Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"Only You" from "I'll Say She Is"

"I'll Say She Is," a 1924 Marx Brothers musical, never made it to the screen, except for a tantalizing routine that promoted their 1931 film, "Monkey Business."  Noah Diamond reconstructed the musical for a 2014 revival, and it was no small task - so many of the elements were missing, so much was pulled from previous Marxian vaudeville shows, and of course, there was profuse adlibbing.  His excellent book, Gimme a Thrill , details the show's origins and his subsequent detective work in rebuilding this lost Marx Brothers musical.

One of the songs, "Only You," by Will Johnstone (author of the musical's "book") and his brother Tom, was set to record in the pre-electric studios of the Victor Talking Machine company, and it showed up in my collection as a B-side to a Fred Waring recording of "June Night." 

It isn't a great tune, but it offers a sample of what was used as a buffer between scenes featuring Harpo, Chico, Groucho, and Zeppo Marx in 1924.

The book by Noah Diamond, Gimme a Thrill, however, is much more fun, and Amazon has it.  It's probably the best Marx Brothers book since Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Sometimes Zeppo by Joe Adamson. 


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Magic Show for July 13 2018

"Oh Fudge!" with GM and Dr. C

GM comes on stage, with cart.  Cart contains two stands, a wind up portable phonograph, and art supplies – pastel sticks, four cardboard sheets (black on one side, white on the other). 

GM goes off stage to bring in Dr. C.  Dr. C is apprehensive about being on stage.  He helps GM place the stands in front and winds up the phonograph.

GM produces a record from the turntable, which quickly reveals to be broken.  Dr. C plays the turntable, to the surprise of GM and Dr. C.  They take a Ta Daaaa! Credit for the trick. 

Dr. C’s task will be to keep the phonograph running during the presentation.

GM pulls up a cardboard sheet, and then a pastel stick.  He hands Dr. C a sheet as well.  They hand sheets back and forth to each other, with increasing speed, making what seems to be random marks on the sheets.

(The sheets are pre-cut to a template.  The first mark being made is along the pre-cut area.  Dr. C. will draw in the blank portion, GM will draw upon the portion with the faintly sketched lines)

As they complete a color and move to another, they put the used stick into a bag. 

First time, it goes through the bottom to the ground.

Second time, it goes through, but they have a metal bowl to catch it.  Ta-daah!

Third time, they flip the bag upside down, and the stick goes into the bag and stays there. Ta-daaaah!

GM uses the broken record as a knife to mime cutting the drawings along the pre cut template.

The drawings are torn apart at the cut, and are mis-arranged on the posts.

They are re-arranged to show Buster Bronco and the WMU logo at the bottom.

Ta Daahhhh!

After a considerable amount of editing.... it was trimmed to 6 minutes on stage, with this clip being the sole document, apparently!  Whew! 92 degrees of fun!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Charging Toward a Retreat - Organizational Meeting Notes #2

A Charge Toward a Retreat - Organizational Meeting Notes #2
ASIFA Central Subcommittee on Retreats and BBQs

Phone Conference Call/Zoom: Steve Leeper, Jim Middleton (secty), Gretchen Vinnedge, Robert Swieringa, Gary Schwartz
Tuesday, 26 June 2018, 7-7:40pm (Zoom says BE GONE, MORTALS!)

Some more of the August Retreat specifics were addressed and confirmed - some other items will be discussed “off-zoom” via email.  New material highlighted.

The Autumnal Retreat:
Location: Grand Rapids
Dates: Saturday, August 11 and Sunday August 12, 2018

Proposed Outline:
Saturday, August 11

11am - rousing, stretching, arriving at the theatrical location with snacks in hand for general consumption and minimizing distractions due to hypoglycemia

Opening remarks by Brad Yarhouse, ASIFA Central President - let the mayhem BEGIN!

