17
Mar 10

Robotech

Yesterday I spoke about the anime series Battle of the Planets which I fell in love with in the mid 70′s.  Today I move ahead ten years to what is my all-time favorite anime series Robotech.  I remember as if were yesterday that summer morning in 1985 when upon surfing the available 7 channels I happened upon the first episode on Channel 11.  After the series Battle of the Planets ended ten years earlier I was always searching for the next big anime series.  As I explained in the BOTP blog post, anime was a huge part of my artistic development.  American animation was clumsy and goofy in comparison so after the BOTP series ended 10 years earlier I was left with nothing to quench my thirst for great anime.  When Robotech arrived out of the blue 10 years later I felt like I won the kid lottery.  That summer I watched and taped every episode religiously.  Tapes which I still have.

What I loved about this series was even compared to BOTP artistically Robotech was far superior and it was consistently good.  I was surprised at the drop off in the quality of draftsmanship you can find within a series.  The explosions are a clear giveaway to which episode was done right.  Not sure what it is in quickly expanding clouds of fire and debris that separate the masters from the apprentices, but to this day that is my litmus test.  90% of the Robetech episodes were on point. Also conceptually Robotech was much more sophisticated than BOTP.   It was basically the same story-line that Avatar followed two decades later, except the earth is the planet being invaded by aliens.  Coincidentally they are currently looking into producing a Robotech movie starring Tobey Maguire.  Which brings me to what it is I loved most about Robotech.  It was the character development.  The relationship between Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes is arguably one of the best developed in TV history live action or animated.  I may regret admitting this but I remember shedding a tear in more than one episode.

Yesterday I felt a bit guilty and nerdier than usual making an anime post on this blog targeted at a “downtown” or “urban” audience.  But it occurred to me that anime is a part of this culture.  You see it in shops like Kid Robot in the work of street artist like SEEN and Futura or in the music of artist like The Wu Tang Clan, The Gorrilaz and my favorite late 90′s group Daft Punk. Every year this art form is more widely embraced by both Pop and alternative culture.  I embedded the opening sequence from the Robotech series below.  If you want to purchase the DVD collection you can get it at Amazon or drop by my studio for a screening.

Enjoy

TrevzNewPop


16
Mar 10

Battle Of The Planets

Many eons ago as a kid back in the 70′s my favorite after school TV show was Battle Of The Planets AKA G-Force. My siblings and schoolmates would rush home from school to watch it and do our role playing and pretend fighting afterwards. Battle Of The Planets would be my Americanized (subtitled) introduction to the fascinating and nerdy world of Japanese anime. Japanese anime as well as American comics were a huge part of my childhood. As a kid I would spend hours drawing every day and daydreaming about the cool story-lines. I credit this more than anything else to shaping my patient temperament which makes it easy to sit in front of a computer for hours and hours and hours editing. The skill-set of an artist is almost identical to those needed for editing.

Another thing about anime and comics that makes this subject particularly blog worthy is the fact that so many of these series have been or are being made into movies.  I thought it would be beneficial to my audience to give this art form it’s own special category on this blog. They are making Battle of the Planets into a film slated for a 2011 release.  I loved G-Force as a kid in the 70′s, but hated it when they re-released a new adaptation of the G-Force series back in the 90′s.  The storyline was modified a bit and they used different voice actors.  There was a certain charm that was lost in the updated version. I just don’t have the appetite for seeing it ruined again in 3D or whatever new slick application they will likely add to give it a modern twist.  G-Force is vintage and should remain so.  I embedded the opening credits sequence from the original American version below.  If you want to pick up the 25th anniversary DVD collection you can get it on Amazon.

Enjoy

TrevzNewPop


15
Mar 10

Hardwired Memories

So recently I have been looking into getting a used computer to improve my workflow. This got me thinking about all of the computers I went through in my lifetime.  My first computer was an IBM ThinkPad that my Dad found in his Taxi in 1997. We couldn’t track down the owner (Yes we tried) so he gave it to me.  It was on this computer where I first logged on to the net (remember the old dial up sound), and where I registered for my first email account.  I also taught myself all of those obsolete html coding skills on this laptop.  I still have that machine (pictured below), and it still works.

My next computer was a iMac G3.  For years I was resistent to making the switch from PC to Mac. The old Carrie Bradshaw Power Book G3′s that were in vogue at the time looked very similar to every other PC, so there wasn’t any aesthetic incentive to make the switch.  Then Apple came out with it’s colorful iMac G3 in 1998 and I bought one a year later.  But even after this purchase my Mac sat in my apartment for almost a year before I stopped using my PC and decided to commit to the Mac. Since then I have been a die hard MacHead.  I have had two MacBooks since.  I must say in terms of design Apple has played it pretty safe since those colorful iMacs from the late 90′s. Those were my favorite, I still have mine prominently displayed on my work table.  To this day Apple has the best industrial desingers on the planet, but the current white and grey color schemes can’t hold a candle to that candy colored palete of the late 90′s. Remember this ad:

TrevzNewPop


12
Mar 10

Digitilisms


11
Mar 10

Going Back To Cali: A Tale of 2 Tracks

One of my favorite Hip Hop music videos of all time LL Cool J’s Going Back To Cali is one of the lesser known landmarks in Hip Hop music.  It integrated East Coast Hip Hop with that care free West Coast sensibility.  This track was used in the 1987 film Less Than Zero which probably didn’t help its street cred, none the less it was and still is one of the more sophisticated Hip Hop videos of all time. Hip Hop audiences at the time were used to that gritty NY aesthetic in their videos, so when this video came out with its Art Deco architecture, California GoGo dancers, and cruising convertibles, it was a bit of a shock.  The video actually feels more current in today’s homogeneous culture than it did back then.  Of course all the credit goes to L.L. Cool J as it is the track that dictated the visual vocabulary.

