Reading Rainbow for Adults! Reading Rainbow for Adults!

Pacific Press/Getty Images.

Back in June, I posted about LeVar Burton’s new podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. Seems some soreheads are very unhappy with Burton’s success, and that random people are using the phrase “Reading Rainbow for Adults”.

In today’s episode of Black People Can’t Have a Damn Thing, Not Even if We Played a Major Role in Building It From the Ground Up, actor LeVar Burton is being personally sued by a Buffalo, N.Y., public broadcasting station that wants to stop him from using a Reading Rainbow catchphrase on his new podcast.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, WNED filed a “wide-ranging” lawsuit Friday that includes the demands that Burton’s company, RRKidz, hand over access to various websites and social media accounts, and that Burton himself cease using the Reading Rainbow catchphrase “But you don’t have to take my word for it” on his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads.

Although Friday’s lawsuit is new, THR reports that Burton and WNED have been tied up in court for years over a 2011 licensing deal that granted Burton the use of intellectual property related to the beloved PBS show, which ran from 1983 to 2006 with Burton as host.

You can read all about this nonsense at The Root. Me, I’m rooting for LeVar.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Photos: Niklas Adrian Vindelev.

Instead of accelerating the demise of traditional craftsmanship, what if digital tools enhanced it and expanded the possibilities of what we can make?What if an architect could use a digital tool — a CNC machine, say — to create something with a distinctly human quality? How might the machine be applied to skills such as woodwork and metalwork? Could it be used to make objects with the aesthetic appeal, including the touch and feel, of a handmade object? Could it also make objects that can be scaled — objects with applicability to architecture?

These were the timely questions that three architects recently explored as residents at SPACE10  — IKEA’S external future-living lab. With a shared interest in exploring how digital tools can be applied to traditional techniques — and the potential of a CNC milling machine in particular — Yuan Chieh Yang, Benas Burdulis, and Emil Froege together found answers in three very different but eye-opening ways.

You can read and see more at Space10.

If you’re in Ottawa, consider Indigenous Walks.

Indigenous Walks is a walk and talk through downtown Ottawa exploring landscape, architecture, art and monuments through an Indigenous perspective.

The character Danerys Targaryen finally returned to Westeros on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, but the actress, Emilia Clarke, shot the scene on a Northern Irish beach called Downhill Strand. Much of what viewers know as Westeros, in fact, is actually Northern Ireland, including parts of Winterfell, Slaver’s Bay, and the Kingsroad—all thanks to the nation’s open tracts of land and many surviving castles. To draw attention to this fact, Ireland’s tourism board commissioned a massive tapestry that details every episode of the series.

The 66-meter-long artwork is on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. A group of artisans including the museum’s director, Katherine Thomson, are embroidering each meter with characters and symbols that summarize each one of the episodes preceding Sunday’s “Dragonstone.” As Season 7 progresses, they’ll add more yardage to the tapestry to reflect new developments on the HBO juggernaut. By the end of season 7 it will be 77 meters long.

You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

A Downward Nerd-Driven Death Spiral, Alassie!

Lassie (CBS) 1954 – 1974 Shown: Jon Provost (as Timmy Martin, 1958-1964), Lassie the Dog.

In a fit of nerdiness, I must point out that in the photo, that is not Lassie the Dog, that’s Pal playing Lassie. All the ‘Lassies’ were played by male dogs, all of them Pal’s descendants. Over at that stew of conservative, christian nuttery, Barbwire, one Dr. Michael Brown opines over the state of television. It’s quite clear that Mr. Brown watches entirely too much television. It never seems to dawn on these glorifiers of a non-existent past that watching television is a choice, you don’t have to watch.

