After a long illness and declining health actor Kenny Baker has passed away today. He was active in film making for over 50 years and will be best remembered for his portral of droid R2-D2 in the Star Wars series.
R2-D2, beloved blue and white astromech droid or perhaps, the biggest scumbag in Star Wars? via Geek.com.
Episode 1: Jedi Party. Episode 2: The Friend Zone. Episode 3: Revenge of Middle Management. And now, Episode 4: Laser Moon Awakens. See also: The smoking and youth biology PSAs. And, of course, this (previously).
John Powers (of Star Wars: A New Heap) writes The Future of Art: Rosalind Krauss is a Jedi - "If Krauss is Leia, Le Corbusier is a pretty great candidate for General Tarkin." Star Wars Semiotics - "At HiLobrow we’re wary of structuralist heuristic devices. But we do enjoy tinkering with them — and we’ve noticed that the logical expansion of binary oppositions does help stimulate the imagination. However… does Powers’ square function properly?" A Crisis in Criticism: Star Wars is not Literature, it is an Object. - "Glenn's post is good natured and whip smart - but he's dead wrong. While he is no doubt the superior semiotician ... and I can't hope to outsmart the guy, mine is the better diagram." Star Wars Highbrow: Thesis Antithesis Synthesis - "In addition to describing the square above Glenn's original post also discussed his choices for the cardinal points at some length in terms of a "highbrow-lowbrow-middlebrow-nobrow-hilobrow schema." It is a scheme he has charted elsewhere, admitting that "aesthetic and lifestyle choices aren't entirely independent of social class."" [more inside]
What's the intersection between Star Wars and the Muppets? Chances are you'll think of Yoda. Maybe you knew that Jim Henson & his creature-makers had nothing to do with the original Star Wars movie. And sure, you probably knew that some of the Star Wars cast were featured on the Muppet Show (watch on YouTube). But wait, there's more. [more inside]
Alphabet Blocks for a Geek Baby "Amateur engineer/designer" Jonathan M. Guberman made his newborn son a set of custom engraved wooden alphabet blocks, with "things that his mother and I were looking forward to sharing with him" on 4 of the 6 sides. (See them all here) "The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance" which makes them even more awesome. (Of course, your choices for certain letters may vary)
Tony says to me, “Why don’t you try little Jon”. Well, all right, let’s try him. And after just the first few notes out of his mouth I said, “Yes! This is him. This is the one! This is the one who should sing it”. He had this cute little voice - he was still a kid, and his voice really hadn’t even come down in pitch yet. It was still a little high but he had a great feeling for it. And of course, we all know what this little kid went on to do – he became one of the biggest rock and roll stars of all time. Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording: R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas [more inside]
Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer explains how Star Wars has dulled the edge that made science fiction such a pertinent film genre. A Galaxy Far, Far Away My Ass... Pt. Two, Pt. Three [more inside]
"Using these values, the mass of R2 is 0.1 kg. Yes, 100 grams. How do I know I am correct? I know because Wookieepedia doesn't list R2's mass or weight. They know it is silly, so they left it off." A physicist explains why R2D2 must weigh less than styrofoam. [more inside]
Bassline Bassline. Rock has its electric guitar, hip-hop has its turntable/mic, and electronic music has its Roland TB-303. One of the few single instruments that can claim to define the entire genre, its history is an interesting one: "Bassline Baseline is a video essay that investigates the invention, failure and subsequent resurrection of the mythic Roland TB-303 Bass Line music machine in the last two decades of the 20th century."
R2-D2 Beneath the Dome is cute, funny, silly and the most despicable ploy to hype a movie ever in the history of cinema. Most importantly, it diminishes the stature of a great man, by failing to mention Kenny Baker's contribution to the successful phenomenon. It's like talking about Indiana Jones "behind the scenes" without mentioning Harrison Ford.
Episode II loses the 'humanity' of R2-D2 Artoo to be totally computer-generated? Kenny Baker smells a rat as the Industrial Light and Magic boys wire up a dustbin for motion capture...