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.