Saturday, March 31, 2012

"I Do" Photography

We're still looking for a photographer for the wedding. We like the idea of someone able to pull off formal as well as photojournalist style shots, and who is personable enough to make the guests feel at ease... 

Here are a couple of my favorite wedding/anniversary photos that I have taken over the years. Yeah, I guess what I'm looking for in a photographer is... me!



Photos ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day Planners

Sarah and I haven't hired a wedding planner, but I can see why many couples go that route... planning for the big day can be a lot of work.

No, it's mainly been me and her (especially her) taking care of preparations, with some generous financial assistance from our parents. It has been both fun and, at times, a little overwhelming, but I guess such is life... this is actually a good practice run for decisions we'll need to make as a married couple (with hopefully less envelopes). 



Our wedsite: ©JC+SK. All rights reserved.
We created our invitations, and they have been sent (which is a relief!). I was proud of our collaborative approach to the design-- we seem to have similar tastes, so that's a good sign. We also put together a "wedsite," which mirrors some of the visual elements featured on the invitations (my graphic design teacher would be proud). I'm going to keep working on the site over the next few months to add more visual, written and interactive appeal for our guests... I may even throw in some video clips (somewhere I have old footage of us returning, one year later, to where we first met). It has been fun putting the site together... I have been wanting to create a proper website for my creative endeavors, so this gives me a chance to play around with some of the architecture and ideas that would be involved.


Finally, we placed an order for our rings today! It's all coming together, even if it has taken us longer than expected in some cases. But they say you should cherish this time... it's fun trying to plan such a big party, and I appreciate this extra opportunity to be creative.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Art of Exploration

Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum.
All rights reserved.
As I was taking photos at Norman Rockwell Museum the other day, I was surprised to come across two pieces I had seen previously in our exhibition, National Geographic: The Art of Exploration. These vibrant paintings were created and donated by Ned Seidler, a long-time illustrator for the magazine, and depict the 16th century meeting of the Moctezuma and Cortés civilizations; as well as the discovery of a Moche tomb in Sipán, near the coast of Peru. I actually used the latter illustration as the opening for a video I had created for the 2006 exhibition:







The exhibition stands as one of my favorite exhibitions the Museum has presented during my time working there, and I enjoyed the opportunity to interview several of the artists who have worked on the magazine over the years... they certainly go to great lengths for accuracy! For me the video was a turning point, where I really expanded on what I had learned from doing the short-form documentaries. It proved to me that I could produce a longer, engaging program, with an even larger collection of sources and materials (I even had a chance to tour their archives in Washington, DC, for research).

The National Geographic Museum in Washington has just opened an exhibition on the Titanic− timed to coincide with the 3D release of James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster? I've got a sinking feeling... Seriously, it's a nice museum... definitely worth the visit, and thankfully, the Society is as strong as ever.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Garage Rockin'

Channeling those good improv vibes at our last show,
March 16, 2012. Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
Tonight RBIT truly became a garage band. Due to a scheduling conflict, we had to move our rehearsal to my fellow improviser Dave's house. It was a little chilly in his open door garage (or "gair-age" as he says it-- he's British) but we started to generate some heat once we began playing games. So, a half-time exercise where Dave and I were a father and son who tried to fix a broken down car (check the hood... or "bonnet"), a rotating scene game called Four Square, and a Beastie Boys-style rap or two. We also talked about dojng more long-form shows, which would be a fun challenge.

Our next show will be on Friday, April 20, at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, MA. That will be followed by RBIT's return to North Adams, MA, on April 21 at Mill City Productions. We used to perform out that way every week at the old Main Street Stage (where I was a company member), and I have many fond, hilarious memories... I'll post more details on upcoming performances soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sugar Magnolia, Blossoms Blooming

So I decided to start taking a photo a day for Norman Rockwell Museum's Facebook page−sort of a way to get creative with my photography, and hey... it gets me out of the office. Yesterday I focused on the magnolia trees that started blooming on campus, following the unusually warm start to spring we had last week, with temperatures in the 80s:


Yes, this is my office. Photo by Jeremy Clowe
for Norman Rockwell Museum. All rights reserved.


