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June 17, 2006

Internet Movie Database: Col Newmark is the man behind the curtain


Until I read Richard Siklos's story in the May 28 New York Times Business section, I thought IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database) was owned and run by the New York Times.

Only when I read the article did I learn that in fact Amazon quietly purchased the site back in 1998 and has been letting it run pretty much as it was then, only subtly benefiting by directing visitors to the parent site when they want to buy a video (then) or DVD (now).

Col Needham (above) started the site as a hobby back in 1990 when he was 23.

At the time it was simply a bulletin board database of movie credits called rec.arts.movies, run by him and some film-buff friends from his home in Stoke Gifford, a suburb of Bristol in the U.K.

Needham's full-time job then was as an engineer with Hewlett-Packard in Bristol.

Like Craig Newmark's hobby, Needham's grew like Topsy until now he finds himself atop a spectacularly successful enterprise, currently the 10th-most visited entertainment website in the world, with over 18 million visitors last month, up 67% from a year earlier.

Here's the Times piece.

    From a Small Stream, a Gusher of Movie Facts

    The closest that Col Needham gets to corporate life is the Dilbert calendar in his neat office — a converted bedroom in a quaint house in the ancient village of Stoke Gifford, a suburb of Bristol, the harbor city that is 90 minutes west of London by train.

    As the founder and managing director of the Internet Movie Database, Mr. Needham might just be the archetype of the telecommuting Web-head.

    The site he founded and runs, www.imdb.com, ranks as the 10th-most-popular entertainment spot online, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

    It had 18.6 million unique visitors in April, a 67 percent surge from a year earlier.

    In Stoke Gifford, Mr. Needham works solo — without even an assistant — but is in constant contact by instant message with other employees scattered across the globe and at the Seattle headquarters of Amazon.com, which acquired the business eight years ago.

    "Everybody assumes that we have a massive office complex on Wilshire Boulevard," Mr. Needham said with a grin.

    "I always say, 'We're headquartered on the Internet.' "

    Mr. Needham, a boyish, closely-shorn 39-year-old walked to the kitchen, put on the kettle and made tea.

    Part of what makes him a curiosity — beyond his enviable work setup — is that Internet Movie Database, or Imdb for short, has become a classic example of a hobby that turns out to be a powerful media asset.

    For years, it has quietly gone about its business almost entirely separately from its parent, and only subtly does it encourage users to go to the Amazon site to buy videos.

    "We didn't sit down and think, 'What's the best way to make money on the Internet?' " Mr. Needham said.

    "This is very much a labor of love. When we started the company, there was no commercial use of the Internet."

    Even so, Imdb's convergence moment may soon be at hand, say studio executives who have worked with Amazon on developing a download service that could let people burn DVD's on their desktops.

    Though Amazon and Mr. Needham decline to talk about plans, Imdb could play a more prominent role in the retailer's media strategy.

    Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers are all involved in the project, executives close to the project have said.

    Several weeks ago, one media executive who had been briefed on Amazon's strategy but did not want to be identified because it was still being formulated, pointed out one aspect of Imdb's popularity: if you use search engines to look for the title of virtually any past movie or television show, or the names of celebrities from those realms, Imdb often comes up as the first result.

    In the retail business, that is the equivalent of excellent shelf frontage, or, in television, of having a single-digit channel number rather than being relegated to Channel 284 on the cable lineup.

    There are glimpses of a grander media plan beyond Imdb.

    For instance, Amazon has quietly built up its own www.a9.com search engine, which places more emphasis on displaying results in multiple media formats than bigger rivals like Google and Yahoo.

    But even if Amazon's foray into downloading fizzles, Imdb holds its own. Its climb also provides some interesting lessons for burgeoning digital media barons.

    Internet Movie Database began in 1990 as a bulletin board database of movie credits.

    It was started by Mr. Needham and some film-buff friends.

    At the time, Mr. Needham was working as an engineer in Bristol at Hewlett-Packard (or, as he says in his native Manchester lilt, "Hewlett Pa-Cod") and had only a rudimentary strategy for financing the site.

    By 1998, the database had established itself as a favorite on the early Internet, and Mr. Needham was amused to receive a number of buyout approaches.

    One was an invitation to a London hotel in January to meet with Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Mr. Bezos told Mr. Needham that he thought the movie database could help Amazon sell VHS cassettes and DVD's — Mr. Needham points out that it was in that order in those days — but also recognized that the site would need to be run separately to maintain its personality.

