Girl on Film: a graphic novel memoir of a life in the arts and the biological basis for memory-formation
Cecil Castellucci (previously) is a polymath artist: YA novelist, comics writer, librettist, rock star; her latest book, Girl on Film, is an extraordinary memoir of her life in the arts, attending New York's School for the Performing Arts (AKA "The Fame School") and being raised by her parents, who are accomplished scientists.
Castellucci's father, Vincent F Castellucci, is a neuroscientist who is one of the world's leading experts on the formation of memories. Cecil's memoirs alternate between her recollections of her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, and present-day kitchen-table conversations with her father about the malleable nature of memory, and the involuntary confabulation that we all engage in whenever we recall our pasts.
These scientific discourses dovetail into philosophical inquiries about the nature of experience -- why do some experiences excite our interest and thus turn into our formative and favored memories? -- and this leads back to Cecil Castellucci's own (extraordinary) experiences as a precocious young artist in a Bohemian New York art scene.
Castellucci's girlhood in the 1980s put her squarely in the midst of some of our most famous and beloved artists and icons, from her girlhood chums Chastity (now Chas) Bono and Jennifer Anniston, to the indie film performer she recognized on the subway after his first role, who went on to a storied career as Steve Buscemi, and more.
But these connections aren't mere accident: Castellucci describes a childhood dominated by an overwhelming drive to make -- and live -- art, especially filmmaking. Her tale is at once a romance about the power of art to inspire and uplift, and a brutally frank examination of how unrealistic expectations and economic reality can smash a young artist's dreams.
Castellucci isn't shy about showing us what it's like to be kicked out of your own band, or to be ditched by your best friend as she gets into a limo to hang out with A-list brat-packers at an exclusive party. But she's also skilled at showing the upsides of a life in the arts, from the magical feeling of creation in the moment to the delights of hanging out with other creators, falling in love, being mentored, or just playing RPGs with them.
These moments, interleaved with her father's technical explanations of how memories are formed and changed, make for a story that's simultaneously sweet and provoking: more than a mere autobiography, Girl on Film demands that we ask ourselves how we narrate our own life and its meaning.
Girl on Film [Cecil Castellucci/Archaia]
Librecorps: an organization that connects student free/open source software developers with humanitarian NGOs
Librecorps is a program based at the Rochester Institute for Technology's Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) initiative that works with UNICEF to connect students with NGOs for paid co-op placements where they build and maintain FOSS tools used by nonprofits.
A teenager describes his hilarious adventures installing a surplus, 1,500lb mainframe in his parents' basement
Connor Krukosky's lifelong hobby was collecting and refurbishing superannuated computing equipment, which is surprisingly cheap provided you have a lot of space -- Krukosky scored things like keypunch machines for a mere $7 (though he had to drive 1,000 miles roundtrip to get it home).
Jen "Klingon Pop Warrior" Usellis records covers of pop songs, translated into Klingon, the apex of which is surely her rendition of "Let it Go" ("yIbuSQo'") from Frozen. (via Borderlands)
With all the revolutionary tech that’s out there, it’s pretty sad that finding a simple stud in your wall can feel like dowsing for water. This can be equally true whether you’re using a magnetic finder and it’s reliance on “feel,” or an electronic unit that can give fuzzy readings (especially when the batteries are […]
Do you have any Star Wars fans on your list? Given the reach and output of its new corporate masters these days, it might be easier to ask if there’s anyone out there who isn’t a Star Wars fan. So let’s narrow it down further: Do you know a Star Wars fan who likes to […]
There’s much ado about coffee brewing methods these days, but most of us – at least on the busy weekdays – just want our morning joe to be consistent, easy, and most of all, fast. If that sounds like anyone on your Christmas list, they’re going to get a lot of mileage out of the […]