Tag Archives: videos

Inspiring Art and Design Docs

image via the verge

I’ve been on a bit of a documentary kick as of late, and on a recent search for new films to watch I couldn’t help but notice how many fabulous docs are out there that cover just about every aspect of design. Here are a few of my personal faves; some are more recent and some you may have missed but are definitely worth a viewing.

Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)
Eames is the story of the dynamic design duo Charles and Ray Eames. The film itself is a visual explosion fitting for the incomparable creativity of its subjects. At the heart of this film is the extraordinary love story of Charles and Ray.

Indie Game (2012)
Indie Game is an unexpectedly moving doc about independent video game designers and the passion they have for their work. Even if you’re not a fan of video games the care and respect this doc has for it’s subjects will pull you in.

Art & Copy (2009)
The world of advertising, whether you love it or hate it, makes for a fascinating topic, as demonstrated by Art & Copy. Candid interviews with some of the giants in advertising give you a peek behind the scenes of the ad world. This film also offers a brief history of the advertising industry, and it shows how ads inform all aspects of our culture.

The September Issue
Vogue magazine has long been considered the ultimate source on high end fashion. The September Issue gives the audience unprecedented access into the offices of vogue, and even more interestingly, the life of iconic fashion editor Anna Wintour. Whether you’re a fan of fashion, or just curious about the publishing industry, this film is an absolute must.

Herb and Dorothy (2008)
Herb and Dorothy Vogel are an unlikely couple of art collectors with one of the most extensive and impressive private modern and contemporary art collections in North America. Getting a peek at their impressive collection is marvellous, but so is learning about the history of the Vogels and their instinctive appreciation of art.

Objectified (2009)
How do the objects that surround us shape our lives? That is the question this documentary tries to answer. Featuring interviews with many of the world’s top industrial designers, as well as a look into the manufacturing process, this doc is well crafted and engaging. The success of this film is that after viewing it you can’t help but look at even the most mundane objects in a new way.

Between the Folds (2008)
Origami fans will delight in this  PBS film about origami artists. Not only does the film explore the art of origami but also the engineering and science behind it. The archival footage of the legendary origami artist Akira Yoshizawa at work is reason enough to rent this film or add it to your Netflix queue.

Detropia (2012)
This one is not strictly speaking design related but I am still excited for it nonetheless. Detropia is about the fall of Detroit and the signs of potential rebirth. The trailer itself gave me chills, and it’s made by the people who made Jesus Camp so it’s likely going to be good. If you’re interested in urban planning and architecture this may be one to keep an eye out for.

This list only scratches the surface of art and design documentaries, what are some of your favorites?

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Scary Movie Marathon for Those Who Don’t Like Scary Movies

Image via Reservoir Blogs.

I don’t like scary movies. Well, I don’t like being scared. Period. So I can only take horror films in mild doses. And if I have to endure fear while watching a movie, it should be well worth my while — that is, there should be something in it that would compensate for it being a horror film. It could be visual appeal, emotional engagement, music or some other form of artistry.

Again, I don’t like scary movies. But these scary movies, I don’t mind watching over and over again. No slashers or zombies here. Some purists and die-hard fans may scoff at my choices, but if you’re a horror flick newbie, or just don’t care much for horror, you might appreciate these picks.

First up, vampires. I think they really are kinda sexy. (And this was long before the Cullens came to town, and will remain so long after they’ve been staked — or however it is that these sparkly undead are obliterated.) Looking beyond the fact that they’re bloodsucking killers, they are creatures of great passion and sensuality. Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and at the height of their gorgeousness in their prime in Interview With A Vampire... I’m getting a little light-headed. Combine all that with stellar performances, gripping storytelling, spectacular art direction, and all-around brilliant filmmaking — how can one not surrender to the lure of these two movies?

These next two revolve around ghosts. They’re basically disembodied people, and that makes some of them very easy to relate to, because I can always connect with their humanity. That’s why I love The Sixth Sense and The Others so much, because when the horror is stripped away, it reveals intense dramatic stories about relationships and the human condition.

