Helmet Hero

October 31, 2011

With a new surge in the interest of biking as a form of healthy, eco-friendly transportation, Awesome LA was super excited to come across an application focused on reminding our eco-conscious, fit cyclists around the city about helmet safety–in an awesome way of course! Riding bikes is cool, riding bikes and getting in an accident without a helmet is, well, quite possibly deadly. A huge portion of bicycle accident fatalities are a result of head injuries. Thankfully, we have Helmet Hero to the rescue!

Talking Process and Projects with Wendy MacNaughton

October 27, 2011

Wendy MacNaughton is an artist and illustrator living in San Francisco. She was recently awarded a $1,000 Awesome Foundation Grant to help fund Meanwhile: The San Francisco Public Library in it’s own Words— a narrative and illustrative documentary “about the people who work [at libraries], who use them, and how they serve as a community hub for many people, including the aging and homeless.” Wendy’s unique vision and observations pace themselves well in the scrolling narrative to be found online and in a newly published book. She has done a series of Meanwhiles and you can always find them on the Rumpus. I’ve been talking with Wendy a bit about her project— on the phone, over dinner with other Awesome Trustees, and by email: Why the San Francisco Public Library? Wendy: My partner Caroline Paul is a writer and voracious reader who never buys books, only borrows them from the library. I think she suggested it first. And a dear friend of mine, Anne Wintroub, was working at Friends of the [San Francisco Public] Library at the time—she suggested it as well and created the opportunity. Without her introductions to Jill Bourne, the deputy city librarian, and Michelle Jeffers, the… read more →

Sydney is about to get physical

October 25, 2011

Are you willing to admit that you remember this thing called ‘aerobics’? It was so hot in the 80s, with instructors like Jane Fonda reaching epic fame. Well Sydney, “are you ready to do the workout?!” because the September AF Sydney recipient, Physique Aerobics, is going to provide the ultimate opportunity. Inspired by Jamie Lee Curtis’s immaculate display in 1985’s aerobics flick ‘Perfect’, Physique intends to capture what they knew back then – mirrors, sweat & spandex accompanied by an appropriately cheesy soundtrack. There will be awards for the best dressed, hot pink workout mats and tasty low-carb drinks to cool off afterwards. If you’re not too embarrassed at the idea of getting physical, then the organisers welcome you to sign up. It’s open to anyone, “but particularly those who like to let loose on the weekend and are keen to get active early in the week, are aware that summer is right round the corner but are turned off or daunted by gyms & zumba. The classes will be cheeky but make you sweat. No-one gets shoved out the door at the end of the class, you actually stick around & have a chat & a laugh.” Note that there will… read more →

Introducing: the world’s smallest patch synthesiser!

October 25, 2011

AF Sydney August recipient, Aras Vaichas, is creating something teeny, that packs a whole bunch of awesome…the world’s smallest, and cheapest, patch synthesiser. Sounds fandangled and fine, but what exactly is a ‘patch synthesiser’? Aras explains, “it’s one of those audio synths where you can plug in lots of cables between different parts and there are loads of knobs that make crazy sounds!” For the visually inclined, here’s a picture of a regular patch synthesiser… Not so easy to lug around to gigs and galleries is it? Now imagine all of that functionality distilled into something roughly the size of two business cards. With $1000 as extra incentive, Aras is not only making this a reality, he’s also releasing the designs under an open source license. Here’s the work in progress… We love the idea, as well as the spirit of tinkering and sharing, and will be vying for a front row seat at the demo once this little baby learns to sing!

AF Sydney July recipient is…PAN Magazine!

October 25, 2011

PAN Magazine is a cultural biannual with a literary bent which includes the work of emerging and established writers. The whole production is pulled together on a shoestring budget, a driving passion for the arts and a whole lotta late nights. Emma Dallas tells the story of PAN Magazine to date, “There are twenty of us working very hard to make this little arts magazine a success. We love magazines but rarely see the kind of content we would like to read. We don’t want to compete with established magazines that focus on ‘how to look good and conform’. We want to offer a magazine with some depth as well as interest, some arts as well as fiction, poetry and essays presented beautifully. We’re on a mission to reintroduce thinking about our culture and specifically our arts in a broad and accessible way. As well as giving new writers and artists a platform to be heard in a way that does not commodify or belittle them. There is so much going on here in Australia, in all our cities. We aim to show people just how good it can be when you engage with what’s being created around you.” With a little help from the contents of… read more →