He lists one television show after another, mourning how great they were. No one ever thought Leave It To Beaver was corny back in the day, oh no! Because of course, we all know that yes, all housewives did indeed clean and cook in a dress, heels, perfectly done make-up, and pearls. No one ever joked about that, no. The Andy Griffith show was a perfect reflection of Southern cops. Good thing Mayberry didn’t have any black people. Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds, which was right and proper! And on and on it goes. In the end, the whine is simply a shill for his book. He does mention a different article though, which centers around The Game of Thrones. We’ll get to that in a bit. What did make me snort tea laughing was this particular comment:

Where are the CENSORS of the 1950’s and 1960’s who would not have permitted such filth and violence to be aired on TV, especially during PRIME TIME???? Even the famous LAW AND ORDER programs have become progressively vulgar and violent over the course of their tenure, and they are not the only TV programs to undergo such anti-societal changes!!!! Again, WHERE ARE THOSE CENSORS THAT WE NEED TO CLEAN UP THE FILTH AND VIOLENCE ON TV, RADIO, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, AND VIDEO GAMES??????????

Goodness, there’s enough melodrama there for Game of Thrones! This is no longer the age of Comstock, thankfully, and nasty personifications of sourness no longer get to rule over all. Societies change over time. That’s called progress. There isn’t anything new, there just isn’t one tabu after another in regard to talking about something. Or singing about it. Or acting it. There’s a great deal of naughtiness in the works of Shakespeare, all different kinds. Of course, it helps to have a functioning brain to get all that naughtiness. There’s always been naughtiness. Pursing your lips and pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t get you anywhere, you know.

Moving on to Game of Thrones, the naughtiest of them all! After watching a full six seasons of the show, one Matthew Walther came to the conclusion that Game of Thrones is bad. Very bad. That it took six years for him to figure this out says quite a bit about Mr. Walther. I can’t make any judgments about it; I heard early on about the high amounts of rape in the books, and decided this wasn’t for me. It’s very difficult for me to read such scenes, and I certainly can’t do that on a repeat loop. Nor can I watch it, so I have not read the books or seen the show. In his fervor of complaint, Mr. Walther swallowed a couple of thesauruses doused in deep purple ink.

I used to watch Game of Thrones. Then I realized it was endangering my immortal soul.

You don’t have an immortal soul, dude. Even if you did, I’d expect you’ll have to work off that six years you spent reveling in the show. After all, Jehovah really isn’t the forgiving sort, in spite of all the PR attempts.

Game of Thrones is unquestionably the most acclaimed and beloved show on television. But HBO’s hit fantasy series, which returns for a seventh season this Sunday, is not a drama for adults. It’s not even a soap opera. It is ultra-violent wizard porn — and boring ultra-violent wizard porn at that. Two decades ago, watching it would have gotten you shoved into a locker.

Ooooh, boring ultra-violent wizard porn. Quick question, Matt: if it was so damn boring, why did you watch it for six years? 20 years ago would have been 1997, and no, I don’t think anyone would have been shoved in a locker over watching Game of Thrones. I expect it would have been right popular then, too, just like Tolkien has been popular, Dungeons & Dragons has been popular, and Warhammer has been popular.

Popular culture in the English-speaking world is in the grips of a downward nerd-driven death spiral. Outside of the art-house theaters of our major cities it is almost impossible to find more than one semi-decent film a month that is not an adaptation of some decades-old picture book franchise about men in rubber costumes punching each other.

A “picture book franchise.” Hee. Oh, you can’t manage to say comic book. Or graphic novel. Oh, and they aren’t rubber suits, dude. That would be something quite different. It’s lycra, and lots of people wear the stuff. Besides, it allows us to check out all those finely honed bodies. What’s the point of a world-class arse if it can’t be seen? The punching does get tiring, though. So, it’s impossible to find more than one semi-decent film a month? Hmmm. Glancing over Netflix, I have to disagree. Lots and lots of good stuff that isn’t comic-book based. As for what comprises ‘decent’, well, we’d need to define that word first. There’s always plenty of crappy christian flicks being churned out of one mill or another. Watch those.

The average video game player is more than 30 years old. The only book that most Americans between the ages of 23 and 40 seem to have read whose title does not begin with some variation of “Harry Potter and the” is a fable about talking animals that they were assigned in middle school. Things are bad.

