Friday, May 27, 2005

It's HAWT OWT!!!


click image to enlarge

Man has it been HOT here in Seattle...I even got a nice farmers burn on my left arm from driving my buddy to the airport yesterday. Should be a nice weekend to celebrate our men and women who sacrificed ( and still are ) so much of their lives for service to the country. So grab a yard chair, throw some burgers on the grill and toss back a few cold ones!!!.

I did the sketch above yesterday, because it was hot and inspiration hit....That inspiration was a picture of Alyssa Milano eating ice cream, so I ran with the creative "juices" and sketched up my little way of keeping cool.

A Safe and Healthy Weekend to you and your families!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Star Wars Sketch


click image to enlarge

Seems like a Star Trek and Star Wars feel the last few days, so I sketched this last night. It's just a rough pencil of Anakin Skywalker, I may color it in the future, but sometimes I just like how the sketches look on their own.....Maybe this was after he chopped all the younglin's up in the Jedi temple ( I'm assuming most people have seen this as it's already made like 150 million bucks), or maybe when he is just having that not so fresh feeling.

Enjoy

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!


click image to enlarge

Here is a picture I sketched and colored of Khan Singh from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I had done this for an art show where the theme was characters from pop culture, I however decided to stretch my style and had done sketches of Superman, Captain Marvel and Scarface ( this one was the one that sold ) for the show instead.

I finally got around to adding some color, so I was pretty pleased with it. One of the "urban legends" that surrounded the character of Khan was whether actor Ricardo Montalban's chest was real when he portrayed the character, as some thought it was latex...The rumor has kind of been put to rest.

"That is his real chest," the director Nicholas Myer said as he held court on the carpet outside the Paramount Theatre, emphatically assuring reporters that Ricardo Montalban's pectorals were no special effect. "That's the question I'm asked most frequently about 'Star Trek II.' It was his chest!"

If you look back at the original 60's show where the Khan character, played by Montalban appeared, you could see that it probably was his chest. Early on Montalban was a big dude and probably was still in good shape in the 80's.

Either way I found a great sound file that fits the sketch well, so listen to it HERE

Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Trekked Out?

With all the Star Wars hype going on, some people may have noticed that the last episode of Star Trek "Enterprise" aired last week, thus ending Trek on television since 1988.

I am not a Trekkie by any means, I couldn't tell you what episode we are watching based on the color of the planet the Enterprise was in orbit around during the opening credits. I do however enjoy watching the old 60's show, a few of the films and Next Generation. I think where Star Wars is a western in space, Trek is more like Shakespere in space...When it's good it's that is, when it's bad, it's Star Trek V.

I never got into Voyager and Enterprise, they seemed to be missing that something, maybe it's because Gene Rodenberry wasn't alive to touch either of these shows, or that Trek was looked at as "another property".

Either way the steam had run out, the last film ( which I enjoyed ) made little money at the box office and Enterprise was cancelled, with the franchise just boldy...Going.

The Seattle Times recently had a piece and asked people what ideas could jumpstart the Trek franchise again. I wrote in with my suggestion and it was accepted:

I would simply place a casting call to all Trekkies and on the show I would place each group into teams, with each Trekkie filling a major role on the bridge of the Enterprise (captain, pilot, engineer, etc.). The competition would have each team face a scripted "scenario" (the people on the competing teams would be unaware of the script). Each team would then be judged how they did in each mission in different categories: leadership, technical knowledge and so on.
The bridge and areas of the ship would be built, with actors filling in the lesser known roles on the ship (think "Star Trek: The Experience" in Las Vegas). With all the Trekkies competing and finally putting their geek knowledge to use, it would be a sci-fi sideshow for fans and nonfans.


I dunno? I hope they can regroup and get back to making the franchise viable again.

IIIrd Times A....

Saw Episode III with a bunch of pals yesterday, and it was definitely the best of the Prequel Trilogy...But instead of posting an in depth review I decided to put some random one liners and statements from my pals who saw the film.

SPOILER: SOME OF THESE MAY GIVE AWAY PLOT POINT...YA BEEN WARNED!

-"THAT SUCKED….not sure why with dialogue like this

: You are so beautiful…
: You are blinded by your love
: no for it is you who is blinded by your love
: no you are….
: no you are….
: no you are….


-"instead of dialogue, I heard Lucas almost made that scene with a duet sung by Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie."

-"Well, obviously you've never been a young Jedi in love! Anakin wasn't speaking metaphorically here... when deeply in love, a Jedi's midichlorians all migrate to his genitals, leaving him quite literally unable to see (or to think, or to keep his lightsaber in it's sheath)."