Noon - 3pm Workshop
Here’s what we’re going with
1. A lip synch project, a brief 4 second bit of vocal gymnastics, promoting ASIFA Central.  Steve and Gary will be working on the narration text and will determine whether it will be pre-recorded or will be captured live at the workshop.
2. Gretchen has four (4) workstations available at the CMC site.  Dragonframe is available there.  Gary, Jim, and Steve all have workstations they can bring.   Steve is designing sand boxes, up to 8 of them.  Jim has a light board for silhouetting or 2D animation sketchery. 
3. Otherwise, it’s “BYOAS” - Bring Your Own Animation Supplies
4. Bring food! Drink! (It’ll have to stay outside the work zone) 

3pm-5/5:30pm -Show and Tell, aka “Whatever the Hell We Just Made” (official ASIFA Central Sanctioned Term)
Jim will send out a request to the membership planning to attend to skoot along their intended participation works for the session.  Jim is also working up a standard half-dozen questions to ask everyone at the completion of the showing, with an emphasis on techniques and workflows employed.  The presentations will be recorded for editing into a document commemorating the event.

5/5:30pm - 7pm - DINNER BREAK - on one’s own recognizances - such a variety, perhaps a deli, perhaps a bag of pork rinds

7pm - An evening show, no admission charge, but donations to the cause are always appreciated, if only to cover the light bill for the CMC
Two parts of the program are in the schedule -
Part One - Lotte Reiniger presentation (Chuck Wilson coordinating) - approximately 45 minutes
Part Two - The latest Ottawa showreel - approximately 45 minutes

Sunday, August 12
11am to 2pm - a BBQ “out back of the CMC”  - $5 will help defer the costs
Robert, Brad, and Gretchen will be the coordinators
We may freely enjoy each other’s company.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Anijam tests for IAD '18

The Poster Challenge:
First of all, to have a poster challenge, you need a poster:

Then take an asisgnment:
The task is to morph between two sets of eyes for this year's poster.  Set #17 goes to #1.
The tests are ....

#1 - 11 drawings to check for color balance and registration, run through Sony Vegas, looped front to back, shot on twos.

And an animated gif test on the first frame for background layering...

And, blending the first second or so...

And now with the final frames, for the background...

Unassembled frames, waiting for layering and final edit to a 3 second opus:

Press Release Notes:
ASIFA Central - IAD October Project and Poster

The eyes have it - 18 visions gaze upon the viewer, just as the viewer is drawn to the variety of imagined expressions they represent.  Rene Castillo of ASIFA Mexico, along with nine other animators at his Mandaraka studios, created these emotions, frozen in time, practically begging for life beyond their storyboarded existence.
Castillo noted that “every animator has a unique and personal point of view, with different styles, techniques, themes, colors... if we celebrate world animation, we must celebrate the diversity of looks.”
With this philosophy, he created his poster celebrating International Animation Day, expressing passion he has embraced since a serious auto accident gave him appreciation for the brevity of life.  Better to mold life into clay than a life of molded management.
ASIFA Central in the United States took Castillo’s vision one step further, molding each image into an animated continuum.  Their Anijam project will be completed in time to present at its August retreat in Grand Rapids.

Le fin, enfin:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Typing on a Manual Anything....

Presenting the opportunity to hash out random noggin noises, a typewriter is faster than legible handwritten notes — and creates an immediate, organic record, without interruption for “improvement.” It allows me to argue with my thoughts instead of those of an algorithm-designed program.
These gatherings allow for tactile experimentation – perhaps an unusual example will become a new extension of these fingertips. We all become percussion performers in the process.

 At work...

On the road...

 With Oswald

With a beer...remember, write drunk but edit sober...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

ASIFA Central and Green Screen Frolix

June 9, 2018 - a rainy afternoon in Grand Rapids, with streets flooding in Battle Creek, and orange pumpkins heading to Singapore.  That calls for some video experimentation:

Part One - Melies as Mentor

Part Two - Koko Kicks Krazy

 Some guy with an old T-shirt and bad color sense

 Things quickly became surreal

 New guard, old glasses...

 A virtual Gary... we had to take a picture

Avatars abounding