Norman Rockwell's Stockbridge studio at springtime.
Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum. All rights reserved.
It looks like I got out there just at the right time, because today the flowers had withered up due to the below normal temperatures (40s)... peaked too soon? I read an article this afternoon that farmers are especially worried about their fruit crops.

It's always an interesting time of year, where you're never really sure when things are going to hit and flowers will bloom. In the case of the magnolia trees, it is especially fleeting. They are so pretty as they come to life, but the next minute... they have disappeared. The same happened to Sarah's irises from last week. Anyway, I'll take itI love the sights, smells and sounds of spring (the pheobe bird, in particular, is a favorite). But it definitely makes you conscious of savoring things while you can.

Photo by Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.

I used the Museum's Canon EOS 60D camera for these−manual setting for the outside, and flash for the window still-life. The last photo received a lot of nice compliments from staff, and one of my friends wants to create a painting from it. Well, I look forward to this new, creative exercise, and preserving a bit of spring for the memory. I'll share a few of the better shots here on this blog (or check out NRM's Facebook page). 

Monday, March 26, 2012

To Your Health...

Where do you stand?...

"We Can't Afford To Wait" health care reform rally.
Hudson, New York. September 2, 2009
Photo ©Ben Hillman & Company, Inc.
www.benhillman.com









Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scaling New Heights

One of my favorite singers, former A-ha frontman Morten Harket released a video today to his newest single, Scared of Heights:




I never thought my love of A-ha and Spider-Man could be combined, but this video comes as close as I'm likely to get... :) The song is from Out of My HandsMorten's first solo album post-A-ha (the band disbanded in 2010 after a successful 25+ year career). The album will feature several new artistic collaborations, with such acts as The Pet Shop Boys, Kent, and fellow Norwegian Espen Lind, who wrote and originally recorded the first single. Funny enough, I remember "meeting" Lind back in 1998 when I attended the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway... my friend thought that he looked like a parrot, sporting a spiky blue hairdo! Apparently he has gone on to have his own success around the world, including songwriting credits on such hits as Train's "Hey Soul Sister" and Beyonce's "Irreplaceable." There have been a slew of internationally successful Norwegian bands in recent years, but A-ha was most definitely the first. 


I'm not sure Morten's new song will take him to A-ha "heights," but it's nice to see him and the other members of my favorite band continue with new artistic projects. 2012 is actually the 30th anniversary of the forming of A-ha, and there is a big anniversary party being planned by and for fans in Oslo, Norway, on September 14. Morten Harket will be performing a couple concerts around these events (in addition to the date being the anniversary of A-ha, it is also the singer's 53rd birthday). 


I have said it before, but now is really a perfect time for me to finish my documentary on A-ha. Here's a clip of an interview I did with singer Morten Harket back in 2005, talking about his initial reaction after the band made it to #1 with "Take On Me":





Related links:


http://mortenharket.com


A-ha's 30th anniversary party information-- www.a-ha.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day in the Life

I'm sure that my father would have been amazed to know that I work in an office in an old Victorian-style manor house, with a third-story view overlooking mountains, a river, and this studio:




Norman Rockwell Museum moved Rockwell's studio from its previous location near the artist's home in the center of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to the Museum's new Linwood Estate property in 1987. It has been restored to look as it did when the artist was working, with original objects intact.


This week my colleague requested a short promo video about the studio to share at a tourism conference, so here is what I came up with. I shot the exterior footage outside today−we have had such warm weather here in the Northeast, that the magnolia tree in front of the studio is already starting to bloom (hopefully not too soon). The inside of the studio is open to the public from May to October, and this interior footage I actually shot a couple years ago, with hopes of putting together a documentary about the reinstallation process... I'm still finding the time to complete that, so here is a little taste of what it's like to sit behind that famous easel.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

party planning

Back to Macy's tonight for something called the "Sip and Scan," sort of a mash-up of party and wedding registry. They even had a DJ spinning, which made shopping all that more enjoyable (I was caught doing the booty slap by one of the sales clerks... LOL). Anyway, I think we got most of it done, and it was entertaining... even if the drinks turned out to be "mocktails."



