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PICNIC Academy HOT100

hot100Last month Virtueel Platform, “the sector institute for e-culture in the Netherlands”, asked me to write a report about their Hot100 programme taking place  at the new media lovefest PICNIC ’09 where both design hipsters and billionaire entrepeneurs come together to chart out  our transmedia  futures. Hot100 brings together the hottest new media students for a day of lectures and workshopping. And it turned that, indeed,  the kids are alright… Read my report here.

Posted: October 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm.

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Anacondas vs King Kong vs Godzilla

anakongaThis evening my pals The Anacondas  (stay tuned for their new album, Lost in the Space Age/Bad Buzz,  which I’m working on with them) are performing  in the epic City Archives. They are providing a live soundtrack to the classic Japanese B-movie King Kong vs Godzilla as part of the inspired Rocket Cinema  festival (where you  can also  catch  zZz accompanying Frankenstein in an ancient  church  and DJ Alec Smart doing  Jaws in a swimming pool).

Tonight’s happening is being jumpstarted by the  hilarious short, Godz***A Vs The Netherlands,  by another pal Sietske Tjallingii. Should be cultural. And if you haven’t yet been to the new-ish City Archive, just go: some parts are like entering an Egyptian mummy crypt.   Yes, scary.

Posted: October 29, 2009 at 11:58 am.

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StrangerFestival (2)

BREAKING NEWS… While I was working on the StrangerFestival newspaper (see here),  word got out  about me having been typecast as anchorman in the past. So now this Saturday  17 October, I will be “Richard Ambrosius”, reporting live from  the StrangerFestival’s AwardShow, along with my co-anchor “Claudine Bell” (Esther Mugambi). It will be streamed live from the StrangerFestival website  between 20.30 and 23.00 (CEST). It should be slapstick…

Posted: October 15, 2009 at 8:55 am.

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StrangerFestival

stranger_posters5StrangerFestival is an online forum for young European  video-makers supported by the European Cultural Foundation. The website has thousands of films  – all of which tell a story in under  five minutes. So check it out!   Everyone between ages  15 and 25 are welcome to upload their creations here. And the cool thing about StrangerFestival is that they run workshops across Europe for youth who don’t usually have access to the required technology so they are creating a truely diverse collection. This week the best of these video-makers are swooping down on Amsterdam for some quality hanging out. With Your Local Heroes, I  worked on  the programme newspaper and it was pretty funny talking/emailing with some of the participants. Two guys — one from Armenia and the other from Poland — could have been  twins in the way they answered   with the same smartass verve. Yep,  perhaps there is a European identity after all… Poster design/art direction  by Jannemieke Oostra.

Posted: October 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm.

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John Cassavettes Retrospective

cassavetesrowlandsBetween 17 September and 4 November, the Filmmuseum is  having a retrospective on everyone’s favorite indie film icon, the writer/actor/director John Cassavetes.

“What would life be like living in a John Cassavetes film? Well there’s one advantage: you’d almost always have a strong drink in your hand. But alas there’s a catch: you will eventually get drunk. Stupid drunk. In fact, chances are that you are an unsympathetic middle-aged alcoholic simmering with raw emotion but forever incapable of expressing it. And that’s always a bummer…

“Life would seem fragmentary, unpolished and often overlong (if not downright boring). There would be few easy answers and plenty of open endings. Many things will be in close-up – especially when you are moaning after being punched, bleeding from getting pricked or experiencing loneliness like a kick in a place where it hurts the most. The dubious lighting will either have you glowing in over-exposure or disappearing into a shadow. The equally shitty sound quality would only have one advantage: background noise may sometimes cover up the fact that you are continuing to talk even though you have nothing to say…” [Read more here.]

Posted: September 15, 2009 at 10:56 am.

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Klik Animation

klikteethy1Animation fans should definitely check out the Klik Amsterdam film festival that is taking place 17-20 September. One of the organisers Luuk van Huet was  a writer for Amsterdam Weekly, and as such I sometimes had to work  to calm his smartass tendencies (my older friends will recognise the absurdity of such a situation). It’s the festival’s  third edition and is screaming with ambition.  A related exhibition, Animation Chiellerie, has already opened with prints and animations by the inspired locals likes of  Erik Kriek,  Lamelos, Martin Draax and Jeroen Blankert

Posted: September 14, 2009 at 8:08 am.

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A monumental day

freemasonryNow what kind of self-respecting secret society opens its doors on “Open Monument Day“? The Freemasons that’s who. Yep, as a boy’s club they’ve been coming out of the closet for a while now–apparently membership numbers have been dropping steady for some years now.   And so just like everyone else these days they are going through a rebranding process. Today I  saw  both their “red temple” and their “blue temple” at their lodge at the corner of Vondelstraat and 1e Constantijn Huygenstraat. Sadly, I did not get to see the beer-tapping room donated by Freddy Heineken‘s dad Henry Pierre…

The general impression was, um, it’s a tad shabby. Yo Grandmaster: time for a paint job and some new carpeting, perhaps?  But I shouldn’t judge: maybe  seeking world domination isn’t the high-paying gig we all assume it is. Or maybe they really  are just some fellows banded together who use building metaphors in their voyage towards  self-discovery. The  Freemason I talked to said their  secretive reputation comes only from the fact that they are  protective about their rituals so that when new members experience them they are more emotionally affected.  Regardless, they certainly aren’t Bilderberg. [Please note: out of respect for the  Freemason's  once-secretive reputation,  I only took a picture from the outside.]

 

bellamysmitI also got to look inside some of the houses along one of my favourite residential streets, Bellamystraat, that runs up from the center of Ten Katenstraat market. At number 74,  small-scale industry is alive and well in the form of the blacksmith company GF Meister en Zonen who have been at it since 1909. Compared to the Freemasons, this place is more manly than merely men-only.

Posted: September 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm.

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Sculpture Route

sculptureroute

Until 26 October it’s worth heading into Zuid for ArtZuid 2009. Apollolaan and Minervalaan have been filled with some great sculptures by the inspired likes of Joep van Lieshout (BikiniBar), Paul McCarthy (Bronze Blockhead), Panamarenko (Brazil) and some guy named Rodin (Le Penseur). Pack yourself a bronzed picnic and go and hang out a while…

Posted: August 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm.

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