Sunday, August 28, 2011

Brownnoize is officially on vacation!

...And not entirely by choice! :P

But more on that later. For now, Summit highlights.

Aiight, so last weekend was the East Coast Chogokin Summit, and didn't I tell you it'd be tight?? Oh, no question. Widely considered the greatest Summit to date, a grip of toy collectors, artists, toy-widows (and widowers!) converged on the Godfather's crib north of Boston. I knew I'd be spending the night there, so I went to town on two 40's (Private Stock this mu'fucking 8-ball) and assorted other boozy treats...all mostly on an empty stomach! It was epic. I dunno if there's any official Summit coverage on the internets yet, but there ought to be soon...I'd recommend keeping an eye on CDX because JoshB always rocks the most comprehensive coverage.

I was WAY too busy partying to take any pics of my own, but between Mike's mini Jumbo Villains, Walker's eyeball-melting custom Jumbos and missile-fire Cosmic Squadron, and my own metal-plated Gin Gin exclusive release (YES), there was plenty to see other than the usual Summit treasures for sale! Even CDX's Leonardo Flores provided the nerd-beats with classic anime hits from Macross, Yamato, and the like. Damn. And that's not even mentioning how great a time everyone was having. Words can't even come close to describing everything. Sorry if you missed it [Ben! MAN, did we break that kid's balls for having fucked up the dates!]. Only until you see actual pics can you really grasp how far we've come as a community and as artists. I know I was there getting lit with homeboys I hadn't seen in a ill minute, but it was TRULY special to be a part of the whole thing.

And y'know something? It didn't even *start* for me on Saturday! Wednesday night, Hillsy (of TBDX and skullbrain fame) flew in from Seattle. As soon as he arrived, did he wanna drop his stuff off at the crib? Maybe freshen up...or even crash after a long day of travel? Fuck no...we hit up the Fours in Quincy and fucking drank. This marked the beginning of the demise of my liver. The next morning, Jim M (ALSO from TBDX and skullbrain fame) had taken the red-eye in from Oregon and got a rental whip. During the day, we just chilled, ate some good food, and hit up some local comic book stores. That night, though, Mason was having a chill get-together at his place. And Mason's is always a fresh time--the man is the embodiment of hospitality...and an amazing cook.

Ah, I did not join them, I had plans to meet up with a very special lady who was flying in from Oakland just for a short while. Yeah, INSANE fucking timing--what with buddies from out of town staying over and the Summit to prepare for! But like I said...she's special. Oh, what an evening. Walk in a park. Drinks. Long drives. Late night walks in a field and on a beach. Chased by cops(!). Yeah...the Rev's in love. ;) Anyway, LONG after Hillsy and Jim left Mason's and came back to my place, I snuck back in at around 5AM and slept blissfully!

The next day was Friday, and me and the fellas headed into Cambridge to hang out at Harvard Square, one of the few spots around the Bean where there are a few decent nerdy things to do all in the same place (while having bars in close proximity, of course). From there, we headed straight to JoshB's for pre-Summit tailgating at HIS place...and that was just a blast. Josh's spot is a great place to converge in larger, more diverse groups...and it did not disappoint. We headed back to Brownnoize HQ fairly early, drank a bit more, and talked til around 4AM while I put together Summit exclusives and got packed for the event in the morning.

After hitting up a local package store (hence the 40 oz's) early on, we got to Alen's...and the rest of the day was magic. Besides getting hammered--much to the delight of the Usual Suspects, who'd mostly only ever known me to be a sober dude--there was so much great hanging out with new folks and reconnecting with old buddies. One treat I was looking forward to was meeting Frankie B. Washington and James Biggie, creators behind Robot God Akamatsu. Again, adding more talent and drive to the community.

Anyway, long after most heads had split, me, Jim, Mark "machinesoldier" G, and Chairman Erik stayed up late having a great heated-but-honest discussion about race and class. HA! You know how we do! Wouldn't have it any other way. But it was just a great thing to be able to connect with these cats and for us all to listen to each other, y'knowmsayin? Anyway, we dropped one by one like flies, and even after two 40's, I somehow closed the place down. RIGHT before I crashed (around 2AM at this point???) though, I got a call from my lady friend back in Oakland. ;) We just chatted for about fifteen, but it was SUCH a lovely way to end the evening!

The next morning, Sunday, we awoke from the dead and a good 15-20 of us all met up for dim sum north of Boston. A few of us, still standing, then headed down to the South Shore to see Josh "C10" F's incredible toy collection and Japanese tea garden at his parent's place. Ridiculously, the place is only about 5-10 minutes from where I'm living now...yet I'd NEVER made it over there before! A very special treat for me, indeed. Anyway, after that, we all headed to Brownnoize HQ, where everyone was delightfully horrified to see the hilarious squalor I've been living in lately! ;) It's like half packed-up, recently-moved toy collector shit...half UNpacked, completely disorganized toy collector shit...half mad scientist toy factory. It's like man-bear-pig...only a place, not a monster Al Gore is hunting. Totally fucked up...but still great to show Erik and the other out-of-towners. There was plenty of ball-breaking about "Extreme Home Makeover: Toy Edition" and the like! Classic. Anyway, we were all pretty beat to shit at this point, so we capped the visit off with a gathering around the Goldrake kiddie ride. Afterwards, I had to say goodbye as I was about to drop fucking dead.

