Christiania – Denmark’s Ultimate Freetown

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The Freetown of Christiania is a self-governing neighborhood in Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital city, where the people actually live freely.

Chritiania was created in 1971, and consists of the old Bådsmandsstræde Barracks and parts of the city ramparts. After the barracks were abandoned by the military, the area was simply taken over by the locals in the surrounding neighborhoods, as a playground for their children. This was actually a protest against the Danish government of that time, started by the article of one Jacob Ludvigsen.

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The Paper World of Jeff Nishinaka

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Los Angeles based Jeff Nishinaka is one of the world’s best paper manipulating artists. He creates amazing 3D paper sculptures, by handling paper in the least invasive way.

Although you could swear Jeff Nishinaka has been creating paper sculptures since the day he was born, he didn’t discover his passion for this art form until he attended the Art Center College. He was determined to become a painter, when he was given assignments in both graphic design and fashion drawing to experiment with different art mediums. He had what he likes to cal an “ah-ha!” moment when he discovered paper, and has remained faithful ever since.

He began working with different types of paper, learning how to shape, bend and twist them onto various shapes that ultimately became amazing artworks. Because he treats paper like a living, breathing thing, Jeff Nishinaka manipulates paper in the least invasive way, trying to maintain its integrity. This makes his works special, and easy on the eyes.

Jackie Chan, a close friend of Jeff Nishinaka, owns the biggest collection of the artist’s paper masterpieces.

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Horsetail Fall – The Awesome Firefall of Yosemite Park

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Waterfalls are awesome, but the Firefall of Yosemite Park is definitely something you don’t see every day, literally.

Horsetail Fall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the North American continent, but it’s only truly special for two weeks a year. The first firefalls of Yosemite Park were man made. Large fires were started atop Glacier Point and the red-hot embers were pushed down the granite wall, in the evening. It was a nice show of fireworks, until the fire hazard of the 1960s, when the dangerous practice stopped.

But that didn’t mean Yosemite was left without a firefall, if anything, people got to discover a much more beautiful one. When the natural conditions are just right, tourists can enjoy a unique spectacle where water turns into burning fire. During the last two weeks of February, when the sun shines above Yosemite Valley, and water pours down the granite wall, the firefall phenomenon takes place. But because clouds and storms are common during the winter months, and sometimes California has dry years, Horsetail Firefall can only be witnessed rarely, and timing is of the essence.

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Man Decorates His Entire Basement Using a Sharpie and a Marker

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53-year-old Says Kratzer managed to turn his boring cream-painted basement into an inhabitable masterpiece, by using his trusty sharpie and a magic marker.

Mister Kratzer has always been fascinated by Impressionist art, and by the time he reached 30, he knew he wanted his house to be decorated with it. Since he couldn’t afford to buy all the art pieces he began creating them himself. He began painting, and now his works hang all over the house. So when he decided to redecorate the basement, it’s not very hard to guess what style he used as inspiration.

A lawyer by day, Mr. Kratzer spent whatever free time he had, decorating the walls of his basement with the heroes that fascinated him throughout his entire life. And he did it all with just $12 worth of sharpie and a magic marker. You’ll find famous detectives Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes lounging with George Bernard Shaw, the Marx Brothers peering around the corner, cartoon stars Rocky and Bullwinkle, and a top garbage can painted into R2D2.

Other wives might be furious at their husbands, after seeing their basements covered with all kinds of sharpie doodles, but here’s what Deb Kratzer had to say: “I have the coolest husband. He’s so bright, and artistic on top of it.”

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Japanese Artist Makes Complete Crocodile Costume

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Japanese artist Hisako Matsumoto created a crocodile costume, complete with helmet and boots, as her graduation piece.

Before going into PETA mode, you should know the costume is completely ceramic, with not a single piece of crocodile leather on it. But it does look like a genuine crocodile costume, and that’sactually the reason I decided to post photos of it on OC.

You’ll also find a photo of the artist, at the bottom. You have to admit, she’s pretty cute.

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Vermontasaurus – The Scrap Wood Dinosaur of Vermont

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The Vermontasaurus is the creation of Brian Boland, a man who decided to use scrap wood in the name of art. I’d say he nailed it.

