Thursday, July 29, 2010


I didnt write this as well, but this is sort of how I feel as well, it was all a dream, or the end was reality.

I didn't write this, but after reading it I can accept the theory that the whole movie is a dream, which I couldn't before:

Every single moment of Inception is a dream. I think that in a couple of years this will become the accepted reading of the film, and differing interpretations will have to be skillfully argued to be even remotely considered. The film makes this clear, and it never holds back the truth from audiences. Some find this idea to be narratively repugnant, since they think that a movie where everything is a dream is a movie without stakes, a movie where the audience is wasting their time.

Except that this is exactly what Nolan is arguing against. The film is a metaphor for the way that Nolan as a director works, and what he's ultimately saying is that the catharsis found in a dream is as real as the catharsis found in a movie is as real as the catharsis found in life. Inception is about making movies, and cinema is the shared dream that truly interests the director.

I believe that Inception is a dream to the point where even the dream-sharing stuff is a dream. Dom Cobb isn't an extractor. He can't go into other people's dreams. He isn't on the run from the Cobol Corporation. At one point he tells himself this, through the voice of Mal, who is a projection of his own subconscious. She asks him how real he thinks his world is, where he's being chased across the globe by faceless corporate goons.

She asks him that in a scene that we all know is a dream, but Inception lets us in on this elsewhere. Michael Caine's character implores Cobb to return to reality, to wake up. During the chase in Mombasa, Cobb tries to escape down an alleyway, and the two buildings between which he's running begin closing in on him - a classic anxiety dream moment. When he finally pulls himself free he finds Ken Watanabe's character waiting for him, against all logic. Except dream logic.

Much is made in the film about totems, items unique to dreamers that can be used to tell when someone is actually awake or asleep. Cobb's totem is a top, which spins endlessly when he's asleep, and the fact that the top stops spinning at many points in the film is claimed by some to be evidence that Cobb is awake during those scenes. The problem here is that the top wasn't always Cobb's totem - he got it from his wife, who killed herself because she believed that they were still living in a dream. There's more than a slim chance that she's right - note that when Cobb remembers her suicide she is, bizarrely, sitting on a ledge opposite the room they rented. You could do the logical gymnastics required to claim that Mal simply rented another room across the alleyway, but the more realistic notion here is that it's a dream, with the gap between the two lovers being a metaphorical one made literal. When Mal jumps she leaves behind the top, and if she was right about the world being a dream, the fact that it spins or doesn't spin is meaningless. It's a dream construct anyway. There's no way to use the top as a proof of reality.

Watching the film with this eye you can see the dream logic unfolding. As is said in the movie, dreams seem real in the moment and it's only when you've woken up that things seem strange. The film's 'reality' sequences are filled with moments that, on retrospect, seem strange or unlikely or unexplained. Even the basics of the dream sharing technology is unbelievably vague, and I don't think that's just because Nolan wants to keep things streamlined. It's because Cobb's unconscious mind is filling it in as he goes along.

There's more, but I would have to watch the film again with a notebook to get all the evidence (all of it in plain sight). The end seems without a doubt to be a dream - from the dreamy way the film is shot and edited once Cobb wakes up on the plane all the way through to him coming home to find his two kids in the exact position and in the exact same clothes that he kept remembering them, it doesn't matter if the top falls, Cobb is dreaming.

That Cobb is dreaming and still finds his catharsis (that he can now look at the face of his kids) is the point. It's important to realize that Inception is a not very thinly-veiled autobiographical look at how Nolan works. In a recent red carpet interview, Leonardo DiCaprio - who was important in helping Nolan get the script to the final stages - compares the movie not to The Matrix or some other mindblowing movie but Fellini's 8 1/2. This is probably the second most telling thing DiCaprio said during the publicity tour for the film, with the first being that he based Cobb on Nolan. 8 1/2 is totally autobiographical for Fellini, and it's all about an Italian director trying to overcome his block and make a movie (a science fiction movie, even). It's a film about filmmaking, and so is Inception.

