Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic Con

There will likely be much Comic Con related stuff running on Alterati in coming weeks, including some video and audio footage of Warren Ellis being truly... well. Warren. Cranky and absolutely hilarious. (From what he said to me the next day, he has no recollection of the night before. Maybe the video will jog his memory, if the scotch I gave him doesn't- state dependent memory and all that). There will be many potential interview and review subjects for Alterati as well, including David Mack... whose work is absolutely amazing. It's just icing on the cake that he's a really nice guy. Neil was also, as I expected, kind, incredibly focused despite a truly ridiculous schedule, and he managed to cram quite a lot of useful advice for us regarding Episode 1 of Fas Ferox into a 20 minute meeting. Once again, this will be "the last convention of this type he ever does." We'll see if that holds, or if Paramount puts a gun to his head. Hopefully right now he's drinking a lot of honey and tea and not speaking at all.

Right now, however, I'm sitting in LAX. The elevator music is driving me slowly insane. They pushed our plane back 3 hours, which makes our connecting flight impossible... So I'm going to be in and out of airports for almost 24 hours. The flight out here wasn't much better. (Example: we wound up in Cleveland for 4 hours when we were supposed to be in Houston for 2.) It's been a very hectic couple of days, slightly stressful, incredibly expensive, but still fairly enjoyable. I hope people who got them enjoy the free CDs and comics we gave away...

That's enough for now. I need to move before this musak makes me do horrible things I'll regret later. Wish me luck- I'll arrive in Philadelphia full of airplane filth, exhausted, hungry, undersexed, and probably in desperate need of a rack to get stretched out on- but, God or better luck willing, I will indeed eventually arrive there.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Death of a Scene

"So you’ve probably been poking around Alterati for a little while, maybe you’ve wondered a bit “why the weird name?” or “what’s up with the whole ‘inside scoop / outside culture’ thing?” Well, by way of getting at that in my usual “tangential analogy” style, I’d like to talk about the death of a scene. I think in that you might get a better glimpse of what I at least get out of our branding.

This death could be of any scene, but I’ll use a case I’m well acquainted with.

I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that too much success is a poison pill that somehow turns everything into it’s opposite, almost like a one-way pass to Star Trek style bizarro-world. Case in point, Metallica is the heaviest band on Earth one day, a decade and a half later they’re distributing DVDs of their group therapy sessions.

But I’m not here to talk to you about “Metallica As Metaphor For Cultural Decomposition And The Degradation Of Everything ‘METAL’” today. That’d be too damned easy, Lars may as well have painted a gigantic “NOT HIP” sign on his forehead right before testifying to the senate. Nor am I going to use metal, though that could reap it’s own reward.

I want to talk about a scene that became it’s own opposite: the goth scene. ..." article.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Write Way #3

No Write Way 1.

No Write Way 2.


So you've put easily a year or more of work into putting together a solid rough draft of your novel. Many people consider this to be the hard part, but really, it's as good as it gets. Next comes the tooth pulling, and then the tooth gnashing.

Why did you get into writing fiction again? It wasn't the fame, it certainly wasn't the fortune, and it most likely wasn't the women either (notice the slow backward shuffle, the wide, terrified eyes, as you try to explain your novel about alienation and despair.)


Chances are, if you got to this point, you're in for the long haul. You realize that even the majority of the "greats" rotted in asylums, died cold and hungry on the side of the road, or went out of this world liver first, and chances are, you're not quite so great. You realize that the availability of self publishing tools also means that the marketplace will be crowded with even more products, many of them half-assed, all wailing and moaning for attention. You realize all of that, but you simply don't care. Welcome to being an author. See, many people the common thread between authors is intelligence. I don't think it is. It's stubbornness. You've seen the lonely darkness at the end of the tunnel, and you simply don't give a fuck.

