Friday, December 11, 2009

New Adventures!

Its been quite a while since we've had any new posts on the blog!
Currently, Jamie and I are in Eureka, CA working on a Victorian house that my parents recently bought. It was built in the 1890's and needs a little work. We've been pulling down everything off of the walls and tearing everything up off the floors. And smashing things!

This is a small view of the upstairs, from my room. You can see what I've doubed the "creepy room". More on this later!

A big part of the renovation process is making things look terrible at first. It seems that the previous owners may have been thinking that same thing with the red and black motif! I'm sure it was just a stepping stone away from looking spectacular and going perfectly with the cat pee/gross carpet professional design.

Here's Jamie relaxing after a hard day's work.

An exciting part of this renovation process is assuming that if you peel enough garbage off the walls and floors, you will discover something really great! It was with this idea in mind when I insisted that there was probably something hidden inside the nuel post at the bottom of the stairs. At a victorian house in Vicksburg, MS a man told us that people would put the deed to their house in the nuel post and then seal it up when they were done paying the house off. So I made my dad pry open our nuel post to find out if there was something inside! Turns out no. It was solid.

Stay tuned for a full and thorough home tour in the coming days!
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Whats that Smell?

There has recently been a rash of interesting news stories about a variety of toxic materials in Missouri. All of the stories are unrelated, gross, and some involve sludge!
Kelly Eckerman/KMBC
The first and grossest comes out of Cameron, MO. It turns out farmers in and around Cameron, MO have been spreading a toxic sludge as a fertilizer onto their fields. Here's the best part- it comes from a tannery, and its the stuff that takes hair off of hides. (Above is a picture of a guy holding some). National Beef Leathers owns a tannery in St. Joseph, MO and distributes the sludge to all those lucky enough to want it.
Now here's the problem, other than the obvious, there is a strangely high rate of brain tumors in Cameron, MO. Is there a correlation? We're going to have to wait to find out! Stay tuned!

The next is in Leadwood, in the heart of Missouri's Old Lead Belt region! The days of the old lead mines are over, but there is a significant amount of mine waste still there. The Doe Run Co. owns the mines and is responsible for the cleanup.
The debris left there, called tailings, are contaminated with lead and are also huge. Too huge to move. So they decided to cover the tailings with grass to keep the tailings from blowing away. Now here comes the sludge- Doe Run Co. decided to put treated sewer sludge over the tailings to get the grass to grow, a fertilizer of sorts! Unfortunatly, the neighbors are complaining and the EPA is ready to regulate!
Stay tuned for more updates on current and future sludge issues!
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Friday, July 17, 2009

New Etsy Update, Summer Style

New Etsy Update! Summer wares!

Rachel Scott courteously wrote the hilarious captions for the pieces and Laura Frank lent her bodacious bod as a lovely model.
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Monday, July 6, 2009

News on the Recylcing Front!

Big News! After much complaining and many calls to city services, we are getting curbside recycling! It actually had nothing to do with me and my loudmouth complaints, but was solely influenced by city budget cuts.
The details: until a few weeks ago, we weren't qualified to receive curbside recycling because a private company picked up our trash dumpster. If you do this, the city would give you a few bucks because they didn't have to do it. They've gotten rid of this subsidy though because of the current economic situation, you know. So our landlord is taking away the dumpster. This means we are eligible for recycling! This also means that we have to throw our trash in the street (pictured above), but finally we can stop hoarding our plastic goods!
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Madison Nguyen: Mystery Revealed

Back in the days of "my apartment in Santa Cruz", Jamie and I were intrigued and befuddled about a story that was in the San Jose Mercury steadily for several months. The gist is the story is that San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, a prominent and beloved Vietnamese politician, wanted to name a part of the city "The Saigon Business District", but residents wanted to name it "Little Saigon".

There was a huge outrage about the name, including a hunger strike and extensive front page coverage by the San Jose Mercury News. We could never figure out why this was a huge deal, but leave it to This American Life to explain the great puzzles of the news. If you were also confused in August of 2007, then click here and listen to the answer (I'm sure, blog readers, that your only dilemmas of 2007, were slightly entertaining news stories, right?)
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Breaking News: Ratastrophe!

The KC Masterpeas are for the first time bringing you live breaking coverage of a real-time situation. There's a rat in the fridge!

Or at least there was until we tried to catch it in this box. It was too fast!

