The history of paper engineering in books, or the making of "pop-up books" didn't start as a way to entertain children, but in the search for more tools to educate adults, including some proto-computers from as early as the 13th century. Let Ellen G. K. Rubin, known also as The Popup Lady, regale and inform you at length, in either the form of a 50 minute presentation for the Smithsonian Libraries, or read through her website, where she has a timeline of movable books and see the glossary for definitions of the different movements as starting points. Or you can browse the Smithsonian's digital exhibition (the physical exhibition ended a few years ago). And of course, there's plenty more online. [more inside]
It's a lot of work defending the title of manliest man in town. There are the stubborn children who don't concede when they've lost a verbal bout, and that time a tricky eleven-year old girl who bested you at arm wrestling. But every now and again, Gaston gets the chance to shine. After all, he has biceps to spare.
An entire day in Disneyland, compressed to 90 seconds using composites of over 20,000 images taken in time-lapse. Kind of amazing day to night transitions, immense crowds, and nice slow pans across the landscapes show a familiar place in a whole new light.
"Disney's Haunted Mansion has a devoted fan following. I get it. It's a classic attraction packed with beautiful artwork, memorable and creepy characters, and grand rooms with tons to look at. Even though I've gone on the ride dozens of times at Disneyland, I still come across new things. The ride is deserving of piles of fan art so I've gathered not quite 999 spooktacular examples from around the web. From Ghost Hosts, to Hitchhiking Ghosts, to Madame Leota – it's all right here. Ignore the hot and cold running chills and browse the below gallery." [more inside]
Model Sheets is a Twitter feed where someone is collecting model sheets from all kinds of cartoons, including South Park, classic Warner Bros. and Disney, Don Bluth, cable cartoons, old saturday morning stuff, and anime.
A year on, y'all may be sick to death of Frozen and new versions of Let it Go, but surely there's room for the Welsh version as translated and sung by the 14 year old Rebekah West? Bonus: sing along version with lyrics.
"Today, most American adults can call up some memory of sex ed in their school, whether it was watching corny menstruation movies or seeing their school nurse demonstrate putting a condom on a banana. The movies, in particular, tend to stick in our minds. Screening films at school to teach kids how babies are made has always been a touchy issue, particularly for people who fear such knowledge will steer their children toward sexual behavior. But sex education actually has its roots in moralizing: American sex-ed films emerged from concerns that social morals and the family structure were breaking down." — Slut-Shaming, Eugenics, and Donald Duck: The Scandalous History of Sex-Ed Movies
A long-form essay from The Toast (of which you may have read) about life and grieving and gentleness and joy and ... look, just read it: No Matter How Your Heart Is Grieving: Disney for the Sad
Neil Gaiman: Why Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't work (Gaby Wood for The Guardian):
"I feel like some kind of alchemist," Gaiman suggests. "I have to go to the cupboard and take one ounce of Snow White and two ounces of Sleeping Beauty, and heat the Sleeping Beauty and froth the Snow White and mix them together: it's kind of like fusion cuisine. It tastes like both of them but it's actually a new dish."
Are fairy tales back in fashion? Certainly, the recent success of Disney's films Frozen and Maleficent seems to point to something. But most of the fairy tales we know have come to us via 17th century France or 19th century Germany, and have since been subject to so many retellings and rebellions that trends are difficult to map.
Grantland: "This is the Animated Movie Sadness Index. It’s very simple, though perhaps easy to get confused by. This is not a ranking of sad moments from animated movies. For example: Charlotte dying in Charlotte’s Web was a sad moment. But Charlotte wasn’t a sad character, nor was Wilbur, so they aren’t here. Because this Sadness Index charts characters with sad backstories — tragic figures with dark histories, who endure the most awful of circumstances."
An offbeat & off-key remix of "Let it Go" as performed by Emily Mandelbaum, age 8. NSFW.
Tonight on Disney channels around the world, Star Wars returns to the small screen with the premier of Rebels! Set only a few years before a protocol droid and R2 unit entered the lives of a moisture farmer, Luke Skywalker, the show follows the adventures of a nascent band of rebels in a galaxy heavily influenced by acclaimed Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie and a production intent on recreating the original Star Wars experience. Previously. [more inside]
The Disney Food Blog offers in-depth news, reviews, and information about food and restaurants in Disney’s parks, resorts, and cruise ships, along with reviews and photographs of and about anything food-related in Disney parks, resorts, movies, and events. Disney food FAQs. Disney food news.
