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PARKING CONVERSATION MAGAZINE

THE LIBRARY FOR INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUALS

.

LETS TALK PREMIER ISSUE

SUMMER 2012


park路ing con路ver路sa路tion Noun: The informal exchange of ideas by spoken word though discussion among groups of people in an area where cars or other vehicles may be left temporarily.


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FIND INSIDE

[ TABLE OF CONTENTS ]


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PCM / VOL.1


[ SUBCULTURE ] As a big fan of Tumblr I’m always blogging images that stand out to me on almost any geeky subject. I will always try to find the original source though, sadly, the way that micro-blogging has evolved ownerships get removed along the way and you end up chasing sources down rabbit holes.  Earlier this year I reblogged a photo of female Thor with an impressive costume – I was able to cite the photographer but it was quite a mystery as to who the cosplayer was. After the image received some 50-something reblogs I noticed a Tumblr repost comment from the cosplayer.  How small the world is – I finally found my source!  It was great to finally touch base and get talking So, without further ado… Meet Lindsay, 28 from Washington, DC: Auditor by day – Superhero Re-inventor by night…

How long have you been working on the Female Iron Man costume?

INTERVIEW

WITH A COSPLAYER

[LINDSEY...

Before I debuted the costume in October of 2011, I worked on it for a good solid 2 1/2 weeks, with about 2-3 hours of work put in every other day. The majority of the time went into the head-piece, which was probably the most complicated aspect.

Why Iron Man?  Were you inspired by the movie or the comic? I’ve always loved Iron Msn – both the comics and the movie. My friends tend to think I have a personality like his –and honestly I have to say I agree with them.

Who else do you cosplay? My other major costume I do is Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers).  I also cosplay Phoenix/Jean Grey, and various other characters depending on my mood prior to con. She’s another character I truly identify with. The Ms. Marvel pictures blew up online when Gail Simone (a writer for DC comics) commented on a shoot I did by LJinto and it went from there.

You can’t get better than a compliment from a source like that!  Who can we expect to see in the future?

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For San Diego Comic Con, I plan on debuting my (female) Thor, my Gem (a Siren from Tron: Legacy), and perhaps the new costume that Ms. Marvel just received – Captain Marvel.


... Auditor by day –

Superhero Re-inventor by NIGHT]   

Geeks, in recent years, have become integrated into society where it isn’t just socially acceptable but went on to earn the ‘cool’ status to finally leading the way – something that was not the case when I was younger. Where do you feel cosplay sits? Does it tend to be “embraced by many but understood by few” in terms of family and friends accepting? Personally, I’ve been really surprised how my friends and family have reacted. While I still get some strange looks at work when I tell them what I’m doing, my father is surprisingly supportive – he’s been active in trying to help me in recent months and has expressed interest in helping me more once we live in the same city. I think San Diego Comic Con, and its high profile nature, really has made cosplaying more acceptable in the past few years.

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Outside of cosplay – what are the biggest influences in your life? Probably my father. My mother passed away about three years ago, and I’ve realized how incredibly lucky I am to have a person like him in my life. We’re best friends (honestly), and he’s more supportive of me than any person should be. As I said before, he helps me with my cosplay, supports me fully in going to conventions (I’ve tried to convince him to go with me – no luck just yet!) and is in general just wonderful about everything.

“ While I still get some

STRANGE looks at work... surprisingly my FATHER is supportive.

Thanks so much for sharing – looking forward to what comes out of Comic Con!

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[ MUSIC ]

rawness to it prominent and honestl “It has a certain

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...wh Mourning the Whale

cr

exp


t that is

ly...

