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1. "Nocturnal Flight"

Nocturnal Flight is a small (8" x 8"), abstract watercolor painting, part of my "Daily Something" series.

More of my artwork can be seen on my website and my Etsy shop

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2. HAMELIN NEWSLETTER del 2/9/2015

 
bilbolbul
 
 

 
APERTA-MENTE - LA DIVULGAZIONE PER RAGAZZI TRA SCIENZA E CONOSCENZA
 
Il 3 e 4 settembre Hamelin partecipa a "Aperta-Mente. La divulgazione per ragazzi tra scienza e conoscenza". Il corso, rivolto a insegnanti, bibliotecari, educatori, studenti universitari, si terrà all’Auditorium Don Milani - Scuola Primaria Don Milani (via Monte Cristallo 4, Pergine Valsugana - Trento) e avrà come tratto che unifica gli interventi del corso il rapporto tra libro cartaceo e libro digitale, tra forme antiche, nuove e nuovissime di trasmissione del sapere.

"Aperta-Mente" è promosso dalla Biblioteca Comunale "Sigmund Freud" di Lavarone con il sostegno della Fondazione Caritro e la collaborazione della Biblioteca di Pergine Valsugana, la Biblioteca di Luserna-Lusérn, il Comune di Folgaria, Apt Alpe Cimbra, l’Istituto Cimbro-Kulturinstitut Lusérn, Iprase, AIB.
PER MAGGIORI INFORMAZIONI: WWW.PROGETTOAPERTAMENTE.BLOGSPOT.IT
 

 
LEGGERE LE FIGURE:
LIBRI E METODI TRA BIBLIOTECA E SCUOLA
 
Mercoledì 9 settembre dalle ore 9,15 alle ore 17,00, presso l’oratorio di Aviano, Hamelin partecipa alla giornata di formazione del progetto Per crescere leggendo, "Leggere le figure: libri e metodi tra biblioteca e scuola" organizzata dalla biblioteca comunale di Aviano.
Rivolto a docenti di scuola primaria e secondaria di primo e secondo grado, bibliotecari e operatori culturali, il corso
prende in considerazione albi illustrati, fumetti, graphic novel e silent book per riflettere sulle nuove frontiere del leggere e su come conquistare i bambini alla lettura.
PER INFORMAZIONI: WWW.AIB.IT
 

 
CORSO SUGLI ALBI ILLUSTRATI
"AD OCCHI APERTI"
 
Continua il ciclo di formazione sugli albi illustrati "Ad occhi aperti" presso la Biblioteca Cantonale di Bellinzona nella sala conferenze. Il corso, promosso da Bibliomedia Svizzera italiana e Istituto svizzero Media e Ragazzi vuole sviluppare una riflessione sull’albo illustrato e sperimentare nuovi percorsi pedagogici.
I prossimi incontri, che si terranno il 10 e il 24 settembre saranno incentrati sulla divulgazione scientifica, e sulle forme del comico nell’albo illustrato.
PER INFORMAZIONII: NPLSVIZZERA@GMAIL.COM
 
 
HAMELIN FA PARTE DI IBBY ITALIA
International Board on Books for Young People è una rete internazionale di persone, che provengono da 77 paesi e promuove la cooperazione internazionale attraverso i libri per bambini, creando ovunque per l'infanzia l'opportunità di avere accesso a libri di alto livello letterario e artistico e incoraggiando la pubblicazione e la distribuzione di libri di qualità per bambini specialmente nei Paesi in via di sviluppo.
www.bibliotecasalaborsa.it/ragazzi/ibby/

Se desideri disiscriverti da questa newsletter, vai nel box "cancellazione" su questa pagina.
 

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3. “My Home, Your Home” Book Sample Illustrations

“My Home, Your Home”, an educational children’s book from Cloverleaf books, and some samples below.

mhyh cover&spread1

mhyh spread 2

mhyh page1

mhyh page4

mhyh page2

mhyh page3

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4. Comics In Germany -A Bit Of A Pipe-dream?







D-GRUPPE THE ZEIT GEIST SAGA 



Going by a few Face Book comments it seems that some people have the idea that I think I can just turn up at a European comic convention and the sales and money will flow.

Obviously, these people have NOT read the CBO posts that elicited these 'responses'.

Back in the 1990s I tried to chat to German comic fans on various forums.  I think I had a couple positive experiences -darkjedi and, unless my memory has really gotten so bad that I've got it wrong -Subzero and his brother, Enrique.  I even contributed to various groups -scans of 1960s/1970s comics from Germany that most had heard of (or not) but never seen.  Sadly, that group (basically) took away my membership after earning that I was opposed to illegal scanning of new comics.

