Saturday, February 28, 2009
A little dark, but hey, that's metal. It also took me back to the '80s and Iron Maiden:
Which of course reminded me of Ozzy Osbourne's werewolf video:
Which took me to the late, great Warren Zevon and "Werewolves of London."
Not a scary clip, but a fun tune. Scarier is how my mind works and connects all these things!
Friday, February 27, 2009
While there are words sometimes, I enjoy the overall energy of the group. High energy tribal drums, fantastic horn section, thundering bass, all combine together to make an auditory experience you won't forget. I haven't made it to a show, but just looking at the video tells you that you're not going to be bored for a second. With belly dancing, fire dancing, acrobatics, and a driving, manic beat, how could you be bored? One of their drummers, funny enough, was in an Irish band I managed several years ago. He loves playing with The Mutaytor. (There are also former members of Oingo Boingo and Supertramp in their lineup.)
A friend of mine is a fan, and tells me they really got their start at Burning Man. (Another event I should go to, like Comic Con.)
I'd recommend heading to their site and picking up a CD.You're sure to love it.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I love the Three Stooges feel of this. It looks like a completely terrible movie, and I probably saw it as a child and just don't remember!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I think this Headless Horseman is the perfect gift for The Legend Sleepy Hollow fans.
And who can resist this bat? Charming, and perfect for Morticia Addams.
Halloween ornaments here. David Frykman's home page here.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I've found it to be a little tough to find good video of haunts here in California to share with you. I did find this one, though, located not so far from me:
Heartstoppers Haunted House presents The Deadlands from Hex on Vimeo.
I ran across this haunt awhile back (before my last laptop crashed and fried the drive, losing all my bookmarks. Apparently backing up my files had nothing to do with actually, you know, backing them up...). It looks very professional and scary. Here's the story, in their words:
"Welcome to the historical site of the 1881 Disappearance of Cane Hex.
Hex was a former rebel with the southern cavalry during the Civil War, who became a bounty hunter with violent success, he had killed more men then Hell has souls. And on Halloween, exactly 126 years ago, Hex met his maker.
About 15 years after the Civil War, Cane found himself following several bounties out west to California. He was getting on in years, and his list of enemies was too long to read. While tracking a fugitive heading towards the hills of Auburn, he ended up in a small 'railroad town' called Roseville.
As he entered the small village, night was falling and a storm began to close in and a strange, uneasy feeling settled down around him. There was not a sound, even the falling rain and winds were silent. Several lightning strikes, but with no thunder claps. Suddenly an incredible pain shot down his back as he is struck from behind by what feels like a shotgun blast. He screams, it echos through the valley. He turns to face his attacker and sees several hulking forms of what look like men. But they are standing oddly, arms and legs at angles they normally don't go, heads on non-supporting necks, flailing around. Another lightning strike and Hex sees to his horror who his attackers are. He recognizes some of them right away, he saw these men hung at the gallows, years ago...
Then they all slowly come into view, out from the buildings, out of the alleys, scores of creatures all heading his way. How did this happen, who did this? All those lives he took, somehow escaped the deepest pits of damnation, to exact their revenge on Cane Hex again and again...
If you dare, join us this Halloween to unearth some answers about what became of the bounty hunter and his undead opponents."
I must say, I am looking forward to taking a crew out to Roseville to see the display this year. Oh, and get the brownies scared out of me!
Monday, February 23, 2009
"This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of University of Iowa . Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft, Iowa , yes farm equipment!
It took the team a combined 13,029 hours of set-up, alignment, calibration, and tuning before filming this video but as you can see it was WELL worth the effort. It is now on display in the Matthew Gerhard Alumni Hall at the University and is already slated to be donated to the Smithsonian."
Turn up your sound!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
NOT for kids under 18. Stop now. Just don't click on anything. Please. Dude, your mom will kill me. O.K.?
Whew! Thanks goodness they're gone! Go to You Tube to find this. And you can get it on NetFlix.
AND... George Lucas has blessed this HY-STER-I-CAL version! Wheee!
P.S. Way more on the DVD than on this clip.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Halloween stuff. Art stuff. Music, video, writing stuff. Stuff that "nobody" will ever see, no award given. The Academy. The Louvre. The Grammy Awards. The Nobel. The Pulitzer.
"Nobody," as in nobody "successful or important."
I mean, my dogs hardly count. My husband is smart enough to know he should say he likes my art (thankfully, he really does like it, so I consider myself lucky), but he "doesn't count." (Not in the prop appreciation department, anyway. Sorry sweetheart.)Your spouses and children and family (yes, the ones who turn on all the crazy bright lights on your carefully-lit Halloween display) "don't count." Not in a culture that worships money and beauty above all else.
