Ephemeral, But Not Meaningless

It turns out that when you ask someone about love, they may feel compelled to tell you a story about heartbreak. When you read stories about success, you read about overcoming great adversity. Human beings seek experiences that elicit enjoyment or pleasure, whether those experiences be good or bad. It’s stimulation in the brain that carries meaning; that tells us we’re alive. The writer who faces the blank document may not find pleasure in that moment, but through a painstaking process of planting their butt and exposing themselves, they eventually flip the pain of starting into the pleasure of being read. The photographer who has chosen a new environment may have difficulty finding the right lighting, but through this trial he or she may capture something timelessly breathtaking. Of course there are simple pleasures with no prerequisite for any pain, like a dog looking up at you, its body shaking uncontrollably, begging for you to pet it. Or buying new shoes, although this kind of pleasure is fleeting and quickly demands replenishment.

Perhaps the most rewarding of them all are the ones that require discomfort, because now we’re emotionally invested and being challenged.

And yet, for most of our lives we numb pain and avoid it altogether. We avoid the pain of telling the truth, of looking people in the eyes, of facing ourselves—a strange painful pleasure in its own unique way. This, however, is simply part of human nature. We gravitate towards the positive experiences that promise it will happen again, and avoid the unpromising ones like a bad meal at a restaurant.

Plato once observed that all things are created by nature, chance, or art; the first two being the most great and beautiful, and the last being the most imperfect. But when you look at any kind of art—a book that changes the way you think, a painting that stirs emotions, or even the kind of customer service that is seemingly rare—it’s easy to only appreciate the end result, not the long trail of anxiety, fear, and effort that it necessitates. We gawk at newfound overnight successes but fail to appreciate or even acknowledge the decade of adversity prior.

How, then, do we learn to view pain as something temporary, something that actually functions as a profound source for pleasure? The Stoics believed that pain and pleasure, success and failure, life and death, were simply just part of human life, therefore they were neither good nor bad. What make our negative emotions so destructive aren’t the emotions themselves but the judgments that shape them. But how difficult this mindset is to keep when we’ve been cheated, lied to, undervalued or misunderstood! We react emotionally, all the while fueling our escape, when in fact we should be embracing this pain and transmuting it into something worthwhile—a lesson, a story, a piece of art. Look at anything you deeply admire, and you may see the connection: the creation was not made in the avoidance of pain but rather because of it.

If there is one underlying principle about human nature that deeply influences the way we lead our lives, it’s our innate desire for connection. To be understood and ultimately missed. Which is why stories about pleasure, or any of the synonyms associated with it, always contain elements of pain, frustration, or adversity. Hence, it’s vital in our careers and lives to understand that pain and pleasure are ephemeral but not meaningless. We get to decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.

Sure, watching your house burn down is painful, and the hopelessness associated with such an event is justifiable. But it isn’t helpful. Running a marathon produces pains in the body, but crossing the finish line yields a feeling of ecstasy. It’s easy to spend our lives selling ourselves short and opting for the kind of pleasures that can be bought, however fleeting they may be. It’s easy to lie, to not give the advice that your friend needs to hear. But a life avoiding pain can inadvertently deny us from feeling any kind of memorable pleasure. In most cases the two need each other; they compliment one another. When you are vulnerable with someone, it may be painful to share what you’ve been hiding, but the potential for a deeper connection may ensue. When you write, dance, draw, sing, or create, you may be misunderstood or criticized, but the opportunity to find the right people who appreciate your work and are moved by it? Such pleasures are worth pursuing indeed.

In The Middle Of Nowhere, Good Times Are Happening

Oakland, NJ- “The first couple of bands haven’t shown up yet, so Victor is going to play a couple of songs on his guitar.” Not the most promising of beginnings for any concert or festival, but in the case of ‘Lawndry Fest,’ it’s almost a consecration of this obscure gathering’s care-free atmosphere.

“Fest” seems a bit strong to describe the event — backyard summer show is more fitting. The best outdoor furniture was reserved for the occasion. A few rows of lawn chairs give their back to a small trail of scattered woods, where a few people are in the distance. On a table in the corner, a box is placed selling a few cassettes made by some of the bands, and in the center, an improvised stage protected by a picnic gazebo showcases the artistic expression of young souls stuck in the boondock’s of New Jersey.

“It was so much bigger last year,” you hear a few people say, “they had to use that whole lot across the street, and it was packed with people.” Funds apparently ran short this year, because it ended up finding a venue behind someone’s house.

