42 Years Ago in Sci-Fi

BLOG_man who fell close In 1976, David Bowie appeared in a seminal sci-fi film called The Man Who Fell to Earth. Like most everything Bowie did, this film is weird, intriguing, forward-thinking and iconic. The Thin White Duke is an alien named Thomas Jerome Newton who has come to Earth on a mission to get water for his home planet, which is dying of drought. On this planet, he discovers earthly pleasures and pitfalls, and generally gets jacked up by humans who don’t quite know what they’re dealing with.

Check out gorgeous behind-the-scenes photos from Taschen’s new cocktail table book on the film  and if you’re in the Big Apple in Spring, check out the DB exhibit coming to the Brooklyn Museum in March 2018.

*Fun Fact: Actor Bernie Casey plays a character named Mr. Peters — our sci-fi namesake. We’ll take that as an excellent omen.

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Complexity on the Surface

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Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

This close-up of Jupiter’s beautifully turbulent atmosphere was taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on December 16, 2017 at 9:43am PST, when the spacecraft was 8,292 miles away from the planet. Jupiter is the definition of vast: 1 pixel in this photo represents 5.8 miles.

Insider Secret: The NY Times Reports UFOs

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Unexplained Aerial Phenomena on a U.S. Navy jet’s radar

Are we alone? It’s something to think about as you gaze up to the heavens searching for the Star of Bethlehem this Christmas.

Apparently, we may be a whole lot closer to getting some answers to this question. On December 16, 2017, The New York Times ran a detailed story about a secret Department of Defense program called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, which investigates unidentified flying objects. (Politico also ran the story on the same day.) The program was launched in 2007 by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) with the assistance of an aerospace billionaire named Robert Bigelow, a fellow believer in UFOs and alien life. Bigelow is not alone in that belief; according to a recent HuffPo poll, nearly half Americans believe in the existence of alien life. This program stands out because it  investigates encounters with unexplained craft (and possibly beings) that happened right here at home. Many of those encounters involved experienced military personnel flying military aircraft, who witnessed other aircraft acting in ways that known American or foreign technology cannot explain (including declassified  U.S. military video showing an unidentified craft on radar).  Funding to AATIP was cut off in 2012, but according to the NYT article, the program remains in play.

This story is huge for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the fact that for years and years, the U.S. government’s official line was that it had no interest in studying UFOs or possible alien life. Now the U.S. government has admitted that in fact, the opposite is true.

This whole story feels like a game-changing revelation being rolled out low-key. Luis Elizondo, the man who ran AATIP, resigned from the DoD in October because of “excessive secrecy” around the program and internal resistance after funding ended. Elizondo is now is with To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences, a privately held company founded by one of the members of the band Blink-182 to explore “unexplained aerial phenomena” and other elements on the “outer edges of science.” Elizondo, a career intelligence officer, told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront”:  “My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”

Skeptical? You’re not alone. And while healthy skepticism is intelligent,  so is common sense. It’s highly unlikely that the New York Times (or Politico, or WaPo or Time, for that matter) would run a feature story based on half-baked ideas or kooky speculation — and it’s also verrrry unlikely that a string of military personnel are all seeing things or wrong. We suggest you stay tuned . . . . we’re pretty sure we haven’t heard the last of this. 

The “unidentified aerial phenomena” claimed to have been seen by pilots and other military personnel appeared vastly more advanced than those in American or foreign arsenals. In some cases they maneuvered so unusually and so fast that they seemed to defy the laws of physics, according to multiple sources directly involved in or briefed on the effort and a review of unclassified Defense Department and congressional documents.  — “The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs,” Politico.com, December 16, 2017

Björk: Is She Human?

We have a theory: the being called Björk is from another planet. Skeptical? Peep the otherworldly video for “Utopia,” fresh off her new album of the same name. It’s absolutely beautiful . . . and absolutely out there. Waaaay out there.

What do you think?

Ballistic Beauty

The neutron star collision represented in this insanely beautiful animation actually happened, but it happened 130 million years ago —- and so far from Earth that the images of it (traveling at the speed of light) just reached us on August 17, 2017. When these two neutron stars knocked heads, the cosmic collision spit out gold, platinum, light and gravitational waves (ripples in space time). To put it in perspective: this is what Einstein theorized in 1916. In 2016, the existence of gravitational waves was confirmed by audio measurements, but now, humans can actually see them being created thanks to thousands of scientists around the world who worked together to capture video of the event. One word: HUGE. Two more words: stay tuned. Surely, there’s more to come.

Meantime, we could watch this a million times. Amazing.

We Rocked New York Comic Con 2017

REPRESENT at New York Comic Con 2017
Photo in a Photo at New York Comic Con (Photo by Babe Finley)

Artistic Freedom Ltd. had the golden opportunity to present a panel centering on a very hot-topic at New York Comic Con: POC in science fiction. REPRESENT: The Rise of Characters of Color in Sci-Fi Entertainment was a conversation between folks from behind and in front of the camera who are bringing strong, memorable POC characters to life in some of the hottest media out there. Our FABULOUS panelists were: GABBY RIVERA, writer of Marvel’s “America Chavez”; YTASHA WOMACK, author of Afrofuturism; director JENNIFER PHANG, currently helming upcoming episodes of The Expanse and Cloak & Dagger; and sci-fi don, actor RICK WORTHY, currently starring in both The Magicians and The Man in the High Castle.

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We had a packed room that was energized and on point. Our sponsor, DUST, was in the house with their strong support of moving inclusion and diversity forward. (If you don’t know, DUST is a free online channel featuring a steady supply of primo short sci-fi films.) And of course, the moderator (Yours Truly) was an absolute dream come true! Hahahaha. Seriously though, as a filmmaker, it was gratifying af to make this conversation happen (gratitude!0; this topic is on my mind every day as I create characters I love and try to find a place for them in the world. MASSIVE THANKS to *everyone* in the room for showing up and getting involved!