Category Archives: Book Merah

Gaming and VR at SXSW 2019

A look at VR and gaming on the final day of SXSW 2019. There was also a cosplay competition and, at night, a party with bands.

VR experience with large display
At the Alienware Outpost, SXSW 2019
At the Alienware Outpost, SXSW 2019
Explaining VR
Founder of Radical Empathy, Billy Joe Cain
cute face on monitor
Groove Catcher prize winning VR game
many gamers and computer
SXSW 2019
gaming competition
SXSW 2019
Young man standing and using VR
artistic VR game landscape
fans watching a video game
a couple watching a video game
computer game competition
African-American woman playing a video game
One Passion portraits at Alien Outpost
Video game competition at Alien Outpost, SXSW 2019
Flyquest Announcers discussing gaming
gamer at Alien Outpost, SXSW 2019
Screen displaying game and four players

Stephen Black: projects 2002-2019

Stephen Black Author Page on Amazon

Latest news: Bubiko Foodtour, Stephen Black and Novaby at Tech in the Tenderloin

Recent news: AR presentation at the Great Ohio Bike Adventure!

Stephen Black is a music/TV/VR producer, writer, visual artist and entrepreneur who is currently focused on AR, specifically a character called Bubiko Foodtour. Bubiko, a co-production with Sayuri Okayama, is blazing trails and creating networks that will result in new, as-of-now-unpredictable projects, as well as planned projects for the Dundercats, Secret Donut World and the Doughbots. Bubiko is being brought to life in 3D by the magicians at Novaby.

This link emphasizes Stephen's AR activities in 2019, including his presentation at the ARIA event at MIT. (Bubiko's Instagram.)

Involvement with AR and VR began in 2016, with the release of the Oculus. Stephen, with Sayuri Okayama, began a nomadic research tour of Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Shenzhen; the topics being Southeast Asian food and AR/VR startup ideas. Eventually, connections with food and drink producers will result in an online sales channel.

During this journey, called the Bubiko Orwell Tour, Stephen kept notes and began writing for a work in progress book called Alphabet Spikes. Also during this time, Bubiko published an ebook of photographs about Ipoh, Malaysia. Also, Stephen gave presentations about AR at the Sasin School of Business (Bangkok), Hong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Maker's Faire and at TechCrunch Shenzhen.

Augmented Reality in Asia
article about Stephen Black in Ipoh

Virtual Reality + other movies +

 Beach Road (2015) was written by, and stars, Stephen, who also co-produced with Hiverlab. Featured at VR festivals in Brisbane, Las Vegas and Singapore.

SPOKEN poster

SPOKEN (2011)A downloadable virtual gallery, created by Eugene Soh and curated by Stephen. Features a great variety of artists, from internationally famous to unknown.

Lotus Mountain, shot in Shenzhen, on 8K Obsidian cameras by Kandao. A robot is reunited with her maker, five years after he broke her heart. Featuring a soundtrack by Rei Shimizu and a VR artwork by Scobot. Now in post-production.

10 Bubiko VR Movies for 20K A lighthearted effort to seriously increase the number of non-gaming VR viewers. And yes, the movies can be versioned in 2D also.

Sudden VR Festival (2016) Isetan Department Store. With Lionel Chok, Rachel Jordan, Samuel Chia and others. Chaotic celebration of VR; Singapore's first VR festival.

Norm Black Exhibition (2016) Mettle Art Space. Debut of Beach Road, photo works and thumb-shaped kuehs by Stephen Black, performance by 3how.

Cinematography collaborations with Japanese film legend Kumiko Akiyoshi, including Kiss, Bubu Again and The New york Mystery.

Photography

2018 FIA Drone Championship in Shenzhen

24 hours in the Art World of Singapore

Christmas in Penang

Bus Stopping


Books/Writing

Story about Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, for Maker Mag (with photos)

i ate tiong bahru, a bestseller. Ebook, paperback and audio versions available on Amazon. Audio book version feature Mirai Booth-Ong

Bali Wave Ghost on Amazon

Obama Search Words on Amazon

Contact With Shadow

photography as part of book cover design
on Amazon

When I started to write books, I also decided I would do no marketing until I'd written eight books. That time for marketing is here, but at the moment AR comes first. This blog post may interest those who wonder what happens when you don't do marketing. You may be surprised.

Gamemaking

Using the MonjaKids Creative Development Kit, Black taught all ages, including elementary school students, university students and weekend classes at the Singapore Science Center.

The Monja Kids CDK featured about 200 commands, allowing professional gamemakers to creat complex games. However, in the classes, only the basic commands were used.


Art

Text, a few building ideas and some documentation by Black. Collaborations and more with Michael Lee.

Artist in Residence 2015: Grey Projects, Independent Archive

Education

In 2019, Black conducted two workshops and two presentations about AR. In Singapore he taught 3D gamemaking and classes in poetry performance. Black has taught English in Japan. Classes in writing and self-publishing are planned as part of the ARphabet Tour.

