It's become tradition in my family that when my son starts a new school, we paint a mural on the wall of said school, both to help him get acclimated to his new surroundings & to thank the school for the part it will play in his life & further education.
It began at his preschool wherein my lovely bride & I painted a huge underwater scene over winter beak despite the fact that we were both stricken with some horrible illness that I am sure mutated into what is now called the swine flu. Nonetheless we had a great deal of fun painting (my lawyer wife especially showing great heretofore unknown prowess with a paintbrush) & knowing that our son Jack would be that much more comfortable entering his new surroundings.
When he started kindergarten, he requested we do the same & we did, painting a huge piece in an archway of his new school with the happy approval of his new principal.
Now he is entering, for lack of a better term, an "upper elementary" school, & again we are starting the process of "beautifying" his new surroundings. This process has been a little different that the previous two in that I submitted a sketch for approval beforehand & received some constructive criticism on some changes they wanted to see implemented.
I thought you, my small but dear readership, might be interested in this process so I am including all three drawings for your perusal.
The first sketch was a collaboration between Jack & myself, incorporating his new school's mascot, the wolf, portrayed as members of a band, in homage to his favorite group, Gorillaz.
Here's my first sketch~ This drawing was met with great enthusiasm from his new school, but it was felt that the wolves were perhaps too human-looking & perhaps didn't read clearly enough as wolves. I agreed as when I was doing the sketch, I was unsure whether to go full-wolf as it were or perhaps more human. I erred on the side of anthropomorphism & was happy to makes the musicians more lupine~
That sketch was then deemed to have more of a "middle school" aesthetic & it was requested that the wolves be a little more cartoony. I at first was disappointed & thought about politely demurring (I think the 4th & 5th graders were being underestimated & would enjoy these wolves, with their somewhat fierce & rockin' demeanor), but quickly remembered for whom & for what reason I was doing this, & happily acquiesced to my patrons' wishes~
This sketch was approved wholeheartedly by all involved & we start painting this weekend.
(I will post pics of the painted mural upon its completion.)
I am not unhappy with the final drawing, I think I stayed away from too much of a Disney-esque vibe & still kept enough of my own artistic sensibilities (& I especially like the new afro!), but I am still partial to the second sketch & feel that is the most successful drawing of the three. But given the mural's location, I understand that perhaps the compromise was necessary &, in the end, will produce the best work for its intended audience.
But, in the end, whatever the artist in me may think, the father in me is pretty damn happy to be able to once again be there for my boy...
I'd truly love to hear (read) your thoughts on the three sketches & perhaps you'd like to share a similar instance when you made an artistic compromise & your feelings about finding such a medium, whether it was a happy one or perhaps not so much.
A mash-up is a curious thing. As I've stated before, most of them are pretty bad, whether ill-conceived from the start, or simply a case of a good idea (e.g., interesting tracks that would seem to fit) not assembled with the right skill, panache, &/or funk. Finding a really great boot is a rarity indeed; I think the mathematical equation (call this the "very secret monster things mash theorem", if you will) is about 37:1, as in I sift through 37 painful Frankenstein's monsters before I find one made by a true Dr. Funkenstein. I do this work not just for me but for you, my dear readers...
Even more rarely, though, a great DJ will take tracks that ya' don't dig & create a wholly new piece that rocks yer world. The always-reliable DJ Clivester pulls this seemingly-impossible task off more often than not.
Here's a great example~ A mash-up containing a buncha' songs that don't tickle my fancy at all, interspersed with one track I dig the most (guess which one), creating a stitched together masterwork that makes you want to scream from your castle against the thunder & lightning
as the square villagers approach, with their torches & pitchforks (& appalling lack of funk), "It's alive! It's alive!"
"Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever a spider can..."
We all know the tune, not a day goes by wherein it doesn't swing through my head, & with Spidey revvin' up to make his big Broadway debut next year, I thought I'd post some sticky tracks, some good, some bad, all at least interesting to say the least. Uncle Ben certainly wasn't talking about these musicians when he imparted his better-than-your-average fortune cookie wisdom~ "With great power comes great responsibility".
First up we have the ubiquitous 60's cartoon theme, which swings almost as much as our web-headed friend his own self & then we turn it up to 11 to let The Ramones rock it out with their version.
