Posted in Adventure, Alexei Leonov, All Songs Considered, Astronauts, Charles A. Murray, Children's Books, Communists, Cosmonauts, Graphic Novel, History, Jim Ottaviani, John F. Kennedy, John Glenn, Lydia Ainsworth, NASA, Optic Obscura, Raum Industries, Russia, Scientists, Sergei Korolev, South X Lullaby, SXSW, Valentina Tereshkova, YA Books, Yuri Gagarin on April 17, 2017|
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SOUNDTRACK: LYDIA AINSWORTH-“Afterglow” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 23, 2017).
I was unfamiliar with Lydia Ainsworth, but I was instantly struck by the setting of her lullaby.
We asked Lydia Ainsworth to perform in Raum Industries’ Optic Obscura installation. Surrounded by dim, long-hanging optical fibers that look like an infinity room of cat’s whiskers, she sings a stripped-down version of the slow-burning “Afterglow,” accompanied only by an upright bass and light percussion.
I’m not sure what the original song sounds like, but this version is moody and intense. The upright bass opens the song as Lydia’s whispered, sensual vocals come forth. She has a beautiful voice and it is especially haunting in this setting. It reminds me a bit of someone else although I can’t decide who.
The starkness of the silence when she stops singing is intense. And I really like the way the song ends, not abruptly exactly, but rather unexpectedly.
[READ: March 21, 2016] T-Minus
Jim Ottaviani did the amazing graphic novel Feynman, and in the blurb about him in that book, it said that he also wrote T-Minus. Coincidentally I had just brought T-Minus home for Clark and I to read. He read it quickly and said it was very good. It took me a little longer to read (I’m sure he didn’t read all the details) because Ottaviani jam packs this book with interesting facts.
As the title says, this is about the race to get a man to the moon. It begins 12 years before the actual date occurred. And it toggles back and forth between the United States and the Soviet Union.
On the margins of many pages there are drawings of all of the various attempts each country had to get a rocket into the air. The drawings show the design and then at the bottom it states the duration of the flight, the date and some other details. The USSR’s first rocket (1957) lasted all of 20 seconds before exploding. The U.S’s first rocket lasted about 7 seconds.
We meet a handful of people who were instrumental in the design and origination of these rockets. (Ottaviani explains that many of these people are composites of real people involved–if he wanted to include everyone, there would be 400 people in every panel). (more…)
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Posted in Brian Carroll, Bryan Ballinger, Caanan Grall, Cats, Children's Books, Clark, Dani Jones, Egyptology, Funny (ha ha), Gene Gonzales, Graphic Novel, Harry Myland, James Anderson, Jason Horn, Katie Cook, Let's Eat Grandma, Maloney & Preitano, Mike Laughead, Mike Maihack, South X Lullaby, SXSW, Time Travel, Unfinished series, Webcomic, Wes Molebash on April 12, 2017|
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SOUNDTRACK: LET’S EAT GRANDMA-“Deep Six Textbook” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 16, 2017).
Let’s Eat Grandma is a duo consisting of two girls from England–Jenny Hollingworth (17) and Rosa Walton (16). I love that they took their name from the grammar joke about removing a comma. But the somewhat sinister reality of the name is representative of the somewhat sinister tone of their pop songs.
Not all South X Lullaby venues are worth describing, but this one sure it. It takes place in an airstream trailer. The setting is wonderful–all wood-paneled and streamlined. And it seems to make the sound echo perfectly.
The song begins with an electric drum–much louder than one might imagine–and then the girls do a little hand clapping game before the music starts.
Rosa on the keys has really long hair. She sings lead and has an incredible, unique voice–a heavy accent and a menacing but childlike delivery. Jenny sings occasional lines (they intertwine very nicely). When the verses end, the chord change is fairly dramatic before it returns to this pretty and slightly creepy melody.
After 3 and a half minutes Jenny pulls out a saxophone and plays a short, weird muffled solo. And then the song continues on to the end. It is utterly mesmerizing and as fascinating as the duo are. I’m really excited to explore more of their music.
[READ: January 27, 2017] Cleopatra in Spaaaace!
While looking up Book 3 on Goodreads I saw this book called Cleopatra in Space Book .5 (that’s point five). It is the original webcomic that inspired the series. if you’re thinking about reading it, I’d wait until after Book 3 of the graphic novel. You’ll see why.
Maichak introduces us to the series by saying he wrote it from August 2009 to October 2012 and that it ends abruptly because he began working on the graphic novels.
These pages will never appear in printed form because while they are the basis for the comic, they are a little different and, as he says, they are aimed at a slightly older audience. But most of the elements are in place like Khensu The Space Kitty, the humor, the pacing and the great hieroglyphics that the aliens speak. She’s even got her Sphinx space scooter. Although Cleopatra herself is a bit older (and sexier). (more…)
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Posted in Adventure, Cats, Children's Books, Clark, Egyptology, Funny (ha ha), Graphic Novel, Mike Maihack, South X Lullaby, SXSW, Time Travel, Unfinished series, Valerie June on April 11, 2017|
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SOUNDTRACK: VALERIE JUNE-“Astral Plane” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 15, 2017).
I have been hearing a lot about Valerie June lately, but I actually didn’t know her music before this lullaby.
For this song it is just her and her guitar sitting on a wall underneath some fairy lights. “Astral Plane” is a 3/4 time song (with a kind of plucked strumming) . The melody is simple and comforting, call it “a softly swaying, country-tinged soul song.” But I feel like it’s her voice that stands out.
Her voice is unique, and based on it I have no idea where she is from. It sounds accented but also almost cartoony. But there’s nothing funny about this song–it’s a pretty song about dancing on the astral lane. I found that I didn’t really like her voice at first, but it slowly grew on me. And I find myself somewhat addicted to this song now. Must hear more.
[READ: January 28, 2017] Cleopatra in Space Book Three
I ended the previous review by saying I couldn’t believe I had to wait forever to read the next book. And here it is almost a year later and book three is out.
As with the previous books in this series there is a lot of action–a lot of fighting sequences. But Maihack once again does a great job in keeping the action easy to follow even while lasers and knives are zapping all over the place.
As the story opens, we see Cleo’s ship surrounded by Octavian and a massive Xerx fleet. Cleo’s team is obviously afraid but we hear Octavian tell his crew that he wants everyone on Cleo’s ship alive. Unfortunately for Cleo, Zaid, a rather impulsive youth has joined them and fires on one of the ship’s lasers. This causes all kinds of chaos and a chase sequence. (more…)
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