Friday, August 29, 2014

Watch: Pixel Poetry Documentary Trailer - A Film About Games, Art, Society & Culture

Director Richard Cook, Gamestar Arts, and Devolver Digital Films just released Pixel Poetry, a comprehensive documentary about the art of video games, how they help shape culture, and the debate about their effect on societal norms and the way we look at the world. Cook interviews an impressive array of video game industry designers, voice actors, artists, critics, and even a street artist whose murals are inspired by years and years of video game play. The personalities include former G4 host Adam Sessler, Wired's Chris Kohler, and Sims/Star Wars developer Gordon Walton. There is a full list of everyone and their professional credentials over at the Pixel Poetry website!

Here's a more official synopsis:
"Pixel Poetry" is a documentary film about progressive creative culture as it has been championed by one of its greatest advocates - videogames. Using popular debates that have long surrounded videogames as a catalyst for this, the film will analyze the misunderstood notions and arguments in art and technological advancement to bring a new perspective to a compelling discussion about the evolution of its meaning.

While talking to Richard Cook via the internet, we asked him what compelled to embark on such a huge undertaking! Here's his reaction:
Pixel Poetry came out of realization that gaming has expanded beyond any definition we could have anticipated. What games are addressing now has excelled past any preconceived notions we had about art, technology, community, education, you name it. I wanted my film to be a cornerstone of discussion about it, since I consider the time we're in now to be a huge turning point in how we embrace all facets of creative culture.
Currently, Cook is gearing the film up to make the rounds at festivals and cons in 2015. However, you can watch the film on a pay per view basis over at GOG.com. According to their website, plans are also in the works for the film to be available on cable VOD, XBox, Playstation, Roku, Vudu, Netflix, and Hulu.

Watch the trailer below. Also, visit the Pixel Poetry Website, Facebook, and Twitter for more updates. And, go watch the full movie over at GOG.com!




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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Strange Sensations: What Happened When I Cast A Love Spell on Three of My Friends

One day I was tooling around Fiverr.com just to see what kind of silly non-sense I could buy for $5. Among the hordes of people willing to make you a 30 second video dancing in a unicorn mask and the pre-made business card designs, I stumbled across an interesting ad - I WILL CAST A GAY LOVE SPELL. It was pretty much a mandate that I was going to read further.

Here's what the listing had to say:
Attracted To Someone of The Same Sex? 
Are you enamored with one particular person, someone you know in your heart is perfectly right for you? But their feelings toward you, their interest in you is not being reciprocated? And your fondest wish is for them to love you the way you are capable of loving them? 
I can cast a Gay Love Spell for you, making spiritual contact with this very special person - to convey your dreams, your desires, your love. And if there is a possibility that they could be interested in you, this spell could dramatically intensify their feelings toward you! 
Order this spell if...you realize I have 100% positive feedback on over 500 spells cast on fiverr, with many satisfied repeat clients. If you think there is hope, if you think there could be a strong mutual attraction, this spell is a must for you. 
Despite wondering why there would be repeat customers if the spell worked effectively, I kept reading. There was a section where the person offering to cast the love spell got to tell a little bit about herself.
I am a witch. Helping people is my gift to the earth. I was the very first witch on fiverr and now see many of my gigs have been copied, and now others here claim to be witches. My spells and gigs here are copyrighted. My Coven and I have cast over 800 Spells for our friends on Fiverr.
On Fiverr, the offers are called Gigs. Each Gig costs $5. But, the person offering the Gig can upsell you to more expensive fare in a section called "Gig Extras." So, the Gig Extras for this Love Spell listing include:



I didn't really see the need for the extras. I was pretty much already sold. I mean, for $5 a pop, how could you really go wrong? But, I had to decide, who am I going to cast a spell on? Just one person? Two? Should I have a control subject as well as an unsuspecting test subject?

Ultimately, I decided that potentially annoying three of my friends was the way to go, you know, for scientific reasons. One friend I would let in on the spell. I would be upfront from the beginning and then interview them 10 days or so later to see if he noticed anything. The second friend, I would not tell. I would just cast the spell and then hopefully get with them 10 days later and see what's up. The third friend, I decided not to cast a love spell on, but let them think I did and then see how that goes. Maybe just planting that seed in their mind would cause a psychosomatic effect.

