Thursday, August 6, 2009

We've moved!

Hi lovely lurkers--guess what?

We have updated and upgraded the Bonzuko blog: it's now found at http://bonzuko.com. All the past posts you have enjoyed before now are there, as will be all the new posts. So go there, refresh your subscriptions, all that jazz. It's a new day for Bonzuko!

We hope to see mamy astute and intellingent comments on our new site. Thanks for your readership, and we'll see you there!

~Jenn & Jas

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fight Clip Club

This is the video Kevin put together from the Boulder Quest Center's Youth Sword Camp. Bonzuko's own Jenn helped the kids out the last day of camp with choreography tips and a theatrical sword drill that they then used to build their very own swordfights. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Star Wars Uncut FTW

Well I now have a renewed appreciation for film editors. Sheesh! I counted approximately 13 edits for our 15 second scene.

Oh, wait, let me explain:

Star Wars Uncut is a project you can see here--basically, what these insane geniuses did was divide Star Wars: A New Hope into 15-second increments. Web crawlers then could claim a scene, re-film it themselves, and upload it. What will result is a giant Internet-produced quilt version of the film.

Since I was teaching a lightsaber class this summer--well, perfect project for class members, eh? Little did we know how many freaking moves there can be in a 15 second space!

Here's our entry: (sound isn't perfect but surprisingly close!) ~Jenn


Monday, August 3, 2009

Three Rules For Actors, and Everyone Else

A while back, I wrote about how the Three Rules from Acting training (objective, tactics, obstacles) served as guidelines for writing strong prose—I renamed them the Three Rules for Protagonists. As I did so, I noticed that the Three Rules also apply to the martial arts. Having recently weeded through a bunch of old MFA musings re: the Three Rules and Mamet’s “Where Do You Put the Camera?” it hit me that his theories of simplicity in filmmaking had everything to do with warriorship and the Three Rules.

Whew. Let me begin my explanation with a Mamet quote (from the abovementioned piece):

“As long as the protagonist wants something, the audience will want something. As long as the protagonist is clearly going out and attempting to get that something, the audience will wonder whether or not he’s going to succeed. The moment the protagonist, or the auteur of the movie, stops trying to get something and starts trying to influence someone, the audience will go to sleep.”

As long as an action fulfills the protagonist’s objective, then it’s a strong choice. If it’s merely interesting and only interesting, it will not actually be interesting to the viewer. The same holds true for writing: the minute a writer stops writing beautiful, interesting prose and concerns herself with “what do I want” (Rule 1), she will begin to write gripping works of whatever genre. Mamet calls this “uninflected” which I love as a term for this idea of unadorned, simple, compelling work.


How does this relate to warriorship? In the martial arts, it’s easy to fall into what I call the “coolness” trap; it’s the same trap both actors and writers fall into. It’s irresistible to the ego to write interesting stuff; to be interesting onstage: in other words, to appear cool. The ego doesn’t want to look boring or plain, it wants to look cool. It seems contrary that the least interesting choice is actually the strongest, and that the less information you give a reader/audience, the better they will get into the story. The exact same thing happens to a martial artist: we see so much over-the-top action in films that looks so cool: wire-fu, elaborate long fight sequences, sleek catsuits, macho setups for sport fighting like cages. The problem for the artist’s ego is that the really cool-looking stuff of martial arts is in fact the least effective in a real fight. Same for an actor, same for a writer. And now I’m writing this, it occurs to me that we could probably say this for any art form…

The Three Rules For Warriorship:
1) What do I want? (Objective) –do I want to attack or defend myself? Do I want to cause harm? What specifically do I want to do, physically? How do I want the fight to end?
2) What do I do to get what I want? (Tactics) –What actions specifically do I need to achieve my objective? Weak or waffly (or “cool”) choices here will fail, in a much more obvious way than just a mediocre performance or piece of writing. In a martial arts situation, a weak tactic leads to a smack in the head or even a fatality (or a lost match, if we’re talking sport martial arts).
3) What stands in my way? (Obstacles) –is my opponent’s guard up? Armor or weapons involved? Are there innocents anywhere? Is the law on my side? Is the space restricted, either physically or otherwise?

