11 November, 2010

Sirocco in Portland! and Bellingham!

The Sirocco Research Labs will be in the Pacific Northwest showing our two new short films, Cleo in the Universe and Red Moon (links route you to the teasers). We'll be making stops in Bellingham, Washington and Portland, Oregon, bringing hopefully a little bit of sunshine to the rain capitals of the world. (Incidentally, the Good Dr. Richard Francis was recently in Los Angeles during our rain week in October. He was literally stopping people in the street to make the joke, "Yes, we're from Seattle. Looks like we brought the weather with us." It was beyond amazing.)

Here's the event poster:

DATES:

Bellingham, WA Nov. 16
Old Main Theater @ WWU
7 PM, Free, Raffle

Portland, OR Nov. 17
The Living Room Theater
7 PM, Free, Raffle

And I'll post again soon about the LA screening and an upcoming Chicago, IL screening!

03 November, 2010

From the Vaults: DESHOVELING PHILIPPE



I haven't watched this video in years. But, I stumbled across it a second ago, checked it, and was amazed at this weird-o project Dave, Karl, and I made. I'm also amazed that it's been nearly five years since we made it. I can't even imagine!

What a beautiful time-capsule, though, of being young, cold, and in Yakima, WA for a couple of weeks.

15 September, 2010

"I was a pistol leaking music out of its holster."

Barry Hannah, icon of Southern Cool

I have cited Barry Hannah as one of my favorite writers since I read his novel Geronimo Rex during my last summer in Bellingham, WA. He passed away this past March.

I bought the novel with graduation money and it was an integral part of my golden summer of gardening, friendship, and deep conversion from casual maker-of-things to desperate maker-of-things. He was emphatically recommended to me by my friend Elizabeth who was reading his The Tennis Handsome, which still might be the coolest title of any piece of creative work I've heard of to date. Elizabeth was on summer vacation from her MFA at Oxford College in Mississippi where Hannah was her adviser.

It was such a rush to know that the author of the words which were flooring me so much was only one person away. All the time I kept thinking, "I have to have Elizabeth tell Barry Hannah ... for me." His words connected with my imagination and feelings in the same way Marquez and Bulgakov's had. And while Marquez' heart continues to beat to this day, these authors aren't human beings to me. They're from some place where normal humans are forbidden, and first-rate sentences are strung together reconciling the shortcomings of existence with the inexhaustible joy of breathing. Meanwhile, my friend Elizabeth spoke of him as Barry, and made fun of his habits and speech patterns.

Later in the summer, to my complete bewilderment, my aunt Carol casually and coolly told me she and Barry (if you could hear my aunt's Southern drawl, you'd understand why I just italicized Barry. It's a marvel.) used to share an office at the University of Arkansas in the 1960s when they were getting their MFAs. She told me stories of how he'd hole himself in their office all hours of the night writing on the school's typewriters.

Even though I've always surrounded myself with active and creative best friends, it never occurred to me that people (with a lower-case P) make art. To all of a sudden be confronted with these personal anecdotes of interactions with a Person who wrote beautiful things was unravelling. It wasn't like celebrity name-dropping where people say, "Oh, I totally partied with RUN DMC last night at Social Club in Paris," which enforces mythology. No, they were talking about Barry like I'd talk about Adi or Martin.

Just a guy with a heartbeat, typing through the night, saying hi to my mom's sister Carol when she came in for the morning. Not too big of a deal, only making stuff.

I liked it. It made me feel like anyone could do anything if they tried their hardest.

I would have liked to have met him.

Here's a passage from Geronimo Rex that I find especially wonderful. In fact, I think it's close to perfect:

"When did you get married?"
"About at the first of last summer, out at the Alamo Plaza Motel Courts, which we've been to again several times. The ceremony went like this: I woke up with my hand on her nipple. She left the bed and went to the television and then got back in bed. She replaced my palm on her nipple, and on the television came a gospel show, the Blackwood Brothers, because it was Sunday morning. These boys were singing in earnest, the bass man with his mustache, the slick skinny man singing high, the blind man with sunglasses on piano. So holy, you know; they'd never made a cent out of doing this. 'I take this man,' she said, lifting up the sheets, 'while these men look on and sing.' Then she kicked the sheets back and raised her toes to the ceiling, and I enjoyed her, while she hummed with the quartet on TV with her eyes closed. I happened to be on my knees holding onto her ankles above me. It was the condition of being in an ascending chariot. I cherished the music I heard behind me and the music under me. Everyone agreeing, everyone celebrating."


