Kickstarter Gift Guide, Part Two

Last week, we published part one of our Kickstarter Gift Guide, where we highlighted some gift ideas that were made with Kickstarter. Thousands of backers helped these things make it into the world, and we're excited about celebrating them now.

The Ototo lets you make music from anything — bananas, clay, whatever! It’s an easy-to-assemble DIY synth kit that lets you create electronic sounds with the flick of a finger, no programming necessary. Supported by 915 people on Kickstarter and now available here.  

PyroPet makes candles that look like cute kittens and melt to reveal a metal skeleton. Supported by 2,330 people on Kickstarter and now available here

The Craft-Your-Own-Bitters Kit from Hella Bitters brings the satisfaction of making delicious bitters into the homes of cocktail lovers everywhere. Supported by 922 people on Kickstarter and now available for purchase here

The Orbit is a handsome turntable for today’s vinyl lovers. Supported by 1,133 people on Kickstarter and now available for purchase here.  

What to get for the kid who wants to make music? The Loog Guitar is a customizable three-string instrument that kids can construct themselves and then play. Supported by 440 backers on Kickstarter and now available here.

The Ten-Year Hoodie is a sweatshirt that will last you a decade. Supported by 9,226 people on Kickstarter and now available here

The BULBING Lamp is an optical illusion LED lamp. Supported by 1,830 people on Kickstarter and now available for purchase here

Projecteo is a tiny Instagram projector made with your images. Supported by 2,789 people on Kickstarter and now available for purchase here.

The Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker. Supported by 1,932 people on Kickstarter and now available for purchase here

Foodie Dice encourages you to play with your food. Supported by 3,676 people on Kickstarter and now available for purchase here.

Kickstarter Gift Guide, Part One

When you put a gift under the tree, it's fun to know where it came from. Who made it? How'd they do it? The gifts below have some of the answers to those questions in common: they were all made with Kickstarter, with the help of thousands of backers. People put these ideas out into the world, other people supported them, and now they've come to life. It's sort of like Santa and his elves — Santa is the main dude, but he really needs his helpers to make things happen! 

We put together a few of our favorite projects that are worth wrapping up for your loved ones. There's a little something for everyone, and more to come next week. 

(Part two of this post here.)

What's a better way to start a gift guide than with the present? The Present Clock measures time by the year, not the day. Supported by 837 people on Kickstarter, and now available here

Kano lets kids (or anyone!) assemble their own computer and learn how it works. Supported by 13,387 people on Kickstarter and now available here.

The 3Doodler is a pen that lets you draw in three dimensions. Supported by 26,457 backers on Kickstarter and now available here

The Kone Coffee Filter + Brewing System is stainless steel filter and ceramic brewer set. Supported by 1,295 people on Kickstarter and now available here

Throne Watches give new life to old watches by pairing them with beautiful handmade leather straps. Supported by 211 people on Kickstarter and now available here.  

KitRex is a build-it-yourself paper velociraptor kit. Make a three-foot dinosaur of your own! Supported by 2,900 people on Kickstarter and now available here

Stream nostalgia with the Gramovox Bluetooth Gramophone. Supported by 927 people on Kickstarter and now available here

Rainbow Pencils let you create beautiful paper rainbows every time you sharpen them. Supported by 2,864 people on Kickstarter and now available here

The Lumio Book Lamp is a beautiful lamp that folds up into a book. Supported by 5,276 people on Kickstarter and now available here

Cozy up with a book under the Constellation Quilt, a handmade map of the stars (may we recommend a sci-fi novel, or perhaps a copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos?) Supported by 958 people on Kickstarter and now available here.  

(Part two of this post here).

Little Children's Drawings from Little Feet

Little Feet, Alexandre Rockwell's new film, is about childhood in all its moments of weirdness and beauty. In the film, two young children (played by Rockwell's own kids, Lana and Nico) decide they to set out on a surreal journey through Los Angeles to set a goldfish free. It opens on Friday in New York, accompanied by Frances Bodomo's short film Boneshaker (also a project!). 

Lana and Nico's drawings appear as titles in the opening of the film. "The drawings came about when my daughter and I began talking about a journey these kids might take," Rockwell writes. "Nico, my son, joined in and they began to tell the story in pictures." The result was part storyboard, part coloring book: "Sort of as if Jon Cassavetes directed an episode of the Little Rascals.

Below are a few of our favorites. 

