Before you plan your summer vacation, pay a visit to Crap Souvenirs, a new photo blog that delights in commemorative kitsch. "This site is meant to serve as a collection point, or perhaps a refuge, for the tackiest of mementos," notes editor Doug Lansky, who solicits snapshots from around the globe, adds witty descriptions, and invites readers to vote for their favorites. Among the early hits are a bottle opener featuring the face of Pope John Paul II, a stuffed camel whose flashing red eyes almost make you forget that its flank is embroidered with "EGYBT" (oops!), and a Mount Rushmore oil lamp that would appall and frighten even the most grizzled Antiques Roadshow appraiser.
Grist has been a proud provider of environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999, and so the Seattle-based nonprofit greets each Earth Day with some eye rolling. This year, the organization is calling out the nonsense of what Hanna Welch, Grist's special projects coordinator, describes as "a singular day when the faithless are moved to buy reusable grocery bags" with Earth Confessions. She promises that the "extra snarky" new site offers the opportunity to confess your sins against the Earth and swear off your evil ways forever. Those not comfortable airing their dirty laundry in public can peruse the Sin Gallery.
In March 2012, the Smithsonian will debut "The Art of Video Games," an exhibition exploring the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, and the curators are asking the public to help select the 80 games that will be represented in the show. You have through April 17 to cast your online votes for the likes of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Super Mario World, SimCity, Halo Wars, Flower, and dozens of other contenders in five distinct eras of gaming. Just try to resist the pull of sentimental favorites: "This is an art exhibition," notes the website, "so be sure to vote for games that you think are visually spectacular or boast innovative design!" The winning games will be revealed on May 5.
Recognizing that evocatively named crops such as Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, Double Yield Cucumbers, and Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflowers are ripe for illustration, the Hudson Valley Seed Library created Art Packs, recycled-paper seed pouches that feature the work of artists from New York's Hudson Valley. Now, the company is expanding the popular product line and inviting creative types from neighboring regions (metro NY and areas that border New York State, including western Connecticut, western Massachusetts, western Vermont, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey) to apply to become a seed pack artist. Those working in everything from paint and paper to textiles and stained glass are invited to submit two images of pieces that best represent their style. Garden-related work is not required. "We are looking at your work -- originality, craftsmanship, composition, medium, consistency -- not necessarily the subject," note the judges. The deadline for entries is April 29.
Marvel at the career of Bronx-born comics pioneer and graphic novel master Will Eisner (1917-2005) in a new exhibition at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York. Opening Tuesday, March 1, "Will Eisner’s New York: From the Spirit to the Modern Graphic Novel" will showcase work inspired by and featuring the legendary artist's hometown. From his trailblazing comic superhero, The Spirit, to his autobiographical novels, Eisner portrayed New York as only a native of the city could know it, according to curators Denis Kitchen and Danny Fingeroth. Adding context to original comic art and paintings by Eisner will be works by creators who were influenced by him, including Art Spiegelman and Harvey Kurtzman.
Sick of boring advertising? Get inspired by 20 eye-catching billboards. Swiss designer and blogger Mirko Humbert rounded up these standout specimens, which range from IKEA's three-dimensional ode to joy and a bright idea from The Economist (a giant light bulb that illuminates when someone walks under it) to chameleonlike IBM billboards and Adidas's literal take on going green: a giant Samba shoe comprised entirely of plants and flowers. "Most of the time, billboard ads are an annoyance, filling the side of the road with cheap design and poor concepts," says Humbert. "However, these billboards are funny, creative and/or well-thought ads that really stand-out."