A 10-film trip through the "acid western"

BFI, the British film organization, has posted a list of ten "acid westerns."

The term ‘acid western’ is an elusive one. First coined by Pauline Kael in her New Yorker review of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo (1970), it wasn’t until 2000 and the publication of his monograph on Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995) for the BFI Modern Classics series that critic Jonathan Rosenbaum would expand upon the terminology more specifically.

“What I partly mean by acid westerns,” wrote Rosenbaum, “are revisionist westerns in which American history is reinterpreted to make room for peyote visions and related hallucinogenic experiences, LSD trips in particular.” He distinguishes these from the “less radical… upheaval of generic norms” that colour “the influence of marijuana on the drifting, nonlinear aspects of the style of McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971),” setting the ‘acid western’ apart from what he calls the ‘pot western'.

I guess it's really a "you know it when you see it" kind of deal. Read the rest

Squidmar issues another miniature painting challenge on Fivver

After Boing Boing and other sites wrote about the Squidmar Miniatures video where Emil challenged painters on Fivver to paint a mini for him, the video went viral. Others painters approached him about doing another video that they could participate in and even Fivver itself wanted in on the action.

So, Emil decided to issue another challenge. With $600 provided by Fivver, he sent one mini from the Zarbag's Gitz warband for Warhammer Underworlds to eight painters (I guess paying them $75 each?). This time, he didn't give them any directive beyond using their creativity. For some additional inspiration, he also provided them with a little animated story describing Zarbag's Gitz.

Read the rest

"Whatever lies behind the door" The night before Bowie died

The night before David Bowie died, I was listening to the newly released tracks from Blackstar on YouTube, in honor of his birthday the day before. I saw the Hammersmith Odeon performance for “Moonage Daydream” on the right rail and decided to open it full-screen on my large monitor and crank it to 11.

I watch “Moonage Daydream” every few years and it never ceases to enchant me all over again. But that Sunday night, the performance hit me so hard, it actually startled me. I found myself shedding tears of joy. I was exclaiming things into the soundwaves as they crashed over me. I had no idea where any of this was coming from, but I was filled with such profound feelings of love and appreciation for what this extraordinary artist, this unique human being, had inspired in me and countless others. I felt as though I could fully feel the weight of him, his art, his cultural and historical import, and exactly how he had impressed himself upon my nervous system. It almost felt like a life flashing before my eyes moment.

I decided to try and share this moment of epiphany with others. I sent a message to two friends who are also Bowie fanatics: "Is there a more perfect concert video than this? Every fucking frame of this thing blows my mind. Do yourself a favor, open it full-screen, crank it all the way up...and GO!"

After “Moonage Daydream,” I watched “My Death,” another favorite from the Hammersmith show. Read the rest

The largest insect that ever lived, the Dragonfly-like Meganeuropsis, had a wingspan of 28"

The Dragonfly-like Meganeuropsis was a giant insect that plied the skies from the Late Carboniferous to the Late Permian, some 317 to 247 million years ago. It had a wingspan of some 28" with a body length of around 17."

Meganisoptera is an extinct family of insects, all large and predatory and superficially like today’s odonatans, the dragonflies and damselflies. And the very largest of these was Meganeuropsis. It is known from two species, with the type species being the immense M.permiana. Meganeuropsis permiana, as its name suggests is from the Early Permian.

Fossils of the insect were first discovered in France in the late 1800s. This fine fellow, from Bolsover in Derbyshire, was unearthed in 1979.

Read more on Geology In. Read the rest

The magic of movie miniatures via the Slice of Life fan film

Slice of Life is a crowdfunded fan film that takes place in a Blade Runner-like universe and is presented as a "love letter" to 80s sci-fi films in general. Years in the making, the team finally sent their Kickstarter backers digital copies over Christmas. As soon as all of their backers get their hard copies (DVDs and Blu-Ray), the film will be made available online.

During the production process, the Slice of Life team posted lots of great video diaries on YouTube, forming something of a master class in low-budget sci-fi film-making. In the above 35-minute video, Luka gives us an impressively informative run-through of the process of building and shooting miniature structures.