The other forums got me these responses:




1.  "Who do you think you are?  English and you think you know German comics!"
2.  "We have seen your work* and it does not fit in Germany!"
3.  "It seems you like the low-brow, childish comics of Bastei and those others.  Comics have to be
     taken as a serious medium not frivolous!"

meh. Arschlochs everywhere.

All I can say regarding (1) above is that I was able to provide cover scans of old German comics back to the 1950s as well as covers and art of Hansrudi Wascher and provide background information most of the members had never heard of.  However, when two very "vocal" members took over they all faded away and, obviously, weren't going to support the foreigner out loud!

(2) well, I had contributed to German zines and was a very active correspondent with many of the Small Pressers of the 1980s/early 1990s and some of my work had been translated into German -including "Revenge of the Ice Queen", the first published D-Gruppe story.  So it was odd that after so much positive feedback, the internet (shock!) produced very negative idiots.

(3) It's true that this type exists everywhere.  They feel that comics cannot be anything other than intellectual or very arty.  These people considered 99% of comics published in Germany as "purile".

 Where are they now?

I partly grew up on a farm in a German village -Dalborn- along with other kids and we read and talked comics and played. At that time (1960s/1970s) there was, amongst some young people, the need for everything "to be German" and not in a bad way. 

My cousins decided that they could no longer understand English -"Auf Deutsch! Ich kann dir nicht verstehen!" It's not as though I was talking English all the time but if you've not spoken a language in a while and go back to it you need a couple weeks to get in the stride again so if I could not remember certain words such as, say, Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, I said it in English to get a prompt to the German word.  My cousins carried on this "Ich kann dir nicht verstehen" ever since.
THE IRON WARRIOR COLLECTION
In a way it's a bit like the British, in general terms, and "I cannot understand you so I'll shout!"


But I do know that there are a lot of German comic fans who do speak and read English -buy Marvel and DC comics and a lot are into Independent comics. People seems to misunderstand things and think "But they speak German -they won't understand an English comic" which is a bit insulting to be honest.  Germans like comics as much as anyone else.  My uncle used to read Micky Maus or Donald Duck, Lupo and so on. This was back in the 1960s/early 1970s when it was looked down on to be an adult reading a comic -they were for kids!  And, yes, I came across that attitude.

German comickers, publishers and comic history are not exactly unknown to me!  That gives a clittle bit of an edge.

The thing is to make sure that German comic fans know about Black Tower Comics but forums I would never like to try again.  So what is the alternative?  That is something I am looking into. It is also why the idea of spending a fortune going to a big German convention is out.  Maybe smaller events but then mainly to let people know what Black Tower is and see what is available.

After all, there is no reason why a German comic fan who reads English should not enjoy The Iron Warrior or Phantom Detective or even Chung Ling soo or Dene Vernon.  It is making them aware of these books and making it very clear the idea is to exist alongside existing German publishers not push them out of the way (not very likely to happen!).

So all of this needs to be assessed and mainly because to translate books into German will take a long time and if the interest is not there...

It is a necessary move, though as today I am told I have "been unlucky this time" in getting a table at another event.  Very depressing when you have the books but no direct customer contact.  Of course, if an entrepreneur backer for comics comes forward (UK or Germany) it makes it easier.

I've not given up.  And I've no fantasies about the "big time" in Germany.  But we all need to eat, right?
THE CASE BOOK OF CHUNG LING SOO

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5. ‘Wire Cutters’ by Jack Anderson

A chance encounter proves fateful for two robots mining on a desolate planet.

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6. Eddie Redmayne Transforms in The Danish Girl Trailer

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7. Library Sales

Do libraries buy books the same way other outlets do?

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2015/07/industry-question-library-sales.html

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8. Moonbot Enters the Oscars Race with ‘Taking Flight’

Premiering September 18 in West L.A., 'Taking Flight' is a whimsical tribute to the life of Radio Flyer wagon inventor, Antonio Pasin.

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9. Apex Magazine issue 76 (link)

"This month we have new fiction by Tade Thompson (“Child, Funeral, Thief, Death”), Isabel Yap (“Find Me”), and Marian Womack(“Frozen Planet”). Our reprints are by Liu Cixin (“Mountain”) and Kuzhali Manickavel (“Six Things We Found During the Autopsy,” a reprint from The Apex Book of World SF 4). We have poetry by Anne Carly Abad and Christina Sng, and Cristina Jurado wrote our nonfiction article discussing speculative fiction in Spain. Exclusive to the subscriber/eBook edition, we have excerpts from Escape from Baghdad! By Saad Z. Hossain and Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho": Apex link

Btw, I have a review of Sorcerer to the Crown on Amazon.

