Archive | August, 2016

A Day in 1998 with Art Speigelman

30 Aug

Too much on my plate to finish the second half of my ode to my a la carte streaming habits – plus I’m seeing Yes tonight performing one half of Tales From Topographic Oceans & Relayer in all its’ entirety at the Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.

Another lost blog episode from my Comics Buyer’s Guide day. I have no idea why this one didn’t make the cut, but here it all doctored up and updated for today’s hipster evolution.

0,,16249873_303,00  Imagine yourself on an oasis of on the freeway with nothing between you for miles but surrounding mountains, coyotes, mansions and maybe Harlan Ellison’s house. I found myself last Sunday ( the 15th of November ) anxious to attend a lecture given at a tranquil Jewish foundation and museum that I’ve always passed by on the 405 but was never inclined to stop by and visit; ( and further down on the same freeway and nestled on even a higher mountain is the newly opened Getty Center that is only accessible by tram ).

If you’re looking for a little isolation in your comic art indulgence in a place where nobody knows or wants to know your name ( with the exception of those doing the lecturing ),then may I recommend to you the Cartoon Art Cultural Expression and Social Commentary series happening at the Skirball Cultural Center in a very remote area of Los Angeles during this month and the next few months co-sponsored by Comic Con International and the Comics Journal ? I admit I came on the series a little late in the game having missed the Jules Feiffer tribute a few weeks prior, but Art Spiegelman and his travelling lecture slide show Comics 101 made up for lost time.

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A warning sign to patrons to beware of the fact that ” cigarette smoke will be used as part of tonight’s performance ” did not deter from packing in the auditorium. But I didn’t see any reason necessary for the disclaimer; after all the Republicans did lose five seats  in the house so I don’t think our so-called conservative state of California were going to turn on him like a pack of rabid dogs if he decided to spark one up after a few of us paid $ 12.00 a piece to hear him speak ( $ 6.00 if you happened to be a member ). And that’s a small price to pay to breathe in second-hand smoke.

What the general public was treated to was a very informative insight in the history of a taken for granted art-form, and what I mean by the term ” general public ” is by my own personal observation; these people in attendance weren’t your regular run of the mill gathering of fanboys. None at all. Some I’ve noticed seem to be a higher or middle-income bracket, clean-cut high school and college students ( a few overheard in my row were in attendance for class credit ),and just practitioners or admirers of fine art in general. And of course, there were Art’s fans with their copies of Maus and Maus II in tow for autographs.

And who better to tutor the genesis of the comic strip form than Art Speigelman ? During the course of the two-hour lecture, he gave us a brief overview of his own exquisite career in the days of the underground, Garbage Pail Kids, to the debut of Raw and Maus; with a hint of future projects on the horizon such as a junior version of Raw and the revelation that he is writing an opera on the history of comics.

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Not to be mistaken for a pair of biographies on Donald Trump

  Much degree of different of historic importance were explored in Art’s slide show in addition to profound quips and commentary uttered between puffs of tar and nicotine. One such observation according to Mr. Speigelman was that people who do comics serve the purpose of producing transformative work as real artists do and the comics themselves are internally entwined with the history of paintings themselves using such illustrations  such as William Brown’s Stages of Cruelty and Rudolph Topfier as examples. Mr Spiegelman also offered an easy analogy as how comics serve our political ideology through Krazy Kat. Krazy Kat represents democracy because she is always forgiving, Ignatz represents anarchy because he is always clobbering Krazy Kat over the head with a brick, and Officer Pup would stand for fascism because he captures Ignatz every time he smacks Krazy Kat over the head with a brick and therefore is thrown into a cell constructed of brick. I simply the comparisons to be very in tune with the way our world revolves.

Mr.Speigelman shared with us the cogs of how the comic strip industry operates from what advantage point an individual would be positioned in the food chain as to if he or she would be better off trying to break in the comic strip syndicates rather than the comic book industry itself simply because the syndicates are known to pay better. Mr. Speigelman was also kind enough to let us in on a little trade secret about the comic book industry is a major Jewish American industry, created to be more popular than the garment industry and that EC Horror comics were probably the American Jewish response to the Holocaust.

And what partial wisdom did Mr.Speigelman reveal on the current state of the industry besides the comic book stores being nothing but a gathering of Rosicrucians on a Wednesday afternoon? Glad you asked. Mr.Speigelman articulately pointed out that there is a future for a graphic novel section in bookstores, but what the general public doesn’t understand that it takes an artist years to accumulate a piece of work to be collected in graphic novel format. A star is not indeed born overnight. Mr. Speigelman concluded his lecture by saying comic books need protection from libraries and museums in order to preserve into the next century.

 

O’ Great Master of Streaming, For I Am Not Bingeworthy!!

23 Aug

 

 

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Busy, busy month, this August of 2016, and while writing bits and pieces of this blog entry, I realize that I’m sort of overdoing iit n finding some viable time in trying in keeping it cohesive and getting to keep it on schedule so close to Emmy awards time so a last-minute decision came to cutting this entry in half and hopefully I will be able to post the conclusion by this weekend. 

