Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review: Music Video Bjork "Earth Intruders"

So today was spent making more inventory for my ever expanding online shop through etsy (clicky clicky), and I am exhausted. My sewing/crafting/art station is set up like a workbench, meaning no chair to sit at while sewing/crafting/art-ing, meaning I stand up the whole time, meaning I was on my feet for six+ hours today since I refuse to use a pattern for anything I work on. Takes out a huge portion of the creativity and personality of the work. I would rather free form a design that I'm proud of than create cookie cutter perfect inventory for a website that claims to sell handmade work any day.

So, sorry for posting ANOTHER Bjork review, but the video was leaked today and it is beyond awesome.

Imagine, if you will, that wonderful sequence in Disney's Fantasia where all the pilgrims are travelling along the forest and hills during the Ava Maria. Take that style of overlayed animation, only execute it with dancers in costuming that wouldn't be out of place in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Now turn that into a 2-D cut out shadowbox style animation over an ever changing background. Make sure the choreography follows not the rhythm of the song, but the patterns and movements of the backing instruments. Now, add in Bjork's gigantic head as the face of the Earth, some lasers destroying the immediate environment, and Bjork's crazy music and you have some very bizarre, yet wonderfully delightful art.

Suddenly, I have a strange urge to see Bjork direct Disney's The Lion King.

Varb For Me

Friday, April 20, 2007

Review: Music Video "Lip Gloss" by Lil Mama

Gather round, my children, and let me tell you a tale.

Seriously, I feel like I would be betraying ya'll's trust if I did not let you know at the onset about what will surely blow up to be the huge novelty jam of summer 2007.

Meet Lil Mama: a sassy tone deaf rapper with an affinity for over the top choreographed "retarded" (I seriously remember an MTV news segment on a whole lot of teenagers who liked to get retarded, meaning dance around like damn fools in some weird amalgam of hip hop, krump, demonic possession-like movements, and straight up stupidity) dancing. She will never have another hit song on her own again, so she better stretch what little fame she will achieve and save her dollars for the good stuff (MAC cosmetics at Macy's...duh).

In a video that seemed more fit to be a plot point (or wrap up point) in a Christopher Guest movie, our protagonist is dropped off at school by her mother, only to be given a last minute gift: a silver bracelet/locket filled with magically, poppin lip gloss that makes everyone want to be her friend. As she merrily dances her way through the school day, Lil Mama picks up more and more friends until she has to admit in the end to her mother that that lip gloss really is poppin.

It's as awful as it sounds: enjoy.

Varb For Me

Not a Review: Check Out my Etsy Shop

What the hell's an Etsy shop and why should I care?

Etsy is the web's premiere location for crafters and artists to sell their original handmade work to a worldwide audience. The money goes directly to the crafter/artist after a 20 cent listing fee directly to Etsy.

My shop is Secret Linings. Buy something.

Varb For Me

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mini Review: High (Haute) Tension Film

I'm am so tired it's not even funny. I worked moving food, decorations, props, sets, costumes, make-up, cars, and cartons from 6:00 AM till 4:00 PM today for the Shakespeare festival my play was performed at, and I didn't even get to fucking see it. However, all of my former English teachers saw me and made the connection that only TrentSketch is crazy enough to come up with such a warped version of Shakespeare. They loved it and requested I do Othello next (which I will...eventually) and told me I should pursue playwriting. How quickly they forget the quality of my writing. I've been making English teacher's jaws drop with sentence structure, phrasing, and creativity since I was in kindergarten.

I literally just woke up maybe 20 minutes ago (it's 11:30 PM now) so here's a mini review of High Tension, one of the best slasher films of the decade:

One of the most inventive and refreshing slasher films in recent memory. The play on gender, sexuality, and mental dynamics in friendships (and more) was written to perfection. Cecil de France was wonderful as Marie, and the supporting cast was strong as well. Nice balance of gore and suspense, plus I actually loved the ending.

A strong 8/10.

Varb For Me

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not a Review: Oh dear I spoke too soon...

Remember how I themed yesterday the good, the bad, and the ugly? Well, turns out my short play is the ugly.

Everyone who has read (or read from) the actual script thinks it is pretty funny. What those kids did to my script is kind of disgraceful.

The two ringleaders have the comedic writing abilities of a young Ryan Seacrest (which is to say none). They rewrote, for those of you who read it, the initial motorcycle mention, expanding it to such a point that the last second call back in the finale didn't even get a chuckle, not even a groan. It came off as far more self-indulgent and too clever/cute for its own good. They also expanded the knock out time from three days to three weeks, since they thought three days was unrealistic (and everything else was a mirror image of real life: Shakespeare is known for his anachronisms and horrific, fantastic impossibilities, they lend charm to his scripts; I ain't saying I'm the next Shakespeare, but I did pay tribute to much of his writing style). They also refused to do the Nurse sequence deathly straight as I advised them (so over the top soap opera-ish it's piss your pants funny) even though that's how they played every other scene.

I'm a mess.

New review later tonight.

Varb For Me

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Review: Nine Inch Nails "Year Zero"

I've mentioned my unwavering love of all things crazy and Bjork on this thread before, but I think Trent Reznor just one-upped her most successful musical experiment: Medulla.

No, the new Nine Inch Nails album "Year Zero" is not almost entirely ac capella (I wish, cause that would just be a dream), but it does try to push the boundaries of the music industry by taking apart the traditional thought process behind music and creating something that is both true to the earliest stages of music and completely out of this world/futuristic (take that Justin Timberlake).

The album is a sonic explosion of dissonance and loud electronic sequenced rock, and the overall feel and campaign of the record is incredible. Let me just pull up a quick screen grab of the flyer stuck to the back of the album to continue their year zero theme:

When Trent is in his full on sexy rocker mode, he made me contemplate whether or not I could ever love a man in that way (the track in question is Track 4, The Good Soldier, which is (not) surprisingly about sex). However, when the political discourse takes center stage (tracks 6-7 (Me, I'm Not and Capital G)), the album suffers. Me, I'm Not had an interesting enough production/arrangement behind it to be bearable, but Track 7 made me wish for the dulcet tones of Britney Spears "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman Either", and I hate that song.

The best part of the album to me is the incredible campaign surrounding it, which is fully followed up with the environmentally friendly tri-fold paper based CD packaging, though the album does still contain a fully plastic (and harder to remove the disc from than usual) CD holder that kind of cancels out the environmental good will.

TrentSketch Safety Tip: Remove the CD booklet from the outside edge of the case, not the inside, otherwise you will rip and destroy your cardboard case.

Get this album. It's that good. Hopefully, the Grammys will reward NIN's efforts with an album of the year nomination (hey, they like the White Stripes, why not NIN). It's already guaranteed another victory in Alternative album (over Bjork...sigh, my girl just can't catch a break there).

Buy it. Now.

Varb For Me

Review: Avril Lavigne's The Best Damn Thing

The huge risk an artist runs when they label their album The Best Damn Thing is having it be a complete and utter mess. Avril Lavigne took that risk, and has failed miserably.

I have been a long term Lavigne sympathizer. When I heard "Complicated" for the first time on MTV, I thought the girl had the potential to be an edgier Mandy Moore, and her second album showed a level of sophistication far surpassing her peers.

But apparently she was too punk rock for quality.

The new album has a whole lot of Gwen Stefani-esque chanting (not even good chanting like Hollaback Girl, more like Wind it Up chanting) without any of the charm. It features over the top ridiculously heart felt goth-tinged lyrics like Dashboard Confessional without any of the levity, heart, or self-deprication of Chris Carraba. And it features the musical stylings of a Blink 182 coverband led by a former Real Worlder too fat and whorish to appear on the challenges.

I wanted to believe that maybe there would be a good track or two on the album, but there really isn't. Her first single, Girlfriend, is the only decent track on the album, and I use decent in a very generous way here.

Avril Lavigne has completely lost me with her effort-filled screamo...that isn't supposed to be screamo.

Varb For Me

Not a Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

WTH? You aren't doing another review yet? I hate you Trent Sketch.

