Thursday, December 31, 2009

Iceman Chronicles mixes genuine comedy with mystery

Aunt Jemima in a pink tutu on Sunday!
The Iceman Chronicles is an awesomely fun suspense-comedy web series.
The comedy elements do not distract or detract from the narrative flow or impact.

I’m not surprised that most so-called comedy web series are epic fails at comedy—like Hurtling Through Space At An Alarming Rate, The Crew, and Cabonauts.
Comedy is not easy to do well, so I’m surprised that so many web series try. I was also happily surprised to discredit my skepticism and discover that The Iceman Chronicles is a dark thriller comedy that understands how to do comedy right: it must be organic, deriving naturally and logically from the story, not gratuitous or contrived.
Even better, not only is the comedy actually funny, it is clever & intelligent!
And even more better, The Iceman Chronicles is a well written & interesting story, well produced by 15Gigs.

In the small hometown of Blythe, Arizona, a shadowy figure eliminates his accomplice, drawing the town coroner/veterinarian, Russell Coldpalm, into a baffling murder investigation. As he digs deeper into the murder, Russ and his moronic cop buddies stumble onto the horrible truth their parents tried to bury: the serial murders of The Iceman, a ruthless killer who terrorized Blythe in the 1970s and 1980s.

Also available on
Hulu .

Soul Fire Rising: soul searching cinema

Dale Fabrigar and Kurt Patino (King Dream Entertainment) bring us this gem of an original web series: Soul Fire Rising . Mixing thematic and stylistic elements from TV shows Supernatural and Xena, the series might be described as a “sleeper hit”... a pleasant surprise you don’t see coming, in that it’s better than you expect it to be. Lilith, Gabriel and a guardian angel named Eve are the main characters.
Lilith, a demon rebel with her own agenda, takes advantage of the vices Earth has to offer, while also taking many souls.
The Winger, Gabriel, turns Lilith’s world upside-down when he summons her and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Lilith has only to fulfill one task: find the Winger, Eve, and bring her back to Gabriel. The value of Eve’s soul is worth over a million human souls — and Eve is even more vulnerable now that she’s decided to become mortal.
On a journey between heaven and hell, Demons and Angels fight for human souls in a battle for supremacy.

Beautifully filmed, with high production values and a talented cast. Soul Fire Rising has its flaws, occasionally bordering on the cheesy, and I had my doubts at first… but by the third episode—- as the story developed further-- I was hooked.
Cinematically compelling and remarkable special FX, make up and music--- but none of that would matter without the writing of a good story. And Soul Fire Rising is a great, well written story!
(A movie expansion/adaptation is also being planned.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Man From Earth: Complex story, simply told

Produced by Falling Sky Entertainment, Jerome Bixby’s independent film Man From Earth is one of the most phenomenal pieces of cinema you will ever have the good fortune to experience... presenting a fascinating & captivating tale.
A perfect example of how a great discussion can sustain, and be sustained by, interesting subject matter—especially when propelled through interesting characters.
A college professor proposes to his colleague friends to consider the possibility of an immortal caveman, unfolding a story, as they begin to confront the reality that this may be a true story-- about him! And that’s not even the most shocking claim to be revealed. Throughout the movie, we wonder –and wander between--whether he is telling the truth, or is just a really good, imaginative story teller.
Sheer elegance in its simplicity, Man From Earth utilizes a minimalist approach (a woefully underestimated sensibility in film making), consisting of a conversation among friends.
To our great shame and misfortune, contemporary social attitudes and storytelling ethos has conditioned an expectation, within our society, that plot development means action and flashy spectacle. Such accoutrements are not what make a story, or make a story good, and may even hinder & distract from a story if used gratuitously.
There is little respect & appreciation these days for the storytelling, oratory power of people talking. Have we forgotten that such dialoguing (and monologuing)is an essential element of Shakespeare's plays?
I highly recommend that you buy/rent and watch this epic story immediately.
see the trailer
*image credit- The Drawing Board Art Studio *

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Break: noir misadventures

Written & Directed by Marc Clebanoff (through Cinema Epoch/ Odyssey Motion Pictures/ Full Force Films), the concept for the intensely vibrant independent film called BREAK
is pure genius. Fortunately, so is its execution-- where so many such high concept stories often fail, in any media.
A stylistic crime noir drama, Break plays out like a graphic novel, featuring characters which are simultaneously fully formed & archetypal… without descending into stereotype or caricature.
All the characters are referred to by the cyphers of what they are, the role they play, with names like: The Associate, The Woman, The Man, Haiku, The Bishop, The Mysterious Brunette, The Chinaman, and simply Frank (also not coincidentally the actor’s name).
Despite being character archetypes, each person has fascinating depth and vividly distinct personality & quirks--- the authentic complexity of real people.
The trailer for this movie epically fails to do the story justice, so ignore that and trust me on this: Break is truly Awesome!
Break tells the story of an introverted & introspective, soft spoken hitman (Frank)-- the good guy/nice guy hero type (like Jim Belushi in Angel’s Dance)—who does the job, and well, without becoming the job. He gets caught in a series of plot twists trying to fulfill a double hit assignment, discovering there is no clean break in love or death, as he tries to save/spare one of his targets.
The subject of “breaking” is a recurring theme in Break: emotionally, physically, psychologically, narratively… utilized and engaged to great effect.
There really are no small parts in this "Kill Bill-esque" movie.
Magnificent dialogue, equally complimented by magnificently acted/ directed performances and cinematography.

Netflix it ASAP:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ai - Life in the Shadow of Death

Written & directed by Raffi Asdourian, of ZAFFI Pictures.

Although the plot is cliche’ – a kid whose family is murdered grows up training for revenge, it is far from simplistic; counter intuitively working exactly because of (& despite) being a cliche’.
This film makes the cliche’ work in that the story is about a samurai in training, so the trope makes sense. And that samurai element is another beneficial feature-- particularly because the samurai Bushido philosophy interests me... but also because the samurai are an intriguing character concept, capable of inspiring intriguing stories.
Ai - Life in the Shadow of Death is archetypal in plot, as well as in its portrayal of samurai attitudes.
And even better, where it breaks from cliche’, is having a woman as the central character in a samurai story! By which I mean, living not only the samurai way of life, but in a role typically reserved for men.
To its credit, the fight scenes are more realistic & organic than cinematically stylized/ exaggerated like most choreographed fight scenes tend to be in TV/ movies, imbuing the tale with authenticity.
Magnificently produced— visually, thematically, narratively.
Open-ended, Ai would be a great series pilot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sooner Or Later: time for Nazis

Sooner Or Later
Written & directed by István Madarász
*image credit- István Madarász*

The scene of this English sub-titled Hungarian short film occurs at the end of World War II, as the Nazis are experimenting with a time travel inducing serum.
A complex plot, simply presented; though the temporal (dis)continuity logic is iffy, implying a repeating causality loop.
But regardless, Sooner Or Later tells an interesting story with a minimalist approach, in a well produced film.
We really need to foster appreciation for minimalist story telling. Don't under-estimate the narrative power of people talking (with each other).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Artemis Eternal Initiative: ambassador of media literacy

The Artemis Eternal film project is not only about reforming/ revitalizing filmmaking & storytelling, but also promoting media liberty & literacy. Jessica Mae Stover —the conscientious mastermind behind this phenomenal endeavor— is on a mission to increase public media awareness & engagement.
On her blog, Jessica Mae tells us, “Hand in hand with issues of media control come issues in education.” “To that end I strive to not contribute to the dumbing down of my generation.”

