facsimile magazine

Facsimile Magazine, published by Haoyan of America. Volume Two, Number Four, 2008. ISSN 1937-2116.

Facsimile April 2008

Table of Contents

Elaborate Affair


The video for Phosphorescent's "A Picture of Our Torn Up Praise" was shot in the countryside surrounding Fairfield, IA, a small town of 10,000 located roughly 70 miles south of Iowa City. The cast and crew spent several days working in the freezing outdoors, utilizing everything from stadium lighting for the night sequences to a horse (named Elaborate Affair) borrowed from a supportive local resident. The video was conceived and directed by Los Angeles filmmakers Zachary Sluser and Matt Thiesen, and features a cast of 20 individuals, aged 5 to 65 years old, not to mention a sizable crew and the work of a champion local taxidermist.

Watch "A Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise"

The Matt Thiesen Facsimile

By Haoyan of America & Justin Lee

matt thiesen

Haoyan: Good afternoon Matt, could you start by telling us a little about yourself & how it is that you are here in Los Angeles today?

Minnesota is where I spent my youth. Near Minneapolis/St. Paul, which the locals refer to as “the cities”. All things considered, I got a pretty lucky break with my childhood. I watched a LOT of movies. Mumsy helped me buy a video camera when I was 13, and from then on it was the goal to make ‘em too. Before that, I think I was telling people I wanted to be the guy that changes swear words to similar sounding words in network TV versions of R-rated movies. I really had a passion for doing it better. “Tell the sheriff he can kiss my eye”? C’mon.

Anyway... got a camera... figured out the goal... & started clumsily reaching for the goal. In addition to crafting countless (mostly babysitter-themed horror) movies using the most patient people I could find, my best friend (and best actor) Tucker and I hosted a weekly cable access show for a few years that garnered us minor local fame and two disturbed stalkers. I even signed an autograph in a Taco Bell for an employee that recognized me while I was intensely enjoying some Border Fryz (a midwest-exclusive menu item). It remains one of the best moments of my life. On at least two levels.

I attended the Perpich Center for Arts Education for high school. It was a magical place. "Academic classes" in the morning (i.e. Foreign Film, The Literature of Dance), and free art time all afternoon.

Then it was on to college at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Another (differently) magical place. There was (and most likely remains) a rigid anti-narrative film regime in place at that school. I made friends with the few folks that understood that a filmmaker can make cinematic art that is thought-provoking and enjoyable without having to flog himself at night as punishment for drifting too close to the dreaded "mainstream". If Wong Kar-wai is too "literal" and "didactic" for ya, you just may be an Art Institute faculty member. But overall, it was a great four years. The massive amounts of free time definitely did not go to waste, and I was really able to push things forward creatively.

After college, a few of my closest and most trusted colleagues formed a caravan of courage and headed westward. Currently I’m taking the shotgun approach, following any promising muse that appears. Short films, screenplays, music videos, viral videos, commercials, web series... whatever sparks the ol' interest gland. It’s a good time, and I’m happy to be here.

Checkmate (1998)

Created while attending the Perpich Center for Arts Education

Haoyan: Where there aspects of your art school experience you found helpful even though you found the environment to be mostly unfriendly towards narrative filmmaking?

It really comes down to the company I kept. I truly believe I found precisely the right people at exactly the right time in my artistic and personal development. I learned far more from my friends overall than any of the teachers. There were a few great ones mixed in there, but by and large, it was all backwards. In class, I was learning about what I DIDN'T want to do artistically. The harder the faculty would push their paradigms, the more adamant I was about mine. And believe me, I wasn't pushing to make popcorn fluff. I wasn't fighting for the Michael Bays of the world. The stuff I was interested in was still way off the map by mainstream standards. But the very fact that a project would have a through-line and an act-based narrative concept behind it was enough to disqualify it as capital-A Art for a lot of folks. It's just sad that they weren't more inclusive there. I'll watch a two minute thesis video of you masturbating on a picture of your mother and talk about it for 4 hours (not an exaggeration), but you won't even allow yourself to so much as superficially process my "traditional" narrative? I made $100,000 friends. That's how I see college. And I got the deal of the century.

Careless Whiskers (2001)

Justin: A biopic is being made about you in the year 2016, you're still alive, but the only input you can give is the song that plays during the opening credits... what is it? Keeping in mind that it would obviously have to be made before March 2008...

The song is "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood. The first 17 seconds (during the snare rim clicks) is white, thin Helvetica credits on a black background. A thin pink line will cut in from left to right below each credit. "Justin Lee Presents", "In Association with Facsimile Enterprises"... At 18 seconds, cut to me (played by a comeback-bound Haley Joel Osment) packing up my things, lookin' like I'm about to leave town. Somewhere tropical. At 37 seconds, I'm packing up the convertible. I have a sheathed samurai sword for some reason. Then at 56 seconds, cut to an overhead shot of me speeding down the highway and tilt up to the skyline (probably Toronto for budget purposes) as the title finally hits the screen. I'd imagine the title would be a pun that somehow plays on the arc of my life somehow. Like Matt's Entertainment or something. But better. I just want to make sure that the next scene doesn't involve me getting paralyzed in a car accident, and that the title song isn't a playful reference to me finding the strength to heal through Christianity. I'd rather it be about my productivity-enhancing cocaine addiction.

Justin: Ha... Haley J... it's gonna be a good comeback... maybe Rob Reiner as your dad...

Loving U (2002)

Parody of the avant garde paradigms encountered at film school

Leave him out of this.

Justin: You're right... it would have to be William H Macy. Moving to Los Angeles can afford a young filmmaker with many opportunities. Can you talk about the first instance where living in LA was beneficial to your overall "career"?

My first official paying editing gig in LA was salvaging a failed reality show in which the contestants (all vying to be "America's Wildest Party Girl") turned on the producer/host in a pretty ugly way. In Mexico. The producer/host was also the client, so he was over my shoulder the entire time making sure I didn't cast him in an unflattering light. I was also editing and living in his house during the project (which took about 2 weeks in total). In an effort to complete the job as quickly as possible, my diet mainly consisted of No-Doz and Squirt the entire time I was there (a combination which proved to be more of a psychotropic hindrance than anything else). These are all things that 28 year old Matt knows not to do. It was a nearly impossible job, the intricacies of which could fill a healthy novella. Long story short, I ended up meeting the director of the show (the Producer's nemesis) Colin Trevorrow. Over the course of the next two years, the show slowly evolved into a documentary about the show, and even found some acclaim. Since then, Colin has become the closest thing to a mentor I've ever known. For his friendship, I'd gladly undergo that nonsense 50 more times. Well, maybe not gladly... Editorial - change "Wildest Party Girl" to "Craziest Party Girl". How soon I forget...

Justin: You're also 27.

Oh yeah! Haha...

Reality Show (2004)

Justin: Moving on... Cats are your favorite animal and you are vegetarian. That said, what monetary amount or superpower would you have to be granted in order to eat one? The cat being pre-prepared by a 3rd party of course.

Well played. I would need the power to regurgitate and reanimate cats and $1.99 (the going rate for a premium bag of apology catnip).

Justin: Touché... but then, why bother?


Haoyan: Can you name some of your film inspirations?

Despite his current (i.e. the past 15 years) debacles, I will always be a Brian DePalma loyalist. The shamelessly masturbatory style he trots out in movies like Carrie, Body Double, Blow Out, and Carlito's Way will always be an inspiration to me. He could make a hundred more Black Dahlias and STILL never tarnish the over-the-top beauty of the no-apologies love scene in Carlito's Way set to "You Are So Beautiful". Another typical "my generation" answer is Altman. The trifecta of Nashville, Short Cuts, and The Player is so untouchably amazing that it almost makes me want to be a lawyer or a claims adjuster or something. Todd Solondz and Neil LaBute were huge for me in college. Early to mid 80's Scorcesse (King of Comedy and After Hours) also always do it for me. Hmm... I gotta pull something from the depths here... let's see... oh yeah... Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky was the last thing that really demolished everything I knew about everything. I know I came to that party late, but what a party it was.

Haoyan: Let's talk a little about Sex Drama, a feature film you completed during your last year of school. What was the economical situation like during the making of the film? What was the budget?

(Laughs) The budget was non-existent. My friends are what made that movie. My girlfriend at the time graciously leant me the two photography lights we used to light the whole picture. I'm gonna call it a "picture", just for fun, okay? The cast was mostly comprised of filmmakers. This helped keep the patience level at all time highs; they all knew how excruciatingly long everything takes. And the DP, Eliot Brodsky, was a champion. Everybody worked for free. I think we brought the whole thing in for around $300... and that was mostly for food. IMDB wouldn't even recognize it as a "film" until I had listed the budget as $10,000 though. Humorous, no?