Folk music without the stereotypical vocal twang is what Fencewalker brings to the plate with her EP Mourning the Whale. Her vocals may lack the overall classic folk twang but her musical backing is true blue folk (AKA there is some banjo goodness in a good number of the 8 songs on the album). Fencewalker reigns from Philadelphia, PA and claims on her Facebook page that the album was created with “me, fruity loops, and a cat in a basement with

a resonator, and a piano, and whatever else I can accumulate.” Mourning the Whale has a certain rawness to it that is prominent and honestly what makes live shows the creative and exhilarating experience that they are. Fencewalker’s vocals are soothing and smooth which relaxes the listener into a lull of peacefulness that would be perfect for a rainy day and a hot cup of tea. That being said, there are some times during certain songs

(“Shoulders” and “Colors” for example) where the guitar and other instrumental backing seem to get off kilter and begin to feel jumbled and confused in comparison to the dreaminess that preceded the musical error.

also shows some vocal experimentation).In general, the Mourning the Whale is a good start for indie folk musician Fencewalker. The EP gives the listener an idea of what Fencewalker is capable of creating as an artist, but as a listener myself; I wish the album had The most interesting track on more exploration in vocals. the album would have Don’t get me wrong, to be “Deceived”. “Deceived” Fencewalker has a wonderis not only the lone semifully sultry voice, but it upbeat song, contrasting seems like she could do with the general calm of the so much more with her voice. rest of the EP, but it also has the most vocal range (“Hold”

5.7

out of 10

hat makes live shows the

reative and exhilarating

perience that they are.

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10 10

“It Was A Dark & Stormy Night


The Greatest Show

Unearthed Ladies and gentlemen, boys and ghouls, step right up.

Creature Feature is the deviant brain child of two sinister composers from Lost Angeles known only as Curtis Rx and Erik X. Formed on Halloween of all days, these two maniacal groundskeepers in the torture garden of auditory delight have taken it upon themselves to draw

11 from their twisted childhoods and invent a band that becomes everything that frightened you as a child, a band that becomes Halloween 365 days a year, a band that forces you to remember why you used to sleep with the lights on and fear the bumps in the night.

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“


unique sound “ it’s been ripped moldering celluloid forgotten horror film Wildly that seems like from the of a

Pulling their influences from classic horror films, soundtracks, Halloween memories, carnival calliope music, cartoons, classic video games, and the terrifying writings of Edgar Allen Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and Edward Gorey, Creature Feature creates a wildly unique sound that seems like it’s been ripped from a the moldering celluloid of a forgotten horror film or a long lost episode of The Twilight Zone. The kind of music that paints a picture in your mind of dancing skeletons, evil carnivals, flesh eating ghouls, grim hauntings, body snatchings, premature burials, and kidnappings most foul.

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The mad monster party doesn’t stop there, add in an unhealthy dose of frantic rock guitar, haunted mansion organ, bone-chilling synth, electronic heart-pounding bass, creature voices from the beyond, and manic vocals reminiscent of early Oingo Boingo era Danny Elfman. Mix them all together in a poisonous cocktail and you have Creature Feature, a Saturday morning spookshow belting out creepy music to awaken the monster in all of us.


There are many ways you can get your claws on their music.  You can buy their first album “The Greatest Show Unearthed” on there website creaturefeaturemusic.com.  Their new album, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” will be available later this month.  You can also download free (well, name your price) Rufus Rex tracks on villainsandvaudevillians.com. Also, be sure to keep an eye on them, because they often give free

downloads and/or stream their music for free, and who can say no to free music? For updates, you can join their mailing list as well as find them all over the internet, on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, their website Creature Feature Music, as well as Curtis RX’s site, Villains and Vaudevillians.

13 like a grave !

“digYou’llthem

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[ NEWS ]

14 Illustration by Ricardo Perez


Bongo is a chimp.

He’s being punished by other members of the chimpanzee band for not sharing his bananas.

Bongo is selfish. Bad

Bongo.

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Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days. Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality. They further believe that if morality grew out of behavioral rules shaped by evolution, it is for biologists, not philosophers or theologians, to say what these rules are. Moral philosophers do not take very seriously the biologists’ bid to annex their subject, but they find much of interest in what the biologists say and have started an academic conversation with them. Last year Marc Hauser, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, proposed in his book “Moral Minds” that the brain has a genetically shaped mechanism for acquiring moral rules, a universal moral grammar similar to the neural machinery for learning language. In another recent

