"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer.
" This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything
from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson
, and Animaniacs
). You can read the rest of Scott's letter
, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Sep 12, 2013 -
For the duration of the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF has posted the short films they're screening this year on Youtube. You can watch them all
, but if you only watch one, check out Noah
, which is not safe for work and which I thought was pretty great.
posted by dobbs
on Sep 11, 2013 -
to the "Robocop" remake was released yesterday, and as expected there was a lot of grumbling from fans. There is one significant change
that the film shares with another recent remake of a brutal action film ("Total Recall"): The switch from an "R" rating to a "PG-13". Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the "PG-13" rating, so it's worth considering (especially for those of us whose memories go back that far) what the rating has wrought
in cinema (previously
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI
on Sep 6, 2013 -
Painters on Painting
- 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive
on Sep 2, 2013 -
“One day, we looked around and realized that almost no one is making tokusatsu anymore,” said Shinji Higuchi, one of a handful of Japanese directors who still have experience in the genre, having directed three movies in the 1990s featuring the giant fire-breathing turtle Gamera. “We don’t want this technique to just quietly disappear without at least recognizing how indebted we are to it.”
- The last days of the rubber-suit monsters.
posted by Artw
on Sep 2, 2013 -
Network of Blood
: "Videodrome’s depiction of techno-body synthesis is, to be sure, intense; Cronenberg has the unusual talent of making violent, disgusting, and erotic things seem even more so. The technology is veiny and lubed. It breaths and moans; after watching the film, I want to cut my phone open just to see if it will bleed. Fittingly, the film was originally titled 'Network of Blood,' which is precisely how we should understand social media, as a technology not just of wires and circuits, but of bodies and politics. There’s nothing anti-human about technology: the smartphone that you rub and take to bed is a technology of flesh." Nathan Jurgenson
writes about Videodrome
) as a way of understanding our present social media technologies for Omni Magazine
posted by codacorolla
on Aug 26, 2013 -
Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.
- I hate Strong Female Characters.
posted by Artw
on Aug 15, 2013 -
"The restless protagonists of these films never have wake up to the reality that crop-dusters simply can't fly faster than sleek racing aircraft. Instead, it's the naysaying authority figures who need to be enlightened about the importance of never giving up on your dreams, no matter how irrational, improbable, or disruptive to the larger community." (Atlantic
posted by forza
on Aug 13, 2013 -
It all started with a mirror in the Casbah
. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style
, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto
(auto-playing music). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Aug 11, 2013 -
By employing directors with backgrounds in drama, the studios hope action-heavy films will be infused with greater depth. The catch, however, is that drama directors are usually inexperienced at, and thus incapable of, properly handling [the] material that is the film's main selling point .... "The Wolverine" is the latest example of this burgeoning trend. To name just a few examples from the past couple of years, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (dir: Gavin Hood), "Quantum of Solace" (dir: Mark Forster), "Skyfall" (dir: Sam Mendes) ... were all brought to the screen by filmmakers whose careers were predicated on dramas or comedies, not action. That fad remains in full effect this summer .... While no studio exec would dare hand over an Oscar-hopeful drama to Michael Bay, the opposite model—Hey, Marc Forster directed "Finding Neverland," so he's obviously the ideal candidate for a Bond film!—now reigns supreme.
Nick Schager writes about action films helmed by a director who is not an action director.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on Aug 10, 2013 -
Matte Shot - A Tribute to Golden Era Special FX ...the inventiveness and ingenuity of the craft of the matte painter during Hollywood's Golden Era. Some of the shots will amaze in their grandeur and epic quality while others will surprise in their 'invisibility' to even the sophisticated viewer. I hope this collection will serve as an appreciation of the artform and both casual visitors and those with a specialist interest may benefit, enjoy and be amazed at skills largely unknown today.
posted by cenoxo
on Aug 10, 2013 -
This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it.
I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Aug 9, 2013 -