Cool Stuff

Axe Cop Episode #4 — I’ll Chop Your Head Off!

Here’s one of my favorite episodes of Axe Cop, in which Avocado Soldier becomes Uni-Avocado Soldier, UniBaby gets a family, Axe Cop slays a snowman with his axe and a flashlight, and the dog, Ralph Wrinkles, gets a voice.

Axe Cop creators Ethan Nicolle (who does the illustrating) and his younger brother Malachai, will be at San Diego Comic Con, doing an Axe Cop panel, signing, and other Comic-Con-ish stuff. If you’re not up to speed on the awesomeness that is Axe Cop already, get with the program, kids — or he’ll chop your head off!

Image of the Day: Composition

I really like a lot of the photos of Grant Hutchinson, who posts to Flickr under the name splorp. He composes shots with a particular eye that makes me see everyday things in different ways … something that’s a lot harder to do than you might think.

Here’s one I like a lot:


Photo copyright Grant Hutchinson
via Flickr Photostream
(Posted under Creative Commons License)

How Many Scott Pilgrims Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?

We’re off to Sakura Con, the Pacific Northwest’s biggest anime con, this weekend. My husband and I will be kept busy-busy schlepping our six kids plus a couple of their friends all over the Washington State Convention Center, going to panels, and admiring all the awesome costumes that blossom over downtown Seattle like cherry blossoms each April.

Friday is always my favorite day of this con, just because downtown is still dense with working professionals who always look a little askance at their yuppie turf being invaded by a bunch of young people (and old people like us, too!) dressed up in an astonishing array of costumes.
We popped downtown yesterday to grab our badges, having learned the hard way last year that if you wait until Friday to do so, you get to wait in line for maybe three hours to pick up the badge you paid for six months ago, because for some reason they won’t just mail out badges like Pax does. So all we have to do is check into our hotel and hit the ground running.

Judging from the percentage of costumes we saw just last night, there’s going to be an awful lot of Scott Pilgrims running around downtown Seattle this weekend. It’s the perfect costume for the slacker guy who doesn’t want to dress up in something “dorky,” but whose girlfriend insists on cosplaying and dragging him with her. Okay, so I’ll be Scott Pilgrim and you be Ramona Flowers, babe. Pretty much win-win for the guy — he gets to toss on jeans and a t-shirt and grab his bass (and who in Seattle doesn’t have a bass lying around?), and walk around with a hot chick in purple leggings and a blue or purple wig all weekend.

I’ll take some pics of the better costumes we see this weekend to post later, so you can see the insanity for yourself. Happy Easter weekend!



Image of the Day: Budapest, 1914

André Kertész

Budapest, 1914

From André Kertész (Editions Hazan)

I love the way the buildings are framed in this shot, and the interplay of light and shadow. What’s the man doing out there, in the dark? Waiting for his wife to give birth, perhaps, or standing outside his house after a fight, cooling his heels. Or perhaps he doesn’t really want to go home, and is standing out there weighing just how long he can hide in shadow before going inside to face whatever awaits him there that keeps him standing there, on the edge of that circle of welcoming light.

… from Liquid Night


Cool Stuff: Images Festival

The Dallas International Film Festival kicked off today, but if you don’t travel much to fests, you can still get a taste of the best of fests at Through April 9, Mubi is presenting Images Festival, “The best of experimental and independent moving image culture …”

You can watch a selection of interesting, diverse shorts from Images Festival right here (unfortunately, they don’t seem to be set up to allow embedding, but the above still is from a cool short called Posthaste Perennial Pattern).

Masters of Dialogue

I want to hire these guys to write some dialogue for the script I’m working on … pretty amazing. I wonder what they think they’re talking about.

Shakespeare Collaboration 101

I wrote a few days ago about Hit RECord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s effort to create a collaborative online arts community. I’m really enamored of the idea around this site, so I’m going to periodically share with you the coolest collaborations I find there.

This Shakespeare Sonnet Collaboration is a great example of how HitRECord works. One person kicks an idea off, lots of people make cool stuff based on that idea, and all of that is freely usable by other people to build on and grow. Here’s one I like quite a lot, that uses 13 “Resources” (stuff other people have uploaded) in creating a collaboration using Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130:

And here’s a really cool animated(ish) take on Sonnet 27, made using four resources:

Check it out, and if you make any of your own collaborative efforts at Hit RECord, let me know so I can post them.

Video of the Day: Train Now Leaving

From, presented at Sundance 2010.

Image of the Day: Rails

From one of my fave curators of all things artistic, Liquid Night:


Seattle, Washington, 2010

[Shot with a Holga 120CFN using Kodak Ektachrome E100VS and Cross-processed]

The Sound the Universe Makes

“Black holes … bang on space-time like a drum.”

