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Jul. 9 2010 — 2:08 pm | 128 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Leggings Behind Pocket Hate Conspiracy

Denim leggings are cool

fake denim leggings, yeah? Image by Idhren via Flickr

I came late to the 80’s revival legging fashion parade.

At first I couldn’t understand why stockings suddenly went out of style. I didn’t understand the bare skin between the ankle and the top of the foot. But then I saw that leggings can provide texture that no hose or stocking can.  Leggings are also thicker than stockings but not as thick as pants, so I slowly became receptive to their usefulness. The cuteness of tunics over leggings was not lost on me, and then one day, a friend wore fake denim leggings on a hot day and I became a fan.

My like of leggings had to do with the usefulness of the accessory, despite modern outfits for ladies these days being utterly useless when it comes to pockets. When I wear leggings I have a dilemma. If I were to wear the leggings right, I can’t wear a bottom or top that has pockets. (Or I just haven’t found the right clothing options?) When I bring this up to my other female friends, they look at me strangely, not understanding my need for pockets. Somewhere over the past couple of years, my female peers began hating pockets and I never got the memo.  Why dislike pockets?

Pockets are useful. You put things in pockets. Chapstick. Change. A hair tie. Tissues. Keys. Items easily lost in a large purse. If I wanted to run to the corner store or buy some alcohol, I don’t want to take a bag – a large accessory. I want some folds in my clothes that hold these items on me, for quick access.

With the comeback in leggings, fashion has also brought back the cross body purse,… understandably, because there are no pockets on women’s outfits. I have always loved cross body purses as a way to carry all my EQ. I believed these purses were “safer” until an earlier mugging in my neighborhood was made more complicated by the woman’s cross body bag, and she got beaten up for it. The police at the subsequent CAPS meeting explained how these types of bags make it harder for you to give your purse to the mugger, and harder for the muggers to snatch it. You can get strangled by your bag, and if the mugger gets frustrated, he can punch and kick you  while you are entangled in the straps. An unpleasant thought.

I hate carrying a purse though, and I know I am not alone in this. Sure, clothes without back pockets make my ass look better, but I already have my mate so am no longer advertising myself to the male population by wearing skin-tight pants.

Is there a way to make clothes for women that include pockets without appearing bulky?  Instead of rehashing old styles from the past 100 years, can we make something new and creative? Some kind of functional clothing, with pockets?



Jul. 9 2010 — 1:39 pm | 66 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Obsession with cats creeps into Art World

Kittens

Image by crsan via Flickr

This evening, the Pussy Galore Group show including artists Katie Arford, Laura Bovinet, Lianna Faletto, Allysa Hallett, Brandon Howe, Andrea Jablonski, Matthew Jorgensen, Andrew Malvenda, Charlie Megna, Eric Oij, Kelly Reaves, Pat Rios, and Madelyn Strutz, opened at the 345 Gallery smack dab  in the center of the oh-so-trendy Wicker Park, Chicago.

Besides the proliferation of cat pictures and videos all over the internet, I thought I would take the time to remind everyone that the only reason why we like cats is because we all have toxoplasmosis in our brains (1 in 4 Americas has it, thank you very much).

Although not in tonight’s show, Ashley Lande has an excellent piece featuring a floating cat head emitting a prism of light above a prophet Muhammad figure (see the second illustration on the top left). Clearly, Ashley Lande has speculated on whether the prophet Muhammad was infected with toxoplasmosis (I say he was!).   Ashley Lande’s work, as described by Lost at E Minor, takes our “current obsession with neo-primitivism and mysticism [and] exposes the awkwardness that arises from the fetishization and appropriation of cultures.”

Audrey Erickson has also made cats a common subject in her paintings, as seen here. The painting on the very top screams “bird on the brain”, which is fitting when we humans have “cats on the brain”. I only hope this Pussy Galore Group Show is at least a little ironic, or embraces the science behind our obsession with cats.

And just for good measure, here is the latest cat meme sweeping the internet:



Jun. 29 2010 — 1:24 am | 113 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

The ‘Dance Central’ Work Out

A remix of "Your Rain" was used in K...

GTFO DDR!!!! Image via Wikipedia

I knew about the “Portal 2″ announcement and the newest Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer before E3, so I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of the convention that would shatter my hum-drum gaming existence.

But then I saw “Dance Central“.

I think it was love at first sight.

I tried to resist. Dance Central? Please, Fruzs, have some gaming class.  I can’t buy an Xbox and Kinect just for “Dance Central”. I am part of the “Glorious PC Gaming Master Race” – not some ninny scum “Dirty Console Gaming Peasant”. But then I remembered how much I love dancing.  And then I noticed this game actually teaches you different dance moves – moves I’ve never attempted before.

This isn’t DDR, where I jump around pressing buttons to the beat with my feet, and nothing happens with my upper body (DDR is no  ”glorified tap dancing“).  And I do like this idea of making “working out” a game. Sure, marathon running or sprinting is a great skill to have if I needed to worry about the impeding Apocalypse, but I’ll take my dancing in my home with weights over running on pavement every 6am any day.

I never got into the Wii Fit, with its balance board, or yoga  in general, because I much prefer high impact workouts, like jump roping, or dancing in my apartment with weights. Why not just play this game with some light 2 – 3 pound weights around your wrists?   (psst, “gamer girls”, if you post videos of yourself playing this game with weights come November, you must link here, or I will get very mad.)

