Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Queen Muppets

Here's a awesome short film that a former student, Kelli Krysh, sent me that her company, Soapbox Films, worked on to commemorates the anniversary of Queen front man, Freddy Mercury's death from AIDs. They shot it in 1 day using 79 muppets and 53 different setups- impressive!! It's great to see students graduate and do what they love!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Film Review: Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion

Watching Al Roker talk about the history of art and illusion makes as much sense as attending a nuclear physics lecture by Ronald McDonald. Not to be a “Roker-hater” but the man dorks the hell out of this presentation which is otherwise really interesting and at times downright fascinating- I’ll watch him do weather or make ribs, but leave the wonders of art history alone, Al.

So aside from the unbelievably corny Roker-vision, this 50 minute look into the history of optical illusion in art, architecture, and sculpture by the National Gallery of Art in Washington is as informative as it is cool. There are some visuals that go on too long, an excessive use of 3D wireframes, and enough epic, heavenly music to make you consider hell as an option but the look into anamorphic paintings, tricks with scale, and multiple-point perspective are well worth it.

The documentary highlights interesting works by artists like: DaVinci, Holbein the Younger, and the lesser known but equally impressive Masaccio and Francesco Borromini and it does a good job in illustrating how the illusions work. For good measure the film covers modern usage of optical illusions by using a clip from Casablanca and in everyone’s favorite use of forced perspective in Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle as well. The DVD is a must have for art teachers, stoners, and Al Roker’s family but it’s an enlightening experience for anyone interested in art or visual trickery.

For: Short & Sweet NYC

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders @ Le Poisson Rouge 11.18.09

Variety, they say, is the spice of life and there may be no better proof than the eclectic assemblage of talent that was culled together by "folk noir" singer and author John Wesley Harding for his Cabinet of Wonders show at Le Poisson Rouge.

Harding opened the show by introducing the performers via rhyming poems and played a tune featuring his band The English U.K. The first featured guest was author Stephen Elliott who read an excerpt from his novel “The Adderall Diaries” followed by singer A.C. Newman (of the New Pornographers) who did a duo of tunes and was then joined onstage by Harding and his band for one of the highlight’s of the evening, a wonderful rendition of Julian Cope’s tune “All the Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers”.

Next up to bat was author Steve Almond who did a humorous reading deconstructing Toto’s 1983 hit “Africa” followed by comedian Eugene Mirman and an impassioned performance by Old 97’s singer Rhett Miller who did a few originals as well as a cover of Bowie’s “Five Years” with Harding. Finally, comedian Mike Birbiglia hit the stage and delivered another terrific performance with some very personal material about how early love and carnival rides don’t pair well.

The venue was perfect for the occasion with a very intimate setting and the line-up made for a thoroughly entertaining show which was topped off with everyone joining Harding onstage for a cover of “I’m a Believer”. Now I have one more goal in life to one day join the Cabinet of day

For: Short & Sweet NYC