The Year in Publishing 2014

The best publishing projects of 2014 came in many formats and shapes and sizes, but they all share a dedication to highlighting a variety of original and essential voices. Here are a few of our favorites of the year. 

The Guernica Annual 2014

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The print debut of the beloved online journal, The Guernica Annual takes some the magazine’s best articles from 2014 and turns them into a lovely work of art. Find a copy here

C-86 and All That: Indie 1983-1986   

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This book is Neil Taylor's loving examination of a particular time and place during which indie rock came into its own as a genre. It's available soon, but you can follow along on the project's Facebook page, where Taylor is sharing new finds. 

Unsolicited Advice 2015: Weekly Planner and Journal 

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Graphic designer and all-around fun Internet guy Adam J. Kurtz provides plenty of prompts--both practical and fantastical--to harness creativity everyday. We talked to him earlier this year, while the project was still going on, and you can now get it here.  

The Oxford American Texas Music Issue

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The acclaimed Southern literary magazine heads over to Texas for its annual music issue.

The Manual, Everywhere 

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Andy McMillan's design journal for the web, available in digital and gorgeous print editions.

Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly 

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New Yorker cartoonist and cover artist Mark Ulriksen draws a book full of canine companions that leap (and bark!) off the page. 

Secret Behavior Magazine 

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A beautiful art publication that falls somewhere on the spectrum between a magazine and a book, Secret Behavior is “full of feelings, flesh, fucking and other normal things.” 


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The highbrow indie book publisher Coffee House Press goes delightfully lowbrow in this anthology about cats on the Internet, and why we love them. The book's not available yet, but we had to include it — partly because it's called Cat is Art Spelled Wrong. 

East of Borneo 2.0 

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A magazine that explores contemporary art from the perspective of Los Angeles culture. A must for West-Coast art lovers.

sixteenbynine: A New Magazine About TV 

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Finally, a magazine that treats television with the reverence it deserves! A super fun publication with an eye for lovely design. 

Kickstarter Documentaries on the Oscar Shortlist

There are a total of five (!) Kickstarter-funded films on the Oscar shortlist for Documentary Feature. It's an incredible array of films on a variety of subjects, and we couldn't be prouder to see them all noted this way. Watch the trailers for each below. 

Finding Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier is one of America's greatest street photographers. Her work, which seemed to be destined for obscurity, was rediscovered after her archives were purchased in an auction. From there, the story just gets more interesting. This documentary examines Maier's work and place in the American photo canon. 

The Internet's Own Boy 

The Internet's Own Boy is about Aaron Swartz, internet pioneer and activist. It follows Swartz from his teenage years, through to his involvement with RSS and Reddit, as well as his political advocacy and untimely death. It's also a film about the future of information on the internet. 

Keep On Keepin' On 

Keep On Keepin' On is a story about music and inspiration: 91-year-old Clark Terry, who played with Duke Ellington and mentored Miles Davis (among many others), is passing his torch on to his last student, a blind piano prodigy named Justin Kauflin. 

Citizen Koch

Citizen Koch is a film about money, power, and politics. It's a journalistic story to shed some light on the huge influence of the billionaire Koch brothers, and their presence in the world of politics, entertainment, and beyond. 

Art and Craft

Art and Craft is the fascinating tale of America's most prolific art forger, Mark Landis, whose enormous talent has been secret for years — until he is discovered by a collector and made to confront his decades-spanning legacy.

Not Just Another Company

When we started Kickstarter our goal wasn’t to start another company. It was to create a way for artists, musicians, filmmakers, chefs, craftspeople, designers, adventurers, and other creative people to fund and build community around their ideas. We wanted to create a universe where ideas were funded not because some executive thought they seemed like a good way to make money, but because people wanted them to exist.

A belief in the immeasurable importance of art and creativity is core to who we are as a company. Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life. We exist so that other people’s ideas can exist. We've remained independent and founder-led so that we can pursue this mission fully.

We’re also a company that cares deeply about how we go about pursuing this mission. We try to act with integrity, by prioritizing responsible governance, corporate transparency, and a respectful and inclusive work environment. There’s much more to be done, but our commitment to creating a better company for our team and you, our community, is real.

