Although most New Yorkers haven't been there, the Hole hides in plain sight. Many pass it on the way to John F Kennedy International Airport, on a bleak road above which jets wheeze in on their final descent toward the runways along Jamaica Bay. Behind a tatty curtain of trees and weeds, there is a strange depression in the land, as if a sinkhole had opened here on the desultory border between Brooklyn and Queens. It looks less like a New York neighbourhood than an Arkansas village, only with housing projects on the horizon instead of the Ozark Mountains. Welcome to the Hole.
Supreme Court rules against gerrymandering - "Ginsburg's opinion is now the law, and I suspect that, in a few decades, this case will be considered one of the most important of the term. Thus far, only California has copied Arizona and created an independent redistricting commission. But with the court's blessing, more states are likely to follow suit. These commissions have been hugely successful thus far, a real boost for representative democracy and a cure for the notoriously stubborn problem of gerrymandering. Had Justice Anthony Kennedy swung away from Ginsburg and aligned with his fellow conservatives, America would be facing down a distressingly undemocratic future."
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
Democrat and Independent merge campaigns in Alaska governor’s race The Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska and an independent candidate announced Tuesday that they have merged their campaigns, marking the beginning of an unprecedented political alliance in the state that could put a Republican-held seat in play this fall.
The O+ Festival in San Francisco offers artists an opportunity to barter their services for dental and health treatment. "The O+ Festival in San Francisco this weekend would seem a typical indie arts event, with performances by local musicians and displays of funky art. But in a twist that highlights a longstanding problem in the creative economy, the artists involved will be paid not in cash but rather in something they may need just as badly: health care." [more inside]
The criminally overlooked work of independent Canadian animator Myles Langlois has my vote for best thing on the internet right now. Specifically Apollo Gauntlet, the tale of a lone hero prone to quips and violence wandering an (imaginary?) wasteland in search of Dr Benign so he can return to Earth, and Superspace, the saga of two mounties, a woman and her son, a criminal, a pilot, a robot and a bald guy who find themselves trapped aboard an alien spaceship. The low-rent production style, like highschool binder doodles come to life, and hazy Sifl and Olly-style humour might take a little getting used to, but it's all part of the charm. Here is a teaser, a trailer, and a 1992 Sales Presentation for Apollo Gauntlet. [more inside]
A new app has been invented that allows women ('girls only!') to rate and hashtag the men they've met, befriended or dated. The reviews are not positive. [more inside]
‘On May 24th, 2012, I set out on a musical and physical challenge. My aim was to find inspiration for the recordings on this album. I cycled to the four furthest points of mainland Britain, a journey of more than 2000 miles.On my bike I carried a mobile recording rig and, as I discovered locations along the way that provided inspiration for my songs, I was able to record (free-tracking) performances you can hear on these tracks.’
Mr. A debuted in 1967, in the third issue of Witzend, a collection of more artistically fulfilling side projects by mainstream comics professionals led by Wally Wood. In his very first panel, the Objectivist hero addresses his readers directly, stating his case that in moral life, there are no shades of gray, only evil or good, black or white. The hero stares at us, blank, emotionless. There’s a montage around him showing that his calm face is actually a metal mask, and that evil is truly disgusting. At the story’s end, Mr. A. beats up a nasty juvenile delinquent, ironically named Angel, and then allows the kid to fall to his death from a city rooftop. - Pat Barrett [more inside]
Stan Brakhage on birth and death
*. [graphic childbirth and autopsy footage] (* previously - dead links) [more inside]
In September, Los Bros Hernandez will tour the Northeast to observe the 30th anniversary of their epochal indie comic book series Love and Rockets. [more inside]
Last week, small press distributor Independent Publishers Group (IPG) announced that Amazon has decided to stop selling Kindle editions for the publishers IPG represents. The decision impacts over 500 small publishers and almost 5,000 Kindle titles. Neither party has offered much in the way of specifics, but other publishers have been reporting that Amazon has been pressuring them to offer higher discounts and/or pay a “co-op” fee of an additional 3%-4% on all sales to cover the cost of offering “automation and personalization” services (i.e. Customers who bought x also bought y). Authors and publishers have been reacting to the development.
Americans Elect is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.) The NYT thinks they'll qualify in all 50 states. They say they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some on the left see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
Treasure Adventure Game is a free 2D game of exploration on the high seas from independent developer Robit Studios. Dig, sail, fight, and dive across dozens of islands in search of a lost treasure. Download link here.
