UnConvention yard-sign contest: And the winners are...

The votes in The UnConvention's "My Yard, Our Message" project have been tallied --nearly 1,000 people casting more than 24,000 votes -- and the winners are in. While I'm sorry to say the "Dick Cheney Shot a Guy in the Face" yard sign is not among the 50 signs that'll be produced and distributed in the neighborhooods near the Republican National Convention site in St. Paul, the final selection has some strong entries.

The top vote-getter, receiving 130 votes, was Teri Kwant's sign, "I'm for preemptive peace. Others making the cut: "Give a shit" by "Liza Minelli" (or, perchance, Liza Minelli?); David Brynestad's "My redneck, sexist, gun-toting, racist brother-in-law is voting" ("Are you?"); and Joseph Hughes' simple sign that shows a checkbox with the first of two options marked: hope and fear.

The 50 designs will be distributed in yards in St. Paul's Dayton's Bluff, St. Paul's West Side and Minneapolis' Seward neighborhoods. But if you don't live in those communities, you can still plant one in your yard: $20 gets one delivered to your door. Once you do, you can add your sign to a Google Maps application that pinpoints where they end up.

Here's all 50 winners:

Sign Language: An ever-morphing N. Mpls political billboard

Over the years, I've watched a giant political sign in North Minneapolis change from railing against then-Gov. Jesse Ventura (later revised to slam current GOP governor Tim Pawlenty) to supporting Ron Paul to, now, promoting the candidacy of a local Republican running for state house. The one I missed, the very first, was selling the candidacy of the guy who posted the signs -- activist, author and repeat gubernatorial candidate Leslie Davis. My video on the signs, produced for MnIndy:

Another art casualty: Minnesota Center for Photography shuts down

Damn. After 18 years, a name change, oodles of great shows, and a new building, the Minnesota Center for Photography (formerly pARTS) is closing today. A note from its board members:

It is with regret that we must inform you that Minnesota Center for Photography is discontinuing business operations at the close of business on July 31st. Over the past six months we have unsuccessfully attempted to adjust our budget and raise additional funds to pay down debt and fund continuing operations.

The Board made this decision with reluctance and after attempting whatever we could do to permit the survival of MCP.

On behalf of the many stakeholders in Minnesota Center For Photography, we thank you for your continuing interest and support of MCP’s mission over the years.

Very truly yours,

Chuck Koosmann, Co-Chair

Mark L. Wilson, Co-Chair

These are particularly grim times for Minnesota arts organizations (and the artists they serve): Theater de la Jeune Lune is selling its building, the MIA's MAEP program for Minnesota artists lost its longtime director, The Southern Theater lost its artistic director, Walker chief curator Philippe Vergne is hitting the road... The Chronicle of Artistic Failure in America has the list.

Update: The Star Tribune has more.

Nels Cline / Thurston Moore

Brian Ulrich posts a dreamy clip of an in-store by Nels Cline (Wilco) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth).

And, hey, Thurston Moore signed my, uh, heterograph.


Barry and Larry: Button features Obama and Craig

Good strategy, bad execution: A company that makes Democratic schwag, intending to pair Barack Obama and Idaho senatorial candidate Larry LaRocco on a button, used the photo of Idaho's other Larry -- outgoing Sen. Larry Craig who was busted last year for lewd behavior in the Twin Cities airport.


Lucky Seven: Thanks, Minneapolis Library guards

Willie and Seven
The other night, I got a call from a dejected Seven. My 12-year-old nephew, who's been living with us for a few months, was at the library, and his bike had been stolen. I drove down to get him and sincerely thanked the security guards who had helped him: they let him use the phone to call me, got a description of the bike, and said they'd check out their security camera tape to see if they could spot the theft. On the way home, I praised Seven -- and I meant it: Just a few months ago, fresh off the plane from Bangkok, he wouldn't have had the confidence to ride alone from North Minneapolis to the downtown library, let alone to ask, in surprisingly advanced English, for help with a stolen bike. I was proud of him.