Sex Drama (2003)

Haoyan: Did you ever distribute Sex Drama? Where can someone find a copy of it today?

Distribution was also pretty much non-existent. We got it shown at the Gene Siskel theater in Chicago - where we actually recouped 200% of the budget in one night. Other than that, I didn't "get it out there" too much. I think I was ready to move on even before we finished shooting, and that may have colored my lack of distribution follow-through. I'll be happy to personally give a copy to anyone who seeks it.

Haoyan: Have you kept in touch with the cast from Sex Drama?

Not as much as I'd like to. Chris Anderko, Eliot Brodsky and Ben Syverson all live in Chicago, so it's kinda tough. Also, Ben is sort of an enigmatic Unabomber-type who will pop up very rarely with short bursts of explosive wisdom. Becca Pollack is in New York, and we talk fairly frequently. An as for Justin Lee, I think we qualify for domestic partnership about 100 times over.

Justin: What benefits, if any, are there to working with non-actors, as you did in your first 2 features?

Well, patience is number one. Especially with non-existent budgets. Nothing's worse than trying to make a project solely for the love of it when an actor is expecting the world to bend to his or her whim. Since being in LA, the goal has definitely been to find unpretentious, patient folks who just so happen to be phenomenal actors. It's those "midwest values" I'm looking for basically. They are out there. It is possible. Good food just takes time.

Haoyan: Music has always played a key role in your films, where do your musical inspirations hail from? Have you ever been inspired by a song to create a film? And what song are you listening to now?

Suddenly (2003)

Starring Eric Zamzow

I think the birth of my musical tastes as I know them now came from when my uncle Craig moved to Vienna in 1988 or so. He was giving away everything he owned. To me he bequeathed his 19 inch color television (which I promptly hooked up to my Nintendo) and a box of about 100 cassette tapes. He had pretty eclectic tastes (at least in relation to the rest of my family), and it was through these tapes that I was exposed to Prince, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Nina Hagen... all that kinda jagged rock and funk that was going on in the late seventies and early eighties. "Sign O' The Times" by Prince and "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by Brian Eno and David Byrne were the ones that really blew my mind. I began incorporating music into playing with my GI Joes. I'd close my eyes, hit play on the tape player and then slowly "fade in" my eyes for the opening credits. Then I'd have a bunch more tapes lined up for other key points in the plot. The goal was to create fully-scored, uninterrupted "movies" with my GI Joes. Quick Kick was always my lead actor. Anyway, after receiving that mystery box, music played a much larger part in my life. My own tastes branched off quite wildly from that of my uncle's, but that foundation was essential. When I started becoming interested in actually making movies, music definitely crossed the bridge as well. I love when a song is the initial inspiration for a script or movie I'm working on. It happens quite often actually. I remember in 2004 I listened to "I'm On Fire" by Bruce Springsteen about 400 times while I was writing a script. It's great to have a tangible "piece" of inspiration that you can continually reference. Too often muses are fleeting. I proudly succumb to musical inspiration when it hits. And while I write this, I am listening to "One on One" by Hall and Oates. It's inspiring me to take it easy.

Haoyan: You have also been known to produce quality music in addition to your talent for filmmaking, care to share with us some of your musical projects?

Why thank you for the compliment. Ever since I got my first Kawai 100 Voice keyboard when I was 11, I have been interested in music making. Some milestones would probably be when I first found out about Moog instruments in junior high. That started me down a very synthesizer-drenched musical path. Also, in doing research about Moog, I began listening to many new (to me) artists like Jean-Michel Jarre and Herbie Hancock. I also had exposure to sampling synthesizers at the arts high school I attended, so that was huge. I ended up scoring many of my early movies so I could play them on my cable access show without worrying that one of the three people watching owned the rights to whatever Vangelis song I wanted to use. I started making rap music in college with my friends Eric Zamzow and Emily Becklin. The effort to fun ratio with our brand of rap was heavily skewed toward the latter. Eric and I continued as Bromance when he moved out to LA. We both have very similar musical inspirations, so we are able to experiment quite well together. I was really inspired by the mashups that Girl Talk does, so I experimented vaguely in that style for a while. Currently, I have aspirations of starting a girl group akin to Vanity/Apolonia 6 and the Mary Jane Girls. They'll be called The Stepdaughters. I'll be the Prince/Rick James-like Svengali behind the scenes, and my girlfriend Milly will play all three members with different archetypes (diva, tough girl, shy girl) and probably different accents. On the sequencing, I plan to only use drum machines created before 1985. That sounds like a blast and a half. I just need an extra day in my week.