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book, “Primates and Philosophers,” the primatologist Frans de Waal defends against philosopher critics his view that the roots of morality can be seen in the social behavior of monkeys and apes. Dr. de Waal, who is director of the Living Links Center at Emory University, argues that all social animals have had to constrain or alter their behavior in various ways for group living to be worthwhile. These constraints, evident in monkeys and even more so in chimpanzees, are part of human inheritance, too, and in his view form the set of behaviors from which human morality has been shaped. Dr. de Waal’s views are based on years of observing nonhuman primates, starting with work on aggression in the 1960s. He noticed then that after fights between two combatants, other chimpanzees would console the loser. But he was waylaid in battles with psychologists over imputing emotional states to animals, and it took him 20 years to come back to the subject. He found that consolation was universal among the great apes but generally

makes their community worse off and more vulnerable to attack by neighbors. Or they will head off a fight by taking stones out of the males’ hands. Dr. de Waal believes that these actions are undertaken for the greater good of the community, as distinct from person-to-person relationships, and are a significant precursor of morality in human societies. Macaques and chimpanzees have a sense of social order and rules of expected behavior, mostly to do with the hierarchical natures of their societies, in which each member knows its own place. Young rhesus monkeys learn quickly how to behave, and occasionally get a finger or toe bitten off as punishment. Other primates also have a sense of reciprocity and fairness. They remember who did them favors and who did them wrong. Chimps are more likely to share food with those who have groomed them. Capuchin monkeys show their displeasure if given a smaller reward than a partner receives for performing the same task, like a piece of cucumber

absent from monkeys — among macaques, mothers will not even reassure an injured infant. To console another, Dr. de Waal argues, requires empathy and a level of self-awareness that only apes and humans seem to possess. And consideration of empathy quickly led him to explore the conditions for morality. Though human morality may end in notions of rights and justice and fine ethical distinctions, it begins, Dr. de Waal says, in concern for others and the understanding of social rules as to how they should be treated. At this lower level, primatologists have shown, there is what they consider to be a sizable overlap between the behavior of people and other social primates. Social living requires empathy, which is especially evident in chimpanzees, as well as ways of bringing internal hostilities to an end. Every species of ape and monkey has its own protocol for reconciliation after fights, Dr. de Waal has found. If two males fail to make up, female chimpanzees will often bring the rivals together, as if sensing that discord

instead of a grape. These four kinds of behavior — empathy, the ability to learn and follow social rules, reciprocity and peacemaking — are the basis of sociality. Dr. de Waal sees human morality as having grown out of primate sociality, but with two extra levels of sophistication. People enforce their society’s moral codes much more rigorously with rewards, punishments and reputation building. They also apply a degree of judgment and reason, for which there are no parallels in animals. Religion can be seen as another special ingredient of human societies, though one that emerged thousands of years after morality, in Dr. de Waal’s view. There are clear precursors of morality in nonhuman primates, but no precursors of religion. So it seems reasonable to assume that as humans evolved away from chimps, morality emerged first, followed by religion. “I look at religions as recent additions,” he said. “Their function may have to do with social life, and enforcement of rules and giving a narrative to

them, which is what religions really do.” As Dr. de Waal sees it, human morality may be severely limited by having evolved as a way of banding together against adversaries, with moral restraints being observed only toward the in group, not toward outsiders. “The profound irony is that our noblest achievement — morality — has evolutionary ties to our basest behavior — warfare,” he writes. “The sense of community required by the former was provided by the latter.” Dr. de Waal has faced down many critics in evolutionary biology and psychology in developing his views. The evolutionary biologist George Williams dismissed morality as merely an accidental byproduct of evolution, and psychologists objected to attributing any emotional state to animals. Dr. de Waal convinced his colleagues over many years that the ban on inferring emotional states was an unreasonable restriction, given the expected evolutionary continuity between humans and other primates. But human ethics are considerably more complicated than the sympathy Dr. de


