrong Stages | A Detailed Look

via HighSnobiety

Never released publicly, the original Mister Cartoon Air Force 1 was only available to select friends and family of Los Angeles’ most celebrated tattoo artist. Immediately acknowledged as an instant classic, die-hard collectors paid upwards of $3,000 for the limited pairs that made it outside. Comprehensively re designed by Mister Cartoon for this release, the new look AF1 again deploys Laser technology to provide the gritty graphics reflecting its city of origin.

Releasing along with the other high profile collaborative sneakers from the Nike Sportswear Livestrong Stages Collection, this might be your final chance to score the classic.

Take a detailed look at the Nike Mr. Cartoon Air Force 1 Livestrong Stages after the jump.


‘Slumdog’ Director Buys New Homes For Kid Stars

Random Things

We were just discussing how these children were getting screwed by the makers of this film, who easily walked off with hundreds of millions from this award winning flick. Spread some bread why don’t ya!

via RadarOnline

Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has answered an S.O.S. from two of the Oscar winning film’s young stars by buying them new homes RadarOnline.com has learned.

Both Rubina Ali, 9, and Azharuddin Ismali, 10, were reduced to tears after bulldozers flattened their shanty-like homes in Mumbai, India, to make way for a railway station.

British film-maker Boyle flew-out to India amid claims that that he had abandoned the young stars despite the fact that a trust had been set-up for them.

Boyle, 53, said: “I have seen their homes being knocked down and that upset me a great deal.

“They have never been far from my thoughts – it is only now that the trust has been able to put in place a workable plan.”

A flat has been purchased for Ismali who played young Salim, and a second home

has been bought for Ali, who was Salim’s friend Latika in the movie. Continue reading

[video] COLIN Trailer

Indie filmmakers accustomed to boasting about their movies’ tiny budgets can pretty much surrender all bragging rights for the foreseeable future. British director Marc Price spent a grand total of $70 on Colin, his dirt-cheap zombie flick that became a word-of-mouth sensation earlier this month at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Blair Witch on crack…

Multiracial people become fastest growing US group

via MyFreeze

Call it the Drake Factor or the Obama Effect but light skinned negroes are finnin’ to take this continent over in the next 10 years. Well, them and Mexicans.halfricans

Multiracial Americans have become the fastest growing demographic group, wielding an impact on minority growth that challenges traditional notions of race. The number of multiracial people rose 3.4 percent last year to about 5.2 million, according to the latest census estimates. First given the option in 2000, Americans who check more than one box for race on census surveys have jumped by 33 percent and now make up 5 percent of the minority population _ with millions more believed to be uncounted. Continue reading

Hulu Announces Desktop App

Vodpod videos no longer available.

via @Mashable

Hulu (Hulu reviews), which continues to see strong growth, has been a web-based video site since day one. As more and more premium content has made its way to the site, now with Disney even in the mix, more and more users have turned to Boxee (Boxee reviews) for consuming that content in a desktop application or via an AppleTV hack.

Now Hulu seems to be throwing down the gauntlet, and today they’ve launched their own shiny new desktop application, Hulu Desktop, that brings all the joys of Hulu to your PC or Mac and works with Apple and Windows Media Center remotes. In fact, they’re even touting it as the “lean-back” way to view Hulu video.

As a whole the application is top notch. You can expect a slick user interface centered around video watching. In fact, it’s hard not to notice that there are elements of Boxee’s sophisticated UI and navigation elements in the new offering. Suffice to say, though, if you’re a Hulu lover, you won’t be disappointed.


Hulu Desktop can be downloaded and used with or without an account, but if you do login you’ll get access to your video queue, subscriptions, and viewing history. You can also customize playback quality and tweak additional custom settings in the preferences menu.

Hulu’s play for your desktop is a pretty interesting and newsworthy move, especially given their contentious relationship with Boxee (who’s only fault was enabling you to engage with the same content in a similar fashion) and the recent demise of Joost’s desktop app. Continue reading

Retail Spotlight: BROOKLYN CIRCUS

Today I’ve had the pleasure of posting articles about comrades I either grew up with or I can personally vouch for in this game. This is about the comeup of BROOKLYN CIRCUS, ran by my partner Ouigi. Flatbush and Haitians worldwide need to stand up and applaud these brothers, for repping with class.


via Complex

STORE: Brooklyn Circus

CITY: Brooklyn, San Francisco and Chicago

SINCE: 2006

FOUNDED BY: Ouigi Theordore

PRICES: $$$ (out of 5)

WHY WE COSIGN: The varsity/collegiate look is pretty big these days, but that doesn’t mean Polo’s Rugby store has to monopolize the game. Straight outta Bucktown comes the menswear shop Brooklyn Circus, which has a fresh inventory of Complex-cosigned brands like Maharishi and Cheap Monday and an interior decor that will remind you of an old-school barbershop. The store is great, but what’s really catching our eye is BKc’s just-launched debut collection, featuring preppy and refined pieces with a bit more edge than those from stodgier brands. Really, what else would you expect from Brooklyn?