Music

Xylophone and organ lessons as a child. In Rochester, photographed and videoed Personal Effects, now Margaret Explosion. In Manhattan, created videos and occasionally performed with Faculty Party.

Unlocking With Ears is a video series about Black's experiences in music.

In Singapore, Black worked frequently with Amith Narayan, musician and head of High on Chai Productions. The two cofounded 3how and co-produced the Riverwalk Session album. 3how was an improvisational music/theatre project that played the Night Festival, the LitUp Festival and the Red Dot Museum. An opera, Big Homer, based on a story by Black was performed. Some of the many talents involved with 3how: Wilson Goh, Justin Bannister, Kala Charan, Dave D'aranjo, Richard Lord and Roman Tarasov .

This resume is outdated, but provides more information.

Birth - 2002

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Stephen received his Associate's Degree at the University of Toledo, then went on to Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photographic Illustration.

He then moved to Brooklyn/Manhattan where he worked at Young Filmakers/Video Arts, was in Faculty Party, an operatic band utilizing theatre, phase patterns and rock. Black participated in the Lower East Side Art scene to the fullest. It was here that he became friends, with, among many people, Toyo Tsuchiya. He interviewed Toyo as part of documentation of the LES, and in particular, the legendary No Se No/Rivington School art scene.

1984: Japan. Art, teaching English, photographing, videoing. Finally met, and became life-long friends with Stelarc. Documented, with photography and video, Kazuo Ono, the co-founder of butoh. An art space with Barae, a performer/dancer. Collaborations of all kinds. Work for Sony, Suntory, ABC News, MTV and Philip Morris. Assisted Annie Liebovitz when she came to Tokyo for a monthlong American Express Shoot. This post is about Black's experiences in the Tokyo music scene. It is part of the Unlocking With Ears series that also talks about Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

In 1994, Black spent the year in Manhattan, working for Fuji TV on the NYGO edutainment series, produced by Cannes award-winning director Toshio Uruta. Writing, producing and directing, Black worked with a number of American and Japanese acting talents, as well as some of New York's funniest comedy writers, including contributors to Saturday Night Live.

1995: Hong Kong. The Handover to China, employed as a promo producer for Cartoon Network and TNT, now called Turner Classic Movies.Art projects continued in the form of exhibitions and Noon, an art space in Black's apartment on Hollywood Road. In 1996 Black traveled to WuTang Shan in China, almost immediately after going to Tokyo to document the Tokyo "tour" of Yamo, a project by Kraftwerk drummer Wolfgang Flür. Black also produced two successful tours by Sadato, a Japan-based band led by Sadato (now Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi), an Iranian sax player/vocalist.

1998- 2001: Tokyo, on air promo producer for News Broadcast Japan, the six channels set up by Fox. Was responsible for hiring, purchasing equipment and co-ordinating with sales and marketing teams.

2001-2002. Tokyo: Exhibitions. Wrote the Agaricus blazei Murrill Notebook, the first book on the gourmet and medicinal mushroom. Also produced and directed Kiss, starring Japanese legendary actress Kumiko Akiyoshi. Pioneering, in that it was one of the first movies on the internet, it received over three million views in its first three months. Later, Black was director of photography on Bubu Again, Akiyoshi's debut as a feature length film director. In 2002, Black moved to Singapore to work as creative director for WalkerAsia/Compudia a visionary gamemaking/user generated content company established by Akihiko Seki.

AR consultants
Poster for Stephen Black's presentations and workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, July 2018
Stephen Black i ate tiong bahru  in Chinese
Augmented Reality Stephen Black in Thailand
poster for Stephen Black's presentation about AR at Sasin School of Business
unicorns in China


LOTUS MOUNTAIN, a VR movie

This proposal was posted on Kaleidoscope on February 25, 2019.

Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, on the night of Chinese Valentine's Day. Joyh, a cyborg, is finally taken out into the world by Dave, her creator.

Five years later, the two are reunited, with very different memories of that night.

 Lotus Mountain: 12 minutes 360 VR film 

Directed and produced by Stephen Black

Cinematography: Leo Wei  

Starring Alps Bethneck, Joyh and the Shenzhen 40th anniversary urban light show, with the city decorated for Chinese Valentine’s Day.  

Original soundtrack: Japanese composer Rei Shimizu, and ​Since You Were Gone​, from The Riverwalk Session album by 3how (High on Chai Productions).  

Featuring an original VR artwork by Scobot, award winning VR artist.  Sound mix by ambisonic pioneer Giovanni Lion

 Editor: Zephyr  

Status: Completely shot, soundtrack and voice acting completed.  

Needed: budget for graphics, final edit, audio mixing and promotion.  

This video was meant to be an inhouse experiment, but due to time restrictions, is being used as an introduction to​ Lotus Mountain​. A proper 4K rough cut will be ready by SXSW, as well as a detailed booklet for press and distributors.  

The assistance and support of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Kandao were invaluable in the production of Lotus Mountain.

Stephen Black is an independent artist/producer/writer committed to finishing ​Lotus Mountain.