Olive Branch Salt & Petter, designed by Michael Aram.
All rights reserved.
It is comforting to realize that in many ways Sarah and I have the same style—definitely drawn to the organic shapes and particular patterns. We really liked some of the items that designer Michael Aram had on display. This little salt and pepper shaker was nice, but I'm not sure we can justify the pricing.

Anyway, another interesting night on the road to the big day. We are starting to get our RSVPs back, which is fun... especially when there are little notes from our friends and family included. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just My Type

A little bit of soul... getting there!
©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.

I had the last of my graphic design classes tonight at The Art Center−we continued working on our logos. I tell you, I will never again take logos or type for granted... it is really challenging! I'm still trying to figure out the right font and arrangement of elements, but feel like I am making some progress. My instructor offered to give me a critique later on, which was nice... it sounds like there might be a chance to do some work with his company down the line as well. 


We had the movie Helvetica playing in the background. 
I had rented this film before, and found it interesting to learn about the development, popularity, backlash and comeback of the ever-present font. What was cool about seeing the film again, was to now recognize many of the names and work we had covered in the class: Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister... I'll probably watch it once more just to get perspective on and summarize all that I have learned. 


I'm really happy that I took this course−there's still much to learn, but I feel progress and skills I will be able to use. I will definitely check out The Arts Center again−it feels like a bit of an undiscovered gem in the Capital Region.




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Fever!

Sarah's irises in bloom!
Flowers ©Sarah K. All rights reserved.
Happy first day of spring... it feels more like summer around these parts. Windows down... people out walking... flowers blooming... sundresses(!)... and music (of course).


Sarah and I won tickets to see the Philadelphia band Dr. Dog tonight... I mean BOTH of us won a pair of tickets to see them! Rather funny, but looking forward to the show. They have an interesting sound, that reminds me a little of one of my faves, Delta Spirit.


Speaking of Delta Spirit, I have given their new album a couple listens. It sounds good, but I'm still not sure if it will grab me the way Ode To Sunshine did. There are albums that grow on me though... so we'll see. 









One album that I absolutely LOVE is Bruce Springsteen's latest, Wrecking Ball. I have never been a big Bruce fan, but the first track, "We Take Care Of Our Own" and, as it turns out, the rest of the album has such an energy... Bruce is pissed at a lot of the tensions happening in the U.S... rightfully so! 





Listening to Bruce's album on Spotify, I was caught unaware when it started playing a couple of his older albums in the cue immediately afterward. When I realized this was, in fact, Darkness On The Edge of Town and The Promise, it made me think that I have been mostly unaware of why he has been so greatly admired (love his version of "Because The Night")! A similar thing happened with Bob Dylan recently... I blame it on growing up during the '80s, when both of these artists were widely viewed as über-commercial or past their prime. I love being enlightened...


Spotify is a great place to check out albums-- I love it! I'm going to go and listen to a bit of the Shins' latest, Port of Morrow. Again, another band that has been so widely hailed, but the music I had been hearing to this point just sounded pretentious or "hipster-approved." I must admit that I love their latest, "Simple Song," and just heard another good one as I drove home today... they just sound like they're actually enjoying themselves (with falsettos and everything).





So I hope this great weather continues, so I can listen to new/old tunes, and sing at the top of my lungs... look for me along I-90... I'm not ashamed!



Monday, March 19, 2012

I Get By With a Little Help from My... Friends.

"Hi honey. What did you get up to at work today?..." "Facebook."

I was never a big Star Trek, but I had to
"friend" George Takei on Facebook. He has
some of the most clever posts and comments.
Is he on Twitter? Does he write his own material?
Live long and prosper, Mr. Sulu...
www.facebook.com/georgehtakei
There was a time when I would have considered that kind of exchange ridiculous, but nowadays social networking is a big part of my job. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all become important marketing tools for organizations, including Norman Rockwell MuseumI more or less oversee all of these sites for the Museum, and just launched us on Pinterest (my fiancee's current addiction). 

