Perhaps no other classical composer was as obsessed with good food and wine as Gioachino Rossini, who claimed he would only visit America if his close friend, legendary chef Antonin Carême, accompanied him. Because of his culinary devotion, many dishes are named "alla Rossini." One of the most decadent is Tournedos Rossini, a heart-stopping combination of beef filet, fois gras, butter, black truffle, and Madeira. In honor of Signor Crescendo's birthday on February 29, here is a recipe for that infamous dish. And while it’s cooking, how about some bel canto? [more inside]
Some 70s television programming for your Halloween viewing pleasure:
Next week, for the first time in 22 years, PBS will televise the four dramas of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle on consecutive nights - a rare opportunity to encounter in the manner intended "the most ambitious and most profound work of art ever created". [more inside]
Chuck Jones draws and discusses Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote and Pepe le Pew and Warner Bros. and the producer Eddie Selzer (MLYT) [more inside]
Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" arranged for 8 pianos - performed by Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Claude Frank, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, James Levine, Mikhail Pletnev, and Staffan Scheja. [more inside]
Have you heard about face yoga? [odd SLYT]
John Needham's 1988 documentary on the life and work of animation legend Tex Avery [part 1 2 3 4 5]. Some representative work, much of which is covered in the documentary: Porky's Duck Hunt (1937, first appearance of Daffy Duck) || A Wild Hare (1940, first appearance of Bugs Bunny) || Dumb-Hounded (1943, first appearance of Droopy) || Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) || Bad Luck Blackie (1949) || The House / Car / TV / Farm of Tomorrow (1949, 1951, 1953, 1954) || Symphony in Slang (1951) || I'm Cold (1954, Tex's first Chilly Willy)
Saturday morning cartoons were once a staple of American television, but by the year 2000 they had all but disappeared. Of course, the Internet never forgets. Case in point: Cartoon Network Video -- a free, searchable, ad-supported service that provides hundreds of full-length episodes of classic shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as current offerings and scads of shorter material. Too recent for you? Then give Kids WB Video a whirl -- it does the same thing with the same interface, but for older programs like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, Thundercats, and the original Space Ghost. If you're in the mood to learn (and don't mind some live-action), PBS Kids Video has educational fare such as Arthur, Wishbone, and Zoom. And don't forget about Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, The Magic Schoolbus and Schoolhouse Rock! Now if only we had some Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs...
Oh, mighty warrior 'twill be quite a task...Greg Allen reminds us what the mid-century phrase "kill the rabbit" is really all about.
Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue was an animated drug prevention television special starring many popular cartoon characters from American Saturday morning television. Airing in 1990 and financed by McDonald's, it was simulcast on all three major American television networks. The VHS home video edition of the special also opened with an introduction from then-President George Bush Snr and Barbara Bush. And thanks to the wonders of the interwebs, you can watch the whole thing here. And you really should. After all, where else are you going to get to hear cartoon characters like Garfield and Winnie the Pooh talking about smoking crack and shooting juice? [more inside]
Bugs Bunny, greatest banned baseball player ever. A close analysis of recently rediscovered historical footage makes it clear that the little-known Bugs Bunny would have been one of history's greatest baseball players, had MLB's notorious speciesism not prevented him from competing. [more inside]
Lepus Animatus, Canis Latrans Animatus. More pictures of cartoon skeleton sculptures at Hyungkoo Lee's site. The drawings. An essay about the pieces at Lee's site. Previous cartoon skeleton thread with a busted link.(working link)
The Censored Eleven [IMDB] is a group of Warner Brothers cartoons that have been withheld from syndication because of their racial stereotypes: Hittin' the Trail to Hallelujah Land (1931; info), Sunday Go to Meetin' Time (1936; info), Clean Pastures (1937; info), Uncle Tom's Bungalow (1937), Jungle Jitters (1938), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938), All This and Rabbit Stew (1941; info), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943; info), Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943; info), Angel Puss (1944), and Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears (1944). [more inside]
What's Opera, Doc? (YouTube, approx. 7 mins.) The opera-parodying Merrie Melodies cartoon, which some consider to be Chuck Jones' career masterpiece, turned 50 years old this week. The short is also known as "Kill The Wabbit" in reference to the line sung by Elmer Fudd to the tune of "Ride Of The Valkyries," which is just one of many Wagner references in the piece.
What does one wear to Ride the Valkyries? A silk dress? Something with "richness of the material, width, ruches, flounces, bustles, ribbons ..."? Apparently Richard Wagner, the neckbearded, anti-Semetic, hero to Adolph Hitler may have had a little skin problem. Or maybe a fetish. Or both. Either way, he did so like the feel of satin against his skin. Perhaps Wagner should have gone with thevelvet. In any case, this news will make Fritz Freleng appear even more brilliant for having cross-dressed Bugs Bunny in the 1945 cartoon Herr Meets Hare (where Bugs appears as a Wagnerian heroine dancing with Hermann Goering).
Back in the dark days of World War II, the man who would become Dr. Seuss was in the business of military propaganda . One of the characters he created was Private Snafu. Private Snafu was an animated depiction of a bumbling soldier in military training films, whose voice sounded suspiciously close to Bugs Bunny's. Warner Bros. animation studios produced the cartoons with the talents of Mel Blanc, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett. Private Snafu has been discussed here previously but now you can watch some of the original cartoons on youtube and download them here! (unfortunately, I am still unable to locate the awesomely-titled "Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike")
Th-th-th-that's all, bitches. [YouTubeFilter] The Hunter gets his lyrical comeuppance from MC B. Rabbit in a freestyle bout on Robot Chicken, which is apparently a television show of some kind. Via Jaime Weinman, one of the half-dozen or so best TV/film writers on the Web, especially for fans of old cartoons.
Buzzed Bunny -- XTreem! A Flash cartoon about the hip new look for Bugs Bunny. Warning -- contains lots of harsh language, mostly bleeped out.
"What we're doing is taking Bugs Bunny, a classic, and changing him for the kids – making him fresh, cool and hip." By fresh, they mean he will be a martial arts expert. By cool, they mean from the future. By hip? Laser eyes.
[Re: merchandising] "That's the ultimate goal of all kids programming, if we score, it's a gold mine."