Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Annie Awards Live

You can partake of the Annie Awards online, because those stations that would have it up for free are no longer broadcasted. Just head here and start watching the Annie's around 7pm Saturday Feb 1st. If they start on time I will be amazed.

Murder LA 000041

THURSDAY, MARCH 26th, 2009

Brian Caufield is known by a few professional monikers, including DJ Spell and Chasm. On this Thursday evening phone call he’s known as Son. He discusses his plans to move to Studio City soon, not far from the Sherman Oaks apartment he currently shares with one roommate.

Brian Caufield
via Facebook

Their conversation is interrupted, according to Kathy, when Brian screams. She hears him question his assailants. They identify themselves as police officers. She hears gunshots. And then she hears the silence in a room over 1,000 miles away.

She tries calling everyone she can think of, to no avail. Finally, at 4am the next morning, she finds an officer who confirms her fear: Brian is dead.

Caufield’s roommate, Eric Gonzalez, was home at the time of the shooting. Police found him elsewhere in the apartment complex, handcuffed.

Three men were caught on surveillance camera. There was also a woman who was visiting somebody else in the apartment complex and happened to arrive at the same time as the men and was also outside later when they hurried into a car and sped away.

Authorities believed that it was meant to be a home invasion robbery. There were reports that marijuana was sold out of the apartment.

One man was arrested after two weeks. During that trial in 2010, Gonzalez testified that three men showed up and once inside, one of them identified as an officer and put him in handcuffs while the others went into Brian’s room. After the gunshots they all fled.

Gonzalez’s testimony was attacked at the time as inconsistent. That 2010 trial ended in a not guilty verdict across the board. 

The two other suspects, Daryl Sconiers Jr. and Kenyon Aikens were arrested separately in early and late 2011 in other parts of the country. After extradition, they finally went to a jury trial in 2014 and this past Tuesday, January 29th, both men were found guilty of first-degree murder, among other charges. Sentencing is scheduled for March, which will mark five years since the shooting.

Daryl Sconiers Jr.
via Sherman Oaks Patch
Kenyon Aikens
via Phoenix New Times

Best Animated Video Game Nominations Interviews for Annie Awards 2014

Which of these three games below will win the Best Animated Video Game at the Annie Awards this Saturday. They are all so different from each other, different art style, different platforms. A tough choice. TTDILA will be there to see if any of them show up to pick up the award as people have forgotten to come and pick it up in the past. No really, that has happened twice.

Check out interviews with the developers.

Tiny Thief Interview

Diggs NightCrawler Interview

The Last of Us Interview

Thursday, January 30, 2014

If You Love Nintendo

Nintendo Force is having a sale, by which I mean it won't be produced unless it fulfills its Kickstarter goal. Nintendo Force, the spiritual successor of Nintendo Magazine has launched a Kickstarter for it's second print run. Act no and get both digital and print copies for five bucks cheaper.

Today there are many websites for Nintendo fans, but Nintendo Force brings to the table the look and feel of a real magazine. Lovely layouts of Luigi and upcoming make it a commodity for real fans to look upon.

Join the Kickstarter here

The History of Mario: 1981-1991 Rise of an Icon from Myth to Reality is coming from Pix'n Love all the way from Europe. Pix'n Love captures the history of your favorite video game characters. Though The History of Sonic was published by UDON over here, it came from Pix'n Love, did you know? They know their game heroes. This time their tackling Mario my main amigo. Find out his early history, how he came about, how he transformed over time to be your favorite plumber. I mean no one loves Luigi.

Get it here

Maybe I wrote too soon. Game Icons: Luigi by Game Paused captures Luigi by 32 different artists. See Luigi change shape before your eyes. The year of Luigi might be over and this book is a reminder of what kind of year it was.

Get it here

T-Rex Tosh.0 in Little Tokyo

Tosh.0 visited Little Tokyo back in 2012 in a T-Rex dinosaur costume. Check it out here

3D Printer World Expo This Weekend

The commercial for the 3D Printer World Expo starting tomorrow.