Hiker Boyz (2006)

Justin: Can you think of an inanimate object that has influenced you to write a movie or make a piece of music?

Often times in low/no budget filmmaking, simply having access to an interesting location or a strange prop can be the impetus for an entire project. One of my initial inspirations for Sex Drama (in addition to shamelessly wanting to ape Neil LaBute) came when I found a mannequin head and torso near the trash behind my apartment. Upon finding the small hole on the base of the torso, I could sense that something was beginning. Suddenly I was imagining what type of person would find it pleasurable to fuck this thing - splinters be damned. Then I started thinking about the sadness and isolation that would lead someone into such a situation. And then I thought about the source of that sadness. And pretty soon I had the beginnings of one of the central characters in the movie. This all took place in a matter of seconds out near the trash. I then decided to take the mannequin inside and do some research.

Justin: Your corpse is found in a motel in LA's Chinatown by police. Describe what they see (and smell) upon entering the room.

Much like a Rorschach test, what each officer sees will be highly subjective. One may see a naked man in a christlike pose inhaling a lethal (but fun) combination of nitrous oxide and gaseous ecstasy through a gas mask as a cabal of Romanian toddlers meticulously bedazzle his body in rhinestones. Another officer may see exactly the opposite. But one thing will remain constant across the board: they will see a man who died exactly how he lived... shamelessly. And the smell? Victory.

Amateur Action (2006)

Justin: What technological advancements in cinema are you looking forward to and which will you resist as long as possible?

I am both looking forward to and preparing to ultimately resist the developments in regenerating dead (or otherwise unavailable) actors via CGI for use in new films. I imagine actors will be able to sell their image rights (i.e. their soul) for contracted amounts of time for studios to use at their leisure. Just as Capitol Records allowed Nike to use "Revolution" in an ad against the Beatles' wishes, Revolution Studios could license Heath Ledger's image/soul to be used as the lead in Daddy Day Spa. It's going to get absurdly fascinating/depressing out there. I can't wait/am supremely horrified to see what happens.

Haoyan: Any advice for young filmmakers?

Filmmaking is so democratized now that you truly can't blame lack of output on the cost of technology. They've been saying this since the early 90s, but by golly look where we are now. Yes, the market is more saturated now with the almighty "content", but frankly I would expect it to be even more so at this point. That's a promising thing for us inherently competitive filmmakers. What it means is that the truly inspired and driven folks are still the ones that stand out. I know a lot of hacks get through the gates and make all the struggling artists miserable. But by and large, I whole-heartedly believe ideas + skill + style = success. Even if it's only in your own living room for now. If you're one of these people, let's get a beer and write on some napkins. If you're not, slowly put down the camera and go figure out what really frosts your cupcakes.

Justin: Last one. You have been commissioned by a rogue, eccentric billionaire to make the worst movie ever made, but you have to spend US$100 million to do it. What genre would it be in and do you have any casting ideas?


Justin: Well, I'm just assuming people don't want to hear your life story...

I'd hire the entire cast of Police Academy (with Russell Crowe filling in for dearly departed Tackleberry) and we'd make an 89 minute Holocaust drama. It would be titled Commandant Lassard: The Beginning and nearly the entire budget would be spent on ensuring Michael Winslow (a.k.a. Motormouth Jones) gets whatever the hell he wants on set. His voice would be dubbed over Russell Crowe's for the entire film.

Justin: This concludes my questions.

Haoyan: Thank you Matt & Justin.

little matt thiesen

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For Our Art

By Maurice Garin

for our art

Facsimile's very own editorial director Tim Ivison is curating a new website devoted to voicing the appalachian's state of contemptuousrary art...

For Our Art

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The Art Of Mountain School

By Jess Minckley

the mountain school of art

The enigmatic, non-pedagogical school, The Mountain School of Art, has come to a close after three months (January through March.) Meeting Tuesday and Wednesday night from 6pm-?, at the second-to-the-Mandrake art bar, the Mountain, on Chun King Road, near all the galleries in Chinatown. As a student, I serve as a poor ambassador of the essence of MSA, seeing as how I'm sure one of it's founders has no idea who I am, let alone explained his vision of the underground non-school (Eric Wesley has yet to introduce himself to the students, some of which are half way around the world at home by now.) But I can say, without a doubt, that is was an experience that I won't regret, and I can tell a little bit about my experience for inquiring minds.

