Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Latest work

"severe tranquility abstract", diptych, mixed media, 2011-12
this poor painting just gets no love. originally it was commissioned by a friend of a friend for her cape house. she was determined to display something completely modern and i was eager to create something purely abstract. after several preliminary sketches, we seemed to find a happy medium. as with most clients i ask for half the fee up front, and the remaining upon delivery. the latter never happened and i've kept the painting in my possession for several months.

 every once and awhile i would add or take away, slowly modifying it. then, just recently, i was offered a part in special one night show. i dusted this off, tweaked it a little and was preparing to have this sent to the gallery. then last minute, well almost last minute, i checked the fine print of the contract before signing and realized that the venue was not something that would benefit my career as an artist. it looks like this painting will have to go back in storage another few months until i find the right time to have it on display.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie review: superman vs the elite

dreams save us. dreams lift us up and transform us into something better.

with those words the most well-known superhero in the world tries to convince manchester black, leader of the elite, that "crime does not pay". not really, especially killing, no matter how evil the victim. in the end, superman isn't just speaking to four immensely powerful anti-heroes out to change the world how they see fit, he's speaking to every man, woman, and child - many of who have grown dark and overly cynical with the times. despite everything he's gone through in his seventy year career, superman still believes in, "truth, justice, and the american way."

adapted from a well received superman story from dc comics, the animated film adaptation was written by the comic book author himself, joe kelly. kelly not only creates a superman to admire, but a human clark kent, still madly in love with fellow reporter lois lane. the elite members are each twisted and bizarre versions of the traditional superhero and their point of view can be easily understood. the conflict between superman and the elite is visceral and no less important than when it was first depicted in printed form. i've read other reviews that knock the overly animated designs of the characters, but i imagine this was done to temper some of the more violent scenes which earned the film its pg-13 rating.

with a live action superman currently in the works i can only hope the same message and characterization of the man of steel is translated to the silver screen. this is a hero i want my students to admire and emulate as i did when i was young. superman shows us it's not just being unbelievably powerful that counts, it's what you do with your powers, and the heart behind them.

Superman vs. the Elite is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. the original story is collected in trade paper back form, Justice League Elite Vol.1, or available in digital form on the dc comics ipad app.

Some good news!

Joejoemah Holla & Wilberbeast, 2012
my boyfriend (and partner in crime) of the last two years and i are engaged! we met each other shortly after joe moved to boston from manhattan nearly three years ago. a mutual friend unwittingly introduced us and we haven't stopped laughing since our first date. to many our pairing seemed natural. i, an aspiring painter and part-time art teacher, and he, an advertising exec with a background in art history. both of us share a passion for travel, fine dining, good conversation, and fashion. my aunt and grandmother liked joe almost immediately. as my grandmother put it, joe pulls me down out of the clouds when i need it and i pull joe up with my endless source of energy, showing that he's still very much a kid at heart. once these two alpha males realized they could share the title of, "boss", the big test was a year ago when we decided to see if my collie/lab would mix well with his two cats, a tabby and blue russian. it didn't take long for the five of us to become a happy family. the subject of marriage came up, almost by accident, and it was sort of,

"Well, I plan on marrying you, sure. It just seems natural."

"Yeah, it feels right. OK."

i never intended to announce the engagement until we had rings to flash around and a venue picked for a party to share the big reveal (wait, how did i become my mother?). but joe slipped the cat out of the bag and suddenly everyone knew. not that i mind at all. i feel lucky and blessed to have such an intelligent, funny, and attractive man in my life. i couldn't ask for more! we intend a prolonged engagement while i decide on my next career path, whether it be full time art teacher or something else in the the art world.  joe's support has been instrumental as his life experiences have help guide me on the path i am now. in the meantime, joe and i are happy to share our good news with those we love the most and who have been behind us these last few years.

we love you all!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Comic book review: the culling

Legion Lost #9, pt. 3 of "the Culling"
"the culling", masterminded by writers scott lobdell and tom defalco, is a four part story that ran through issues nine of Superboy, Legion Lost, and Teen Titans beginning with Teen Titans Annual #1. many of these are familiar characters made new with the latest recon of the dc universe, but this is the first major crossover for two teams who normally don't interact with one another. the story also formally introduces harvest, a sinister looking megalomaniac who apparently has had his eyes on the titans since their formation and technology and powers from the future era of the legion. harvest's sole goal is to determine the strong from the weak by torturing teenagers and young adults mentally and physically and then turning them against each other in a battle royale called the culling. the survivors become demented soldiers called, "ravagers". the prelude through issues seven and eight of each series built this major story up to epic proportions, but ultimately -- it falls flat.

