Friday, March 31, 2017

Rania Al-Harthi (Hart) MFA

Congratulations to Rania for successfully defending her MFA this afternoon. It's been a great pleasure to work with her alongside co-supervisor Kathryn Bracht over the past couple years as the project has grown (and grown and grown), changing shape and evolving in so many amazing ways. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Paper Umbrella

We were at the Paper Umbrella store to pick up cards and participate in their letter writing project. I won a cloth bag in their draw (as General Saul). 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Film 200 in class shoot #2

More great weather as I took Film 200 outside and we shot another "pigs" based short drama. This time the tale was about a pig assaulting a guy with a hot dog and then burying the hot dog and crying as he marks the grave with a cross labeled "mom". The sky was clear so the reflectors were more valuable than ever. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mort and Karmyn

We went to see "Terry Pratchett's Mort" performed by theatre students this evening. Quite an ambitious project, running over two hours in the ShuBox. William has started a unit on theatre design in his art class this week so was looking inquisitively at the imaginative use of minimal sets pieces they used (only one thing, a big doorway, was permanent. Everything else rolled except the bed which could be tilted up to be a bookcase). I saw Karmyn there, an ex-student of mine who switched gears in her last year and became an accountant. She had a wicked sense of storytelling and loved twisting up fairy tales so I'm sure she has at least one or two projects left in her. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

A trade with Kallie

Kallie and I did an art exchange this week which resulted in me being a proud owner of one of her drawings (one of the ones behind her in the photo above I think). Margaret and I visited her in her studio to pick something out and had a nice long chat about interesting stuff to do with art and waterfalls.
When I got home, I saw my first robin of the year.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Happy birthday Sara

After at meeting with the puppet festival, I rousted William off his computer to make a card and go drop in on Sara to wish her a happy birthday. She and Mooky have a place even closer to us that last year (only for this month though) so we walked over but had some bad timing as they had gone out for a few minutes and were not home. We left our card and they dropped in on us an hour later so we got our visit in after all. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Last day with cousins

Kiki and Kristin return to Toronto this weekend. We had one last day for hanging out. Spent an hour at the MacKenzie (we lucked into arriving at the same time the Anthony and Joanne were there to tour a visiting artist the gallery so I tagged along - a great pleasure). Headed next to the Southland cinema to see Logan from the comfort of their new recliner seats (takes the sting out of the 12.50 price). Funruckers followed (liked the drink machines and the burgers were very good). Rania did her second/final performance at the Shubox with a number of changes. Had a drink afterwards and home again. Quite a day. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rania performs her MFA production

Rania presented her MFA one-person performance in the Shu-Box this evening. It has been a couple of years in the making but still contained numerous elements that I'd not expected. It was a mixture of media installation (anamorphic videos and graphics) and gallery installation (barbed wire and salted floor environment) and mixed performance as she interacted with the audience and presented from her fold-able cardboard house using shadow, video, puppet, recorded audio, singing, and other interdisciplinary components. She got a nice sized crowd. Thank you to everyone who came out to support her (Great to see you Mooky and Sara) and congratulations Rania on this wonderful accomplishment. Defense is only one week away... 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Film 200 pig production

The weather is finally good enough to take the class outside and shoot something. While a bit rushed, I think it went well. Everyone had jobs to do and there were no mishaps. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recreating the Third Man

In class today (and last Thursday) we studied sequences from The Third Man and reshot them as precisely as we could. Very challenging and good exercise but only for half the class. Need to rethink it a bit to maximize affect. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Puppet Day and Morton painting moves again

William and I went to "Strings", a 2004 marionette feature film at the RPL this evening. Saw Mooky and Sara there, fantastic to see they have returned from their world travels. The film was pretty solid, although the ending left me wondering about some of the core ethical themes. The main character has realized that his nation are really the bad guys and have conquered the city they have been living in for generations. What does he do with that knowledge at the end, now that he has decided that peace is the best solution? Will he surrender his city to a nomadic people they have grown up hating? I doubt it. Will they invite them in? I suppose so. Will they give them property? Maybe. Will they give them good property? Many many questions are left unanswered.
This morning Margaret helped move the big Douglas Morton painting from the entrance way of the Regina Public Library for cleaning for the second time ever. The first time was only two years ago, after it hung there for four decades. This time is because someone set a fire in the book return a few months ago and smoke damaged the area. They moved it differently this time, opening the huge windows and taking it out in one piece (some cutting needed to happen to accomplish this). 