This grand pursuit is not just a matter of importance to artists, but indeed important for preserving the sanctity of a democratic society. For many years, she has extensively researched and explored Media related topics, and now shares her Knowledge as an advocate for greater media education.

As she declares on her blog: “I work tirelessly on challenging people to understand propaganda and media bias, and to illuminate the negative effects of media consolidation, politics and control so that said global citizens can make better decisions in place of actively undermining their own best interests.” “Media and power should not be biased and consolidated in disservice to the public.”Photobucket
In dedication to the cause, Jessica Mae Stover— in the course of her due diligence & vigilance-- has arranged a meeting with Commissioner Copps' office at the FCC.
Vital issues of concern and consideration include:
-corporate Media Consolidation
-media bias
-media politics
-lack of diversity in Media
-artists issues/ smaller ownerships vs. Big Media
-monopolies of knowledge (theory applied to Media Concentration)
-net neutrality / The Internets
-promoting education & critical/ independent thinking
-censorship and free speech
-journalism/ entertainment Press reform
-advertising/ commercialism
-the public education system
-dissemination of propaganda

If these issues matter to you, support her campaign by becoming an Artemis Eternal Wingman.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Hour Fantasy Girl

More than simply a “coming of age” story, One Hour Fantasy Girl is a thoughtful “becoming of self” story, as a young woman— Becky-- strives to survive on the streets by working as a “fantasy girl” (similar to a prostitute, but with no nudity or kissing).
As hard as she tries, she can’t manage to save enough money to invest in the real estate she hopes for, so she can eventually make the big money. So determined/desperate is Becky to get rich quick, that she willingly suffers the indignity of fulfilling bizarre fantasies.
Along the way, Becky— gloriously portrayed by Kelly-Ann Tursi-- gradually begins to figure out who she really is, and who she wants to be, through a peculiar encounter with one of her clients. In a wonderful surprise plot twist, what seems to be a semi-typical romance developing turns out to be… well, something quite else.

Being a story telling consultant, I would have improved on several minor details, but I can’t really comment about what those are without spoiling anything. One thing I can say is that an opportunity was missed to feature/incorporate music of merit by a real life musician, through a main character who is a musician (Becky’s business partner/agent).
But these detail are, as I said, minor, and the movie is excellent despite them. Which is saying something about the strength of both the narrative & characters.
My only major complaint is that One Hour Fantasy Girl leaves me wanting more… not because it is lacking, but because it didn’t seem finished. A case of "the ending is also a beginning", left open ended and hanging. As the central character, Becky (and by proxy, actor Kelly-Ann)is compelling-- as she should be, fascinating... and the movie ends just as the story starts to begin.
I want to know what happens next in the main character’s on-going journey.

No Restrictions Entertainment

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ataque de Pánico!: Robot apocalypse ensues

From digital animator & director Federico Alvarez (with Murdoc Films), sci-fi short film Ataque de Pánico! (translated in English as “Panic Attack!”) features giant robots invading the Uruguay city of Montevideo.
Panic Attack seems to be mere eye candy-- although yummy & incredibly well produced eye candy.
What we see are giant robots destroying a city with missiles, accompanied by a flotilla of airborne assault craft. But the real story is in what we don’t see, the story implied off screen.
Where did the robots come from and why are they attacking that city? To say the story has no plot would be to misunderstand.
This “short film” is composed like a movie trailer, offering only a glimpse at a piece of a much larger puzzle. Because that is exactly what Panic Attack is intended as.

Clockwork Art: sculpture in motion

Gaze in awestruck wonderment at the mechanized wall sculptures of kinetic artist Brett Dickins.
Motorized gears turn, performing a kind of synchronized dancing within their frame.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Vetala: under mysterious circumstances

A supernatural thriller web series based on an ancient Sanskrit myth of a hostile spirit creature, The Vetala is two stories in one, starting off seemingly a crime drama mystery, gradually & surprisingly morphing into the sci-fi/horror genre with another kind of mystery. There is much more going on here than is immediately apparent.

Produced, written and directed by DAMON VIGNALE, The Vetala has a fascinating premise, well executed… and is definitely among the better produced of the online episodic series.
Each episode leaves you curious to know where this narrative is going, what happens next? What is the Vetala? And how is it connected to an amateur investigative reporter?
I don’t much care for spoilers, so I won’t tell you what the series is about and ruin the surprising developments unfolding. But as the other entries throughout this blog prove, you can trust that it is awesome and worth watching.

Wikipedia gives a summary of the Vetala from which the show is named:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Compulsions is compelling storytelling

Simply brilliant (and brilliantly simple), Compulsions is a thrilling dramatic web series, created by Bernie Su, illustrating that no one is exactly who they appear to be, or who we think they are.
Most “normal” people repress whatever dark desires they may have— or so we like to assume, but Compulsions reveals three inter-connected individuals who privately engage these destructive tendencies, instead.
Quite effectively, the series depicts the social/psychological contrast between the characters' daily lives and secret lives.
Narratively flawless and driven by interesting characters both well conceived and acted, Compulsions compels me to watch the fascinating dichotomy... despite the somehow delightful sick and twistedness of it all.
Perhaps I should feel wrong for being entertained or intrigued-- as if with a guilty pleasure, but the story is so good & presented in such a marvelous way... that there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tyranny: The Series

Written/directed by and starring John Beck Hofmann (of Weatherman Films), TYRANNY THE SERIES is a web series of epic scale & sophistication, showing the magnitudes of high production quality a web series can achieve.
Release of TYRANNY THE SERIES had been halted for over a year, as the creators attempted & failed to acquire corporate support before officially presenting it; with a decision eventually being made to go independent, rather than not show it at all.

It would be more accurate to say that corporate sponsors failed to acquire-- failed to appreciate & understand-- Tyranny; a situation quite familiar to the Wingmen of the Artemis Eternal film project initiative.
But I digress...

Daniel McCarthy, an artist from San Francisco, volunteers for a brain mapping experiment at Berkeley University, in November 1999. During the experiment, he has a vision of what he believes to be the future.
Unable to clearly remember what it was he saw & what happened in the experiment, Daniel embarks on a quest to solve the mystery, discovering a secret cabal orchestrating a massive global conspiracy to control the world’s population, and encountering underground revolutionaries. Nothing is exactly as it seems.
Particularly interesting & appropriate about Tyranny is that it blurs the lines between reality & fiction (in an almost ARG-like feature); presented as documenting a true story, wherein the characters depict actual people in real life.
Main character Daniel is coincidentally a filmmaker, using his art craft to document this intriguing adventure.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Riddle Me This! Who dresses like a fictional character, but isn't?

One of the attractions of sci-fi/ comic book conventions is the Cosplay.
I love seeing people go all-out on a costume, and are serious about the craftsmanship and authenticity.
When a costume is well designed & constructed, and suits the wearer... it is a wonderful site to behold.
Fictional characters made manifest in flesh, as a living—possibly interactive-- work of art (especially if they are in character).
A talented and aesthetically pleasing woman calling herself Riddle is such an artisan.
*image credit- Riddle/ Hime Arts*

Though I’ve never had the good fortune to see Riddle or her marvelous clothing artistry in person, her portfolio of costumes derived from comics and anime is substantial and spectacular.
And most impressively-- as a fashion designer and seamstress, Madame Riddle makes all her costumes herself!
“Aka- Riddle” clearly has both the talent and body for the types of costumes she creates.
Treat your eyes to samples of her tremendous skill as costumer, cosplayer and model on her myspace or her in-development personal site

Daleks Restored in Doctor Who Fan Film

Restoration of the Daleks , a short Doctor Who fan film created by filmmaker, animator & graphic designer Robert Ritchie, is pleasantly surprising for being not only a beguiling Doctor Who fan film, but also one of high quality production. Especially impressive, considering the minimalist simplicity of the story and set design. Robert & crew manage to do quite a lot with relatively very little.
*image credit- Robert Ritchie*

Like Star Wars, Doctor Who has many fan films, but so very few that are good. To be clear, this is one of the good ones.
The ego-maniacal monologuing of Davros and arrogant servitude of the Dalek are exact duplication of the characters as depicted in the series, visually and behaviorally. Appearance, vocal cadence and nuance of speech for both Davros and Dalek are uncannily authentic, and avoid any feeble caricature. The only real fail of this film is the poor lighting, which cloaks the first third % in darkness.