Starring John Cusack and the Spirit of Yosh Kawano

Next to me is Mari Goround, probably the only Asian in the audience. We’re in the balcony, the “cheap seats” that cost us a hundred and six bucks. We wish we’d bought drinks. And eaten. Below us are couples and groups of middle-aged Caucasians. Some pink hair, some green hair, some went-to-my-stylist-this afternoon-hair, grey hair, no hair.  To my right, a guy in a tee shirt that says: I can’t keep calm. I’m from Toledo.   

Soon, Grosse Pointe Blank will start. Afterwards, John Cusack, the movie's star and producer, will answer questions. We're hoping John will autograph a book called Ernie Banks, Home Run Slugger. It was the only Chicago Cubs book we could find. Only yesterday did we learn that John would be here.
My hands are still pale red; I just checked the backstage door again, hoping John would be there, and in a good mood. A long shot, I know. All I saw was
the Ohio Turnpike and an empty, long white bus in a parking lot full of nothing but dirty snow and black ice. The wind was freezing.

With that autographed book, Mari hopes to crowdfund a film about Yosh Kawano. Yosh took care of the Chicago Cubs for six decades.
Inside the Ernie Banks book is an envelope containing a paper describing Mari’s documentary idea. Four images on the paper:  Yosh’s famous white fishing hat, now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then, a baseball card of the 1958 Cubs, with a yellow circle around Yosh.  Next, Yosh’s smiling face in front of the American flag-- his obituary photo. The last photo: the Manzanar internment camp. Yosh was one of the over 100,000 Americans interned during World War II. Anyone 1/16th Japanese or more was given six days to pack and get on a train, with no destination given. Yosh was released early so he go fight in New Guinea and the Philippines. He won combat medals.

Grosse Point Blank ends and John, seated and wearing a black baseball cap, is answering questions. He’s talked about music, about politics, about the movie business. “They were open to ideas then... Like, we could talk about Dan Akroyd’s character wearing a woman’s Kabuki costume. Wild things like that. Now, committees plan everything. They film different endings and take surveys to decide who gets a happy ending or dies or falls in love or whatever. It’s discouraging. Great art can't be predicted.”

Next,  a woman approaches one of the mikes and suggests to John that he should marry her daughter. Then he’s asked about his most challenging role. “Max,” he answers. An attractive woman asks John if he’d like to meet her and her friends afterwards, in a karaoke bar. The moderator moves things on, points to a man at the mike on the other side of the room.

"John, what about the World Series? I'm a Cleveland fan ".

Even from here we see John’s eyes flash. “Biblical! Grampa Rossy got hit in the face with a ball, comes back with a solo homer! Seventeen minute rain delay before the tenth... it was like Moby Dick!” John starts describing the wild ups and downs of the " most greatest world series ever.” A baseball has 108 stitches. Last time the Cubs won the series was 108 years ago. Coincidence? I think not.”

Mari looks at me. Soon, we will sneak her into one of the lines of people who paid a hundred and twenty five dollars to be photographed next to John. I will then go outside, by the backstage door, and wait.

.............................................................

Hi , I am Stephen Black and I'd like to thank you for reading this.

First, Mari Goround is a fictional character. The idea of crowdfunding a movie about Yosh Kawano is a good one, but I do not know of anyone doing that.  I would be happy to develop the ideas above into a script. For now, I am hoping to write more, as well as develop my ideas about AR software and Augmented Reality movies. I'm also planning to be in Austin for the SXSW festival next month. If you can help keep the balls in the air, or just want to wear an attractive, unusual (and comfortable) tee shirt, click here. THANK YOU!

PS. The story above is was extracted from a longer version, half of which is posted here.

PSS I just discovered Ansel Adams photographed a baseball game at Manzanar! I do not know if Yosh was at Manzanar; I read a newspaper article that a family from Washington State was sent there. As Yosh was born in Washington, perhaps he was sent on a train down there also.


A ball hit a mask

A writing experiment/draft about John Cusack's recent visit to Toledo, my recent visit to Toledo, art, the entertainment industry, the Cubs and Indians World Series, my mom and dad, surrealism and stuff like that.

YOU ARE WELCOME TO READ THE FOLLOWING, BUT A MUCH SHORTER, FINISHED VERSION IS HERE.

............................................................................................................

“This is me breathing.”

A line from Grosse Point Blank


I have always been a bit rebellions.

The typo is big: black letters on a bright yellow background, shown on the movie screen above two empty chairs. The spelling mistake dissolves into a question:

In their family’s living room, the Cusack family once did a production of Cinderella. John played:

a. the evil stepmother

b. Cinderella  

c. the prince

d. the dog.

 Next to me is Mari Goround, probably the only Asian in the audience. We’re in the balcony, the “cheap seats” that cost us a hundred and six bucks. We wish we’d bought drinks. And eaten. Below us are couples and groups of middle-aged Caucasians. Some pink hair, some green hair, some went-to-my-stylist-this afternoon-hair, grey hair, no hair.