Starting with nothing more than a crappy cardboard box, some kitchen trash, electronic junk, and a few plastic model and 3D-printed bits, he builds a cyberpunk-y building and then shows how they went about filming and compositing everything into a final scene. Impressive.

Here's the trailer for the film:

[H/t Kevin Kelly] Read the rest

Happy Bowiemas! Celebrate by listening to Bowie yucking it up impersonating other singers

Today is David Bowie's birthday (born Jan 8, 1947, died Jan 10, 2016). Here's a great example of our favorite leper messiah's sense of humor as he impersonates a number of fellow singers during the Absolute Beginner's recording sessions in 1985.

In the six-minute clip, you hear David doing his best impressions of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Anthony Newley, Iggy Pop, and Neil Young. Some of them are quite good, especially Springsteen.

And, if you (like me) are going full Bowiemas this week (can I get an alien mullet amen?), check out this 19-hour Bowie playlist on Spotify:

Listen to David Bowie from beginning to end in a 19-hour, complete chronological playlist

"If you're going to be a fucking rockstar, go be one. People don't want to see the guy next door on stage; they want to see a being from another planet." -Lemmy Kilmister

Happy Birthday, David. We miss you! Read the rest

The strange pyromaniacal niche of wooden match chain reaction videos

I love how watching one YouTube video you happen upon can scoop up a whole genre of videos you didn't even know existed. Witness the match chain reaction genre. I watched the first video below and that lead to countless others.

I cannot imagine the patience (not to mention the desire) required to cut and glue together thousands of wooden matches. And is the time invested in building the structure proportional to the rush the builder gets during the burn?

Read the rest

Barbie and Ken re-imagined as Soviet citizens living in Cold War USSR

Russian doll artist and photographer Lara Vychuzhanina takes Barbie and Ken out of their Malibu dream house and imagines them "back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSR."

Working with real photographs as a reference, Vychuzhanina manages to capture the style of the Soviet world in incredible detail. The delightfully nostalgic, 60 x 40 x 50cm (23.6 x 15.7 x 19.6 inch) model apartment features plastic pots, pans, and kitchen appliances that Vychuzhanina scuffed up to look as though they’re old and rusting. The meticulous artist even printed out scaled-downed food labels and stuck them onto tiny boxes and cans, and the table is laid out with a simple breakfast.

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Подумываю снять нечто похожее на эти фотографии, но в декорациях деревенского дома. Чтоб тоже был и мужик с водкой, и общая убогость убранства, в общем незамысловатый быт деревенского забулдыги. Конечно же с Гришей в главной роли)) Опять будете сетовать, что уж больно он цивильно выглядит для алкаша:))) . . #dollphotography #lara_v #photography_art #miniature #barbiedoll #toys #dollhouse #dollphotogallery #dollhouseminiatures #fineart #ussr #roombox #barbieworld #dollsofinstagram #communalapartment #kitchen #soviet #sovietkitchen #vodka #barbiemadetomove #ссср #коммуналка #коммунальнаяквартира #советскийсоюз #советскаякухня #алкаш #мужик #советскиймужик #водка #соседи

A post shared by LARA VYCHUZHANINA (@lara_art_dolls) on Nov 16, 2017 at 9:16pm PST

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Как и обещала - продолжение фоток с коммунальной кухни;) Гриша съел всю жареную картошку, выкурил всю Приму и теперь размышляет о смысле жизни)) . . #dollphotography #lara_v #photography_art #miniature #barbiedoll #toys #dollhouse #dollphotogallery #dollhouseminiatures #fineart #ussr #roombox #barbieworld #dollsofinstagram #communalapartment #kitchen #soviet #sovietkitchen #vodka #boozer #ссср #коммуналка #коммунальнаяквартира #советскийсоюз #советскаякухня #алкаш #мужик #советскиймужик #водка #соседи

A post shared by LARA VYCHUZHANINA (@lara_art_dolls) on Nov 14, 2017 at 7:32pm PST

See the rest. Read the rest

Turning a Sega MegaDrive into a cool, retro synthesizer

Sam Battle of Look Mum No Computer, the mad sonic scientist who brought us the Furby Organ, has done it again. This time, he turned a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive into an awesomely retro-sounding synthesizer.