Restoration of the Daleks is conceptually in-canon, occurring soon after The Time War, initiating the, er- restoration of Daleks we see in the newer Who seasons.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wil Wheaton Remembers The Future

Wil Wheaton (the renown geek, writer/ blogger and the guy who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek) has been encouraging people to get excited and make things. I commend, and am inspired by, his enthusiastic advocacy to be creative.
One of the most awesome creative project ideas to ever spring forth from the mind of Wil Wheaton is Memories Of The Futurecast ... a brilliant innovation of the trendy transmedia concept--- which is coincidentally all the rage these days.
*image credit- Will Hindmarch and Wil Wheaton*

Futurecast simultaneously extends and translates his Memories Of The Future book from print media into audio.
In Futurecast, Wil reads—- with small venue intimacy-- excerpts from the companion book in his uniquely geeky style of delivery: providing comedically interpretive episode recaps full of snark, behind the scenes commentary & personal insights/ experiences from being Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: TNG, and spontaneous "in the moment" asides.
But as if that wasn’t enough, that’s not all! The whole precession-- much like his entertaining live book readings-- is laced with Wheaton’s "trademark" personality, humor & silliness... marvelously augmented by his non-zero voice-acting skills.
Oh, and there’s a front desk bell (to punctuate certain moments, of course) that becomes almost a character itself in this play.
And I mean 'play' in all senses of the words, because Memories Of The Futurecast is both a fine performance and a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LONG STORY SHORT: variant cover

my muse suggested I create a variant cover for my new sci-fi short story book, Long Story Short. I thought it was a cool idea, so I made something.
featuring image of recurring character: Dreamwalker/ Arcanum agent Cassie O'Brien.
includes the same interior content as original first printing with green apple on cover.
view/ order Long Story Short
Truth is no stranger to fiction. Sci-fi is happening all around us everyday, IN the everyday nuance of our lives.
This is the fundamental theme of the stories in my book.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Abigail, In The Machine

Written & directed by Emily Yoshida as her UCLA film school thesis project (at the end of 2007), Abigail is conceptually a rather sophisticated & elaborate production for a student film, and Emily’s first.
Photobucket*image credit- Emily Yoshida*

A social commentary extending our present into an imagined near-future, Abigail depicts a culture which has become so saturated with electronic communication & social media that people start to lose their actual physical presence.
I postponed blogging this amazing film, hoping it would be available for sale. Currently, Emily is giving Abigail for free on DVD to anyone who emails her asking for a copy. And I didn’t want people to take advantage of her generosity.
But this adorable, enigmatic short film is just way too good to not get attention & be seen, and she is apparently willing to pass it out like a promotional flier… happy & satisfied with any interest in her film.
Abigail tells a very intriguing story, and I highly recommend you get a copy and share it & awareness of it with your sci-fi loving friends.

Here’s the official synopsis:
In the urban wasteland of the not too distant future, Sam and her best friend Abigail visit a high-profile club in the virtual underworld. Abigail is thrilled when she meets her favorite celebrity and ends up going home with him, but the next day she is nowhere to be found. Sam goes looking for her, only to find her everywhere-– she has turned into an international icon and sex symbol overnight. Sam follows the trail from the streets of her city to the top of the virtual hierarchy to find out what happened to Abigail, and what she discovers is much larger than she could ever imagine. In a society where so much of a person resides in the Network, what becomes of the rest of us? Abigail may have disappeared off the grid, but Sam resolves to keep looking, no matter where it takes her.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I give A Comicbook Orange 4 out of 5 oranges

It was a while before I could really appreciate A Comicbook Orange , a quirky web series produced by and starring wonderfully geeky Casey McKinnon, who reviews comic books, interviews comic book creators, and performs amusing parody skits.
Although, from the beginning, a good—often very good—show, Comicbook Orange was an excellent concept that fell short of excellence in execution.
But eventually I realized that it was/is a work in progress... a dynamic & fluid experimentation.
With the inception of its third season, Comicbook Orange finally found itself, and became awesome, adding a fantastic new intro/theme song, improved composition, a stable structure and more refined skits.
Most of the comics she reviews and people she interviews I don’t care about, but Casey McKinnon’s personality, presentation and production values are impeccable. Both her reviews and interviews are generally informative , concise, well directed. Casey has figured out how a comic book review/interview show should be done, infusing it with a flare of authentically endearing geek charm, humor and insight.
Since episode one, her cleverly imaginative and amusing skits mimicking scenes & tropes from sci-fi/action TV, movies & comics , for me, have always been the highlight of each episode.
This recent 4th season episode, in which Casey wrote and performed a brilliantly epic Dr. Horrible musical homage (commemorating the release of a Dr. Horrible one shot comic this ep featured), revealed to me that her eccentric show had achieved greatness, deserving a place on this blog.

Through the trial and error of experience, combined with her initiative and ingenuity, host Casey has developed a truly extraordinary web series.
Watch A Comicbook Orange on youtube...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gotham's Guardian: Forsaken?

Even without seeing the movie or knowing the exact plot, and even if this vid is never released as a movie, this trailer for short film Batman Forsaken -- by Gotham Public Works-- looks magnificent!

Casting, acting, costumes, sets, makeup, concept, directing... all exceptionally high caliber.
Several talented cos-players who are seriously invested in their craft, with clearly a deep affection for the DC comics characters they portray, formed a kind of touring theater show group... and then decided to extend their artistry by making a movie which promises to be as impressive as its very impressive trailer.
I'm very much excited to see this trailer for Batman Forsaken expanded into a movie.
Browse through and marvel at the amazing image gallery.

Monday, November 9, 2009

LONG STORY SHORT: it has arrived!

150 page Twitter-based science fiction anthology, collecting the entire @Seanachai short story series into portable book format.
Featuring an introduction from story teller Kevin Stubblefield, author's commentary, and quite possibly an original theme song by Kate Godfrey. Plus, the pretty nifty looking cover-- which you can see over on the right. (the flier above is also in the book)
The truly unique attribute of Long Story Short is an innovative design format, replicating a twitter reading experience. Book text flows from back to front/ bottom to top.

Order Long Story Short ... click through to read the first few pages-- such as Kevin's magnificent intro-- free (if you wanna read MY forward-- which I promise you totally will, you've gotta buy this book). $13.31

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alphacat: The Barack Faux-bama

Iman Crosson, aka- Alphacat not only does an outstanding Barack Obama impersonation, but also integrates that impersonation into clever political sketch comedy that is both humorously witty and intelligent.
His well written & produced parodies are as amusing as they are thoughtful. Which is to say, very.
The subtle nuances of characterization are vital for impersonations to create an illusion of believability, rather than caricature.
Alphacat imitates President Obama’s voice inflection, appearance, mannerism and speech so near perfectly, you could almost believe he is Obama.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Your Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman

I’ve mentioned Peter’s Web here already, but it is an epic achievement that warrants further attention.