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10. TURNING PAGES: LUMIÉRE, by JACQUELINE GARLICK

I'm a big, big fan of novels in which Girls Have Adventures. I love a girl with swash in her buckle and plenty of impetus to find answers for herself and not depend on anyone else. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, adventure novels only meet this... Read the rest of this post

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11. David Lagercrantz on Writing The Girl in the Spider’s Web

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12. Begonia Blooms


It's a Mod, Mod World...

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13. Outdoor Market Results

In Outdoor Market Challenge I asked you to paint a market on location using just three colors of gouache plus white. 

We had many inspiring responses from artists around the world, ranging from seasoned professionals to people just starting out on the adventure of painting. In this post I want to spotlight a few of the results that I thought made the most of the opportunity, but I was impressed with everyone's effort, and grateful to all who participated. 


It was really hard to select the winners, but I would like to give the Grand Prize to Jesse Winchester Schmidt, who painted "Sunrise Market." He says, "Sunrise is a well known market in downtown Vancouver. Always vibrant, buzzing with diversity." The striking color scheme came from using Indigo blue, Cadmium yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and White.



Jesse painted the main piece in over four sessions, but he also produced more than a dozen preliminary sketches and paintings to help him warm up to the challenge.


Jesse is a senior instructor from the Vancouver Film School. I hope his students see what an impressive example he is setting. 
Next up is Finalist Jared Cullum of Richmond, Virginia, who painted Virginia's Historic 17th Street Farmer's Market. He used Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue & White. The perspective is very carefully drawn, the colors are muted, and the values are well grouped, making the piece look like it was done by a 19th century master. 


He said his rig blew over four times because of that big wind-catching umbrella. Jared also said, "This is posted with a little bit of melancholy. As I was painting someone working the market came and sat with me and asked, "Trying to get it down before they tear it down?" Then he proceeded to tell me about how tomorrow they will be tearing this down to build a "shopping square" in it's place. No idea what that means for the farmers working but it's sad to see a historic thing go."


The next Finalist is Clay Brooks of Denver, Colorado. He used Venetian Red, Oxide of Chromium, and Cadmium Yellow Pale, plus white. Those colors led to a harmonious and unified color statement, with the darks related to the tints. 

I also like the way he handled the figures with just a few color planes stated very directly, since the figures must not have stood there long.


Clay said, "I was a little upset with my color choices in the beginning because it was impossible to get darker than 2 or 3 on the value scale. Also, subbing green for blue was interesting."


Architectural illustrator Jeff Simutis is another Finalist. He painted the Marin Farmers Market in San Rafael, California using Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, and white. I love the way he echoes the colors and shapes throughout the picture and captures the bustle and energy of the whole scene.


This photo captures the busy scene that Jeff was facing on his standing tripod easel. You just know he must have had a million people coming up to him and offering comments, or saying "Paint me in! Har har!" 


First up in the Honorable Mention category is Christian Schlierkamp of Berlin, Germany. He used Cyan, Magenta and White on a yellow priming and watersoluble pencils in a Moleskine Watercolour book. I like the light and airy feeling that he achieved, letting the yellow color come through here and there, and allowing the line work to show.  


Here's the view back toward Christian from the stand. Christian says, "The market stand shown is of my friend Horst Siegeris where I buy all of our fruits and veggies."


The next Honorable Mention is Michael Mrak, painting the Ort Family Farmstead Near Chester, New Jersey. He chose an interesting view looking in the corner doorway and up under the eaves.


The palette was Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue and Venetian Red. Mike says, "It has been maybe 20 years since I limited my palette like that."


David Auden Nash painted this study using Vermilion, Sepia, and Ultramarine with an acrylic underpainting. The color statement is very exciting indeed.


Here's David Auden Nash in front of De Streekmarkt at Mariaplaats in Utrecht, Netherlands.



Charley Parker painted the Swarthmore Farmer's Market in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

The painting is 5"x7" and is painted in W&N gouache (Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Perylene Maroon, Permanent White) on a Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook.