Fascinating TED talk by physics and astronomy professor Janna Levin about the soundtrack of the universe.

Reuse, Collaborate, RECord

Happy Tuesday. Here’s Morgan and Destiny’s Eleventeeth Date — The Zeppelin Zoo, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who, frankly, I would watch in just about anything) and Channing Tatum. The vid is from SXSW 2010.

Now probably, you are way hipper than I am and so you already knew about HitRECord, JGLs’ way cool collaborative art project, which you can check out over here. But if you haven’t heard of it, start by watching the video above. Trust me, it’s worth your time. There’s JGL in a fake mustache! And sepia tones blended with … oh, just go watch it. It’s creative. It’s cool. And it’s almost guaranteed to be better than doing whatever real work you’re supposed to be doing right now.

So the idea of HitRECord is that anyone, anywhere in the world, can upload digital bits and pieces — video, text, images, music, what have you (not naughty bits! get your mind out of the gutter!) — and then other people can use those bits and pieces in creating their own projects and upload those.

To get a better idea of what it’s about, here’s RegularJOE (that’s what the-actor-otherwise-known-as-JGL calls himself over here on HitRECord) in what he calls a “bare bones” video, explaining to newcomers what the site is about, and encouraging others to take his video and mix it up and add to it however they’d like.

Or, for you more visual types, here’s an effort called Brainstorm that explains it all in pictures …

… And if you want more? Head on over here, where RegularJOE has curated some HitRECord videos, many of which have screened at Sundance and SXSW, for your viewing pleasure. I have an interview request in to do a Spotlight on this site, so I’ll hopefully be telling you more about it in the near-ish future. In the meantime, if you make a video for HitRECord — or if you’ve already made one — drop a line in the comments to point us to your awesomeness, won’t you?

How Social Network Should Have Ended

Happy Monday.

Imagining the Future Through Film

The site Futurestates, part of ITVS, is a very cool site that challenges students to think about what the future will look like 25, 50, 100 years from now. The site combines films on pertinent subjects with lesson plans that tie in and challenge students to think about what they’re learning and hypothesize about what consequences might result decades from now, from choices they’re making today.

One of the Season One lessons, for instance, used Ramin Bahrani’s terrific short film Plastic Bag, narrated by Werner Herzog, to illustrate the relationship between humans as consumers and how we impact the environment without thinking.

One of the season two episodes, Exposure, which releases April 4, was directed by Mia Trachinger, whose film Reversion played at Sundance a few years ago. Reversion was a trippy film about a group of people who lack the ability to travel linearly through time. Trachinger used this basic conceit to explore the idea that if we don’t experience life linearly, we don’t ever see the direct consequences of actions, as an allegory for consequential morality generally.

Reversion had some flaws in the execution (Trachinger just told me she’s recut the film, though, so I am really interested to see it in this new iteration), but it was a really smart concept and Trachinger herself kind of reminds me of a sci-fi Miranda July … very smart and passionate, with a particularly interesting and engaging way of looking at the world.

Here’s the trailer for Trachinger’s film Exposure, which imagines a future world in which teams of government workers are tasked with the job of inoculating the population against disease by exposing people to contagions, and a group of people trying to avoid being exposed.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this project, now that I know about it, and maybe using some of the lessons with my middle school youth group at the Unitarian Church to kick off some discussions about some of the issues addressed. Pretty cool.

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Help Save the Music

Yo, music fans. Today’s the last day you can bid on items in the Power Saves the Music Auction, the charity event being put on by filmmaker Ari Gold in conjunction with release of Adventures of Power on DVD. The film, which debuted at Sundance three years ago, tells the story of a dorky factory worker (Gold) whose passion for air drumming takes him from small town New Mexico all the way to New Jersey for a big air drumming competition.

The film features a cameo by Rush drummer Neil Peart (see, lots of drumming tie-ins) and the Power Saves the Music Auction has heaps cool stuff; here’s the roster of donors:


Proceeds from the auction benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, so it doesn’t even matter whether you loved Adventures of Power or hated it! You love music, right? Unless, of course you’re a music hater. Music haters wouldn’t be interested in SAVING THE MUSIC, would they? So don’t be a music hater, go bid on some drum lessons or cool drums autographed by your favorite drummer. Or both, if you’re really awesome and independently wealthy.**

**And if you are? Call me.

We Interrupt This Blog for an Important Message…

… my baby is all (sniff) grown up and blogging.

She’s also (finally) updating her web comic, Stick Figure Yaoi. It’s only taken a year to get a second strip out of her. Yeah, sure, she’s been busy, what with school, being in two plays, assistant stage managing a third play, and writing a novel and a graphic novel. Slacker.

That is all. Carry on.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon