August 2007 archives

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August 31, 2007

let sleeping gods lie - teaser 2

by sven at 3:00 pm

click on image to play clip (2.5 MB)

Here's my second teaser for Let Sleeping Gods Lie.

In October the teaser will be showing on the silver screen at the 2007 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. If you're in Portland, I hope to see you there!

Want to find out more? You can check out the first teaser, which premiered in 2005... Or, if you want the whole "behind the scenes" story, you can peruse previous posts in the blog's Let Sleeping God Lie category.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

August 29, 2007

lsgl: teaser submitted to lovecraft festival

by sven at 4:18 pm

I've submitted a teaser to the 2007 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival!

After announcing that Let Sleeping Gods Lie won't be finished in time for this year's fest, I got a lot of feedback from folks saying that I should at least do a teaser. Even Andrew Migliore, the festival organizer, wrote a note to that effect.

It was my original plan that I'd put together a teaser if the film wasn't going to be done in time. However, I now know that LSGL is only going to be about 5 minutes long. I worried that showing a 2nd teaser would raise people's expectations too high -- so they'd feel cheated when they find out how short the final product actually is.

Solution: The teaser is only 14 seconds long. I squeezed in my best shots, and give away just enough to whet people's appetites.

I finished off burning the DVD Monday night (8/27). Gretchin and I drove over to Migliore's house to deliver it. Afterwards, Gretchin treated me to a celebratory dinner at a new vegan restaurant, "Nutshell." Delish! (Thank you!)

And after that, we stayed up until almost 6am, watching a total lunar eclipse from a nearby field. ...Truly, the "stars were right." ;-)

[Forgive the wait: I'll see about getting the teaser online sometime in the next day or two.]

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

August 27, 2007

artist's way creative clusters fall 2007

by gl. at 4:25 pm

yesterday we went to pix for the first "artist's way ice cream social" at pix on division. it's a way to get together members from former artist's way groups with the promise of delicious & unusual ice creams. i had a delicious basil ice cream while others were seduced by the chocolate port fig. (btw, it turns out pix is doing brunch till 2 p.m. again! yay!)

which means summer is drawing to a close and it's a good time to announce the new artist's way creative clusters coming up next month! artist's way is my favorite thing to facilitate; unlike my 1-day events or the classes i host, it allows a unique chance for emotional range and growth over time. it emphasizes making creativity an integral part of of your life, rather than an occasional event. i also love that it works for all forms of creativity, not just visual arts. my goal is to encourage people to make art that is personally meaningful & truthful for them.

this time i made it a 10-week group to fit in better with the public universities' quarterly schedule. the 13-week format has always worked extremely well, but i wanted to remove any other inertias which might be keeping people from joining a creative cluster. but this will certainly keep them on their toes! 10 weeks to explore 10 different arts, 10 weeks to overcome what's keeping you from making more of what you love, 10 weeks to bond with other creative, compassionate companions. i'm really looking forward to it! and i'm thrilled that tuesday morning is already almost full: waiting is always the hardest part. :)

[abundance centerpiece]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: artist's way

August 26, 2007

modest mouse

by gl. at 12:57 am

shu-ju tagged me with the "10 things i like about myself" meme. ack! if one of them is "modesty" i can't very well participate, can i? ;)

  1. i am curious & i love learning. my strengths are observation & inquiry. i am happiest when i can exhaust myself with questions. i'll also answer any question you ask.

  2. i'm sincere. i try to say what i mean and mean what i say. i don't take commitments lightly. i'm a terrible liar and i don't even spin well. most sarcasm makes me wince.

  3. i like to play! i am an explorer. i like adventures. and i'm goofy.

  4. little things delight me or fill me with wonder. my first nature is optimistic; repeated negative experiences can make me pessimistic, but i approach new situations with hope & good cheer.

  5. i like and trust complexity in people and opinions. i rarely see things in black & white; i like things with layers. i hope it makes me a more empathetic, compassionate and tolerant person.

  6. i am a quiet nonconformist: i look pretty normal, but i'm never what anyone expects and i'm often underestimated.

  7. i am really noncompetitive. i prefer to believe there's enough for everyone, and that "the more you tighten your grip... the more star systems will slip through your fingers." it forms the basis for a lot of other good qualities i hope i have: supportive, loyal, generous, kind.

  8. i'm internally motivated & driven to be hardworking, reasonable & responsible. and though i really appreciate when people cheer me on and generally feel we'd all be better off if we had more cheerleaders & supporters, i don't need applause or praise to keep doing stuff. fiona apple says, "be kind to me, or treat me mean: i'll make the most of it, i'm an extraordinary machine."

