Art at The Armory

Fountain Art Fair 2012 at the 68th Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City. This video features interviews with artists and curators during March 9th-11 during the Festival as well as sped up footage of various paintings, installations and performance art pieces.

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Kickstarter Projects you should check out (March 22, 2012)

SPIKE-A Love Story Too: A one man video game production of a sequel to an excellent flash game with humor, cool graphics and ingenious ideas about gaming. The sequel promises to be bigger and better with an Atari mode, a Bob Ross mode and a Visual novel mode.

Cavegirl Fudge: A big part of my weight loss is finding new products that would allow me to enjoy the pleasure and still keep my weight down. These girls are making fudge I can eat. No sugar, fat free dairy… all that good stuff. New York is full of companies making healthy chocolate, but none of them are making FUDGE.

BEYOND-The Adventure Short: This could be one really interesting little film and the director’s previous effort Paradox is great.

The Gills – Motor Running EP Release: Some good music and tons of charisma from a rock band of four brothers, well, two brothers and two brothers.

The Last Of McGuinness: A documentary of professional wrestling’s Nigel McGuiness (Desmond Wolfe in TNA) final wrestling tour before retirement, he visited tons of wrestlers who like him had the talent, know how and skill, but was never given the ball in the big leagues. Stories, road trip, history, looks like a good one.

The Little Red Bird : A Multi lingual children’s storybook designedd to be offered for free as an e-book, but also making limited edition traditional style book.

I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator: Keith “Keef” Knight wants to do his first original graphic novel and like all his work it’s autobiographical.

PULP BOY film: Great movie project with an awesome star lined up (Allen Enlow who you might recognize from commercials and web series) and to be made from a script by crime writers Victor Gischler and Anthony Neil Smith.

Professor Cat’s ‘Mazing Machine : I’m not sold on the puzzle game the developer is making cause it’s not my kind of thing, but the design of Professor Cat by artist Caldwell Tanner is awesome.

Borthaniel : Comic book about a genetically engineered teddy bear like thing. Maybe a little much Boris The Bear looking, but still cool.

Manga Animated Music Video for original song by Cristina Vee, pretty self explanatory. Here’s Cristina’s Youtube.

Album for Johnny BHive called Jaggar Jones-Poetry in Motion. I listened to some of his stuff at ReverbNation and it’s pretty good.

I’ve started looking at IndieGoGo as well for possibly interesting projects and here are two:

The Bret Braddock Adventures: An awesome web comic collection from Australia about the production of a ridiculous TV show. Great art work and really funny.

What is it Katy?: Another collection of a fascinating web comic that was done as an experiment and turned out excellent.


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Nerd Notes for March 21, 2012 (Mostly Video Games Edition)

The Act: An upcoming iPhone and Mac game which is basically an interactive 2D cartoon.  Sort of like I’d say Dragon’s Lair but at a much higher level of gaming and style of humor.  Having better animation than Don Bluth would be asking too much, but The Act still looks like some high quality fun.

Katawa Shoujo: A Free Interactive Visual Novel based in bishojo, it had it’s birth in 4Chan of all places.  It’s for a really niche market, but that a joke became a real project with good art and music after 5 years is amazing and, it’s free, so don’t complain.

YESTERDAY from Pendulo Studios: Most known for entertaining, funny and highly adventurous modern point n click games with awesome cartoon graphics, Pendulo goes a new route of horror and suspense.  It’s still a point n click and uses their usual art style, but it should be an interesting twist.  Pendulo, Daedelic and Click Shake are the three best companies doing the point n click except for of course Double Fine who will be making hopefully the next big adventure game.

Drew Wise – Pixel Artist:  An excellent artist who also makes greatly designed shirts based mostly in video games but with some pop-culture too.  His Beetlejuice shirt design it awesome.  I’m done with shirts after my Remus and Liam shirt and my eventual DFA shirt (and any shirts I might get as promos at a Comic-Con), but you should get it.

Jón Kristinsson-PointnClicking: Inspired by Double Fine’s return to adventure game making, this artist started doing quality pieces based on his favorite classics.

High Vaultage:  Simple controls, but awesome cute pixel graphics, cute music and addictive.

