Alvin Lustig Elements Prints

May 27, 2016 by bryan

This year we were able to see the great little show, Vitality of New Forms: Designs by Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen, at LACMA in Los Angeles. As LACMA says, "Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen are towering figures in American graphic design. Lustig, a beloved teacher and influential critic as well as a polymath designer, advocated an ambitious mission for the discipline, insisting that a true designer could guide public taste toward “the proper expression of the society he lives in.” As head of her own office, Cohen maintained an independence that was rare for women at mid-century. In 1973 she co-founded Ex Libris, a rare book and ephemera shop that played an essential role in the development of design history."

Thanks to an email announcement on PRINT's email list, we just aquired these lovely, limited edition, Alvin Lustig inspired prints.

The Beauty of Letterpress has released the Lustig Elements Collection, a limited-edition of letterpress prints designed by Craig Welsh, printed by Fabrik and supporting the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Wisconsin.

Get your limited edition prints before they are gone!

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Afternoon Pick Me up

August 3, 2015 by bryan

Sometimes in the afternoon we all need a little pick me up. We love a cup of espresso from our stovetop Bialetti Moka pot, serving Italians since at least the 1930s.

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California Cycling Jersey

May 14, 2014 by bryan

Hey California cyclists! Look what is coming soon. Our California poster is be available from local California manufacturer Voler Apparel as a cycling Jersey! We are so honored!

Voler lead the cycling apparel industry in creating premium quality apparel for cyclists and providing superior customer service that is second to none. Their garments are handcrafted with great pride in Grover Beach, California.

Buy the California Cycling Jersey

 

The Man Behind Verdana

April 22, 2014 by bryan

Here is a great TED Talk by Matthew Carter. The London Design Museum calls Carter the, "The most important typography designer of our time".

Having devoted the first half of his career to typefaces for use in print, such as Miller and Bell Centennial, he then pioneered the design of fonts for use on screen, notably Verdana for Microsoft. - Design Museum

In his TED Talk, he comes across as a cozy grandfather, who sits you on his knee and tells you about how he designed type over the decades. In just a few minutes you get a huge survey of type design from the era of priting phone books to successfully designed screen fonts. Prepare to be inspired and encouraged.

Inspiration Trip 2013

February 2, 2014 by bryan

People ask us how we are able to keep creating year after year. We have a secret. Each year Stephanie and I take time to recharge our creativity by taking an inspiration trip. We immerse ourselves in the language, culture, cuisine and art of each place. When we come home we have several thousand photos and hours of video documentation. It is like oxygen for our creative souls.

For 2013 our annual inspiration trip we went to some amazing art cities:

  • Amsterdam
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Copenhagen

You can see more photos here on Flickr

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

December 3, 2013 by steph

We Wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Enjoy my retro-style, vintage inspired Christmas desktop wallpaper with custom illustrations. We hope it brightens your holiday season. 

We made it to fit your 27" iMac display. Download the Christmas wallpaper (2560x1440)

We Love Typography

October 30, 2013 by bryan

We love typography. But sometimes it is hard to explain what we are so excited about. That is why we were so pleased to find this video. Our Parisian friend Aurelie sent us this video from Canadian graphic designer, Ben Barrett-Forrest at Forrest Media. Ben does an amazing job explaing the history of type and the styles. We used his overview with our Spark apprentice Maria recently and it worked wonders, teaching an 8th grader about type.

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49er Game

October 6, 2013 by bryan

This year for our anniversery we went to a Sunday Night Football game at Candlestick Park!

We enjoyed watching the San Francisco 49ers crush the Texans.

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We love our Chevy Sonic

July 8, 2013 by bryan

Our lives have been completely changed this summer since we bought a car. After a two year experiment of life car-free (May 2011-May 2013) we wanted to get a car. We loved learning the AC Transit bus system, riding BART and renting a ZipCar, but we still lacked the freedom to impulsively go wine tasting in Sonoma, camping in the redwoods, or a last minute road trip to LA to see old university friends.

So after quite a bit of discussion and debate we decided we wanted to get a car. But what car do we get? We knew we wanted to get a car that reflected our values and lifestyle and reflected us. Ultimately we landed on the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic LT Hatchback in Inferno Orange.

Sonic is the only small car built in the United States (Lake Orion, MI) and packs a whole lot of attitude. You can see it from its chiseled front end to the rear spoiler. Even the rear door handles are hidden to keep that sporty, clean look without sacrificing functionality. Its aggressive stance, dynamic lines and expressive wheel arches let people know that Sonic is ready for some fun. When you have a car with this much power under the hood and up to 40 MPG highway, it has to be backed up by a look to match. Sonic is going to catch an eye or two. Its defined front end with exposed headlamps, unique dual-port grille and motorcycle-inspired rear tail lamps make a strong visual statement.

The Sonic also connects with Siri on our iPhones so we can talk handsfrees and take advantage of the killer sound system. It also comes with a  MyLink 7" color touch screen and we can connect our Pandora account for streaming music.

We love that the Chevy Sonic is made in the USA and that Chevy has been making big efforts to become more sustainable with their EcoLogic standards.

EcoLogic

 Landfill gas supplies more than 20% of the total energy for heating and cooling of the final assembly facility, which makes the facility less reliant on fossil fuels. The 1.4L engine facility and the transmission facilities are landfill-free. These facilities use a process to reuse, recycle or convert to energy all waste created in their daily operations, which conserves resources. Sonic is the only vehicle in its class assembled in the United States. This reduces energy consumption and emissions related to vehicle transport. The Toledo, OH, transmission facility features designated habitat areas certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council, which provide ecological benefits. After the vehicle’s useful life, 85% of it is recyclable. The majority of its components can be broken down and recycled, which conserves resources and reduces landfill deposits.

So far we have been really pleased and taken the car camping on the Northern California coast. We can't wait to see where our next adventure takes us.

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Adrift Film from Simon Christen

July 3, 2013 by bryan

Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Excerpt below from Simon Christen's Vimeo post. I changed the pronouns to third person.

It has been almost 3 years since Simon Christen released "The Unseen Sea" and he's excited and proud to share with you his latest project "Adrift".

"Adrift" is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. Simon chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. Simon developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, he would set his alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

Vintage Graphics

April 8, 2013 by bryan

This weekend we went to the Alameda Point Antiques Fair. Besides having one of the best view of the San Fracnsico Bay Area, the Alameda Point Antiques Faire is the largest antiques show in Northern California. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month, the Faire boasts over 800 Dealer booths. All items are 20 years old or older.

We fell in love with some awesome large-scale vintage graphics from the late 1970s. They have recently come out of storage and brought to life by Michael Cahn, who bought the entire collection from San Rafael-based company, Graphilia.

Graphilia (Vintage Graphics) From the designer circa 1970: Graphilia textiles are a new concept in interior design.  Bold designs have been individually serigraphed on fabric to create a series of dramatic wall hangings. They may be used individually or grouped to provide a strong visual focus for any interior.  They may also be used to coordinate various styles of furnishings.  Used in a sparsely furnished room, they add a feeling of completeness. Each design is professionally stretched on a sturdy pine frame and ready to hang.  All colors are matched and approved by the original designer before reproduction.  The colors are heat set and permanent, and an application of Scotchgard to each reproduction makes it easy to clean and maintain. Available from Vintage Graphics

We walked away with three amazing designs and hung them up immediately. See below.

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Fulfill Your Potential

January 28, 2013 by bryan

I saw this really great quote from Bay Area billionaire and activist Tom Steyer (the guy behind Prop 39 last year). His thoughts summarize so many amazing clients of ours here in California. Our clients are constantly "creating something new to solve the problem and change the world" in their own way.

The dream of California is that you can come here and fulfill your potential...This is your chance.
When I point out that California is often maligned by outsiders as a bastion of governmental and budgetary dysfunction (not to mention the stomping ground of the loony left), he retorts, “I like to say to them, ‘Where are the great companies that you’ve produced in the past 20 years? If you guys are so realistic and mature, name the great companies you’ve produced. Because I’ll name you 10!’” Achievement here, he says, “usually involves a small number of people going off by themselves and creating something new to solve the problem and change the world. That’s how great things are done, not by joining a high-quality professional institution and working your way up.

Quote from San Francisco Magazine' story "Wall Street Superman to the Rescue: Hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer is succeeding where other richer-than-thous have failed: winning elections with an MBA mentality."

Winter Thursdays at 25th Street Galleries

January 16, 2013 by bryan

We love Oakland and we love art. So that means that seeing art in Oakland is a awesome evening for us. What is even better is when your client is being showcased. 25th street is an awesome creative hive. There are some of our favorite galleries there like VesselMercury20 and my junior high art teacher's gallery, Manna. Also our new client The Moon, will be open on February 28. So if you have missed Saturday Stroll, and want to avoid the crowds on First Fridays, then come out on a Thursday this winter!

DATES: January 24, February 28, March 28

TIME: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

More than a dozen creative spaces located on the block of 25th street between Telegraph and Broadway will be open one Thursday evening a month on January 24th, February 28, and March 28.

  • Galleries open 6-8pm, including Vessel, Oakopolis, FM, Mercury20, Manna, PHOTO, SLATE, and Roscoe Ceramics Gallery
  • Local fashion at Zero Friends, Myrhhia Fine Knitwear, and The Moon
  • Live Acoustic Music at 25th Street Collective, 7-9pm
  • Two Mile Wines open until 10pm.
  • Perfect for people who want a more relaxing alternative to First Friday

http://oaklandartmurmur.org/events/art-on-25th-st-winter-thursdays-2013-02-28/

 

Marvelous Munich

November 13, 2012 by steph

Munich

We might have missed Oktoberfest (intentionally), but that didn’t take away from our enjoyment of Monaco di Baviera (as the Italians refer to it). We loved all of the delicious food and drink, world-class museums and beautiful green spaces, and came to really appreciate this self-proclaimed "northernmost Italian city". Our favorite part was just walking through all the parks and breathing in the scent of Autumn’s arrival in Bavaria; the beer and pretzels are a close second. Munich was the perfect relaxing end to our trip.

 

Museums and Sights

Englischer Garten

This large public park (larger than New York’s Central park) is 910 acres of beauty and relaxation. You can go there for cold drinks, hot food, live music (oompah), leisurely strolls, lovely bike rides, competitive pickup soccer and beautiful views. This park really is the best way to spend a sunny Saturday. If traveling to Munich again, we would set aside an entire day to just enjoy this park and all that it has to offer.

Viktualienmarkt

The Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market and a square in the center of the city that includes 140 stalls and shops. It is packed full of energy and delicious food and drink. For people that are slightly obsessed with food (while eating breakfast we talk of lunch, at lunch we discuss dinner, etc.), this is a paradise. I can still smell the deliciously stinky cheese and robust espresso. Oh and it has a a genuine May Pole!

Haus der Kunst

This museum is used to showcase temporary and traveling exhibitions, and has a complex and controversial past. Originally built as the Third Reich's first monumental structure of Nazi architecture, it was intended to house art they deemed Germany’s finest. It now contains artwork Hitler would have condemned and viewed as "degenerate". Due to lucky timing, we were able to see a very interesting exhibit that examined this complex history and the building’s ideological uses called Histories in Conflict. The other current exhibit, Ends of the Earth, presented a comprehensive historical overview of land art from its beginnings to 1974. Both shows were extremely well conceived and presented.

