Big News!

I apologize for the lack of activity here. I have a lot going on, between working on several writing projects (fiction and scripts alike) and trying to get some stuff done around the house. In the process, I’ve let the Blogging Ezra Pound’s Cantos project slide a bit, though I do have a post about a couple of Cantos that is almost ready to post.

But in the meantime, I’ll say a bit about the busy weekend. The biggest news is that over the weekend, “The Music of Jo Hyeja” got its World Premiere at the Los Angeles H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival… and not only that, but it got the Audience Pick Award for Best in Fest! As many noted, it was the director Jihyun Park’s first film (well, first serious attempt) as director, and her first film screening, and her first trip to North America (she was on hand for the premiere). And she got a great award for her efforts.

I’m very proud of her, because she sweat blood to make that film come together. I’m also quite pleased personally, as it was my own first film script, and the first soundtrack I’ve ever made for a film.

In any case, she got a killer trophy along with the award, a wonderfully-crafted statuette of the character Brown Jenkin, from the Lovecraft short story “The Dreams in the Witch-House”:

"Witnesses said it had long hair and the shape of a rat, but that its sharp-toothed, bearded face was evilly human while its paws were like tiny human hands. It took messages betwixt old Keziah and the devil, and was nursed on the witch's blood, which it sucked like a vampire. Its voice was a kind of loathsome titter, and it could speak all languages."
“Witnesses said it had long hair and the shape of a rat, but that its sharp-toothed, bearded face was evilly human while its paws were like tiny human hands. It took messages betwixt old Keziah and the devil, and was nursed on the witch’s blood, which it sucked like a vampire. Its voice was a kind of loathsome titter, and it could speak all languages.” From “The Dreams in the Witch-House” by H.P. Lovecraft

She was deliriously happy on the phone afterward, and in fact had trouble trying to thank the audience because she didn’t want to burst into tears in front of everyone. In any case, she made a lot of friends over in L.A., and is energized for the next project.

Of which there are several, but we’re working out the scheduling for the moment.

I, on the other hand, was in Seoul during the premiere, but I was busy too, participating in the Seoul Fall Beer Festival. I served three different beers I’d made, including a Sour Enkel (a Belgian single soured in the keg), my Grätzer 2.0, and a Saison I made — the first and the third being part of a collaboration brewing for the event — but the real news was that my friend Soyoung, whom I taught how to brew, made one of the most popular beers at the festival. It was certainly the most popular where we were, anyway: Despite there being a five beers available at our station, she ran out of beer the first, and by a very wide margin.

For the record, she made a Belgian IPA with Forbidden Fruit yeast and all Amarillo hops. Oh, and she was told by a couple of Korean homebrewers that she is the first female Korean homebrewer in Korea. I’m not sure, but either way, I’m very proud of my friend Soyoung for her excellent beer as well as her possible trailblazing. (And while my beers didn’t have people lining up like mad, I did get a lot of positive comments, so I’m happy with how my beers did too.)

Soyoung, too, is energized and has a brew project in mind for the future, involving her assistant at the shop, another local Korean homebrewer, and myself. If it does happen–and I hope it does–it’ll be the first time in a homebrewing event where I, as a foreigner, am the minority, which is cool.

And as for me, I’ve got a bunch of things going on.

For one thing, Miss Jiwaku is bringing me home an Akai EWI 4000S (with the Patchman patches installed), which is a kind of wind synthesizer. It looks like this:

My justification for this instrument is that I want to get back into music a little, but in a way that won’t enrage all of my neighbours; that it has a synthesizer onboard, so I can use it for recording and also can practice it with headphones; and, most importantly, that it is a MIDI controller as well, so I can use it for sequencing very nuanced and effective soundtrack music.

But of course, I’ll have to get used to the fingerings on the instrument–this instrument has touch-keypads, instead of mechanical keys like I’m used to on saxophone; the effect is that it’s a bit more like playing a recorder or open-holed flute. But that said, it’s very popular among saxophonists and I hear that most make the adjustment pretty easily… and of course, among the fingering settings included in the system is a preprogrammed saxophone-based fingering system.

(I’m also looking at picking up a used Yamaha WX5, which is a little more like a saxophone (ie. less learning curve in terms of mastering the thing), but also is strictly a MIDI-controller. We’ll see, though: I think I should try work with what I have on hand and see what I think of it.

I think if I wanna get back into playing jazz, I’ll try upgrade to a better tenor and soprano saxophone (something I’d like to do, except it’s incredibly expensive), but anyway, this is a sample of some music being played on a 4000S (with an effects pedal for the loop):

(Unfortunately, the vocal effects processor I still have from my rock band days doesn’t have a loop effect… though I can squeeze a rough loop out of it in a pinch.)

I have phrases from Banco de Gaia running through my mind, and Master Musicians of Jajouka… I think this wind controlled-MIDI programming stuff is going to be great for soundtracks!

In writing news, I am working on two scripts right now–one for a short project Miss Jiwaku and I will do soon, another on spec for another filmmaker–and trying to hammer down ideas for two more that I’m likely to draft in the new year, including one that I feel we would probably try to pitch to production companies to try get some funding for a co-production abroad… But I’ve also got a complete SF script in hand, first draft done, and while it needs some fine-tuning, it also looks likely to go into independent production in late October or early November. Expect more on that soon… it’s a wild and crazy project.

I have a few really solid ideas for long-form fiction projects, and I’m trying to sort through which one I ought to be writing now. I think I know which one, now that the idea is clear in my head, but of course there are some niggling details I need to nail down. I’ll probably start trying to draft it soon, though.

Which, I’ll be frank, may mean slowing down my pace on reading Pound’s Cantos, but if that’s what it has to be, so be it. I’ll still try comment on a poem a week at least… or at least on a secondary source text as often as I can, since I feel like maybe I need to tear through what I’ve got on hand, while I’ve got it on hand. We’ll see. Busy times, in any case, but things are going well…

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