On Friday I graduated college.

Fine looking family.

Big day in Theebs history

It was a pretty good day.

At first, I thought it was stupid. A huge gathering of people all wearing the same thing, sitting around listening to some windbags go on about our futures and the first days of the rest of our lives.

But as the ceremony went on, I felt immense joy. Me and all of the people I have associated with for the past five years have accomplished something together. It turned out to be a good time.

During the ceremony, I wrote a poem to mark the occasion. Here it is in its entirety:

The end is beginning

And the bells are

ringing

ringing

ringing.

Raise your voices in celebration.

Begin singing

singing

singing.

The doors are open.

Wide and free.

The path stretches

before you and me.

Those bells are chiming

Still ringing

ringing

ringing.

The voices are swelling

Still singing

singing

singing.

The path is winding

long and unknown.

We follow along,

not knowing where it goes.

The bells are thunderous.

Ringing

ringing

ringing.

The voices are sonorous.

Singing

singing

singing.

The world is spread before us.

With all its horror and glory.

Come tragedy or comedy,

whatever the story.

Those bells ring us in

like a new calender year.

The voices sing our praises

to chase away our fear.

It is time.

The end is beginning.

The bells are still sounding.

The voices keep singing.

 

This week’s short is very dear to me.

I saw this short film waaaay back in high school and it has stuck with me ever since.

Not only is it well shot with a poignant message, but it also has an amazing original song, which you can download on iTunes.

This film is about the nature of happiness, drugs, and how others perceive our emotions. It grows more relevant with every passing day.

Enjoy!

Finally got around to doing some painting this week. My kitchen was looking a little sparse art-wise, so I whipped up this bad boy.

That'd do, painting. That'll do.

That’d do, painting. That’ll do.

We eat a lot of pork in my house.

I tried something a little different with this painting, in that it’s on canvas. Normally, I like to paint on canvas or watercolor paper, as it’s a lot cheaper.

I stepped up to the plate though and put this one down on canvas. Of course, I practiced it a bunch of times before I made the final.

Here’s a few of the drafts if you’re curious.

photo 2 (2)

I wanted to do a painting based on the different cuts of pork.

Once I got the shape down, I did some experimenting with color. I wanted the pig to look like it’s been cooked.

pigdraft

This was one of the first attempts. Things were a little too tight for me, so I made the spaces between the cuts wider in the final.

This one looks a little more red, but that’s because I only did one coat on this one instead of the two I did on the final.

This one is hanging in the kitchen, so I’m afraid it’s not for sale.

 

Changing this pace with this week’s pick.

It’s about a camera crew that follows around two serial killers who attempt to kill sixteen victims in twenty four hours.

This one is a little more artsy than some of the other shorts I’ve featured- it’s in black and white and all of the dialogue is in French. That’s about as artsy as you can get.

However, there’s some interesting history with this film.

First off, it’s based on the Kid Cudi song “Maniac” off the album Man in the Moon Pt. 2.  Kid Cudi actually stars in this movie as one of the serial killers (you’ll never guess which one). He also did all the music, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The film was directed and written by Shia LaBeouf before he went completely insane. He even has a brief cameo at the very end.

What I find so interesting about this film is that it’s an interpretation of a song. I love seeing art beget art and I think it’s very cool that Kid Cudi had a direct hand in making this movie.

To me, Maniac takes the genre of the music video a step further. Instead of focusing on the music and lyrics, it’s reinterpreting things by taking the themes and feelings the song embodies and communicates them through another medium, not necessarily featuring the song at all. It’s a kind of translation and it’s certainly something you don’t see every day.

Shia and Kid Cudi did a great job with this short film.

I have decided to change the name of this monthly segment to “Nothing to Watch on Netflix,” as I thought of it when I wasn’t hacking up a mouthful of blood.

robot_and_frank

In my period of sickness, I got the chance to watch the movie Robot and Frank.

Keeping with the theme of old people meeting robots, Robot and Frank is much happier than the short I shared last week.

This one tied for the  Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Taking place in the distant future, Robot and Frank is about an old man whose son buys him a robot helper. Frank is the epitome of a grumpy old man. He grumbles, he rolls his eyes, and he goes on about how he doesn’t need help from some newfangled bucket of bolts.

However, Frank is slowly slipping into senility and actually does need the help. He is resistant until he realizes that Robot doesn’t have to obey the law. Frank, being a retired jewel thief, realizes that Robot is the perfect accomplice.

Going on in the background is the political implications of widespread use of robots. Frank’s daughter is an avid anti-robot activist and gets thrown into the mix while Frank and Robot are planning heists.

Robot and Frank

Directed by Jake Schreier
Produced by Lance Acord
Sam Bisbee
Jackie Kelman-Bisbee
Galt Niederhoffer
Written by Christopher D. Ford
Starring
Frank Langella
Susan Sarandon
Peter Sarsgaard
James Marsden
Liv Tyler
Music by Francis and the Lights
Cinematography Matthew J. Lloyd
Editing by Jacob Craycroft
Studio: Park Pictures
White Hat Entertainment
Dog Run Pictures
Running time 89 minute

Check this out.

