Saturday, October 27, 2007

Helvetica Is Your Friend.

I love when I can write about events in which my blogging topics collide. This post is about the collision of filmmaking and graphic design. Last week, I went with a bunch of co-workers to an AIGA event to see a movie about a font, yes a font. And it wasn’t just about any font, it was about the font: Helvetica. Which was perfect for me since I tend to use Helvetica like Wes Anderson uses Futura.

This documentary outlined the inception, usage, and future of the most loved and hated font of the past 50 years and this ultra-nerdy-designer-flick rocked the house down. The question they pose is this—should a font communicate a feeling in and of itself or should a font be neutral, forcing the viewer into the content in order to get the message? It was a bit surreal to see and hear some of the most important graphic designers of our day either tear that font apart as a soulless piece of air or uphold it as a literal representative of perfection.

What made me love this doc was the exploration of a concept that I totally believe in—finding art in the mundane, daily things that surround us. Through all the differing views, one interviewee cut through the clutter. Michael C. Place of Build, London really brought things into perspective. He more or less put my own thoughts into words. Basically, he said, hey it’s a great looking font, it fits nearly any scenario, but most importantly there’s an inherent challenge to make something beautiful out of something that’s seemingly ordinary (see image below). This is the very reason that I find myself using Helvetica in my own designs from time to time, either that or I’m just a no-talent wannabe who only knows like four fonts anyways.

So if you have a chance, check out Helvetica. It’s a Veer production and it has great music, fun editing, and horrible interview lighting that can be pretty entertaining at times. As ridiculously boring as a flick about a font sounds, if you’re into docs, design, or both it’ll definitely be a rewarding eighty minutes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Concerts, Concerts, And More Concerts.

Have you ever noticed that the indie kids all call concerts “shows”? Does anyone out there in Blogland know why they do that? Anyways, if you can’t already tell, I’ve been going to a lot of concerts lately, you know—shows. Last weekend we cruised down to Vegas for Mrs. Kyality’s bro’s super-Vegas-style wedding—to which I wore a bonafide classic tuxedo tee—no joke.

After the harmonious ceremony and the awesome reception at Cheeseburgers, we went with Upto12 and the Mrs. to see Rilo Kiley at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. It was a pretty sweet little venue. We skipped the crap opening bands—what is with these crazy, screaming chick combo bands anyways.

We showed up just in time to get great spots for Rilo Kiley’s opening. Now for those of you who don’t know the band, it’s basically got two frontmen, well and frontman and a frontwoman: Jenny Lewis who’s hot and who everyone’s actually there to see and the other guy. So here’s the deal, Jenny launched her solo debut album last year to critical success and more sales than any Rilo Kiley album to date. At this show, Jenny was just doing her thing, but you could tell the other guy wanted the spotlight. Plus they used to date, so the on stage tension was even more amplified.

The other guy’s stage banter was out of control and he was annoying the crap outta me. Plus he played a solo ukulele song that made him look like a lobster, so I just started venting, loudly about how much of a tool this guy was to my concert-going compatriots. Bottom line: the concert was really good, but the other guy could definitely take a flying leap and Rilo Kiley wouldn’t skip a beat.

Toward the end of the show, the other guy took a moment to thank his sister for attending. Right then a spotlight landed on me and heads turned—sure enough the other guy’s sister has been standing right next to me throughout the entire show! She without a doubt had to have heard a vast majority of my venting. And to make me feel even worse, the other guy offered up an amazing cover of my favorite Jenny Lewis track “Rise Up With Fists”, which rocked the house down. Yes, I was the tool.

On the following Monday afternoon Upto12 IMed with a question: “Do you want 2 second row tix to see Morrisey in a barn tonight?” Let me just say if anyone ever asks if you want to see Morrisey in a barn, there is the only answer there is to that particular question.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sometimes You’ve Got To Rock ‘til The Cops Come.

So I’m in SF on a biz trip and while wandering back to the hotel after a long day of thumping the pavement, we came across a good old fashion street party. The fun started with the sound of hip drumbeat and a scorching guitar. At first I thought the tunes were coming from inside a local bar, but I soon realized that they were actually coming from the corner of Geary and Powell.

A small crowd was dancing and grooving to some relatively pretty good beats, in fact I’ll admit that I thought (hoped) the band was somebody well known. Even though I didn’t recognize them, they rocked pretty hard. I caught myself thinking, not bad, not bad at all.
After listening to a couple songs, I said, “sometimes you’ve just got to rock ‘til the cops come.” Not even a second after I thought that, a cop car pulled up and a hulking patrolman stepped out of the car and crossed his arms. The crowd danced even more once the cop was there, which was awesome.
Once that particular song was done, the band thanked the crowd, broke down their equipment and started loading it into a little Nissan pickup. I asked the drummer what they were called and he said “Hills and Jackets”, I thought it sounded weird, so I asked him again just to make sure. I guess that’s what they’re called…

I can’t find anything about them online, so if you know anything let me know! But I’ll tell you this, there ain’t anything wrong with a little rockin’ ‘til the cops come.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've Been Tagged, And Not In The Body Spray Way.

Okay, this is not commentary on music, movies, TV, or design. Nevertheless (yes, it's one word) thanks to Babco™—I've been tagged.

Jobs I have had:
1 – Passport picture taker guy
2 – Telemarketer-extraordinaire
3 – Assistant (to the) Director of Marketing
4 – Executive Producer

Movies I could watch over and over:
1 – Back to the Future
2 – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
3 – School of Rock
4 – About a Boy

Favorite TV Shows:
1 – The Office
2 – Lost
3 – 24 (when it doesn’t suck)
4 – Seinfeld

Favorite Hobbies:
1 – Playing games (a.k.a. SCUM)
2 – Not doing yard work.
3 – Hiking
4 – Driving

Places I have lived:
1 – New Windsor, NY
2 – Honolulu, HI
3 – San Jose, CA
4 – Salt Lake City, UT

Favorite Foods:
1 – Sal’s Pizza (olives only)
2 – Cafe Rio (Pork burrito, black beans, hot sauce, enchilada-style)
3 – Mrs. Kyality’s Pork Chops
4 – Tasty Crust Pan Cakes

Places I'd rather be:
1 – Upcountry Maui
2 – London, Baby!
3 – National Parks
4 – Anywhere Arcade Fire is playing.

Websites I visit:
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –

Who I am Tagging:
1 – Upto12
2 – Snizzle
3 – TheDainon
4 – Justin, join the bloggers my friend, the time has come