10 September, 2010

Portland, Oregon Ice Cream Cake

Somehow reads, "PDX"

While visiting Ben and Katie in Portland, Oregon, I made my very first ever ice cream cake. I winged it because I figured it would be impossible to mess up. Turns out, I was right.

16 August, 2010

Telepathic Devices


My newest post on the Sirocco site is a must read for anyone interested in friendship. Truly.

10 August, 2010

Electric Beans

I have a new post up on Sirocco's site!

Teaser:

31 July, 2010

I Think Enough Time Has Passed

I'm going through old emails from around a year ago and re-discovered one of my all-time favorites. It's from long-time friend Douglas Sacrison. He wrote it to me during an especially rotten spell. I'll allow his email to put into words the context. At any rate, it's pretty genius.

Legs-

Well, I hope things are going alright. As I sit here typing this, I'm wondering to myself about whether I should play dumb and pretend I didn't hear any news from Nick about how your first night in Australia went, or if I should not beat around the bush. I suppose I'll go with the latter, and dearly hope you are feeling better. I'm not sure how things are going now, since my brief discussion with Big Stick took place almost a week ago. I dearly hope that someday, perhaps not right now, but someday you can see how comical it sounds to fly all the way to Australia to be given the ax by a German. I'm sorry if this is insensitive of me; it's meant to be the converse of such.

-DOUG!


Word for word, pound for pound, I'd pit Doug against any literary figure.

Fighting the good fight.

Thanks, Doug.

25 July, 2010

KITES

Los Angeles really smiled down on my today. I was at Renegade Craft Fair with ReForm School, helping people build and color kites. Here's the one I made and drew on for myself:


Outer space is not outside you.


It was a nice reminder things can float in mid-air.

20 July, 2010

Can You Believe Summer Exists?

I feel like it should be April still. What happened to May? And June ended already? And now the calendar is taking a deep breath, about to say "August?" Forget about it! 2010 is the year of the Time Warp. The year walks the fine line between discouraging and being absolutely the most brilliant exciting period of existence on record.

I've spent pretty much all my time pitted against the grinding stone. There were some exceptions, like a work-vacation in Big Sur:


A meadow, Big Sur, CA

And a whirlwind tour through the Northwest:


Martin and David, Portland, OR

But all and all, I have been building. Which is the most satisfying part of living in a Time Warp. When you start, you're somewhere (like April), and then when you come back to, you're somewhere else entirely (like late July). And while it might feel like time just disappeared, you have all these tangible things hanging out that weren't there before. Like three new videos for Flaunt.com. Expect them to go live within the next several weeks. In the mean time, here are some stills from the vidz.


Still from Ariel Pink for Flaunt TV


Still of Vincent Kartheiser in Coaxial Vanguard for Flaunt TV

Still from Kat Dennings for Flaunt TV

I'm excited about them, Flaunt's excited about them, and I'm looking forward to having people look at them. In the mean time, here's a video I made for Flaunt last March (the previous Time Warp).


I have one more week to push hard through, then I am going to take a quick little LA vacation and see what my friends have been up to.

18 July, 2010

it feels good to be back

I was a big time user of Microsoft paint when I was growing up. But, coming-of-age meant switching to an Apple computer. While it gave me Final Cut Pro and other okay programs, I was still robbed of my original computer-based creative outlet. No more promo-posters for one-act plays that only close friends and family ever read --

The ExtraOrdinary Day of Monsieur Panda, 2005

-- Until today. My 4 year hiatus of bold lines and colors ended with one google search engine search.

Man in Glasses, 2010

While drawing this guy, "Man in Glasses," I realized that the paint program is the only time in my life I get to be creative with my right hand. Because I grew up sans a left handed mouse, I had to do all of my illustrations with my opposite hand. It's actually rather freeing.

16 July, 2010

Let's Explore Making Art

Now that the Sirocco Research Labs' website has come to life, I'll be posting over there with my Sirocco-based ideas (which should be often). With that said, I'm still planning on keeping this blog active and moving forward. But, if you like this blog, I think you'll love Sirocco's. It has a pretty amazing cast of contributors.

The website is gorgeously designed by Lab member Karl Peterson (also of sidearm design).



And, in case you didn't hear about it, Sirocco got featured in the Chicago-based, art-and-culture journal Jettison Quarterly. It's real honor to be included. They're fantastic people, and have a gorgeous periodical. Here are some images from the edition, but you should really read the whole thing from cover to cover.