Unbelievable! He/she ate the rhubarb pie Julia just made! What are we going to do?
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

James Rabbit: In love with the Idea!

Every city needs a Tyler Martin who meets you on the sidewalk to say, "this city is yours!" But for those who dwell beyond the cooperative housing situations of mid-California, Perfect Waves will do.

Perfect Waves is the new album from Tyler's omni-valent band, James Rabbit. In 20 tracks on two sides, Tyler rallies his friends and geniuses into helpful harmonies with more zeal than a pro-tourism board.

Listen to this track and hear what I'm saying.

This City is Yours by James Rabbit.

So good! When has the lunch special at Yan Flower been this triumphant!?

This music is important as a celebration of responsibility.

It's like the feeling I get when I walk our neighborhood in Kansas City. I see a person our age and my attention turns. In a glance it's as if we ask, do you have the answer? What do we do as our parents get older? This city is ours.

If you e-mail Tyler, he'll mail you a CD with sweetness and understanding. Or you can listen to the whole album streaming.

I won't say it's a complete life-training package, but it'll get you started. And there are a ton of hits!

Here is a video that Thor and Tyler made as they crowdsourced the recording at the Crystal Palace. And keep an eye out for a special guest appearance!

Photo Credit:
The photo at the top was taken by Roselle Kingsbury.
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Video Lab: Time is Long

A VHS tape loop between two VCRs make a 90-foot video delay. The live installation "Time is Long" was part of Bushwick Art Projects in Brooklyn. Is the space between VCRs cinematic?

Video Lab: Time is Long from Jamie Burkart.

Video Lab 2: Time is Long
I really enjoy traveling to install video. I did this show at the advice of our friend Shan Raoufi in Brooklyn. Shan, Julia and I met in Santa Cruz, CA. But his aunts and brother live in Kansas City! He is fond of telling me that if it wasn't Santa Cruz, it would have been KC.

On his most recent visit, Shan made a ghostly video featuring his bother, his father, Julia and me. You can watch it here.

Photo by John Acquadro.

About the recording:
I gave this walk-through to Missing Pieces in 2006 for their feature on the event. View the whole feature here.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Blogs? You bet!

So I've been doing an internship with City Councilman Ed Ford down at 'ol city hall, and part of that internship involves me trying to increase Ed Ford's web-presence! I feel this is a must for city government and also elected officials. So I spear-headed an effort to create the Ed Ford Blog!

Its been in the making for a little bit, but I've waited to post about it here until I got a good amount of info-graphics posted on it. So take a look and offer some helpful, yet non-rude advice! (and no I cannot turn on the comments section of the Ed Ford blog, I'm sure in your heart of hearts you can understand)
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Monday, May 4, 2009

Video Lab: Bicycle Driven Animation

I really like video. Even the word video sounds fun and easy to use. This is the first webisode about the videos of my life. The series is called Video Lab.

Video Lab: Bicycle Driven Animation from Jamie Burkart.

Video Lab 1:
I introduce an animation controlled by a bicycle and 1970's video equipment. I took special care not to use cameras for feedback in this real-time cyclocross through signal and code.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Honeysuckle Will Be The Source of Our Ruin!

Recently I've become intensely against honeysuckle plants. I will explain the problems that the plant is creating in our fair city to any one who will listen! Honeysuckle (pictured here) is everywhere in Kansas City. Any place where people aren't carefully attending to their yards the stuff grows. I think I've spotted some yards that are cultivating it, although luckily those foolish gardeners are in the minority.

The problems with honeysuckle are these: it is an invasive exotic species that grows leaves earlier in the season than other trees and plants. The shade that the leaves create block the sun from reaching new trees growing under the honeysuckle bush. This means that new trees cannot grow when the honeysuckle is around, so urban forested areas with the stuff are doomed to become honeysuckle forests after the current trees die (from old age and stuff). Can you hardly believe this outrage?!!

I learned about the TERRORS of honeysuckle mostly from this Walt Bodine episode and also from the grumblings at arbor day festivities in Liberty, MO

The Walt Bodine Show - Plants and Trees, Native or Invasive?
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Big news! Kids LOVE ham radio!

Hot news! HAM radio class in Parkville, MO. Hard hitting news! Kids love HAM radios!

