Let your imagination fly.

Does this look like the doorway to the center of the earth?

Jules Verne went there in his imagination in 1864 and then Charles Brackett adapted the same story to a film, directed by Henry Levin, I have seen it by the way and it was spectacular to my 5 year old imagination.

Yet this particular “Door” is in Darvaz in Uzbekistan. Thirty five years ago, geologists were drilling for gas when they encountered a large cavern underground filled with gas. They ignited it expecting it to burn off in a few hours. The gas is still burning. It has been dubbed “The Door to Hell” by locals.

The mysterious stories that are engendered by thoughts of what is really below our feet at the center of the earth… Of course now we are much too scientific and oh so logical to think that it would be possible, no?

As if…

*cynical disclaimer

Publishers usually give Amazon a ~50%  discount on books so they can then re-sell them and it is often not enough?  Now I don’t of course know all of the little details that go into keeping the bookseller afloat and ahead of the technology but what about the artists.  The New York Times reports that it has prejudices against publishers that won’t even further undersell their inventory.

All is connected.

The Happening is a movie where all of the layers come together in an array of allegory and love. Story telling at it’s best, there is a subtle lesson. A lesson in love and the need to keep running, using energy.

I would love to be able to break it down in the literary sense but I am perhaps not yet well suited to recognize the techniques. Anyhow, the character development is done well, and in a short time, a picture of character mindset, lifespan, emotion, and perhaps folly. They are trying to escape what it is the storyteller never tells you directly, it is perhaps the plant-life of the planet reacting against the depletion of the earth and all of the negative energy that humankind pollutes the earth with, especially nuclear energy. All of a sudden the foil comes in to show that the characters are mythical lovers.

It is such a good film. Subtle and not jolting you or forcing one to see what it is to see but allowing one to come to terms with the moral of the story.

Brilliant!

Psychological

One of my favorite Directors is M. Night Shyamalan because he can tell a story, a story with mystical plots and suspense and they are full of imagination. They remind me of fairytales that really could be true, or if you can suspend your disbelief for the time they are.

Working in media/ entertainment production can really take the story away from you. It’s easy to tear the film apart for different reasons that pertain more to reasons such as inconsistent production or acting that is unbelievable because disconnected to the plot. The connection to the story is interrupted by… “oh, of course this is just a film.” So now I learn more about the devices one can use to bring in effects, like learning how to tell your own stories rather than being involved in someone else’s, but it takes a more masterful work to get my full attention to the story. Spectacular entertainment doesn’t work.

The Happening, and someone who has seen it is saying it’s really bad. Others are giving it better reviews.

The American Express commercial that he wrote and stars in is a beautiful work telling how it could feel to be able to see what demons lie behind some peoples masks, to let your imagination fly away with you.

I watch his movies all the way through gripping with my ears and eyes and imagination to his story.

It is scheduled for wide release on Friday the 13th.

The immediacy of the color red.

Even before thought our minds perceive what we’ve encountered through our senses. The color red excites our eyes, it’s warm and attractive, so immediate. The cover for the new Smashing Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist, has been done by Shepard Fairey who picked red for the immediacy of the color which reflects the immediacy of the issue he alludes to. He uses red a lot.

I’ve been following Fairey’s work for awhile and I am always impressed by the depth of reasoning he goes through to get his artistic ideas out. One of his influences he has listed in his manifesto which he wrote in 1990 is Heidegger who’s phenomenology looks at how our conscious being is that which shows itself in itself. He has used the slogan, “The medium is the message” originated by Marshal McLuhan, a man recognized for his genius in recognizing how forms of communications changes our psyche. He has learned from the best how communication can effect change and has done so by cultivating audiences around the world. He uses many a cultural signifier to make his statements poignant. And he was not paid for this, he just likes the guy.

A light to read by.

In the 1930’s my grandfather had a wind machine that would charge a battery, it was out in the shop and the battery was huge. It generated enough energy so he and my grandmother could read in the evening. This was way out west where the grids of electric power didn’t flow, yet. Harvesting the wind.

Now in 2008 we can weave light into fabric, fabric that if set in the bright sunlight for around 3 hours can illuminate for 10 hours later. The idea, dubbed “portable light”, combines solar cells with light-emitting diodes attached to the surface of a fabric that can be made into bags, and thus carried around during daylight hours. In sunlight, the cells generate electricity that is stored in batteries stitched into the material. When it gets dark, the batteries power light-emitting diodes that are also sewn onto the cloth. A small portable source of energy.