Learn more about the exhibit Histories in Conflict

Learn more about the exhibit Ends of the Earth

Olympiapark

This park was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and now serves as a venue for cultural and social events. On a beautiful fall day at the end of the Munich marathon it was packed full of people, and we loved just walking around and seeing all the interesting architecture. We were in the mood for a bit of a workout and hiked up the hill in the middle of the park. Our worthwhile reward was a stunning 360-degree view of Munich and the surrounding area.

Nymphenburg Palace/Park

This palace was founded as a summer residence for the rulers of Bavaria. Arriving too late in the day to go into the palace itself, we spent hours enjoying the beautiful and relaxing park. We felt like we escaped the bustle of the city walking along lovely canals and lakes, surrounded by trees on tiny pathways, and not hearing a sound besides the crunching leaves beneath our feet.

Neue Pinakothek

The Neue Pinakothek focuses on European Art of the 18th and 19th century. The extensive collection is presented in a very thoughtful manner, and we really appreciated the informative audio guide.

Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest galleries in the world and houses a famous collection of Old Master paintings. We were actually lucky enough to attend a concert in the Rubens gallery, and during intermission walk through more galleries to view additional impressive works. Stunning music and artwork, it was a brilliant last evening in Munich.

 

Food and Drink

Ksara

We love Lebanese food and were lucky enough to find Ksara (thanks Qype). Everything was spiced perfectly and very fresh. From the falafels to hummus to fattoush to batata harra, everything was delcious. The only thing we would change is how quickly we ate everything...don’t get between us and our hummus!

Der Pschorr

This biergarten and hall serves up big beers and giant plates of tasty food. The place was buzzing with hungry and energetic people, giving us a glimpse of the energy that must be in abundance during Oktoberfest. They place an emphasis on locally sourced items, which made us happy, and the späztle, sausages and beer were very very good. Just keep your elbows down or you might get bumped by one of the zippy beermaids.

Hans Am Gluck

This had to be the restaurant with the coolest interior on our trip. They placed tree trunks throughout the restaurant making it feel like you are sitting in the middle of the woods from a Brothers Grimm story. The burgers were yummy, the crowd was young and fun, and our server was delightful. Did we mention they made the best BBQ sauce outside of the US?

Kaisergarten

We tried to go to this restaurant twice, the first time there was no room and the second time our only option was to sit outside in the cold, with a heat lamp. We figured if it was that crowded on the inside it must be good, and it was. In addition to the heat from the lamp, we were warmed by hearty German dishes and wine. This would definitely be a place we would keep going back to if we lived in Munich.

Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n

In need of a brezel (pretzel), weisswurst and mustard experience we went to Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n. Everything we had there was very tasty and Stephanie (the pretzel hater) was won over by this Munich tradition. It turns out all she needed was really yummy mustard to go along with her pretzel. Who knew?

Seerose

We always find ourselves searching out good Italian food wherever we go, and we were able to find Seerose based on a local’s recommendation. It was perfect. We had breakfast and lunch here, and Bryan was able to practice his Italian (nothing makes him happier). A cornetto with marmellata and a stunning cappuccino took us back to Sicily...bravo Seerose!

 

Coffee/Cafe

Espresso am Viktualienmarkt

While in the market we were needing some caffeine to keep going, and the most delicious smell pulled us into this small stand. The coffee was brilliant and exactly what we needed to be reenergized. Great espresso blend and a perfectly pulled shot!

Aroma Kaffeebar

This was probably our food/drink highlight in Munich. Everything was perfect. The staff was delightful, the coffee was delicious, the pastries were spectacular, the interior was beautiful and the crowd was really pleasant. The only thing we would change is the location...is it possible to move an entire cafe from Munich to Oakland?


Innovative Linz

November 11, 2012 by steph

Linz

Linz is the third largest city in Austria, and while it has an industrial and manufacturing history, it is also extremely innovative as one of the leading cultural centers in Austria. It was even named the European Capital of Culture in 2009. We both felt it came across as a very livable, approachable and interesting city.

 

Museums and Sights

Ars Electronica

This center for electronic arts houses six floors of creative work from hi-tech laboratories all over the world. It is absolutely the most interactive museum (for kids and adults) that we have ever been to. Everything was really fun and the 3-D video exploring the universe was exciting and informative.

Lentos

This gallery of contemporary art is also a striking piece of architecture on the Danube River. Sadly, the museum was closed while we were in Linz, but we enjoyed the building while partaking in a meal outdoors at their restaurant/cafe.

Churches

We went on a stroll through the city from beautiful church to beautiful church and each one had interesting and unique elements. Some churches were very ornate while others possessed a simple gracefulness. We found the walk and churches to be a rejuvenating way to spend an afternoon.

 

Food and Drink

Lentos Restaurant-Cafe-Bar

We loved sitting outside the Lentos and enjoying a tasty meal along the Danube. They had fantastic beer, comforting food, a stunning view and the weather was great. We would have loved to be able to go in the Lentos, but this was a great consolation prize.

Die Donauwirtinnen

If we could have any restaurant in our neighborhood in Oakland, we would love it to be Die Donauwirtinnen. The restaurant and staff were charming, the food and drink were exactly what we love, and the dessert and coffee were a perfect end to the evening. Two huge thumbs up for this place.

 

Coffee/Cafe

Cafe Traxlmayr

We came here for the Linzer Torte and it was very good. We actually are hoping to look up a recipe for this Christmas because Stephanie is convinced it is the perfect December dessert.

Schloss Café

The food and coffee here were fine, maybe even good, but the view was out-of-this-world fantastic. Up above the city and overlooking the river, we enjoyed breathing in the fresh fall air and of course resting our legs after the hike up the hill.

 

Lodging

Landgraf Hotel & Loft

This was a nice hotel with nice rooms, but what we loved was the super tasty breakfast, the lovely morning staff, and the excellent location right next to the Ars Electronica Center.

Charming Langenlois

November 10, 2012 by steph

Langenlois

This charming town was delightful to walk through, is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and has the bragging rights to some pretty incredible wines.

 

Museums and Sights

Loisium World of Wine

This museum was the biggest surprise of our trip! We thought a wine museum couldn’t be informative and fun, that you really just go for the tasting at the end. We were so wrong. The Loisium museum is very informative about process and history, has a variety of interactive opportunities and filled with beautiful artwork, design, mindblowing installations and even a water show! Of course the tasting at the end is a pretty nice way to end a museum visit.

 

Food and Drink

Restaurant Vineyard

We had dinner here, which included very good soups, salads and wine. However, the best part about this restaurant is the breakfast (you probably need to be staying at the hotel to get it). It is the kind of European breakfast buffet you dream of, Stephanie still wakes up dreaming about it. It literally had everything you could want and more: beautiful austrian breads, soft stinky cheeses, smoked fish, cured meats, omelets, homemade jams, delicate honeycomb, pretty pastries, etc. The bread really is so delicious there, it is almost worth a hop over the pond.

Weinschlössl

This place was sooooo charming and our server was incredibly accommodating. We ate Austrian meats and comfort dishes complimented by fantastic local wine. It was the perfect end to a delightful day in Langenlois. The heuriger (wine-tavern) really is a genius concept.

 

Coffee/Cafe

Rathauscafé

Rathauscafé was a sweet little cafe where locals go for a nice cup of coffee, pleasant conversation and very good pastries. They had the most flavorful and moist cake we ate while in Austria.

 

Lodging

Loisium Wine Spa Resorts

When at Loisium Wine Spa Resort, we kept on thinking how very lucky we were to be staying in such a beautiful hotel in such a gorgeous part of the world. The design of the hotel is really spectacular and there are thoughtful details everywhere you look. Then you step outside and see the pool with stunning vineyards as a backdrop. It is ridiculously fantastic. If we could spend one week relaxing anywhere in the world this would be at the top of the list.

Historic Vienna

November 8, 2012 by steph

Bryan came into Vienna with the flu, which could easily taint the memory of a city. While it did make for a slow and rough start, we ended up being able to find a lot of things to enjoy. We hope that someday we can go back and visit feeling 100%, but until then we will reminisce about the fun things we did, remember our awesome hotel that got us through the hard days, and be thankful that you can’t smoke in cafes in California. (flu + smoke = unhappy Sicilian American guy)

 

Museums and Sights

Upper Belvedere

The Upper Belvedere palace was the perfect location to the view the splendor of the Jubilee Exhibition: 150 Years of Gustav Klimt. The show presented a look into Klimt’s personal family history, his development as an artist, and some of the most moving work from his Golden Phase. His work really is even more captivating in person. We also loved the Belvedere gardens that provided relaxation and a beautiful view of the skyline of Vienna.

Learn more about the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

21er Haus

The 21er Haus is a fantastic modernist building that focuses on Austrian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. We enjoyed their collection well as their exhibition BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability. This special exhibition examines stress, depression, and burn out that is connected to our current inability in society to differentiate between work and leisure. The videos, installations and sculptures reminded us of our own struggle and desire to create a work/life balance.

Learn more about the exhibit BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability.

MAK (Museum for Applied Arts)

The Museum for Applied Arts is a dream for any designer. They house textiles, metal works, graphic arts, glass, ceramics, furniture and cutting edge special exhibitions. We spent the majority of our time exploring three fantastic special exhibits. The largest show, MADE 4 YOU, looked at design from a social, ecological, and cultural perspective. It focused on sustainable and successful design for the future, Design for Change. One of the coolest things they had on exhibit was early Apple Computer prototypes from legendary German Californian product designer, Hartmut Esslinger.

The Committee of Sleep was an intriguing installation from taliaYsebastian that explored innovative uses of freely available energy sources. THINGS. plain & simple traced the simplicity of design found in European and Asian art history. This is the kind of museum we could spend an entire day in, from opening until closing.

Learn more about the exhibit MADE 4 YOU.
Learn more about the exhibit The Committee of Sleep.
Learn more about the artists taliaYsebastian.

Schönbrunn Palace

Our last day in Vienna we went to Schönbrunn Palace and spent our time exploring the gardens, climbing up to the Gloriette and touring the beautiful summer palace. While we still don’t understand the obsession with Empress Sisi, it provided an interesting look into the Habsburgs and was a wonderful place to enjoy a pretty day.

 

Food and Drink

Dots TwentyOne

We found this restaurant at the 21er Haus and enjoyed some tasty Pho and a vietnamese salad in the beautiful sunshine outside. It was also a wonderful surprise to find the delicious Austrian Trumer Pils on the menu (which also happens to be brewed in Berkeley). We enjoyed celebrating the Austrian connection to our home in the East Bay.

Österreicher im MAK

This meal of modern Viennese cuisine was a fantastic way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. The food was delicious and the location was beautiful. We voted Bryan’s plate of venison the most stunning dish of the trip…perfection.

Naschmarkt

We went to the Naschmarkt one evening to get dinner and found ourselves overwhelmed with the variety of options. In the end we decided we were in desperate need of some falafel sandwhiches and fries (we ate a lot of falafel on this trip) and enjoyed a flavorful dish from a fun and fiesty spot. This energetic market area would be a great place to go back to multiple times.

Halle

We wish we could only say wonderful things about this place because it was so promising. We loved the vibe, the crowd, the decorations, the drinks, but there are two issues that kept it from being good. The biggest problem is that they totally lost our ticket and we waited over an hour for our food. The second problem was that our meals were not what we envisioned or really wanted when ordering (we were trying to order healthy...a bad idea on a trip). Double disappointment. All the other food looked spectacular and our waiter apologized with free drinks. We will hope that we just got unlucky.

