We manifested today at the Wired magazine’s pop-up shop in the Meatpacking district, hoping to catch a glimpse of some technorati. I would settle for Julia Allison, but hoped for Nick Denton or Laurel Touby. It would have been appropriate for Denton to show up as his own Gizmodo had a similar function last month in an Elizabeth St. location, but for Touby to show up would have been as insensible as her career propelling lunch crashes at Michael’s. I don’t think she goes out that much anymore for some reason. Denton couldn’t fit because the ceilings were only 17 feet tall.
In a cursory glance, this was like any other (high-end) store during December, a DJ, perhaps a semi-famous DJ, a sponsorship from a champagne beer company and lots of attractive wares. Our notes about the latter are plenty. Whist we checked out the said wares, Angus Andrew of Liars spun a choice gamut of tunes, from obscure hip-hop to newer Portishead to classic Pulp and PJ Harvey. The night was, after all, a listening party for Liars’ upcoming album, Sisterworld.
But first, there were the computers, mostly PCs, heavy ACERs with dismal performance, yet priced twice as much as their better Dell compatriots. One extremely high end set-up was unusable because the keyboard (from Apple) went wonky and locked on the = key. All you could see was that we were all ===========. “We” being the techno-nerds, the techno-beats, sedate webbers, and the groups of i-Bankers who kept measuring each others’ lacrosse cup size.
Next up, there was a Chevy Charger, in one of the glittery silver colors: “hey guys, my car is covered in glitter!”, I don’t want to know any men who buy this car with this paint job (somehow I think the ones that do end up on meninpain.com) and after a bit of reflection, women should get this in flat black as well.
Horrible Oakley wraparound sunglasses were here too, they still make them. I now know, that unless these perform Lasik surgery while I wear them, they will not touch my eyes. People who dress well were confused around the clothing section: “these are the types of things I wear, but they are thermally rubbed or whatever, and the boots are ugly.” No, this is not a fashion store, okay, on to more gizmo-dingles.
We sat for a bit in the video game section, a Mario redux on Wii was confusing as hell to get around since the Wii controller wants to be held in just one way, she knows how it’s done, the finger is on the trigger button and the arm is wrapped around. Apparently Mario Redux (not the actual title) designers thought that it wouldn’t be too confusing to hold your Wii sideways while you try to convince Mario that this is indeed the correct way to go. It’s not: Wii’s are Wii’s, humans are humans, the world functions better when you don’t try to pretend that the g-spot is in the hip bone.
The best display by far was on the design table: Lego for architects, Guggenheim museum, the Chrysler building, a Frank Wright house in subtle Lego formations were a joy to see. Dyson things are infomercial fodder, but the Dyson fan represented had no blades and was an impressive design, however loud; it was audible against a Kool Keith track. A PC case, mod with minimal wood and Plexiglas framing, proclaimed that the price is available upon request, which translates to: “we will try to charge you x10, but you can have it at cost if we go out of business.”
The second best bits of functionable eye candy were the kitchen appliances from Fagor. I hope the firm is Swedish/Norwegian/Korean because, yes I am twelve and so are most of you, but I just saw visions of the lacrosse boys evaluating the BTU’s and beer case space while slapping each others’ egos around. The name is a bit tricky for the American market perhaps. There were no girls around these displays. If you do want to know the displays that girls were interested in, they were the following: wireless thingies, small laptops, Wii games and music equipment.
The following image is the inside of a Fagor refrigerator.
These kinds of displays are the new Worlds Fairs, a show of the latest and wackiest designs set in a time frame of a museum exhibit that’s easy to miss. Unfortunately here, the setup could have used some of the techniques from the managers at Apple stores to make the technology present function smoother. Far reaching suggestions would be to do something with the laptops other than show the Wired Magazine home page, there are plenty of, ahem, Second Life, or likewise, experiences that would at least attempt to push this somewhere new.–Zabatay