Ex Machinae started as a solo project for its singer, songwriter and composer Phil Petrie. Petrie and his wife moved to New York in 2005 to pursue similar goals. “Anna [his wife] is an opera singer and I always wanted to do this,” he says gesturing at the musical equipment that currently fills his living room and impromptu band practice space,so we figured that New York had to be the place to do that,” says Petrie.

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Image from Roberto's website

Sitting at a table inside the Meatpacking District’s SoHo House, dressed in a tee shirt, black jacket and baseball cap (“New York Cubans”) and carrying a binder filled with in progress screenplays and DVD screeners, Roberto Monticello looks every part the director, which he is. He has directed and written dozens of plays and movies.He has also spent time searching for escaped Nazis in South America, once coming across a village in Paraguay called “New Germany” where most of the inhabitants happened to be blonde haired and blue eyed.

In between his films, Roberto has fought for human rights all over the world, working with multiple groups. “My title is troubleshooter for human rights groups,” says Roberto.

Roberto’s troubleshooting days began in his native Cuba where he was arrested, at the age of 16, for protesting the government’s crackdown on homosexual artists. Read the rest of this entry »

A Connor Harrington piece under the Highline

On a 13th street wall, a redcoat stands aiming his rifle at an amorphous cloud of words and color. He appears to be at war with an abstract enemy composed entirely of graffiti. The graffiti appears to be winning. It crawls up his gun, distorting and dissolving the barrel in a miasma of colors, blotches, and letters. In fact, he himself appears to be dripping. The reds, blacks, and whites that give him shape, structure, and existence, run down the wall, threatening to lose all form. The soldier seems to be slowly transitioning from a character in a mural to a random assortment of lines and colors that most would see as graffiti.

The redcoat’s struggle against the encroaching graffiti is today mirrored in the city’s fight to paint over, sandblast and erase the graffiti present along the Highline above him. However, unlike the redcoat, the city is winning. On the buildings along the Highline, it is the decades old graffiti that is being dissolved, overtaken by a new clean grey sheen. Read the rest of this entry »

A passerby observes Jupiter

Photo by Albert Depas. Via the Highline Blog.

On a brisk Tuesday night four men gather in front of a bench on the Highline just south of the looming Standard hotel. Armed with telescopes brought from home, they are here to participate in one of humanity’s oldest pastimes, looking up.

At one point, they invite a cadre of people dressed for a night out to have a look at Jupiter, prompting someone to ask “how much?” The men assure them that the sky is free to look at.

The men are members of New York’s Amateur Astronomy Association, whose members number in the hundreds and which has recently added Tuesday nights on the Highline to its list of regularly scheduled observation sessions.

Joe Delfausse, peering through his telescope’s eye piece, turns a few knobs to refocus his image as a young couple passes by. Satisfied with his adjustments, he calls out to them, “Do you want to see Jupiter?” Read the rest of this entry »

Amanda Raposo(right) and Jessica Mason(left), Came up with Baby's First Home during a Christmas Party.

Amanda Raposo(right) and Jessica Mason(left), Came up with Baby's First Home during a Christmas Party.

Amanda Raposo is so busy that, unlike most New York University sophomores, she has yet to look at her fall registration. “People have been telling me to get on it,” she says. “I just haven’t had the time.” She hopes social work classes do not fill up.
Sitting down for an interview in Washington Square Park, Amanda is dressed down for the warm weather, has her backpack slung across her back, and is wearing that slightly rushed look on her face indicative of a busy day not yet over.
Amanda, who attends NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, looks the typical student. However, the list of things on her mind which are more important than figuring out her academic schedule make her anything but.
This list includes a trip to Thailand that she has just finalized, where she and fellow classmates will be collaborating on a book with the Thai Royal Foundation.
Schoolwork and final projects have begun to pile up as the year ends. But most prominent on her mind these days is organizing and developing the summer pilot programs for Baby’s First Home, the first private shelter for teen mothers in New York City where Amanda is cofounder and start-up director.
Baby’s First Home was first conceived during a conversation at a Christmas party in 2007. Since then, the number of founders and organizers, all like-minded young women, has grown impressively. The group hopes to launch their pilot program this summer, which is why Amanda had spent the day in between classes and networking with local organizations.   Read the rest of this entry »

Andrea Lynn Kaplan shows off her homemade steampunk outfit

Andrea Lynn Kaplan shows off her homemade steampunk outfit

Andrea Lynn Kaplan’s outfit suggests that she may not be from around here. Her long black skirt, looking like something from a century ago, was sewn from a tapestry fabric. A flower brooch with a stamen made of watch innards decorates her corset top.
She wears a miniature top hat covered in pennies and keyboard keys, fingerless studded gloves and an armband consisting of a soundcard and panic button. However, the first thing curious passers by ask about is the wooden box with protruding valves and gauges and a clock center that is strapped to her back.
“Oh, that’s my time machine,” Kaplan explains.
When a passing man asks if her outfit is steampunk she smiles and says, “Yep.”
“Five years ago there’s no way someone would have recognized it,” Kaplan says. Read the rest of this entry »

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department uses Youtube to share unsolved crimes with the public

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department uses Youtube to share unsolved crimes with the public

A detective from a county police department in North Carolina called David Christopher Moss and asked if he could see him at the station to talk about a YouTube video.

According to Moss, the videoshows him approaching a man who appeared to be soliciting a prostitute from a parked van. Moss, who says he was dressed in khakis and a T-shirt at the time, identifies himself as a police officer to scare the would-be John away. The video was uploaded sometime in June to Moss’ YouTube channel where he shares pranks and sketches.

Sometime later, police in Gaston County, NC, received a call from someone who had come across the video and thought that it might interest them. Moss received the phone call on Dec. 1. After carefully reviewing the video, the department had decided to charge Moss with impersonating an officer. He has a trial date in May.

Moss’ case is an example of a growing trend in policing and anonymous tips. Police departments across the nation have been discovering YouTube’s potential as a source of evidence. Now, many departments are exploring new ways in which to use this modern resource.

Departments do not spend time monitoring the web but if tips come in pointing them in the direction of some video that may help make a case “we would be glad to use them” says Officer Jay Rivera of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Arrests attributed to tipsters pointing police in the direction of an online video seem to be on the rise.

In January police with the Summit County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio were able to identify five brawl participants thanks to a tip that lead them to an online video of the fight, according to an official press release. Read the rest of this entry »