January 2009: Staff Picks
Lasse Gjertsen has become my new obsession. A Norwegian animator and musician, he is known mostly for his two videos on YouTube, Hyperactive and Amateur. Both feature stop animation, which is a type of video using short clips or photographed frames to create the illusion of continuous movement. A well-known example of this is the old claymation show, Gumby. However, Gjertsen doesn’t use clay in his stop animation; he instead combines short clips of himself. In Hyperactive, he simply sits in front of his video camera, hair reminiscent of Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons, and makes a string of odd noises with his mouth. The noises are then put together to make an odd and interesting performance. Amateur is similar to this, but in this video he shows himself playing both the drums and piano. Although he is playing one note at a time, the stop animation makes it sound as if it’s a unified piece of music. As interesting as it is to read about, it’s vital to see the videos yourself. They’re awesome and look like something anyone could make with a little dedication.
If you like zombies, rent-a-zilla’s, crazy misadventures and a little romance you will definitely like the webcomic megatokyo. I began reading megatokyo several years ago, and it is still just as good now as when I began.
What started in 2000 as a very simple webcomic about two boys stuck in Japan has turned into a very popular online comic and printed graphic novel. The earlier plot focused on gaming and mangas, but transitioned into a comic that focused more on the lives of the characters and their different interests.
Piro and Largo are two young men who were stuck in Japan. They have two very different personalities, Piro is very shy and quiet, while Largo is a ticking time bomb of strangeness.
Hayasaka Erika and Nanasawa Kimiko are the two female characters. Much like Piro and Largo, they have very different personalities. Erika is the more aggressive and cynical character, while Kimiko is the shy, more reserved female lead. The third main female character is Tohya Miho, whom Largo believes is the Queen of the Underworld and the reason for the zombie invasion of Tokyo. That’s right, ZOMBIE INVASION!
There are usually new comics three times a week, and an online blog from its creator. I recommend that you go through the archives and read the story from the beginning because really, it’s that good.
TV on the Radio
Maybe you have heard of the band TV on the Radio, but if you haven’t you should head over to one of the music sites that Jena reviewed this month and check them out. I have been a fan of theirs for a few years, but hadn’t heard their new album Dear Science yet, so I looked it up on Grooveshark and listened to a track.
The band is from the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Brooklyn is south of Manhattan and the Bronx. This band is very creative; the two founding members are artists as well as musicians. Multi-instrumentalist David Andrew Sitek is also a painter, and vocalist Tunde Adebimpe makes … wait for it … stop-motion animations! Wow, who knew? Erin’s Staff Pick for this month also features a stop-motion animator. Tunde Adebimpe created a creepy music video for the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song “Pin.”
TV on the Radio’s popularity shot up after releasing their well-reviewed 2006 album, Return to Cookie Mountain. However, each of their albums sound a little different than the last, so I encourage you to look them up online, and decide for yourself what you think the band sounds like. Click on the button below for a tasty track from their newest album. If you like them, head over to our Facebook group discussion board and tell us why.