  9. i am organized, practical and detail-oriented. if there's something to be done i like to do it rather than endlessly complain about it.

  10. and strangely, i am attuned to time: i rarely underestimate how much time a project will take, whether it's a short-term or long-term thing. i see the hidden spaces where time evaporates through travel or transition. and i can see the effects/consequences of things over long arcs of time, which makes me persistent, patient and able to endure tedium reasonably well.

okay, because i love to know about other people, i now tag...

and anyone else who wants to answer!

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: miscellany

August 22, 2007

ocac: "pushing the gocco envelope"

by gl. at 3:28 pm

last week i assisted shu-ju wang, local gocco artisté extraordinare, with a 3-day class she taught at the oregon college of art & craft, "pushing the gocco envelope."

the class was pretty packed, so in addition to handling questions, i tried to be invisibly helpful: i brought in a bunch of supplies to share when we were running low, i took pictures for shu-ju, i staggered my work/lunch times so there was always someone available to answer questions, i took half a day to spend with people in the computer lab, i pulled an extra print for the person who let us use the computer lab, i cleaned the classroom even better than it was when we started. i tried not to ask too many questions myself, and i tried not to even wince when the students voted to come to class an hour earlier, even though i live on the opposite side of the planet as ocac which made for some long days.

it definitely felt different to assist a class than to facilitate one. i kind of liked it; i could be helpful without being the ultimate authority or having as much responsibility. just like at my art events, though, i was worried that i wouldn't actually be able to finish making the art! i started off slowly as people needed more help earlier on in the process, but fortunately i caught up on the last day.

i've owned "little miss gocco" for a couple of years now but have done regrettably little with it other than note cards and poetry crepes. so beyond the altruistic desire to assist a fellow artist, i was happy to get the chance to do more goccoing! unfortunately, my computer had a fatal hard drive crash on the first day of class, so i had to create something fairly simple quickly on sven's laptop.

[letters are symbols which turn matter into spirit]

this print took two gocco screens (which was the point of the class, to create a piece bigger than the standard b6 print bed). the "a" is in gold, "the "z" is in silver. the darker parts in the middle are actually 3 different colors of green (the bottom is brown). if i was going to do it over again i'd reverse the color on the bottom screen (leaving brown as the base color).

i didn't pull any prints i thought were completely perfect, but it was good to do it with shu-ju around. for instance, i was surprised to find i wasn't using enough ink a great deal of the time, even when it felt like i had a lot. i also discovered i press too hard. i wasted several prints by not using the mylar registration technique (lesson learned!). but the marbling happened mostly the way i imagined, even if it took a lot of test prints to start the ink migration process.

at the end of the class we hosted an exchange, where we got a copy of everything everyone else made. whee! that's one of the best things about printmaking! there were some delicious prints, cute cards, and imaginative booklets.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: classes & workshops, printing

August 20, 2007

"let sleeping gods lie" will miss sept 1 deadline

by sven at 12:00 pm

I regret to announce that Let Sleeping Gods Lie will not be finished in time for this year's H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

I've made enormous progress this year on the film. At the beginning of the year, I'd say the film was about 15% complete. Now, I'd say it's 80-85% complete. I am extremely proud of what I've produced so far... This project is going to be unlike any other Lovecraft film you've ever seen.

I want to thank everyone who's been supporting me during the big push:

The local friends, whom I haven't seen at all during the past four months of monastic isolation...

The online friends who have cheered me on, and who will no doubt be disappointed (as I am) at having to wait even longer for LSGL's completion...

The actors, who have repeatedly martyred themselves beneath black stocking masks and heavy winter coats...

And Gretchin, who's been the most fantastic Creative Advocate a filmmaker could ever ask for.

The kamikaze "filmmaking-to-the-exclusion-of-all-else" approach that I've used this summer now comes to an end. I've been actively outlining plans for a revised production schedule -- but for the time being, I'll be keeping them to myself.

Suffice it to say: I am missing a deadline, but I am not giving up. Let Sleeping Gods Lie will be completed.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

August 19, 2007

trixie praised by anonymous little Elf

by gl. at 10:27 pm

we got a truly delightful trixie testimonial last week:

Trixie! I have found you! I thought you were a figment of my imagination...

One day, long ago (ok, it was June 9, 2006, around 3 pm) I had a magic moment with you... right there by Powell's Books. I was so deep in thought, on the cusp of a huge decision, and caught in nightmare traffic in downtown Portland on the eve of the Rose Parade. And there you were... all filled with poetry. You were in the left lane, I was in the right. I saw two fragments of poetry that spoke to me so deeply, so accurately that it was almost as if the heavens had opened and rained the answer down on me. Really, one of the most awe-inspiring events of my life.