(I photographed the HAM radio class for kids this past weekend for the SunTribune)

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Blog

So, I've started a new blog. Its not a competing blog, and it will definitely not take the place of posts about pets, self promotion, or obnoxious behaviors. What it will do is provide those hungry minds eager for Kansas City politics a place to satiate their desires for info graphics, committee meeting updates, and links to city ordinances! Check it out!
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jungle Kitty : Friend and Foe

Now, I usually refrain from posting about various pets that I see, mostly because its kind of like hearing about other peoples kids or dreams: boring. But here you go blog readers! Pet story!
Our neighbors have a cat that we have named "Jungle Kitty". When we moved in and there were still thriving plant life, neighborcat would hang out under the plants. It was like he was in the jungle.
Then winter came and all the plants everywhere died, and we worried for Jungle Kitty. It appeared that he lived outside and would be trudging through the snow! We doubted that the neighbors loved or cared for him at all, because they weren't cradling him in their arms and shielding him from the snow. But then things started to warm up again, and the neighbors have ventured outside, mostly to take photos of Jungle Kitty! Tons of photos all the time! So it turns out they do love Jungle Kitty and want to share that "photos of Jungle Kitty" love with others! I've caught them in the act!
Oh also, his real name is Perry! Don't be fooled though, Jungle Kitty is in fact mean, and yeah, you know it, a scaredy cat!
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photo Intern

For those that wonder what do I do with my time besides make biblical type scarfs and look at neighborhood pets, rest assured, I am busy! I've been interning with the Sun Tribune, a newspaper company (they have several weekly papers in the area) that's north of the river. (Jamie and I live south of the river, which is sometimes described to me as "scary" by people I talk to north of the river. why this is should probably be its own blog post!). With the internship, I've been taking photos of high school sports, Easter egg hunts!, arbor day events, and an Easter service. Its pretty interesting and I get to go places that are nice old small towns that I would have no clue about otherwise. A few of them are centered around turn of the century universities (Liberty and Parkville Missouri) and have older downtown areas.

Parkville, MO (photo by neal1960)

This Easter I took some photos of the Grace Community Church in Smithville. There were too many people to use the usual church, so they were in the Smithville High School gym! Here's the associated article, the photos and text are from yours truely!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring/Summer Etsy Preview or Kudos Rach Scott

Here's a small preview of what I'm working for my Spring/Summer on Etsy! Thanks to fashion icon Rachel Scott's great suggestions for new fabric wares, I've made a new skirt and giant plumage-like fabric scarf.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Acquadro is Goodbye the Band is Demalgamated in New Jersey.

Photo by Julia Fredenburg.

This morning in my email I got a new song from our friend and former housemate John Acquadro (Goodbye the Band). John produces multimedia hits like most people grow hair. The song is called "Everyday, My Day's a Cop." This style is so advanced that even Google doesn't understand.

Julia and I used to live with John in Santa Cruz, CA. Now he lives in New Jersey. He goes by all sorts of amazing names like William Darkblood and Johnny American.

John once produced a video that claimed to be the long lost sequel to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Salinger supposedly authored this sequel direct-to-video. John submitted The Picture in the Rye to the Whitney Biennale.

John is a big fan of seminal avant-guarde filmmaker and Kansas City native Stan Brakhage. I think he would be a good housemate with Jonas Mekas, Ryan Trecartin and Thurston Moore. He makes real albums and fake album covers.

Last fall John visited KC with our friend Shan Raoufi. They make movies together.

They were in town to scout locations for a feature project called Demalgamation. While they were here Shan shot part of a music video for John's "Amazing Marsheen." See if you can spot Julia, me and more geniuses of Kansas City and Santa Cruz.

I have a feeling that Kansas City hasn't seen the last of William Darkblood!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Castles in the Sky over Kansas City

Moving from California to Kansas City, I noticed that space is less of an issue. But after the last couple weeks I'm beginning to think that space is no issue at all. If you have a idea for a project that thrives in the public eye, but doesn't have a budget, then you can set up shop in Kansas City's finest unused storefronts rent-free "until something better comes along."

I've been super excited about Westport recently. For those who don't know, Westport is a district of Kansas City. It was a launching point of the Oregon, Lewis & Clark, Santa Fe and California trails. It is home to the best coffee shop, movie theater and ice cream in Kansas City. It's a 10 minute walk from our apartment. But like many commercial districts, it hasn't been doing so hot recently. I think Westport's master cleanse has gone far enough!

