Friday, January 6, 2012



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These days i post on Tumblr & Twitter

THANK YOU for everything

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Song and Dance: 48 Hour Film, Boston 2011 NICE

Our 2011 48-Hour Film nabbed some awards!


Winner:

Best Original Song ("Forest Floor" by Fey Rey (Laura Wilson) and Jason Rozen)
Best Ensemble Acting
Best Screenplay
Honorable Mention for Best Film

Criteria: "I did not see that coming" as a line, a chess piece as a prop, and "Uncle Hank" as a character. Our genre was Romance.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Film: RAW DEAL (for the 48 Hour Film Project "Go Green" 2011)



Written, shot, and edited in 48 hours. Required criteria:

Line: "When does she arrive?"
Prop: keys
Character: Professor M. Johnson
Theme: Save the Animals

Sunday, February 27, 2011

George Lucas is LAZY: 7 Star Wars Locations & the Words He Stole Their Names From



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"actual" location names: Tatooine, Cloud City, Mos Eisley, Coruscant, Endor, Naboo, and Hoth. Image s o u r c e s.
Irony is me calling out Lucas for his laziness when i sat on this for months.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

7 Great Keith Johnstone Quotes on Improv and Performance

Like Keith Johnstone's astoundingly good Impro, these quotes are aimed at improvisers, but they resonate into comedy, performance, and everyday life. Many of the below tie into Keith's modus operandi of allowing our instincts to lead the interaction - not trying - as outlined in this blog post.

1. "When things happen that seem truthful, observers project themselves into the characters..."


2. "Don't come on to be funny - come on to solve problems."


3. "If you don't have to kick the students out after school, something is wrong."


4. "The best laughs are on the recognition of truth. "


5. "You don't have to have 'a good idea' - just 'an alter-the-relationship'."


6. "In a scene [where the improvisers must interact] without the letter S, the audience is waiting for you to lose - so they can laugh at you. Don't try to win."


7. "Best side-coaching for improvisers in a scene? 'Do it.' Some actors don't want to move into the future."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Disgusting Bliss: Iannucci's Comedy Insight


I've been reading Disgusting Bliss, a biography of Chris Morris. Morris (subject of previous blog posts here and here) began his collaboration with Armando Iannucci on the surreal current affairs news-parody On The Hour, a radio show which ran from '91-'92. While Morris was the team's most significant and unpredictable creative spark, it was Iannucci who understood and was able to convey the shape of the show and its cutting edge humor:
'[Iannucci] said, "Look, there's a way of performing comedy where the jokes are very much told and [instead] I want you to bury the humour. I want you to do funny voices but I don't want them to be too funny. I want you to improvise funny things but don't be looking for the humour, just trust that it will come."
On The Hour won the British Comedy Award for best radio comedy. Iannucci would go on to produce & write for the multi-award winning TV programs The Day Today and The Thick of It, and the Oscar-nominated film In The Loop.

Iannucci's angle on comedy resonates with the idea of not putting out extra, unnecessary effort for humor's sake- Do less, as Johnstone might say. I believe this angle also sparked the loyalty and passion that fans of these programs have. By not advertising the fact that they were "DOING HUMOR", the programs trusted that those watching would make the necessary cognitive leap to understand that the off-kilter world created was an intentional one.

It also seems - to me - that when something humorous asks more of the person who is processing it (for example, a punchline with two twists in it instead of one), -assuming it is not asking too much of the individual- the additional processing done makes the moment that things 'click' even more enjoyable. They've internalized and taken some ownership over the bit, by way of having to mentally chew it over, rather than being spoon-fed something predictable. Not that the 'predictable' = 'bad,' but that earned complexity can heighten a moment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lesser-known Failed Assassination Attempts: Mick Jagger

In 2008, it was revealed that members of the Hells Angels had plotted to murder Jagger in 1975. They were angered by Jagger's public blaming of the Hells Angels, who had been hired to provide "security" at the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969, for much of the crowd violence at the event. The conspirators reportedly used a boat to approach a residence where Jagger was staying on Long Island, New York; the plot failed when the boat was nearly sunk by a storm."

Guys, you're Hells Angels! You shouldn't leave your bikes, period, especially if you're gonna try to kill somebody. And, decided to take to the seven seas? It's hard enough for you to use your own legs more than 100 yards, much less having 120 MPH winds and The Perfect Storm to deal with. 

You could've lost somebody if the boat sunk, you understand me? What then? You wanna ride your in your tandem bike without somebody in it with ya? Get laughed at?


Source: Wikipedia.