What’s the conclusion here? That good art should be “uninflected, … requiring no additional gloss” (Mamet again). Keep it simple. Which, of course, is the most difficult thing about mastery. For more of Mamet's words of wisdom, check out his book On Directing.
Image is Jenn and Boaz doing a theatrical thing in a martial arts studio. Go figure.
~Jenn

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Preview

This is the video that I call the Making Of Our Star Wars Uncut scene. Now, we'll be uploading our scene to the site soon, but there are 13 edits within the 15 second scene, so for now enjoy this peek into our process, lovely lurkers. And take a moment to remember the lightsaber class. ~Jenn


Here's the scene we're trying to recreate:

Are we close? :)

Random Latin

sic transit gloria mundi
- so passes away the glory of the world.

~JAS

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lightsaber class

Here, lovely lurkers, is the culmination of the 8-week summer Stage Combat class in lightsaber technique. This is the conclusion of our summer efforts. We had a great time! ~Jenn


Lightsaber finale


Boaz and I had the opportunity to perform our lightsaber fight for the Boulder Quest Center testing community and their fan clubs last night. It was fantastic to be able to do it with Duel of the Fates playing and a live audience that wasn't fellow students who've seen it a million times before. We had adrenaline and joy. Here's a still photo thanks to Marcus and family. Video to follow. ~Jenn

Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday!

...to J.K. Rowling, author of the wildly, insanely popular Harry Potter book series. Here again is Molly Ringwraith's hilarious parody for your enjoyment. No, I don't have a movie review, haven't seen it yet. Many happy returns of the day, Ms. Rowling. ~Jenn

http://mollyringwraith.livejournal.com/43789.html

Fight Clip Club

Ninja jump from the BQC. Keegan, you put your hand down. Does that count? :)

Come to NinjaFit Fridays if you want to learn stuff like this. ~Jenn

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thursday and Friday's Exciting Events



Thursday the 30th is the last day of the summer lightsaber class (sob). We'll be filming all our fights, though, so stay tuned and you can see the results of our 8-week session up here soon afterwards.
Friday the 31st is Test Night at the Boulder Quest Center. Highlights will include Jenn and Boaz's lightsaber fight, Kim & Jenn showing the groud flow, and of course much fun belt testing as usual. This will be the last test for Kim & Jenn before their Black Belt. Spiffy!

INFO:
7/30: lightsaber class finale; 12"30-2pm; PE 103 on Auraria Campus
7/31: BQC Test Night; adults & youth testing + demos begin at 6pm
Images are Jenn and Kim in April's BQC test, and Jenn and Boaz creating their lightsaber fight, in class in June.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ninja Assassin

Here's the new trailer, full of super Matrix-esque, shuriken-flinging action. Looks like fun! Thanks to Boing-Boing for pointing the way to this site. "Insanely awesome," indeed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

National Cowboy Day


Sunday was National Cowboy Day--a day to celebrate the Western American icon we know and love so well here in Colorado. Of course, when we at Bonzuko think of cowboys, we think of staged bar brawls, whip work, and other skills "walk-around actors" still use in various live gigs. Ever been to the Silverton-Durango train trip? There are cowboys and wenches at each stop staging skits and fights. Last year's Denver stage combat seminar fest, the Rumble in the Rockies, was cowboy-themed.

One of Bonzuko's inspirations in the stage combat field is Dale Girard. He is one of a very few that the SAFD calls "Fight Master," and was Jenn's teacher's teacher, and still is a brilliant stage combat artist. One of the things he did back in the day (which was the inspiration for many of the stunt shows we did almost ten years later at the Colorado Renaissance Festival and elsewhere) is a Western-themed live stunt show, with his company On Edge Productions. Jenn actually still has a couple of the Western scripts from these shows, and it makes us wish we could have seen these!! Acrobatics, gunslinging, whip work, cowboy punches and bad jokes all abounded. It nearly makes Jenn want to round up the MSCD Stage Combat Club dogies and do it again! Anyone game?

