Friday, December 30, 2005

For your New Year's viewing pleasure: another installment of the Beauty of Nature, courtesy of the geniuses that made Microcosmos - Genesis is now on DVD. It has a rocky start, if you ask me, but once it gets going it has the same alarmingly gorgeous cinematography and uncanny knack for making actual footage of tiny grubs seem like comic actors at work. Plus, more colors than a blender full of crayons. Which you need in January.
Hands-down best factoid that I learned all year:

When faced with danger,
the octopus can wrap six of its legs around its head
to disguise itself as a fallen coconut shell
and escape by walking backwards on the other two legs,
scientists discovered.
- from the Beeb

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Darryl knows where all the good stuff is.

Go ahead. Ask him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wilizecat seems to have mad talent, tho I am not sure what is going on here. I will look at it a few more times.

Also check out the Wilizecat blog.
Before you go out, spend some time with Ronald Grandpey at Misma and thank yourself for stopping in.

I love Ronald's world.

I gnash my teeth to steal from Drawn! but this is just tooooo good: Fuggy Fuggy by the Bros McLeod. Sigh.
Is this wise? I mean, do cockroaches need any more empowerment over us?
Who knew? Tunde Adebimpe, front person for one of my favorite musical conglomerates, TV On the Radio, takes really snazzy pictures. Kind of makes a person want to go on tour.

The real tickler is that he does stop-motion animation too... take a look at The Cheerful Cricket (you have to do a search at this site, keyword "cricket") Inspired by none other than Archy and Mehitabel by the crazed Don Marquis!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas has been a barrel of monkeys, here behind the ivy-covered crenellations of the Brick Compound. The kids got baubles and gewgaws, the Briquette got her yearly supply of Tea. My most heart-stopping gift arrived just this morning, from Russia herself: my copy of Khozhdenie za Tri Morya!! Be still, little thumper. Yes, the 1958 film version of Afanasy Nikitin's travels to India, a co-production of Russian and Indian film companies, is available now on beautifully restored DVD. It's Tarkovsky Goes to Bollywood, man!! So, until my comic is good and ready to read, you will have to watch this over and over.

Now I must return to my plushly appointed Screening Room and watch it again. Ta-ta!!

Wow. I got the best Xmas present ever from my pal Darryl - a gallery of terrified kids confronted with mall Santas that need their backgrounds checked more thoroughly. Wow. Merry holiday, all y'all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry xmas to me! Look what landed in my lap this morning: a kind word from the curator of this
Indonesian Art blog. Make a promise to explore the eye-popping sinuousness of this blog...

...and when you are next in Amsterdam, do yourself a favor and check out the Tropenmuseum. They say you never forget your first time with an Indonesian puppet, and my magic moment was at the Tropenmuseum. Acres of puppets, cartoons, and cultural flotsam and jetsam from the former Dutch colonies. Great way to spend a rainy afternoon!
I love Ernest Shepard as much as anybody with eyes to see. He is a genius, regardless of how many crappy page-a-day calendars the Evil Corporate People make of his Pooh illustrations. Still, I must chortle at the illegal Pooh renderings at Russian Insider. Who's to say that this isn't how Pooh was supposed to look all along? Eh? A.A. Milne shoutout from somewhere??

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Music break:
some suggestions from the audio galaxy.

1) Apostle of Hustle is some kind of side project from some of the dozens of beatniks in Broken Social Scene, and it is a sparkling gem of niceness.

2.) Akron/Family has the worst name ever, but very habit-forming slow-burning saunas of music to warm yourself in. Open the door and enter the steam.

3.) Do not believe people who tell you that Broadcast sounds like Stereolab. I don't know why people say that, because it's silly. Ignore them. Broadcast sounds like what cartoon characters hear, when they have been struck with a cinderblock on the forehead, and have stars rolling around their head.

I enjoy wide swaths of the dense collections known as Flight... but I hadn't checked out the website until today. It is actually a pretty lively blog, and I will be checking into it regularly. I like the look of the blog even more than the print collections, at least at first glance. The kids these days, they're alright. Go kids.
Great tip from hydrocephalicbunny
today - check out Coming Up For Air by Matthew Forsythe! Another heaping serving of delicious and nutritious art for you. Mmm mmm.

cool kids

I love the German Candyland of Froodmat!! Go and lose yourself in his cornucopia of amazing technicolor images, and flickr your afternoon away!

Plus, check out his garden-of-earthy-delites blog. If you read German, all the better. If not, you will suffer greatly. As my friend Amit says, "Das ist leben. Mann musst immer Kampfen."

