Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

ArtsPass

Monday, 21 August 2006; 21:32

One day soon, The Distillery will give ArtsPass.com the closer look it deserves, but do not let the insufficient attention stem your own curiosity to explore. ArtsPass bills itself as The Leading Online Arts and Entertainment Video on Demand Network. Let’s start with this 34-minute interview with Ringmaster Chuck Wagner and Boss Clown Scott O’Donnell of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. You will find out why the world’s most famous three-ring circus now has only a single ring for the entire show.

The Distillery strongly suggests that you browse through the ArtsPass Library, where your kids will find the animated Adventures of Stowaway, the kitty cat. That’s only for starters. You will also discover videos ranging in subject from Mary Cassatt, the American painter, to inner-city farmers. Enjoy.

Home page: ArtsPass

ArtsPass logo graphic

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Trudell the Movie (John Trudell)

Thursday, 3 August 2006; 12:32

Bob Dylan referred to [John] Trudell’s spoken word/rock and roll album AKA Graffiti Man as the ‘best album of 1995.’ Northwest Native activist Janet McCloud referred to Trudell as .. one of the greatest poets of all time.” Kris Kristoferson referred to him as “a lone wolf.” Not only a profound orator, he is a significant political figure in the more recent history of the Indian people’s movement.

“Crazy Horse, we hear what you say. One earth, one mother…. One does not sell the earth…. How do we sell our mother?” ~John Trudell, Crazy Horse

Who is John Trudell? You may not know who he is, but in addition to the persons mentioned above, Angelina Jolie knows him well enough to be the executive producer of his recent recording of Native American music, Bone Days, featuring cuts such as Crazy Horse. Jackson Browne knows him to the extent that he has produced many of Trudell’s other recordings. He is also friends with Sam Shepard, Val Kilmer, and Wilma Mankiller (former tribal chief of my other nation, the Cherokee Nation). In other words, how is it possible that you do not know of him?

John Trudell also has a movie, Trudell the Movie. Broaden your American culture horizons and take a few moments to view the trailer. (Look for Watch Trailer in the lower-right of your screen.) Also click on Multimedia for additional film clips, some of which did not make it into the final cut, and a few clips of his music.

In fact, you will find the song, Crazy Horse, in its entirety there. It contains a line that reminds me of a question posed by one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda. In his The Book of Questions, Neruda asks, “Does smoke talk to the clouds?”

Home page: John Trudell
Home page: Trudell the Movie

Addendum: John Trudell is a great songwriter. After you have listened, each of his songs at the movie’s web site can be culled from your Temporary Internet Files folder as full-length MP3s.

John Trudell - Bone Days graphic

Hirshhorn Museum (The Hirshhorn Story)

Thursday, 3 August 2006; 10:54

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens are never overlooked when I visit Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, one finds little multimedia content from the museum with the exception of Joseph Hirshhorn’s dedication speech, a part of the Hirshhorn Story (click “Play Audio” under “Founding Donor”).

And although not multimedia, some of you and/or your kids will certainly enjoy Create A Sculpture found under Art Interactive.

The Distillery cannot wait for the day when museums have sufficient funding and the needed technologies to virtually offer their collections to anyone anywhere in the world with access to a computer and the internet. (Are you listening, Bill and Melinda Gates? How about throwing the world’s museums a few million of those dollars? After all, that inoculated child in Africa should also be able to see beyond its own village.)

Fifi by Ed Paschke

Home page: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens

Ex-Centris

Friday, 21 July 2006; 11:18

I will introduce you to Ex-Centris, a film production and screening complex, with a powerful clip from The Road to Guantanamo. To quote Forrest Gump, “…and that’s all I have to say about that.”

Ex-Centris delivers far more than the above. Enjoy this short clip from Ici Naja A Vous La Terre. Another from Lemming, a French film I would love to see if the clip is indicative of the entire film. There are others I’ll let you discover on your own.