<- Hells Angels France jacket. Masterfully stitched, I'm sure.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Film Short: In The Green - (48 Hour Film Project 2010)


In The Green (48 Hour Film Project 2010)


I co-wrote and performed in this film short we (In The Car Media) made for the 48 Hour Film Project in Boston, this year. All writing, shooting, and editing had to take place within 48 hours, and required including the following criteria:
Line: "You win some, you lose some."
Prop: a scale
Character: Winston Weatherby, a gardener
Genre: Film de Femme  

Enjoy PLEASE!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

List: Forthcoming Sermons at Dorchester Methodist, Next Door to That Gym That Just Moved in

Forthcoming Sermons at Dorchester Methodist, Next Door to That Gym That Just Moved in
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One More Step Class Towards Eternal Damnation


John 6: Jesus Walks on Water, Should We Be Swimming in it?


Idolatry of the Bicep: Free Weights as the Devil's Tools


Exorcising Boxercise from our Community


Christ Didn't Run: Selflessness and Treadmills


Yoga as Sacrilege


Stretching the Truth: Pontius Pilates


Spinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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The morning I finished this for submitting to McSweeney's Lists, I happened to check the lists recently posted - only to come across a 'Diet & Fitness Books of the Bible' list that bore some eerie resemblances to the list of my own. The unfortunate timing of this scrapped any expectations of the list being accepted. Duly posted above.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lincoln Automobiles' New Vehicle: The Incontinentental

writ up in '08
You know, with science and technology increasing our life spans longer than we ever thought possible, we have to be ready to make changes to our lifestyles to keep up. The world’s leading companies are aware of this, and have been keeping themselves on the cutting edge of this growing market: the ultra-elderly.

That’s what led Lincoln Automobiles to create their newest vehicle: The Lincoln Incontinental. Equipped with a driver's side built-in IV drip hook & insulin injector, the Incontinental goes above and beyond the normal expectations of comfort. While other companies may be content providing their vehicles with an OnStar
security system, Lincoln exceeds expectations by including a live, in-car nurse: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

With leather bedpan bucket seats and a forty horsepower engine (capable of accelerating to top speeds of 35 miles per hour), the Incontinental provides both a smooth ride and the dependability you expect.

When my grandfather turns 104 next year I’ll know what to get him. The Lincoln Incontinental.

Lincoln. Caring for the medicared. securing the socially secured.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Simplicity = Complexity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Leonardo da Vinci 
Simplicity equals complexity because simpler clarity of expression opens something up to a vast amount more associations and connections.
The simpler, purer the prism is, the broader the spectrum that shows through it.

















P.S. Ever heard of a grism? Me neith.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Soviet Warsaw in Upstate New York

Came across these two pictures taken in Warsaw, Poland and Zagreb, Croatia on Nasty, Brutalist, and Short. They both bear an eerie resemblance to buildings in the capital of New York, Albany, where I spent several of my v impressionable years.

Set 1- Warsaw: The actually kind of amazing looking Palace of Culture and Science
...conceived by Stalin as a "gift of the Soviet people to the Polish nation."


























 Albany: The Alfred E Smith building



































 (Guess it's the Art Deco that these two have in common. In Communist Warsaw, Deco arts you, et.)

Set 2- Zagreb: Apartment building, I think:

























 Albany: the 'Agency Buildings' on the Empire State Plaza
 





















Here's the two Albany buildings (on the left side) in a picture from the SKY

Bonus Albany fun fact
  • The city's first name when settled by the Dutch was "The Fuyck," then "Beversfuyck."  fuycked up.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why do we comprehend anything as "all at once" ?

Scientists, testing the reason we sometimes perceive the rotation of a tire (on a car, when its spinning at a certain speed) as going the opposite direction - known as the Wagon-wheel effect - found that "The continuity of our perception is an illusion...The experiment even put a number on our visual frame rate - around 13 frames per second." As there was a specific visual frame rate , the implication was...
...that there is not a single "film roll" in the brain, but many separate streams, each recording a separate piece of information. [In a separate experiment to further examine this] VanRullen examined another neural function, called near-threshold luminance detection. He exposed his subjects to flashes of light barely bright enough to see, and found that the likelihood of them noticing the light depended on the phase of another wave in the front of the brain, which rises and falls about 7 times per second. It turned out that subjects were more likely to detect the flash when the wave was near its trough, and miss it when the wave was near its peak.

So it seems that each separate neural process that governs our perception might be recorded in its own stream of discrete frames. But how might all these streams fit together to give us a consistent picture of the world? Ernst Pöppel, a neuroscientist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, suggests all of the separate snapshots from the senses may feed into blocks of information in a higher processing stream. He calls these the "building blocks of consciousness" and reckons they underlie our perception of time (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1887).