Pizza Mari

After a cold rainy day, we were a bit grumpy and in need of food that would comfort our souls. So of course we wanted pizza. Good pizza. Awesome pizza made by Italians. Pizza Mari. They make pizza the way it should be made, create some delicious panna cotta and serve perfect espresso. Italy we love you and so does Vienna.Oh and the best thing was they did not allow smoking inside the restaurant. Perhaps the rest of Vienna can take note: Vietato fumare!

 

Coffee/Cafe

Let’s get this out there, we cannot think of a way to say this nicely, we do not get the Viennese coffeehouse and the reputation that it is something people need to experience. Maybe we picked the wrong places, maybe we picked the wrong drinks, maybe we picked the wrong desserts, but everything was just....okay. We don’ t mean to offend, and we do like that you can hang out for hours reading every possible German language paper that exists, but for a place that is supposed to have one of the oldest coffee cultures in the western world, we felt like it should knock our socks off. Socks are still completely on. But we will try to focus on the positives.

Cafe Museum

We really did enjoy the apple strudel here, warm apples and flaky crust, it was good. Bryan especially is a fan of all apple desserts, don’t get him started on his love for the fritter, and it passed his apple standards.

Cafe Demel

Everyone has their opinion on which sachertorte is the best and battles have been waged over the title “The Original Sachertorte”. We think it is just okay. The frosting was the best part, but even that was just so-so. The display case was really pretty (remember we are focusing on positives).

Landtmann’s Parkcafé

Landtmann’s had a great pastry stuffed with nut filling called a nussbeugerl. Stephanie thinks it is the best thing we got at a traditional Viennese cafe, probably because it wasn’t too sweet and it made the coffee more enjoyable. The location was a great place to stop when at Schönbrunn Palace.

 

Lodging

Hotel Daniel

This gorgeously designed hotel really saved us when Bryan was sick. The staff was very helpful, the restaurant/cafe was awesome, our room was super cool and the location next to the Belvedere and public transport was perfect. When we didn’t leave the area for a couple of days we really enjoyed the locally made pastries, their turkish and traditional coffee, the main courses and Stephanie’s personal favorite sturm. Sturm is autumnal semi-fermented grape juice from the first grape harvest of the season, and it is the drink by which she now judges all other drinks.

Our Prague Experience

November 7, 2012 by steph

Prague

When walking around Prague, we kept on saying how much it felt like a movie set for a beautiful historical drama that is full of charming and striking architecture…and then we stumbled across an actual Hollywood action film in progress! It turns out we weren’t the only people recognizing Prague’s cinematic nature. We only wish that we had set aside more time on our trip to explore this magical place with a very creative vibe.

 

Museums and Sights

Dox Center for Contemporary Art

This large modern gallery, formerly a factory, has changing exhibitions and was one of our favorite experiences interacting with art on this trip. In addition to spectacular work from national icon, Karel Nepraš (sculptural and graphic art), Čestmír Suška (sculptural objects), and Veronika Psotková (sculptural objects), we were able to enjoy a very special and rare early screening of the documnetary, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. It was a very memorable day for us, full of incredibly thoughtful and thought provoking work.

Learn more about the artist Karel Nepraš.

Learn more about the artist Čestmír Suška.

Learn more about the artist Veronika Psotkov.

Learn more about the film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present.
 

Veletrzni Palace

This museum houses a permanent exhibition of 20th and 21st century art as well as temporary exhibitions. The architecture and collection were very interesting, but we were especially in love with the temporary exhibitions. The Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha depicts a stylized history of the Slavic people and is impressive in both scale and technique, while Brazilian artist, Amalia Giacomini’s linear driven work focused on the presence of space and boundaries.

Learn more about Alfons Mucha - The Slav Epic.

Learn more about the artist Amalia Giacomini.

 

Food and Drink

Lokal

It may have been a bit too smoky in Lokal, but the food was delicious and the beer even better. The interior was very fun, our waiter was extremely helpful and we appreciated the bartenders attention to keeping everything tidy and shiny.

Kozlovna

The kitchen was closed when we arrived (bummer), but we were able to enjoy Czech beer in a festive and thoughtfully designed place. By the way, the beer in this country really is spectacular, the rumors were not exaggerated.

 

Coffee/Cafe

Cafe Louvre

We came for the historically beautiful interior and a coffee break, but once we sat down we decided a meal was in order. Bryan was excited to try out the Czech style goulash in hopes that he would be reminded of his childhood. It turns out American goulash is very Americanized (surprise), and Czech goulash is very tasty. Also, we fell in love with dumplings...we are thinking a winter dumpling party could be a lot of fun.

Kavárna Obecní dum

This Art Nouveau cafe is truly beautiful, and despite coffee that was just okay, we enjoyed the views and experience. We especially loved touring around the Municipal house afterwards and taking in all of the details.

 

Lodging

Boat Hotel Matylda

A hotel on a boat with doors that open onto the Vltava river; this hotel was a perfect fit to the magical city of Prague. We watched a stunning sunset, woke up to swans outside our door and loved walking back along the river at the end of a full day. The staff was helpful, the breakfasts were good and we even enjoyed a nice Italian dinner in their restaurant.

We loved Berlin

November 5, 2012 by steph

Mazzarello Media and Arts - Berlin - Instagram

We loved Berlin. It was close to perfect. So perfect we thought about looking up how much it would cost to rent a place and wondered how hard it would be to work remotely indefinitely. Alas, we can’t move there (not now at least), but we remember it all fondly and hope to return someday.

Museums and Sights

Reichstag

The Reichstag building is the meeting place for the German parliament and its glass dome has a wonderful 360-degree view of Berlin. The informative audio guide gives a great introduction to the city and its layout, and provided an excellent and stunning start to our trip in Berlin.

Berlin Wall Memorial

The memorial along Bernauer Strasse informs and reminds visitors about the time of the division of Berlin and Germany. The history is explained through stories, sculptures and a remnants of the wall that provide a tangible impression of how family, friends and city were divided. We found it both informative and moving, and when standing next the wall with border strip and watchtower we were overcome with silence.

Hamburger Bahnhof

The Hamburger Bahnhof is a former railway station that now serves as a museum for modern and contemporary art. In addition to Kiefer, Rauschenberg and Warhol, we found some challenging and intriguing temporary exhibitions, and enjoyed Dan Flavin’s colorful light installations.

Bauhaus Archive/Museum of Design

The museum takes a thorough look at the history and influence of the Bauhaus movement through its collection of art pieces, items, documents and literature from the Bauhaus School. We really enjoyed seeing the broad spectrum of work from students and masters and listening to the audio guide’s insight into the school and its members. It was perfect for a Bauhaus geek like Bryan.

DDR Museum

This interactive museum shows everyday life in East Germany, also known as the GDR. The cars, clothes, music, homes and other elements of life in East Germany are displayed and through “hands-on” experiences you are able to step back in time and learn in an innovative way. If the movie Goodbye Lenin could be turned into a museum, it would look like the DDR Museum. They were able to walk the line between serious and humorous, sad and ridiculous, which is a very, very difficult task.

East Side Gallery

This gallery is a portion of the east side of the Berlin Wall and has 105 paintings by artists from all over the world. As one walks alongside it, you can’t help but think about those who experienced the change of this wall from something that was created to contain to something that now serves to inspire. The variety to the work reminds us of freedom from past control and the need to remember the past but continue to look forward.

Martin-Gropius-Bau

The Martin-Gropius-Bau is a beautiful hall that originally was a museum of applied arts and now hosts high quality temporary exhibitions. We were able to see two very different, but equally interesting shows about Dennis Hopper and Olympia. The exhibitions were presented brilliantly and we can now say we have a much greater understanding of Dennis Hopper’s creativity and the surprising mystical origins of the Olympics.

Dennis Hopper - The Lost Album

Olympia: Myth - Cult - Games in Antiquitiy

KW Institute

KW Institute is a contemporary art institution that has no permanent collection, it instead focuses energy on innovative exhibitions and creative programming. We happened to be in Berlin at the time of Wael Shawky’s exhibition Al Araba Al Madfuna, and were blown away by the quality, scale and thoughtfulness of the work. He is a storyteller and artist that draws you into his narratives, and then shows the connection of past and present.

Wael Shawky

Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom is Berlin’s Cathedral and we were able to attend their vespers service in a week that had been full of museums and photography from the moment we woke up. We were reminded that the best time to visit any cathedral or church while traveling is for a service where one can fully experience the intent of the space, instead of just looking around and snapping photos. Taking time to slow down and contemplate is just as important when we travel.

Food and Drink

Weinstein

This is the kind of place I would want to go on any rainy night. It is cozy and warm, the food is delicious and the wine recommendations are spot on. They were down to earth and helpful (since our German is extremely limited), and it is the only restaurant we went back to on our entire trip. We are still dreaming of their charcuterie and wine.

Café am Neuen See

A lovely lakeside location in Tiergarten where we enjoyed tasty soup and flammkuchen with refreshing beer. They have a biergarten and restaurant, making it perfect for a warm day or cold evening, and after going to Munich we would say it feels like a bit of Bavaria in Berlin.

Witty´s Organic Food

A great place to consume bio currywurst, fries and beer. I don’t think we will be attempting to make currywurst at home anythime soon, but we still found it a intriguing combination that we can imagine one would get a craving for. Sidenote: as a people who really don’t like mayonnaise, we love fries and mayo when in Europe, why is that?

Pratergarten

A restaurant and biergarten that serves up really big and super yummy beers. Sadly we came right before closing (no food) on a cold evening (no one outside), but we would love to be at this place on a warm summer evening. Who’s ready to go back to Berlin? Us!!!

Markthalle Neun

The market hall reminded us of the San Francisco Ferry Building, with beautiful food items, but smaller and more charming. We wanted to buy everything, but stuck to lunch from one vender and pastries from another. The massive crowd did result in a long wait, but the food was fantastic and unique. I only wish we had more room in our stomachs to try additional items. Did we mention we would love to go back to Berlin?

Zweistrom

Rachel and Michael, our awesome Airbnb hosts, recommended this place if we were craving falafel wraps. We were in need of something vegetarian, but satisfying and were crossing our fingers there would be some spiciness (we were going through salsa withdrawals). Zweistrom delivered everything we wanted and more. Thanks R&M.

Mogg & Melzer

This joint brings New York food culture to Berlin, and as west coasters who rarely enjoy good pastrami we were pulled in by the delicious smells and design of the space. The food really was fantastic and the architecture of the building (Jüdische Mädchenschule) is definitely worth the trip as well.

Anna Blume

We heard brunch was big in Berlin, and it turns out brunch is really big in Berlin. At Anna Blume we ordered the special for two which was more food than we could dream of eating (meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, vegetables, fruits, jams), but it was all very good. It was also fun to experience the charm of Prenzlauer Berg at this buzzing location that made for a great last meal experience in Berlin.

Coffee

Berlin coffee culture was absolutely fantastic, and to be honest led us to feel a bit disappointed with any coffee we had on the rest of the trip. Sorry Vienna coffee houses. A few of our favorites include:

Bonanza Coffee Roasters

Roasters that make a mean espresso. It appears to be a place everyone wants to be on a lovely sunny afternoon.

No Fire No Glory

A delicious flat white and lovely place to sit outside on a beautiful fall day.

Godshot

Lovely people, relaxing vibe and good taste in music. Oh yeah, delicious coffee and pastries to go along with it.

Cafe Fleury

Cafe au lait and delicious pastries. Best place to spend a Saturday breakfast/brunch and relax.