The films mentioned so far are but palate teasers, the equivalent of dipping one’s toes in the water. If you’re in an actual movie marathon, you might want to wade in further and test your boundaries. So if you’re ready to immerse in terror…

What’s more terrifying the Devil? For me, the Devil tops psychopaths, aliens, and sharks any day. That’s why The Exorcist still strikes fear into the hearts of movie fans to this day. It’s a classic, and the one horror movie which I think any film buff shouldn’t miss.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention something from the realm of Asian horror flicks. There’s something about the way the Japanese do it that really maxes out the creepy factor. Usually the premise revolves around something really weird and ludicrous, and somehow it works. Case in point Ring (Ringu) — the Hollywood version is scary, but you should definitely watch the original Japanese. There’s a certain minimalism employed here, a restraint. Lighting is flat and quite plain in some parts, there’s not a lot of background music. It feels like a documentary sometimes. And this somehow works to send your pulse racing and blood pressure soaring, and your fight-or-flight response engaging.

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Lea Salonga’s Roles

Lea Salonga with George Takei. Image from Allegiance - A New Musical's Facebook Page

How can you follow George Takei (which I do) and not know about Allegiance – A New Musical? What makes it even more exciting is that it also stars Telly Leung, who is one of my fave Warblers on the TV musical Glee, and Lea Salonga of whom I have been a fan for as long as I can remember.

Three of the cast members of Allegiance: Telly Leung, Lea Salonga, George Takei. Image from Allegiance - A New Musical's Facebook page.

Image via Lea Salonga's Facebook page

Lea Salonga is a Filipino singer and actor who started her career in showbusiness when she was a little girl, recording hit songs, appearing in television shows, commercials, movies, and stage musicals in the Philippines, all the while doing really well in school and getting into the pre-med program in the best university in the country. She had it all, and did it all. She was my idol. I wanted to be her, especially when she got to perform and hobnob with Ricky Martin back when he was still a gangly member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo (swoon!). And this was before she achieved phenomenal success in West End and Broadway, getting all those roles and awards, and providing voice for Disney princesses.

Lea as a teenager, with the boys of Menudo. That's Ricky Martin she's holding on to.

Lea’s voice is a finely honed instrument that makes such a beautiful, sweet, and clear sound. And she uses it how she wills; she can load it with whatever emotion or character the role demands.

So anyway, there I was, watching her perform a song from Allegiance on YouTube, when I saw all those other related videos. Before I knew it, I got sucked into a full-blown Lea Salonga retrospective.  It reminded me why I was such a big fan, and still am. It was such an awesome trip, that I’m doing it again, and taking you, dear readers, with me.

Lea as Kei Kimura in Allegiance

First up, the video that got the ball rolling. Here are Lea and Telly performing “Gaman”, a song from Allegiance — A New Musical.

Lea as a Little Girl

This was one’s a classic, and one of her earliest recordings.

Lea as Kim in Miss Saigon

Here’s a video that follows her journey from her audition to snippets from the rehearsals. She was only seventeen when she auditioned. She went on to play the lead role, and won the Laurence Olivier award, and eventually a Tony when Miss Saigon came to Broadway.

Lea as Fantine in Les Miserables

Notice that she was holding a Les Mis playbill during her Miss Saigon audition? It is amazing how it foreshadowed that she would get to play Fantine in the musical, and Eponine too.

Lea as a Disney Princess

Lea provided the singing voice of my favorite Disney Princess, Mulan. She also sang Princess Jasmine’s songs in Aladdin.

Lea as Bride

I just had to throw this in here. I normally find it really corny when people sing some sappy love song during their own weddings. But this is Lea Salonga after all.

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Got Kung Fu?

“I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.”
(Caine, “Kung Fu” Pilot episode)

The word "kung fu" in Chinese calligraphy. Image via Oriental Outpost.

