29 June 2007

Resistance. Is. Futile.

Is it just me, or is Apple slowly but surely becoming the "machine" they poked fun at in 1984?

Maybe it's the 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque monolithic iPhones.

But it's probably. The. Abrupt. Periods.

"Today." comes off as a blunt command. "DO IT NOW!" Compare to another Apple ad from a decade ago:

The computer coyly turned away from the camera, as if embarrassed to have its picture taken. The friendly Apple font. The neutral white background. And "Think Different" in the bottom right hand corner, a subtle reminder of one of the most inspiring ad campaigns in human history (really, the guys who did "Think Different" should be handed the Olympics.)

The iMac ad is light and fun, like a Rebel Alliance kegger.

And as for the iPhone, it looks cold and menacing, like a certain emperor's chamber.

After all, at&t has the exclusive license for five (I've also heard ten) years. And we all know about at&t, now don't we?

24 June 2007


UPDATED 6/25/07!

First of all, let me just say that it was a treat to see The Police in concert. I'm so blown away by the live experience. I've been a fan most of my life, and dreamed of the day they'd get back together and do another tour. For me, it doesn't get any better than standing with 20,000 screaming fans, singing along with "So Lonely." Stewart Copeland is a god, plain and simple. When he left his kit to bang around of various and sundry chimes, bells and cymbals for "Wrapped Around Your Finger," I was so stunned by the beauty of it I didn't realize what song they were playing until the chorus hit. Andy Summers has an effortlessness about his guitar work that belies the complexity of what he's playing. And Sting . . . I was reminded that Sting is a rock star and a damn fine musician. I had forgotten that over the course of his past few albums.

Okay, that's out of the way. As much as I loved The Police, I must admit that Foo Fighters spoke to me more.

It hit me at the right time, seeing the Foo Fighters in concert. As Pamela mentioned in her blog, we've been watching the documentary about the Little Rock punk scene, Towncraft. This movie has brought back such wonderful memories and has reignited my love for that music, the folk music of my generation; the sweaty balls, ragged throat, whiplash music that I thrashed to at Kimmery Park.

So with my melon a' buzz and my spirits lifted, Pamela and I made the trip to Dodgers Stadium, and the most amazing thing I've seen onstage in a long time.

If you've read Pam's blog, you know what happened. The stage was set up deep center field. The diamond was cordoned off, but the rest of the field was filled with seats. Our seats were a cut above nosebleed, in the mezzanine area.

Halfway through "Stacked Actors" as the band is grooving, and you just know someone is about to cut loose with a bitchin' solo, Dave Grohl stepped to the edge of the stage, jumped off, leaped a barrier, and rushed into the crowd.

This is the sort of thing Jim Morrison did. It's not the sort of thing that happens now-a-days! He made his way down the aisle, and it became aparrent what his planned destination was: home plate. He made it to the tempory fence surrounding the infield, and kicked at it ... but alas, it wasn't to be. A handful of security guards got to him before he could cross the fence.

So, cheered on by the surprised and elated crowd, Grohl ran around to the speaker trusses near third base, climbed up on some empty travel cases and a porta potty, and played his solo. It wasn't home plate, but at that point, it didn't have to be!

So here it is: Grohl is one of, if not the greatest rock drummer alive. He writes tight music that demands your respect ... shit, even his ballads have testosterone to spare. The man forms metal bands in his spare time, and played Satan for Tenacious D. And for one bright, shining moment he gave convention (and common sense) the finger, and joined us in the house. So let's just say it, and let it be said henceforth throughout the land: Dave Grohl IS Rock and Roll!


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20 June 2007

Here's an update on a few puppet projects I've been apart of/had brewing since the beginning of the year:

I'm going to start with Los Titeres TV, the web channel launched by the extraordinary Felix Pire! Back in April I spent half a day with Mr. Pire shooting material for upcoming webisodes. One of those webisodes, a episode of "Amor de Conchita y Ronaldo" is live! It's episode 1, entitled "You Never Listen." Note: not safe for work, and not for the kiddies! Very funny stuff. Towards the end Felix starts riffing on that infamous video of Lily Tomlin cussing out Dustin Hoffman. Funny stuff!

Next up is something that is kid friendly, a certain marionette project I recently worked on. (I don't want to put the title here, because I don't want Google to bring up this page! The target audience is little kids. Imagine if "Joe Five-year-old" accidentally clicked on Conchita y Ronaldo!) In addition to video of our live performance at B.B. Kings, there is a music video that we shot a couple of weeks back. I performed a few of the marionettes in the video -- I'd have a hard time telling you which ones -- but I know for a fact that whenever you see the puppet pictured to the left, I'm pulling the strings!

