Saturday, September 14, 2013

More Sketches - Marker and ink

Inspired by the Sibelius piece

 I love the pattern of green I got.

This was a piece of  art I did just to see how it would look. The one I was talking with had just drawn "My Little Pony" characters playing Samishen.
I decided to follow him up on that... it had to be the newest generation of ponies (I know very little of the other generations, my brain shuts down when I try to sit through sexism that egregious), and for simplicity's sake, I did the two who have telekinesis in their foreheads. (Look them up, you have the internet.)

The text is an approximate Kanji of a portion of "Madama Butterfly." In the first act, where she tells Pinkerton to "love me a little, like a child..." "We are a people used to small things, quiet and humble, but profound as the sky and deep as the ocean." It's a gorgeous bit of recitative.
It was written on a catalogue-card about 2.5"x3", so my hand cramped pretty badly. Let me know if it's legible, if you're a native speaker.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Really want to add art, you guys

I, like, really want to add some of my art and projects on here...
Problem is, I only have access to Macs.
I can't figure out how the hell things are organized in these things... it's impossible to call files up. It's so simple you can't alter anything... ERRGH
Have some of my color fuckabouts to tide you over...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Getting Crackle into your Writing

As a side-project and writing exercise, I've been trying my hand for about a year (really, since it came out) at writing an operatic treatment of Rukis' amazing novel "Heretic."
Here's the first chapter, to tide you people... I plan to only adapt up to chapter Eight or so... After that, it's a little bit more complicated than makes good theatre.

It's an exploration of the backstory of one of the characters in her webcomic collaboration with Myenia, "Red Lantern."

Luther, an able seaman who bedded his admiral, is incarcerated to preserve the man's honor after his death. His possible salvation - a noble family, the Denholmes, wish for the lover-cum-strategist to inherit a fleet, and legitimize the daughter Delilah's pregnancy.

It's tailor-made for operatic treatment. I can name you, in her story alone, just where the arias and the cabaletti would fall - and orchestral treatments and melodies surge through my head. So many possibilities, but before I complete a musical treatment, I plan to try to discuss this with Rukis, see if she approves. Who knows? And before that, I have a couple of one-act operas I'm trying to write, as practice, and proof to myself that I can handle this.
I don't write often, but I've found that personally, I can't just throw sounds on the page, I need to try to depict an emotional state or a natural feature. Operas are the perfect medium for this. And the world needs one-acts! Stuff you can put on in a storefront theatre with three singers, minimalist sets, and a piano.

I once saw a touring production of "Barbiere Di Siviglia" on a high school stage (saturdays) with two sheets and a table set for a set; a ten-piece orchestra, all the props just laid out between the footlights; a laptop set to the side of the stage playing a photoshop slideshow of the translation. Tell me that's not cool.


And I want to get "Crackle" into the libretto.

A lot of people have it. Arrigo Boito has it, Hunter S. Thompson has it, Walt Kelly, Harvey Kurtzman, Michael Maltese... they all have an instinctive knowledge of where to arrage abstract consonants in obscure words so that the dialogue pops off the reciter's tongue.

Lines like "Would I have the temerity to do THIS (sword) if my bosom chum was encased therin?"

As soon as I type up my libretto notes, I'll look for a good example for you folk.

However, in "Cunning Little Vixen," her monologue in front of the hens. I've rearranged that so as to be her trying to be as gibberishy as possible, to spike the rooster's attention. It's random, incomprehensible phrases of Russian puns, feminist buzzwords, and complete randomness. "Call forth your inner goddess on the brow of the Kulak!"

That's the shit I'm talking about. I'ma look for examples for you folks.
(The next few posts will have pictures, I swear it.)

Mystery Solved - Origin of "Freep."

 Jim Korkis: I see the word “Freep” used a lot in your cartoons. What is a “Freep”?
Bob Clampett: Freep is a word we used at Warners which meant a cross between a Freak and a Creep.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reclaiming the Nibelungs

One thing I really resent, as a Wagnerphile, is the constant assertion that his anti-semitism pervaded everything he did.
It’s really annoying, even when you take much worse things into account. No one likes to point out that Hitler designed the VW Bug. So why does Wagner’s anti-semitism have to account for EVERYTHING?
Designed by Hitler. You're welcome.

One of the worst casualties of this is the description of the dwarves Alberich and Mime, from “Der Ring Des Nibelungen.” Alberich, cockteased one too many times by a flock of Mermaids, steals their treasured Rhine gold, and renounces love to forge a ring that’ll give him absolute power. 