Enjoy these images from On Edge Productions Western stunt shows from back in the mid-'80s. Pictured are Dale himself, along with his company performing the show "The Swell, the Not-So-Swell, and the None-Too-Cute" (had to correct the original spelling--sorry). Thanks to Dale Girard for permission to show off and celebrate these images documenting a great talent and inspiration for us still. Yee-haw!

R.I.P. Merce Cunningham


Just heard today that one of dance's greatest artists, Merce Cunningham, has passed away at age 90. He was one of the best movement artists ever, so take a moment today to appreciate his contribution to the movement arts.

What I appreciated most about Cunningham's dance way was his combination of classical style with a modern sensibility. He also had the coolest improvisation structures, and was a movement improv innovator. Check out this video clip from the '60s. I dig his use of tableaux (stillnesses) in this piece.
~Jenn



Image from this site. Vid from YouTube (do a Merce Cunningham vid search and find more cool stuff!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Movie Review

TV review, actually. It's been a long time since we've done a review, and there has been much watching of media since the last one. There have been a few Bonzuko favorites in there, but one that has especially good stunt work is showing its first season over again this summer. It's called Legend of the Seeker.

Based on some Fantasy novels by Terry Goodkind, Legend of the Seeker plays on TV like a delightful combination of Ren Faire and a good D&D game. Our triumvirate (Richard the young Seeker, Kahlan the Confessor and old Zeddicus the Wiz) move from one unrealistically clean and diverse medieval village to the next on their way to stop the melodramatically evil Darken Rahl, saving the day each time as they go on. Now this may sound like not a high-quality show as I describe it here, lovely lurkers, but actually this formulaic, archetypical structure is quite pleasing. The script moves from predictable to cheesy to melodramatic, but in a good way, and the acting is actually decent, not only by our main three, but all the extras we encounter each episode. And it's sexy, but in a family-friendly way.

Of course, the main reason why we at Bonzuko like to watch Legend of the Seeker is its fight scenes. The Seeker is known for wielding the Sword of Truth (which really looks like it was made by Starfire. Anyone know if this is true?), so there are many swordfights each episode. They are all very well choreographed, filmed in a stop-and-slow-motion style that actually (when the channel itself is running smoothly) makes the action easier to watch than if it were in real time. All the actors that fight look like they do a generous portion of their own stunts, and look too like they have worked hard to look awesome as they do so.

The other thing that makes Legend of the Seeker stand out as far as its stunt fighting is the inclusion of female warriors, not as bystanders that may or may not have a vase handy when the bad guy's head gets close enough to her hiding place, but actually fighting right alongside their male counterparts. Kahlan wields not a sword, but a pair of daggers (often reverse-grip. Yeah!) as well as her magic power. But even female secondary characters that get caught up in the Seeker's quarrels are not bystanders but hold their own. I'm reminded specifically of a recently-shown episode wherein the Seeker is handcuffed to a young woman and has to fight several guards to escape. They both use their manacles and unarmed prowess to save themselves. Again, some creative choreography (mainly by Steve McQuillan).

Here's the Season 1 recap from Hulu. Minor spoilers, but you'd be able to predict these "twists" anyway, right? http://www.hulu.com/watch/74157/legend-of-the-seeker-season-1-recap

Anyone who enjoys light, enjoyable fantasy fare and/or good stage combat should catch Legend of the Seeker whenever they can.
Bottom line: **** out of *****
Thanks to this site for the image.

Random Latin

ipso facto
- by the fact or the act itself.

~JAS

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random Picture

Shuffle up the Pictures file, lurkers ours! And...it's....

Bonzuko's own Jenn being flung across the racquetball court by Glen! Old Genki Kai footage. From 2002 or 3ish.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Youth Sword Camp


I was happy to come down to the BQC for the last day of their Youth Sword Camp, to help with theatrical swordplay and making a movie with the kids. It was super-fun, super-tiring, very hot, and all kinds of great choreography today between 9 and 12. Good job, Sword Camp kids!