One of the exciting things about these two projects is that together with Uncle Grizly and Disembodied Animal Head Theatre, I have the making of a pretty good puppetry reel! Boo-Yah! My pal Russ put up his reel recently, and it has truly inspired me.

Also in the news, I finished up the Pepper puppet I blogged about some time ago! Okay, he still needs arm rods. And in all honesty, I never could've made this without the patient help of my lovely wife. I chose this really soft, luscious furry fleece for Pepper. Honestly, it feels like chenille! Unfortunately, it's a bitch to machine sew. Pamela instructed me to buy some interfacing, and iron it to the "back" of the fabric. Good idea! Only, I bought some kind of crazy appliqué "new sew" adhesive backing. Oops!

Fortunately for me, Pamela just happened to have some lightweight white broadcloth laying around, and so I glued the doodly furry fabric to the white broadcloth. Whew! I tried to sew the pieces together, but I suck at machine sewing. So Pamela tagged me out, and did the heavy lifting. At it so happens, I'm a good hand-stitcher, so I finished the sucker off. The eyes are ping-pong ball halves, attached in the super-secret Russ Walko fashionm with adhesive-back felt eyes. The nose is Sculpey. The spots and ears are brown polar fleece whip-stitched into place.

Pepper is built from the Glorified Sock Puppet pattern from Project Puppet. Friends, I cannot praise the good people at Project Puppet enough. Their patterns are affordable, easy to follow, and infinitely customizable. If you want to build a puppet and don't know where to start, start with Project Puppet.

I had some new headshots taken, some of them with Pepper. (My new profile pic is one such.) Pamela had this idea, and I think it is quite sound, that it would be helpful to have a headshot as a puppeteer. Why? Because there are more and more projects casting puppeteers, and your average casting director works with headshots.

For instance, NowCasting.com lists puppet gigs with some frequency. Guess what? No headshot, no submission. Also, I am selling myself as a puppeteer, not just my right hand. Casting Directors work with Andrew Moore, not Andrew Moore's right hand. They need to know me, what I look like.

That's probably a good summation for now. I'm working on some other things, including an interesting variation on that "Mimey and Clownie Show" idea I mentioned back in January -- and of course more episodes of DAHTv-- but that will hold for another time!

14 June 2007

Where Were You in '92?


Add this movie to my wishlist.

Now, if only someone would do the same for the Hot Springs scene ...

(more to come.)

09 June 2007

Vietnamese Water Puppets

I could've sworn I first heard about this form of puppetry from Andrew at www.puppetvision.blogspot.com, but I can't seem to find the post. I was incredulous, but intrigued. The puppeteers stand behind a screen, and perform the puppets with rods that extend under the screen, under water. I did a Google search back then (a couple years ago? Maybe three?) and didn't turn up much data.

Today on YouTube I find this:

Very beautiful. I'm surprised at how articulate the puppets are!

06 June 2007

Is it possible that the one thing that producers value the most in writers is the ability to finish a screenplay?

Read this good news from a guy named Joel.

It's probably refreshing for a producer to see that a writer can string enough words together to fashion a full-length script; a script that hits all the important beats of the Syd Field model/hero's journey/etc.; a story with a beginning, middle, and end. More important than sheer talent or ability to spin b.s. is the ability to push through to a "done."


(Found out about Joel through Alex Epstein. If you have an interest in writing, he has a couple of swell books on the subject.)

02 June 2007

Seth Godin: He's No Dip!

I'm currently reading Mr. Godin's new book, so this isn't a proper book review.

Instead, it is a preemptive recommendation. At the half-way point, I feel confident to say "buy this book!"

If you're an artist (and I believe that most if not all of the people who read this blog are [or have been] artists) you need to read this book. Here's an excerpt:
The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery. A long slog that's actually a shortcut, because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other path.
The Dip is the combination of bureaucracy and busywork you must deal with in order to get certified in scuba diving.
The Dip is the difference betwen the easy "beginner" technique and the more useful "expert" approach in skiing or fashion design.
The Dip is the long stretch between beginner's luck and real accomplishment.
The Dip is the set of artificial screens set up to keep people like you out.
As inspirational and "can-do" as his other books, The Dip feels like a continuation of Purple Cow (another book you must read.) The two books go hand in hand: The Dip helps you evaluate a career path (or activity) to determine if you should fish or cut bait. The Purple Cow encourages you to pick a remarkable path. Both books contain useful suggestions and real-world examples of the principles in play.

Ah hell. This turned into a book review.