Now, to preserve my identity I'm going to be an anonymous little Elf, and I'm going to keep the exact events and fragments to myself... it's very private and personal.

But I thought you would like to know how much Trixie affected me... and that is TRUE ART. You have achieved something special and I thought you should know. I hope Trixie is still flitting around, all gussied up in poetry, and I hope to run into her again. Thank you, Trixie! I'm so glad I found you. For some odd reason, today I googled one of the fragments and you popped right up on my screen... amazing!

this seems like it would be a good time to show a couple of more poetry fragments (whose quality is admittedly muddled on account of taking them inside a parking garage at night). may they help you with a big decision someday, too!

[we want god or sizzler]

[this is not all]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: trixie

August 17, 2007

portland zine symposium

by gl. at 10:17 pm

last weekend i attended the portland zine symposium, primarily because the amazing anna magruder helped organize it this year (yes, she of the fabulous rebel rabbit craft fair). don't get me wrong: i love that portland has such a strong zine culture and i ordinarily like to support it and the stumptown comics fest (happening next month), but it was easier for me to make the time to go since someone i knew & wanted to support would be there.

also, she was facilitating a mask workshop! i've been responsible for a couple of those, so i was happy to get the chance to make a mask without facilitating it, and i wanted to make sure anna had warm bodies in the classroom. :) she brought some amazing stuff and was an excellent & gracious hostess.

[hard to tell, but the mask is actually a dark blue, not black]

of course, i also picked up several zines & other assorted bits:

in other news, i'm recovering from monday's fatal hard drive crash. it's terrible timing because i need to be preparing for september classes and especially artist's way promotion, but this means i just lost a week. i got celeste back last night with a new drive in her, but am now going through the tedious restore process. we keep weekly backups so i'm not missing too much, but i am really going to miss the answers i was in the middle of writing for diane's diy alert interview.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: exhibits & events

August 16, 2007

lsgl: continental drift

by sven at 11:59 pm

spinning time-lapse
click on image to play clip (199 KB)

So, the Elder Things are supposed to have come to Earth millions and millions of years ago... And while I've illustrated that some time has passed by showing the cave before it was all icy, I don't think that's really communicating the idea.

What I want is a time-lapse shot of continental drift, so you can actually see the Pangaean supercontinent break into the seven continents we know today.

stationary time-lapse
click on image to play clip (54 KB)

My first version shows the Earth spinning; the second shows the same morph sequence with a stationary planet. I think both are kinda confusing. I've only got five images in the current sequence. I really need to draw some more inbetweens. ...Even then, though, I'm worried that the concept won't communicate.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

August 12, 2007

new music: "el capitan" & "don't eat the worm"

by sven at 11:59 pm

I was working on the music for Act 1 of Let Sleeping Gods Lie today... And got sucked into recording some unrelated compositions.

For the first one, "El Capitan," imagine that Big Blue the chess computer is practicing a little ragtime jazz all by himself, deep in the darkest heart of IBM, when suddenly the cryogenically frozen ghost of Ritchie Valenz ("La Bamba") falls through the ceiling with a big translucent guitar in hand... Jam session ensues.

Listen to the mp3 by clicking here. (1.72 MB)

For the second composition, "Don't Eat The Worm," imagine that you've got a big bottle of tequila in front of you. It's a dark sweaty night, moths flitting around a single bare lightbulb. And then the tequila worm starts swimming a little figure-eight dance in the bottle. And then you realize it has your face.

Listen to the mp3 by clicking here. (2.22 MB)

posted by sven | permalink | categories: music

August 11, 2007

lsgl: act 2 animatic - enhanced!

by sven at 11:59 pm

click on image to play clip (3.6 MB)

Yesterday I made an animatic using hand-drawn images. Today I took that animatic and replaced each still image with a CG clip. None of the clips are final -- they're all just place-holders, really -- but even so, the new enhanced animatic gives me a much better sense of what's going on in Act 2.

For the first time, I was able to string together the prologue and what I've got for Acts 1, 2, and 3 and see how everything's coming together. Gut reaction: "Wow! It's gonna be great!!" ...AND... "Ouch! There is so much that needs serious editing."

Having music and sound is really deceptive. It makes the film seem like it must be almost complete -- because audio brings everything so much more to life. But don't be fooled! Act 2 doesn't have a single finished shot yet, and its current soundtrack is needing to be re-kerjiggered yet again.

What's worse, after seeing what I've produced so far, I realize now that the current pacing for Act 2 is way too fast. That problem's going to be particularly unhappy to work on, I expect...

