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I made three or four vids for Festivids this year depending on how you count.

My assignment was for [personal profile] skygiants, who requested a Blazing Saddles vid. She requested "a really wacky vid that embraces the genre satire; I also think you could do some really neat stuff going in the exact opposite direction and digging into sharp edges of what the film is actually about. " I didn't do either of those things, exactly. Rather, I think what I did is take the film's narrative beats nearly totally seriously. Blazing Saddles is a scathing satire of the Western genre which rigorously hits every single narrative trope of the genre it can find and rigorously checks off every required plot point of the standard Western plot. And each time it hits a required point, it informs you that it is doing it. The result is that even though it often doesn't feel like it because you're too busy laughing, Blazing Saddles is sketching out the epic saga of Sheriff Bart and his victory over the forces of evil. I tried to bring that into focus without forsaking the important themes that arise from the satire, of the erasure of minorities from the 19th century West, of white supremacy and the importance of alliances and teamwork to defeat it.

Two Against One

The song I chose to vid "Two Against One" by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, is incredibly apt for this balancing act. It's the work of a biracial musician reinterpreting the classic Western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, a complicated marriage of blues and folk and spaghetti Western. I think the lyrics are actually about self-sabotage- read closely enough the 'two' opponents Jack White is faced up against are his own tendency to betray himself- and himself in a mirror! The lyrics, though, are vague enough that you need to listen closely to understand this, so I read nearly all the lyrics against their actual meanings. The 'two' is usually used for the good guys, against the one being the bad guy, as I was emphasizing the teamwork theme. The thrust of the vid is: Bart shows up in town alone, the classic Western loner, hated by everyone both for Western trope reasons of the feared outsider and because of basic racism. He forms an alliance with Jim, becoming for the first time Two against One, then enlists the the poor townfolk, women and children too, in the fight against the evil white males with institutional power.

Then I saw [personal profile] yinetime was out for pinchhit and they requested the Darren Aronofsky Noah movie. Some of you may know I've been working on a vid for this film for the past two years. It's a six minute long vid and I've laid a good timeline for about three and a half minutes of it. So I wasn't about to finish that in two weeks for Festivids, but I knew the source really damned well, so I asked myself "Do you think you can make a vid for this in two weeks?" I decided, before claiming the pinch hit, to spend a few minutes testing out ideas to make sure I could pull it off. I usually do this when claiming pinch hits for fic. In this case, I sat down and an hour later I had a full timeline for a two and a half minute long vid. And I mostly really liked the timeline! So I claimed the pinch hit.

Brings the Flood

"Brings the Flood" is set to Neko Case's ambiguous fairy tale of faith "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood". My vid centers Naamah, Noah's wife, and the ways in which Noah betrays her. He is the 'fox' of Case's song: handsome, spiritual, dangerously cunning, and for all that he loves her, not always acting in her best interests. But Naamah is cunning, too. In the end, Noah stands over Ila, preparing to kill Shem's daughters in order to annihilate the human race, and he looks at Ila and he sees his wife in her, and he overcomes the snake for her sake. And all through it, Naamah endures, endures the pains and betrayals that come of trying to live a moral and fulfilled life in a world that doesn't explain what moral means. And then the rainbow comes and tells both Noah and Naamah that forgiveness has come, even though it cannot quite wipe away the flood of tears.

And then I recalled another song I'd noticed when scanning my music library for songs about floods and oceans and water: "Theme from Flood" by They Might Be Giants, the goofy radio-jingle of a theme song for the TMBG album of the same time. And I said two things. First "Wouldn't a Noah vid to this be hilarious?" and Second: "I told [personal profile] sanguinity that I just made a treat in an hour, to try to throw her off the scent of guessing I made the Noah pinch hit. But she's still going to know that I made the Noah vid, because of course I made the Noah vid. But if I made a TMBG Noah vidlet that will clearly only take a few minutes of work, she might think this is the Noah vid I was talking about, and somebody else made "Brings the Flood". Except she's still going to know I made "Brings the Flood", because of course I made the Noah vid." So I made "They Might Be Nephilim", this overly obvious Ferretvid, because it made me laugh and because it might decoy [personal profile] sanguinity, though probably not. And then [personal profile] thirdblindmouse made "Chess: The Musical", which is basically the exact same joke. I'm awed by how similar they are.

They Might Be Nephilim

That's three vids. What's the fourth? I made a third Noah vid, but I didn't post it because it's a little messy and also because if I'd posted three Noah vids, there wouldn't have been any question in the world that I made all three, especially since I reuse a lot of clips in complementary ways from vid to vid. The third vid is a Tubal-Cain POV vid about his relationship with Noah. It's set to Arcade Fire's "Ocean of Noise", off an album dismissively but for these purposes appropriately titled "Neon Bible". "Noah" is very much a film, I know I've written, about the way that it can feel that if the Creator has a plan, it's never communicated very well to the actors carrying it out. Noah is prophetically warned of the flood, but that doesn't tell him how to respond to it, doesn't give him certainty about what redemption may or may not come. And Tubal-Cain is given even less than Noah. All he can see is that the power to rule has been placed in front of him by the Creator and he sees that as his own sort of prophecy, an obligation to act in the Creator's image by creating a civilization of great strength and achievement.'s annotator sees "Ocean of Noise" as a struggle for primacy between absent father and rebellious son, but I don't find that perfectly obvious. More clearly, it's a song about an opposition that may appear rational, but if examined decays into an ocean of noise. In the end, Noah and Tubal Cain are both just fighting for the survival of themselves and the people that matter to them.

Ocean of Noise
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Festivids revealed last week!

I received two lovely gifts. Both are vids for The Cape, a superhero TV show from about five years ago that pretty much landed with a thud, but which I've always loved. It was doing camp Batman when Chris Nolan was doing grimdark Batman, and it was doing it beautifully, with a sense of humor and a sense of social justice, and so even though the dialogue was usually ridiculous and the characters weren't emotionally full creations, I loved it. I do love a glorious failure.

Chess: The Musical, except not at all is um... hard to explain. Chess is the bad guy in The Cape, a billionaire crony capitalist with multiple personality disorder who goes around in a mask killing people. They Might Be Giants are one of my favorite bands. This is a match made in casting heaven. It's also the kind of vid where if it weren't FOR me, you'd be guessing that I was the one who made it. I <3 it so much.

For I am the Cape (AKA The One with the Raccoon) is my main gift, and it's just glorious.