So why do it?
Say it with me: L-O-V-E. Love.
When someone stood up at my friend Alan's memorial and mentioned that when you're a certain age, after you've been playing out a while, and you're not where you planned to be by now (age 35-40-45-50), that you have to decide why it is you still do it. Why? It's frustrating to be in the room with a bunch of drunks who are bellowing over your solo about the latest episode of Lost or whatever. The solo you and your buds practiced in a loop so the transition would be flawless when you played it live. You do it because you love it, because it would be like amputating a limb if you stopped doing it.
It's frustrating when what you write probably will never get to the top of that editor's pile of horrid dreck that you know damn well you are head and shoulders above.
It's frustrating when you go all out for Halloween and you only get a few TOTs, one of whom asks only why The Grumble has braces, instead of marvels at all the time you spent to make this prop for them. It's frustrating when they look at the handmade crepe paper pumpkin (full of yummy candy) you dropped in their freaking pillowcase ('cause they don't bother with actual candy buckets anymore, or spend more than ten seconds on their costumes) like you are a freak who just ripped them off. You bastard!
Ye Gods and little fishes! Why do we do it? Love. It is THE answer.
It's not like we're doing it for the money, unless we have a masochistic urge to continuously watch money flow out of our checking account.
Nope. It's because we love it.
Love is the reason we are in the garage in 100 degree heat, slaving away over an equally hot prop. Love is the reason we have hot glue scars all over our hands. It's why we drive two and a half hours to a make and take, once a month, even when gas prices are rising again. It's why we stay up until midnight on a "school night" at the beginning of October, then zombie walk through our work the next day. It's why some of us do it for our church or another charity, for free. Or why we tell our spouses never to schedule a vacation after August 15th. It's why we endure the incredulous looks when people realize we work all year for that one night: October 31.
And because of the nature of what we do, we don't have the option (and wouldn't want to, anyway)of going on strike for more pay and better medical, like some Hollywood types I could name.
Thanks to the magic of the 'net, we blog about it and find other deranged souls like ourselves. Brought together by monster mud, hot glue, and an unnatural affiliation for carpet adhesive, we share the love with each other all year, so when the condemning looks come and the neighbor accuses you of being a Satanist, you can smile and know that a mood boost is just a few steps and an Internet connection away.
We create memories for kids whose parents are too stressed and busy trying to survive to do this kind of crafting themselves. We create art, and harmless terror. Adrenaline surges and admiration. Visceral feelings, uncontrollable by our modern, logical minds.
Sounds just like love to me.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Chris is an East Coast haunter, originally from Boston's Hyde Park. His castle laboratory is now in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A "40 years young" divorcee and pet fish owner, Chris has three mini-haunters who may just take after dear old dad's habit of frightening the TOTs. He worked at many different jobs in professional radio in the early '90s: production assistant, DJ, copywriter, producer, boy Friday (which in our business is called, "Igor," I believe). Nowadays, he owns his own pro DJ business (specializing in weddings) and is completing his degree in IT.
I took a little time away from the Garage of Doom to ask Chris a few questions about himself and the project, and Chris took a little time off from playing with Tesla coils to answer.
ShellHawk: When did you first become interested in haunting?
Chris Baker: My next door neighbor used to haunt her front porch and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Her son asked me to help out one year (1979, I think). I dressed as Dracula and laid in a coffin. I popped up on the unsuspecting TOTs and scared the chocolate out of them. I lived in an apartment, but moved to a house five blocks away the next year. I started building props when I was 11. They weren't much to speak of, but they worked every year. In 1980, my brother and my friend, Chris, helped out. We dressed as zombies and scared kids coming down the driveway. I got such a rush from scaring kids that I was hooked. I knew that I would be haunting until I die. The next year I started making tombstones, scarecrows, etc. It was the one time of year I could get really creative and put my artistic ability to use. I took off a couple of years to take my kids trick-or-treating, [but] now I'm back in full swing and using pneumatics, lighting and mache to take my haunt to the next level.
SH: Where do you get inspiration for your props?
CB: Inspiration comes from many sites and people: Haunt Forum, Halloween Forum, Garage of Evil, HauntSpace, Halloween-L, Haunt Project, Terror Technologies, Stolloween, Devious Concoctions. I'll steal ideas from anybody. I have no shame! Recently, I have learned so much from the forums and haunt-related websites that I am really motivated to revamp my entire haunt.
SH: What's your favorite medium to build with?
