After months of tracking the patterns of Mother Nature and officially receiving a greenlight from Contest Director Jeff Clark, the 2007/2008 Mavericks Surf Contest was held last Saturday in solid 25-30 foot swell. The event, which brought 24 of the world’s most accomplished big-wave surfers to one of the most infamous breaks on the planet, culminated in a hard fought victory for San Clemente, Calif., native, Greg Long.
“Greg’s been pushing the limits,” said Contest Director Jeff Clark. “With his natural talent it’s not a surprise to see him learning the ropes quickly and becoming one of the best big-wave surfers.”
Following six intense heats featuring some of the finest watermen, in ideal Mavericks conditions, the finals are already being recognized as one of the most competitive and inspirational in the Contest’s history. Despite the high stakes and back and forth lead changes, camaraderie ultimately stole the spotlight when, at the post-event awards ceremony, it was revealed that the six finalists, while looking out at seemingly flat water, agreed to split their shares of the prize purse evenly no matter the outcome.
Shortly after the agreement in the water, a premiere set appeared out of nowhere, which Contest Champion, Long rode for an unprecedented perfect 10. Claiming one-sixth share of the final round prize purse with Long were fellow finalists (in respective order of finish) Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF), Jamie Sterling (HAW), Tyler Smith (Calif.), Grant Washburn (Calif.) and Evan Slater (Calif.) in sixth. Not all spoils were split evenly, as Long was additionally awarded with a one-of-a-kind high performance Reactor watch and a hand shaped Jeff Clark surfboard.
“The first heat is the biggest hurdle. Making the semifinals is a huge accomplishment but becoming the Mavericks Surf Contest Champion is a dream come true,” said Long. “I am humbled.”
Jamie Sterling was honored with the Jay Moriarity award for the intense spirit and passion he exemplifies for big-wave surfing. Clif Bar presented Grant “Twiggy” Baker with the Clif Bar Green Room Award, for getting the biggest, deepest barrel of the day, which is vied for and voted for by the surfers themselves.
A record number of surf fans enjoyed the action at the beach as thousands descended on Pillar Point. Even more enjoyed the alternate viewing options as more than 250,000 viewed the free-live webcast on Myspace.com and more than 1,000 people watched the competition on the big screen at the live viewing party at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The eternal city, that has charmed the whole world with the millenary enchantment of its monuments and the richness of its artistic treasures, will host, from February 28th through March 2nd 2008, a new, unique event: ROMA – THE Contemporary Art Fair. It’s an art show conceived as no other, a non-conventional art fair; it’s rather a fascinating exhibition project, an exciting challenge for artists, gallery directors and visitors to experiment an emotional dialogue between history and contemporaneity.
ROMA – The Contemporary Art Fair – has been tailored as a unique, exclusive show: a different, new way to exhibit and promote modern and contemporary art.
Some wonderful historical places, which are representative of the town and therefore unique (from the archaeological sites to the Medieval and Renaissance palaces), have been selected to host few, sophisticated galleries and give them the opportunity of exhibiting works by modern and contemporary artists in a context which could not be reproduced anywhere else.
In no other place in the world could an art fair choose to present itself like this to the international public: a matchless example of stratification of both historical and artistic ages for 2000 years, Rome is using some of its most precious jewels to show today’s art, as the town has done throughout the centuries.
ROMA will be an exclusive exhibition where only 60 modern and contemporary galleries – some of which are rarely or hardly present in the fair circuits – shall offer a privileged observatory of the high quality art scene in Italy. An engaging, stimulating visit through works of great emotional impact – many of which were developed site specific – by Italian and foreign artists who are at the very core of the world’s art system.
Though, ROMA will mainly be a cultural event, promoting a series of side initiatives within the city.
The spectacular Terme di Diocleziano – the greatest bathing site of the ancient world – will feature a special, curated exhibition titled “Cose mai viste“ (Things you never saw): works of great visual impact and significance which are the private property of the guest galleries.
Then, art again, but not only that, in a blend of languages and styles: special openings of galleries, museums, artists’ studios and unusual exhibiting spaces.
Rome is witnessing a very sparkling time: two new museums (MACRO and MAXXI), even if they are not yet completed – are already operating with a broad program of events; the reopening – after six years of restoration – of Palazzo delle Esposizioni with the Rothko exhibition; the setting up of several new galleries (most recently Gagosian), the growing number of artists who select this city to live in or just to develop specific projects, the exponential increase of significant collections has become an actual Rome Renaissance.
The sitter for the Mona Lisa was indeed named Lisa, according to German researchers. Lisa del Giocondo, to be exact.
Cai Guo-Qiang is one of the most prominent living Chinese artists. Trained in theatre design, in 1999 he won the International Prize at the 48th Venice Biennale. He is best known for his firework-based set-piece installations and for drawings made using ink and gunpowder. In November 2007, a set of 14 untitled drawings by the artist sold at Christie’s, Hong Kong, for £9.5m ($19.1m)-setting a new record for a Chinese contemporary artist at auction. Next month the Guggenheim in New York, will host Cai’s first major retrospective, “I Want to Believe”. The show will coincide with the publication of a limited edition, potentially self-combusting book (nine copies only) entitled Danger Book: Suicide Fireworks, published by Ivory Press and personally annotated by the artist.
