Steve Wacksman
February 2006
Turn On Your Teevee!
All Hail Genndy Tartakovsky!
I've always had a thing for animation - I'd go so far as to say that it is one of my primary influences and inspirations. I swear. if I could only capture one tenth of the magic that was "Fractured Fairy Tales"  I'd spend the rest of my days building monuments to myself. Some of my most vivid memories are of waking up with the sun on Saturday mornings and planting myself in front of the tube for a cavalcade of cartoons.
i lived through the mid seventies, arguably animation's darkest hour. The era of looping backgrounds, minimal motion and a near criminal lack of attention to craft. As I got older my interest waned .The Anime boom that started in this country with the cult hit Akira rekindled my interest. I started collecting 'japanimation" cassettes, but soon burned out on it. Later, as DVD reissues became more readily available, I started adding to my stash. Some notables include the Rankin-Bass "Mad Monster Party" and the Fleischer Bros "Superman" series.
A few years back i was laying  on the floor in a state of post meal torpor and came across the Samurai Jack premiere movie. The six-year-old in me immediately came to life, which for me is really what it's all about. I watched every frame in rapt bliss - I was immediately hooked.
Director Genndy Tartakovsky is a visionary. Not only has he revived the artistry of animation, he's elevated it. George Lucas managed to effectively strangle the gloden goose that was Star Wars with one exception. As a fan of the Samurai Jack series, he had the sense to hire Tartakovsky and Co to produce a series of animated 'prequel' pieces to air before the release of the movies. These episodes manage to eclipse Lucas' movies tenfold. The action is more exciting, the artistry is breathtaking, and the cheesy humor and hamfisted direction are mercifully absent. They, along with Samurai Jack seasons 1 and 2 are available on DVD. Buy them, watch them - every frame a work of art. No need to thank me- it's just what I do.
Since I can't 'screen grab', I had to steal an image from the www. Sorry, whomever I stole it from - send me a bill. Lookit this, though. Look at the painted background - nobody does that anymore. Beautifully stylized character design and mind-blowing color. I stand in awe because it's awesome. End of fan rant. Thank you.
I Hate Music
posted: Rock! A rare peek at Joe Strummer's driver's license.
I read somewhere that at some point in everyone's life, they give up on music- they just figure that what they listened to in college or high school was the last great music ever produced and they settle in and grow a moustache and a paunch and work for a vinyl replacement window company and drive a leased Nissan to and from the package store.
Well, that might be partially true. If you, like me, live in one of the largest and most culturally diverse cites in the entire world, then you can count on one thing: godawful radio programming. It's a fact - top 40 ( A misnomer- in reality, it seems there's only about 16 songs on the playlist at any given time), frantic salsa-merengue, "urban" . It's enough to make a man stay in bed all day eating Pop-Tarts and drinking Fresca and watching Golden Girls reruns. OK, maybe that's not why I did that. Whatever- let's move on.
I found this thing called LastFM on the world-wide internet. I'm sure there's millions of streaming music sites and all; maybe this one's no different. But it's awful swell and pretty intuitive. Give it a try here- it don't cost ya nothin':
Or spend another week listening to Toto - it's your call. I'm just sayin'.
Apologies To Gentleman Jim
Sorry, jim.
A few years back, i had some "zine" that had an ad in it for some unremarkable garage rock outfit. They'd swiped some Jim Flora piece for the artwork. Naive pip that I was, I was completely unfamiliar with Mr Flora's work. So, doing what one of limited imagination does, I decided to (in the parlance of the professional commercial artist) "rip it off". Here is the product in all it's dubious glory:
Buy this album. Or don't- it's not like MY wallet gets any fatter!
The band, Sour Jazz, went on to produce a few other great sides. Fans of Iggy Pop, The Saints, Radio Birdman, The Beasts Of Bourbon would do themselves a favor by checking 'em out. Like every teenage girl and pimply WWF enthusiast in the known universe, they have a myspace page. Go there to hear the tunes for free, then download them illegally. Don't look all like, "who, me?"
Anyhow, here's their latest - with cover art by little ol' me, natch!
Promoting The Goods
I've been sending postcards to AD's and designers since,like, the Pony Express days. They used to be crazy effective- the phones would blow up within a week and I need to hire children and migrant workers to ink and scan.
Those days, alas, are behind me. These days, promo postcards seem to be met with a deafening roar of collective indifference and have as often as not cost me money.
I sent my lunch money to the folks at Agency Access and have taken down somewhere in the neighborhood of a million e-mail addys and compiled them into a group. The plan is to mass e-mail these people until they serve up a gig or a cease-and-desist.
Does anyone of my rapt audience out there have any experience, good or bad, with this thoroughly modern pestering technique?
Year Of The Enormous Dog
Junior- Rest In Peace, Old Pal.
We lost our pal ( and company mascot) Junior in December. And by "lost" I mean he died. Junior would have been near impossible to physically lose; he was 110 lbs and stuck to my side like glue. So when he died his absence was keenly felt. Mostly by me- he was always my dog. The Veal, our Boxer, was pleased as punch to be queen bitch for a while.
Enter Okie aka 'Good Times". He's our newest family member, a Dogue de Bordeaux or French Mastiff. So far he's been a dream; easy going, confident, smart and friendly. He's twelve weeks old and has been with us for almost a month. Yeah, he's the same dog as was in the Tom Hanks classic " Turner and Hooch", and yeah, he's likely to grow to somewhere in the 130 lb range. No sign of any real taste for crime fighting, yet, but he's still young.
Okie, 12 weeks old
That's Short For "Web Log", Mom.
Dear Diary:
I've never blogged before. In fact, I work alone, have no kids, and rarely pick up the phone if I don't need to.It's not that I have nothing to say, really, it's that I have nothing interesting or nice to say. I'll do my best to fill up this space with pithy commentary and self-referential humor, if you promise to hang on my every word and frequently quote me to influential people.
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