A pleasant surprise, differing from the sudden 4th quarter upset in today’s Super Bowl game (not a New England Patriots fan). I think more snow is on the way. I look forward to waking up and seeing more, in the morning.
– Orion T
The Northwest Folklife Festival kicks off this Memorial Day weekend with groovy vibes and solid rhythms.
This Friday evening, I dropped by the ol Seattle Center park for this annual tradition. The festival is free to all and run as a non-profit event, since 1972. It’s made possible by donations big and small by many supporters. Here, you can listen to many folk beats from many musicians on stage, or just hanging out by a tree. Many ethnic variations involving different styles of dance, vocals, and instruments are proudly presented. Listeners are encouraged to groove, and perhaps dance with the soulful sounds.
I highly recommend attending for anyone looking to chill and enjoy some cool jams with other like-minded spirits. Though, I also encourage visitors to bring whatever loose change and dollars they happen to have. Though you will find company backed stage performances, there are also many more small acts in between, and throughout the park area. You may enjoy them, and smile; perhaps even dance and cheer to these wonderful performers mere footsteps away. If so, show some appreciation and drop them some of that cash down. Becoming part of that action is what keeps the NW Folklife Festival fun.
You may also visit the many food and merch stands scattered about. For more info on the Festival, visit nwfolklife.org.
I will be back tomorrow, and likely on some grass for much of the day, enjoying this Folklife. If you see me, come and say hello. I promise to return the favor. I might even buy you some roasted corn on the cob.
Meanwhile, here are a few other pics of today’s Folklife opening day…
I love a fun parade..
Especially one not pushed on by the big corporations, dominant messages of commercialism and shameless promotions. Also, there are no motorized vehicles, no animals, no company logos. Here, is the good ol Fremont Solstice Parade, in north Seattle. The annual event is produced by the Fremont Arts Council, with much funded support by the locals.
Check out some of the best of the parade below. I love the good ol fashioned big band music, the hand-pulled floats, the creative puppetry, dance numbers. All, very local and very friendly. At times (at least where I was, near the end with less people), some parade participants would surprise random crowd spectators with silly props, photo-bombs, and hugs.
I got hugged, twice.
I can never resist a gathering this colorful.
And here, was the Sakura Con; a gathering of a different sort than yesterday and day before’s NorWesCon. This event focused more towards the appreciation and partaking of Japanese anime and manga. Much of the action was inside the convention center, where the event was centered. However, the heavy rains of the last days finally stopped. Many attendees came out the open behind the convention center, to enjoy the sun and surroundings of each other.
Above, is a Sakura Con tradition continued; where many gathering in a circle whole other participants each kick a bottle and eventually have it spun to a someone connecting the circle. That person soon gets a hug from the bottle kicker, and replaces the other..to continues the cycle.
Also, there some dancing, posing for cameras, and more fun-having.
Here are a few pics..
I’ll post more up, another day..
Stranger worlds are ever close..
And here, are some pics from my great adventure at the annual NorWesCon science fiction and fantasy convention. This was my first attendance to this event (now in its 37th year); of which I had a grand time discovering new fiction, turning strangers into friends, and cheering on the boldest among us.
There will be more pics (and more musings) for a few alt-pop websites, soon
In the meantime:
I went for a walk yesterday through the wonderful Seattle Center. To no surprise on a sunny Summer Saturday, another exciting event of interest happened.
This time, a grab at the Guinness World Record for the largest water balloon fight. It was a grand attempt. Sadly, not enough registered to beat the 8,957 record by a University in Kentucky. However, over $55,000 was raised to benefit Camp Korey, a non-profit group dedicated to providing outdoor camping experiences for children with serious illnesses.
And, a lot of people had fun.
Here, some pictures I took over the first two weekends of summer. Sadly, I wish I was out a bit more.
First, are some moments at Gasworks Park after the Seattle Solstice Parade and Fair, 2013 (Click on each pic for more info):
Earlier that day, the World Naked Bike Ride in Seattle.
(WARNING: SOME BUTS ARE SHOWING….PAINTED BUTS!!)
A couple pics from the Seattle PrideFest 2013 event. I briefly checked it out. A lot of happy people were present, celebrating more than gay and lesbian pride; the very spirit of unity itself.
And, here are more pics at Gasworks Park from various days of visit. It’s a lovely place, especially in the summer.
Look, there was a parade here!
That, and so much more within the highly overlooked Fremont district; home to a bridge troll, giant stone Lenin, long walks, desserts and happy people.Also, the place for the great Fremont Summer Solstice Fair of 2013.
