Tuesday, 13 September 2022

8x8 (10. 131)

le milieu du monde: influential Swiss director Alain Tanner has passed away at 92  

zodiaco: we liked these astrological sign matchboxes from Josรฉ Marรญa Cruz Novillo—see previously  

circadian rhythm: an infographic comparing sleeping patterns across the animal kingdom  

landscape, portrait: a relatable, cautionary comic from xkcd  

punching down: US Republican governors ask Joe Biden to be less generous with his student debt forgiveness plan  

moxie: Perseverance’s experimental oxygen generation—via Super Punch 

trap set: chimpanzees in Uganda demonstrate their signature drum-beats, can communicate across great distances 

maรฎtre ร  penser: French New Wave film pioneer Jean-Luc Godard has exited the scene, aged 91

Saturday, 10 September 2022

6x6 (10. 122)

derivative art: online communities are rejecting AI-generated images 

compostable mushroom shroud: when Luke Perry passed away in 2019, he requested that his mortal remains leave no trace—only it didn’t work—via the morning news  

forms of address: the title culture of German—and the UK—via Marginal Revolution 

remember-tini: a Virginia country club is facing backlash for a planned 9/11-themed seafood Sunday brunch—via Super Punch    

temenos: every four years a screening of experimental filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos’ eighty-hour Eniaios is held in the Peloponnese that his magnum opus could spiritually cleanse our over-polluted media diets  

multi-level marketing: the online community bent on undermining crypto-scams and bitcoin pyramid schemes

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

i can see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky (10. 114)

Hitting number one on US charts on this day in 1985 and holding that top position for two weeks, the hit by John Parr for Joel Schumacher’s film of the same name was created and edited in the space of one day. Struggling to find inspiration for the lyrics, Parr and co-writer David Foster were taken by the story of an athlete, Canadian track and field athlete Rick Hansen, and his undertaking to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries—his “Man in Motion Tour” and quickly came up with a song that squared with the movie while directly referencing Hansen. The musical ensemble includes members from the bands Mr Mister, REO Speedwagon and Toto.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

7x7 (10. 098)

nerva i: scrapped space programme with nuclear rockets aimed at a crewed Mars mission  

der anschlag: Anglophone retitling of foreign films—see previously  

xenobots: reframing how we think of epigenetics and gene maps–see also

superposition: a handwashing guide posted in a physics laboratory lavatory–see previously

extended orthography: facilitating digital communication in First Nations’ syllabics—see also  

yฤntรกi delenda est: more Chinglish roundups  

artemis i: the inaugural mission to return the Moon—previously

Monday, 29 August 2022

drizzle, drazzle, druzzle drome—time for this one to come home (10. 094)

Alternately titled St George and the Dragon and The Seven Curses of Lodac, the 1962 adventure fantasy by Bert I Gordon (King Dinosaur, The Amazing Colossal Man, Village of the Giants, etc.) loosely based on the legend of St George and his conquests was subjected to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, airing for the first time on this day in 1992. Our hero in this version, George (Gary Lockwood, later Lieutenant Commander and navigator Gary Mitchell on the Enterprise and astronaut Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey)—of royal parentage but fostered by a sometimes ineffectual sorceress played by veteran actor of stage and screen Estelle Winwood—embarks on a quest to rescue the princess Helene and prevent her from being fed to the dragon of the evil wizard Lodac, played by the equally esteemed Basil Rathbone.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

the tango briefing (10. 093)

The franchise created in the mid-60s and concluding in the mid-90s the Quillerverse stars the eponymous, pseudonymous protagonist created by novelist Elleston Trevor and was introduced to us in the form of a short-lived BBC television series with Michael Jayston, Moray Watson and Sinรฉad Cusack that first aired a decade later, following the success of the cinematic adaptation of the first novel, The Quiller Memorandum (under its American title) with screenplay by Harold Pinter and the acting talents of Max von Sydow, Alec Guiness and George Segal as Quiller. All iterations, the books, film and TV (all thirteen episodes below), are set during the Cold War and feature the mostly independent spy-master who works for a secret organisation known only as the “the Bureau.”