    Amazon, of course, could handle the technological end and pour resources into upgrades.

    Today, Imdb makes money a variety of ways: from advertising, selling publicity photos, licensing its content, selling movie tickets through partners and offering a premium Imdb Pro service (started in 2002).

    For $99 a year, Imdb Pro subscribers get granular access to all kinds of industry data, like movie budgets and details about films in production.

    By chronicling everyone who ever worked on a film, the service has become a de facto directory of most everyone from key grips to producers, actors and directors.

    Its most clever feature is probably the Starmeter and Movimeter ratings, which gauge the popularity of people and films, based on search topics.

    To no one's surprise, Audrey Tautou was No. 1 last week on the Starmeter, up from No. 215 early last year, when she joined the cast of "The Da Vinci Code."

    Like the social networking sites that are now so popular in media, Imdb has found that much of its success is built on the participation of site visitors.

    Last year, Mr. Needham said, its users submitted information to the database 16 million times, adding minutiae like what commercials Hollywood actors have performed in abroad, or what video games they have done voice-overs for.

    When its users are not adding information, they are perusing — or debating and challenging — material related to the 787,000 film, television and video game titles detailed on the site.

    One can learn, for example, that while Jennifer Grey played Jeanie in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986), Jennifer Aniston played Jeanie in the TV series "Ferris Bueller" (1990).

    Those submissions are then monitored — vetted is too strong a word — by a team of editors who take their entertainment geekdom seriously.

    Any factual mistakes they may not find on their own are usually brought to their attention by users, who also make frequent accusations that some Hollywood wannabes who submit their biographies to the site are padding their résumés.

    In Mr. Needham's office, the only visible connection to Amazon is a separate laptop that has a secure feed to the company's internal server in Seattle.

    On the wall is a gift from Mr. Bezos: a framed original poster of "Vertigo," Mr. Needham's favorite film.

    While Mr. Needham is thrilled to talk about the business, he is reticent about giving too many details.

    He does say that the company is profitable, that there are more than 50 employees and that they are in the United States, Britain, Switzerland and Germany.

    At Imdb, he says repeatedly that "the customer is the celebrity," and that the company is not.

    AS for his own fortunes, a clue is found in the original announcement of Imdb's acquisition in April 1998.

    It said Imdb and two separate European businesses were bought mostly for Amazon shares then worth close to $55 million.

    Though it is impossible to know how the shares were divided among the three companies, the shares would be worth roughly $213 million now.

    For his part, Mr. Needham dresses like a regular guy, and he drives a Toyota to take me to the train station.

    But it does turn out that the house in Stoke Gifford is actually just his former home; it now serves only as offices for him and his wife, although it retains all the furnishings, including his daughters' bunk beds.

    The Needhams live in what he calls their "dream house" about 15 minutes away.

    It is there that Mr. Needham keeps his prized possession: an ever-growing collection of 7,500 films, mostly DVD's.

    Asked whether someday it would all be digital, with his collection floating on a hard drive, Mr. Needham thought not: "I like to kick the tires of things I own."


Whenever I read about companies or websites that emerge out of an obsessive interest or passion, I'm reminded of Steve Wozniak's remark, to wit: "Apple was a science project that got out of control."

June 17, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cordless Patio Umbrella LED Lights


From the website:

    Cordless Patio Umbrella LED Lights

    These lights make it easy to set a festive mood — no access to an electrical outlet needed.

    Shines bright — yet doesn't attract insects.

    Fits standard 8-rib umbrella canopies.

    64 clear, long-lasting LED bulbs.

    Requires four D batteries.


Such a great idea yet hamstrung esthetically by that dippy wire running from the white battery case up to the lights.

Perhaps you could put that thingie up above the hub where the ribs attach to the pole so it wouldn't be as obtrusive.

$69.98 (batteries not included).

And who among you will be the first to seize the carp — wait a minute, that's not right... is it? — and mashup a mashup?

You know what I'm talkin' 'bout: I wanna see a pic of that redoubtable Patio Umbrella Mosquito Net (below)


being used in conjunction with these lights.

You know how the tabloids are always bragging about their willingness to pay a million dollars for the first pictures of Paris Hilton and Eminem's love child — ha, fooled ya! — and all?

Well, let me state here and now, in no uncertain terms, that I will pay 25¢ (twenty-five cents) cash money for the first un-Photoshopped picture received of that dream combo (net + umbrella + lights; not Paris and Eminem, for cryin' out loud).

