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10/29/2003 08:30:22 AM

Since Pittsburgh is the other big city in Pennsylvania, and I had never been there, I decided to check it out with Merritt this past weekend. The chosen weekend was timely; The Animation Show (which isn’t scheduled to visit Philadelphia) was screening in Pittsburgh, and since I wasn’t going to Ottawa this year, this was a good excuse to drive several hours to see some animation, and see whatever else Pittsburgh had to offer while I was at it. As it turned out, much of the “whatever else” (at least the stuff I was most interested in) was unavailable when we visited. The Mattress Factory was closed on Saturday as they put together a show that would be open to the public on Sunday afternoon…when we were scheduled to be visiting Falling Water. The beautiful irony, of course, was that when we arrived at Falling Water, all the tours for the day were already booked, so we could only get grounds passes and wander around outside the house, envying those inside. We did get to see The Animation Show, however, and only a fraction of its program was new to me, a forgettable fraction at that. Still, most of the films were a welcome second (or third, or fourth) viewing, particularly Don Hertzfeldt’s hilarious, minimalist shorts. And we did get to see The Andy Warhol Museum, which provided seven floors of inspiring synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas.

On a completely unrelated note, if you need an upcoming wedding or birth announcement to look extra pretty, look no further than Rhubarb Design, just launched by my friend Heather.

10/22/2003 01:09:03 AM

The sleepless National Film Challenge weekend is behind me and its results have far exceeded both my expectations and my hopes. Our film is called Dial-A-Spy, and there’s not much I could write about it here that I didn’t already write in the Production Notes on the Dial-A-Spy web site, where the film itself can be seen as well. Enjoy!

10/12/2003 11:10:17 PM

I remain too distracted to produce contemplative opuses detailing my recent experiences, so here is some brusque vagueness about my tremendous weekend and some recent adventures in cinema:

Kevin Cornell’s bachelor party meant food, booze, billiards, and video games all night at Dave & Buster’s on Friday. The Table’s opening reception for the Land Lines exhibition meant beautiful photographs from Nicki Stager and Micah Danges on Saturday. The Incomparables’ second annual warehouse party meant rock ’n’ roll, wrestling, projections of Jan Svankmajer shorts and other experimental video oddities, a live burlesque stripper, and quality time with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Kill Bill: Volume 1 is low on plot but high on style, the first half of a revenge odyssey that tips its hat to spaghetti westerns and samurai flicks the world over. Uma Thurman is out to lay her vengeance upon the disparate members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad for the violent disruption of her wedding four years ago. This volume sees her dispatch Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu, and hordes of sword-wielding Yakuza thugs in a blur of spurting blood and severed limbs. I’m used to Tarantino contorting his pulp influences into something a bit more meaningfully layered, but despite its shallow narrative, Kill Bill: Volume 1 was expertly crafted and every bit as entertaining as I wanted it to be. As the final showdown will be with a 66-year old David Carradine in Kill Bill: Volume 2, its tentative February release date can’t come soon enough.

Dirty Pretty Things is a drama billed as a thriller. It thrives on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s and Audrey Tautou’s excellence in creating sympathetic characters, in this case, illegal immigrants struggling amidst the heinous realities of London’s underground black market organ trade. The leads’ efforts triumph over a nearly cardboard villain (played by Sergi López, a poor man’s Dan Hedaya) and a rather melodramatic conclusion, making this a very worthwhile film.

10/8/2003 09:40:51 AM

Last night, I registered team “BREDSTIK Entertainment” in the National Film Challenge, which works like this: At 7:00 PM on Friday, October 17, we will receive an e-mail with a randomly-generated genre and list of elements (a prop, a line of dialogue, and a character). We then have until 12:00 noon on the following Monday (a total of 65 hours) to create a short film (between 4 and 8 minutes long) in the assigned genre, using all of the specified elements. Wish us luck!

On the same night we begin with the film, VH1 will premeire “VH1 ILL-ustrated,” an animated sketch comedy show produced by Camp Chaos. A large portion of the character design and animation was done by my friends Jeff Bandelin, Matt Sutter, and Peter Dalkner, who make up nearly half the show’s staff. (It should be noted that they claim no responsibility for the writing). Click here for showtimes.

In other news, the Trauma Queens video for “Run and Hide” is now available to view online. It was shot in Northeast Philly back in January and features my roommates and me as extras, rocking out in a sea of cute girls and senior citizens.

And finally, if anyone is itching to give me an early Christmas present, they can feel free to finance a trip to Carson City, Nevada, for the World Beard and Moustache Championships on November 1st. My current facial hair status disables me from entering, but oh, to be a spectator…

10/1/2003 06:27:44 PM

There has been plenty going on, but I haven’t had much to say about any of it. Lightning Bolt, Hangedup, Battles, and Lost in Translation are all great and were all taken in last week. Over the weekend, I saw a bumper sticker that said “Abortion Causes Breast Cancer,” watched my dear friend Mary get married, and cheered as some friends’ 48-hour film submission took 2nd place in the 2004 CAmm Slamm in Baltimore. At work, I’m laying out a 48-page pornographic catalog, marveling at Quark 6’s thorough lack of new features, and laughing heartily at video titles like Weapons of Ass Destruction. At home, I’m reacquainting myself with graphite drawing, researching early 20th century Russian Constructivist design for a freelance job, reorganizing the contents of my iBook within the freshly installed Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), and scowling at the new chill in the air.

Illegal Art is taking up residency in Philadelphia for the month of October, with a slew of exciting events happening at the Nexus Gallery and Prince Music Theater, among other venues. I recommend checking out as much of it as possible, but if your free time is limited, just be sure not to miss Mark Hosler’s presentation, “The Media Pranks and Hoaxes of Negativland,” on October 17th. The shit Negativland has pulled off over the years—including surviving some historic legal battles—is amazing, and Hosler is guaranteed to entertain and inspire with the stories and the creative results.

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