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

7x7 (10. 050)

smokin’: Bill McClintock remixes Clarence Carter’s “Strokin’” (That’s What I Be Doing) with Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”  

s morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure, the ‘good parts’ version: wildly divergent book covers for The Princess Bride, via Super Punch  

we’re walking in the air: author and illustrator Raymond Briggs (previously) has passed away, aged 88  

development purgatory: more titles and properties never released by movie studios—see also—via Things Magazine   

scarborough faire: housing developer agrees to rebury unique Roman villa for future conservation a year after it was discovered  

the seventh seal: AI designs movie posters  

seona dancing: Ricky Gervais’ synth-pop group from 1983

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

cinematography (10. 048)

Everlasting Blรถrt directs our attention to the portfolio of artist Shahin Sepheri through their homage to the history of movies with forty-five iconic visual references, starting with 1922’s Nosferatu and coming full-circle with the Lumiรจre Brothers and Voyage to the Moon from 1902.

 

 

you’ll catch your death in the fall (10. 047)

Fancy Notions directs our attention to a 1970 promotional short from Bell Telephone that offers a rather remarkable if not a tad touched with the hubris and inflated self-confidence of echoed in modern Tech. This piece by Ugo Torricelli, is part informative and part psychedelic freak out, posits that the downfall of humanity and expulsion from the Garden of Eden was the first act of invention.

Friday, 5 August 2022

que sera, sera (10. 038)

On this day in 1956, Doris Day topped UK music charts with her rendition of “Whatever Will Be, Will Be” from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (having premiered in Cannes in April of that year), featuring Day and Jimmy Stewart in the leading roles. A bit of cheerful fatalism, the song is not some traditional bit of folk music but made by the songwriting team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (the prolific duo responsible for over seven hundred standards for television and the cinema) for the movie—the couple having become unwittingly embroiled in an international assassination attempt, and foiling that find their son kidnapped and held for ransom. Day—who would come to adopt this piece as her signature tune—performs the song loudly as a cue to find their kidnapped son.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

7x7 (10. 037)

@artbutsports: juxtaposing scenes from professional sports with classical painting  

nearly right: an intriguing Chinese language t-shirt circulating on social media  

sommelier: a Rube Goldbergesque contraption that we would be far too impatient for  

flying down to rio: a profile of movie star Lolita Dolores Martรญnez Asunsolo Lรณpez Negrette 

requiescat in pace: an obituary of antipope Michael, who believed that there had been no legitimate pontiff since Vatican II  

wikenigma: compiling a compendium of unknowns—via Pasa Bon!  

pop cars: visit an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s colourful automobiles alongside the classic models that inspired them

Monday, 1 August 2022

i am the hellenistic ideal (10. 031)

First aired on this day in 1992, the 1959 sword-and-sandal pastiche Ercole e la regina di Lidia by Ennio De Concini and Pietro Francisci—featuring Steve Reeves reprising the title role—was given the MST3K treatment and is regarded among the cast’s favourites. Whilst journeying across Attica with a young Odysseus and his new bride Iole, Hercules is asked to settle a rival between two counter-claimants to the throne of Thebes after the abdication of Oedipus and taking a sip from Lethe—the river of forgetfulness—and becomes captive of the Queen of Lydia, Omphale, who keeps men until she grows weary of their company and transforms them into statues. The trio eventually escape and Hercules regains his memory and help ensure that Thebes gets a just ruler.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

eilean donan (10. 022)

In search of coffee and a light lunch and more intent to explore more of the northwest Highlands’ natural beauty, we happened on the small tidal island at the confluence of three sea lochs named for Irish missionary Donnรกn of Eigg—a saint martyred when trying to convert the Picts—with a very spectacular and picturesque castle that was once the stronghold of Clan Mackenzie, demolished for their involvement in the Jacobite rebellion, garrisoning a contingent of Spanish mercenaries and a magazine of gunpowder, prompting the English government to send in three heavily armed frigates to quell the uprising, in the early seventeen hundreds but restored over two decades in the early twentieth century according to its original thirteenth century design. 

Once the focus of clan feuds, the castle and its destruction—and subsequent rebuilding—is seen as a symbol of resistance and loyalty to the House of Stuart. The striking building has had several cameos in film and television, including The Highlander franchise, Braveheart and the 1999 Bond movie The World is Not Enough, as well as the short, once thought lost film Black Angel that features the castle and island prominently and was exclusively screened as a double-feature with The Empire Strikes Back in UK cinemas in 1980.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

inner hebrides i (10. 018)

Nearly completing a circuit of the second largest island of Scotland, we were absolutely enthralled with the Isle of Skye—probably from the Old Norse for the Islands of Mist (though considerably clearer and brighter in relative terms) and found this otherworldly landscape breathtaking.