Jason Boyer: Great artist who dabbles in design, illustration, animation, pixel art and games.

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All Talk – It wasn’t all talk

A short document piece based on the art group show at Pandemic Gallery.

This video features music by RAP GANG and a little randomly recorded freestyle by the film’s maker, Reid Harris Cooper.

 

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From New Zealand to Monaco- BOY x SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN

To travel around the world without leaving home there are only three ways. The first is to jump around the internet which really doesn’t count, the next is to visit Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida which has a pavilion of buildings representing many countries except unless you live in Orlando that would count as leave home, so the real way is through the power of film and exotic restaurants. The added addition of films is you get to time travel as well.

On the last week/first week of February/March 2012 I got to visit New Zealand, India, The United Kingdom and Monaco and each adventure was quite amazing.

It started out with getting to see Taika Waititi’s latest feature BOY at a special screening at Knitting Factory Brooklyn. Taika is an Oscar nominated film maker who is best known for his very popular Eagle vs. Shark and his work with Flight of the Conchords. BOY takes place in the early 80s and tells a truly funny, smart and compelling film about a young man in rural New Zealand. He lives in a very small town full of lush landscapes and beauty in a very poor but sustainable lifestyle. The bulk of the film is about his father’s return to town after a stay in prison and the changes that come to Boy’s life in that time. The film has some awesome fantasy sequences including animation, music video recreations and uproarious photo montages. The film has so much heart, but its also full of kinetic energy. The landscape scenes of New Zealand’s lush green are an amazing stark contrast to the poverty of the houses and town, creating a vibe in the film of hope full with hopeless that so much of life contains. When so much changes, it also always feels the same, as people come in and out of your life, relationships change, emotions evolve, personalities develop further and BOY finds a way to express all that through a simple story with complex situations.

After the film I had the pleasure to meet Taika himself and he was very down to Earth and open. That feels like it’s changed a bit in his very humorist updates on his Kickstarter, but I’m pretty sure it’s still humble despite the films instant smash success in America. I had asked him some simple questions about the film, in both its making and its message and he expressed himself with an honest and passionate discussion. If you have the chance to see BOY while its on its US tour, do so… but hopefully this will all lead to a North American DVD/Bluray available at a reasonable price and not imported from New Zealand for multi-zone players.

Before seeing BOY I had dinner at Bay Leaf, an excellent Indian place off of Bedford. It’s actually from what I can tell the only Indian cusine in that area of Williamsburg. Traditionally I have Thai when out there, but since I was alone for the evening I got to try out this place and it was excellent. Actually some of the best tasting Indian I’ve ever had. I ended up having Indian again on Thursday at one of the places on 1 and 6th and they paled in comparison at least flavor style, in my opinion. Both meals were amazing and filling, but Bay Leaf was a tantamount experience followed by an amazing movie I had really desired and meeting its star.

I had gone to Sunshine Cinema on Thursday evening to see a Village Voice screening of SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt with Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas. It was directed by Lasse Hallström from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, two masters of adapting complicated novels into exceptional films. The novel in question here is by the same name and was written by Paul Torday, while never having not read the book, I ascertain from what I can find online that it was very comedic in nature, a great satire filled with a poignant story. The film strips a a bit of that comedy down to just the barest essentials I feel, but still delivers a poignant story with a completely non-allegorical political message alongside an a subtly allegorical life message. Amr Waked is the best thing in this entire film outside of the travelouge. His performance is so strong it is unfortunate when this film has debuted in America, as if it wasn’t directly after The Oscars he would be a shoo-in for a Best Supporting Actor nomination if not a win and as there’s no Acting Nods for foreign films, well… He is just that good though. As said, next comes the visuals. The film travels throughout the UK and Monaco and truly shows them off with a flair. A much higher flair than New Zealand is shown in BOY, but here LOCATION was a character where in BOY it was just a setting. Every space becomes as important to the events and the story as the people themselves. Traditionally one would credit the Director of Photography for this, but Terry Stacey’s previous work was never at a scale like this, so I’ve gotta think that Beaufoy’s script and Lasse’s directing propels this magnificence. Look at Simon’s 127 Hours or Slumdog Millionaire or Hallström’s many films to see their hands in the work no matter who the cinematographer is. SALMON is parable in many ways, just as the concept of salmon fishing in the yemen is a metaphor for life itself.

