I had a great time interviewing cartoonist Daniel Clowes at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles about his Complete Eightball anthology. This video was shot in glorious VHS by filmmaker Rocio Mesa and was produced by Gaston Dominguez-Letelier.
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One day in September 1951, Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon Lieutenant of the Royal Canadian Navy, was on board a Navy ship in waters off the coast of North Korea. This was during the height of the Korean War, so when crew members spotted a small Korean junk off in the distance, they became suspicious, especially because the boat was headed straight for them. As the junk approached, the lookouts could see someone on the deck frantically waving a flag, and when the junk got closer, they saw that the men on board were more dead than alive. Their bodies had been torn apart by bullets and shrapnel. As soon as they were lifted aboard, Dr. Cyr immediately began operating on them. As the only person on the ship with medical qualifications, he spent the next 48 hours performing surgery, saving the lives of 19 men. He was hailed a hero at home, and he certainly would have received honors and a promotion from the Navy, if only they hadn’t discovered that Dr. Cyr was not a doctor and had never performed a surgical operation in his life before that day. He didn’t even have a high school degree. And his name wasn’t even Joseph Cyr, it was Ferdinand Demara. He’d stolen the identity of the real Dr. Cyr, a friend of his who knew him as Brother John Payne of the Brothers of Christian Instruction. Read the rest
“If at a certain point you were into arthouse movies when you’re young, Wim Wenders was your best friend,” my friend Bilge Ebiri tells me the other day, and I can put it no better way. The German filmmaker secured a legendary reputation early on for the successive one-two hit of his widely regarded masterpieces Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire. Even now, having just celebrated his 70th birthday, he was recently Oscar-nominated for his documentaries Pina and Salt of the Earth, and continues to take photographs & write essays about art and film, with a new volume yet to be translated into English. Read the rest
Alexander “Zander” Rose is the executive director of The Long Now Foundation, which was founded in 1996 to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution that fosters very-long-term planning. He was hired to build their clock that lasts 10,000 years. He’s also the founder of the Robot Fighting League, and a contestant on the ABC series Battlebots (airing Sunday nights). In this episode of the Cool Tools Show podcast, Andrew recommends several tools I've never heard of: Knipex Parallel Plier Wrenches, Gear Drive Case Ball End Hex Keys, Bafang Mid Drive eBike kit, Yuba Boda Boda Family Cargo Bike, Chinese High Power Bike Lights, Water Activated Resin Cast Material, and a Skin Stapler (for "people who are not good at suturing"). See the show notes here.
"There was a whole line of women in my dating life who refused to date me because I was a magician." Read the rest
Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.
Come spend 45 minutes in the Red Hook living room shared by Hospitality's singer and percussionist a day after the launch of their sophomore record. The expectations are elevated this time out, after the healthy amount of buzz generated by the band's self-titled indie-pop debut. You wouldn't know it from outward appearances, however. All is calm in the Brooklyn band's apartment. Dinner is on the stove and Michel is halfway through Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. The tour, after all, is still a few months away.
Isabel Greenberg is a writer and illustrator who lives and works in North London. In her graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Greenberg combines art, mythology, and humor to tell a story of star-crossed love. It takes readers back to a time before history began, when another—now forgotten—civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole in search of a missing piece of his soul. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth's unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.
For nine years the popular website Futility Closet has collected arresting curiosities in history, literature, language, art, philosophy, and mathematics. This book presents the best of them: pipe-smoking robots, clairvoyant pennies, zoo jailbreaks, literary cannibals, corned beef in space, revolving squirrels, disappearing Scottish lighthouse keepers, reincarnated pussycats, dueling Churchills, horse spectacles, onrushing molasses, and hundreds more. Plus the obscure words, odd inventions, puzzles and paradoxes that have made the website a quirky favorite with millions of readers -- hundreds of examples of the marvelous, the diverting, and the strange, now in a portable format to occupy your idle hours.
Here's my interview with Greg about his new book and his new career as a full-time curator of curiosities.