Saturday, November 30, 2013

Meeting Hunchback Chronicles author Arthur Slade

Margaret, Gerald, William at Christie's Bakery
We had a light breakfast at Christie's Bakery in Saskatoon this morning. It's one of Margaret's favorite places to coffee/snack. I found the chocolate croissants rather blase but the danishes were nice. Margaret headed back to Regina for a couple of art events she wanted to take in, leaving William with me for the second night of the Paved Core series screenings. The deciding factor in William staying with me today was the opportunity to meet Arthur Slade, the Saskatoon-based author of the steampunk Hunchback Chronicles series of novels. We forgot to bring a copy to sign, but have a nice photo. McNally and Robinson book store set up an interesting situation where they had a few authors just come to the store and hang around without all the pretentiousness of the signing table or formal reading. We were able to easily corner him and have a real conversation. He recommended a couple of books that William might enjoy. We also talked about his forthcoming graphic novel (which I sponsored through Kickstarter a month or two ago). Of course the text is written, but he said he's likely to do some rewriting once the artwork starts arriving. I bemoaned the comic writers to decide they want to be novelists and begin filling their pages with columns of text. As if reading my mind, he brought up the example of Cerebus the Aardvark which become quite boring when Dave Sim began philosophizing instead of storytelling.
William Bessai-Saul and Arthur Slade

Friday, November 29, 2013

My "Modern" 16mm films with symphony players at Paved Core series in Saskatoon, many photos

We drove up to Saskatoon after work today (last day of experimental film class) for the first of two evenings of screening my film "Modern" alongside live improvisation by three Saskatoon symphony players, part of an ongoing "Core Series" held by Paved and the symphony. There were five different film/music combinations and it was an incredible event and experience. Both nights are sold out. Luckily (or stupidly, depending on your point of view) I bought a couple of the last tickets two days ago so that Margaret and Mike could come (William is in as my 'plus one'). I would love for Filmpool to try some events with the symphony. It brings filmmakers together with a different audience, making us look at our work with new eyes and new excitement. I had a great conversation with composer David McIntyre about my films. He had a cool live image manipulation team projecting images along with a work he composed which capped the evening. Amalie and Paul were there and we were able to discuss film loop projections. Nice to see Ellen Moffat and many others as well.
Ellan Moffat and Margaret Bessai

Alex Rogalski at Paved

Paul and Amalie

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Filmpool Premiere Screening with my new film Grain:Seeds with photos

Great crowd at the Artesian for the Filmpool premiere screening. Even though they added a $7 price to it, there were close to 75 people there. Mitch's band, The Peanut Butter Genocide opened the show with a mix of film and video projected on top of them. I particularly liked Mark Wihak's nostalgic final film-film, "Cineaste" which he shot with a Bolex and Kodak 7231 in Paris. Wow that looked great!
I'm pretty happy with my film. This is the first time I've watched it with an audience and I felt it had a good response. I like it and can watch it repeatedly.

Nice question and answer even most of the crowd had slipped downstairs for snacks.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Doc Boo Lego

After a long day at work (12 + hours) when I came home I was greeted excitedly by William who had built me a "Doc Boo" Lego minifig, based upon a fictitious character of my design. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winnipeg screening of "Regina" video

Open City Cinema's photo.
My video "Regina (25)" showed at the Open City Cinema "Lines of Perspective" event. I couldn't be there. I hope there was a good turn out, the program looked really interesting.