Through these two films and two wonderful meals I got to see and feel life, love and imagination and for just a moment feel like I’d left New York City and traveled the world.

(It must be stated that unfortunately BOY is currently only scheduled for the following cities: New York, Throughout California (LA, SF, etc.), Boston,  Seattle, Washington DC, Atlanta, GA and Santa Fe in Texas with various different opening dates at specific theaters which you can see here.

and SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN opened March 9th in Limited Theaters in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC and Philadelphia. Info can be found here.

As stated above on BOY, hopefully both films will recieve North American DVD/Blu-Ray releases, they are both worthy.)

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Some Kickstarter Projects You Can Join In that Caught My Eye

I started working on this last night and just wanted to finish it off because right now I’m just not feeling it. It’s a good distraction from the whole world, but it is still about money and stuff… and more about money than stuff… still, we need distractions.

Batton Lash’s Wolff & Byrd is preparing for a printing of a volume 6 collecting issues #30, 34-37 and more. Wolff & Byrd is an awesome comic and this is basically like pre-ordering. Kickstarting a book, pre-ordering a book, same thing in the new world.


GAME OVER: Insert More Quarters is an anthology of a bunch of very talented young comics makers, they had some amazingly cool rewards at the %50-$75 but those are gone, BUT if some super rich folks can do the $100 or a bunch of folks go for the $25 pledge it’ll bring us to FINAL BOSS level meaning even more rewards for the same pledges. On the page they have links to most of the contributors and I checked all their pages, these are a talented group of folks who if they weren’t doing this project would probably get discovered by Kazu Kibishi for FLIGHT or something like that.

Curse of the Merch Girl is a diverse multimedia project from hip-hop artist MURS and comics creator Josh Blaylock. It’ll be a music video, a comic book and a 10 track cd. The 10 songs are designed to be listened to while reading the graphic novel. This is one of the projects I really am excited for. It hasn’t reached full funding yet and it really is one of those that shouldn’t be stuck. If I had $2500, I’d totally do that pledge.

Kiko The Brave Little Bat, so if you have $150 to spare I want one of the complete kits of book, DVD and plush, wants one too and then the third is for you. I really can’t bring myself to spend $50 for a plush doll and a children’s book even though I want it. $25 for a very mature graphic novel and CD as in the above, yes… but $50 for a kid’s thing? No…not really, but if I had a child? Hell yeah!

Man of God-The Death of John Morris: This comic featuring art by Yvel Guichet is actually available in the current March Previews and seems interesting enough to pre-order. If you’re into variant covers and the such I suggest hopping on the kickstarter though.

Zach Meets The Zombie is a great looking children’s book. You might be aware that I am not much of a zombie fan. I like about 2-3 things in the zombie genre, and if this book is as good as the pitch is, this would become the 4th.

Feeble’s Fable: This is no DOUBLE FINE ADVENTURE, but for a small independent adventure production and design it is definitely a worthwhile project. I’m still confused why their pitch videos outside of game footage look they were shot on cheapo cameras in 1991 though. Despite that, Feeble is adorable.

Riddikulus 2012 – A Rolling Wizard Rock Festival: I know for a fact a bunch of you are Potterphiles. I’m more an admirer and I never got into Wizard Rock heavily. and ‘s promotion and marketing for some of them is closest I’ve gotten, but as I listened to these bands and look at the rewards I support this project and considering what venue they hit in NYC I’ll go.

Gnombre the hispanic Garden gnome: I was really on board for the bobblehead 7inch version here for $20, but they want an extra $10 for shipping now. That’s unfortunate. I still think this thing looks awesome and if you have a home with a lawn, the 13 inch is worth even $50.

Suspect Device 2 is a comic featuring some amazing folks using an awesome idea. Panel 1 is from Jim Davis’ Garfield, the final Panel is from Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, and in between some of the wildest, craziest and funniest cartoonists in the world create a story that connects the two panels. Josh got a great selection of folks on board for this one. This is gonna be an awesome book.

Gastrophobia Volume 2-Amazon Attacked: I loved Vol 1 of David McGuire’s series, he’s got a fantastic storytelling sensibility and awesome art style. It’s actually sitting on my desk right now just to re-enjoy in the meantime.