Soon, Grosse Pointe Blank will start and then John Cusack will answer questions. And then...

  In Mari’s  purse is a book called Ernie Banks, Home Run Slugger. In the envelope on my lap is an AR ONES tee shirt. Don’t ask me how, but before the night is over, John Cusack will sign her book and wear the shirt. We’ll take photos-- and then: internet here we come!

My hands are still cold; I returned five minutes ago. I went outside again, to the backstage door, hoping to catch John in a good mood. Unlikely that he would be there, I know. All that was there was a freezing, gusting Arctic front, black ice, a long white bus with no lights on and a few cars going east and west on the Ohio Turnpike. I rushed back in, past the no firearms sign on the doors, past the autographed High Fidelity merchandise  and the line of Midwesterners buying beers and little boxes of popcorn. Two guys were standing beside a guy in a wheelchair, all smiling as a woman in torn jeans photographed them in front of the Vet Tix poster.

  Once Mari gets that autographed book, she’ll be able to crowdfund a film about Yosh Kawano, a relative on her mother’s side. Yosh was one of the Cub’s living legends. He took care of the clubhouse, from before World War Two until he retired in 2009. He was interned in one of the camps, and then released so he could fight in the Philippines and New Guinea.He received medals.

  A photo of John wearing my AR ONES tee shirt will help me crowdfund the ARphabet Tour.

The shirt cost me thirty-two dollars and fifty cents at Franklin Park Mall. The last time I was in Toledo, I ate a salad there. It caused me a great inconvenience while I was driving home.

The tee shirt shop had a bunch of shirts with variations of the ‘carry on and remain calm’ meme: Keep calm and rub some bacon it, Keep calm and let me take a selfie, Keep calm and go away etc. I wanted the one that said: I can’t keep calm. I’m from Toledo.   

  We walked through JC Penney and out into the empty parking lots bordered with sad piles of grey snow. The wind was strong. The graffiti on the bus shelter benches was predictable. The warmth of the bus made us lightheaded. ‘Tom Dunn needs a kidney’ it said on a billboard. We saw a truck loaded with nine white cars. The traffic lights were softened by the snow flurries, and again and again I didn’t recognize new buildings. Secor Road, lined with Pizza Huts and Dollar Trees, seemed alien, like I was there for the first time. We passed the University of Toledo, which my grandfather worked on as part of the WPA. We passed one of the high schools I went to.

I know almost nothing about Grosse Point Blank. Something about an assassin coming back to his hometown of Grosse Point, a suburb of Detroit, to do a job and  go to his high school reunion, possibly with the girl he dumped on prom night. John Cusack is in it, of course, and so are Dan Akroyd and Minnie Driver.

Like the assassin, I have  returned to my hometown. Mari is here because John Cusack and I are here. John is here because his market is here. Backlot Productions arranged this; next month William Shatner will be here, because they’re screening Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

I’ve been in this theatre twice before, both times decades ago. The first time, there was a special offer at the Head Shed: spend twenty bucks or more and get a ticket for George Carlin. I bought Stage, a live Bowie cassette. The other time, I saw Kenny Loggins; I shouldn’t have.

  The lights finally go down. The credits start. The audience roars a little happiness that becomes louder when the bubbly perfection of Blister in the Sun starts. The opening scenes set the tone, or more accurately, the tones: film noir + comedy + thriller + boys with guns + high school romance teen flick. John’s sister Joan plays Marcella, his secretary. At one point Martin Q. Blank (John's character) looks at Marcella’s outfit and calls her Sergeant Pepper.

After the  bus lets us off across from The Blade, we walk towards the 31H, the bus that will bring  to the Stranahan. We stop in the bitter cold so I can photograph Mari in one of the dull parking lots, with the grey sky and nondescript buildings behind her. The wind swirls her long uncut hair above the cheap coat we bought in Shenzhen. Her eyes are watering and her nose is red. Beautiful, beautiful.

The 31H takes us past the High Level Bridge, the Maumee River, the Toledo Zoo, and then Monroe and Detroit, where Swayne Field used to be. My grampa, my dad, my mom and Hank the barber have told me stories about the area that is now a shopping plaza. Hank Aaron played there, Casey Stengel coached there. A bunch of guys my dad knew once had a few belts at one of the nearby bars; they ended up trying to have a picnic near right field until they got kicked out. Swayne Field is now a shopping plaza.

  I’m writing this section of Catching Cusack  in the house where my mother lives and my father was born. My father lives in another house. At this moment he is driving to a hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 40 miles from here, about 45 miles from Detroit.  Last night, while Mari and I were at the Cusack event, my mom was at a birthday party for a friend she’s known since first grade. Eighty years old. She made him a scrapbook filled with black and white and faded color photos, as well as cartoon illustrations of the greatest inventions of the past eight decades: bottled water, ATM, credit cards, TV dinners and microwave ovens. Right now, my mother is baking something with cinnamon in it.