-"Yeah no kidding it was better than the first two....It's like saying that TimeCop was a better Van-Damme movie than Hard Target."

-( Right at the end of the infamous Nooooo! scene, after laughter) " George Lucas...What a dumb f*cking asshole."

-What's with the Frankenstein walk, I was waiting for a little girl to run up and give him a flower."

-… a distinct improvement on the last two episodes … but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.

-"I really loved all the dramatic ground work Lucas laid for Anakin’s eventually turn to the dark side.

Anakin: “Wait This…This is wrong!!! (sobbing)..I’ve attacked a jedi!”

Emperor: “No worries! Now go murder some innocent children.”

Anakin
: “…umm…er…okay.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fleischer Superman


faster than a speeding bullet..ya know the rest.


I have recently gotten a DVD set of the Fleischer Studio's animated version of Superman from the 40's, and they hold up really well today. Fleischer's was the cartoon Studio that had brought Bettie Boop and Popeye to life and believe it or not was the first studio to develop a cartoon with sound, NOT Disney.

In 1941 they decided to throw a bunch of money towards a string of serials based on DC Comic's Superman. They created some wartime stories as well as taking some stories from the comics themselves. The studio even won an Oscar for their first Superman short in 1941, and this was a time when Disney was king and getting most of the Oscar nods.

Christopher Reeve was my first true "look" at Superman, but watching Superman animated really captured the whole character so well..Maybe it's because of the fluidity in which he moved, and the fact that his true powers can be captured best through animation. Maybe it was that because it was drawn, like the comics, but was now breathing.

Comic Artist Alex Ross may have said it best:
"When I saw the Fleischer's Superman, I was just astonished. They had crystallized the character in my mind. For example, the squinting of the eyes wasn't because he had attitude, it was because he was doing something that involved tremendous exertion. There's one scene in The Mechanical Monsters when he takes off and the movement is so natural you feel like you're lifted into the sky with him, in a way the movies haven't been able to capture. And another where he's fighting an army of robots and he's winning AND losing the battle, it's not effortless in any way, that sense of struggle is so important. Those cartoons are magic."

I found a couple of these cartoons that are available, because they are now public domain..You can check them out at the links below:

THE ARTIC GIANT

THE ELECTRIC EARTHQUAKE

You'll need Quicktime and they are fairly large files, so if you have a modem connection it may be a slog.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sith Happens...Or Will It Be Something Else?

So the latest, and last of the Star Wars films is opening in theaters this Thursday and anticipation among all of geekdom is running rampant, all the while we are keeping our fingers crossed. We are hoping that George Lucas has emerged from the quagmire that he has been in, and has finally delivered a "Star Wars" film. Now if Lucas was a typical Hollywood exec and was spending his amassed action figure and collectible fortune on a drug and hooker binge, I might understand the drop in creativity. But Lucas has sat at his Skywalker ranch working on his 3rd chin and the three Star Wars prequels for some time.

When The Phantom Menace came out, I ( and my friends ) were ready, it had been 13 years and the story that had festered in the genius's head for all that time, about the fall of Anakin Skywalker was finally upon us...And then, we get Jar-Jar Binks, Meta-chloridians, virgin births, and Anakin as an annoying kid with his pudgy little "Awww shucks" face as he flies around fighting droid ships...Yes, there was some cool, such as Darth Maul, and the very beginning when the Jedi are on the ship..That's it. 13 years and that's what we get? Where did he write these in the bathroom the night before filming?..I mean I'm sure it's the most comfortable sh!tter in the world, made of solid gold and satin, but F*ck man. He pretty much destroyed some of his own mythology in this film here are some examples:
-Obi-Wan is trained by Qui-Gon Jin..But didn't he say YODA trained him in Empire?
-The force is now something you can take a blood test for. It's just like syphilis. Forget all that Yoda stuff where he was saying it's all around and binding us.
-C-3PO is built by ANAKIN?...WTF?

Needless to say I was pissed and then I hear George Lucas saying that the fans should "relax" and that "it's only a movie"..Yeah George, when everyone loves your movies, you talk about your "art" and accept how everyone calls you a genius..But when they suck, their "movies" and we have to get a grip.