But I had to temper his hope about the prospects of ever seeing the bike again; we arranged to head to the police bike auction to get a replacement. But then on Saturday, we got a call from the library: "We've got Seven's bike." A quick drive, all high-fives and woo-hoos, and we were at the Central Library to fetch the prodigal bike.

Only it wasn't the one that had been taken: it was a new Schwinn BMX bike, just his height -- and paid for out-of-pocket by several of the guards.

So thank you to Willie (pictured above) and John and the other guards who pitched in to make Seven's day. You're fantastic ambassadors for a library he already loves, and let it be known that word of your generosity has already made its way overseas: He's already told his family about your kindness (they, in turn, have put in a good word at the Buddhist temple) and posted about it on two Thai websites he frequents. May your kindness be returned manyfold.


John McCain, doormat

What a difference a comma makes. Via TPM.

Tibetan flags, Warhol image of Dalai Lama: Too hot for Beijing

Do you feel the Olympic spirit? Apparently Chinese censors do. They've already banned the display of the Tibetan flag, either real or on t-shirts or elsewhere, at events. Now they're trying to get rid of images of the Dalai Lama as represented in art. Bloomberg reports that Chinese authorities are working to delay several art shows that would include depictions of the Tibetan spiritual leader, including shows that include works by Andy Warhol and Ma Baozhong. (Censors also ordered a recall of yesterday's issue of the Beijing News because it included a photo of the 1989 military crackdown at Tiananmen Square.)

But here's a sign of American-style "progress": China has set up three "protest pens"; critics are unimpressed, because those who wish to express dissent must register in advance with the government.'

Related: The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama, on view in Japan this fall.

Also: Here's a look at propaganda posters being distributed in China that direct citizens on how to interact with foreigners. A sampling: "Don’t ask about income or expenses, don’t ask about age, don’t ask about love life or marriage, don’t ask about health, don’t ask about someone’s home or address, don’t ask about personal experience, don’t ask about religious beliefs or political views, don’t ask what someone does."


Knitted Princess Leia hat

Princess Leia Wig Wool Hat. Pattern available at Etsy for a mere $7.95.

In related news, there's an entire site and community dedicated to the princess' metal bikini?!

Corporate Guerilla: Adidas' green thumb?

To tout a new line of shoes, Adidas sponsors a guerrilla-gardening campaign and then -- apparently -- promotes it using billboards that the show floral shoes made out of plastic? While it smacks of greenwashing to me, Treehugger says that this spring, the company launched a line of shoes made from recycled and natural materials as well as a clothing from hemp and bamboo. My take: get your thrift-store Adidas and go make your own seed bombs. Adidas' video:

Related: The Greenwashing Index; see how green "green" ads really are.

Banksy on Banksy's identity

Banksy comments on recent stories about his identity:


Why McCain's "gooks" comment matters

As an Asian American, Irwin Tang has been on the receiving end of the epithet "gook." It's often hurled, he tells The UpTake's Chuck Olsen, when someone means him harm. But what if it comes out of the mouth of a presidential candidate -- like Sen. John McCain?

"I hate the gooks," McCain said in 2000. "I will hate them as long as I live." A war veteran who was tortured by Vietcong captors, McCain later apologized for the comment, but as Tang argues in his new book, it still matters. The Texas native says that "gook" is "both a term of war and a term of racism, and John McCain is very active in both areas." The word goo-goo, he explains, was used to describe Filipinos when U.S. troops occupied the country, and it morphed into "gook" when the U.S. occupied Haiti. In Vietnam, as in other conflicts, it was used to de-humanize the enemy.

The author of Gook: John McCain's Racism and Why It Matters, Tang concludes: "If he had used the n-word rather than the g-word -- 'gook' -- we would've disqualified John McCain for the presidency immediately."

"I Don't Have Time For Noncontroversial Art Exhibits"

Desperate times call for desperate art. Or as this guy writes in The Onion:
I'm a busy man. If you know me, that's old news. Chances are, if I'm not standing in line for one controversial art exhibition, I'm on my way across town to another. It's no easy schedule, but if I'm going to keep on top of this year's Piss-Christs, I can't be dillydallying. It's got to be bim, bam, human fetus in a Coke bottle. No time for second-guessing or slowly soaking in the dynamic, geometric tension of the upcoming Cézanne retrospective. Not while there's a guy in the East Village who's going to vomit Cheerios into a piggy bank and smash it open with his penis.