The first time I signed up for Festivids, four years ago, I jokingly said that I thought all vids should be made to Eastern European wedding dance music. And my vidder apparently dug that up and made me a The Cape vid to Eastern European wedding dance music. And it works! Which I am of course not surprised about, because all vids should be made to Eastern European wedding dance music, that wasn't a joke at all. No, definitely not.

The Cape is at its heart a debate about vigilantism. On the one hand it keeps shouting at you that vigilantism is a terrible idea, that one man fighting crime can't take down a corrupt system and that if he tries all that's going to happen is he's going to get hurt a bunch, and the people he loves will keep getting hurt, too. Yet it keeps valorizing Vince and his struggle anyway, because when you're stuck in a corrupt system and you can't take down the system, what else can you do? The show flirts with Richard Schiff's wonderfully ridiculous Patrick Portman, beleaguered director of Palm City's broken prison system, as an alternative in-system hero- and then Portman dresses up as The Cape himself for a costume party!

Ultimately Vince comes to an uneasy compromise where he works outside the system with Orwell to prop up the honest parts of the system, including Portman and his public defender estranged wife, against the forces of corruption and indifference.

This vid shows that evolution, how Vince moves from anarchy and unaimed criminal behavior that results from his untrained vigilantism and slowly learns how to be a useful agent of political change. And it does it without any lyrics to support it, just using the sheer rhythmic momentum of Eastern European dance music to show Vince dancing his way through his ad hoc training and into the fray as a hero for Palm City. It's such a beautiful, brilliant vid.

I've liked a lot of other vids I've seen, and I encourage people to check out the rest of the list, but I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight two in particular that I think are particularly amazing.

A Better Son/Daughter is a vid about Carrie Fisher, her life and her struggle and her triumph and what she meant to all of her fans. I dare you to watch this without crying. Seriously, I dare you.

Anything Goes is a Pitch vid, about Ginny Baker and the glass ceiling the show depicts her fighting to shatter, but it's also about baseball history and the way sports has always litigated culture, but with nice neat endings in a way that culture doesn't always have. It's incisive and thought-provoking and also just gloriously optimistic.

Like I said, there's a lot of other great stuff in there, including my own vids, which I will reveal in a week, but those two are for me the cream of the crop.
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Make no mistake I don't do anything for free

I keep my enemies closer than my mirror ever gets to me

And if you think that there is shelter in this attitude

Wait till you feel the warmth of my gratitude


I get the feeling that it's two against one

I'm already fighting me, so what's another one?

The mirror is a trigger and your mouth's a gun

Lucky for me I'm not the only one

And if it looks to me like you and your reflection

Plan to add your own fight to this dimension

Then tell it that this ain't no free-for-all to see

There's only three

It's just you and me against me


I get the feeling that it's two against one

I'm already fighting me so what's another one?

The mirror is a trigger and your mouth's a gun

Lucky for me I'm not the only one

Lucky for me I'm not the only one

And if your foot soldiers, sycophants, and yes men

Plan to break into the middle of this little plan

Then they should plan to hear me say

That I won't play around the way

Anyway, I plan to plan around them


I get the feeling that it's two against one

I'm already fighting me so what's another one?

The mirror is a trigger and your mouth's a gun

Lucky for me I'm not the only one

Lucky for me I'm not the only one
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)


In an ocean of noise
I first heard your voice
Ringing like a bell
As if I had a choice
Oh well!

Left in the morning
While you were fast asleep
Into an ocean of violence
A world of empty streets

You've got your reasons
And me, I've got mine
But all the reasons I gave
Were just lies to buy myself some time

In an ocean of noise
I first heard your voice
Now who here among us
Still believes in choice?
Not I!

No way of knowing
What any man will do
An ocean of violence
Between me and you

I'm going to work it out
Cause time won’t work it out
I'm going to work it out
Cause time won’t work it out for you
I'm going to work it on out
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)


Why is the world in love again?
Why are we marching hand in hand?
Why are the ocean levels rising up?
It's a brand new record for 1990.
They Might be Giants' brand new album:
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)


Driving home I see those flooded fields

How can people not know what beauty this is?

I've taken it for granted my whole life

Since the day I was born

Clouds hang on these curves like me

And I kneel to the wheel

Of the fox confessor on splendid heels

And he shames me from my seat

And on my guilty feet I follow him

In retreat

What purpose in these deeds?

Oh fox confessor please...

Who married me to these orphaned blues?

"It's not for you to know, but for you to weep and wonder

When the death of your civilization precedes you."

Will I ever see you again?

Will there be no one above me to put my faith in?

I flooded my sleeves as I drove home again
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
Dear Festividder!

This will be my fourth festivids, but only my second time signing up- the past two years I've only done treats. I'm nervous and apprehensive about having to create a vid to someone's request again, but every time I've participated in festivids in any fashion, I've had fun, so I look forward to more fun this year.

I really don't want to constrain you too much in what you want to make. My musical taste is almost laughably eclectic and it's basically impossible to come up with a musical style I am resistant to. I have vidded to speed metal and to opera and I welcome anything within the gamut. Please just try to have fun and make a vid you are proud of.

Some thoughts on fandom feelings:

Alpha House (2013) [TV]

I'm fond of all the members of the house, but especially Gil John, and especially season 2 Gil John: defiantly a perks person, and magnificently goaded into waging a defense of old-style business-as-usual politics. I know it is super weird to say it, but if the West Wing is the left's idealized version of the Democratic Party, Alpha House is my idealized version of my own Republican Party. The Circle of Civility is everything. And just as the Democrats get Janel Moloney on the West Wing, we Republicans get her in Alpha House. Walking a treadmill in heels, like a boss! Drawing a gun in the Capitol, to prove a point!

I'm a conservative, but obviously this is a show that makes fun of the Republican Party quite a lot. And also obviously it's likely given the demographics of fandom that you are not a conservative. Don't worry about any of that, I'm pretty comfortable seeing media that contradicts my political instincts, and I'm not all that tribal when it comes to politics.

Alphaville: Une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) [Movie]

This is my favorite SF film of all time. Godard makes Paris seem like another planet, the noir blends perfectly with the surrealism, and the sense of dislocation and the tension between individuality and community is so powerful. I've vidded Skynet and would love a character study of Alpha-60- robot intelligence and transhumanism is totally my thing. Shippy vids, of any sort, would also be welcome. Also, while I haven't seen any of the other Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution films myself, I've been meaning to and I think it'd be interesting to play those off against Alphaville if you're familiar with them.

