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Andre the Giant Plagiarized His Posse?

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We've all seen 'em around, on telephone poles and switcher boxes in big cities and small towns seemingly everywhere: the street art of Shepard Fairey. It all started back in the late 80s, when he and some friends from the Rhode Island School of Design created the now-iconic "Andre the Giant has a posse" stickers, which were distributed far and wide by devoted bands of skaters and aficionados. When the WWF threatened to sue Fairey and friends on behalf of the deceased wrestler, the now-famous "OBEY" stickers began to appear, featuring a more stylized version of the Giant's likeness without using his name. (The "obey" concept, along with Fairey's "This is Your God" line of images, were borrowed from a John Carpenter movie; watch a few minutes of this clip and you'll spot it. Perhaps not coincidentally, They Live also starred a WWF wrestler: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.)

To most fans, the Andre the Giant and John Carpenter lifts were nothing more than playful postmodernist reappropriation of pop culture imagery. But according to a new article on Fairey's work, as his fame began to grow and his work began to appear on tee-shirts and in art galleries, Fairey's wink-wink graphic in-jokes started moving into the territory of out-and-out plagiarism. Check out some side-by-side examples:

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On the left is a still from a 1956 film version of George Orwell's 1984; on the right, an OBEY poster.

Is this kind of borrowing really so bad? Artist Mark Vallen makes a cogent case against it:

Fairey has developed a successful career through expropriating and recontextualizing the artworks of others, which in and of itself does not make for bad art. Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein based his paintings on the world of American comic strips and advertising imagery, but one was always aware that Lichtenstein was taking his images from comic books; that was after all the point, to examine the blasé and artificial in modern American commercial culture. When Lichtenstein painted Look Mickey, a 1961 oil on canvas portrait of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, everyone was cognizant of the artist's source material - they were in on the joke. By contrast, Fairey simply filches artworks and hopes that no one notices - the joke is on you.

Here's a slightly more sinister example:
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Fairey created the death-head "OBEY" image on the left, which was plagiarized from him by Wal-Mart for a line of tee-shirts. What Sam Walton's band of merry filchers didn't realize, however, was that Fairey had himself lifted the death-head logo -- from the Nazi Gestapo. (Pictured above at right: a badge from an SS uniform.)

While there are plenty more examples here, this one is my favorite for the way it transforms an innocuous source into something sinister:
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Of course, not everyone agrees that Fairey's appropriations should be called plagiarism -- what do you think?

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
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Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

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