Waal has described in chimps. “Sympathy is the raw material out of which a more complicated set of ethics may get fashioned,” he said. “In the actual world, we are confronted with different people who might be targets of our sympathy. And the business of ethics is deciding who to help and why and when.” That was the view of Immanuel Kant, Dr. Singer noted, who believed morality must be based on reason, whereas the Scottish philosopher David Hume, followed by Dr. de Waal, argued that moral judgments proceed from the emotions. But biologists like Dr. de Waal believe reason is generally brought to bear only after a moral decision has been reached. They argue that morality evolved at a time when people lived in small

foraging societies and often had to make instant life-or-death decisions, with no time for conscious evaluation of moral choices. The reasoning came afterward as a post hoc justification. “Human behavior derives above all from fast, automated, emotional judgments, and only secondarily from slower conscious processes,” Dr. de Waal writes. Dr. de Waal’s definition of morality is more down to earth than Dr. Prinz���s. Morality, he writes, is “a sense of right and wrong that is born out of groupwide systems of conflict management based on shared values.” The building blocks of morality are not nice or good behaviors but rather mental and social capacities for constructing societies “in which shared values constrain individual behavior through a system of

approval and disapproval.” By this definition chimpanzees in his view do possess some of the behavioral capacities built in our moral systems. “Morality is as firmly grounded in neurobiology as anything else we do or are,” Dr. de Waal wrote in his 1996 book “Good Natured.” Biologists ignored this possibility for many years, believing that because natural selection was cruel and pitiless it could only produce people with the same qualities. But this is a fallacy, in Dr. de Waal’s view. Natural selection favors organisms that survive and reproduce, by whatever means. And it has provided people, he writes in “Primates and Philosophers,” with “a compass for life’s choices that takes the interests of the entire community into account, which is the essence of human morality.

17 “Morality is as firmly grounded in neurobiology anything else we or are

as do

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-

Does that sound a lot like your life? Well if it does not, then you are part of the small minority because there are many people who just cannot stop checking out the news. The obvious question: Why? Is it because we are in the information age and absorbing new information is really important to our likelihood and well being? Maybe for some it is. After I became extremely curious why most people get engrossed with the news, I decided to search for my answers. I asked my closest friends, family and anyone I came in contact with to figure out why people are so addicted to the news. The answers I received was your typical, “I just want to know…” Since that was the first response I got, I decided to pry a bit further by asking more questions. I finally came to a very interesting conclusion. I realized that many people watch the news because they subconsciously feel better about their own lives and themselves. I found this odd and interesting, but it does make sense. It seems as if the worse and worse the economy gets, the more and more people are interested in watching the news.

Negative News Equals Negative Mindset

For some of you who have not already read my popular post: Do You Have a Friend Who’s a Looser? Get Rid of Em, read it. Hanging around with negative people will lower your standards which I compare to immersing yourself with negative news. Think about it, is the news really that irresistibly interesting? “2 suspects were sent to jail today on suspicion of murdering their former teacher…” “The economy is doing terrible, 65,000 jobs were lost last month alone…” Why is it necessary to know this information? What good comes from this? Do you believe you are setting yourself up for a successful life? Do you really need to fill in that void with a daily “news fix”?

How Would You Feel

* Shootings * Murders * Rapes * Losing jobs * Economic meltdown * Mortgage crisis * Real estate gone bad * War

The occasional updates I use for different reasons than most people. I use it as a tool to communicate with other people. Almost everyone is talking about the bad economy. What I normally do is briefly converse with someone on a negative story and quickly change the conversation into something inspirational or positive. I choose to be excited and motivated versus down and glum because of a horrible story. I am different than most people which is great! Does that make sense?

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Positive News Equals Positive Mindset Whether you are looking to become wealthy or spiritually connected, you have a much better chance doing so by being around the right people. What you see on TV or read online has the same impact. The more positive news you read, the quicker you will allow yourself to emerge in positive thoughts. They say positive thinking is what helps one move forward. This is somewhat true. Positive thinking is an ongoing action, meaning you must exert energy every second to keep your mind at a positive state. Most people tell me “AJ, I had my one positive thought for the day so I’m ‘thinking’ positive.” Even if you have conditioned your subconscious to continuously think of positive thoughts without being consciously aware, you will still end up with something negative by reacting to the news around you. This is why it is also important to not only stay away from negative news, but read, watch, and listen to more positive news. A great website I found is called Happynews.com.

Why is the Media Persistent About Providing Negative News? Every influential person in the world can write about why the news has such a terrible impact on one’s mind, but will people stop watching? Definitely not! The media is like any other business, the only way it survives is by making profit for its shareholders. The media is only interested in making money which is done by advertising. The more people that watch, the more money they will make. If someone has the option on which they would rather see, a bank getting robbed compared to healthy babies being born, the answer would be obvious. The media is aware that more people would watch the story about the bank robbery compared to the new babies. This translates into people prefer negative stories rather than positive.

Empower Yourself and the World

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Since we cannot simply boycott the news, how about we put 100% focus on positive news. The media will deliver what the public wants. If the public would rather be informed of more positive news compared to negative, that is what they will begin to deliver. You have the power to control the news. Every person who decides that they would rather better themselves by viewing positive news would see the dramatic impact in their mindset. Imagine the influence if 1 million people across the United States made the decision to ONLY watch positive news from now on. The outcome would be that those one million people would almost instantly see a change in their mindset which would allow them to focus on much more productive or spiritually enlightening things. Those 1 million people will create a ripple effect and possibly even help the economy.

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[ FOOD ]

“Who said

meatloaf baked loaf?” always had to be as a‚ well, as a

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It’s the perfect comfort food and often brings back memories of Mom’s cooking. To some, though, it can be predictable and even a bit staid. But for me, meatloaf is a wonderful way to be creative and take risks in the kitchen. The possibilities are endless.

have fun at the same time. I filled notebook after notebook with recipes, test-drove new ingredients, and conducted blind taste tests until I had settled on meatloafs that I loved and that I knew other people would love too.

No matter what kind of cooking I’ve done‚ and I’ve done lots‚ I always came back to meatloaf. It was the perfect canvas for how I liked to cook: mix quality meats, vegetables, herbs, sauces and just about anything at hand, pop it all into the oven, and see what came out. The results were always a delightful surprise. Before I knew it, my passion for creating meatloaf recipes had taken on a life of its own. While I’d always cooked as a pastime, now I was ready to do it seriously, but to

But something still seemed to be missing. Who said meatloaf always had to be baked as a‚ well, as a loaf? The icing on the cake turned out to be none other than meatloaf’s beloved sidekick, mashed potatoes. Suddenly meatloaf could taste great AND look beautiful. And in the food world, what could be more beautiful than dessert? From there, I refashioned my meatloaf into bite-size Loafies, savory cupcakes and family-size pastries, each topped with a special blend of

potatoes, pasta, even veggies. That way they’d be fun for kids, adults, partygoers‚ just about anyone who eats! Now celebrating three years, I hope you love The Meatloaf Bakery as much as we have bringing you our original, one-of-a-kind creations. From The Mother Loaf to A Wing And A Prayer Loaf to No Buns About It Burger Loaf, each is meant to bring a smile to your face and joy to your tummy. Just like the comfort food you remember.

Chief Meatloaf Maker

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TAKE-OUT, EAT-IN, DELIVERY, CATERING HOURS: Tuesday – Friday, noon – 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. & Sunday, 1 – 5:30 p.m. Monday closed 2464 N. Clark Street, Chicago (773) 698-6667

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[ GAMES ]

It’s not about the

Destination. It’s about the

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There is much a debate in the world about whether Video Games can be considered art or not. Many mediums out there work to have us emote in different ways and have all had to earn their place in the ‘art’ world by different means. The biggest drawback to video games, and why critics like Roger Ebert refuse to acknowledge them as art, might lie in there aesthetics. Games tend to be combat driven and have the player either killing or fighting against some other force. One could argue that video games are different because they are ‘games’ and when playing a ‘game’ there are different expectations when it comes to what is entertaining; an indie video game developer by the name thatgamecompany doesn’t seem to think that’s true.

