31 March 2006
Tuesday's Artists I Love
(Yeah yeah, it's late. So sue me.)
Today, J.C. Macek III, a.k.a. World's Greatest Critic.
Yeah, that's right. I'm profiling a self-proclaimed critic as an artist I love.
J.C. is is an artiste, an example of life as art (anyone who goes as all-out as he does on his Halloween costume each year can't be anything but an artiste.) He is another artistic "Buckaroo Bonzai" to boot. He's a good friend, a great sounding-board, a rascally co-conspirator, and a damn fine writer. He acts, he sings, he plays music, and he's a radio personality.
His witty reviews of film, television, and music reveal a very able audience member who actually enjoys being entertained. In L.A. it's very cool to be cynical towards everything. I'm so sick of having to defend something like "Resident Evil 2" as a good movie (N.B. - not as a brilliant work of cinematic art.) J.C. seems to get the distinction between art and good ol' entertainment, and reads as a movie lover, rather than a "sour grapes" prick who delights in flaying alive earnest-yet-misguided filmmakers. That's not to say he doesn't call a turd a turd. I just appreciate that he is willing to acknowledge the tiniest speck of gold to be found in even the brownest of turds. (He's better at metaphor than me, too.)
J.C. is also damn brilliant. To hear or read him riffing on some aspect of art or culture is a treat. Earlier this year he presented his "Dead Man of the Year Award" which is both hilarious and educational. He presented the award to Willis O'Brien the special effects man behind the original King Kong.
Check him out!
The class I'm taking at Los Angeles Valley College is exactly what I needed.
As you may recall, steadfast reader, It dawned on me while working on Torrid Affaire earlier this year that theatre is my "fall-back position" mostly because I have such a highly valued (by me) education in said subject. It stands to reason that if I were to engage in a course of study in filmmaking, my "fall-back position" could then become filmmaking. Also, as a student I would have access to equipment, crew, editing facilities, etc. all for the price of tuition (which is not that much at LAVC, as it turns out.)
Well, I certainly am learning!
Learning Cinema is like learning a foreign culture. It has its own language, its own history, its conventions and traditions. My instructor, Prof. Joe Daccurso, is a skilled and enthusiastic tutor of this strange culture. He's been around for a significant portion of its history (he went to school with Lucas and taught Zemeckis, to give you an idea) and he is a filmmaker himself.
He is also one hell of an examiner.
To say Prof. Joe's exam kicked my ass would be a bit of a misstatement: as I told Pamela, the exam experience was somewhere between waiting on line at the DMV and routine dental cleaning. It was arduous. Not wholly unconfrontable (although I had exam nightmares leading up to the day of the test) but certainly a marathon of cinematic knowledge demonstration. The test I took is essentially the first third of the final exam, and it counts for a quarter of my final grade. (I like that he breaks down the exam into manageable chunks. The subjects covered last Wednesday night won't be covered again in an exam.)
To his credit, Prof. Joe makes available study materials that truly prepare you for the exam. I've never felt more prepared for an exam in my life. So how did I do? When I get my grade back next week, I'll let you know.
30 March 2006
Hola mis amigos , de Los Angeles, hogar a muchos immigrantes!
First, there has been a new episode of Disembodied Animal Head Theatre available for a few days now. Episdoe 3 will be along this weekend.
I had a huge exam last night in my film class. When I get the chance, I'll fill all fourteen of you in on how it went.
I know I've been slacking on the "Tuesday's Artists I Love." It's sort of been "Every-other Tuesday's Artists I Love" or "Whatever Tuesday I Get Around To It . . ." you get the point. I'll update it . . . probably on Friday.
Pamela is a blogomaniac. I should have her ghost-write for me.
I have a couple of big playwrighting deadlines coming up . . . more about that later.
And what about The Felties? The reason for this whole stupid blog? You got me. Actually, DAHT is proving to be a good training ground for learning what the hell I'm doing. I want to do more with Timmy Tubesock, as that better establishes Pamela and me and our wacky sense of humor in the very important online community of puppeteers. Also, I desperately need to meet up with my puppet builder and see how everything is going. In short, I'm working on a few great "zero step" projects, and need to reorganize my life a bit to get the first episode of The Felties shot.
I'd like to present the storyboards for the opening scene here . . . give all fourteen of you loyal readers a first look at the episode. Hmmm . . .
Anyway, I promise I'll try to be a better blogger.
(Aw damn. I should have joked about giving up blogging for Lent. Shoot. Too late now.)