It's an appealing idea, since patching together a chronological order of events hitting our senses is no mean feat. Sounds tend to be processed faster than images, so without some sort of grouping system we might, say, hear a vase smashing before we see it happen. Pöppel's building blocks of consciousness would neatly solve this problem: if two events fall into the same building block, they are perceived as simultaneous; if they fall into consecutive buildings blocks, they seem successive. "Perception cannot be continuous because of [the limits of] neural processing," says Pöppel. "A space of 30 to 50 milliseconds is necessary to bring together in one time-window the distributed activity in the neural system."
Pöppel's theory is an interesting one to tie together the discoveries about our processing. Before we had the capability to examine these sorts of questions of cognition (the past few decades?), the historical language used to explore them had been more purely theoretical and philosophical. This shift complicates the responses one can make to a theory such as Pöppel's.

 
Flash-Flooded Desert in Sinai, Egypt - Click image for LARGE - source: This Fab Trek

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Seventy-Eight Year Old Has a Good Idea About the Internet

From Spiegel.de Interview with Umberto Eco (who inspired this previous post on conversation and comedy):
SPIEGEL: Are you saying that teachers should instruct students on the difference between good and bad? If so, how should they do that?

Eco: Education should return to the way it was in the workshops of the Renaissance. There, the masters may not necessarily have been able to explain to their students why a painting was good in theoretical terms, but they did so in more practical ways. Look, this is what your finger can look like, and this is what it has to look like. Look, this is a good mixing of colors. The same approach should be used in school when dealing with the Internet. The teacher should say: "Choose any old subject, whether it be German history or the life of ants. Search 25 different Web pages and, by comparing them, try to figure out which one has good information." If 10 pages describe the same thing, it can be a sign that the information printed there is correct. But it can also be a sign that some sites merely copied the others' mistakes.

not bad

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Non-Zero Correlations, or, Robert Wright Rips Me Off

Robert Wright's Non-Zero is a very readable non-fiction book that uses game theory to look at our history (social and biological). He traces a through-line in these fields that seems to show a positive direction to our development, defined by (Wright's term) "non-zero-sumness": meaning essentially, both parties in an exchange benefit (a win-win situation). As social and biological complexity grows, non-zero-sumness grows with it - enlarging our "circle of empathy" (first family, then friends- expanding globally).
Below is an excerpt from one of the final chapters, reflecting on the effects (and future possibilities) that the internet could play in this area of non-zero-sumness:
"...But it is evidence that, as global interdependence thickens, long-distance amity can in principle grow even in the absence of external enmity. And it's something to build on. There is no telling what it could mean as technology keeps advancing; as the World Wide Web goes broad bandwidth, so that two people anywhere can meet and chat virtually, visually (perhaps someday assisted, where necessary, by accurate automated translation). One can well imagine, as the Internet nurtures more and more communities of interest, true friendships more and more crossing the most dangerous fault lines - boundaries of religion, of nationality, of ethnicity, of culture.

The common interests that support these friendships needn't be high in gravitas. They can range from stopping ozone depletion to preserving Gaelic folklore to stamp collecting to playing online chess. The main thing is that they be far-flung and cross-cutting. Maybe this is the most ambitious realistic hope for the future expansion of amity - a world in which just about everyone holds allegiance to enough different groups, with enough different kinds of people, so that plain old-fashioned bigotry would entail discomfiting cognitive dissonance. It isn't that everyone will love everyone, but rather that everyone will like enough different kinds of people to make hating any given type problematic...Maybe the world of tomorrow will be a collage of noospheres with enough overlap to vastly complicate the geography of hatred. It wouldn't be 'Point Omega', but it would be progress." pg. 328
If this isn't basically the same argument I put out in part three of this post, regarding the bayonet-loving, vengeful bigot on a houseboat in the Atlantic, I don't know what is. Just kiddin' about the ripping-off part. Wrights got brains like I've got ill-advised purchases. Just kiddin' about the just kiddin part. Just kiddin' about the just kiddin about the just kiddin part.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quote of the Day: John Lilly

No way to view our own 'operating system' from the exterior.
OMNI
How would you answer the charge that your self-experimentation is subjective and, therefore, unverifiable?
 
Lilly
Subjectivity is nonsense. Neither subjectivity nor objectivity exists in nature. That's the mind-contained-in-the-brain belief of some psychiatrists and other scientists. The subject is an object is a subject. In a cybernetic system, you go around in a circle, and subject and object have no reality. The only way to isolate subject and object is to cut off the feedback and destroy the system. It's a false dichotomy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chris Morris and Peter Cook - Comedy Greats in a Brief, Rare Collaboration