Lodging

Recycled Design Apartment Berlin

We loved loved loved this place, the charming Prenzlauer Berg and the owners, Rachel and Michael. They design beautiful furniture and have great recommendations for restaurants, museums and anything else you can think of. They quickly felt more like friends than hosts, and were thoughtful to buy us a bottle of sparkling wine for our anniversary and coffee and pastry during a morning hang out. If we could go back to Berlin, we would definitely stay at the Recycled Design Apartment. Honestly, we would live there permanently if we could.

Giving Back

August 22, 2012 by bryan

When Stephanie and I decided to take Mazzarello Media and Arts full time we knew we wanted a few key things to be different about our design studio. We knew that travel and exposure to new ideas would be important, a reasonable work schedule 4 days a week (Monday through Thursday), and lastely that we want to be able to give back to our local community and global community based on our passions.

Below are the local and global organizations we support from the profits of our design work as well as donated time and energy.

Local

Boost! West Oakland
Offering mentoring, academic assistance, and enrichment programs to the students of West Oakland.

La Cocina
Cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market and capital opportunities.

SPARK Oakland
Providing life-changing apprenticeships to youth in underserved communities in Oakland.

Citizen Schools Oakland
Partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities at Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy.

Project Peace
Create partnerships between local churches and social service providers that work together for just and sustainable communities in Berkeley & Oakland.

Adams Point Neighborhood Group
Developing community and arts in Adams Point.

BUILD East Oakland
Using entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success in East Oakland.

Oakland Art Murmur
Supporting art and cultural venues that are dedicated to increasing popular awareness of and participation in the arts of Oakland.

Global

Greenpeace
Seeking solutions to environmental issues and promoting informed debate.

Global Exchange
Promoting human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

Compassion International
Breaking the cycle of poverty.

Oxfam America
Creating lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Green America
Creating a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

The way light falls on an object

July 18, 2012 by bryan

Our aunt found an amazing quote in my grandmother's journal and it is so lovely we had to share it with you. How amazing to learn how similarly we see the world!

"I like scrutinizing images, looking carefully at minute details.  I look for color changes, the way light falls on an object and think about what the shadow is, endless appreciation."

Here are some recent images from our extensive Instagram collection:

Protect your Data

March 20, 2012 by bryan

LaCieThis is a friendly reminder that backing up your computer is serious business. We recommend a cool, little portable device from LaCie.

The key is to plug it in everyday and let Apple's brilliant Time Machine application do all the work. This has already saved us lots of time. Especially when it was time for us to upgrade to our new iMac. It is simple to restore your files from the old machine and your new computer has all the files ready to go, even the same desktop background. 

The 500 GB drive is perfect. In fact that is what I use and it has been a reliable tool for over 4 years and counting.

LaCie Rugged Hard Disk $150 (Shock proof multi-interface FireWire 400 & 800 | USB 2.0)

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We love learning

February 29, 2012 by bryan

We love learning about inspiring people, thoughtful music and exciting ideas. Our fantastic friends are always sharing new stuff with us, but we also get mental stimulation from the sources below.

The Treatment

  • What: A radio program where Elvis Mitchell talks film and life with today's creators of culture.
  • Why: We love thinking about how movies are made. This show takes both a very personal and big picture look at film.
  • Where: KCRW The Treatment website

New Band of the Day

  • What: An ongoing list with writeups about new and inspiring bands written by Paul Lester.
  • Why: It is hard to find new music with all the choices today. This makes the process much more fun and easy.
  • Where: The Guardian New Band of the Day website

Forum

  • What: A radio program discussing local, national, and international issues hosted by Michael Krasny.
  • Why: Each day there is some new topic or interview with a variety of perspectives. It helps us wake up and think critically.
  • Where: KQED Forum website

Vampires, Blutbads and Walkers...Oh my!

February 19, 2012 by Steph

We are not huge fans of horror movies. In fact, I still have nightmares from seeing a small part of A Nightmare on Elm Street in 6th grade. However, we are constantly drawn to vampires, werewolves, zombies and other creative monsters in television and film. Maybe it’s the winter weather getting to us, but we have been obsessing over several monster shows including Being Human (UK), Grimm on NBC and The Walking Dead on AMC.

 
Being Human (UK)
The show is about how a vampire, werewolf and ghost live together in a house in Bristol, and work at a local hospital. Everything about this concept is interesting to me. How did they all become friends? Why is the ghost still here? How can a vampire work at a hospital? Then the bigger questions keep me coming back for more. What makes us human? When do we lose our humanity? The show allows us to consider a world where there are vampires overcoming addictions, werewolves working on anger management, and ghosts conquering co-dependency. A world where monsters are more human than we imagine.
 
Grimm
This is a show that I thought I wouldn’t like, but with each episode I find myself liking it more and more (a good part of that is due to the clever acting of Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe and the fact that they actually filmed it in Portland). At a basic level it is a crime show where all of the criminals happen to be monsters and the main detective a descendant of the Grimm family. The monsters are interesting and complex, and the writers have done a fantastic job of making them believable. I like battles of good vs. evil, but even more when the lines of where good and evil begin aren’t quite clear. Any show that can make me laugh out loud, jump in fear and tell an interesting story in under an hour, is worth watching.
 
The Walking Dead
Since it is a show about zombies and the end of the world, there are monsters and beautiful shots of desolate cities, but there is also great acting and storytelling. The show brings forward the same interesting questions presented by Lost, Battlestar Galactica or Lord of the Flies. How do we as humans react in disastrous situations? Do we resort to chaos or come together for the future of humanity? Are we able to look forward and dream? Who finds freedom in starting life over? Of course, it is still a zombie show, so be prepared for creepy chase scenes and gruesome deaths. The fear is part of the fun after all.

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Dieter Rams: Principles 8-10 for Good Design

January 30, 2012 by bryan

Part Three of Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for Good Design inspired by the show at SFMOMA, “Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”, up through February 20, 2012. You can read Part One here and Part Two here.

Good Design

8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail

Sometimes we can get a little crazy about the details as designers. The exact color we want. The perfect amount of distance between each letter. The way a logo should always be used. We care about pixels and millimeters and CMYK and RGB and a bunch of other stuff clients don’t even realize. But that craziness is always keeping the client and their clients in mind. We create with precision and accuracy because we respect them and are looking out for future needs.

This is one of the main reasons I have loved Apple computers since I was a teenager. From the way they design a machine to the way the package it to the way they set up their stores, nothing is left to chance or arbitrary. Their thoroughness down to the last detail of where they put their power button is inspiring. I know, I know -- designers are so geeky.

Good Design

9. Good design is environmentally friendly

Designers are integral to the preservation of the environment. The way that car designers, fashion designers, product designers create can either be extremely harmful or helpful to the environment. If things are designed with reusable materials, intended to be long lasting, and avoid trendiness that helps us to have a less wasteful and more healthy environment.

When I design for clients, I always try to think about what is necessary to print and what can be conveyed via websites, social media and emails. I think it is important to avoid using unnecessary paper and ink, and when I do need to print items I use recycled paper and soy based inks, even if it costs more. It really is true what people say, “Every little bit helps.” You can read a magazine story that I was featured in about green printing at grist.org.

Good Design

10. Good design is as little design as possible

“Less but better.” Words I live by. Each design decision intentional and necessary. My favorite outfit is a black shirt with dark jeans. My desk is nice and tidy. I like solid colors, simple typefaces, and clean architectural lines. Keep things simple. Keep things pure. Give me the essentials and I am a happy designer.

When I look at design from Scandinavia, Germany or Switzerland I lose my breath for a second. The design can be made up of two colors, one typeface and a few lines and it speaks to me. My eyes are simultaneously stimulated and at ease. I can concentrate on what I need to see, and it becomes what I want to see.

Did I mention to you that I love the way Dieter Rams thinks?

Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.

Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”, up through February 20, 2012. You can read Part One here and Part Two here.

Dieter Rams: Principles 4-7 for Good Design

January 24, 2012 by bryan

Part Two of Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for Good Design inspired by the show at SFMOMA, “Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”, up through February 20, 2012. You can read Part One here.

Good Design

4. Good design makes a product understandable

When designing logos, websites or printed pieces it is important that everything just makes sense. I get so frustrated with design that tries so hard that it becomes confusing. A logo you can’t read or website where the navigation tries so hard to be cool that you aren’t quite sure how to use it.

Even all the way back to my senior year of college, in the autumn of 1999 when I designed my university yearbook annual, I wanted a design that would be enable people to find their friends easily, reflect the spirit of the university, while still sharing a unique point of view. But if I had solely focused on it being unique, I would have been missing the point of what the product is supposed to be. I desired for it to be understood.

Good Design

5. Good design is honest

I think this is part of the reason that I love the Bialetti Moka Express or french press. They are what they are. They both tell me that water and freshly ground beans will come together to form a substance that will wake me up in the morning. Their only promise is that my caffeine fix will be met.

When simple machines are bogged down with design and have so many bells and whistles, I feel overwhelmed, annoyed and cheated. A toaster is still a toaster. A blender is still a blender. The design should only make good honest promises, and then follow through on them. That kind of design makes me smile.

Good Design

6. Good design is unobtrusive

I feel this most strongly when I think of flash websites. While there are designers that have figured out how to use Flash in positive ways, most of the time Flash made websites less useful. People felt wowed in the first 20 seconds, and frustrated the rest of the time. There was so much energy put into making websites works of art that they were no longer useful tools.

In general, I aim to design in a restrained way. To allow the user to be able to come to the site and interact with it as they wish. Most of my design is thinking about what people need and want, and making it easy for them to find. Of course I want the work to be pleasing to the eye, but I never want to create something that is beautiful but useless.

Good Design

7. Good design is long-lasting

When I was at the Dieter Rams show I kept on thinking to myself, “That design still works. I still love it. It could have been designed just yesterday.” When I can look back at my work from over ten years ago and be happy with how it looks, I know I was creating good design. Of course that is not true of every piece, but there are definitely some examples in my portfolio that still work.

However, it is truly a challenge to avoid appearing antiquated in the world of web design. So quickly people’s work can go from being fashionable to old. While it is true that the way we program and the technology are constantly changing, I think we should still attempt to avoid being overly fashionable and create sites that can last longer than is typical. We owe that to our clients.

Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.

Movies Make Us Merry

January 12, 2012 by steph

During our time off for the holidays, we had fun running around Oakland and San Francisco, hanging out with friends, drinking some good cocktails and watching films. (What break would be complete without some good movie watching?)

Certified Copy

Our friend, Jeffrey Overstreet , is a wonderful writer and one of the few film reviewers that we would follow blindly into a theater. He had said that Certified Copy was his favorite film of 2010, so we knew that we needed to watch it. We found it on Netflix and were pleasantly surprised that 1) It was available on Instant Play and 2) It stars Juliette Binoche. Who doesn’t love Juliette? 
 
The film is fascinating and confusing, and after we finished it, I wanted to watch it all over again. It is all about love and pain and connection and conversation, but it is also as incredibly suspenseful as a thriller. I think I could watch it several times, and still be as equally captivated and confused.
 
If you have already seen it or are curious to find out more, here is Jeffrey’s much more thorough review.
 

Tree of Life

This film was more of an experience and a process than a movie. Bryan compared it to poetry and I compared it to a dream. It is the kind of film you talk about for hours and think about for days (but not in the terrifying Requim for a Dream type of way). It is about life on both a small and grand scale. How we came to be. How we live. How we hurt. How we love. How we will exit. To say it is touching isn’t really accurate, but to say that it touched me would be true.
 
