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Skateboarder Aaron Homoki, who had a Thrasher cover not so long ago, has submitted a ridiculous 60-second clip as part of the X Games Real Street competition. Homoki filled the minute long video with an onslaught of huge tricks that have no doubt caused irreplaceable damage to his ankles. If you want to make it all worthwhile for him and get him that $50,000 prize, you can vote for him to win here.

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Mm200This week, Boing Boing is presenting a series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists. See all the essays in the Mind Blowing Movies series here. -- Mark

Ghost World, A Movie That Knocked My Socks Off, by Amy Crehore

[Video Link] It starts out with an absolutely unforgettable and insane music video of an East Indian dance number from a 1965 Bollywood production (Gumnaam). A young teenager named Enid rocks out wickedly in front of a television set, wearing a cap and gown in a bedroom crammed with clothes and familiar-looking junk.

I knew it was going to be good, but I had no idea that the movie Ghost World (2001) would bathe me in such an uncanny sense of deja vu from start to finish. The characters are so real and familiar that they could have been based on my friends and me.

Director Terry Zwigoff had previously spent almost a decade making a documentary about his friend R. Crumb, the legendary comic artist. Crumb (1994) had been a grueling project, but the film made a big splash when it came out and he was rewarded with new opportunities.

In 2001, his first full-length fictional film was released and I was curious to see it. It is based on an earlier Daniel Clowes' comic called Ghost World, which features two teenage girl characters, Enid and Rebecca. The collaboration between Zwigoff and Clowes for the movie proved to be immensely fruitful with each adding his own personal nuances to the adapted screenplay.

Enid is played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson is Becky, her sidekick. The two best friends bounce deadpan observations off each other like a classic comedy team, constantly mocking the people and situations around them. Enid is the flamboyant, anti-establishment, artistic one. Becky is the quieter, more conservative friend with a hoarse voice whom the boys seemed to prefer. They sport the same funky clothes and youthful bravado that I shared with my friends and the same hidden unease about what the future might hold.

Steve Buscemi plays a nerdy, middle-age, obsessive collector of 78 records named Seymour who crosses paths with the girls. They find his number on a lonely hearts personal ad. Just for kicks, when they are bored, they call him up. The girls spy on him after they lure him to a new '50s diner. Seymour has such a perfect, worn-out, real-life quality. Apparently, this character is based on Terry Zwigoff himself.

In the late 1970s, Terry Zwigoff had played cello and mandolin in a band featuring R. Crumb called The Cheap Suit Serenaders. Collecting old music on 78s from the '20s and '30s and playing authentic old instruments is their passion.

I can relate to that. My friends and I subscribed to a magazine called 78 Quarterly, collected vintage National and Gibson guitar-family instruments and banjos, played '20s and '30s ragtime blues music in a hokum band. We bought underground comic books and even published our own comic book. We collected R Crumb's trading cards of country blues and early Jazz performers.

In fact, one of my favorite parts of the documentary Crumb was when R. Crumb pulled out Geeshie Wiley's plaintive "Last Kind Words Blues" (1930) from his shelves of 78s and put it on the record player. Ghost World proved to be just as satisfying to me when I saw Seymour's room full of vintage stuff. Zwigoff brought his own collection of 78s, antiques, blues posters and ephemera to the set. When Enid played Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman" for the first time, a record she got at Seymour's yard sale, it practically made me cry. She declared Seymour's room to be her dream room. It is mine, too. I noticed an art deco mandolin hanging on the wall.

We follow these two girls as they while away the summer after their high school graduation ceremony. Enid has to repeat art class in summer school to get her diploma. The art class is just like my own class in art school, complete with the hippie teacher played to perfection by Illeana Douglas who desperately wants her students' art to have meaning. I hung out in many a diner with friends and drew in sketchbooks just like Enid.

As Enid becomes closer to Seymour to escape her dysfunctional home life and uncertain future, Becky gets a job and looks for an apartment. At one point, Enid spies a giant vintage logo from the '30s in Seymour's room for a chicken restaurant franchise called "The Coon Chicken Inn". I was in Portland when I saw this movie for the first time and I knew that there had been a Coon Chicken Inn in Portland. As depicted on old postcards, the building had a huge head of a black man with a giant open mouth for the entrance to the restaurant. Zwigoff seamlessly weaves the ending to his film around this real-life piece of black ephemera.

Seymour admits to Enid that he has worked at Cook's Chicken Inn for the last 19 years, previously known as the Coon Chicken Inn. He shows Enid examples of the old logo and its transition to the new fictitious one (drawn by Daniel Clowes). Enid grabs the earlier logo for her art class and calls it a found object that challenges us to think about racism. Her teacher loves it, but the image ends up in an art show and creates a scandal.

Zwigoff and Clowes came up with lots of other fun details that ring true: a porno shop where Enid buys a catwoman mask, a nunchucks guy that hangs in the parking lot of the convenience store, an obnoxious honky "blues" band that performs after an authentic ragtime blues player in a bar, a surreal man who sits on a bench waiting for a bus that never seems to come.

This movie is perfectly constructed, beautifully shot and impeccably cast. It is one of the few films that I own a DVD of and can watch over and over again. Hey, who would have ever predicted that young Scarlett Johansson would become the glamorous movie star she is today? Thora Birch, however, is the real star here. Her Enid is unforgettable.

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Dimitri Karakostas is a photographer from Toronto, Ontario and is also one of the brains behind Blood of the Young Zine. Ian Bird caught up with him to talk about zines, life and DIY. Click read more for the full interview...


For anybody that isn't familiar with your work how you describe what you do?