lantern monster

William finished his beholder monster lantern and handed it in today. I'm missing its presence hanging over the breakfast table already. It has lights glue gunned inside and is quite ghastly but pretty. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

First shave

Today William asked me to teach him to shave. I lathered him up and he did the rest without a single cut. He refused to let me photo-document the event.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lip-syncing in animation

Here is a very short clip we made in class this week to test the lip-syncing guidance in Dragonframe. We also shot some animation using steel wool to test the way it would move and catch light. I didn't export that as it related more to Ethan's project than our work this week. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jean Oser event

This evening I went to Nora Gardner's website launch and fundraiser for her Jean Oser project. The event was at the Filmpool and had a screening of "Myrtle's Murder" and "Ghosts Before Breakfast". Don List was there shooting some interviews for the project, although the shape of it was not yet defined. I told some stories on camera that would be good to use and at least one that was more for the archive and not for public consumption. The event was highly under subscribed. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Supper at Mom's with Kiki and Kristin

This afternoon I presented "Gun Crazy" at the Lifelong Learning program. It was well received. In the evening we went to my parent's for supper along with Margaret's whole family including Kiki and Kristin. I hadn't realized that mom didn't know how to play cribbage. I began to teach her. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Filmpool 40th Anniversary

The Filmpool marked its 40th anniversary with a party in their space this week. There was a great crowd. I could only stay a short while as I needed to get back for my evening class, but did get a chance to talk to Ron Jacobs, Jon Tewksbury, Janine Whindolph, Brock Stevens, and a bunch of others before slipping away (without cake). Lots of photo memories on the walls and screen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bad Blood by Joey Tremblay

We went to the opening night of Joey Tremblay's "Bad Blood" at the University Theatre. There was a good crowd. I thought I could get some photos of the cast at the reception but didn't realize it was a closed party for Curtain Razors only, so I'll need to save my conversation for another day. I'd hoped to tell Joey how personally moved I was by the play, something that basically never happens to me with live performance. I'd not realized going into it that it would be about his hospital experiences that resembled so many of my own. Throughout the play I was taken back to the mid-80s and my time in the General Hospital struggling with pleurisy and simultaneous undefinable liver ailments that the doctors gave new diagnosis to every day. I feel I so so much luckier that Joey because I never had his devil-doctor. Instead, I landed many doctors who felt drugs were likely the best answer and my being-hit-by-a-bus-painful ailments went away eventually from drugs so I never had to face the surgical solutions (which I would have taken just as Joey did, the pain and exhaustion left little alternative). I don't think the play really communicated how much the pain played into the decisions, but I remember. Wow. It took me a few hours to come down from this performance and be myself again. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day

Margaret outdid herself with some magnificent pies this year. George and the girls came over. We also took Kiki with us to Combat Improv and brought Eric a slice of apple pie. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ripping CDs

I finished ripping our cd collection this weekend so I can listen to them in the new car. Once I got started, I got obsessed and did a huge indexed set of about 400 disc (over 5000 songs). It is more than I'll ever listen to in the car, but there are discs that I own and never listen to because I just don't get around to them. For example, when I am heading out to Saskatoon on an early morning drive (probably do this once a year) and need some fast wake-up music, I might take some early Joe Jackson. I like the later Joe Jackson, but it becomes increasingly cerebral and not the sort of stuff to replace coffee. However, on a longer trip, with the full library at my fingertips, I might put some of them on. Otherwise, what is the point in owning them? 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

William beholder art project

Kristin arrived in Regina today. Kiki will be here in a couple of days. Visited in the morning but the afternoon was just William and I, running errands, practicing driving, and working on art. He is modifying a lantern to be a bug-eyed beholder monster. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cardigan sweaters

Bought cardigan sweaters for William and myself today. I think this will be our new outfit for hanging around the house - a fashion direction that William and I finally agree on. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

animation with flashlights

I've had a plan for a long time to have a small crew together to animate using long exposures and flashlights. For some reason the software wouldn't work as well as we'd hoped. I think there might be a limit on how long the Dragonframe can expose for. Regardless, we managed to get a few tests done. I suppose the only way to really do it would be to capture everything onto the camera card. Perhaps next time. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

back to the socks

While I didn't have a hugely productive day, my self pity of yesterday drove me to open up my Sock-Vile editing sessions again and I managed to put effects in for another chapter (my goal two months ago was to do one of these chapters each week which would get me through the project by April, which is still somewhat possible). 
We took a movie break this evening and watched the incredibly funny "Final Girls" directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, a magic realist, post modern, horror film, horror satire. It's a must. 