Among the crowd are mostly local college students at home for the summer. Looks and glances abound, as people examine their former classmates in a sort of early high school reunion. But there’s no adolescent drama resurging; everyone seems to be with friends here. And so, as the the first group take to the stage, Lawndry Fest kicks off sending the vibes of a day dedicated to music, summer, and taking it easy.

Perhaps a bit too easy. “The first couple of bands aren’t as strong, they just play for fun. We have bands later on that actually do shows and record,” says one of the event’s organizers and performers.

As the first band takes to the stage, a pleasantly nostalgic fit of indulgence takes over of memories of those awkward high school days. The elements are all there to send the audience spiraling down memory lane, from the carefully selected, department store clearance attire to the nervous stares at the ground– and of course, the material selected. A Nirvana cover? Sure, why not two? And why not follow it with some Hendrix? Ah, to be young. Not exactly the kind of set that lands a record deal.

From the crowd’s response however, no one seems to care because at Lawndry Fest, if you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re missing the point. Every band steps down with applause, every song is a reason to dance, skank around in a circle, and enjoy the splendor of the summer together with people you’ve known for years. Frisbees are thrown, group pictures are taken, people continuously greet and embrace someone they haven’t seen in a while.

As later groups step up with a much more impressive set, no one seems to be focused on rating this or that band, and the bands least of all. Even the most experienced band gets to the stage with the same laid-back attitude, goofing around before plowing into frenetic performances.

At Lawndry Fest, there’s no room for critics or elitists. Even though quality musicianship is not lacking, it is not a prerogative, and those who possess it are only concerned with using it to have fun with others. Somewhere between one band finishing up and the next one going through a quick soundcheck, music ceases to be a business, an unnecessarily complex effort to impress or a way to convey self-righteous messages, but instead reverts to one of its deepest and most primal states– the soundtrack to a good time.

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FQ’s Guide to Northside Festival

Photography courtesy of Northside Media Group

 

On June 8th, the Northside Festival will kick off in Williamsburg, promising a week of art, music, film and innovation. The excitement is R E A L.

Featuring 450 bands, more than 150 speakers, and over 50 film screenings, it’ll be difficult to manage your time at Northside. With all these events to go to, we know that it can get a little overwhelming, but don’t worry! We’ve written up this practical guide to give you a hand.

 

FILM

Northside has expanded this year’s competition exploring new territory by adding music videos and episodics (web series and pilots) to the lineup of features and shorts the festival usually hosts. This years festival includes a handful of talented, and fresh, filmmakers like Sophia Takal, an actress most recently seen in Wild Canaries and writer/director who took home 2011’s Chicken and Egg Emergent Narrative Woman Director prize at SXSW for her big screen debut, Green; Crystal Moselle is the director behind The Wolfpack which debuted at Sundance this year; Alex Ross Perry is the director of Impolex, The Color Wheel (named the best undistributed film of 2011 by Indiewire and Village Voice) and last year’s Listen Up Philip.

Here are three indie features you should be sure to keep an eye (or both, preferably) on:

Eden
An affecting trip into the ’90s Parisian electronic dance movement through the eyes of the DJ credited with inventing French house music, and whose friends, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, went on to become Daft Punk. Complete with sex, drugs, and a killer soundtrack.

 

 

Aspie Seeks Love
Heartwarming doc about artist David Matthews, who has spent the past 20 years posting quirky personal ad-fliers to telephone poles in an attempt to find love. The twist: Matthews finds out at age 41 that he has Asperger’s, the diagnosis of which changes his entire life.

MUSIC

Northside is known for its celebration of music discovery, creativity and culture, and this year they’ve added over 150 bands to the lineup. Attendees will have access to 400 of the hottest and emerging bands, curated to provide a unique festival experience for the avid music fan.

Consequently, Northside is about the BK experience. It spreads across 20 local music venues and three outdoor spaces within a walkable radius: McCarren Park, an annual staple of the festival for its free shows; Brooklyn Live at the Inlet, at 50 Kent Avenue; and a pop-up stage on main drag, Bedford Avenue. This year, Northside is expanding free programming at McCarren Park to all four days of Northside Music.

Entry to all McCarren shows is guaranteed with a Music or Premium festival badge. Non badge-holders must RSVP. Admission is first-come, first-served. Free RSVPs for select McCarren show is open via northsidefestival.com.

Here are five acts you should carve some time out of your summer schedule for — individual show tickets are available, but if you’re planning on catching a few, you might want to grab a badge:

Run the Jewels
This heart-stopping combo of NYC producer El-P and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike deliver aggressive bars like a modern-day Rage Against the Machine (which is why Zach de la Rocha came out from hiding to guest on their latest LP).
Sunday, June 14th
50 Kent Ave.

 

Rhye 
When Rhye released the appropriately named Woman, it was hard to imagine that the vocalist, Milosh, is a dude. But he, alongside his musical partner Robin Hannibal, have crafted an R&B debut masterpiece with an agenda, appropriately titled Woman. This duo is way too “smoove.”
Friday, June 12th
50 Kent Ave.

 

Against Me!
From self aware folk-punks to wary arena rockers (opening for the likes of Silversun Pickups and Foo Fighters) to their current, best state: as rockers who deliver scorching sing-along anthems that unite more than divide. You will clap along and start class warfare.
Saturday, June 13th
McCarren Park

 

Best Coast
Singer Bethany Cosentino spends most of her new album exploring the dark side of Los Angeles, but filling her dourness with hooky pop and huge guitars straight out of the alt-rock ’90s playbook.
Saturday, June 13th
50 Kent Ave.

 

Ryan Hemsworth
Is it hip-hop? Electro? House? These are questions you will ask yourself — in vain — while listening to Hemsworth, who has remixed everyone from Cat Power to Frank Ocean. Heed not concerns over genre, but rather your feet, which will move instinctively and with great vigor for the duration of his bass-heavy set.
Friday, June 12th
Palisades
906 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY

 

Also, in keeping with Northside tradition of shining light on Brooklyn-bred talent, they’ve added acts like Beach Fossils, Frankie Cosmos, Nude Beach, YVETTE, Beverly, and Sannhet.

Grab your tickets as soon as you can.

 

Photos from #FQsocial

We had a great time at our first #FQsocial event on 2/27/15 – here’s what you may have missed!

Here were the one’s tagged by you!

At the #FQSocial for @readfameless creepin 🛁 #OOTN #latergram

A photo posted by mysmoonysun (@mysmoonysun) on

@readfameless #FQsocial !!! Come through if you’re in NYC.

A photo posted by Brian Felix (@idislikebrian) on

#FQSocial A @readfameless supa cool production 📰📖📰 Cc: @idislikebrian #FamelessQuarterly #art #magazine

A photo posted by mysmoonysun (@mysmoonysun) on

come check my boy @jaeskim_ photos and show him love at creations gallery on AVE C

A photo posted by ALEXANDRA BERNABEI (@emotionallie) on

Art Gallery Goes Rogue

Exterior, Randsburg Art Gallery

Exterior, Randsburg Art Gallery

Randall “Hoot” Smith, owner of the Randsburg Art Gallery, announces his rogue vision of promoting world class artists. “I know this is hard to believe from an art gallery owner but I think that artists deserve 100 percent of the value of their art! Yes, that’s right, 100 percent,” says Smith.

Smith asks: “If you’re a world class artist, does it really matter if you show in New York City, Paris or Los Angeles? Well, yes and no. Yes, big name galleries have big name client lists and expensive showrooms in beautiful art centers. They also charge the artist considerable commission fees for their services. And no – if you’re a famous artist, your clients need only to know where to find your art.”

Now all that being said, here’s the deal. The Randsburg Art Gallery is located just two and half hours from Los Angeles in the historic Rand Mining District and old gold mining town of Randsburg. The gallery occupies more than two thousand square feet of museum quality viewing space in what was originally the First Bank of Randsburg (circa 1920).

The gallery is adorned with fifteen foot walls and wonderful, original tin panel ceilings. Smith adds, “Any and all world class artists can show and sell their art at absolutely no cost; and I mean no commissions or fees.”

“Why and how is the gallery able to do this?” asks Smith. “It’s easy. Why? I want Randsburg to become an art center destination. How? The gallery is self-sufficient and, honestly, I want to turn the commercial art world on its head. As an artist myself, I’ve had it with posh, snooty galleries dictating terms and conditions.”

He concludes, “I want artists to thrive and prosper, to enjoy the true value of their art in a friendly, receptive atmosphere. They can find that here in the Randsburg Art Gallery.”