Apparently you can’t bring yourself to type Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s much more than a fable, you flaming idiot. Obviously, your schooling didn’t do much good. Oh, the utter horror of 30 year olds playing games. I have news for you, Matt, people of all ages love games, video and otherwise. Humans need to play, we are all much better people for having play time. It’s not just for kids. I’ve read the Potter books. I’ve read much more than that. Here’s a tiny slice of the 2,000something books in my house:

How many books do you own, Matt? And how many of them have you read? What’s your library checkout rate? You don’t seem to be nearly as interested in books as you are in movies and television. From where I sit, you don’t get to moan about the reading habits of others without disclosing your own.

There is a deeper sense in which the old problems that were the hallmark of realist fiction and drama — the old stand-bys of morals, manners, marriage, and money — are simply not interesting to people who are not emotionally mature enough to engage with them.

The old stand-bys are still very much with us, you fuckwitted pontificator. I expect there’s plenty of all that stuff in Game of Thrones. Old movies are still popular, y’know. And escapism was every bit as prevalent then as now. People need that, too. Most people have the sense to know that life is not as neat as any movie or television show. We learn early on that stuff isn’t real. Most of us learn that anyway.

We really are, emotionally speaking, a nation of teenagers — albeit horny ones with generous allowances.

Hahahahahaha. Oh my. Speak for yourself, cupcake. My teen years are long behind me, and good riddance to them.

But the real problem with Game of Thrones is not that it is, like most American popular culture these days, fundamentally adolescent. It is that it is obscene. It is not just bad art; it is art that is bad and bad for you.

I had this realization sometime last year. My wife had gone to bed, and I was sitting up having just finished the penultimate episode of the show’s sixth season on my laptop. Then it occurred to me.

Ah yes, the meat of it all – the great revelation, after six years! If you’re a representative example of what Jehovah has to work with, no wonder it never gets anything done. Everyone ready? Here it is:

My goodness. I’ve just spent an hour watching to see if a guy who raped a teenage girl at bow-and-arrow point is going to be eaten alive by the animals he has spent the last few seasons subjecting to forms of cruelty that make Michael Vick look like a PETA ambassador or beaten to death in the freezing cold by his victim’s half-brother. Thank goodness the guy who set his terminally ill daughter on fire in a pyromantic oblation to a heathen god at the behest of a witch who never seems to wear any clothes is not around to prevent justice from being carried out here — the woman whose size makes her the frequent butt of bestiality-related jokes killed him just in time! Lucky that she has a wealthy and well-connected benefactor in a one-armed knight whose hobbies from childhood on have included killing people and sleeping with his queen sister — including in a church right next to the corpse of one of their unacknowledged sons — to whom we were first introduced when he pushed the little brother of the above-mentioned rape victim out of a window to conceal his incest from her drunken prostitute-addicted domestic-abuser husband! Almighty God has made me in His own image and endowed me with faculties of reason and sense perception and given me free will so that I can tune in next week to see whether the unidextrous dueling champ’s royal sister sets her daughter-in-law and the rest of her extended family on fire or just a bunch of priests. Hallelujah!

You certainly are dim, Matt. So, let’s see: rape, cruelty to animals, sacrifices to a god, nakedness, filthy rich people, incest, drunks, other assorted addicts, prostitutes, and abusive husbands. Got it. Which ones of those are not present and rife in current societies, Matt? Those are all part and parcel of what might be termed the human condition. And no, you don’t have to watch it, or read it, if you don’t want to do so. Glad you finally got that one figured the fuck out. Took long enough. Bet it won’t be long before you’re being tormented by your desire to find out what the heck happens in the 7th season.

What does it say about our culture and the state of the souls of millions who participate in it that anyone could find any of this even mildly diverting, much less praise it as a triumph of man’s creative energies and subject it to endless hours of analysis and speculation?

You found it entertaining for SIX YEARS. You are spending many words on it now. Perhaps you should turn your attention inward.

