Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday Muse Day - More Holiday Tunes - Elle Jazz Winter Blue, The Best Christmas Ever . Love Waits - Warped Sky - Stray Clouds

 "Now it's the day after Christmas and my clock is in the red"(lyric from the song, Love Waits by Richard Miceli - Warped Sky Band -'80)

This Sunday Music Muse found us two days after Christmas, but in our household we keep the Xmas tree up until New Year's Day and play holiday music until then, too. Here two annual picks, ELLE Jazz Winter Blue, a collection of various classic jazz performers doing Holiday and winter themed tunes.

The second collection is The Best Christmas Ever, a Virgin Records release. Remarkably, there are only two tunes the show up on both CD. "Merry Christmas Baby" performed by Charlie Brown and "What are you doing for New Year's Eve" performed by Lena Horne. Both are classics so no harm, no foul. One nitpick, the cover design for the CD back cover is bad. the song title info is totally unreadable. Some designer was hitting the spiked Holiday egg nog too much before sending it to the printer. Still it has served us well over the years.

Here is another tune in my Warped Sky: Stray Clouds project, a combination of songs from old tapes and new renditions of original tunes written and played by me, and my ad hoc band Warped Sky Band in the 1980s, with the buddies, Richard Miceli and Rodney Means. Again, in this case, "Band" means three guys screwing around playing in our apartments. "Love Waits" is a tongue-in-cheek "Jazz Noise" or "Art Jazz" as Richard labels are music. The lyrics has a lot of Tom Waits in it, as he was a favorite of Richard's and I aways hear strains of that in his poems/lyrics. I'm amazed at the off-beat and dark insights on personal relationships Richard's lyrics reveals.

The line " clock is in the red", alway stuck with me. It seems to say how can't you move forward when your dragging all that old stuff behind you. So, I'm going to start getting rid of stuff, material, and emotional. Mostly these posts are a personal celebration of long friendships that I treasure for life. Enjoy.

Monday, December 21, 2020

A Winter Solstice III - Windham Hill Artists

Here's music to celebrate the Winter Solstice occurring today.  A Winter Solstice III by Windham Hill Artists.  Windham Hill Records is known as New Age record company the presents mostly acoustic music spanning a eclectic range across Classical, Folk, Jazz and blend of all of them. This is obviously, the third in a series of  six Winter Solstice releases,  part of 24 Windham Winter Holiday releases. It's a nice addition to our family holiday music playlist.

It's a nice addition to our family holiday music playlist.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Holiday Music

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds me officially starting our family Holiday celebrations. First, we decorated the Christmas Tree last night as Charle Brown's Christmas soundtrack played in the background, our family tradition.  Having tall sons makes placing the star on top the tree a breeze.

I followed A Charlie Brown Christmas with a growing seasonal favorite The Merry Gentlemen - Christmas on the Rocks, featuring Bob Sneider (guitar) and brother John Sneider (trumpet & Whistle).  These local boys know how to rock the Holiday music.

We several more compilation CDs of  traditional and popular Holiday tunes, but here are two off-beat selections I like a lot.  The Blue Hawaiians - Christmas on the Big Island. and Al Di Meola Winter Nights.   Neither Hawaii nor Al Di Meola, a fusion guitar legend, would make you think of Christmas music.  Both are worth owning if you come across them.

Here's wishing everyone a safe, joyous, Holiday Season.  Peace.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Dragonfly Holiday Flipz Books

For Flip Book Friday, here are three of my Dragonfly Flipz books that were planned for the Holiday Season. The Alien Parade Flipz book Part 1 was produced and I still sell them on my eBay page. I still think of finishing the Part 2 to completed the set, someday.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Vince Guaraldi, Santa Baby.

This Sunday Music Muse Day when us enter the 12 days of Christmas.  It's still too early for our household for Holiday Music as we have put up a tree yet.  But as "A Charlie Brown's Christmas" is having a special show on PBS tonight (as the only free option to see it this year), I'd thought I pull out the CD.  This sound track featuring the music of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi is of course a classic, and national treasure.  

Another TV soundtrack I'm pulling out early is Rankin/Bass Christmas special Santa Baby. Unfortunately, the animated special ever seem to catch on like the other R/B Christmas specials, although it had an impressive cast of talent actors, Gregory Hines, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt.  Santa Baby was of course build around the famous, "Santa, Baby" song.  I can't say if the mostly black cast, and urban setting effected the it's appeal.  It was my last job with R/B and the highlight for me was meeting Vanessa Williams when she came in to record her songs. Maybe Santa Baby might have just been ahead of it's time. With the rise of BLM movement this special might  get more attention. 