Informal community projects and formal business communities can build relationships that let everyone get to work. Awesome projects keep storefronts bright for the passing public. They fill the gaps in a district's smile. They can drive traffic for neighboring businesses. There is even potential for rent-free occupancies to reduce a land owner's tax and insurance liability. Everyone gets to do what they do best.

Our favorite faux-public access kids show Whoop Dee Doo built a float for the St. Pat's parade in Westport...

Books for the Planet and Operation Breakthrough each collected then sold donated materials in Westport storefronts. Sales from Books for the Planet benefited the Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Filmmaker's Fund.

Operation Breakthrough's sales "help children who are living in poverty develop to their fullest potential by providing them a safe, loving and educational environment."

I want to build Castles in the Sky over Kansas City. I am serious about this.

I want to inflate full-scale castles on Kansas City's most prominent vacant lots. I'm talking about multi-story bounce-houses, Crystal Palaces that glow emerald at night and sustainable biodome residences for public living. (Post your inflatable castle design in the comments!)

I want to develop a way of rolling plastic grocery bags together into very long sheets. I anticipate working with neighborhoods, real-estate companies, city departments, friends and strangers to design, produce, install and maintain iconic block-parties over Kansas City.

And a healthy workstyle will continue support our Sunday family dinners and breakfasts in the conservatory.

This is similar to:
A London suburb's response to empty storefronts.
The media collective Ant Farm's inflatables of the 1970's.
The annual ice palaces of Montreal.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Whoop Dee Doo

Hey Friends,
Its about time the Whoop Dee Doo was brought up on the blog. It has had a few mentions here and there, but not a formal introduction.
Whoop Dee Doo is a faux public access childrens show centered (I think) around the live taped performance of the variety show. Its nice to watch the show on the Myspace, but its way more fun to go to a taping. What happends at a taping? Hilarious and zany acts! There are lot of highschool dance troop type groups, pugs!, religious mimes, and tons of kids and adults dressed in costumes dancing! And pugs (sometimes)! An important part of Whoop Dee Doo (it seemed to Jamie and I) was that it managed to do things that alot of groups/organizations had failed to do in Kansas City. And that was bridging the racial divide in the city. And high school kids aren't too cool for it!
Alright, now to be honest, Jamie and I have gotten involved in Whoop Dee Doo (Well, Jamie mostly, me only a little), which would explain all the plugs for it! (More on that later) Why bother talking about a cool group unless you have something personally at stake in it's success?! Right, friends?

This is one of my favorite videos made with Whoop Dee Doo personalities, but not by Whoop Dee Doo. It was in fact made by the hilarious Leone Reeves.

The Whoop Dee Doo float for the St Patricks Day Parade

More news on Whoop Dee Doo to come!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Browne's Irish Market

Last week I took some photos for the KCTribune, a web based news source for Kansas City, of a group meeting to discuss local Irish fundraising events.

The Article
Some More Photos I Took But Weren't Included In The Article
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thor Visits KC + "Strangers" Video

I know that many of us have thought about our Transcontinental Hometowns. We imagine an overlay on the world map that indicates couches we can sleep on and friends we haven't met. Places to visit, people to see, it's just a matter of getting there...

Strangers by Jamie Burkart.

Thor, has made the great leap and is visiting us from Santa Cruz.

The next week will surely include a vegan tour of Kansas City, multimedia jam sessions and a ride along through the Main Street Corridor Development & Community Improvement District with our friend in the red shirt, Stewart.

"Stay still Thor, I'm going to do a sketch of you in ASCII art."

.\ .\

Thor has come to town!

See more Thor on:

* Most of these photos are by Julia.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Mike Sinclair

One of my new fav photographers in Kansas City is Mike Sinclair. He was part a great project put on by the American Institute of Architects called Kansas City's Snapshot Project. He photographed a certain path through Kansas City from east to west chronicling different neighborhoods in KC. Check it out!
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Jamie That Works

I just got a job making juice at Succotash in KC's River Market! It's going to be a good summer! Let's take a look at some of my past jobs...

"The Shop" Musical from Jamie Burkart.
Jamie Burkart, Community Director / Interactive Features Editor.

Jamie Burkart, Adventure Scientist.

Jamie Burkart, Cartographer in the Land of the Small.

Jamie Burkart, Speed Eating Champion.

Jamie Burkart, Escort Service!

Jamie Burkart, Media Archeologist.

Jamie Burkart, Magician.
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