Visiting The DUMBO Arts Center

Eugene Hutz jumping in off the street to join The Stumblebum Brass Band's performance at the Dumbo Arts Festival in 2010. Perfect Brooklyn moment. Photo by Grishna Levit

Eugene Hutz jumping in off the street to join The Stumblebum Brass Band’s performance at the Dumbo Arts Festival in 2010. Perfect Brooklyn moment. Photo by Grishna Levit

The DUMBO Arts Center is an art gallery situated between Plymouth and Water Streets in Brooklyn, New York City. The center covers 3,000 square feet and it features lectures, workshops and contemporary art exhibitions. The goals of this non-profit organization is to promote the new art in Dumbo, a neighborhood of Brooklyn, and to catalyze the interaction among the wider public, the local community and the visual artists. Throughout the year, the DUMBO Arts Center features numerous exhibitions and offers educational programs for high school students and artists.

This art center was founded in 1997 after the “DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival.” A couple of artists took the initiative to open Dumbo’s first non-profit artistic institution. Since 1998, DAC (DUMBO Arts Center) has organized the DUMBO Arts Festival on a yearly basis. This festivity is in fact the main focus of DUMBO Arts Center. The event gathers numerous artists from all over the world and presents the best international, national and local art. The festival attracts media attention and numerous visitors and has managed to make Dumbo a real cultural destination.

More than 200,000 participants and visitors come to the DUMBO Arts Festival every year. Additionally, the show features more than 100 programming partners, 500 artists, 50 stages and galleries and 100 studios. The festival usually takes place in September, it lasts 3 days and it’s organized on various sites. The tourists and locals have the chance to see and admire circus artists, indoor and outdoor exhibitions and visual art installations, performers, digital art, poets, large scale projections, dancers, artistic studios and musicians. People can see all these in the park, on street corners and throughout the entire neighborhood.

Besides the DUMBO Arts Festival, DAC also organizes and hosts numerous other events and programs. The current exhibition at DAC is called “What if? In the Days When the Tiger Smoked” and it’s presented by Darrin Martin and Torsten Zenas Burns. This project is meant to offer a new perspective over the superheroes in the book The Vision and The Scarlet Witch. The exhibit includes interactive sculpture, videos, graphic work and photographs. Another special event is the Artist Opportunity Workshop. This lasts 2 days and includes various workshops hosted by Man Bartlett and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Also, Our Good is going to organize a Live Barter show. The portfolios of the participants will be reviewed by gallery owners, artists and curators.

DUMBO Arts Center also has a high school intensive program taking place during the summer, from July till August. The students will have the chance to indulge in a special learning opportunity involving arts administration, community involvement and art-making. Lastly, there is the Outer Space project. In 2007, the artists created the Third Bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. The bridge was made from thousands of lights and it was a metaphor for unity. The Third Bridge was removed in 2008 and it showed that the artists and the people in general want to link to strong concepts like achievement and ambition. So, whoever wants to adopt these ideas should pay a visit to DUMBO Arts Center.

WORDS: Ioana. Ioana is an art enthusiast that travels the world, staying in rental apartments, looking for engaging events that will help boarded her travel experiences.

Up Coming Art Exhibitions in London for 2013

There are a wealth of major art exhibitions showing across the capital in the forth coming year. Art lovers in 2013 will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the classics, but also explore new themes and even experience on stage performances, complimenting static art. Works from the Ice Age, including some of the world’s most ancient pictures and sculptures, to modern Juergen Teller photos of Kate Moss, will bring together in one city a not to be missed collection of diverse exhibitions.

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LS Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, Tate Britain, June 25th – October 20th 2013

LS Lowry is a perennial British favorite  After some speculation that his emotive and tender vistas of everyday life in the industrial north of England, would not appeal to a southern audience, a comprehensive retrospective begins at the Tate in June 2013. The Tate, on the north bank of the Thames near Pimlico, had recently been criticized for not showing its collection of LS Lowry’s work regularly. A group of artists suggested some of the paintings may even be sold, so as to make them more visible to the general public and raise interest in the painter. However, around 80 works will be on display and visitor numbers are expected to be high, as the gallery is also having a facelift in time for the summer.

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Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind, British Museum, February 7th – May 26th 2013

Housed in one of the most stunning buildings in the city, sculpture, paintings and various other pieces that have survived for between 10,000 and 40,000 years, will arrive at the British Museum in South Kensington. The display is drawn from a number of European locations and will be shown alongside the more contemporary works of sculpters like Henry Moore and painters like Matisse. It is hoped this juxtaposition will demonstrate to viewers that despite the vast difference in time, there are similarities between the works. This idea suggests the Ice Age artists processed and analysed the world around them much as we do today.

