Friday, February 27, 2009

every day I'm tumbl'n

yeah yeah tumbl this piece rightchurr!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

sex ed more obscene than porn?

Facebook recently shut down our Midwest Teen Sex Show group, dicily claiming a violation of their Terms of Service even though the group & show are a means of education and tapping into our viewership, not say...smutting up the place.

No one's kidding themselves, our content is consistently viewed as "edgy" by some, either because it's actually talking about a subject many people like to ignore or because we make some intense vagina jokes. But how is it that ACTUAL PORN has an easier time thriving on the net than a show like ours?

Click the link below the fornicating cows for Tilzy.TV's take on the Facebook Fracas.

This one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Midwest Teen Sex Show in Time Out Chicago!

gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous

Some of the concept art behind Henry Selick & Neil Gaiman's CORALINE:

You can view more here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the myth of sisyphus in the key of geekdom

But whether it’s Feig’s personality or the tortured nature of any creative business, his experience of success is as comically and painfully unsatisfying as it might be for the type of characters he tends to draw. He writes about geeks being rejected, a subject that causes his ideas to be rejected by “cool” studio executives. The rejection causes Feig to feel like a geek, which causes him to approach life like a geek, which causes him to pitch stories about geeks, which causes his projects to be rejected again, thereby setting the whole cycle in motion again — unto perpetuity. It’s the myth of Sisyphus in the key of geekdom.
- from NYTIMES

Paul Feig.

The shit.


Solving mysteries, stylishly.

anne of green gables IN SPACE

I didn't make this. This guy did.

I am willing to bet he is mindbogglingly awesome.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

man with a plan

I love seeing where things come from: scratchpaper that caught the first draft of a great novel, fuzzy demos that would become favorite songs. Usually you can recognize how something ended up how it is in those first glimmers, and that the path from A to B might have been tricky but was always inevitable.

And then there is the City of Chicago.

I moved here a few years ago "for real" (I grew up in the Southwest burbs, then lived in New York), and am getting deeply into the history of the city. Turn of the century Chicago sounds like one of the wildest places on Earth, and if given the chance to see it from the eyes of either an old-timey madam or titan of ideas and industry, I'd take it in a HG Wells-ian heartbeat.

I'm learning a lot about Daniel Burnham and the Burnham plan right now, and keep needing to do a mindcheck every few pages of whatever book about him I'm reading. I'm no stranger to big dreams, but this was a guy who went to bed at night dreaming of cities, and woke up every morning to write them.

He was also fiercely in love with his wife, and pretty quotable.

"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized."

Daniel Burnham: no slouch.

You can view the original Plan of Chicago online right here.

You can view Burnham's stupendous mustache right here:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

expecto patronum.

Last night's Required Reading event was a success! I can't wait to replicate it again this summer. Everyone's essays/readings/performances were so funny and touching. I don't think I stopped laughing or smiling once all night. That said, here's my essay about a book that meant a lot to me in high school.

I read every book you’re supposed to read in high school before it was assigned. Shakespeare, Wilson, Golding, Keats, Shelley, Yeats, To Kill a Mockingbird, the major and minor works of Oscar Wilde. Love in the Time of Cholera. Lolita. Lord of the Flies. Lord of the Rings. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The Things They Carried. Austen. Poe. Dracula. Grendel. Myths.

I was the girl throwing off your curve, and I loved it.

I got a rush when I was a chapter ahead of everyone else in class. I thrilled to matching characters to their quotations faster and more accurately than everyone else. When we had Hamlet pop quizzes, I didn’t even need to re-read it. Rest, perturbed spirit. That shit was in my blood AND I owned the Kenneth Branagh videos.

Being smart was what I knew, and how I knew I was better than the people of Bremen High School, located in Midlothian, IL: a small southwest suburb of Chicago that doesn’t even have pictures of itself on the internet. Midlothian is known for nothing and no one, save a few crazy people who burned down their house or stabbed someone outside of a Walgreens in one of our many strip malls. Also, a haunted cemetery. Better than the people who thought they were better than me because they had lived in Midlothian for generations, because their families all went to Bremen, because they would end up teaching there, because unlike me they weren’t Dorks or Gay or Retarded.

Reading books fast and furious and understanding them without the guidance of some tired teacher who was itching to get to wrestling practice was my birthright and I shoved it down every throat I could. Book reports? Did them. Tests? Aced them. Elaborate video projects featuring characters of the Bard, World War II, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Check and check.

It’s not like everyone was an idiot at my school. Sure, the kids who didn’t completely copy each other’s homework after spending the night smoking pot and knocking each other up could call themselves honor students. But I was actually smart.

One book changed everything, though. Stopped me dead in my tracks and shined a light on the hypocrisy I was lacing up tight with my Converse sneakers and airtight, erudite sass.

Harry Potter. The reason I’m no longer an asshole.

I’ll explain.

I was a ball of feelings growing up. If I had been a character in one of the books we’re talking about tonight, I would be called precocious. Brave. Uncommonly thoughtful and empathetic. But in real life I was a body without skin: the rawest nerve alive. I loved everyone around me and saw everything around me and stood up for everyone around me. Everyone around me, in turn, mocked me.