Send those to the Star or the Enquirer, booboo.

June 17, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Samurais of New York


For 25 years The New York City Kendo Club, under the direction of sensei Noburo Kataoka, has made its home in a small gym (above) on the top floor of Jan Hus Church on East 74th Street.

Corey Kilgannon wrote a feature story for the May 28 New York Times about this haven of ancient Japanese tradition, where the screams and commotion in the early days sometimes brought the NYPD to the door to investigate.

Here's the article.

    Swords and Shouts Next Door, but Don't Call 911

    ''You're looking for the samurais?'' said the girl sitting in the hallway. ''They're up there.''

    She pointed up a staircase to a small gym on the top floor of Jan Hus Church on East 74th Street. Inside was a startlingly surreal scene, especially to someone stepping off the streets of the Upper East Side, where people were picking up dry cleaning and lounging at sidewalk cafes on a Saturday evening.

    Upstairs, the old church gym resembled an ancient Japanese battleground. Some 50 people in Japanese warrior dress -- dark robes, heavy chest armor and helmets with fearsome face-cages -- hurled bloodcurdling screams as they beat one another over the head with poles.

    The gym's door, though closed, hardly stifled the screams or contained the thunderous stomping that rumbled the building itself. Even residents of neighboring high-rises have grown accustomed to the boisterous practices held three evenings a week by the New York City Kendo Club, a tight-knit group of urban samurais who have made this gym their home dojo for a quarter-century.

    The club was founded in 1976 by Noboru Kataoka, a world-renowned kendo sensei. To honor its 30th anniversary, the club is holding a kendo tournament today at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the West Side, where kendo practitioners from around the world will compete.

    Mr. Kataoka's students tend to follow his teachings religiously. Whatever their profession -- sanitation men battle architects, lawyers fight film producers and teachers face off with editors -- they say the ancient principles of the samurai warrior help them cut through the complexities of the modern urban environment.

    There is the money manager who credits kendo with keeping him sharp when making crucial investment decisions. There is the architect who says kendo enables him to handle high-pressure projects and harrowing deadlines. There is the Brooklyn woman who sleeps with her kendo sword next to her bed for security.

    ''From the moment you set foot in this dojo, you are a New York samurai,'' said Jose Pena, 51, who has been studying with Mr. Kataoka three days a week for the past 27 years. ''It may be 2006, but we still follow the way of the warrior.''

    Mr. Pena studies Japanese culture and travels regularly to Japan to take advancement tests in the kendo rankings known as dans. He is currently in the sixth dan and is already looking forward to returning in 2011 for the test to enter the seventh dan, the second-highest rank.

    The money manager, Raymond Stewart, said he started learning kendo 25 years ago to help him handle his stressful finance job on Wall Street.

    ''I manage more than $200 million and have to make the right decision about what to do with it,'' he said. ''Kendo teaches you to wait for the right moment and then strike with total conviction.''

    The club's members competing today are entered under smaller teams with names such as the Spare Ribs, the Wild Bunch and Cutie Honey.

    One member of Cutie Honey is Kyung Kim, 33, a teacher from Elmhurst who joined the club three years ago after seeing kendo only occasionally on television.

    ''I'm very sensitive emotionally, and I needed mental discipline in my life,'' she said at David Copperfield's, a pub at York Avenue and 74th Street, where the club gathers with Mr. Kataoka for drinks after class.

    When Mr. Kataoka first came to New York from Japan, he began renting teaching space in various dance studios downtown, but found them too flimsy for kendo practice. Three broken wooden floors and one shattered wall mirror later, he found Jan Hus Church. Its floor was strong, but its neighbors were unaccustomed to the screaming and commotion of kendo. Several times, police officers were called to the gym.

    ''They would come busting in the door, and then stop and look and say, 'Oh, kendo,' '' he said. Yelling is a crucial part of kendo, he explained, a sign that the stomach and chest muscles are joining in the power of the strike.

    ''This where the strength comes from,'' he said, holding his belly. ''We yell to bring the power up from here. The more years you train, the better you can yell. It's like an opera singer.''

    At practice last week, each newcomer suited up methodically in dark robes. Each donned a chest plate and wrapped his head in a bandanna emblazoned with Japanese characters depicting various aspects of kendo. Then the helmet, its wire face mask menacing and its epaulet flaps flaring out like the Flying Nun's habit, to protect the shoulders.