The acting was brilliant, especially the main boy played by Hunter McCracken. (Bryan and I have agreed to disagree on whether we thought the mom was too angelic/light). The visuals, sound and editing were fantastic.I look forward to watching it again, and will be sure to start it early to leave time for conversation to follow.
 
For more comprehensive thoughts, we hand you over to Jeffrey Overstreet again.
 

Hugo

This is the first movie that made me really like 3-D. I generally find 3-D films annoying and headache inducing, but Scorsese made Hugo more thrilling, beautiful and touching with his use of the technology. The story is sad and heartwarming, fantastical and historical, adventurous and sweet, for children and adults. It is my definition of a perfect holiday movie or a movie I would love to watch when I am sick and in bed (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Amelie, Indiana Jones and Never Ending Story are some of the others on that list). See it while it is still in theaters.
 

Wizard of Oz

We both had seen the Wizard of Oz before, but never as adults and not on the big screen. Of course it is a delightful classic, we loved singing along to every song, and the monkeys still make Bryan scared, but what made it really enjoyable was seeing it at the Paramount Movie Classics. We may talk way too much about how much we love going to the Paramount to watch films, but we will not stop until every person in the Bay Area gets the opportunity to watch classic movies the way they were meant to be seen, on the silver screen. Check out the schedule and be sure to get there early for a great seat. 
 

Urbanized

From the people that brought us Helvetica and Objectified, comes a new design-geek documentary about the city. Urbanized completes the trilogy. We absolutely loved the first two films by Gary Hustwit, but this one we liked. If you have seen the other to films then this is a must see, but I caution you this film is less focused than the previous. It seems that this documentary would have been better in a TV series format on PBS. There simply is too much information to cover and this film is all over the map.
 
It spreads itself a bit thin trying to cover “the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.” What it does well, however is get you excited about living in an urban environment. This film moved us and made us think about our city and some of our favorite European cities. Two of our favorite parts of the film are when the film crew interviews the mayor of Santiago, Chile about public transportation and the story of the brilliant New York City High Line park.

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Dieter Rams at SFMOMA

January 11, 2012 by bryan

I love Dieter Rams, the brilliant industrial designer from Germany. In a perfect world he would be my Uncle Dieter and every Christmas dinner would be spent talking about good design and simplicity. We would sit in his well designed mid-century chairs, listen to Johann Sebastian Bach on his record player, drink der Kaffee from his Braun machine and discuss how less really is more.

Since this is only my dream and not my reality, the next best thing is enjoying the current SFMOMA show, “Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”, up through February 20, 2012.

There I can stare at his designs and ruminate on his quotes, and enjoy the knowledge that he shares with us all through his ideas and creations. Over the next few entries I will be sharing “Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for Good Design” and my own thoughts about his words. I think he perfectly states why I love my job and am passionate about design.

Good Design

1. Good design is innovative

This reminds me to always have hope. That we will continue to progress in both technology and design and in fact the two are essential to each other. In moments where design feels stagnant, I remember that there will always be more ideas and possibilities. That innovation will continue to move us forward. I think the development of tablets and apps in the past few years is a beautiful example of the tandem nature of design and technology. I get excited just thinking about what new ideas lay ahead in the future.

Good Design

2. Good design makes a product useful

I love when things look cool. When I see it on a shelf and I want to buy it just to see it on my shelf. But I never buy those things. I buy what I use and I use what I buy, and when the beauty reflects the usefulness - I am a happy man. When I build websites I am always thinking about what is useful and necessary first, and as design starts to detract from the site’s functionality, the design must be stripped down. I think that is why my most favorite designs are also the most simple ones.

Good Design

3. Good design is aesthetic

When I use my Bialetti stove-top espresso maker each morning, it makes me happy. The metal container and plastic handle come together to make me smile. I love the shape, the feel, the smell of the coffee as it percolates. The beauty of this simple design is how well it is executed. As I design logos, print work and websites, I long to create things for companies to make their lives easier and better. I want their clients' days to be brightened (in little ways) by the aesthetic quality of my work. If “only well-executed objects can be beautiful,” I strive to be a designer of beauty.

Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design.

Let's Go to the Movies (in Oakland)

November 20, 2011 by bryan

We love film and honestly watch movies very, VERY frequently. One of our favorite things to do together is watch a film that has interesting insight into humanity, delves into deeper truth and philosophy, tells us something new about the world or involves some form of a vampires in a postapocalyptic world. The following are our favorite places to go in Oakland for a movie and where we would enjoy having a discussion afterwards.

 
Paramount Theater
  • Where: Broadway (Uptown)

  • Why: Movie classics, Art Deco, Dec-O-Win, Mighty Wurlitzer organ, 5 bucks...Why not?

  • After: Xolo for late night tacos or Era Art Bar for beer and spirits in a lovely atmosphere
 
Grand Lake Theater
  • Where: Grand Ave.

  • Why: Historic theater, best sign around town, fun atmosphere for a blockbuster's opening night
  • 
After: Boot and Shoe Service for cocktails and pizza (the meatballs are a must if available)
 
Piedmont Theater
  • Where: Piedmont Ave.

  • Why: Small theaters, comfortable seats, independent films and audiences that enjoy them 

  • After: Lush Gelato for innovative flavors or Adesso for their happy hour drinks and small bites
 
 

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In Love with Piadine

November 9, 2011 by Steph

LambruscoThe Italian cuisine is known and loved all over the world. It is comfort food that is delicious, fresh and seasonal. Even the pickiest of eaters won’t turn down fresh pasta or perfectly cooked pizza. It is our absolute favorite, and after this recent trip we fell more deeply in love with the cibo of Italy.

The exciting thing about Italian food is how regional it is. In Emilia Romagna you must try “this”. In Veneto “this”. In Lombardy you cannot forget to sample “that”. Each place we went there was food and wine that came from down the street and recipes that didn’t leave the province.

The following are some of our favorite food and drinks that we truly enjoyed for the first time on our trip. For the items that cannot be replicated at home or found in a great restaurant, we recommend finding a way to make it to Italy. It’s worth it.

Tigelle and Gnocco Frito

I don’t feel I can really do tigelle and gnoccho frito justice. The are bread. Tigelle is round and flat. Gnoccho frito is rectangular, fried and puffy. One takes these breads and fills them with creamy cheeses, hard cheese, lardo (yes I wrote lardo), prosciutto, salami there is no wrong combination we could find. Although everyone has personal favorites. You drink lambrusco with them (see below). They are simply delicious.

PiadinaPiadine

Imagine very thin flat bread sandwiches filled with all of your favorite fresh and local ingredients. A bread that is so thin it lets the products between its two pieces shine bright, and yet you still find yourself loving the bread in all of its tortilla thinness. What do you want on it? Roast beef, arugula, grana padano, tomato...here you go. Prosciutto, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and squacquerone cheese...great. A sandwich, but so much more.

Spritz

Warm weather begs for a refreshing drink. In the past I would have said the margarita (or a ver cold beer) is the answer to this need. This is no longer the case. The spritz is lovely, thirst quenching and makes me want to eat a bunch of salty treats. It is made of wine, bitters (Campari or Aperol) and carbonated water. We have made it the official drink of summer in the Mazzarello home, and I am pretty sure we will find a way to enjoy it this winter as well.

Tortellini in Brodo

This is the dish that changed my life. I know that is a dramatic thing to say. Who says that about little pieces of pasta filled with meat and floating around in a thin broth? I do. I say it proudly. This was my Ratatoulle moment. The moment where childhood slammed into the present and I could imagine myself as a small Italian girl coming home to a steaming bowl of Tortellini in Brodo. This is Mario Batali’s recipe that I am hoping to try, please invite me over if you make it at home.

LeonardiLambrusco

The idea of drinking a sparkling red wine seemed silly to me at first. Sparkling wines should be light in color. I should be able to see the bubbles. Now I am trying to convince Bryan that we have to have a party and only serve Lambrusco so that everyone else can see how tasty it is. We had it at almost every meal while in Emilia Romagna, and it went with every single bite.

Balsamic Vinegar

The good stuff. I mean the really good stuff. The kind of vinegar that will change your view of all vinegar, and make you feel like someone has been keeping a secret from you for your entire life. I am sure that there are other great brands out there, but we have to recommend trying Leonardi balsamic if you can find it. After perfecting it for four generations, they have mastered their craft! Our cousin works there, we saw the process of how they make it, and now we can’t use anything else.

 

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Christi Foist Shares Some Tips #2

September 12, 2011 by bryan

Stephanie and I have a great circle of thoughtful friends and colleagues that inspire us daily. It dawned on us that we should share their knowledge with you. So from time to time we would like to have them guest blog on our website.

This entry comes from our friend Christi Foist, writer, editor, knitter, and fellow film and music fanatic. She has a great knack for following trends, baking bread, keeping up with the news, and following Bay Area music venues. Christi has a great email she sends out called, artRecs, and I thought I would share it with you.

Well, as usual, I've wound up with more here than I expected. To mix things up a bit this time, I'm switching up the order and starting with poetry. You'll also find some highlights of upcoming concerts, since we're into quite the festival and tour season shortly. In brief, though:

Poetry

  • This via Mako Fujimura: the New York poet Samuel Menashe has died. I hadn't heard of him until now, but he was a WWII vet who saw "all but 29 members of his company of 190 men ... either killed, wounded or taken prisoner" during one day of the Battle of the Bulge, an experience that affected his approach to time. I share that because I was really struck that someone who witnessed such horror would respond by creating art. Would recognize how uncertain his future was, how precious each day ... and choose to write poetry. According to the Times, his literary career was one of belated acclaim, with the Brits appreciating his talent before Americans did. After the war, he had a largely non-academic career, which included "a motley assortment of pickup jobs: tour guide on Gray Line buses, French tutor, lecturer on cruise ships." Read the full obit. You can hear Menashe in NPR's 2006 interview with him. And, of course, read some of his poems.

Visual Art

Film & Video

  • This weekend I discovered the Retronaut blog, which led me to this entertaining short film (a kind of very early music video, really): "A Little Jive is Good for You."