Now click on Rental. Have a look at the interior of Ex-Centris’ Fellini Theater, presented with Quicktime VR. Once there, be certain not to overlook the underlined link Clicking Here, which demonstrates the transformation of the theatre from a conventional movie theater to an exhibition hall that can even serve as a 3D immersive virtual world. And in that space you now find yourself, turn around and visit the Control Room and other points of interest. Very nice indeed.

While at the Rental portion of the site, be certain to check in at the café and listen to some music by clicking on Albums. In all, quite astounding. I do believe a trip to Montreal is in order.

Home page: Ex-Centris

Ex-Centris logo

Blue Suburbia by Nathalie Lawhead

Thursday, 20 July 2006; 15:21

The Flash is dead! Long live the Flash!

Lest you think Flash is no longer flashy enough, have a gander at Blue Suburbia by Nathalie Lawhead. Once again we see that even with the finest hammer, a bad carpenter can only build a flimsy house. Conversely, even with a flat metal bar an excellent carpenter will build a fine home.

In fact, this reminds me of the 1986 World Track Cycling Championships. For one of the track events, everybody and his brother raced on one of the new $10,000 aerodynamic bikes — with the exception of the great Japanese keirin rider, Koichi Nakano. As reigning world champion over the previous nine years, he raced last.

However, instead of a fancy $10,000 bicycle made out of Unobtanium, he rode a standard “old-fashioned” track bike that likely cost no more than $2,000, and probably much less. I am certain some riders felt they had the advantage, and maybe even the championship when they saw what Nakano would be riding. I still recall his confident strut as he approached and mounted his bike. He then proceeded to blow the doors off everyone who had dared ride before him, and claimed his tenth consecutive world championship.

That is what we not infrequently see when fancy tools such as Virtools come along. Anyone truly worth their weight in salt will still very likely produce an effort as wonderful as Blue Suburbia with almost whatever they have at hand. Or as we say in bicycle racing about the bike vs. the rider changing the outcome of a race, “It’s not the machine; it’s the motor.”

Blue Suburbia graphic

i2off.org (3D Engine Realtime Generator)

Thursday, 20 July 2006; 14:52

Yesterday, we saw the magnificent 3D effects delivered by Virtools, The Behavior Company. Today, we look at a 2006 Seattle Flashforward contest finalist 3D effort from i2off.org and generated with Flash.

Judge the difference for yourself, but I can tell you [this particular?] 3D Adobe/Macromedia Flash effort looks like something a first-grader might bring home to have placed on his/her parent’s refrigerator. If that’s the best 3D rendering Flash can deliver, I’m moving my Adobe/Macromedia stock portfolio selections to Virtools. Put differently, if this were a 15-round heavy-weight prize fight, Flash would have suffered a TKO and found itself on the canvas before the end of the first round.

i2off.org 3D graphic

The Metropolitan Opera

Thursday, 13 July 2006; 11:53

It is a very well-kept secret that I love opera. Therefore, let us start with The Metropolitan Opera’s Radio and TV History Timeline. This is one of only two timelines The Distillery has found not to be wanting. The integration of audio is a master stroke. You will find audio clips from former First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein, and a few other individuals. In addition, the manner in which mouse-overs reveal larger images of the thumbnails is also unique. This is one timeline that will hold your attention.

Next:

Watch composer Tan Dun and director Zhang Yimou talk about The First Emperor. The world premiere of this Met Opera commission takes place on December 21 [2006].

Then listen to an audio clip from Puccini’s La Bohème. Now take a few moments to sit back and fully enjoy this audio clip from Cavalleria Rusticana, sung by Luciano Pavarotti, arguably one of the greatest tenors since Caruso. And one of my favorites, Madame Butterfly.

From there, The Distillery transports its readers to Sights and Sounds of The Metropolitan Opera. One gem found there is a short audio clip of Lilli Lehmann singing Isolde in 1885. There are several others from the late 1800s.

