In 1926, three brothers, Adriano, Marcello and Bruno Ducati founded a company to produce radio components in Bologna, Italy. Eventually it would start providing the bones and impetus for Ducati motorcycles. In 1950, Ducati produced its first motorcycle, a 60 cc bike weighing 98 pounds, with a top speed of 40 mph. By the middle of the 1960′s, Ducati was shattering records with its bikes, and wooing motorcycle enthusiasts with its distinctive desmodromic valve design.
Ducati is a company tuned to its Italian heritage. The latest motorcycle to come to the market is theDucati Streetfighter 848, what motorcycle enthusiasts describe as a naked motorcycle – a performance-minded bike meant to suit multi-purpose usage. The rider sits upright, straddling the lean, sinewy bike for easy everyday riding, but with access to plenty of thrilling performance from the mighty 848 Testastretta 11° engine, which has a top speed of 150 mph and is equipped with traction control for handling. The Streetfighter 848 is the scrappy little brother to the Streetfighter S, but with it’s own reputation for good looks. The Streetfighter 848 was voted “most beautiful bike” when it was unveiled in 2008 at the International Motorcycle Show in Milan.
“The Streetfighter concept and culture is absolutely urban, but as a sport bike company, we also blended in great performance for every rider’s favorite winding road,” said Tim Collins, a Ducati spokesperson. Ducati has a high standards for design, in which form must follow function. “Sure, ergonomics affect design, but there always has to be a balance with the functionality of performance,” Collins said. “Obviously, the design of a Superbike focuses on a very different ergonomic brief to that of a touring bike. A sport naked like a Ducati Monster or Ducati Streetfighter is a very clever mix of the two so as not to compromise its overall style, form and function.”
Ducati purists prefer the look-at-me pass-you red exterior. “The color issue with Ducati is pretty interesting. Red has always been associated with our racing heritage and for most Ducatists and new owners to Ducati, red is the only color. It’s the color of passion and I guess that’s what we’re all about,” Collins said.
However, the motorcycle will also be made in matte black and yellow to suit a broader range of riders. “It’s along the same lines as the question you would have to ask yourself in a Ferrari showroom. Would you choose red because that’s Ferrari’s color or a subtle grey because of its sophistication? Yellow represented our famous mid-range race bikes when we competed in World Supersport and it took on an incredible following. With the introduction of a mid-range Streetfighter, we thought it was time to re-introduce yellow and we immediately received positive feed-back all over the world.”
Ducati uses sophisticated lightweight aluminum materials across its lineup. While carbon fiber is used on the bigger Streetfighter S, materials can be added into the Streetfighter 848 as accessories to add extra performance enhancements. The Streetfighter 848 is the first new motorcycle to hit the streets in the 2012 Ducati lineup, which includes: Superbikes, Streetfighter, Monster, Multistrada, Diavel and Hypermotard.
The Ducati Streetfighter 848 starts at $12,995 and goes on sale in the U.S in January 2012.
Death can inspire life. Especially in New Orleans, on the corner of Marigny and Burgundy, where the “Before I Die” project has used the specter of urban decay and death to create art and inspire. Using a boarded up house as a canvas, artist Candy Chang transformed a haunting reminder of blight and divestment into a powerful affirmation of human life and imagination.
The project is entitled “Before I Die”, and encourages community members to fill in the blank, “Before I die, I want to _______.” The responses range from, “save a life,” to “learn to play mandolin,” but all are personal dreams, that together comprise a document of the community’s aspirations. “Once the wall is filled, we wash the board with water and start with a clean slate again,” says Chang. Made with only primer, chalkboard paint, stencils, spray paint, and chalk, the project proves that art doesn’t need to be elaborate; it just needs to speak to people.
Unfortunately, the house on which the “Before I Die” installation was mounted was recently sold, so the living art project is looking for a new home. Chang wants to find another location in her native New Orleans, but has been amazed that so many people across the country have requested it in their cities too.
While it’s Chang’s framework that created the project, it’s been people’s participation that has made it successful, and with requests pouring in from other cities, the wall appears endless. (Candy Chang)
"I love American contemporary art. And the Whitney has celebrated American contemporary art for many years. So, I look at the Whitney as being a very important museum in the city. I go at least once a year—and that's not frequently enough. Anything Warhol, Basquiat, Kuhns. I like John Currin, Jasper Johns. But Warhol and Basquiat are my favorites. And I love [Johns'] White Flag. It's my favorite piece in the world."
Grant Thatcher launched his LUXE City Guides in 2001, and since then, he's expanded to 30 pocketbook-sized titles filled with "smart stuff for busy people." Now Thatcher is taking on a new challenge: Little LUXE Guides. The kid-friendly series aims to show the same discerning readers who fell for Thatcher's spot-on recommendations how to "go glam with the fam." Little LUXE Hong Kong, the debut title, is available this month. Its signature gatefold format contains hundreds of family-centered picks, such as Hong Kong Disneyland ("The house of mouse needs no intro"), Magic Mirror Kids' Hair ("Pop your little ray of sunshine on a giraffe… for the coolest haircuts in town") and The KIDchen by Kit Lin ("Mini chefs learn to cook their own dim sum"), plus babysitting recommendations and spa picks for parents in need of some R&R. Written by editors living in Hong Kong with their children, the guide is the next best thing to having a friend on the ground. The next title in the series, Little LUXE Singapore, is slated for November. $10; luxecityguides.com.
Destined, unfortunately, since it's an engineering tour de force, to be the car of choice for well-heeled douche bags across the globe, the 458 Spider is even more infuriating since its owners will likely not have to make any performance sacrifices along the way for its trick folding roof. Look for it to be this unashamed penis-extender's main selling feature.
We love ninjas, pirates, robots, and zombies here at Uncrate HQ, but there's only one of those that we'd actually consider becoming.Private Ninja Lessons ($200) can help you on your way to becoming a stealth assassin or just improving your self-defense skills. The 90-minute sessions — held in Bronxville, NY — are led by an actual Shidoshi, and include history, tradition, and philosophy lessons before the ninjutsu-based self-defense, awareness, and combat strategy practice begins, possibly including some weapons training, but most likely not teaching you how to effectively throw a ninja star.