Thursday, June 21, 2012

3D Projection, or how to make a building come alive

A couple weeks ago, I went to go sit with my dad because Mom was going to be busy after work. The folks have cable (I don't), and so Dad and I wound up watching some of the Diamond Jubilee. When the performance by Madness came on, Dad remarked on the projection against Windsor Palace. I said that was nothing new.


We'd had our own version of similar here in Dallas a few years ago. I never went and saw this movie, but I did like the projection. That building, incidentally, was the first skyscraper in Dallas. Like that really matters, though.

Because those projectors are so expensive, many of these tend to be commercials of one form or another. What I do find interesting about videos like this is how they record the audience's reaction. Make note: crumbling buildings are cool but fish are boring. Eyes, however, do get some applause.

Again, gravity good; fish dull. Oh, gravity is always awesome.

Here, we get to see what happens when these installations are interactive. When the audience can add to the performance, both sides win. (This philosophy is why we encourage so much participation at our shows.)

Again, audience participation makes the installation more enjoyable. When you demand your audience do something in order to get something, they'll do more than you ever asked for.

And one thing I find very odd about these installations is they seem to be more common in Europe. I don't know if that's because Americans are such staunch individuals that we'd never gather in a town square; but, besides that one from Dallas, I haven't found any other 3D projections in the US. The only reason I know about the one from Dallas is because I live there, and I didn't even go to see it.

OK. This is one you want to watch full-screen, because it's the only way to really fit it all on the monitor correctly. And here's why I saved this one for last.

It's the stunning beauty of it. This is one that drives me to tears (and I don't know what's wrong with me that it affects me so) because it is so goddamned beautiful. It's not just that the building is 600 years old, but the sheer amount of history tied into that building. I'm from the United States and there is nothing like that here.

And it also comes across as a letter of love. You get the sense that the people who put together that projection love that building. You know the audience feels something about that building. Listen to how they cheer when the red star comes down. They're watching their own history and reveling in it.

And, of course, there's hope as well. It's a positive projection.


Essentially "The Electric Company" for math in the 80's!

Of course the real reason to watch this show at all was for those Mathnet segments!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fairy Tale Commercials

We interrupt this nightly excursion to bring you some bedtime messages! And they lived happily ever after...

We now return you to your regularly scheduled 8-hour standby mode!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Susan Tyrrell

Sad news today, via Dangerous Minds. I had written a very little bit about Susan Tyrrell here. She was a fine woman, nominated for her role in Fat City (check it out, Stacey Keach without his mustache. Hare-lip scar FTW!), and just multi-talented and great.


And she was in some dogs. Seriously, she's the best part of this steaming pile of cinema pseudo-magic. I don't know why I dislike this film as much as I do, but she is just great in it.

Seriously, though. Truly terrible movies.

And cult classics.

And here's your art-street cred. You can now say you've seen an Andy Warhol flick.

You're welcome.

Jack Davis Animated Commercials

Jack Davis's art seems like an unusual choice for animation, but he did the designs for most of the classic Rankin/Bass holiday specials.

Hattip to Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My dad gets a polar bear every Xmas

Happy Father's Day!


Oh, that's got to be child-abuse.

It's nice to see that snow, considering summer has come to Texas.

And that's the last "Bear" cartoon that Jones did. There are others that what I've got here, but I couldn't find complete episodes. Definitely check out the "Bee Deviled Bruin" for a great sequence involving honey.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Quentin (Albert 't Hooft & Paco Vink, 2011)

The cult of mean

Talking to Danno about Royal Space Force (as that is still a subject over here), and we both noted that the hero is sort of a dick at the start of the film, but grows up.

The real question in our conversation was why a film like Akira was so much more popular than Royal Space Force. We came to the conclusion that Akira was an adolescent power-fantasy, whereas Royal Space Force was more about becoming an adult.

The main thing is that, in Royal Space Force, a character with no special abilities or powers does something mildly great. He is powerless in the face of greater forces, but overcomes.

And it's that sense of powerlessness in our lives that makes us admire the mean.


In watching "Blake's Seven", Avon was the most interesting character. He was more interesting to watch than Blake ever was. Part of that was Avon was mean. He could say the things that you and I would never-ever say, because we just can't.

When I was watching this in middle-school, being teased by my classmates, I just thought Avon was the coolest thing in the world. Try and tease him, whydontcha? He'll take you down in a second, with a few, well-directed words.

Oh, but that made him just awesome.

By high-school, "Blackadder" had supplanted my need for mean. Although, I'll admit, (SPOILER ALERT) both Blackadder and Avon met the same ends when their series closed.

Meanwhile, in anime, I always through Joe was cooler than Ken.

Or, if you're a "Battle of the Planets" fan, that's Mark vs. Ace.

Mark (or Joe) was a hard-core dick who took risks and protocol be damned! He was going to Start Something while Ken (or Ace) was busy thinking about the right thing to do.

And, I'll concede right now, I had a thing for the bad-boys.

Let's be honest. Who would you be more interested in hanging out with? Han Solo or Luke? Sure, Luke's a nice kid and all, but Han Solo is going to show you a good time.

Mugen or Jin?

James Bond was a complete asshole, but we love him. Why?

McGoohan hated everyone, but we loved him.

He was such a troll, he was asked to do it again.

So what is it? What is this cult of mean?

Christ, what an asshole.

Why do we so admire these people who think so little of us?

Or do we just wish we could be like them?

Maybe it's in our biology.