I was interviewed last week by a reporter at The Berkshire Eagle about what the pros and cons are about these social networking sites, and how they have affected our business. I think everyone is still trying to measure the true benefits, but they have certainly proven to be a quick and cheap way of sharing a message and obtaining instant feedback. I think it has helped me to better understand what our audience is looking for, and it should come as little surprise: images! Anytime I post an image by Norman Rockwell or another illustrator (which easily lend themselves to a number of events, holidays, activities), I am amazed by how much feedback we can get. 

Oh, the places you will go!...
Norman Rockwell's Facebook page

My point is, I think I'm good at this stuff... even though it takes time away from things I might consider more fulfilling. Tomorrow morning I have been asked to give a tech-talk on using Facebook to my colleagues. I think most people already know how to use it, but... whatever... I guess it's nice to be asked. 

Honestly, what's great for me with social networking is when I can effectively share and receive feedback for the videos and photos I have created--I have even landed job opportunities and important connections as a result. The technology can take over though, and I find myself wondering "where did my time go?" There is something about creating the surrounding content that can feel so ephemeral... Facebook is here to stay, but as an artist I "like" creating things that are going to last. 


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

You never can predict "success" with improv, but I find that the music-based numbers usually go my way. Here are a few moments from last Friday's Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe performance at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, MA...


The first segment is from a game where we sing the blues to a topic chosen by the audience. They picked the Tea Party.


The second is a game called "Rapping Psychiatrist" (with the talented Seth Brown), where the audience decided I had a phobia against popsicles.


The final game here is called "Musical Nightmare." I'm not sure why it is called that, except for the challenge of needing to break out into song in the middle of a scene... this time they decided we were boxers (Seth interpreted it as someone setting out boxes, and I was thinking along the lines of Muhammad Ali). It all came together in the end... I guess.




Next RBIT show is scheduled for Friday, April 20... but I find that everyday life is a bit like improv, isn't it? Best to keep singing...

http://www.berkshireimprov.com

Saturday, March 17, 2012

With a Little Luck...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It was a beautiful day, so we took the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. We joined Sarah's family for a hike around the Plotterkill Preserve in Schenectady County−it was a little muddy in parts, but things are starting to come to life, and the smell of pine trees mixed with other foliage was good for the spirit. 


There were still patches of ice here and there, and the nearby river was racing (appearing, at times, like flowing milk). We were hoping to add another waterfall to our list, but the connecting point on our trail appeared to have washed away by last year's Hurricane Irene storm, so we just enjoyed a healthy hike and each other's company.


I was feeling a little down earlier in the day, so I think a walk in the woods was just what I needed. Playing uncle to Sarah's two nephews is also good fun−a further chance to be silly and to entertain. It goes without saying that I am a lucky man to have such a lovely fiancee, and equally blessed to enjoy spending time with her family. Now if only my other great wish for the year would come true. I didn't find a four-leaf clover, but here's hoping that the couple pints of Guinness from the night before will offer me a spot of that old "Irish luck" that I need... back to "work" tomorrow.




Photos by Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I am the DJ, I am what I play...

Borrowing a lyric from the great David Bowie there, which perfectly describes my experience DJ-ing yesterday at WEXT. Of course, Bowie made it into the hour-long playlist I created, which consisted of everything from classic soul to Britpop to Bob Dylan. I had a blast−DJ KTG was very helpful, and I can't wait to hear the end result, which is supposed to air sometime in May.


My music, my EXIT--at the WEXT studios. Photo ©Jeremy Clowe.
All rights reserved.

It made me realize how much I missed DJ-ing. I had my first taste back in college, where I hosted a weekly show on the campus radio station. It was a great forum for me to express my love for music, act goofy, and just enjoy performing. By my last semester, I had developed a pretty popular show called The Café 80s, where I dipped back into my new wave roots. It was always good fun taking callers or having guests in the studio, who talked excitedly about  the songs they grew up with.


After college, I moved back to Rochester, New York, and really got involved with radio in a big wayhad a regular gig with WBER-FM, a great independent station in the city. It was the mid-90s, a great time for music, and I worked with a regular playlist, with light to heavy rotation. I also did specialty shows, attended free concerts (including Bowie and Nine Inch Nails in Toronto) and meet such artists as Peter Murphy, The Lords of Acid, Jewel, Elastica, and BlurI have a small collection of promos I created with several of these artists. 