Nicknamed "gradual school" by one of this year's students, many of us have not gone to graduate programs, and all the better really. We came from diverse interests, and practices (I gather but am not sure) and this was due to the selection process. A couple of students were in graduate school at the time, (I don't know how they managed to commute from Long Beach and Claremont at 5pm,) and a few had already graduated (Tennessee, Sci-Arc, etc).

We were a diverse bunch who dwindled to a core few. One student left prematurely to return to his home in another state, being accepted and moving his wife and dog and belongings in the back of a hatchback is a huge commitment, and one day he just up and left, maybe it wasn't worth it, maybe he had gleaned all L.A. had to offer. Maybe it was more complicated than he led on. One student decided she couldn't sacrifice the time for free school. (One student was in the Whitney Biennial and had to leave for a week in the middle!) And a few went back and forth to Europe for various reasons during the course of the three months.

Beginning with 15 students, including two audits, (people who just started showing up- one girlfriend, one guy who knew about the school and knew no one would complain,) we soon saw nearly half of the student body stop committing to the free classes on the top floor of a bar. Sometimes after an 8 hour day it was too stressful to sit through traffic. Sometimes there was a thesis paper due. And sometimes, I don't' know what happened. Something interesting, I hope.

Now, one thing that doesn't exactly make perfect sense is how everything fits together, right? And maybe it never will. Maybe I don't want it to. But half of the students come to MSA as a "residency" (from Europe and one person from Brazil.)

We were all chosen (of several hundred applicants this year, which is many more than they have seen in the past,) by one essay- NO ARTWORK. 800 words or less about you and your art and why you want to be in L.A. going to a free school you know nothing about. Granted, many of the foreign students have long lists of amazing accomplishments that are possible in Europe. Museum shows, curatorial opportunities, running their own spaces, living in museums, etc. And one of them happens to show at the gallery in Naples where Piero Golia, the other founder of MSA shows. This may be besides the point, it may be untrue, it may be a damn myth, but this is really the level on which the students function. We are in the dark and we're too damn confused to ask why.

So here we all are, chain smoking until someone figures out the cord to the video projector. The week starts with a "class" "led" by artist Richard Jackson. Week one: weird guy pulls out a map of California and points to Sacramento and says "This is where I'm from!" It matters where you are from, it's going to effect your work. And so it comes to be that this Mr. Jackson is an artist of the era of Kelly and McCarthy, Kienholtz and the like, and that he didn't go to school, and that people didn't like to deal with him but he made it anyway. If after lots of construction work to pay the bills of his gargantuan projects and hairbrained ideas, and he somehow landed a teaching position at UCLA for a stint in the process. Although Richard is a talker, he also brought in guest speakers- students, his wife, and artist Paul McCarthy among others. We watched installation video, we saw publications, and we looked at images on the projector. But most of all we talked. Or, rather, Richard talked. And he's a funny guy. Real down to Earth. Candid about the art world, and making it, and all that crap.

Then we had a class that was based on a reader: "MSA Fakebook 2008" which compiled readings from what I hear were Walead Beshty and Karl Haendel's favorite writings- Marcel Broodthaers, Wolfgang Tillmans, Christopher Williams, Kara Walker, Louise Bourgeouis, and Anne Truit among others, and this "class" was "moderated" by art dealer, Steve Hanson of China Art Objects (Walead's dealer), and collector John Morace. (Morace gave a disclaimer on the first night of class that he might be fifty percent full of shit, and that we would have to sort that out ourselves.) And so this class goes. And week two we are given instructions from the elusive Wesley that there will be no studio visits in the school. That it complicated things unnecessarily. And the reasoning is that we wouldn't want to segregate certain folks if they happened to be bad artists. But my thinking is- if we were all about closing down conversation based on extreme value judgements, we probably would have done it at that point already based on what people said, didn't say, wore, drank, etc.

So the class goes, and we talk about things like AIDS, or like the word "practice", or we talk about what it means to declare "I'm an artist!" or what it must have been like to be a female painter in the 40's. You know, the stuff you talk about when half the class didn't do the reading and the moderators are far from directional and experts on the subject.

John and Steve are both real nice dudes who want to be involved. But I kept finding myself asking- why are these two people- a collector and a dealer trying to keep their finger on the pulse of young, fresh artists in L.A. and elsewhere? I felt as if we (and I mean mostly the European students) were teaching them as much as they were "teaching" us.