Roger King is a filmmaker to be reconed with; he's made something really special, that the big Hollywood studio Spiderman movie failed to do.
Peter’s Web is a sublime example of what happens when someone who genuinely understands and loves the source material is in full creative control. This is why every sci-fi/fantasy film project should have a "geek consultant" with cart blanch on staff: authenticity and reverence of continuity.
His passion and comprehension for the characters and the comics imbues Peter’s Web with a 'magical' charm. To classify this as fan film instead of simply a 'film' may be doing an injustice and a misleading distraction, because-- like fan fiction-- the term tends to imply connotations of poor quality which are not necessarily valid.
Through Bag and Board Productions, multi-talented powerhouse Roger King is enacting six principal and definitive chapters in the development of Spiderman.
Each segment improves and expands on the previous, and each stands strongly by itself, but also cumulatively comprise a larger sequence.
These are the grand stories that made me a Spiderman fan-— from back when Marvel made comics I care about.
I have fond remembrance for these stories, and Roger well honors that memory.
Narratively & in special effects, he resourcefully manages to encapsulate & synthesize a lot of information into episodic short film, depicting all the fundamental elements from the comic books, without losing vital aspects.
Although, there is enough material to draw from, that Roger could have included more... and part of me wishes he did elaborate, but these movies don’t exactly suffer from the summation. Much of the acting is still clunky & "unprofessional", but the characterizations are true enough that weak acting doesn't ruin the movie.
Combined with its inherent charm, the brilliant costuming and creative application of special FX are the greatest features to Peter’s Web .

-my other review for Peter's Web

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prepare Thyself: My new book, it approaches



150 page Twitter-based science fiction anthology, collecting the entire @Seanachai short story series into portable book format.
Featuring an introduction from story teller Kevin Stubblefield, author's commentary, and original theme song by Kate Godfrey. Plus, the pretty nifty looking cover.
The truly unique attribute of Long Story Short is an innovative design format, replicating a twitter reading experience. Book text flows from back to front/ bottom to top.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Poetic Interlude

This unusual poem came to me in a dream, which I composed/recited in my dream, and then immediately & frantically scribbled on my trusty spiral note book upon waking.
Which I keep at the ready for just such inspired occasions.
This poem is unusual both in its content and its origin.
Now begins a life more sober
No more will I be hung over
Won't drink myself under the table
No longer so far from able
If the world's a stage, then I'm Clark Gable

Sure, I love the Guiness and sometimes partake of the Red wine or Irish Creme...
But I've never been alcoholic, never had a drinking problem... so I don't know where this came from or why.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alternate Dementia: DC Elseworlds

CHRISTOPHER CLARK COWAN AND LEX RANDLEMAN (of Triplec Films) have planned a fantastic series of six 2-10 minute original story webisodes, called DC Elseworlds , portraying several “second string” superheroes from the DC Comics universe.
A schism has formed in their ranks concerning crime fighting methodology, in a difference of opinion about the interpretation of right and wrong. The definition of—and line between-- hero and villain can sometimes shift & become blurred... uncertain... debatable. It’s a valid question, and a realistic issue, that I wish the comic books address more often.
Because this is an alternate reality, discrepancies in characterization and appearance are justifiable.
*image credit- Triplec Films *

DC Elseworlds is an intriguing, thoughtful and finely crafted adventure mystery, leaving me interested to see what happens next. This is a tale representing DC comics at its best.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wall Crawling Web Slinger

Spiderman is one of my favorite heroes, and one of the few Marvel characters I like.
*image credit- Jeff Hayes/ Roger King*
Peter’s Web is a 6 part live action Spider-Man short fan film series, written and directed by Roger King (of Bag & Board Productions)—who also stars as Peter Parker/ Spiderman.
Much of the acting is flat or over-the-top, but King’s genuine embodiment of Peter/Spiderman is amazing, while he provides solid directing.
Spectacular writing and authentic re-enactment of the comic book source material make up for its shortcomings, and make this production impressive.
Indeed, this project’s greatest achievement and accolade is how charmingly faithful this representation of the comics is in capturing the fundamental essence of Spiderman/ Peter Parker so magnificently-- and so much better than the big studio Tobey Maguire movies.
The endearing heart & soul of Spiderman is fully present & intact in Peter’s Web.
Some of the special effects are low-budget-cheesy, but the Spidey suit looks great and believable. The creative depiction of web-shooting and building swinging are well done.
Sure, this is "just" a retelling of the Spiderman origin story we all already know... but it's the skillful & interesting telling of the story that signifies this rendition.
What makes this project even more remarkable, is that this is Roger’s first film effort--- demonstrating the guy has talent.
Peter's Web is a lot of fun for Spidey fans.
Believe, True Believers!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's Mathematical!: Chris Bathgate sculpting

After seeing only a few images of these abstractly avant gard sculptures, I immediately knew Chris Bathgate deserved a place on my blog.
*image credit- Chris Bathgate*

The whole time I clicked through the gallery on his website, a wide eyed grin adorned my face.
Resembling alien or futuristic devices of such innovative, intricate design & construction, these artifacts look as if created by a more technologically advanced society. Chris Bathgate has made art that appears to be finely crafted pieces of machinery, or even fully functioning engineering... ready to do science.
So very beautifully sci-fi!
Like magnificent props from a big budget movie.
In an ideal world, most of these items would be enhancing the decor in my home.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ranting Nonsequitur: Nothing good on TV?

Whenever I hear people complain that there is nothing good on TV... I have to wonder: What are they talking about?
Clearly they either are not paying attention, or don't know what quality TV is.
Because there is much on TV worth watching.
These are the best shows on TV 2009---
The caliber of stories these shows represent elevate (justify?) the medium of television above and beyond its derogatory "boob-tube" "idiot box" cliche' image... as well as elevating their audience as being engaged rather than vegging out.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Doctor Who
Being Human
The Philanthropist
How I Met Your Mother
Venture Brothers
Dark Blue
Defying Gravity
Battlestar Galactica

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ranting Nonsequitur: Quality over quantity

Recently on Twitter (and probably off line, as well), film maker Jessica Stover (aka- @Jsto) has urged several times the necessity of promoting quality over quantity regarding internet video.
And as she often is about such matters, Jess is totally right.
There are many among the web video/ mew media community who promote and praise virtually anything just for being a web video or new media project.
As if that was a good enough reason, or measure of success.
As if the creation of yet another awful, feeble and irrelevant online series or movie is a credit to or validation of web video or the new media genre.
Be advised, it definitely is not.
Even prominent web creators are guilty of this foolishness, indirectly contributing to the degradation of new media.
Some of them are also directly responsible for making lame videos.
They’re being way too self congratulatory, to themselves and to the web series community.
Indeed, what that actually accomplishes is tarnishing and undermining web video.
90% of these projects are lame and so undeserving of attention, support or encouragement.
Let us not forget that popular is not equivalent to or synonymous with good.

Just as being in a band in and of itself doesn’t make you cool— regardless of your music, simply being in the web video community doesn’t make you cool either.
Just because you like to sing... doesn’t mean you can sing well.
And it certainly doesn't mean you should narcissistically inflict it on the world.
We must not endorse mediocrity.
We must, instead, raise the bar & elevate the standard of excellence to celebrate only the exceptional & remarkable--- which is what this blog does.
We need to be more critical in our evaluations. Excellent concept and excellent execution of concept are two completely different things. It may be good... but good is not great, and calling good great does not make it so.
We need to demand that web series creators edit (and be honest with) themselves, and not merely settle for being vanity film makers (like vanity publishers).
Otherwise, we get crap. And no one wants that.
You new media people may be trailblazing web video, but that ultimately & fundamentally doesn’t mean anything if it’s not actually awesome.
Web video creators have a responsibility to set an example.
You’ll need to produce content at the vanguard.

