Friday, February 08, 2019

Osiris Posited in 2009

A lively "Book of the Dead"

From Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead, a translation of texts by Normandi Ellis, with these gems that leap from the page:

“My body is but wax and wick for flame. When the candle burns out, the light shines elsewhere.”      

“Not a perfect soul, I am perfecting. Not a human being, I am a human becoming.”  

“Name yourself in your heart and know who you are.”  

“In the beat of a heart, the suck of a breath, you are the universe.”  

“In my heart are the deeds my body has done and my heart has been weighed in the balance.”  

“Mine is a heart of carnelian, crimson as murder on a holy day.”

And a section of 21 rather deadly apres-vie "ladies of the ether." They deserve one's respect, yes, ma'am!

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

ASIFA Central Meeting Notes - 4 February 2019

ASIFA Board Agenda and Meeting - February 4, 2019, a Conference Call Collossus!

Chatting up a storm, after a storm, waiting for the thermal inversions to make a mockery of Monday moodiness and frigid fiasca.  Bleary-eyed participants dialed in at 8pm, Monday, February 4.  
A proper communion of puppetry began the celebration of new home ownership, knotty pines, radiation survival, and film stripping.  
Present: Deanna, Gretchen, Julie (her first time as setting up!), Chuck, Chris, Brad, Bob S, and some half-blind pharmacist in Battle Creek

ASIFA IAD Central Review
From 50 attendants in 2017 to 125 in 2018; from 2 screening sites in 2017 to 7 in 2018.  26 chapters participated in the IAD, and 15 chapters exchanged film reels for the occasion.  By 2020, ASIFA Central will spread animation to all corners of the globe! Well, a globe by definition doesn’t really have any corners, does it?  That would be squaring the circle, which ignores pi, and a culture that ignores pi can only find culture in yogurt, which is not an ideal animation medium.
President Brad has been musing on the timing for future IAD showings, namely by pulling submission deadlines to the first of June, with this first challenge representing a best of compilation from the hours of material on the 15 programs already exchanged by the international chapters.  Then, by 2020, the reset schedule should allow for plenty of programming without the current concerns about last minute arrangements, which can contribute to a low level of animator and audience participation.

The new! Improving! ASIFA Website has some needs, mainly technical, with challenges on viewing the site based on the browser used (clipping on Firefox, trimming on Opera, and who knows what Netscape thinks of it).   Julie is working on links, Jim is prepping some mp3s to flood the fields of public domain (1924 - “Rhapsody in Blue” is up for grabs, and how one can salivate...), until then, some nice Edison masters of Felix Arndt.   Brad is working on the main header for the site.

And an earlier release of the IAD poster can improve participation (and again, reduce the rushed sense of wrapping up rapt contributions).  This year, Saturday February 23 begins ANI-JAM 19! The Grand Rapids Community Media Center will host, or members can participate via SKYPE at 1:00 EST.
Brad offered the following notes for the ANI-JAM:
Crazy idea 1: Proliferation and exuberance of life! 
Pitch: The landscape constantly scrolls belching out strange bugs till the last bug (the one on the poster appears)
Rules ideas:
One person creates the rolling landscape (it just scrolls)
The amount of landscape depends on the number of participants.
Each person gets a copy of their portion of the rolling landscape. The landscape scrolls 3 sec per person
Each person can make the animated belching bug volcanos act as they desire but the must keep moving at the same pace and match up with the next segment of the scroll. In other words during the 3 seconds, much can happen but the landscape must move consistently to the pace that you were given, and your end volcanos and holes must match the start of the next volcanos and holes. 
You can interpret the scrolling landscape in other mediums keeping consistent colors and basic shapes. (stop-motion, 3D, paint, etc.)
Within your 3 seconds you can go wild with creative insects
animators can combine their segments to make larger segments and have interaction between their bugs and interpretations of the world
Specifics will be worked out before the 23rd day of February gets nibbled away.