Tunes

  • In case you didn't get enough former-Beatle and Zooey Deschanel Buddy Holly covers with the release of Rave On earlier this summer, there's another tribute album out, Listen to Me. Deschanel contributes another cover, alongside Ringo Starr, Chris Isaak, Natalie Merchant and others. NPR has the story and a few sample tracks.
  • Ryan Adams has recently released a few news tracks: the single "Lucky Now" (from his new album), as well as an acoustic take on the Iron Maiden song "Wasted Years" (featuring some very nice guitar work). I've liked some of his songs and been so-so on others, but I'm afraid I'll have temporarily worn out "Lucky Now" by the time the record drops on Oct. 11. Most tickets for his local shows appear to have sold out, alas, so you'll have to try your luck with Craigslist (as I plan to).
  • Do you know of the band, Tinariwen? The New York Times has a neat write-up on Tinariwen, with a very cool discussion of " 'asuf,' a sentiment from their own culture and Tamashek language that describes both a sense of spiritual pain, yearning or nostalgia and the emptiness of the desert itself ... [and] ... creates a certain kinship with the bluesmen of Mississippi and Chicago." The band is also featured in the latest issue of Paste, which includes a free download of one of their songs. Most excitingly, though, San Francisco is on the U.S. leg of their international tour this fall.
  • I'm not usually a fan of mash-ups but my friend Reid, a former editor for Paste recently shared one combining Radiohead and Dave Brubeck that I actually quite liked.
  • Upcoming concert highlights:
    • Bon Iver @ the Greek, Sept. 22
    • The Jayhawks @ Hardly Strictly AND Slim's, Sept. 30
    • Crazy lineup of artists @ Hardly Strictly, Sept. 30-Oct. 2
    • Esperanza Spalding @ Paramount Theater, Oct. 1 (part of the SF Jazz Festival)
    • Michael Franti @ the Greek, Oct. 8
    • Zee Avi @ the Independent, Oct. 13
    • Ryan Adams @ Herbst Theater, Oct. 14
    • Ryan Adams @ Uptown Theater in Napa, Oct. 15
    • McCoy Tyner @ Herbst Theater, Oct. 16 (part of the SF Jazz Festival)
    • Paul Simon @ the Greek, Oct. 20
    • Tinariwen with Cake @ the Fox, Oct. 30
    • Feist @ the Warfield, Nov. 14
    • Over the Rhine @ Great American Music Hall, Nov. 15
    • The Civil Wars @ the Fillmore, Nov. 17
    • Lucinda Williams @ the Fillmore, Nov. 19-20
    • Rachel Yamagata @ Slim's, Nov. 25
    • Morrissey @ the Fox, Dec. 1
    • Jake Shimabukoro @ the Warfield, Dec. 3
    • Tori Amos @ the Paramount, Dec. 16

Finding new inspiration

July 15, 2011 by bryan
As a husband a wife team, we not only have the pleasure of working together, but sharing life together and finding new inspiration. Lately we have been enjoying Oakland Art Murmur, the beauty of the annual pass to SFMOMA, and the Farmers’ market in Oakland.
 
Oakland Art Murmur
  • Where: Uptown Oakland
  • When: First Friday of the Month
  • Why: Great art, tasty food, fun music and a joyful (slightly eccentric) scene.
 
 
SFMOMA
  • Where: San Francisco (SoMa)
  • When: M-F 9-5, Sat - Sun 9-5:45
  • Why: Cool interior, interesting exhibitions and the rooftop sculpture garden and coffee bar.
 
 
Farmers' Market
  • Where: Splash Pad Park
  • When: Saturdays year round
  • Why: The most vendors, fantastic produce and the Bicycle Coffee stand next to Belgian Waffles

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Why We Choose Oakland

June 17, 2011 by bryan

Choose-Oakland.pdf (2.71 mb)

Have we mentioned that we love Oakland? We live, work, worship and play in this amazing city. Oakland is the metropolitan hub of the East Bay and the third largest city in the Bay Area behind San Francisco and San Jose and we like it that way. We have room to breathe when we walk around Lake Merritt or the redwoods in the Oakland hills, but at the same time we have access to amazing public transportation which is important when you don't have a car. We get around on BART, AC Transit, the East Bay Ferries, and we even have Amtrak roll through town.

We can cheer for one of three pro sports teams (A's, Warriors, Raiders) or head to Jack London Square, where there's a saloon the author frequented and Yoshi's, a renowned jazz club. We can walk through historic victorian homes, watch container ships at one of the busiest industrial ports on the West Coast, rent a sailboat on Lake Merritt, stroll along 19 miles of bay and estuary shoreline, explore the fantastic Oakland Museum of California -- they're all great reasons to hop the bay and spend a fog-free day exploring one of California's largest and most ethnically diverse cities. Did you know Oakland boasts about a dozen wineries – many with tasting rooms – including award-winners Dashe, JC Cellars and Enat.

I love this quote from Frommer's Travel guide:

"as the City by the Bay has become crowded and expensive in the past few years, Oakland has experienced a rush of new residents and businesses. As a result, Oak-town is in the midst of a renaissance, and its future continues to look brighter and brighter.

And here is another great quote from a recent article in the Oakland Tribune about Pandora, whose headquarters is in Oakland.

"This is an entrepreneurial firm, a social media company, and that helps the downtown," Del Beccaro said. "With the new apartments and condos being built in the area, you can put the creative types in jobs in Oakland."

Other cutting-edge companies such as solar firms BrightSource Energy, Sungevity and SolarFirst have headquarters in Oakland. Tech firms such as iParadigms, Lucid Design Group, LiveScribe, Xantrion and Skytide also are based there.

City officials hope those ranks will swell steadily. And it may happen because Pandora is attempting to be an Oakland ambassador.

"Pandora has been active in trying to convince software and social media companies to move from San Francisco to Oakland," Quan said.

Why Choose Oakland? Download the PDF
  • The “cool” factor - eclectic, happening, fun; diverse
  • Concentration of like- minded innovators
  • Educated, creative, young workforce
  • Talented innovators
  • Affordable city living
  • Easy public transit access
  • More artists anywhere outside of Manhattan
  • World-class arts institutions, venues, attractions
  • Amazing restaurants and farmers markets
  • Rich musical heritage

Christi Foist Shares Some Tips

May 26, 2011 by bryan

Stephanie and I have a great circle of thoughtful friends and colleagues that inspire us daily. It dawned on us that we should share their knowledge with you. So from time to time we would like to have them guest blog on our website.

Christi Foist

This week I would like to introduce you to Christi Foist, writer, editor, knitter and film and music fanatic. She has a great knack for following trends, baking bread, keeping up with the news, and following Bay Area music venues. Christi has a great email she sends out and I thought I would share it with you this week.

Visual Art

  • Crocheted tributes to Banksy are just one of the many forms knitted graffiti takes; the New York Times has a look at the trend sometimes known as "yarn bombing". (See also this SF example I spotted a while back.) Keep your eye peeled for more in mid-June. Apparently the 11th has been dubbed International Yarn Bombing Day.
  • This isn't strictly visual, perhaps, but I could spend hours at a show like this. So many great ideas for repurposing things to use around the home.
  • A closer look at World War II's most famous kiss: this post is a few months old now, but re-examines one of the war's most iconic photos in light of a possible witness' recollection.

Tunes

  • First Listen brings you Death Cab for Cutie and My Morning Jacket this week. Both stream until May 31, so carve out 45 minutes of your holiday weekend, if you're a fan.
  • Top 10 composers: an 8-year-old's list(s) - This is actually a few months old, a but a delightful response to an article by the Times' critic. And, there's a follow-up video, in which he discusses Lady Gaga, his demotion of Brahms on the list and what he likes about Taiwanese soup. Eight minutes, but a fun eight -- he even concludes by playing a Bach fugue.
  • J. Crew's getting on the music tie-in bandwagon, so if you don't mind looking at some women's shoes in the process, you can get two free songs (I only liked the Sallie Ford one enough to download; the other was more electronic).

Film

  • If you're a fellow Tintin fan, you can check out a preview for the movie version (which has Spielberg and Peter Jackson involved, among others), due out at Christmas.
  • Woodie Allen has a new film out, and so far both the New York Times and Wall St. Journal really like it. I'm rather tempted to go myself.

In the mood for a dance break...

April 28, 2011 by steph

Cold War Kids

Sometimes we need a bit of a break from our computer screen during the day, a time to move our muscles and release the tension. (We also found out from a scientific study that we are supposed to move once an hour to keep our muscles from atrophying...think about that).

During these times we have our favorite “release-the-stress” music:


If you don’t take dance breaks, you should start, and if you already do, send us your favorite get up and dance music because we could always use more recommendations.

Battle of the Bands

April 18, 2011 by steph

Each year around Bryan’s birthday we find ourselves anticipating one of our favorite yearly traditions. We aren’t big followers of traditions in general, we don’t fill stockings at Christmas, we are grossed out by green beer on St. Patricks Day, we are freaked out by the concept of a giant bunny hopping around on Easter, we don’t like loud fireworks shows on the 4th of July, we don’t wear costumes on Halloween, but we love, love, love the Battle of the Bands at UC Davis Picnic Day.

Marching bands from all over the state come together to rage by the river all day long. They play oldies, 90‘s grunge, Lady Gaga and school songs with such enthusiasm. Bryan’s favorite activity is standing in front of each band when it is their turn to play, and getting his ears blown out while dancing to the beat.

It is one of the highlights of our Spring, and Bryan’s favorite birthday event. Next year, mid April, keep your calendars open and be sure to make it out.

It’s a Hard Knock Life

April 11, 2011 by steph

AnnieI was always a choir/musical kid. Inside and outside of school I liked performing music for others or even just singing to myself. I remembering watching the musical Annie whenever I got a chance, and dreaming of running up and down the stairs and jumping on top of beds. (On a sidenote what was up with the "orphan adopted by rich people" obsession in the early 80’s?).

When I mentioned my Annie obsession with a group of friends it turns out they all grew up watching it too. I had no idea I wasn’t the only one. It turns out kids all over America were watching this musical over and over again and dreaming of having really red and really curly hair.

So after my most recent Annie viewing, we followed it up by watching Life After Tomorrow, about all of the kids that starred in the musical on Broadway. This let us know what it was really like for all of the kids who were able to achieve my dream of being a part of the musical. It was a really interesting look at how adulthood was thrust upon them. The documentary was actually much more fascinating than the musical itself, but I must admit I still loved singing along with every single song.

Photography Documentaries

April 5, 2011 by steph

Heri Cartier-Bresson

We often find ourselves working thematically through our Netflix queue. We become obsessed with documentaries on education on America, infatuated with Italian neorealism, passionate about post Apocalyptic thrillers, enthralled with Japanese Anime, and entertained by miniseries about 18th-19th century British aristocracy.

A recent theme was photography documentaries that included:

Both of these films provided interesting insight into how and why photographers work.

Along with those films we highly recommend the following documentaries that deal with similar topics:

Kara Thrace meet Coach & Mrs. Coach

March 15, 2011 by steph

BattlestarSometimes Bryan and I fall in so deeply in love with a television show we begin to imagine we are a part of the show ourselves. As a child, Heathcliff Huxtable was my dad, Zack Morris was my boyfriend and Vicky was my robot sister. As an adult, I tried to avoid “The Others” on the island, drank coffee at Luke’s in Stars Hollow, walked the gangways of the Battlestar Galactica and smelled the green grass of the Dillon Panthers stadium.

When a favorite show comes to an end I feel like I am saying goodbye to a friend and faced with the realization that time really is passing by. The shows took place while important things were happening in our real world, and in some strange way, those memories are tied up in each other.

Friday Night Lights

I believe saying goodbye to the worlds of Battlestar Galactica and small town Dillon, Texas have been the hardest. Two worlds that couldn’t be more different, but with such beautiful writing, acting and production value the viewer was pulled into both of these shows in such a real way. I have never had a desire to live in outerspace or small town Texas, but both of those shows made me want to check out housing prices in Dillon and university Aeronautics degree programs. Their last episodes brought tears to both of our eyes.

Our only consolation is that we now have the Braverman family, and since they live in the Bay Area we are hoping to run into them at our farmer’s market or a Cal Bears game.

Of Monsters and Men

January 25, 2011 by bryan

Stephanie and I are always on the look out for a new inspiration. Creative inspiration comes in many forms but music is one of the strongest.

For some reason a little tiny island floating off the coast of Denmark seems to produce a phenomenal amount of great music per capita. Iceland has given us Bjork, Sigur Ros, Leaves and now Of Monsters and Men. This unsigned folk band hails from Reykjavík and creates some really fun full sounding acoustic music.