    Kendo is done in bare feet and the footwork is short, choppy and quick. Each student uses a bamboo-slatted staff known as a shinai. The students line up to spar with the senior members of the class. The players meet and cautiously cross the tips of their swords and begin parrying for the smallest of openings through which to strike. Then they rush at each other with a powerful gallop, holding their swords above their head with both hands and striking down.

    Mr. Kataoka demonstrated how to push the opponent's sword, causing the opponent to push back and thus create an imbalance: an opening.

    ''If you don't have technique, all you have left is power, muscle,'' said Mr. Kataoka, 57, who teaches with grace and an economy of words and movement. He also gets occasional work as an actor under the name Ken Kensei, including a part in an upcoming film directed by Clint Eastwood, ''Red Sun, Black Sand.''

    His wife, Mami Kataoka, 42, was also at practice. She has been practicing kendo since age 11 and has reached the fourth dan. She had just flown in from Japan, and after weeks of separation, the spouses reunited not by embracing, but by exchanging blows to the head and shoulders.

    After practice, Mr. Kataoka [below] took out a steel sword and knelt down next to it, to demonstrate a 400-year-old art of drawing the sword, known as iaido. Mr. Kataoka is a 20th-generation master of the form, having studied it since childhood with a premier sensei in Japan.

    His eyes almost closed, he went through a routine of highly stylized movements, repeatedly sheathing and unsheathing the sword. It whistled through air as it sliced through imaginary opponents in some ancient battle.

    Then he put on his Los Angeles Angels jacket and walked out into the quiet night of East 74th Street.



There's a link on this page to a video shot at the kendo club.

June 17, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Microwave Potato Baker


That's hot.

From the website:

    Microwave Potato Baker

    Pronged stand-up baker holds up to four potatoes, cooking them from the inside-out for fast and even microwave perfection!

    Plastic baker folds flat for storage in drawer.

    4-7/8"W x 5-3/4"H folded.


Nice price: $2.99 (potatoes not included).

June 17, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What bookofjoe can learn from The Huffington Post


Julie Bosman, in yesterday's New York Times Business section, explored The Huffington Post's approach to advertising.

Extremely interesting.

Long story short: "Kenneth B. Lerer, a founder of The Huffington Post, said he had tried to make the ads on the site both unobtrusive and compelling."


Great minds think alike: those are my sentiments precisely.

I think you will agree with me that the ads on bookofjoe are unobtrusive.

Say what?

There are no ads?

Please, no negativity here in Pollyanna World.

We're just across the wormhole, by the way, from the Bizarro World.

FunFact: A one-month ad on The Huffington Post home page costs between $120,000 and $145,000.


Above and below, the two ads currently running on The Huffington Post's home page.

They are quiet (no animation) and low-key, with minimal text and restrained colors.

An excellent model, should I opt to accept advertising on bookofjoe.


Here's the Times story.

    JWT Puts a 'Roadblock' on Huffington Post

    Old school, meet new.

    JWT, the oldest advertising agency in the United States, has purchased all the ad space on The Huffington Post home page for one week, starting tomorrow. The Web site will showcase nine of JWT's best television commercials with links, so that visitors can send the spots via e-mail or instant message.

    JWT is hoping that the year-old Huffington Post can deliver that elusive phenomenon: a viral marketing sensation, in which consumers spread marketing messages to each other over the Internet.

    The agency also wants to show that it is hip and modern enough to compete in the nontraditional category that has obsessed the advertising industry.

    At The Huffington Post, the agency has found an experienced partner in Jonah Peretti, a founding partner of the Web site, who is overseeing the technical aspects of the JWT project.

    Mr. Peretti's name has been tied to viral media since 2001, when he traded e-mail barbs with Nike after the shoemaker refused to let Mr. Peretti order a pair of customized Nike iD sneakers emblazoned with the word "sweatshop." Much to Nike's chagrin, the e-mail exchange quickly spread over the Internet, and is considered an early example of how viral media can work.

    Now Mr. Peretti and The Huffington Post are hoping to make a handful of previously run commercials from JWT alluring enough that visitors will not only click and watch the spots, but will also e-mail them to others.

    "People often ask me, 'how do you make something viral?' " Mr. Peretti said. "The truth is, you just make something good. That doesn't make something viral, but some of them will strike a nerve."

    Formerly known as J. Walter Thompson, JWT dumped its old name last year in an effort to shed its stodgy reputation and signal that it was ready to adapt to a changing advertising industry. Some of the biggest traditional Madison Avenue agencies are fighting the perception that they are not nimble, modern and innovative enough to compete with smaller, creatively focused agencies that have grabbed much of the limelight.