Over the past few months we’ve worked with a nonprofit called B Labs that recognizes companies that demonstrate a commitment to corporate transparency, civic engagement, and other socially conscious practices. We’re happy to report that after evaluating Kickstarter against their high standards of corporate responsibility, B Labs has named Kickstarter a “Certified B Corporation.” You can read the full assessment of our practices here. We’re proud of this certification, and we will use it as a baseline for further improvement.

From our commitment in our Privacy Policy to never sell our users’ data, to our transparent public stats page, to this B Labs certification, Kickstarter is committed to being a responsible company for the long haul. We’re grateful for your continued support. Thank you.

20 Questions With Sa Umbrella's Justin Nagelberg

If you've ever used an umbrella, you know the very specific frustration of having that umbrella get completely destroyed after walking just a few blocks in the rain. How does this happen? Why does this happen? We're not entirely sure of the details, but mainly we'd guess that they're made cheaply and poorly constructed. The Sa Umbrella circumvents those problems by being sturdy and in a different shape than your average umbrella. It still achieves the same purpose, which is to make it so rain doesn't get on your skin and clothes and hair, but it looks different while it does that.

We spoke to Justin Nagelberg, one of the creators of the umbrella, about Japan, Ninja Turtles, SoCal punk and more.

Tell us about the last great meal you had:

That would have to be Ramen Jiro (Shinagawa). I'm currently visiting my old home city, Tokyo, so I've had the pleasure of having many superb meals lately.

First movie you saw in the theater:

I honestly can't remember that far back, but it was probably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jurassic Park, or 3 Ninjas knowing myself.

Small thing you can’t live without:

Life would be pretty tricky without my iPhone.

An experience you’ll never forget:

Snowboarding backcountry knee-deep powder snow in Hokkaido, followed by a gorgeous outdoor onsen in the woods with pillow-like snow softly falling. Truly an unforgettable experience I hope to repeat again and again.

Music you loved as a teenager:

The first CDs I ever got as a kid were No Doubt Tragic Kingdom and the Final Fantasy VII Soundtrack. Then I was really into punk rock for a while like most Southern Californian kids, my favorites were No Use For A Name and Millencolin. Then by the end of my teenage years I transitioned into more indie stuff like Elliott Smith, The Unicorns, and Björk.

First book you remember being really affected by:

Although as a kid I loved anything Tolkien, I would have to say The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami was the first book that really caught my attention. Ever since then I have been hooked on all of Murakami's work.

How do you start each morning?

I usually start the day with an espresso, hand drip, or chemex-brewed coffee. I love taking the time to manually grind the beans, tamp, measure, and brew the coffee. It's like a little science experiment every morning. With certain beans you have to adjust the grind size or tamping pressure to get that perfect balance. It's a very relaxing and rewarding experience to start the day with.

Favorite app?

Foursquare, but the original one, not so much the newer Foursquare/Swarm. It is far and away the most useful, interesting, and informative app I have on my phone. Although I like Swarm, and especially some of the newer features, I still really hope that they will reunite the two apps one day and bring back mayorships and badges.

What’s your computer desktop/phone lock screen?

My desktop is just a bokeh image that I took ages ago of some very vibrant green plants in late spring. I like to keep my desktop uncluttered, relaxing, and clear from distractions. My phone lock screen is the new Andy Gilmore wallpaper that appeared in iOS 8.

Your favorite personal item of clothing:

I love wearing a classic Oxford shirt buttoned to the top. I usually alternate between colors or patterns, but never too complicated, and preferably with no logo.

What do you carry with you every day?

My iPhone (currently a white 6) and a simple wallet with as little in it as possible.

Favorite place to eat:

This is a very hard question for a foodie to answer! Just to name a few of my favorite places randomly off the top of my head and in no particular order: Langer's Delicatessen, Ramen Jiro, Rokurinsha, Mentoku Nidaime Tsujita, Fuunji, Roberta's Pizza, Pho T Cali, Lucha Libre, Mother Dough, Sushi Ota, Sol Food, Burger Mania, Ddukbaegi Jip, Tony's Jacal, Rico's Taco Shop, and I'll stop myself there.

Place you wish everyone could visit:


Last idea or factoid you came across that stayed in your brain:

I was recently watching Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson and was really struck with the episode pertaining to carbon gas on the surface of Venus and how it once was an Earth-like planet, but rather than it's distance from the sun, it became an intensely hot and uninhabitable planet due to the carbon in its atmosphere. It's very interesting to see how something as little as the amount of carbon molecules per million in the atmosphere can have such a drastic effect. I really hope that we can get things together on Earth so we don't suffer a similar fate.

