The upcoming transfer of power in the United States will be a time with much pomp and music, with people singing along to "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America," but "Hail to the Chief" remains instrumental, even though there are lyrics, as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle. And if we sang those lyrics, we'd be missing its origin as a song to celebrate Roderick Dhu, or Black Roderick, a fictional medieval Scottish outlaw, which was re-written a number of times before becoming the song that Julia Tyler, wife of President John Tyler, requested for presidential entrances. [more inside]
In N.K. Jemisin's "The Evaluators: To Trade With Aliens, You Must Adapt," an extrasolar investigative team has disappeared, but the United Communities of Earth wants to go forward with a trade agreement. This short story is a part of Wired's first ever issue dedicated to science fiction.
Vampirism — piercing or cutting animal skin to suck or lap up blood — is known throughout the animal kingdom. Mosquitoes come to mind, plus ticks, mites, vampire bats, and the vampire finch of the Galapagos Islands. But … vampire moths? Wait, let's take a step back, did you say the vampire finch of the Galapagos Islands? Yes. They're a subspecies of the sharp-beaked ground finch that outnumber every other finch species on all of the islands combined. While they don't seem to bother the adult Boobies whose blood they drink, they may be fatal to chicks* and even crack open eggs. Right, what of those vampire moths? [more inside]
The bizarre rise and fall and resurgence of tiki bars and cocktails is an interesting history that starts with two men, Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron, who traveled to the South Pacific and brought back some "island culture" to the United States with them in the 1930s, continuing on with the craze really booming after WWII vets returned from tours overseas. With the ebbs and flows of popularity, the cultural appropriation in "Tiki culture" has often been overlooked, as to the Māori mythology and meaning behind Tiki carvings and imagery and Hawiian culture of leis and luaus. Let's talk Tiki bars: harmless fun or exploitation. [Soundtrack: Les Baxter's Ritual Of The Savage ( 1951) and Martin Denny's Exotica (1957)] [more inside]
Among the lesser-known post-Milne works involving Winnie the Pooh is Disney's syndicated comic strip, running from '78 to '88 (following all but one of the theatrical featurettes, preceding the first animated series and beginning before the live-action Welcome to Pooh Corner). It is most well known for its characterizations, as seen in a series of examples aptly named Poohdickery. You can read much more of the comic starting here (earliest comic in archive with working image). And apropos of this post about online Russian movies, the beloved and brilliant Soviet adaptation, Vinni Puh (One, Two, Three Part 1, Three Part 2) (Wikipedia: One, Two, Three).
As part of the fanworks exchange "A Holmesian Solstice", fanvidder sanguinity made "Something Good (Will Come From That)" (video, 3min16sec), covering "One hundred years of moving pictures about Holmes and Watson." The fifty-four video sources used include Sherlock Holmes stories from several countries, including India, Russia, China, South Korea. The vidder's commentary discusses noticeable changes in cinematography over the past century, how those changes make Holmes and Watson more or less "shippy", re-gendered and chromatic retellings, and contemporary settings versus the "It's always 1895" conceit.
Some of you may already be aware that the looooooong gestating miniseries based on Stephen King's "Dark Tower" books has finally begun filming (previously) with MeFi favorite Idris Elba in the lead role of Roland (Pictures have already been taken of him on set). As with any beloved piece of literature, fans have their reservations about what changes may occur from the original text. But as any Dark Tower fan will tell you, this is no ordinary book series. And it looks like Stephen King is hinting that the miniseries will follow in kind (Spoilers ahoy).
Cats, the popular musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber (based on the poetry of T.S. Eliot), will be adapted as a movie, to be directed by Tom Hooper. Noted for its longevity, Cats ran continuously on Broadway for 18 years, and on London's West End for 21 years. The show will return to Broadway in August, after a 16-year hiatus. Mee wow!
Hobbes and Me: an obviously unauthorized, yet surprisingly true-to-the-original, live-action Calvin and Hobbes by Rafael Casal and featuring Daveed Diggs.
The (Mostly) Tragic History Of Video Game Adaptations. He watches them so we don't have to: Sep Gohardani looks back over the ignominious history of the video game adaptation. [more inside]
‘2666,’ a Most Difficult Novel, Takes the Stage [The New York Times]
“2666,” the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño’s darkly enigmatic, wildly digressive, sometimes densely philosophical and above all extremely long final novel, has awed, mesmerized, baffled and exasperated readers around the world since its posthumous publication in 2004. “It would take 45 minutes just to explain what the novel is about,” Mr. Falls, the longtime artistic director of the Goodman Theater here, said on a recent afternoon. But that hasn’t stopped him from turning it into a five-hour stage adaptation that begins performances on Saturday, Feb. 6, the culmination of what he describes as a nearly decade-long effort to wrestle Mr. Bolaño’s baggy monster to the theatrical ground.Previously.
A new adaptation of Anne of Green Gables is in the works. Not everybody is convinced this is a great idea. Megan Follows's Anne Shirley will be hard to top—she had the part nailed from the time she auditioned.