Have you ever noticed that when you're in a tough situation--trying to deal with a bank or an ISP--that you tend to get a little mean? You just aren't as pleasant as you could be. There are strange threats that bubble out of nowhere, that--suddenly--you're able to make. You're helpless, but you you still make threats.

We watch these people in films on TV and may, just maybe, we wish that we had that same kind of power. We feel so little, we have to reduce everything around us.

Anyway, just a thought. I'm sure you would never do anything like that. Of course not; you're so much bigger. No, no. You'll let it all go, because you're such a lovely person. You'd never resort to such cruelty.

Of course you are.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Royal Space Force (1987)

Many moons ago, there was an old theater called "The Major". I used to go there in the early 90s to watch punk bands.

And, in the lobby, they had a poster for The Wings of Honneamise. Many a drunken night, I would stumble into said lobby and stare intently at that poster, trying to figure it out.

Years later, I watched one of the greatest anime I have ever seen.

I've been teased a good amount for my love of The Wings of "Honey-Mayonnaise", but it really is one of my favorite anime of all time. When I finally got a job that paid more than $6 an hour, I hauled ass and bought a copy on VHS. I watched it at least once a month. I showed it to everyone I knew.

It's an odd opening. Simple charcoal drawings show us an industrial revolution that happened on an alternate Earth. This is how we learn the level of tech for our story.

Our hero, Shirotsugh Lhadatt, is the kind of guy who is late for a funeral, sleeps in a dead man's bed (flowers and all), and generally coasts through life. It's when he meets Riquinni Nonderaiko, a religious nut, that he decides he wants to do something with his life.

Riquinni is more in this trailer than the pilot I posted above. Personally, I find her annoying and a major weakness in the plot. Although, an ex-boyfriend of mine tried to tell me she was whoring (to explain the pseudo-rape sequence that has always felt out-of-place for me). This, in no way, makes her a more interesting character. I understand that her faith is what drives Shirotsugh to push for outer-space, but I still dislike her.

For me, the film has always been about putting a man into space. We see Shirotsugh's training, the rocket being built, and the political intrigue surrounding the endeavor. The training makes up a good part of the film. Shirotsugh is a notorious goof.

In Spanish, even!

One of the slight differences in this version of our world is the two major super-powers share a border. We get some scenes of their side of the fence and--and this is purely my opinion--this is handled better in the sub than the dub. In the sub, we get to hear these strange people speak their language (it sounds a bit like Esperanto to me), while Japanese subtitles explain what they are saying. In the dub, they speak English. The mystery is gone.

Because we have two super-powers going after each other, someone tries to assassinate Shirotsugh. For the most part, he runs away. When he finally does stand his ground, we get to see a side of him that has remained hidden until now.

Wounded, determined, our hero makes a crummy little kid smile.

This is the same kid he nearly strangled in an earlier scene. No, that does not make him an awful person.

When the launch finally does happen, it does so in disputed territory. A huge battle rages around our explorers, halted by man reaching for the stars.

Now, here's what we used to do in the late 90s: we'd spend all night watching movies and, invariably, there would be one that saw us to sunrise (another good one is Mishima). This is one of the greatest "watch it 'till it's blue out" movies, and mostly because of this sequence.

Hell, I love it so much, let's see it again.

"And the monkeys watched in awe...."

I weep. I openly weep every time I watch that rocket go up. There are very few things in this world that can make me feel this way. There's a reason this movie was the subject of my very first AMV. I feel very strongly about this. I seriously love this scene like little else. I love this movie.

Now, you must be asking, "Hey, if you're watching this until dawn, you must be smoking out and hanging with the O.T.O, or something weird like that. Where's the Gainax ending?"

What? You thought that was something new? Sweeties, they were doing that as early as 1987. Behold, a terrible dub that sucks the language out of a powerful scene, and yet...

We've traveled so far, but we've hardly moved an inch.

This is a largely forgotten anime. It was never a series; it came out a long time ago. It is still, even now, one of the finest uses of the medium. Rent it, watch it, and I hope you love it.

Or, at the very least, watch this. It's not a great video, but it is a great remix.

All around us, there's nothing but fakes.
Ride with me, on the biggest fake of all.

"Pictures at an Exhibition", FTW.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Bradbury building was built in 1803.

Ray Bradbury has died. Here are some short films based on his works.

As you can see, our alleged foes had the same fears we did.


I never could get past a digital clock that ticks. However....

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Ray Bradbury: I think about a nation full of love and passion, the better days that are ahead of them. These days are not that far off and they didn’t start that long ago. Sooner or later Russians will start to love themselves and trust themselves, they are in control of the future. And they will control it with love, and not with war or dictatorship.

Oh yeah. Here's a thing. This is genius.

Lucky Day Forever

For some reason, this reminds me of a quote from the Gnostic Gospels:

Blessed is the lion that eats the man.
Having eaten the man, he becomes the man.
Cursed is the man eaten by the lion.
Having been eaten by the lion, he becomes the lion.

I've been thinking about it all week. If you have some time, please watch it.

Coming Soon....

Click the "CC" button for subtitles!

Not nervous at all

Anyone who uses "disconcerting" in a lyric has my vote.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Survey says!

I hope his death certificate has six causes, ranked in order of popularity.

Don't read this if you're tripping.

Danno played this, this weekend. It's a stunning piece.

Oddly, it remind me of this. And I'll admit I tear up at the end.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

We did it!

Kubu-kun texted me at 8:30 AM Friday morning. "We'll be there soon."

Then, again, at 11:58. "Hey, we're here. Did you get the badges?"

I woke up 12 minutes later.