Of course, there will holiday music to come.  Enjoy.  

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday Music Muse Day - Ralph Towner, Mark Isham

 This Sunday Music Muse Day find us getting a our first real touch of winter. Friday saw a light blanket of snow covering the lawn, although it didn't last long, Saturday was cold cloudy and gloomy.  Sunday start overcast and grey, gave way to scattered clouds and patches of blue sk, but still chilly.  I tried pick some music to reflect the weather, introspective and sober,  First up is Ralph Towner Batik. This a favorite Towner album of mine, released in 1978.  In considering selling my record collection I bought a new CD of it.  I admit I like the original album cover, front and back, more than the updated CD package.  At least the music is as great as I remembered.  It a trio set with Towner on 12-string and classical guitars, and piano (which was actually his first instrument),  Eddie Gomez on bass, and the amazing Jack DeJohnette on drums. I know this was one of the records that hooked me on ECM records. If you don't own I highly recommend it.

Here's the vinyl album cover front and back.  The hand lettering give it more character.

My second selection is Mark Isham Blue Sun, a trumpeter with a extensive and varied discography ranging from rock, pop, and jazz, and to children's Rabbit Ears Storytime Classics.  I first came to know him as New Age artist with his first album Vapor Drawings on Windham Hill records label.  Lisa, my wife, even got permission from him to use one of his tune for a animation short she did in the '80s.  Blue Sun is pleasant CD with some nice laid back tunes and upbeat selections to round it out as soundtrack for a gloomy winter day.

Here's his Vapor Drawings album on the Windham Hill record label, know for acoustic New Age music.

Hope everyone finds tunes to help through these chaotic time as we move toward the winter holidays.  Stay safe, stay healthy, wear a mask. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Dime-A-Dozen #17 - Dragonfly Flipz Books - Introduction - Comix Flipz

This is the first part of my Dime-A-Dozen #17 - Dragonfly Flipz Books.  My dive into one of my ambitious creative projects.  Spoiler: it didn't turn out well, but the journey was worth it.  And I still have a desire to give it another try.  More on that later.

I alway liked flipbooks  from as long as I can remember.   I used to make them in elementary school, especially around the time of the beginning of the space. I did one of the Mercury sub-orbital flight, and even a Mercury orbital mission like John Glenn's. Flipbooks were always easy must buy novelty item for me at gift shops or museum stores. Over the years I have acquired a small collection of flipbooks.

I also add items like kids' how to kits, one acquired from Kickstarter projects.

These are also from Kickstarter campaign from the small company. Each flipbook shows six scenes. The item at the lower right is a set of picture card of the Apollo 11 Anniversary.

Here's the flipbook and the back of the cover show the six scenes. I remember see the Bendito Machine short online. The company sell DVD/Blu-Ray of the shorts.

So, Dragonfly Flipz books came about as the result of my wanting to come up with a sellable item during the digital content explosion in early 2000s.  Everyone was developing and making Webisodes, and interactive oddball stuff, such as 'Frog in a Blender'.  The amount of projects and companies was staggering, but no one seemed to making any money.  The bust put an end to most of it.  I thought you still needed a physical object to sell, like a comic book.   In any case, after finishing two seasons of Nascar Racers TV series, I accepted an offer to share office space with Creative Logik, the independent CGI/SFX studio who worked on Nascar Racer with me,  when they moved to Glendale.  So, Dragonfly Entertainment set up shop, mostly a separate office/workspace with Creative Logik, and Kevin Van Hook, CGI/Visual EFX artist,  and film producer/director.  Between freelancing storyboards, I started to work on developing my own projects.  

I had secured the animation rights to Ruby, Galactic Gumshoes, the sci-fi radio series while I was still at Saban.  When I left I was free to work full-time developing Rudy, Galactic Gumshoe.  With the first episode's script and recording as a starting point I drew up an animatic, using Photoshop and Final Cut video production program.   I got the idea to used the animation for a series of flip books,  It was a Eureka moment as I had other animations of my Warrior in the Mist and Concrete, Paul Chadwick's Dark Horse book. In addition, video games, and DVD packages with collectibles were very hot in the market.  I thought flipbooks could be a extra sales items for video games and sci-fi and adventure properties.  After a lot of trial and error, I came up several types of Dragonfly Flipz books.

Dragonfly Comix Flipz

"Comix Flipz™ , is a simple but highly creative merging of two basic visual art forms, comic books, and the animated flip book. The basic idea is to use the flip book format to tell narrative stories."

As I looked to develop my take on flipbooks, I started with the classic format roughly the size of business card, I settled on a format 96 pages (48 sheets with 2-side printing) on quality card stock. Since I had some issues with licensing other people's character for projects before.  I made my first promos based on my own Warrior in the Mist comic book story.  I already had the video made so, it was a no-brainer to use it.

Keeping with the concept to present a complete story in flipbooks the frames from the Warrior in the Mist video was formatted for a planned six flipbook set.  The first three books were presented in this box set. 

Unfortunately, I only completed the first 3 flipbook set, as I changed formats.  More on the later.

The Concrete Dragonfly Comix Flipz set was also based on a video adaptation of a Paul Chadwick Concrete story published in Dark Horse Comic in 1988.  I made the motion comic video on a Amiga 2000 computer. (view the youtube video for more details) 

I made a custom box to hold the two Concrete flipbooks and mini-comic witht reprint of the original comic book story from Dark Horse Presents and the Concrete Complete Short Stories 1986 - 1989.

Again, during the surge companies were putting a lot of extra materials on company websites to attract an audience.  Dark Horse had a series of video and animation promos for comic properties they published on their website.  One of these promos was a short of puppet animation titled "The Cave" by artist Aaron Antaloczy. Although Dark Horse passed on giving permission on Hellboy flipbooks, I made a point of sending copies of the my flipbooks to the Aaron Antaloczy.  I also give Mike Mignola a box set at the San Diego Comic Con. It might have been the same SDCC that Hellboy Animation series was announced. I still remain a big fan of Hellboy.

I start putting together other concept demos for properties I liked and were hot at the time.  As I said, I had the rights to Ruby, Galactic Gumshoe so I made a Dragonfly Comix Flipz book set of that.  My kids (and I) were into Bionicle and Lego had a website full video of of the characters.  I thought flipbooks were been a extra item as a collectible with the toys.

Dark Horse Comic was a favorite comic book publisher of mine, as they presented creator-owned properties. Although I did discover they retained the media (movie and animation, etc) on a lot of properties, like Paul Chadwick's Concrete.  I approached Dark Horse about the making flipbooks of Steve Rude's Nexus, Dark Horse's Ghost (CGI animation by Den Beauvais), and Chadwick's Concrete.  They agreed to let me use Ghost and Concrete.  Steve Rude retain the media right to Nexus, so I approached him separately, and he graciously agreed, with nice words of encouragement.

The Lone Wolf 2100 Comix Flipz was made from a motion comic video on the Dark Horse Comics website.  They reviewed it but rejected letting me make a flipbook  of it.

The above can be seen in my Dark Horse Presents - Dragonfly Flipz Book Tribute video.

This War Machine flipbook was made from frame from Korea animation company demo tape.  Bloodless is Flash animation by a artist and friend Doug Murphy.  Cyberella is based on animatic of a storyboard by Don Cameron, co-creator of Cyberella.  Velocity was based on a racing animation project by Creative Logik

First Web Flipz, Toon Flipz and Game Flipz.

Back covers.

Dragonfly Web Flipz books were to be based on independent artist animation found on the internet. LockBlok is the based on a animation on artist Rob Haynes site.  Yojimbo is from a Flash animation by my friend and talented artist Dell Barras.  Cat Burglar is a based o a animation by comic artist and animator Steward Lee. In most cases, I contacted and talked to the artist about letting use their art for the Dfly Flipz book.  Only Rob Haynes didn't give me a response.  Of course being that Daredevil is Marvel character, that's not surprising.

This Game Flipz Book is actually one of the first Dragonfly Flipz I did.  The Star Gladiator Flipz Book would show a character fighting move with button sequence print on the back. Game Flipz would be collectiblies.  DragonflyToon Flipz were to use public domain animation clips, to get around the licensing issue.  Santa Baby was done to present to Rankin/Bass, also I worked on the TV special.

This Cola-Cola flipbbook was made from a classic TV commercial.  I showed this talk to novelties distributor and he say that there was not way to get licensing deal with Cola-Cola as it would cost millions of dollars. So much for that.  But, it would have made a good companion with the Santa Baby Flipz book.

These Merlin and the Dragons Toon Flipz were made from frame of the TV special I directed.  I actually got verbal permission from the president of Lightyear Entertainment to use images from the animation.  

This Cinema Flipz was for a independent film by guy who was my business adviser for time.

These samples just scratched the surface of creative pool of flipbooks ideas I explored.

Next week: Dragonfly Game Flipz.