BigArtMob is a new art blogging platform with a very specific goal in mind: it’s set out to collect images of all the public art out there. The easiest way is of course to send images in via your cell phone, but submissions aren’t limited to this. Based in the UK, mobile phone submissions are currently restricted to this area. Users can create their own art blog, which lets you display the images you’ve captured, and include a description. All your posts appear in blogging format, of course. What’s neat about this type of set up is the ability for each user to show their own collection of amassed images of public art.
Beyond this, BigArtMob seems to be organized around several groups, which can add a more collective aspect to the display of public art that users come across in their daily lives. Entries are also in wiki format, so registered members can add to other users’ contributions. This helps collect more details of a particular entry, and taps into collective wisdom regarding public art.
There’s also a Google Maps mashup, which shows submissions and highlighted works of art. The site’s map can also be posted as a widget, while a second widget, which is Flash, can be used for personal blog purposes.
As it stands right now, BigArtMob is an intriguing social experiment in the influence of crowd wisdom, particularly when it comes to public art. In fact, with Google ’s own socializing of maps and mashup tools, it will be interesting to see if any similar communities crop up as a byproduct of Google’s initiatives, and how this could affect BigArtMob.
In terms of expansion, I imagine the pooled resources that make up exactly what BigArtMob is (and will become) could be use for mobile “public art” tools based on locale, or integrated somehow with services like EveryScape.
Yesterday was basically the Super Bowl for Apple fans: The Steve Jobs keynote address at Macworld. So many people were craving coverage that Twitter crashed, as did a number of blogs and other sites attempting to cover the event. That said, it speaks volumes to the growth of blogging and new media that we had so many different options for following Apple’s CEO play-by-play.
So, what did we hear? :
The MacBook Air:
Steve Jobs announced Apple’s entry into the ultra-mobile laptop market, the MacBook Air. From end to end, at its thickest it’s just 1.93 cm thick, whereas at its thinnest, it’s just 0.4 cm. Well, it happened. Steve totally wowed his audience with this one. Despite being just a slip of a thing that can “fit in an envelope”, it packs in a full size 13.3″ widescreen, full size keyboard and iSight camera. It’s LED backlit, and just bloody brilliant all round.
To make it even more wonderful, Apple has packed in some of the features from the iPhone in terms of navigation. A large trackpad recognises a whole host of multi-touch gestures; basically, if I haven’t said it before, you can take your right mouse button and… well, you know.
The chassis is not disappointing either. The hard drive is 1.8″ and 80GB as standard, but there’s a 64GB Solid State Drive option too. RAM is 2GB as standard. It is powered with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1.6GHz as standard, although you can upgrade to 1.8. Intel specifically made the Core 2 Duo 60% percent smaller for Apple.
In something this tiny there is, of course, no optical drive, although a $99 is available as an accessory. But since this is built to be wireless, there’s a much more clever feature. You can scan the vicinity for PCs and Macs and “borrow” their optical drives and use them as if they were your own. And you can see what’s on them. What’s more, this claims to be packing 5 hours of battery, so you should never be caught short.
Oh, and by the way, Hippyshopper fans, it’s been designed with much more of an eco-conscience than other models. The case is recyclable aluminium, the display is mercury and arsenic free and there are no brominated flame retardants. There’s also a focus on less packaging.
It’s shipping in two weeks starting at $1799. I don’t even want to think what that’s going to be Israel… whenever it’s available.
The Time Capsule:
Time Capsule is a new storage device that’s a full Aiport Extreme (that’s WiFi, PC fans) base station with a “server grade” internal hard drive. 500GB and 1TB versions are in the offing, for $299 and $499 respectively.
Apple TV, iTunes and Movie Rentals:
Movie rentals were the big new announcement for iTunes, which is also showing healthy growth, with 20 million songs sold on Christmas Day. Touchstone, MGM, Miramax, Lionsgate, Newline, FOX, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony have all joined the party now for movie rentals; a goodly collection by anyone’s reckoning.
Although iTunes Movie Rental is US first, hopefully, we will be seeing this in Israel at some point. The rentals will last for 30 days until you start watching, thereafter lasting for 24 hours, with US prices set at $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, which will be available 30 days after the DVD release.
And so to Apple TV, which even Steve now admits was not quite what the consumer was after.
Apple TV version 2 means direct film rentals, in HD and Dolby 5.1 channel sound if you want to shell out $4.99. Photos from Flickr and .Mac and YouTube videos are also available plus you can stream from your machine, although none is needed to access the other features. Previewing movies is easy with a revamped interface, as is seeing what others have rented. You can, as Steve demonstrated at the keynote, even watch HD podcasts.
The new version is actually an upgrade to the existing Apple TV – and it’s completely free if you have that. If not, the price is $229, a significant reduction from the original product.
iPhone and iPod Touch apps:
On this, the 200th day since the iPhone shipped, Jobs first announced some new features that suggest the rumoured hardware update was fact: maps with location information, multiple SMS, webclips and the like ( I will elaborate further on this soon).
Web Clips looked particularly handy, creating up to 9 shortcuts on the homepage and remembering where you zoomed into the page and so on. There were also some new features announced for the iPod Touch including weather apps and, crucially, mail. But it’s $20 for those, whereas iPhone apps are freebies for now…
Unfortunately for developers the announcement wasn’t quite as exciting as they hoped, because despite the fact that the promised SDK is on the horizon – that’s the software development kit if the jargon is unfamiliar – it’s still not coming until February. And despite a fancy demo of the new apps explaining all the Skyhook geekery behind the mapping, there’s till no GPS and there’s no 3G. Damn.