The Sega Mega Drive included a Yamaha YM2612 six-channel FM synthesizer chip under the hood. Sam broke that out to create his synth which so epically invokes that iconic, often cringe-worthy, 80s synth sound.

On his second YouTube channel, Look Mum No Computer But More Serious-ish, he goes into more detail about the YM2612, the Sega Drive, and putting together the synth. Read the rest

Model rocket pioneer, Vern Estes, celebrates his 90th birthday

When I was a juvie nerd, I lived for Estes (and Centuri) model rockets. I slept with my Estes catalog (sometimes literally). I would mow lawns, rake leaves, and save up my allowance to order from the catalog. I would have maybe ten dollars to spend and would agonize over each order, trying to squeeze out as many products as possible from my measly earnings.

I would finally place the order and wait with agonized impatience for it to arrive. I would always imagine a sizable box showing up in the mail. Every time, the box was disappointingly tiny. But I built what I received with whatever tools and supplies we had in the house, mainly Elmer's glue, scissors, Scotch tape, and (at least for my first rocket) house paint. I cut the balsa wood fins out with a razor blade. By the time I left my rocketry youth behind, I had built around 18 rockets and was Vice President of the Chester Virginia Rocketry Club (we had three members).

Several years ago, I unearthed my first rocket (the house-painted one) from the bowels of my basement. It is the only rocket from my childhood that survives. Here it is, in all of its fragile and funky glory:

The first time we launched it -- the launch controller connected to the battery in my dad's El Camino -- I had glued the launch lug (the small paper tube that holds the rocket to the launch rod) on crooked, so much so that the friction would not allow the rocket to freely travel up the rod. Read the rest

Video made from 400,000 photos of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67p) taken by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft

In 2016 an exciting mission was ended. The Rosetta spacecraft made its final maneuver. A controlled hard-landing on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67p).

Before that, Rosetta accompanied the comet for more then 2 years. It researched valuable scientific data, brought a lander on to the comets surface, and took a vast number of pictures.

In 2017, ESA released over 40,0000 images from Rosetta's comet mission. Based on this material, Motion Designer Christian Stangl and Composer Wolfgang Stangl worked together to create this short film. The sequences are digitally-enhanced real-footage of the probe.

Read the rest

Jeremy of Black Magic Craft builds a gorgeous Mandalorian diorama

On Black Magic Craft, Jeremy usually builds scenery for tabletop fantasy and sci-fi gaming. But, inspired by his new 3D resin printer, he decided to create something just for fun.

Given the Nerdisphere's current obsession with The Mandalorian, he settled on a Mandalorian and baby Yoda diorama. The results are impressive, one of the coolest things I've ever seen Jeremy build.

The video contains lots of great build tips that can be applied to tabletop gaming terrain, dioramas, or any type of hobby modeling. Good stuff. Read the rest

Ivanka Trump to provide excuse to boycott CES

Looking for a reason to finally power down that annual orgy of future high-tech landfill poisons? Here ya go.

From Variety:

It’s official: Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser, will be on the CES 2020 keynote stage next month in Las Vegas.

Ivanka Trump will join a keynote discussion on jobs and the future of work with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Assn., which produces CES (originally known as the Consumer Electronics Show). The talk is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 2 p.m. PT in the Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom. Trump and Shapiro will discuss “employer-led strategies to reskill workers, create apprenticeships and develop K-12 STEM education programs,” according to the CTA.

Read the rest.

[Image: Screen capture of Ivanka's address to the RNC, 2016] Read the rest

My top ten maker tips for 2019

In the spring of this year, I started a weekly tips newsletter, Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales. I had released a book of tips in 2018, called Tips and Tales from the Workshop, and couldn't shake the habit of tips-collecting. So, I decided to launch a newsletter to share what I was rounding up each week.

The newsletter has been a big success and I am thrilled with the response I've gotten. I decided it would be fun to go through the last seven months content and share ten of my favorite tips with Boing Boing readers. Here they are, in no particular order.

 

Details Layer Scott of Essential Craftsman shared this pearl of wisdom on an episode about using construction string: “Details layer. The more accurate you can get in your details, even with something as mundane as how you tie your knot – it all accumulates to acceptable accuracy.” This is a maker’s truth. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because I am the king of cutting corners, lazy work habits, and fudging the details. So, I know exactly what he means. I think understanding and applying this concept is the difference between a master craftsperson and an amateur. As I work, I don’t put tools back, I don’t stop and sharpen or change blades when I should, I don’t read instructions, I try and rush things, and I try and skip doing things the way I know they should be done. Read the rest

Wilson and Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy to become TV series

According to the nerd media website, Bleeding Cool, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's crazed, over-the-top, post-modern sci-fi satire, the Illuminatus! trilogy is slated to become a TV series. No details are given about where it might land, but given Hivemind's association with Amazon Prime and Netflix, one of these outlets is a likely bet.

Illuminatus! as the show will be called, will be executive produced by Dinesh Shamdasani and Hunter Gorinson for Hivemind, and Iris McPherson and Kirstin Winkler for Kallisti. Taylor will serve as executive producer and showrunner.

“The series’ staggering influence has only continued to grow with each passing year not just because it explores and indulges the most compelling depths of America’s conspiratorial imagination, but because it also gives us the tools and knowledge to understand it. If there was ever a series primed for 21st century television, it’s Illuminatus!” said fellow former Valiant Comics employee, Hunter Gorinson, Hivemind’s VP of Brand & Content Strategy.

Illuminatus! joins Hivemind’s roster including Amazon’s science-fiction series, The Expanse, Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher and the Sony movie Bloodshot, based on the Valiant comic.

[Image: My Illuminatus! trilogy from when I was 18 years old.]

***

Full press release below:

LOS ANGELES, CA– December 11, 2019 – Hivemind today announced that it has partnered with writer/director Brian Taylor (HAPPY!, CRANK) and European production company Kallisti for a new television series based on THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY – the hugely influential science-fiction franchise created by authors Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea that first introduced the concept of "the Illuminati" into the popular consciousness, while simultaneously fueling, deconstructing, and skewering America's modern-day obsession with conspiracy theories. Read the rest

Tabletop gamer's gift guide for 2019

Looking for gifts for tabletop gamers? Here are some of my suggestions, based on games I've enjoyed this year... and games I would love to see under my Tannenbaum.

What were some of your favorite games this year? Let us know in the comments.

Dune

It's back! One of the most beloved and highly-regarded board games of all time, long out of print, has a new publisher (Gale Force Nine) and a new edition. This version has new art (based on the fan-created 2011 print and play edition) and some rules streamlining and clarifications, but is otherwise very close to the classic Avalon Hill edition.

BUY

Horrified

I reviewed this wonderful, medium-weight board game of classic monster mayhem in my Halloween gaming article. Easy to pick up, fun, cooperative play with a decent amount of replayability. Work together to get the hapless villagers to safety while fending off Dracula, the Frankenstein monster and his bride, the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man.

BUY

Black Angel

Here's one that's on my holiday list. I love the premise of this game. An ark ship, sent from a dying Earth, contains humanity's DNA and the genetic heritage of the entire planet. This precious cargo is all watched over by machines of loving grace. Actually, it's watched over by a committee of competing AIs. The global conflicts that destroyed the world meant that the nations of the Earth couldn't agree on a single AI to mother such an invaluable cargo. Read the rest

'I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth' and other Cthulhuian Yuletide classics

Oh tidings of madness and woe. Gather 'round the Necronomicon, little cultists, and let's all sing these beloved holiday odes to Elder Gods. All the classics are here: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth," "Freddy the Red-Brained Mi-Go," "All I Want for Solstice is my Sanity," and "Awake Ye Scary Old Ones." And who can ever forget that rubber-room holiday favorite "Away in a Madhouse?"

These songs were all created by members of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. You can hear more via this YouTube link.

[H/t Geeks Are Sexy] Read the rest

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