Baking and dancing are my mom’s favorite things. I’ve gained weight: anyone would. In the past two weeks she’s baked dozens of heart-shaped sugar cookies, a carrot cake, a coffee cake, Irish soda bread, muffins; and cooked all kinds of things for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. For the ARphabet Tour, she made mango sticky rice.  

Last Sunday she told us about dancing at the Bavarian Club. Today, at lunch she told us about her volunteer work with the police, Swayne Field, the Tony Curtis movie she appeared in, and the ice cream store that used to be in front of the Babcock Dairy. Yesterday, for no specific reason, we found ourselves talking about death (as opposed to her finding a name in the obituaries.) Cremation or burial; she has crossed out and rewritten each word more than a few times.

I was in this room on the night of February 12, 1967. That was a Sunday night. My parents dropped me off here so they could go bowling. While my grandparents watched Lawrence Welk on the black and white TV, I sat at that table with crayons and paper. My grampa was sitting here, in the chair that’s now over there. (It was reupholstered by my mom.) My gramma was on the couch. They watched Lawrence Welk. At eight o’clock I came in, sprawled myself on the wheat colored carpet with wooden blocks. The Ed Sullivan show came on, and I didn’t understand it most of the time. But that night was something that seemed natural to me. Now, when I listen to it, I appreciate how revolutionary it was. That night, like millions of Americans, I watched a short video called Strawberry Fields Forever.

My grandparents had very loud conversations. When a car would drive by very fast, one would say, “Someone’s going to the  hospital.” Or, “Where’s that cowboy going?” In the summer my grampa would take me, sometimes my brother too, for a walk down to the store with a concrete floor. We’d buy orange pushups. Sometimes, my gramma made banana cream pie.There was always something good in the fridge.

The Latin name for the biggest tree in the backyard is Liriodendron, meaning ‘lily tree’. The day of the ice storm, the snow was crisp; it sounded like I was walking on a giant white potato chip. I looked up at that tulip tree and saw a few dried flowers, each coated with ice as clear as glass. The tree is very tall, maybe twice the height of the house. Everything, from the wild geometry of the thinnest branches to the trunk, was coated with ice, dangerously so. The wind or another raindrop might have broken a branch, ending my contemplation of tree and sky.

Grosse Point Blank, the John Cusack movie we are about to watch: I know almost nothing about it. Something about an assassin coming back to his hometown near Detroit to do a job and  go to a high school reunion, possibly with the girl he dumped on prom night. Dan Akroyd and Minnie Driver also star.

Like GPD’s assassin, I am returning to my hometown, Toledo. Mari is here because John Cusack and I are here. John is here because his market is here. Backlot Productions arranged this; next month William Shatner will be here, because they’re screening Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Four or five decades ago, there was a special offer at the Head Shed: spend twenty bucks or more and get a ticket to see George Carlin, here, at the Stranahan. I bought Stage, a live Bowie cassette. I sat down there, in the middle and to the right. The only other time I was here, I saw Kenny Loggins; I shouldn’t have.

  The lights finally go down. The credits start. The audience roars a little happiness that becomes louder when the bubbly perfection of Blister in the Sun starts. The opening scenes sets the tone, or more accurately, the tones: film noir + comedy + thriller + boys with guns + high school romance teen flick. John’s sister Joan plays Marcella, his secretary. At one point Martin Q. Blank (John's character) looks at Marcella’s outfit and calls her Sergeant Pepper.

BLAM BLAM BLAM … Grosse Point Blank has gun scenes, including a John Woo-ish blastathon between Blank and Felix La Poubelle (Benny "The Jet" Urquidez). The massive exchange of bullets takes place in the Ultimart that was built where the Blank home used to be. The Ultimart dies a fireball death, a victim of the old bomb in the microwave trick. This segment, and a few others are heavy handed, so much that the GPB’s tempo is lost, to the point where it feels like a running gag instead of a showcase of clarity, insights and daring. Instead of the richnesses of blacks and whites and reds, GPB’s palette is bubblegum and grey.

However, the  love that went into this movie is obvious. Minnie Driver is perfect; a captivating puzzle of emotions in nearly every scene. The “flying” scene in the bedroom, the simple cutting between the faces of Blank and a baby, and the father’s grave scene are classics. Its high ambitions and daring ideas would have benefited from a bit more polishing, but Grosse Pointe Blank is indeed, a gem.

more to come, of course...

Red Dot SAD (stories, art, digitalia 2002-2017)

Now is the time to talk about this book. Although this is value for the money, the hope was that readers would contact me, and I would then add more stories. In other words, this book was meant to bean experiment on Amazon: a cross between a subscription model and crowdfunding.

But I never did any marketing...

"Red Dot" refers to Singapore, SAD: Stories, Art, Digitalia.
For now, I will simply list the contents and see what happens. Write me, let me know what you think. Thanks.


I Ate Carrot Cake This Morning
My life is built upon a foundation of grated carrots, walnuts and lemon glaze.

Smoke and Mirrors
Long live the homemade satay cart of Tiong Bahru! (a chapter from the bestselling i ate tiong bahru)

Haikus
Five-seven-five, all night long.