Chris Morris, British comedian/satirist - I've brought him up before (clip from Morris' Brass Eye TV Show). Throughout his radio and television shows, one thing I've always liked about him has been his vocal control, coming from his start on radio. Peter Cook, something of a Morris precursor - in the 50's and 60's a particularly edgy British comedian/satirist, similar to Morris in the 90s. His first popular show at the Edinburgh Festival...
"...included Cook impersonating the then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. This was one of the first occasions that satirical political mimicry had been attempted in live theatre, and caused some considerable shock amongst audiences. During one performance, Macmillan himself was in the theatre, and having spotted him Cook departed from his script and directly attacked him verbally."*
Ten years after his death Peter Cook was ranked number one most-talented comedian in a list entitled The Comedian's Comedian, a poll taken of more than 300 comics, comedy writers, producers and directors throughout the English speaking world (Morris was number eleven). All this to preface:

Why Bother: A comedy album comprising of five 10-minute long "interviews" between Chris Morris and Peter Cook, with the dialogue largely ad-libbed. Neither of these men had worked with the other before, though were able to take on a familiar role for these recordings: Morris as the penetrating interviewer, Cook as the supposedly knowledgeable expert on the given topic or experience (usually having his story/expertise humorously undermined). The question of preparation for this, Morris (CM) answered as follows: 
CM: Just shoot from the hip, really. See what happens.
HD: No preparation?
CM: No. I think the preparation that existed, existed only in terms of the things we had already done. I was already quite used to going and imposing bollocks interviews on people anyway from any direction so it didn't seem much different, except with him, obviously, you could keep an idea going for much longer...It's trying to keep some sort of logic going.
They're both really, really good at these character roles. But what I find particularly skillful in these recordings is how fully they accept each others concepts/angles while still staying vitally true to their character. Cook projects knowledge and certainty while clearing wide spaces for Morris to lead him into a trap (for the sake of the listener's enjoyment), and Morris is strikingly deft, finding the potential for turning Cook's words against him or raising the stakes of the (likely ridiculous) premise. They connect easily, and how well they lead (and listen to) each other belies its ad-libbed creation. Cook died about a year after its first broadcast, making its recording even more serendipitous.

Here's my favorite of the five recordings: in this Cook ("Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling") talks to Morris about the time he spent in a Japanese Concentration Camp in World War II. It is cued up to start at 1:30, but gets going around 2:20, when Morris starts turning the tables on him. Their exchange in the last minute of the recording is also exquisite...


 -"...And I attempt to organize an escape."
-"Yes, and then you told the Commandant 24-hours before it was put in operation."
-"...I...informed my superior, but I'd already told my men...to do it the day after so they wouldn't get caught."
"And yet they all did get caught-"
"They got caught, well, they went on the wrong day."

*Likely comparable to the controversy stirred from Morris' Brass Eye Special episode. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Man Cave" Found in Boston

A secret nook was uncovered on December 14th, 2009 at a Boston (Somerville) Commuter Rail station:
An investigation led to a strange discovery hidden in a storage room: a makeshift entertainment center, including three televisions, two DVD players, one VHS player, surround-sound speakers, a video game system, and DVDs, some of them pornographic, a transportation official said yesterday.

The equipment, slyly camouflaged within the commuter rail’s massive Somerville maintenance facility, even had an illegal cable television connection that came through a 1,000-foot cable...“This was very much concealed among maintenance parts and equipment,’’ said the official.
An anomalous event? Perhaps NOT...From the August 3rd, 2009 New Yorker:
Which brings us to Albany, site of the great political tragicomedy of the summer, and last week’s news that state police had raided an illicit rec room in the Capitol complex. The Inspector General’s office, in a press release announcing the discovery, called it a “man cave,” conjuring up images of a dimly lit basement with stained upholstery and an overabundance of electronics. Using tarps, a couple of janitorial workers on the night shift had cordoned off a corner of a state-owned parking garage, which was stocked with sofas, fridges, a TV, and the latest copy of Cannabis Culture. There, while on the clock, they allegedly watched DVDs of “M*A*S*H,” rolled joints, and napped.
 Both Man Caves eerily similar. How to account for their existence? The New Yorker article also included one gentleman's postulation:
The architect Andrés Duany identified a budding crisis in American life: the decline of “male space,” which he defined as zones “where the enthusiasms of Super Bowl day are unchecked year-round,” and where “the men are not factually corrected when they exaggerate.” The den, with its knotty-pine panelling and mounted moose heads, used to suffice, before it was subjected to a cultural makeover and emerged as the “family room,” relegating Dad to the garage.
 Is there a crisis of lost man-space in modern America? -or just the North-East of it? Perhaps these sorts of spaces are being found now in part online, save for some older generations- likely including the cave-men who set these -oddly enviable, in their cozy secrecy...also kinda gross- spaces of escape up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Video (Archives): Gordon South



A formative experience for In The Car Media. Another college happening to share the name of ours prompted this eventful quad-break road trip down the Eastern Seaboard. This was a "featured short film" at the 2007 Lowell Comedy Festival. Ignore (or adore) my wind-swept up-do in the first shot.