Found Generative Art: Mac Launchpad Acting Up

Mac Launchpad acting up

This happened a few months ago and I have no idea what caused it, but one day my Mac’s Launchpad – you know, the hidden application launcher that makes your Mac look more like an iPhone – freaked out. The result was actually rather pretty. That’s it above, along with a picture below of what’s it’s basically supposed to look like. I consider it an example of found generative art (if there is such a thing.) Now I just have to figure out a way to do this kind of thing on purpose.

Bart's Launch Pad 1

F# Minor: Brought to You by Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy and Randy

It turns out that “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne is in F# minor. What?! (See Ozzy and his hardworking guitarist Randy Rhoads above). Here it is confirmed on MusicNotes.com.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about F# minor:

Very few symphonies are written in this key, Haydn’s Farewell Symphony being one famous example. George Frederick Bristow and Dora Pejačević also wrote symphonies in this key.

The few concerti written in this key are usually premiere concerti written for the composer himself to play, including Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and Koussevitzky’s Double Bass Concerto.

In addition to the Farewell Symphony, Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 40 (Hob. XV:26) and String Quartet Op. 50, No. 4 are in F-sharp minor.

Mozart’s only composition in this key is the second movement to his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major.

And, of course, Crazy Train.

Below are two video renditions.

Peter and the Starcatcher

The Black Stache 2

On our way down to California for a few weeks, we stopped in Cedar City, Utah, for the super-fabulous Utah Shakespeare Festival. (It really is fabulous: a few years ago they received the “Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.” Then, more recently, the founding director, Fred Adams, received the “Burbage Award for lifetime service to the international Shakespearean theatre community” – quite a mouthful.)

While we were there we saw Love’s Labour’s Lost, which was lovely, but their production of Peter and the Starcatcher completely stole the show. It was possibly the funniest show I’ve ever seen, with a standout performance by Quinn Mattfeld as The Black Stache (i.e., He-who-will-later-be-known-as-Captain-Hook; as shown above). Here’s a review of the festival’s production in the Salt Lake Tribune and the official trailer below. If you like in Utah, the production runs until mid-October and absolutely justifies the 250 mile drive to Cedar City. Here the link for tickets.

Video Games Are Art, Part 2: MoMA

moma-logo

A few months ago I was excited to see that the NEA had funded several video games as legitimate art projects. As a follow-up to that, I am thrilled to see that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City has officially added video games to its permanent collection! Here are their initial 14 acquisitions (and you can go to their announcement for more info on each):

  • Pac-Man (1980; Played it, of course)
  • Tetris (1984; Same)
  • Another World (1991; Don’t know it)
  • Myst (1993; Never played it, but I was in graduate school then, so I have an excuse)
  • SimCity 2000 (1994; Got it)
  • vib-ribbon (1999; Never heard of it)
  • The Sims (2000; Know it but never played.)
  • Katamari Damacy (2004; Have this on my iPhone and on our vintage PS2, it’s hilarious!)
  • EVE Online (2003; Downloaded but never played)
  • Dwarf Fortress (2006; Have it but couldn’t get it working!)
  • Portal (2007; Got it, cool)
  • flOw (2006; Got it)
  • Passage (2008; Never heard of it)
  • Canabalt (2009; Have it on my phone, love it)

Again, I spend about 100x as much time cleaning dishes as I do playing video games but I’m very happy to see this happen.

 

Wub Wub Wub

Okay, so I discovered dance music a few months ago. I’ve got my big headphones on and I’m listening to very loud dubstep. To quote Lyle Lovett (in another context), “that doesn’t make me a shallow person, does it?”

You don’t really have to answer that question, you know.

Video Games Are Art, Part 1: NEA

Art Works NEA Logo

Woo hoo! The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has made it official: Video games are art. Or, perhaps more accurately, video games are a legitimate medium for legitimate art. Just all oil paintings can be art (but certainly not all oil paintings…), so can video games. Here’s a link to a great post on four game projects that were funded in 2012 as part of the NEA’s Arts in Media grants.

Now, I should mention that I never really spent that much time playing video games as a kid or as an adult. For that matter, I don’t really read much fiction, either. (I prefer poetry and nonfiction.) But I’m thrilled by this development nonetheless.