Kara (A Brilliant, Touching Science Fiction Short Film)

This amazing short film was made by the video game developer Quantic Dream (Heavy Rain) to showcase their latest game technology. In the process they created a short piece of science fiction that’s both gorgeous to the eye and very moving…

Back In The Saddle (Song of the Week, 3/28/2012)

After lots of scrambling and last minute concerns, the Doc Wilde Kickstarter project is ready. Now I just have to click the launch button at noon on Friday and we’ll be live.

Year of the Dragon, baby.

As Promised, Springsteen…

In my post about the Springsteen show last Sunday (on my birthday), I said I was waiting for some decent videos to appear online, and I’d share some when they did. Well, I just dug around a bit in some of the stuff that’s been posted, and nothing I’ve seen so far has really captured the show well enough. I had much better luck the last time I saw him, when some of the smartphone footage posted was good enough to share (here and here).

I did find some good footage from the SXSW show three days earlier, and in order to give you a better sense of what the concerts are like, I’m going to share those, as well as Bruce’s live debut of the song “Wrecking Ball” at Giant’s Stadium, which was about to be torn down (and which is the subject of the song). I’d like to show actual performances from the show I saw, but whatcha gonna do?

After the songs, though, check out the keynote speech Bruce gave at SXSW. It’s brilliant. Funny, engaging, informative, musical, and awesome. If you haven’t seen it, you really, really should. Especially if you’re a musician. Or a writer.

A Supernatural Song of the Week (3/22/2012)

I’ve been mainlining Supernatural on Netflix the past several weeks and am about halfway through the sixth season now. And you know what? Officially one of my favorite shows ever.

Where other shows with complicated mythologies dig themselves deeper and deeper and ultimately flounder (and sometimes go out not with a whimper, but with a Hallmark card, like Lost), Supernatural dances with its mythology. Six seasons in and they’re still surprising me, still coming up with twists that work, still creeping me out, still making me laugh (thank you, Ben Edlund!), still making me care more and more for Sam and Dean and their oft-doomed cohorts.

Other than Firefly and Fringe, I can’t think of many shows that have delivered unto me so much delight since Buffy and Angel went away.

This week’s tune is for my fellow  Supernatural junkies. If you haven’t watched the show, do not watch this, as it is jam-packed with spoiler. There are plenty of other videos on YouTube of “Carry On My Wayward Son” you can watch without ruining the show for yourself if you’re in the mood for Kansas…

(UPDATE: Goddamnit. Embedding disabled. Assholes. Oh well, it’s worth the click through…FURTHER UPDATE: Adding another video below for folks who don’t want to spoil the show…)

Bein’ Green

Tim Byrd
8:00am (about an hour ago)

Start drinkin’ and fightin’. Dance like you’re stompin’ a swarm of bugs. Eat some cabbage. Write some genius poetry. Have freckles and a burn instead of a tan. Keep drinkin’. Wonder where the feckin’ snakes went.

In honor of St. Paddy’s today and the fact that I get to see Springsteen tomorrow (Bruce was nice enough to come to town expressly for my birthday)…

Don’t Fear…The Banjo? (Song of the Week, 3/12/2012)

In honor of Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull (the second of the three pulp adventure novels encompassed in my upcoming Kickstarter project), which I will be posting an excerpt from today at 2 pm EST, here’s some deathly bluegrass, Cornbread Red covering Blue Oyster Cult’s classic “Don’t Fear The Reaper…”

In Constant Sorrow Through His Days… (Song of the Week, 3/8/2012)

Strugglin’ on…always laughing…

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
(Tennyson)

Putting Her Best Feet Forward…

In mid-December, I posted “Spontaneous Me” by fiddler Lindsey Stirling as the Song of the Week. Her music is vibrant and Ms. Stirling is elfin and limber and full of energy. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen her perform.

I’m starting to wonder if I’m not getting all of her appeal, however. Ever since I posted that video, every day I get hits on my blog using the search terms “Lindsey Stirling feet” and “Lindsey Stirling barefoot.” I think she’s fetching from head-to-toe, but apparently some folks think she’s particularly fetching from heel-to-toe.

Which is fine. If you like feet, I can see how a fast-on-her-feet hot violinist might appeal to you. We all like what we like. So whether you like Lindsey for her feet, her delightful music and dancing, or her vivacious perkitude, I’m gonna post another video for you. It’s pretty awesome.

So is she.

Safe & Sound (Song of the Week, 2/20/2012)

Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars present this hauntingly lovely ballad that seems straight out of old-time Appalachia. It’s the theme song from the upcoming Hunger Games movie, but very much to the makers’ credit the melancholy and beautiful video avoids resorting to film footage.

For the record, I’m a big fan of Suzanne Collins’s series of books and am really looking forward to seeing the film.

America (Song of the Week, 2/2/2012)

Thinking about my trip to New York, and the long train ride there and back, lonely, watching the landscape flash past in the darkness, brought this song to mind…

Kathy, I’m lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and I’m aching and I don’t know why
Countin’ the cars on the New Jersey turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America, all come to look for America…

Good Memories of 2011, Day 2: Brandi Carlile

A lot of folks don’t know Brandi Carlile, which is a shame. I’ve been listening to her for a few years now, featuring her music here several times. She’s a wonderful talent. This year, no other artist was there for me as much as she was, in good times and in bad.

Early in the year, her live cover of The Beatles’ “I Just Saw A Face” perfectly captured the wonder and joy I felt when I looked at the woman I loved… Continue reading

Well, Blow Me Down!!!

Here in the Byrdcave, we’re old fans of Popeye. Not only did I watch the old cartoons countless times growing up, my son and I have each given Popeye gifts to each other. He gave me Warner Brothers’ awesome remastered collections of the classic Fleischer cartoons of the 1930s (which are wonderful, and far better than the later productions which kinda sucked); I have been giving him Fantagraphics’ gorgeous hardbacks collecting the original E.C. Segar comic strips as they come out.

Wilco, in cooperation with King Features Syndicate, has brought us the first hand-drawn Popeye cartoon in over three decades:

I hope Popeye rebounds by hooking up with Betty Boop.

If you never saw them, or need a reminder, or it’s just been too long, here’s one of the Fleischer classics, from 1936, in amazing quality:

And for bonus giggles, here’s a commercial featuring Popeye and Bluto that drove right wingers crazy when it aired:

UPDATE: Of course, now that I think about it, if we watch the Fleischer first, then the Wilco, then the Minute Maid cartoon, maybe we’re actually getting the full story of Popeye’s romantic life…

Don’t Let Me Die Young (Song of the Week, 1/26/2012)

I always wanted to use this tune as background for a balls-to-the-wall fight sequence in a movie.

From 1987,  Duran Duran’s guitarist Andy Taylor (backed up by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols) shows he can take off the mascara and crank out some actual rock.

Bewitching Kate (Song of the Week, 11/29/2011)

I’ve always loved Kate Bush.

Here she passionately performs one of her biggest hits, with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour adding some blistering guitar that really sets things on fire…

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.