I hate myself too, I know. But I do have a little mini theme day.

I will be experiencing three pop culture phenomenon today:

The new NIN album: a guide to creating an engaging and newsworthy marketing campaign without betraying your image.

The new Avril Lavigne album: an exercise in how far I can take an artist's awful, immature antics.

The final rehearsal of a short play I was commissioned (without pay) to write for a high school theater troupe: an exercise in patience as I've been told by my friend that they changed a "few things" like punchlines, cast list, characters, actors, costumes, songs, and more. If my favorite bit in the entire play is missing, I will be pissed. Some stank ho will have beer poured in their weave, is all I'm saying.

So one of these is clearly good (NIN...duh), my short play is supposed to be so bad it's good (it's a farce of a parody of a Disney channel original idea for goodness sake), and Avril Lavigne's album is just ugly.

Reviews of the NIN and Lavigne albums coming later today (here's a sneak preview: NIN kicks so much ass on this album it's not even funny, Avril Lavigne suddenly thinks she's Blink 182 B-sides never released in America as covered by New Found Glory after 2001 when the lead singer's voice kind of gave out on him) as well as an investigation into why God hates me as explained by the results of that rehearsal.

Here's a link to the full script as it should be performed, and yes, with heavy edits to the Disney aspects and more over the topness, it will become a screenplay, cause there genuinely is some good stuff here for a funny crime thriller (at least it's not an environmentally aware horror film, right? (you need to be logged in to see it, but yes, that is for real, and I will be making that environmentally aware horror film, even though the premise is a little shady (rim-shot)).

Tip your waiters, lest they wind up being contestants on some B-Rate reality show like The Search for the Next Pussy Cat Doll.

Varb For Me

Monday, April 16, 2007

Not a Review: I hate rain

Not really. I normally enjoy a good rainy day. But this rain storm that hit the northeast left me stranded in NJ, which meant that I had to miss out on an audition and an invitation to do some back up vocals for a friend's band tonight (a few months ago he pulled me up on stage and made me sing for him on his band's cover of "Steady As She Goes" by the Raconteurs and has been trying to get me on stage again ever since).

I'll bang out a review tomorrow. Right now I need some sleep.

But I will leave you with a video that, while I'm sure you've already watched it, always leaves a smile on my face:

And one more clip for good measure (Two actually, my single favorite episode of Naruto from the Chunin exam arc, you really don't need to know the show at all to enjoy it):

Varb For Me

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Review: Website

Ok, this seems like a strange review topic, but it fits within the scope of the site. is an online community for crafty people who think outside the box. Just looking at the homepage gives an indication of the kind of things you are getting yourself into by joining these forums:

The featured projects include: a clock made with artist trading cards (3X5 one of a kind art cards designed by the artist as an informal exchange with other artists they meet, it's cool), a mirror built with panels of wood covered in soda can labels, amiguri (Japanese-styled crocheted stuffed toys) food, a jacket hand embroidered with many many images of people, a sewing machine made from felt, and a bizarre (yet strangely adorable) looking kitten covered in long shaggy red fur.

The site is ridiculously awesome. There are craft challenges going on all the time where you compete against other site members for, what else, crafty supplies and paraphernalia (like the currently ongoing felted inanimate object challenge, clothing from your favorite time period challenge, or stenciled tattoo art challenge, among many others). But that is not the main draw of the site by a long shot.

Many people feel that hobbies like knitting, sewing, embroidery, and glass working are all boring, stale, outdated or for old people, but it's simply not the case. is an encouraging community for the artist in all of us.

So pick up some popsicle sticks and don't you dare use them to to merely build a birdhouse roof (not that I'm censoring you, but wouldn't a bird-mansion be a far more rewarding project constructed entirely out of hand stained popsicle sticks including columns, windows, doorways, and maybe even a stairwell or chimney be far cooler and more rewarding? like a southern palatial manner only for birds? come to think of it, I do have some popsicle sticks upstairs...) and join in on the fun. You can even check out my post with no replies in the Halloween section, which clearly happened because people were intimidated by its total awesomeness.

Varb For Me