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The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns, Barbican Centre, February 14th – June 9th 2013

This exhibition will combine dynamic performance art with more conventional ideas of what constitutes an art show. Marcel Duchamp was a huge influence on artists and performers during the 1950’s and 60’s, transcending creative disciplines. As well as the art show, there will be dance events. The combined effect will illustrate how four modern artists used his work to inspire their own, in a movement that eventually resulted in the emergence of the Pop Art genre.

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Juergen Teller: Woo, ICA, January 23rd – March 17th 2013

The pivotal moment in Juergen Tellers career came with his portraits of the singer Sinead O’Connor on the cover of her hit Nothing Compares to You, in 1990. The tenderness and power invested in those pictures, also marks his earlier works of the 15 year old unknown Kate Moss. Juergen has the ability to function effectively in the corporate entertainment world and also retain his artistic credibility. Look out for photos of his East Anglia home and birthplace in Germany, sparkles of self deprecating humour, intensity and openness run through Juergen’s photos by way of a signature.

Whether it’s a day’s excursion or a lunch hour treat, try and make time to visit. The stunning variety of collections on offer in the coming year have something to please both the casual observer and the more experienced art lover. Art helps us to understand the world around us, question conventional thinking and inspire us. Prepare to be moved and educated by the emotional impact of these must see exhibitions.

Sources:
http://www.timeout.com/london/feature/3441/top-10-art-exhibitions-in-2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18008717
http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/lowry-comes-to-tate-britain
http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/ice_age_art.aspx
http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=14075
http://www.ica.org.uk/34587/Exhibitions/Juergen-Teller-Woo.html
This article was written on behalf of Claridge’s hotel. 

Designs of the Year Shortlist Unveiled

London Design Museum. image courtesy of (http://www.urbanjunkies.com)

London Design Museum. image courtesy of (http://www.urbanjunkies.com)

The London Design Museum’s annual Designs of the Year exhibition is set to take place on March 20th this year, and the shortlist has just been announced. These awards bring together the most original and influential creations from numerous design disciplines, including digital, architectural, product design and of course fashion design. The nominees are selected based on their practicality as well as their aesthetic appeal. It’s been such a stellar year for design, choosing a winner won’t be a simple matter – and competition in the Fashion category looks set to be especially heated. Here’s a look at some of the nominees to make it onto the Designs of the Year shortlist for 2013:

Yayoi Kusama’s Louis Vuitton Collection

Celebrated Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama has teamed up with Louis Vuitton to create an unforgettable clothing collection, featuring her unmistakable trademark polka dots. This Yayoi Kusama collection has been in the spotlight for repeatedly selling out at Selfridges in London’s Oxford Street, where a 13-foot-tall statue was erected in homage to Kusama in September last year.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel

“Style is everything… style is a way of life. Without it, you’re nothing.” These are the words of Diana Vreeland, the iconic 20th-Century fashion editor who became known as the “Empress of Fashion” during her prolific career. This fashion documentary, directed by her granddaughter-in-law Lisa Immordino Vreeland, takes a closer look at the life and times of this remarkable woman and what made her work so special. It’s sure to be a tough contender at this year’s Designs of the Year exhibition.

Anna Karenina Costumes by Jacqueline Durran

Director Joe Wright’s 2012 adaptation of the Tolstoy classic has been praised for its visual appeal, and costume designer Jacqueline Durran has earned her third Oscar nomination for her work on the film’s costumes – her previous nominations were for Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Atonement (2007). The exquisite, highly stylised costumes of Anna Karenina are a combination of 1870s period costumes and 1950s couture; think sumptuous gowns, dashing military dress-uniforms and $2 million’s worth in Chanel diamonds!

Christian Dior SS13

If Christian Dior’s Ready-to-Wear Spring/ Summer 2013 Collection is a sign of things to come from new creative director Raf Simons, the brand is looking at a bright future indeed. The pieces combine classic silhouettes, crisp tailoring and contemporary fabrics in what has been described as “modern poetry” by fashion critics.

Proenza Schouler, Commes de Garcons and Craig Green were also among those named on the Designs of the Year shortlist. We can’t wait to see the results!

Nicky Warner is a London fashion blogger with a love of all things sartorial, from mens casual shirts to red carpet gowns.