Contact With Lightning
Frisbee and shock on the lawn of Fort Canning. A chapter from Contact With Shadow.

The Aloha of God
Hawaii, Vietnam, Selma and orchids. From Obama Search Words

Correspondence
You can’t make this up.

A Star is Born or Something
3how is rocknrollwritingperformanceart. We don’t explore anything. We laugh when it breaks.

A Story about the Armenian Alphabet, Vitamin Supplements and the Singapore National Library
All you need is love and Vitamin B. From Contact With Shadow

Your Super Restaurant (Hugh Howey Must D’yer Maker)
Connecting the spicy dots between the Father of Amish Sci-fi, self-publishing and a guy who’s angry at Stephen Colbert. 

I’m a Kway, You’re a Kway
A clueless American food artist and a legendary recipe for a 4000 year old auspicious Chinese pastry. What could go wrong?

How I Met Shigeru Miyamoto, the Man who created Mario and Donkey King
It was a dark and snowy night. Suddenly…

Notes on the Blue Flower
Mud, Concrete and Stars, Beauty and Hope (text written for an exhibition by Philipp Aldrup)

Mysticus fragrans: nutmeg
Charlotte Brontë reports on what really happened upon that fateful night at Fort Canning. A never before told story of Sir Raffles and Lady Sophia.
From Contact With Shadow

The Eye of Flesh
Rice seasonings: poetic and visionary. From Furikake

Happy as Larry
A chicchetti (little savoury snacks) tour with Carla Bonollo. One of the pieces written for SPOKEN, the virtual art exhibition created by Eugene Soh and SB.(www.gallery.sg)

The Music of Will Sun
Medication and meditations for broken bones and hearts. (A chapter from Bali Wave Ghost)

Self-portrait as an MPG
Do you think this is some kind of game?

Biff “Grayboox” Enum:Game Developer
Exclusive interview with the mastermind who behind the multi-platform megahit Powerfrog Troopers Revolution 6:the Croak Goes On.

Five Things I Learned on My First 360 “VR” shoot

ARIA/Stephen Black/Sayuri Okayama/ Background for Press, Bloggers and Podcasters

A

Currently bootstrapping, they have established a worldwide network of collaborators, and look forward to speaking with potential partners of any kind, including investors and VCs.

Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama aim to be the Pixar of location-based AR: original characters, stories and software.

Stephen’s “unicorn”, a separate AR project, can be discussed by appointment.

Stephen is a bestselling writer, has a degree in Photographic Illustration and is an established visual artist. As a producer, he has worked in theatre, butoh, music (3how) and network television (Fuji TV, Fox, CNN and Cartoon Network).

Sayuri has extensive research in the travel industry, and conducts research related to all aspects of the startup.                                      More biographical information at the end of this document.

The Bubiko Orwell Tour  2017/8    Stephen and Sayuri: digital nomads in SE Asia, planning AR/VR/MR, building a network, sourcing distinctive air-freightable food products, and researching food/culture. Attended Rise (“the largest and most exciting tech conference in Asia” – Forbes), HK Book Fair, Ani-Com and Games Expo HK, Supercharger Fintech Incubator Year in Review event (HK),Thailand Design Week and Amazon AWS events.

Participation: HK Food Hackathon, Ipoh Malaysia Tourism Rebranding campaign.

Presentations: Ipoh, Malaysia, Sasin School of Business (Bangkok), HK PolyU, Hong Kong MakerFaire, TechCrunch and Le Wagon (Shenzhen).

Alphabet Spikes is the book Stephen is writing about the tour.        www.blacksteps.tv/

The ARphabet Tour  2019                                        Now accepting bookings.

  www.blacksteps.tv/the-arphabet-tour-in-your-town-how-to-do-schedule-it/

Kabaq, leaders in the creation of AR food models

S Nizo mobile video editing


Maker space in Shenzhen

Producers of the Dundercats

Friends of the ARphabet Tour

Sponsorship opportunities: http://www.blacksteps.tv/eight-reasons-for-sponsoring-the-arphabet-tour/

Three separate components: AR, Books/Writing and the Mango Sticky Rice Experience

Beginning with ARIA@MIT, the 100 day tour now includes stops in Phoenix, at SXSW(Austin) and the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco), as well as NYC, Washington DC, and the Chicago/Detroit area.

AR component:

Powerpoint presentation, Q and A, ARKit/Unity game demo featuring Green Bean Boy and Bubiko Foodtour, by Dominique Wu and Michael Stragey

More information here

Books/Writing component:

Readings from Stephen Black’s book, including the bestselling i ate tiong bahru.

Workshops: custom designed; possible topics include self-publishing, Amazon strategies, writing techniques, plot structure and novels vs. screenplays.