3D Printer World Expo 2014
Jan 31-Feb 1
Marriott Burbank Airport
Hotel and Convention Center

LA Links: Dumb Bieber Articles

Some of the truly dumb articles by the old guard of press of LA.

Justin Bieber: Calabasas mayor addresses rumors of possible move 

The mayor doesn't know, this article could have been called Bieber update. No one even wants credit for it. It's simply by Los Angeles Times staff.

Justin Bieber, Frank Sinatra — two of a kind bad boys?

Justin Bieber arrest: the best memes on social media

LA Times Buidling Photos

 Photos of the Los Angeles Times building downtown.

Annie Award's 2014 Video Game Nominee: The Last of Us Interview

Mike Yosh
Lead Cinematic Animator, David Lam and Lead Gameplay Animator, Mike Yosh chatted over the phone with me for their nomination of The Last of Us, a gripping dystopian tale with a heart. You play as Joel, protecting your "daughter" Ellie from zombies and humans. The game has been praised high and low over the internet with all sorts of accolades. Now it's after an Annie for Best Animated Video Game.

I started by asking the two gents  about how realistic the game looks, losing the anthropomorphic animals from earlier Naughty Dog games.

Mike said, "I don't think we could deliver this story with the same impact in a cartoony or stylistic way. I mean, I think the way it was written, if we wanted to get across gritty and visceral we needed to go pretty realistic with it, so people felt what was happening."

I shifted over spines getting ripped out and faces being eaten and how hard it might have been to animate such painful moments. What could have led to them getting the blood just right?

"Oh, man in the beginning we would do things like smash watermelons on high speed film. Yeah, we would smash watermelons on some high speed film to see what that looks like. We found out the human head isn't really built the same way, " Mike casually said.

I started to laugh.

Mike continued, "We didn't throw in violence for the sake of violence." Continuing, "There's no heads being torn off, there's no call for it. We leave a lot up for the imagination, we feel that's a lot worse then showing anything."

Baffled I said, "You're telling me you held back in this game?"

 Mike continued, "We actually had more things that were more violent and we decided to pull a lot more of that stuff out because it wasn't necessary. It doesn't get us anywhere."

David went, "Yeah, there's a threshold after the point there's no pay-off to you beyond it."

David then backtracked over the realism of the game. He was saying the characters called for realism. David wanted them to be everyday people not superheroes, people you could connect with and could run a gambit of emotions.

"Games tend to always be about the basic human emotions like angry, sad, upset and we wanted to go a little bit more. So like, sometimes it's insecurity, fear, doubt, worry."

David continued about the subtly of Joel,  the character you play as, and how even though as a broken man and a mercenary he still missed his real daughter. This was shown by him caressing his watch, a birthday gift from her before she died in the outbreak.

Mike came back with enemies showing off emotions and how their just trying to survive in the zombie future, "So when you kill them, you see fear in their eyes as well."

I abruptly wanted to thank them for the father daughter relationship created in the game now giving a reason for Dads to take their daughters to cons and cosplay as Joel and Ellie. Mike and David laughed and credited the creative director and writer of the game, Neil Druckmann, for making the game.

What about the face tentacles or was there anything else hard to animate, " I asked.

Mike told of a segment of gameplay where Ellie was angry at Joel. If you were busy playing you might have not noticed how angry she was with her scowls and crossed arms at him.

David switched over to how the faces took time. Saying how tough it is to capture facial movement. Then having to address technical issues using a game engine compared if it was just filmed.

What did you two reference other than watermelon? Go out to a seafood restaurant and say this is a good enemy?" I asked.

Mike, "For look of the story we had No Country For Old Men, Children of Men and what was the ..."

Me, "Another title with men?"

Mike, "28 Days Later, and The Road." He continued not in terms of events, in terms of feeling the mood like the way you would watching the films.

"So just bleakest futures possible?" I chimed in.

David, "One thing particular was Children of Men's cinematography, that played a huge role." Reacting and participating with the camera he echoed.

