New Projects Are Happy (So Are We)

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Well, guys, it officially feels like Fall. But what better way to review a long weekend's worth of new projects than with the cozy sound of rain hitting the roof, a cup of freshly made coffee, and your feet tucked up under you in your office chair? Check out some of her newly launched favorites below (hot drink and feet-tucking are optional, but highly recommended).

Press Blackburn's Various Deficiencies Vol. 2 on Vinyl project video thumbnail
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A couple of years back, as Brooklyn's music scene began to expand beyond the "indie rock" lathe, Blackburn Recordings issued a free compilation showcasing innumerable talent bubbling up from below —  Coasting, Big Troubles, City Center, Cloud Nothings, Campfires, Sultan, Sleep Over, Cursillistas, Lame Drivers and more. The comp served as a reminder that, while music may seem to be trending toward a ubiquitous middle ground, there were still artists out there willing, and able, to break the mold. Now, Blackburn is doing the same, although, this time they hope to bring it to the physical realm via wax. I had the privilege of debuting the first compilation on my old blog, so it's a real pleasure to find the second comp making a home for itself on Kickstarter. Also, Sacred Harp is my favorite musician in the current American landscape, so anything with him on it is going to be ill. — Mike M.

An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer project video thumbnail
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Between the two of them, Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer have enough fans to populate a large, metropolitan city. Combined, they're an unstoppable force, as evidenced by their latest collaboration: a mini-tour of five cities on the West Coast. To make sure all their fans can experience the show, they're funding a live recording that you'll be able to listen to for just $1. For superfans, there are limited rewards for things like a meet and greet with Neil and Amanda, front row seats, signed artwork, and lots more. Basically if you're a fan you already know about this project and don't need me to blather on about it because you're up there watching the video again thinking, "Neil Gaiman is eating a banana. Why is that so entertaining? Neil Gaiman eating a banana..."  — Cindy A.
Pigeon project video thumbnail
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The story goes that Pigeon started with a bet: a friend of Greg's wagered that he could create better poem's based on Greg's drawings than Greg could create drawings based on his poems. Still with me? The result was a non-linear meditation on imagined people, fragmented moments, and wandering stories. Rather then present the final collection as a book — which Greg felt was counterintuitive to the non-traditional narrative — he decided to create a three volume set of illustrated cards. Beyond being a beautiful art object, the deck of cards will allow readers total freedom to engage with the text and images in whatever way they wish. The order of presentation is irrelevant, there is no beginning nor end, and each card can stand alone as an object/story, as well as submit to the beauty of the collective whole. I couldn't love this more. — Cassie M.

UnionDocs has a 10 year lease. Now we need the basics. project video thumbnail
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In just six years, UnionDocs has established itself as a viable and vital NYC cultural institution. A collaborative and critical space for documentary art, UnDo offers a wide variety of public screenings paired with in-depth Q&As, panel discussions, workshops, and masterclasses, a cooperative live-work program for emerging documentary filmmakers, an army of engaged and dedicated volunteers, and an impressive body of critical writing. As noted in a recent NYT article on microcinema (which also mentioned KSR project 155 Freeman's Light Industry series!) UnionDocs has become a hub for hundreds of artists, journalists, and engaged citizens. They're raising funds to renovate their current Williamsburg space, keeping it cozy for the next 10 years of the lease. After a couple of seriously packed screenings spent fidgeting it out on the back wall or lap-sitting inside the projection room, I can tell you quite honestly, both my love of film and my desire for lower back support heart this project a whole lot. — Elisabeth H. 

The Happy Film project video thumbnail
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Stefan Sagmeister is a designer and typographer best known for designing album covers for everyone from Lou Reed to David Byrne.  He also wrote and designed a beautiful book, Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far, which perhaps set him down the path to his next project, just launched on Kickstarter this morning, The Happy Film. In this "gigantic piece of self-experimentation," Sagmeister sets out to train his mind the way he would his body, using 3 different methods to obtain what it is we're all looking for but can't seem to get: happiness. He spends 3 months on each method -- meditation, therapy, and drugs — in a Super Size Me-like immersion, checking in with health professionals and his psychological advisor as he goes. And yes, whimsical typographical set pieces will pop up throughout. — Meaghan O.
Stamped Books: Let's Get Letterpressing project video thumbnail
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Stamped Books is a tiny press specializing in handmade chapbooks — and when they say "handmade" they mean really really handmade. Hand-stamped, hand-bound, and hand-folded. The only thing they don't do by hand is print their covers... but not for long! With Kickstarter, the collective is hoping to be able to print and release their future chapbooks with letterpress covers. I am really enamored of books as distinct objects, and it's hard to get any more distinct than that. Their first release will be Lacy Cunningham's The Hospital Papers — sign me up! — Cassie M.

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