Metropolis II – A glimpse of the city of the future, Hot Wheels on steroids at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Metropolis II - A glimpse of the city of the future, Hot Wheels on steroids at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Metropolis II - A glimpse of the city of the future, Hot Wheels on steroids at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Link to see a video of Metropolis II at LACMA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA8fj-MJe5s&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Los Angeles is the city of the automobile. The culture of LA is based on the car. Come visit LA without a car, and you will find yourself wishing for one after 2 minutes. LA is a city of freeways, and people refer to distance in terms of how long it will take you to drive from here to there.

We recently when to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and got to see a glimpse of the city of the future, or Hot Wheels on steroids – which is what I called Metropolis II; the kinetic sculpture by Chris Burden now showing at LACMA.

“The future of automobile transportation is that there won’t be drivers anymore,” proclaimed Chris Burden to audible gasps and some giggles at the opening of Metropolis II, his giant kinetic sculpture now installed at LACMA.

http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/metropolis-ii

He used 1,100 customized Hot Wheels cars whirring through a city of building-block skyscrapers is a scale model of Burden’s vision for L.A.’s future: Cars that are swiftly autopiloted along pre-determined routes, moving ten times faster than they do today. Included in the ‘sculpture’ are also trains and trams weaving in and out of buildings and ‘roads’.

The customized Hot Wheels cars are dramatically lifted to a height of 8 feet by a magnetized conveyor belt then let loose through the city on a roller coaster network of plastic roadways, which weave thier way through the buildings which are constructed with Legos and Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets (a nod to his 2008 Rockefeller Center installation), and stacking slotted cards that echo the House of Cards created by the Eames Office. A dozen out-of-the-box electric trains chug casually through the sculpture to add the concept of light rail.

Metropolis II’s focus might be on the driverless car, but one of the most compelling features is human: one of Burden’s assistants must stand at the center of the city and monitor the tracks for potential Sigalerts. “It’s just like real life on the 405,” said operator Rich Sandomeno, pointing to safety measures like tiny brushes that slow the cars down around dangerous curves.
“It’s a hopeful future,” Chris Burden offered. “Cars will have an average speed of 230 miles per hour as soon as Google gets all their cars up and running.”

Of course he was alluding to Googles recently patented driverless car program.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/12/google-awarded-us-patent-for-driverless-car-technology.html

This may have been surprising to any art critics in the room, but the transit nerds like me nodded in agreement. According to transportation theorists, autonomous automobiles may be the only hope for curing L.A.’s humiliating gridlock. Giddy chatter of bike lanes peppers our conversations, but Metropolis II might be the more realistic visualization of L.A.’s transit future.

No matter what, it is mesmerizing to watch, and to see the joy in the children’s eyes when they first see it, is truly amazing.

Link to see a video of Metropolis II at LACMA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA8fj-MJe5s&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Metropolis II - A glimpse of the city of the future, Hot Wheels on steroids at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Metropolis II - A glimpse of the city of the future, Hot Wheels on steroids at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

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Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry – a $2000 ‘smart’ phone for the 1%

Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry - a $2000 'smart' phone for the 1%

Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry - a $2000 'smart' phone for the 1%

I love my Blackberry, but it is getting a little long in the tooth so I have been starting to look at other phones.

What I like about Blackberry is the great email service, especially while traveling, but I don’t like the lack of technology in the phones and they tend to look like crap.

When I first saw the Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry, my first though was this was one hot phone, a real iPhone competitor.

Concerning it’s cars like the 911, thier styling has been refined over successive generations – you don’t buy a Porsche for how it looks, you buy one for how it works.

The same could be said of a BlackBerry – a favorite communications tool of businesspeople worldwide and a number of consumers like me as well – the BlackBerry is – like a Porsche – more about function than form.

Porche design has been distinguishing itself as one of the worlds best design firms, and has made severial of it’s own products that are not cars. Having already produced phones on its own, Porsche Design has long been rumored to be working on a project for Research In Motion, the Canadian company responsible for unleashing the addictive Blackberry device upon the world.

The co-branded “Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry” packs a 1.2 GHz processor, HD video camera, eight gigs of internal (expandable) memory, a QWERTY keyboard and BlackBerry 7 OS into a slick forged stainless steel case with leather back and a touch display screen. A personal concierge service is included with the P’9981, which still doesn’t make its estimated $2,000 price tag any more reasonable.

Of course, it is the kind of thing you’d expect from a style-obsesed businessman to use while he is talking to his lawyer; when he cuts you off in his new Porsche Panamera.

“Since 1972 Porsche Design has presented milestone products with iconic style, and the P’9981 smartphone from BlackBerry will be our next landmark,” said Dr. Juergen Gessler, CEO Porsche Design Group. “The pure and distinctive design, coupled with authentic materials and an emphasis on the manufacturing process, perfectly match our philosophy and complement the Porsche Design product assortment.”

Well, $2000 is a lot of money for a phone, but if you are in the 1%, it should not be a problem, right?

Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry - a $2000 'smart' phone for the 1%

Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry - a $2000 'smart' phone for the 1%

Camaro and Corvette Concepts by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Concept by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Concept by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Well, if you are a car fan then you know the beginning of November means that the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) car show in Las Vegas is about to unleash a bunch of customized show cars for 2012!!