So without further ado…

Too much of a good thing is not healthy for you.

Things such as cigarettes, blenders full of whisky sours, comic books, and a gallon of ice cream. Things like these must be taken in moderation, or at the very least not taken seriously everyday.

Binge watching is also no exception. Too much of it in such short of a time can lead to bouts of depression, a crack cocaine cocktail high lacking of any euphoria, and leave you on the couch with a convulsing fit of story comprehension or remembrance afterward BECAUSE YOU NEED TO HAVE IT ALL AT ONCE!!

You got to spread things out a bit. Stretch out that enraptured enjoyment and not inject it in your withered veins like a decay tooth junkie, otherwise, you’re going to find yourself in a rain-soaked alley, shivering and convulsing like a worthless addict who never accomplished ONE SINGLE GODDAMN thing in your life to MERIT a rightful place in society. Take it in slow doses. Double up on a single series if you have to. But if you try to absorb it all at once, you’re going to have nothing of any satisfying emotion. Spacing out on multiple episodes may pertain to brain damage separating you from the rest of the nerd reality.

Which I actually mean to say is: STOP THAT FUCKING BINGING!! STOP THAT FUCKING BINGING RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT!!

Let’s paint some ugly scenarios:

An article on http://www.rd.com specifically states:

While binge-viewing can be fun and feel satisfying, there’s always the danger of becoming too obsessed. “Addiction involves doing an activity more than you had planned,” says Fader. “For example, if you intend to watch three episodes of a show and end up watching six, it could be a sign that you’re overdoing it.” Behavior also becomes addictive when it begins to negatively affect other aspects of your life, like if you neglect other activities or responsibilities to binge House of Cards. Fader recommends breaks between episodes and not snacking while you watch, which could lead to mindless overeating. Chatting with fellow fans about the show can also make your binge habit healthier, since it pulls you away from the main screen and allows you to reflect on what you’ve just watched.”
 
If you did nothing else, it would take three full days each to watch every season of How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife, and Lost, according to recent calculations from Nielsen Holdings, a global information and measurement company. Screening all seven seasons of The West Wing would take nearly five days. The most time-consuming series was suspense thriller 24, which would take six days and two hours to watch back to back. If those numbers don’t cause you to question your binging habits, consider how much brain-time you lose if you binge multiple series.
 
Binge-viewing tends to be a pretty isolating activity, according to a study by Marketcast, an entertainment research firm, which found that 56 percent of bingers prefer to watch alone; 98 percent watch at home. “Whenever you spend too much time on something, you’re taking time away from other essential things in life, like hanging out with friends or working,” Lyubomirsky says. But, if you get into a show with your partner or pals, experts argue it could bring you closer. “It gives you a common ground for talking about something—the characters’ motivations, the plot,” says Rutledge. “Discussing your thoughts on these aspects of a show is a way of expressing your own world view.” Using a wildly popular series as a conversation topic can possibly help you relate to others more easily.
Here’s another from USA Today:

Most people are guilty of sitting in front of the TV and binging or watching episode-after-episode of a favorite TV show, but can you imagine watching TV for 94 hours straight?

A New York man recently did just that. Alejandro “AJ” Fragoso’s 94-hour binge was set up and funded by multimedia software company CyberLink, and earned him the Guinness World Record for TV Binge Watching.

But the 25-year-old learned that non-stop binge-watching isn’t all fun and games.

“I learned that binge watching TV for abnormally long durations can be quite physically taxing,” Fragoso said in a statement.

So how bad is sitting in front of a TV or laptop for hour-after-hour?

Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in N.Y., gave Fragoso a pre-binge checkup and a post-checkup to see what effect a multi-hour binge has on the body.

He said that Fragoso had an elevated heart rate and noted that depriving the body of sleep can also result in neurological side-effects like acute hallucinations.

“If you think about the binge, you are sitting down sometimes for 20 hours and watching 15 episodes, you are doing a lot of damage to your body,” Glatter said.

Just like we’ve become aware of the adverse health effects associated with sitting all day at work, the same can be said of sitting down to binge, according to Glatter.

And it’s not great for your waistline either.

Prolonged sitting tends to increase insulin levels, which is the hormone that promotes fat storage and weight gain,” he said.

He notes that being inactive for long periods of time also raises the risk of a slew of health concerns including metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Glatter said he’s had patients come into the emergency room with dizziness and symptoms that almost mirror vertigo from prolonged screen time.

Glatter said Fragoso was likely able to break the binge-watching record in part because of his Mediterranean diet, which helped keep his blood sugar stable.