But a few years later I started to see the trailers for The Attack of The Clones and it looked ...GOOD!. I thought "O.K little whiny kid is gone, and now we get to see the much talked about Clone Wars, THIS is the ONE." So I get geeked up once again and went to the Cinerama here in Seattle and there was everyone all dressed up, and then the film starts. Once again, I am left slightly numb from watching the film..Yes there is less Jar-Jar, and no little whiny Anakin. Instead we get an older Anakin who, is acting wooden ( thanks to the great direction of "The Genius" ) spilling out some of the worst dialogue ever caught on film ( hey look at that "The Genius" wrote it too ) and is the whiniest, bitchiest kid in the galaxy..Yes whine a bit, but you're DATH VADER..Oh, and we get one of the worst lightsaber duels with Count Dooku?..I love how every Jedi who is more powerful, fights slower that the one is superior too..But then Yoda complete with his "busted leg"..turns into the Tazmanian Devil, with KUNG FU moves and proceeds to whirl around..I may be in the minority but I cringed when I saw this...Because he then after being all bad-ass picks up his little stick and hobbles along again..I know some people will say "Oh but he is trying to keep his powers all under wraps. The stick and the hobble is all an act?" and to this I say FROM WHO?...Every Jedi must know Yoda is a bad ass, so who is he hiding it from? Can't be Dooku cause he trained him. I guess while he was training Obi-Wan too I guess? We had the explanation of the clones in the very cool Jango Fett, but I still left the movie pissed ( not as much as phantom ), but still questioning what the hell had happened to this movie franchise.

I figured it was this.
-George Lucas was young when he made the original trilogy..We are more creative when we are young and have less too lose if we fail. Most of us don't have kids, and are gung-ho to bring our ideas to life. Lucas conferred with his peers, like Francis Ford Coppola, about his film and he accepted their criticism. When Empie and Jedi came along he actually shared writing with Lawrence Kasden, who is a great screenwriter and director in his own right, and had Irwin Kirshner direct Empire. So you have a collaboration of great ideas, and Lucas with a gusto attitude.

So, now we come to Revenge of The Sith, and Lucas has me whipped into a frenzy again, I am expecting this to be the one film that I will feel is "Star Wars", it ties everything up and boy does he have a lot of tying up to do..What you may ask?
-C-3PO and R2-D2 have to forget they remember anything and anyone from this trilogy.
-Even if they have their memories wiped it doesn't explain how come Obi-Wan in Episode 4 doesn't remeber them or mention anything about them at all in the later trilogy
-You think with a name like Skywalker it would be like having the last name Hitler..Anakin Skywalker is responsible for the deaths of millions you think when Luke would say he was a Skywalker, people may look at him just a little bit funny..Not to mention that when his dad was a little friggin kid, he was the first slave/ human kid to win the thing..Guess everyone forgot about that too
-R2-D2 had ROCKETS on his feet in Episode II..What happened to them when he fell into the sand in Jedi?..He could have flown all over the place instead of waiting for Lando and his pals to pick him and 3PO up ass first.
-Why hasn't Qui-Gon become a ghost like all the other dead Jedi?
-Where'd all the droids WITH FORCE FIELDS go?....You think they'd be handy, ya know with the whole force field thing. But they istead up for Stormtroopers who Han Solo can kill with one blaster shot.

I know there are others that sprout up with the new film, but I 'm not going to spoil anything..But things look promising, as he did get feedback on this film, and he said it's really the story he wanted to tell. Plus he got his good buddy Steven Spielberg to direct a few scenes ( mostly battle sequences ), so things may end up being great, and faith restored. But I just watched a TV ad for Sith and the tagline was "Sith Happens"...Man if this movie stinks he is making it way toooo easy to trash on it.

But I ask myself, even if this film is balls to the wall great, then what the hell was he doing with those first two?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th


ch-ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha

Well here it is the big superstitious day, Friday the 13th. I usually associate the day with hockey masks, teenagers getting killed in weird and amusing ways, usually right as they were getting "it on" and a useful film while playing the "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. But western culture has considered Friday the 13th particularly unlucky for hundreds of years. The sixth day of the week has often been considered unlucky, as has the number 13. The combination, which occurs one to three times a year, leads to the inevitable superstition.

Here are a couple of other theories :
Some say the number 13 was purposely vilified by the priests of patriarchal religions because it represented femininity. Thirteen corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year, and the number was revered in prehistoric goddess-worshipping cultures.

Hindus believed that it was unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place. This conviction was shared by the ancient Scandinavians.

Many biblical events of negative import supposedly occurred on a Friday, including the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, the start of the Great Flood, and the crucifixion of Jesus.

So, in honor of Friday the 13th I found a link to great classic Monster Movies and you can see them HERE

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Star Wars Sick Day


meesa want your money!

The national premiere of Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith next week may cost employers as much as $627 million in lost productivity as millions of workers skip work and flock to theaters for the May 19 opening, says Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The latest installment in the Star Wars series opens nationwide on a Thursday, rather than a Friday -- so movie fans have more opportunity to beat the weekend crowds by playing hooky, according to the Challenger study.
"We are looking at two days of Star Wars-induced absenteeism,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.
The firm expects information technology staff to be particularly vulnerable to prequel-itis. The Geek Squad, an IT services company, is even offering
excuse notes on its Web site and plans to auction emergency IT services for companies left in the lurch on May 19.

