Amos Yee is one of the greatest living defiers of classification

You know you’re doing something right when Amos Yee gives you a shout-out (02:34) in the midst of a passionate, funny, enlightening rant. Praise from Caesar is praise indeed.

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Best Haggadah Ever

This is the best Haggadah ever. It contains profanity, so if you don’t like swears maybe don’t click the link. But if you don’t mind swears, or like them, and you’re Jewish or Jewy or philosemitic or just have a thing for Passover, you should check out The Fucking Haggadah.

Crazy Sewing Machine Lady

fancy Minnesota A cabinet

I guess it’s happened – I’ve turned into a sewing machine collector. No one needs more than one sewing machine, but I just obtained my fifth. I’ve wanted a treadle machine since I started quilting a few years ago, and when I came across this beauty on Chicago’s Craigslist, I couldn’t resist.

Minnesota A sewing machine

She stitches! Came with one bobbin wound with ancient thread. No belt yet (I ordered one this morning) so I used the hand wheel. I’ve also ordered 2 additional bobbins, and some 100-year-old unused needles on eBay. I threaded the shuttle myself after reading up on it online. It’s a Davis, Long.

There were lots of dropped stitches and thread nests in the back, but as I adjusted the tension disc and whatever the screwpost thing on top is (foot pressure?) it got better. The machine was very well oiled before it was stored however many years ago. It moves pretty smoothly.

Minnesota A

Officially this is a Channukah present from Theo. I’m a lucky gal.

 

R.I.P. Roger Ebert

I am so grateful I got to meet Roger Ebert in 2009, when he screened Sita Sings the Blues at Ebertfest. He couldn’t speak then, but he stood onstage while his computer’s synthetic voice read his comments and looked intently in my eyes to make sure I was taking it in. He really wanted me to receive his gift, which was hard because it was so generous.

Roger Ebert and Nina Paley at Eberfest 2009. Photo by Chris Anderson

Here is his longer review of Sita Sings the Blues, which brought many, many viewers to it.

“Congratulations on Reproducing!”

This piece of perfection comes from Dinsoaur Comics. Posted here because I love it.

Electric Dog’s Flash Animation Power Tools

electric dog :: flash animation power tools logo

I’m finally using this great plugin for Flash, that even works with Ye Olde Macromedia Flash 8 (considered by most animators to be the best version ever made, far superior to Adobe’s crippled messes). The Library Symbol renaming tools alone have made me a fan.

The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain may not be growing (thanks to endless retroactive copyright term extensions) but it still contains a “whopping plentitude.” The biggest challenge to users is simply discovering PD works in the first place. Fortunately the Open Knowledge Foundation (one of the best Free Culture organizations anywhere) has just given everyone a leg up with its new web site, the Public Domain Review. From their About page:

The Public Domain Review aspires to become a bounteous gateway into the whopping plenitude that is the public domain, helping our readers to explore this rich terrain by surfacing unusual and obscure works, and offering fresh reflections and unfamiliar angles on material which is more well known.

Go there to find all kinds of delicious images, texts, sounds, and other treasures that, thanks to our collective cultural amnesia, are as fresh and exciting as anything Big Media tries forcing down our throats today.


Above: Princess Nicotine, and early stop-motion silent film, featured on The Public Domain Review.

BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE

Troll Sena

With the tagline, “Offended Hindus uprising against Anti-Hindus!” Troll Sena is the World’s best (and possibly only) Hindu Nationalist parody site. Covering such outrages as Ban Valmiki Filth!, Raavan Ballsphemy!, Shame of Khajuraho!, and Cowardly Cow Outrage!, they’re barely distinguishable from the real thing. Or maybe they are the real thing. Who cares?

shame

Success! Sita Sings the Blues Once Again Viewable on German Youtube

After one or two (or more?) years of being blocked on German Youtube, the full-length noncommercial Sita Sings the Blues movie is once again viewable in Deutschland:

I assume this is because last week I posted this video, complaining about why my 100% legal and painstakingly and expensively licensed movie was blocked in Germany:

Apparently many Germans are none too pleased with GEMA themselves, as indicated by interesting comments here. Some industry shills weighed in as well, but it looks like popular sentiment is against them. The story was shared widely, including in Der Spiegel and the New York Times online editions.

It’s not clear how an American YouTube user is supposed to contest takedowns in Germany. When I was in Berlin recently, it was suggested I find a German lawyer to take some sort of action. At the very least, I would need someone in Germany to contest the takedown on my behalf. I imagine that would have been a slow and possibly expensive process. Then I thought of making this video. Although it took some work (writing a statement – yes I know it’s an imperfect statement, I did the best I could with the knowledge I had – shooting the video, recording the audio via a separate mic, transferring files, editing, compressing, etc.) it was less work than managing an international legal process. And it got results fast! Better still, it contributed to ongoing debates about GEMA and Intellectual Pooperty in general.

My thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about this, and especially people in Germany who checked the Sita Sings the Blues URL and confirmed when the movie was blocked, and when it was unblocked.

Censorship Vs. Copyright

I’m crossposting this from Mimi & Eunice today because it is one of my best ever and I’m impatient for everyone in the world to see it.

They're totally different!

What distinguishes
Copyright from Censorship?

The profit motive.

There’s one more day to back the Mimi & Eunice’s Intellectual Pooperty minibook project! The above comic won’t be in it, alas, since I just drew it yesterday and the book is already at the printer. But there will be 40 other fine selections from the IP category, in full color.

A Wonderful Day

I’ve mentioned quilter Leah Day here before, and will mention her again. Leah “e”-teaches me and countless others how to Free Motion Quilt via her online Free Motion Quilting Project. I wrote about her refreshingly open attitude and progressive business model on Techdirt a few months ago. But I’m posting today to bring your attention to her new informational copyright page, which is so beautiful it almost brings a tear to my eye. This is how it’s done, people.

The Free Motion Quilting Project logo

I am awesome

I was neither prepared nor in a particularly good mood when I did this “webinar” for Agora I/O. It was eerie having a “conversation” in which I could neither see nor hear the other participants. It was just me and my own voice, with questions and comments occasionally popping up in text on another webpage. Because of that, I couldn’t read anyone’s body language and try to pre-emptively smooth things over and “people please”; I could only speak my mind. Which I did. Which, upon reviewing, was a pretty great thing. You may not like me, but I sure do!

The fun starts about 8 minutes in, and gets better as it goes along. If you know about my story and Sita Sings the Blues, you can skip what comes before that, which is a basic recap.

Face-O-Matic

On a lighter note, enjoy this online toy coded by my friend Margo Burns. It is based on “Face-O-Matic” cards I originally designed to teach very inhibited grad students to draw cartoon facial expressions for a visual storytelling class at Parsons. Turns out all ages enjoy it. The drawings are extremely simple, so even people who claim they have no drawing skills can copy them without fear.

Sita Limited Edition Signed Soft Sculptures

Sita Soft SculptureThese aren’t dolls, or toys, or cushions – they’re SOFT SCULPTURES. Why? because regulatory capture means the cost of registrations, licenses, and fees to legally call it a doll are beyond anything we could possibly afford.

ONLY 30 IN EXISTENCE! SIGNED AND NUMBERED. BUY ONE HERE FOR $50.

These limited edition soft sculptures were hand-appliqued, beaded, and embroidered in India by the craftswomen of Ubuntu at Work; each unique piece is signed in embroidery by the woman who fashioned it. Because of the cost of registrations, licenses, and fees to legally import them already stuffed, they were sent unstuffed to New York, where I and my colleagues lovingly stuffed each one with polyester fiber-fill and sewed them up by hand.

Bliss Blood, Bill Benzon and Karl Fogel help stuff and sew

That way, if calling them soft sculptures not dolls/toys/cushions, and including this “WARNING! DANGER! NOT FOR CHILDREN! UNREGULATED ITEM MAY CAUSE CHOKING, EXPLOSIONS, OR APOCALYPSE!” is not sufficient to avoid a lawsuit, it is I, Nina Paley, who will accept the liability, rather than Ubuntu at Work.

Stuffin' 'n' sewin'

While stuffing and sewing are exactly the sort of labor the craftswomen of Ubuntu at Work desire, and do efficiently and well and affordably, regulatory capture of stuffed goods in the U.S. ensures they won’t get this work, and established legacy toy corporations with legal teams will hire slave labor to make corporate crap instead. Therefore this is a LIMITED EDITION of only 30 soft sculptures. Each one is also signed and numbered by me, Nina Paley.

Made of cotton fabric; cotton and polyester thread; small glass beads; polyester fiber fill. About 15″” tall.

WARNING! DANGER! NOT FOR CHILDREN! UNREGULATED ITEM MAY CAUSE CHOKING, EXPLOSIONS, OR APOCALYPSE!

Shahjahan, Mubeena, and Saiqa, who sewed, beaded and embroidered the shells, see me finish them. They're in Bangalore and I'm in New York. This evidence of our collaboration kind of blows my mind.

Continue reading Sita Limited Edition Signed Soft Sculptures