Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's the Arts

A few bits of interest from around the artsy fartsy world.

Scambot’s Here! (Almost)
Had a missive in my Email box today from Mike Keneally with some good news on his first new studio album in several years, Scambot 1 (first in a series). It’s about ready for preordering. Here are the groovy details:

The concept of Scambot had its genesis in a comic strip I drew in one of my sketchbooks in 2001, while I was working on Wooden Smoke. It was fleshed out further, with the addition of new characters, during the making of The Universe Will Provide and Dog in 2003, and for the past five years it has been my central creative project, one obviously very long in gestating. (The earliest music it contains is 'You Named Me' from 1998, recorded during sessions which also resulted in Nonkertompf.)

The project evolved in an intentionally relaxed and organic fashion, with no time-related pressure placed on its creation. The three different aspects of the Scambot universe - my character art, music/lyrics, and written plotline/dialogue - each grew individually while they influenced the development of the other two aspects. It was a blast, I am freaking pleased as punch that it's finally done and that I enjoy it as much as I do, and I'm very happy that you'll get to hear it soon.
It’ll be available as a regular CD, a digital download, or a 2-CD special edition with a second “music inspired by” disc. Guess which one I’ll be ordering!

Meet the Beatles (Again)
In his Scambot missive, Keneally also approves of the new Beatles remasters, in stereo and mono format. I used the new publicity wave to plug the holes in my late-era Beatles catalog, picking up Revolver, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let It Be (only had it on tape). Of the bunch, I’m really grooving on Revolver the most, along with Magical Mystery Tour. In the whole scope of their catalog, Let It Be seems a little hit and miss to me, these days. Regardless, I listened to more of The Beatles in the past couple of weeks than I have in years.

Having said that, I agree with Hoyt that replacing the whole catalog on CD, if you’ve already got them, is probably not worth it. Instead, join in on his countdown of the top Beatles tunes, as he whips through all 200+!

Plots R’ Us
You know, in just a few weeks it will be National Novel Writing Month again. I’ll be participating, again, as I have the past two years. If you want in on the action, too (and who doesn’t?), but are having a hard time getting your imagination jump started, David Maliki has you covered. Tuesday’s edition of Wondermark (a brilliant cartoon that you really should read twice a week), he lays out the matrix for the Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000. But better yet, if you click here, you’ll get a random alignment of those things with no fuss. Why, who wouldn’t want to get started on a story like this:
Your title is: “The Steam Wars”

In an ancient medieval Europe, a young idealistic revolutionary stumbles across a magic diadem which spurs him into conflict with an army led by a sadist, with the help of a girl who's always loved him and her cleavage, culminating in a heroic sacrifice that no one will ever remember.
What are you waiting for? Get cracking!

Read a Banned Book
Next week is Banned Books Week, sadly necessary in a nation where narrow minded dipshits think that knowledge – or worse, fiction! – is a threat to health and welfare. This year, the Banned Book Week site has a nifty map of all the book challenges in 2007-2008 across the country. Sadly, there are plenty of arrows crowding the map. Even more sadly, one points to Charleston, a reminder of the school board’s kerfuffle over some Pat Conroy novels a couple of years ago. At least the good guys won that battle.

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