The Cape (2011) [TV]

My favorite thing about this show was the training montages, how they were entertaining and imaginative and also character-building. Anything exploring the relationship between Max and Vince and how they both grow through their training together would be great. I'm also interested in Palm City as a failed city- Orwell, Portman and their struggle to fix Palm City not via Cape-style vigilantism but by improving governance, and how Vince gets pulled along on their crusade.

Ghostwriter [TV]

I was a religious watcher of this show growing up. I'm a lover of wordplay and punning and language games and Ghostwriter does a great job of taking these things and making them visual, and I'd like a vid that focuses on the word stuff and Ghostwriter as much as I'd like a character-centric vid. That said, Lenni and Jamal are my favorite characters- gloriously creative, unrepentant nerds!

The Newsroom (Canada) (1996-2005) [TV]

I've only seen S1 and parts of S2, but feel free to use whatever source you feel like. Talking about favorite characters seems amiss here- everyone on the show is deliberately unlikeable, and petty and self-centered to boot. I do not have a favorite character, and would not looks amiss at a vid trashing any or all of them. That said, what is important and powerful about the Newsroom is the cynical idea that our media is not filled with sincere and idealistic truth-seekers, but just ordinary people trying to get through a day at work by any means necessary. And that that does not mean that the media is sick or broken, it just means that the media is like everyone else, not worth putting on a pedestal. Much more effective than Aaron Sorkin's Newsroom.

Only Connect [TV]

No idea how to vid this show, but curious what emerges. The Board Gamers of Series 8 are my favorite team, but I was also very fond of last season's Wayfarers. Needless to say, "Why Aren't There Dolphins on Only Connect" seems the natural vidsong, but I'm open to other ideas, lateral thinking.

A Serious Man (2009) [Movie]

My favorite part of the film is the dybbuk sequence, but I also love the three Rabbis sequence. I love how rooted the film is in both realism (My father, upon seeing the film, declared "I know Sy Ableman! No, I know twenty Sy Ablemans!") and in Yiddish storytelling traditions. I love how perfectly the set dressing is done, how the Coens and their team capture the era so perfectly, and how deep and difficult the films questions about faith are to answer.

Whodunnit? US (2013) [TV]

As always when talking about this fandom, my interest is in ignoring the metagame and treating this as if the murders were actually real. I think this gets easier as the show goes on and the players get deeper into the fantasy, and particularly after Don's death the players seem to really take the deaths seriously. I'm particularly interested in the social dynamics of the final foursome. And I'm interested in the murderer as a cipher who never really reveals their motivation for the murders.
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First, [community profile] festivids have been revealed.

I made [personal profile] ghost_lingering a Storylords vid: Ex Libris!

Storylords is a terrible educational tv show made in Wisconsin in the 80s. I do not have a good explanation of why I made this vid, but I did and it didn't come out terribly. [personal profile] ghost_lingering of course instantly guessed that I'd made it, but that's okay, I instantly guessed that she'd made Your Mother, so we're even on the guessing front.

Second, I have purchased an attending membership for this year's Vividcon!!! I am excited, this will be my first time going to Vividcon and there are lots of cool people I am looking forward to meeting. I have also signed up to claim a song for Club Vivid, and have thus spent the past half hour swearing at my editor for crashing every time I try to adjust the credits. ;)
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Notes on [personal profile] ghost_lingering's amazing "Silent Fandoms" vid/not!vid/experimental video/thing. Some new observations, some adapted from the rants that constituted my beta notes on an earlier version of the vid. Fair warning: I've been thinking about "Silent Fandoms" since [personal profile] ghost_lingering first told me her ideas back in November. I have a lot to say.

-Having just read, in the OTW's submission to the Library of Congress for extending the vidding exemption from the DMCA, an essay on fannish boundary policing in terms of what constitutes a fanvid, I'm hesitant to make any judgement on whether or not "Silent Fandoms" is a vid or not. In my estimation it probably is, but I'm inclined to defer to [personal profile] ghost_lingering's not!vid name, and I think I do understand the sentiment. There are a lot of fannish expectations about what a vid looks like that this not!vid violates. At the same time, it is a submission for Festivids involving fannish video set to music, so by the clearest definition of fanvid anyone can come up with, it's hard to argue that it's not one. I don't know, so like I said, I'm inclined to defer to the vidder's wishes.

-I love that [personal profile] ghost_lingering uses 4'33" in its classical mode, but also in a less passive mode. By which I mean, classically we understand 4'33" to involve the composer reflecting back the obligation of creating sound and meaning to the audience. If a critic argues that there is a musical content to 4'33", which is not something there is universal agreement about, but for those critics who believe there is, they usually point to the sounds made by the audience, by the concert hall itself, by other ambient presences. The pianist is not the one creating the music, they are creating the space in which the music happens.

This not!vid definitely uses that technique. It makes wonderful use of silences, and it makes use of other vidders' work and ideas to create a space where the viewer has to create meaning. The effect is very deliberately like reveals day, where there are hundreds of new vids, most in fandoms the viewer doesn't know, and the viewer needs to weed through them to find the ones that have meaning for them- either because they already know the fandom, or because the vid introduces them to fandoms and elements of fandoms that they find exciting. Because there is such a volume of information, and because by the nature of Festivids, different viewers will key onto different elements of that swarm of information, every viewer's experience of "Silent Fandoms" is completely their own. Of course, this is true of any vid, any piece of media that someone consumes, but it is more apparently true here because of the contextualization against 4'33", against a silence that by the absence it creates, actively encourages the viewer to add themselves into the story.

But at the same time the not!vid also, more actively, pushing specific and intentional messages and ideas about vidding and particularly about Festivids. In particular, the not!vid comments on what I've labeled the classical mode, by enlisting 4'33" into a conversation about the 'volume' of fandoms. "Silent Fandoms" isn't just meta on Festivids, it's also meta on 4'33". It's not set to 4'33", it's set to a remix of 4'33", because the kind of silence [personal profile] ghost_lingering wanted was a lot more active and deliberate, a lot less aleatoric than Cage supplies. "Fandom is a conversation", one of the snippets in the not!vid says, and by intention I think "Silent Fandoms" hosts a particular conversation.

And you have a wonderful contrast: On the one hand, there is the AU Reveals Day where all the unvidded fandoms get their volumes turned up, but at the same time [personal profile] ghost_lingering brings out carefully curated quotes from an array of vidders about the unique set of frustrations and satisfactions that comes from being in small fandoms. And because every viewer is creating their own version of the vid by picking out pieces that have meaning to them, it becomes really clear how Festivids is an uncommunity based not on shared love of particular content qua most fandoms, but on shared tools, that there are many miniature communities of Festividders within Festivids.