CB: My new favorite is mache. This year I'm experimenting with drywall compound, carpet adhesive, and monster mud.
SH: Do you have what you consider to be a "signature prop?"
CB: Pop-ups, I guess. I have a trash can trauma, a coffin pop-up, and a grave jumper that all work amazingly.
SH: How do your neighbors feel about your interest in Halloween and haunting?
CB: The old lady across the street actually likes the haunt. She compliments the props and gets a kick out of the extra kids it brings to the street. (I think last year we had about 100 TOTS. That was more than the year before. Word is spreading.) As far as the rest of the block, I'm not sure. Actually, I could care less if they don't like it. [But] I have been haunting in this house for two years, so I'm still fairly new to the neighborhood. I have received nothing but compliments so far. As my haunt grows, that will change, I'm sure.
SH: Do you have any particular online haunting group that you belong to?
CB: I belong to the Mass Make and Take group and the Garage of Evil's Drink and Think.
SH: When did you get your idea for Hauntcast, and what gave you the idea?
CB: I started Hauntcast on a whim. I was creating a mock podcast for my voice over web site (www.discountvoiceovers.com) and the idea popped into my head. I had never even listened to a podcast at that point. I started creating the show, and a few people stepped up to help out with segments. The whole thing just fell into place. The first show aired on December 11, 2008.
SH: About how long does it take to put one episode together?
CB: One episode probably takes 30-40 hours to put together, including Revenant's and Johnny Thunder's segments. I put a lot of time into coming up with bits: writing, mixing, voice overs, etc. I love it, though.
SH: Do you have outside input as to what to keep and discard when you're editing the show? Is there a criteria for what stays and what goes?
CB: I ask for input, but it is overwhelmingly positive. I don't edit out much; if I like something or think it's funny or interesting, it stays. If [it isn't], it goes. How I talk on the show is how I talk when having a few beers with my buds. If I say something that offends someone, then they shouldn't listen, because I'm not going to change. I think people really respond to that because everything you watch or listen to is so watered down.
SH: Tell us about the other guys on the show and how they contribute to each episode.
CB: The other Scream Team members are a big part of the program. The segments the Rev does are amazing. The time that he spends writing the Theater of the mind, for instance. I can't write like that. He is my straight man on the show; my Ed McMahon. He adds the meat and I add the sizzle. Johnny Thunder is a horror god! I could talk to him forever about horror movies, and it doesn't hurt that he has a great voice and a good sense of humor.
SH: What are your future plans for Hauntcast?
CB: Future plans? Foolish mortal... World domination. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Look out world! Here comes Chris Baker and crew!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Young ShellHawk loved ghost stories, even then. I got a book on haunted houses, complete with pictures of real ghosts. I was thrilled! (Can't for the life of me remember the name of the book, though. Probably out of print, anyway.) Real ghosts! Whoopee! This first picture was the cover shot, taken of one of the most famous ghosts ever photographed: the Tulip Staircase Ghost.
It was taken by Rev. Ralph Hardy, retired clergy, in a 1966 visit to the National Maritime museum in Greenwich, England. Intending only to get a snapshot of the staircase, Hardy was surprised by the figure on the stairs. Experts, some from Kodak, examined the negative and conclude that it hadn't been tampered with. For some reason, the image has stuck with me all these years.
Another famous photo used in the book was of the Brown Lady, taken in 1936.
The Brown Lady is thought to be the wife of 2nd Viscount of Raynham Charles Townshend of Norfolk, England in the early 1700s. He suspected Lady Dorothy Townshend of infidelity. Although records state she was buried in 1726, it was thought that Townshend merely locked her up in an out-of-the-way section of the manor until her death years later. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, isn't it?
Over the years, there have been numerous sightings of the Brown Lady (as Dorothy came to be called), from King George IV to a number of different military officers. One man claimed that he thought her eyes had been gouged out. As a child, I didn't really fully absorb Dorothy's story, though I viscerally felt the implied tragic circumstances of her demise. Even then, I knew that ghosts are still among us because of unfinished business or because their lives were cut short by foul play.
And here's a favorite of mine. For those of you who haven't heard, there's a possibility of a ghostly appearance in the 1987 movie, Three Men and a Baby. If you watch the clip, take note of the windows behind the actors as they walk past, both at the beginning of the scene, and at the end.
Creepy, huh? Well, I gotta blow the myth. The figure in the background is actually a cardboard figure of Ted Danson stuck behind the curtains. The scene with him and the figure was cut from the final edit of the movie. Would have been cool if it had been a ghost, huh?