    Before the deal with JWT, Mr. Peretti was not familiar with the agency, which has more than 300 offices around the world. "I had heard the name before," he said, "but I'm not an ad world person."

    He did help select the commercials that will run on The Huffington Post, which include spots for JetBlue, Levi's, Ford, HSBC and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. At least a few ads were probably chosen for their provocative nature: a spot for Levi's depicts stick figures becoming romantically entangled, and an antigun ad shows two unsupervised children narrowly avoiding discovering a gun in a cupboard, only to find a lighter and a stash of cigarettes. (They immediately light up.)

    Other companies like Snapple and Target have recently used the so-called roadblock method, in which a Web site, magazine or radio program is blanketed with messages from a single advertiser. While a typical one-month ad on The Huffington Post home page ranges from $120,000 to $145,000, the one-week deal has cost JWT a sum in the low six figures.

    The ad buy is timed to run during the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, which begins in France on Sunday. The weeklong event of awards, seminars and workshops draws advertising professionals from all over the world.

    In a telephone interview from Paris, Bob Jeffrey, the chairman and chief executive of JWT Worldwide, part of the WPP Group, said that JWT and The Huffington Post had picked commercials that they thought were "the most sticky, the ones that would get the most traction."

    Lacking traditional measurement tactics, "what you really want to do is get the brand talked about," Mr. Jeffrey said. "Viral marketing is all about engagement with the brand."

    The Huffington Post's traffic makes the ads ripe for engagement: the site attracted nearly 1.2 million unique visitors in May, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, a market research firm. Display online advertising is expected to grow 13 percent in 2006 over 2005, according to data released on Tuesday from TNS Media Intelligence.

    Kenneth B. Lerer, a founder of The Huffington Post, said he had tried to make the ads on the site both unobtrusive and compelling. "I'm kind of obsessed with making advertising on the Internet more like content," he said.

    Though his partner in the deal typifies much of what new media is about, Mr. Jeffrey of JWT said that the advertising industry's obsession with nontraditional media was "absolutely" an overreaction. "What drives me crazy is when the attitude is that traditional media is going to die," Mr. Jeffrey said. "I don't think print died when TV came on."

June 17, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Barcode Wall Clock


From the website:

    Barcode Wall Clock

    This work uses the recognizable "barcode" which adorns most retail packaging to create a unique wall clock.

    This interesting clock marks the hours by lighting an LED under the numbers 1 through 12 which appear on the bottom.

    The minutes are digitally displayed on the right side of the clock.

    Dimensions : 16"W x 10"L.




June 17, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 — by Dan Nadel


Dan Nadel is a 29-year-old author-publisher whose childhood passion for comic books became a way of life.

His publishing work has created a new genre, more like art or design books than graphic novels and the more standard presentation for comics.

Greg Zinman did a Q&A with Nadel that appeared in the June 11 Washington Post, and follows.

    Comic Book Guru

    Rock music and comic book ninjas: Welcome to the world of author-publisher Dan Nadel. The 29-year-old is a native of the District and won a Grammy last year for his work co-designing the packaging for Wilco's "A Ghost Is Born." He also teaches the history of illustration at the New School in New York and edits "The Ganzfeld," a compendium of avant-garde comics that has four editions to date. He also publishes coffee-table books by bands, fine artists and cartoonists through his "visual culture" company, PictureBox Inc.

    In between doing all of that, he's managed to compile a book of his own: "Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969" (Abrams, $40), which unearths 29 barely known masters of the medium, reprinting their strips in full and analyzing their work and its impact. Nadel will sign copies of the book Saturday, June 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Big Planet Comics (4908 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-654-6856).

    Last week we reached Nadel, who now lives in New York, where he was prepping a talk for the annual art festival at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.

    Tell us about getting into comics.

    I just kind of fell into it. I grew up in Chevy Chase, and I remember going to Palisades pool in the summer. My parents would stop by Talbert's, a convenience store on River Road, to get me comics for the car ride. I was a huge superhero fan: I loved Captain America, the Avengers, X-Men, a pretty hardcore comics junkie, really. When I was older, I worked at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda for a couple of years.

    And then you became interested in the avant-garde stuff?