Among thousands of happy people in attendance was big live music, an auto show, a nude bike ride, food carts, art galleries, random dancing, tents full of stuff for sale. Between all, was a sunny, glorious day with an epic supermoon on the way.
I missed a lot of this, but not the nude bike ride. That will get its own entry soon. I was here for the parade. I love a parade, especially one like this..
This happening was amazing for its content and local feel. Sights and sounds turned special from all by the present area folk; nothing corporate or crying out for name recognition. Much was homegrown and very creative, with silliness attached (also, some environmental awareness mixed in). From that, we had monsters and knights, sea beasts and jellywomen, pharaohs and hippies, puppets and propellers, disco and drums, jungle and jazz.
I’m out of words, let the pictures say the rest..
Here below, are the next set of pics from my brief visit to the 2013 Sakura Con Northwest Anime Convention, in Seattle. For the first set and opening commentary, click here.
This set is focused on the outside fun. The day was bright and wonderful, with cherry trees in bloom and the sky blue. This environment and wide open space was perfect for its for anime, gaming, alternative “geek” culture enthusiasts. Here are some observations on this gathering, based on similar musings over the many years at other alternative pop culture conventions.
Below is much of that fun. Click on each images for the full picture and additional text details.
I read something not long ago..
on some online message board,
a proposal for a day without electronics..
to be free from the Internet, digital technology, multimedia interfaces, etc.
for just one day.
like Earth Day.
except we keep our lights on, but our screens off
for the whole day.
What a wonderful idea, I thought.
Let’s do that.
(unless work or emergency)
to fake worlds, social networking, information overload, excessive clicking,
Let’s make that day,
once every week.
How about today?
Talk to people
Browse some thrift stores
Go to that park.
Throw a rock in a lake.
You can go back to your computers tomorrow,
the better day to waste.
Roger Ebert, the greatest movie critic of our times, passed away yesterday, April 4, 2013. He died of cancer at 70, just days after announcing his retirement from the movie review business. I have much to say on his legacy, so here goes..
What made Roger Ebert so great? Was that being his long time dedication since 1967, to reviewing movies? Or perhaps his fuzzy personality and witty descript? Or perhaps his open-mindedness to see nearly every big-screen movie no matter how mundane, stupid, or childish? Or perhaps his willingness to speak his own mind without fear on subjects including: video games (not art?), and politics (progressive liberal), or the act of creative writing..
“There is no such thing as waiting for inspiration……the Muse visits during the process of creation, not before.”
Overall, I think Ebert’s success is due from his ability to make each review personal. He does not consider what the current mob is saying or by identifying with the current Emmy snobbery . You read his reviews, and he makes his points by also reminding us of who he is. Sometimes, that could be a grumpy old man not quite connecting with a film’s target audience. My favorite example, being his review of Kick-Ass (2010):
“Will I seem hopelessly square if I find “Kick-Ass” morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point? Let’s say you’re a big fan of the original comic book, and you think the movie does it justice. You know what? You inhabit a world I am so very not interested in.”
Ebert goes on in detail about why Kick-Ass reminded him of real life violence involving inner-city kids and its gratuitous shameless display of bloodletting (he is also not big on horror). I strongly disagree with his review on Kick-Ass, being that it’s just escapist fantasy and fun. However, I appreciated his understanding and willingness in the attempt to make a connection while sharing his personal thoughts on why the movie was bothering, affecting his review.
Then, there are reviews done that connected well with myself on the understanding of my own desires in new movies. Often, that calls for something different, creative and interesting. Also, we both seem to love intelligently written science fiction.
My recent memory and strong example is Ebert’s recent review on Cloud Atlas. This is a wonderful film, but not understood by many because of its odd and exhilarating editing style, switching often between six linked stories. Ebert said this in his review of Cloud Atlas (2012):
Even as I was watching “Cloud Atlas” the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I’ve seen it the second time, I know I’d like to see it a third time — but I no longer believe repeated viewings will solve anything. To borrow Churchill’s description of Russia, “it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” It fascinates in the moment. It’s getting from one moment to the next that is tricky.”
He goes on to discuss its bold style, and how the film itself goes beyond the story to a work of art. His review felt like a journey, that needed repeating because there was so much for him to appreciate and understand. I rushed out to see Cloud Atlas for myself and fully understood what he said. I felt a kind of connection between our love for this movie. Also, I couldn’t push others to see this movie, and the Internet mobs were much divided in their opinions. I think Cloud Atlas was a movie for just myself, Roger Ebert, and others who keep an open mind and welcome daring, creative approaches in storytelling. We can still hate the result, but at least understand and welcome the good in putting the product out there.
