Friday, March 27, 2009

Wizard Magazine and the art of job destruction etiquette

Hats off this month to the wonderful people who head up Wizard in the U.S.

Let's cull a magazine (in this case Anime Insider) yesterday, and sack everyone without warning. Well, sack the editorial staff in New York, anyway. For those of us writers outside the center of the universe, we're just forgotten.

Nice one, mates.

I found out the news an hour ago from a vital anime company here in Tokyo, who in turn found out the news via an anime online chat forum—despite the fact I've been the magazine's Tokyo Correspondent for 5 years.

I now have to swallow the remains of my shredded-up pride and apologize to several dozen other anime companies in Japan for promises that'll never now be honoured, and a series of articles and interviews that will never be printed. Oh yeah, and there's a big chance I'll never be paid for these finished articles, nor reimbursed for the translation work on one of them.

Prove me wrong here, Wizard.

And when are you actually going to let me know I'm out of a job, mates? Pink slips too expensive in your new budget? Never wised-up to e-mail technology?

Nice, professional work, and kudos all round. Thanks for offering your own bit of unthinking Scrooge-ism in this crazy financial period.

R.I.P. Anime Insider magazine—and genuine respect to all those who put in, worked on it, loved the mag, bought it, and made it something 67 issues special...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tokyo International Anime Fair 2009

Being lazy at the moment, so here're some pics (minus meaningful text) from the TAF2009 jaunt @ Tokyo Big Sight last week... click on each one for bigger image.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Paul Birken

"I woke in the middle of the night with water dripping on my cheek, and running down past my right ear. The pillow was becoming soaked and I realized the window had broken from a tree branch that snapped in the wind.

"Water was flying into the house in a single stream, which was odd. When I grabbed a towel from the closet to dry myself off, I went to the garage to get some plastic and tape to temporarily fix the window and keep out the water, but heard a noise down in the studio that sounded odd. One of the drum machines had a single stream of water dripping into it, and was it hiccupping a chugging, slow pattern.

"I quickly hit 'record' to capture it and turn things off so I wouldn't get electrocuted. When I pressed 'stop', all the gear and my house dissolved into grey pixels and I fell to the ground and sat there in a muddy puddle with a small toy robot walking in front of me. It was muttering some fragments of a vocoded message. That was all I remember from the vision."


Friday, March 6, 2009

New, cheapskate IF? website*

*well, it's free! Go figure.

Anyway, our cantankerous teenage record label, IF?, now has a new online home to match up with the new logo and new artists involved from Japan, Melbourne, and elsewhere.
We're hitting out shortly with new stuff by Alone Together, Little Nobody, Koda, Bitch Shift, Son Of Zev, ABiS, Aneb, Alkan, and others.

Click here if you can really be bothered checking it out. There are other, more grandiose things happening online and out there in the real world.
The new logo, by the by, was hacked together by our exceptionally talented mate, Ant Orange, over at the Dead Channel collective. He's also an extremely hot muso. Love the guy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Another Sky Press

Amongst its self-confessed missions, Another Sky Press (based in Portland, Oregon, in the U.S.) hopes to subvert the traditional publishing paradigm and do it their own way, put the artist and audience in direct connection with each other, hence removing the (expensive) middlemen, they want to spread culture for the good of all—not control it for profit—and they'd like to dismantle the world and reassemble it in a more aesthetically pleasing manner.

Grand plans indeed, and these worthy people have released a wad of stunning coffee table art books with images by Jesse Reno and others, plus some equally cool novels by the likes of Kristopher Young (Click) that you can read online for free, or purchase at cost. It's up to you if you deem the writer worthy of bonus extra patronage.

I love these people, and I'm one of the lucky ones: I currently have my first novel (Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, the one Scott C. did the cover for—see the previous entry below) in the sub-editing phase with them, and it should be out sometime this year.

Regardless, I'd adore what the posse is on about; their mentality is precisely my cup of tea.

There's a way cool new online interview with Kristopher Young, who runs Another Sky with his partner, Christine Barnum, with help from a wide variety of like-minded others.

It's an extensive beast of a chat, full of insights into a crew we should all be in there rooting for and supporting. Go forth, grab a big cup of coffee, and brush up on your leftfield-publishing-with-a-superlative-punk-ethic kind of thing.