Folks dispersed and eventually headed back to their respective coasts and continents...and the memories and inside-jokes live on behind knowing smiles. Good fucking times. I really wish everyone were as fortunate as to have such a tight crew they can share their ridiculous passions with, y'knowmsayin?

And incredibly enough, this wall of text ain't even over, motherfuckers!

Remember that special lady friend I've been been mentioning? Well, her birthday's coming up and she treated herself to two ILL seats at Sade in San Jose this past Thursday night...and guess who that other ticket was for... BOOYAKA!! Yo, so I flew out Wednesday chilled with some of her friends that night, and just spent the most amazing time with her. Do y'all really wanna hear the sappy shit? Nah, probably not...but suffice it to say that it's been a fantastic time. Yo, the Sade seats? Right down the middle, dead center in front of the stage. She was so close, I coulda beaned her with a wiffle ball. And lemme tell you: that woman is EVERY damn bit as sexy and talented as she's EVER been, word is bond. Not only has she not lost an ounce of power in her voice, but just the amazing audio-visual production of each song was so off the fucking hook. I'm really glad I got to see Sade...even if only once in my life. And to have seen her with a lady I'm completely smitten with was nothing short of magical. ;)

So remember how I said this vacation ain't exactly by choice? Well apparently, there's a fucking hurricane about to decimate the Bean. Holy fuck. It figures I'd be out in gods damned California...when Mother Nature decides MASSACHUSETTS should break off and sink into the fucking ocean. My flight was for tomorrow morning. Back to work on Monday. Yeah, right. Get this: I'm stuck in Oakland until NEXT weekend!! And, of course, this is brilliant timing with the 2011 Amazon-exclusive Unicron having JUST come out...and me getting floods of orders for stands. Well, for those interested, I ain't getting back to the world until September I'll reply to any inquiries then. And I'll also get my Summit exclusive leftovers photographed and posted here for sale (y'all SERIOUSLY gotta see this shit!). But for now, I'm going off the grid. I guess it could be worse. I mean, I'm in rather nice company... ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summit Rumblings

Okay, a couple weeks later and about three days away from the Summit. Where you at?

Well, this year, shit's gonna be off the fucking hook! I know, I know...I KEEP saying that...but I'm saying...something big's gonna happen this year. I have a feeling the Godfather (Alen, founder of TBDX) has some big announcement he's keeping close to the vest. Meanwhile, I have the honor of hosting Jim M ("vintagevinyl" from skullbrain) and Hillsy (from...everywhere). Weep for my liver... ;)

As for me, I've got some custom exclusives that will definitely melt some fucking eyeballs...but no standard production toys as yet. Don't worry if you're not gonna be at the Summit: you're not gonna miss Gin Gin's official drop or anything huge like that. Anyway, the exclusives will be in the same vein as the Yojimbo: very limited treats for those keeping up with my crazy adventures in toy-making.

Oh, not sure if I'd mentioned this before, but Matt "Dead Presidents" Walker, insane mastermind behind Monster Kolor, will be attending. He and I have a couple surprises that should definitely shake some shit up. And trust me, that's a significant understatement.

Anyway, one small bit of bad news: the now-legendary Goldrake coin-op kiddie ride will sadly NOT be making the trip up to the North Shore this weekend. Heh...last time we worked on it, we kinda left it in a somewhat-organized pile of parts. The motor cowling is in place, but isn't bolted down. The cockpit ring is completely disassembled, even if the parts are back where they should be. Basically, it's good for photo-ops, but no one can sit in it. As such, we're leaving it at the crib. Plus, with such a big social event going on, does anyone actually wanna button this thing back together, rent a pick-up, and schlep it all the way up to Beverly? Nah...fuck that shit.

And it ain't like it's ready to toss our fat asses around anyway. :P Yeah, we got the running lights working...but not much progress since then! We've got to track down a motor that works...and is fucking metric! Roughly .8 Horsepower...and I guess the bolt pattern on the mounting flange is in fucking millimeters! Anyway, I think we're gonna be busy working on this thing for the next year or so...and if we're lucky, it'll be making its public debut--fully functional--at the next Summit!