Curated by Aaron Zeghers and Rhayne Vermette


PROGRAM 1 // Classics // 35min

Notes on a Triangle – René Jodoin
Cubits – Al Jarnow
Drill - Takashi lto
Manipulating the T-Bar - Bruce Naumann
Free Radicals – Len Lye
Cellestial Navigations – Al Jarnow

PROGRAM 2 // Contemporaries // 40min

The Myth of Perspective – Ryan Hill
Lines Postfixal – Christine Lucy Latimer
Iceland Spar – Alexander Stewart
Regina 25 – Gerald Saul
Square Ball - Jane Cassidy
Ghostly - Maxime Corbeil-Perron
Underpass – Wendy Morgan
Bridge Study – Naren Wilks
The Voice of God – Bernd Lützeler

Monday, November 25, 2013

Avril Fairbrother MFA exhibit with panorama photos

Ceramic van
 The streets of Regina were quiet last night. While everyone was at the game or watching it in front of their tv, only the food deliver cars were prowling ... and us. We drove over to an amazing art display in a garage. It was a ceramic van, a ceramic bedroom, and a ceramic fence which constituted the graduate thesis work of Avril Fairbrother. The central piece was the van, modeled after a van she has owned half her life, a van she learned to drive in, traveled in, and even lived in. The remainder of the work related to issues of home and homelessness. It was quite realistic.
Ceramic fence boards

Ceramic bedroom
Very convincing garbage can made out of unfired clay

Where the reception was held after the defense.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

William excited about the big game this afternoon....?

William has been excited all week for this afternoon's big game .... his role playing game. He invited a couple of friends over and has had some ideas for a session that he would run as game master, taking on this role for the first time. From the sounds of it, there is nothing but anarchy. Apparently, the players are behaving like he thought they would. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lego Rider Fan minifig and updates to other Christmas Lego tableaus

Saskatchewan Roughriders fan at the Grey Cup Lego minifig
 In modifying my seasonal display for Lego figurines, I found this watermelon-helmet so built a Saskatchewan Roughrider fan minifig (above). He stands beside the knife-wielding Santa and his malisious elves who are at war with the Yeti Lego. I've also upgraded the "A Christmas Carol" Lego scene to be a bit more dynamic with the ghosts rising into the air.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Light bending or going in straight lines? The question of optics on a cold day.

Very cold today. When I got up at 7 it was -24, but when I was going to work at 9, it was -27. There were sun dogs around the sun, an indicator of extreme cold. In class today, Geremy came in to talk about a range of old 19th century devices. We blanked out the door and built a camera obscura into the classroom. Some people didn't quite understand the optic rule where things are turned upside down because light moves in straight lines. Of course, the nature of light outside in our sky is proof that light bends. Hmm. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lego Christmas Carol

Lego "A Christmas Carol"
In an effort to put together the seasonal front entrance Lego display (top half being Scrooge and the three ghosts from "The Christmas Carol"), we ended up sorting all of William's Lego mini-figs. Paul was over and even Margaret and Terry pitched in for a while (but of course not the kids, they never help speed the process). Death's cowl is missing so it will require an update at some point. I went through dozens of versions of Scrooge, never having the exact wardrobe I imagine, but eventually settled on this one where he has brown trousers and is half (un)dressed for bed.
Below are most of William's mini-figs, each one in the glass container being complete with legs, bodies, heads, and head-ware.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reading "The Star Wars" with sore feet

We had some very amusing moments in class today as I used the early draft of "Star Wars", entitled "The Star Wars" by George Lucas (or course) as a cold reading in screenwriting. There are quite a few characters so each of the dozen students who were there tonight had more than one role. The "good" guys had some highly questionable behavior such as blowing up their own bases with everyone inside to ensure there would be no leaking of vital information, and young Jedis having sex in closets. I would have had more fun but my new Doc Martins were unusually stiff and made my feet exceedingly sore all day. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Film Student senior class photo shoot today

Amidst my grading and telecining (for purposes of grading), I slipped into the studio just in time to be part of the graduating class photo for the film department. Here is my view from the back row:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Beware of the zombie lawn!