When it comes to appreciating the diverse world of highly objectionable art, you've got to prioritize...
Thanks, Kate!


Lynda Barry's Zen Monkeys

Paging through the Summer issue of the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, I came upon these excellent paintings by artist Lynda Barry, whose Ernie Pook's Comeek has been a mainstay of many an altweekly comics page for years. Barry says she started creating the monkeys after a friend's death, but says the content of the imagery is less important than the act of painting:
These monkey paintings are fossils of experience, the remnants of a hand in motion, of breath and being. The vehicle of ink and brush is available to anyone. The picture you make is not so important. Move your brush not to make a picture, but make a picture in order to move your brush.


Crossing the Line: Roadsworth documentary trailer

Wooster Collective presents the six-minute trailer of a new movie about street-artist Roadsworth called "Crossing the Line." An artist after my own heart, he had dual inspirations to begin making road stencils: Andy Goldsworthy and the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Distress Symbols: Startling statistics on the state of the union

New studies on American rankings on the well-being of its citizens and its human development progress worldwide are shocking to say the least. From several reports today:

10.5 Misery Index rating (unemployment + inflation): highest since Jan. '93

42 U.S rank in life expectancy

24 American rank in life expectancy among the top 30 most affluent nations

30 Average life expectancy gap between residents of Mississippi and Connecticut, in years

24 Percentage of the global prison population incarcerated in the U.S.

5 America's percentage of world population

50 Average life expectancy gap between Asian Americans and African Americans, in years

6.6 Energy price increase in June, as a percentage

5 Annual percentage increase in retail prices (as of June), the biggest 12-month change since May 1991

47 million Approximate number of uninsured Americans

10.7 million American children living in families with incomes of less than $1,500 per month

85 Percentage of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track

52 Percentage of Americans who believe the "American Dream" is no longer attainable (according to a new TIME/Rockefeller poll)

48 The United States' rank in world press freedoms, of 169 countries

2 The United States' rank in human development in 1991

12 The United States' rank in human development today

2 The United States' rank in per-capita income among 177 countries

Image: Upside-down U.S. flag, a naval symbol of distress, not a flag desecration as some believe.

Instant artspeak

Via C-Monster:
Feeling inarticulate? Critically gauche? Or just verbally impotent?
We here at Pixmaven have developed The Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator so you need never again feel at a loss for pithy commentary or savvy "insights."

Partofit.org: Totes and tees for good causes

Designy things like "Museum" bags and "Let's Be Honest" t-shirts by the likes of MCAD grad Mike Perry and former Walker designer Daniel Eatock. With profits going to organizations near and dear to the artists, from Free Press to the American Wind Energy Association. Via Rolu Design.

Snack foods that don't much sound like sex acts

Focaccia. Dick Trickle. Tongue-in-groove. So began a list my friends and I kept years ago of "words that sound dirty but aren't." Now a Flickr user is cataloguing "Snack Foods That Sound Like Sex Acts." Aside from "Classic Lays," most of 'em are a stretch.


Confused John

Now, I get confused a lot, but here's the thing: I'm not running for president. Steve Benen compiles an alarming list of items John McCain's having trouble keeping straight:

* McCain continues to believe Czechoslovakia is still a country.

* McCain has been confused about the difference between Sudan and Somalia.

* McCain has been confused about how many U.S. troops are in Iraq.

* McCain has been confused about whether the U.S. can maintain a long-term presence in Iraq.

* McCain has been confused about the source of violence in Iraq.

* McCain has been confused about Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda.

* McCain has been confused about the difference between Sunni and Shi’ia.

* McCain has been confused about Gen. Petraeus’ responsibilities in Iraq.

* McCain has been confused about what transpired during the Maliki government’s recent offensive in Basra.

