Friday, January 25, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 01/25/08

Speaking of things that came up this past week:

1. ⅔ of a 'Cloverfield' review...



⅔, as in how much of 'Cloverfield' I saw last Saturday night, before I was forced to stagger out of the theater with motion sickness.

I guess the 'puke factor' for this movie has become a little bit of a phenomenon, similar to reports from 'Blair Witch' crowds a few years back.

- - Don't get me wrong, I was enjoying myself just fine, although I could have done with more monster and mayhem (and perhaps explanations) and a lot less of the main characters. Such is often the case with these movies, though.

It was the motion of the handheld camerawork that drove me out.

About half-way through the flick I began feeling classic symptoms - - dizziness, nausea, clammy cold sweats.
I'd had a great dinner out before the movie (a dinner I didn't particularly care to see again), and after a further fifteen minutes or so I figured I'd better remove myself from the theater and its patrons. I wanted to try and make sure it wasn't food poisoning or some such.

Putting aside the pretty little party people and their petty problems from the beginning of the movie, I was REALLY enjoying the impressive special effects with the 'hand-held video', and the aspects of what was basically a higher-concept Godzilla movie from the ground-level perspective of a terrorized civilian. I also liked that (other than the monster) my favorite character was the cameraman you rarely see.

The most amusing part of the evening was as I came reeling out of the theater - - all pale, pit-stains, a little wobbly and trying to keep my breathing steady. There was a small group of teenagers standing together in the lobby eating popcorn. One saw me, pointed and laughed, and said "Here comes another one!"

I was already feeling better. I didn't lose dinner, but I headed to the men's room to throw some water on my face, only to discover a disaster area there. I saw the feet of three different guys sticking out from under stall doors as they were on their knees hurling, and the unfortunate evidence in several spots on the tile floor of those who hadn't made it that far.

Exiting through the multiplex lobby, I saw several unhappy ushers scurrying about with sweepers and containers and such, heading into the various rest rooms and back into the theater with flashlights. What an awful job.

Just wanted to share my own experience. Thanks for your time!
Maybe I'll be more ready for 'Cloverfield' on DVD and a small screen.

2. Suzanne Pleshette left us last week.

It was great to have her around as long as we did.













Great performer. Great timing. Great voice, and yes, VERY easy on the eyes.

















Just a few photos ganked from around the web. (click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)













3. Under the twin headings of 'Everything You Know Is Wrong' and 'Giving The Artists Their Due' are the two following curious coincidences...

a) One of the ever-recurring long-traveling e-mail forwards to pop-up in my inbox this week bore the legend: "Entries for an art contest at the Hirshorn Modern Art Gallery in DC. The rule was that the artist could use only one sheet of paper."

Maybe you've seen something like the same e-mail?

Very cool! Inspirational!

It brings to mind all the wonderful results that can come from working around limitations and restrictions, and it's great to get a fresh view of the world and its possibilities through the eyes of an artist.

So looking at the e-mail, as often happens I thought 'Ooh, I'd like to post that to my blog - - where can I find more info about this stuff?'

A bit of googling revealed that this was never a contest at the 'Hirshorn' gallery, or at
the Smithsonian's *Hirshhorn* Museum and Sculpture Garden either, for that matter.

Likewise, as one would suspect, the e-mail images were all the work of one artist.

- Visit the 'A4 Papercut' gallery at Peter Callesen's website.

Take a good look around the site.
Danish artist Peter Callesen has worked in many mediums beyond paper, you'll see a variety of amazing and striking creations.

(Thanks to MC Alumnateer)

b) Another day, another compelling if unknowingly fraudulent forwarded e-mail.

This time it was Los Angeles artist
Erika Rothenberg's 1990 aluminum signboard piece 'America's Joyous Future' ➤
making the cyberspace rounds presented as something actually sighted in front of a church.

A little delving found several slightly varying images of it floating out there with different stories behind it, as well as a few more 'factual' accounts, like this article that mentions it on display at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Golly, but isn't the internet interesting?

Additional to the mountains of normal spam, I've grown accustomed to the 'spanner in the works' e-mails that forward around the globe warning us about some new conspiracy or governmental hijinx, asking us to sign a bogus petition. That and the cottage industry that Nigeria and other locales seem to have going in financial scams...

But the hows and whys of the details behind these artist's work morphing over time - - ?
What an odd puzzle.

I guess the 'joyous future' one is understandable, but as to the papercut stuff - - ? To what end?

Regardless, it doesn't diminish the cool-tasticness of the work!

4. Speaking of cool-tastic:

The other night I found the link to
Feed the Head and sent it to a friend's
eighth-grader who has a new e-mail account to break in.

I figured that the decepitively simple but completely addictive web toy would be a great way for him to waste his energy when he should probably be finding more constructive uses for his time.

If you've not seen it, check it out.

Click your cursor around and start exploring the head. One thing leads to another and then another, and the whimsy continues with seemingly no end.

You've been warned.

This time there, I explored the links to the equally compelling 'Acrobots' and 'Vectorpark'.

Good clean trippy fun.

There's also a link to the origin of all the sounds on those pages:

5. The Freesound Project.

What a great resource!
It's "...a collaborative database of
Creative Commons licensed sounds".

"The Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps..." - - a million household uses!

Part source for scientific research, part sound effects library, and part field recording archive of ambient sound from around the world.

A most pleasant discovery to tumble onto, I aim to indulge in further investigation soon!

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