Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday night art fart

I felt like making something today but didn't feel like drawing, writing or filming anything. I have a shit load of paints I bought last year as an investment for times like these and I whipped them out. 

I decided to attempt painting a Triffid. I'm a terrible painter but thought maybe tonight would be different. 

Guess what?

Tonight wasn't different. 

I failed miserably at rendering a triffid. I painted over it and tried again. Fail. Then again. Major fail. After a thick layer of paint was covering my precious triffids I took my palette and tossed it on the canvas saying "fuck this I prefer the paint bucket tool in photoshop"

I pulled the palette off and liked what I saw. I put more paint on it here and there and tried my best attempt at a flattened Pollock. How's that Ezra?

Here's the big question. Which would go in the Museum? The piece?

Or the palette?

You decide. I vote palette because it would piss people off. More realistically, I think I'll be using this piece as a gigantic coaster.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Check this out NOW

Today in Millennium park there was a DJ spinning some shit and he played a dope song. The only lyric I heard was "I should Tell Ya Momma on You" and I made a mental note to find it online.

I couldn't find it on Youtube. Bummer. Instead, I found something INCREDIBLE. Anyone who has any interest in music needs to listen to this right fucking now.

I don't know anything about this cat but that he's homeless. Holy shit. Someone give this guy a house.

Breaking news!

I found the song I was originally looking for. It was a lot better the way the DJ played it because he mashed it up with "Rock the Casbah

Here it is, its called Step Daddy. After listening to it, actually, it's fucking dope. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall fell, night follows

It's gotten pretty chilly here and the smell of fall is in the air. It's oddly exciting knowing that the infamous Chicago cold is on it's way. I did something incredibly out of character today and did all my work due tomorrow and the next day. That means for the next 48 hours, aside from what I do in class I can just relax and wait for Thursday and Friday to roll by (two, wonderfully classless days).

I went for a nighttime stroll tonight to snap some photos for a class tomorrow. It was beautiful out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

King of (Silent) Cartoons

I want to introduce you to a pretty cool cat. His name is Tom Stathes and I think he might interest all you film junkies out there. 

Tom is an avid collector of early animated films. He has an encyclopedic knowledge on the topic and through our dialogues I have come to admire not only his appreciation of a medium but also his emphasis on the preservation and celebration that must go into it.

He sells quality prints at fair prices off of his website (which I will link later) and I myself have been a customer of his. I came across him through a Craigslist back when I just got my projector. He was selling some 16mm prints that were lying around and didn't really have a place in his collection (mostly PSAs and propaganda flicks). To be a nice guy, he threw in a free reel or two. What was on them? Cartoons, of course. 

It's definitely worth checking out if you want to purchase some films but also if you just want a good read. He hosts screenings occasionally and if I'm in town for the next one I'll definitely hit that up. 

He just put up a cleaner, new site and I thought I owed it to him to let you guys know about it. To visit his new site, click HERE. I highly recommend doing so.

Also, my final thought on Tom. In his blogger default picture he looks a little bit like Ernest Hemingway. 

Major plus.

First Print

Remember that NBC Baby Jesus I showed you last week? Well, I printed it yesterday and boy oh boy was it fun. 

I have never done screen printing and the process was completely new to me. Because of that, it took a little tinkering to master properly and the image didn't come out as good as I was expecting it would. Still, my eyes were opened to a new medium that is a lot of fun. How often do you get to point blank a power washer to the face of Baby Jesus? 

If you answered "often" to that please contact me immediately. I want to learn from you.

The first print came out looking pretty crappy. It was clear I over estimated the power of water color and crayons. It's tough going to art school when you can't recall the last time you picked up a paint brush and expect crayolas to work like a sharpie.

I stopped whining and made some darker layers of color. My print was still not coming out that well but to the professor and TA's eyes I was doing everything right. After a few run troughs we came to the realization that I was a total pussy and couldn't put enough pressure on the squeegee to get a good image. Even when I pushed my hardest, shaking and nearing an aneurysm I just wasn't strong enough. I added "Screen printing" to my long list of reasons to start weight lifting. 

The print came out decently.

The most fun I had was when I took the screen to the wash room. The joint is a fucking dump in the most charming way. It's dark, it's small and everything is wet. Also, somehow, you are always alone. The pictures don't do the place justice but I felt obligated to snap a picture anyway.

