COME SAY HELLO TODAY: WAMfest 2014

Hiya! If you happen to be in the Madison, New Jersey area today, and you have the afternoon free, please come say Hi! I'll be on stage at WAMfest 2014, being interviewed by singer / songwriter / novelist / all-around-showman Wesley Stace! Stick around for Salman Rushdie at 6.

http://wamfest.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/wamfest-2014-the-illuminated-word-featuring-salman-rushdie-and-neil-gaiman/


SET YOUR DVR: MONSTERS on KCET on June 25th

Good morning! My apologies for having been away for so long. Got a music video in the works I think you'll like. Just a little longer until I can show you. But right now, please set your DVR: KCET will air an hour-long documerntary on me and the Monsters on Wednesday, June 25th at 9pm Pacific, and again on Friday the 27th, also at 9pm. Here is their page about the film.

I'm working on a special Monster to promote the film right now. And there are exclusive monsters IN the film, too. I hope you'll check it out. More to come soon! Don't forget: 344 LOVES YOU


THE LYNDA.COM DOCUMENTARY

Good morning. So, like... you know that thing, when a team of amazing, talented people spends a year making a gorgeous hour-long documentary about you, and then they put it online? Well... that just totally happened to me:

The genius Lynda.com crew, headed by director Scott Erickson and producer David Niles White, followed me to press checks, to my gallery client, to my old college, to the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, to the release party for You Deserve A Medal, and even joined me on my nightly 2am walk to the grocery store. And then they turned around and made an incredible documentary. (This is the same crew that made the beautiful documentary about Doyald, so you know it's excellent stuff.) You can watch the whole thing here.

You know those annoying people who get awards and then say how they're all humbled? Well... I'm truly humbled. What a thing! Thank you so much to everybody at Lynda.com -- Lynda Weinman, Bruce Heavin, Sharon Ludtke, Scott, David, Mia, Loren, Fatima, Fiona, Deb, Andrew, Lucas... no, no, don't start the music yet... Tracy, Tony, Tanya, Michael, Ben and Billy. No question at all that 344 LOVES YOU

DETOUR: YOU DESERVE A MEDAL

  YDM-BLOG-LAYERS
Good afternoon!
As some of you may already know from other sources, I've written and illustrated a new book, published by the good people at Knock Knock. I've been meaning to tell you about it for weeks, and somehow the days just keep getting away from me. But now we've had the official launch party at Skylight Books, and it's getting more and more embarrassing that I haven't tolfd you about any of it here on the site.

So, will I tell you all about the book right now? No. (It's another one of those days.) But I will post pictures, and I will quote Alissa Walker's excellent piece on the book over at GOOD Magazine.

Have you endured up to six months of involuntary abstinence while in a committed relationship? Bravely placed your toothbrush into the caddy of another? Designer Stefan G. Bucher thinks that you should get a medal for that. No, seriously, he has designed you a medal. Bucher's new book You Deserve a Medal: Honors on the Path to True Love (Knock Knock, $16) includes 40 medals that acknowledge the unique feats of strength required for modern relationships, from sending a poetic love letter via text message to inducting a successful (yet dignified) pet name.

Bucher, who recently entertained us with his Daily Monster project and his products for 826 LA's Time Travel Mart, uses his sharp pen and even sharper wit to transform even the most banal aspects of courtship into a worthy moment for commemoration. The book even includes a "love medals glossary" in which Bucher painstakingly explains the iconography behind the insignia, as well as criteria for earning the medals as decreed by fictional entities like the Council of Romantic Decorations. It's hilarious, sometimes heartbreakingly funny commentary on modern love.

And it's not just the book! There are three actual medals, too! Steven Heller wrote about those on The Daily Heller! Once again I quote:

Bucher has also produced some of the medals in their own ceremonial boxes. They can be worn proudly on formal wear, business attire, or pajamas, for those so depressed they cannot get out of bed.

