Golden Calf 1

snake dancer jewish4 gif

 

I’m gearing up to do the most interesting Seder-Masochism episode: the Golden Calf, wherein the stiff-necked people disobey Moses and revert to their pagan, goddess-worshipping ways. Lotta design work this month, because goddesses.

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Chad Gadya embroidermation finished at last!

After a little over a year and a half, and many interruptions, we finally finished our embroidermated short, Chad Gadya. While we were working on it (actually I was working, Theo was procrastinating) this other embroidered short came out, but there are differences. Thanks to Theodore Gray’s stitchcoding in Mathematica, we weren’t restricted by (invariably crappy) off-the-shelf software. This allowed us to automate beautiful iridescent stitches and preserve them from frame to frame, so the resulting animation really looks like moving embroidery.

Every single embroidered frame you see here is available for sale, signed and numbered and one-of-a-kind. Only 9 months ’til Passover!

Chad Gadya will function as a sort of “intermission” in my feature film Seder-Masochism, marking the end of the Passover meal but just the beginning of the Israelites’ trials in the desert.

Update: Theo’s post on the technical side of stitchcoding embroidermation.

“It took a while to get all this code right, but of course it’s crucial that it cover every possible case, because when you’re doing animation, it’s not about getting one frame right, it’s about having an automated process that always gets every frame right, not just once, but every time there is an iteration of the animation requiring a re-render of the frames. We must have generated tens of thousands of frames (just generated the files, not actually stitched them!) before it was all looking good.” Theodore Gray

Update 2: All the stitching files we made for this are Free (CC-BY-SA) at archive.org! Download ’em and stitch ’em out as you please. They’re PES format; wish we had something better, but all embroidery formats suck.

What Is Copyright?

Which picture best depicts Copyright? Vote in comments.

©Talk2015_10001

A.

©Talk2015_10002

B.

©Talk2015_10003

C.

I’ll be asking this question tonight at this talk:

Questioning Copyright: Sharing or Stealing?

Date: 5/11/2015
Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM

This event will be at Pizza M, 208 West Main Street, downtown Urbana. Delicious snacks from Pizza M will be provided.

Description:
 Does copyright protect creative work? What impact does copyright have on censorship? And what would happen if we abolished copyright? Join us for a provocative conversation with two guests: artist and copyright abolitionist Nina Paley and UIUC law professor and activist Paul Heald.

Nina Paley is the creator of the animated musical feature film Sita Sings the Blues and the short This Land Is Mine. Her adventures in our broken copyright system led her to joinQuestionCopyright.org as artist-in-residence, where she produced a series of animated shorts about intellectual freedom called Minute Memes. As half of PaleGray Labs, she develops techniques to combine animation with her other passions of quilting and embroidery. Nina is a former syndicated cartoonist, a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, and currently making a new animated feature called Seder-Masochism.

Paul Heald lectures on patent, copyright and international intellectual property law around the world. He is the University of Illinois Richard W. and Marie L. Corman Professor of Law and is currently a fellow and associated researcher at CREATe, the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, based at the University of Glasgow. He’s also the author of a recently released mystery novel Death in Eden.

 

A Bug in My Ass

ass1

So I’m animating an ass for Seder-Masochism, so the Hebrews have something to carry their stuff out of Egypt so their arms are free to let them walk  jauntily and leap around. I export a test and see this weird artifact on the upper foreleg. Flash is rendering the shape as it looks in vector editing mode. If you look carefully you’ll see the point on the upper right has a little bezier handle. Weird, right?

ass2

It’s a bug in Flash (pre-Adobe Macromedia Flash 8, the only Flash I use), the likes of which I’ve never seen before. To make the artifact go away I had to re-draw the foreleg. Below is a render sans bug.

ass3What’s great about this is it solved my problem about how to best use “ass” in a blog post title. I was considering “What an Ass” or “A Fine Ass” or “I Made Myself an Ass,” but this is much better.

 

Moses Goes Down

Here is Exodus 3-7, too much to quote here. Featuring the Burning Bush, Moses, Hebrew slaves, strange gods (actually goddesses), Aharon, Pharaoh, a staff turning into a snake, and sing-along phonetic hieroglyphs.
The introduction to this scene is “God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb”.

Music: Go Down Moses
Arranged and performed by Louis Armstrong (with Sy Oliver’s Orchestra, 1958)

Unlike most other Seder-Masochism scenes I’ve posted, this one isn’t primarily parody; the overall message is similar to that of the song. I still argue it’s Fair Use, and transformative. Parody isn’t the only way to transform (nor is transformation the only criterion for Fair Use). “Go Down Moses” itself was transformative without being parody: it made Exodus into a story of American slavery. Creativity is complicated and shouldn’t be dictated by lawyers. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

Like this work? Donate here.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Here they are, in order, in time for Passover: all Ten Plagues I animated for Seder-Masochism, my feature-film-in-progress. Yes, they will be joined together by a unifying narrative device in the final film, but for now they exist as separate clips. Click on each one for more information and higher resolution. Like this work? Donate here.

Passover Satyr shirts available again!