Charley says, "I frequently use a limited palette, but one that includes at least four colors — usually Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Alazarin Crimson and a "helper color" like Burnt Sienna or Viridian. I didn't realize how much I depend on that helper color, which for a subject like this would have been Burnt Sienna. I would use it primarily to combine with Ultramarine to make grays and browns and to dull the bright yellow into ochre-like tones."



He continues, "I usually paint more natural landscape forms as opposed to cityscapes and artificial structures, and I'm not a particularly fast painter. I soon realized I'd taken on more than I could paint in a single session. Fortunately the weather cooperated and I was able to return to the same location under similar light conditions."


Sherry Schmidt painted the South Pasadena farmer's market in California with W&N Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow, and white, on cold press watercolor paper.


She says, "I taped over the other colors in my gouache palette so I wouldn't make a mistake! I enjoyed trying this and finally felt more comfortable as I got used to mixing with the three colors."


Finally, I'd like to spotlight the work of Matt Sterbenz of Arizona.  I like the way he focused on a smaller detail of the scene, and did a nice job capturing the flickering light and shadows. He used lemon yellow, burnt sienna, ivory black, and white.


Matt says, "A couple friends and I went to a Scottsdale nursery this morning. They have lots of benches and tables set up throughout the garden. The shelving there was made from old pallets and cinder blocks. Hiding from the sun in the shade, I painted this display of small bushes with Holbein gouache."


Finally, check out Dietmar Stiller's video of his painting experience. Link to YouTube

Have a look at the Facebook Event page where all the entries are posted. My compliments to everyone who joined in, and hats off to those of you who bravely painted outside for the first time, or painted in gouache for the first time. 

Jesse, Jared, Jeff, and Clay, please contact me to let me know where to send your official "Department of Art" patch as your prize. 
-----
Original blog post about the Outdoor Market Challenge.
Facebook page for the Outdoor Market Challenge 

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14. See the New 50th Anniversary ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ Stamps

A dedication ceremony, open to the public, will take place on October 1st.

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15. Don DeLillo to Receive National Book Award Medal

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16. Eight Essential Attributes of the Short Story and One Way It Differs from the Novel

1) There should be a clean clear surface with much disturbance below. 2) An anagogical level. 3) Sentences that can stand strikingly alone. 4) An animal within to give its blessing. 5) Interior voices which are or become wildly erratically exterior. 6) A novel wants to befriend you, a short story almost never. 7) Control [...]

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17. Six of one, half a dozen of the other

The line between adult literature and YA is definitely bendy and sometimes more a “smudge” than a “line” (and then there’s that whole New Adult thing — remember that?) Not only are there great numbers of books that have been published for one community of readers and then been adopted by the other, there are also books that straddle the border, publishing as one in the U.S., the other internationally. Like, what’s with that, Australia? (Okay, okay; there are some British/UK ones too.)

Some examples:

zusak_book thief australianzusak_book thief usThe Book Thief by Markus Zuzak was originally published as adult, in Australia, but then published as YA in the U.S. Author John Green writes in an NYT review that he suspects the ambitious and emotional novel was actually written with an an adult audience in mind. But regardless of teen or adult reader, Green feels it is “the kind of book that can be life-changing.”

Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels follows Liga’s journey as she escapes horrifying abuse and raises her daughters, Branza and Urdda, in a parallel world. It’s a lyrical, fantastical fairy-tale complete with romance, violence (some graphic), and love. The book won a Printz Honor in the U.S., although it was published as adult in Australia. It was then repackaged and sold as YA in Australia.

connolly_book of lost things usconnolly_book of lost things ukJohn Connolly writes books for children (The Gates and the other Samuel Johnson series books, for instance) and adults (including the Charlie Parker detective series — what’s with all the mystery/crime crossover authors?). But at least one of his books has been marketed to both: The Book of Lost Things was originally published for adults in Ireland, but was given a more kid-appealing cover makeover to accompany The Gates U.S. release.

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Boston Globe-Horn Book honoree Jaclyn Moriarty, is about the trials and tribulations of the somewhat-magical Zing family. The book is a sort-of revised version of Moriarty’s Aussie novel I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes, from a different point of view: “I rewrote Pancakes because my American editor was intrigued by the character of Listen Taylor…The result is a different story, and one that is aimed more at young adults…” According to Moriarty, many reviewers went out of their way to say it wasn’t a children’s book (though it was published in the U.S. by children’s publisher Scholastic). The Horn Book Magazine reviewed it. Then put it on our “Mind the Gap” list as: “Best adult book on a children’s list.”

