April 2005 Archives

DIY Comics

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I love DIY stuff generally and DIY art stuff in particular. Lately, I've found a lot of DIY comics links for the artistically impaired. For example, there's a new Mac program called Comic Life that lets you easily create comics from photographs. Over at Mac Merc, there's a tutorial on achieving a "comics art look" from photographs using Photoshop. Via Boing-Boing, I found two interesting community-oriented web sites: one allows you to create and share comic strips online and another uses game screenshots to create comics.

The game site seems like an interesting extension of the "fan media" movement, in which fans use a commercial property such as a TV series as a jumping-off point for fiction, movies, songs, and now comics based on but extending the original premise. I just read through the archive of The L Ward, a site that uses comic strips based on screen shots from The L Word to comment on the series. I imagine programs like Comic Life are going to make this type of fan media much more prevalent.

Lesbians in graphic novels

After Ellen has an overview of lesbian characters in comic books, covering both mainstream and independent comics. It's not comprehensive, but it works as a nice introduction for general readers. The piece ends with a few recommendations.

Two women enjoy a steamy hot tobThere is often much hand-wringing in gaming circles over the role of women in video games. Now, at last, it seems we can fret over the appearance of lesbians in video games, as they are increasingly cropping up in titles of all sorts.

A few years ago, Fear Effect introduced lesbian characters in the popular tall brunette/shorter blonde mold established in action duo Xena, Warrior Princess and her faithful girlfriend and sidekick, Gabrielle, Queen of the Amazons. Taking inspiration from the much loved hot tub scenes of the Xena TV series, Kessen III introduces a female/female jacuzzi scene, as shown in the screenshot here. Note once again the brunette/blonde combination. This scene appears to be more of an interlude than the main action of the story, but if you're looking for main action, you may wish to take a look at Playboy, the Mansion. Although this game has been panned for its boring gameplay, it does feature even more girl plus girl hottubbing. It's a representation of lesbians I think we can all be proud of; after all, we lesbians are a clean people, and it's high time the world noticed it.

While it's not explicitly lesbian, I'm being intrigued by the female characters in Rumble Roses. I know female wrestling is kind of debasing but their outfits are just so cute. Call it a guilty pleasure. Well, I guess they're all guilty pleasures. But until Orlando or The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is turned into a video game, we'll just have to work with what we're given.

Further proof that video games are the new film: the Hollywood Bowl is hosting a program called Video Games Live on July 6. According to the schedule listing, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra will perform themes from a wide range of video games, including Tron, Tomb Raider, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Halo. Like the L.A. Phil's earlier performance of Final Fantasy game music,the program will incorporate video footage and laser light sequences.

For some time, the Bowl has held movie soundtrack programs and special movie screenings with live orchestra accompaniment. Perhaps we'll see game music programs become a regular season feature in the years ahead.

The Way That We Live

If you read any of the fan sites for the L Word, it doesn't take long to discover that many viewers are not fond of the show's theme song, written and performed for the second season by BETTY. It takes me at least 24 hours to get it out of my head after watching the show, so it is catchy in a fiendish sort of way.

Having seen this site that reworks song lyrics into an outliner format, I decided to see what I could come up with by doing the same for the L Word theme. I produced the following:

  • Women
    • Girls
      • in tight dresses
      • who drag with moustaches
    • Chicks
      • driving fast
    • Ingenues
      • with long lashes
    • Who
      • long
      • love
      • lust
      • give
  • This is the way
    • that we live
      • talking
      • laughing
      • breathing
      • loving
      • crying
      • drinking
      • fighting
      • writing
      • winning
      • losing
      • cheating
      • thinking
      • dreaming
    • and Love
      • fucking
      • kissing

Caution: I do not recommend this highly addictive lyric-outlining activity to you, as once you discover it you will while away many hours transforming your favorite songs into planning lists. I would not have thought that a productivity tool like an outliner could be used to waste so much time.

Origins of Cute

While perusing the most recent issue of Wired, I came across a reference to an interesting exhibit on display at the Japan Society Gallery in New York. The exhibit is called Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture, and it explores the roots of the kawaii or cute aesthetic in Japanese art and culture.

According to the gallery site, the name "Little Boy" refers to a nickname given to the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima as well as to the innocence of a traumatized child, an emblem of post-war Japan typified in the oversized eyes of manga and anime characters. I noticed this show is a follow-up to the Superflat exhibit, also curated by Takashi Murakami, that I saw here in Los Angeles several years ago.

L Word Sighting

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It's true what they say about Los Angeles. Living here, one frequently has celebrity sightings. What you probably don't know about celebrity sightings is that 95 percent of the time, you run into someone who is of no interest to you. Like Carrot Top, to give an example from my own history of sightings.

That's why I felt incredibly blessed this weekend when the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend came wheeling around the magazine rack of a local bookstore and whispered fiercely to me, "You will never guess who is here." We then calmly sauntered over to the shelter magazine rack, where we pretended to be deeply engrossed in various architectural glossies while secretly stealing glances at the incredibly hot Sarah Shahi, who plays the incredibly hot Carmen on The L Word.

Speaking of The L Word, many people continue to complain of the lack of realism on the show. Last week, for example, I noticed that LAist was skeptical of the nude sex scene in the pool at the Chateau Marmont. Although realism was not particularly on my mind while I was watching that scene, I do take your point.

However, let me counter by drawing your attention to the scenes involving the Hollywood executive, played by Camryn Manheim. For instance, take the scene where she trails Shane in her limo, calling to her as if she were a housepet, or the scene from last night's episode, in which she flies into a screaming rage and throws her cell phone at her obsequious underling. That's pure reality television, baby.

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