* McCain has been confused about Gen. Petraeus’ ability to travel around Baghdad “in a non-armed Humvee.”

* McCain has been so confused about Iraq, in November 2006, he couldn’t even do a live interview about the war without reading prepared notes on national television.

* McCain has been confused about his vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

* McCain has been confused about his position on contraception.

* McCain has been confused about what the Internet is.

* McCain’s confusion about economics has been breathtaking.

* McCain has been really confused about how the Social Security system works.

* McCain is confused about how his own energy policy works.


Street works by D.Billy

Urban interventions by D.Billy, via And I Am Not Lying.

Bug with a complex

Any idea what this messianic insect (seen on the glass of my friend Tom's front door; doorknocker in background) is?

Hilla Becher on photographing "industrial memorials"

Jörg Colberg translates an excerpt from a German interview with photographer artist Hilla Becher, who with husband Bernd catalogued water towers, smokestacks and factories in stark black-and-white photographic prints:
Q: You spent your life photographing industrial memorials: Hundreds of furnaces, hundreds of water towers, hundreds of coal bunkers. Is this about being complete?

A: At the end of his life, Bernd often said: Hilla, we haven't finished the job. And then we almost started fighting because I said: What do you think? We can't finish our job, since it's infinite.

Q: Was it difficult for him to accept this?

A: I think it was. He never managed to tell me what he meant by "finished". We knew we would not be able to photograph everything.
Above: Bernd and Hilla Becher, (Blast Furnace) Neuves Maisons, Lorraine, France, 1971, silver gelatin print


Atheist blogger faces death threats for plan to desecrate communion wafer

When conservative Catholics raged against a Florida college student for smuggling a communion host out of church -- some even threatening him with violence and death -- University of Minnesota biology professor PZ Myers was flabbergasted. A leading atheist blogger, he announced that if readers sent him a consecrated host he'd "show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare."

Now he's the one receiving death threats.

I interviewed Myers this morning on the intense reactions his blog posts have generated, from readers vowing to pray for him to those who want him dead.

Read it.

Your life: Now worth $1 million less

If you're American, your life has dropped in value by about a million dollars, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It has estimated that the "value of a statistical life" is now $6.9 million, or a million less than five years ago.

Why this matters?

"When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule," ABC News reports. "The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution."

The downgrading in your worth, some say, has to do with a Bush Administration, which is trying to avoid stricter regulations:
"It appears that they're cooking the books in regards to the value of life," said S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents state and local air pollution regulators. "Those decisions are literally a matter of life and death."

Dan Esty, a senior EPA policy official in the administration of the first President Bush and now director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said: "It's hard to imagine that it has other than a political motivation."
The administration denies it.


Bush to world: F you.

Our noble commander in chief -- a uniter not a divider, mind you -- departed from Japan after rejecting global climate-change targets with a barb for his G8 compatriots:

"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

Found on Flickr: Yves Klein, before and after?

Leap into the Void
Above: Yves Klein, Harry Shrunk, John Kender, Leap into the Void, 1960

Below: Photo by My Little Dead Dick, Flickr

Koolhaas and censorship

"To reinvent institutions, reinvent laws, reinvent a society and trying to find organs that express and make it work — that is of course unique to this moment here."
—Architect Rem Koolhaas on his design for the $730-million headquarters of CCTV, China's state-owned TV network.
"Censorship was even tougher for TV and radio with journalists working for state-run CCTV receiving a daily warning when they switch on their work computers about subjects to avoid or those to handle with caution. For example, in December, they were banned from covering the case of the death in hospital of a pregnant woman, for lack of medical attention. They were also ordered to restrict comment on the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, so as to avoid offending China’s ally Pakistan."
—Reporters without Borders 2008 annual report on press freedoms in China

Gender gap still glaringly obvious in art auctions

The Independent:
Mr [Iwan] Wirth [who represents artist Louise Bourgeois] complained that, while even the best-known female artists sell for around £2m-3m, lesser male artists make more money at auction: "Surely the art market, of all places, should be free of such prejudices. I was delighted to see an important painting by Dumas sell at Sotheby's for £3.2m. However, one has to compare this with works from the same sale, which included a Bacon that sold for £13.7m, a [Jean-Michel] Basquiat for £5m and a Richard Prince for £4.2 m. Female artists are the bargain in today's markets."