Indie auteur Richard Linklater pleasantly surprised audiences with his charming 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which a struggling musician (High Fidelity co-star and Tenacious D frontman Jack Black) hijacks a 4th grade prep school class and inspires them to become a killer rock band. Buoyed by likeable characters, a great soundtrack, remarkably talented kid musicians, and Black's lengthy, irrepressible, almost improvisational classroom scenes, the film earned rave reviews and inspired scads of copycat programs around the world (as featured in the '05 documentary and reality series Rock School). But while the cast kicked ass at their ten-year reunion concert in 2013, plans for a sequel fell through. Everyone loves an encore, though. And so this weekend saw the Broadway debut of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical starring Alex Brightman, with a TV adaptation to air on Nickelodeon next year. Because there's no way you can stop... the School of Rock. [more inside]
The "SyFy" network has released the first episode of their space noir television adaptation of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse novels on YouTube: "Dulcinea." (region-restricted to US viewers only -- contains a scene that may be NSFW) [more inside]
Pixar's new film, The Good Dinosaur, is the second animated dinosaur film to come out in time for Thanksgiving. The previous one came out 22 years ago, with executive producer credits for Steven Spielberg and a whole host of stars lending their voices to the film, telling the story of dinosaurs coming to New York City. And it bombed. Let's go back in time and look at We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. [more inside]
The film Alien Nation was a hit in 1988, so the fledgling Fox Network figured building off its success with a human-alien buddy cop show was a can’t-miss concept.... [more inside]
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Launches Three-Year Shakespeare Translation Commissioning Project [Oregon Shakespeare Festival]
OSF is commissioning 36 playwrights and pairing them with dramaturgs to translate 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare into contemporary modern English between now and December 31, 2018. By seeking out a diverse set of playwrights (more than half writers of color and more than half women), we hope to bring fresh voices and perspectives to the rigorous work of translation. Play on![more inside]
"'I was reading an article in the Radio Times the other day,' says Andrew Davies. 'The journalist was asking, "Why have all these classic serials got to be about the male lead getting his kit off?" And I thought, 'Hey! I started that!'" - Pride and Prejudice at 20: The scene that changed everything, by Nicholas Barber for BBC Culture. [more inside]
The Jungle Book [YouTube] [Trailer] First trailer for Jon Favreau's live-action Disney adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book'. Cast includes Scarlett Johansson as 'Kaa', Bill Murray as 'Baloo', Ben Kingsley as 'Bagheera', Idris Elba as 'Shere Khan', Lupita Nyong'o as 'Raksha', Christopher Walken as 'King Louie', and Neel Sethi as 'Mowgli'.
Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.”Franz Kafka's Before the Law, animated as a pinscreen prologue to Orson Welles' film adaptation of Kafka's The Trial (Pop Matters review), and a stand-alone "free interpretation" short titled The Guardian by N9ve Studios. [more inside]
The Shannara Chronicles [Official First Look] [YouTube]
Watch an exclusive first look at ‘The Shannara Chronicles,’ a new scripted series based on Terry Brooks’ best-selling fantasy books, coming to MTV in January 2016. This preview originally debuted inside "The Shannara Chronicles" panel discussion at San Diego Comic-Con 2015.[more inside]
The End of the Tour [YouTube] [Trailer]
The End of the Tour is based on the true story of David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone reporter who interviewed legendary author David Foster Wallace for five days in 1996. Lipsky catches up with the author as he’s about to hit the final stop on the book tour for the release of Infinite Jest, then and now considered one of the great novels written in our lifetimes. Over the course of the next few days, the reporter develops a complicated relationship with the icon.
“The point that she opens the egg sac is the point that she stops feeding,” says Mor Salomon, a biologist at the Israel Cohen Institute for Biological Control. “We have tried giving them food in the lab, but it just doesn’t work—they just don’t feed.” -- Absurd Creature of the Week: The Spider Mother That Barfs Up Her Guts to Feed Her Kids, by Matt Simon for Wired.
Todd McFarlane's Spawn aired on HBO from 1997-99. A faithful depiction of McFarlane's popular action-fantasy-horror comic, this groundbreaking, (NSFW,) animated series won an Emmy for 'Outstanding Animation Program' during its third and final season. [more inside]
They would ask me what actors I saw in the roles. I would tell them, and they’d say “Oh that’s interesting.” And that would be the end of it. --Elmore Leonard, in 2000, on the extent of his input for Hollywood's adaptation of his novels For authorial input on film adaptation, try My Book The Movie, by Marshall Zeringue, also of The Campaign for the American Reader, the page 69 test (previously), and the page 99 test. [more inside]
Inherent Vice trailer: [SLYT] “Inherent Vice” is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first film adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel.
When P.I. Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a looney bin… well, easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the `60s, paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is one of those words going around, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s way too overused–except this one usually leads to trouble. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists... Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp–all Thomas Pynchon.