25 PCM / VOL.1


There is much a debate in the world about whether Video Games can be considered art or not. Many mediums out there work to have us emote in different ways and have all had to earn their place in the ‘art’ world by different means. Movies acted as just a form of escapism until Citizen Cane came along, and comic books were for kids until Watchmen. What makes video games any less credible than these other entertainment platforms; all try to engage the audience and tell stories in their own way. The biggest drawback to video games, and why critics like Roger Ebert refuse to acknowledge them as art, might lie in the aesthetics of most video games. Games tend to be combat driven and have the player either killing or fighting against some other force. Movies and comic books don’t need to just be about action to entertain anymore; there can

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be a movie that is entirely dialogue and the action comes from the investment in the character’s conversation. One could argue that video games are different because they are ‘games’ and when playing a ‘game’ there are different expectations when it comes to what is entertaining to do in a game; an indie video game developer by the name thatgamecompany doesn’t seem to think that’s true. Thatgamecompany only had two other games under their belt when they made Journey; the games were Flow and Flower. Up until Journey their games were very abstract and simply had the player controlling things like flower petals through stages and most of their games could be looked at as a metaphor for something. Journey is the first of their games to put us in control of a humoresque character; while obviously not human,

the creature is the closest to a person we’ve ever got from the studio, and the investment that comes with it is great. You take control of your character and wander through a barren wasteland; mostly sand dunes with a big mountain in the distance. The game simply starts, almost like a film or book would in Medias res. Video games that usually just start try to teach you a tutorial or get you involved in the game’s plot right away, not Journey. This game simply has you wander until you decide to step forward onto a dune for a better look at the one thing in the distance you can make out; a giant mountain with a shining star over it like a beacon. Once on the dune the camera pulls back to get your avatar, the dunes, and the mountain all in the same shot in a way that mirrors most promotional ‘box art’ associated with the game; this serves as the title


sequence as the name of the game comes into view just over the mountain. The shot itself and the set up are handled just like a film and certainly weren’t achieved though slaying a monster or getting 100 points. From then Journey is pretty much a simple game about traveling forward towards this mountain all the while traversing many well placed puzzles. An interesting feature of the game is online play. Typically when people think about online play in a video game they think of a combat driven game with multiplayer death match or co-op that ends up as a swear match between misogynistic jerks and eleven year olds. Journey disables the mic function and you can’t even see the user name of the character you cross paths with; there is no room set up, there is no chat, you simply discover

another figure traversing the lands. Through my first play through I simply thought it to be a computer operated character, or a story based thing, only to later find out that it was indeed another person. You only have one way of interacting with the other character and that is by making a simple noise with the click of a button; everyone’s noise is different. Somehow this connects you to the game more as you interact and try to work with others to accomplish goals, despite the difficulties of it all; something that rings true of real life in many ways. I can’t go into too much detail about the later levels of Journey and where the game ultimately reaches its status as art. What I will say is that it manages to capture some of the truest moments of the human condition without a single word or action, but merely it is brought to real-

ization in the player as they play the game; this is why video games are so powerful. Movies, books, and traditional art are something we look at and can infer deeper meaning and watch the human condition play out right before us. Video games are the only medium in which our interpretation, revelation, and investment are all hinged on us being in control. We cannot just sit back and understand it as art, but we live it as art. I think because of this it is much harder to create a video game that is art, but the things that a game can achieve once it has worked to becoming arc is simply unparalleled; Journey is a prime example of art and a journey that I can’t wait to take again very soon.

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Written by Thaddeus Cox

10

out of 10

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[ MOVIES ]

HEARTLESS 28


29 “Heartless”, tremendous

Although it’s called horror-thriller contains

The director Philip Ridley scares up a sinister-spooky atmosphere straightaway in “Heartless,” a horror movie that’s art-house aspirational and involves violence, madness, faith and the evil that men, demons or just filmmakers do. Set in a contemporary East London churning with dark shadows and inexplicable savagery, this digitally shot, visually murky movie is a muddle of tones ranging from the grotesque to the queasily comic to the absurd.

this compelling psychological amount of .

Among the horrors paraded across the screen is a gang of toughs in hoodies who set innocents afire for no real reason other than that it suits the director’s overwrought imagination. The intelligible translation of that imagination is the least worked-out part of the movie, which pivots on a morbidly shy young man, Jamie (a recessive Jim Sturgess), adorned with wrist scars and port-wine stains, including a heartshaped one splashed across

heart

his left eye. The stains and the teasing that ensued (and continues) are ostensible causes of his timidity, though it’s unclear who’s responsible for Jamie’s indistinct facial cues (is he smiling or grimacing?), the actor or his director. All this adds to the general uncertainty (is Jamie bonkers or is Mr. Ridley giving Mr. Sturgess confusing direction?), as does the relatively brief appearance of two of Mike Leigh’s appealing regulars, Ruth Sheen and Timothy