I guess the short answer would be I take photographs and don't touch digital cameras and then furrow my eyebrows. The longer answer would be I shoot documentary-style work focused around skateboarding, graffiti, text, and work on projects with my wife.
Usually work winds up as xeroxes, whether as a zine or prints... I guess i'm the kind of photographer that thinks in series as opposed to a singular image- a little context can go a long way. 
I also run Blood of the Young Zine with some pals.


Blood of The Young has been running for a few years now, what would you say have been the highlights?


Haha, that's hard. There's so many times i've been so psyched! I guess Born into This, our first group exhibiton, was fucking phenomenal. It pretty much turned into a skateboard block party after it got shut down... we worked with so many amazing artists, 
such as Neil McClelland and Gordon Ball, that I couldn't have imagined a few years prior... it was just a serious fan-out moment. We've just gotten so much love that pretty much every day is a highlight.




If you could produce or exhibit anybodys work through Blood of The Young who's would it be?


Woah, there's a question. I'd love to work with Patrick O'Dell or Jerry Hsu, but neither ever respond to my emails. I don't have the cash to wave in front of their faces, I guess. We're currently working on my dream project, which won't be realized until the fall, but... I have to be hush on that one! It's going to be amazing, though. Like, my life-long dream, haha.




Obviously you've got a thriving interest in photography, making zines and all things DIY, what advice would you give to somebody that was new to self publishing and zine making?


DO IT YOURSELF! Printing, binding, everything. You learn your work better by being so involved... like, the more you handle a zine, the more ideas you get about future work. Also, do a lot! You won't know what kind-of zines you like until you've made 20. Send copies to your favorite artists or bookshops, too!




Okay, so we know all the positives of self publishing, but would you say there are any negatives?


Hahaha. Well, it's expensive. You never know how/if a zine will sell. There's lots of room for mistakes, and oftentimes that one little mistake will ruin everything for you. You'll lose packages and frown. You'll never make any money. It's so much work with very little payback... but it's worth it just to be in control. 


You always seem to have various projects on at once, what can you tell us about your upcoming project I Think Were Alone Now?


Well, it's been months in the making, but we're getting pretty close now... my wife, sonia, and I have been working on this book for a while now- a really large collection of cross-media work- and we decided to go abroad to make more work. I guess it's a lot about appropriating or stealing space while on some sort-of derive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9rive). It's also a lot about working with restrictions, such as on one camera for an extended period of time... or without a studio. We both really wanted to get out of our comfort zone to create new work, since it doesn't really make sense to keep shooting the same way for an extended period of time- maybe we just feel like we're at a standstill. We're going to do a series of one-day exhibitions along our travels, of all new-work created along the way, while also trying to find a new country to perhaps move to? Haha.

Is this something you'd been planning for a long time or just something that just came to you oneday?

We've both been thinking about it for a while, and once I proposed the idea to a few people it seemed to really take off. The preparatory work we've been doing here has only furthered my belief that we're supposed to do it... we're both workaholics, and I figure the only way we could have a 'vacation' is if we worked our way through it! We have so many things we want to do... it just doesn't make sense to not do them anymore!

Have you got any other upcoming projects or releases that you'd like to tell us about?

I just updated my website at http://tobehonestiexpectedmore.com and updated the Blood of the Young shop with new zines by Levi Mandel, Ryan Florig + more... I just finished a zine for my pals at http://alearningcomputer.com that will probably be out this week, and i've been working a lot on making fun skate videos for my old man skate crew (example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvv4xyZ9gls&feature=channel_video_title http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tholyLWxv2g). There is a bunch of new stuff coming out this month through BOTY, so keep your ear to the ground!

http://dimitrikarakostas.com/

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The Nikon Small World contest, which selects some of the best examples of photomicrography annually has added a new category to include movies made under the microscope. This year’s winner is a stunner of a video by Anna Franz in the School of Pathology at the University of Oxford. Ms. Franz cut a window into an egg to expose the 72-hour-old chick embryo and carefully injected ink using a glass capillary needle into its artery under a stereo microscope. Here is an edited transcript of an interview with Ms. Franz:

“I am currently doing a Ph.D. in developmental biology studying centriole duplication [cell behavior] in Drosophila [fruit flies]. In 2010 I took a six-week course in embryology at Woods Hole [Marine Biological Laboratory] where I learned several techniques used to study embryogenesis in a number of organisms. One of these techniques was the injection of ink into an artery with the aim to visualize the vasculature of the chick embryo. This image/movie gives the viewer the opportunity to observe a biological process as it is happening and gives an overview of how the blood system works. The films also demonstrates beauty in simplicity; what could be more simple than an egg?

The reason why researchers study the vasculature of chick embryos is because it is very similar to the human vasculature. A better understanding of the development and function of the heart and the vasculature may help spur the discovery of novel therapeutics, which can be used to treat cancer (since tumor growth relies on blood vessel growth) and cardiovascular diseases.”

Courtesy Anna Franz, University of Oxford/Nikon Small World

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ss

“Ultimately, I’m interested in creating a bio-computer by using actual slime molds, whose information-processing system will be quite close to that of the human brain,” Aono said. “Slime molds do not have a central nervous system, but they can act as if they have intelligence by using the dynamism of their fluxion, which is quite amazing,” Aono said. “To me, slime molds are the window on a small universe.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/28/japan-scientists-hope-slime-holds-...

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Michaelschmelling

There are few photographers who have a pure and original vision – Michael Schmelling is one of those few and he recently released his fifth monograph titled Atlanta about the hip hop scene down in the ATL. Accompanying the book is an incredible site: Atlanta Revisited.

www.michaelschmelling.com
www.atlbook.com

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“What have you done to it? What have you done to its eyes? … He has his father’s eyes.”

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

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Some days we feel that we could add 'Swedish' as a legitimate menu bar item on Neu and be done with it, but then with tracks as good as this offering from Loney Dear to catch up on, who could blame us.

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