Image is Kate and Jane showing their favorite sword kamae.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Class Time Change


Anyone coming to the Boulder International Fringe Festival Stage Combat class, taught by Bonzuko's own Jenn, the time has changed. It's still August 15th, but now the class part will be 12-3pm, and a showing of our work at 4pm. It's ridiculously cheap--spread the word, and show up yourselves!

Do the Hindu

I'm all about the Hindu Pushup--we do them all the time in NinjaFit. But instead of how this guy does it, start in an actual Downward Dog, go slowly and get your nose as close to the floor as you can, then come up into an Upward Dog. And love the sweat! ~Jenn

Thanks to Lifehacker for mentioning this today, and for the link.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NinjaFit in the News (again)



Now let's get the students rolling in, folks!
~Jenn

Wonderful Speech by Craig Ferguson


This is such a great speech, lovely lurkers. If you didn't see it last night, here 'tis (in a Scottish accent). ~Jenn

Craig Ferguson’s brilliant analysis of ‘Why everything sucks’ EW.com

Shared via AddThis. Image from this site.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conan Does it Again

With help. Here he is again with stuntman Steven Ho. Tell me he doesn't steal the bit me and Parente did on Channel 2. http://www.tonightshowwithconanobrien.com/video/clips/stuntman-steven-ho-071709/1136546/

Image from this site.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fight Clip Club

A rehearsal day from the lightsaber class: this is the 3-person fight: Scott J., Paul, and Nick. Mind, this is still rehearsal mode, lovely lurkers. ~Jenn


Random Latin

vice versa
- the order being changed; conversely.

~JAS

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Random Picture


A posed piece for MSCD Stage Combat Club Nick's BFA portfolio. Club meeting. Good times.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Parente Experience

Last night, the Summer Advanced Class (Lightsabers) was the subject of a liveshot on Channel 2 News. Anchor/Reporter Chris Parente came by and helped us show the world what we do. We watch Mr. Parente on his various Deuce and Channel 31 endeavors all the time in the Bonzuko home office, and so it was delightful to see how the whole thing worked on the other side of the TV screen. The class, which normally meets at 12:30, met at 5pm instead just for the occasion (special thanks to Joe Morales in Auraria's PE building for giving us lots of attention to make sure the space was ready for prime time).
Highlights of the event included:
  • I always wondered whether it was odd to not be able to hear the anchors back in the studio, to only hear one end of the banter. It was.
  • How exciting was it to see that big antenna outside just for us! The guys were delighted, and passersby were curious.
  • Facebook is a weird thing: Chris and I felt like we had already met. Though the hair is even more fantastically shellacked in person, Chris!
  • Learning about what goes into the structuring of a spot like this: how many teasers of what kind, what kind of timing and balance is necessary, and having lucid improv skills to be clear and quick!
  • Noticing how much attention Chris pays to his surroundings, and how he builds the things he discovers into his bits. I'm willing to give him some honorary ninja points for this.
  • It reminded me of an audition: you prepare for a long time, have a lot happening, and when it's over, you're like: um, what just happened? I think it was good. I should have...
  • The three bits were so short that about half the things I wanted to plug or do or say didn't get in. But what was in was super fun. Thanks for the book plug!
  • Good job, students, for keeping up the energy since 5 (some of you since 1!)pm. Good hair acting, Nate and Scott M.
  • Images from the evening's fun, Jenn's phone version.
Thanks again to Chris Parente and the Deuce team for celebrating the geeky goodness that is lightsaber class. ~Jenn

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bonzuko in the News


Any lovely lurkers who are in Colorado, tune in to Channel 2 News ("the Deuce") at 7pm tomorrow. You'll see the one and only Chris Parente doing a live story on the lightsaber class! Don't miss it! In fact, record it for Jenn!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog-to-Blog


What a rhizomic world of writing the blogosphere is. Here is a link to a Stephen Hayes blog post that was actually mostly written (translated) by Kevin. We're all writing about ninjas, all the time... :)
~Jenn
Image is Jenn and Mr. Hayes at his most recent seminar at the BQC.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Muppet IDs


Check this out. If you remember "that one Muppet" and you don't remember its name, just look at this interactive article from National Post and remember!