The LA Labs: Kelly, Jaro, Adi, me!, and Martin

The Portland Labs: Ben and Katie

The future seems to become more exciting by the day. Which, incidentally (segue), is the topic of Sirocco's inaugural podcast that just went live today over at the site. The cast is called "Let's Explore." Each episode features two Lab members exploring a topic. The first is between Adi Goodrich and myself, and the topic is Making Art. Adi is, by the way, potentially my creative-soul mate. She designs all of Sirocco's sets and produces volumes of incredibly intricate, beautiful, hand crafted work on her own as well. I have learned tons about the creative process from being in proximity to her. I can't tell you how lucky I am to have her to work alongside. Check it out here!

Kelly took this picture

Hey! Did you see this yet??!

RED MOON teaser from Sirocco Research Labs on Vimeo.

28 June, 2010

TO LIVE AND CAKE IN LA

Something about the city of LA makes me want to make cake for my friends. Here's a sample tray covering the past however-many-months I've lived in this weird-o city. I hope you have a tarp to lay over your keyboard! (hint: because you'll be drooling!)

The Crumple Cake

1. This was for Adi's birthday. It was my first attempt, and looks-wise, it didn't go that well. Meanwhile, the taste was second to none. If I remember correct, it crumpled because I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. You just wouldn't believe, though, how moist this guy was. The white frosting icing somehow reads, "Happy Birthday." Also, as a quick aside, the night we ate this cake, some Hollywood-types were over, talking about which club they should head to, and I asked them if they had ever been to Planet Hollywood. They hadn't, as it turned out.

Jaro's Home Cake

2. Jaro spent some time in Russia over Christmas. When he got home, I greeted him with this. It's a good looking cake, I think. If you're wondering how I went from the crumpler with chicken scratch for frosting to this guy, there were three cakes in between that went undocumented. One was for Kelly's birthday. I decorated it by drawing the K Records logo on it with frosting. The other two were made when Ben and Katie visited for the first time in October. Two cakes, you're probably thinking, is a bit decadent for one week, right? Not when you stay up until 4 every night watching Are You Afraid of the Dark?, it's not.

Annie Hicock's Birthday Cake

3. This cake was made during the second round of shooting Red Moon. I remember it was the night we shot Katie and Ben had their kissing/mauling moments. It was a chocolate cake, and I dyed the cream cheese frosting pink. I ate so much of this cake. You wouldn't even believe.

Bievenue à California

4. I made this cake for Andrej Savol and his girlfriend when they visited us earlier this year. It's fun-fetti frosting dyed yellow, and the cake inside was dyed the same blue as the icing. My hope when I started the icing was to be able to write "Bievenu
e à California!" on the cake. But, I realized rather quick there wouldn't be enough room. I improvised by drawing the state of California and writing, "SUNNY" beneath it. I am pretty sure I got my point across.

U R ART on top of M for Martin

5. I made this cake tonight for my friend Martin. It's his birthday tomorrow. So far there are not too many anecdotes to accompany this guy, except the possibility that he could potentially see this cake before his party if he reads this blog post by then. It's lemon frosting, marshmallows forming an M, with pink icing on the outside, and carrot cake + pine apple chunks on the inside. Though it's hard to decipher in the picture, it says U R ART in icing at a diagonal. I'm pretty sure it's going to taste weird, but with any luck, it will taste good anyway.

16 June, 2010

He NAILED it: INSPIRATION



"He was a very old man, a former seaman who still had the waterproof jacket of his trade, the cap and pipe, and a skin scorched by the salts of the world. In his free hours he would play bowls in the square with veterans of several lost wars, and drink apertifs with tourists in the taverns along the beach, for with his artillery man's Catalan he had the virtue of making himself understood in any language. He prided himself on knowing all the ports of the planet, but no inland city. "Not even Paris, France, as famous as it is," he would say. For he had no faith in any vehicle that did not sail... That day, as he secured the doors and windows in anticipation of the disaster, he spoke to us of the tramontana as if it were a hateful woman, but one without whom his life would lose its meaning."

-- From "Tramontana," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I've never read such vivid nostalgia before. It's like he wrote in super 8mm.

There's a growing trend around my apartment where I keep stacks of books everywhere I might need inspiration. It's proving to be rather remarkable. Some books next to the couch, some books on a shelf, some books on my desk, some books in the bathroom, some books in the submarine. Typically books I've underlined my way through, but sometimes also books that just have nice pictures. This way while I'm working, if I get frustrated or discouraged, there's always a memorable passage or moment within arm's reach waiting to remind me that creating is worth the struggle.

!!!!

