Jules: Happy new year to all, and welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. (Absolutely anyone, of course, is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.)
Guess what, dear readers? It’s the one-year anniversary (thereabouts) of 7-Imp’s up-and-coming illustrator features, in which—on the first Sunday of each month—we feature someone currently studying illustration or someone newly-graduated from the field (or otherwise new to illustration). I have to say, this has been one of my favorite features; I always look forward to hearing from illustration students. I’m not gonna break into an overwrought Whitney Houston tune here (did I really just link to that? Blech), but I do think it’s fun to hear from the voices of the future of illustration. Some of my favorite student or brand-spankin’-new illustrators we featured last year include Ashley Smith, Chris Eliopoulos (a.k.a. “Elio”), Kali Ciesemier, James Hindle, Maris Wicks, and Lauren Minco. (Eric Orchard goes without saying, as we featured him just last month, but really, he rocks.) Remember any of those folks? I hope we see more of them, and I think it’d be fun to follow up and find out what they’re up to now, but, well…then someone would have to add some more hours to my day.
Look, it’s Elliott Smith, but I’m getting ahead of myself . . . Today, we’re featuring Mashanda Scott, who will be graduating from California’s Art Center College of Design in Summer, 2009. Mashanda was raised in the Seattle area but has lived in Los Angeles for seven years now, she told me. “I love illustrating (and am inspired by) album covers, concert posters, zines, books and comics.” Mashanda sent three images that she felt best represented the style in which her work is headed: the opening image of the coffee-drinking canine; the above Elliott Smith image, which I was hoping she’d send, as I’m a hugely huge Elliott Smith fan, heaven rest his talented soul; and Summer, pictured below. I also asked her if we could post the umbrella image, as it caught my eye. A lot of Mashanda’s work seems to be done in cut paper collage, but Summer is acrylic ink, and you can see at her Flickr page that she occasionally works with other media, as well.
Well, helloooooo, strangers! I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL for so long, but internet connections were few and far between amongst the rellies I was visiting over the Christmas and New Year’s. Anyway, I hope everyone had a great holiday or two, and got where they needed to go safely. And big-ups to Jules for doing Kicks all by herself, plus TWO Poetry Fridays in a row. Thanks, J. Now, for the kicks, ’cause I’ve got two weeks’ worth to share:
1* Okay, seriously, would you just look at that geeky dog up there? Or is it a wolf? I want it to be a wolf, ’cause that’s funnier. And I also love the umbrella.
2* I am very grateful that we made all our flights on time, and only had to brush off a few inches of snow from my car when we got back home. No shovels required.
3* It was fabulous seeing all my rellies (see how I can’t stop using that word, emmaco?) and friends, even though it was kind of a mad crush to fit as many visits as possible in 6 days. I even got to see an old friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in 5 years, and she is still awesome.
4* My nephew is growing like a very adorable weed (pictured left, with his Handy Manny singing dancing toolbox. He loved it, but unless you also really REALLY love the theme song to the show, think twice before buying it for any child you live with. Just sayin’.). He is seriously cuter than I thought it was possible for a human to be. Don’t you agree?
5* Also great was seeing Jules and her family (pictured left, with me looming over them about to take a bite out of Piper’s sweet head). We had yummy brunch, and her girls gave me a beautiful hair stick that they picked out themselves, and Jules gave me my very own copy of The Royal Tenenbaums because she knows how I love that movie.
6* Then we spent New Year’s Eve with my husband’s sister and her husband in Asheville. They’re just generally awesome to hang out with, and we had an admittedly sedate but fabulous evening playing Rayman Raving Rabbits on their Wii.
7* And since I still have the same nasty cold I spent most of the week with – the kind that has completely eradicated my voice, keeps me up all night coughing, and makes people edge away from me and reach for their lemon-scented germ-killing hand goo – it’s really good to be home again.
Bonus Kick: My Cybils duties are in full swing, now that the short lists are up. I’m a judge for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category, and the short list is BRILLIANT. I’ve got some excellent reading – and discussions – ahead of me for the next few weeks. WOOT!
Bonus-Bonus Kick: Literal Videos by Dust Films. My favorite is their take on “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears:
Bonus-Bonus-Bonus Kick: I saw The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and it’s… hard to describe. I thought it would be more of a shoot-em-up western, but instead it’s slow and lyrical, and some of the images are astonishingly beautiful. Casey Affleck is so amazingly creepy, too.
There’s plenty more kicks I could share, but I’ll stop now and let others have a turn.
So, how ’bout you, Jules?
1). When you have wee kids and it’s not always so easy to get out and party like it’s 1999 on New Year’s, well…I’ll speak for myself here: It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to New Year’s Eve this year. I was just afraid I’d be so bored I’d fall asleep early. But, as my husband and I sat on the couch with our wee girls on our laps (we let them hold out as long as they could) and we were dancing to top-40 rap and goofing off and drinking sparkling grape juice in wine glasses and such, I thought, there’s no other place I’d rather be. And that’s even with the painfully mediocre music of Click Dark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve playing on television.
2). The Cybils shortlists are up. And this is way overdue, but I owe a huge shout-out of thanks to my fellow Poetry panelists, Kelly, Elaine, Bruce, and Laura. Whew, they are smart as hell and have excellent taste, each and every one of them. We now pass the poetry shortlist on to John, Gregory, Sylvia, Jama, and Liz.
2½). Finding and then catching up with my best friend from ninth grade on Facebook. She hasn’t changed a bit and is like a big ‘ol ray of sunshine.
3). I’m a bit slow in getting to it, but “Viva la Vida, or Death and All His Friends.”
4). I’m a bit slow in getting to it, but “30 Rock.” I gulped down Season One in a few days this week. I love it so much I’m gonna take it behind the middle school and . . . well, if you’re a fan, you know the rest.
5). My four-year-old and I came up with our own secret handshake.
7). The Rumi poem Andi/cloudscome shared at a wrung sponge this week. I’ve been thinking a lot since I read it about how things in this world blend. Not to mention the Muppetized “Jabberwocky” that Kelly Fineman shared. Just…just…surreal. Who knew that existed?
BONUS: I happen to think that Sun Pours Down Like Honey, which I stumbled upon this week, is the best blog title I’ve ever heard, with apologies to Brimstone Soup. We’ll let Eisha keep Brimstone as her favorite, but I claim Sun Pours Down Like Honey. See? I said it again, ’cause it’s so lovely. Sun pours down like honey. Ah.
Another bonus, in case you can’t get that Whitney Houston song out of your head and because my adoration for Chris Martin seems to grow daily and because who doesn’t need a little revolution on a Sunday morning? Coldplay detractors, or People Whom I Don’t Understand, look away.
What are YOUR kicks this week?