Book titles:

the Agaricus Blazei Murrill Notebook (about a gourmet mushroom known for its anti-cancer properties),

Obama Search Words (fact-based fiction about Barack Obama),

Furikake (short stories, all connected with furikake, the Japanese rice topping)

I Ate Tiong Bahru (best seller about a historical area of Singapore),

Contact With Shadow (contemporary  romance novel featuring connections with colonial Singapore’s printing industry)

Bali Wave Ghost (novel; American reality TV star tries to make a fresh start in Bali)

Bubiko Foodtour in Shenzhen (food guide to China’s Silicon Valley)

Alphabet Spikes short stories and essays about the Bubiko Orwell Tour.

More information here.

The Mango Sticky Rice Experience:

A combination of deliciousness, AR, and food culture! Inspired by Bubiko Foodtour’s favorite food! Featuring real mangos, as well as an AR version of mango sticky rice created by Kabaq, the leaders in augmented reality food applications. More information here.

AR Characters:

Bubiko Foodtour (current model is a work in progress)

Bubiko is a little chef from Thailand. Her catchphrase is “aroi mak mak”, the Thai phrase for ‘very delicious’. Knowledgeable about all food, especially that of Southeast Asia, Bubiko is entertaining and informative.

On a technical level, Bubiko is a flagship for our other characters. We have plans to use SLAM and IoT to create cinematic, educational and entertaining table top experiences.

On a commercial level, Bubiko branding and merchandising possibilities are being explored, including, with a tablet manufacturer,  bundling Bubiko AR experiences and her favorite recipes.

The Bubiko Orwell Tour resulted in the discovery of numerous local, often organic, food products suitable for international food fans, as well as tea and coffee lovers. An area of exploration is a Bubiko brand/marketing channel.

Bubiko is a guest star in an ARkit/Unity game demo featuring Green Bean Boy.

Developer: Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studio, with Michael Stracey (veteran game developer, including Sponge Bob, Disney and X-Men)

Bubiko epublished a photo book about the food of Ipoh, Malaysia and is now working on a food guide to Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley. Bubiko Foodtour on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Bubiko's blog                                                          

Secret Donut World           

Created by Stephen Black and David Severn(UK/Japan), the Secret Donut World characters combine David’s wit with Stephen’s ideas on spatial computing. David is an internationally exhibited visual artist/painter and his work has been published in numerous Japanese magazines, children’s books and travel publications.

The Doughbots

Another Severn/Black collaboration,  the Doughbots will teach basic spelling and math skills in a fun and interactive way. (Designed for SLAM, spatial recording; with accompanying book).

The Dundercats

Adventurers in musical history as well as serious music instructors, the Dundercats are perfectly tuned for AR. Created by Aniela Chaudhuri, an accomplished violinist and instructor and Stuart Rankin, producer, former chief editor at CNN/Cartoon Network.

ARPHABET TOUR COMPLETE BREAKDOWN : www.blacksteps.tv      bubikofoodtour@gmail.com

Beach Road 360 movie
(featured at festivals in Singapore, Brisbane and Las Vegas)

SPOKEN virtual gallery created by Eugene Soh, curated by Stephen Black

ARphabet Tour: Readings and Writing Workshop

Hi! There will SOON be a new Indiegogo campaign for the ARphabet Tour.

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Writing Workshops

After years of writing and self-publishing books, including the best selling i ate tiong bahru, Stephen Black is ready to share what he has learned. His strengths include description, the musicality of words, how to use research invisibly and the relationship between length and structure. Also experienced with self-publishing; Stephen is prepared to do presentations and workshops on this topic. The workshops are geared to the level of those attending and questionnaires are used to determine this. 

Stephen Black has taught poetry performance (Poetry Slam) and 3D gamemaking in Singapore, and English/writing classes in Japan. In addition to writing classes inuniversity, he has studied with screenwriting legend Robert McKee, both in a public class, and in an invitation-only private class.

The workshops can be conducted online or in person; individually or in groups.

The topic of AR and books will be only briefly touched upon, unless requested otherwise.

Readings

With eight books and many published stories, Stephen Black's readings can be geared towards the nature of your event or organization. Obvious topics include Augmented Reality, the food and history of Southeast Asia, the Tiong Bahru area of Singapore, the pre-presidential life of Barack Obama, contemporary Bali as well as insights on being a digital nomad/startup founder/entrepreneur.

Video interviews and information on Stephen Black's books here.

A national bestseller in Singapore, now available on Amazon in ebook, softcover and audiobook formats


"Part stream of consciousness, part poetry, part historical research,it's a deeply personal yet wholly accessible journey... Along the way, Stephen uncovers Tiong Bahru's 1930s origins as Singapore's first public housing estate; immerses himself in its famous foods as he breakfasts on half-boiled eggs with kaya toast or dines on porridge, mee pok or yong tau foo, and reflects with some pain on astronomic price rises, a creeping loss of authenticity, and the fall of the area to yuppies,expats and the super-rich.
Cute as the presentation of this diminutive book may be, I'd like to see it in a larger format-- and perhaps illustrated with the kind of gritty yet dreamy photography that we saw in the same author's 'Bus Stopping' book a couple of years ago."
-Expat Living


"Unlike anything else I've read... funny quirks yet balances the political undertone perfectly. The book involves history, humor, culture and most importantly, food (or rather, taste)."
-Barrett Books (Thea's Books & Violins)