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Spall, as Jamie’s loving, supportive parents. The movie opens with a series of aerial images of nighttime London, the city lights twinkling like jewels on black velvet, an elevated view that soon turns ominous as the camera descends to street level. It then starts trailing a lone figure (Jamie), whose hunched shoulders and bowed head suggest defeat. In truth, he is simply out taking photographs, a

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lonely pursuit that leads him into a desolate field abutting abandoned buildings. While snapping his way through the fastidiously set-designed detritus (a specialty of Mr. Ridley’s), Jamie takes a shot of a hooded figure with a reptile face and pointy metal teeth. He decides that the figure is a demon and somehow part of the current double, double toil and trouble. In keeping with the overall

murk, the movie throws in an explicit nod to “Macbeth,” which comes out of nowhere and goes right back to the same place. It catches the ear, certainly, but only because it hangs in the air portentously before melting into the mysterioso clutter. Mr. Ridley is a novelist, playwright and children’s book author who also writes scripts and every so often directs. He has obvious influences and distinct


preoccupations (among them, abused children) that tend to get lost among his flamboyant visuals. His feature directing debut, “The Reflecting Skin,” a Gothic tale steeped in weird violence, turns on a traumatized child and included a scene of a man engulfed in flames, as does “Heartless.” Now, though, the traumatized victim is fully grown. Best appreciated for its sustained creepy vibe and sporadically arresting images, “Heartless”

moves from one outré moment to another, from one self-conscious allusion to the next (“Donnie Darko” and “Taxi Driver”). It doesn’t go anywhere special or much of anywhere, though it goes there in appreciably icky style. Among its more amusing diversions is a satanic troublemaker with a hip-hop handle, Papa B (Joseph Mawle), who comes with bad mojo, a child assistant and a scary associate, Weapons Man (Eddie Marsan, the enraged driving

instructor from Mr. Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky”). The horrifically burned man, meanwhile, who peels off his charred flesh like a picnicker removing the skin from an overdone chicken, mostly works as a dandy plug for vegetarianism. Written By: MANOHLA DARGIS

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BEING ELMO


33 A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY’ If you grew up watching Sesame Street, or

Combining a mix of incredible archival

What’s even more lovely is Kevin’s generos-

ever marveled at the magic of Jim Henson‘s

footage that show the meteoric rise of

ity when it comes to helping others, in

Muppets, than you’ll want to seek out Con-

Jim Henson’s Workshop, along with

particular children who are ill that find infi-

stance Mark‘s Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s

candid interviews from Kevin and those

nite joy and comfort in meeting Elmo. This

Journey which provides an in depth behind

close to him, Being Elmo will leave your

pledge to be there for the world as Elmo,

the scenes look at Kevin Clash, the man be-

face plastered with one big smile as if you

forces Kevin to sacrifice time with his family.

hind one of the most loved and adored chil-

were a kid watching Sesame Street again.

However, his heart and generosity for those

dren’s characters, Elmo. Kevin, who grew

Shot over the course of six years, Marks

who seek out the pure love embodied by

up as a teenager in 1970s Baltimore always

takes a candid approach in detailing the

Elmo (based on the love and support of his

had inspirations to be a puppeteer, espe-

origin of Kevin’s creatively unique passion

parents) has no bounds and it’s hard not to

cially after being entranced by the magical

for puppets which then translates into his

be bowled over by Kevin’s brilliance. This is

world envisioned by Jim Henson on Sesame

desire to spread his love and knowledge

the feel good movie of the year, that moved

Street. Backed by the love and support of

imparted to him by Jim Henson. Tracking

me to tears, and is one of the most sincere

his family, Kevin pursued his dream with all

his career from working early on in local

portraits of a creative genius who doesn’t

his passion and the result is one of the most

television as a teenager all the way to

get the recognition he deserves for bringing

incredible and heartwarming tales

catching the eye of Muppet maven Kermit

so much joy to millions of children around

you’ve ever seen.

Love, who introduces the talented young-

the world everyday.

ster to his idol Jim Henson.

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IP4820


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