No Wimps!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Sky Calls To Us: Carl Sagan remixed

It has been my experience that most people who incorporate an auto-tune effect in their music really do not know how or when to properly use it—- even to a point of becoming comically undermined.
John Boswell of has determined a brilliantly beautiful application of the sound effect in a music video turning monologue into poetry into a William Shatner-esque “spoken word” song with New Age instrumentals.

Words of renown scientist and science advocate Carl Sagan, from his Cosmos documentary, are cleverly & imaginatively arranged with-- and as-- music in
Carl Sagan - 'A Glorious Dawn' ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed).
Awe inspiringly philosophical commentary of sci-fi related subject matter is tweaked with an auto-tune affectation, enhancing the vocals through a complimentary science fictional robotic sounding voice.
Quite a stirring and powerfully optimistic message!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Next Book: the time is near


Twitter-based sci-fi short story anthology.
Featuring original theme song created by the remarkable
Kate Godfrey a cross media narrative extension.

Gonna be totally awesome. Believe. Experience.
Wait for it...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Photographic Eminence: Elizabeth May

Fashion and fantasy photographer Elizabeth May (aka- Aurie the pixie) credits the perspective of her photographic inspiration to LJ Smith's Vampire Diaries books. Particularly characteristic of May’s photographic & thematic style is a breathtakingly mythical, cinematic fantasy ambience, portrayed in portraiture.
More than simply composing incredibly beautiful photographs, Elizabeth is an epic storyteller, as her romantically adventurous imagery creates impressions and depictions of grand fairytales and dreams. In many of her camera-captured scenes, the very photogenic Elizabeth marvelously casts herself as the central hero figure. Clearly engaged in subtle world building, her gorgeous artistic vision reveals a unifying aesthetic consistency in its fantastical elements.
Each vibrantly colored and mystically illuminated photograph implies its own a stand-alone story that collectively become parts of a larger shared story.

See and learn more about the photographic magnificence of Elizabeth May at her website.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Andromeda fan music videos

Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda TV series is among the greatest and yet most under-rated sci-fi shows ever made, or will be made.
NotNastyGirl Lakedaemon has composed several stellar tribute montage videos featuring Steve Bacic-- one of my favorite genre actors, who played my favorite character on the series: Rhade (Telemachus and Gaheris).
Building a competent & compelling fan music video is not easy to do; properly matching/synching scene shots to music pace, theme and lyrics requires some artistic sense & skill.
Many vid makers have tried, and most fail. She known online as Lakedaemon does not fail.
Here is a low resolution quality of my favorite of her videos, entitled Unbowed:

A slightly better quality copy of this & other vids are available on her site:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eisley: Making music magic

My favorite band of all time is Eisley , ever since I discovered them in 2003. They are the standard by which I compare all other bands.
Engaging a distinctive and genuinely unique sound with an “Alice In Wonderland” aesthetic, Eisley music reflects or implies a sense of adventure & fantasy exuding childlike authenticity, innocence & wonder. Considering the charmingly geeky quirkiness of the five band members, their eccentricity is intrinsic, and refreshingly inspires their music.
Eisley music is epic, thoughtfully surreal and poetically imaginative—lyrically and aurally. It is not mundane and does not deal with the ordinary or cliche’d topics like most bands.
Indicative of their musical approach, Eisley defies easy or simplistic categorization of music genre.
Indeed, much like Kate Godfrey, so original is Eisley that they could fairly be considered their own genre.
Several awesome videos, songs, tour info & concert pics are available on their myspace .
Eisley isn’t a brand, they are a BAND. Although technically signed with WB, they are still very much an independent spirited phenomenon.
They live for the music, and the music lives through them.
For Eisley, making music is all about the music—creating their music, their way, in their particular style. Having no aspiration or expectation of hit records, they eschew fame, fortune and flare... expressing no interest in such petty irrelevancies.
All of which is why I adore and admire them—or at least their music-- so much. The only collective or mutual ambition and calling Eisley members have is playing their music. Glitz and glamour have nothing to do with—- and therefore no place in-- what they do or want in their performance. Their unadorned and unextravagant concerts reflect that sensibility.
Keep it simple and pure.
Photo shoots happen so infrequently, that it is nigh impossible to find many official promotional band pictures that remain current.
They don’t produce a lot of merch or advertising, nor incorporate any flashy gimmicks to get attention.
Interviews make them uncomfortable, as they generally prefer to speak through music... to let the music speak for them, and for itself.

Album three-- called Fire Kite-- is in preparation to be released early 2010, and Eisley is touring fall ‘09 with Say Anything.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Going In Circles: Hliro Yuta & the poi arts

Poi is juggling-type performance art using balls suspended from a length of flexible material held in the hand and swung in circular motion patterns.
Semi-renown poi artist Hliro Yuta is like a poi-ninja master, and here demonstrates the kind of majesty, grace and skill involved with poi...

Most people associate or identify poi with fire twirling, and although that is a form of poi, it is only one aspect or variation of the art.
Indeed, the use of flame spinning in poi can be an unfortunate distraction, as the fire tends to divert attention to the moving lights and away from the actual hand & body movements of poi.
Incorporating fire into poi often requires the performance be done in darkness or dim lighting for better dazzling visual effect, but it also obscures the agility, poise and coordination of the “choreography” involved.
Especially from an adept poi performer like Yuta.
The diverse and intricate martial artsy motion patterns and dance elements engaged are the more interesting and impressive feature of poi.

More samples of the spectacular Yuta in play

Depictions Of Grandeur from Alex Roman

In what he titles Kahn's Exeter Short Film, artist Alex Roman breathtakingly portrays the architecture & decor of Louis Kahn's Phillips Exeter Academy Library so fantastically exotic, that it would make an excellent location setting in a science fiction movie. Created as part of the Third and Seventh project, depicting architecture through the cinematographic lens.

Though lacking a definite narrative, the cinematography, lighting and vantage combine with such magnificent beauty & grace as to suggest both a sense of the Divine, and a story waiting to be told.
Clearly, Alex has a wondrous eye for the surreal and epic in his visuals.

Kahn's Exeter Short Film from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Doctor Who 2009= Fan-tastic

