Thanks to my very good friend Landon Zakheim – who curated the second annual “Razorblades in Your Reese’s” Halloween short film program at the Downtown Independent last Monday- I was exposed to the tender and hilarious ennui of filmmaker Emily Carmichael. I am very happy this has happened. Her short The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting was an outcast among the more shocking and musically epic shorts in the program (The Legend of Beaver Dam is one of the greatest things ever, as well), but its sensibility was dry and sweet, like some Yellow Tail at a dinner party with friends you don’t quite you know yet. Her contemporary take on this classic myth is fresh and she uses her symbols well.
But it’s her ongoing animated series The Adventures of Ledo and Ixthat has me jazzed up. In this currently 8-part work, Carmichael uses the pixelated melodrama of the adventure RPG to cast absurd exigence on the hero/sidekick-vs-indifferent-cosmos experience. In four minute bursts, and with only 256 colors (which close-up, still manage to evoke real pathos), she parses the loopholes of consciousness, the automation of society, fear of the unknown, and the habits we cling to that give us meaning.
We all knew it would happen eventually. Last night, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage broke the news that President Obama rejected the opinion of Justice Department lawyers that continuing the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization was a violation of the War Powers Resolution. The President and his close staff (and presumably, the military and CIA) decided that the use of American air assets, logistical capabilities and remote drone attacks to blow away the President of another country didn’t rise to the level of ‘war’, and they said so in a letter to lawmakers and Speaker John Boehner.
Tim Minchin‘s poem ‘Storm’ is probably the funnest, most cutting and sympathetic case against casual supernatural inclinations that I’ve ever seen. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, here’s a friggin awesome animated version:
I have to send my deep regrets and a fond farewell to CNN’s everyman and resident old-guy-who-knows-the-internet, Rick Sanchez. Watching Rick misread the news, mangle impromptu interviews, and generally make social media seem at once lame and revolutionary was a staple of my unemployed life. It was like discussing current events with the guy at the office who, despite knowing absolutely nothing about the subject at hand, will go on and on about some garbage some stranger sent him on the internet. He’ll eventually pull other people into the conversation awkwardly, and he’ll always draw a strange and contradictory moral from even the most straightforward snippet or event.
For two hours a day Rick made you feel like the smartest guy in the room. That his book is titled Conventional Idiocy is too precious for me to handle. His way of making weird references to gender, race, and religion got him more than one “Woah, ok Rick.” His obsession with being recognized as a legitimate anchor led to his eventual dismissal (also it’s not nice to point out that a secret cult of Jews run certain companies/industries and keep the rest of us down, EVEN IF THEY DO jk) but he was truly on the forefront of guys with real media jobs who took Twitter seriously and saw the promise it has for citizen journalism. If only he didn’t come off as a total doofus.
Where will the big Sanchez land next? After trashing Liebowitz and the Hebrew-industrial complex, I doubt he’ll find a place at MSNBC. And he seems a little lose with the human interest/working man stories to fit in next to Neil Cavuto and the Glennreich. I have a feeling he’ll land a Dr. Phil style talk show where he’ll take the long and mustachioed road once blazed by Geraldo. Some day we’ll see him back on the news, opening the sealed vault of Mark Zuckerberg to find it filled with embarrassing videos of himself being tazed.
Speaking of, of course I’ve linked it here. Thanks Rick. For balloon boy, for the month that Michael Jackson died, for everything.
I’ve seen it attempted by all sorts of companies, and I almost always like the idea but loathe the execution – the use of a video trailer to promote a play. It’s really a fantastic idea when you consider that trailer-viewing is almost a prerequisite for cinema attendance and that many folks, especially those who do not frequent the theater, want to know what they’re getting into before buying a ticket. A well made video trailer can sum up a play’s plot (if there is one) and hint at the production value and competence of those involved. Of course, the video is likely made by a whole different team of people, but so what.
The producers of Deathtrap at the Noel Coward in London have spared no expense. They’ve released this preview (with Jonathan Groff, rawr) of their revival of Ira Levin’s 1978 hit.
Pretty sweet, huh? The problem I see is that while this could be one of the best play trailers I’ve seen yet, it still looks like the Worst Movie Evar. Doesn’t it? There’s something about the camera that makes theatrical writing and acting seem like an out of date form that should have hit the trash heap with the deguerreotype. ^.^ There are other ways of doing it, of course. We at Brimmer St. tried our hand at video-hype, slapdash ADR and all:
Cute, right?! Well fuck you too.
Another popular video tool I’ve seen (and employed) is the post-open production still slideshow with critical acclaim folded in. It’s a bit low-fi, but it can drum up some excitement from the casual viewer. Here’s one that Ian Forester made for Mercury Fur last year, a play that I loved. When you have as many great pull quotes as this work got, you’ve got to find creative ways of making people read them.
It’s safe to say this practice has only begun. It won’t be long before Michael Bay is doing trailers for CTG, closing down large chunks of Sunset Blvd to stage a car chase that really doesn’t have a place in The Glass Menagerie, but who cares?! Even the chance of viral exposure is enough to warrant the expense of a well made trailer. Especially if you can promise and deliver.