This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    How To Be Alone by Tanya Davis

    I like this. Not sure exactly why but felt I should post it here for future reference (though it has been on YouTube since July 28, 2010, and Roger Ebert tweeted about it almost immediately).

    Tanya Davis is a singer-songwriter and poet from Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to her website, she has been performing spoken word poetry since 2000. She published her first book At First, Lonely (a collection of poems) around this time last year. Though I’m a new fan, I find her work familiar, warm, and simply honest.

    Name notwithstanding (yes, understand the publishing term slush pile but it is just too easy to misread as Pubs Lush), Pubslush is Kickstarter (crowdfunding) for aspiring authors.

    Given the state of the publishing industry these days, venturing out into the world of the printed word can be daunting. There was a time not long ago when self-publishing wasn’t respectable (perhaps it still not by some) but the Web and Web-based companies like Amazon (along with technologies like the iPad, Kindle, and Nook) have changed things.

    On Pubslush, authors upload the best 10 pages and a summary of their book, plus a video, and members “support” the ones they like. Once a book reaches 1,000 supporters, Pubslush will edit, design, print, market, and distribute the book. In addition, authors are given tools to spread the word via social media as well as monitor their book’s activity. And for ever book sold a book is donated to kids in need around the world (part of Pubslush Press’s world-wide literacy initiative).

    So, instead of submitting a manuscript to individual publishers or hiring an agent, you can let the masses (your potential readers) decide if you have what it takes… even before you finish the book just to see if your idea is worth the effort (that’s how Piers Anthony does it).

    Is this the future of publishing? Could be. The idea certainly has legs and the timing seems right.

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    Once Upon A Time Continuum

    Once Upon A Time introduces time travel and effectively unravels the show’s entire plot line.

    For those who may not know, Once Upon A Time is the new ABC television drama written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (of Lost fame) and starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, and the deliciously diabolical Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen. The general premise is that all the fairy tale characters (and a few borrowed from Greek mythology) are “trapped” in the real world but don’t know it. Kind of like the comic book series Fables by Bill Willingham (but different enough that he’s okay with it). It’s a good show, you should watch it despite the temporal faux pas.

    In tonight’s episode entitled An Apple Red As Blood, the Evil Queen uses magic to retrieve the poison apple not just across the two realities but actually backwards in time. This, of course, begs the question: If the Evil Queen can go back in time for an apple then why not just go back before her love was killed. After all, this is the reason we’re given why the Evil Queen hates Snow White so much (she blames Snow for her love’s death) and, in turn, why she cursed the entire Fairy Tale realm to a little town in Maine.

    Okay, just saying.

    Zombie Love?

    I really want to like Frank Darabont’s directed adaption of the acclaimed comic book series The Walking Dead.

    I really, really, really do.

    My initial reaction to the first season was this is going to be the coolest program on TV. AMC gave producers a wide berth and the show received a great deal of press prior to its debut (all of which paid off with a zombie horde of 5.3 million). But after last night’s season premiere I’m concerned that the series is going to be nothing more than a self-indulgent gore-fest.

    I know, I know, that’s what zombies movies are all about. The show is being true to Robert Kirkman’s vision. And I’m sure die-hard fans are enthralled (even as they barf up a liver).

    I guess I was just hoping for something more. Something better. Something that took the zombie apocalypse idea seriously enough to flesh it out with strong character development and provocative plot lines. Gore is fine. I expect gore. But the stories are being defined by it, requiring the audience to suspend their belief not in the existence of zombies (that’s a given) but rather in the “reality” set by the genre itself. Rick Grimes can’t outrun a zombie in the woods? Really? Have you hiked in the woods? Try it with rigor mortis! Let’s disembowel a zombie to see who it ate. Really? There are plenty of plausible opportunities to gross people out, you really don’t need to go that far afield.

    I would love to observe survivors of a hellish post-apocalyptic world. Social mores breakdown. Religious convictions tested. But once pass the gruesome reality that undead stagger among us, it is a matter of rebuilding. Though it would be nice to know how the zombie outbreak occurred (government experiment gone awry, despotic alien extermination of the human race, unholy retribution from primordial beings) but in the end, zombies are ultimately a transient threat. The zombies on The Walking Dead are slow-moving dullards in a state of decay (let’s not forget that we are in Atlanta amidst 100 degree weather) so their bodies will eventually be incapable of locomotion in a matter of months. Survivors just need to wait it out (preferably where there are no zombies)… but what fun is that?

    Ode to Washington Irving

    Since I have lived in the Hudson Valley area most of my life, reading Washington Irving’s stories had special meaning for me. Though works of fiction, the places were very much real; you get a sense what life was like along the Hudson River during those halcyon days of a young nation.

    Washington Irving was a great author — considered the first American man of letters and a not too shabby statesman — he is certainly one of my favorites. To that end, I pay homage by republishing two of his most celebrated stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Enjoy.

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