This show is not for small customizers anymore, the big boys have been here for sometime now, and 2011 SEMA is no exception.

The raw SEMA photo feed is here (no photos till Nov. 1):

http://www.semadigital.com/

GM’s HOT

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Concept by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Concept by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

This year has been a good year for GM, and this has been especially true for the new Camaro. To celibrate, Chevrolet is coming to this year’s SEMA show with six hot concept Camaros and Corvette models.

They are designed to show off exactly what the owners can do with their vehicles with a little time, money, hot chicks and imagination.

There will be a number of GM concepts wearing special visual upgrades, including the Camaro Convertible Red Zone Concept, Camaro Synergy Series Concept and the Camaro 1LE Concept.

CAMARO
The Camaro 1LE Concept is oh so hot!! Die-hard Chevy fans will likely recognize the 1LE package code as a road-racing designation, and the concept isn’t a disappointment.

Along with a new rocker panels outside and a new spliter, the Camaro has a magnetic ride control suspension, special chassis bracing, a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, Brembo brakes and a host of bits lifted from the meaner ZL1. Those include a dual-mode exhaust, shifter and flat-bottom steering wheel, which are a welcome interior upgrade.

Speaking of the ZL1, fans of that machine will enjoy a new Camaro ZL1 Carbon Concept packed with trimmings made from the lightweight weave.

CORVETTE

Corvette Concepts by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Corvette Concepts by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Corvette fans will also get a chance to take a peek at two special concepts, including a Grand Sport designed to pay tribute to 50 years of the Corvette nameplate at Carlisle and a Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows Hall of Fame tribute car.

I would love to see the Ron Fellow car raced in a NASCAR race, with big Coke logos on the side and Costco plastered all over the front.

Yeah, the Coke Costco Ron Fellows Corvette raced in NASCAR would be a dream made complete with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the flat bottom wheel!!    😉

Ron Fellow Corvette Concept by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

Ron Fellow Corvette Concept by GM at the 2011 SEMA car show in Las Vegas

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

It comes with a list of standard features like (also see photos further down):

  • Machine guns
  • Bullet-proof shield
  • Revolving number plates
  • Tracking device
  • Removable roof panel
  • Oil slick sprayer
  • Nail spreader
  • Smoke screen

It is one of the most beautiful and prized colletor cars in standard trim, but what makes this 1964 Aston Martin DB5 special, is that it is the James Bond film car from the hit movies “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball.”

The car is said to have been one of two used for driving scenes in the movies with the actor Sean Connery behind the wheel as Bond.

Four were built in total, but two were mules (non-working) used for promotional purposes.

The other car used in the films was reported stolen from a Boca Raton airport hangar in 1997 and has not been seen since.

The cars and all thier gadgets are the brainchild of late special effects maestro John Stears, who won an Oscar for his work on “Thunderball” in 1966. He also worked on the special effects in “Star Wars” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

The car sold on Thursday was reportedly bought by its seller, Jerry Lee, a Philadelphia radio station owner, for $12,000 in 1969.

At the RM Auctions Automobiles of London sale, Ohio collector Harry Yeaggy brought home the top prize James Bond film car from “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball.” The car sold for £2,600,000. With the addition of auction fees, the final figure is expected to be over $4,600,00.

The car is said to have been one of two used for driving scenes in the movies with the actor Sean Connery behind the wheel as Bond.

Despite being close to half a century old, the DB5 only has 30,000 miles on the clock. The seller Jerry Lee said he has only driven the car once: “I drove it for two blocks in London. I think it’s a work of art,” he said. “It’s just pure beauty.”

Lee said he will put the proceeds from the sale towards the Jerry Lee Foundation, which he founded in 2007 to reduce crime.

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

Sean Connery and the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

James Bond’s Thunderball and Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 Sells for $4.6 Million

“Bond. James Bond.”

BEST IN SHOW: Ferrari 458 Italia

Ferrari 458 - Best in Show Frankfurt

Ferrari 458 - Best in Show Frankfurt 2009

Ferrari 458 Italia – A true dream car!!

Expensive, but worth it just for the looks alone.

Ok, I have been to Frankfurt, but never to the massive Frankfurt auto show.  Well the editors of AutoWeek did make the mile-long trek from the front gates of the Frankfurt Messe (Convention Center) to the BMW hall several times and concluded that Ferrari’s new 458 Italia deserves the Best in Show award and will name it so in the magazine.

All I can say is that it is one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen a photo of…

BEST IN SHOW: Ferrari 458 Italia

It is rare when there are more than a few in the race for this coveted title, but that was the case at Frankfurt, when no fewer than eight manufacturers had vehicles in the final. When the scrapping was over, Ferrari’s 458 Italia triumphed.

The 458 wears voluptuous, organic shapes tied together with technical and efficient lines. No matter when you see this car in the future–in five years or 50 years from now on a concours lawn–it will always be the one that debuted at Frankfurt in 2009.

Others considered: Maserati GranCabrio, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Aston Martin Rapide, Bentley Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce Ghost, Lamborghini Reventón Spyder, Audi R8 Spyder and the Pusz4849