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

August 10, 2007

lsgl: act 2 animatic

by sven at 11:59 pm

click on image to play clip (971 KB)

I've been feeling for a while like I'm flailing... Lacking a clear sense of how to proceed with the movie. So today I finally got around to making an animatic for Act 2. It's extremely rough -- but it's enough to start moving on.

I also did some work today on a new still shot of the cave entrance.

cave entrance - Paleozoic era

The Elders are supposed to have come to Earth during or before the Paleozoic era, when there was just one super-continent: Pangaea. I wanted to create an image of the cave before Antarctica broke off and got so chilly... It's hard to know if the image will communicate when it's all green (since it's part of the distress beacon's transmission) -- but the land is supposed to be a desert during this period.

cave entrance - modern era

I actually created a whole new mountain for the Paleozoic shot; I wanted it to be much more jagged, before erosion wore it down. The only thing that the new Paleozoic image has in common with the snowy modern one is the distant mountains to the right -- everything else got PhotoShopped from scratch today.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

poem: 34

by gl. at 2:35 pm

i read my "birthday poem" series at the muse talk opening reception last month, so it seems fitting i should share the next poem in the series:


this is a season of blackberries,
warm and floral in the sun
unpredictably sour and sweet.
we walk down the hill with
blackberry ink on our hands.

we are on a carousel, up and down
i am the dragon, you are the swan.
i ride glittering bicycles through fairy forests
and hold the hands of women who bleed
and think they are
no matter how many thorns
are on this blackberry wall
no matter how much they scratch
i will keep plucking these dark jewels
and cry at how we must fight
to keep anything worth saving.

::august 04, 2007::

[see also: 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 & 33]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: writing

August 9, 2007

lsgl: zig-zag city

by sven at 11:59 pm

Elder Things' city

Still doing development work on the Elder Things' city...

Today I did some Googling to find reference images of Minas Tirith (from Lord of the Rings) and Tibetan fortresses. This led to creating several zig-zagging trapezoidal walls. When I overlap them, I get pleasantly German Expressionist chaos.

close up

I also experimented with adding bridges and windows. Adding windows is proving to be more difficult than expected... Today I tried using "Solid Drill > Stencil" instead of "Boolean > Subtract." This worked a bit better, but the procedure is still changing my geometry in a way that messes up the surface texturing. (Translation: the windows wind up looking blurry.)

I tried doing a lighting set-up where there are nine little point lights scattered around different areas of the city. It gives me a bit more control -- but I'm not really sure it's worth all the hassle.

bridge over troubled chasm

One of the shots I really want to create involves the camera looking down into a chasm -- where we see a Shoggoth climbing up the wall toward us. I still haven't been able to create a set that gives me a camera angle I really like for this purpose.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

cola war!

by gl. at 10:46 pm

sometimes people gift trixie with unusual things instead of making poetry. last time it was a "clearance to be worked" magnet, which she still carries. this time it was a "cola war" sticker over one of the magnets:


i don't really know what it means, but i peeled the sticker off because they pasted over a 'woman' magnet and i don't feel compelled to further their meme (except here on the blog, of course!). :) i wish they had made an interesting line of poetry with it!

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: trixie

August 8, 2007

piano repair

by sven at 2:47 pm

piano guts

I've had a broken F on my electric piano since about January... With the soundtrack work that I've been doing for Let Sleeping Gods Lie, it was finally time to make the repair.

I've got an HP 2800G Roland digital piano. It has weighted keys; one of the counterbalances broke and needed to be replaced. This was my second time making this kind of repair on the instrument.

keys removed to dig out the broken part

I found replacement parts at Keyboard Engineering, Inc./The Master's Touch Music Store @ 3213 NE Sandy Blvd. They could special order a replacement counterweight for $15, or sell me a used one on the spot for $5. (Thank you, Gretchin, for doing the initial research!)

I bought five used counterweights, expecting that I'll probably need to make this repair again at some point. I'd probably be wise to even get a few more (including counterweights for the black keys, which are shaped differently) -- there's no telling when Roland may stop producing these parts.

I'm known for playing loudly, but I don't think that the break is entirely my fault. The counterbalances inherently take a lot of stress... I could see, rumaging though a bag of used parts at the store, that stress cracks are common.

the broken counterweight

There are hinges at the back of the piano so the whole top can swing up and back. To open it up, you need to remove the 8 screws on the bottom of the instrument that are recessed, and 6 small screws on the back (the ones that aren't associated with the hinges).

Once the top of the piano is off, you also need to remove the front guard in order to access the keys. There are 6 screws underneath the guard to remove, and then 2 (on either side) which are located inside the piano itself.