The northern peninsula of Trotternish with its underlying strata of basalt offers some especially distinctive geographical features like the chromatic sea cliffs faceted with quartz called Kilt Rock whose columnar formations resemble pleats of a skirt, numerous rocky pinnacles and the striking landslip known as the Storr with its thirty meter high pillar known as the Old Man. Storr and its surroundings were stand-ins for the exomoon LV-223 in the 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus (previously)—not to mention a beach called An Corran near Staffin riddled with Jurassic footprints.  Though we did not manage to locate the traces of dinosaurs lumbering along the primordial strand, we have faith the evidence was right under our feet.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

7x7

nag on the lake: a new viewing platform with spectacular views of the Falls  

smart brevity: the prevalence of bulletin-point journalism 

light cycle: the lost TRON (previously) arcade documents—via Things Magazine  

true colours: Metropolitan Museum of Art presents statues from Antiquity with their original paint jobs—see previously 

granite & rainbow: the book jackets of Virginia Woolf

restored to its polynesian/craftsman/medieval-colonial revival/queen anne glory: an architectural doppelgรคnger of the Little House  

bonne fรชte nationale: images from Bastille Day from over a century ago 

sluicehuis: a cantilever housing bloc in Amsterdam’s IJburg district

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

(everything i do)

Released in mid-June, the power ballad by Bryan Adams for the soundtrack to the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves topped the charts in the UK on this day in 1991 and remained at number one for an unprecedented sixteen consecutive weeks a record that still stands, and was an enormous success internationally in terms of sales and radio play. At the Academy Awards the following year, it won an Oscar for Best Original Song and, decades later, consistently tallies on soft rock countdowns.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

in 22 hours, the hartford summit meeting will be over—china and the soviet union will go back home

Premiering in US theatres on this day in 1981 and featuring the acting talents of Kurt Russell, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbe au , the John Carpenter film is set in the then near future of 1997 (a quarter of a century ago) wherein Manhattan is converted into America’s singular maximum security prison. When the presidential airplane is highjacked by insurgent elements and crashed-landed in New York City, military veteran and federal inmate Snake Plissken (Russell) is commissioned to rescue president John Harker (Pleasence).

Saturday, 9 July 2022

photocopy cha-cha-cha

Titled “Choreography for Copy Machine” this 1991 short is a montage of sublimely sequenced animated, dreamlike encounters made exclusively by layering and resampling on a xerox machine. Created by independent filmmaker Chel White, the award-winning the four minute exploration examines anatomy, physiognomy in an age where any asset is limitlessly reproducible and pre-figures our digital and automated over abundance. NSFW exactly as there are a few frames of nudity in line with what copiers sometimes used to get exposed to at office holiday parties.

there and back again

In the early 1960s, animator and producer William Snyder of Rembrandt Films had optioned the rights to a little-known children’s book called The Hobbit. In order to keep that IP, Snyder and the studio were obliged to produce a colour cinematic adaptation by 1967 and bumping up against this looming deadline commissioned Gene Deitch, in the interest of a bigger project with the story and characters later on, to create this hastily made but artful (see also) and hardly slapdash piece to hold on the rights Snyder had invested in. Made in thirty days and fulfilling the conditions in the contract (rights to the story were leased rather than sold outright) and shown in a screening room in New York, Snyder ended up breaking even by selling his stake back to Tolkien.

codified likeness utility

Having premiered in US theatres on this day in 1982, we enjoyed this appreciation of the energy and insight surrounding the making of TRON (see previously here and here) in this interview with creator Steven Lisberger conducted just ahead of the fortieth anniversary on the 80 nightclub cyber aesthetic that the much vaunted Metaverse ought to aspire to, a mainframe saving democracy rather than destroying it. Praised for its pioneering visual effects but criticised for its incoherent plotline. Before our hero Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is able to gather evidence that the company vice-president’s success owes to him plagiarising Flynn’s own video games, the Master Control Programme digitises him and hopes to “derez” the nuisance in a gladiatorial match along with other ill-appropriated coding.