I thought I’d take a break this week and vary things up a bit from our usual programming. After all the fuss over GDC I decided it was time to check out another game designer convention. So last week I went to GDX at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to get another look at life on the other side of the fence. Ranked as one of the top ten game design schools in the world, SCAD students are impressive because the arts focus means they’re required to take courses in drawing and art history on top of their game work. The conference kicked off with two lectures by graduating students. The first was by Brian Shurtleff on applying the rule systems of improv groups to games. Rule number one is always make your partner look good. Building on that system were a lot of really interesting ideas on how to build co-op experiences while referencing shows like ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ to give examples. Downstairs I caught the tail end of Jim Sidlesky’s thesis work with Machinima. I was already familiar with the history of the genre but have lost track of the latest stuff. He has put together an intense depiction of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Annabell Lee” using The Sims 2 engine and some music a Goth band in Florida loaned him. The most interesting new Machinima artist he introduced me to was Friedrich Kirschner, whose innovation with texturing and art is astounding. Outside of his excellent music video based on Channel Zero Comic, you can catch this clip of his capturing the animation of a robot submerged in milk using legos, a spoon, and a lot of milk.
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The Girlfriend Experience
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Sasha Grey, Chris Santos, Glenn Kenney, Peter Zizzo
Opening: 22 May 2009 (New York / Los Angeles)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Plot summary: Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, The Girlfriend Experience is five days in the life of Chelsea (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation—“the girlfriend experience”. Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control—she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2,000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend (Chris Santos) who accepts her lifestyle. But when you’re in the business of meeting people, you never know who you’re going to meet…
The 20th film from Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh, The Girlfriend Experience is a sexy, gorgeously shot time capsule from the not-too-distant past. [Magnolia Pictures]
Atlanta’s Coathangers released their debut Scramble two weeks ago and here’s a video from that release that Fader just premiered. PopMatters Matt Fiander said of the album, “Scramble is a very solid record, but if anything it shows us the Coathangers’ talents have outgrown their humble garage sound.”
Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker releases his latest album Further Complications on 19 May. “Angela” is the first MP3 available from the new album. It’s pretty rocky as in rock ‘n’ roll produced as it was by Steve Albini, but a bit lyrically dull for someone as talented as Cocker.
TV on the Radio dropped by Jay Leno’s show recently for a so-so performance of “Crying”.