13 June, 2010

LE MONDE DU SILENCE

sous-marine avec volcan

la lune et la mar

25 May, 2010

We Are Getting Closer: The Dreamers

This week the Sirocco Research Labs had our first photo shoot. Making it particularly nice, we were the artists as well as the subjects (an on going Sirocco meme). The editorial photo is a mode of creativity I've never had a go with, but have always been attracted to. Overall, I found it to be fantastic. My role on set was art direction, which feels a lot like screen writing. I came up with an idea, handed it off to the photographer, and then BOOM, photo magic was born.

The shoot was for an article being written about us in the Chicago-based online arts journal Jettison Quarterly. We're going to upload all the pictures from the shoot once the magazine "hits stands" in the middle of June. They're so exciting, though. I can't wait.

While Kelly and Jaro were setting up lights and Martin was putting last minute touches on the costumes, Adi and I took a moment to take some pre-shoot photos.

I didn't know her a year ago. Now I make things with her every day.



Sirocco Uniforms, vol. 1
Design by Martin Morse


2010 is nearly halfway over. We're almost in full affect. I'm almost nearly 100% certain the future is friendly.

22 May, 2010

I Heard that, Too

I've officially entered my ghost phase.

20 May, 2010

Coachella 2010

Leaving Los Angeles is a phenomenal feeling. It's a mix of relief and embarrassment. Embarrassment because I all of a sudden realize, Oh My God I Can't Believe I Was Just Caring So Much. Just about a month ago I was invited by photographer Dove Shore and Stylist Luke Storey to put together a video documenting this year's Coachella music festival. Spending a long weekend in the desert with rock stars was just what I needed at the time. I left LA on a Thursday after pulling two all nighters, and the next thing I knew, I was poolside beneath the desert sun re-reading Wuthering Heights; I blinked and low-and-behold, I was pointing a camera at John Waters.

What a time for it. And even though I was working all weekend, just being out of the city was refreshing. There was room between those hills that you don't find between buildings.

COACHELLA 2010 from jimmy marble on Vimeo.



In Sirocco news, I'm very excited to show you why I bought these bags colors today, but I need a second first:


17 May, 2010

16 May, 2010

The Mail

I got an envelope in the mail from glamour puss Jessica Tracey. All that was inside was a long stretch of red yarn and a type-written paragraph-excerpt from The Catastrophe of Success by Tennessee Williams.

It read:

Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive—that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. “In the time of your life—live!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition.

Both the passage and yarn are now taped onto my wall, like an IV Needle to my heart.

03 May, 2010

CATASTROPHE AVERTED: Water Box Edition

Here in the Labs, we're currently filming all the moments in Red Moon that require miniatures. This past weekend we took on the Moon and Clouds section. On Saturday night, I wish you could have seen us, Adi, Kelly, Martin, Jaro, and Me. It was like we were veterans at the game. We had all of our clouds up, the moon hanging in there, and the camera on sticks. Everyone was manning a cloud, moving it, revealing the full moon, but it looked dumb. So we sat on the ground at 2 in the morning, trying to not be asleep, trying to work past the sleep-over giggles, to come up with a plan to make our shot of the moon being revealed look cool. And we came up with some ideas, and then we set them into action, and we filmed it, and it wasn't dumb anymore. It was so dynamic, our Teamwork! There was a problem, we collectively set our minds to it, solved it, and Yes!

Adi situating the Moon, Martin standing by.

!!

Sunday night things went a little bit differently. Not because we weren't using teamwork, but because we kind of let our own handmade, seat-of-our-pants, whimsy aesthetic get the better of us. We wanted to get a shot from a submarine's periscope's point of view, emerging from the sea, revealing the moon. Enter: The Water Box.

A while ago at our miniature-production meeting, we were coming up with an idea as to how to fake the ocean's surface. We wanted to use real materials that were as real-world as possible, as the rest of the film is so fabricated. Using actual water for the water's surface was important. We came up with an idea that if we took some 2x6s, lacquered them with sealant, cut them up, constructed them into a box frame, screwed two pains of plexiglass to both sides, sealed the screws and edges with caulk, that we could probably expect it to hold water, safely. Later, after it just about went as not-swimmingly as possible, we agreed that it was an idea fit to exist inside one of our movies, rather than as a device to assist in filming one.

Getting the Water Box ready.

But that's not to say it wasn't a charming experience I won't soon forget. To fill up the Water Box, I lowered string from the Hang Zone down into our building's courtyard to Martin. He tied the end to our neighbor's hose, and I hoisted it up. We put the hose inside the box, and Martin turned on the nozzle below. We had a nice blue light shining inside the box, and even when there was only a bit of water inside, it was already looking like movie magic.

