Posts Tagged ‘video’

Missing Iceland

After having Icelandic visitors for the last week, I’m missing the place even more. Daddi and Friða left last night, safely, and our apartment seems empty. As much as anything else, I miss the sound of the language when they would quickly chat with one another. I made a few abortive attempts to use my Icelandic, but have lost most of it. I can still cobble together a sentence, but I’m out of practice at listening to it. It’s starting to blur together into a wash of sound rather than discreet words.

I also miss the lack of bullshit with Icelanders. With an American you so often have to do a social dance to make plans. You know the one.

Host: “I could make muffins or we could go out to a diner for breakfast.”

Guest: “Whichever is easiest.”

Host: “They’re both easy. Which would you like?”

Guest: “Oh, I don’t want you to go to any trouble.”

etc, etc, etc… until it’s time for lunch and the whole thing starts again.

With an Icelander.

Host: “I could make muffins or we could go out to a diner for breakfast.”

Guest: “A diner sounds good.”

So, with that in mind, here’s the Daily Show and their documentary on the effort to get Iceland’s troops back in Iraq.

Physically impossible

Lisa Mantchev posted this video of You Think You Can Dance and I clicked on it because usually Lisa is smart about these things.

At the 1:34 mark, the male dance did a move that I specifically teach new puppeteers to avoid because it is physically impossible. Let me repeat that. Physically impossible. He stands up, rolling over his toe, in a way that makes it look like he’s being pulled up and back by a string.

He does it three times during the course of the video — which also includes a fantastic dance and is worth watching on its own — each time, I backed the film up and watched it over and over.

Now, the thing is, that clearly, he’s a very strong man and that he’s getting a little boost from his partner, but STILL if I did that with a puppet I’d be accused of breaking every rule about Muscle and gravity in the books. Granted, there are times when we break the rules on purpose, but if one is aiming for realistic movement, what this man is doing would be avoided because it looks impossible.

The funny thing is, that it’s like fiction. There are all sorts of things that happen in real life I could never get away with in fiction because because it defies belief. It fascinates me that the issues involved in creating verisimilitude on the page and on the stage are same. It doesn’t matter if it’s true if it doesn’t look real.

An example of a good listener

Did you ever watch Blue’s Clues? Steve was the best active listener, ever. Watch this video of Steve and notice the cues he’s giving off to show that he’s listening and interested.

WEIRD TALES: The 85 Weirdest, Day 48: Jim Henson

WEIRD TALES is honoring the 85 Weirdest and today is Jim Henson.

Think JIM HENSON (1936-1990) and you think Muppets — yet there’s so much more to the man’s genius. His experimental filmmaking ranged from Time Piece to The Cube. Though his interest in puppetry started as a way to get on television, he stayed with it because of the stories it allowed him to tell, and the weirdness from his film work shone maniacally through. Even with the Muppets. Like those dancing tubes with eyeballs in “Java.” (Wait for it.) And hey, what exactly is Gonzo, anyway? ((I wrote most of this description.))

I backed this video up a couple of times because the puppet turns around and I was trying to figure out where the heck the rods are. I’m pretty sure they must be below, but the the darn thing goes and steps on another character. Still… they’ve got to be below.

Sweater Day

The Associated Press: Fred Rogers Tribute Includes Sweater Day

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A tribute to children’s public television pioneer Fred Rogers will include an effort to get people everywhere to wear a sweater on what would have been his 80th birthday.

March 20th is being promoted as “Sweater Day” to honor Rogers, who died of cancer five years ago. A sweater was his trademark garb on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

David Newell, who played speedy deliveryman Mr. McFeely on the show, appears in a YouTube video that touts the event.

“Sweater Day” is the capstone to a six-day celebration planned by Family Communications Inc. of Pittsburgh. Rogers created the company to produce his show.

Edited to add:

Thanks for pointing that out.

Further edited to add: Oh heck, while I’m adding video. Here’s Mr. Rogers talking to the U.S. Senate hearing in 1969 about a proposed budget cut for PBS.

Swan Lake with acrobats

All I will say is that the frogs at the beginning of this are not the coolest part of this Chinese production of Swan Lake, which pairs ballet and acrobats.

A paper puppet meets a certain end

This is a beautifully manipulated short with a paper puppet.

Now, I have to say that though I think this is really well done, it disappointed me. Let’s sum up. Puppet comes to life. Discovers world. Discovers that it is a puppet. Dies.

I was really excited when the video started, because it is beautifully shot and manipulated. I liked the way they let the light shine through the puppet and make no attempt to disguise that it’s a puppet made from brown paper. It is lovely. But then they had to go to the cliche ending. Granted, there are variations on this trope. Sometimes the ending is that the puppet kills the puppeteer.

This is not new material. I know, I know. There are no new ideas. I’ll grant that. But if you are going to recycle an old storyline, then you have to bring something new to it besides just making it pretty.

An Entire Apartment’s Furniture in One Small Box

By now you know my love of things folding. This box is an amazing design.

Casulo, the brilliant, modular setup designed by Marcel Krings & Sebastian Mühlhäuser, hides furnishings enough for an entire room — or, heck, an entire apartment — in a small 31″x47″ (that’s 80 cm x 120 cm) box. Two people can lift, carry, and assemble (and then disassemble, when it’s time to move) each piece of furniture within the Casulo in about 10 minutes — it requires no tools for assembly — and every part of the boxy exterior is used, negating any need for extraneous, wasteful packaging. Smart.

Read the article, sure, but you really have to watch the video to be awed.

Spotted via Jay Lake

March Fourth + Shadow Puppets = Awesome!

March Fourth Marching Band has this amazing music video with shadow puppets that I’m totally in love with. Should you have any doubts about watching it, you should know that one of the title cards says, “Meanwhile in Deep Space…”

How can you pass that up?

Seriously. This is one of the hottest uses of shadow puppets I’ve seen in ages.