Friday finds

Before we get started, how about a little Bach on the Swedish keyed fiddle? The nyckelharpa has 16 strings, but you only play four of them. The rest are there to resonate with the bowed strings, the way a Norwegian hardanger fiddle has a set of sympathetic strings under the bridge that resonate along with the playing. I love both instruments, and I can’t go too long without wanting to listen to them.

agrippa-coverBoingBoing has posted a video that allows you to read and re-read “Agrippa (a book of the dead),” the 1992 self-destructing art-book created by writer William Gibson, artist Dennis Ashbaugh and publisher Kevin Begos Jr. Gibson’s poem, inspired by the death of his father, showcases some of his most evocative writing, and the several editions of the poem play on the themes of memory and loss by causing the text to decay and eventually vanish with use and the passage of time. The idea was to leave the reader with nothing his memories of the poem (and the money he shelled out) but naturally the code was hacked almost as soon as the book became available. And while we’re on the subject of William Gibson, how long before a company called Ono-Sendai materializes and starts selling these? Maybe Errol Morris will use it to replace his Interrotron.

Maybe it’s time to pay a visit to the town Neil Young created. And maybe it’s time for a little more nyckelharpa music:

Scary times for writers, especially free-lancers. This free-lancer’s motto is “no fear.”

The Art of the Title Sequence is film geekery at its finest. The site gives you the chance to appreciate and hear commentary on some of the most effective and artful examples of films that use their title sequences to establish the mood and set the stage for what follows. One of my favorite examples, the travels of a bullet from factory to victim at the start of Lord of War, is here along with John Carpenter’s original Halloween and its obvious precursor, Quatermass and the Pit.

The sound is like a glass of cold, pure water.

I don’t know which fact is more astonishing: that George Lucas actually solicited A-list British playwright David Hare (Plenty, The Blue Room, A Map of the World) to direct The Phantom Menace, or that Triple-A-List playwright Tom Stoppard (Arcadia, Shakespeare in Love, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead)did some script-doctor work on the tedious screenplay for Revenge of the Sith. Most astonishing of all, I guess, is that Lucas went for this kind of help when, as this blogger points out, all he needed was someone with competence and cleverness of the sort Irvin Kershner (and Leigh Brackett) brought to The Empire Strikes Back.

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One thought on “Friday finds

  1. Perezoso says:

    Sympathy for down ‘n out cyberpunks is hard to come by. Gibson made a fortune off his first novels, did he not? (Count Zero about the only one I enjoyed—by time of Virtual Light sort of predictable future-noir). So like he should have invested it in the right places–yahoo stock, seattle condos, oregon meth labs, what have you–or perhaps worked up some dystopian-futurist lecture tours. Failing that he could perhaps write some copy for like the Zappa phamily (actually he’s written some amusing blurbs about Steely Dan)…..

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