It could have been because I carried 14 books to school in my backpack every day, along with my entire Bop and Tiger Beat collection, along with a doll or two. Or that I read under my desk during class. Or because I told classmates I could conjure Ghostwriter with my lanyard pen, and believed it. I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny way too long. I was a compulsive liar, reshaping the plot of Thora Birch movies and Babysitters Club Little Sister books until my entire class (including my teacher) believed I was a half-Jewish, half-Catholic, British/Irish/Italian girl and that my happily married parents were divorced but remarrying each other for Christmas. I also told people I was a human/unicorn hybrid and could shapeshift at will. In fifth grade.

What I’m saying is, it doesn’t make any sense that I could have ever hated Harry Potter. JK Rowling tailor-made it for me. She had a dream I existed, woke up and was like…that girl is into magic and worlds unknown and growing up and strong and making amazing friends in times of great adversity. I’ll write her a story.

But junior high happened first. Ringwraiths started swirling in this fair maid’s heart, to mix fantastic fiction metaphors. Junior high: the time when all kids hit their physically and emotionally ugliest peaks, and either plateau or prosper. I mutated. Gone were the salad days of pretending I was Peter Pan on the playground. On came the deep disdain for everything around me that reeked of Midlothian, Illinois. High School cemented my shift from soulful, steady punching bag to snarky, sarcastic speedreader.

My sophomore year in high school, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was chosen as a book everyone in the school could and would read. It was an effort to promote literacy, or at very least a passing interest in the printed word. The program was called One Book, One Bremen- and I refused to take part.

I wasn’t lowering my reading level to join the rank and file. I didn’t care how excited and togetherness-y the school got. They showed the same enthusiasm at the opening of the KrispyKreme.

My mom knew me better than myself, of course, and got me a copy of the book. It sat on her treadmill for weeks, untouched, until my younger sister gave it a once over and asked:

“Why aren’t you reading this? It has wizards in it.”

So I finally, grudgingly did.

And fell in love.

There’s plenty to say about how much I love Harry Potter and how intensely its themes of self-discovery, teamwork, self-reliance, and friendship through all odds speak to me. The characters, the world, the series.

But the most important effect Harry Potter had on me was snapping me out of being a snob. How as soon as I found myself discussing Privet Drive, Dumbledore, and the Dursleys with kids in remedial English, the ice that had colonized my former bleeding heart began to melt.

I started to realize that when you start doing what you love just to set yourself apart, you lose yourself. You become what you hate, just with better taste. Much later in my love for the Harry Potter series, I realized I had been a victim of my own Dementor’s kiss.

Dementors dress how they act: scary, and soul-sucking.

As for the kiss, let’s hear it from JK herself:

‘They call it the Dementor’s kiss,’ said Lupin, with a slightly twisted smile. ‘It’s what Dementors do to those they wish to destroy utterly. I suppose there must be some kind of mouth under there, because they clamp their jaws upon the mouth of the victim, and suck out his soul.’

‘What?’ Harry asked. ‘They kill?’

‘Oh no,’ said Lupid. ‘Much worse than that. You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you’ll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no…anything. There’s no chance at all of recovery. You’ll just- exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever…lost.’

The only way to defeat a Dementor is to call on all your strength and positive energies to conjure your Patronus, a power animal for the magic set. Your patronus is charged with everything that make you strong: your memory and history, but without a trace of fear.

The spell that you use to summon your Patronus is “Expecto Patronum.” You have to believe it for it to work. You have to feel it to believe it.

One Book, One Bremen made me start to. The rest of the Harry Potter series helped hammer it home: the idea that people, all kinds of people, can like something and it can still be good. Harry Potter. The Office. Bruce Springsteen. KrispyKreme.

It’s important that we can all love some things together. Because if there weren’t anything like that, it would be easy to forget that despite our strengths and weaknesses, when tested we can all raise our wands and say “Expecto Patronum.” We can all stop frenching our Dementors, and not be afraid to seem Dorky, Gay, Retarded, Not Smarter Than Everyone Else All of the Time.

I now have that spell tattooed to my wrist.

maybe I AM a chunky sneaker kind of girl?!?!

slam (Coraline) dunks

I'm not really a hi-top chunky sneaker type of girl, but I would rock these. Minus the animal heads, I think. Pretty serious.

Almost as serious as the artboner I have for the FAKE COTTON CANDY THAT COMES IN THE BOX.

This box. The one that is awesome.

But who is the target demographic for the Coraline Dunks? They're not sold next to yer Ice Creams and your Whosewhats, you can only win them. But the people I know or know of that would get a kick out of winning Neil Gaiman-themed footwear probably aren't the people who would actually wear it. Or, like me, they would consider radically altering their usual style to incorporate them into their wardrobe. I would totally buy jeans to wear these.

Too bad there are only 15 pairs in the world.

One of them is on display at St. Alfred's. The photo-essay in the middle of their webpage is hilarious and worth checking out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009