BRANDS CARRIED: adidas, Brixton, Cheap Monday, Goorin, G-Shock, J. Lindeberg, Kangol, Maharishi, Nooka, Nudie Co. Jeans, Onie Denim/Bs United, Phaidon, Rich Yung, Sebago, Staple Design, Tachen, The BKc, Umbro by Kim Jones, and Vael Footwear.

For pics of the store and its address, web site and the BKc Spring collection, see below…

BKc Spring 2009 Collection
bk-circus-ss09-016 Continue reading

[video] BlackTree TV Ranks Among YouTube’s Top 25 Most-Viewed Channels

BlackTree TV original series such as “Monday Night Conversation” featuring Will Smith helped the LA-based website generate over 175 million video views, ranking among YouTube’s Top 25

via BlackNews

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) – BlackTree TV, an online urban entertainment content provider and subsidiary of BlackTree Media, is quickly emerging as a bona fide player on the digital media scene. The Los Angeles-based entertainment website is now ranked among the top 25 most-viewed channels found on YouTube, with more than 175 million video views of BlackTree TV content (www.youtube.com/blacktreemedia). YouTube is the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos.

After several years of working to build the brand and develop the site’s offerings, the executive team at BlackTree couldn’t be more thrilled to reach this important milestone.

“We’re delighted that online viewers are really connecting with our content. The company has come a long way in a relatively short time and it’s just the beginning of our growth strategy,” said Jamaal Finkley, President of BlackTree Media. “2009 is a breakout year for BlackTree Media. In addition to business relationships with companies such as Google and YouTube, our content is available on mobile phones. Now, we’re working on forging new partnerships that will extend our reach online and across more new media platforms.” Continue reading

The Peculiar Relationship Between Porn & Technology

via TheToiletPaper

The pornography industry’s long and fruitful marriage with technology has brought about many social changes as it pushed adult entertainment increasingly into the mainstream. As one of the earliest adopters of the latest technologies, it has been difficult to differentiate whether the porn industry has merely been one of the first to utilize these new tools, or whether the billion dollar industry has actually given these advancements the backing necessary to bring about their popularity. The adult film industry has largely, and controversially, been credited for playing a major role in deciding the format wars of VHS vs. Beta, DVD vs. Laserdisc and most recently, HD DVD vs. Blu-ray. Whether or not this has been reality, it is clear that this X-rated romance is here to stay.


Rihanna Will Testify on June 22nd In Chris Brown Case


via BET

Well, it looks like Rihanna will have to take the stand after all. According to TMZ.com, the Los Angeles District Attorney told Rihanna’s lawyer Donald Etra in a hearing today that the singer will be subpoenaed.

Rihanna’s lawyer says that his client will indeed cooperate and take the stand to testify at the preliminary hearing on June 22. “She will absolutely comply,” he said. In the past, Etra had stated that Rihanna would testify if she was subpoenaed, and that is exactly what is going to happen. The preliminary hearing will determine whether or not the prosecution has enough evidence to go to trial.

Chris Brown has already pleaded not guilty to beating Rihanna after an altercation took place between the couple back on Feb. 8, the night before the Grammys.

The subpoenae isn’t the only news that came out of today’s hearing. People.com is also reporting that the judge in the case rejected a motion filed by Mark Geragos, Chris Brown’s lawyer, asking for an order requiring the L.A.P.D. to give up the leaks in the case. Brown’s lawyers want to know who leaked the photos of Rihanna’s injuries.

Words of Wisdom from a Marketing Guru: Stall & Dean’s RIKERS

Check out this extraordinary interview with our good friend, Rikers, the head of marketing over at Stall & Dean and an up and coming music executive himself. Lot of gems in this

via Examiner

Calling all hip hop practitioners: it’s that time again. You know the old saying, “a jack of all trades is the master of none?” Well meet the man defying the myths, Rikers. This man is not only intelligently competent, but outstanding in many particular fields. His forte is making all developments turn into profitable results; effectiveness is the foundation towards his success. Strong people don’t need leaders because strong people lead themselves.

Rikers is the extraordinary fashion executive who is the head of marketing for Stall and Dean and handles affairs for Ruckers Vintage. If you’ve been glued to the tube during the play offs then you’ve certainly seen his stylish craftsmanship because Rikers brand Stall and Dean provides the N.B.A. with its league apparel. Rikers is the specialist of premiere athletic wear. He’s also worked with some of the top clothing brands in the country. His expertise has been lent to companies such as Starter, Reebok, Ecko, Fubu and Apple bottom.

Although his achievements have shaken up the active wear régime this article covers a different sector of Rikers assets. As avid hip hop connoisseurs, you may wonder how any of this information is relevant? Simply put this merchandising messiah is the man responsible for connecting with and dressing many of the industry’s elite. The brands have been embraced by several major artists such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Sean “Diddy” Combs. Rikers has managed placement of the clothing in videos, photos and television appearances for entertainers like T.I., Cassidy, Ludacris, Chamillionaire, The Diplomats, J. Holiday and ballers like Shaquille O’Neal and Carmelo Anthony. Continue reading