Mike, "In addition to that, the bleakness that we put into the game; in contrast to that we wanted to show off the game in a very beautiful way. There's other moments where it's just beautiful in contrast to; Oh my G-d that was bleak, I just saw a lot of guts everywhere."

David chimed in praising the art team doing a great job and that the game was very director driven. Then brought up the "Giraffe Scene".

What was this "Giraffe Scene", I asked. I assumed it involved giraffes or a Toys 'R' Us filled with zombies.

"There's a part of the game where you live through Hell, " David explained. You end up in area without enemies surrounded by wildlife. A bunch of Giraffes are walking around in a reclaimed nature area. Fans seem to enjoy it.

Next, I asked David and Mike if they'd be happy with an animated series for The Last of Us.

Mike laughingly went, "I don't think the style and the content lends itself to a cartoon show."

David agreed.

We then joked about how Journey didn't pick up it's award last year in the same category, they vowed they'd be there.

We moved into being a nominee for the Annie Awards. David, "Just being considered is a plus for us." David was both humble and happy for his team to be recognized along side Diggs and Tiny Thief, mentioning them by name.

Then I congratulated them on their game, and wished them luck.

Thanks to Eric Smith from Sony PR for getting in contact with Naughty Dog for me.

Charles Phoenix Presents: Bob Baker 90th Birthday Party and Puppet Show Feb 9

Time to be creeped out... by puppets. You won't forget the evening that seemingly is the perfect juice for nightmares. It's a birthday party for a puppeteer at a puppet theater hosted by an eccentric mad man. Your dreams that night will be weird guaranteed.

"Bob Baker 90th Birthday Party and Puppet Show takes place at 5 p.m. on Sunday February 9, 2014 at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 West 1st Street in Los Angeles. Tickets are $49 and can be purchased by going to"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Extremely Bad Omen

The Pope had two children release two doves in peace last Sunday at the Vatican. One dove was immediately attacked by a crow the other a seagull. It's unknown what happened to the doves as the flew away.

Downtown Game Stores Not Really Paradise

There's some game stores I've always wanted to go into around downtown, but never managed to be around when open. That was until about a week ago.

I warn the common visitor or suburban local that the area is kind of dirty and with some unfriendly homeless like a lot of downtown. If that stops you from wanting to see these places for yourself check out the Game Store section of the site.

World Tech USA
5th And LA Wholesale Plaza in Los Angeles CA
500 S. Los Angeles St # 204
Los Angeles, 90013
(213) 623-8049

World Tech USA isn't bigger on the inside. The space isn't fully used and kind of gets eaten up towards the back. There's a large selection of old games stretching back to the SNES. I didn't see anything older. PS4 and Xbox One didn't appear to be in play. Still for those with older systems you can't ignore taking a look and being able to grab a title you may have missed.

Game Plus
505 S Los Angeles St
Los Angeles, CA 90013 
(213) 622-0522

Game Plus isn't sure if it's a video game store or not. It's partially one of the many electronic stores you can find around downtown just with a large video game selection. No current systems and as far back as SNES too. They have some fun off brand Mario toys and some other weird items to look at.

 Popped into a random store on the street and was greeted with cheap video game plush. Boxes and boxes of Tails, Marios and Links.

Smarties Gets Snorted and Smoked?

New Trend of Kids Snorting Candy Can Have Dire Results

"Health officials warn that not only can the powder cause irritation, it can lead to the horrifying prospect of nasal maggots,  lung infections and internal bleeding.

The potential hazards can result if flies, attracted to the rotting candy, lay eggs inside the nasal passages."
Who were these health officials? Sounds more like a good quote than a possible outcome. I'm assuming there have been zero related cases of nasal maggots related to sniffing candy.

Did you know Mega Smarties came out?

Weekly What To Do: Superbowl Chinese New Year of the Broncos

Superbowl time! Celebrate with friends and if you don't have a place to go there's always Chinatown for the Year of the Horse. Marpop has a guide to places to go around LA for the bowl. I'm always happier to hang out with friends. Just be careful on the roads back from your parties, they'll be DUI checkpoints.