If you have to binge, here’s what you can do to decrease the damage:

  • Take 10-15 minute stretching breaks each hour
  • Sit on an exercise ball and engage your core while watching TV or rotate standing and sitting
  • Look away from the screen often and focus on something else to lessen digital eye strain

I may consider myself a binge watching denier – as I only regulate myself to an episode per week on most shows.However, I try to cram an episode of seven different series on any given night

Harkening back to my days of Hazeltine Hellmouth – (a capsule blog review of my tumultuous days with amateur porn actress Rikki Lixxx appeared here) – there was a neighbor of mine named Jeff  who I’d like to appoint as the progenitor of bingewatching before it even became a distant cog in our syntax. HE made the adulterous slang phrase “NETFLIX and chillBEFORE EVEN NETFLIX EVER EXISTED. Whenever I’d bring home a dvd season set of a popular WB or Marvel animated cartoon show from the Warner Bros or Disney studio stores of where I’d get a 50% employee discount, he’d always be knocking on the door wanting to borrow them. (“I know you got new stuff in there. I saw you bringing up the bags”) I’d say no, but you can borrow this one instead of a set I finished weeks earlier. Then he’d ask me, ‘well when are you going to be finished with THAT one?’ I’d always tell him: ‘well, I just started this one last week, and I’ve got twelve episodes left to go.’ Then: ‘well, how long is it GOING to take for you to finish that, three hours?’ No, I only watch one episode per week’ Bafflement on his face would ensue: ‘oh c’mon man, it’s a fucking dvd. It will take you three hours to polish them off. Man, stop hoarding the good stuff from your buddies

“No.

I watch one episode per week. And you’re not borrowing it, BECAUSE I believe in not allowing anyone to devirginize my dvds other than me. They go in automatic rotation on the CARY COATNEY NETWORK the following Saturday from when once they’re received.”

“The Cary Coatney what now-?”

THE CARY COATNEY NETWORK… y’know, CCN??

The television station that I’m manager of….INSIDE MY OWN HEAD??!!

Because, my mind runs itself like a television station. AND it seems as if the rest of society is in the same lockstep with me. I set the times, select the shows to put in the queue and every weekend, I’m off to the imaginary cable television races.

I have to compensate to keep up with others who can afford cable television, since I’ve never paid a solidary dime for my own cable unless I’m siphoning it off of someone else.

Another reason I would hold out on Jeff was because I didn’t want to take the chance of having my DVDs coming back with scratches and smudges on them unless it was a manufacturer defeat, then I would have no one else to blame but myself.

Oh, and don’t forget – SPOILER ALERT. Lend someone a dvd of a hit show before you and chances are, ENDINGS OR CRUCIAL PLOT POINTS MAYBE BE BLOWN FOR YOU!!

Look, WITH THOSE who intend to accomplish great things with their lives- don’t have time for appointment television these days when they go spend those precious prime time hours trying to make their deadlines to their comic book projects, performing live before a studio audience, or trying to get this blog posted before the mid-month deadline. THE rest of you do nothing degenerates who have no plans in this lifetime to do nothing but bong hits MUST MAKE IT APPOINTMENT TV because we rely on you to keep certain network shows on the air for the sake of ratings (and if Agents of SHIELD must be renewed for a fifth season, then so be it).

But for the rest of us super spectacular go-getters. Netflix, Amazon Prime, & Hulu were tailor-made for the consummate entertainment industry professional who has no time but to contribute to the arts and take a much deserved sabbatical on Sunday to catch up with his or hers favorite shows.

BUT JEFF – you see he had no time but wanting to consume my DVDS because of SPORTS games interfered with his APPOINTMENT TELEVISION TIME and relied on me for continuous back up, therefore the JEFF NETWORK suffered from too much scripted program pre-emption.

So we are forced to do nothing but to run our lives likes a television network. WE make our own time to sit down and be our own traffic managers to ephemerally absorb and try to catch up with the latest water cooler chatter while having one foot in another parallel world shying away from spoiler alerts leaked on the internet.

Thinking back, perhaps one good thing I could contribute back to my uproarious days with Rikki whatever her name is these days is that perhaps without even realizing it, we could have considered ourselves the original progenitors of the binge watching experience. Rikki liked to rifle through my dvd collection also and she would insist on watching with each dvd set that was released of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” w9dHi6lJHa8KKZdnLRZvYy3dVOFWe must have gone through at least a DVD season set per week over the coarse of a month (the show has recently been given a green light for a record breaking ninth season – which would make it the longest running scripted HBO show in history)  – so Rikki and I weren’t just spending all that time in her bungalow simply going though the motions of ham fisted handjobs and courageous cunnilingus bouts of derring-do.

Alas, those days are gone.

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The advent of streaming can sometimes be a hindrance or a great boon to your television show absorption.

Personally I prefer a combination of both DVD season sets and streaming on the sites to mix and match

For shows such as The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones; I like buying the season sets because I want the whole experience of listening to commentaries, video diaries on how talent views on how their characters progress from season to season and give insight on how the whole production comes together.

Whenever I got sick of squinting my eyes at the microscopic tablet that a relative bought me that went along with my cellular plan, I go around knocking on fellow television/movie industry colleagues and ask around for season set screeners, IF I don’t feel the show is worth buying at your local Target or Best Buy whenever perusing through the weekend circular sales.

In part two, EVEN though I don’t count myself as a member of the LUNATIC BINGE society – I’m just as equally guilty when I try to juggle multiple storylines at once. An insight on how my summer weekends leading to the Emmy Awards can take its toil on my peepers and the vice challenges that could easily affect one own’s health.

Plus a list of my favorite streaming shows.

 

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