Half a century ago, when our absurdly generous obscenity laws were still occasionally enforced, a program like this could not have been conceived, much less produced at great expense and broadcast.

That would have been 1967, and you are so full of shit, Matt. Yes, it could have been conceived and produced, and likely would have been, and people would have been deliciously scandalised, like they are now, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Just because you couldn’t be quite so explicit in years past, you could certainly imply whatever you liked, and there was a hell of a lot of implication going on. In a famous film, M, starring Peter Lorre, the murders of the children aren’t dwelt upon, but the movie is horrifying nonetheless. There are distinct parallels between the criminal underworld and the cops, too. There’s a tremendous amount of nasty in that film, and strikes all too true to actual life. That was in 1931. The 1960s saw some of the most lurid films ever in the horror genre. You also seem to know absolutely nothing about the actual history of royalty, and their habit of inbreeding. Are you sure you had any schooling?

One of the most persistent liberal myths is that art has no moral content, that reading or watching or listening to something can never be in itself evil.

Oh for fuck’s sake. That’s a myth you made up, Matt. There’s no such thing. I’m an artist. Everything we do is dependent on the subjective perceptions and gaze of others. A great deal of art speaks to morality or issues, and has done throughout the ages. That doesn’t mean all of it does. Sometimes, it’s just something pretty or interesting.

You can only watch so many decapitations and eye-gouges and rapes and brother-on-sister grope fests before you either give up on the wretched proceedings in disgust or decide to pretend that “Lol, nothing matters” and it’s not worth having feelings anyway. Not exactly, in the latter, case a resounding victory for the human spirit.

Well, it did take you six fucking years. Doesn’t say much for your intellect or your spirit.

Game of Thrones reminds us that boredom and despair are, theologically speaking, synonyms.

No, you flaming dipshit, no. Boredom and despair are not synonyms, and have very different meanings, theologically speaking or not.

Both the messes: Alassie! and Matt Walther Is An Idiot.

Game Of Thrones: Lego and Fashion.

Matt Omori.

There’s yet to be an official Game of Thrones Lego set for fans to geek out over, so programmer Matt Omori, a.k.a., YouTuber Tusserte, went ahead and built his own. In a project that took him around 18 months and over 100 hours of input, he’s built a Lego replica of the Red Keep throne room.

Omori designed the room from scratch after studying its appearances in the series and watching behind-the-scenes footage. The resulting model used around 15,000 pieces, 1,000 of which are just used as scaffolding for the base and can’t even be seen in the final model. Before it was built, Omori played around with designs in Lego’s Digital Designer software, which helped him nail the design virtually and let him know what specific parts he needed to buy.

You can see and read much more at The Creators Project.

Game of Thrones is a tale told in cloth as much as it is in blood and fire. Between the CGI-heavy battles with White Walkers and wildfire, the politics of presentation is key. Who can forget the end of Season Four when Sansa abandoned her girlish gowns for black leather and feathers, or Jon Snow’s Season Six shift from the black crow cape to the proudly wearing the Direwolf of Winterfell?

Costume designer Michele Clapton, who’s taken home two Emmys for her work on Game of Thrones. She opens up about her past and the creative process behind her most stunning ensembles in a new featurette. Along with nuggets about her fashion school days bouncing ideas off fellow New Romantics Steve Strange and Boy George, she concisely summarizes the role of a costume designer: “You know the story, you know what their relationships are. You need to say that somehow in cloth.”

This post contains minor spoilers for Game of Thrones.

Via The Creators Project.

White Genocide In Space!

Oh, the moans! The whines! The cries of the incredibly privileged white dudes! Will no one think of the bros? I can answer that one: No. You’re free to fuck off and not watch the new Trek, which, horror of horrors, is not stuffed to the starship ceiling with white men.

The new series Star Trek Discovery stars Asian actress Michelle Yeoh as the ship’s captain and black actress Sonequa Martin-Green as her first officer — and this has caused some Trekkies to fret about the lack of white men in charge.