Chinatown Welcomes Year of the Horse With Midnight Temple Ceremony
Thursday, January 30, 2014
10pm - midnight
Chuan Thien Hau Temple
750-756 N. Yale Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Street Closures
Please note that Yale Street, from Ord to Alpine Street, will be closed from Thursday, 1/30/14 at 6pm to Friday, 1/31/14 at 3am.

Special events happening at the temple to celebrate the Year of the Horse.

115th Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival
Saturday February 1 -Sunday, February 2, 2014
115th Golden Dragon Parade: Sat, Feb 1st 1pm-3pm ONLY

Best to take the Metro line for drop off

Chinatown is almost shut down as it's streets are filled with the yearly Golden Dragon Parade on Saturday. The parade is filled with dancers, floats, local LA government. Festivities and specials will be going on all around Chinatown including two big stages of entertainment. See the big puppet lion dances and live martial arts. All weekend long Chinatown will be celebrating around every corner.

Universal Celebrates Lunar New Year
Jan 31 -Feb 8

To celebrate the Lunar New Year Megatron will be speaking Mandarin and the new Universal Plaza  will be decked out in red lanterns and festive decorations.

Year of the Horse Exhibition
Feb 1, 2014 – Feb 19th, 2014
Reception Saturday Feb 1st, 2014 6:30-10pm
2062 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90025

A group show of horse art celebrating the year of the horse. We just had a cat art show last weekend. Get in touch with the LA Zoo to start doing these animal loving art shows people.

Bruce Yan's
Brand New Iconic Brands with A Pop Culture Twist
Opening Reception
Saturday Feb 1, 7-10pm
Runs until Feb 22
G1988 East

Bruce Yan's new solo show at Gallery 1988 will take loved cartoon characters and mash them into branding, sort of like the Superbowl. Hmmm, anyway here's an interview with Bruce on his upcoming show.

Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair  2014
January 31- February 2, 2014
Opening: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 6–9 pm
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
LA Art Book Fair Opening Night After Party
Jan 30 10PM
356 S. Mission Rd, Los Angeles, California 90033

In some sort of a sick way just like LACMA doing a soccer tribute exhibition opening we have an art book fair starting Thursday going into the Superbowl. The art community in LA does not seem to get it. *Side note, they could have gone with a better poster for an art book fair.

A great opportunity for those who want to learn about self-publishing or getting some indie publications you won't be able to fine even online.

Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014 @ Nuarte
Jan 31
Nuarte Theater

See all the Oscar Nominated live-action and animated shorts so you can caare when you here somebody wins one.

Edward Scissorhands @ Your Downtown Drive-In
Saturday, February 1, 6:30PM
Electric Dusk Drive-In
1000 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The only Drive-In for miles. I mean at least two-hours or more.

Art Talk Platforms & PAINT
Saturday, Feb. 1st 7-11pm
The Gabba Gallery

"Deborah Vankin of the LA Times ‘Culture Monster’ will moderate the panel talk which will include 11 of the 17 artists featured in “Platforms & PAINT”."

Dungeon Dungeon Visit: Is Not A Dungeon

Dungeon Dungeon
Inside The Last Book Store
453 S Spring St

For those confused to where Secret Headquarter's new mini-comic shop is look no further than the first floor of The Last Book Store, though it would have made more sense to be in the basement or on the second floor which looks like a dungeon.

Dungeon Dungeon is it's own section of The Last Book Store in downtown LA. It's not a mere collection of used graphic novels. It has all the current titles out in collected form. No comic here, just the collected graphic novels and indie books.

It does look different from the rest of The Last Book Store, like your stepping into an magic store or some shop from the past. It was maintained better than the rest of the store and does have a system with all the current publishers in the correct section.They have manga and even the absolute huge collection to look at.

When I visited over the weekend I saw no employee in the section, but noticed a speech platform with "HELP" written on it in bold blue letters.

There is a used section where some random books are on sale for cheap, the rest of the selection prices are regularly priced.

If you wanted a place to pick up graphic books downtown you finally have a place instead of having to order online or drive all the way out to Burbank or another corner of the city.