Louis Theroux Goes to Prison

April 3, 2008

In January the BBC debuted Louis Theroux‘s latest documentary, Behind Bars, in which he investigates “a strange world within a world” – the infamous San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California.

The hour long program observes the relationships between prisoners and guards, the self imposed racial segregation between inmates, and the social implications of romantic relationships within the penitentiary.

One inmate, Deborah, explains her position and social value as a transgendered woman within this self-contained place: “[the men] get to have a relationship and have a little house and go to work everyday and come home everyday.” It seems, then, that the transgendered woman becomes a part of the illusion that makes life behind bars livable. She makes it possible to simulate the familiar companionship and heteronormativity outside of San Quentin.

Relationships between the CO’s and inmates are portrayed as surprisingly warm.   The prisoners also seem more than willing to talk to Theroux, an obvious outsider.   Some prisoners, such as David Silva – who is serving 520 years and 11 life sentences – is in lockup 23 hours a day, virtually cutting him off from all human interaction. 

The special originally aired January 18, 2008 on BBC2.  A segment of the program can be viewed here

Photograph: Rex Features, http://www.bmivoyager.com/2007/10/27/weird-wonderful/


Willard becomes a Real Boy

April 1, 2008

As promised, I have finally completed a paper cutout stop motion animation for my Willard character.  It was a collaborative project between myself and good friend/filmmaker Ryan Murphy, without whom this idea may have never even come into fruition.  It also features my own original music, some of which can be found on my myspace music page

Basic plot summary: a mysterious hand cuts open Willard’s head, chaos ensues as dragons, strange blue balls, devil heads, and obscure shapes spill out uncontrollably, while the clouds behind flicker into different colours against the pink sky.  suddenly Jason pops out, but not a moment passes before himself, Willard, and all inhabitants of this strange world are flooded by massive blue waves, transporting Jason into a dark and lonely undersea abyss. 

Jason successfully avoids a number of odd creatures (including a strange lampfish, long-faced goldfish, and a curiously androgynous ocean floor dweller known simply as Edgar), but meets a bitter end when.. well, you’ll have to find out.

 I want to quickly include that while this was originally inspired by the Hey! Arnold short animation mentioned in a previous post, the youtube community has compared it stylistically to The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film and Terry Gilliam‘s animated Monty Python stuff.  Both of which are incredibly awesome.

So go watch it!