Hmm. Cold, wet, windy day out. Pumpkins to mache. Maybe it's time to throw on a ghost movie...
Sunday, February 15, 2009
One of my favorite groups of the day was The English Beat. The album, Special Beat Service, really put them on the map with songs like I Confess and Save It For Later.
I recently saw the video for Save It For Later, and was delighted to see the set they used was decorated with a lovely cellar-and-skeletons motif.
I love the dancing skeleton on the wall behind the actors, the cheesy paper-accordion skeleton, and the film noir-style posters on the walls. I particularly liked the candle holder made out of the upper part of a Bucky skull and an arm bone. I may just steal that idea!
I also love the old Adam and the Ants videos for the wonderful costuming. It's like he ransacked the BBC's costume department for each video and just had a blast with them.
Stand and Deliver:
I wonder how many times they got to fire the cannon for that one?
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Why should I be frightened of dying?
There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime.
If you can hear this whispering you are dying.
I never said I was frightened of dying."
-Pink Floyd "The Great Gig in the Sky"
Sunday was a bittersweet day. As you know, I went to a very special celebration of a very special man's life. Please forgive my blatant self-indulgence in posting this entry about my friend Alan's memorial. I just had some thoughts to share about him.
It was wonderful to see such a big turnout. The Samurai Homeboys (soul band extraordinaire), past and present, were all present and accounted for. The New Breed Orchestra (a tremendous funk band, now sadly defunct, or perhaps de-funked...) were there in force. Those who loved him and had been effected by him were there, and they told stories. (I think it's important that we tell each other stories about people we love and about the things we love about them. It helps us learn from each other and strive to be more than we think we can be.)
Alan's reputation for prescription-drug-induced forgetfulness was brought back to light, as was his always high priority to "do lunch" with friends. People recalled his tremendous capacity for love and joy, in spite of the fact that due to severe health problems, he seemed to spend three or four months of every year in the hospital. I remembered many times that he was released from the hospital, he would leave from there to pick up his gear and head for a gig, because he had promised to be there. (Alan never broke his word if he could help it.) One man was fortunate enough to have Alan and the Homeboys music to accompany the courtship and marriage of his wife. Another saw the birth and success of his magazine with him.
There are few people in this life that understand that love given to one person isn't taken from anyone else, and that when success comes to someone, the same is true. Alan was one of those people. Any time someone started a project, or saw success in a project, well, Alan was the first in line to be supportive and to congratulate that person. It's a rare quality to be happy for others' success.
I have to say, if you have to go to a memorial of a friend, it helps if they're mostly musicians, because when the tears had flowed and the stories told, the music helped wash all that away and truly celebrate Alan's reason for living: his friends and his music.
I have a picture of him in my mind. Of Alan on stage, maybe at one of those huge festival gigs, or maybe at a warm and cozy private party with an endless budget for sound and decorations.
He's just had some new streaks of blue put in his hair, and he brushes it back from his face as he waits for his cue.
He smiles that smile, like the Buddha on too much caffeine. The four-count comes from Bonham, and Hendrix slings his guitar forward and steps up to the mike (Janis Joplin and Barry White are singing backup this time). They play the first few bars, and Alan swings in on bass, sounding for all the world like an army of orcs shaking the very mountains themselves.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
So here's the list of things that have gone out the door to Goodwill or other places:
1. Six boxes of books.
2. One double-wide filing cabinet.
3. One 50 gallon fish tank (hopelessly scratched by the movers, and we have no space to put it anyway.)
4. Two bags of clothing.
5. One set of baby gates for the dogs.
6. Soft case for guitar.
7. Dead Shop Vac.
8. Second-hand ten-speed bike that I bought for the gears but neither of us could actually take apart to pirate the gears, because it wasn't going to budge, nohow!
I'm sure there's more. I just can't think of it right now.
Anyway, I have a space to work when it starts warming up. We got some Adirondack chairs and a table for Christmas which are still in boxes, but those boxes will be unpacked after the rain stops.
After pics: Before pics:
One of the things I've learned over the years is that if you want new things to come into your life, you must take stock and clear out the old stuff you don't need anymore. Clear the space. Claim your space. You'll be surprised what neat stuff will flow into your life when there's room for it!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A Toshiba commercial:
It was made with a camera array that would make your head spin! Same kind of setup they used for The Matrix: an array of cameras set up in a circle around the actor in order to get the action from every angle. Very creative use of this, in my opinion.
And an interesting entry from Gnarls Barkley, "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?" Love the bleeding heart...