As for updates on the major projects, everything's kinda on hold because of the Summit. When things pick back up again in a couple weeks, it all comes down to our resin-casting resources. All those details should shake out soon and by then, I should at least have some idea when we'll have resin-cast arms for Foe Gokin Gin Gin, as well as "baby" MUSCLE Gin Gin. In the meantime, I've gotta get off my ass and push through the next Foe Gokin (and MUSCLE) design. always...there are a few other side projects that are either too embryonic to mention, or they're collaborations where I'm not at liberty to divulge the 411!

Which basically means you need to hit me up at the Summit, feed me some beers, and listen to the tirade spew outta me! Aiight, I'm out...til next time.

Oh shit--one quick thing I almost forgot: Guess who's going to see Sade next week in San Jose! Mm-hmm...that's right!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 Will Smith

Mad locals like to complain that the summer is too short in the Bean. It's kinda true. But at the same time, it forces us to appreciate it more...and that's what's up. I mean, sure, I could use a winter that's a month shorter, and a month-longer summer. But it is what it is, and ya can't have everything.

Anyway, just putting my mind on what's happening outside these air-conditioned surroundings (at work...never A/C at the crib) helps me keep my head screwed on straight, y'knowmsayin? Yo, I spend long hours hustling these toy designs--half the shit I'm on I can't even bring up here because it's all collaborative work I'm doing with other heads, or it's ill experimental shit that's just too out-there to be blogging about publicly. But the late nights and coming into work on weekends is cool as long as I can maintain balance.

Lately, I've been doing that barefoot-running that hippie motherfuckers get excited about. No, not literally barefoot--but with "minimalist" running shoes, and running in that "Pose" style that's more biomechanically efficient and natural to how humans evolved. Don't worry: Reverend Brownnoize hasn't lost his shit and gone all New Age on yo' asses. I'm just trying to do whatever's in my means to live more healthy. No more high-fructose corn syrup, y'knowmsayin? Fuck that shit. Brown people need longer life-expectancies.

Aiight, enough with the PSA. Let's get back to the trill shit. As always, I'ma start with Foe Gokin news. My gods...Shapeways finally came through. Haha--I thought it'd be at least another month before I got the arm pieces back from them! Well, they're here and they look pretty good. I'm working with the resin-caster now to get these produced. I'm not in a big hurry because I want these done right, of course. As always, as shit progresses, I'll keep y'all posted. Who loves ya?

Remember last time when I mentioned that "alumide" material from Shapeways? The plan was to print up a Foe Gokin Gin Gin head in alumide, then send it off to my metal-caster to see if it's any good. Well, I got that joint too. Yo, it looks MAD weird. There's sort of a sparkly, sandy texture to it, but the basic geometry's tight. Check this shit out:

PhotobucketPewter on left; alumide on the right

I have no idea if that sandy texture's gonna fuck up the mold, but being so damn cheap and being able to withstand up to 350 degrees F is pretty tempting. I've already sent this thing to the metal-caster, so we'll see soon enough.

Anyway, like the title says, it's summertime...and that means East Coast Chogokin Summit! Plans for this year's Summit are coming along nicely. It'll be nice to rock the Beantown hospitality--yeah, we can be curmudgeony assholes, but we know how to treat fam! Make no mistake, Gin Gin will be making an appearance! Oh, and speaking of dope appearances, it looks like Boston's own Frankie B. Washington will gracing the event! That's some exciting shit, right there! Frankie is a professional illustrator who grew up watching Force Five and playing with Shogun Warriors like the rest of us Massholes, and besides having done tons of work in comics, he's got his own robot property called Robot God Akamatsu along with writer, James Biggie. Damn if that ain't some exciting shit right there! Will toy-production in Akamatsu's future? Well, you're gonna have to come to the Summit and see! ;)

Next up, let's talk about what's cooking in the world of MUSCLEs. I probably won't have the Gin Gin MUSCLE in production by the Summit...but gods DAMN, wait'll y'all see what we've got cooking! There'll definitely be some ill shit as far as "baby Gin Gin" goes! And speaking of whom, I wanted to show you some side-by-side shots of three different prints of him. The washed-out white figure is "White Detail" from Shapeways (again, their term for Objet VeroWhite), and the yellow-ish clear one is "Frosted Ultra Detail" from Shapeways (3D Systems polymer). And finally, the orangish pink joint was printed on an EnvisionTEC Multi Mini machine by my legit prototyper. Try not to drool on your keyboard...


By comparison, the Shapeways offerings are almost a joke. The EnvisionTEC print actually looks like a finished product. Need more convincing? Just click here and scrutinize. THIS is a fucking prototype:


And don't sweat ol'AshuraShine--I've got plans for him. I still want to do two more MUSCLEs to go along with him, but I've got something different up my sleeve for his companions that I think heads will dig. Once I've got some drawings properly made, I'll post. They'll be worth the wait!

Anyway, for sure, I've got other dope shit cooking--including stuff as diverse as designer vinyl accessories and Transformers upgrades--but it's all hush-hush for now. Catch y'all later.