-Which leads me to what I think is one of the major themes of "Silent Fandoms", this idea of uncommunity. In the weeks between golive and reveals, hanging out in #vidding, someone pointed out that there were 160 vids, but the ten or fifteen people who were guessing on the guessing thread were only guessing about ten or fifteen vidders. The thing about Festivids is that it isn't a community. I mean, obviously, it is a community, it's a group of people who get together once a year to make vids for each other, but it's not really one unified group where everyone knows everyone. It's a bunch of smaller groups with some amount of overlap, and not everyone knows everyone, and not everyone likes everyone, and not everyone vids the same way.

Because I've met [personal profile] ghost_lingering in real life, because she overlaps with my community more than a lot of other Festivids participants, I immediately recognized her through the distorting filters in that shot towards the end of the not!vid where she's eating soup. And while betaing we talked a bit about whether that compromised the anonymity of the vid. Ultimately, we concluded it didn't since only a very small handful of Festividders know what she looks like (I guess a rather larger number of Festividders do now), and most of us were already spoiled because as members of her particular Festivids subcommunity, we'd been recruited for brainstorming and betaing anyway. [personal profile] ghost_lingering told me that another beta who didn't know what she looks like had asked "Is that you?" and I saw similar questions in the comments section after "Silent Fandoms" was aired. That ambiguity that for me wasn't an ambiguity highlighted how clever the identity play is in that moment.

Vidding is a visual medium, but vidders mostly communicate via text, so we don't know what most of the rest of us look like, and we don't know what most of the rest of us sound like. In that way, too, there is something Silent about our fandom. Vidders hide behind our vids, letting the art do the visual communication for us. I love that [personal profile] ghost_lingering violates that taboo by becoming herself a visual element of her not!vid, much as she violates the taboo by letting audio recordings of other vidders become audio components of the 4'33" remix. As much as "Silent Fandoms" is about bringing forward the fandoms that never get attention, it is also about bringing forward the vidders themselves, who also never get attention, who stand silently behind their vids. I think that's one of the reasons why the credits, the amazingly dense credits, are a key visual element of the presentation, because the fellowship of vidders become characters in "Silent Fandoms". That's also why the not!vid traces the process of creating a Festivid. It begins with getting the assignment and then, by progressive zooms and transforms of the text of the assignment, models the process of emotional and intellectually processing the request and figuring out how to vid it. Then it moves to the video editor and the construction of the timeline (many timelines! many different vidders working in parallel on different projects!). And it concludes with the familiar FV-Poster pages where Festivids are posted and publicly available for enjoyment and dissection. This experience is the only shared experience of all Festividders, so it is naturally the narrative throughline of the vid from beginning to end.

One of my favorite moments in the vid is at 2:13, when we see the "Vids are Due in 8 Days" clip from 4:06. The viewer watching the first time cannot possibly understand its meaning, but the viewer watching Silent Fandoms for the tenth time, unpacking its meaning, knows exactly what that shot is doing there. It's injecting ghost-lingering into the not!vid, and it's also specifically inviting rewatches.

This idea of uncommunity is built fabulously by the Behind the Scenes vid/not!vid. It's 20 minutes long and nobody, not even the people who made the vidlets, knows all the fandoms. So a person flips through and their eye is caught by the things they're familiar with. I loved [personal profile] chaila's comment on the vid: "Many people have smart things to say above, and I'm like I SPY BORGEN and my fav Borgen lady and her EPIC SWAGGERING." I think [personal profile] chaila's response is precisely on point, that by design this not!vid will have not just different responses but radically different responses, because the people coming to a Festivid come from so many different vidding experiences.

For me, personally, the vid snippets that jumped out to me as part of my own not!festivids experience include the Batman vidlet to "Behind Blue Eyes", the Ghostwriter vidlet that was specifically for me, the Borgen vidlet to Dessa, the WarGames vidlet to "Deep Blue", the Blazing Saddles vid, the Noah's Arc Losing Our Religions hat-tip,

In my world, the Adam West Batman to "Behind Blue Eyes" is the perfect vid snippet. The quick-hit, instantly obvious joke that is narrowly tailored to the most ridiculous detail of [personal profile] elipie's request is a wonderful statement of the power of Festivids to interrogate our desires as vidders. I checked on this during the beta process- there are multiple other Batman "Behind Blue Eyes" on youtube, though this is the only Adam West one... because it is utterly inappropriate for Adam West beyond the one note joke. What I love about this is that it is absolutely a not!vid. It is not sustainable as a vid, it is not tantalizing in its promise of further effort, it is just a joke that works perfectly at its length.

The Ghostwriter snippet, meanwhile, is tantalizing, because it offers a little bit of Jamal/Lenny, a little bit of visual textual play, and then before we can get anywhere with it it's over. I want more! All the Ghostwriter vids! Similarly, the Borgen vidlet is the obvious and perfect Borgen song, in a tiny taste that leaves us wanting the full version, leaves us wanting the fandom to be louder. And "Deep Blue"? I think I gave that song to [personal profile] sanguinity, and I think I now want to make that full vid myself. Damn you, [personal profile] sanguinity!

Meanwhile, the joke of [personal profile] ghost_lingering making even more snippets to "Losing My Religion" will never stop making me crack up. What, "Losing Our Religions" wasn't enough? She had dug up so many extra covers of the song while making Sarah Connor Chronicles snippets that they would have been wasted if she hadn't used them on this project? I love [personal profile] ghost_lingering's ambitious approach to vid exchanges, which we've seen twice now with gifts over 20 minutes in total length. I love that when she gets a crazy overambitious idea, she follows through, and she follows through magnificently even if she may regret the commitment.

-The whole idea of a 4'33" "mashup" is wonderful and terrible at the same time. I feel very strongly about the power of formal structures in art: sonnets and Madonna and Childs and James Bond movies and string quartets, patterns that artists deliberately force their work into because of the benefits of working within the structure. It works because you follow the rules imposed, and find your creativity within the restriction. And there are only limited circumstances in which you can violate the rules of the structure and still have a meaningful work of art.

I think it's hard to parse out exactly when those moments are. I remember struggling in high school with my junior English teacher teaching us Hemingway while simultaneously telling us not to write like him. As a somewhat more mature artist now, I am less frustrated by the idea that breaking the rules of a formal artistic structure is a difficult judgement call that an artist needs to make, because I have a clearer idea of the kinds of parameters you need to consider when making that decision. Violating the rules has its own artistic effect, jarring the audience and forcing them to rethink their expectations, and if you do that correctly it can be powerful, but if you do it wrong, it can destroy any beauty in the art. And the flip side is that if a rule is not clear enough in an audience's mind, breaking it has no effect other than to violate the purity of the structure and weaken the art.

