Lonely Heart: The Art of Tara McPherson

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Tara McPherson, 30, the Brooklyn-based artist known for her slightly surreal, melancholy-tinged work, is celebrating the recent release of her first book Lonely Heart: The Art of Tara McPherson with a book signing at KidRobot in New York City on Thursday, 12 July 2006. The 112-page book is lush with full color illustrations, paintings and the acclaimed rock posters she's made for the likes of Duran Duran, The Shins, and The Fall. In addition to select works from the young artist's impressive oeuvre, the collection includes toys that Tara's customized for Kidrobot and others, and gives a glimpse into her process with sketches and transparent overlays (pictured). If you can't make it to the event, Lonely Heart is available from Amazon. Check out the flyer after the jump. Lonely Heart Book Signing Thursday, 12 July 2006, 6-8pm KidRobot NY 126 Prince Street New York, NY 10012 maptel. 01 212 966 6688

The ghost-like Edison Lamp from Anthropologie is at once a conversation piece and completely unobtrusive. Made in France entirely from hand blown glass, the unusual use of transparent material is reminiscent of a Hurricane lamp, with a handsome balance of sensual curves and the strong lines of the cylindrical "shade." The result is a light suitable for a desk or end table that nearly disappears in a room—a perfect solution for spaces that are already too cluttered with objects or competing patterns and colors. Compatible with nearly any interior design scheme, the Edison Lamp will inspire you to "rediscover light." Available from Anthropologie for $798.

V-Moda Earphones

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Designed for bass-lovers and featuring several colors designed to mix and match with the new iPod nanos, V-Moda Remix earphones are a solidly built alternative to standard earbuds. Though slightly turn-of-this-century flashy, the Remix M-class are audiophile-quality earphones made from pure polished alloy metal that produce vibrant, precise bass levels. Also from V-Moda the Bass Fréq earphones (pictured) are specifically designed to let you experience the deep bass of a night club sound system and feature noise-canceling technology without adding bulk. The Bass Fréq are available in eight candy colors and adjust to three different sizes to ensure comfort. Both the Bass Fréq and the Remix M-class earphones feature the Modawrap cable manager, which is a handy way to end the constant battle with tangled earphone cords. Both models retail for $50 online from V-Moda or Amazon.

Perhaps a play on the French Connection's "fcuk" line, Yack Fou is a playful Berlin label making tees and hoodies imprinted with their deceptive-looking name. Printed on 100% cotton, they're definitely eye-catching. Some of the designs even stand on their own without the gimmicky name, like the lego design (pictured), which also happens to look a lot like the album art on Beck's latest release, The Information. Tees start at €30 from Yack Fou.

Based on the way acoustic vibrations resonate through the body of an instrument to create rich sound, Onkyo recently released these specially engineered D-TK10 speakers that take advantage of the entire speaker cabinet—rather than the traditional use of only the woofers and tweeters. Produced in partnership with renowned Japanese guitar maker Takamine , the gorgeously handmade rosewood-and-mahogany set measures under nine inches tall, making them shelf-friendly, as well as good for small spaces in general. Over two years in the making, like most of Onkyo’s superior equipment, quality and innovation doesn’t come cheap ($2,000), nor in this case easily; they only make 50 per month and purchases are limited to one per household. They’re available directly from Onkyo .

Lego Ice Cube Tray

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The amazing Okamoto Studio that we had at our recent Lego Ice Cube Tray makes ice cubes with the classic Lego brick shape. Whether you are building a scale model of the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden or simply building the perfect cocktail the Lego Ice Cube Tray is available online for $7.99.

Communicating with Pattern: Circles and Dots

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Circles and Dots proclaims, "the world is rounder than you think." Packed with amazing images of circular shapes in nature, art and design, as well as facts and historical context, it's as much about inspiration as it is a practical desk reference. The work of freelance brand consultant Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson of Absolute Zero Degrees (whose clever wallpaper and children's tableware designs we love), the anthology of round shapes also explores the way that circles can represent inclusion, while dots can signify rebellion, illustrated by examples from political propaganda and street signs. The edition is one of the first in Rotovision's new series of books, Communicating with Pattern, which pays homage to the most basic and essential design elements in all their incarnations. Each volume is a unique look at how we communicate with a single pattern and the complete set hopes to be a "bible of pattern" for designers of all walks of life. The series currently includes a book on Stripes (also by Mark and Keith), with books on Squares, Checks, and Grids to follow. You can find both Rotovision.

The Spirit of The Beehive

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A film of near indescribable weight and richness, The Spirit of the Beehive is the latest essential DVD release from The Criterion Collection. The narrative is deceptively simple: in a small provincial Spanish village in the 1940s, a traveling cinema leaves a small child haunted by the memory of Frankenstein’s monster. While engrossing and endearing as an ode to the power of youthful imagination, it’s also a complex political allegory about life under Franco’s regime. The film’s stunning aesthetics are unparalleled and the new hi-def transfer on this set really lets Luis Cuadrado’s cinematography shine. It's worthwhile purchase if only to show off the dynamic colors on your 16:9 set. Pick it up at Amazon. by Michael Talbott