I know I will.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I am a schmuck about Saturday Night Live. I get giddy on seasons when it works, and take it personally when they can't get their act together. So, I feel a like a proud dad when they actually lay a funny on us. To wit, Lazy Sunday. Go ahead and mack on some cupcakes!! And, try other samplings from Lonely Island, the krew that was just gene-spliced onto SNL to give the show a flavor injection.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

One more French guy and then I'm going to eat a Twinkie and watch SNL to re-Americanize. Guillaume Decaux has some fine scribbles and animation at his site.
Hey! My French, it is - how do you say - not so great, but I think this article is saying that my favorite living graphic artist, Nicolas de Crécy, is making an animated film?! This is a pretty special day for me, if this is true.

Images and more info (not in Anglais though) at this Le Monde article.

I'm going to go for a walk now.
Une Histoire Vertébrale is from the same well-groomed world as, say, Adrian Tomine, which I shy away from. The setup in the trailer is uncanny enough to make me want to find out what happens to the guy, though. Take a lookie and see if you buy it.

Also check out Santi Hurtado and Daniel Ruiz's The Awakening of Consciousness, which has some pretty funny sequences and Pixar-looking guys kicking each other.

For the millionth time, these links are shamelessly swiped from Fous D'Anim blog archives. I am digging through the rubbish behind other guys' blogs and putting the mildewed crumbs on a nice warm plate for your reading pleasure.
This posting is mostly for my own sake, since I imagine everyone else with a shred of self-dignity has already been onto Shane Acker... but I just happened across his stuff this evening, and I fell off my chair.
Your typical little-cloth-men-battling-robots scenario, but done with such cinematic flair and fluid animation! Holy smokes!

Pretty hard to tell from the trailer where 9 is going, but judging by the whacked-out humor of his short films, I'll bet it won't be a cliché ending.

If you have not seen this yet, please jet there post haste.
Look, I realize there are five, maybe six people tops, who read this blog. There are a lot of blogs out there. But if any of you five can help me document the connection between the sticker on the Fisher-Price tractor, and Jack Kirby, I will buy you a very memorable lunch.

This cannot be a coincidence. Some art grunt at Fisher-Price circa 1965 was zoning out on lunch break with the Fantastic Four, and then returned from lunch and designed this sticker. And now my kids are playing with a Jack Kirby tractor. Which is marvelous.

Shout out to all y'all.
Help me out here!

(Kirby machine is from The Eternals #13, page 2. July, 1977. Marvel Comics Group.
New York, NY. All rights reserved, I'm sure. Please don't sue me.)

The Zata blog has two new comics (excuse me, BDs): Salvatore and Période Glaciaire, by one of my heroes, Nicolas de Crécy.

Click on the picture that reads "Diaporama" and bust with the French phrasebook. Or, just stare at the pretty drawrings... and weep with wonder.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Yow! Warning: much beauty at this site. Switez
is a forthcoming Polish animated film based on a classic Pan Tadeusz - the first half of the trailer looks transcendently lovely! The second half looks like somebody forgot to tell the art department that they had to put a trailer together by noon on Wednesday, or something. I recommend watching the first half a few times before bed.

Thanks, again, to Fous D'Anim archives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I am just stupid when it comes to Jeunet & Caro's collaborative films: Delicatessen and City of Lost Children are two of my all-time faves (plus the insane runt of their cinema litter, Le Bunker de la Dernière Rafale). I am less impressed with the quirky/tear-jerky stuff that Jeunet has done solo, namely Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. Still... here is an entire Jeunet short from 1989 unavailable elsewhere: Foutaises, with a pile of familiar Delicatessen guys. (click on the Foutaises picture. See? Diagonally!)

(Plus, it looks to me that the kid from Spaceship is the little guy from City of Lost Children? No?)

So... what has Caro been doing meanwhile?
Here is some idea of what Caro solo looks like... Boxing, a short CG film featuring none other than Dominique Pinon himself, finally attaining his true self as a bendy toy!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

If you haven't been keeping up with the creepy weirdness going on EVERY DAY at the bottom of the ocean, you are missing out. Here are three reasons:

1) The Vampire Squid ( Vampyroteuthis infernalis )

2) The Goblin Shrimp ( Glyphocrangon sp. 7)

3.) The Giant Rattails ( Coryphaenoides rudis) which, like Das Brick himself, feature "... a special drum machine on their swim bladder that is used to attract females." Why, perhaps I am a Giant Rattail! That explains a lot.

These are all from the Norfanz Voyage site, which has so much crazy nonsense in such total scientific deadpan that I blow milk out my nose as if reading The Onion. Recommended!