I believe the led light element is a nano technology and could even just be painted onto a surface as long as it could reach it’s power source.

The solar cells themselves are made from a substance called copper indium gallium diselenide, made by Global Solar Energy of Tucson, Arizona. Kennedy & Violich Architecture of Boston, Massachusetts has developed the technology and made it into the fabric.

“In 2005, Kennedy, an anthropologist, and a group of architecture students from the University of Michigan took Portable Light to the Sierra Madre in Mexico, where they introduced it to a group of Huichol Indians. The students had incorporated the technology into a variety of potentially useful designs, among them a study desk and a poncho. Though the families seemed taken with the brilliant fabric, the real breakthrough came when one woman asked Kennedy if she could use the technology in her own designs. She ended up weaving the solar panels and LEDs into a traditional Huichol shoulder bag. “Portable Light is physically adaptable, but it has to be culturally adaptable too,” Kennedy says. “We create the technology, then allow local communities to decide, according to their own needs, how best to adapt it.” Later, the MATx team added a microprocessor to the fabric, allowing several squares of Portable Light to hook together, to share power and to be synchronized in regard to the intensity of their light.”

The Rocky Mountain Institute is involved in the “Portable Light Project.”

So people can read, write and talk in the light after dark. They are cheaper than generators, batteries and even candles, over time. Harvesting the sunlight.

How’s that for integrative thinking, using existing technology through creative design to make a really helpful, inexpensive, and less destructive form of energy for people around the world? Nice way to allow life to remain simple, subtle and magical.

Foxes

Does anyone remember the song about the fox family? My father may have made it up… it begins with the refrain, “The fox went out on a chilly night, prayed to the moon to give him light, he had many a mile to go that night before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o, he had many a mile to go that night before he reached the town-o.”

Well there are many good stories about foxes, another being, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”, a book by Roald Dahl, where the farmers shoot off the little fox’s tail in trying to stop the creature from eating their chickens.

Wes Anderson is doing an animated version of the story, and many of Wes’ crew are part of it. Bill Murray is, I think, one of the farmers, Jason is in it as is Ms. Huston and some new additions…. George Clooney is Mr. Fox and Cate Blanchette is Mrs. Fox. Wes wrote the screenplay with Noah Baumbach, who he wrote with for the “Life Aquatic” which was fantastic. Although I think some of Wes’ best work was written with Owen Wilson. But what I am excited for is that Wes-ness, the thing that he does with a story. He just has such a personal way of expressing childhood from the first person perspective. I always feel like part of the story, like I did when my father told me stories when I was little. Wes has adapted the novel but then added scenes to begin and end the film.

The original story is set in Great Missenden, a local in Buckinghamshire, England, also the major inspiration for the films environment. The sounds are to be recorded out in the field to capture the real sounds of trees and birds, stables and the grounds. The animation is to be primarily stop motion and was to be created by Revolution Studios, which seems to be dissolved, however it has been stated that Mark Gustafson is doing the animation, and it seems that he has clay-mation (an example of claymation by the Brothers Quay) in his bag.

The animated film is in production and is set for a November 2009 release.

New, “The Enchantress of Florence”

A new work by Salman Rushdie, “The Enchantress of Florence. The New York Times puts the new work in a dim light, but harsh criticism has only been adversity for making Rushdie stronger.

I was able to see an art history lecture by Rushdie and his knowledge of middle eastern art is spectacular and culturally relevant. I next want to read, “Haroun and the Sea of Stories.” I feel that the author is able to capture the things that are precious, but not by emotional means, more in the sense of the allegory capturing an essence of human existence.

First chapter to be read online. NY Times book review. Guardian book review.

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent

Farewell to an artist who effected womens lives all over the world, directly or indirectly. Article in the NY Times:

In 1957, shocking the fashion world, the House of Dior named Mr. Saint Laurent its head designer. At 21, he found himself at the head of a $20-million-a-year fashion empire, succeeding a legend, the man who had radically changed the way women dressed in 1947 with the wasp-waisted New Look.

“Every man needs aesthetic phantoms in order to exist.” ~Saint-Laurent