Well Georgie is going to be making some serious bank, and I'm going to be one person lining his pockets and providing him with the funds to "re-work" his films again before takes the big dirt nap. Myself and some friends have already got our tickets for Thursday, I'm not that die-hard to go to the 12:01AM showing with the folks who spent half their salary and time to build a Stormtrooper outfit, but I will be attending a lunchtime showing.

Being in the videogame industry, this sort of thing can be expected and I think is healthy. I mean you need a break from work every now and then and watching Ben Kenobi chop Anakin's arms and legs off is just the what I need..Besides E3 ( it's the equivalent of a videogame car show, complete with bikini babes ) is going on that weekend so most people in the industry will be off schmoozing and partying it up in LA.

I'm going to write an article next week on how Lucas needs to deliver BIG for this film..He has wrecked so much in his last to films by adding virgin births and friggin' Jar-Jars, that he has his work cut out for him..Like he even gives a sh!t.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Count Olaf's Mansion #3


click image to enlarge

Here was the last concept drawing I did for Count Olaf's house..This one I did completely in Photoshop, I never took a pencil to paper for this one, I simply built it up with color. I just started and then I started to see things appear, and I built those features ( windows, roof etc ) up.

It was a completely different approach to what I normally do, but I was really pleased with how it cam out, I wanted to place some brighter buildings in the back because in the book Olaf's house is right in a normal neighborhood. He didn't live on some remote estate. In this concept I really tried to push the whole "Nightmare Before Christmas" look...I have worked on so many different styles as an artist, but this my first time doing an entire piece in Photoshop.

Enjoy

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Count Olaf's Mansion #2


click image to enlarge

Here is another sketch I did of Count Olaf's house, well mostly the tower..This was actually done before we had any sense of art direction or look to go from based on the Snicket films. I had actually done this just from a book description, and as compared to the one below I went more gothic... I was pretty happy with the layout, but I wish I had the complete version that a co-worker and friend Todd had colored up. He really took these pencils to a whole other level..If I ever find it I will show you all, the man could paint.

Enjoy

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Exploits of The Cup


From Main Street to the Stripper Stage


Back in 1995 I got to watch the New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup at Meadowlands arena. It was a great night and a few nights later the team came back to clean out their lockers and take a team photo with the championship trophy "The Stanley Cup". Being that I worked security in the locker room area we were down there, and in the hall there stood the trophy. We approached and reps for the Devils were tending to the alomost 3 foot high trophy when my supervisor asked if we could touch it. I was able to touch the Stanley Cup. I was able to see the rumored mis-spelling of the New York "Ilanders".
I was one of many who touched it because The Stanley Cup has a special circumstance associated with it. Every menber of the winning team is allowed to take it home with them for one day. Many of the adventures and mis-adventures of the Cup have been documented and has added a seperate history to the trophy..It has gone from the bottom of pools to parades down Main Street. Here are the most interesting exploits of Lord Stanley's Cup

OTTAWA, 1903. A member of Ottawa's Silver Seven took the Cup home. The teammates found out, a scuffle ensued, and the Cup was tossed into a cemetery.

MONTREAL(?), 1906 or 1907. A Montreal club (possibly the Wanderers) wanted its picture taken with the Cup in the studio of photographer Jimmy Rice. After taking the photo, the team left, and the team left behind the Cup. It stayed in the studio for some months until Rice's mother (some sources say it was his wife or his housekeeper or his cleaning lady) used it as a vase, as it held red geraniums in the Studio window.

MONTREAL, 1924. The Montreal Canadiens went to Leo Dandurand's home for a champagne party. The car carrying the Cup had tire blow out, and the car's occupants put it on the side of the road while they stopped for repairs. After the repair, they drove off without the Cup. They realized this when only when they arrived at their destination, and they immediately left to retrace their route to try to find the Cup. They found it a mile and a half away from Dandurand's home--exactly where they left it.

NEW YORK CITY, 1940. After the New York Rangers won the cup, Hall of Famer Lynn Patrick and teammates celebrated by urinating in it

TORONTO 1970. It was stolen from the Hockey Hall of Fame. The story attached to this incident is apocryphal but nonetheless has entered the canon of Cup lore. Who had the Cup was apparently no secret to at least one of the police officers working the case, and he successfully used this knowledge to negotiate for the trophy's safe return, getting it back a few weeks after it was purloined. However, he needed to deflect suspicion from the parties who handed over the Cup, which meant the return had to have happened on a day when all the participants had valid alibis. The Detective-Sergeant involved accomplished this by feeding the newspapers a tale about awakening one morning a few days after the heist to find the Cup sitting at the edge of his driveway.

