What’s Old Is New Again

I’m happy to announce that the Werther translation/adaptation I discussed so fervently two years ago and then put on hold is…totally happening now!

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To recap: Werther is an epistolary novel: it’s almost entirely made up of dated letters Werther sends to his best friend from home. I’m going to post each letter online on the dates Werther mailed them.

And — this is the really exciting part — I’ve set up an email list so that you can receive these letters as personalized emails in your own inbox. It’s going to be your friend Werther telling you his all-too-familiar story of obsessing over unavailable women and struggling to find a fulfilling job. I think it’s going to be a uniquely gripping experience.

I hope you’ll come with me on this one. Bookmark the blog or sign up for the emails and relive the joys and tragedy of What Werther Went Through!

Revamp and relaunch

Hi, everybody! A ton has happened in the, erm, embarrassingly long time since I posted here. But! I promise I can explain!

1. I made myself a promise a long time ago that every post here would have a *thing* in it. There are already a lot of voices crying in the digital wilderness, and I didn’t want to be one more nagging for your attention without giving you anything in return. That’s why every post here had a recording, or a drawing, or a bit of pop crit in it. Every post had to give you a produced work.

I’ve spent 2013 so far being good and arty, but not in ways that let me share any produced works. I was in a band for five months with two lovely friends, writing songs, rehearsing every week, and generally having the time of our lives. We never made recordings, though, and since the songs were our common property, I didn’t feel right making demos myself and sharing them here. So there was a lot of creativity but no finished product — and so no posts.

Sadly, that band split up a few weeks ago.

2. Now I’m trying to launch myself as a singer/songwriter/musician at large in New York, which is incredibly scary and is taking…well, just about as much work as you’d expect. (I. am. exhausted.) But it’s also incredibly exciting, and I’m very proud to point you to my new website qua musician: ardenrb.wordpress.com.

Arden Rogow-Bales | songwriter/guitarist

woo, look, it’s me! YES I KNOW THE EIGHTH NOTE IS BACKWARDS

That’s where you’ll find my new recordings*, music-related musings, and updates about my hopefully meteoric rise to stardom. You should totally add it to your Bookmarks folder.

“Oh, Something Arty”, meanwhile, will continue to cover the other facets of my ongoing dilettantism, including film/books/video games and whatever musical opinions I hold that are sufficiently inflammatory that I want to keep them away from my professional page. I’m looking forward to reviving the iTunes Top 10 series, and I have some posts about songwriting I’ve been sitting on for a long time. AND I’m even thinking about continuing the A Study in Sherlock series. Stick around!

And as always, my Twitter feed will play the great unifier, spitting out links to posts on both sites. If you’re interested in keeping tabs on both sides of me, that’s definitely the best way.

So! That’s where I’m headed now. I hope you’ll come with me.

Much love,
Arden

*A note on recordings: since I’m trying to be all professional and impressive and stuff, I’ve taken down all my recordings except “Whoa, Romney” and “Call Him Out”. All the covers had to go; it turns out I didn’t have the rights to post them to bandcamp, and I want to do this by the book. The other originals weren’t polished enough to stand as a first impression to whatever professional types might (hopefully) check me out. So I’ve also taken down all the posts on this site that featured recordings other than those two songs, which is consistent anyway with the general shift away from Arden-as-musician on this site.

Let me pick my jaw back up off the floor…

Sometimes I forget about AC/DC.

Sometimes I remember.

Jesus Christ.

They…they set the bar pretty high.

I have bands I turn to when I want to focus on some particular facet of pop excellence. The Beach Boys for vocal harmony. ABBA for pop hooks and production. The Police for part-writing. The Beatles for, well, sheer genius, which is a little harder to pin down.

But for power, for intensity, for cohesion as a unit, for drive, for professionalism, and above all for unrivaled, astounding showmanship — I’m telling you. This band. Geez.

Birthday cake candle 1

Happy Birthday, blog!

It’s been exactly a year since “No-Sleep Blues”, the first post on “Oh, Something Arty…”, went live. What a year!

This time last November, I was struggling with my second attempt at National Novel Writing Month. At two weeks in, I was losing focus: I found myself sketching the characters instead of writing about them, and the writing itself was devolving into an extended rap battle. So I took a step back and said, “Being this productive is wonderful: but I don’t think this is the medium I need.” In that spirit, I launched this site as a place to share all the work I did in whatever “arty” medium pleased me: music, sketches, writing, whatever!

That worked well for a few months. There’s a nice smattering of drawings and recordings from that stretch – most notably “Shady Made Us”, my tribute to Eminem, the most-viewed post by mid-January.

But then – well, Sherlock happened. Continue reading

Whoa, Romney!

Well, the Gregory Brothers inevitably beat me to the first musical response to the election results, but I’m not far behind. Speed-written in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, here’s a coy rebuke of the policies that lost the Republicans this election. The world’s most advanced political analysis, distilled down to two minutes. Enjoy!


Continue reading

Hexaflexagons!

Well, this seems to be the fall of hexagons. First Super Hexagon, and now…hexaflexagons!

I’m linking you to the most delightful thing I’ve seen all month: this series of absolutely charming videos about, well, hexaflexagons, these remarkable geometric shapes that pop up when you fold strips of paper in interesting ways. Huge kudos to Vi Hart, the hexaflexobsessive creator of these vids. Make sure you also watch Part 2 and the hilarious “Safety Guide”.

This is a great example of the possibilities YouTube has opened up for education. Characters, personalities, shapes, and properties all come across wonderfully, in beautiful color and at breakneck speed. It’s an extremely compelling introduction to a subject that could have been totally forbidding, and it’s especially well-suited to students with internet sensibilities. Teachers, take note. THIS is what visual aids can do — MUCH more effective than e.g. Powerpoint.

It doesn’t surprise me to learn Vi works for Khan Academy. This is my first personal experience with KA; I’m very curious now to look deeper at their offerings. What with this, Crash Course, and god knows what else — this whole web education thing has been moving FAST. This is exciting :)

A Study in “Sherlock” 2: The Blind Banker

This is the second installment in a series comparing BBC’s Sherlock to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. The previous article is about about S1:E1 “A Study in Pink”.

Hi again, Sherlock fans! I had a lot of fun with the close-analysis of A Study in Pink, and I hope you did too. This time around, I’m going to do things a little bit differently. You see, that first episode, which had to introduce the characters, drew closely on the scenes in Conan Doyle’s stories that first brought us Watson and Holmes. Moffat and Co. lifted a lot of dialogue pretty much straight from those few scenes, and I had fun running that dialogue side-by-side.

This second episode, however, plunges us into the world of Sherlock-in-action: introductions are in the past, and it’s time for a story! Story elements are what Steve Thompson, this episode’s author, lifted from the originals, and so story elements are what I’ll focus on. First I’ll look at the sources of the plot writ large, and then the roots of that graffiti-code at the heart of the episode. Continue reading