Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where does the time go?

Well, it is down to crunch time. This is the point where we here with ArtScene have to put down the video game controllers, well, for a little while anyhow, stop with the beer .. oh who are we kidding? Ok, really, it is time to get things organized for the next issue of ArtScene, coming soon to a newspaper rack near you!

What a busy time this has been. With being involved in other things, like theatre - which is safe to say will steal every ounce of your free time and your soul, and make you love every minute of it - and family - they still know what I look like, they have a picture, I may need to update it - trying to maintain some small semblance of a social life, and another new project - because who really needs all that free time? It is a challenge to juggle everything. But we do make a valiant effort! Even if half of the writing is done in an alcohol fueled frenzy the week before production.

We have watched a bunch of great flicks that I think you may find very interesting. Some even caused debate! Those are the best ones I think, though they can make for stormy departures. I mean, can I help it if I am a moody artistic type?

The Theatre festival was a huge success, find out all about the adventures in the upcoming issue. There was parties, awards, celebrations, bears, and prayers for death. How can you go wrong with all that?

I also spent a bunch of time going through a slew of festivals all over the Cariboo this summer for all of you. Goodness have I got my summer planned. (really need to update that picture for the kids) Looks like there will be something almost every weekend, now I just need to stock up on some spf70. I have two colors, incredibly white, or deep scalded red. I prefer the first.

So off I go to try and finish off the advertising and editorials before the end of the week without having my brain ooze too much out of my ears ... must remember to stop at the cold beer and wine after work.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Crunch Time

Got back yesterday afternoon from a weekend trip to Prince George for the Central Interior Zone Drama Festival. Had a blast, even if it was mostly busy and hectic with little downtime. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you ask my bank account) there was enough downtime for some shopping at Future Shop and a spiffy little bookstore.

The event will be featured in a journal-esque format in the next issue of ArtScene. And, if our freelancer for the show is able to pull her own story together, there will be two entirely different perspectives on the event -- one from the side of the "Sylvia" production (by me) and one from the side of "Looking for Normal." And one will likely involve more references to liquor than the other. That'd be mine.

The next seven days are pretty much the crunch time for ArtScene #2, during which I'm going to be writing my arse off because I didn't get enough writing done during the rest of the month, and then -- sometime following Thursday -- starting work on laying the whole thing out, so it can go to press sometime around the weekend, to be on the streets sometime next week.

All of this, of course, I'm trying desperately not to think about. Because that's really only about a week. Seven days. Of hell. Or it would be, if I was thinking about it. Which I'm not.

Periodic updates to come over the next week as I slowly lose my mind.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What to expect from ArtScene #2

The brainstorming is done, and we now have a pretty firm idea of the sort of content that you'll be seeing in the second action-packed edition of the ArtScene. We don't want to give too much away (because, obviously, if we did, you wouldn't have any reason to pick it up from your local newsstands) but we can let you in on a few things.

Coincidentally, our two themes this month almost interconnect, making the June issue of ArtScene *almost* a summer travel guide. We'll be featuring a list of festivals going on in and around the area for the next few months, in case you'd like to attend some of them, and we'll be putting around a survival guide for the William Lake Stampede for those who don't care much for the rodeo. Because not everyone is real big on the cowboy thing, but not everyone remembers that there's more to the stampede than cowboys on horses. There's also cowgirls in tight jeans.

There will also be a wrap-up of the Central Interior Zone drama festival from two sides of the same coin — the Williams Lake Studio Theatre's production of "Sylvia," and the Williams Lake Studio Theatre's production of "Looking for Normal." This feature will include the work of our first unpaid freelancer, so be nice to her.

On top of all this good stuff will be the regular features you're already coming to know and love — movie reviews, Dr. Cranky, contests, and more.

ArtScene #2 will be on the stands in June.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Have your say...

Here at the ArtScene blog, we're always wanting to try out new things. First on that list of new things to try out (which is arguably new, because the blog has only really been around for a month, so we're still going through the "what should we do with this space phase) is a semi-regular poll, which you'll see in the right-hand column. Too much sex in ArtScene #1? Not enough? Let us know. Or don't. It's all up to you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Review: Spider-Man 3

I attended a screening of "Spider-Man 3" Sunday night. Which is to say I went to the movie theatre and watched it, just like everyone else. Except that it sounds more professional to refer to it as a screening. So I did.

Because of the monthly publishing schedule of ArtScene, I don't see much sense in running theatrical film reviews in its pages. Odds are, by the time the issue made it to the street and was picked up and read, the movies covered would have moved on, so a review wouldn't accomplish much more than reminding people of all the potentially great films they missed out on seeing. Or that they did see, and now don't need to be told if it was any good or not.

But the occasional film review on the blog...that's not a bad idea at all. After all, blogs are immediate. I could have a review available online the same night that I watched film (I mean, attended the screening) if I was a bit more on the ball. Even so, two days later is still pretty immediate compared to a monthly publication schedule, and the deadlines involved in it.

I'm off on a bit of a tangent here, though. Let's talk about Spider-Man.