The long promoted first episode of the new Doctor Who 2009
fan film series premiered September 5.
And there was much rejoicing.
Episode One: Fire and Ice is a brilliant beginning for the series, and a well conceived introduction to the main characters & story. Although hype of anticipation/imagination tends to seem greater than the actuality, Fire and Ice was totally worth waiting for. Several months, I have been very excited for this to be released to the public, and had great expectations. Rating it 4 outa 5 stars, overall, I’m really impressed with what this team created. Based on what I've seen of Kenneth's work prior-- technical, acting and scripting, I expected this to be awesome.
And for the most part it was. Kenneth Dinkins is a fantastic Doctor, delivering an excellent portrayal that is uniquely distinct while still being consistently The Doctor—particularly excellent considering that Kenneth also wrote, directed, edited and provided special FX.
All of which were also quite well done. Ice Warriors looked amazing and good enough for professional TV. The CGI TARDIS innards and the intro/outro sequences are rendered stunningly beautiful, plus the music is well chosen and placed.
The narrative, pacing and plotting of the story were damn near perfect. Directing could use a little refinement, but cinematography was magnificent!
Co-star Jennifer Richman makes Alice-- the new Companion-- a wonderful character and a very suitable Watson to this Doctor’s Holmes.
These two main characters/actors and the narrative establish a strong and stable foundation on which to build this remarkable series.
The only legitimate disappointment I have is that some of the acting and dialogue are awkward or somewhat contrived—mostly with guest actors. Which is made more obvious/disruptive because everything else about the production value quality is so impressive.
However, this is only the first episode, and experience plus audience feedback make good teachers. And not even the professionals are completely flawless-- ever.
Ultimately, the craftsmanship is incredible-- especially in a fan made amateur project, and the creative choices are brave & bold. Definitely among the best fan created film/series I’ve had the pleasure to witness, and I’ve seen quite a few.
Nor am I easily impressed.
Kenneth demonstrates a passion and knowledge for not only Doctor Who, but filmmaking.
Fire and Ice —hopefully an accurate representation of the series as a whole--really captures the essence & spirit of the Who universe… which is my favorite aspect of this episode: it looks and feels like a genuine, authentic WHO story.
And the conclusion of this episode was absolutely genius, and shows a great respect for the narrative, the audience, and the BBC series. Doctor Who 2009 is a mighty & glorious achievement.
Now, having seen what Kenneth and crew can do with this, I’m even more excited for the rest of the series.

Currently available as a torrent and streaming vid on the project site.

Metal Shaped Like Art

The abstract forms cast in bronze by gifted visual artist & sculptor Peter Jansen represent the kind of statuary aestheticism that would decorate my home if I could afford it.
I’d mentioned Peter on this blog before, regarding his motion sculptures, but his metal work sculpting warrants its own post.
These few beautiful samples further depict the wide range of imagery, diversity and versatility in Jansen’s amazingly crafted artistry:
*image credit- Peter Jansen*

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Metal-Man-Made Objects

Welded steel & found object sculptures of Lewis Tardy artfully combine metallic materials in the shape of humanoid and animal subjects.
The bio-mechanical style deftly merges form and function into a robotic aesthetic from a classic 1950’s science fiction sensibility, mixed with the chrome aerodynamic of that era’s automobile designs.
*image credit- Lewis Tardy*

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Metallic Artifacts Of A Future Past

The Art Of Gregory Brotherton shows a fascinating range & craftsmanship of welded steel sculptures. Cleverly infused with vivid mythical fantasy elements of a 1930-1950’s era pulp sci-fi aesthetic.
*image credit- Gregory Brotherton*

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Picture Is Worth...

As a silent film, A Thousand Words illustrates that much can be said for subtlety and the virtue of a minimalist approach to narrative. Just as much can be said without saying anything.
Excellent application of storytelling… sheer elegance in its simplicity.
Strong connections can be made between us with the most tenuous of threads, in the most unexpected of circumstances.
But how many of us dare to follow that Ariadne’s thread through the maze?
Here is a wonderful tale of one such romantic adventure…

A Thousand Words from Ted Chung on Vimeo.

ON TIME is another astonishing & powerful short film by Ted Chung, also engaging the theme of making personal connections.

Ranting Nonsequitur: What you put into the world

Economy is not identical or interchangeable with financial.
That false connotation & correlation has been perpetuated far too long, and needs to be corrected as soon as possible, for the sake of our sanity & social stability.

Despite the Obama Administration's protestations and prestidigitations, our economy cannot be fixed; at best, it can only be temporarily patched. The collapse of our commodity economy is imminent, because it is obsolete, inefficient and no longer applicable to the needs & attitudes of current society. Capitalism has become ineffective-- unsustainable and ultimately unsustaining. Partly because of its own innate inadequacies of provision, but also because its essential difficult-to-reconcile conflict with a co-existing model of resource exchange called "gifting". The "old" physical world values monetary compensations (commodity), yet the "new" digital/virtual world values free distribution (gifting).
Gifting promotes sharing; commodity prevents it.
One of the principle ethics we teach our children is the value of sharing & giving. And then they see the world using a capitalist commodity economy. What are we really teaching our kids?
Are we hypocrites?
Within commodity culture, sharing resources is financially damaging; in a gift economy, the failure to share is socially damaging.

Commodity treats people as consumers/ customers, while gifting regards people as community members/collaborators.
In commodity, items/ideas need to pass through toll checkpoints in order to disseminate. But as a gift, it is imbued with a free all-access pass.
We value, respect and appreciate scientists and artists for their contributions to the collective pool of human knowledge and experience. We don't have to pay fees for the use of the "wheel" concept. The idea belongs to the community, free and accessible to everyone. And yet, we expect & assert monetary payments as a measure of worth and meaning?

Being a writer, as I am, I've had many people offer to hire me to write new & original content for them. But their offered payment showed not only their ignorant lack of respect and appreciation (however unintentional) for the work and skill involved, but also a gross lack of basic understanding about the effort & process of creating meaningful, well written material.

Commodity is inherently antagonistic & penalizing, requiring someone to take something from someone else. Whereas gifting is inherently amiable & amicable, since it encourages and enables no strings attached giving & receiving.
In a proper gift economy, there are no obligations... that would defeat the purpose and make it fundamentally no different or better than commodity. No one is obligated or cooerced to reciprocate, but they tend to do so anyway because they want to--- as a means of expressing appreciation, while facilitating & fostering general good will and in recognition of an implied golden rule "social contract" of communal sharing & mutual support... not because they are expected to. We are more willing and inclined to help others when we are empathetic and know that they would return the favor if they could, and in the social promotion of a mentality that breeds such an environment.
We are not yet mature enough as a society to value free things, because we are torn & tormented between two modes of worth and payment: Commodity and Gifting.
Told two opposing things are true simultaneously, we suffer neurosis and stress as we try to apply them both.

Water Colors Dancing

Sometimes you don’t have the words to adequately describe the beauty & intangibility of something.
Sometimes, you don’t need words. Sometimes... you just need to
let yourself feel

from Esteban Diácono on Vimeo

...a freelance motion graphics designer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ranting Nonsequitur: Audience Fail

It is a perverse irony that in a time when we are more technologically able to philanthropically and altruistically support the work of artists, we are also less inclined to do so.
Why? Because that same technology enables more people in the audience to produce/ distribute more of their own creations.
Rather than commit their time and money and effort to other creators and artistic projects, many in the audience make their own stuff. Rather than be participants in an audience-- as an audience, they more often seek an audience of their own. Therefore, many of these new creators are less committed as audience members. They are more into their message than yours. Unfortunately, there is also a demented & misguided impression of thinking an art experience is all about the audience (or is somehow supposed to be), and that the art/artist exists to serve & "include" or "immerse" the audience. The audience can't simply be the audience anymore, it feels a need to "co-create" or co-own to some degree.
Or perhaps considering the massive influx of available creativity to be audience members of, they haven't the time or will to commit to so many, or maybe feel overwhelmed by the abundance of options. Essentially, they are over-extended... so choose to withhold or reduce not only their commitment levels, but their commitment menu. Instead of committing to all they would like to, they commit to none.

But diminished audience commitment also derives from a lack of both imagination and patience. I've actually heard many people give the excuse that failure of imagination and patience kept them from watching & being able to appreciate an excellent show. They admit, not directly in so many words, just being too lazy or unimaginative to exert the effort in figuring out what the story is about, seeing where it goes (or could go) and to allow time to properly develop.
Rendered so innered by a short attention span, these deficient audiences cannot respect the Story (or the story) enough to let it establish a foundation over time, to let it grow & evolve. They want everything handed to and explained to them in quick, simple terms-- and they want it immediately. What fun is that? You'd force a very dull and truncated story.
However, that's not how great stories are made, intrinsically requiring audience involvement of attention. And because of this fundamental disrespect for the story--- and indeed the story telling process-- awesome shows get prematurely canceled, or rejected before even being greenlit.
For many others, the reason for commitment fail is selfishness and a sense of entitlement to free stuff they take for granted.

