Matroyshka, the latest shimmering update from Juan Santapau‘s clever and beautiful comic, The Secret Knots.
click through to read the rest
The Secret Knots: Clarence, the first comic Juan‘s posted since the Chilean 8.8 earthquake.
Check out his art at The Secret Knots.
Juan‘s been working overtime putting together a luscious Hallowe’en countdown series for The Secret Knots entitled The Brides of Dracula, that each showcasing a tiny short story about one of the mysterious women in question. Part I: Elena the Seer and Part II: Stana the Beautiful are now up, with Part III to come soon. Working on them has been really special, as hammering the language dents out of the scripts has been one of the creative highlights of my week, and I hope people like them enough to leave some positive reviews and tell their friends. They’re really quite pretty, and as a bonus, Juan’s posted a haunting little four panel he created several years ago, simply titled Vampire. Go see!
The original plan was only for Nicole and I to head over to LIME, a Japanese restaurant that used to be a Turkish restaurant named RIME, (just because, that’s why), for a friend’s gig and some GirlTalktm, but by the time Thursday rolled around Nick, (who I had sort of not-quite-secretly set her up with), was part of the party and I had agreed to pick up cat supplies from Dominique, who had put her suddenly feral kitty to sleep. So instead of taking Nicole’s little car and heading straight to the restaurant, we ducked through downtown to Dominique and David’s place with Nick’s van and visited with their new tiny little wonder for a bit before hauling the cat stuff out to the van and heading back to the Drive.
It was incredibly cold out, with a thick cake of ice on almost every side-street, the result of cars packing down snow. Nick’s a fairly good driver though, so it wasn’t until we got stuck on a surprisingly steep bit of low hill near Commercial Drive that we started worrying. Nicole and I were all for slowly backing up the way we came and trying another street, one with a shallower slope, but Nick had tire chains in the van and decided to use those. Or rather, one of them.
Truthfully, if he’d used all his chains it likely would have worked, but it was freezing out and he didn’t have gloves so he only used the one, leaving his other front tire to spin wildly as he floored the gas, trying to get some forward momentum going. Within a minute, at the same time Nicole’s phone rang, dark clouds began pouring out of the hood and a pedestrian ran up to us shouting, “Fire!”.
Black smoke started pooling in the van almost immediately. Nick, ever able, quickly popped the hood and jumped out to discover incredible flames licking his engine, so I grabbed my camera bag, yanked myself out of the van, and tore Nicole’s door open as soon as I could stand on the ice, “Nicole, time to get out.” Once she was clear, (explaining to her friend on the phone, “Sorry, can’t talk, car’s on fire!!”), I reached across and turned off the engine as Nick used frantic handfuls of snow to put out the crackling fire. Exciting times!
Lucky us, the disaster was a small one. By the time a local resident ran up with a fire extinguisher, we’d already doused all of the flames we could see, rolled down the windows to let the smoke out, and started laughing the adrenalin off. We were fine. It was Nick’s new van that was in trouble. The fire had been behind the engine where we couldn’t make a closer inspection, so we could only theorize at the damage. Our guess, based on the horror movie strobe of the dashboard lights, was that maybe a wire had been sitting somewhere it shouldn’t and caught fire when part of the engine overheated.
We moved the van as soon as we felt it was safe, gently rolling it back down the hill to a corner parking spot out of the way. Except for aforementioned flickering lights and some strange sizzling noises, it seemed fine, so we looked under the hood again, trying to figure out what was hissing, a futile thing, and decided what to do next. Nicole’s suggestion, “Gently drive it home”, was a great idea, except it wouldn’t turn on again. When Nick tried the ignition, all the internal lights went out with a very quiet pop. Somewhere in all of the uneasy hissing engine sounds, the electricals had given up the ghost. We couldn’t even roll the windows back up.
After a bit of talking and a bit of sitting and a bit of turning into ice, we decided to simply abandon the vehicle for a tow truck in the morning and continue on foot. Nick wrote a note that said ENGINE DEAD, ALL VALUABLES REMOVED, I left it pinned to the dash, and we walked the rest of the way to the restaurant where it turned out the food was delicious and the company even better. Thank mercy we’re all cheerful people. The End.
The Secret Knots has begun its very first story arc, “the Truth Fairy“
As a bonus, Juan is asking for people to send in their faces, to possibly star in the next comic posted:
It’s that time of the year when you get to put your face in my slow motion soap opera The Secret Knots!