Amazon has recently declared that tomorrow is Price Check day. If you go into a brick and mortar retail store with Amazon’s new Price Check App on your smart phone, and scan a barcode with the location settings active, and then report back to Amazon on the price of that product, Amazon will deduct $5 from your online purchase of that product. Amazon claims it’s trying to keep prices low for consumers, but others attribute the move to a less innocuous agenda. [more inside]
As a historical document the book is exhaustive and valuable. But I did not come away feeling that I knew or understood Hüsker Dü — the musicians themselves, their music, or any of the people around them — any more intimately than I already did. Earles’ writing is at once densely opinionated and emotionless. He expertly follows the chronology of the band’s tours and releases, but he never makes it understandable why some of us look back on this band so reverently, or why it would be worth somebody’s time to discover Hüsker Dü today. (previously)
A tumblr blog called Quote Unquote recently presented a series of interviews with indie videogame developers, conducted over the last year, as a collection. The interviews include guys like cactus, Bennett Foddy, Chevy Ray Johnston, Jasper Byrne and Jan Willem Nijman.
cactus (aka Jonatan Söderström) is a prolific independent videogame developer. His games are known for playing against genre expectations and their surreal storytelling qualities (as in David Lynch surreal). His latest effort (a collaboration with his brother and FUCKING WEREWOLF ASSO) is called KEYBOARD DRUMSET FUCKING WEREWOLF. It's about an eskimo that that turns into a werewolf and the events that follow. Sound weird? It is. Available in pc and mac flavours.
The Observer ran a series of columns by Richard Geefe, a writer whose work was interrupted by his promise to himself and his editors that he would kill himself before the end of November 1999. First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and the posthumous twelfth. Reaction in The Independent. [more inside]
Intruded is an atmospheric 3D flash game where you play a mysterious character caught in a labyrinth of traps under the surveillance of an unknown observer.
Hot Coffee, a documentary film by Susan Saladoff, debuted at Sundance to considerably more enthusiasm than one would expect for a film about tort reform. [more inside]
The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
Three parts guitar, one part drums, one or two parts percussion (to taste), one part trumpet, and a couple dashes of organ. Add a hearty shake of vibraslap. Season with half-sung, half-spoken vocals and lyrical wordplay. And there you have it, Cake, roughly the same recipe as they've been using for the last 20 years. There is a new solar powered serving available now. [more inside]
The Chancellor of the UK coalition government has announced the details of the Comprehensive Spending Review, setting budgets for government departments to 2014/15. Total savings will be £18 billion. Local government funding will be cut 7% each year for the next four years. The Arts Council budget will be cut by 30%. 490,000 jobs are forecast to be lost over the period in the public sector. The average cuts for each government department will be 19%. The speech. HM Treasury Spending Review pages. Guardian summary. Independent article. Nick Robinson's blog for the BBC. Make your own cuts with the Guardian's interactive tool. Graphic showing 09/10 government spending (that is, before the cuts).
The Independant's 2010 Pink List... and why Stephen Fry is giving up his Number 3 spot to Louie Spence. [more inside]
Indie Bookstores Rising: New York takes a look at a new crop of indie bookstores in New York City that are defying predictions of the death of the independent bookstore.
Faces, a short animation by Lei Lei (雷磊), an independent Chinese animator and designer. He's put most of his works on Vimeo, including a short TEDxShanghai talk he gave several months ago. [more inside]
World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru and Penumbra Overture are all included in this package. The best thing about the bundle? You can pay whatever you want (above 0 ofcourse), which you can choose to split between the developers and charity at any percentage you'd like. The bundle lasts for another five days and seven hours. All of the games work on Mac, Windows, and Linux so this is a great way to check out any of these popular indie titles if you haven't had a chance to play them yet.
Pitchfork TV presents I Need That Record! (one week only), Brendan Toller's documentary feature examining the plight of independent record stores in the U.S. Featuring Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Ian Mackaye (Fugazi/Minor Threat), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group) Chris Franz (Talking Heads), Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), Pat Carney (The Black Keys), Bryan Poole (Of Montreal), and many more figures of the indie record making/selling scene. Plus the wild animations of Matthew Newman-Long! (previously mentioned)
"What are you f**king playing at?” Mr Murdoch asked Mr Kelner in a loud voice and in front of dozens of bemused journalists."This week, 300,000 copies of the UK's Independent newspaper were distributed for free advertising the paper's claim to editorial independence stating, "Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will".
According to the Financial Times, Murdoch's son James subsequently stormed into the Independent's newsroom brandishing a copy of the edition, protesting it besmirched his father’s reputation. "Lively times," the Guardian observes.
"[The customers] come in here, by my grabbing them and touching them and screaming at them they become human beings."
Jerry's Deli (starts at 1:02) by Tom Palazzolo, 1976. A short documentary on deli owner Jerry Meyers, who's been screaming abuse at his loyal customers for 30 years. (Clipstream/Java video. Click on lower right corner of the video to enlarge. Or here's a Youtube with out-of-synch audio.) [more inside]
In GNILLEY, one must yell loudly to destroy enemies and remove obstacles. "They die faster the angrier I am," states the developer, Radix.
GNILLEY is one of the products of this weekend's Global Game Jam, 48 hours of largely sleepless, non-stop gamemaking. Via TIGSource.
GNILLEY is one of the products of this weekend's Global Game Jam, 48 hours of largely sleepless, non-stop gamemaking. Via TIGSource.
Miramax Films (named after founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein's parents Miriam and Max) has been closed. The company was founded in 1979, but found massive success in the 90s with films like The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, Clerks, and The English Patient, and many others. Owned by Disney, the production company still has six movies unreleased. More at The Wrap.
As the Tea Party outpolls the Republican Party in a generic three-way ballot, disaffected progressives are considering independent parties of their own.