Then we had a "Science" class, moderated by Stefano Campagnola, who happens to be the brother of the editor of FlashArt. He works for JPL at NASA, and tried, through rudimentary diagrams and hand motions, to explain chaos theory, the theory of relativity, the scientific method, and things like this. We watched "Wild Blue Yonder" by Werner Herzog, and had a DNA expert do an experiment with split peas. Overall, at 9pm after three beers, I think there was only so much that we were going to be able to understand without the damn AV cord working.

Wednesdays were similar, but had two classes instead of three. We started with "General Studies" which was "facilitated" by a trio of folks who had never met before. Dagny Corcoran, queen of MOCA PDC's bookstore, Valerie Schultz, affiliation unclear, lover of Steve Hanson, and Andrew Berardini, blogger extreme, writes for Art Forum, etc etc.

Between the three of these people we had extremely diverse lecturers every week. This class was really the one that meant to take us out of our comfortable realm of talking about the art world and open our span into thinking about- oh yeah- everything else. We had an architect, Mike Watt!, a Hedge Fund Manager from the fanciest place come tell us about the market and people who are willing to lay down ten million dollars as a rush in a shady market like art, we had a woman who runs a needle exchange van in Hollywood tell us about her project that used to be run by artists, and a lawyer for the ACLU who fights the fight for the homeless on skid row. We listened to some radio shows by a reporter from KPCC, we did a dance routine with Frit and Frat, twin entertainers and stilt walkers? We listened to Lisa Love, editor of Teen Vogue, tell us "How do you get into college when you are 17 and haven't graduated from high school? You lie." And how she met Andy Warhol and why artists didn't want to design bags?! and why fashion isn't art and photography is photography and the Nan Goldin was a sell out.

After that there was "Philosophy." An amazingly charismatic Cartesian from the OC vis UCLA, Joe, opened our worlds on hundreds of years of thinking about, well, God. And the last few weeks, when we didn't talk about God, well, we talked about reality. And it was great. And he made us interested. And all he had was a coffee mug and we always knew what he was talking about and it was enriching.

Along with these scheduled meetings, we had a seminar on "Criticism and Criticality", moderated by Michael Ned Holte and Bruce Hainley. In which we learned about the history of art criticism and exactly why everything sucks comparatively now. The politics of being a writer, teacher, and student of criticism, and how they work with artists, and not so well with curators. All in all, this was an entirely fascinating discussion. And the class is so small you can ask any question you want.

We had a few other meetings in the building where the foreign students resided. We had a cooking session with a lovely lady who had us help her make scrumptious dumplings until 1am.

One of the students even organized a student exhibition. Because, after all, some of us were sick of not seeing each others' work. And Steve Hanson had made it perfectly clear that last year's drinking contest turned show had not been a hit. So a few of us had work in the building on East Pico, and I mean reaaaally East Pico, for one night in the space where a man named Lonnie has his art collection. Lonnie is a lawyer who owns a building that he rents out to lawyers in the day and also to artists for studio space. Piero, MSA founder, has studio space there, and had talked Lonnie into letting the 7 foreign students live there for three months. I do not know if they made work or not.

I heard there was an incident with someone being covered in ink and flailing about one of the rooms on video, and then being scrubbed down in the shower, only to realize the scrubber was the toilet brush. Heh.

We also had the opportunity to go to artists' studios: Frank Gehry Studio, Richard Jackson, and Pierre Huyghe. These were all the more wonderful additions to the nightly classes. And added immensely to the experience, even if it was art related.

All in all, I think most will say it was hit or miss. Mostly hit. And I got to meet a few people in the process and I'm truly glad for the experience. As Richard Jackson said, I think it's interesting to see who comes to a free school as opposed to being really great at UCLA and disappearing after, these people are in it because they are eager. I think that these are going to be highly successful people, and I really want to know what they end up doing.

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Outside In

From The Geometry Center

The computer animation Outside In explains the amazing discovery, made by Steve Smale in 1957, that a sphere can be turned inside out by means of smooth motions and self-intersections. Through a combination of dialogue and exposition accessible to anyone who has some interest in mathematics, Outside In builds up to the grand finale: Bill Thurston's ``corrugations'' method of turning the sphere inside out. Along the way, the narrators discuss the related case of closed curves and why they generally cannot be turned inside out. Everyday analogies such as train tracks, belts, smiles and frowns are used throughout, all richly animated and complete with sound effects.

