August 24, 2013

Hard is the Journey by Li Po


Gold vessels of fine wines,
thousands a gallon,
Jade dishes of rare meats
costing more thousands,

I lay my chopsticks down
no more can banquet,
And draw my sword and stare
wildly about me:

Ice bars my way to cross
the Yellow River,
Snows from dark skies to climb
the T'ai-hang Mountains!

At peace I drop a hook
into a brooklet,
At once I'm in a boat
but sailing sunward …

(Hard is the Journey,
Hard is the Journey,
So many turnings,
And now where am I?)

So when a breeze breaks waves,
bringing fair weather,
I set a cloud for sails,
cross the blue oceans!

- Li Po

August 23, 2013

Sometimes Slower is Better -- "Jolene" by Dolly Parton

This is a 45 rpm record of Dolly Parton singing Jolene that has been slowed to 33 rpm.

Compared to:

Which do you prefer?
Me? I think sometimes slower is better.

August 21, 2013

The Innovation of Loneliness

What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely?
Inspired and Based on the wonderful book by Sherry Turkle - Alone Together.

Script, Design & Animation: Shimi Cohen

Final Project at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

August 17, 2013

Your Chicken Enemy -- Epic Fight

Live action parody of the famous Epic Chicken Fight. Stunt women Jessie Graff and Tree O'Toole fight to the death, crashing through walls, windows, and wreaking havoc on anything in their path.

August 15, 2013

Convenient Truths -- CARTOON COLLEGE

This Column Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human. Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, Daniel Elkin curls up in front of the TV and delves deep into the bowels of Netflix Streaming Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.
Today he and his friend Jason Sacks found 2012's Cartoon College directed by Josh Melrod and Tara Wray.

Sacks: I don't know about you, Elkin, but if I were an aspiring cartoonist, I'd be very tempted to make the journey to White River Junction, Vermont, and enroll in the Center for Cartoon Studies – if they'd have me, of course. The story presented in Cartoon College portrays CCS as an extremely intensive, extremely stimulating opportunity to earn an MFA in comic art.
This documentary is basically a portrait of the school and several of its students, profiling them as they work through their creative and occasional emotional struggles as they complete their theses and learn the craft of being a professional cartoonist. As usual with documentaries, those portraits are the most interesting aspects of the movie.
A few students really stand out in the film. One is Blair Sterrett, a nice kid from Utah who desperately wants to create his graduating thesis on his missionary travels as a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. But Blair is just not able to complete that project, continually running into problems with his material that cause him to deliver a mediocre, half-assed thesis presentation. We're allowed to be in the room with Blair as he presents his thesis. Maybe the most powerful moments in this film happen when we watch his obvious pain as he receives the bad news that his project has been rejected. His story has a redemptive second act, though, and that is part of the real heart of this movie.
Another intriguing student, Al Wesolowski, is a much older man, with a long white beard and enormous belly who enters CCS as an improbable student of the program. Wesolowski worked a long career in the field of archaeology before entering CCS, and it's clear that while he loves White River Junction and its bucolic atmosphere, Wesolowski is also overwhelmed by the experience of attending school with all of these excited young people and by the relentless deadlines he faces. Al's story has a redemptive second act as well.
Then there's Jen Vaughn, a young woman from Texas, who's one of those people who seldom seems to stop moving. She has two jobs in addition to her studies; we view a few scenes of Jen hard at work at a bakery at the same time that she also creates a stack of minicomics about her favorite topic: menstruation. It helps that I know and like Jen, but I thought she came across as fun, charming, and somehow very normal and self-actualized in this movie.
We watch these three students, and many others, navigate through their academic and professional education, going to conventions, receiving advice from their professors and guest lecturers (the main takeaway seems to be that you'll never become rich doing comics – heck, the great Lynda Barry makes her living selling things on eBay) and generally living a frantic student lifestyle.
Elkin, I really enjoyed this very low-key look at a school that I wish had been around when I was ready for college. Do you daydream of enrolling in the Cartoon College, too?

August 14, 2013

Da Wold Needa Hero

Da Wold Needa Hero from Zach Cohen on Vimeo.

Powaman returns to earth and struggles to maintain his secret identity as well as his true self. He is torn between his role a successful insurance agent and the love of his fiance who's dying from ass-cancer. Meanwhile Detropolis is being attacked by hordes of unknown aliens and the masses fall, crying his name. Choices can be painful when you are the best and last hope of mankind.

Soundtrack: Primus - Fisticufs, (remix version)

August 13, 2013


from normaa on Vimeo.
"Human´s food in the upcoming years: Data and Devices"
Animation loop for, an online animation competition.
June theme: Food

August 9, 2013


This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
Leslie Stein is a detached observer. The problem is that her detachment is in a constant battle between itself and Stein's own overarching empathetic nature. In her comic Eye of the Majestic Creature, Stein wanders and stumbles through experiences. She notes them coolly with a seemingly flat affect, but the next moment? Well, that belies her heart.
If you have never read any of Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature then you should do so.
Right now.
I'll wait...
The reason I'm talking about this is that Fantagraphics has just published the latest volume of Stein's work, Eye of the Majestic Creature Volume 2. This collection continues the story of Stein's semi-autobiographical and wildly wonderful alter-ego, Larrybear. Larry has moved back to the city in this volume and it is this experience that makes up the first third of this book. Larry echoes Stein's dichotomous nature and the character's story chronicles that war between head and heart with humor, intelligence, and profundity. What Stein does in this first part of the book is to draw parallels between Larry's world and the world of Theodore Dreiser's masterpiece of American Naturalism, Sister Carrie. In Stein's conception of the modern world, little has changed in a young urban woman's experience from the turn of the twentieth century to the turn of the twenty-first.

August 8, 2013

Review -- LOST CAT

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
More and more in my reviews of comics, I find that I often talk about how many cartoonists use their medium to explore themes of loneliness, isolation, and our inability to connect with others. It's as if artists seem to be especially drawn to these themes, perhaps because the creative process tends to be one that occurs in isolation, or perhaps it's because the creators themselves are outsiders, observers, the kind of people who don't easily “fit in”.
Write what you know, and all that.
Interestingly enough, though, art itself crosses the barriers between the isolation and the individual. A creator who examines their own inability to connect with others ends up connecting, in a sense, to similarly minded people who encounter the creator's work. By putting form to loneliness, it becomes a shared experience. The act of creation creates community; were it not for the impulse spawned in isolation, the singular insights would never be heard.
Thus is the power of art. Only the creative individual can present their own loneliness, isolation, and inability to connect with others in a way that brings us together.

August 2, 2013

Life on Moss

Life on Moss from Boris Godfroid on Vimeo.

'Life on Moss' is a short nature film, filmed from noon till sunrise.
Kevin MacLeod (

Video ©Boris Godfroid

August 1, 2013

Review -- BLAMMO #8 by Noah Van Sciver

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
Come, children, and drink deep from the well of despair. For in these times and in all of our interactions we only misunderstand the intentions of others. Through this misunderstanding we drown in our own sense of isolation; we choke on loneliness with our every breath.
That's right. There's a new Noah Van Sciver comic out.

Noah Van Sciver has been putting out books at an almost feverish pace of late. There's been 1999  from Retrofit, his amazing graphic novel The Hypo from Fantagraphics, Deep in the Woods from 2D Cloud, and now he's just recently released the latest issue of his ongoing series, Blammo, a collection of eight stories that seem to all revolve around the classic Van Sciver themes of our tragic inability to connect with others, especially the ladies, and the brooding loneliness this engenders.