I haven't followed Spider-Man's adventures in the pages of a comic book in years, but when I was younger, he was at the top of my list of favoured super-hero characters. So as each film in this now-trilogy has been released, I've anticipated with the sort of glee that comes from having the opportunity to revisit something from your youth as an adult.

The first two films were exceptional examples of comic book movies that worked. The third continues that trend, though I confess, it's a slightly weaker film.

"Spider-Man 3" falls victim, in a large part, to being too much of too many. There are too many new characters, too many villians, too many subplots, and unfortunately the one spot where we could have used a little bit of too much -- storyline -- falls short.

Which is strange, because there's an awful lot going on. An awful lot of little stuff, crossing this way and that way, but as far as a single, from beginning to end narrative goes...I'm not actually sure there was one.

"Spider-Man 3" feels very much like the third part of a trilogy, requiring an awareness of the previous two films much more than "Spider-Man 2" did. "Spider-Man 2" -- while it was still a sequel -- managed to be a self-contained film in its own right. Unfortunately, "Spider-Man 3" seems more interested in tying up plot threads from the previous two movies to stand on its own.

Having said all that, it is a spectacular, summer action film, with some of the best comic-book-esque fight scenes I've ever seen on the screen (one of the best coming in the first third of the film, leaving the final, exciting climax a little short on action in comparison). Tobey McGuire is still a bang-on Peter Parker, and new arrivals Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace fill their villainous roles more than competently.

If you're expecting a deep, philosophical, examination of the human condition, you're probably not going to see "Spider-Man 3" anyway. If you want to see some high-speed, web-slinging action, you likely won't be disappointed, if you overlook some of the problems that are probably unavoidable in a story as ambitious and jam-packed with content as this was.


IMDB Random Keywords:
Revenge / Laboratory / Blockbuster / Particle Accelerator / Newspaper

Sunday, May 6, 2007

One down, potentially hundreds to go...

Well the first ArtScene is on the stands, in the hands of the community at large, and I am thrilled to see it in it's form. Being involved from the go ahead to now and beyond is an exciting ride.

It seems like just the other day that Todd and I sat over drinks banging out what was to become the content of the first issue of ArtScene. The level of anticipation was high then, as I took on my parts. I have been a little rusty in writing, and it was good to get into the swing of things, and at the same time, scary as hell putting it back into use. I can remember, as a youth, writing about everything and anything. Short stories, poetry, ramblings, scripts, and then putting it down for a long time. It is so good to be getting the gears going again. Who said you can't be creative and have a career?

I am very happy to report that the reviews for the first ArtScene Newspaper have been phenomenal. We have received many kudos for the paper, for the content, for the writing, and for the concept in general. I can't wait to get going on the next one. It really is a great publication. If you haven't seen one yet, you should definitely pick one up.

Our next agenda is getting together again for another content meeting. The weekends meeting has been postponed, though we will be mapping it out much sooner rather than later. The hopes are for a bigger publication, so we are wanting to be prepared with enough entertaining content to keep you, the readers, and us, the writers, amused and coming back for more. Because, let me tell you, it is just as fun to write it for you, as, hopefully, it is to pick up and read.

Here is to another fantastic issue!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What to do on Mother's Day if you're a cyborg

This was originally written by Todd as a humourous sidebar for the Mother's Day Feature. It was drastically modified and run over the course of three pages in the folio filler space (that's what we call the little grey-boxed blurbs at the bottom of each page).

As originally envisioned, it was going to be about what to do if you don't have a mother in general, but after some consideration, it seemed like making fun of orphans might not actually be that funny, so we modified the subject so that it was about cyborgs specifically. Because, like orphans, they don't have mothers. But unlike orphans, they're harder to offend. This is that version in its entirety, as an unedited, first draft. Enjoy.

If you’re a cyborg from the future, sent back in time to kill a young boy who will eventually become the leader of the underground human army, you probably don’t have a mother. Which can make things awkward on Mother’s Day. Here are a few tips on things you can do to pass the time while everyone else is celebrating the beauty of motherhood.

If you were supplied with a cell phone that can send messages into the future, you could call the mad scientist who laboured for years to bring you to sort-of life. He’s probably the closest thing you have to a parental figure, and if he’s like most mad scientists, you’re probably the closest thing he has to offspring. A hunch-backed lab assistant doesn’t really count.

Most cinemas have a variety of films to choose from, so make sure you avoid films described as “Touching,” or “A heart-wrenching drama about family.” It’ll just remind you of the mother-vacancy in your life. Instead, watch something brutal and violent and filled with blood and dismemberment. It’ll help you to stay focused on your mission. “300” might be a good choice.

Whether you want to slave over the stove to fix yourself a five course meal, or just dial up the local pizza joint for a delivery order, spending a little “You” time at home can help wash away the blues. Feel free to have a few too many drinks. Go ahead no one’s watching. And if they are, you can probably spot them with your X-Ray / Infrared vision. And at that point, they won’t be watching for long.

Sometimes experiencing mindless violence vicariously isn’t good enough. Sometimes you need to have a hand in it yourself.

In retrospect, I think the Folio Filler version of this was actually funnier.