Outside In is 22 minutes long and was produced at the Geometry Center under the direction of Silvio Levy, Delle Maxwell and Tamara Munzner. The 48-page, full-color book, Making Waves, introduces more precisely the mathematical ideas behind Outside In and develops them further.

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San Serriffe

From The Guardian 1977

san serriffe

Long unfairly neglected by travelers, the islands of San Serriffe truly offer something for everyone: a rich culture full of fascinating customs, an informative case study for environmentalists and economists, and a treasure trove of unusual tubers for botanists. Now under nominally democratic government, now is the time to discover San Serriffe's distinctive cuisine, tropical climate and quaint transportation, before the next volcanic eruption occurs.


Written history of the archipelago is somewhat unfairly dated from European colonisation in the early 15th century, though there is clear evidence of a rich history before that. In particular, some have identified San Serriffe as the Biblical land of Abyss, where "an island was removed from its place" (Revelation 6:14) and from where the Beast will crawl out onto Earth. Some scholars, however, contend that the Apocalypse has already occurred and San Serriffe is the result.

The island is named after Sant Sharrif, a 10th century Indian saint who set sail with his band of followers from the coast of present-day Gujarat on a quest to go around the world and reach the Himalayas from the North. This desperate attempt was made necessary by the fact that overland pilgrimage routes to the Himalayas were blocked by Jain monks who insisted on engaging all pilgrims in debates on the epistemological challenges arising from Anekantavada.

Unfortunately, the Chinese-made compass the voyagers were carrying malfunctioned and they were swept into what is now known as the Bay of Tilde. Sant Sharrif claimed that the land he had just found was actually one of the seven islands they'd have to cross to reach the Himalayas, and claimed the islands in the name of King Harsha Verdhana who had financed the expedition. The name that stuck, however was that of Sharrif.

From 1432, San Serriffe was colonized, conquered and retaken in rapid succession by the Spanish, the Portuguese, the British, the Italians and, on one memorable occasion, Luxembourg. It was the Portuguese, though, who had the most influence and who finally granted San Serriffe its long-awaited independence in 1967.

Alas, independent San Serriffe rapidly turned into an autocratic dictatorship under the rule of General Pica, whose Justified Party led with an iron fist and crushed all traces of the Aligned rebellion. Pica's machete-wielding paramilitary hit squads -- called Chapoo Peeko or Smallcaps for their trademark headwear -- kept the population in a constant state of terror. However, following a palace coup in 1990 led by General Melior (formerly Pica's gardener), in 1997 the islanders held their first democratic elections and elected the charismatic Antonio Bourgeois, who ran on an emphatic platform of the redistribution of banana and pineapple wealth for all.

During the post-World War II years, from about 1946 through approximately 1970, the United States government operated a secret base for various scientific and military operations somewhere in the jungle hills about 25 miles (40 km) north of the city of Arial. The U.S. government has confirmed that a base once existed on the island, but has not provided any details of its operations or experiments. Today, all staff have been evacuated. Modern conspiracy theorists provide details that the base was the center of operations of Project Lucida, a project whose primary goal was weather control.


Seriffean culture reflects its riotous mix of races and cultures. The native people of San Serriffe are the Flong, but they are outnumbered by the European settlers known as the colons. Naturally, there has been considerable intermarriage between the two groups, and these descendents are known as semi-colons. In the past twenty years, many of the nation's younger generation have become increasingly influenced by modern western culture, most notably by elements of the Hip-Hop, Rap, and Rastafarian subcultures. This generation has often been labelled as the apostrophes.

National Font

To honor the Wingdings, Asterist priests the San Serriffe government declared "Wingdings", "Wingdings 2", and "Wingdings 3", which can be found on most personal computers in any nation, except San Serriffe, the national font. Since 1994 all documents have to be written or printed in either variant of Wingdings.

While nearly all world religions can be found on San Serriffe, the syncretic cult of Asterism is the largest faith, merging elements of Hinduism with Christianity and animistic Flong beliefs. Followers of Asterism believe that a mythical being known only as the Ascender will come and lift them above the baseline. Saint Pantographia, the four-faced elephant-headed goddess, is generally considered the patron saint and unifying symbol of San Serriffe. In her eight hands, she holds the torch of enlightenment, the inkwell of knowledge, the chameleon of change, the flywhisk of boredom, the spork of wisdom, the second inkwell of redundancy, the buzzsaw of detachment, and the starfish of asexual reproduction. Asterist priests are known as Wingdings, individuals who assist the Ascender in helping others rise above the baseline. Wingdings are among the highest regarded individuals in San Serriffe society, and obtaining Wingdinghood is highly coveted and one of the most sought-after careers in the nation.