The Black Panthers

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On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Aperture will release The Black Panthers, a collection of Stephen Shames' never before published photographs of one the most controversial organizations of the Civil Rights movement. From 1967 to 1973 Stephen captured both the enigmatic public face of the Panthers and also the intimate private moments of the group that former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover once described as the country's greatest threat to internal security. The striking photographs illustrate how the political agenda and community service of the Panthers was tied to their aesthetic sense. The image created by the slick leather jackets and berets that were their uniforms was intrinsic to their 10 point plan. As Black Panther's founder Bobby Seale explains in the preface "I understood that good visuals—the graphics in our posters and newspapers and the use of photographs like Stephen Shames' were part of how we could successfully communicate the imagination of people." The Black Panthers includes essays by Bobby Seale and Charles E. Jones. Pre-order from Amazon. Aperture will be hosting a panel discussion and book signing with Stephen Shames and Bobby Seale for the release of the book on on 12 October 2006 in Oakland, California (where the Panthers were founded) that will also kick-off an exhibition of the photographs. Another event's scheduled for 18 October 2006 in New York City. Details are available from Aperture. The Black Panthers Opening reception: Thursday, 12 October 2006 6pm Exhibition: 12 October 2006 — Monday, 13 November 2006 Asian Resource Gallery 310 Eighth Street Oakland, CA 94607 map Wednesday, 18 October 2006 The Great Hall at Cooper Union7 East 7th Street New York, NY map

iTank iPod cases

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Designed to transport iPods on all your extreme adventures—whether snowboarding, skateboarding, rock climbing or merely braving the subway—YoTank iPod cases are machined from solid aluminum, thoroughly protecting iPods from dents and scratches. Ideal for people whose lifestyles mean they can't always be gentle with their gadgets, they're also a good way to protect iPods from harsh environments—we sourced them as a solution for security issues at an upcoming event. Featuring a screen protector made from machined lexan, the virtually unbreakable YoTanks come with a hex wrench for attaching and removing the front plate and an attachable carabiner. Currently offering the iTank Video ($75), the iTank Nano ($45) and ZenTank Vision:M ($75) for Creative's player, YoTank plans to expand into cases for cell phones and other electronics.

Barking Irons Shines

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Borrowing the term "shines" from a 19th century slang term used by thieves for jewelry or precious items, our friends at Barking Irons recently introduced their first line of jewelry. Like their history-obsessed tees, the accessories—cast from 19th-century souvenir spoons from old New York—draw on the rich mythology of the locale. The pendants ($315), which are replicas of the bowl of the spoon, and rings ($295), made from the handles, are 100% sterling silver and come in two finishes: an oxidized matte black and an antiqued dirty silver finish. Barking Irons Shines are available online, as well as a number of specialty boutiques. More images here.

Kidrobot Apparel

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We got a chance to preview the new Kidrobot apparel line last week at their New York offices. The line launches September 28th featuring unique collaborations with famous pop artists and graffiti writers, including TILT and Frank Kozik and draws inspiration from many of Kidrobot’s most popular characters including DUNNY and Smokin’ Rabbit. The line will include colorful track jackets, hoodies, knits, tees and accessories for men and women. The 80/20 Cotton/Polyester blend brushed hoodies are soft and comfortable with waist ribbing and a slim silhouette. My favorite feature is a pocket designed to hold an mp3 player on the inside with a slot to thread your earphones through. Each item is limited with the edition number embroidered on the piece. A weather-proof jacket, laptop messenger bag and wallet should be released in time for the holiday season. All products will be available this fall exclusively at Kidrobot stores and select retailers including Barney’s New York. Some designs will also be available online.

An appliance that cleans up recycling and makes it easy to be green has arrived. The Ecopad E1 works similarly to a trash compactor and can hold up to 60 crushed containers. By replacing ad-hoc recycling methods the Ecopod E1 makes recycling more efficient at home, in the office and in schools. The Ecopod E1 is a self-contained unit with storage capacity for bottles, newspapers, plastic bags and other recyclables. Once the container is compacted using the foot-activated lever it is stowed in a bin and ready for curbside disposal. As added incentive, filled pods are redeemable at certain recycling centers for up to $5 depending on the state. The Ecopod was designed in partnership with BMW Designworks USA, and is available online from Ecopod in black or white for $328, and starting in December 2006 also at Williams-Sonoma. By Maya Melenchuk

John Austin: Prank University

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John Austin is a 27 year old toy designer and self-proclaimed master in the tradition of the college prank. So much so that he's written a book called Prank University: The Ultimate Guide to College's Greatest Tradition to share his favorite tricks. The site and book are well designed and feature great illustrations of the pranks, which are ranked by difficulty and have step-by-step instructions for optimal results. Hey Ami, have fun in London at the Design Festival. We're not bitter that you drew the lucky straw. Really. We'll take good care of your desk while you're gone… Prank University is available at the book's site and from Amazon. via Core77

Like the iDiamond Earphones we featured in May, Ear Drops add personality to the standard-issue white earbud. Available in three bejeweled models—heart-shaped, round with pearls and the traditional in-ear bud shape—they come in either black or white and with a variety of rhinestone colors. Like the charming copy reads, " As stylish accessories and dresses, don't you want to have fashionable headphones? …The beautiful rhinestones shine casually beside your ears which make your music life glamorous." In other words, starting at just $31, you can get a pair to match every outfit.

Frog Dissection Kit from Jack Spade

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The clever lads at Jack Spade have obviously been reminiscing about middle school science class days gone by. One of their newest products includes this Frog Dissection Kit, complete with all the tools you need to dissect the vacuum-sealed formaldehyde treated frog, a tray and a guide to help you identify your handiwork. Available in-store only from Jack Spade's New York store, +1 212 625 1820.