Free Lunch Studios

Tom Gordon

Arts & Entertainment | Computers & Technology | Philosophy & Politics

Pratt InstituteVisit Pratt Institute (my alma mater) located in Brooklyn and Manhattan. They were one of the first schools to offer undergrad and grad degrees in commercial and fine art computer graphics way back in 1986, at a time when most artists contemptuously regarded computers as something for the nerdy pocket-protector crowd. I knew better and so did Pratt. What a difference a decade makes! Their Web page has a whole truckload of information about their educational programs and compiliations of student work (including, coincidentially, my own!)

Les Miz LogoAnyone who has not seen the musical version of "Les Miserables" is missing out on a hugely life-affirming experience. In my humble opinion it is the only theatrical incarnation that explicitly captures the hope and the emotional spirit expressed in Victor Hugo's writings. Having seen the Broadway version twice, I can safely say that it's practically impossible to listen to Claude-Michel Schonberg's great music and NOT feel ready to either cry, laugh, fight or take on the world! Now if he would only adapt "Ninety-Three" as well... And for you admirers of persistent, uncompromising law enforcement officials, there's the Inspector Javert Fan Page as well. Hey Jean, dont knock him: he's a good man just doing his job.

Star WarsFor "Star Wars" fans (like me) who have stubbornly persevered in an increasingly Roddenberry-dominated universe, it's a good time to be alive. Sure, it's taken a long, dreary 12 years for George Lucas to finally come around, but the second "Star Wars" Trilogy IS now a definite reality; the first of three prequels are coming to a theater near you in the summer of 1999, and will elaborate upon the degeneration of the Old Republic and Anakin Skywalker's fall from grace, events only barely sketched upon in the first trilogy. I, for one am excited about this long-overdue development, as well as the 20th anniversary ILM-treated re-release in Feburary 1997. Yes, at long last, hidden legions of Jedi will again rise up and retake the high ground from the corrupt, phaser-branding, Klingonese-speaking, Vulcan ear-wearing hordes of Trekdom! Heil Yoda!

Phil FoglioI grew up in the 80's and look back on those years fondly, even perhaps a little wistfully. In 1982, a lone 11-year old boy harshly confronted himself with his own creative ineptitude. Up until then all he could draw was glorified stick-figures; the time had come to either change or give up the artistic trade forever. Fortunately for this same boy, he had the hilariously witty work of Phil Foglio as a role model, and so his destiny was secure. Phil Foglio is a cartoonist; endowed with a screwball sense of humor, his work has graced the pages of Dragon Magazine, comics and trading cards all over the world. A fellow Foglioid beat me to the punch and erected a GREAT page devoted to this side-splitting creative mind; a true "tribute" in every sense of the word.

M.A.S.K.Another of many powerful forces locking my feet forever into the art/writing path were the TV cartoons of the 80's. For some people it was He-Man; for others it was Voltron, for a tiny neglected minority it was Rainbow Brite. But for me, absolutely no question, it was M.A.S.K.! Kenner's toy research division, frantically looking for a successor to the Star Wars cash cow, quickly blended G.I. JOE and the Transformers in 1985 to create a "Mobile Armored Strike Kommand" of vehicles that mutated into rolling/floating/flying arsenals a la James Bond. The toys were way-rad, but the show, done by DIC Studios in their "golden age" and masterfully scored by synth geniuses Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, was a true work of art.

Sci-Fi Channel The Sci-Fi Channel has a web page devoted to (what else?) science fiction. It's called the Dominion. I really like their artwork and design, especially that scrolling "ScheduleBot" thingie, but then again I'm one of those ever-dwindling number of users who stubbornly use an older version of Netscape (Sorry, no gratuitous "Upgrade NOW!" Netscape 2.0/3.0 GIF available here) and would probably be impressed by anything that wasn't static.

Green DayYes, I like Green Day. They're a great band. Their songs are first-rate and unique, not rehashed posturing lifted from some Sid Vicious-occupied alternate-universe. And if I run into one more pompous caps-typing, misspelling punk on the Undernet who squeals "GREEN DAY? THERE SELLOUTS" or mocks my IRC handle ("Kerplunk") I'm going to unscrew their head and knock it around the room while I whistle "80".

GoldfingerAnd I love Goldfinger, too. They should get together with Green Day and go on tour, because both bands have the knack of writing happy, hyper songs that stay in your head for months on end. And while Goldfinger hasn't been in the spotlight all that long, I'm sure the ska crowd will eventually reach the exact same boneheaded "sellout" conclusion. After all, commercial success is evil, don't you know?

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