I also decided it would be best to use people I interact and chat with online with kind of regularly. And then see if their interactions with me increase or change in tone during the time frame. I picked my pal Brian for the one who I would tell. I picked my friend Jared who would be the one I would keep in the dark. And I picked my friend Jason, who is already in a gay relationship, as the one I would lead to believe I cast a spell on but really did not. I will tell more about each before each of their interviews!

So, I was ready. Time to go spend $10 and have two love spells cast. Upon paying for the Gig, I was asked just to provide my first name and the first initial of my last name and the first name and first initial of the last name of the person I wanted the spell cast upon. I did this from two different accounts on two different days so as not to draw too much attention to myself. I didn't want the witch questioning why I was being greedy and casting spells on two men!

Immediately, the witch sent me back a note basically saying hang tight, we will get the spell cast within a day or so and she will get back with me providing more information. And, boy did she ever. Not only did I get back a note saying the spell was cast. I was sent a file folder containing 7 pictures and the following message:
The pictures are a final part of the spell. Just look at them briefly. A spell is a process and the sending of certain pictures is part of the total process.It is a representation of the spell which is being delivered to you. We work with unseen entities who I call helper
spirits. They see you when you buy the spell. They see us when we cast the spells. They see how we then send pictures and words back to you. They then see and hear when you complete the process by saying three times the sentence I told you to say.
This completes the process and they know the spell has been cast for you by me and delivered, and accepted by you. They are familiar with these pictures. You have some powerful help now from the unseen world in all areas of your life. Make the most of this help by doing good things for yourself at this time. You may see things improving in many ways now depending on how you take care of yourself and your wellbeing. It is good to stay away from Ouija Boards at this time. I use a lot of protection from negative influences in my spells which is very important. Beware of uninformed spellcasters in this regard. Spells are not instant.



 The next note came shortly after I received the pictures and was considerably more exciting!
I have cast the Gay Love Spell for you. 
Say aloud 3 times at night:
I Lee G. announce to the universe Brian B. will come to me and love only me, and will give me undying love, affection, attention and passion.
 Read it when you say it so you say it just as I wrote it. 3 Times on one night only.
When you say this it will show your participation in the spell and the changes you want will begin. Then you must relax and let the forces happen how they want. You have shown you are serious, announced your desires, and will now go on taking care of yourself and your needs. Turn your thoughts and actions to improving your life and take action do things every day, to make life better in the long run for yourself. This spell will increase many times over the benefits of things you do for yourself now. You have been heard, your desires made known. Your actions will be blessed, and your love will in time come to you. If you can, leave your love alone and let the spell do its work, knowing that things are moving the way you want them to. Changes are now beginning. 
What choice did I have? I had to say the words three times that night. It felt a little kooky, but I did it.
Then I got the next set of messages. Messages which essentially give the spell caster an out if the spell doesn't work, or does not seem to work. Also, there was some weird stuff about money and burning sensations. Read for yourself:
My spells often surprise people who have stopped thinking about them, people don't realize that when they get a lot of money it is a result of the spell. Or others who have purchased a Lover Return Spell have said things like "I thought he was gone for good, but he was just taking a break." Others have had my spell deliver results after they purchased the same spell from someone else. So it's not uncommon for people to achieve results they wanted without giving credit to my spell. They look for a week, two weeks, for results, but the spells make such big changes that it takes time. So then they are not aware that the spell has worked, and is responsible for making the positive changes that have occurred. 
These are real spells adapted to work over the medium of the internet. I put no time frame on any spell for results since the rest is up to them to work in the best way they can for your optimum life and joy. The spirit beings who work with me on these spells see an overview of your life and know how to adjust it for the best outcome. It is all up to them and they know more than we ever can. They will always improve your life in ways that cannot be foreseen in addition to the spell. Any self destructive habits, or other spells that have been cast without the proper protection from negative entities will make their job more difficult. 
I have developed this spell after channeling spirit guides for many years and was directed by them to cast spells to help people have happier lives. 
Thank you for allowing me (and my unseen friends) to serve you. You have had the best spells available anywhere cast for you by a dedicated witch. I enjoy my craft, and am proud of the help I have brought to people. I am here if you have any questions at any time.
Don't be alarmed if you feel some strange sensations at some point soon. At least once a week someone mentions this, often as they either look at the pictures or say the final message. This is spirit activity around you causing changes in skin temperature or other sensations and is harmless.
I was actually really impressed with the amount of communication and instruction I was getting for my $5. The person on the other end was really going the extra mile to make sure I thought she was sincere and was really trying to help me fall in love with someone who might be right for me. That was until I cast the second spell and got the exact same messages and exact same set of images. Clearly, there was a pre-canned script with an "insert name here" space in certain places. I was kind of bummed. However, I still wanted to see this through to to the end. So, I waited my 10 or so days, and started conducting my interviews with the my potential soul mates.