Person in your field whose career/life/work you admire:

I'm a huge fan of anything from Muji and I really admire Spock.

Who did you learn the most from?

I wouldn't say there is just one person in particular who I learned the most from, but rather I learned from all of my friends, family, colleagues, and plenty of random people.

Favorite thing about the place you live:

New York has a trillion things to do, and before you can do even a trillionth of that, there are a trillion new things to do.

Favorite time of day and why:

Although I rarely wake up early enough to appreciate it, I really do love the sunrise hours. I love the sunrise itself, but also just how empty it is everywhere. There's also something about the air at time of day that is really crisp, refreshing and invigorating.

Favorite thing to work with:

My mind. It's much easier working with a concept in my own head rather than on paper, 3D modeling, verbalizing, or whatnot. But tangible object wise, I love working with paper. Paper is wonderful. It comes in so many varieties of color, weight, and texture, can be written upon, and can be bent, folded, or manipulated easily.

What is the last thing you made?

I just made some supplemental 3D models and technical drawings for the umbrella actually. We have been going back and forth with our production manager and the factory to get the umbrella just right.

Kickstarter at Art Basel in Miami Beach

Back in September, we announced that Art Basel was launching a new initiative to highlight and support work by non-profit visual arts organizations. This partnership has already helped seven inventive art projects from around the world come to life — everything from a groundbreaking exhibition about performance art in the Arab world to an online magazine about contemporary art from a Los Angeles point-of-view. As those ideas are coming to fruition, others are just launching — two new projects are live now:

Daniel Arsham: Welcome to the Future at Locust Projects
Daniel Arsham: Welcome to the Future at Locust Projects

Locust Projects, Miami’s longest-running alternative art space, is producing a major new installation by New York-based artist Daniel Arsham in his hometown of Miami. It’s called Welcome to the Future, and involves Arsham digging a 25-foot-wide trench in the gallery floor and filling it with the calcified artifacts of the future — a “muted cacophony of 20th century media devices.” Part of the funds will go toward fixing up the gallery floor for the next artist.

Preserving Place: Portraiture Studios in the Middle East
Preserving Place: Portraiture Studios in the Middle East

The Mosaic Rooms, a non-profit gallery in London, wants to help Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian produce his first book, to coincide with his first UK solo show. The book will reflect on the disappearing tradition of studio portraiture in the Middle East and will feature Sarkissian’s photographs of empty, staged studio backdrops in six Middle Eastern cities. The photos serve as “symbols of lost traditions, cultural identity and time; eulogies to a certain period within a society and celebrations of portraiture as an art form, and of these spaces, which can no longer be found.”

Headed to Miami? We’re offering a limited number of single-day tickets to Art Basel in Miami Beach free with the promo code Kickstarter, redeemable here. (Only one per person, please!) We also wanted to share a few Kickstarter events, in case you’re in the neighborhood!

  • Starting Wednesday, December 3 and going through Sunday, December 7, we’ll hold daily meet-and-greet sessions from 3 to 5 pm in the Garden Oasis at the Botanical Garden across from the Miami Beach Convention Center. Anyone is welcome to stop by, say hi and learn more about Art Basel's Crowdfunding Initiative and Kickstarter! No ticket or RSVP needed. Contact with any questions.
  • On Friday, December 5 from 10 to 11:30 AM, we’ll have an event in the Conversation series, focused on new funding models for the visual arts. Speakers will include our International Partnerships Lead Stephanie Pereira, plus Dennis Scholl of the Knight Foundation and gallerist Jérôme Poggi. The session will be moderated by András Szánto. It will take place in the auditorium at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and is free and open to the public, with no RSVP needed. Contact with any questions.
  • On Friday, December 5 at 6 PM, we’ll take part in a Salon discussion about Art Basel’s Crowdfunding Initiative. In addition to our Stephanie Pereira, speakers will include Mari Spirito (Founding Director of Protocinema and Juror for Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative), Glenn Phillips (Acting Head, Department of Architecture & Contemporary, Getty Institute and Juror for Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative), Chana Budgazad Sheldon (Executive Director at Locust Projects), Mary Ceruti (SculptureCenter's Chief Curator), Aaron Cezar (founding Director of Delfina Foundation). The session will be moderated by András Szánto. Entrance will be granted with a show ticket.