Geeky women's clothing company Her Universe teamed up with Hot Topic and Nerdist to present a fandom couture competition and fashion show. Here are some highlights. [more inside]
Kat Chow, with NPR's Code Switch, put together a short piece on the history and the prevalence of the well-known nine note "stereotypical Asian theme." As described in a 2005 Straight Dope forum question: You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's "China Girl." [more inside]
Since at least the late 1950s, Walt Disney Studios had a morgue on site (auto-playing music, with option to pause), but rather than a place to temporarily keep dead bodies, the name is a reference to "morgue files" kept by newspaper reporters, where old materials were kept for reference. In 1989, the archives moved to larger, more modern facilities, renamed the Animation Research Library (ARL), a 12,000 square foot housed in a nondescript structure, which guests are required to not describe or identify by location or even neighborhood, as noted in this Telegraph article, The Jungle Book: the making of Disney's most troubled film. Given the limited access and strict controls over what can be recorded in ARL, Ultimate Disney's 2006 tour write-ups with photos and D23's Armchair Archivist interview with select Disney staff may be the closest you can get to getting inside. [more inside]
So if Thor is a woman now, and Marvel is a Disney subsidiary, does that make her a Disney Princess? For Tor.com, historian and geek Ada Palmer answers this joke question seriously and thoroughly while using it as a springboard to look at what makes a Disney Princess and what it says about us.
Somewhere on the internet Barbie, Elsa, and Anna are BFFs. Disneycartoys is a mashup of doll, action figure, and play-doh "unboxing" videos which often break out of the unboxing genre and evolve into full-on crossfic narratives, featuring Barbie, the Disney princesses, and occasionally an effeminate Spiderman.
Best Selling author Douglas Preston, along with 907 other authors, signed a letter that ran as a double full-page ad in yesterday’s print edition of the New York Times, asking Amazon to stop blocking or delaying the sale of books on their site as a tactic to lower the e-book prices that Amazon is charged by the publisher Hachette.* The three month dispute between Hachette and Amazon previously prompted a response by Amazon’s self-published authors and readers, but it took an odd turn Saturday night when Amazon posted this letter on a site called ReadersUnited.com, after sending it as an email to all of its Kindle Direct Publishing authors. In that letter they include Hachette’s CEO’s email, and have asked their KDP authors to write to Hachette’s CEO telling him what they think about cheaper ebooks. [more inside]
Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins is an animated children's show about 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins, who wants to be a doctor like her mother, and pretends to be a doctor to her toys. Doc McStuffins has done well as a TV show, but it's as a doll that Doc's success has been stratospheric, with over $500 million in sales last year. “'When little white girls embrace Doc McStuffins, for them Doc McStuffins is a girl, and Doc McStuffins is powerful,' Dr. [Margaret Beale] Spencer said. 'For a little black girl, it may be all of those things, but also that she’s black.'”
"I mean, seriously we're adorable. How could we have a blog that didn't feature us up front and center? ;)" Meet Adam and Andrew. They blog about the aesthetics of Disney. Those little details that are found in all aspects of Disney parks (and related materials): bathroom signs, murals (bathrooms again), vintage Dumbo book illustrations, Epcot's UK (part of their Shake to Randomize series), Theming At Animal Kingdom's Serka Zong Bazaar, and Six Things I DON'T Hate About The Italy Pavilion At Epcot. (In fact The whole month of June 2012 is a treasure.) There's also a podcast.
What do vintage ads for Beech-Nut, Q-Tips, and Eskimo Pie have in common with some of the earliest depictions of multiethnic babies in children's books? They were all the work of pioneering illustrator Gyo Fujikawa. [more inside]
In March 2012, legendary animator Glen Keane sent out a letter to his colleagues at Walt Disney Animation Studios that outlined his resignation from the House of Mouse, where he'd worked for over 38 years on beloved Disney characters like Ariel, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and the Beast. His departure left many Disney fans wondering what was going to happen to the great master, whom many believe is one of the greatest character animators alive today, and for a while it seemed that his retirement might be permanent. Last week, however, Keane debuted his first hand-drawn animated short, Duet, which he produced with Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group in San Francisco. As you might expect, it's an absolutely breathtaking artistic and technical achievement. And it hasn't even been released in its final interactive mobile format yet. [more inside]
The problem with false feminism: "My friends have asked for it and I feel like the internet needs it, so I’m going to go through, point-by-point and in no particular order, the top handful of reasons people have given for thinking Frozen is a feminist triumph, and I’m going to debunk them all." [more inside]
In a suprise move, a "bombshell" even, Disney and Lucasfilms have announced that Rian Johnson will write and direct the next two films in the Star Wars franchise, Episodes VIII and IX, taking the reins from JJ Abrams after Episode VII. Copious previously. Johnson has previously directed Brick, Looper, and three episodes of Breaking Bad. Johnson responded thusly on Twitter.