To the top!

Starting to look like an ocean.

Then it started to drip. Just a little bit, and only out of one place. Our Water Box team had been reduced at this point in the evening to just Jaro and me, with Martin helming the nozzle outside. Jaro and I laughed the drip away and put a glass bowl beneath it. A moment or so later, another leak sprung on the other side of the box. But it was a little bit more streamy than a drip-drip. No big whoop. Nothing a sauce pan couldn't handle. On my way back from the kitchen to the Water Box, I heard Jaro's voice sound more serious as he told me the Water Box was getting full. The plexi was bowing, looking like a TV screen. At this point we were still amused, and I took out my phone to take another picture when there was a distinct crack.

And it got real all of a sudden.

Near-Catastrophes are nothing new to the Red Moon set. Back in December we had a fire, and it only seemed fitting that now we would be dealing with a large amount of water. But the look Jaro and I gave each other could only be read as, "Why didn't we come up with a plan to get the Water Box out of our apartment in-case-something-like-this-happened beforehand?" Martin cut the water. The Box was making damning noises. There was water all over the floor. And electrical equipment.

Thinking as quick as I could, I told Jaro to grab the spare hose and jam it into the box (incidentally, I'm still trying to piece together why we had a spare hose in the Hang Zone). We flew the other end down to Martin and told him to start sucking. Within seconds gravity took over, and the pressure on the box slowly eased as its insides spilled into the court yard outside. Once again, gravity coming through when it counts.

Post-Calamity; Looking funny/like Hell.

Martin came back upstairs and the three of us sat around the Water Box looking at it's crack along the bottom, wondering why we were so confident our wooden box would hold water. Any adult, we noted, who saw what we were up to would have told us sternly to stop. Which is in large part why I consider this failure a success. We just had to be sure; we just had to experiment.

20 April, 2010

April Exists! Right Now!


There's a film where a clown remarks, "Like the old Muslim proverb says: Never quit three minutes before the miracle." If my heart has been beating anything lately, it's to not stop.

From the get-go, it was obvious if you were to blink in 2010, it would already be 2011. I only know March happened with genuine certainty because I have these things I can hold in my hand to prove I was moving as fast as I could move, making as much as I could make. Otherwise, the month was a time machine, and I just showed up in April somehow. My only real memory of hanging was the night Martin showed up carrying a parcel mailed from his Grandma, opening it, and discovering a fog machine inside. And even then, this photo could just be residual time machine relic:

Martin in the thick of the fog.

But, there are these artifacts laying around proving to me that March happened like all other months. Most of the proof lies in two new reoccurring gigs that have given me the most incredible opportunities to explore my imagination. The first is with Flaunt magazine, where I'm heading up several projects for the Flaunt TV portion of their website. My first assignment was to make a video to run concurrent with April's print editorial for the MCM Carried Away in LA insert. I believe it's going up on the site sometime this week or early next, and I'll post it here once it does. I couldn't be more happy about how it turned out. In the mean time, here's a couple of stills from the vid:


Meanwhile, on quite the opposite end of the Los Angeles-based spectrum, I've started doing displays for Reform School in Silver Lake. My first display is currently up and running. One motif Tootie and Billie, the store's delightful and perfect owners, and I have decided to wander through is childhood memory. Sort of in line with Spring and Baseball Seasons starting, the current display is a representation of Tootie's memory of believing Big Foots were living in the Elysian Hills surrounding Dodger's Stadium. With that, I constructed a scene where a gaggle of Sasquatches are parachuting through the clouds, down into the hills, into a little neighborhood. The airplane carries a banner that says, "This is the best day in my entire life!"

Here are some iphone pictures of the construction process, and very soon I'll post high resolution photos of the display assembled and looking quite charming.

I constructed amass of Big Foots from clay:


I built hills from green fabric and cardboard and paint:


Tootie put together some beautiful, full clouds:


Little homes were built from milk cartons:

And now it's the middle of April, and it feels great. It really, really does.

05 April, 2010

Friday Afternoon, Los Angeles, CA


I took this picture with Kelly's camera. The girl just happened to be walking by, just like that, and was nice enough to say yes to my, "Hey, do you mind posing for a picture?"

Afterwords we just stood their, jaws agog at spring time in Los Angeles. Yellow for as far as I could see.

24 March, 2010

Ghosties


Someday, we'll plot who we'll haunt.
And darling, it won't be each other.