Category Archives: Not Comics

I’ll be at Gamercamp this Weekend!

I’m happy to say I’ll be participating in Gamercamp this weekend, November 13-14. Gamercamp is “a celebration of the art, creativity and fun of video games,” hosted annually in Toronto. I have some friends in the gaming/indy gaming community, and if you’ll notice this year at TCAF we included a small–but to my mind important–indy gaming component. I think there’s some real interesting crossover between indy gaming and indy comics, particularly the development of narrative and working outside of the studio/corporate model, and that’s actually the subject of the panel I’m on! Here are the details:

Gamercamp: Developing Narrative in Comics & Gaming
Sunday, November 14th, 12:30pm-1:30pm
Comic books and video games—these two relatively young media have grown out of their infancy and are taking on complex issues, emotions, and ideas. Join us as we discuss the intersection of these media and what they can learn from each other. We’ll also be showcasing a range of interesting mutations that cross the barrier between media.
With Miguel Sternberd, Benjamin Rivers, and Christopher Butcher

Exciting! I’m definitely going to try to spend as much time as I can there this weekend as well, as the other panels, talks, and exhibitions seem quite cool indeed. Plus there’s two nights of cool events including a concert by Anamanaguchi, and a double-feature screening of The Wizard and The Last Starfighter! Neeeeeat.

Head over to http://gamercamp.ca for all the deets, and hopefully I’ll see you there this weekend.

– Chris
Image is a screenshot of the game “The Depth To Which We Sink” by Bigpants

Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema – Nov 18-21

I’m pretty stoked about the line-up for this year’s Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, going down in Waterloo, Ontario November 18th-21st. Previously they’d had Canadian premieres of anime films like Evangelion 1.0, though sadly I haven’t had a chance to attend the Festival yet. Their line-up continues to impress though, and for 2010 they’re doing screenings of the much-anticipated REDLINE (image above) and SUMMER WARS (image below).

I’m seriously hoping I get a chance to head down to Waterloo next weekend… For more information and to pick up tickets, you can visit http://www.wfac.ca/.

– Christopher

PSA: How to be a good PR Person

…ever since signing up as press for NYCC and SDCC, my daily PR count has more than tripled. Companies comics-related and nerd-specific are emailing me to let me know any time their clients so much as fart, and it’s annoying but it’s all only two clicks away from disappearing.

That said, my daily PR count isn’t a patch on my friend’s, Journalist Nathalie Atkinson. Over at “On The Fourth Floor” she lays down the law on how to be a good PR agent, and how to interact with journalists, and it’s both amazing and essential reading for someone with a product, service, or idea to promote.

http://www.onthefourthfloor.com/2010/10/media-darling-nathalie-atkinson.html

Go check it out.

– Christopher

Congrats to Jeremy Tankard and Boo-Hoo Bird!

I am sadly, desperately, mournfully behind when it comes to reading my Google Feed Reader (everyone should have one!), and so now I’m scraping May 11th and trying to run through everything…

…But I did want to take a minute out to congratulate my friend Jeremy Tankard on winning The Blue Spruce Award, as part of the 2010 Forest Of Reading Awards, for his children’s book BOO HOO BIRD! It’s the sequel to his award-winning debut Grumpy Bird, and it’s great! I’ve already bought copies for both of my nieces (and a few more besides!) and they’re a real hit. Winning the award puts thousands of extra copies of work into the hands of K-2 kids all over Ontario!

I know I’m kinda off in my own little world a lot of the time (and I’ve missed sooooo many other opportunities to congratulate friends) but yeah, congrats Jeremy! It’s a well-deserved award!

– Christopher
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Gary Taxali Previews Upcoming Art Show.

Torontonian artist and illustrator Gary Taxali has unveiled a near-complete preview of his art show at Narwhal Gallery this Thursday January 28th, entitled “The Taxali 300”. A collection of prints on found objects and ephemera, it’s a wonderful example of his style, influenced by pre-war cartoons and illustrations. A lovely way to spend an hour.

Taxali is notable for having given Google the finger, literally and figuratively, when they approached him and other illustrators to produce illustrations for their various pieces of software, with no intent on paying them. In this instance, it probably would have been a very good ‘portfolio piece’, but Taxali decided that his work was worth being paid for, particularly when a (very) large company making lots (and lots) of money was the one who came calling, asking for freebies. Good on him.

– Christopher

Himeji Castle Closing… for 5 years.

According to the just-discovered MustLoveJapan website (thanks @DebAoki!), Himeji Castle will be closing for repairs and upgrades beginning April 2010, until sometime in 2015.

If you’ve been reading the site for a while, you might remember that in the midst of my Otaku-fueled first Japan travelogue in 2007, I took a short break to post 20 Photos of Himeji, a town I really liked. Himeji is a medium-sized town, and very pedestrian-friendly, it’s on a grid and the whole thing seems designed to give you the best-possible view of the castle.

