Category Archives: Movies

"Outdated representations of African-American nerds are simply not cutting it anymore"

Black nerd activisim

A coalition of African-American activists and scholars released a strongly worded statement Monday citing the “urgent need” for popular media to depict a new black nerd archetype that more accurately reflects the full spectrum of 21st-century American dorkdom.

“Outdated representations of African-American nerds are simply not cutting it anymore,” the statement read in part. “Perhaps in the ’80s and ’90s it was possible for young people to identify with Steve Urkel’s hiked-up pants, nasal voice, and lovable catchphrase of ‘Did I do that?’ But today’s black nerds are different.”

“They may not carry slide rules and calculators, but they do carry smartphones to make posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare,” the statement continued. “Yet where are the modern-day nerds of color in our films and television programs?”

African-American Community Calls For New Black Nerd Archetype

The Granular Synthesis of Curtis Roads

Watch Motherboard – The Granular Synthesis of Curtis Roads

This is a pretty amazing video. Granular Synthesis I can wrap my head around (imagine a more complex version of additive synthesis, but on a micro-scale), but what really amazes me is Curtis Roads was doing it in 1975 on a mainframe with punchcards. You heard me. How much more nerdcred does this guy need? Ok, lemme back up for a minute. I am, actually, old enough to know what punchcards are (but, keep in mind I was like 5 years old and hanging out at my mom’s company to learn about them). Back in the day (and my intro to computer science teacher in college was amazing because he explained this to us and made us basically write out our algorythms before we came to class to program them), a programmer would have to write out a program in its entirety and then wait for days sometimes, to get the program to execute. This is totally the opposite of people can work today, where they can see the results of a coding change realtime, or, on the web, with a simple page refresh. Pretty leet, I gotta say.

Check out this video–even an Autechre song makes a cameo (but, I would add to the video’s description that what made Autechre and similar IDM artists’ work so mindblowing wasn’t simply due to complex rhythms, it was that plus the unheard-of-before combination of electronically-generated revolutionary sounds while still maintaining a “more accessible” composition in terms of melody and so forth. At some point Roads says he considers his music “point, line, cloud” because a grain, or sound particle is a point, a series of points on either or both the x or y axis, and a cloud,–IMHO–is actually “a left-to-right series of chords”) BECAUSE CURTIS ROADS OPENED FOR THEM in the early 00s. Uh-huh.

He also recommends a book for sound-design inspiration. It’s called Education of a Gardener. Really. Just go watch this thing, ok?
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[SAT Jun. 20] Artificial Intelligence 1: Excepion AM Release Party FREE

exeption flyer

exeption flyer

Hangovers are the annoying, productivity-inhibiting result of a night spent drinking quite a bit, and yet we still put up with them because it’s fun to loosen up, be social, and dance. Sure, it’s easy to pop some aspirin, rehydrate and muddle through the morning, but wouldn’t it be cool if music could relieve your hangover?

That’s the concept behind Exception AM, a free digital compilation from subVariant that aims to present a collection of electronic music to help you feel better in the morning after a night of drinking. To celebrate the release on June 20, the release party will be held at Ai lounge in River North as the first in a series of concept parties called “Artificial Intelligence.” Liz Revision will mix the mostly-ambient and downtempo tracks from the compilation together at the beginning of the night and will then hand over the decks to local DJs Silentcorp, Andrew Kevins, Dirtybird, and Droopy to finish out the night with techno and house. The party will be free all night from 10pm-3am.

subVariant’s Artificial Intelligence showcase is a series of concept parties that aim to merge art, design, humor, and fun into a dance music scene that often takes itself too seriously, while still maintaining the high level of musical quality and experimentation the company is known for and continuing to support the local electronic music community.

subVariant presents “Artificial Intelligence 1: Exception AM Release Party”
Silentcorp DJs
Andrew Kevins
Liz Revision
Ai Lounge. 358 W. Ontario, Chicago IL. 21+

Benn Jordan creates an alternative score for "The Living Planet" in front of a live audience

the living planet

Here’s an article I wrote for CDM about Benn Jordan who’s live-scoring said TV show at Sonotheque tomorrow (May 5).

Commercial music producer Benn Jordan (recording as The Flashbulb) stumbled upon David Attenborough’s 1984 documentary series that was, in the creator’s words, “more in touch with nature than any other.” Along with the BBC he and his crew geared up for the endeavor–and they would risk their lives and careers to do so. The result, a TV series called “The Living Planet.”…Benn loved the concept and the film, but said, “the only thing I’m not in love with about this series is the music. A bit too minimal and synthy when perhaps a more cinematic approach is needed.” Taking it upon himself to re-invision the soundtrack, Benn–along with opener and visualist Polyfuse–will re-create live the score to the the first of The Living Planet series: “The Building Of The Earth.”

Make your own Simpsons Avatar

simsonliz.jpgWell, Springfield IL may have lost out to Springfield VT, to host the Simpsons Movie premiere but we can all win with the Simpsons Avatar Maker on the Simpsons Movie Site.

Just clicking through the little Flash application lets you create the Matt Groening-created version of your persona, complete with satisfying little blips along the way. But apparently it’s perpetually Fall / early Spring in Springfield, since you’re forced to wear pants and a t-shirt. It’s likely people will just be cropping the face and using it for message board avatars anyway. With mine, I snagged an atomic graphic for my t-shirt and was happy that I could re-create my monochrome wardrobe with ease.

On the topic of avatars, a friend at a wedding I went to over the weekend (on 7-7-07, of course), mentioned that his two daughters mainly love the Wii since they can create Mii avatars of people they know, sort of playing a virtual dress-up game, which is an interesting point to take note of in designing games for very young girls.

Should you need to create a Mii to use for the web, here’s a nice little Mii-generator, also based in Flash.