This certainly informed the work I would do later with hosting my own TV music show, and interviewing music acts. During the My Exit set I was able to promote these shows, which I am still in the process of producing. It was a win-win, and I am talking with WEXT about still trying to produce the A-ha tribute program, in time for their 30th anniversary.


Tonight the performing continues, as I take the stage with the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe for another show at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, Massachusetts. Coincidentally, one of my fellow RBITers used to live in Rochester, and says that he remembers hearing me during my WBER DJ days! Maybe there's some way that I can make this Casey Kasem thing continue...





WEXT website: http://exit977.org

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Best Is Yet To Come... I Hope!

Speaking of the artistic process, it was good fun to have portrait artist Everett Raymond Kinstler and his friend, legendary performer Tony Bennett join us for a press conference for Norman Rockwell Museum's new exhibition, Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraitson Saturday, March 10, 2012. In addition to helping coordinate the conference, I filmed the event, and have just posted it online:  


I like what each artist had to say about the importance of feeling in creating art, and Bennett has a great story here about those who are passionate about what they do. As someone striving to live an artistic life, it was great for me to hear. 


Tony B- on canvas and in the flesh!
Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum,
©Norman Rockwell Museum. All rights reserved.
The exhibition (and Bennett's portrait) will be on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through May 28, 2012. The Museum is also holding a special benefit auction, where the winning bidder will receive their very own Kinstler portrait, custom painted by the artist at the Museum on Saturday, April 14, 2012. More details on the Museum's website: www.nrm.org


Related links: 


www.everettraymondkinstler.com 


http://tonybennett.com





Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Type Casting

Back in Troy tonight for my graphic design class. It had been a couple weeks, with one week cancelled due to a winter storm (hard to believe).

Anyway, it felt good to get back to learning and trying out some conceptual ideas. I wish I had fully mastered Illustrator and knew a dozen type fonts off the top of my head, but it's coming along. Tonight we were back to working on logos. I will never look at them the same way, now that I realize the decision process that goes into creating them...




Related Links:

Making of the Rio 2016 Olympics Logo, www.designboom.com

www.gestalten.com/motion/house-industries

www.gestalten.tv

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let The Spirit Move You

Just got back from an early evening walk here in Hudson. It already feels like spring today, with temperatures in the low 70s! You can even hear the peepers and critters already stirring about... so much for the winter that never really was...


I've got several things going on at the moment, between planning for the wedding, my design class, and a couple new creative opportunities that people are asking me about. Still, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Tonight I'm trying to wrap up my playlist for the My Exit stint with WEXT.


With John and Matt from Delta Spirit, Albany, NY, May 2009.
Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
One of the bands that will be there is Delta Spirit, one of my favorite acts to come along in recent years. California must be the new place to find bands, as we have Fitz & The Tantrums from L.A., and the Spirit hail from San Diego. The band is releasing their self-titled new album today, and I actually happened to win a copy from a local radio station this afternoon... just to make the day sweeter! The Spirit is a pretty soulful band, and the new songs sound promising... although I keep wondering if they will ever be able to top the brilliance of Ode To Sunshine, my absolute favorite album of 2008. 


I understand that they recorded the new album in nearby Woodstock, New York, in an old converted church from the 19th century (similar to what is going on in Hudson). We love the vibe of Woodstock, so I'm curious to see how it has made it's presence felt on the album. Sarah and I had a chance to meet Delta Spirit a couple years ago when they played in Albany, and I keep thinking that they would be a great act to interview for my show... we'll see if I can make it happen.





Band website: http://deltaspirit.net

Monday, March 12, 2012

Open Says Me

I've been busy compiling a playlist for my upcoming stint DJing on Capital Region radio station WEXT. I tell you, it's harder than it looks... there are plenty of great songs I would love to include, but I only get an hour... so I need to make this count−only the cream of the pop/rock crop! The other thing is that there is an art to making the "perfect mix tape"−it all has to flow just right. 

