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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

The New New York

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There are two battles going on involving building in New York.

1) The mosque near Ground Zero
2) Penn Station near Empire State building.

Here’s my thoughts on each project:
1) Build it.
2) Build it.

It’s 2010, practically 2011. Both disagreements are issues started by people who are against progress. In the case of the Mosque: people are trying to stop other people from practicing their religion in a city that is built on openness. Going against the mosque is the most Un-New York thing a person can do. And the people in DC, Florida, Kansas and Albany that are against the mosque really do not have a voice in this one since this is our backyard, not theirs. Ask the average New Yorker and we’ll say “Yep. Build it. It’s not a big deal.”

As for the Empire States building vs Penn State issue: the problem has come up because the people at the Empire State Building are concerned this would destroy the skyline. The Empire State building would be blocked from midtown views across the hudson in Jersey. And it would create an interruption in the skyline. SO WHAT?!

Personally, I loved the Chicago skyline when I lived there. And I loved that it was constantly changing. The building owners want to keep their tower a tourist trap. But if the owners of the Empire State Building really had balls, I mean REAL balls they would remember that the Empire State Building is only as tall as it is, and carries its weight as it does, because the original developers said “hey! We’re going to make the tallest fucking building in America!” The story of the race to the top between Empire State Building and the Chrysler building is historical (and that is what they sell to tourists, along with the views… not the elevator ride).

If you go to Chicago, you’ll see the original skyscrapers, tallest churches and many other once-been-giant buildings ecliplsed by surrounding buildings two and three times their height. Personally I hate the city of Chicago but I love their willingness to go higher and create more. I would hate to see Chicago even try to be compared with New York but the owners of the Empire State Building seem to want that.

So if the men owning the building had real balls they would build their own building and quit standing on the shoulders of the dead. They might even include a mosque on the top floor if they were truly ballsy. But, to try to heed progress in a city known worldwide for being #1, they’re acting like complete idiots and I will proudly say

Build it.

{PS: My thoughts one the matter are not altered by the fact that the owners of the ESB refused to light up the building blue and white to celebrate Mother Theresa’s birthday. I DO find it terrible that they would be willing to change the light for a turkey sandwich or to celebrate the birthday of a twinkie, but refise to change the lights for one night to honor a peace keeper)


Written by Michael Donovan

28/08/2010 at 6:02 pm

Posted in Architecture, Culture

The Luxury Project

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Here are some from today. I broke one of my rules and photographed vehicles (I didn’t want to date stamp any of the images). I’ll try to avoid breaking my rules next time.

Written by Michael Donovan

13/07/2010 at 10:43 pm

Posted in art, Culture, Photography

New America

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After making some observations and having some discussions with friends, I realized America has completely evolved. It’s no longer a country wrapped by Canada, Mexico and two giant oceans. Instead, it is simply a concept and worldwide phenomena.

Rewind 5 years ago and I would have told you I was embarrassed to be an American. America was all about borders and definition. It was completely lost. But now I couldn’t be more proud. A kid in Antwerp could be American if he thinks a certain way and an old Chinese lady in Zhengzhou could be totally American while still upholding her Chinese traditions. It’s more about the way we think that defines “American.”

This place is nothing more than a mental ball of ideas and desires to make the world a better place for humanity. Sometimes that means being a little selfish, other times it means helping large groups. In the end, we’re moving forward.

Borders are dead.

Written by Michael Donovan

31/03/2010 at 5:29 pm

Posted in Culture

Die Antwoord vs John Lequizamo

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I finally figured it out! I’ve been listening to Die Antwoord for a little while and trying to figure out where I’ve heard their music. Then it hit me… they’re pulling from the intro scene of The Pest. Here are the two vids for comparison:



Sidenote: I think Yo-Landi Vi$$er is bad ass and makes my “Top 10 list of Hottest Women in Music” alongside artists like Karen O, Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells, Carli Bruni and a few others.

Written by Michael Donovan

30/03/2010 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

Best Music & Best Places to Live

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I am known by friends for having a very good music collection. Finding good music is a serious hobby of mine (that is not an exaggeration… I spend 3-8 hours each week after work looking for music). Here is my list of 10 of my top 20 artists (I’m not including the ultra-pop bands like MGMT, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Radiohead, Nirvana or the bands who are on the cusp like Matisyahu, French Kicks, or The Frames):

1. Brightblack Morning Light
2. Fleet Foxes
3. M83
4. Passion Pit
5. Phoenix
6. Serge Gainsbourg
7. Sleigh Bells
8. Vampire Weekend
9. Yacht
10. Yeasayer

One thing I noticed: most of the bands come from France, The Pacific Northwest or Brooklyn. I’ve lived in various parts of the country (Including the Pac NW and NY) and I’ve been happiest in the PacNW as well as NY. I read these survey’s by magazines detailing the “best Places in America to live” and I would NEVER consider moving to Charlotte for the bike trails or Cleveland just for the museum.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the music and livability have a much tighter correlation to the enjoyability of a community than the number of ice cream shops or cost of living.

Think about it: if people are comfortable enough to sing whatever they want and expose and express themselves through art, wouldn’t THAT be the happiest and more safe place to live? Ask a girl living in NY if they feel more comfortable walking alone at night in Portland, New York or Chicago, LA, Miami, Tulsa or Dallas.. most women I know who have experienced these cities will always say “NY or Portland!”

Also, wouldn’t you want to live in an environment where people are singing in the streets or producing cultural elements? And the idea that these communities make an environment that supports the arts also helps a lot.

Written by Michael Donovan

28/03/2010 at 11:01 am

Posted in art, Culture

Bending over backwards

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You’ll never save a rainforest by holding up a picket sign… but you WILL save one the day you BUY one. Anyone who expects others to bend over backwards to fight for their cause is a complete idiot. If you want something you need to work for it.

Written by Michael Donovan

24/03/2010 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Business, Culture

Missing: Leader of the Free World

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Remember this guy?

Where did he go? Honestly, I would be happy if he just held more speeches. I’m sure it would get more stuff done…. I’m writing in Tony Robbins for the next election.

Written by Michael Donovan

19/03/2010 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Culture