The heist team quite neatly maps to major players in a film production. Cobb is the director while Arthur, the guy who does the research and who sets up the places to sleep, is the producer. Ariadne, the dream architect, is the screenwriter - she creates the world that will be entered. Eames is the actor (this is so obvious that the character sits at an old fashioned mirrored vanity, the type which stage actors would use). Yusuf is the technical guy; remember, the Oscar come from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and it requires a good number of technically minded people to get a movie off the ground. Nolan himself more or less explains this in the latest issue of Film Comment, saying 'There are a lot of striking similarities [between what the team does and the putting on of a major Hollywood movie]. When for instance the team is out on the street they've created, surveying it, that's really identical with what we do on tech scouts before we shoot.'

That leaves two key figures. Saito is the money guy, the big corporate suit who fancies himself a part of the game. And Fischer, the mark, is the audience. Cobb, as a director, takes Fischer through an engaging, stimulating and exciting journey, one that leads him to an understanding about himself. Cobb is the big time movie director (or rather the best version of that - certainly not a Michael Bay) who brings the action, who brings the spectacle, but who also brings the meaning and the humanity and the emotion.

The movies-as-dreams aspect is part of why Inception keeps the dreams so grounded. In the film it's explained that playing with the dream too much alerts the dreamer to the falseness around him; this is just another version of the suspension of disbelief upon which all films hinge. As soon as the audience is pulled out of the movie by some element - an implausible scene, a ludicrous line, a poor performance - it's possible that the cinematic dream spell is broken completely, and they're lost.

As a great director, Cobb is also a great artist, which means that even when he's creating a dream about snowmobile chases, he's bringing something of himself into it. That's Mal. It's the auterist impulse, the need to bring your own interests, obsessions and issues into a movie. It's what the best directors do. It's very telling that Nolan sees this as kind of a problem; I suspect another filmmaker might have cast Mal as the special element that makes Cobb so successful.

Inception is such a big deal because it's what great movies strive to do. You walk out of a great film changed, with new ideas planted in your head, with your neural networks subtly rewired by what you've just seen. On a meta level Inception itself does this, with audiences leaving the theater buzzing about the way it made them feel and perceive. New ideas, new thoughts, new points of view are more lasting a souvenir of a great movie than a ticket stub.

It's possible to view Fischer, the mark, as not the audience but just as the character that is being put through the movie that is the dream. To be honest, I haven't quite solidified my thought on Fischer's place in the allegorical web, but what's important is that the breakthrough that Fischer has in the ski fortress is real. Despite the fact that his father is not there, despite the fact that the pinwheel was never by his father's bedside, the emotions that Fischer experiences are 100 percent genuine. It doesn't matter that the movie you're watching isn't a real story, that it's just highly paid people putting on a show - when a movie moves you, it truly moves you. The tears you cry during Up are totally real, even if absolutely nothing that you see on screen has ever existed in the physical world.

For Cobb there's a deeper meaning to it all. While Cobb doesn't have daddy issues (that we know of), he, like Fischer, is dealing with a loss. He's trying to come to grips with the death of his wife*; Fischer's journey reflects Cobb's while not being a complete point for point reflection. That's important for Nolan, who is making films that have personal components - that talk about things that obviously interest or concern him - but that aren't actually about him. Other filmmakers (Fellini) may make movies that are thinly veiled autobiography, but that's not what Nolan or Cobb are doing. The movies (or dreams) they're putting together reflect what they're going through but aren't easily mapped on to them. Talking to Film Comment, Nolan says he has never been to psychoanalysis. 'I think I use filmmaking for that purpose. I have a passionate relationship to what I do.'

In a lot of ways Inception is a bookend to last summer's Inglorious Basterds. In that film Quentin Tarantino celebrated the ways that cinema could change the world, while in Inception Nolan is examining the ways that cinema, the ultimate shared dream, can change an individual. The entire film is a dream, within the confines of the movie itself, but in a more meta sense it's Nolan's dream. He's dreaming Cobb, and finding his own moments of revelation and resolution, just as Cobb is dreaming Fischer and finding his own catharsis and change.