Star Wars Re-done

Now why the heck wasn't I called about this??? Where was I supposed to have signed up? I'm teaching a lightsaber class, for Pete's Dragon's sake...Waaaaah! ~Jenn

http://io9.com/5313180/re+edit-star-wars-and-have-not-just-han-shoot-first-but-everyone

Thanks to i09 for alerting me to what will no doubt be hilarious fun. Gosh darnit...


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Memorable Quote

"Throw in a duck."


~the secret of writing, according to Thomas Pynchon.

Random Latin

persona non grata
- an unacceptable person.

~JAS

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sketch of the Day


A picture of a cold day on a very hot day. Hopefully it'll cool you off, lovely lurkers. ~Jenn

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fringe Festival Workshop


Bonzuko's own Jenn will be teaching a three-hour workshop at the Boulder International Fringe Festival this summer. Stage Combat Basics is the the theme of the day. Check the link for all the information, and spread the word--we want this class to be huge!


What: Stage Combat Basics Workshop
Where: Boulder International Fringe Festival (Naropa campus)
When: 1-4pm (4:30 showing) Saturday, August 15th, 2009
How much: $35 (whatta steal!)

Visit the page and rate the class, if you've had class with Jenn before. Spread the word!

Vintage Star Wars

Thanks to stellar blog i09 for posting this vimeo page by one of the original ILM guys. One of the comments says: "hardly a computer in sight" which I think is mind-boggling when you think of how good those old films still are and how much we rely on computers nowadays. I know, I sound like an old lady: "When I was your age, our movies didn't have new-fangled CGI..."

Enjoy this vid, lovely lurkers, and thanks again to Mr. Berry and i09.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harry Potter

Have you seen this? Jenn's expertise on Harry Potter's legacy:

Today's Lightsaber Fun


I'll put more up soon, but here's one clip from today's lightsaber class. Don't you wish you were there? Image is the three-person fight, video is me and Boaz starting to get a bit better. Everything is still in rough draft mode, but we are so close to being ready for public consumption. Oh, wait, the Internet is the public, isn't it... ~Jenn


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fight Clip Club


Well, it's not really a fight. It's Penn Jillette juggling broken bottles. So we at Bonzuko like Penn & Teller a lot, and we like Discovery Channel's Time Warp a lot. They did another amazing section on this episode wherein they showed the classic cup-and-balls magic trick a few different ways (including clear cups!!!) and it taught everyone a lot about what sleight-of-hand really entails. Anyway...

Enjoy this legerdemain, lovely lurkers.


Thanks to this site for the image.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sketch of the Day


Part sketch, part collage, actually. Title: "Sparrows"

Monday, July 6, 2009

3 Rules

This is an old DU lecture from now-nonexistent "Writers on Writing." Stay tuned for a sequel in which I parallel the Three Rules for Actors to warriorship. ~Jenn

Three Rules For Protagonists

Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.
--
Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury

Back in acting school, we learned a magic Three Rules that we were to adhere to whenever we performed a new character (which was often a couple times a week). No matter how big a role, the Three Rules for Actors worked to make a performance authentic, dynamic, and compelling.

In acting, when you play a mood, you dissolve instantly into sham. Mood spelled backwards is Doom for the actor.[1] In other words, if you “play sad” you will seem false and cheesy to an audience. If you play a verb, if you play an objective, you’re playing an action instead of an emotion.

Three Rules for Actors:
“What do I want?” (objective)
“What do I do to get what I want?” (tactics)
“What stands in my way?” (obstacles)

Actors ask these three questions of themselves as the character they’ve been assigned, and often will write verbs in the margins of their scripts (tactics = action words) to guide them along the scenes. Any story can be boiled down to this formula. A character does actions to get their objective. When one action doesn’t work, they’ll try another. And the audience will want to know what they’ll do next, and if they’ll end up achieving their objective. When the character either achieves their objective, or discovers it can’t be achieved, the story is over. A new objective is a new story.

These three rules, though taught to actors, I have found to be essential in the understanding of story structure. A writer can ask their protagonist these three questions and the narrative nearly writes itself. Ray Bradbury probably never heard the Actor’s Rules, but his story-writing instructions are a direct reiteration of the objective/tactics/obstacles formula:

Find a character, like yourself, who will want something or not want something, with all his heart. Give him running orders. Shoot him off. Then follow as fast as you can go. The character, in his great love, or hate, will rush you through to the end of the story.[2]

This formula works for anything narrative—fiction, non-fiction, or (obviously) drama. Poetry is about image and sound, so it doesn’t go by the Actor’s Rules. But anything that has events, things happening, a central character (even the writer-as-narrator of a personal essay) has added dynamism and a clean plot if the Three Rules are kept in mind.

Image is from Five Funny Faces' Dr. Seuss performance at Skyline Vista Elementary, 2000. Pictured: Jesse, Jas, Jenn

[1] Uttered by many of my previous acting profs, at CU Boulder and a couple UNC seminars.
[2] From Zen in the Art of Writing

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Random Movement Pic

Here goes the unofficial shuffle and click into the Bonzuko Movement Arts picture archive...

It's Jenn's only foray into the world of the slackline. Very very difficult. The class was called Yoga Rocks! at the Auraria Rec Center, and was a mix of yoga and rock climbing. That day, they added the slack line to the mix. A very cool combination.

Random Latin

et cetera
- (etc.) additional unspecified things

~JAS

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Cookouts and beer. That's the American way. Have a fun and safe holiday, lovely lurkers!
Image from this site.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to Jenn's Mom, Ginger! Yes, Virginia, the fireworks are for you. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mini-Essay Contest Winner

This summer I am teaching Freshman Comp (Research Writing) at MSCD. Earlier in the semester, I gave my students extra incentive on one of their assignments: the best "mini-essay" would be published here on the Bonzuko blog. Congratulations to Katherine Pivoda, this summer's mini-essay contest winner! Her mini-essay (edited for blogging purposes) is below. Good job, Katherine! Image is from this site.~Jenn


The Twilight of Teenage Literature --Katherine Pivoda
Twilight, a young adult novel rife with vampires and fog, has recently been converted into a shockingly popular movie, and a sequel to the book just announced a first printing of one million: not bad, when one considers the sheer banality of the books and their subject matter. Twilight is a formidable foray into the world of bad literature, and its popularity is only a reflection of the lowered aesthetic standards American teenagers have today.

Conceptually, Twilight just plain fails. Although the plot is fairly straightforward, Stephanie Meyer’s vampires are designed to be fun, fairly innocent creatures. While they do crave blood, they drink animal blood as opposed to human blood. They glitter in the sunlight. Their skin is always cold. They run incredibly quickly and have super-human abilities, such as ESP. Perhaps only an old fashioned fuddy-duddy could let this clash with more traditional, romantic, Anne Rice-esque vampires, but this new conception of sparkly, friendly vampires is disconcerting, to say the least. As Lisa Schillinger asks in the New York Times, “What subversive creature could dream up a universe in which vampires…put marriage ahead of carnage on their to-do list?” Only those in Stephanie Meyer’s world: a world that cruelly robs traditionally seductive creatures of everything that makes them the ultimate monster. In Twilight, there is no overt sexuality, or any of the trademark vampiric traits that make vampire novels worth reading in the first place.

Character development is another crucial thing Twilight lacks. The premise of the story is simple: an adolescent girl (Bella), feeling emotionally abandoned by her mother, moves to a small town in Washington to live with her father. It is there she meets and falls in love with a teenage vampire (Edward). Throughout the novel it is inexplicably difficult to like either Bella or Edward. As the narrator of the novel, Bella is a depressed teenager with a major martyr complex, which is as far as her emotional depth goes. Edward makes no sense as a character: his train of thought is choppy and illogical, and no matter how much love he professes to he is still cold and aloof. While Meyer tries to play off his emotional distance as a vampiric symptom, as the book progresses it is obvious this is just a bad author trying to hide her sub-par writing skills by making excuses for her poorly-thought-out characters.