Audience disrespect also often inhibits my enjoyment of concerts. I consider it enormously disrespectful-- to the band AND audience-- when those in the audience sing along or talk among themselves; either of which activity disrupts the music. I'm baffled why anyone would not only want to do that, but dare to. You're given an opportunity to hear musicians you allegedly adore make music for you, live and in person... and you're going to sing OVER them? Or talk while they are singing/playing? That is tantamount to negligent disrespect. Why did you even bother to come? You could sing along with them elsewhere on your own time-- why do it at the concert and ruin this experience? I'm not there to hear the crowd sing (badly & incoherently), I've paid money and drove out to hear these musicians perform live. You are not the only one in the audience and this isn't about you. It is about the music and the people creating it. Could you please have the decency to not disturb your fellow audience members, and to respect the music/musicians by being silent, listening and gratefully paying attention? The same applies to being in a movie theater while the film is in progress. SHUT. UP.

Motion Capture

In the previous post, I lamented the unfortunately transient nature of some art forms, like those composed of or with movement. Existing for only a second or few, and then is gone.
The Human Motions sculptures of Peter Jansen beautifully & brilliantly capture sequences of the human body in motion, as a frozen blur. Separate fluid moments and body positions in time appear simultaneously. Objects both at rest and in motion.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bodies & Poetry In Motion

When we refer to art, we tend to think of objects or things... but the human body and its movements can also be glorious forms of art. Such as the incredible performances of The Trinity Irish Dancers:

And the stunning Golden Dragon Acrobats:

I’ve seen both groups live and on video. I’m not easily impressed, but it is very easy to be impressed by Trinity and Golden Dragon, who demonstrate the beautiful & astounding physical capacity of the human body: strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, dexterity, muscle control & grace.
Unfortunate that such artistry is so transient.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New short story anthology in progress

Coming in November: My new book!
Unlike my other anthology But The Owl Knows, all stories in this book are written by me.

*approximately 150 pages, collecting in paperback my twitter flash science fiction short story project

*an original music track specially designed by experimental musician Kate Godfrey.

*new original author commentary and brief guest articles

In the mean time, you can read any of my other books currently available, displayed along the right side of the main page on this blog.

Read Us A Story Mr. Wheaton: "The Happiest Days"

Probably the best part of a science fiction convention is hearing the quests—involved in making TV shows & movies you love-- tell stories of their experiences (on and off the set). I’ve been a long time fan of Wil Wheaton’s blog and twitter (AND acting; live action & voice), and very much enjoyed his book Just A Geek. More than being “just a geek”, or an actor, Wil Wheaton also an independent writer and self-publisher, whose anecdotes are generally articulate, amusing and insightful.
For another of his books— Happiest Days Of Our Lives — I chose to try the audio book instead of print copy— something I never do, because I love paper books. I was curious.
*image credit- Wil Wheaton/ Val Trullinger*

That proved to be a wise choice by me. Thoroughly enjoying his reminiscing, I laughed, I cried--- it became a part of me. Although I, alas, have never had the pleasure of seeing Wil at a convention, I was fortunate to hear him tell his stories vicariously through his writing.
When I listen to Wil Wheaton read from his book on the audio version of Happiest Days, I’m reminded of con appearances, and what makes them so cool: the people.
But— despite the fact that you don’t see & hear him in person, this audio book reading is somehow even better than audience reading book text.
Because Wil does not just read from his book, he infuses it with a sense of fantasy through his inflection and sentimentality-- augmented by brief "magical" musical intro/ outro bookend segments that set the mood. It also reminds me of an eccentric music band called 2NU, whose songs are typically short stories accompanied by music. Plus, as a bonus, he often engages in parenthetical side commentary with his producer, like foot notes or easter eggs.
Clearly, Wil Wheaton is an excellent writer, as well as bard. His writing style— which is already considerable, is further enhanced by his impassioned delivery style and love for the subject matter.
How does awesome get more awesome? What is beyond awesome?
As the Snapple commercial says, “the best stuff on Earth just got better”, so Wil’s writing is even more impressive when he reads—- no, performs-- his words aloud. Perhaps this is helped by his being an actor of perhaps under-rated talent. And it doesn’t hurt that, at the center and yet above the appeal of all the story telling acumen, Wil is simply a great, decent guy.
If you only ever buy one audio book in your life, I highly recommend The Happiest Days of Our Lives.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wire-Crossed Lovers

There is much to love about (and learn from) the charming low-budget sci-fi short film Suzannah , written & directed by Huw Bowen. Merging simplicity with complexity—in both narrative and production value, Suzannah commendably does a lot with relatively little, while also using a “less is more” approach.
One of the many noteworthy aspects of this film is its adept application of subtle detail to create a multi-layered reality and textured plotline.
For example, incorporating a distinctive clothing fashion and architectural aesthetic, as well as remarkable special FX to depict a “mundane” integration of high tech elements into the characters’ daily lives... the same way we now take the internet and cell phones for granted. Subtle nuance & seemingly insignificant atmospheric details are vital for imbuing authenticity in a reality. The special FX are surprisingly sophisticated for such a low budget rendering.
Not everything is exactly what it seems at first, as a lonely computer programmer discovers-- in an ironic twist of plot-- when he travels to a distant planet to meet the woman he loves.
*image credit- Huw Bowen*

Another Bowen film is the as yet unreleased, tentatively called Schrödinger's Girl, which looks potentially rather good and interesting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guilded Avatars

When the Do You Want To Date My Avatar? promo music video for season 3 of hugely popular The Guild web-series was released, I resisted watching it for nearly a week.
Because— although I think Felicia Day is a very gifted actress & singer... I don’t like The Guild. (shock and horror!!!) Felicia is a diverse array of awesome in Buffy and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, and even in The Guild. But The Guild does not impress me. Well, sure, creating & overseeing a so well produced independent web-series and achieiving such critical and popular acclaim is an impressive accomplishment... but I don’t care about the story.
Video games bore me (more shock and horror!), and I consider them to be mostly a time suck. And I’m generally not a fan of comedy; it tends to detract from and diminish authenticity of narrative with ridiculous/retarded scenarios & behaviors that prevent me from taking the material seriously, and therefore keeps me from believing it.
I can count the number of comedy TV series I like on one hand, and those all make integrity of the narrative more important than getting a laugh (How I Met Your Mother, Freddie, Titus, and occasionally Scrubs).
But I digress.
After seeing so much positive chatter on my geek channels about Do You Want To Date My Avatar?, my curiosity decided I should see if I was missing something. Indeed I was!

Glorious! I didn’t really know what I was missing. This is absolutely some of Felicia Day’s best performances—not just acting, but singing. And so much fun!
Dude, the lady can sing... with the voice of an angel.
I still don’t like The Guild, but I totally love this beautifully produced and choreographed video. Oh, and that voice!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Batman’s Promise

Pleasantly surprising, Reign Of Fate , a Batman fan film produced by Loose Noose, is much better than I expected at first glance.
Writer & Director Jonathan Chiovitti has composed not only a decent fan film, but also a really good Batman story that summarizes the essence of the Batman mythos while telling a new tale. Most of the acting and casting choices were solid, realistic and consistent with the comics characters involved.
The only significant complaint I have is how feeble & cheesy the bat suit often looked on screen-- would have been more effective narratively and visually to keep Bats more in the shadows & off camera.
*image credit- LooseNoose*

Chiovitti’s attempt was to create a life action version of the Batman animated series of the late ‘90s, and he succeeds—which is a compliment, because the cartoon was awesome.
A well known and lesser known villain from the comic book/cartoon are included-- Penguin and Lockup (with a reference to Bane), as well as a new original one.
Augmented with well chosen and fitting soundtrack music from other movies, skillfully integrated to reflect a Batman sensibility. Reign Of Fate manages to do quite a lot with the limited resources available. Low budget doesn't inherently mean low quality.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Green Lantern's Light

This stunningly constructed fan trailer for an imagined Green Lantern movie pretty much speaks for itself. All I have to say, in giddy wide eyed wonder and glee, is Warner Brothers would be wise to follow this example in capturing the romantic epicness & grandeur necessary for a GL movie. Footage from various films are expertly edited together by youtuber ezy4ever with original CGI to craft a phenomenal trailer.

Of course, casting for such a role is vital to its credibility and legitimacy. We need someone who can not only make a convincing Hal Jordan in both physical appearance and thespian skill, but also someone who really would care about the character. Not a bean counter move of a big name actor like Ryan Reynolds-- as much as I love him, he's not right for GL. Someone like Nathan Fillion... or Brian Austin Green?
B.A. Green for Green Lantern!

Ranting Nonsequitur: between artist and audience

To assume that one TV show is just as good as any other, as if they are interchangeable, nothing more than something to pass the time or amuse & distract us, is an insult not only to intelligent programming, but also the audience. It is not good enough that we engage with our entertainment on an emotional level, if we don’t also account for intellectual interaction.
When I hear people comment or complain that a particular TV show won’t or didn’t get as many viewers as it potentially could have because it was “competing” with another show on at the same time— or because of alternative media like internet or video games, I know that’s egregious nonsense. Competition based on content in entertainment doesn’t exist anymore. Especially if so-called competing shows are of different target demographics, such as American Idol versus Sarah Connor Chronicles. The bulk of the audience interested in watching Supernatural will not be watching Football or So You Think You Can Dance, or at least they will not be conflicted in choosing. These two kinds of shows innately appeal to different audience types: ones whose primary concern is connecting with their show and ones using the show to disconnect from reality.
And even if someone did want to watch two drastically different styles of programming, that scenario is essentially a non-issue, considering we have VCRs, DVRs, hulu, DVD, and Netflix. We don’t have to pick and choose one show at the expense of another.
If a person genuinely cares about a TV series—if it sincerely matters to them, they will make the time and effort to watch it, to know when it is on.
And if they miss their show, they will seek it out.
Which brings to mind a disturbing trend in entertainment I find disgusting: the laziness & disrespect of audience members. Whether TV, books, music or internet video, the majority of audience is unwilling to work for their art or entertainment, expecting it to be handed to them, explained to them, and declining to explore & investigate on their own to find & understand new things. Even worse, there is a despicable sense of entitlement among internet culture, where they presume that everything should be given to them for free. But our society is not mature enough to respect or value free things.
And when the art is freely given, very few consumers have the decency to bother showing their appreciation for the art & artist with a voluntary financial contribution to simply say “thanks, I like what you made”.
Surely, that’s the least we can do as alleged fans; either by donation or buying their creations even though they give us a free copy.
The neurotically self-obsessed millennial generation typically feels obliged to impose themselves into their entertainment, with no respect or appreciation of the art or the artist. They are incapable and/or unwilling to engage the art as it is; thinking it is appropriate that they must insinuate themselves into the art as if it were theirs, wanting to interact with and become a part of their entertainment, control and dictate terms to it.
They expect everything has to involve them, to make everything be about them, about catering to and coddling them. Rather than supporting the artist, they prefer the artist support them.
The entertainment and its creators exist only to serve their whims. They want to “relate” to it as if it were their own, exerting an attitude of partial ownership, “relate” to the artist as if he or she were their friend.
Paraphrasing myself, the notion that “the customer is always right” represents the fundamental downfall of our society.
We’ve even gotten to a point where branded entertainment is the new advertising model /trend, in which the audience must be amused or vicariously immersed or associated to be made to care. Doctor Steel astutely noted that the only way we can really communicate and connect with the masses now is through entertainment. A friend of mine recently ask me what aspect of the Space initiative could make it an appealing concept for the public (and therefore government) to support, and I said whatever benefits the space industry presented would have to be entertainment related. I’m convinced this isn’t a good thing.
Furthermore, most of them seem to have gotten the clearly erroneous impression that unless something is “vouched for” in a mainstream or officially recognized capacity/venue, then it is no good. A general belief persists that a major film studio movie is intrinsically better than an indie production or fan film or play or web video. If they’ve never heard of a book or author referenced on official channels, they tend to dismiss it as irrelevant and “amateur”. Fundamentally, the majority of the audience lack patience and empathy.
How can art survive and thrive in such an inconsiderately hostile environment?
There are more great artists than those with an official seal of approval, found in unconventional places, but we have to be willing to search for and support these independent art projects.

Jokes On You

I’ve long believed that the comic book fan films of the prolific & ambitious Blinky Productions approached greatness, but have always fallen short of what they tried to achieve.
But their Batman fan film Call Me Mr. J is a wonderful exception. Although not without flaws, the writing, acting and directing make the story believable & authentic, and the best comic fan film work I’ve seen from Blinky.
Call Me Mr. J gives a different interpretation of the therapy session scenario depicted in another awesome Joker fan film from Bat In The Sun titled Patient J, while paying homage to Chris Nolan’s Batman films.
*image credit-Blinky Productions*

Producer Chris Notarile does an impressive Heath Ledger "inspired" performance as The Joker (which excuses any inadequacies in his “impersonation”).
After the events of The Dark Knight movie, Joker is in Arkham Asylum being counseled by criminal psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel, excellently played by Johanna Telander. Brilliant and very satisfying enactment of the gradual progression of how Dr. Quinzel is slowly smitten with Joker in a kind of Stockholm syndrome, as Joker uses his charm to transform her into Harley Quinn.

Co-written & produced by Chris Notarile
Directed & co-written by Kim Santiago

Blinky also has a few great original stories:
Bitter Sweet

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vika Goes Wild: piano master

Although a talented, classically trained pianist, Vika Yermolyeva likes to score and play covers for heavy metal, rock and alternative music. Impressively, she composes all sheet music herself!
Yes, Vika does this for fun. Simply by listening to the song.
That’s how awesome she is.
Even more impressive, not only can she play the music, but plays uncannily well. Which is an understatement.
Her youtube channel is called vkgoeswild , and when you see her put fingers to keys, you can see why.
When she plays piano, her performance is of such passionate intensity, devotion and skill that it is as if she is giving a magnificent speech or a sermon.
Vika is like a musical linguist, she intuitively & intellectually understands the language, translating note code into beautiful, vigorous music.
For Vika, playing piano is a full body, full mind, full soul experience.
Definitely some of the best instrumental covers you’re ever likely to have the privilege of hearing.

Sheet music and free downloadable MP3s of many of her songs are available on her website--
This year, she released a digital CD for sale titled "Consolation", which contains 14 tracks of improvisations and classical pieces—also available through her site.

Consistent with her ability to become one with the music, Vika also enjoys dancing, and has a uniquely graceful and exotic rhythmic flow she demonstrates in a few videos.