 

Enjoy this video from Seattle's public radio station, KEXP, as Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men perform "Little Talks" in their living room in Reykjavík during Iceland Airwaves 2010. Recorded on 10/16/10.

 

The Woz

November 30, 2010 by bryan

Together with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak created the first commercially available personal computers and helped establish home computing for the masses. The two Bay Area men went on to found Apple Computers, Inc. Where would we be without the personal computer? Where would our industry of graphic design be without the computer?

Stephanie and I love Apple computers. We have made our career on their innovative machines. We owe whole bunch of gratitude to "The Woz" and Jobs. Watch this awesome video we found on the new website OnInnovation.com. Wozniak talks about how he approaches computer engineering as an artist. I love his enthusiasm and charisma for inventing. What is great about him as well is that it is never for invention's sake, but to make computers work for the individual.

Watch more: Wozniak talks about "fun" as a driving force behind what he does, whether its playing pranks, playing Seqway polo, or designing machines. That idea and his constant tinkering led him to designing the Apple I and II, computers he said were built for fun.

Watch the Complete Interview
Download the Interview Transcript (PDF)
Download the Highlight Video Transcript (PDF)

PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation

November 9, 2010 by bryan

http://museumca.org/exhibit/pixar-25-years-animation

Teddy Newton, The Incredibles Family, The Incredibles, 2004. Collage. ©Disney/Pixar.

Stephanie and I have been inspired of the decades by the Bay Area animation studio Pixar. Now we get to see their art up close! PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation is on display at Oakland Museum of California now through January 9, 2011. The show was so good that we became members of the museum because we knew viewing it one time was not enough.

Walt Disney’s arrival in Los Angeles in the 1920s firmly established California as a magnet for animation artists in the decades to come. Home to a number of leading studios, the San Francisco Bay Area has emerged as a global center for animation today. PIXAR: 25 Years of Animation provides an unprecedented look at the renowned Emeryville-based studio (located just a few miles from OMCA) and showcases the creative work behind its wildly successful computer-animated films. After its opening in New York and its five-year international tour, the exhibition comes home to Oakland. The OMCA presentation includes all of the artwork from the original presentation at MOMA, plus art from Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, and Pixar’s latest film, Toy Story 3.

Pulled from Oakland Museum of California's website: http://museumca.org/exhibit/pixar-25-years-animation

Looking for Inspiration

September 21, 2010 by bryan

As professional creatives, Stephanie and I are always on the look out for something to inspire us. It could be anything from a wall texture, a redwood tree, a great dinner or even as cliche as it sounds a sunset. Just today I was sent an inspiring link, by my creative friend Josh Pardy, of jaw dropping time-lapse photography of the Bay Area.

This work comes from Pixar animator and extremley talented Oakland resident, Simon Christen. You can view his stunning work on his website or on Vimeo. I am just in love with this work. I love the photos, the lighting, the location, and the music!

Mary and Max

September 7, 2010 by bryan

We recently saw a wonderful stop-motion film called Mary and Max. The Australian film takes place "down-under" and in New York City. Adam Elliot directs it and Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman provide the voices of Mary and Max.

Netflix Synposis

Mary Dinkle, a chubby 8-year-old Australian girl, and Max Horovitz, an obese, middle-aged New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome, are a pair of unlikely pen pals in this quirky clay animation feature from writer-director Adam Elliot. Corresponding for two decades, the friends delve into a variety of topics, including sex, kleptomania, psychiatry, taxidermy and more

View the site: http://www.maryandmax.com/

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Simplicity

August 19, 2010 by bryan

Here is a great quote I came across:

Simplicity does not mean want or poverty. It does not mean the absence of any decor, or absolute nudity. It only means that the decor should belong intimately to the design proper, and that anything foreign to it should be taken away.

-Paul Jacques Grillo

Wild Beasts

August 13, 2010 by steph

The Wild Beasts hail from Kendal, England. The band is a recent discovery for me, that comes along with a recently released second album titled Two Dancers.

The group provides interestingly beautiful vocals with well matched music. While listening, I was continuously surprised by the ever changing journey for my ears. I find this variety invigorating for the creative process, making Wild Beasts some delightful designing music.

Check them out, and be sure to do something creative while you are listening.

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From Kehoe to Cavallo

July 12, 2010 by bryan


"Toy Handle": Arrangements of beach plastic collected from Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore.

Stephanie and I had the privilege of staying at the beautiful Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. At the lodge they have a great little gallery that is currently showing From Kehoe to Cavallo - the mystery in the mess Prints by Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang July 8 – October 22, 2010.

These creative images are photographs of found plastic debris on the pristine Northern California coastline. The artist couple has been collecting for over 10 years and has amassed a large collection. They use the debris to make artworks including large sculptures, installations, photo tableaus and jewelry.

Here is what they do in their own words:

We are a collaborative team. Our love of nature is combined with our interest in science to produce an on-going series of art works about the oceans and the environment. While the content of our work has a message about the spoiling of the natural world by the industrial world, our final intent is aesthetic and celebratory.

 

How to Schedule an Event or Meeting

June 2, 2010 by bryan

 


Maybe your like us and wonder how you can coordinate multiple people schedules without the use of a full time office administrator. We recently discovered (thanks Jessica) that an amazing and FREE tool is available, called Doodle. This fantastic idea comes from the brilliant minds of Swiss programmers (I can imagine they are very organized in Zurich).

TechCrunch says, "Doodle is a free web app which helps you find suitable dates for group events, like an appointment, a conference call etc. It’s been around for a while as a hacker project, but after growing has now turned into a real startup.

Although I have not tried it, but heard good things about it, you can check out Berkeley-based TimeBridge for a more robust scheduling tool.

 

Getting Organized

May 25, 2010 by bryan


Often people will ask how we stay organized with all of our projects. Running your own business can look a lot like a circus, but it does not have to be. One of the most draining aspects of running a small business is that not only are you doing all the actual work, but you are managing the business and the financials as well. There are 2 tools that have really helped us stay organized and are easy to use.

  1. Basecamp
    Basecamp has been a huge help. It helps us with file management with our clients, creating to-do lists, nailing down milestones, it even does time tracking for those of you who have billable hours, and best of all it streamlines your email flow so you have more time for the actual projects that you really need to work on.


  2. Quickbooks
    This has been a wonderful tool. It really is helpful, even to designers. It allows us to track all of our expenses, our income and it helps us run reports so we can see where we are at at the end of each month, quarter or fiscal year and even find out which clients are sending us the most business. So even Baz Kitty is impressed when we have our "board meetings".
Running a business can get easier, you just need the right tools. One of the best tools in gaining business is complete branding, from logo and cards to a website. Let us know how Mazzarello Media and Arts can help you.

 

Write the Future

May 24, 2010 by bryan

This is an amazing commercial that captures the impact of global football (soccer) on popular culture. Well done Nike! One more classic commercial to add to your archives. We are huge Fabio Cannavaro fans so this was exciting for us on several levels.

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Impact of Designers

November 10, 2009 by bryan

This video of Steven Heller, Author of "Iron Fists", is from the Gel Conference in October 2009 in New York. Heller addresses the impact of design, looking at totalitarian states and how they use their graphic design as a mode of influence and direction.

Steven Heller at Gel 2009 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

Sneaky Ad

November 3, 2009 by bryan

 


Got a letter in the mail today from AT&T. It looks like Stephanie's mom wrote notes all over it. You know your mom does the same thing and then mails an article to you.

Well on closer inspection looks like AT&T's ad people are pretty clever. It even looks like it has been photo copied.

It is amazing the effort designers go to to grab your attention. This one is well executed.

 

Vancouver

October 23, 2009 by bryan




This week's image comes from Vancouver, British Columbia. We were so inspired by our trip to Canada. We absolutely loved all the glass buildings. It is as if Vancouver built all of their skyscrapers and high-rises only out of glass. The skyline is so magnificent.

We could not get enough. Luckily we were packing our camera and grabbed a few cool shots to share with you.

View the image full size.

 

Baz Kitty

October 16, 2009 by bryan




This week's image is of our cat, Baz Kitty. Like most pets, Baz is part of the family, but he also is our coworker. Baz is our Interim HR Director. He makes sure we don't work to late, by biting our computer cables once 6:30pm comes around. He prefers his title to include "Interim" since he does not like to hold too much responsibility. He is more comfortable with the less permanent sounding title. Since he works for cheap, we figure we can go along with it. His second title at the office is, Muse. Just look at him in these photos and you can see why.

View the image full size.

 

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Paris

October 12, 2009 by bryan


I love Paris. I love the people, the architecture, the parks, the food and the feel. It is a city that feels like nowhere else on earth. So when I saw the advertisement for the movie entitled Paris (and starring Juliette Binoche), I knew I had to see it.

The film was lovely and interesting, like taking a stroll through the city for 2 hours. And while it is a love letter of sorts to the city, it is a love letter that is full of true moments with real characters feeling a spectrum of emotions.

It showed me the Paris that I love, but often do not see in film. The Paris full of diverse landscapes and ethnnicities, temperamental weather, fragrant markets and shops, and beautifully quirky people that you feel like you must have known somewhere/sometime before. A city that is not perfectly pristine for tourists, but a city that is lived in and real.

If you love the city of Paris for its beauty and flaws and everything in between, this is a film to watch.

American Photography: A Century of Images

October 9, 2009 by bryan


Typically our photo posts are used to display our own photography, but since I just viewed American Photography: A Century of Images, it seemed fitting to write about the documentary that explores 100 years of photography in this country. The documentary covers the development of cameras, photography as an art form, photos for personal documentation, the spectacular moments captured on film and much more.

After watching it I wanted to go out with my own camera or look through my own photos, and think about how much life and history has been captured through the lens. I also wanted to set up a darkroom and smell chemicals and feel photopaper and start using film again. I even considered throwing my camera in a bag and driving across country and seeing what really lies inside of these 50 states.

The interviews, the history and the photos are brought together so well, it was interesting, educational and extremely enjoyable. And for any current photographer, a great look into the history of the art form that has grown and will continue to expand and change.

 

Richard Avedon at SFMOMA

October 8, 2009 by bryan


I have mixed feelings about art museums, sort of a love/hate relationship. I love looking at the art, thinking about the art, reading about the artists, and I hate how exhausted I feel afterward. This happens to me often. I bombard my senses for one half hour too long, and I am done for the day.

One way I have found to avoid this, is to purchase a year pass to a favorite museum. I feel less pressure to see everything in one day, and allow myself the time and space to be inspired by the work. So as a new member to SFMOMA I was very excited to take the time to enjoy the Richard Avedon exhibition, and it did not disappoint.

Not only was the photography spectacular, the curating was excellent. The show takes you through his work photographing fashion, celebrities, politicians, artists and the working man. The way it is presented feels very organic, enabling us to see how he grew/changed as an artist.

At the end of the exhibition I overheard an interesting question posed by a guide, "Would you have wanted Avedon to photograph you?" While he was known to capture a beautiful photograph, not every person was pleased with their portrayal. You are looking at yourself in the mirror as someone else sees you. A potentially scary prospect...

...But come on, of course I would have signed up for that portrait - he's Richard Avedon.

 

Over the Rhine

September 29, 2009 by steph

When the days start getting darker earlier, there are three things that I want: a warm drink, a crackling fire and to listen to Over the Rhine. Their music makes me relaxed and invigorated, melancholy and hopeful, chilled and warm...it is perfect for the time of inbetweens.