Twilight’s final flaw is one many young adult novels fall into: a shocking lack of realism. Most book lovers are more than willing to suspend their disbelief for young adult lit. Harry Potter, after all, is loved the world over. However, each character in Twilight is a caricature: over-exaggerated and under-developed. Even the weather in the novel is too typical and telling, an obvious foreshadow that only makes the reader wince. Twilight’s lack of subtlety is astounding, given that so much of the book rests on the simple idea of a girl falling in love and discovering love is flawed. The heavy hand, lack of depth, and sheer banality of much of the book detracts from this valid and archetypal story arch.

Ultimately, Twilight is an exploration of what a good young adult novel shouldn’t be: unsatisfying, poorly thought out, and not at all deserving of the hype. Unfortunately, Twilight (and with it the tacky teenage fans in black T-shirts) seems to be here to stay. And the unfortunate reflection on American youth that inevitably accompanies it? One can only wince.

WORK CITED:
Schillinger, Lisa. “Children’s Books/Young Adult.” The New York Times 12 August 2007.
7 June 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/books/review/Schillinger7-t.html?_r=1.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fight Clip Club


Conan O'Brien learns some stage combat ropes from Steven Ho, stunt coordinator. Hilariousness ensues. Thanks to Hulu for the clip and the image. Thanks to Scott M. for sending it along.

Steampunk Lightsaber


Found this on stellar blog Boing-Boing: it's a steampunk lightsaber. I actually agree with a couple of the comments below the post, in that it does look a little too techno to be truly steampunk. I'd think it would need a vaccuum tube or some gears or a tiny steam engine, or...something less advanced. But it does look super-cool, aesthetically. Check it out here, and see if you agree with me. ~Jenn

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Erin Toughill Fights

Time Warp is one of Bonzuko's favorite shows these days. The premise is simple: they take cool things, and film them super-slowed-down. This reveals all sorts of cool scientific things about what they're filming--often their subjects are surprised! Recently they did an episode about big cats (mainly tigers) and MMA. Some of the things they said about martial arts were very interesting, especially when paired with the extraordinarily slowed-down action.

They asserted that “it’s precision of movement that wins a fight” and that Ms. Toughill (one of the fighters) uses her hips to generate force. The core, they said, is what makes movement powerful. However, when they did one sequence, I did call BS: Ms. Toughill punches an overweight volunteer crewmember in the stomach, and he's still standing pretty solid. Sure, she had boxing gloves on, but still: you're telling me that an experienced MMA fighter punches a non-experienced, non-fighter belly and...nothing? Hm.

Erin Toughill Fights

Trickster Power



I came across this link from good friend Ricky on facebook. This illustrates the very real power of the clown, even in today's society. And think about this--those clowns could have actually gotten hurt. Racist neo-Nazis aren't messing around with their hatred. Anyone know if there's a video of this event out there somewhere? I'd dearly love to see these clowns in action.


Check it out here. ~Jenn

Random Latin

magna cum laude
- with great praise.

~JAS

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sketch of the Day

Sketches based on ancient illustrations from a Japanese history book. ~Jenn

VoWoD

Today:



"Renewable bamboo flooring."
~Jason

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tonight's Exciting Event

Tonight is the last Friday of June, and so the BQC is holding the best party in town--Testing Night (with potluck after)! Come cheer on all levels of To Shin Do-ers as they attain new belts, uke for others, or as in Kim and Jenn's case, move ever closer to Black Belt status. It's a good time. Adults and youth begin their test at 6pm. To get you lovely lurkers excited, here's the highlight reel from last month's test (Jenn's bus demo not included):


Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Lightsabers

Here's a partial rough draft lightsaber fight from class today. A sneak peek, if you will. Please to enjoy. ~Jenn


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Colorado Bike to Work Day


Well of course that's every day for Team Bonzuko. That is, using bicycles, bus, and other alternative transportation to get where we need to go. We described this lifestyle a couple times before, so go peruse those posts and give yourself a minute of contemplation, and a little more exercise, today at least. Hey, who knows--maybe you'll get to like it!
And yes, the Bonzuko bicycle looks like this very often.

