Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Last post was about a subterranean nightclub in Shanghai, which looks pretty cool.

But the best underground dance scene has to be the local one here in Vancouver, BC.

The photos here are from a solid night that happens twice a month and is always well attended, even though it’s still a hidden gem-of-a-night. But because it’s so good, this is changing – gradually more people are showing up as word gets around.

Just last night there was a great Sunday night after hours event that went off till seven am.
(It started at midnight).

The space was classic – industrial neighbourhood, inconspicuous, small room with graffiti walls – and it didn’t take long before it was packed with party-goers.

It was put on by seasoned promoters and djs in the local scene who have been throwing events for years now.

And every person that shows up is keeping the scene alive.

There’s something so innocent about dancing all night in a giddy group of partyers.  There’s a sense of solidarity and community and general happiness.

It’s actually part of a long standing human tradition – to gather and play music and dance and socialize. It’s more than entertainment, more like a social bond that stays with each person even after they leave the party.

This effect doesn’t come from big, commercial events. It’s the smaller, intimate parties that are locally produced and faithfully attended that create this socially-induced sense of well being.

In overcrowded Shanghai a new nightclub has set up business underground in one of the city’s unused subterranean bomb shelters.

The Shelter nightclub in the Xuhui district has mostly original decor, with stark cement walls and floors.

There are no windows so it’s always nice and dark.

And no neighbors to complain about loud late night music.

The Xuhui district has thousands of similar vacant shelters, and with limited space above ground, it is no surprise that several businesses have also set up shop in the underground labyrinth.

Hundreds of thousands of these shelters were built all over China in the 60’s and 70’s in case of air raids by the former Soviet Union.

“Some projects remain as secrets,” said Tong Songyan, an official at the Xuhui district government, in an interview with Reuters.

Added bonus: it’s probably one of the safest places in town…

As seen in: web urbanist

“Contour Crafting: Automated Construction” is a TEDtalk by Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. In it he talks about the future of 3D printing technology applied to housing construction.

3D printing is an additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. Using cement-type materials the printer builds up all the elements of an architectural structure layer by layer – building any structure, from houses to skyscrapers.

This technique allows for a new freedom in architectural design, less constrained by conventional building methods. It’s also quick (a simple structure could be completed in under 24 hours), inexpensive, requires minimal labour with minimal wasted materials.

What does this have to do with housing on Mars?

The website www.contourcrafting.org has detailed info about this process and has a page devoted to building on other planets.

The 21st century will find the human race hurtling out of our orbit and colonizing other worlds in our solar system. This worthy endeavor will not only provide us with new knowledge and understanding of our universe but will be the first big step in securing our species survival… Contour Crafting technology has the potential to build safe, reliable, and affordable lunar and Martian structures, habitats, laboratories, and other facilities before the arrival of human beings.

(Wow are we going to have to move our species to Mars to survive?)

On the eve of the American presidential election the world is on tender hooks, as the outcome will affect the global climate on every level.

The prospect of American politics and policy continuing unchanged or worsening is disheartening to say the least.

In the October printed issue of Adbusters they published an article by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters where he contemplates the state of our collective humanity and offers a glimmer of optimism for the future.

The following is an excerpt posted online on the 22nd of October, the night of the final presidential debates:

Tonight, Romney and Obama debate for the third and final time – a sure to be tantalizing tap dance that will only circle the latent issues beneath

America’s “foreign policy strategies” – those issues that are far too taboo to be mentioned in the debate, on the news, or even at all.

It’s important on evenings like this (is this not also the great ‘evening’ of the American empire itself?) not to get too caught up in the arguments and rhetoric of either side, nor in the post-debate blitzkrieg of intellectual analysis. At this time, we cannot afford to forfeit the attention due to the deeper, the deepest contemplations at hand, which are urgently pressing up towards the surface of mass consciousness. Here are such reflections from Pink Floyd’s, Roger Waters. Consider carefully what he has to say about the state of humanity and our apprehension of ourselves:


Thirty years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.

It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with its concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns: nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, whatever! All these issues and isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.

The new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.

In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more “humane,” i.e., kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.

I disagree.

In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion. We are after all a very young species. I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog-eat-dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other.

–Roger Waters is an English musician, singer-song writer and composer. He was a founding member of Pink Floyd, serving as bassist, co-lead vocalist, and after the departure of bandmate Syd Barrett in 1968, Waters became the band’s lyricist, principal songwriter and conceptual leader.–

Popular anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters has published a new economics handbook called “Meme Wars: the Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economies”, due for release Nov. 13th.

In an interview with dazeddigital.com, co-founder of Adbusters Kalle Lasn is promoting the book, as well as discussing the Occupy Movement from his particular vantagepoint as longtime anti-capitalist and activist.

The book uses some intense images to illustrate the points made.

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Reflecting our general reverence for all things Star Wars, artist Chey Chao has interpretd scenes from the movies in the style of early Medieval Christian artwork: