Flying to New York last week I had this amazing view of Central Illinois farmland. It was early in the season and nothing was growing in the fields yet, but they were no longer frozen. The land was unobscured by snow, ice, or crops. I noticed the naked fields were mottled, and it dawned on me I was seeing underground rivers – not unlike veins you can see under the skin – along with the obvious surface rivers. Humans parcel the land along even grid lines, and when I ride my bike through the countryside I tend to think of the land that way too. But seeing these complex, chaotic patterns underneath reminded me just how puny, idiotic, and clueless about nature modern humans really are.
Click to embiggen
I also got this nice shot of downtown Manhattan from the plane, because the lady in the window seat was asleep:
click to embiggen
Manhattan had grown a new tower since I’d seen it last. Or maybe it was just happy to see me.
I really want to visit your country in early to mid October. A festival in Sweden has invited me to speak around October 14-16, and would like to make a stopover before or after or both. I am greatly intrigued by Iceland’s Modern Media Initiative*. Might there be some way I could speak at a university there, or at least meet Icelanders involved with media reform and free speech issues?
*P.S. OK, not just the Modern Media Initiative. I’m also intrigued by your giant thermal pools.
Looks like I will be in Berlin for the Open Knowledge Conference June 30-July 1. If anyone wants me to speak/workshop/do a presentation in Berlin around that time, please contact me ASAP so I can plan my dates while plane tickets are still on sale I will be available July 2nd, going home July 3rd. Super speaking discount if you don’t have to pay for travel! (My usual exorbitant rates are here.)
Boy have I been remiss in posting news. First item: I spent last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, attending the Betty Boop Festival.
There I learned about the fascinating subculture of Betty Boop collectors. Betty was big in Japan in the 1930’s – I had no idea. I wish there were pictures of Japanese Betty collectibles online I could share with you, but there aren’t; maybe Betty collectors are all cagey due to the intense licensing restrictions that surround the character.
I also learned more about animation legend Grim Natwick, who grew up in Wisconsin Rapids before moving to LA and changing cultural history.
Here’s me presenting the latest Sita Sings the Blues Free Distribution Report at Power to the Pixel‘s Cross-Media Film Forum in London, October 14. I was actually very sick, had a terrible sore throat, and had kept quiet all morning to save my voice for this. Apparently I did a good job compensating – hooray for performance adrenaline! But my throat hurts just looking at it.
I’ll be in Europe until October 17 (on which date I will be speaking at MoMA!) so I may be virtually non-existent online. Or not, depending on how many free wireless connections are available and how well my netbook holds up.
Dang I’ve needed new “official” photos for a long time. Luckily my best friend Ian Akin is in town, and we were able to visit my friend Seema’s house in Long Beach Saturday, and Ian took some swell pictures.
Anyway, it was great being back in Urbana, my hometown, where nerds are made as well as born. I was raised nerd, by nerds, and it’s only a fluke that I appear to be an artist; my heart belongs to nerd-dom. Want proof? Here I am visiting family friend, genius, and art-supporter Theo Gray at Wolfram Research:
My Free Culture activism is nerdy too, inspired as it is by the Free Software movement. Theo doesn’t like it, and made fiercely pro-copyright arguments as only a proprietary software nerd can.
M Jan 26 Griffith ( | Special Events— prelude to the 7pm screening! ‘Face to Face’ — A public dialogue about copyright, public domain, and filmmaking with public domain expert Jennifer Jenkins and independent filmmaker Nina Paley
(Nina Paley, 2008, 82 min, USA, in English, Color, 35mm) Director Nina Paley takes an innovative approach to the typical break-up story with this whimsically animated film. Based on RAMAYANA, SITA SINGS THE BLUES follows two broken relationships: Nina’s.– followed by a discussion/Q&A with director Nina Paley + Prof. Srinivas Aravamudan (Dept. of English)!
The lucky winner will get to prance down the Red Carpet with me (photographers! paparazzi! none of whom will know who the hell we are because they all want photos of movie stars), eat whatever they serve for lunch, drink the booze that inevitably flows freely and at film events (I personally don’t drink, so if you’re sober at least you’ll have me to talk to), clap politely, and listen to me yak on and on about copyright reform and freedom of speech. Optional: pick me up from my friends’ house in Glendale (because I don’t drive – I’m a New Yorker!) and enjoy VIP valet parking!
Also you’ll get the satisfaction of supporting Free Speech.
So there I was at the Dubai International Film Festival last week, and I forgot to bring my mobile phone charger. Usually my Blackberry’s battery conks out after less than 2 days, whether I make calls or not. But lo! That single charge lasted through the entire festival, and even worked when I got back to New York! 6 days of battery use on one charge. Blessed art Thou O Lord Our goD, King of the Universe! Happy Chanukah!
Monday November 24: Panel Discussion The five nominees for this year’s Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award gather for a panel discussion illustrated with film clips. Program 90 min. MoMA‘s Theater 3, mezzanine, Education & Research Center
More November screenings that I won’t be able to attend, but I hope you go if you’re in the area:
Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Int’l Film Festival, Nov 7
World Film Festival of Bangkok (Thailand), Oct 24-Nov 2
Winnipeg Animation Festival (MN, Canada), Oct 29-Nov 2
Festival voix d’Etoiles (France), Oct 30-Nov 2
Moscow Big Cartoons Festival (Russia), Nov 1-16
Leeds Int’l Film Festival (UK), Nov 4-16
Holland Animation Festival (The Netherlands), Nov 5-9
Asheville Film Festival (NC), Nov 6-9
Flip Animation Festival (UK), Nov 6-8
Olympia Film Festival (WA), Nov 14
Beyond Borders Film Festival, (MN), Nov 15
Check out the occasionally-updated full screening list here.
OK, so I’m not in Athens right now. I left Israel early. I got sick, is what happened. A little food poisoning, a little irritable bowel syndrome, a little appetite loss and not eating for days, a little nervous breakdown, and next thing you know I’m back in New York trying to recover in a friend’s apartment, because I lost mine to bed bugs in July – not that that could be contributing to my stress or anything.
Unfortunately airports and airplanes and trying to sleep in different time zones are kind of killing me, so I’m canceling personal appearances for the next few weeks. It is a serious bummer, because I love meeting audiences and doing Q and A’s; and also because some of my upcoming lecture gigs actually pay, and I need the money. But my body and brain apparently can’t take this much travel, and I’m really sick.