The writer and sociologist Sarah Thornton, whose book on the art market will be published later this year, said that only 30 per cent of works in museums and galleries are by women, while the top 100 artists at auction in 2007 includes only four women, with the highest at No 49.



Why are starchitects so willing to do PR for despots?

The imagery, I suppose, is apt: the Herzog & de Meuron–designed Olympic stadium graces the front of a the new 10-yuan bill. After all, the Pritzker winners have lent their creative talents to the non-democratic Beijing government to help clean up its image, just in time for the Olympics -- and for a hefty fee. Their birdsnest of modernity replaces the face of Chairman Mao on the 10-yuan note.
Hrag Vartanian wonders why Western architects, like contemporary-art darlings H&dM, "are (so far) getting a free pass as they fellate dictators [...] for money and ego projects that will put forth their vision of a prettified (but not more humane) 21st C."

"Today most major architects don’t seem to blink when the latest dictator knocks on their door," he writes. "They blindly support regimes with severe human rights abuses and autocratic governments that only seek to bolster their cult of personality or empty ideology."

He raises some interesting questions, sparked in part by a quote from Daniel Libeskind -- "I won’t work for totalitarian regimes." -- and his modified version of the New York Times' list of starchitects who've taken gigs with despots, dictators and undemocratic regimes.

Opportunity: Northern Lights announces new-media art programs

The Jerome Foundation and Northern Lights, a new Twin Cities-based arts agency, with fiscal sponsor Forecast Public Art, announce Art(ists) on the Verge (AOV), a new two-track fellowship and mentoring program for Minnesota-based, emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection and technology, with a focus on practices that are social, collaborative and/or participatory.

Justin has more.

R.I.P. Bruce Conner

Legendary curmudgeon, visionary filmmaker, Beat-era assemblage creator and unpindownable artist Bruce Conner has died at age 74. One of his classic films, the video for Devo's "Mongoloid":

Via WAC F/V blog.

Cheney deleted congressional testimony on health impact of climate change

Cheney's office cut six pages of congressional testimony -- nearly half of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's testimony -- on climate changes affects on human health. The AP reports:
Vice President Dick Cheney’s office pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change, fearing the presentation by a leading health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases, a former EPA officials maintains.

When six pages were cut from testimony on climate change and public health by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last October, the White House insisted the changes were made because of reservations raised by White House advisers about the accuracy of the science.

But Jason K. Burnett, until last month the senior adviser on climate change to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, says that Cheney’s office was deeply involved in getting nearly half of the CDC’s original draft testimony removed...

Read more.

"Write in Bush"

Sorry, folks, the math -- Bush's current 23% approval rating -- just doesn't work in your favor:
Yes, we can vote for George W. Bush in 2008. We have the right to write in the name of our chosen candidate, regardless of whether or not he is officially on the ballot.

We know that George Bush was God's Candidate in 2000. We know that George Bush was God's candidate again in 2004. And George Bush has been God's president for the last 8 years.

Trust in God and vote your faith. Keep America safe. Write-in George W. Bush for President in 2008.


Bush in Beijing: A "stab in the back" for Chinese dissidents

Reporters without Borders:

A White House announcement that US President George W. Bush will attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony on 8 August in Beijing and the probability, according to French media reports, that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will also attend were condemned today by Reporters Without Borders as "a capitulation and stab in the back for China’s dissidents."

"President Sarkozy promised to consult his European partners before taking a decision but he clearly has not done so, just as he did not keep his election campaign promises not to pursue a ’realpolitik’ and to put human rights at the heart of his programme," the press freedom organisation said.

"Sarkozy also conditioned his attendance on a resumption of the dialogue on Tibet, and meetings did indeed take place recently between China and the Dalai Lama’s representatives, but so far there have been no concrete results and Chinese officials have continued their virulent criticism of Tibetan leaders in the press.