While the overall reaction to the new Star Trek trailer has been positive — although there are the usual complaints from Star Trek fans about continuity errors — one group of fans is particularly upset about the show’s diverse cast of characters.

As both Heat Street and Daily Kos point out, the series’ YouTube page has been bombarded by comments labeling the show a “SJW” plot aimed at shoving “political correctness,” “forced diversity,” and even “cultural Marxism” down viewers’ throats.

Additionally, some angry Twitter users have even proclaimed that the show’s diverse cast is evidence of a “white genocide” conspiracy aimed at eliminating the white race from the face of the Earth.

Trailer from here.

Hee. Oh my, it’s a day to get drunk on tears. Via Raw Story.

Cool Stuff Friday.

the artist in front of “Tyrannosaurus” in Chiba prefecture (2016).

“Asura” in Akita prefecture (2015).

Toshihiko Hosaka began making sand sculptures in art school and has been using beaches and sand boxes as his canvas for almost 20 years. His work defies what we typically think of as sand art as he sculpts and carves the loose, granular substance as if it were some malleable form of clay.

There is no core, mold or adhesive ever used throughout the process: just sand. The only trick Hosaka uses (and this is commonly accepted) is a hardening spray applied to his sculpture only after it’s been completed, in order to prevent wind and sun from eroding it for a few days.

Looking at his work, you can hardly credit it, that’s it’s just sand, nothing more, because it’s truly amazing and intricate. He has done sculptures of Musashi Miyamoto, Godzilla, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Asura, and a massive Kraken, among others. All the ones listed you can see at Spoon & Tamago, and be sure to visit Toshihiko Hosaka’s website!

An octopus sings about overfishing:

Overfishing Song from “Papa Cloudy’s Restaurant” from Studio Creature on Vimeo.

Artist Chuck Miller is fascinated with bodies, as many artists are, however, what fascinates Miller the most is fluidity and complexity of flesh. You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

Milena Ogrizovic beside Monument of the Fallen Fighters. Designer: Dajana Vasic.

Throughout the former Yugoslavia, mysterious and beautiful monuments dot the landscape, initiated by Yugoslav revolutionary Josef Broz Tito and designed by modernist architects. Increasingly forgotten, these brutalist concrete sculptures, which were public monuments to the country’s fallen soldiers of World War II, are revived in Serbian photographer Jovana Mladenovic‘s series Monumental Fear, which not only explores the former country’s triumph over fascism, but echoes the painful split that led to several Balkan states. Mladenovic’s series is also a tone poem meant to celebrate the creativity of the Serbian people, many of them artists facing uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit vote.

After studying photography at Belgrade’s University of Arts, Mladenovic moved to London to pursue her interest in fashion photography at the London College of Fashion. But she soon realized she was more interested in conceptual art and photography. Though she was happy to be in London, exploring avant-garde impulses, Mladenovic started thinking about her home country—specifically, its brutalist Yugoslavian communist monuments unveiled in the decades following World War II.

Fascinating and beautiful work. You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

And last, but certainly not least, Mr. Rogers!

Mr. Rogers is singing about how it’s ok to hug a pillow or pine after a teddy bear, and even though it seems like I’m too old for such things, I feel my stomach drop and I’m suddenly having trouble breathing. I feel like a kid again, and thanks to the 18-day Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood marathon currently streaming on Twitch, over 2 million people have already had the chance to feel the same. The Twitch stream is playing the entire Mister Rogers archive back-to-back in chronological order, including rare episodes that only aired once on terrestrial TV.

Twitch reached out to PBS with an idea for a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood revival in the lead up to the show’s 50th anniversary. They launched the marathon on May 15, partially thanks to the overwhelming response to marathons of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, and Julia Child’s The French Chef on the streaming platform. “We were excited to build on that momentum with this experimental initiative,” Lesli Rotenberg, a Senior Vice President at PBS, tells Creators.

You can read more about this at The Creators Project. The Twitch Mr. Roger’s Stream.

“I Don’t Watch Them!”

Jim Cooke/FMG.