I hope that as the semester progresses I have some better prints to show off. I'm already thinking about my next one and have one hint: Triffids.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flies, Birdshit and a Good Omen

One of my favorite posts Ludwig has written in his career as a successful blogger popped up last week. I will properly link it here, but to paraphrase it roughly went as follows:

"My hair was in my eyes and it was pissing me off. 
Right there and then I said "God, please stop the
wind from blowing my bangs into my eyeballs"
Right then and there a bird shat right on my forehead. 
God answered. I laughed all the way to work"

This has been on my mind lately because, frankly, it's hilarious and defines life beautifully. Today I was walking through Millennium park and starving. I was thinking about where to get grub but nothing in the loop really satisfied me (and those that did were notorious for long lines come lunch time). I said, literally, out loud:

"God, I'm fucking hungry. This sucks."

Right then and there, a very large fly flew into my mouth. To the shock and horror of the crowd I stopped walking, wrestled with it and gave in: "gulp"
I swallowed that sucker. Immediately I thought "this is hilarious" but then realized something: Ludwig's done it.

On the topic of Ludwig it's worth mentioning something. He has formed the Good Omen again and this time with an all star cast. The demo is out and (though rough) it's fucking good. It's a foreshadowing of what's to come. I can't wait until these guys get in a studio and churn out some real deal masterpieces. 

Best wishes, Good Omen, from yer' brother on the Journey. Kdog.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

There will be MILKSHAKES!

My name is Daniel Plainview. I'm an oil man. I drill for oil. I also like milkshakes. 


When "There Will be Blood" came out Robbie and Carlos kept going on and on about how good it was. I, for some reason, thought it didn't look like my sort of film and opted out on paying the 13 dollars to see it in theatres. 

Eventually I did see it with Carlos on some movie channel and I was blown away. It was indeed my sort of film and I regretted not seeing it on the big screen with everyone else. 

Needless to say, "There Will Be Blood" was one of my most desired films to add to my Blu-Ray collection. I looked everywhere for it and (somehow) couldn't find it. One quick visit to Amazon cured my fix and saved me a couple of bucks. When I got it I made a phonecall. It was time to watch "There Will Be Blood" in crisp 1080i accompanied with killer surround sound with good company. 

Take this opportunity to meet my dear friend Monty. I can't remember if I have ever talked about him in previous posts but we met on the shoot of "War of the Ants" and am I glad we did. Monty is a big fan of the film and can do the best Daniel Plainview impression out of all of us. He was integral for what followed. 

After making a pit stop to stock up on refreshments, Monty, Preston and I decided to settle down and watch the film. There was one problem, though. Our stomachs were growling. "There Will be Blood" is not a film to watch hungry. It's already such a stimulation of all five senses that hearing your stomach eat itself will only further plummet you into the depravity of life. This, though serious, is nothing a little baked chicken boobie couldn't fix.

The hunger and anticipation was a catalyst for my new recipe: "There Will be Heart Surgery" chicken. It's easy, folks. Get an entire stick and a half of butter, melt it down and then put an equal amount of Worcester sauce in it. Mix that up real good and rub it all over the chicken. Throw whatever spices you have on top of that in the mix, fill the rest of the pan with olive oil (and if you have it, some beer) and let sit in the oven until the grease pops loud enough that you fear an explosion. That, my friends, is good eating. 

After eating we were all stuffed and a little, well, "giddy". The film hadn't even started yet and Spuds had drank waaaaaay  too much. We had to put him to sleep and let the men take care of business. 

After finally sitting down to watch the film the atmosphere changed. Daniel Day scared the shit out of us and we were transported to another world. The quality of this Blu-Ray is superb. The darks were a little too dark (which for a film that has entire scenes playing out hundreds of feet underground with no lights is a bit of a problem) but I can't say whether or not it is my TV or the Blue-Ray itself. I have actually recently been considering bringing my Blue-Ray collection to someone elses house so I can see how a television will effect the process. I have yet to meet anyone with the proper HD set up, though, so that is for another post. 

A few refreshments and three acts later the film was over. What a great time. I swear to you, I have never heard three individuals making so many "Milkshake" jokes. It was truly hilarious. After an hour Preston and I had just as good of an impression of Daniel Plainview as Monty did. 

It was during all of this that Monty, very seriously said "We need MILKSHAKES!"

One very late night trip to Jewel Osco later and what do you know?

We have Milkshakes. Delicious, chocolate milkshakes. I can't verify as to whether or not any of our refreshments made it into that milkshake but I can say that by the end of the night I was most certainly ready to hit the hay. Hard. 

I can honestly say, it was one of the most fun nights I have had since moving out to Chicago. I can also say, with absolute certainty:

I. Will drink. Your, MILKSHAKE!


Next week for my Command P class we are making monoprints with alcohol gel transfers. Should be fun and I'm excited to see what I churn out. Everyone in the class seems to have more experience with prints and seeing as this is my first I'm very pumped to do it. 