Do not forget about either, you knob.
Just returning from the parallel universe called the Bazaar Bizarre in downtown Boston... what a great time!

Sadly my 4-year-old daughter Ginny could not be in attendance to meet her hero Jen Corace, maker of the Dress Up Game (which Jen promises will be back online soon, link shall be forthcoming).
However, I was able to buy a Jen Corace tree ornament, and an adorable bunny from Maris Wicks (no web presence yet) for my 5-month-old, whose ears were being plugged by yours truly whilst the Christmas carols were deployed on Theremin by Jon Bernhardt... of the Lothars.

Also on view were Ann Smith's astounding robots made of broken electronics,

a blunderbuss made from a broken bicycle and clarinet by my homie Skunk (of SCUL fame) --- please click on the blunderbuss for a better look at this marvel!! ---

I also thought the tasty graphics of Dave Ortega needed some further exploration. Do check him out!

The bazaar has packed up and left town, panting readers, but you can now safely sally forth on the information highway and spend your allowance on these people.

Go! Consume!

My kids are great at sniffing out fakery, and their favorite animation is not of the CGI variety. They love PES. They beg for Betty Boop. They will do chores in exchange for old-school Gumby. I can't wait 'til daybreak, when I can tell them that the only Caucasian geniuses of New Orleans, namely Miss Pussycat and Quintron, have created puppet facsimiles worthy of the Art Clokey valhalla, and they can actually view snippets of these on our own computer. Go! and Watch!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Just when I think I can get by without boingboing they throw another banana at the monkey on my back. Today I get Samorost, a pair of free Czech videogames from Amanita Design, and my whole afternoon evaporates. It's Myst without the o-so-serious new-age atmosphere of calcified nerdity. Or, if you're Dutch, it's a gezellig Myst.

Landscapes of magnificent scanned mossy objects, with J. Otto Siebold nouns scampering on top, and immaculate psilocybin logic to the problem-solving.

Spoiler: when the woodpecker eats all the grubs, the squirrel will take his fingers out of his ears and play the drum-and-bass track on the phonograph that wakes up the owl.

I am going to go play it again.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Good tidings from fous d'anim! All people who see Michel Ocelot's Kirikou and the Sorceress agree that it is the most winsome, funny and cliche-busting naked-baby-versus-evil-witch film ever. The music is from Manu Dibango and Youssou N'Dour. The colors are by Crayola. I love it, and everybody I lend my copy to loves it. You can borrow it if you want. The great news is that the sequel, Kirikou et les Bêtes Sauvages, is just out! Erm, in France. Still... Huzzah! Get ready for more naked-baby-empowering cinema! I am so down.

I used to work at the help desk at a Harvard Square bookstore. There was a guy who would drop in every so often and pass me (or anyone at the desk) page after page of notebook paper crammed with scrawled lists of important people that were part of an enormous conspiracy to overthrow the government, or something like that. I was entrusted with this information because I was supposed to pass it on to the President. I would instead keep these lists in my apartment, because they were completely bonkers, and earnest, and were fun to study and try to figure out why the guy was free-associating, in his under-medicated way, from one name to another.

For a visual idea of this unusual mental delicacy, pull up a chair and dig into Strings by Pshaw and just hold on to your meds. Wow. Little bit Marc Bell, little bit paperrad, and completely off-the-mooring gonzo. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Another beautiful link from hydrocephalicbunny... Fable by Daniel Sousa! Very spooky, oneiric animation. There are excerpts online at Daniel Sousa's site, and I am looking forward to seeing the whole enchilada at some festival somewheres.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Today I picked up Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?, which proved to be a gateway to the snuggly world of the snuggly Liz Prince. The book is full of great, scribbly characters who kiss each other a lot and provide mirth to you. I hold it out to you as a stocking stuffer for anyone who loves somebody else. Or draws. Or is messy.

Friday, December 02, 2005

What do they put in the water in Russia, anyway? Check these absolutely beautiful illustrations from Igor Oleynikov at the Russian Insider blog!

I know I've mentioned him before, but I was delighted to see Joann Sfar's latest, The Rabbi's Cat, displayed front-and-center in several Boston bookstores recently. As in, Barnes-and-Noble bookstore, not comic-book geek-ghetto bookstore. Whether this just means the bookstore employees dig it, or if Joe and Judy Public are actually buying this in mass quantities, I can't tell. Nice break, though, from the landslide of other books by Republicans who hate Democrats, and Democrats who hate Republicans! Go Joann go!!