A month ago, 61-year-old Brian Boland decided to turn a big pile of scrap wood, on the edge of his property in Vermont, into something beautiful that the local community could use as a free-admission gathering place. Using a dinosaur model as inspiration, he began building his Vermontasaurus, and within just nine days, the sculpture began taking shape. The basic rules he and a few volunteers set up ( no saws, no rulers and no using other materials other than what was available in the junk pile) let to the creation of an amazing piece of art, 22-foot-tall and 122-foot-long.

Some of Brian’s neighbors find the lack of rules in the Vermontasaurus sculpture quite interesting, while others just see a messy piece of art. But the opinions of his neighbors are the least of Brian’s problems. State officials don’t appreciate it when people start building stuff and don’t ask for permission first, so they’re now asking for all kinds of permits, priced at a few hundreds of dollars each, and even told the artist he may have to tear down the Vermontasaurus.

Right now people are forbidden to use the Vermontasaurus as a gathering spot, as it was intended, but hopefully, this amazing roadside attraction will have the chance to become one of Vermont’s most popular landmarks.

 

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The Mysterious Scissors Dancers of Peru

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Performed in the central and southern highlands of Peru, the Scissors Dance is a traditional event that tests the physical and spiritual strength of the participants.

Westerners usually regard “La Danza de las Tijeras” as a physical test where two men have to prove their dexterity and resistance to pain, but to the people of the Andes, this dance is a sacred ritual. The dancers, called danzaq, perform difficult stunts and leaps, called atipanakuy, accompanied by the music of a violin, a harp and the sound of the scissors they each hold in their hands. So much about not playing with scissors, right?

The origin of the danzaq and their Scissors Dance is shrouded in mystery, but some anthropologists believe they appeared in 1524, during the rebellion against Spanish colonial rule. According to old Spanish chronicles, Huancas (pre-Hispanic deities) possessed the bodies of indigenous young men, allowing them to perform an impossible-looking dance signaling the return of the Old Gods to vanquish the Christian God of the Spanish. As we all know, that didn’t happen, but the tradition of the Scissors Dance was kept alive by the Andean people.

It’s almost impossible to believe someone can accomplish this kind of acrobatic moves, while handling a pair of scissors made out of two individual sheets of metal, 25 cm each, but the danzaq do much more. To show spiritual superiority, they go through a series of challenges that include sticking sharp objects through their bodies, eating glass or walking on fire. The Scissors Dance is sometimes performed continuously for hours, until one of the competitors proves his superiority.

The best Scissors Dances can be witnessed in Ayacucho, Apurimac, Arequipa, Huancavelica and Lima.

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The Sign Post Forest of Watson Lake

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Featuring tens of thousands of sign posts from all around the world, the Sign Post Forest of Watson Lake is one of the most popular roadside attractions along the Alaska Highway.

Located in Watson Lake, one of the newest towns of the Yukon, Sign Post Forest takes up a couple of acres, and features all kinds of signs, from street signs to license plates, and even huge road panels. This unique tourist attraction was born in 1942, when Private Carl K. Lindley was asked to repair a signpost damaged by a bulldozer. He decided to personalize the job by adding a new sign with the distance to his home town of Danville, Illinois.

Several soldiers followed his example and the tradition of adding signs was born. And it became more and more popular every year, with people bringing in different signs, from every place they traveled. In 1990, sign post number 10,000 was nailed in, and the count in 2008 had reached 65, 164 signs. With between 2,500 and 4,000 signs being added every year, the count has almost certainly passed the 70,000 mark.

Many of the signs nailed onto the signposts of Sign Post Forest have been especially created for this place, but there are a large number of original signs “borrowed” and brought all the way to the Yukon. The size of some of the signs – a 6-by-10-foot road panel from the German Autobahn, for example – makes you wonder how on Earth someone managed to bring them to the Sign Post Forest.

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The Jell-O World of Liz Hickok

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Liz Hickok is a San Francisco based artist who best expresses her talent through unique Jell-o artworks.

Liz is well versed in photography, video and sculpture, but she discovered her favorite art medium is Jell-o. We all crave a few spoons of wobbly goodness, from time to time, but Liz Hickok would rather use Jell-O in her work, rather than eat it. Her “San Francisco in Jell-O” installation received media coverage from the likes of the New York Times, San Francisco Magazine and other reputed members of the media.

To create her lovely miniature landmarks, from Jell-O, Liz Hickok first makes scale models of the structure she wants to reproduce, which she uses to make molds. Each element is then cast in Jell-O, placed on the set, which is dramatically illuminated from the back or from underneath.