Darren Aronofsky is developing Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam) as an HBO series. Atwood says on Twitter that she's "met+ brainstormed with the Team and they're terrific!" Aronofsky had signed on with HBO in January.
Kyle Kallgren finishes "Shakespeare Month" on his art house movie review series "Brows Held High" (previously) with a smashing take down of Roland Emmerich's 2011 Shakespeare-was-a-fraud conspiracy thriller "Anonymous". [more inside]
From the mind of cartoonist KC Green (previously) comes The Ballad Of Dark Homer, a stranger take on our favorite animated family.
Julianne Ross asks: Must Every YA Action Heroine Be Petite? Amy McCarthy asks a similar question: Why do all our young adult heroines look the same? Mandy Stewart also offers up her own advice: Be Divergent and Other Lessons for My Daughter. Interview with Veronica Roth on her book 'Insurgent' and feminism. [more inside]
"I did not see the appeal of a wife. We had never had one before. She would not be half as interesting as our buffalo." Read a lengthy excerpt from Catherynne Valente's Six-Gun Snow White, an adaptation of the Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 709 fairy tale as a campfire story set in the American west.
The 1991 CBs made-for-TV movie adaptation of Shadow Of A Doubt and the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock version are based on the same source material and contain many of the same lines, beats, and scenes. So why is one considered a classic film noir and the other a flop? The Dissolve puts the two movies next to each other and tries to find out.
The Moon is Rolling in Her Grave is a video adaptation of the first chapter of the ongoing (since 2003) comic series "No Rest For The Wicked" by Andrea L. Peterson, a fantasy / adventure / horror tale that takes traditional fairytales and turns them on their heads: "Ms. Peterson uses, in conjunction with several more popular fables, folktales that you may have never even heard of. The entire plot actually centers around a little known Grimm fairytale called 'The Buried Moon', while also making reference to 'Red Riding Hood', 'Hansel & Gretel', 'The Girl Without Hands', 'The Boy Who Went Forth and Learned What Fear Was', and many MANY others." [more inside]
Bartkira is a collaborative effort of several cartoonists to adapt the manga Akira in to the world of The Simpsons. Here are a few panels from artist Cameron Stewart.
For the release of the Hobbit, Lindsay Ellis of the Nostalgia Chick (previously) has decided to look back at all the LOTR films in order to analyze how they changed genre film-making, expected movie length, extended cuts, the problems of adaptation, and why Eowyn and Merry are made for each other. (Fellowship Of The Ring, Two Towers, Return Of The King Part 1, Part 2) Still need more? Then why not watch Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais of Rooster Teeth (previously) try to walk the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata to the filming location of Mount Doom, Mount Ngauruhoe in A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
The Radio 4 on the BBC is presenting a month of readings from George Orwell's books. Some of them will only be available for one week from the date of broadcast, so be quick. [more inside]
Happy Thomas Pynchon rumor day! [LAtimes.com] "What's that, you say? America's most reclusive author, Thomas Pynchon, appeared in the news Friday -- not once but twice? Why, yes, yes, he has, surfacing in two unconnected rumours. Conspiracy? Pynchonian? Maybe we should henceforth designate Jan. 4 as Thomas Pynchon Rumor Day." [more inside]
In Treatment was an HBO series that ran three seasons from 2008 through 2010. Adapated - often word-for-word - from the Israeli drama BeTipul, it depicted the weekly sessions of a psychologist (Emmy-nominated Gabriel Byrne) with his patients (including Debra Winger, Emmy-nominated Hope Davis, and, in her first American role, Mia Wasikowska) and with his own therapist (Emmy-winning Dianne Wiest). The filming of the series placed extraordinary demands on Byrne - which are well described in this interview with showrunner Warren Leight. (h/t: MCMikeNamara) You can watch its entire first episode here. (possible spoilers throughout)
It was on a Monday, April second - I was cruising in the vicinity of Betelgeuse - when a meteor no larger than a lima bean pierced the hull, shattered the drive regulator and part of the rudder, as a result of which the rocket lost all maneuverability. [more inside]
And A Movie?: 'Why is it so important to the fans that there be a film adaptation of the franchise they love?'
The Tower Of Joy, an adaptation by comic book and storyboard artist Jeff McComsey of one scene from A Game of Thrones.
[Peter] Brook's stripped-back adaptation [of King Lear]... draws from Jan Kott's insight that Lear, like Beckett's Endgame, reveals a world devoid of consolation, morality or universal justice. ... Brook's is a devastating realisation of the play: a pitiless examination of the cruelty and emptiness that lies at the heart of the lust for power. - Alison Croggon [more inside]
On The Road, On The Screen: 'A large part of On The Road’s powerful and ongoing appeal undoubtedly stems from the lyricism of its language -- as opposed to its linearity, or even narrative coherence. Translating this to the screen could quite simply be impossible. Indeed, one suspects it is the reason that, up till now, so many screenwriters have failed in turning Kerouac’s text into visual form.'
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