Passover Satyr shirts are again available! You have until March 16 to order, and they’ll be delivered in time for Passover. Everyone (including me) seemed happy with the last run – the screen print quality was high, and the shirt stock was soft and well made, at least the women’s styles I got. I need 32 more orders to get a better profit margin, all of which supports my Seder-Masochism feature film project.

PassoverSatyr_white

 

teespring1You have until November 3 to order one.

 

The Fourth Plague: Flies (rough)

Shofar, sho good:

“21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.” –Exodus 8, King James Version

Like Lice before it (and Locusts to follow) this Plague has Oingo Boingo’s “Insects” (1982) as a soundtrack. Lyrics:
Flying insects everywhere!
Flying insects buzzing, buzzing, buzzing through the air
Just like little diamonds in the sky
Insects buzzing in my eye!
Buzzing insects make me want to dance!
(Dance, dance, etc.)

This is still rough. Things will change before it goes into the final Seder-Masochism movie, not least by the addition of sound effects. Notice Aharon is in this scene, blowing a shofar with Moses. I might retroactively stick him in a few other scenes too, since he seems OK.

Frogz

Frogs7gif

Having found suitable song snippets for all Ten Plagues, I am now animating them. This frog is adapted from one in Sita Sings the Blues, where it appeared in “Am I Blue.” In Seder-Masochism it stars in the Second Plague, “Frogs.” Above, a nice messy mass o’ frogs (on a beat of 13.5 frames – the song itself is 13.3 frames per beat, but close enough). Below: same frogs marching in a 27-frame lock-hop.

Frogs8gif

God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb

DONATE HERE: http://questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

“3 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
“2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
“3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
“4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
–Exodus 3 King James Version (KJV)

Written Designed Directed Animated Produced etc. by Nina Paley. ninapaley.com
Music: excerpted from “Moses Supposes” (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Comden and Green, vocals by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor) from the motion picture Singin’ In The Rain.
Many sound effects from the wonderful freesound.org:
wind: freesound.org/people/medialint/sounds/11863/
fire: freesound.org/people/kingsrow/sounds/181562/
stick: freesound.org/people/davilca/sounds/159494/
thumps: freesound.org/people/FlatHill/sounds/211450/

Director’s note:
Obviously I took a few liberties here.
This is a work-in-progress and may be modified for the final film, Seder-Masochism. Stay tuned for the immediate next scene, where the burning bush gives instructions to Moses!

Sheep and Goats

For your insomniac counting pleasure:

sheep+goats

Was Moses a shepherd or a goatherd? I now have both sheep and goats for Seder-Masochism. The sheep design I made a few years ago; the goat I made this week. I much prefer it to this goat design from 2012 (which was just rehashed from Agni’s mount in Sita Sings the Blues):

 

There’s also this embroidermation goat I designed for the all-embroidermated Chad Gadya section of Seder-Masochism, still to be photographed:

That’s 3 goats I’ve designed so far, for one movie. I’m only going to use the most recent 2.

Goats

goat8Yet another goat design for Seder-Masochism.

Oh look I’ve already modified it:

goat9

This goat is even simpler.

“we were slaves in Egypt”

…but we probably didn’t look this hot:

Hebrew7acrossGIF

JewessesAcrossGIF
Character designs for male and female Hebrew slaves for Seder-Masochism. Yes I grossly exaggerate contrasting male and female traits like shoulders, hips and waists. It’s a cartoon. These guys are on a 27-frame cycle because that’s the closest beat to the song I’m using.

Death of the Firstborn Egyptians


The most recently-completed scene from my feature-in-progress Seder-Masochism.

written, directed, designed, animated, produced, etc. by Nina Paley
music from “Spider Suite” by The Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra
sound effects by Greg Sextro

DONATE HERE: questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

Based on Exodus 12:
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

*****

LYRICS by David King, aka Duke of Uke:

DEATH: Falling stars you wished upon
are cinders now and now they’re gone
their residue festoons my fetid field.
Unfeeling husks of lovers past
the shells are all that ever last
I’ve taken everything that they concealed.
Whoever told you life was fair?
Look around you, everywhere
the cruelty of nature is displayed!
Why the scorn?
Why the surprise?
Everything that’s born must die
and it isn’t I who made the world that way.

What wicked little twist of fate
placed you her upon my plate
Here, where no one hears your cries?
Where was your god to steer you through
Perhaps your god’s forsaken you
Otherwise why lead you here to die?

BA (spirit of the dead): I, I know the way how
I’ll melt away now
I know the way.
I’m feeling bliss now
Dissolved to mist how
strangely I go
away
Now I finally know

DEATH: It’s merely moments now,
moments now until
your feeble flesh bends to my will
and it will
so rest your weary head.
There’ll be no pain,
no pain at all
as everything you are dissolves
Your fate resolved
upon my silky thread.

BA: I, I know the way how
I’ll melt away now
I know the way.
I’m feeling bliss now
Dissolved to mist how
strangely I go
away
Now I finally know
(repeat)

Coming Soon

06Melt_2I just finished animating the “Death of the Firstborn Egyptians” (Exodus 12) scene for Seder-Masochism. It clocks in at 7 minutes 6 seconds. As soon as it gets some extra sound effects I’ll release it online, coinciding with a fundraising drive for the movie. Meanwhile here are some stills.

06Melt_1

08

09

10.2