Send me your photo(s) to gemeloperverso (gmail), or a link to your flickr, photobucket etc. I think it works better with a least two shots if you care for likeness. Of course, if you really perceive yourself as a blurry shadow in the background, that’s ok. Some of my best friends are like that. I am like that sometimes.
This will be a single page comic I’ll do between the end of “The Truth Fairy” and the next long comic. I don’t know what it’ll be about yet. Maybe it’ll have the words red, suspicious, come, tunnel, anymore, who, knows. But it may have you!
A rattling Arab Strap song, Love Detective, on repeat like the unofficial brother to another sophisticated story where ‘the stars on his dressing room door take flight’. (here) Every time, it’s such a perfect line. Green rooms across the border, I want it written on the walls. Let’s go global. Band names scratched into mortar and paint and that line, that one elegant line, like a silent war against every badly crooned oh baby to make it top ten.
I watched a clip today of Trent Reznor encouraging his fans to steal his music, saying, “If I could do what I want right now, I would put out my next album, you could download it from my site at as high a bit-rate as you want, pay $4 through PayPal.” Very much like the digital revolution ideal that Jane Siberry’s already got going strong and that the Bare Naked Ladies are apparently following. (She offers songs next to a posted average of how much people have been paying for each, though you can download them for free.) Go Team Canada. Thankfully, now that he’s finally free of his label, he’s putting his money where his mouth is. Or rather, your money. Or lack of it.
So, news of the week: Finally free of his label, Trent Reznor has teamed up with Saul Williams to produce his latest album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!, and offer it on-line for Pay-What-You-Want.
Instead of obsessively selling albums, they are focusing on building their fan base through the release of quality art and making their money through positive response, touring and merchandising. The beautiful bones of an antidote to the ugly, overly packaged music industry that spawned the RIAA. To be able to directly pay for what you’re getting, rather than knowing that a considerable percentage of the money is going to a label, it means a lot. Finally, direct influence, the ability to unequivocally encourage the artists we appreciate and wish to support.
Of course, I’m foolish enough to forgo the free download, and not because of the sly guilt the phraseology of the website provides, (that I completely applaud), but because, even though they’re both successful artists and could suck it up better than some of the other musicians I regularly pass around, I feel what they’re doing should be rewarded and encouraged. I want highly successful artists to start abandoning label-distributed albums. They’re the ones that can pave the way. The higher up the food chain, the finer they understand the game, so the more we prove them right, the better. The more that collectively decide that this is the way to make money, the more this sort of distribution will become the norm.
“Recommended readings”, at The Secret Knots.
It was like we were watching the dawn together through the slate gray rain as it fell in Chile. “How many miles away are we?” I asked. “Every mile,” he replied. I said, “We are the future, this morning.”
We had stayed up all night, sending music across three time-zones and updating our theories on the thinly coloured sky, how the sun was coming to find us, neglectful of our beds in the light of our company, caught in the web at it’s late night best.
When I finally left my computer to sleep, it was bright outside, pale stone blue, like milk spilled on lapiz lazuli. The birds outside, huddled together on the wire, had begun to coo, an alarm clock in reverse, and our music playing was like our hands warmly holding across the distance, comforting and quiet. I wonder if we got it in sync.
This week has felt long, stretched out, as something new happens every day and I struggle to find a meaningful habit of pattern. Every day flows free form and anchorless. It’s bad for me.
Yesterday I meant to re-write my resume, but instead Lung brought Dominique and I to a lake out past Sqaumish where the water was clear green and cold. Next to the highway, it was perfect British Columbia. We sat in our bathingsuits on a log jutting out into the water and complained the water was too cruel to swim. We sang along to our music and told stories about the first time we had heard certain songs.
The day before that I had planned to spend sliding down hills on ice with with Merlyn, grass stains mandatory, but instead I found myself visiting Chelsea in New Westminster with Jenn and Dominique, ultimately playing phone tag with him and missing him altogether.
Today I’m taking head-shots of Michael C. in exchange for lunch, other than that, I think it’s time again to plan an afternoon inside, crafting a resume to explain to the world that I am competent. Finally the summer is here and I am ignoring it.
I feel like the vision of a girl who writes personality, warped and made prettier in water-paint parentheses. The Secret Knots is one of my silver cocaine addictions. I check it every Monday, a wrought iron internet-princess hoping for snow and honey to bleed distraction from Vancouver’s dirty tinsel sky. Of course, Spring has arrived, bringing with it art! weather! joy! and more Secret Knots!