We may have assumed that kung fu is just about Chinese martial arts, but it’s not. The term itself is compound of two words — kung (功) which means “achievement” or “work”, and fu (夫) which means “man”. So translated literally, the term we have taken to equate with Bruce Lee or Jet Li’s style of cinematic of ass kicking actually means “acheivement of man”, and is so much bigger than mere martial arts. Kung fu can refer to any skill, study, or craft that is achieved or perfected with copious amounts of passion, time, and (gasp!) hard work. To have kung fu entails commitment to strengthening body and mind, and learning and perfecting one’s chosen discipline.

Therefore, one can have kung fu in many things other than martial arts — such as in cooking, calligraphy, sports, and even in the preparation of tea, or just about anything that one spends energy and time on in order to master.

The accoutrements of gong fu cha -- the Chinese tea ceremony. Image via Ling Training.

Calligraphy master Bao Desheng performing his craft with a humongous brush and a bucket of water on a concrete pavement. Image via Metro.

These are images of an actual soccer team comprised of Shaolin monks. Images via Incredible World.

Contrary to the myth perpetuated by the Matrix films — you can’t just download kung fu. This, I think, is valuable insight, especially in this age of instant gratification, lightning fast internet connections, TV dinners, and crash courses in just about anything. My takeaway from all this, what I personally want to apply in my life is that perfection requires time, effort, and needless to say, commitment. Now I certainly ve got a lot of resolutions to make.

I used to find it absurd (in a good way) when Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow combined kung fu with cooking or soccer in his films. They make more sense to me now, with this explanation, but no less funny and enjoyable. Here are a couple of scenes from Kung Fu Soccer (a.k.a Shaolin Soccer).

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Better the Morning After

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

Nigella Lawson

Screenshot of Nigella Lawson snacking away

I love watching Nigella’s cooking shows! I think she’s awesome. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. This post isn’t really about her… although she’s sort of its starting point. There’s a couple of seconds at the very end of some of her shows that show her munching away in the darkened kitchen, illuminated only by the refrigerator’s light. I totally get that — we’re big on midnight snacking in my family, and we absolutely love leftovers.

I think there are certain kinds of food that taste even better after they’ve been in the refrigerator for a bit. My scientific explanation is that some time in the fridge evaporates some of the moisture, making the flavors more intense, and with the added time to settle in, the flavors are now living comfortably and have gotten really friendly with one another.

So here are a 3 kinds of food that are better the morning after a night spent in the fridge — covered, of course.

Stews and other Saucy Dishes

Malaysian Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang. Image via Rasa Malaysia.


Chicken adobo. Image via Au Pif.

It makes for a heightened taste experience when meats have absorbed as much as they can from their sauces. Curries and stews take on amazing flavors after a night in the fridge.
In the Philippines, we have a stew called adobo, the basic recipe of which is chicken and/or pork stewed in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. Before the advent of electricity and refrigeration, our ancestors prepared their meats in this way to preserve them — as the salt and acids in the soy sauce and vinegar serve as curing agents, and the fact that it keeps well is just as widely accepted as the conviction that it gets better with time.


Pasta a la Puttanesca

Image via A Bitchin' Kitchen


Pasta Frittata. Image via On the Move Gallery

Spending the night in the fridge may make pasta a bit dry, but oh my gosh, the yumminess that those noodles have absorbed more than make up for it, in my humble opinion. I would totally eat these dishes cold, although I’ve tried making leftover pasta puttanesca into frittata, and it’s heavenly!

Brownies and Bars


Image via East European Food

Date and Walnut Bars

Date and Walnut Bars, also called "Food for the Gods". Image via Panlasang Pinoy.

In hot climates, there’s a bigger difference between room temp and refrigerator temp. Getting the cool treatment gives certain sweets a hugely different mouth feel. Brownies, date and walnut bars (aka “Food for the Gods”), butterscotch bars — they get less cake-y and more chewy, and this for me raises their awesomeness to the stellar level.

How about you? Have you discovered some eats that get better in the fridge?

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