The Scottish band Travis will definitely be there. They're one of the best groups I have discovered over the past ten years, and I have a real fondness for their work: great melodies, melancholic strains... the kind of music I dig. Also a great frontman in singer/writer Fran Healydefinitely worth catching live. I had a chance to interview the band back in 2007 for my TV music program; here's a clip:


So yes, lots of "openness" planned for this upcoming radio show (hush, Sarah!). I'll also have a chance to plug the interviews I have filmed with many of the artists that I will be playing here. I record later in the week.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tony Award-Winning Moment

A rather lazy Sunday so far... set the clocks ahead, and I think I'm still running an hour behind. 


The Bennetts steppin' out at NRM! Photo by
Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum.
© All rights reserved.
Last night's opening and press conference for Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits went well, and it was a great pleasure to welcome our special celebrity guest, singer Tony Bennett to the Museum. It turns out that Kinstler and Bennett used to go to the same high school, and have been friends for quite some time. Mr. Kinstler has even painted Bennett's portrait on a number of occasions, and we have one of those paintings currently on view in the exhibition. Mr. Bennett is a visual artist as well, and has done fairly well for himself as a painter. He had very nice things to say about both Kinstler and Norman Rockwell in that regard, and I was glad to get it on tape. 


I can't say I knew much about Tony Bennett until his big comeback in the 1990s, when he began appearing on MTV and performing with contemporary pop acts. I was never a big Frank Sinatra fan, so I didn't think I would care much for his singing style either, and paid little attention. A few years back I had the chance to work an event at Tanglewood, the performing arts center in the Berkshires, and Bennett was giving a concert that evening. I stuck around and watched the performance, and I have to say that it was one of the best live music shows I have seen! For a singer of his age, he put so much energy into the show, and had a wonderful way of phrasing−sort of jazz-style... what an entertainer! After watching some early performance clips online, I really think he has gotten better with age−that's rather inspiring to know that as an artist, your best work can lie ahead of you.


Steppin' out w/my baby... pulp style!
©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
After the opening, Sarah, my co-workers and I went out to do some karaoke− tried to let Tony know, but I guess he left early (so much for Duets Part III). We still had good fun, and I was definitely thinking of the veteran performer as I tore into some soul and Beatles classics, while looking sharp in my suit and tie. One of the DJs came up to me at one point and said that he loved my energy onstage, which made me feel good. I also had people in the audience cheering me on... even after I had left the stage! Wish TB had been there to see me... maybe there's hope for me as well by the time I reach 85!


Related links:


http://tonybennett.com

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Perfect Likeness?

Getting ready for the opening and a last-minute press conference for the exhibition Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits tonight at Norman Rockwell Museum. Kinstler is an illustrator turned portrait artist, who has created paintings of many notable figures over the past five decades, including Katharine Hepburn, Tony Bennett, Tom Wolfe, Paul Newman, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. The artist will be in attendance for the opening, along with a special celebrity guest who has been one of the subjects of Kinstler's paintings. 

It should be an interesting evening, and in addition to coordinating the press conference, I'll be taking a few party photos and video. Hope I survive it, body and soul...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Speaking of Activism...

I'm trying to wrap my head around this whole viral video about fugitive African rebel leader Joseph Kony that has been popping up on Facebook and in the media this week. Sarah and I watched the video tonight-- it sure is slickly produced, and there's something about the tone that doesn't set right with me. 


From http://siena-anstis.com/2012/03/07/on-invisible-childrens-kony-2012-campaign/: "The issue with social media is really highlighted by Invisible Children. The number of “likes” on your Facebook page is not necessarily related to the quality of information you share. Social media allows making anything viral, quickly. People often do not look into the substance of the message, or even watch the video you are sending. Once you become a brand, you can do anything. Invisible Children has successfully become a brand, but is sharing information that is far from nuanced and based on emotional reactions. It fails to paint the full picture."


I'm thankful to learn more about the issue, but it's time for more research: about the atrocities of Joseph Kony, the current situation in Uganda, and the background of this group of filmmakers. 


Related Links:


KONY 2012 video

"Kony 2012: The anatomy of a viral campaign," The Washington Post, March 9, 2012


"#Kony2012 and the Warping Logic of Atrocity," Amnesty International USA, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wonder Women!