( article.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Fountain

"The Fountain deals with some of the most central issues we face as humans, the big ones: life, death, what is lost, and what remains. He does so in a visually stunning, deeply moving manner. Aronofsky’s background in myth and metaphor is as clearly apparent as most people’s complete lack of understanding in these areas. To begin with, from review to review, and even in the wikipedia entry (a source well known for its standard of infallibility), there is talk of this story taking place in three times, or of consisting of three plots: a Conquistador, set in the time of Spain’s conquests and search for glory, a scientist, dead-set upon saving his dying wife, and an astronaut or mystic, exploring a nebula referenced in the other “time-lines” as relating to the Mayan creation myth. These converging and diverging time-lines seem to confuse people, as they try to track how they might relate to one another, and try to wrap their heads around three different stories."

Read the article.

Watch The Fountain on Altertube.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alchemical Wedding.

I encountered the rich and deeply disturbing work of David Aronson in a strangely convoluted way. After having come on his work through several mutual friends on the Internet several years ago, I spent a long time one evening drinking coffee and going through his website, Alchemical Wedding. I was inspired and somewhat galvanized by what I found there, but this story probably would’ve ended there if it wasn’t for the coincidences that came next. A year or so later, a friend of mine was given his Tarot deck in person at a convention, and showed them to me. I immediately recognized the work, of course, and asked for his contact information. We started talking in email that way, and even had some discussions about collaborating on a graphic novel series (which sadly never came to be due to circumstances beyond our control.) Since then I’ve bumped into him several times in my first Friday jaunts in Philadelphia, and then, yet again another coincidence, I put out an anonymous Alterati casting call on craigslist, and he replied to it.

When things like this happen in our lives, we can call them synchronicity, or coincidence, and attribute meaning to it, or not. But either way, it is strangely appropriate, given the nature of his work: psychological, often spiritual and troubling, with more than a hint of that mystery that we can genuinely call the occult, rather than the mere trappings of it which we now see bleeding into a lot of corporate, faux-counterculture milieus. After bumping into it so many times myself, whether by accident or design, I am happy to be able to introduce you to it.

What first motivated you to get into this kind of work? Is it the same thing now?

I’ve always been drawn to surrealism and the fantastic. I went to a commercial art school and majored in illustration, and after I graduated I started looking at painting and fine art and it dawned on me that I should say something much deeper and more profound about my self and my life with art. I could talk about things which couldn’t be expressed with words–deeply buried, painful and ambiguous feelings, thoughts and experiences. It was a revelation which was very liberating. I started creating images that expressed the deeper parts of myself. Actually, it was and is more like allowing the deeper parts of myself, parts that have been silenced, cut off and disconnected, to have a voice. This kind of work became very cathartic and ultimately healing, along with exploration and the freedom of the imagination, is really the main theme of my art.

I’ve noticed something with your work that I think is a common thread with most of my favorite musicians and artists. On the surface, the work is very dark, and some people get turned off by that because they don’t really understand - or don’t care to understand- the alchemy going on. I mean creating “dark” work for the sake of being dark is pretty adolescent, but really going to those places, exploring them, and clearing them out or transforming them - that’s really as “light” as you can get, no matter how grim the cast off matter might be. It seems very alchemical to me. Are there any particular traditions that you follow or use as inspiration in this vein - alchemical, gnostic, mystical, and so on - or has it really been completely your own?

( article.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hacking At The Roots

I’ve come back out of the woods, and I’m not entirely sure I’m happy about it. Once again I’ve replaced cathode rays for sunlight, and instant messages and teleconferences for conversations. Plugged into The Internets I’m in a thousand places at once, but not here. Never here.

I went to the Gaian Mind Summer Festival for a variety of reasons: for the experience, of course, to bring back some media from Daniel Pinchbeck’s discussion session, to rub shoulders with an assortment of talented artists, scientists, and complete lunatics, to hear an assortment of trance music, from intricately layered, ethnic-tinged chill out to mind-shredding full on. There were yoga, drumming, and partner massage workshops, (which I missed by five minutes, damn!), sustainable community discussions, in other words, a hell of a lot more than anyone could probably fit into four nights and three days. Well, I got what I came for, but I also got something else. What exactly?

I’m not sure I’m any longer qualified to say.

Read the article.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Fragile Army

Ever wonder why people bother paying twice or more the cost of a CD to go see a band live, only to stare at two guys lamely tweak knobs and poke at their laptop on a stage for three hours? Sometimes you’re just hungry for an experience that you can’t have simply by pressing “play.”

Last night, I think I found a solution.


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