You can see the making of the video here. I don't have access to the making of the visual effects portion, which is actually more interesting to me than the actual shooting of the video.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Also, someone tried to rob a convenience store with a Klingon Sword. I don't know who's more nerdy: the guy who did the robbery, or the clerk who recognized the sword!
Lastly, I'm headed for L.A. tomorrow for my friend, Alan Hirano's memorial, so I won't be posting for a few days. (Blog post on Alan here.) If anyone reads this post who was a friend of Alan's, please go to the old post's comments section for the where and when of the memorial. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
So when I logged in to Hauntspace yesterday to catch up on a few things, I was really pleased to see the artwork of Scott Campbell of Mama Tried Studios. In their words, "Mama Tried is a creative movement, fueled by a constantly evolving team and alliances, and guided by the vision and art direction of Scott Campbell."
Scott is one of those truly gifted people whose creativity manifests itself in many different forms. He is an art director whose advertising artwork has graced such companies as Camel and Yellowtail. He has also designed for ZZ Top and FEARnet.
Additionally, Scott is a tattoo artist who does both his own and old-school designs. What interested me most, was his leatherwork. Scott tattoos such things as chairs and leather pillows, which take him just as long as tattooing a person's skin. The woodwork on the chairs alone is graceful, and adding his intricate artwork to the cushions brings those pieces together to make an eye-catching whole. I would, sadly, ruin them by drooling all over them.
He has a line of laser laptop designs that would easily grace any steampunk aficionado's, and "burn books" that almost make you sad to open the cover to read the contents. And who on earth would think to create a design on the humble mousetrap?
I would love to have a table of his in my home office. It would make the lonely task of writing a more fun prospect.
I'd like to thank Spooky Madison from HauntSpace for posting this artist's work for our inspiration.
I'd also like to thank Othelo Gervacio from Mama Tried Studios for his quick response to my e-mail and for the pictures you're enjoying right now. Please, remember these images belong to Mama Tried Studios and Scott Campbell and are being published here with their very kind permission.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Found these little darlings just in time for Val-o-ween here. I'm not normally up for "cute" things, but these Skelanimals do tickle my fancy.
If you remember, my acquaintance Nancy's store, Necromance, has all manner of unusual things to give to your dark true love for the upcoming holiday.
A skull choker may be just the thing to show off that long, pale neck of hers.
Perhaps a pair of sparkly spider earrings would charm her. They'd certainly set off that lovely raven hair.
But honestly, Valentine's day is about giving her your heart. So maybe the best gift is this anatomically correct heart design tote bag. It certainly makes a stronger statement than those thoughtless candies-inna-box you were going to give her.
Then again, maybe the old heart-on-a-platter trick will tell her your deepest, darkest feelings for her. Hopefully, she won't run. Just don't be too creepy about it, o.k.? Restraining orders aren't a good thing.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Quick post today, darlings, as it's a school day.
I ran across this site, where you can carve a virtual pumpkin (four to choose from) and e-mail it to a friend. It'll make that Monday morning meeting go by much faster!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Sadly for all of us, the series was canceled, even before all the episodes of the first season were shown (though you can now get them all on DVD or Blu-Ray). However, the Impossible Happened: the fans made such a stink about it, that the movie Serenity was made.
During the recent writer's strike, Joss and his brothers wrote Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog in such a way that they wouldn't violate the issues the strike was about. It was a 43-minute-long movie, originally released only on the internet. It's now available at Amazon. As usual, Joss and company did such a great job, it won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Online Sensation."
I tried to get this from Netflix, but they didn't carry it. Since I love pretty much everything Joss Whedon creates, I dove in and bought the DVD from Amazon. Mr. ShellHawk and I watched it yesterday, and we both absolutely loved it.
Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) is a budding evil genius, whose main concern is to gain membership in The Evil League of Evil. Another concern is getting up the nerve to ask out Penny (Felicia Day), the girl of his dreams. He keeps running into her at the laundromat.
His third concern is his nemesis, good guy and superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). Hammer eventually discovers Horrible's love for Penny, and makes it his mission to woo the girl for himself. Amongst these revelations are well-written (of course) and well-sung songs (it is a musical, after all), great acting, and a tight, well-constructed script.
You can go to the official site to see this shiny gem on the web.
As an aside, Mr. ShellHawk had decided he wants to be Dr. Horrible for Halloween. I thought it would be difficult to find size 14 white rubber boots for him, but it seems we've scored on that front. I can't wait to see him in the costume because he's already a mad scientist, and I'll have an excuse to tart up some goggles for him.
Now all I have to do is figure out my costume.