BRIAN:
First was Brian. Brian had full knowledge of the spell. Brian lives in a far away magical realm called Colorado. I live in North Carolina. Despite the distance, Brian and I have been able to spend a couple of weeks together and have gotten to know each other somewhat. We also chit chat a good bit online and try to amuse each other with silly images from the internet and pictures of our various hiking adventures.  During the 10 days, we maintained what I would consider our normal amount of communication. But, we did have one semi-unusual, more serious than normal conversation. Brian is a bit of a smart-ass. Which is one of the things I like most about him.

Lee: So...in the last 10 days, did you think of me more than you normally do?
Brian: Well, I did make a veggie dog the other day, slathered it in relish and sauerkraut, and set it in two warm buns. So then your butt came on my mind. No pun intended.

Lee: Hahah. Did you think of me any differently than you normally do?
Brian: Well, I usually think about food all the time, but you've been an aspect of pretty much everything I eat. Veggie dogs, zucchini, a big, sloppy burrito spewing out hot molten bean and cheese magma. I guess you could say I have a hunger for you randomly.

You wouldn't happen to be filled with beans and cheese, would you?

Lee: Only on Thursdays.
Brian: I've got two more days then.

Lee: But seriously, I did give you the heads up about the spell ahead of time. Did you notice anything different at all?
Brian: Not that I'm really aware of. You're a good guy and you cross my mind, but I've never had you cross my mind over a period of every single minute. Did you find this witch who cast the spell on Craigslist or something? Does she have a degree in Witchcraft?


JARED
Jared lives about 90 miles away from me in North Carolina. We have spent some time hanging out and hiking together. Jared has a pretty good sense of humor but is a bit more forthright and sincere than most people I know. We also talk sporadically on Facebook and by text. I did not tell Jared anything about the love spell. After about 8 days, I told him I needed to talk to him and on day 10 we were able to connect.

Lee: So...10 days ago I had a witch from Fiverr.com put a Love Spell on the two of us! The gist of the Fiverr offer was: I can cast a Gay Love Spell for you, making spiritual contact with this very special person - to convey your dreams, your desires, your love. And if there is a possibility that they could be interested in you, this spell could dramatically intensify their feelings toward you!
So...now that the spell has been on you for a bit, I have some questions
Jared: Let's do it!

Lee: Have you found yourself thinking of me in the last 10 days?
Jared: Yeah, especially after I saw that awesome picture of me.

Lee: Hahah. That was only two days ago.
Jared: Yeah, well, I didn't know what you wanted to talk to me about until just now! But, yeah, I was reminding myself somewhat regularly that I needed to talk to you about what you had mentioned.

Lee: Did you feel any differently towards me as you thought about me?
Jared: Naw, not really, just good ol' Lee.

Lee: Now...part of the witch's instructions included: "Don't be alarmed if you feel some strange sensations at some point soon. This is spirit activity around you causing changes in skin temperature or other sensations and is harmless." Have you felt any burning or tingling sensations in the last 10 days?
Jared: Yeah, but that might be medically related too....

Lee: At any point over the last 10 days did you feel compelled to reach out to me?
Jared: Hmm...yeah, I was interested in getting the full scoop on Pride at one point.

Lee: Well that was actually after the spell was cast! The spell was cast on the 16th. I guess technically that was the first day of Pride. But, the parade and stuff I participated in was the 17th.
Jared: Ooh...cool.

Lee: Are you, Jared, currently in love with me?
Jared: I don't believe in love.


JASON
Jason is the friend I chose not to have a spell cast upon but I told him I did. I have known Jason for a long, long time. During this entire time, he has been in a committed relationship and he and his boyfriend just got legally married! I figured he would make the perfect control because there is no real romantic connection between us. Jason is also a talented wig and costume designer who works for plays and television shows while he finishes up his masters degree. Jason has designed some pretty outlandish costumes for me on a personal basis. We also hike together from time to time. He is a really great guy.

Lee: In the last 10 days, have you thought of me at all?
Jason: You mean have I thought of you any more than I normally do?

Lee: Ya, like more than you normally do.
Jason: I don’t know, I don’t…

Lee: I mean I don’t know how often you actually normally think of me.
Jason: It’s funny because I talked about you when I was in Colorado. My Mom is always asking so where did you go hiking now? And I say Lee and I haven’t been able because I have been working. And, I had just made that costume for you so I am showing everybody the pictures of your costume.

Lee: So it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary?
Jason: No. I would say it’s normal. And I love you, I just don’t LOOOOOVE you.

Lee: Did you at any point have any burning sensations or hot flashes?
Jason: Any burning sensations? Are you saying you gave me virtual VD or something?

Lee: Hahah. The spell instructions say, "Don't be alarmed if you feel some strange sensations at some point soon. At least once a week someone mentions this, often as they either look at the pictures or say the final message. This is spirit activity around you causing changes in skin temperature or other sensations and is harmless."
Jason: I did not get virtual VD from the virtual witch…from you. I’m concerned that you are concerned about your virtual VD. Maybe you should get that checked out. But, no, I can’t say that I felt any spiritual energy in regards to this.

Lee: Ok..so, here’s my last little confession. I told you the other day that I cast a love spell on you and that I needed to question you about it, but I didn’t actually cast a love spell on you.
Jason: Oh, you didn’t? (laughter) Because I was gonna say…why were you choosing me!?
_ _ _

When all is said and done, I am not really 100% sure what to think about this experience. I would say I am 90% convinced that my pals had no real change in how they regard me. But there is that nagging 10% that says "well...maybe..." There is no way to know for sure. Certainly, they don't think anything less of me. And, the conversations I had with each of them about the spell more than made it all worth while. And maybe having them participate in this story brought us all just a tiny bit closer.

I actually really enjoyed the overall experience. Would I have more love spells cast? Probably not. Do I regret spending the $10? Not in the least. Do I believe in witchcraft and spells? Not really, no. Do I believe in love? Absolutely. 


-Illustrations by Jake Rohdy. www.jakerohdy.com

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Watch: Talk to Me Now (2012) Short Film

For the first time, Brazilian filmmaker Joaquim Lino has made his 2012 short film Talk To Me Now available for mass consumption with English subtitles! Lino wrote and co-directed (with Karina Ades) this wonderful film about love, family, and compassion in the face of some particularly nasty and brutal sexual intolerance.

Here's the official synopsis:
Julio, a 40 years old man who lives with his father and his grandmother who he helps looking after, works as a cross dressed jazz singer. Julio's father does not approve his work but has to deal with all his anger when his favorite son looses all his money and Julio has to take over all the house's expanses. But the biggest challenge comes to both of them when Julio discovers that his father has a fatal illness. Julio has very little time to destroy the wall between them to win his love and he'll do whatever is necessary to succeed.
This barely scratches the surface of the true nature of this charming movie. Julio's brother Manu (short for Emanuel) and Grandmother embrace Julio and respect him and the financial support he gives the family. But, the Father is a different matter altogether. He is a seething ball of hatred and rage who also happens to be dying of an undisclosed terminal condition. In one particularly gut wrenching segment, Julio and Manu are the victims of gay bashing outside a nightclub while at home, their Father is destroying Julio's room and clothing out of disgust for his cross dressing. The acting is so wonderful by the father in this scene that you easily feel his own self-hatred and fear boiling over, causing him to last out.

Talk To Me Now is a really well put together short film. Though just 17 minutes long, it really feels like a full length movie. And, the dark and brooding cinematography do a great job of capturing the mood of the soulful, sentimental jazz that Julio sings to make his living. It's more than worth a watch!



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Exclusive Podcast: Treklenburg Episode #33

Hosts Michael Earle and Molly Jay hilariously talk all things Star Trek.
This week, Mike and Molly talk the various games and recreational activities from the Star Trek series and movies. Also, Molly is more than half way through the remaining episodes of Season 3 of Enterprise! Tune in now before we paint your forehead and make you play Chula!

Original broadcasts of Treklenburg are Monday nights at 8pm EST on www.pmcradio.org.



How to Subscribe!
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trekl…ings/id797015608
RSS Feed: www.podcastrevolution.com/viewpodcast.php?pid=3578



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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning Dance Party: Intergalactix "Tuesday" Video

Hailing from Australia, multi-instrumentalist production duo Intergalactix just released their highly anticipated debut EP, IWSOM (now available for sale on iTunes): a rich & melodic electro-indie record that propels the listener deep into otherworldly dimensions where futuristic-synth-visions reign supreme. The video gets a lil crazy with people dancing in funny animal costumes, glowing briefcases, and a "bear" protagonist. Enjoy!



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Friday, August 22, 2014

Fight Back With Love: God Loves Gays Billboard Project + A Short Q&A w/ God Himself!


There is a really fun movement afoot, spearheaded by God himself, to raise funds for a billboard that would spread a positive message of love and peace in Topeka, KS. The billboard would read "God Loves Gays" and direct folks to the website www.godlovesgaypeople.com. Why Topeka, Kansas? Well, that just happens to be where the Westboro Baptist Church (the folks that spread hate and picket funerals) makes their headquarters. The plan is to keep the billboard up for a year, spreading joy and making the bigots grit their teeth every time they drive by.

Twelve days ago, God put up an IndieGoGo campaign in hopes of raising $50,000 in 60 days to make this earthly pursuit possible. In less than two weeks, the project is already fully funded. So, from here on out, any extra money raised will be used to put billboards up in other religious zealot hot spots. Rather than engaging in shouting matches and getting angry, God would rather we fight back with love. And, if we get a bit of a giggle out of knowing we are annoying the hate mongers, even better. Also, God wants us to use the #GodLovesGays to help spread the message. I would do it if I were you.

But, God did not just appear out of thin air to start this campaign. Rather, he has been here with us all along on Facebook and Twitter, amassing millions of fans and letting us know that God loves everyone and that there is good in the world as well as evil. According to him, he has very little to do with either. Actually, God's Facebook page is a fairly good read. We highly recommend spending some time there. It's even been the subject of an in depth article about human interaction in the digital age called Facebook God: A Masterclass in Human Connection via Social Media.

When we told friends that we actually were being granted a short, quick interview by God, a few of them chimed in with questions, too. We made sure to indicate who asked what, so God knows who to smite. Thankfully, God was patient and did his best to answer all of our musings.

Don't forget to visit God's IndieGoGo Campaign, Facebook, and Twitter!



Q: How did you come up with the idea of using a billboard to antagonize the Westboro Baptist Church?
GOD: They represent evil in this world. When evil is allowed to exist unchecked, people lose hope. When people lose hope, humanity falls into a deeper depression. Yet remember, evil is only allowed to exist because good people do nothing. While some will say it is better to ignore evil and hope it goes away, I do not share that opinion. The LORD likes to mock evil until it wets itself and runs away crying.