EDMONTON, 1987. The night after the Edmonton Oilers won the Cup, one of them [likely Mark Messier] placed it on stage with an exotic dancer at the Forum Inn, an Edmonton strip joint just across the street from the Northlands Coliseum. Messier took the Cup to various night spots and let fans drink from it.

1991. The Cup was found at the bottom of Pittsburgh Penguin Mario Lemieux's swimming pool. (Lemieux also once brought the Cup with him to bed.)

NEW YORK CITY, 1994. New Yorkers savored the Cup when the Rangers won for the first time in 54 years. As Sports illustrated told it: "Like a loose puck it has been slapped from bar to nightclub to ballpark to ballroom to racetrack to squad car to firehouse to strip joint. Along the way it has been kissed, petted, hugged, massaged, fondled and shaken in exultation by thousands of fans. Many have taken sips from its ample bowl. 'God only knows whose lips have been on that thing,' says Bruce Lifrieri, the Rangers' massage therapist. " The litany of hijinks in New York alone deserves a webpage of its own:
Mark Messier and Brian Leetch brought the Cup on The Late Show with David Letterman and did Stupid Cup Tricks.
Ed Olczyk brought it to Belmont racetrack and let 1994-Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin use it as a feed bag.
Brian Noonan and Nick Kypreos brought the Cup on MTV Prime Time Beach House where it was stuffed with raw clams and oysters. (On the show, Noonan denied he had used the Cup as a rolling pin to make muffins. Kypreos denied playing kick the can with it.)
Messier took the Cup to Scores, an East Side strip joint. Scores spokesman Lonnie Hanover said, "It was the first time I'd seen our customers eager to touch something besides our dancers,"
The Cup went to a Ranger victory party at a Manhattan saloon called the Auction House, where it stopped traffic, started parades, and was drunk out of by everyone in sight until the bar was effectively down to backwash (but that probably wouldn't have stopped them).
After a ticker-tape parade up Broadway, and some time at McSorley's bar, a cop named Jim Jones (different guy) strapped a seat belt around the Cup in his squad car and delivered it to another engagement.
The Cup was taken to a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, where it watched the game from George Steinbrenner's luxury box. The Yankee fans at the game cheered "Let's Go Rangers!" (That same day, the Cup visited Brian Bluver, a 13-year-old patient awaiting a heart transplant at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. According to his father, Brian "smiled for the first time in seven weeks". A week and a half later Brian had 11th-hour heart surgery.)

AND TODAY.... The Cup now has its own entourage. After the Rangers and their fans had their fun with the cup in 1994, the NHL--angry over the repairs that were required--mandated a round-the-clock security force. They're called the "cup cops", at least one of whom is supposed to accompany the Cup at all times. It appears the "neglect" chapter of the Cup's history is effectively over.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Babes of The B-Movies: Shannon Whirry


B-Onanza!


I thought I'd start a little series called "Babes of the B-Movies"..Some may refer to them as softcore or Skinemax flicks but in the 90's they did big business. They were usually rented by the guys who were too embarrassed to rent the hardcore stuff and face the clerk who rang you up. ( I was not one of those people, I usually asked if they sold tissues at the video store ) or they actually wanted some plot.Anyways these flicks always had these words in the titles "Sexual" "Obsession" "Instict" "Body" and of course "Dangerous". You could combine any of these and have a great ready-to-go skin flick title.

They also had a usual stable of actresses who were in a bunch of these things, some fell from grace in mainstream Hollywood and others who sarted in B-Movies tried to get there..usually crashing and burning and picking up a drug habit along the way.

One of the main staples was Shannon Whirry. Now this woman had some serious curves (37D-23-35 ) and was in a ton of these movies. Critics ( and yes there are critics for these things ) said she was one of the better actresses to start in this films..I really wouldn't know because I usually was fast forwarding these things..I did see an impressive piece of acting in a movie she did called "Private Obsession" where she tried to squeeze herself and her large baby feeders through a catdoor as she was trying to escape some "bad guy".

The genre started to wind down and Shannon decided to make it big in Hollywood and stared in "Me, Myself and Irene" where she had a brief bit where Jim Carrey was sucking on her baby feeders...How's that for an acting stretch?
She hasn't been seen in much since, but she left behind an impressive video catalog and helped me get through puberty...And ruined a lot of my socks...Ms. Shannon Whirry