Monday, March 6, 2017


Blizzard today, although not really a bad one. I graded projects, baked, and drove people around. Margaret's cold is worse so she came home early. William had piano and school and all that and then has a video he needs to create for science tomorrow which he is doing with drawings and voice over about the history and physics of balloons. Basically a normal Monday except I can't get back into the rhythm of taking this one day a week to work on my projects (it's been three weeks since I touched Sockvile).

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Puppet Festival - now with 7% more punk rock

This weekend I sat with Chrystene, Bernie, Wendy, and Sylvia for my first time as a board member for the IPUF (International Puppet Underground Festival), which had been IPUFF (the other F standing for Film, but removed to give the festival more breadth). The festival is in a couple of months so I'll be busy with it. It is now a separate entity from the Prairie Puppet Underground which is more of a creation group now. Many exciting announcement to come. Stay tooned. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Gerald Saul dot com

Saturday. I spent most of the day trying to get my website working again (see below). Once that was done, we slipped out for a short while to see Kristin MacPherson's cyanotypes on fibrous papers of people's tattoos. Cool. Homemade donuts made it extra special.

For those who might not know, I've had a website for the past 15 or so years. Felipe designed the first version, which was excellent, but at the time I only had about one third of my content ready for him and by the time I had the rest ready, he no longer had the time. It sat like that for a year or two until one of my grad students, Fazail, wanted to work on it. Again, this seemed to go very well except that I said yes too many times. One of the times was when he asked if it was okay to design the whole thing if Flash. A year later, Fazail had finished his degree and moved away and I had no clue how to update my site. Again, it sat without updates for a year or more. Eventually I decide to try to do it myself. I used the Adobe Dreamweaver software that I owned and started building it one page at a time. Two hundred or so pages later I was able to (with some help) upload it all to the NMSL server, I was even able to add and updated it. That was in 2008. Since then I have taken to updating it regularly. You can always get to it with "" Last week I was informed that, because the NMSL no longer exists, I would need to move my website. At this point it is probably 400 or more pages long with hundreds of photos and videos. I don't know how to move it. Thankfully the university was able to move it quickly and efficiently to another spot at the university (thanks Ted). All safe and sound.
Bottom line: if any of you reading this have a link to a specific page, you may have to re-set that link. Again, you can find your way in with but the individual page names are now all different because of the migration from NMSL. If you look at a link you have to me and the letters NMSL are in the heading, then it won't work any more. Actually, it works right now, but eventually it won't. The NMSL version is still there but the new copy is the living one that will be updated. The other will eventually disappear. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Deck issues

John came over to our house to consult about the renovating/updating/repairing of a few things around the house including the deck, the kitchen, and the basement. It occurred to me half way through when asked about priorities that the deck was first. I told him that if we tear other parts of the house apart and I don't have some place sane, such as a decent deck that isn't at risk of falling down, to sit with a drink and take a break, then I'd go mad. Preventing insanity is the motivating factor. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stephen Surjik directing William as Matt Murdock

Stephen Surjik was a Filmpool member before I joined. He made a couple of films including the YFF award winning "Razor in the Wind" that I've programmed a number of times and seen at least a dozen times. He moved to Toronto just before I joined in 1984. The students invited him back this weekend to be a guest of the Living Skies Film Festival. He was scheduled to talk before the films at 7:00 tonight so I took my evening animation class to see him, figuring we'd cut out at 7:30, miss the student films, and return to my scheduled material. What happened instead was that he conducted a two and a half hour workshop and Q&A session, breaking down four scenes from an episode of Daredevil, doing cold readings with three volunteers, walking us through all his storyboards and floor plans, then playing the scene. It was a tremendously generous sharing of his wealth of experience. William played Matt Murdock/Daredevil for two scenes and young Wilson Fisk in two other scenes.