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by Sarah Zupko

11 Jun 2009

Logan is the talent behind the recent, striking Apple silhouettes campaign and the company also has its feet in music videos, as in this latest one from N.A.S.A., a visually compelling, video game-influenced mélange featuring the art of the Date Farmers.

(via Pitchfork TV)

by Kirstie Shanley

11 Jun 2009

Though they are categorized by many as an indie rock band, Toronto’s Rock Plaza Central defy genres in many ways. The experience of seeing the band play live ranges from religious (especially during songs such as “My Children, Be Joyful”) to intense and experimental (the group’s 2006 Are We Not Horses was a concept album about robotic horses with feelings). Their music also contains tinges of country with fiddle, mandolin, and banjo all making appearances, marking their live sets and recorded material as far from simple, straight ahead rock music.

After an interim that felt longer than it actually was—mainly because many have been anxiously anticipating the band’s creative lyrics and diverse musical accompaniment—Rock Plaza Central are back. Their newest effort ...At the Moment of Our Most Needing formed the backbone of this hour-long set, as the new songs were interspersed with tunes from their previous two records. And though the exploration of concepts is very different from release to release, there was still a tying sense of cohesiveness and tone throughout. 

Touring this time around as a five piece, Rock Plaza Central are one of those bands that makes full use of each band member to create a rich palette with the absence of any musical dead space. Many of the songs throughout their albums contain a great sense of choral unity, where all band members at various points sing the main idea of the song, but violin and trumpet were equally prominent during this set. Even the new songs were incredibly tight with frontman Chris Eaton, whose writing is not limited to lyrics but also includes two novels, leading the way with a voice that sometimes sounded ripe with anguish.

Highlights of their set included new songs like “(Don’t You Believe the Words of) Handsome Men”, which begins with a warning as foreboding trumpet backs the song’s title echoed repetitively throughout the song as band members join in to increase the intensity. In contrast, their new song “Oh I Can” was more of a hopeful refrain of human possibilities, while “Holy Rider” was a pivotal fast paced climax. Going as far back as 2003’s The World Was Hell to Us, they even played the fantastic “The Things That Bind You”. Stellar tracks played from Are We Not Horses included “Fifteen Hands”, “When We Go, How We Go”, and “How Shall I To Heaven Aspire?” Certainly seeing them on this tour is not to be missed by any fan of their previous albums, their most recent album, or—as many are—a devotee of their whole back catalog.

by Matt Mazur

11 Jun 2009

Arthur Miller’s granddaughter has written and directed some unique female-centered stories (Personal Velocity and the underrated The Ballad of Jack and Rose), so hopefully the excellent Robin Wright Penn, Julianne Moore and Winona Ryder can elevate her newest film to another level, because the lifeless trailer makes it look like Lifetime-bound snooze-fest.

by Zane Austin Grant

11 Jun 2009

Nate Doyle and Julia Wertz at MoCCA 2009,

Nate Doyle and Julia Wertz at MoCCA 2009, “Look at these cartoonists”

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art 2009 festival. The annual event is a comic convention that focuses on small press and self-published comics artists and enthusiasts. People from all over the world come to mill about the many booths where creators showcase their works, attend panels on subjects that vary from alternative histories of comics to the current state of the small press publishing economy, and to meet like minded members of the underground comics community. This year the event was housed in the Lexington Armory, a behemoth military structure in Manhattan, originally built in 1906 for the 69th regiment, who shared the halls with this year’s convention attendees.

As I made my way up from the train, I came upon a line of well over a hundred people waiting to get inside. Finding the end of the line down the block and around the corner, I spoke casually with a woman who gave me a self-published mini-comic about her childhood relationships, while another comics artist who was a recent Pratt University graduate showed us his comics about a race of cannibalistic Cyclops. Pretty soon we drew another MoCCA attendee into our conversations, and she told us of her intent of making friends with (or stalking) Randall Munroe, the author of the webcomic xkcd

Once inside, I systematically made my way through the large room of around 200 booths searching out friends to say hello and see their new works before hitting up some panels and lunch. I found most everyone to be sweaty but happy beneath the cavernous and flaking army green ceiling. A lot of people I met up with had finished their work just in time to get it printed for the fest, and their ‘stay up all night for three days’ dedication left me inspired. 

The picture above is one such source of inspiration.  In it we see the always positive Nate Doyle who just put out the fourth issue of his comic Crooked Teeth with a limited run of 200 screen-printed covers and Julia Wertz of The Fart Party, who, like an ‘Eazy E’ of comics, is renowned for her quick temper and street fighting insults. Wertz said, “Don’t take my picture, I look like I was just punched in the face.” When I asked her if she had actually been punched, she responded, “No, not really. Fine, take the picture. Have the caption say, ‘Just look at these shitheads’”.  After drawing an unflattering picture of Nate, she signed my book with the same words.

by Nikki Tranter

11 Jun 2009

Starlog has reprinted a fascinating interview with late fantasy author David Eddings in its latest online edition. Eddings discusses his influences, his Cherokee background, and the fact that he doesn’t read within his own genre.

From the Starlog piece:

Considering the great success that Eddings enjoyed writing fantasy stories, one would have assumed that he was a big fantasy reader, but that wasn’t the case. “I don’t read in the field. I can’t,” he confessed. “I have an unconscious burglar living in my mind: If I read something, it’s mine. I can read Middle English stories, Geoffrey Chaucer or Sir Thomas Malory, but once I start moving in the direction of contemporary fantasy, my mind begins to take over.”

From Eddings’ obituary in Thursday’s Guardian:

Prolific and bestselling, Eddings was the author of more than 25 books, many of them written with his wife Leigh Eddings, who passed away in 2007. Best known for his Belgariad and Mallorean series, which follow the adventures of the orphaned farm boy Garion as he fulfils an ancient prophecy, Eddings turned to fantasy after he spotted a copy of The Lord of the Rings in a bookshop, and saw that it was in its 73rd printing.

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