(Hey, wonder if Fat Tire wants to sponsor us...)

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Officially Summer!


Though the Unbeatable Bonzuko Team normally want to find an ice cave and hibernate during the hot months of Colorado (I don't care if it's a "dry heat"--it's too much! Thank goodness we're not in Arizona), we would still like to cheerfully announce that yesterday was the first official day of summer, and we wish many poolside lemonades, watermelons, cookouts, and anything else that makes you happy about summer. To celebrate, here's a picture of the sun-bright hair of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in the upcoming Tim Burton Alice. Thanks to bitchy blog D-listed for posting the newly released pics.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, everyone! Enjoy this image of Bonzuko's Jenn, her Dad, and brother Jesse sometime in the '90s.

Random Latin

non compos mentis
- not of sound mind.

~JAS

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stunt Hero


When looking around online for the list of stunt drivers for the old cop show CHiPS, I came across this amazing bio and filmography. She is my newest hero: Debbie Evans. The link is to her imdb page. What a serious badass. Here's her homepage, it looks like it hasn't been updated in a while, but careful of your jaw dropping too hard when you read about her life of accomplishments in the stunt world. http://www.debbieevans.com/bio.htm
~Jenn

Fight Clip Club

More from the Advanced Stage Combat Class: Lightsabers. Look what a good video Jenn's phone takes! Video is Nate and Scott M. beginning choreography outside on the quad.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Black Belt Cloud


I just love word toys and language games. This new Word Cloud thing is delighting me no end. It's actually a good writer's tool as well, in that one can see which words one uses most often. This is the word cloud for my To Shin Do Black Belt essay and written exam, including the two addenda posted here on Daily Cross-Swords in the past. It's an unusual, interesting way to read.

~Jenn

Fight Clip Club

Found these Muppet fossils linked by stellar blog Boing-Boing. I've seen sketches of these in a Jim Henson art book and my Dad remembers them from his childhood TV, but I have never seen them until now. They're described as "shockingly violent" in the description on Boing-Boing. I actually think they're pretty classic little clowning jewels, clearly influenced by vaudeville and golden age Looney Tunes. Maybe seeing them all at once like this gets a little much. Can you see that this is Kermit's grandfather? :) ~Jenn




Images found by doing a Google Image search for "Wilkins" and "Kermit," respectively. Jim Henson was a genius.



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quote to Chuckle at


Evil Kneivel sed:


"Broken bones heal; pain is temporary; chicks dig scars."


Thanks to this site for the image.

Lightsaber class



Well we've been having lightsaber class now for a few Thursdays--the Advanced Stage Combat students have learned quite a few moves, and now today they were ready to start putting the movement "words" they've been practicing together into "sentences." The choreography has begun! Here's a sample: Boaz and Nick doing the drill with circular footwork.





Still image is Scott M. and Nate blurry with Jedi motion, from 6/18/09. Vid clip is Nick and Boaz doing the drill. So sorry you were mis-named at first publishing, fellas. Jenn's bad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Flying and Falling Folks


Just saw a spot for these guys this morning on The Deuce morning news--they're a local Parkour group that teach classes in Denver and Boulder and practice all over the place. It was lovely to see Jenn's former Stage Combat student Noah doing what he does best.

They're called Apex Movement, and they have a new website and YouTube page. Check em out! Here's their grand-opening video.
Image is Noah being lifted by Nate in a staff choke. Staff final fights, MSCD Stage Combat class Fall 2008.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fight Clip club

One of the several Peter vs. Chicken fights from Family Guy. Somehow, when it's animated and one of the characters is a chicken, it just hits home how over-the-top many action film scenes can be.

Having "embed" issues, sorry. Here. ~Jenn


Image from this T-shirt site. Wow, what a tee this would be!