Hansel and Gretel is a 34 minute television special directed by Tim Burton for The Disney Channel in 1982. Brimming with practical effects and long thought to be lost, the film has recently resurfaced via a recording made from its single broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on October 31, 1983. [more inside]
DisneyToon Studios is best known for their spin-offs of Walt Disney Animation Studios films, like the Tinker Bell and Planes series, or the execrable string of direct-to-video sequels to Disney movies released from the mid-nineties to mid-2000's. But around 2005, they had a different spin-off in development: an epic, dark prequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The Egyptian singer Nesma Mahgoub, in the song’s chorus, sings, “Discharge thy secret! I shall not bear the torment!” and “I dread not all that shall be said! Discharge the storm clouds! The snow instigateth not lugubriosity within me…” From one song to the next, there isn’t a declensional ending dropped or an antique expression avoided, whether it is sung by a dancing snowman or a choir of forest trolls. The Arabic of “Frozen” is frozen in time, as “localized” to contemporary Middle Eastern youth culture as Latin quatrains in French rap.So Disney used to translate its movies into Egyptian Arabic but recently switched to Modern Standard Arabic, which is somewhat more formal.
"No, I took her voice for two simple reasons—she was a twit and she was in love. I took one look at her and knew that she’d spill everything she knew in the pretty human boy’s ear, and then where would we be?" - The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight by Ursula Vernon.
"Can you imagine that within six years of getting his MBA he was CFO of Disney?" Please appreciate the thorough reporting on a seedy topic.
Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation. "On Your Mark" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades. The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
In the mid-1940s, surrealist artist Salvador Dali began collaborating with Walt Disney on a short film. The idea was fully storyboarded and an 18 second test animation was completed by Disney animator John Hench. Soon after, the idea was shelved due to a changing of focus with Disney Feature Animation. Almost 60 years later, Walt's nephew Roy E. Disney (with consultation from the now 95-year old Hench) spearheaded an effort to finish the film. In 2003, the finished product, "Destino", premiered. [more inside]
So, in writing about Elsa, from Frozen, as having an iconic value in an emerging canon of a new trans creative mythology, of course I’m not saying that’s what Disney intended. What interests me is not the official image, but how the image gets ported into a kind of dynamic sensation of sympathy within a collective group. The number of trans women who told me — “I never liked princesses, but I get Elsa.” What are we all detecting in her at such a shared resonance?Imaging Frozen's Elsa as a trans symbol. (trans 101)
Like most people, my first thoughts upon hearing about Disney's EDM remix album "DCONSTRUCTED" was: "Oh dear God. This cannot end well."
Melissa May-Dunn is a performance poet who dropped out of divinity school. A successful gofundme campaign sent her to this year's Women of the World Poetry Slam, where she placed seventh out of 72 with a tribute to a Disney villain, Dear Ursula. [more inside]
"To Celebrate the Phenomenal Music of Disney's Frozen, Cast Members took to the Stage to Treat a Small Audience to a Live Performance." Kristen Bell took it one step further, by performing her song, Do You Want to Build a Snowman with each stanza done as the main character Anna at a different age.
"I seriously believed that someone with too much time on their hands had photomanipulated some screenshots of Rapunzel and tried to pass them off as the official Frozen designs. After all, there was no way that a major animation studio like Disney would knowingly, willfully produce three princesses with the Exact Same Face." -- Why do the Frozen heroines Anna and Elsa have the same face, a face they share with Rapunzel?
At three, Ron Suskind's son, Owen, was diagnosed with regressive autism and all but lost his speech. A year later, watching Disney's The Little Mermaid, Owen's parents heard him speak again. Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney. (SLNYTimes Magazine, with video) [more inside]
The Very Merry Un-Gangs of Disneyland These social clubs are a new generation of hardcore Disney fans, powered by Instagram and Facebook and made up of grandparents in their 60s, as well as teens and toddlers plodding along beside their parents. Only 10 years ago, their style—tattooed and plugged—would have banned them from the parks and made them outcasts among Disney fans. But now, with tolerance, if not approval, from the Mouse, the social clubs have found a playground to call their own.
"It's an epic Urban Fantasy, a sci-fi thriller set Twenty Minutes into the Future, and a gritty crime-drama. And a tribute to William Shakespeare, where Puck, Oberon, Titania, and the Weird Sisters have prominent roles, and Macbeth kicks ass in a trenchcoat with a laser gun."Plus, Star Trek alums lend their voices to many regular characters and guest stars. On the eve of its 20th anniversary, Gargoyles is now being offered legally on YouTube by Disney. [more inside]
Lilo & Stitch is an odd movie to come from Disney for a number of reasons: a rare work based on an original story, set in a realistic version of the "island paradise" of Hawaii, focusing on strong female characters who have a realistic/varied bodyshapes. For more insight into the making of the "affordable" Disney film, here's Lilo & Stitch revisited, Part I, interviewing the creators Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, and Part II, featuring master animator Andreas Deja. For a taste of the animation, here are four teaser clips of Stitch invading other Disney films, the official full version of the Lion King interrupted trailer, and making of Lilo & Stitch short docu-clip.
Eric Proctor, aka Tsaoshin, draws cute monsters, dragons, Disney characters and Grumpy Cats. The last two merge in a short series of images he calls Grumpy Disney, with the various Disney characters (mostly princesses) replaced with Grumpy Cats doing suitably Grumpy Cat things.