Oxfam, the 67-year-old Oxford-based confederation of multinational organizations, spends more than $600 million a year around the world fighting poverty, famine, climate change and discrimination. $32 million of that budget comes from book sales at its 130 second-hand bookshops in the UK, making them the second largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe. Now, independent booksellers are beginning to speak out about the competition. On the BBC, in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and the New York Times, some British booksellers are questioning the wisdom of charities using chain stores to raise funds. Are they “destroying lives here to save them elsewhere” as they’ve been accused of by one former UK bookseller, or is this the logical economic result of “the English town with the secondhand bookshop everybody loves but most people never actually go into.” as David McCullough, director of trading for Oxfam recently speculated?
People have been trying to make the appearance of three-dimensional movement almost as far back as the first movie cameras. The very first efforts used stereoscopy (more pre-vious-ly), which wasn't functional for theater-settings. In 1915, the first public test of 3D film was deemed unsuccessful, as images presented with green/red lenses detracted from the plot, but that didn't stop people from trying to make 3D films. Polarized glasses are another inexpensive method of simulated 3D, while shutterglasses are a more costly method. Up to 1998 or so, there were approximately 187 3D movies made, not counting porn, cartoons and shorts (which bring the 1998 total to 263). 2009 is supposedly the year that 3D movies really take off, as it has been reported that 3D films are expected to gross over $1bn (£700m) at the box office next year, a five-fold increase on their $200m haul in 2008. There are some really big titles coming, including the "3D drug trip" that is Avatar, and all of the announced future Pixar releases will get the Digital Disney 3-D treatment. But 3D isn't limited to the big screen and big companies. The next format war could be over 3D TV. And now the independent production company MeniThings has released the feature-length movie, Battle for Terra. [via mefi projects, and a bit more on the movie after the jump] [more inside]
The novlist Julie Myerson has written a book, The Lost Child, about her son's addiction to cannabis, the violent behaviour she says this caused and her tough love policy. Extract. Her son is angry that she's published it, and says his parents over-reacted: "I wasn't doing anything that most other teenagers do, but such was their naive terror of drugs they were acting like six-year-olds". It comes out through MumsNet that Julie Myerson was the anonymous author of a Guardian column, "Living with Teenagers," which described her children's behaviour candidly without their knowledge. Extract. Myerson first denied this. The Guardian discusses whether it was right to publish the columns. Myerson is interviewed about whether she was right to publish The Lost Child. Her partner, and son's father, Jonathan Myerson supports her: This is an emergency. Her son says she's addicted to writing. [more inside]
Metro Collective is an international coalition of independent photographers. This website is an ongoing compilation of features and portfolios that represent the individual visions of Metro photographers and their commitment to particular subjects. Their weblog features Metro news and single images, plus interesting outtake images, tearsheets, and behind the image commentary.
“It is going to be rough for us Top 20 publishers. It will be epic for anyone smaller. Lots of folks will vanish due to this, even some bigger guys.” - Hard times ahead for indie comics: Diamond Distribution, which has an effective monopoly on American comics distribution, will be raising it’s wholesale benchmark, meaning many of the comiocs currently available in comics stores will soon be dropped. In a further blow to the adult comics market Diamond will be dropping that section from the print version of Previews, in favour of a PDF only available to retailers. Comics are about to get a whole lot blander.
Savage 2 is an innovative mix of first-person shooter, third-person action rpg, and real-time strategy. Teams consisting of 18 different classes, each with unique abilities, are divided in squads led by an officer, and under the direction of a single commander with a top down view of the action. Players must help their commander capture resources, advance their front line, and eventually destroy the enemy’s stronghold while accumulating experience and improving their abilities. Did I mention as of December 9th, it has become free to play? [more inside]
Here's to Ray Dennis Steckler, the independent filmmaker who wrote, starred (as Cash Flagg) and directed influential films including The Thrill Killers, Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, and his masterpice The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. A visionary artist whose influnce is clearly seen in contemporary cinema, Steckler was prolific (producing movies from 1963 until last year), economical (his films were self-produced, shot on 16mm film and later Hi-8 video), and brilliant (as clearly evidenced in this dance sequence from Creatures, "The First Monster Musical"). It hasn't been widely reported yet, but fans are mourning his passing. He died in his sleep yesterday, January 7th, aged 70. [more inside]
Alien Breed + arena shooter + online highscores = Alien Deathmatch 2. Windows only.
Presidential Underdogs: it's not only McCain who lost the elections.
I Wanna Be The Guy is an insanely addictive and sadistically difficult independently developed video game that takes you on a wacky romp through some truly brilliantly designed stages. Along the way you have to best gaming history's most perilous adversaries, like a Giant Radioactive Zangief. [more inside]
Housing, preserving, and providing access to these small-scale, homemade rags that document some corner of [often do-it-yourself and punk rock] culture, zine archives can be found via independently operated centers in Georgia (physical library in construction), New Orleans (myspace link, www address out-of-commission), Florida, Minneapolis, Denver, Cambridge, Olympia, Chicago, Seattle and... [more inside]
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