The whole film being a dream isn't a cop out or a waste of time, but an ultimate expression of the film's themes and meaning. It's all fake. But it's all very, very real. And that's something every single movie lover understands implicitly and completely.

* it's really worth noting that if you accept that the whole movie is a dream that Mal may not be dead. She could have just left Cobb. The mourning that he is experiencing deep inside his mind is no less real if she's alive or dead - he has still lost her.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

WDYWT and Pickup: WantsVs.Needs Tee designed by Adam Garcia
Go there and there.
Watching Inception tonight, will give you review tomorrow morning/afternoon/night

Friday, July 16, 2010


NEW MIXTAPE! Brought to you by the fine people of Mishka, TRILLWAVEis ergonomically designed for your summertime: the soundtrack to the partyafter the afterparty or maybe to a sun-drenched backyard barbecue the next day. Cue up the stream below or DOWNLOAD the mixtape.

The Hood Internet x Mishka - TRILLWAVE by hoodinternet

1. Phoenix x Why? - Shoeing Horses In 1901
2. Young Money x Javelin - DepRock
3. The-Dream x Kevin Drew - Bodhi Shawty Weekend
4. Air x Mike Jones - La Femme D'Monsieur Jones
5. Kanye West feat Lil Wayne x DJ Signify - 1993 Barry Bonds
6. Pharaohe Monch x The Black Lips - Drop I Mayor
7. Birdman x Washed Out - Feel It On The South Side
8. Doom x The Flaming Lips - Air You A Hypnotist?
9. Lloyd Banks feat Juelz Santana x Neon Indian - Beamer, Drips
10. Jay Electronica x Toro Y Moi - Freak Exhibit
11. Jamie Foxx x Röyksopp - Alcohol Forever
12. Mando Diao - Dance With Somebody (Hood Internet Remix feat GZA & Cadence Weapon)
13. Hieroglyphics x Genesis - That's Who
14. Gucci Mane feat Plies x Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Wasted Love
15. Big L x Bibio - Dwrcan 'Em Up
16. Puff Daddy feat The LOX x Volcano Choir - All About The Islands
17. Iyaz x The Big Pink - Velvet Replay
18. Ice Cube x CFCF - It Was A Rainy Day
19. Anti-Pop Consortium x Maps - I Dream Of Capricorn
20. Aesop Rock feat Rob Sonic x Tobacco - Dark Pink Goo
21. Dominique Young Unique x Yacht - I'm In Love With A Hot Girl
22. De La Soul x Jamie Lidell - What's The Stakes
23. Jay-Z x Phoenix - And The Definitive Winner Is...
24. Trey Songz x The Radio Dept. - Trey-dio Departmentz
25. Drake x Beach House - Walk In The Park Is Over

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The North Face x Supreme: Actual pictures forthcoming

From now on, I will be trying to make a post a day, whether it is personal, or a re-post of something I like.

For this season’s The North Face and Supreme partnership, the two labels unveil the Expedition Pullover. The anorak style jacket features a 100% waterproof 3-layer faille weave shell with tricot backing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oregon Quarterly: Tinker Hatfield Jr.

Photo of Tinker Hatfield in his office.

How small-town jock and UO architecture grad Tinker Hatfield ’77 became the Star of the Shoe and world’s most visible designer.
By Todd Schwartz

The first thing about a shoe is the last.

Then you need to search within its soles: out, in, mid. Then consult the vamp, which is always an upper. That’s how you get your kicks.

The first thing about Tinker Hatfield?

We could begin with the fairly startling notion that you can travel virtually anywhere on this planet that has human habitation, from the largest city to the most distant village, and eventually you will almost certainly see a shoe or some clothing that has been designed by Tinker Hatfield. Only one other designer can claim a similar slice of ubiquity: a one-time Portland

State University graphic design student named Carolyn Davidson, who in 1971 created the “swoosh” logo that appears on nearly every Nike product—including most of those designed by Hatfield, the athletic shoe and apparel company’s vice president of innovation design and special projects.