Q: So, now that you have locked down the funding for Topeka, what towns have you set your sights on next?
GOD: I am interested in buying even more in Topeka, if they will just let go and let God do it. I envision every surface there plastered with the same message. But other than that, North Carolina, Alabama and Missouri are in the lead for the next location.

Q: What is the strangest question you have had on Ask God Wednesdays?
GOD: I find almost all of them sublimely strange. Who are they to question God?!

Q: My Friend Matt in the UK thinks you look like a total beefcake in your IndieGoGo video. What’s your workout routine?
GOD: I'm not giving that away. Mysterious ways!
 


Q: (From Jared H) What are your thoughts on circumcision and why did you put the male G-Spot in a place that you could only reach from inside the rectum?
GOD: If a dude will cut a piece of his dick off for Me, I can probably trust him. I put the g-spot up your ass to make anal sex feel awesome.

Q: (From Brian B) What happened to all the Sour Patch parents?
GOD: This question is beneath the LORD. Use Google.

Q: (From Scott M) What expletives do you use?
GOD: Any fucking expletive I want, you bag of cunts! I'm God, I can say whatever the fuck I want.

Q: (From Jeff T) Do you worry that this project will only serve to give more attention to the WBC, and that perhaps the money could be better spent by donors giving to non-profit organizations?
GOD: I am giving 10% to charity. Also, I think that they don't have any problem getting attention. Anytime they do ANYTHING the news media falls all over themselves to cover it. The news media is to blame for their fame as much as the WBC is. I shall tease them off their feet.

Q: Who would win in a fight? Unicorns or Narwhals?
GOD: The audience





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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stick Stook Ackin Ook: The Wonderful Illustrations of Douglas Holgate

I first noticed Australian illustrator Douglas Holgate by happy accident. I was dorking around on Tumblr looking at illustrations and a really magical interpretation of Fantastic Mr. Fox caught my eye. So, I started stalking Douglas Holgate's various pages and one image after another was just completely endearing and mind blowing at the same time. And then I noticed The Adventures of Dermott: The Cute Gay Nerd comic series Douglas illustrated for the Victorian Aids Council. Instantly, I knew I had to reach out and ask if we could feature his art.

Douglas has been a freelance comic book artist and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia for over 10 years. He's illustrated books for publishers such as Harper Collins, Random House, Penguin, Hachette and Simon And Schuster including the Planet Tad series, Cheesie Mack, Case File 13 and Zoo Sleepover.

Douglas has illustrated comics for Image, Dynamite, Abrams and Random House. He's currently working on the self published series Maralinga that received grant funding from the Australian Society of Authors and the Victorian Council for the Arts as well as the all ages graphic novel Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race both co-created with writer Jen Breach.

We also noticed art for two really interesting projects that may or may not still be in the works: The King of Worms collaboration with Tristan Jones and a comic book called Relic collaboration with Rachel Deering for Monkeybrain Comics. Aside from these projects, Douglas attends numerous Cons and is always contributing art to one exhibition or another.

Via email, I asked Douglas about how The Adventures of Dermott: The Cute Gay Nerd fared with the Australian public. I was impressed that he was commissioned to do a real comic strip rather than just some canned safe sex ads. He responded:
Cute Gay Nerd was a really great project! Basically the guy who wrote it worked for VICaids which is a Melbourne based sexual health NGO and he approached me pretty much just because he liked my work. It was always pitched as being about sexual health but not a stuffy "here are the dire health warnings" brochure so I'm glad that came across.  It got lots of coverage in gay media and street press. They did a big promo campaign with instore postcards all sorts of stuff and then collected them all in a magazine that they gave out for free in cafes and stores and of course sexual health centres. And eventually built a bit of a weird local cult following. Very cool. CGN is pretty old, probably about 5 or 6 years ago now but I'm still in touch with the writer and we've chatted about maybe doing a web series based on the characters. We'll see! 
If you would like to go explore the entire Douglas Holgate universe, we suggest starting with his Website, Flickr, Twitter (where he posts tons of Work in Progress pics), Deviant Art, and Facebook. You can also download The Cute Gay Nerd series for free HERE. In the meantime, enjoy the images below.

Click any pic to enlarge!









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