He terrorizes the other dwarves until the Gods rob him of his accumulated hoard, including the Ring. They pay that to the giants Fasolt and Fafner for their constructed castle, until Fafner kills his brother for the ring and hoard, and uses the Tarnhelm to turn into a giant and guard the ring.
Later, Mime raises Siegfried to kill the dragon, until Siegfried kills him for attempted poisoning, which was to offset a prophecy that Siegfried would kill him in the first place. OPERA!
Unlike Wagner’s late villains Beckmesser and Klingsor? Those were made when his thinking had kinda solidified.
Really, I don’t presume that he tried to make them Jews. If he thought Jewish things were evil, then obviously when he tries to create evil people, the ‘reprehensible’ traits that come to mind are traits of Jewish culture and stereotypes.

It’s a vicious cycle. He hated Jews, and his villains are evil and look Jewish, and so his villains must be Jews, and you can tell he hated Jews because the villains are so evil, and the villains had to be evil because he plays them as Jews. Really circular logic there!

However, I’ve been much impressed by Wagner productions that try to reclaim them from Jewish stereotypes. Beckmesser in the Lyric Opera’s 2012-13 production of “Meistersinger,” by Bo Skovhus (whose acting I already admired from his “Fledermaus”) plays him for comic relief – as a particularly nasty Thurber figure for whom everything goes wrong. Soles too thin, song bumbled, etc. He likes rules and can’t adapt. It’s not hatred of Walther, it’s love of tradition, and sputtering befuddlement when the world changes.

The Metropolitan Opera, however, did Mime as a fat, reprehensible slob who sweated profusely (which he would, in all that leather under stage lights). I don’t remember who the tenor was…

Compare to the Seattle Ring this year, where Stefan Vinke did him as muscly and exasperated.
Some of the evidence is the dwarves living underground and liking naiads; their greed; Siegfried’s complains of Mime’s “nodding and blinking” and general hunchedness and ugliness… 
They’re not total greedy jew stereotype thieves, bro. And, Sieggy, I think you’re the one being the asshole here. Wagner just assumed we would sympathize with you no matter what…

Alberich’s address of Mime as “die dummen dieb” (the stupid thief) – Alberich projects his own warped intentions on his brother. Mime (if he did want to steal the helmet) would have been doing it out of protection. “Nimm das fuer dein diebesgeluest!” (This is for your thieving thoughts). Voicing yourself, Alby?

His abuse makes me MORE inclined to pity Mime during “Siegfried’s” scenes of his twisted scheming… it’s not just sibling rivalry, but also self-protection and a bit of revenge. 

But if we’re gonna call them Jews, then the entire race of Nibelungs would have to be similar Jewish stereotypes.
And they’re really not! Just look at what Mime tells Loge:
mit ihm [der reif] zwingt er uns alle,
 der Niblungen nächt'ges Heer.
Sorglose Schmiede,
schufen wir sonst wohl
Schmuck unsern Weibern,
wonnig Geschmeid',
niedlichen Niblungentand;
wir lachten lustig der Müh'.
With the power of the ring, he has overcame us,
The nocturnal race of the Nibelungs.
Carefree smiths,
We once created
Jewelry for our wives,
Wonderful trinkets,
Dainty things for the little nibelungs,
And gaily laughed in our labors.

See, I don’t see many anti-semites describing Jewish culture like that. ^^

Incidentally, Wagner’s complaint against Jewish music in “Der Judenthum des music,” that the ‘Jew’ has “no true passion to impel him to artistic creation,” can be applied remarkably well to “Die Feen.”

 It has the same problem as a lot of student films – the artist doesn’t have any urgent need to say anything, so it comes out as trivial babbles. These kids had, as Henry Rollins said, “three meals a day and Charlie Brown bedsheets.”
I'm not gonna put an actual student film in here for you to make fun of...

I refuse to trust stereotypes I haven’t observed myself.
The only jewish stereotype I’m going to tell you guys –
The little kids seem to subsist MASSIVELY on a diet of goldfish crackers.

I went to a Jewish preschool, and I’ll be damned if I don’t remember all the kids having giant bags of goldfish crackers. My family’s Jewish friends with small kids, and the younger siblings of the Jewish guys I hang out with… it seems to be a requisite that the kid has their hand in a bag of goldfish crackers.

Not going to claim this as a stereotype, because my view is of course limited (being goyische). I’d love your stories about this.

(Seriously, this production was awesome. James Morris, Johann Boltha, and Bo Skovhus… what’s not to like?)

Monday, August 26, 2013


A wisteria on a trellis (Watercolor with Sumi ink, 2"x3.3")

Several felines in oil paint, small of size

Stylized birds for a project... colored pencil on notepad.

Had the urge to draw my hand with a pen cap. Pen on index card, 5"x3" or so.


I'm assembling posts to post.

In the meantime, have some Thurber.

I do like the bonelessness of most of his work...