"Sarkozy and Bush are now depriving themselves of a means of leverage that might have led to the release of imprisoned journalists and human rights activists. We would like to know on what grounds these two presidents have reached their decision. There is still a month to go before the start of the 2008 Olympics. Now is the time for a massive campaign for an improvement in the situation of free expression in China. We appeal now for demonstrations outside Chinese embassies all over the world during the Olympic Games opening ceremony on 8 August...

32,000 Barbie dolls

Photographer Chris Jordan continues his look at statistical patterns of American consumption with a new work. A gigantic piece, it's made from 32,000 Barbie dolls, the average number of elective breast augmentation surgeries that were performed in this country each month of 2006.

Sans proof, Republicans run ads claiming MLK was a Republican

The National Black Republican Association is putting up billboards in southern states, including South Carolina and Florida, claiming Martin Luther King was a Republican.

The problem? Those closest to King say it's not true. Joseph Lowery, who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King, says MLK voted for Kennedy and LBJ, and the The King Center in Atlanta says there's no merit to the claim. The AP adds:

In "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.," which was published after his death from his written material and records, King called the Republican national convention that nominated Goldwater a "frenzied wedding ... of the KKK and the radical right."

"The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism," King said in the book.

The conservative group made the same claim in radio ads aired in 2006. Then, Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who marched with King in the '60s, called the ads an "insult to the legacy and the memory of Martin Luther King Jr." and "an affront to all that he stood for." Even Christopher Arps, a former spokesman for the black Republican organization, called the radio ad "a joke." He said, "Anyone with any sense knows that most black people were Republican at one time. But it's a far stretch to think that in the '60s Martin Luther King was a Republican."

Political statement:

By Pete Lumbis.

Video: Os Gemeos in NYC

Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos -- twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo -- get their first New York show at Deitch. Via the World's Best Ever.


Jesse Helms is dead

The New York Times reports the news of the 86-year old's passing, and NPR offers a tepid list of the conservative's quotes, which seems to represent the same kind of downplaying of Helms' overt bigotry we saw in the media when he announced his retirement in 2001. By contrast, here's a less sanitized collection of Helms' wit and wisdom.

The Guardian pulls no punches.


Pardon me while I geek out on Star Wars

Boba Fett's "Flashdance" audition (below) and the Han Solo carbonite desk, both via Coudal.

Google must turn over all YouTube user log details


Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled.

The ruling comes as part of Google's legal battle with Viacom over allegations of copyright infringement.

Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the ruling a "set-back to privacy rights".

The viewing log, which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details.

While the legal battle between the two firms is being contested in the US, it is thought the ruling will apply to YouTube users and their viewing habits everywhere.

Viacom, which owns MTV and Paramount Pictures, has alleged that YouTube is guilty of massive copyright infringement.

Read it all.

Yellow teeth and black eyes: Fox photoshops NYT journos

Here's how Fox News deals with so-called "attack dogs" from the New York Times: by photoshopping journalists to add yellow teeth, stretched heads and dark eyes -- and then not disclosing it.


Rubbish about Wall•E (actual and perceived)

I took my nephew Seven to see the new Pixar movie Wall•E, a funny, sweet and prescient animated reflection on personal responsibility, technology and the environment. The basic premise: Earthlings, having scuzzed up the planet to such a degree that it's uninhabitable, have lived for centuries on space-yachts, buzzing about on hover-chairs as their asses grow more and more monumental and robots like Wall•E are left on earth to clean up the mountains of trash to make the place suitable for human life again. Wall•E unwittingly sparks humanity's return to the planet where ingenuity, moreso than technology, gives cause for hope.

This message, it turns out, is too much for the political right to take. A sample of responses: "Liberal propaganda," "liberal nonsense," "Malthusian fear mongering," you get the idea. It's all, well, rubbish, as I see it.

But as the Slog points out, there's a bit of irony in Pixar/Disney's promotion of the film: at screenings, including ours in Minneapolis, every kid on opening weekend was given a disposable, made-in-China plastic Wall•E watch.