Be sure to send recommendations for next month to my email

This month’s guest post is by none other than my little sister Maria Theebs.

photo (6)

For her entire life, Maria has been interested in art. I’ve watched her style mature and develop as the years have gone on. I’m immensely proud (and jealous) of my younger sister’s talent, and feel especially fortunate because I have gotten to watch her evolve as an artist.

Here’s a small selection of her immense body of work:

 

My art focuses on experimenting with different mediums, color schemes, and principles of design. I try to blend realism and surrealism in my work to reflect the nature of my imagination. I want my viewers to look at my art and be inspired to explore their own creativity, as my art helps me explore who I am and who I want to be.

 

I picked this one because it made me weep like a twelve year old girl.

It’s about an old woman who gains a new robotic housekeeper.

Enjoy!

For those of you who don’t have their fingers on the pulse of quality television, a universally hated character was killed off last night.

There was rejoicing all over the internet. People were psyched that this actor pretended to die on their screen.

But things go further than that. If you were to see this actor on the street, you would probably feel hate bubbling in your stomach with volcanic intensity. You can’t separate the character from the actor.

Skyler White- one of the most reviled characters on TV.

Skyler White- one of the most reviled characters on TV. Not to be confused with actress Anna Gunn.

This association is the product of two things- the talent of the actor and the skill of the writers.

Seeing this on-screen death and the resulting internet excitement has made me realize how important it is to write convincing characters. Characters that makes the audience suspend disbelief to the point where they forget there is any disbelief at all.

Intellectually, this may seem obvious. But it’s another thing to internalize.

We try to make our characters seem as human as possible. A lot of the time, writers miss the mark. Sure, we write believable characters, but they don’t inspire reactions that make the internet explode with rage or adoration.

There’s got to be some kind of secret recipe to make an audience connect with a character.

In cases of hate, it seems that the best course of action is to keep villains safe from karma’s clutches. No matter how bad they are, how depraved or violent they become, have them get away with it. The longer they go causing harm, the more audiences will despise them and become emotionally invested.

With good guys, it’s a little trickier. Anti-heroes are vogue. Think about Walter White. Frank Underwood. Donald Draper. These are not good men. Some would call them fucking sociopaths. It’s complicated as to why audiences like them. They’re in on their secrets and want to see them get away with it. Maybe some love to hate them and want to see them fail.

Then there are the Ned Starks. The ones who are good to a fault, whose morals lead them down the path of destruction. Audiences become invested in them because they so desperately want to see them succeed in the face of insurmountable odds, knowing in the back of their heads it’s hopeless.

What resonates with an audience is an impossible thing to predict. It’s a ghost. Something that only exists in retrospect.

But it’s clear that success lies in writing characters that audiences can become emotionally invested in, either through loving or despising them.

Your Lucky Day from Daniel Brown on Vimeo.

I actually saw this short a while back, but it has stuck with me for so long that I decided it needs to be made the short of the week.

This one is a little different from last week’s, as it is live action instead of animation. The production value is definitely pretty high for a short film, and it even has a familiar face in the cast- Rider Strong (Shawn from Boy Meets World).

It’s also pretty long for a short, running a little over 15 minutes, but I assure you, it’s really good.

Your Lucky Day is about greed and how the possibility of wealth and power will drive people to commit unspeakable acts.

This one is also pretty violent (I promise this won’t be a running theme) and kind of sexual, so maybe look over your shoulder before checking this one out.

Enjoy!

It’s rare to read a book that makes you want to go out and write. Most of the time, this motivation comes from how terrible a book is. There are instances few and far between where a book is so good that it makes a writer strive to write something half as good.

William Gibson’s Neuromancer is one of the small number of books that fall into that elusive second category.

First Edition Cover

First Edition Cover

I can’t succinctly explain why I am so enchanted with this book. It could be that it’s a seamless blend of Sci-Fi and Noir, two genres that are very dear to my heart. This combination is described as “cyberpunk” but I don’t think that really does the blend justice, and Gibson himself has tried to distance himself from the term, so I mention it here with some hesitation. Neuromancer is, at its heart, a thing of its own.

It could be the vivid description of this futuristic Earth in slow decay as people distract themselves with sex, drugs, and the endless sprawl of the matrix (a crazy, immersive version of the internet).

Oh yeah, let me mention that this book was MILES ahead of its time. Neuromancer was published in 1984 and written on a fucking typewriter. Yet Gibson predicts things like widespread use of the internet, body augmentation, and cryogenic storage.

Then there’s the plot. On top of everything else, the reader gets a tight heist/mystery with more than a few twists and turns.

And the characters…I was really blown away with how well rounded they were for a novel that appeared on the surface to be completely driven by plot. And I couldn’t believe how fucking sad I was when everything was over, because things didn’t turn out the way I wanted or expected.

Finally, the writing itself is nothing short of spectacular. Maybe that’s why Neuromancer sports one of the most famous opening lines in the history of modern fiction:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

I don’t think there’s a better way of setting the scene for the madness and bloodshed the reader is about to witness. All packaged in a simple description of the sky.

Yeah, so I guess I’m done gushing. Neuromancer is an amazing book and everyone should read it. Get it here.

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Out of the Blue Too Gallery & More

Where art meets music in the heart of Cambridge

Drunk Poetry Experiment

We'll see where this ends; It begins with me inside a bottle

Polar Bears Watch TV

Just a bear writing about TV and film.

%d bloggers like this: