A podcast about movie making and the scifi featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of God, Episode 032, Waves.
Welcome to the Daughter of Godcast Episode 032, Waves. Last week my life energy was shunted to an immune response, so episode 031 was a slurpy, sniffling mess, and very late. If you survived listening last week, I’m happy to report that I’m now back and firing on almost all cylinders, game to deliver a coherent and distilled episode, or a fair simulation of one.
I must have watched Transcendant Man on or before July 17, 2012 the day I wrote to Ray Kurzweil, asking if he had any open source tools for reconstructing his dad, and wishing him a safe arrival at the Singularity.
With this podcast, I am archiving enough of me to reconstruct a reasonably accurate facsimile of Dan Kelly aka Shri Fugi Spilt, if not THE me. So when Ray does eventually release his open source persona resurrection tool kit, these episodes could be the raw material for your very own version of myself. Oh, what I do for you people.
The Daughter of Godcast podcast is available as an audio/video version and an audio only version. The audio only version should be all you need, at least that’s my quest. So I occasionally have to be a bit virtousic at translating images into words. Especially when expounding on the joys of visuality. We’re hacking that old adage, a picture is worth 1000 words. These episodes are usually around 4000+ words, but you’re definitely seeing more than 4 measly mental pictures…
Airplane! dubbed in Spanish
This is a true story. A man lies in a vaporous clawfoot bathtub watching the movie Airplane! – dubbed in Spanish. He doesn’t speak Spanish, but can recognize a few words here and there. He hasn’t seen Aiplane! in any language for probably 20 years. The experience is strangely satisfying, mystical. For him, the movie carries deep associations to youth, he was in his late teens when it was released. A good movie, surreal and goofy. Iconic scenes well remembered and yet… they are inaccessible. Watching it in Spanish is like having a stroke, the actors lines are almost intelligible, he sort of remembers what they should be saying, and yet the humor zooms by. It’s all familiar and yet deliciously remote, alien. The loss can be savored because it is just a game. It’s a choice, something to do while having a hot soak. Revisiting a warmly familiar story told in a language that he doesn’t know. Just like life. How often moments with friends or family are relived in a unknown tongue, with new characters and mis-remembered history. We are only half erased, incompletely duplicated, partially obscured with mirrors and smoke.
Features vs Benefits
In episode 030 I tediously explained the mechanics of rotoscoping, totally neglecting the second rule of sales… talk benefits not features. Who cares about what rotoscoping IS? Tell us why is it cool?! This podcast is expertly crafted to reach an audience that actually knows how to live, geeky obsessions notwithstanding. I imagine my audience sipping home brew gruit while reclining in bippling hot springs, walking their unusually intelligent tabby cats on shadow dappled byways, or reading Alexander Weinstein by the glow of a beeswax candles. Living Large.
Side by side the two plucky visual effects artists plied their ephemeral trade. Just past their flat screens, a laughing lake, either placid and ripple-free, or methodically waving against a rocky beach under cloud scudded or burning blue sky. The excellence of summer in Northern Michigan, making a movie. That was Ben and I until September 2012, before he returned to Western Michigan University to continue his debt accumulation, a chronic symptom of higher education in the alleged REAL WORLD.
So why is rotoscoping cool? Why drudge away for hours days tracing live action?
When Christina opens the cabin door for Uncle Joe, he seems to be gently shimmering with red light, he’s a sunset, lurid and fascinating. His noir suit and fedora, his near incestuous leer, are juxtaposed by the sacred / profane radiance of capishe. The hallway is red too, lit by red bulbs… yet this light upon his body dances, celebrates. Perhaps he helps us see the living energy of light for the first time. Or is this just her POV, are Christina’s eyes brimming, is she seeing through tears? The beloved and enigmatic Uncle, back from the spooky nethers, is haloed with her intense emotion.
That description was 105 words, 1/10 of a 1000. Not an inadequate audio homage to the rotoscope enabled image. Because the root of all art is feeling.
Joe’s back from the dead hallway shimmer is subtle, the audience is not necessarily even going to register this as a visual effect, I am only helping them see what they want to see, goosed up a tad.