Next Freddie McCoy vibes us out with his jazzy samba-riffic tune that had Spidey on the album cover but had seemingly little ease to do with the wall-crawler. But still a nice mellow tune nonetheless.
From across the pond comes an odd "mastermix" from MC Spy-D & "friends" which has some BBC Spider-Man cartoon dialogue interspersed with some pretty generic beats; Appropriate does basically the same with the 60's theme, mashing it up with some electronica- This track was featured in some video game or some such I believe.
Italian Spider-Man? Ridiculous, repulsive, offensive, you so don't want to laugh, but you will (& aren't those things the very foundations of the Internet itself) & the song will end up on your iPod, I guarantee it...
Finally because I couldn't find one song good/bad enough to feature, I leave you with a triumvirate from the mid-70's classic, "Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero".
Until we hear what Bono & The Edge are cookin' up, this is what the music world has offered up thus far in celebration of Peter Parker & his sticky alter-ego.
(& I do want to share this as well~ whilst doing the research for this post (read: Googling "Spider-Man"), I learned something I wish I could unlearn: There is a pretty perverse & very un-gallant sex act known as the "Spider-Man" & I beg you not to find out for yourselves. Don't do it! I beg of you!)
As one of the great literary figures of our times sez~
This round of "kiss or kill" allows you kids to pick or pan this ultra-new & shiny track from Cornershop's forthcoming album, "Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast". It's certainly rocks hard, but is it sitar-iffic?!
What say you? Leave your votes in the comment section & decide Tjinder & the boys' fate......
French masher DJ Zebra concocted this great lil' ditty, marrying the late '70's to the late '80's, introducing Diana Ross (no, not Donna Summer!) to Michael & the boys in a wonderful disco-poppy-dancey melange to which I woulda' danced my bike-shorts off @ the Melody in my club daze.
"Where The Wild Things Are" was my favorite book when I was a kid (mayhaps it still is) & it was my boy's as well. Now the ultra-talented mad genius Spike Jonze is finally releasing his celluloid version this fall. My thoughts on this have been mixed- the delays & troubles certainly didn't assuage any fears. Adding so much back story may ruin its simplicity or it may be bloody brilliant; I'll give Mr. Jonze the benefit of the doubt for now, especially given the wonderfully beautiful & perfectly odd trailer that is makin' the rounds on the tubes of the Internet as well as in those archaic monstrosities known as movie theatres. You can easily find that elsewhere so here is a the cover to the Japanese version that I was lucky enough to score whilst in country
& a refix of the Arcade Fire song as close to the version of the tune as heard in the trailer.
I marched on Washington in the womb, was named for Martin & Robert; my boots have always been on the ground, both literally & figuratively. I teach now at the same school I attended as a student; community means the world to me, again both literally & figuratively. Activism cannot & should not exist without education & the converse is even more true. The classrooms are the true frontlines of the revolution.
I put this ideal into practice every day & indeed throughout my almost twenty-five year career: helping to realize our school’s Gay Straight Alliance that has served as an exemplar for so many others; creating a mural outreach program whereby students paint inspirational & aspirational artwork both in our hallways & for local charitable organizations; writing & directing plays in collaboration with my students that address social, cultural & political issues; serving in my local community on the Mercer County Human & Civil Rights Committee & on the world stage as a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to Japan; & in my classroom of course wherein I teach & model the idea & ideal of the intersection of art & awareness, of creativity & activism.
rants & ramblings, artistic shenanigans (self-created & stuff that inspires such self-creativity), funkyass music, comix & graphic novels (not just for kids anymore!), sporadic navel-gazing, balderdashery, new & improved longer-lasting ephemera, tales to astonish, doodles & dawdles, & any & all stuff that tickles my fancy (& hopefully yours as well!)...
If you find any of it moves you either body or soul (& especially ass), please purchase the art &/or music legally to support the artists. If I've posted your art &/or music & you want me to un-post it, let me know & it will disappear posthaste. If you download an image or a tune, please have the common courtesy to comment on that post & give me some love, my friend. It's relatively painless, quick & easy, & a small token of kindness for seein' & hearin' such brilliant stuff, y'know.
"Seda-Schreiberlets you into his mind, and it turns out to be a worthwhile place to rummage around... (His work) is like receiving a long letter from a friend you didn't know you had."~ cat yronwode