Cardstacker: Reaction

March 29, 2009 at 11:42 pm (Reaction)

So, I just took a look at The Cardstacker. What is The Cardstacker? Well, The Cardstacker is a flipbook (stop-animation) story told in photos and narration of Bryan Berg. Bryan Berg is a professional cardstacker, and his story is told through his narration and photos of an event at the State Fair of Texas.

Personal thoughts? Wow. On both accounts. On Berg’s for being awesome. On photographer Tom Fox and audio-man Michael Hamtil’s collaboration and work on this epic piece of storytelling. It’s like art.

I think that these types of stories are really effective – well, if you have the right tools and the right story. The sound of a leaf blower cannot be matched by words. Watching the cards slowly build themselves into large-scale, miniature skyscrapers and a cityscape or reading about it is like comparing paper to rock. Paper always wins.

Hearing the sounds of the leaf blower and the crowd was a nice touch after listening to the story. Also, I should make mention that I thought the use of stop-motion was good, too. Single photographs are nice, but they’re tough to work with. You can have one good photograph out of 100, but I feel that in this instance, 100 okay to all right photographs is perfectly acceptable because they’re constantly changing – you’re not stuck looking at a bunch of mediocre photographs for a long time.

Good luck, Ashley on attempting to make something 1/10th this cool.


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North Avenue Arts District

March 29, 2009 at 11:21 pm (Reporting)

Friday, as the night ended, I finished my investigative time at the Zodiac for my piece on Wham City. On the way back to my car, I couldn’t help but stop in front of the building where the walls were still bumping with techno music. The building I stood in front of was The Hexagon and they were holding a dance party.

I didn’t want to pay six dollars, because everything was about to close, so I stood outside and looked at the upcoming events. Eventually I was invited inside to hang out. It was rainy and cold. I thought that was nice.

After a bit of chit-chatting with some folks at the front of the venue, I struck up a conversation with Leigh, a member of the Hexagon and she gave me a little bit of information.

The Hexagon is part of the North Avenue Arts District, and it’s a small Do-It-Yourself community space that’s funded by its members. They put on all sorts of events – if it’s booked, no problem. The events are inexpensive and split 50/50 between the venue and the performer(s).

I can’t wait to actually go in. It sounds like fun, and I think some part of the district may be where my next story comes from.

Interestingly enough, I came across this story from the Baltimore Sun last year. Basically, it overviews a whole bunch of expansions and reconstruction on the larger part of the area.

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Do It Yourself Meet World

March 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm (Research)

The idea of do-it-yourself music is nothing new, and it’s nothing particularly regional. That’s the most basic way of promotion – grass roots and all. Part of that is the venue, and with Ticketmaster and other corporates gobbling up all of the venues ticket sales and raising the prices, it’s pretty difficult to draw a crowd to a show of little known artist with high ticket prices.

As an answer to that, there are the D.I.Y. venues that make it easier for the financially-challenged to hear some new stuff and have a good time. The best part about these places is that you could walk right by one in the middle of the day and not give it a second thought. They come in the form of houses, warehouses, and little holes in the wall with non-descript signage.

I liked the story here, at the Valley Advocate, about Dan Moriarty and and his idea of a concert series in a house in the woods. He thought a house in the woods would be a great place for a show. “No neighbors means no one to bother.”

The series soon became known as Experimental Music Palace, where they held shows with audiences of up to 200 people without any incidents. Eventually, word got out, and some DJs thought that a big act from Boston (Caspian) should play a show there. Eventually, that was overturned, but Moriarty kept his eyes set on finding the right venue for the show. It’s taking place at the Iron Horse on March 27.

More D.I.Y. venue news to come.

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SXSW aftermath

March 24, 2009 at 9:26 pm (Reaction)

Well, it’s not really an aftermath situation, but I found a couple of articles written during and just after the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival that took place last week in Texas. The festival has three components: music, film and a conference.

Granted, I’m not quite sure where the next module is headed just yet, but I’m working on it and looking into some D.I.Y. information. Supposedly, that’s what SXSW is about.

The first article, an interview with David Brown (the host and editor of Texas Music Matters), talks about the economic boost that the festival provides to Texas. It also focuses on how the epic center of SXSW is ultimately the D.I.Y.-type music, which is what seems to be taking over as the record industry falls. In an interesting twist, the ticket sales were down, but the number of bands had gone up.

(EAR PWR and Dinowalrus, who I mentioned in an entry last week made appearances at the festival).

On the other side of things, after the festival ended, CNN posted a grand summary of the musical aspect of the festival. Unfortunately, there seemed to be disappointment, overall, in the fact that many attendees were attracted more to the major acts than the unsigned musicians trying to gain some exposure.

I think this excerpt sums the point up:

“Austin-based band the Vincents played a slew of gigs throughout the week and received positive feedback from the people who attended their shows, many of whom purchased their CD. But they ultimately felt overshadowed by the swarms of industry types who were constantly rushing to the next secret show or exclusive party.”

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Bromst – an overview (but not by me).

March 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm (Uncategorized)

I was perusing Google News, like I do from time to time, and I came across this little nugget from my new favorite newspaper insert-type thing.

What we have here is a bit of a review on Dan Deacon’s new album, Bromst (which I haven’t had a chance to listen to). It’s out on Carpark Records, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. If you’re poor, you’re in luck. NPR is streaming the album for free.

Deacon is preparing to tour through April and May – starting in Philadelphia April 3, at the First Unitarian Church.

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