Since the early colonization days, Asterism has forbidden virgins to marry. As a result of this, Wingdings would roam the San Serriffe countryside deflowering young virgins prior to marriage. This practice has spread in the 19th and 20th centuries to other islands in the South Pacific, such as Guam.

The national sport of San Serriffe is kerning. The game requires two teams of 9 men, various pieces of bamboo, and a pair of polished pineapple slices. The pineapple is slid across the playing field using bamboo, and the goal of kerning is to get your team's pineapple to overlap your opponents'. The rivalry between Port Clarendon's and Bodoni's municipal kerning sides is fierce (machete fights between backers are an infrequent but not unheard of occurrence), and the yearly pan-archipelago Verdhana Cup tournament (late May) usually pits these two top teams against each other for the coveted prize.


San Serriffe has been unkindly characterized as a banana republic, although Serriffeans themselves have been known to take offense at this suggestion and physically remind the commentator that pineapples are also an important export crop. (Critics must also concede that it's not really much of a republic, either.)

The recent discovery of oil in Upper Caisse also drew the attention of investors and the economy looked set to boom until oil analysts from the major companies ascertained that this was actually used engine oil which had been illegally dumped in a disused cess pit.

The city of Ems on Lower Caisse also has a burgeoning and legal sex industry. Workers of both sexes choose this occupation exclusively and thus are known as Mono-types. They enjoy considerable health and financial benefits under what has come to be known as the Braggadocio-Saxxe Act passed in 1977. Anton Braggadocio-Saxxe, son of the social reformer Aloysius Braggadocio-Saxxe, pioneered the use of brothels (known as Comfort Houses) as centres of therapeutic remedy with the slogan, 'It's good for what ails you.' The Act was passed with little opposition by the all-male parliament.

Because of this forward thinking attitude, and ther lack of stigma attached to the sex industry, pornography is virtually unknown and virtually pornography even more unknown. However, the city does sometimes labour to find enough accommodation for the huge influx of tourists.

Additionally, wealthy individuals from countries without this liberal outlook are now vying for real estate in Em. Notable amongst those seeking permanent 'R&R opportunities' are a number of leading international politicians, faded pop stars and numerous church dignitaries.


Thanks to its location in southern climes, San Serriffe enjoys interminably muggy weather, occasionally interrupted by spectacular thunderstorms and hail. Due to several failed U.S. Government weather-control experiments in the 1950s, the islands frequently have severe weather fluctuations, with temperatures in the low 10s and 20s and moderate snowfall of 10"-15", followed by temperatures as high as 105°F (41°C) a few days later.


The Nugradia is pretty much the only newspaper on the island, as The Eurostyle was banned by the San Serriffe government in 2004 for being too irrelevant.

Radio And television

There are no television stations on either island. There are two television sets, one in Tiki's Pub in the capital, Bodoni, which can occasionally receive broadcasts from New Zealand on good days, and another located in the President's Palace connected to a satellite dish. Radio Serriffe is the only local radio station operating on the island. They broadcast an eclectic mix of new age music with an occasional polka thrown in for good taste.

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Remember Your Roots

By Atari

atari since 1972

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All Lost In A Blink Of An Eye Is Returned

By Frisbee Jackson


What if you were able to see something that happened in a blink of an eye? Literally. Scientists at the famous Mayo Clinic have devised a new technology that is able to record all of the missed moments when you blink.

"Every one of our memories has always had a few seconds or minutes cut off. All of those split-second blinks add up," ophthalmologist Dr. Rita Gerund. Thousands of volunteer participants allowed the doctors to probe their brains and put chips in their optical glands. The chips were actually tiny cameras, recording and snapping pictures whenever the eye blinked. After the 6-month long study was over, the participants were each given a DVD of their blinks.

"It was like watching poorly produced stop-motion animation, where too many seconds has gone by in each frame and without sound," Gertrude Allen, an elementary school-bus driver, said. "But everything was so vivid. It was like reliving those memories, and sometimes I felt like crying. Other times I smiled to myself."

What does this new technology mean for people? Nothing will be missed. All that occurs will be returned to you. Every play on the field and every beat of a hummingbird's wings will be yours.

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stefan zechowski