Just the other day, Unpresident Trump insisted that he simply does not watch mainstream media anymore, no, not ever. He doesn’t watch anything which is negative. Naturally, that statement is belied by his frequent morphs into Mr. Tweet, ranting about this, that, and the other negative something as seen or read on mainstream media. He’s running away to a ‘campaign rally’ in order to avoid the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, but does anyone think the Tiny Tyrant won’t be obsessing over every remark anyway?

It would seem that the Tiny Tyrant’s staff was unaware of his insistence that he does not watch, no, not ever, not anymore, as they have said that it’s extremely difficult to curb his excessive reliance on television. They also said he ‘hate watches’ in the evening, going over all the negative stuff, which outside of Fox, is pretty much everything everywhere.

“When I see it’s such false reporting and such bad reporting and false reporting that I’ve developed an ability that I never thought I had,” Trump insisted. “I don’t watch things that are unpleasant. I just don’t watch them.”

“I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch [negative] things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch.”

Contrary to this statement:

Trump turns on cable news immediately upon arising each morning and spends the day checking in via a television in the White House dining room. However, once the president goes upstairs at the end of the day, aides lose their ability to monitor and moderate the president’s intake.

“Once he goes upstairs, there’s no managing him,” one adviser told the Post.

“Sometimes, at night, he hate-watches cable shows critical of him, while chatting on the phone with friends, said someone familiar with the president’s routine — a quirk a senior official jokingly called ‘multi-teching.’” the Post said.

[…]

Foreign leaders are urging their diplomats to go on U.S. television when they visit the country so as to catch Trump’s attention. Trump has insisted that he wouldn’t dream of firing Press Secretary Sean Spicer — even after his gaffe comparing Hitler favorably to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

“I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” said Trump. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

There we are again – “great ratings”. That’s all this unstable, stupid asshole cares about. He thinks of himself and everyone around him as being on a television reality show. And if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, eh, who cares? Ratings! Things going bad again? Oh, have Spicer say something stupid about Hitler.

Via Raw Story, one and two.

Sean Spicer Gets Veeped.

I spliced together footage and music from HBO’s Veep, about a fictional administration full of incompetent, tone-deaf, narcissists, with footage of an actual administrations full of incompetent, tone-deaf, narcissists.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus tweeted this, saying This feels like an Emmy winning episode to me.

SlayTV.

Slay

Screengrab.

Enter SlayTV.

Slay was founded by Sean Torrington, a former Goldman Sachs project manager, and his husband Terry; after Torrington lost his job in 2010 , he decided to follow his passion for filmmaking by creating some YouTube web series based on the lives of black and brown LGBTQ people. They then created an app to curate content from Youtube and the web onto one platform. And Slay has been growing ever since.

SlayTV officially launches on May 15 online, on iOS and Android devices, as well as on Roku, Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and other services.

Torrington hopes to empower content creators to become “sustainable entrepreneurs” who generate their own revenue. “Slay is not only digital TV, it is a production company and an ad agency,” he tells Out. “We will build campaigns around content on our network to get it branded.”

That content includes a wide variety of programs in various formats, for and by queer people of color, such as: the docu-series Other Boys NYC, a 50-part series exploring narratives of queer and transgender men of color; No Shade, inspired by Torrington’s coming-of-age in New York; and the romantic sitcom Love @ First Night, based loosely on Sean and Terry’s relationship.

Out has a nice introduction video. SlayTV. SlayTV on youtube. Great content, wonderful people, go explore!

Game of Thrones Sigil Teaser.

I’ve never seen the show (or read the books), but I know most everyone else on the planet has, so here’s their opening teaser. If you head over to the Creators Project, you can also view their FB special:

A crew on Facebook Live placed a solid chunk of ice containing the release date on a pedestal next to a flamethrower. “Type ‘FIRE’ in the comments to reveal the #GoTS7 premiere date,” they instructed fans, and with each new comment they blasted the ice with fire. At the end of the 11-minute video, the date was revealed…

There’s more at the link!