4'33" is a tricky formal structure to work with because it is itself designed as a violation of the rules of the classical concert hall. A musician or group of musicians gets on stage, sets a score in front of them, and then as the audience expects them to play a piece of music, they don't play anything. That silence is itself the formal structure, but it's also a perversion of a different, more classical formal structure. And this makes the choice to 'mash up' 4'33" with sounds a perilous choice. The risk is that rather than sounding like 4'33" with sound, it will just sound like a bunch of random sounds.

I think [personal profile] ghost_lingering manages to avoid this trap though, for a couple reasons. The first is that the first 21 seconds of the mashup truly are just ambient noises, and the first non-ambient noise we hear is a beep that chimes in the transition between "Vid to John Cage's 4'33" if you want" and "To a John Cage Mashup". That beep is an advertisement of the balance that is being struck between the silence and the noise of fannish activity. And it follows 21 seconds of silence that up until this point has gone unexplained. The length of Cage's piece is arbitrary. He could have made the same point with a composition called 4'32" or 4'34", or for that matter 0'21". For the first 21 seconds, [personal profile] ghost_lingering draws the viewer into the world of Cage's silence, and then with a beep she jars the audience into a new formal paradigm. It's startlingly effective.

The second reason I alluded to briefly before. Even after that transition into the mashup, even after we start to hear sounds of vidders talking about Festivids and snippets of the music from not!vids weaving their way into the mix against the ambient noises of a number of different versions of 4'33", the idea of silence remains the vid's primary theme. We get quotations from other vidders about the level of silence in their fandoms. In a beautiful sequence that begins at 3:07, we get a series of windows with not!vids layered on top of each other. The vid on top moves for a few seconds, and then the cursor clicks on the upper left corner and the vid disappears, and on we move down the pile, extinguishing the life of the vids in parody of Haydn's "Farewell Symphony". And most persistently of all, we have the vid's title, "Silent Fandoms". No matter how much noise we hear in the vid once the mashup section begins at 0:21, we cannot forget the connection to Cage.

There's something brilliantly askew about vidding Festivids by using silence and non-Festividded fandoms to talk about what makes Festivids great. Your first expectation on hearing that someone is going to make a Festivid Festivid is that it'll follow the pattern of "One Night Fandoms" and be a tribute to things actually made for Festivids, especially if you're making a vid for the co-creator of "One Night Fandoms". I pointed out that this vid is literally the opposite of "One Night Fandoms", and [personal profile] ghost_lingering responded by putting in some of both the music and video from "One Night Fandoms" into the vid as a hat tip to the influence. Because this vid is nothing if not absurdly self-referential.

At the same time, the silence is meaningful for precisely the reasons laid out by the vidder comments in the vid. The fandoms Festivids is for are tiny, quiet fandoms. As much as Festivids is a gift exchange, an intimate one-to-one conversation between two vidders who share a fandom, it also constitutes a bazaar where every vid is an advertisement for a fandom that doesn't get attention. The act of unifying these fandoms under the Festivids banner serves to amplify all of their sounds together, as people who would never show interest in rare fandoms cluster to watch Festivids. One motivation Festividders have in participating is to put the call of their quiet fandoms out their for others to hear. And so we get silence, but as the time and the intricacy of the not!vid builds, we also get sounds, shouts in the street. They constitute calls for attention. And yet not all calls for attention earn the same amount of attention. "Silent Fandoms" is carefully crafted, but it is full of asymmetries, videos that get more or less time or focus for no particular reason other than their place in the overall visual scheme.

-So the end result is that "Silent Fandoms" and its companion "Behind the Scenes" piece create a world of their own that looks at Festivids through a very singular lens and tells many, many stories about it, through its own act of creation. One last contrast between "Silent Fandoms" and "One Night Fandoms": Whereas "One Night Fandoms" was created as a tribute to Yuletide, it is not actually a part of Yuletide. "Silent Fandoms" is itself a Festivid, a gift from a vidder to another vidder, a testimony to the creativity of the whole community but particular a testimony to the creative gifts of [personal profile] ghost_lingering and [personal profile] sanguinity.
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Festivids revealed!

I made two Adam West Batman vids.

This Be the Verse for [personal profile] thirdblindmouse is a Robin-oriented vidlet to Philip Larkin reading his poem "This Be the Verse", the one that famously starts "They fuck you up, your mom and dad." With an, er, stealth crossover.

"Holy Dance Vid, Batman for [personal profile] elipie is a goofy Batman dancing vid to a Bad Plus instrumental. Because there is so much fucking dancing in Batman. SO MUCH.

The whole plan of not signing up for Festivids and just making treats worked out really well, and I think I'm likely to do the same next year. With less pressure on me, I made more vids than last year? And I'm happier with the vids? I can live with that.
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I caught a cold on Friday and have mostly been in bed since. I am feeling a hell of a lot better today than I did on Friday, but I am still not feeling what we would call well. If I can stay vertical for the whole Super Bowl, I will count it a giant victory.

[community profile] festivids revealed its vids yesterday. Because I'm sick, I haven't been able to watch as many as I would like, and I'm saving up commenting until I can be sure that my comments won't be incoherent nonsense. (When I was in shul this morning, it seemed like I was reciting my prayers at the normal pace, until the chazzan got to the end of the prayer and I realized I'd only got about a third as far as I normally do. It's very disorienting.) But the vids I have seen have been excellent.

I made two vids, and they are both pretty damn guessably mine, so you're welcome to guess. I'm pleased with the reception they've gotten so far.

Ex Libris

Jan. 10th, 2015 02:03 pm
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Password: exlibris

I do not know how to explain this vid. I just don't. I had never seen Storylords before [personal profile] ghost_lingering requested it, and having watched it I couldn't say that I'm a fan. Yet I accidentally a vid for it. Storylords is a series of fifteen minute videos designed for reading techniques to... fifth graders? fourth graders? third graders? Something in that range. It does this by recruiting the young protagonists, Norbert and Mandy, as apprentice Storylords who patrol the land of Mojuste aiding a series of grownups with laughably terrible reading comprehension skills who are being tormented by the evil Thorzuul.