I also must mention that they are even better live than on their cds. Karin Bergquist has a voice that is absolutely spectacular in person, Linford Detweiler is a beautiful storyteller, and together they thrive when interacting with an audience. See if they have a show near you sometime soon.

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Little Dorrit

September 28, 2009 by steph


I never thought I would be writing/typing/saying this, but I really love Masterpiece (Theater). I grew up thinking that Masterpiece Theater was full of strange accents, boring stories and a great thing to nap to. And now I keep finding myself addicted to Masterpiece movies over and over again.

The most recent favorite is Little Dorrit, winner of seven Emmy Awards. It is a great story, full of beautiful cinematography, acting, sets and costumes. It looks at debt, greed, pride, classism in a different time and place, but the story is something that says much to us in our current world.

I watched Little Dorrit online, but the website says that Tuesday (tomorrow) is the last day it will be available in its entirety. However, it is definitely worth putting in your Netflix queue. For more quality online videos, be sure to check out the great PBS' video website.

 

Discovery Park

September 25, 2009 by steph




This week's image comes from a series of photos we took at Discovery Park in Seattle, WA June of 2007. It is a gorgeous 530 acre park right in Seattle. It was a great source of refuge for us when we lived there for 2 years. Once you step into the park you are in another world, surrounded by great beauty. If we timed it with a sunny day then it was really great.

We too hope you find sources of inspiration in your own backyard. It might just be the trick to getting out of a creative slump.

View the image full size.

 

Farmers' Markets

September 24, 2009 by steph

If I am feeling down, if I need visual inspiration, and if I desire lots of delicious fruits/vegetables/cheese/bread...all I need is a trip to the farmers' market.


I love becoming a regular at the market. It is so fun to know which guys sell the best stone fruit, who has delicious heirlooms, and where I can buy that amazing bag of lettuce that never seems to end and always stays fresh. I enjoy getting a great deal or extra sample of delicious paratha. And I really love seeing the same smiling faces week after week.

I am super lucky to have a fantastic market in walking distance on Saturday mornings, but if I happen to miss my market, I know another market is nearby and waiting for a visit. For a great resource to find a market near you, check out LocalHarvest.org.

Did you Know 4.0

September 22, 2009 by bryan

Very interesting facts about the rapid change of the social media realm, laid out in visually stimulating form.

Billy the Kid

September 21, 2009 by bryan

We recently saw an awesome tip on Facebook from an old college buddy, Josh Forbes, who now happens to be a genius music video director. He did one of our fav videos for some other college friends, Cold War Kids.

 

The recommended film is called Billy the Kid. We were really impressed with the how the director, Jennifer Venditti, had the ability to tell a very engaging story about a struggling teenager from small town America. Turns out the director has had a good career as a casting director and has met people all over this nation. She had kept notes and audition tapes of many real, non actors that she found compelling. One of those people that stuck in her mind was a kid named Billy from Maine.

 

Here is what the director says:
The film captures a moment in Billy’s adolescence when his thoughts, dreams, and actions are still actively designing his future. Ultimately, I feel Billy’s journey is connected to all of ours and that what we strive for, no matter how different we seem, is the same: acceptance, understanding, and love.

I intend to continue making films that challenge the viewers’ expectations, and my hope is that audiences will leave the theater either inspired or unsettled enough to start their own discussion.
We highly recommend this glimpse into the life of an outsider. We hope you too will be filled with compassion and curiosity about those that do not fit into society's little boxes. Maybe this film will inspire you to look at people differently or notice someone in your community that deserves your attention. We know we have been changed.

 

Peter Pumpkin Patch

September 17, 2009 by steph

When we were up in Seattle we found ourselves very inspired by the farms in Autumn. There was a weekend where all of the farms encouraged people to come out and learn about how they work and enjoy their bounty of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, wine and more. This event provided us with new colors, textures and images to inspire our work.


Now in the Bay Area, we found out that Spring Hill Cheese Company in Petaluma is inviting everyone to come out and and "experience the farm atmosphere" at their Peter Pumpkin Patch. You can taste freshly made cheese and ice cream, dig for potatoes, pick pumpkins, visit a hay maze and more. On the weekends there is also live music.

Peter Pumpkin Patch is going on September 25 - October 31, from 9 am until dusk and admission is free.

So take a day to be inspired by nature in Autumn...and try some delicious cheese while you're there.

Struttura della Sicilia

September 16, 2009 by bryan





This week's wallpaper is a photo grid of my favorite place on the planet, Sicily! 

This summer were able to spend a week photographing the life and texture of the Sicilian people and landscape. This wallpaper reflects our love of the color and inspiration of the clear Tyrrhenian Sea, sea rocks, and crumbling plaster walls of the seaport city of Catania, my family's Mediterranean hometownCapo d'Orlando, and my great-grandfather Francesco Mazzarello's home town of Naso.

Just click the image to download the large wallpaper (1920 x 1200 px).

 

Technology

September 15, 2009 by bryan

 


This Tunes Tuesday is all about our fav music technology. We have got to start out with a shout out to iTunes. If it were not for iTunes we would still be on our old CD player. We have been feeding CDs into our Macs for close to a decade.

Wikipedia says: "iTunes was introduced by Apple Inc. on January 9, 2001, at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The latest version, iTunes 9, was announced at Apple's September 2009 keynote "Rock and Roll"."

Speaking of iTunes 9...have you downloaded the newest upgrade? Have you seen the awesome iTunes LP.

Finally we can start getting the equivalent of DVD special features when we download music. Now labels have no excuse for not providing a better and deeper music experience. The film industry, although a giant, is still more agile and seems to adapt to fans better than the lumbering major labels of the music world.

Here is what Apple says: When you download select albums, you’ll experience a beautifully designed, interactive world right in your iTunes library on your Mac or PC. While you listen to your favorite songs, dive into the lyrics and liner notes, view photos, watch videos, and enjoy other bonus materials. Many are even created by the artists.

Another cool thing in the music world is Last.fm. Last.fm is a UK-based Internet radio and music community website.

Here is what Wikipedia says: Using a music recommender system called "Audioscrobbler", Last.fm builds a detailed profile of each user's musical taste by recording details of all the songs the user listens to, either on the streamed radio stations, the user's computer or many portable music devices. This information is transferred to Last.fm's database ("scrobbled") via a plugin installed into the user's music player. The profile data is then displayed on the user's profile page.

Users can create custom radio stations and playlists from any of the audio tracks in Last.fm's music library, and are able to listen to some individual tracks on demand, or download tracks if the rights holder has previously authorised it.

You can check out my Last.fm. Last.fm listens to my iTunes and builds a catalog of my songs and can recommend artists.

If you don't have speakers for your computer, check outharman/kardon Sounds Sticks. These babies crank! Plus they are just so pretty!

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Pheobe in Wonderland and Blame It on Fidel

September 14, 2009 by steph


This last weekend we watched two films that focused on the lives of children, but they were not movies made just for kids. Both Phoebe in Wonderland and Blame It on Fidel take us on journeys as the world is changing around the lead characters. The main characters struggle with feeling a loss of control in their lives and have to mature greatly over the course of the film to deal with the circumstances they encounter.

The films are full of emotion, pain, laughter and talented children actors. Kids that already know how to make the viewer laugh and cry in the same scene. Kids that could teach some adult actors a thing or two.

While the stories are very different, they seemed a nice complement to one another, helping us to recognize that the lives of children are not as simple as we might remember.

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Cal Bears Women's Field Hockey

September 11, 2009 by bryan



On Sunday September 6, we got in at field level and photographed a very tight Cal Bears Women's Field Hockey match with Northeastern. It was a very close match going into double overtime. Unfortunately our Bears lost, but we got some great action shots and made a few friends with the fans.

We were very impressed with local Bay Area sophmore Jessica Kreck. She was great to watch and photograph as she wreaked havoc on the Huskies.

College Football

September 10, 2009 by bryan
"Roll on you Bears" and "Fight on Trojans" because college football season is here. When thinking of things to do during the Autumn months, watching college football is pretty much at the top of our list. Sitting at home with a cold Pyramid Haywire in hand, fresh guacamole and chips on the table, and football on the television is really my idea of a perfect afternoon. It's cheap, it's delicious and it's a whole lotta fun. I plan on making it a regular habit in the next few months.

However, for even more fun, I would say to the football fan and non-football fan alike, going to a college football game in the fall is a must do. We were in attendance for Cal's triumph over Maryland last weekend, and it was an absolute blast. The fog rolled in, the lights shined brightly and the Bears looked spectacular. The pre-game festivities were a lot of fun, and a Maryland fan even treated us to a pitcher of beer...now that is good sportsmanship.

So make it out to a game, maybe even this weekend. The Bears are at home, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful...get your tickets!

(And yes, you are allowed to be a Cal and USC fan, it only becomes problematic one day a year.)

Noisettes

September 8, 2009 by steph

I came across the Noisettes, and while Wild Young Hearts is not out yet...I am very excited to get it in the mail once it is released on the 22nd of this month.

The band is from London and this album, their second, is said to be, "a set of sleek pop songs steeped in soul, dizzy on disco and harking back to the days of blues and jazz greats." Sounds good to me.

What I've heard so far has made me want to get up dance, and seeing as Autumn puts me in a dancing mood, I can't wait to hear the rest.

(Oh yeah, check out their video page, I particularly love Never Forget You.)

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Cut Chemist

September 1, 2009 by bryan


This July Stephanie and I were at The Getty Center in Los Angeles. What an inspiring location. Mix it with warm weather, gorgeous architecture and a live FREE show by one of the best DJs, it was an epic day.

To our surprise, The Getty Center offers a cool event called Saturdays Off the 405. On Saturday, July 25 Cut Chemist was performing. I will let The Getty describe it:
Celebrated DJ Cut Chemist took to the decks to create an audio feast featuring vocalist Hymnal with video by Cinefamily's VJ Pimpadelic Wonderland. Cut Chemist—a.k.a. Lucas MacFadden—is an L.A. native who was a founding member of both the rap/hip-hop group Jurassic Five and the Latin funk outfit Ozomatli. He plays music and rhythms from around the world while keeping strong the hip-hop tradition.
We are still talking about the magic of that night. Part of the magic was how well VJ Pimpadelic mixed old film archives of kung fu movies, 70s cartoons and other fun visuals perfectly to the spins of Cut Chemist. Here is another blogger, On the Hush who loved it:
The multi-media combination of lights, sound effects, and video screens made for a science lab where experimentations are bound to explode over the heads of the unrealizing. Cut Chemist did things with beats that only a scientist is capable of. Mixing just the right amount of rare grooves and converting them into funk, techno joints. Pulsating bass lines and sound effects forced bodies into an ineluctable groove beyond the pavilion.
We first discovered Cut Chemist on LA's Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW with then DJ Nic Hardcourt. He performed live on the show and blew my mind. You can watch how we scratches and mixes live. You can still watch it since KCRW is so good at archiving.

Ever since the show we have had the songs in our head so we had to buy some of his work. We recently bought The Litmus Test andThe Audience is Listening. This is inspiring work and definitely will get you in a good mood. We highly recommend picking up his album today!












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Snow Patrol

August 25, 2009 by bryan

Just wanted to share with you an impactful music video. I am pretty sure I first discovered Snow Patrol from iTunes back in 2004. I think they may have featured this song and video and it blew my mind. So reaching back into the archives of my mind I dug up this video on Last.fm.

We also we lucky enough to see them play live along with our favorite band Travis at Sterling Castle, Scotland in 2004.

View the video.

 

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