Deanna Morse also let slip that she is one of four new ASIFA International vice presidents.  She discussed her projects for the newly repurposed website, with US chapter profiles, overviews of ASIFA prize recipients for the past 20 years, and a celebration of ASIFA’s 60th anniversary.  Deanna wants writers to sharpen their pencils on behalf of the projects, offering prize money to stimulate the process.  April submissions with September deadlines for those projects.  Deanna and Brad will continue discussions between ASIFA Central conference calls.
Here is her official "release" - 

Elected (re-elected) as a V.P. for ASIFA International, 3 year term. Working with Sayoko Kinoshita (President, Japan), VPs: Johnchill Li (China), Mohamed Ghazala (Egypt), Thomas Rendolder (Austria), and the many ASIFA chapter representatives around the globe. Working for peace and mutual understanding, connecting through our shared love of the art of animation. Celebrating 60 years in 2020 for this organization. 

And a preliminary discussion for this year’s ASIFA Central retreat focused on St. Louis, Missouri for the location, with details being sent “to committee” for the next meeting.  A July 20 weekend is being proposed for the retreat, to allow for scheduling access to other summer events.  We understand St. Louis in July is a specialized treat for those who enjoy heat and humidity on a professional scale.  RETREAT Committee: Chris, Gretchen, Bob; with  details by next meeting

ASIFA Central is a non-profit group, and as a non-profit, members may be able to take advantage of certain special considerations for software access and promotional partnerships.  Nina Paley’s creative-commons “Seder Masochism” is certainly worthy of an afternoon showing and discussion in its own right.

The Ann Arbor film festival is also slated for March 26-31, with at least one major session concentrating on animation, with other films being scattered among the competitors.  Other local retreats were discussed, based on availability of material, topics, and creators.  Those, too, went into a committee for consideration.

Jim Middleton
ASFIA Central Secretary

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Regarding that New "New Math"

With all the talk of New "New Math," I thought a glimpse of an 1882 guide on the subject might be worth a look.  I'm still trying to work through the "tutorial." From "Parson's Hand-Book of Forms," published in Battle Creek by J. E. White of 5 West Main Street:

...and just wait for the piece on fractions...

Phun Pharmacy Phacts for February 2019

Well, maybe a fantasy, after all.  Pharmacists are prone to fantasy, you know, like lunchtime.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Don't Be Nervous (1929) - clip demonstrating sound technique

1929 wasn't a good year for movies that moved.  Sound generally meant a camera bolted in place, boxed to create a quiet camera and dehydrated cameraman.  And for the sound itself, it wasn't high fidelity - it practically had to fight to get onto the soundtrack.  Watch The Broadway Melody (1929) to track MGM's learning curve (spoiler alert - it isn't too curvy), or examine the Marx Brothers in their first film for Paramount, The Coconuts, to observe the direct method to prevent crackly paper from destroying a take.

Lloyd Hamilton, himself

So for a two-reeler from Educational Pictures in 1929 to not only handle sound pretty well, but to add a split-screen AND interactive soundtrack is pretty amazing.  Lloyd Hamilton, generally unknown today, was appreciated by his contemporaries (Buster Keaton particularly among them), provided this example of how he handled "the talkies."  I know I was rather stunned - from Don't Be Nervous, directed by William Watson. 

The whole thing is here:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Christmas Movie Memories from 2018 - The Holly and the Ivy (1952)

Couldn’t make it all the way through “The Holly and the Ivy” on its Turner broadcast, even with a mild distraction of a jigsaw puzzle. It began interestingly enough, with some banter among two ladies trying to share the same train compartment, but having to adjust for one’s first class vs second class carriage, setting the stage for a class division between them. Then it comes to Ralph Richardson’s house and becomes a completely set stage. Lots of quiet talk, quiet outrage, quiet disappointment, restrained dismay, revelation of atheism as The Holiday service approaches, and an overarching impression that father has been more interested in his career than his own family. He prefers the abstract assistance over the concrete concern, seems mildly surprised that his family has all these stressors. Ultimately, Michael Gregory chucks it all to go to America, changes his name to Marcus Brody and becomes dean of students for Marshall college in Connecticut, only to be sobered up and perpetually frustrated by one of his professors, Henry Walton Jones, Jr. At least that’s what I remembered. The egg nog that evening was fantastic.  Sparrow agreed.