There are also books that have switched affiliation from printing to printing here in the States: Neil Gaiman’s Stardust was originally published as adult but then repackaged as a teen read (The Graveyard Book went the other direction, from middle-grade to adult). Same story for Francisco Jimenez’s Boston Globe-Horn Book-winning memoir The Circuit; it was published by New Mexico Press for adult readers, but repackaged for children when Houghton Mifflin picked it up.

Any others to add to the list?

For more on crossovers, click here.

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The post Six of one, half a dozen of the other appeared first on The Horn Book.

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18. Silver in the blood, in the hand and everywhere

Media of Silver in the BloodDacia, and her cousin LouLou, are traveling to Romania to meet their mothers' family for the first time.  While Lou visits Paris and shops the fashion houses there, Dacia travels by ship with her Aunt Kate.  Dacia, ever the rebel, is in disgrace since she had an escapade with a certain nobleman in England.

Dacia catches sight of her prim aunt passionately kissing a stranger when the train they have boarded is stopped by snow in the mountains.

Meanwhile, Lou is stalked by That Awful Man, a stranger who accosts her on the ship asking if she is The Wing or the Claw.  Another time, he announces that she is the Smoke and an houri, which upsets her terribly.

In Romania, Dacia meets Prince Mihai, charming to the nth degree.  Then she meets her maternal grandmother, the dread Lady Ioana.  "Dread" does not come close to describing this woman.

Dacia and Lou are trapped by their genetic make-up in a destiny that neither wants nor can control.

But things are worse.  Their family believes that these two girls are the answer to a prophecy.  And the family is at odds about what the prophecy means.

And the English Lord, That Awful Man and Prince Mihai are, none of them, what they seem to be.

Ahh, a proper paranormal romance, set in the home of paranormal activity, the mountains of Eastern Europe!   Terror, entrapment, kidnapping, poison, armed guards, swoon worthy men, Victorian fashions and manners... It's all in here.   Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George.

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19. Diversity Baseline Survey Update: #BigFiveSignOn and Survey Deadline

Exciting things have happened with the Diversity Baseline Survey since our last update!

The Diversity Baseline Survey gathers statistics on publishing staff and reviewers in four major categories:

1) Gender
2) Race/ethnicity
3) Sexual Orientation
4) Disability

These categories will be further broken down by department. The goal is to have all major review journals and publishers—from small, to mid-size, to large— participate in this project. If we are serious about trying to address the lack of diversity in the publishing world, this is the very first step we need to take. Sharing our numbers as an industry will not only clue us in to important patterns that may be missing, it will also show that we are committed to change.

Since our last update, several new publishers have joined the survey, including Bloomsbury, Lerner Publishing, Chronicle Books and Abrams. More small publishers have joined, including Clean Reads, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C., and Owlkids Books. Macmillan, one of the “big five” publishers, has also joined. You can see the full list here.

All in all, almost 30 publishers and 8 major review journals will be administering the survey. This is huge.

WHY bigfivesignon

This week, a supporter created the hashtag #BigFiveSignOn to encourage more publishers to join the survey, including the rest of the “big five” publishers (HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and Hachette), in advance of the mid-September deadline. We were thrilled to see the hashtag trending on Monday! Check out some great media coverage of the campaign from around the web:

Diversity Matters: Lee & Low Push for Diversity in the Publishing World” at BookRiot
Diversity Survey Deadline Nears” at Publishers Weekly
“Why I’m Asking that the #BigFiveSignOn” at SC Write
“The Page is a Mirror…Or Is It?” at Jamie Ayres’ blog
“Why #Bigfivesignon? #WNDB” at Coloring Between the Lines

Over at Change.org, our petition encouraging publishers to join the survey is now at almost 1,900 signatures. Have you signed yet?

The deadline for joining the survey is September 15, 2015. Help us encourage remaining publishers to join by spreading the word on social media using hashtag #bigfivesignon and by signing the petition!

Read our previous update on the Diversity Baseline Survey.

Learn about why we are asking publishers to join our Diversity Baseline Survey.

Sign the Petition.

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20. Hawk Leads the Self-Published Bestsellers List

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21. New Hulk has stylish new shorts and a headband–but who is it?

I guess there's a nasa Hulk on the way, as shown in this new Marvel teaser, and he's got some on-trend athletic shorts but also a doorag or headband of some sort...not sure if that's in style or not. He also sports some kind of glove that would give away his identity.