I made a Baby Jesus TV. If I understand the process right the light is blocked by whatever of the image is black (so it's all a bitmap) and whatever is white will expose on some emulsion or something. Hopefully this will look very cool. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Second response. Today's casualties? Reptilians...

I really got my rocks off the other day deading people who think 9/11 was an inside job. I was left wanting to do more (ah, the youtube bug) and picking my next victim was of the up most importance. 

I thought to myself "who really, really sucks?" and the answer came easy (took like, three minutes of youtube surfing). Believe it or not, there are individuals out there even more backwards and silly than the 9/11 conspiracists. I am referring to those who believe in reptilians, of course. 

If you don't know about this already I recommend doing a google search. It will make you laugh. These schmucks actually believe that all Government, all media, all entertainment and basically every form of manipulation/control that any society has over her people are run by shape shifting reptilians. Yes. I'm not making this up.

There are SO many followers and it just makes me think: what a shitty life. Imagine thinking that everyone on television, every president, every authority figure in your entire life is actually a gecko waiting to execute it's master plan against you and your loved ones. Not to mention the fact that you being aware of the grand scheme of things and talking about it to save your fellow man forever puts you in danger of a force unfathomably stronger than you. That must be terrifying. It's a fine example of how stupidity can really effect one's well being. 

So, here's it goes:

To all that voiced a liking to the "salute/wink" I thank you. In fact, I salute and wink you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rodrigo Bellot attacked

Some of the earliest formal training I ever got as a filmmaker came from a guy name Rodrigo Bellot. He taught at NYSSSA (New York State Summer School of the Arts) a few years back and was the head of my video class. At first I thought to myself "This Bolivian dude is whacked out of his fucking skull" but after a week or two I really grew to like him. Fuck "liking" him, I respected him. He was a talented filmmaker, a good teacher and because of that I definitely owe a great deal to him as an artist. 

Every so often he would let a few factoids about Bolivia slip. I don't think it was ever his intention but a few times he made the place seem like it was a bit rough around the edges, especially for a filmmaker. 

Yesterday my guru, life coach and good buddy Glen Shapland told me that Rodrigo and his mother had been assaulted.

He linked me to this Bolivian news clip which is done in such bad fucking taste. It's using Final Cut "Horror" accents a little too much and always at the least appropriate times. Rodrigo is shown in a hospital bed but details are hard to get as it is in fast, non-grinoized Spanish. 

I have tried to decipher it using the small amounts of "New York Puerto Rican Spanglish" I have picked up from Carlos. All I can get is that Rodrigo won an award, went bowling with his mother and then some guys jumped on him. 

It's shitty news. Rodrigo is a cool guy and a damn talented filmmaker. He's an crucial part of the Bolivian film industry but also (and through the same vein) an important voice for Bolivian people.

I really hope he and his mother heal quickly and Rodrigo picks up a camera again soon. Something tells me that when he does, he will have a lot to say.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First video response

I love youtube. You all know that. There is no need to elaborate. 

Even though I have watched over seventeen thousand videos I have never (not once) recorded a video response to a single one. Responses are part of the "Youtube Equation" that is tremendously important. For the past couple of days I have been thinking "I really need to start doing responses" but didn't know where exactly to begin. 

Ever since my 9/11 post I have been thinking about what I said and been really proud of it. Tonight I was thinking about it even more and I thought "Eureka! I will respond to those assholes who think 9/11 is an inside job!" and magic occured. 

A little personal context I left out of the video because I feel it's none of youtube's business: Last year on 9/11 I had only been in Chicago for a few weeks (tops). To understate the situation completely, I felt a little out of place and was very homesick. I walked out of my dorm and some moron gave me pamphlet saying "9/11 was an inside job!" and I took it. I stopped for a moment and was absolutely convinced I was going to hit him. I didn't. I then (all of this is during intense, unbroken eye contact) decided to call him a fucking moron and keep walking. 

I took a deep breath.

I didn't do that either. 

In retrospect, as I tell this story it sounds like I did the honorable thing. That's where it all gets complicated. In all honesty I regret not doing something. I feel like I let my city down.

It eats me up.

Keeping that in mind watch my first ever Youtube response. I guess it's a way of dealing with the past without actually having a time machine. Maybe I should have invested in the Time Travelers Fund...


I had the worst dream this morning. It wasn't scary, in fact, it was so pleasant that waking up and snapping back to reality was the truly horrifying part. 

In it, I was laying on my futon. The TV was playing quietly and I was tightly wrapped in my snuggie. I began to doze off. I noticed how tired I was and (literally) said out loud: "Whew. I'm tired. I'm going to sleep"

I turned off the TV, went to my room and crawled into bed. It was so nice. Then what?


