All posts by anibundel

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Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge: Life or Something Like It

We’re down to six contestants this week. As they meet with Brian and Gigi in the shop, the question we should all be asking ourselves is “Two teams of three, or three teams of two?”  As we ponder this, this week’s Shop Master, John Criswell walks in a life-sized black unicorn puppet. Gigi tells us this puppet is from Lady Gaga’s last tour, and they borrowed it back to show for this challenge.

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Brian explains: this week the three-day challenge is to make a large-scale puppet whose life-likeness is in how it moves. After all, this unicorn isn’t really believable standing still. But when it starts walking, it becomes a living creature. Even though you can see the puppeteers on the unicorn. The designers this week aren’t trying to hide their puppeteers either. But the creatures will be covered in UV paint so it will glow in the dark and the puppeteers won’t. (The black velour curtains magically falling when Brian says that–followed by a loud verbal cue behind him–is hilarious.)

Oh and the answer is Three Teams of Two:

  • Lex & Jake
  • Ben & Melissa
  • Robert & Russ

New twist: the puppeteers show up to be part of the design process before sketching even starts. These puppeteers are fabulous mentors for the designers to talk to about how large scale puppeting should work. (It’s also great to see mentoring happening earlier in the design process after last week.)

Lex and Jake are worried because they’re not foam fabricators, so they feel a bit of a loss as they head into their dinosaur lizard. Jake sculpts things in clay because he figures it will be faster than struggling to carve foam. Meanwhile the other two teams are both making birds. Ben is also letting two wins in a row get to his head and he’s not listening to Melissa’s ideas at all. Russ and Robert seem to be working quite well together, which is a nice change for any team Russ has been in so far.

Criswell’s mentoring session happens on Day Two.

  • Russ&Robert: Robert’s already got the bird head put together and blinking and moving. Criswell is very impressed.
  • Ben&Melissa: Criswell does not like the neck Melissa did, which at this point is the only thing she’s been allowed to work on so far. He frowns at Ben’s hubris on his complicated wing design.
  • Jake&Lex: Criswell sees the polyfoam and the sculpting Jake did and shakes his head. This week is about movement. Criswell calls him out that the bulk of what the judges will be looking at has fallen to Lex.

All in all, I am quite pleased with Criswell’s mentoring. His pushing gets Jake to stop with the sculpting and make with the PVC gluing for legs. Over in the race for bird supremacy, Russ and Robert are way ahead and already in the paint room.

Day Three and the puppeteers show up for rehearsal, since teaching these guys how to puppeteer large scale needs more than an hour right before showtime. This is when we learn Ben’s wings just don’t work. They just don’t. They have to completely redesign them, which is when Melissa steps up and takes charge. Russ and Robert are in the best position of all three teams. Lex and Jake end up making the hard choices in order to make sure they have a finished creature with paint on it by the end of the day.

Let’s see these guys walk.

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Face Off Season Six: Finale Raving

We’ve had a two full extra weeks of episode, what with Judge’s Saves and surprise two-part Top Fours. But we’re finally to the end of the season. Our final three meet McKenzie in the lab for the last time, only to find a lighting company was allowed to go insane in their absence.

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McKenzie tells us the show delivered on their “promise of extreme.” (Actually that’s for us to judge, and no, they didn’t.) She promises this challenge too, will fulfill “extremism.” What, will the designers not get assistants? (Of course they will.) Will they have to make three make ups, like they used to, or even four? (No, just two.) The finale also doubles as a commercial for Syfy’s horribad derivative show Defiance, which they have the gall to put in the same sentence as groundbreaking shows as Star Trek and Babylon5. The designers are to make new alien races, probably ones more interesting than in Defiance. Their inspiration comes from the choice of constellations on display. To wit:

  • Tyler: Leo (Assistants: Graham&Chloe)
  • George: Cetus (Assistants: Corinne&Niko)
  • Rashaad: Ursa Major (Assistants: Daran&Cat)

McKenzie acts like the “dance performance” aspect is some how a surprise twist. After six seasons, if you weren’t expecting a cheesy performance to give modern dance a bad name as part of the finale, you haven’t been paying attention. She then brings out the DJ they hired, who does drop a surprising twist–the lighting company going nuts in the lab wasn’t just for show. The make ups must incorporate lighting in some fashion. Fun!

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McKenzie and the DJ exit, the shop lights snap on and everyone gets to work. We barely have time to go over sketches before the final Westmore Walkthrough commences.

  • Tyler: His Leo lady is good, his Leo man is evil. Evil men have dreads. (Let’s not analyze this.) The point is the dreads will have the lighting factor for the guy. Michael notes there’s nothing Lion-esque here and encourages cat faces.
  • George: His Cetus aliens are not Whalers on the Moon, but in fact have lighting embedded in their chest pieces. Michael notes the female isn’t “pretty” enough, so the judges won’t be able to tell which is the man.
  • Rashaad: His Ursa Major female is going to bio-luminescent so the man can stalk her. Michael worries they’ll lose detail from 10 to 20 feet away because the sculpt is so finely done.

Day Two and Three are molding days. Tyler has Graham mold everything to keep Chloe quiet. Everyone has a different plan on how to work their lighting cables in. Rashaad manages to have real mold drama when one of his pieces doesn’t set in time on three-day, and has Daran tell him what to do. (As Daran has been show doing for the last two days.) Rashaad will be running stuff in polyfoam on application day.

Day Four and George is patching rips. The mold that didn’t finish on Day Three is half-ruined when Rashaad opens it, so Daran declares it  a burn victim alien. Rashaad goes with it. Last Looks include the backup dancers being worked on by professional make up artist Greg Cannom,while our designers run around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Let’s see how it all turned out.

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The Voice - Season 6

The Voice Season Six: Top 12 Eliminations

Usher, ladies and gentlemen!

4. “Stay With Me” Josh Kaufman
30. “Stay” Kristen Merlin
38. “Anymore” Jake Worthington
47. “Dark Horse” Christina Grimmie
94. “Magic Man” Kat Perkins
102. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” Sisaundra Lewis
110. “Angel of the Morning Audra McLaughlin
124. “Unchained Melody” Delvin Choice
129. “Rolling in the Deep” Bria Kelly
176. “I’ll Be There For You” Tess Boyer
283. “Waiting for the World to Change” TJ Wilkins
298. “Just Give Me a Reason” Dani Moz

Proving that Josh’s single was just that big a hit last night, the original track by Sam Smith has also shot into the Top 25. Also–it looks like those who wanted to hear Kristen, but were robbed when her mic died mid performance, ran out and bought the track. I suspect it would not be charting nearly this high without that mishap. As for Jake, either country fans like them boring or they were mesmerized by the hat.

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And unlike Idol, all 12 contestants found their way into the Top 300 cut off on their first time out. Having sales equal votes does wonders.

Now that Carson’s finished recapping, let us get to results.

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Tunes for Tuesday: Mazzy Star III

220px-Mazzy_StarPost Among My Swan flop, Mazzy Star found themselves headed in separate directions, with Sandoval off to work on the slightly more successful Jesus and Mary Chain and Roback producing for other artists. That might have been the end of them completely, but in 2009 “Into Dust” got picked up first by a Virgin commercial in the UK and then in the Gears of War 3 trailer.

The revival was enough that the two got back together to see if they could make another go of it. (Sandoval’s recognition level was also elevated when she was featured on Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” in 2010, which you might also recognize as the theme to Luther.) In 2011 they released a pre single “Common Burn.”

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