I learned that today is International Women's Day (thanks Google). Apparently working women in Europe have marked this date since the early 1900s  "to highlight their solidarity in the fight for equal, economical and political rights with men." Other areas of the world have followed suit, and it is now an officially recognized holiday in several countries. In light of the recent public debate over reproductive rights, it seems high time we recognized the day here in the U.S. as well.

Peace! Photo by Jeremy Clowe.
All rights! reserved.
I have been fortunate to know several very inspiring women during my life, and hold great admiration for the work and sacrifices they have made to help me and others (this means YOU Mom, Grandma, etc.). One woman I have grown to admire in recent years is my soon to be mother-in-law, Elaine. Not only has she raised a beautiful family, but she is one of the most active people I know, involved with many different community organizations. She is often the first person I hear to announce important meetings or initiatives, and I have had the pleasure to learn from many of volunteer programs she has been involved with.

Sarah and I have actually become members of one of these groups, Peace Action New York State (thanks to Elaine's sponsorship). I have found myself attending interesting lectures on political, social and environmental topics; I have marched on the Washington Monument to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; I have dressed as Uncle Sam (seriously) to call attention to abuses of the former administration; and I have even utilized my video production skills to document important discussions on such topics as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In the spring of 2010 we all took part in a nuclear non-proliferation conference at the famed Riverside Church in New York City. What a great privilege to document and take part in that program, which culminated in a march on the United Nations building. Elaine was active as ever that weekend, and I even persuaded her to interview a couple of the speakers, who had interesting insight into the continuing harmful effects from nuclear energy:


As long as there is a right to fight for, I'm pretty confident that Elaine will be there, offering a rational and peaceful voice to the discussion (or bringing up the discussion in the first place!). So on this International Women's Day, I salute MOM/E... and no, I'm not just trying to suck up here! The world is a better place for women who care as much as she does.


Peace Action New York website: http://panys.org

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Most High Def-initely

Tech nerds rejoice! Apple announced the release of its latest iPad today: due out March 16, it will feature a new, sharper display screen and 4G service (that's a lot of Gs). I have been really tempted to buy one myself after hearing all the raves (even from my Mom!). I don't have a laptop, so it would be great to have a portable device that was smaller than my iMac and bigger than my smartphone, that I could work on away from home. I was actually checking out the iPad 2 last night at Verizon, and I do love the interface. The only drawback is that Adobe doesn't seem to offer their products for the tablet... and, of course, once you buy the damned thing, they will announce an entirely new, updated version on the way. Love/hate that about you, Apple.  


Anyway, even Norman Rockwell Museum is trying to keep up with the technology boom... bless 'em. We have been talking about various mobile applications, and next week the Museum will once again offer a workshop on digital animation art. A five-week after school offering, it is being taught by cartoonist Scott Lincoln, who had previously taught the course−a mix of traditional drawing and computer work. I created a promotional video for that last workshop, so in the spirit of social networking/viral cross-promotion, blah blah blah, here's another embedded YouTube clip to share with y'all:





For more information on the class, visit Norman Rockwell Museum's website: www.nrm.org

Related Links:

"New iPad neither dud nor 'revolution,'" CNN, March 7, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Voices from the "Past"

Last night we went over to Sarah's folks' place to help celebrate her mother's birthday. Of course, one of the first things I needed to do was wrestle with my two nephews. I almost died when the youngest one came running in from the other room wearing a little mesh Spider-Man maskadorable, and certainly reminded me of myself at that age (I was a huge Spidey fanatic).


Later in the evening, Sarah's dad brought out their old video camera, and we started watching some old home movies of her family. It was fun to see Sarah as a kid, and a little startling when she and her two siblings each appeared on camera, wishing their mother a happy birthday... it was almost like voices from the past connecting with the future!


I took a workshop at the Omega Institute in the Hudson Valley a few years back with the writer of The Artist's Waysort of a self-help book to help you ignite your creativity. One of the exercises we had to do was write a letter from ourselves at age eight and 80. It sort of took me aback, because some of the advice I received from my older self was unexpected and assured (i.e. that I would find a very rewarding career, including the creation of graphic novels). From my younger self, it reminded me that I was a very creatively-driven child, who would work tirelessly on artistic pursuits and knew that was what he was meant to do.