Or we could open with the image of Hatfield standing before the Pompidou Center in Paris, a groundbreaking building turned inside out, all brightly colored exoskeleton of pipes and girders and heating ducts. In time he will use the inspiration of this moment to design the first Nike shoe with a window in the arch, revealing rather than hiding the new air-cushion structure within—exposing the sole of the Air Max.

We could begin with today’s hard-to-believe-he’s-fifty-seven-years-old guy in the hip glasses and T-shirt, the renowned high priest of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, the new-idea factory on the Nike campus that is off limits to nearly everyone, including most Nike employees. Hatfield has reached the point in his career where he need answer to no one, could even retire with all the Nike stock and the several houses he has designed for his family and the sports-legend friends and the thanks of a grateful sneaker-wearing nation—but he won’t, because design still excites him as much as ever. And because the company still needs a provocateur. Hatfield still thinks by drawing, still sketches new ideas every day, although now using his finger on the screen of his iPad rather than pencil and paper. A guy from the analog time getting more digital every day.

Perhaps we should jump back to Hatfield’s first meeting with the Jumpman himself, über-competitive and perfection-demanding basketball icon Michael Jordan, with whom Hatfield will build a lasting friendship—along with several generations of the game-changing Air Jordan shoe, inspired by everything from fighter jets to panthers to one particularly compelling lawnmower.

But in truth the first thing and the last about Tinker Hatfield, even beyond his design acumen and crazy success and double-secret creative lairs, is athletics. His path runs from athletics to architecture and back to athletics, so sports is where we’ll begin, going back four decades to the furrowed fields of the Willamette Valley and the burgers at the Arctic Circle in little Halsey, Oregon. He’s celebrating after a football game, maybe (Hatfield was a Sunkist All-American), or a basketball game or a track meet (All-American there, too). Maybe it’s a party on the day in 1970 when the kid from Central Linn High School was named the Oregon high school athlete of the year. Sports were everything in his family—his dad was a coach, his mom was a coach, his brother would become a coach, and his sister would eventually marry a coach—and Tinker Jr. (as he was known as a kid, although Tinker was just his dad’s nickname, while it was the younger Hatfield’s actual given name) was good enough to be recruited nationally.

“I was just a jock,” Hatfield says today. “I was a decent student, but not the most diligent. I dreamed I would become a professional athlete, and I didn’t really have a plan past that. I used to sketch a lot in high school, just doodles really, and one day I had an epiphany, which was how to draw a house in perspective. I had a simple thought: ‘Hey! Architecture!’”

That was that, until Hatfield traveled around the country on college recruiting visits, being asked at each stop what he planned to study.

“I didn’t know what to say,” he remembers, “so I decided to tell everyone that I wanted to go to architecture school. I had no idea that it was the kiss of death—because no one goes to architecture school and also plays big-time sports! So each time I’d say my thing, and the USC or Stanford or LSU faces would fall, and they’d say ‘Oh . . . hmmm . . . no one’s ever done that.’ . . . In a funny way it made me want to do it even more—of course, I had absolutely no concept of how much work it took to go to architecture school!”

Eventually, he narrowed his choice of sport down to track and field—it seemed the most doable in combination with architecture school—and his choice of college to those who offered both a track scholarship and a well-known architecture program. The UO was one of those, and Bill Bowerman was the first coach to say, “Sure, I think you can do it all.”

Hatfield did, slowly evolving from the track athlete who happened to be going into architecture to the budding architect who happened to be a track guy. In the process he held the Ducks’ record in the pole vault, and finished sixth at the 1976 Olympic Trials. He also suffered an injury that eventually would end his career as a world-class athlete and then redirected all of his focus to architecture and design.