Sadly, Jell-O buildings decay pretty fast, and all that remains are the photos, which you can admire below.

San Francisco in Jell-O

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The Mitchell Corn Palace

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As the only corn palace in the world, the Mitchell Corn Palace attracts over 500,000 visitors every year, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Dakota.

The Mitchell Corn Palace is not a palace made of corn, as many assume when hearing its name, but it is almost completely covered with it. The Arab-looking structure is adorned with “Crop art”, specifically murals made from corn and other cereal. Some say it’s the most impressive thing they’ve ever seen, while other refer to it as just a gym covered n corn. I guess it’s just a matter of how much you appreciate agricultural art.

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6 Unique Vehicles Based on the Smart

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Definitely not my dream car, the Smart is a useful vehicle that will get you from point A to point B, with decent fuel consumption and no worries about finding a parking space. But other than this, the Smart isn’t the most impressive car on the market. But with a little imagination and a lot of work, even the Smart can become a unique neck-twister. Here are six examples:

Smart tank

Now this is one Smart I’d love to take for a ride! A tank is probably the last thing anyone would think about when looking at a Smart, but it’s surprising how well those tracks fit on the little bug. Unfortunately not much is known about this unique tuning masterpiece, other than it belongs to someone in Germany.

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Recycled Optimus Prime Shows Up in China

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Part of the Green Dream Park, in Beijing, the 10-meter-tall statue of Optimus Prime managed to attract the gazes of many passers-by.

With all the Transformers statues, made from recycled materials, showing up everywhere I’m thinking they’re a great way of raising awareness to the problems of the environment, especially as far as young people are concerned.

Assembled near Bird’s Nest Stadium, in Beijing, the 10-meter-tall leader of the Autobots is made only from waste materials, brought in all the way from Taiwan. But this awesome Optimus Prime statue goes to show you that just because something is made from junk, doesn’t mean it’s junk.

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Shaolin Soccer in Real Life

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Remember the comedy “Shaolin Soccer” starring Stephen Chow? It was an over-the-top film that featured a mix of soccer and Shaolin kung-fu. Well, believe it or not, Shaolin soccer exists in real life!

The younger students of the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng City, China have found an original way of practicing their kung-fu and enjoying themselves at the same time. Whenever they’re not busy meditating, studying or working around the temple, the boys, aged 15 to 18, engage in a spectacular game of Shaolin soccer.

Just like in the above mentioned film, Shaolin soccer features both soccer and kung-fu moves, combined in a very entertaining way. The young monks leap through the air, kick the football like it’s an opponent, and even sit on their heads,while holding the ball. As you can imagine, every one of their Shaolin soccer games draws quite the local crowd.

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The Digital Orca of Douglas Coupeland

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Perhaps the most interesting artwork in Vancouver, Digital Orca is a pixelated sculpture created by artist Douglas Coupleland.

How awesome is this, right? I mean, if I didn’t know any better I’d swear these photos were computer generated. But since Digital Orca is one of Vancouver’s most popular landmarks, featured on Pan Pacific Vancouver blog, you can believe it’s real. Located near the Vancouver Convention Center, Digital Orca looks completely different when viewed from various angles.

Local chronicler Douglas Coupland, is also the author author of Generation X, Microserfs, City of Glass and other impressive works of art in Vancouver.

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The X-Men #1 Toilet Is Pefect for Mutant Poop

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It’s hard to believe anyone would use the number one selling comic-book of all time to decorate a standard American toilet, but it’s the pure truth.

eBay user xenenouveau has used all 4 variants of the X-Men #1 comic book, and the deluxe issue to cover an entire toilet. You could say he flushed the whole thing down a toilet, but the result is really quite interesting. Using scissors and X-Acto blades, he deconstructed the comic, image by image, and plastered them on every inch of the X-Men #1 toilet.

It sure looks like this one-of-a-kind toilet could now handle anything you throw at it, but its creator doesn’t guarantee it will function as a working toilet. He did spend over 80 hours plastering the images and covering them with 5-6 layers of polyurethane, but we all know how water find every little breach, and it could turn into a disaster. But, once you win the auction, you can use it any way you like.

The starting bid for the X-Men #1 toilet is $400, but there are no bids, so far. Which is sort of strange, considering the number of X-Men fans out there.

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