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Nerd Notes 3/12/2012

While it’s nice that Microsoft still offers Movie Maker 2.6 for folks who don’t like or need a more refined software than the dumbed down Windows Live Movie Maker, it’s not the same thing as Vista Movie Maker a free program only available through Vista.  That software will work on a Windows 7 machine and luckily Techbliss is offering it.

When “Clerks 2” came out William Garvey, composer and writer of the Q Lazzarus hit track “Goodbye Horses” made famous in “Silence of the Lambs” did a remix for the film, this more uppy, happy, transcendant version was never released, but again in a turn of luck, William Garvey put it on his website for the world.

Edward Pun, an artist at Sucker Punch Productions, makers/creators of the video games Sly Fox &  inFAMOUS edits a collection of comics by other Sucker Punch artists called ATOMIC LEAD , they include work by Dev Madan, former DC artist and co-creator of Young Heroes in Love and artist on the Sly Fox comic produced in 2004.

In The Darkness II video game there is a short film featured on a TV, they show the entire flick, but you can’t zoom into it, something about the movie felt like it was something they borrowed from elsewhere and I was correct.  It’s called The Other Gods, a short silent film desigbed and sold as if it’s from the 20’s, except it was made in the aughties. (The Other Gods)

There’s quite a few OZ films coming out in 2012 including the animated Dorothy of OZ and a prequel starring James Franco, but another is a Sequel/Reimaging from BBC Films called Dorothy and The Witches of OZ which borrows from the concepts of other modern retellings such as the Wonderland miniseries and Once Upon A Time.

The live action trailer for video game SLEEPING DOGS the formerly titled True Crime-Hong Kong,  is really a quality production,  I’m as excited about this game as I have been since day one of its existence and through it’s troubled turmoil life cycle.

Here’s a video of Paul Williams in full “Planet of The Apes” make-up and costume from a Tonight Show with Johnny Carson episode (via Rock* games)

No trailer or website exists from Billy Bob Thorton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car, but between the cast, plot and it being a Thorton flick, I’m quite excited as it’s been 11 years since Billy Bob wrote/directed.

Something Else by Dried Brains is an example of simple Flash cartoons that can be high quality and hilarious are alive and well.

If you like indie musicians, ukulele and The Beatles, I have the website/project for you.  Some of my favorite indie folks and friends have been involved in this one including Bree Sharp, Alyson Greenfield, Andrew Vladeck and many more.

I’m not sold on HTML 5 but this scrollable comic called SOUL REAPER is a good example of what can be done.

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An Afternoon At A Zoo

In February 2012 I took an afternoon walk to the zoo near my house, Queens Zoo in the Flushing Meadows Corona Park and decided to spontaneously record it with my iPhone. It would be my last video I would film having long hair. I’ve gotten some personal praise from friends on it and felt it was time to share beyond Facebook and my Youtube page.

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It’s Not A Dream If You Believe (A Totally Amp’d Overview/Review)

It might be public knowledge that I am a Canadaphile, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t ever bear repeating. I’m not just talking about liking certain bands or television shows that have gained release in America or Internationally though, a lot of people like the music of Neil Young, the acting of Michael J. Fox and David Cronenberg films. My love goes as far as not just Degrassi, but all Canadian teenage shows that have appeared on Disney, Teen Nick, The N, ABC Family, etc and more so the ones that only aired on Canadian Family, CBC and other Canadian Networks (and in cases the UK and Australia), but never made it to the US airwaves.

All this is to preface my excitement when I heard about the new iPhone/iPad app Totally Amp’d, a Canadian produced “web series” with similarities to shows such as Instant Star and 2Gether, both Canadian produced shows about discovering and promoting young talent. Produced by Smokebomb Entertainment, a Division of Shaftesbury, the show was created with Smokebomb’s three creative heads Jarrett Sherman, Daniel Dales and Jay Bennett who all have quality resumes. The program and app features music written by C.E.O. of Jingle Punks Music, Jared Gutstadt and features all kinds of genres, giving it a something for everyone feel in the sound department. On the writing team is Karen McCellan, previously of Being Erica and on three out of 10 episodes, Christin Simms who was a major part of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Clone High and Dino Dan.