It is not a good show. The scripts, the special effects, and the cinematography are all laughably bad. The educational principles are pretty solid, though. The heart of the show is not really Norbert and Mandy, but their teacher, who is revealed in the show's final scene to secretly be a Storylord herself. As I watched the show, I found myself valuing some of the discussion of reading technique- a lot of the fairly advanced reading techniques one uses to make headway in Kant or Joyce are really just more complicated variations on the techniques the show discusses. Keeping information you don't understand in your head until later information allows you to make sense of it is, as I've written before, the fundamental key to making sense of Ulysses. Storylords presents this on a paragraph level basis, whereas Joyce demands you do it on a five hundred page basis, but it's the same idea.

So I made a vid to the Muppets "Movin' Right Along", because [personal profile] ghost_lingering asked for it and the combination amused me. I don't think there's anything deep here, just me having visual fun with the silly costumes and sillier special effects.

And then I was hanging out with [personal profile] ghost_lingering at the opera and she explained to me that she'd requested Storylords as her safety because she wanted to use a safety fandom that nobody would actually vid, to create incentive for someone to vid one of her more ambitious and ridiculous fandoms. And a big part of me was snickering very loudly inside at the time.
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Dear Fake Festividder,

I can't thank you for making a vid for me, since this is a fake letter and you are not making a vid for me. But if I were signing up for Festivids, here is what I would request.

1) Alphaville: Une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) [Movie]

I find Alpha-60 really interesting. Giant dictatorial artificial intelligence who quotes philosophy. I know it is probably the least visually compelling character imaginable, but if you could figure out how to make the unviddable viddable that'd be great.

Otherwise, anything that takes advantage of the surreally beautiful visuals, Paris but not, to serve any agenda, is welcome.

2) Danger 5 (2012) [TV, Web]

It's a totally bonkers fandom, so I encourage going totally bonkers in any direction imaginable. Maybe a vid without any sound! Maybe a vid without any visuals! Maybe a vid that just consists of full episodes of the show set to elevator music. Maybe a vid about Kilroy.

My favorite ship is Ilsa/Jackson, but I'm open to any crack pairings and anything that celebrates how awesome this show is.

3) Noah (2014) [Movie]

I think I'd like something set to religious music- a spiritual, a hymn, an oratorio, a niggun. Noah was a movie that bulled past logic and faithfulness to tradition with sheer bombastic iconoclasty, so i think the response I most want vid-wise is something that takes a step back and looks at the film a little more quietly. There are some really great character relationships- Ila/Shem, Ila/Noah, Noah/Naamah, Noah/Tubal-Cain... and any of them could be brought out richly by a vid that pushed the horror of the flood into the background, I think.

4) Whodunnit? US (2013) [TV]

What was most perplexing to me about Whodunnit was that the deaths were so beautiful and unmotivated. Why was the killer doing what they were doing? What did they get out of it? The ending of the series did not really settle this in any kind of satisfactory way... Whodunnit was concerned solely about figuring out The Means, never about the Motive or the Opportunity, so it was a weirdly stunted kind of crimesolving. I would love to see a vid that gave the murderer motive. It's a weird thought, but Rodgers and Hart's "To Keep My Love Alive" might make an interesting motive narrative for the show.

5) Slings and Arrows [TV]

I would really love to see a good Anna vid. Anna is the glue holding the theater together and she deserves to be appreciated for how awesome she is, how she is offbeat and strange sometimes offputting, and yet so there when you need her to be. Anna somehow makes reliability sexy.

Also, any kind of ensemble vid. Geoffrey and Oliver and that whole nonsense is great, but what makes Slings and Arrows work for me is how the theater is like a family. They don't always get along, but they're stuck together anyway and when the stars align they do beautiful things together.

6) Happy Endings (2011) [TV]

Max briefly held my Favorite Jewish Character on Television title, and I especially love the goofy energy he brought to the show and to his relationship in particular with Penny. I love the whole gang, though, and their crazy unintentional hijinks. And Chicago! As hinted in my note on Alphaville, I love shows and films that make the geography into a character, and Chicago is gloriously present in Happy Endings.
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Likely Yuletide nominations:

1. This Is Where I Leave You- a comedy film where Jason Bateman and Tina Fey are siblings brought together by the need to sit shiva for their father. I have not seen it yet, because it doesn't come out until next week, but I will be seeing it, and I will be wanting fic for it, because I cannot imagine any outcome other than me being both delighted and frustrated by it.

2. The Influence of Immanuel Kant On Evidentiary Approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria- a fictional journal article John Roberts cited in an interview a couple years back as an example of how legal academia is disconnected from the court system's needs. I just find the title really evocative. And if I don't nominate it, nobody else will.

3. Danger 5. The delightful adventures of an international team of superspies and their quest to kill Hitler in the 1960s and now the 1980s. Unless I can be sure someone else ([personal profile] morbane?) will nominate it, in which case I'd have another nomination for...

4. Manhattan Project RPF. Because for reasons I can't quite fathom there is someone besides me with an interest in Vannevar Bush fic, and that is a party I would like to sign up for.

Likely Fake Festivids nominations since I am not doing Festivids, only pretending

1. This Is Where I Leave You- a comedy film where Jason Bateman and Tina Fey are siblings brought together by the need to sit shiva for their father. I have not seen it yet, because it doesn't come out until next week, and [personal profile] jetpack_monkey has justifiably objected that this means it is likely there won't be high quality source available, but since I'm not actually doing Festivids that's not a big problem.

2. Danger 5. The delightful adventures of an international team of superspies and their quest to kill Hitler in the 1960s and now the 1980s. Because there can never be enough Danger 5.

3. Alphaville. Godard's dystopian science fictional masterpiece, set dislocatingly in a noir future Paris ruled by the evil computer Alpha-60. Because it is an utterly beautiful movie that should be vidded.

4. Hurtigruten Minutt for Minutt. The >100 hour slow television show recording the journey of a Norwegian crew ship. Because the Norwegians are weird and so am I? And someday I will do my party where we get a lot of booze and food and sit around a television all day watching Hurtigruten.

5. A Serious Man- the Coen Brothers' amazing film about doubt and despair for a secularized Jewish family in 1960s Minnesota. The Three Rabbis and the Dybbuk scene are both brilliant Jewish folktales, and they are counterbalanced by a genuine and sincere story about poor Larry Gopnik, which takes him seriously even as it invites us to laugh at him.

6. Left Behind 2: Tribulation Force. Because a serious Nicolae character study would be hilarious.
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I've been trying to figure out what creative projects I want to undertake this winter. Traditionally I've done NaNoWriMo in November and Yuletide in December, which keeps me busy. There's a nice synergy: NaNo involves writing a lot, but nobody will ever see it. Yuletide involves writing less, but more people will probably see it than anything else I write. So NaNo ends up serving as a nice practice run for Yuletide, getting me into a writing groove that helps me confidently move past the blank page. I wrote the first 3500 words of my Yuletide fic last year on November 31st in a NaNo induced zen state.