As you May Know
I’m proud of my FBI record. To clarify, I’ve never worked for the FBI. What I mean is that the FBI has a file on me. Not only do they have a file on me, but it’s secret. That’s why I am proud. That they would worry enough about me to have a secret file. I’m not being exactly fair, because the story I am going to tell you has nothing to do with my secret FBI file or how I came to learn about it. I only mention my file because it’s eerily unrelated to what follows, which is the essence of what follows. I’ve been reviewing James’ letter to his Kickstarter backers, and it’s about 12:15 am or so. I’m in the hammock that stretches across the studio area, tip tapping away at the laptop. I keep whiffing the faint odor of a not unpleasant burning, like aromatic woodsmoke. Perhaps the pot of chaga has cooked down to it’s chunks and is beginning to carbonize. Or maybe something worse. There’s food on the counter – left over pancakes and watermelon from dinner with Luke and Abigail. Ready to browse without remorse and feeling a bit parched too, I slide out of suspension, balancing the laptop and it’s swivel base like a svelte titanium pizza box. Clunk onto the floor and stiff but serviceable standing joints. Into the kitchen and no, the chagga is off. My imagination or crosstalk from an adjacent dimension more likely. Turn to the counter and the crash landed dinner. The comal has a few pancakes – dryish but beginning to wilt with the trapped humidity. I extract one onto the bare counter but… no. Watermelon. That’s the ticket. Returning the pancake to it’s dark lair I reach for the less than ideal serrated knife, start to saw waxy rind and then it happened – the eerily unrelated event. Out of nowhere, out of an unknown, unsuspected aspect, I spoke the words, “Mitt Romney”. It came out clear and calm, like a statement. Without any emotion or context, just “Mitt Romney”. I can’t say it was a message, a sending or a channeling, because it was completely and utterly devoid of any content. As if I wanted to hear myself say it. The simple music of speech, but why those words, why that… name? Why not that name? Is not THAT name as equally sacred as “Earth”, as “Philip K. Dick” or “watermelon”? Sure, that’s all well and good, but the whole incident is still a bit creepy. To be surprised by myself is not an everyday thing, more dreamlike than waking, methinks. In conclusion, I offer with these words… “Mitt Romney”. Say it. See if it sounds like the thrum and rush of the cosmos to YOU.
When I play at being thought free, I arrive in an inexplicable state. Words can’t touch where I am, and what I thought to be my life, turns out to be a map. Being is way wider than what we think, write or speak.
Which is why I am never trying to say anything here, make sense or tell the truth on the Daughter of Godcast. Because the noise my words make is more then mere meaning.
Daughter of Godcast, podcasting about podcasting about podcasting.
Have a nice day…
In Stamford, Connecticut around the late 70’s there was a slightly shabby theater we used to drive by on our way downtown, the Art Cine. They never advertised the features, the kiosk remained unchanged for years. In big bold letters it read, “HAVE A NICE DAY, SEE A MOVIE. I grew up driving by that sign. I never really noticed the RATED X until I was in my teens. Then my friends and I would giggle in the backseat, not really knowing what it was all about except that parents weren’t willing to explain. The sign obviously had a profound influence on me as a kid, “have a nice day, see a movie.” That’s what stuck. Courtesy Stamford Advocate Archives
All you need is a Question Mark
On September 25 I acquired spiritual stewardship of the Wonderland sign from Jon Wagman himself, via email. Mutterings from the locals about the derelict Question Mark building being sold or demolished. Clearly, the sign should be snatched, historic preservation, echos of a bygone age.
Wonderland was an environmentally oriented art gallery launched by Wagman in the early 90s, coinciding with an improbable influx of artists into little Benzie County. The gallery’s sign was a just a giant jagged question mark with the planet earth as the dot, 12′ high by 8′ wide.
Jon stole the color scheme from a swatch of retro fabric he liked. His buddy Mark Whiting (later of Iron Giant fame and Finding Nemo) had executed Wagman’s design with matched house paint.
As soon as the gallery started making a little headway, the landlord raised the rent. Frustrated, Jon gave up and hit the road. The cantankerous landlord removed the lower panel of the Wonderland sign, the panel of the earth, leaving only the swirling curlicue above and the rough 2 x 4 armature below, his revenge on the town of Honor for real or imagined slights. The building and remains of the sign were an iconic feature of Honor, Michigan for a decade, their story and significance eventually forgotten.
The derelict Question Mark Building before demo. Photo – Traverse City Record Eagle.
I had been given stewardship over the energetic essence of the sign, the soul of Wonderland, but how to nab the physical incarnation? In plain sight or in the dark of night? And where was the third panel, the Earth?
Nuclear Pow uh
Through the summer and fall Fukishima was often on my radar. As a two year veteran of wild open water, I was an interested party. I was feeling personally responsible for the vitality of my big fresh water lake, flanked as she was by dozens of Fukishima-esque blunders in the making. I had sailed by several nuke plants. The abrupt end of Around Lake Michigan’s second expedition was presided over by brooding relic of atomic misogyny. Were they alive and sentient? Ancient malevolent dragons sleeping.
I was making a post apocalyptic movie at front of the 21 century, while entertaining the possibilities for preventing, fluidly side stepping or remediating the apparent apocalypse in progress. Two projects, one aim.