Teen Titans Annual is beautifully depicted by bret booth and various inkers, but all it accomplishes is to illustrate how awful "the colony" is, an underground complex where harvest keeps his prisoners until the final culling battle. on top of the fourteen characters of two teams, more are introduced. some live, others perish in the course of the four part tale, again to prove how awful harvest and his army are. the Superboy chapter does nothing at all to progress the storyline, but Legion Lost does prove entertaining as the teams begin acting as a solid unit against harvest who proves too powerful for even the strongest among them. the final chapter of "the culling" shows the two teams getting split up with harvest's incessant ranting providing more questions than answers. did some of the legionaries come to the past to prevent this madman? is harvest telling the truth when he says he's building his army to prevent some sort of apocalyptic future? i suspect as each series progresses all will be revealed, but i was hoping more would be accomplished with "the culling". the titans and superboy at least deserve a clear victory against harvest's minions who have been hounding them since the start of each book.

as a comic book fan for over two decades, i love a big huge fight between superheroes who finally wise up and combine their forces to take down the super villain who manipulated them. essentially that's what this was, but it was drawn out way too long. of the survivors of the culling and refugees from the colony, a team is formed and a new book is introduced, The Ravagers. i suppose as far as sales are concerned, publisher dc comics was successful. readers picked up issues they may not normally have read. i'm certainly addicted to Legion Lost and looking forward to seeing where the time stranded heroes end up. i've also begun reading, The Ravagers, but i'm holding out my final opinion as of this writing. i would like to see semi-regular team ups between the legion and teen titans in the same tradition of the justice league and justice society. both groups can continue to learn a lot from one another and this shared battle will forever tie them together.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Album review: "Exotica", Bananarama

"I see the stars in your eyes where our universe collides." Starz

i didn't intend to post two album reviews by the same artists in a row, but i can't fully express my excitement when i found Exotica on iTunes this past friday! i first discovered Exotica on a trip to paris in 2007 for eighty euros, nearly one hundred american dollars. as i was still a student in art school, i had to pass. i would learn the price was substantial because the record was extremely rare. on said friday i came across the record by accident while i was beginning to make a weekend playlist for one of two small parties my partner and i were hosting. the record proved to be perfect for the events, as it has for the car, and for the gym.

Exotica was released in 2001/02, in france only, with very little promotion - only two singles, If, and a cover of george michael's, Careless Whispers. from my understanding, the album was intended to be mostly re-recorded mixes of bananarama's classic hits from the '80s and '90s. instead the record only contains four, the latin version of, Cruel Summer, being the best, and the horrible karaoke type remix of, I Heard a Rumour, being the worst. i quite enjoy the original material and can't stress enough what great songwriters band-mates sara dallin and keren woodward make. Crazy and Sleep are beautiful in their description of the heartache of a bad breakup and speak from the heart. the album contains gorgeous voice arrangements of dallin and woodward ooze sex in several tracks. What You Gonna Do? in particular demonstrates the erotic tone as dallin and woodward whisper and demand for answers. what i like most about Exotica is the mix of rock, alternative, and funk - yes, funk. possibly my favorites besides, Sleep, are, Boom, and Got a Thing For You with severe modern day disco hooks that force your hips to move as you boogie along.

i've been listening to this unrecognized eighth album from banarama for the last few days and i've begun to enjoy it a little more each time. no doubt re-released for bananrama fans in appreciation of the group's momentous thirtieth anniversary, Exotica is well done. uniquely all its own, this record should be firmly recognized amid the more well-known records like, True Confessions, Wow, Drama, and bananarama's latest album, Viva.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Album review: "Pop Life", Bananarama

"And through my mirror I see magic multicolored painted dreams." 
in 1991 Pop Life was a much needed injection of energy into bananarama whose sound had grown too familiar even without bandmate, siobhan fahey, who was shortly replaced with jacquie o'sullivan. a mix of musical genres from flamenco, rock, house, and reggae were added to create a unique pop album that stands out among the collection of records bananarama has produced over the thirty years of their career. there is a loose unison among the eleven songs and several stand out tracks. admittingly, it's difficult to select a single favorite song, but i've found that Preacher Man, Tripping On Your Love (beautiful!) and Only Your Love have stuck with me through the years and are enduring classics in my heart and mind. i rather enjoy bananarama's cover of the doobie brother's, Long Train Running, and the records sole ballad-ish song, What Colour R the Skies Where U Live. unfortunately there isn't more of this melodic low-tempo material as Pop Life rises and falls with its fast and heavy beats like a wild roller coaster. mind you, that's not a complaint, rather a simple observation. i love Pop Life and always appreciated the fresh musical direction. though dated by today's standards in many respects, Pop Life is the type of fun record bananarama is loved for!

Random comic book panel of the month

supergirl shops for a new outfit at the boutique of diana prince, aka wonder woman!

Adventure Comics #397, 1970