5 Comments on New Hulk has stylish new shorts and a headband–but who is it?, last added: 9/2/2015
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22. what is it that we really need? brief reflections following the reinvention of a family home

I have spent much of my summer at my father's side, working through the reinvention of his home of many years. Today, with the help of realtor extraordinaire, Marie Gordon, the reinvention comes to a close. The house is staged. In a matter of days it will be for sale.

We hold onto many things in this life—our third-grade reports, our fifth-grade medals, our computer-science grades, our uncle's letters, the pots and the pans, the ceramic bunnies and the glass ducks, the extra lamps and tea cups. This summer, working through the many shelves and drawers and boxes and closets and frames, the tools on nails, the orchids in pots, I reflected endlessly on the questions: What is it that we really need? What material objects mark and shape a life?

Today, following several morning hours of heavy lifting and flower arranging (and learning a thing or two about picture wire from Marie), I returned to my own modest house thinking about peace and peaceable space—the families we build inside the hope we create. My father and mother raised three children (and a cat named Colors) in this house of many years. We touched the things. We lived the life. The memories remain.




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23. Season 2 of Comedy Central’s ‘TripTank’ Will Debut on September 25

The raunchy Comedy Central series is returning for 10 new episodes.

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24. My DC Comics Rant. 52 and You. Part 1

YEAH, YEAH. hooper rants but I AM not the only one saying this stuff and here Howlermouse has his turn.  And, yes, it may well be that my age ain't making me "hip"!

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25. Live! From the 72nd Venice Film Festival - EVEREST - They Climb the Mountain so You Don't Have To

Everest - courtesy of Universal Pictures
(Venice, Italy) Baltasar Kormakur, the director of Everest, the opening film of the 72nd Venice  International Film Festival, is from Iceland, a geologically active land with erupting volcanoes, gushing geysers, as well as mountains and glaciers. Today, only about 300,000 people live on the 40,000-square-mile island, which makes Iceland the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland taps into its excitable resources for energy, using geothermal energy -- heat from the earth -- and hydropower for 100% of its electricity.

Iceland was first settled by Vikings, and every time an Icelander wanders into Venice, they seem to radiate the power of a harnessed Wagner opera. During the press conference for Everest, Kormakur was asked if the movie had any Icelandic qualities. Kormakur said, "I trained for the film every day as a kid, walking to school in a blizzard."

Everest - courtesy of Universal Pictures
To me, Everest is a very Icelandic film. It is based on the real-life events of May 10-11, 1996, when eight people died attempting to summit Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. We screened it here in Venice in 3D, which made vicariously climbing up the mountain and all its extreme challenges triply vivid, but I did not quite have the sense that I was actually there on the mountain -- you are not going to get vertigo from the heights. 

It is not a blockbuster in the Hollywood sense. It is an ensemble piece, about several different adventure-for-hire tour groups and their clients climbing up Mount Everest at the same time. With all the heavy-weather gear and goggles, it is often difficult to distinguish Jake Gyllenhaal from Jason Clarke. I found myself longing for a protagonist to hold onto; someone to get to know more intimately; a hero that triumphs over all odds. There is none of that -- every character has weaknesses and strengths; every character is likable and not. No one particularly stands out.

Everest - courtesy of Universal Pictures
When a violent storm with hurricane winds suddenly attacks the climbers on the face of the mountain, a slow realization takes place. Everest is not another "Triumph of the Human Spirit in the Face of all Odds" at all -- it is another story entirely. It is "A Day in the Life of Mother Nature," who does not care if human beings are climbing up the face of her highest mountain on Earth. She is simply being her fabulous self, thunderbolts, lightning, blizzards and all.

That eight people died on the same day was due to many factors, the most obvious one being that too many people were trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest on the same day, and there was too much congestion at a critical point -- about as glamorous as dying on the Los Angeles Freeway. Most of the people froze to death rather undramatically -- but, again, it is a true story.

Everest - Courtesy Universal Pictures
Why certain people have an obsession with climbing Mount Everest was not really answered; the standard "because it's there" is not a good reply. But it did cost a lot of money for the adventurers to pay for the privilege -- $65,000 back in 1996 -- and most of them were middle-aged men. Perhaps it's for the same reason why a middle-aged dentist would kill one of the world's most beloved lions for sport...


Maybe it takes a director from the Arctic Circle, the Land of the Midnight Sun and the Aurora Borealis, to tell the story of that fatal day on Mount Everest from the mountain's point of view.

Everest opens on September 18th.

Ciao from the Venice Film Festival,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

P.S. Jake Gyllenhaal just gave some girls a thrill by signing autographs on the red carpet!

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