I always appreciated his choice in a personal favorite of mine, Dark City, to be his chosen best movie for 1998, and Being John Malkovich the year after. Both are great movies, also daring approaches in creative storytelling. Yet both movies, I felt were widely ignored and dubbed too weird by the masses to give them the wider respect they deserved.
That being said, I looked up Ebert’s thoughts on another daring movie for its time. This odd movie, peddled as a space opera with laser-wielding wizards, handicapped designed robots, with a reluctant farmboy turned galactic hero. Here is what he said in his review of Star Wars, back in 1977:
“The movie relies on the strength of pure narrative, in the most basic storytelling form known to man, the Journey. All of the best tales we remember from our childhoods had to do with heroes setting out to travel down roads filled with danger, and hoping to find treasure or heroism at the journey’s end..”
See? Star Wars is not just about special effects and crazy battles in the usual epic struggle between good and evil. There is so much more, setting the first apart and special from the following sequels and prequels. It takes an open-mind soul to look deeper into a popular film for what it really is. Ebert does that well.
And often, Ebert likes to have fun in his reviews. He reminds us, that some movies are created to primarily entertain. If he is entertained, we are..or at least, could be entertained. For example, his review of Speed, starring Keanu Reeves (1994).
“Films like Speed belong to the genre I call Bruised Forearm Movies, because you’re always grabbing the arm of the person sitting next to you. Done wrong, they seem like tired replays of old chase cliches. Done well, they’re fun. Done as well as Speed, they generate a kind of manic exhilaration.”
Also, Roger Ebert displays wit even when the subject film does not. This is often refreshing; especially in this modern age of ridiculous explosion-laden, cleavage display, CGI fetishes disasterpieces Here’s what Ebert had to say in his hilarious review of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (2009):
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”
And, here is my favorite burn for Tom Green’s epic monstrosity, Freddy Got Fingered, a movie Ebert hated so much he gave it zero stars in his review (2001):
“This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”
Rest in peace, Roger Ebert. That personal touch in your reviews will be remembered.
Also, thank you.
Today is National Truthteller’s Day!
This is a day founded on pure trust. This is a day we open our hearts and tell people the truth, especially about hard to believe things suddenly discovered. Many businesses and media outlets will do the same. Fascinating new products and scientific discoveries will be revealed, often things we have a hard time accepting. Excitement!
So, today is a good day to share. In return, we believe all statements with absolutely no question, and sort them out tomorrow. Honesty is super important on National Truthteller’s Day.
Yet, some of these statements might be false. This is also tradition and a test of our faith in the truth.. It’s important today, to believe these special statements. Because these lies are cleverly disguised facts. To deny a fact, is to close your mind. Believe all lies.
Do this for today. Spread this message to strengthen its full effect.
National Truthteller’s Day.
April 1, 2013.
For more on National Truthteller’s Day, click here.
O special day, this Easter Sunday.
For many, Easter is a religious day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Church activity is heightened among some denominations, and families connect. A heartened feast often results.
Happiness is spread, and celebrations connect with later traditions not religious. In many places, this will involve bunny rabbits and decorated eggs. Children laugh and cheer, and usually encouraged to go outside and play.
Also on this day, there are public holidays, bonfires, butter lambs, and other cheerful activity. There is plenty good fun for everyone, I think.
Meanwhile, I am having fun while thumbing through some pictures I snapped from the recent 2013 Sakura Con, an annual Japanese animation festival held in Seattle. Time will wait for me to properly edit, upload and share these pics. Above is an appropriate bunny pic for today, and a preview of what’s coming from my blog.
And below is another exclusive sneak peek. Look forward to the rest!
In continuation of yesterday’s posting, the rest of my 2013 Emerald City Comic Con pictures are now posted on my friend’s blog, All Day Comics!
For this second half, it’s all for the love of cosplay, or the act of dressing up in some costume, usually based on a fictional property. Often at these conventions, many attendees will dress up as their favorite characters from books, comics, movies, games, etc. They usually do this for fun, and to express their current or nostalgic “geek” obsessions. Here are a few extra notes and observations on the nature of this wonderful culture:
I could go on with these notes, but another day or perhaps the next convention to share on. For now, I leave behind a couple more enticing samples of my larger picture set for the All Day Comics blog. For the rest of my wonderful ECCC pics (and footnotes), please click here..
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