    It happened because Joel [Pollack] at Big Planet suggested that I read "Maus" when I was 12. He pushed it on me, and then my mom took me to see Art Spiegelman talk at the Bethesda Jewish Congregation. There were about 10 people there: This was pre-Pulitzer, you know. He talked about the history of comics, and he held up the cover of "Zap No. 1," and so now I knew about this guy [R.] Crumb.

    I went out and found the volume of "American Splendor" that Crumb did the cover for, and I convinced my dad to buy me a couple issues of "Head Comix," which I was too young to buy -- he didn't know what was in them, but I did! Then I spent all of my bar mitzvah money mail-ordering underground comics, forging a signature that said I was 18, and fell in love with "Love and Rockets," "Eightball" and Harvey Pekar.

    How did you end up in publishing?

    I did a year of graduate school, studying philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and I decided I just didn't want to get a PhD, so I moved to New York to do research work for authors. I had this idea that I could just "do research," be some sort of professional student or something. A friend of my mom's knew Francois Mouly at Raw, so I ended up interning for Francois and Spiegelman, and they taught me a lot about books and the business of publishing.

    I started "The Ganzfeld" with some friends, and I've kept it going, funded by grants from the NEA. The first book I did was "The Wilco Book" last year, and everything has kind of sped up from there.

    Your books are more like art or design books than graphic novels -- pretty different from the standard presentation for comics.

    It's the way I think. I like for books to be a full experience. . . . I want the paper, the cover, foldouts, whatever, to contribute getting across the artist's worldview to the reader. Comics are part of visual culture, and making these books into beautiful things deepens the experience. I think books, even in our age of digital culture, are an under-exploited resource. There are still more and more ways to explore the way a book can work.

    What do you think about the boundary between fine art and comics? How do art-world types react to your comics?

    Why should there be a boundary? Is there one? I thought that whole discussion was over. On the other hand, look at "Art School Confidential." Now, I love Dan Clowes's work, but that film is very reactionary -- it's suspicious of the art world, and a false look at what the art world is. It's a kind of reverse snobbery. Personally, I don't see any boundaries. I'm just hoping to make the work I publish palatable.

    But comics no longer needs to see it itself as an underdog. . . . It's a medium among others, and it's a medium capable of holding anything, any kind of work.

    Let's talk about "Art Out of Time." Where did you find these guys?

    I was kind of obsessed with fanzines from the '60s and '70s, like "Graphic Story Monthly," "Nemo" and "The World of Comics," where people were just writing about their collections and rediscovering old artists.

    Some were just pure chance: Norman Jennett, for example, I found on the back of [a Sunday comics page] I was looking at while doing research in Ohio. And it sort of raises the question of, how much other great stuff is out there, still totally undiscovered?

    What do you hope to accomplish by showcasing these creators' work?

    That the underground didn't just start in 1968. The medium's anarchic, free-for-all sensibility goes back 100 years.

    I'm trying to slightly broaden the general narrative of comics history, which is often told in terms of popular characters and commercial success. There's a huge amount of innovation and success that didn't correspond to the recognized history.

    You work with comic book artists, fine artists and rock bands. What's the common aesthetic, if there is one?

    Half of it is just what I'm interested in. The aesthetic is me. I want to work with artists with unique visions of the world, who are inimitable, who are completely their own. For that reason, I'm not going to be providing competition for Fantagraphics or other major comics publishers.

    I'm working on a book with Sonic Youth, another with Julie Doucet, and another with Gary Panter. Oh, and there's "Cold Heat," my first foray into publishing a monthly comic. It's about an 18-year old female ninja and covers sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and globalization.

    Sounds like you're pretty busy.

    I'm putting out, like, six or seven books a year now. My God, there's so much to do!

    What do you do for fun?

    Hmmm. I like hanging out with my friends? [Laughs.] Really, though, in a way what I do is a lot of fun. My projects are with people who are my friends, so when I go out to galleries or museums or parties, which is the kind of stuff I like to do for fun, I'm socializing and talking about stuff that I want to do, or that I'm working on.


If you'd like to learn more, here's a link to a much longer and far more in-depth interview with Nadel.


And in case you fell asleep and just woke up, let me repeat: Nadel is signing his book today between 5 and 7 p.m. at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda.

June 17, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reflective Water Bottle Holder


From the website:

    Reflective Water Bottle Holder Holder

    Wraps comfortably around waist (up to 45") for hands-free storage of essentials.


    • Two zipper pockets


    for iPod or cell phone

    • Expandable bottle drawstring pouch

    • Low-light reflective trim

    • Breathable mesh back

    • Made of nylon


June 17, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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