It turned out that Hatfield had found the perfect place. First, there was the School of Architecture and Allied Arts itself, which stressed technology less and thought process and client interaction more—design training applicable to any challenge, not just buildings. Then there was Bowerman—who loved his unique new track-team guinea pig, who could test the coach’s prototype shoe designs and come back with drawings and notes and detailed design feedback. Bowerman had also cofounded a little upstart shoe company for which Hatfield would eventually go to work in 1981.

But for the first few years after graduation, Hatfield practiced architecture in Eugene, applying the design processes and client focus he had learned at the UO.

“I’d love to credit some important people in my education,” says Hatfield, looking back, “especially at Oregon. [Professor emeritus] Michael Utsey was one of the first teachers who really got through to me, and saw something in me. He taught me to draw better and to appreciate the human nature and scale of architecture. I talked to him a lot. Another great influence is [adjunct professor] Otto Poticha, who represented the renegade side of being a designer, kind of ‘out there’ and opinionated and funny, but also really smart and amazing at solving problems in unique ways. [Professor emeritus] William Kleinsasser wrote a book [Synthesis 9 / A Comprehensive Theory Base for Architecture] that taught me a lot about the larger context of architecture and pattern language, about the need to understand the entire community and culture. That’s come in very handy as we work around the world for Nike.”

Hatfield’s world was a good deal smaller back then, but it jumped in size when he joined Nike as a staff architect, designing offices, showrooms, and retail stores. Design is as design does, one might say, and before long the many options presented by a young, growing company allowed Hatfield to make a nearly seamless transition to shoe design. And when he got into the game, he took over. With the Air Max and his first Jordan, the Air Jordan III, he scored huge wins for Nike. When he noticed that his friends at the gym all lugged around several different kinds of sneakers for different activities, he created an entirely new category with the first all-in-one cross-training shoe, the Air Trainer. By 1989, Hatfield was creative director of all Nike product design, and the hits just kept coming.

“The design process begins differently,” he says, “between a building and a shoe, but along the way the process becomes more and more similar. At Nike, I’ve always started a lot of projects on my own, just because I get an idea. That wouldn’t happen often with a building, because someone has to put up the money! I don’t begin with a marketing brief—I’ve never thought they were that helpful. I just try to pay attention to my own sense of innovation and ability to understand the marketplace.

“But once you get into the meat of the design process, shoes and buildings aren’t that much different. When I sit down with an athlete, say Roger Federer or Kobe Bryant or Lance Armstrong or LeBron James or Brad Walker”—leave it to Hatfield to throw in a pole-vaulter—“they’re the clients, they have specific performance and style criteria, specific needs and desires similar in nature to someone who wants a house or a church or a school. For me it was a natural. Having been an athlete, I think like an athlete, I can communicate with an athlete on any level—I believe personal insight is critical to success. And along with that insight I had the benefit of an education in architecture and design that stressed the principle of hearing and understanding the client.”

Performance comes first, Hatfield makes clear. The style of the shoe flows from that and also embodies something he understands at the core level about the particular athlete, combined with a million absorbed influences—which is how a tough little push mower, hard around the edges, sharp on the inside, meshed in Hatfield’s mind and sketchbook with the facts of Michael Jordan’s sparkle and endless tenacity, and became a strong patent leather band, durable and shiny, encircling the famous Air Jordan XI.

So it went. Hatfield had all the tools: an innate sense of design that effortlessly (or so it seemed) combined diverse influences with natural market savvy, plus a top athlete’s insight into performance, and a complete willingness (some might say a calling) to push the limits, to smile and shine, from the first hole-in-the-sole Air Max forward, as he nudged the suits way past their comfort zones. Fortune magazine named him one of the 100 most influential designers of the twentieth century. To some it may have looked easy, but they don’t appreciate the long hours and the fact that Hatfield is his own harshest critic and most demanding client. The rare miss aside, he’s been in the zone for a very long time.