Ironically about 10 years later another landmark event in Hip Hop would define a generation. The murder of The Notorious B.I.G. on the West Coast.  Shortly before this murder The Notorious B.I.G. produced a track by the same name which came to epitomize the West Coast/East Coast rivalry that dominated the mid 90′s.  Biggie’s version was a half hearted attempt to mend the rivalry, but instead he fueled it. Ultimately it was his literal “going back to Cali” that left him vulnerable and contributed to his murder.  According to wikipedia “The following lyrics were thought to be a big turning point in the infamous feud.”

“If I got to choose a coast I got to choose the East

I live out there, so don’t go there
But that don’t mean a nigga can’t rest in the West
See some nice breasts in the West
Smoke some nice sess in the West, y’all niggaz is a mess
Thinkin I’m gon stop, givin L.A. props
All I got is beef with those that violate me I shall annihilate thee.”

Today with all of that behind us I can only imagine an alternative world where the spirit of the LL version would have defined the East Coast/West Coast relationship in the 90′s.  That spirit of camaraderie and appreciation is now a part of our newly connected world, and as they say better late than never.

Enjoy

TrevzNewPop

In the LL video keep an eye out for cameos by Martha Quinn, Kari Wuhrer & Rick Rubin.

No official video made so I posted this video which has allot of weed references.


09
Mar 10

POP .29 ED NewsLetter

They say that The Scene will be the death of me. I say I am already dead. Which isn’t a bad thing, it gives me a new perspective. Check out our latest Newsletter POP .29 ED

Or you can register for our regular email blast Here.


08
Mar 10

The Enigma that is Ralphy Boy

I recently shot a video interview with the F.C gang’s Ralphy Boy for the track “How You Like Me Now?” Hailing from my childhood neighborhood of East Flatbush Brooklyn, Ralphy has some of that mid 80′s showman’s ethos that permeated hip hop during that time.  Evoking the spirit of old school legends like Slick Rick, Doug E Fresh, Dana Dane & Kool Moe D, Ralphy is on a mission to make sure his audience has as much of a good time as he does.  In this world of Hipster rap where looking cool often seems to trump moving the crowd, Ralphy’s audience first approach is refreshing to say the least. There are times when Ralphy’s preference to let his music do the talking can give the wrong impression.  In this video Ralphy discusses the enigmatic side of his character and gives us a little insight into who Ralphy Boy really is.

Enjoy

TrevzNewPop


06
Mar 10

Armory Arts Week & Artlog

From Fashion to Food it seems like every industry has their week in the NYC sun or snow depending on what day it is. MY favorite week of them all, The Armory Arts Week started this past Thursday. The week’s main event, The Armory Arts Show takes place at Pier 94 exhibiting contemporary art from more than 30 countries. In addition there are dozens and dozens of smaller events and parties happening all around the 5 boroughs. So how does anyone know what are the best places to go, what parties are hot, or what exhibits are cool? The answer is artlog.com. Their slogan “Art and Culture in Real Time” says it all. This is the ultimate destination for real time updates on what is going on during Arts Week. They utilize social media via their Artlog live link where peoples tweets about Armory Art Week are redirected directly to the live section of their site. Recently as a part of the Pernod Creator Of series, I interviewed the founders Manish Vora and Dylan Fareed about Artlog.com and got a first hand demonstration of Artlog Live in action. Check it out.

Enjoy
TrevzNewPop


05
Mar 10

Digitilisms


04
Mar 10

Razor Face an Exercise in Storytelling

In all mediums of art arguably the most important skill is the art of storytelling. Everything else is just window dressing. A couple of days ago I blogged about the film The Legend Of 1900 calling it one of the greatest films you never heard of. It is about a Piano virtuoso named 1900 (Played by Tim Roth) who is born on a ship and never steps foot on land. 1900 has a single minded approach to his art. An idiot savant kind of perspective in which little else mattered beyond his music. In one scene I found particularly fascinating, 1900 gives his best friend Max Tooney (Played by Pruitt Taylor Vince) a glimpse of what is going on in his head. What is revealed is a world where everyone moves to his soundtrack. A world where a woman sitting at a table becomes the main character in a scandalous murder mystery. Or a man walking across the room is the centerpiece in a thriller about the immigrant experience. It is a world where everything becomes foder for drama, intrigue, comedy and all the rich elements that color our lives.

For my first 21 years due to my Seventh Day Adventist upbringing I wasn’t allowed to take part in any secular activities from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown. No TV, no radio, no magazines, just church in the morning and religious music until sunset. For my first 21 years I would routinely spend my Saturday afternoons looking out the window at people walking by.  I would entertain myself with imagined stories of what went on in the lives of these total strangers in a way very similar to the scene posted below.  It was fun and a great exercise in the art of storytelling. Below the 1900 post I embedded a live performance of the song Razor Face performed by Elton John and written by Bernie Taupin. One of the greatest storytelling teams in recent memory. It is the type of song that is full of storywriting potential. Give it a listen and observe the world around you. Observe yourself. Create stories the way 1900 did.

Enjoy

TrevzNewPop