This past year I did NaNo/Yuletide/Festivids, which was too much. I felt creatively overwhelmed by Festivids, after writing 50K words in November and 12K publishable words in December, and while I'm pleased with my vid, I feel it was less ambitious than I'd hoped for. So my leaning is to go back to just NaNo/Yuletide, and if I feel up to it try to make a festivid pinchhit/treat.

But I want to do Festivids! And [personal profile] thirdblindmouse has been encouraging me to post requests. So maybe I will play the game of Festivids, making posts with my would-be nominations and my would-be requests, and then just not sign up.
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Tradition from ronarfelq on Vimeo.

password: fiddler

For my first Festivid, I made an Arrested Development family ensemble vid to "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof. This was roughly the third or fourth iteration of the idea that I wanted a vid that brought out the covert "Jewishness" (possibly in the Lenny Bruce sense, possibly in the actual tribal sense) of the Bluth family. It started with me pondering a pure hijinks reel to a Klezmer dance, but I was a little time compressed because of NaNo and Yuletide, and that sort of vid requires an attention to the rhythm and internal movement of shots that I think would have taken me more time than I had. I also worried that the concept would go over the viewers' heads, that presenting something with so much pure Yiddish flavor would require more translation than I was prepared to do.* "Tradition" struck me as a great compromise, a statement of Jewish identity that comes with the translation already built in, and its simple musical structure promised less time thinking about the precise timing details.

You develop a strange affection for the Bluths as you watch Arrested Development. The core joke of the show is that its ostensible straight man, Michael Bluth, is just as shallow and petty and vain and spoiled as the rest of his family. The Bluths are bad people who treat other people as pawns in their pursuit of their short-term aims. They can't even muster the mental stamina to pursue long-term goals in this cruel and callous way, which is why their plans always end badly for them. And yet at some level you feel like the world has lied to the Bluths and they have been wronged. It is not the lies that they think they have been told, but nonetheless the world does not work the way they have been led to think it does, and that makes their story a profoundly American tragedy.

The single main running emotional thread through the story is that family is bound together in complicated, messy, inexplicable ways. The show's tagline, which I parody in my summary, is "Now the story of a wealthy family and the one son who had no choice but to keep them together." Of course, being the show it is, the tagline is a lie on multiple axes. Michael is rarely competent at keeping the family together. It's unclear what exactly there was to preserve, as the Bluths in the pilot were barely speaking to each other. And 'no choice', of course, is the choice on which the show revolves.

What compels Michael to keep the family together? At times it's literally a legal compulsion when he is not allowed to leave the state because of the criminal investigation. But at other times it's respect for his son's wishes, or affection for his brothers and sister, at times it's emotional blackmail from his parents. These are the sorts of inexplicable social glues that Tevye refers to as TRADITION ["Why do we do this? I'll tell you. I don't know.]. Michael's "no choice" is an Orange County translation of Jewish guilt, neurosis and family connection.

*In even more "funny only to me" territory I played with a vid centering specifically on the four Bluth children as avatars of one of various popular Jewish sets of four. "B'Shem Hashem" speaks of the four angelic forces that serve as extensions of God's presence. "Ufaratza" analogizes the spread of the Jewish people to the four directions of the compass. Either one of those songs would have been hilarious to try to cast the Bluth kids. For B'Shem Hashem, I had Michael as Micha'el [Who is like God], GOB as Gavri'el [God is Mighty], Lindsay as Uri'el [God is my Light] and Buster as Refa'el [God shall heal]. For Ufaratza I had Buster as Yama (West, toward the Sea, a seal joke), Lindsay as Kedma (East, toward the Sun, a blond hair joke/sunbathing joke), GOB as Tzafonah (North, toward the hidden lands, a magician joke), and Michael as Negba (South, toward the Desert, a Phoenix joke). The more I explain this concept, the more I am glad I didn't make it, even though it totally cracks me up.

Also, in retrospect, how telling is it that I feel that Fiddler on the Roof is not Jewish enough for what I was trying to say? I have really complicated feelings about Fiddler that I keep trying to write out here and failing because the language comes out too strong. As an example, in one version I wrote that I love Fiddler with all my heart, but I think everything it says about Jewish life in Europe is a dangerous and destructive lie. The point is, I feel really strongly about Fiddler and its giddy and treacherous dance with authenticity, and that's probably part of why I associated it with the plastic artifice of the Bluth family.

Also, a commenter on the post mentioned A Fiddler on the Bluth and I feel devastated and ashamed that I did not think of using this as the title of my vid.
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[community profile] festivids is live! This was my first year participating. I'm having second thoughts about participating again next year, because of time management issues from the overlap of NaNoWriMo, Yuletide, Festivids, and my day job. That being said, I had a lot of fun vidding and maybe I should just try to make a Festivid treat every year on a best effort basis.

I received two Danger 5 vids. Hey, Danger 5 fans who read this journal, hie thee to Festivids ASAP.

Battle Without Honor or Humanity is absolutely spectacular. I'm fond of [personal profile] sanguinity's comment that it "managed to parody Danger 5 itself." I'm also fond of my own comment "OMG THE DANCING MECHS ARE THE BEST THING EVER." I'm really not capable of speaking coherently about why this vid is so great. It overflows with team hijinks, but it also overflows with rhythm and dance and comic joy.

Bluebird of Fisticuffs is a short, ludicrous tribute to Tucker's bottled up WASP rage. Basically, [personal profile] morbane, you want to drop everything to watch this.

My own vid is getting a good reception so far. It is probably very easily guessable by the usual procedure of "Could anyone but Ferret have come up with this vid concept?"
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Less than nine thousand terrible words to go on NaNo. Five days to write it. The optimistic plan is 3K tonight, 3K tomorrow, 1 K Thursday morning, 2K Friday. Pessimistic but still realistic plan is 2K tonight, 2K tomorrow, 1 K Thursday, 2K Friday, 3K frantically Saturday night at the end of November marathon party.

