UK, West End production is using a new social tactic to cast “Thriller Live,” a musical that celebrates the career of pop legend Michael Jackson.  Applicants are asked to upload their audition to their Facebook page at which point visitors are encouraged to vote on the videos. The top 15 applicants then get a chance to audition live in London  for a chance to be part of the the upcoming worldwide tour next year.

Read the article that inspired this post on DesignTAXI 

Some details are starting emerge surrounding the launch of the art discovery start-up Art.sy. WIRED got a sneak peek at the gated beta version and according to the article,  the company is using computer vision software and a panel of experts to provide recommendations based on a similar color palette across mediums. The site uses 550 “art genes” ranked from 1-100 to code the recommendations.

Sound promising?  A few big wigs seem to think so. The Art Newspaper, reported back in June early investors included Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, venture capitalist Jim Breyer and Wendi Deng Mur­doch as well as well-known gallerist Larry Gagosian.

About Art.sy Art.syis powered by The Art Genome Project, an ongoing study of the characteristics that distinguish and connect works of art. Art.sy evaluates artworks along 500+ characteristics—such as art-historical movements, subject matter, and formal qualities—to create a powerful search experience that reflects the multifaceted aspects of works of art.

The trend in QR shopping walls continues, this time with Sears & Kmart.  As reported by PSFK, the companies have deployed mobile shopping walls into high traffic areas including airports, malls, movie theaters and bus shelters across the U.S. this holiday season.

Need I remind every one of the Korean retailer, HomePlus who started the trend with their subway shopping walls?

 

Simple, a new online banking concept is founded on the insight that online banking is horrible and sometimes dangerous experience.  In turn, Simple’s entire banking experience is presented in well,. Plain and simple language.” At its core the bank revolves around what they call a consumers’ “safe to spend” amount which takes all your your accounts and discounts commitments in order to tell you how much you can spend today without harming yourself tomorrow.

There’s also an emphasis on speed of information and the reduction of anxiety surrounding your money in order to improve financial behavior.  Essentially, the company is taking traditional banking concepts and adapting them to how consumers think about their money.

The company itself has raised an impressive amount of capital for a pre-launch venture.  Following a $3.1 million round in September 2010 it raised another $10 million in August 2011.  It just recently began letting users interact with their product in a beta version this November.

Read the article that inspired this post by John Pavlus on FastCoDesign and a video demo on Vimeo

As reported by WSJ.com, the Facebook phone is real and HTC will be its OEM.  The device, currently operating under the code name “Buffy” is said to run on enhanced version of Android customized by Facebook in order to best integrate its services as well as support HTML5.  The device is still a long way from hitting shelves with estimates ranging from 12 – 18 months.

Read the full article with more information on the handset on AllthingsD

For the first time, Disney is looking to launch a multimillion dollar franchise character via the small screen.  The strategy behind the “Where’s My Water,” a game that launched on September 22nd,  was to invest in a mobile game prior to green lighting a theatrical release based on the character Swampy, a subterranean sewer living gator. .  In a business where animated films can often take up to 5 years  and cost millions to produce, putting a  few hundred thousand dollars out there to gauge interest and build a fan base is a much less risky proposition.

Considering the app is one of the top ranking paid apps at 99 cents and displaced the record-setting “Angry Birds” game from the No. 1 spot for three weeks according to Bloomberg.  It appears the strategy is working.

The concept of the game is simple.  Swampy, an alligator who lives in the sewer is desperately in need of a bath.  Players slide their fingers across their iPhone (or iPad) screens digging through dirt to guide water into the gator’s tub while at the same time dodging toxic waste and collecting rubber duckies as prizes.

The time of year for pop-up stores is upon us and in the world of technology geeks, the WIRED store is a much-anticipated event.  This year, Conde Nast has taken over the space formerly occupied by the ESPN Zone in Times Square a much larger space than last year in SoHo.

This year, WIRED partnered with emerging social media app SONAR to enhance the experience.   When visitors check in via the Sonar app, they’re given a brief survey that pairs you with one of  WiredInsider‘s Tumblr personalities thatcurated the store this year including; The Adventure Capitalist, Culturazzi, Digital Gentlemen, Gastronaut, It Girl, and The Smarter Upstarter.  .You can then view personalized WIRED store recommendations.

While my personal guide may have been the “Gastronaut.” here are some of the things that caught my attention regardless of recommendations.  These are in no particular order.

1. Digitech IPB-10 Digital Pedal Board:  $499.95

2. ETRE 5 Point Gloves $64.90

3. ATARI 2600 in 24K Gold  $6,650

4. USB Typewriter $699.00

5.  Acousticom Sound Egg  $2,525

Check out the press release and website where all of the above products and more are available for purchase

.