"Black's brief love-letter to his now former home is one of the best introductions to a country and a state of mind that you might read."
ArtReview Asia
a guitarist and a reader onstage
Stephen Black reads from Bali Wave Ghost, accompanied by Rizal Abdulhadi
black and white book covers

“Henry Miller is alive and well and living in Bali!”
-Diego Lopez, 
publisher of Nusa magazine/founder of Nusa surfwear
on Amazon
Obama Search Words by Stephen Black
Historical fiction about the pre-Presidential life of Barack Obama.
Alphabet Spikes. Fiction + digital nomad lifestyle+ Southeast Asian food: a journal and more.
photography as part of book cover design
On Amazon
Out of print. Agaricus blazei murill is a gourmet mushroom known for its cancer-fighting properties.
Bubiko Foodtour
A guide to the food of Shenzhen
Contact with Shadow available on unglue.it


“It’s a double pleasure to read this… First, there’s the joy of gleaning nuggets of knowledge about Singapore and the printed word hitherto unknown; and second, there’s the childlike wonder of never knowing what Stephen Black has in store for us on the next page.”
~ Ng Yi-Sheng
Playwright, recipient of the Singapore Literature Prize

There  Indiegogo campaign for the ARphabet Tour is here.

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

ARphabet Tour: the time is now.

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

This ARphabet Tour idea seems to be rushed! Why?

  1. I want to make/produce/write AR content as soon as possible. The 100 day tour is crucial for research and development. The time to make AR content  is now. Facebook and Apple are two of many major companies releasing AR smartglasses within the next 48 months. Those AR glasses will need content and experienced content makers. 
  2. Unexpectedly, I was invited to be a part of ARIA at MIT, on January 14.  Also unexpectedly, last December, I was invited to pitch to Venture Capitalists at TechCrunch Shenzhen. I had originally planned to finish another book, Alphabet Spikes at this time, then create a business plan for the AR startup. However, TechCrunch and ARIA are fantastic and humbling opportunities. I must build upon them. Now.
3
  1. I have been in Asia for a while and it has been good. But, I have missed my family and friends greatly. (Yes, this is really reason #1.)

4. I am now very familiar with Asia’s relationship with AR. I am aware of the medical and industrial uses of AR in America. As for AR and entertainment, I want to learn more about the consumer environment for my Pixar-like ideas (AR-centric original characters, stories and software), as well as build a network for them.

The same research and data is necessary for making a unicorn from a different idea.

discussing technology
Hong Kong MakerFaire 2018

5. 2019's fast.

6. Digital nomadism: again. Movement means flexibility, constantly meeting new people, checking the reality of existing and planned IT services (including 5G); and efficient scheduling. Results: all kinds of awareness, support networks and realistic plans.

7. By the time of SXSW and GDC in March 2019, there will be solid, new and improved plans and demos.

8. Bubiko says so!

Green Bean Boy and other AR characters
Stephen Black's 100 day tour of America. AR, books and mangos.


All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

ARphabet Tour: Indiegogo Introductory video notes

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Notes for the video introducing the ARphabet Tour on Indiegogo.

Location: Boulevard of Houqian Bei

Stephen Black standing in the heart of China's Silicon Valley, holding the 2018 laminated pamphlet of Bubiko Orwell Tour highlights.

Like this test: https://youtu.be/fM2Z6kr7mAs

Points to cover:

  • 2002: After years of working in art, photography and network TV (Cartoon Network, Fuji TV, Fox, CNN+) became creative director at 3D gamemaking company, WalkerAsia
  • Walker/Asia was also doing something like Youtube, three years before Youtube.
  • CEO's unexpected demise results in non-action, despite great interest by Singapore Ministry of Education, Singapore Science Center, publishers in Hong Kong and universities in Japan.
  • SB, son of a book salesman, decides to write books and wait for VR/AR/spatial computing to become mainstream. Inspirations: his father, a book salesman and the release of the Kindle, Amazon's pioneering ebook reader.

  • Visa complications result in what will become the Bubiko Orwell Tour of Southeast Asia. SB pivots from VR to AR.
  • AR cinema becomes the focus, starring the following characters: the Dundercats (collaboration with Six Cat Studio), Secret Donut World (collaboration with David Severn) and Bubiko Foodtour.
  • AR presentations/workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, a presentation at Le Wagon and pitches to VCs at TechCrunch.
  • An invitation to participate in ARIA at MIT  becomes the inspiration for the ARphabet Tour. Debuting at ARIA will be an ARKIT/Unity collaboration with Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studios, a game featuring Green Bean Boy and co-starring Bubiko Foodtour.
  • The ARphabet Tour will also be a platform for Stephen Black to do readings and writing workshops.
  • The ARphabet Tour also aims to educate people about mango sticky rice, Bubiko's favorite food.
  • Separate from this, briefly mention the unicorn concept which has a high degree of success regardless of the global economy or 5G take-up.

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black at HK PolyU.