Nearly thirty years after joining Nike, Hatfield may be seen as one of the company’s elder statesmen, but he still prides himself on being the irritant (an untouchable one, to be sure) in Nike’s very profitable oyster. But pearls are ever harder to come by.

“I’m a unique case here at Nike,” Hatfield says with a chuckle. “People don’t mess with me too much, because of some past successes, but also because I set myself up early on, with my personality and my approach, as the provocateur. People just expect me to be that rabble-rouser.”

Which was all the rage in the ’80s—but could he do it again in 2010?

“Good question,” he answers. “I wrestle with that when I mentor people on the way up. The world has become a little more conservative in the past ten years. It seems to me that people in general aren’t as risk-taking as they were. When I came to Nike, things were more wide open, and it was easier to be a risk taker—of course, one thing that has a big effect on risk-taking behavior is the nature of what you have to lose if you make a mistake! Nike is now so big that a mistake can be huge, as can be the successes. The company is a microcosm of the rest of the world, and it’s a bit of a struggle—I spend a good part of each day trying to convince people on all sides, from business to sales and marketing to design, that we still need to take risks and be innovative, be those provocateurs we once were.

“I’ve been around long enough that I can say those things. I have some liberties at Nike that others don’t. I take that as a privilege, and I try not to waste the influence I have and the freedom I have to take risks. If I just kept my head down and played the corporate line completely, I’d be squandering the capital I’ve built up over a lot of years.”

Hatfield won’t start playing it safe now—he’s still, at heart, a pole-vaulter, a guy who thinks it’s a good idea to use a thin, springy stick to hurl himself, upside down and feet first, over the highest obstacle he can. That, and the fact that, what with all the freedom and the money and the hanging out with stars and the secret lair, there simply can’t be many better jobs in the solar system.

For now, he’ll keep putting finger to touchscreen, designing everything from new shoes for many of the world’s top athletes (and the world’s largest footwear bottom line) to quirky vacation homes for his family, composed of his wife Jackie and their three daughters, to just about everything for the UO athletic department, including the stadium-floor-plan “O” logo that has migrated from the football uniforms to become the official mark of the University as a whole. Hatfield is also involved in reuniforming and rebranding Oregon State University athletics (he grew up halfway between the homes of the Ducks and the Beavers, after all), so expect upcoming Civil War games to be very well-dressed affairs.

Every so often he’ll decide it might be the time to just do it, to completely pass the swoosh to the next generation of Nike designers, but then he’ll remember:

“This is just too much fun not to keep doing,” Hatfield emphasizes. “Of course, the world’s always changing and we keep modifying our organization, so who knows? The part of the company I run is supposed to be thinking of things no one has ever done before, and you need a bit of chaos and uncertainty in the mix to do that well. I kind of like uncertainty—probably because of my sports background. In athletics you never know what’s going to happen, you just get out there and go for it.”

With that, Tinker Hatfield picks up the pole and sprints away, running hell-bent for takeoff.

Todd Schwartz ’75 is a Portland writer who, when he discovered that the world’s oldest existing shoes were a pair of 10,000-year-old sage-bark sandals discovered in 1938 in Central Oregon by the UO’s Luther Cressman, was certain he had some Chuck Taylors older than that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beauty & Youth 2010 Fall/Winter Looks

Beauty & Youth 2010 Fall/Winter Looks

BY L. RUANO, JULY 1, 2010

beauty youth fw2010 1 Beauty & Youth 2010 Fall/Winter Looks

United Arrow’s Beauty & Youth showcase new looks from the retailer’s in-house collection for Fall/Winter 2010. Featured in this line are pieces that include outerwear, knits, denim, headwear, and just about everything in between. All of the garments shown are now available for purchase through United Arrowsonline.

beauty youth fw2010 2 Beauty & Youth 2010 Fall/Winter Looks

beauty youth fw2010 3 Beauty & Youth 2010 Fall/Winter Looks

beauty youth fw2010 4 Beauty & Youth 2010 Fall/Winter Looks