What is most exciting about Totally Amp’d though is the amazing cast. The big pull on the series in terms of who they are marketing to mostly would be Cristine Prosperi. Cristine is currently a major player on Degrassi, coming in on season 11 as a new foil character attracted to the very popular Eli played the extremely popular Munro Chambers. Cristine gained a following immediately like most Degrassi cast members, but it is a deserving one as she is both gorgeous and talented. For the slightly older fan though there’s a major draw too in Ashley Leggat who became famous on “Life With Derek” which ran from 2005-2009, there she garnered a fan base in Canada and America and has made appearances in popular Shaftesbury shows such as Murdoch Mysteries and Aaron Stone, including an appearance on Cartoon Network’s Unnatural History. The third known commodity on the show is Demetrius Joyette, best known from the Canadian Teencom “Wingin’ It” which has unfortunately never aired in the U.S. Rounding out the cast are newcomers to television Amanda Thomson and Brock Morgan, as well the very experienced yet youngest member of the cast Camden Angelis (who has even done an episode of Scare Tactics). The show also features the talents of James A. Woods (no relation to the other actor of the same name) who has a expansive resume.

There are two other talents not in the initial marketing of the show to make note of.  Shemar Williams, a very popular and talented dancer who actually had a dancing training segment for kids on TV and Dewshane Williams who had major roles in Baxter and Being Erica.

All the promotional hype out of the way, how is the actual final product? Excellent. The songs are fantastic, actually the main shining light more than anything. The characters are awesome too. It should be noted that while there are 10 appisodes, each appisode isn’t more than 6 minutes each, creating an about one hour short film. It’s a perfect length for the iPhone though where this show is made to live. Although it also fits the new professionally made web series format.

What makes the app part special are the unlockable karaoke format songs, the editable music videos and the highly entertaining dress em up. There are seven songs that you can record your own vocals for and then input them into a remix which you can pick and choose the elements including original vocals, drums, guitars, bass and percussion. There are five videos which you can choose the angle shots to create your own version. Both the kraoke and video edtiors are simplistic in nature and would be exciting to have a more fleshed out ability, but this isn’t a music app or video app, it’s an all around concept in which on top of a full length professionally created show exclusive to the iPhone you get some really fun extras. Then there’s the design studio which is the bread and butter of the app segment, something app developer XMG has truly excelled at. It’s truly a total package at $5 for the full season (free to try and test with the first episode) and truly worth it.

I’m hoping for a second season and that with it hopefully a longer story and more expanded applications, but this first part of Totally Amp’d is highly recommended for anyone with an iOS device running 4.3 and above. For those without an iPhone, the album is also available on iTunes and the Youtube channel has a lot of great stuff.

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Nerd Notes for 02/08/2012

All long form essays & reviews are still perculating in their individual cauldrons, and will soon be ready for worldwide consumption.  In the mean time here’s some tender vittles or Nerd Notes.

– Former child actor Brian Bonsall has finally done a full re-emergence with his various music projects he’s been developing in Colorado the last few years.   It’s all really awesome pop-punk and each band sounds great.  Worth more than a listen, but a whole playthrough.

– One of my new favorite blogs is Gourmet Gaming as it combines a lot of my favorites, video games, recipes and food photography.  Brilliant project and with refinement it’d be a cool addition to something like G4 or in the very least Gametrailers.com as a vidcast.

– I haven’t personally bought or downloaded the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad App David’s Diary, but an interactive book based on the works of David Sedaris in which he had first hand assistance in developing still calls to me to read and play.

– I don’t know how accurate How Secure Is My Password actually is, but it’s really fun to play with.

– Cartoonist Ward Sutton, well known to readers to of The Village Voice,  TV Guide and/or The Onion has been doing awesome comic book like reviews for Barnes N Noble for awhile now, but as it has really reached steam, I thought it’d best to mention Drawn To Read, especially when his Wikipedia doesn’t even.

BOY is the newest film by New Zealand’s Academy award nominated writer/director/actor Taikka Waititi and has already garnered many nominations and festival awards.  It’s coming to America soon and looks absolutely fantastic.

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