I would to take this moment to challenge you,  Kristen from GameMeetsGirl, to a Dance  Off.



Jun. 27 2010 — 7:12 pm | 490 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Steam Sale: 7 Games for your Girlfriend

Two things I hear from my gaming male friends often are “I can’t find a girl that games!” and “How can I get my girlfriend to play video games?”. Steam is currently having a huge blow-out sale on hundreds of video games for the Mac/PC until July 4th, and with prices cheaper than a trip to the movies, there is no better time to get your lady a video game.

I’ve compiled a list of games the ladies would enjoy despite being unfamiliar with the whole video game genre. These are also the best of the cheapest, because when a game is less than $10, how can your girlfriend get turned off by the price?

In order of ascending difficulty:

1. Osmos, for $4.99

This game is the exact opposite of those “damn noisy shooters” you like to play and is perfect for the lady who has limited to no experience with video games. As the above video demonstrates, this game is as close to a yoga session for your brain as it gets. You have to be patient, flying through space in your quest to eat other orbs. The saying “Good things come to those who wait” is applicable in describing Osmos game play. You have to stay calm and move slowly, or risk colliding into a bigger orb that will eat you. Despite this games simplicity, the levels do get a bit harder as you progress through the game; there is some sort of challenge (I moved too fast and flew into the sun a couple of times).

You can play Osmos for as short increments of time as 5 minutes (a level), and feel satisfied.

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2. Blueberry Garden for $4.99:

If you’re looking to get out of seeing another bizarre European indie film, get your gal this game instead. Designed by a Swede, this beautiful and quirky game reminds me more of an interactive art piece than a video game. Don’t be fooled: there is a goal in this game, not made evident by the above trailer.  If Ebert played this game he would give up his silly notion that video games are not an art form. Bobbie Johnson, from the UK Guardian, described this game as ” a dainty piece of indie magic”: “I almost wanted to put it in a ribbon-wrapped box with a kitten and cry a little”.

Blueberry Garden is more fast paced than Osmos and Machinarium.

continue »



Jun. 23 2010 — 1:23 pm | 213 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

The Case For Video Games As Art Continues

Rapture is an underwater city with art deco de...

Underwater city with art deco designs, in Bioshock. Image via Wikipedia

Tom Bissell, in a Salon interview promoting his new book “Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter“, continues to make the case for video games as art. The whole interview is worth reading, but here are some choice tidbits:

Around 2006, 2007, a handful of games started coming out that, as someone who played games but didn’t think of them as like a viable artistic medium, made me think, “Wow things have gotten extremely compelling formally.” I mostly associated video game storytelling with unforgivable clumsiness, irredeemable incompetence, and suddenly I was finding the aesthetic and formal concerns I’d always associated with fiction: storytelling, form, the medium, character. That kind of shocked me.

Games that changed the paradigm, at least for me, were “Portal,” “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,” and “BioShock.” All took their storytelling seriously in different ways, and brought to the table a relatively unusual level of sophistication when it came to video-game storytelling. They simply didn’t seem unnecessarily dumb in the way a lot of video-game storytelling games feel dumb.

Roger Ebert has famously argued (and recently restated in a blog post) that video games should not be considered art. What do you say to that?

I really admire Roger Ebert a lot, but on this issue he’s just wrong. I think he even kind of knows he’s wrong, and he’s kind of Custer in a battle that he knows he’s outnumbered on, but he’s actually asking the wrong question. The question is not, “Are video games art?” The question is, “Can artists express themselves through the video-game medium?” …

He’s kind of right in the sense that this isn’t going to stand up against impressionist painting, but it’s not supposed to. …

…It’d be like giving sex advice after having watched “Debbie Does Dallas,” but never having fucked anyone.

via Salon “Extra Lives”: Are Video Games the Next Art Form?

Interestingly, perhaps because neither of two are from an arts background, the point of “interactive art” was never mentioned in the interview. Perhaps Roger Ebert is unaware of the “interactive art” movement, and his ignorance of this type of artistic impression (despite beginning in the 20’s, catching steam in the 60’s, and exploding in the late 90’s)  is what keeps Ebert from understanding video games as art (that, and the fact that he doesn’t play any video games).

Interactive art is defined as a form of art that requires the viewers to participate in some way. Without the viewers participation or input,  the art piece would not function, and therefore not be. The art would be reduced to a monitor, sensors, plastic, metal, wood, what have you –  plain ol’ inanimate objects with no artistic merit.  Now consider video games. Without the video game player, directing the characters, unlocking story arcs, making choices, providing input, the video game would cease to be a work of art, and just be code, or plastic and metal – plain ol’ inanimate objects.

We already consider films as art, so why when video games combine the visual medium of film with  interactivity, are they not considered art? Sure, not every game is a work of art, just like how not every movie (Transformers?)  is a work of art. The art community already considers art that isn’t displayed in galleries or museums  ( see the “street art” movement) as “high art”, so why can’t we make the obvious leap to video games?


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    When I am not gracing the front page of google news, I'm writing on one of my other blogs or doing research.

    I was born in Budapest, and escaped the evils of communism at a young age. When I was four, I jumped a fence, fought a guard, disarmed fifteen land mines, and swam across the Atlantic to New York City. Basically.

    I grew up on Roosevelt Island, where I buried a pet in a traffic circle, played street hockey, and never learned how to drive. I now reside in Albany Park, on the Northwest side of Chicago. I'm a former editor, avid animal lover, gamer, pauper, princess, and poet.

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