If any of my photos inspired you to visit Japan (or visit places within Japan) you may want to move quickly to see this attraction, before it’s off limits for the next half-decade…!

– Chris

Japan 2009: Shirahama, Wakayama, Izu, Japan

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My friend Corey Mintz settled on Shirahama as his almost-tropical destination of choice, for his trip to Japan. It was before my first trip and he got the idea from the Lonely Planet guide who raved about it. Shirahama roughly translates to “white sand”, and that’s what you get: 2km of white beaches on the Pacific Ocean. If you go off-season, which is essentially the 11 months of the year that aren’t August, no one’s there. “It’s like Muskoka after Labour Day” as I would explain to my Canadian friends after returning. I don’t have a clever colloquialism for you if you’re American, apologies.

Before the 2009 trip I saw Corey down and implored him to describe his trip to Japan, from start to finish, so I could steal all of the best parts. Shirahama was one of the best parts. I also learned not to only leave myself an hour to explore Sapporo, but that’s for another post.

So yeah: Shirahama is a resort town, sister-citied with Honalulu in Hawaii. It is 3/4 empty in the off-season. It is beautiful, a truly strange mix of post-war Japanese architecture and Beach Boys / Jan & Dean surf-culture. Oh, and naked outdoor onsens where you sit in a pool of scalding water as the waves crash down right next to you; the Pacific Ocean goes on forever.

I could live in Shirahama.

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They greet you at the train station in Hawaiian shirts.

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There are empty hotels everywhere.

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This is a second-floor onsen, just off the beach looking out to the ocean.

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This is the beach.

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This was Tuesday night I believe. No one on the beach but us and the locals.

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Because we were outside with two brand-new cameras, the setting on all of these photos are a little dark. It was an overcast day, but bright, and really warm. 75-80 degrees or so. You’ll also notice a significant different between Andrew’s photos (above) and mine (the next little batch).

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Here’s another view of the onsen-on-the-beach.

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In Japan there really are vending machines everywhere, including on the beach.

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Kiddie Shower.

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A meat little restaurant/ice cream stand, that you had to cross a bridge to get to. And check out that roof…!

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You can see it better here, one edge of the beach has a large rocky outcropping that’s rather lovely to walk out onto. Looking at these pictures now, the scale is really weird… it’s actually a huge area and outcropping. Maybe I need a camera with a better depth of field? Next trip.

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There were actually three onsen on the beach, this is a little foot-bath with a lovely tranquil garden and not-too-hot water. Customary with all Japanese baths, you had to wash your feet before you could put them in the bath. I mean, you didn’t Have To, there was no one around. But that’s when our morality is tested. Japan operates on the honour system, fella.

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Pretty eh?

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So this is just a little bit past the foot bath, and this is when our initial stroll on the beach got a bit creepy. It’s about 3 in the afternoon here, and this shop is closed. In fact, the restaurant and ice cream stand was closed too. Everything was closed. Heh.

The next batch of photos will be behind the cut, for folks reading at comics212.net. For folks on feed-readers, this is gonna be a huge post. Sorry!

Continue reading Japan 2009: Shirahama, Wakayama, Izu, Japan

Just A Friendly Reminder For Canadians

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Hey Canada! Sick of going through your feed reader, having one of your favourite sites include a clip from The Daily Show or Adult Swim, only to see “THIS VIDEO NOT AVAILABLE IN YOUR COUNTRY” when you try to watch? Me too!

That’s why when I surf, I surf with the AnchorFree Hotspot Shield VPN. It’s a program that… well, you don’t care. All it does is pretend that you’re not from Canada, where the Teletoon won’t get around to showing S4 of The Venture Bros. until sometime in 2010. So you can watch The Venture Bros. along with the rest of the world, and not some cultural cripple without access to real TV.

Download it. Run it. Use the internet like the internet was intended.

– Christopher

Karl Lagerfeld Toy Doesn’t Come With Fan

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“I love Karl Lagerfeld, and [PETA] hate him because he showed fur in his collection, and they protested his fashion show. People were chanting outside, “KARL LAGERFELD IS A MURDERER! KARL LAGERFELD IS A MURDERER!” And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fabulous if Karl Lagerfeld actually was a murderer?” Like, what if he just fuckin’ lost it one day…backstage at a show in Milan…and bludgeoned Elsa Klensch to death with a platform shoe. “I HATE THAT BLOUSE!” “

“The best part of any fashion show is Karl Lagerfeld with his white hair, and the big glasses, and a fuckin’ fan. Like he’s some kind of Spanish lady or something. And I look at the fan and I’m like, “Bitch, it’s not that hot, what’choo doin’?””

Margaret Cho, I’m The One That I Want

More on the ridiculous fan-less Karl Lagerfeld figure at WWD.com. Edit: Apparently Karl stopped carrying a fan after he lost all the weight. Why does no one tell me these things?

– Christopher