This Novel Takes Place Entirely in the Kitchen has evolved into a slice of life romantic comedy full of banter, relationship drama, and quarter life crisis, taking place over the course of a dinner party. It has very, very little in the way of plot. My great panic as I've written it has been pacing. It's been a perpetual struggle to figure out when to unleash plot seeds I planted in the early pages, how to let them interact with each other, how to develop them without it seeming like BAM! Plot twist! Bam! Plot Twist! Bam Plot Twist! all in sequence. Honestly I don't see how you can write competent romantic comedy without a very clear outline, he says forty thousand words into a romantic comedy written without any outline at all. But I think I do have a much better idea now of what I would need to include in such an outline, for the next time. NaNo is always a learning experience for me, and never an attempt to actual produce a novel.

In other writing news, I have put together a very solid outline for Yuletide. I'd be very surprised if writing Yuletide doesn't go extremely smoothly. I know all the story beats, I have a lot of the character voices in my head, and I'm just really, really excited about writing this story.

Festivids I am a little more worried about, since vidding is further from my comfort zone. I've completely canon review, I have a song selected, and I have a second song I'd like to do if I have time or if the first song doesn't work as planned, but I haven't started clipping yet and that worries me. Oh well, we'll see how it goes. I'm going to have slightly over a month to make my vid, after NaNo ends. That ought to be enough time, I think, for what I have planned.
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Dear Festividder,

Here is my letter. It is made of words. I know that as a vidder you hate words, so basically you should just skip the letter and do whatever you want with pictures.

As to music, I'm on an Eastern European wedding band kick at the moment, and hereby request that any vid I get use this music. But seriously, my taste is extremely eclectic, tending to unusual, and I can't think of any musical style that would make me reject a vid out of hand, from Miley Cyrus to Tuvan throat singing.

Here's some stuff on the fandoms I am requesting, anyway.

Alphaville: Une Etrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) [Movie]

Bad at being an SF film but brilliant at being SF, this is an amazing Godard film about the dislocations of life in a dystopic future Paris under the rule of the autocratic computer Alpha-60. It is one of my favorite movies, but I have never actually successfully proselytized it- nobody I have shown the film to has enjoyed it. I don't understand this! His spaceship! It is a Ford Galaxie sedan!!! [the critique of consumer culture is slyly devastating]

I don't have any particular characters to ask for, I just want a vid that takes advantage of the visuals. The Paris reimagined is so clearly PARIS! in the FUTURE! despite virtually no effort in set dressing or SFX. It is so beautifully moody and bleak. Play with that however you see fit.

The Cape (2011) [TV]

A campy Batman parody, The Cape was a callback to an earlier age of superhero storytelling. Much maligned, it was cancelled after an abridged first season. This is not entirely unjustified- it was a weird show that did a lot of significant storytelling things badly, and never caught an audience. But I have always been convinced that it was also a weird show that did a lot of storytelling things well that other more successful shows botched.

To start with, no show in my memory ever did training montages as well as The Cape. They were manic, inventive, exciting, but also character-driven and impactful. You felt like the characters on the tail end of a training montage were different characters from the ones at the start.

And The Cape really got, at a core level, how to construct a superhero's rogue's gallery. The show was campy and over the top and ridiculous, but the bad guys made sense within the stylistic concept of the show. Its bad guys of the week never felt like a recycled generic SF plot, as a lot of these procedural superhero shows (Alphas, Agents of SHIELD, Fringe, Heroes) often do/did. The threats were specific to the Cape and to Palm City, and they made the show weirdly immersive, given the insanity of its storyline.

I would love a vid of the Carnival of Crime. I would love an Orwell vid, because I have a Summer Glau thing. I would love a vid on Portman, because I have a Richard Schiff thing. And I would also enjoy a more straight up vid about the Cape himself or about the Cape and Chess, as long as you are self-aware about the manpain, since the show definitely is.

Danger 5 (2012) [TV, Web]

Best show on television! It's an action comedy about an international team of 1960's-style superspies trying to kill Hitler. I love everyone on the team and everything about the show and just want something that celebrates the enthusiastic conviction of the characters. That Hitler must. be. stopped. Or really any other vid you want to make, this is just the best show ever and I would love to see a vid for it.

Ghostwriter [TV]

He's a ghost... and he writes to us. Ghostwriter! Oh man, I loved this show growing up. Anyone will testify that I am a lover of words and wordplay, and I don't think there has ever been a show on television as in love with the idea of manipulating words. The anagrams! The puns! Lenni was my favorite of the kids, and then probably Gaby. But I think the thing I would most appreciate is probably a vid about Ghostwriter the character. Or a vid that just glories in the wordplay of the show.

Moses und Aron (1973) [Movie]

This is my favorite performance of my favorite opera. It's so sparse and meditative, full of open spaces and wide shots that really reinforce the sense of a cauldron of heightened spiritual expectation. I have a lot of feelings about the struggle between Moses and Aaron- ultimately I usually come down on Moses's side, that God's ineffability really is something that needs defending. I don't know what I'm hoping for out of a vid. I'll be excited to see anything.

Penny Arcade Strip Search [Web]

It was a reality competition for webcartoonists, run by the guys from Penny Arcade. It got caught in the funny tension between Gabe and Tycho wanting reality show backstabbing shenanigans and everyone in the house just reveling in being part of a community of artists and geeks.

I'm unabashedly Team Maki- his comic is the only one I have picked up as a consistent read, his kickstarter is the only one I backed, and I own a Pineapple Maki shirt. But I don't mind vids of others- I was pretty pleased Katie won, and I also loved Amy and Mac and Monica and Travis and Lexxy and pretty much everyone in the house.

I should probably say something about Gabe and Tycho. They are assholes, and they admit it, and everyone knows it. Sometimes they are entertaining assholes, sometimes they are just assholes. That's pretty much my feelings on the situation. I don't think the show was about them, and would probably prefer you didn't center the vid on them, but I don't mind you including them, especially if you're trying for a more general vid about the show's storylines. If you wanted to include Khoo and Kiko and Erika and Levin and other team PA people, I would also encourage that.

A Serious Man (2009) [Movie]

Instantly, from the moment the film began with a yiddish demon story, it was my favorite Coen Brothers film. I just love so much about the film, from the organic way that Judaism and uncertain faith suffuses the character's lives to the way humor emerges naturally from ordinary situations happening to ordinary people. More than any other Coen film I've seen, A Serious Man doesn't force the story to happen. It just lets Sy Ableman and Art Gopnik and miracle of miracles, sometimes even Larry himself steer the action as they desire. A Serious Man is a captive to human wants and needs.

Vid me the three Rabbis and I will figure out how to have your babies. Vid me Larry or the whole Gopnik family and I'm fairly certain I will treasure it for the rest of my life. And I know there's not a whole lot of footage there, but if you can work something around the dybbuk story that would also be amazing.




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