Tuesday, August 28, 2018

American Gothic: Octopoulpe Redux

Born in a grungy outdoor seafood restaurant fishtank in an alley in Seoul, Octopoulpe is an experimental mathcore/hardcore outfit, a one-man-in-his-underwear-show, and a spectacle essentially bordering on magical for us idiots below the API (that is, those who haven't learned how to tell computers what to do), and guess the fuck what? He's going to be in North America for his first tour there - having previously played in Korea, Japan, China, and Southeast Asia - in a couple of days.

The programming elements of an Octopoulpe show are reason enough to see it, even if really loud screamy music played by a very funny French guy is, for whatever weird reason, not your thing. JP is there live on the drums, yes, but he also does vocals, guitar, bass, standing on a cat, and so on. The video projection of him being the rest of the bands and his other friends making guest appearances is cued by his hitting certain points on his kit. At one point you can even select a guitar player for him the same way, and the character selection screen is professional as fuck. It looks like an actual video game. 

Here, refer to this videos of Octopoulpe shows in Tokyo in 2017 if you're having a hard time picturing this:

You might remember JP/Octopoulpe from such blog posts as this one, all about January 2017 in Tokyo. That was the second time we saw him play there; the first was in 2015 at Antiknock. We also saw him last summer at Moonstep, and obviously I haven't posted that yet because I'm terrible at keeping up with this and always have been.

Here's a nice live video playlist for you to check out on YouTube, in case you're already jonesin' like really hard for some more of this shit like 20 seconds later.

Also go to his Bandcamp page and buy a CD!

But okay, so, why "American Gothic"? Well, I contacted JP at the beginning of the year while I was sitting around stuck in our apartment, freezing my ass off, and hoping I wouldn't get deported because German bureaucracy is so godawfully slow and inefficient, and told him I'd love to do a T-shirt design for him. He told me about this U.S. tour, starting in September, and after Hannes and I had finally gotten married and the summer kicked off and things were looking up, he contacted me again and asked me to do the thing. 
He'd just gotten back from touring around Southeast Asia and was about to head to China. Awesomely, that was the first time he was invited to play and comped for his expenses!

Things leading up to our trip to Prague and Obscene Extreme Fest, our big wedding reception party, and two weeks of nonstop fun-making with my mom and three friends visiting from abroad followed immediately by another camping trip and music festival were, needless to say, hectic. 

Once again I'm hopelessly behind on this blog, and the day before my first friend flew in, I finally sat down to finish the U.S. Tour design I'd promised JP to have done by the end of July. As Rejon put it when I told her I was sat there for ten straight hours doing it because Under Extreme Pressure™ is the only way I can finish anything: "Ah yes, the former-gifted-student way".

Since it was the U.S. tour, I'd gotten the idea to stick JP in American Gothic. 
Here are the progress pics.

Now, I realised somewhere hopelessly late in the game that there was way too much dense, fine linework and stippling here for this to be printable on a T-shirt, but JP initially said it was no problem. Unfortunately, though, it wasn't. But the American printing company he uses got back to him about needing to simplify it a bit late, and he was in China and couldn't check his messages, and well, it was simply too late to make shirts by then. :(

However, simplifying this design is high on my To-Do List, and I hope there will be shirts in the future, because he does like it. For now I think it'll just be stickers and the graphic at the top of this post. So, enjoy, support this guy, and stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Craft(y) Project: Nifty Garden Party Fairy Jars

I went full Pinterest #basicbitch and lifted a Buzzfeed Nifty craft for my wedding reception. 
I'm not sorry though.

Nifty shares shorter, individual videos on Facebook, and if you search there it'll come right up, but for some reason they stuck multiple related videos together on their YouTube channel. For more views? I mean, I guess. It's long though. Too long. And the multi-level fairy garden village thing that you can make with broken terra cotta pots is really fucking stupid. Sounds cute at first, but then they're like, "Okay, first put in some dirt. Now buy a complete, pre-made Hobbit and/or fairy house that's perfectly to scale." 

What is nifty about that? Ugh.

Anyway, the little lantern jars are cute, with the exception of the tape stuck across them (to make them look more like actual, old-fashioned, metal cage-type lanterns). 
Nobody's got time or money for wire handles, wooden bases, or spray paint, either, so like, just skip those, 'kay?

The jars I saved once contained pickles, strawberry jam, and a sweet pumpkin coconut spread. This was a particularly easy craft to make here because, for whatever reason, loads of things come in glass jars of all sizes in Germany. 

Wash them and get frustrated getting every last bit of the adhesive off the outside once you've soaked and peeled away the labels. I washed all of mine and their lids twice.

Use white acrylic paint and pretty much anything - a makeup sponge, bunched-up tissue, or paper towel works fine, no all-natural sea sponge required - to pat and dab the insides of the jars. 
Buzzfeed Nifty says to do two coats. Even my husband, who is the opposite of crafty and doesn't understand painting at all, could see that this would be too thick and opaque, and that you wouldn't be able to see even faint silhouettes though the completely white jars if a second coat were applied. 
Copilot: 1. :D
Nifty: -1. >:(

Paint the lids once your fingers and the insides of the jars are coated in a thin but even layer of white. I'd have done mine gold if I'd had it, but I planned on decorating them with other bits and pieces anyway, so white was fine with me. 

I used some of the same bits to decorate a digital photo frame
we didn't end up using for the party. -shrug-

Mostly I dug up bits and bobs to make these, per usual, but I did buy that
bag of moss, the roll of twine, and the star stickers. I spent like 5 euro.

Why not use old and/or broken and/or thrifted Christmas ornaments for the lids? Things that look like sugar-coated candies, mushrooms, fake pine branches, real pinecones? My pinecones, dried orange slices, and star anise are recycled from the lovely Christmas centerpiece Andrea made us as a housewarming gift. I'd planned on keeping it until I realised that she used real pine branches, and that we were definitely going to burn the advent candles all the way down. But it lives on!

How about little dolls or figurines? Little plastic or wooden trees, houses, deer, sweets, or the most obvious choice, fairies? These could be for Christmas, Easter, a garden party, birthday, Halloween, anything! 

Honestly, this was already taking longer than I'd expected it to, and I ended up spending pretty much an entire Sunday on just these jars. So instead of drawing my own floral or woodland decorations, I went through all the paper scraps and pages that I stash away and used those. 
Cutting things out with an X-Acto knife takes ages and it's really not my thing, so I didn't want to spend even more time drawing designs, too. Seeing the fairies through was not easy for me, The One Who Cannot Focus. If you have a printer at home, for god's sake, just use that.

This random page from a Chinese literature book I used in college (that hadn't had front of back covers since then and literally fell apart in my hands) was one of the many I found when I cleaned out our storage unit: I decided to use this calligraphy to decorate
a couple of the lids.

Didn't originally intend to do something colourful, but here we are 
using whatever we've got on hand, huh?

I did larger fairies so that they'd be easier to see. Buzzfeed's idea is cute 
but kind of impractical unless you have massive jars or are putting them 
on something elevated to eye-level.

The mind is willing but the flesh is spongy and bruised

Okay, well, here are my damn fairies!
I painted them black so they'd be easier to see:

Side note, it looks cool if you paint them, as you can see. Maybe do something with that. 
Do it on another piece of paper or a canvas or something for another project or decoration.

Ahhh, finally!




Stars and moss!

The final piece of this craft, the battery-powered flickering tea lights, was provided 
by my mom. She miraculously had some in a drawer at home. Yay!

... and after all that, the photographer didn't take any photos of these at the actual reception once it had gotten dark lol so here you go!