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Monday, August 18, 2014

In Culture News: Gob Squad Is Ready to Transform You, the Mural That Was Used as a Long-Jump Mat, and XKCD Wins a Hugo Award

Posted by on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Mural by William Cumming, 1941 (click to enlarge).
  • Mural by William Cumming, 1941 (click to enlarge).

Don't Throw That Mural Away!: The Skagit Valley Herald last week reported an amazing art find—and a Seattle dealer has identified it. The story is wild, according to dealer John Braseth, who today drove north to check on the painting's condition. The farmer who inherited it from his father but thought it was just a useless tarp used to let his daughters use it as a long-jump mat, Braseth said. The girls would gauge how far they'd gotten by the figures in the painting—to the berry patch, or to the dairy cows, or only just past the lumberjack. Yikes! Braseth identified the painting as a 1941 mural by William Cumming, but he doesn't know much more about it. He's hoping he will be able to raise money to restore it, and that it will land someplace where it can be widely viewed by the public; it's a WPA-era piece, perhaps created to be public? From the pictures Braseth sent, it looks like a beaut, the workers toiling away under a Pacific Northwestern sky that may as well be an ocean for all its waves. Stay tuned.

How's the Scarecrow Kickstarter Doing? With 28 days to go, The Scarecrow Project has nearly met its $100,000 goal. Just a couple thousand to go, more or less! But they could surely use whatever extra cash they earn; if you haven't donated to Scarecrow yet, you totally should. This is an interesting experiment to reimagine the video store in an era of video-on-demand, and anyone who wants to enjoy a larger diversity of movies than are currently available for rent on iTunes or in a Redbox should contribute to this.

In Gob Squads Super Night Shot, passersby become heroes, villiains, and extras—but in a totally non-obnoxious way.
  • Courtesy of OtB
  • In Gob Squad's Super Night Shot, passersby become heroes, villiains, and extras—but in a totally non-obnoxious way.

Tickets On Sale Soon for Gob Squad's Super Night Shot at On the Boards: That's not the world's most exciting headline, but let us explain—Gob Squad is a playful, international seven-piece performance group and the undisputed world champions of audience participation. Unlike other performers, who jab violently at the fourth wall, the Squad sweetly and seductively coaxes it down. When they're done, the entire audience is transformed. (At the end of their Kitchen, a riff on the Andy Warhol Factory days that Gob Squad brought to OtB in 2012, all the performers had exited the stage, leaving only audience members behind, comfortably performing the piece.) On Sept 6, the Squad will bring their Super Night Shot, a one-night-only event in which Gob Squad runs around the streets of a city, creating a Hollywood-style blockbuster from banal, everyday street life, then runs back to the theater, where the audience is having a "film premiere" party. (Pulling passersby into an art-film project sounds like it could be obnoxious, but remember—Gob Squad has built its career on developing techniques for non-obnoxious audience participation.) Tickets have been on sale to OtB subscribers and go on sale to the general public on Thurs, Aug 21. Word at OtB has it that there will be some left. Get them here.

Nerd Games: Usually the Nerd Nite reading series at the Lucid Lounge features lectures from nerds. To celebrate the lazy days of summer, though, they're hosting a bring-your-own-game night. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and it's totally free. Go and have fun.

Hugo Award Winners Announced: Over the weekend, the Hugo Award winners were announced. Highlights include Ann Leckie's excellent Ancillary Justice winning Best Novel and Randall Munroe's truly epic XKCD comic "Time" winning Best Graphic Story.

The Murakami Design: Amazon's Omnivoracious blog published a very interesting post from book designer Chip Kidd about how the design of the new Haruki Murakami novel came to be. Kidd says the book's stoutness makes it "feel like a box that needs to be opened."

Go Rent These from Scarecrow: Here's Quentin Tarantino's list of top 20 grindhouse films.

Do We Need Editors? Yes. Don't listen to Gawker.

 

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