Not much to say today. I stayed home and graded assignments. William opened a Lego mini-fig and got the bride from series 7. We had an early supper then went to Thor. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Downtown Regina, some hidden layers of hell

I had a Filmpool Board meeting at noon today. We have been doing Sunday meetings because most of us are available and the parking is generally easy. However, as I mentioned in a prior post, preparation for the Grey Cup has led to hundreds of parking spots being removed, even on Sunday. I came down early to get a spot (got one a few blocks away) and took the extra time I had to explore the Bay for a new popcorn machine (the one that was suggested is not good, it is one of those self stirring machines that invariably jams with kernels and burns the whole mess). While in the Bay, I overheard one woman, walking with a winter coat on, commenting sarcastically that there was no air conditioning in the store (fortunately her teenage daughter was there to mock her). Another woman was beside herself upon finding out that the mall would not be open until noon (the Bay is open earlier) so she could not get to Tim Horton's. Yet another woman I was walking behind was complaining that the police officers who had just walked past, whom she was told were just around to make people feel safe, were actually watching her, along with the hidden cameras, and that she had great issue with this.

I started taking this picture series during the Board meeting to document the current ceiling which will be replaced due to damage earlier this summer. The renovation has been very slow, with only Gord at the Filmpool the only one trying to crack the whip on the other parties. Fingers crossed that it will get done in February. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mysteria Gallery and shopping on 13th Avenue

While the first big snow of the year started coming down last night, we embarked down 13th Avenue to do a bit of early Christmas shopping. William and I have been assessing infusion-style tea pots and picked one out today. The afternoon ended with the Terri Findelak and Laura Hale exhibition opening at Mysteria. Great work and a nice crowd, but William was feeling rather shopped out by that time. Heavy coats and standing in art galleries just don't mix some days. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dunlop opening with no parking

I'm sure the freezing rain, which made walking treacherous, and the lack of parking, due to the inexplicably blocking of all metered stalls within two blocks of the library in anticipation of the football event a week from now, were factors in the smaller than average turnout at the Dunlop this evening. The cakes were nice. I spoke with Eric and warned him that he likely has pneumonia. He doubted me, but will keep warm anyway. I got a chance to talk with Blair about the great video art collection she curated last night that Paul and I attended. The work she selected had a distinctively ironic aesthetic, many of the videos containing few, if any, cuts and frequently featuring iconic imagery with meaning subverted through the direct address commentary. We talked about Steve Reinke whom I admire greatly and she has had the opportunity to collaborate with.
Before the opening, Margaret and William went to "Wintergreen" where she got herself a new hat.
Margaret with her new hat

Amber Phelps-Bondaroff doing the film dance, raising the issue of R-9 versus R-10 reversal bleaches

Grad student Amber PB asked me to help her develop a roll of tri-x reversal super-8 film, as a positive, today. I've been having some issues with reversal other than the high con in the past couple of years because of the change that Kodak made in the reversing bleach. Before getting into the lab, I did some more research and found one situation which said that the new and old films are both backward and forward compatible with the old and new bleaches. However, if you use the old R-09 bleach, the film needs to be shot with a lower ISO. With the R-10 bleach, it gets a higher ISO. In other words, if you use the new bleach (which is supposed to be less toxic) you don't need as much light to shoot the film. However, I still have not been able to find the formula for R-10. Amber's film was already shot, so adjusting the ISO was impossible. Therefore, gave her the choice of mailing it to a lab, or experimenting. She seems adventurous so I wasn't surprised that she chose the latter. I had her push the roll in the first developer (Ilford ID-11 at 30 degrees for 10 minutes instead of 6) and then the rest of the process the same. I think the results looked okay, but I didn't have a chance to see them projected. I am not sure if the blacks were very solid, but I also don't know what the images are. Overall, she was happy (as  you can see, she is doing the film dance). 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

That fish looks fat enough to eat.....

My goldfish seem to be gaining some weight, and I'm not the only one to notice. Actually, our cat doesn't care much about the fish today, she was actually interested in small bits of fish food which had fallen down beside the tank. She was licking at the table, gobbling up every little bit she could.