The Day After Christmas

Obviously, Lev Yilmaz has met me. Clearly, he knows how I feel today.

Lev Yilmaz's Tales of Mere Existence: "Ready"

Yilmaz is a San Francisco-based animator and cartoonist who considers himself an "Ambassador to the Alienated." On his MySpace page he lists among his heroes Rod Serling, Kurt Vonnegut, Matt Groening, Alfred Hitchcock, Egon Schiele, Iggy, Ziggy, and Adam West. Check out his Tales of Mere Existence on his web page.


Playing for Change

This post has is not about my usual topic: books, but it it speaks -- if indirectly -- to the season. The video is part of the documentary "Playing for Change: Peace Through Music," released by the Playing for Change Foundation (PFCF). Among other projects, PFCF is building and supporting a music school in the township of Guguletu, South Africa, as part of its program of uniting communities through the arts. Following this is an inspiring and informational interview with Mark Johnson, co-director of the film and co-founder of PFCF, by Bill Moyers on Bill Moyers' Journal (it has a nice bonus: "One Love," from the documentary).

Enjoy both.

Playing for Change: Song Around the World: Stand by Me

Bill Moyers Journal: Interview with Peace for Change's Mark Johnson


A City Made of Books

Here's a must-see video commissioned by UK publisher 4th Estate and created by Apt Studio. According to the post on 4th Estate's blog by Peter Collingride of Apt Studio asked Apt "to create 'something stunning' that would help them celebrate [their 25th anniversary], as well as celebrating books and [4th Estate's] ground-breaking, international, literary agenda." The result is wonderful three-minute film: 25th Estate: This is Where We Live (see the embedded video below).

According to Collingridge -- his post is a well-worth-reading appetizer to the film -- "more than twenty animators and model-makers worked with over 1,000 books to build a world, and an everycity, made from the world's literature."
"The film incorporates works from many of the 4th Estate's acclaimed authors: Jonathan Franzen, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Fay Weldon, Simon Singh, Dava Sobel, Nigel Slater, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alaa Al Aswany, Giorgio Locatelli, Robert Fisk, Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, Francis Wheen, Alexander Masters, Joan Didion, Michael Chabon, and many others.

"My personal favourite moments are those of almost hidden detail: zebra crossings made from the paperback jacket of The Corrections; the Imperial War Museum modelled from Robert fisk; the Greenwich Observatory made out of Longitude; the cinema made out of all the film tie-in editions, and the homage to The Corrections when the father falls out of the boat. The film is stuffed full of these references, and whilst they were a labour of love, they are (to me) what makes the film sing."
This Is Where We Live from 4th Estate on Vimeo.

P.S. Collingridge mentions that the pages of the books were influenced in part by artists Thomas Allen and Su Blackwell. See my earlier post about extraordinary paper artist Blackwell here.