Celebrating Mothers

Even though it was our first issue, and even though it ended up a little smaller than we had originally thought, there were still a few pieces that didn't make the final cut. Here's a look at a handful of "Mothers" through history, penned by Juli Smith, that was intended for the first issue of ArtScene.

Mothers Day. It brings up notions of home cooking and hugs, bandages and talks, scolding and love. A salute to the image of Supermom, a woman who is always attentive, never misses a soccer match, bakes brownies from scratch, keeps the house clean and inviting while cooking gourmet and running a company, the woman who never sleeps, hardly eats and can still fit into the jeans she wore in high school. Or at least that is what we are supposed to believe. A day to celebrate mothers everywhere. To show the women in our lives that the sacrifices they have made are not unnoticed, that there is some thanks for the job they do. One day to give her a break, and tell her that she is special and her work is superb.

The first mothers, the ones who started it all, do they get a fair mention in the whole Mothers Day process? In most religions, most traditions, we were spawned from one mother; the beginning, the Alpha, the first maternal symbol. On one hand there is Eve, meaning living one or life, mother of all mankind – depending on who you talk to; she is the original mother, created by God himself as the perfect parent for man kind. Made from a rib, mother to nations – that’s an awful lot of children. The first to succumb to temptation, the woman who had the nerve to bite the apple – see all mothers are not perfect. Though imagine the stress of having to go out and replenish the earth, could lead a woman to drinking, at that point a little bit of fruit wouldn’t seem quite so bad. Or on the flip side Mother Earth. The birthplace of all things created. The arms which hold us in her grasp when we curl on the green grass. The subject of oh so many bumper stickers, and the feature of neopagan goddess worship, “Gaia”, earth, the symbolic meeting of the witch, the virgin and the crone.

The beginnings, as real or imagined as they may be, are wonderful, but to coin a phrase “what have you done for me lately?” What about the real women who have made our planet just a little better?

Mother Theresa, not really a mother at all, well, not in the whole giving birth sense of the world, though when looking up good mothers, her name is inevitably at the top of the list. Is it because she had a great sense of style, or perhaps an eloquent way of speaking? Or rather is it because of all the time she spent with 3 changes of clothes and a bible changing kids lives one by one? Perhaps it is because everyone could relate to being one of those that she cared for; in her own words, "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." From 1950 at the start of her diocesan congregation which would become the Missionaries of Charity, to her death on September 5, 1997, nine days after her 87th birthday, Mother Theresa was a pioneer for women, mothers and sisters, daughters, wives, a tangible sense of good in a world that can be, at times, lacking that quality. But there is more to good mothering than self sacrifice and world media coverage. Or at least one would hope there is.

There are mothers who have overcome amazing feats: The wife of Feodor Vassilyev from the village of Shuya, who, over the span of 30 years in the 1700’s, gave birth to 69 children during 27 pregnancies. The poor woman produced 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four quadruplets. That has to deserve a medal of some sort, a moment of silence, a vacation in the Bahamas, a concubine for her husband to give the poor woman a little bit of rest. I would hate to think about the poor state of her innards, not to mention her mind. Oh the diapers!

Or what of the great and powerful works of Ms Angelina Jolie? Working on starting her own United Nations, her multi-cultured babies and her sexiest-man-alive partner form the Ultimate Dream. Looks, money, charity, goodwill ambassador, travel, love and good squishy feelings. All this while managing to look like a goddess and speak adoringly about your fantastic sex life. Yes, this woman is so perfect a mother that even Mother Theresa would hate her just a little bit I am sure.

But no matter who you are: soccer mom extrodinairre to world travelling socialite mom to the modern day version of Roseanne Barr, this Mothers Day is for you! Take some time for yourself. Grab a bag of Purdy’s and sit back, you deserve the break. Let someone else run the world, just for the day – God knows you’ll have to clean it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

One down...

The first issue of ArtScene hit the presses yesterday, and should be on the streets today. As I write this, people should already be picking it up, browsing through it, and going, "Wow, this is pretty cool!"

I've got two copies in my living room right now. I flipped through them earlier, and I must say it looks pretty good to my eyes, though I was already pretty much in love with the idea even before we started, so I suppose I'm not the most unbiased.

The next week or two we'll see what the general public's reaction is like, even as those of working on the content for the ArtScene start pulling together ideas for the next issue. There's a brainstorming session planned for Friday after the regular workday, because brainstorming always works a little bit better when there's a drink or four involved. Because in brainstorming, there are no bad ideas. Just ideas that, for whatever reason, you choose not to use. And some of the best not-bad ideas come out after inhibitions have dropped a notch or two.

There's something mildly psychotic about putting the first issue of a publication to press only to turn around and immediately start work on the next issue. There should be time taken for celebration, time to rejoice in the job that was done, and the product that was made -- and it's a product, I think, that everyone associated with it is incredibly proud of. Unfortunately, with only four weeks to pull the next one together, there's little time for celebration. Though perhaps we can take a moment on Friday to toast the inaugural issue.

Look for a blog update on Saturday following the brainstorming, with some ideas on what you might be looking forward to in ArtScene #2.