My alarm clock wakes me up. 7 o'clock. Time to start the day.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Using my school's sexy DSLR I went into the bathroom to get used to her. Haven't mastered the art yet as a majority of the stuff I shot is over exposed/midly blurry. I really happy I was shooting in the bathroom tonight. Why? This gross monster crawled out of my sink. Thankfully I had the equipment to document it.

Maybe if I show the landlord I can get a couple of bucks off the rent...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thoughts on 9/11

Every time 9/11 rolls by I feel pressure to say something profound at least once during the day. I feel that, as a New Yorker, I have a duty to stop what I'm doing, reflect, and put everything together so it makes sense. I haven't been able to for the past eight years and this one shouldn't be any different.

Truth is, for some reason unknown to me, in the past few years I have been thinking about 9/11 again. A lot. It has been showing up in my dreams and thoughts regularly and I can't seem to figure out why. One of my theories is that the scale of everything has more of a context as I get older. Perhaps it's me moving out to Chicago. Who knows.

I think that as far as being a New Yorker who experienced 9/11 goes I'm up there with the luckiest. I didn't know anyone who passed away. Not a soul. I didn't have to worry about my own family for one instant because I knew they were safe for the entire day. Still, I feel grief about what happened to my city. I feel guilty about feeling grief when nothing actually happened to me or anyone I know. It's complicated.

9/11 was tough. Post 9/11 New York was tougher. I had to sit back and watch as my city changed dramatically every day in ways I really couldn't fully understand. Suddenly everyone had new values. New fears. Nothing felt comfortable. The worst part? Not a soul talked about how uncomfortable and scared we were. I don't think I even knew how uncomfortable and scared I was. I am 100% convinced that my friends and I dwelling around the Lower East Side as 11 year olds have been effected by this shift tremendously. I am not sure how, but I really feel we are. 

There is one thing I have taken from 9/11 that I will not budge on. Violence is deplorable. In any shape or form. I swear to god that if I were put in a room with a loaded gun and the men who shaped together this attack against my own city, tied up in a chair, completely helpless, I would do nothing. Revenge is foolish. Violence is fucking cyclical. It is our responsibilities as the rational, humane individuals we claim to be to absorb some of that hate (no matter how much it hurts) and never act on it. That is how the chain is broken. I think we as a country do not do a very good job at this but I'm honored to say that my friends and I, as individuals, do a great goddamned job at this.

If someone is punched in the face for being who he is there are a few ways he can handle it. He can punch back. He can get up and change who he is, preventing any future punches. He can get up and exaggerate who he is and get punched even more, possibly harder. Or, he can be a man. He can be a man, get up and be the exact same fucking person he was when he got knocked down. That's what we need to do. That's what I'm doing.

To end this on a somewhat humorous (but respectful) note I give you the following clip. When I first saw it I remember smiling and thinking "hey, that's exactly right" and every time I watch it I think the same thing. It's a little harsh and may contradict a few points I raised in this post but the ending is dead on, exactly how I feel. That may or not be a good thing but I'm sure as shit proud of it. 

I wish you all the best.

Monday, September 7, 2009

This is so, so funny

This is so goddamned funny. I am not at all a fan of Dave Chappelle. When the Chappelle show was on people would start exchanging quotes from skits for hours at a time I really, honestly wanted to blow my brains out. Major party foul. It's not funny and I never thought he was funny. At all. UNTIL, of course, I saw this video. I officially retract all previous statements I have ever made to anyone about Dave Chappelle. Do yourself the favor and watch this from start to finish. 

"Sir, put that goddamned cigarette out, OK?"

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Moving into this place, so far, is one of the most exciting things I have done in a long while. The space is wonderful, I feel at ease and at home and living with Preston is pretty damn fun. We have changed our lifestyles to keep a tidy, functional home and we are often envied as people walking by look in and see the apartment in all her glory. 

Still, no rose is without it's thorn. The thorn in this case is a major pain in my ass. And stomach. 

You see, over the past couple of days I have been pulling beers out of the fridge and thinking to myself: "Hmm. Basement cool. How strange" and putting them in the freezer for a proper cooling. A few days ago we realized there was a horrible smell coming out of the fridge and a dark red liquid oozing out of the cow's worth of hamburger meat we had invested in. 

Yes, the fridge is broken. Big time. 

After a really terrible clean up we began fasting. It will all end on Tuesday. It is then, and only then, that our landlady will be back in the office. Thanks a lot, people who served and protected this country.

Times are tough around here. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Finally! The Tour!

Well, folks, the time has finally come. I have settled into my new home away from home and am just beginning to get into the swing of things. I have one more day off until classes and I feel at ease already. The place is beautiful (though, currently a little messy from the move) but should be all spruced up in the new few weeks. 

In other words: I'M BACK, BABY