Now, what was I saying? Oh yes! Photos! Here we go...

01-YDM-cover

06-YDM-Table-of-Contents

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02-YDM-open-page-heartbreak 03-YDM-open-page-online 04-YDM-detail-online 05-YDM-detail-plural-pronoun L1000684-medal-gallantry-01 L1000684-medal-caveman-01-620px

50003_YDM_Pages_092010-19

50003_YDM_Pages_092010-46

And, of course, my favorite part of any book, the headband:

L1000678-tailband-01

And let's not forget the actual medals:

L1000711-heartbreak-in-box-crop L1000664-ribbon-heartbreak L1000665-medal-heartbreak-01 L1000667-medal-heartbreak

Lastly, how about me and the Knock Knock team being our most animated selves at the launch party?

DSC_7891_ydm_dance

You can see all the party pics at this link here. (And no, they won't all give you seizures. I just couldn't resist this one.)

Sorry it's taken me so long to put this up on the blog for you. I hope you'll check out the book and the medals -- at a quality gift store near you, at Skylight Books, at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, or on Amazon -- and that you'll like what you'll see. For now, I hope you're having a great week, and that you're aware that 344 LOVES YOU


DETOUR: THE LEGO LYNDA LOGO

Good morning. Boy, I am so behind in posting right now, what with the release party for my new book coming up. But as I just got such a lovely shout-out on the Lynda.com blog yesterday, I thought I'd show you this little project I did on the side -- just to keep the recursive links going.

In honor of my friend Lynda's recent birthday I decided to render her company logo in Lego. Why Lego? Because A. her husband (and logo designer) Bruce is a big Lego geek, and B. because I haven't had a chance to fiddle with big bags of Lego in... oh... 25 years? What more reason do you need? I don't know, but what more reason do I need? None. None more reason.

So without further ado, the Lego Lynda logo:

Lynda-logo-whole

Business in front, Death Star in the back:

Lynda-logo-closeup Lynda-logo-back

Here's the side-by-side-by-side comparison, courtesy of Bruce:

Stefan&lynda&logo

If you'd like to know a little bit more about the genesis of the logo, here's Bruce and Lynda giving you the scoop:

As always, there's much more to come, but that's it for tonight! I hope you're clear on the fact that 344 LOVES YOU


CUE THE MONSTER STRINGS

Good evening. How are you? I hope you had a good week.

If you've been following the blog recently, you know that I hopped on a plane to Denver, Colrado on Wednesday, got a rental car, and made my way to Boulder. Why? Because I wanted to be there for the world premiere of a string concerto by composer Hunter Ewen. A string concerto inspired by the Daily Monsters! (Maybe there are illustrators out there who get blasé about having string concertos written about their work, but for me... very exciting! How could I possibly miss it?)

I rolled into Boulder not knowing what to expect. Hunter had contacted me back in September, and told me this:

I stumbled on your monsters while doing research for a new chamber piece. I'd like to ask your permission to reproduce a few of your images in my score. Each performer represents a different monster and I'd like to use your artwork as a visual cue for how to act and behave onstage. 

Obviously that wasn't going to fly with me. Reproduce a few images in the score? Why not a whole bunch of animated Monster loops on stage? Much better! So Hunter went shopping among the Monsters, gathering his cast of characters. And I went to work (albeit slowly) animating nine of the Daily Monster Papers for the task. I finished the last two the night before the performance.  

Through all this I took a holiday from being my usual control enthusiast self, and left Hunter to do his thing. All I knew was that he was writing a piece for eight violinists. He sent me a synthesizer demo a few weeks ago, and I have to admit with considerable shame that I never made the time to listen past the first minute, because deadlines were tugging at me from all sides. As per usual. Well, I'm glad for it, because this way I got to see the performance, and hear the piece with the same surprise and delight as the audience at Grusin Music Hall.

And I brought my camera. Check out what happened!
(Go full-screen if you like. It's HD, don't you know!)

