Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 19:19:57 -0400 (EDT) From: Larry Moss <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Balloon Twister List <email@example.com> Subject: reviews: Balloon Man videos Videos covered in this review: (all tapes are roughly 60 minutes) Some Assembly Required Vol 4 - Beasts and Bugs Some Assembly Required Vol 5 - Gray and Brown Good Buddies Christ on the Cross and the Tree of Knowledge - 2 tape set. All tapes created by John Holmes aka John the Balloon Man of Dallas, TX Further details can be found at http://www.fooledya.com/balloon/sponsor/jholmes.html or directly from John at firstname.lastname@example.org --- John Holmes, one of the most creative balloon artists I've encountered, seems to produce videos faster than I can review them. As each comes out, he quickly sends off an e-mail message informing me that I'll be receiving the next one in the mail soon. Unfortunately, there's always a delay in my response. The problem stems from the fact that, as much as I like reviewing new material, I've had a problem with reviewing John's stuff. He's had an equally difficult time reading my reviews. I always find something in each of his new releases that I use. I make sure to include my favorite parts in the write-up. John still waits in anticipation for a glowing review. Both of us know that due to a difference in tastes, that glowing review isn't likely. Although, in this case, I know something John doesn't. He's going to be pleasantly surprised as he reads this. No one wants to write negative reviews. So, I promised John that I'd let him go on the things I've complained about in the past. If you want my detailed opinion on the quality of the taping (video and sound) read my past reviews of his stuff. I do think it's important, but I have nothing new to say on the issue. Based on the volume of tapes he sells, I guess most people would call me overly critical about that. I'll accept that. When it comes to the quality of the material John teaches on each tape, he only improves. In the recent tapes, John has taken to adding little bits that aren't really finished sculptures but pieces to use in constructing larger figures. An example of this is his cow skull. It looks neat by itself, but it doesn't have anywhere near the complexity of many of his figures. And that's what I needed to start me off creating a vast new collection of things using a similar premise. Borrowing ideas from other people, he showed a method of making a car and a pelican. These ideas also did a lot more for me than the "featured characters" he demonstrates. Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to ignore his cartoon look-alikes. Most of his cartoony critters do look like famous cartoon characters. In fact, more so than most of the cartoon replicas I've seen by other artists. I give him a lot of credit for that and I always enjoy seeing how he creates things. I just like being given new ideas to construct things on my own than to have step by step instructions for something big. Whether you're like me and want ideas and new twists, or you prefer full cartoon figures, John makes the information available on both "Beasts and Bugs" and "Gray and Brown Good Buddies". I definitely gained ideas from both of these tapes that I have already started using. Despite my pledge to focus on the stuff I like, there is one negative comment I've made in the past that I'm going to repeat here. I have good reason for doing it, so please bare with me. If John could convince me that he enjoyed balloons as much as his religion, I'd be thrilled. I've always been bothered by the fact that all of his instructional balloon videos have to make references to Christianity and his beliefs. That has nothing to do with his beliefs differing from mine. I just find them to be out of place and therefore it doesn't sit right with me. He's well aware of my dislike of this, so he actually asked my permission before mailing me a copy of his religious tapes. Here's the surprise I have for John. Of all of his tapes so far, I was most impressed by his "Christ on the Cross" tape. I have to admit, it was very difficult for me to take out of the box and put in the VCR. I really didn't want to watch it. I don't like other people pushing their religious beliefs on me. I'll never have a reason to make that sculpture. But, when watching this, I could see John was doing what he enjoyed most. He wasn't pushing his religion. He was making something that was important to him. Because it's so important to him, the detail he includes here is fantastic. It doesn't matter if you're like me and will never make this sculpture. The human form he creates is outstanding. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning to make human figures out of 260's. There isn't anything other than the one figure on this tape. There doesn't need to be. The figure is that detailed that it takes that long to explain. I meant what I said earlier. With each new tape, John gets better at providing ideas that I find usable. Our differing tastes aside, I have to recommend these videos for anyone that's tired of the old stuff they do and are looking for fresh ideas.