The Met deserves a standing ovation for its online efforts. Enjoy. I certainly did.

Home page: The Metropolitan Opera

Met Opera broadcast graphic The Met historical stage graphic

Tan Dun conducting graphic

Camenzind Evolution

Wednesday, 12 July 2006; 8:32

Seldom have so few done so much with so little. (Sorry about the mangling, Winston C., but I needed it for this one.) That captures my first thought about Camenzind Evolution, a Swiss architectural firm. The site is as simple as many I have not praised, but just the right combinations of color, lines, movement, and music (and great buildings) turn a simple site into a gem. Anyone with a small budget, take note.

An interesting aside: There are more than 1100 museums in Finland, which means Finland has the greatest museum density in the world in proportion to the population.

Maritime Museum of Finland graphic

John Lennon Songwriting Contest

Wednesday, 5 July 2006; 22:46

As the Jim Croce song says, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” That was my very first thought when I ran across the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. In this case it’s not Superman, but it still seems there are some acts one just does not follow. It’s like any band or guitarist that covers Jimi Hendrix. The outcome simply cannot be anything but a disappointment.

That said, the contest has produced some very good, if not excellent music from aspiring musicians and songwriters. And although it’s not the Magic Bus, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus will have to suffice in the 21st century. Given we’re talking about music, it should not come as a surprise to find Apple Computer involved in the project, and where you will find several films and songs from the contest and bus’ travels. A few samples are below. Many more are available at the Apple web site.

Imagine by Yoland King and the Agope Childrens Choir
Detroit Battle of the Bands Winners
Before Morning Light by Timber
Al Jarreau Songwriting Tips Interview
Hey Lady by The Woodlands
The Veronicas Songwriting Tips Interview

(And remember, each Quicktime clip played can be found in your Temporary Internet Files folder. Open it up, copy, and paste where you’d like the clips stored. They’re now yours!)

John Lennon Educ. Tour Bus logo John Lennon Tour Bus graphic

Acme Filmworks

Thursday, 8 June 2006; 10:10

Mo’ better fun. Acme Filmworks has fully broken the tension of an hectic morning. I feel much better now. I am certain Acme will brighten your day, too. And if it does not, have someone check your pulse.

There is a huge volume of excellent content at this site. Take your time and look around. Hey, one of their people, Paul Driessen, actually did The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine! You may think otherwise, but I’d consider that a pretty decent resumé line item.

Acme animated gif

Acme Filmworks banner

Studio SOI

Thursday, 8 June 2006; 9:37

I can tell it will be one of those days. Up way too early this morning to field calls about computer security on the local talk radio station, clients calling and wanting things yesterday, and…well, you know how it is. What I need now is a fix to restore my insanity. (Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.)

Studio SOI fits that bill perfectly. And, they are closely affiliated with another Distillery finding, the superb studio aka. So, turn up the volume a tad and enjoy the work of some excellent animation and content creators from Germany. To see the good stuff, click on Work from the site’s menu. Be certain to watch the DEMOREEL and FILMS. (Who says Germans are stuffy and too serious? They are clearly mistaken, at least in this case.)

“The Unseen Video”

Tuesday, 6 June 2006; 17:14

This is a very interesting one*, especially concept-wise with respect to users’ geographic locations, and the weather where they are, influencing what they see. Even more, are we looking at an online advertisement for a German music CD, and not the typical music video we expect to see promoting a new release? It seems so. And, The Unseen Video is no longer unseen, is it?

* The site’s designers specify at least a “3ghz cpu” for best viewing. That addresses an issue with which I am certain many cutting-edge content providers are wrestling. Do they design for the technology available or for the technology people have, or pay more and design for both? ‘Tis indeed a bit of a conundrum. But as my friends often hear me say, most people have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The Distillery’s position? Drag them, and heed not their moaning and groaning.