The keys come off at their hinge point. Putting them on and taking them off depends on the flexibility of the plastic: just slightly expand the key with your finger, and it pops off the hinge easily. The lubrication appears to be a dark gray teflon grease -- so be aware that you'll probably get some on your hands.

Everything else should be self-apparent when you get to this point.

Mostly I'm writing out these notes for myself, so it'll go faster the next time I have to do this.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie, music

August 6, 2007

lsgl: stampede music

by sven at 11:59 pm

click on image to play clip (1 MB)

Here's a clip of the stampede that I finished... Gosh, almost 2 weeks ago now.

I've been thinking that the musical score for a stampede ought to involve lots of overlapping drums... Like a cacophany of feet, eh? So I spent a chunk of the day putting together a test track. Listen to the mp3 by clicking here. (642 KB)

(If it were an option to use someone else's music, I'd use "Jungle Dance" from the 1933 King Kong soundtrack by Max Steiner.)

Another chunk of the day was spent refining the Elder Things' city. I like the idea of there being lots of tiers to the place... I'm thinking in the next version I may try doing a bunch of bridges over chasms.

Trivia: Lovecraft had a bona fide passion for arches, and specifically mentions that the Elders made good use of them in their architecture.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie, music

100th monkey/write around portland book swap

by gl. at 10:13 pm

on sunday i volunteered at the 100th monkey/write around portland book swap.

i was immediately put in charge of running a table for making accordian books. bookmaking is one of the things I really love & appreciate but am quite bad at. i know that one of the things that makes for a successful bookbinding experience for people who don't have any experience or a short window of time is to precut covers (especially when you only have one cutter), and that's the thing I'm bad at. i tried not to panic, but if I had known this was going to be my task i would have brushed up on it a little first!

a few people visited throughout the event, but 10 minutes before my shift was up, 5 people wanted to make a book at once. :) fortunately, by that time i had done several of my own books and could explain the process pretty well.

[my little accordian books]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: exhibits & events

August 5, 2007

lsgl: sound montage for distress beacon

by sven at 11:59 pm

I've put together a voice-over sound montage for Act 2. Listen to the mp3 by clicking here. (688 KB)

Enormous thanks to Gretchin, who I also recorded reading the monologue. She helped edit the script -- and over all, I think she gave a better performance than I did. Unfortunately, although I had high hopes for using a digitally transformed female voice, I couldn't get the sound texture I was looking for with her takes.

The take that I wound up using some painfully melodramatic lilts... But I think that after remixing it into a montage, some of the more egregious lines may actually work -- they become sorta musical. (Tell me if you think I'm wrong!)

The underlying string-section is a GarageBand loop.

I expect there will have to be some tweaking when it comes time to combine this sound clip with whatever I come up with for acts 1 and 3 -- so there's still room for change. ...Even so, I'm thinking this might be good enough to begin building upon.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

August 2, 2007

lsgl: city planning

by sven at 11:59 pm

Today I worked on developing the look of the Elder Things' city. This isn't a final design -- but I'm very happy with where it's going.

Can you tell that I was inspired by Jabba the Hutt's palace?

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie

trixie at the movies

by gl. at 11:43 pm

a recent trixie poem:


tell the world to let us lick skin
sizzle with love's embrace
drink that fire through night

i took this in the parking lot of a movie theatre, and it was a good thing i did because some of the words had been used for other poetry when we came back out.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: trixie

August 1, 2007

rebel rabbit yell: more, more, more!

by gl. at 11:59 pm

only computer problems have kept me from writing about the rebel rabbit craft fair sooner! big kudos to anna, a former artist's way client, who organized it. as far as i could tell, it was a smashing success! great atmosphere, a creative raffle for a good cause, and excellent vendors.


i had planned to also go to the handmade bazaar & the sunday art mart, which were at the same day & time, but i spent & saw plenty at the rebel rabbit. :) i got cards, jewelry & gifts. i am thrilled to finally own a locket anna hand-painted, and i've always wanted a bracelet made out of typewriter keys!

[rebel rabbit goods: click for a larger image]

there were lots of great vendors, so what i got reflects only a few of the potential crafts i could have indulged in:

also, it turned out the rebel rabbit craft fair was a great place to meet people. i'm usually supershy at craft events, but liz recognized me from one of linda's events, and mary ann anylor recognized my voice from the fair! but best of all was the woman who remembered sven's let sleeping gods lie trailer at the hp lovecraft film festival 2 years ago and remembered the shirts we wore to promote it! she said she was looking forward to the full film this year and i told her we were, too. :) *knock wood*

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: exhibits & events