Nov. 20, 2007

Admiral Ackbar Black Velvet Painting

Behold the Masterpiece.

Nov. 13, 2007

It's a MAD MAD MAD MAD Galaxy

Known as Mad magazine's "Maddest Writer" Dick DeBartolo's writing has been published in over 350 back-to-back issues since 1966. He's got plenty to say about the long history the magazine has in spoofing the Star Wars saga since it debuted in 1977. For, I caught up with DeBartolo to talk about his favorite Star Wars moments from the very beginning as well as the new book MAD about Star Wars.

How did it feel to have George Lucas write a fan letter to MAD magazine calling you the "George Bernard Shaw of comic satire?"

I was so thrilled with that letter I have it framed and hanging on the wall in my apartment. And I have a copy in my wallet! Would you like to see it? And it came at the most incredible time. It arrived just before MAD received a letter from the attorneys for George Lucas. They said they were suing MAD because of copyright infringement concerning the Star Wars satire. So Bill Gaines, the publisher of MAD at the time, simply wrote on the bottom of the lawyer's letter something like: "Gee, George liked it!" And he attached a copy of the letter George had sent to MAD complimenting myself and Mort Drucker, the artist of the satire. Needless to say we never heard from Lucas' attorneys ever again! And we've done all sorts of Star Wars-related satires since then. I was thrilled again when in his foreword to the new book MAD about Star Wars, George writes: "Perhaps most importantly, I have always defended MAD from my lawyers!"

Read the full interview here:
It's a MAD MAD MAD MAD Galaxy

Nov. 12, 2007

Welcome to Planet Duran Duran

When Star Wars debuted in theaters in 1977, special effect techniques and epic storytelling were transformed forever. A year later when Duran Duran formed, their synth-heavy electronic sounds, story-driven songs and elaborate music videos would help to create a brand new music genre where visuals where just as essential as the songs themselves. Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes talks with about the profound influence Star Wars, as well as other sci-fi and fantasy films, has had on the band, and why with their latest record Red Carpet Massacre they continue to explore futuristic themes while evolving musically.

A lot of Duran Duran's music has been used in films (A View to a Kill, Donnie Darko, The Saint, Old School, Monster, Layer Cake, Tequila Sunrise), so what are some of your own thoughts on how a musical score can help a film resonate with an audience as in John Williams' music score for the Star Wars films?

John Williams' music was perfect for the films. It was just the right choice of composer. Obviously, Lucas knew exactly what he wanted and I can't imagine now anyone else having done it better. The opening scene has become one of the most famous pieces of music in film history. I don't think there are that many people out there that couldn't sing you that; which is a real achievement now because a lot of film music does tend to drift into the background. But this was right up front and grand and evoked a theme of adventure.

I also think something that's worth mentioning is the sound effects in the films. That for me was a huge part of the experience. I come from a background with synthesizers where I spend half my time coming up with sounds; and finding ways to make things sound different and how to use them within music. So I was hugely appreciative of the sound of the lightsaber. The first time I heard it, it made me wish I had one. [laughs] I wish I could take that sound everywhere with me. It would be extremely useful.

Read the full interview here:
Welcome to Planet Duran Duran

Nov. 11, 2007

DIY Lifesize Jabba the Hutt Puppet

You may have already seen the 501st Legionís New England Garrison's full-sized Jabba the Hutt puppet in action during the Woburn, MA Halloween parade, but if you want to try and make your own, you're in luck.

Find out how to make the Jabba puppet out of irrigation tubing, foam mattress padding, spandex fabric, plastic bowls and other supplies from discount and hardware stores here.

Nov. 10, 2007

I Have a Bad Feeling...

Cool Geek Tat Alert.

Nov. 9, 2007

May the Puppies Be With You

Best pet costume moment ever!

Nov. 8, 2007

Skinny Puppy and the Depths of Star Wars

Skinny Puppy front man Nivek Ogre is known for his work with one of the most influential bands in alternative, industrial, techno and experimental electronic music. The innovative sampling techniques of Skinny Puppy have influenced the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Chris Vrenna and endless techno and industrial bands. Known for their theatrical concerts, Skinny Puppy -- consisting of Ogre, cEvin Key, Mark Walk and Justin Bennett -- often use video backdrops spliced from obscure horror films and news footage for truly unique live performances. Ogre chats with about how Star Wars specifically influenced him and why it will always remain one of his favorite films.

How has Star Wars -- or sci-fi/fantasy/horror films in general -- influenced Skinny Puppy?

Star Wars has had a huge influence on me. I come from a more horror monster background; I like the creepier side of things. But Star Wars was the one film that merged all the things I liked into one film. Films about historical events tend to take on a bias, as opposed to horror and fantasy. The purist form of filmmaking, to me, takes hold of the collective unconscious and this Jungian world of putting shapes behind our eyes and imagination. Skinny Puppy took a lot from horror films throughout the ages, whether it's Fritz Lang or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. We tried to reimagine that into something presentable to modern-day audiences. And it became a cathartic release for me in a lot of ways. It was a huge inspiration to me to have this backdrop of images that filled me up when I was growing up. These films created the tableau from which I was able to take little bits of them and put them in the performance.

Star Wars to me is more about these kind of heroic concepts and Greek mythology which I had a huge interest in when I was younger. The themes I appreciated from Star Wars had to do with overcoming the odds and pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do and that's where the transformation takes place. Facing your fears, and taking what's best out of a dark situation are also a big part of the films. And all those elements play into Skinny Puppy's music.

That might be a verbose way of presenting it. But at the time, Star Wars was a complete joy for me to watch; and that's what I want to hold more than anything is that memory of going into a theater for an hour and a half and being suspended above myself in a realm where I was in awe that these types of movies are being made. I was allowed to be taken along on a fantastic voyage.

Read the full interview here:
Skinny Puppy and the Depths of Star Wars

Nov. 7, 2007

"Tales from the Deep" Art Show

Ahoy! I went to the opening reception for artist Patrick Segui and his new series "Tales from the Deep" on Nov. 3, 2007 at Gallery Three in San Francisco, CA. Great dioramas, paintings and squids!

Here's the full set of photos I took:
Tales from the Deep" Art Show


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