One of those pursuits was doing little "radio shows" with my friends. The other day as I was going through my storage in Hudson, I came across a box filled with these tapes, which I had created on a little recorder I was always carrying around (along with a Polaroid camera). I didn't know I had these with me, and also realize that they are probably but a small portion of the many recorded shows I have somewhere. 


Anyway, one of these afternoons I might just have to don my own Spidey mask, and listen to some of these shows... there is something almost mythic about them to me. As I get older, I find it can be a lot more challenging to give myself the time to just let loose and be creative. Here, I have a pretty extensive document of myself doing just that as a young artist... hmmm...
I wonder what secrets will be revealed on the hours of magnetic tape?...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

House Cleaning

Ok, I'm on a tear this afternoon, using some of my old shelving and storage units to help organize our cohabitation. It's not even spring, but things are feeling good! I could keep going like this all day, but I probably should stop and get some of my other work in order.

Speaking of work, my buddy/poet Darian Dauchan will be performing his new piece Obamatry this afternoon at 1 p.m., at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. The performance is what he calls a "spoken word remix," collecting many of the poems he has created, that document Obama's presidency. Adding to that mix, he will be using several of the "chiefly commanding" visuals I have created over the years for the Spoken Word Almanac Project, where I serve as multimedia designer. The afternoon event is free, but donations are being accepted for a Kickstarter campaign for Dauchan's hip hop poetry musical Death Boogie, which he is attempting to share with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you can't make today's performance, you should be able to stream it live at www.bowerypoetrylive.com

On a political note, I was watching Meet The Press this morning, and I swear it's a miracle that anything gets done in Washington. Some of the bantering is so petty, and this latest controversy over the funding of contraception by insurance companies is infuriating. I think Al Franken was spot on when he declared: "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot." Go ahead and have a public discourse, but keep your sexist comments out of it. Oh, I better get the visuals ready... I'm sure one of the SWAP poets has already started working on this one...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lefty Centered

the horse whisperer. photo ©Blueeyed Soul Productions. 
Back in Hudson for a good part of the day, after stealing away in the Capital Region for the last week or so. There is something calming and centering about being back at my family's old farmhouse... I think it might be good to get back there and do some concentrated work soon.

We also raided my storage and picked up a few items to bring back to Sarah's place... ulp! Looks like it's really happening... we're sharing furniture now! Organizing nut that I am, it feels good to find some things to help the feng shui around here. I'm a pretty big believer in that... it helps me, anyway.

This evening we continued our search for wedding rings. I'm not really a jewelry guy, so it's a new process. Funny that a bigger band looks better on my finger, while Sarah's engagement ring looks better when paired with a smaller band. Anyway, we've got some good ideas and similar taste. Maybe the energy of the ring's metals will also have a grounding effect on me... at least it will be a pleasant reminder of someone else who does.



Friday, March 2, 2012

Lit Graphics

Ok, I admit it. I'm more than a little excited about the opening of the movie The Avengers this May. What does that say about me? Yeah. Deep down I'm still a comic book fanboy at heart. 

I would go on to say that reading comics faithfully as a kid through young adult taught me some great lessons about visual storytelling and design. Hell, I still pick them up from time to time and there's some great new works that expand on some of the traditional conventions--it has become a real art form.

I'm glad that Norman Rockwell Museum realized this as well, and decided to mount the 2007 exhibition LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel. I had the chance to work on a video for the exhibit, and it was a great thrill. If you missed it at the Rockwell, the show is now touring and will open at the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute in Utica, New York, this Sunday. In addition to my video, check out the amazing Lynd Ward's Gods' Man, a beautiful series of wood engravings that were used to illustrate a wordless picture book... back in 1929! 

I might try and attend tomorrow's opening, and will see about blogging more about the subject. In the meantime, here's a clip with two of the exhibited artists, whose work I was very pleased to learn more about: Mark Kalesniko (Alex, Mail Order Bride) and Marc Hempel (Sandman, Breathtaker, MAD Magazine). I used music in the video from Marc's band, as well as from his colleague Mark Wheatley. Zap! Biff! POW!