17 March 2006
NEWSFLASH: ANDREW MOORE COMPLETES PROJECT
Los Angeles, CA -- Defying rumors that he is full of hot air, Andrew Moore completed, edited, uploaded, and blogged the first episode of his new one-man webseries, entitled "Disembodied Animal Head Theatre".
"It was really hard work. I mean, Tex [the rubber chicken host] alone took three takes to get right. Not to mention all the lines I had to memorize for all the different characters. Editing took all of one hour. To tell the truth, I don't think I was emotionally prepared for this amount of work. By the grace of dog [sic], I somehow made it through."
Although there is speculation that laziness and procrastination will set in and he will not continue to post new episodes on a weekly basis, Moore remains optimistic: "Come on, what else am I going to do with my liberal arts degree? Get a teaching job? Seriously though, I love Shakespeare and "Disembodied Animal Head Theatre" gives me a chance to pay my respect to The Bard in a deeply personal way."
Andrew Moore is working on three hundred forty-seven other projects at the moment, including two other puppetry series, "The Felties" and "Timmy Tubesock".
"Disembodied Animal Head Theatre" can be found at www.daht.blogspot.com.
14 March 2006
Tuesday's Artists I Love
Quintron and Miss Pussycat are an eclectic and artistic couple out of New Orleans that make Pamela and I look Wonderbread plain. Seriously. We're talking whimsical with a capitol "H".
And I totally dig that about them! It's not just that they're off the wall (by now it should be obviously I have a fondness for artists who are "off the wall") it's that they are very good at what they do. I truly, truly, truly admire their commitment to their art.
First - Quintron. He's an organist specializing in . . . egad. I don't know how to even describe it. Lounge/ambient/dance music? Lo-Techno? If you'll listen to his stuff, maybe you can tell me. All I know is, it appeals to that part of me that salivates over super 8 cameras and yearns for dusty old used-book stores. (One day, some smart independent filmmaker will ask Quintron to compose music for his creepy little southern-gothic suspense film, and it'll ROCK.) He's also the inventor of DRUM BUDDY, a kind of manual/electronic drum machine. (Anyone who invents a music instrument is instantly god-like cool in my book.)
Next, Miss Pussycat. Growing up there seemed to be a real difference between the puppets on "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and "Sesame Street"? I'm not talking about the obvious differences. I'm talking about something far more sublime. With the Muppets, it's easy to forget they are inanimate objects brought to life by talented performers. With the denizens of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, you had to more actively put it out of your mind. Hell, every last puppet sounded like Mr. Rogers! Especially the female characters! (Lady Elaine Fairchild, anyone?) Miss Pussycat's puppetry is on that Mr. Rogers level. It feels like a show, and that underused part of your mind reserved for the "suspension of disbelief" kicks into high gear and you find yourself totally engrossed. She has produced a couple of puppet videos, "North Pole Nutrias" and "The Electric Swamp". You can see clips from "The Electric Swamp" here.
The latest project from Quintron and Miss Pussycat is a CD/DVD release entitled "Swamp Tech". The CD is Quintron, the DVD is Miss Pussycat's "The Electric Swamp". BUY IT! SUPPORT THESE NEW ORLEANS BASED ARTISTS!!!
I've just barely scratched the surface of how cool this dynamic duo is. (They also are part of a 10 year-old Mardi Gras marching band!) Explore their sites, and get to know them!
06 March 2006
My wife Pamela posted an interesting blognition about the lives we choose to lead. Good stuff!
Canadian Andrew found an interesting graph that explains "How to be an expert". Check out Andrew's commentary and observation on the difference between the Muppets and everyone else.
Finally, I am really digging the work of cartoonist Hugh Macleod. I've referenced him twice here regarding his ideas rather than his drawings. I don't know why, this guy just really speaks to me.
02 March 2006
From Hugh Macleod's blog (3/01/06), an observation about blogs as tools:
because you can't live in a hammer
Blogs are like hammers. They are tools for building stuff.
When you talk about building a house with a carpenter, you don't mind him talking about his hammer for a while. Nobody minds indulging a craftsman, within reason.
"This hammer is great for this," he'll gush.
"This hammer is great for that..."
So you think yes, hammers are good things, and indeed his hammer looks like a particularly fine example.
But eventualy you're going to interrupt his joyous ode to hammers. After a couple of minutes
you're going to abruptly change the subject:
"Cool. Now let's talk about the ACTUAL HOUSE you're going to build for me..."
And if the carpenter is any good, he won't have any problem with that.