Isn't that the best thing ever? When you make a bunch of drawings and a few years later THAT happens, you know you're not wasting your life. I couldn't be more excited by this whole thing. Talk about a gift from the Universe!

Thank you so much to Hunter, and to Lina Bahn (formerly of the Corigliano Quartet) for commissioning the piece and performing it with the amazing CU Violin Studio cast and guests at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Pendulum New Music Series. Thank you all for making such an incredible thing happen!

Here's a photo of the whole ensemble in mid-monstrosity. (You can click on all the images to enlarge, of course, but on this one you really get a nice sense of the hall in the bigger version.)

Monster-Party-Hall-01

 

The cast of characters:

Flittle: Sarah Wood, Annelise Gilsdorf, Brittany Ware

Squax: Karlie Denos, Samuel Goodman

Radigast Pigsley: Hannah Leland (spoken), Alejandro Gomez Guillen

Sir Beekington Cromwell III: Tee Tong Tang, Rachel Wilkinson

Pinchclock: Oscar Soler (solo cadenza), Allison Kim, Margaret Sopoer-Gutierrez

Dr. Chomps: Michael Brook, Veronica Pigeon, Molly Evans

Garblebob: Amanda Ramey, Matt Dendy, Grace Schneider

Mrs. Squirmwiggle: Lina Bahn, Haynn Tang

Conductor: Joel Schut

 

Check out the score! How cool is this?

Monster-Partitur-01

Here's what Hunter had to say by way of program notes:

Monster Party (8:30, for violin ensemble) was composed as a musical response to the monsters of Stefan G. Bucher. These wicked, adorable, delicate, stinky, chompy, brilliant monsters are, on their own, just as interesting as their unusual methods of creation. The structure and form of each monster originates from the seemingly unpredictable effects of skillfully orchestrated blobs of ink and bursts of compressed air. Often drawing upside-down and backwards, Bucher's work springs to life, as if from the ether, fully formed, each with a unique personality, backstory, method of movement, and manor of speech. He actively avoids over-polished or plasticized monsters. Lines from Sharpie markers are often visible, and nothing is done with a ruler. Because background detail is rarely included, one never knows if the monsters are the size of a bullfrog or a building.

The piece takes its stylistic cues directly from Bucher's unique method of creation. Parts of the piece were composed upside down, and new sections often culminate with melodic or harmonic "explosions," mimicking Bucher's ink bursts. The piece is purposefully rough around the edges, with quick transitions, abrupt dynamic shifts, and crunchy harmonies. But at its core, it begs the question, "what happens if a bunch of these monsters get together and have a party?"  

Rather than assigning each performer to a "violin 1, 2, 3" part, I have tasked them with adopting the personality of specific monsters from Bucher's collection. How the instruments interact musically is related to how I imagine the monsters would react to one another in real life. The harmonies, counterpoint, and special effects are best interpreted as statements of the monsters rather than as gestures of the composer. Movement and dance abounds. Various vocalizations are called for throughout as well as moments of visual drama and levity. Monsters, after all, never know when to be quiet!

 

Monster-Partitur-03Monster-Partitur-04 Monster-Partitur-05Monster-Partitur-02

And when he says MONSTER SCREAM, brother, he ain't kiddin'! Watch the whole concert and you'll see! Take a bow, Hunter:

Hunter-on-stage

Well, there you have it! The Monsters have gone from Logan Hasson's beautiful viola coda for Monster 100 and the opening credit banjo stylings of Daniel Holter & Friends, to an amazing trombone solo by Peter Batchelder, the spine-tingling chase theme by Simone Giuliani propelling the Topanga Monster, and the smooth stylings of singer/songwriter Jed Alger. And now the Monsters have their own string concerto? Let's just say it: GTFO! The big question on my mind is, "What could possibly be NEXT?"

Whatever it is, you can count on the fact that 344 LOVES YOU