Archive for January, 2011

Movie Millisecond: Raging Bull

January 24, 2011

Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980).


via.

See? Joey La Motta has his own two cents to add about that clock in today’s Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day. (Reference is to the image in the below entry.)

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: ‘Bout that time

January 24, 2011

I think that’s too many eats and not enough sleeps, though the fucks are about right, but it’s a handy timer nonetheless.

Talk nerdy to me — Winter of my discontent: Season’s Greetings from Hoth edition

January 24, 2011

In the last few weeks, everyone around me (myself included) repeatedly asserted to one another how cold it was — so cold, we said, my gosh, it’s so cold — but Hoth scenes always put it all in perspective, don’t they?


via laurenmoran on the tumblr.

So speaking of Star Wars extreme-temperature location shooting, I was watching this segment on the Daily Show recently, and it ends up that there are protests and massive government upheaval going on in Tunisia, where the Tattooine scenes for Episodes IV and I were filmed. I didn’t know that.

To clarify: I knew the Tattooine scene-filming part. I even knew there was a town there actually called Tataouine, although the Lars homestead scenes were not set there, but instead filmed near the troglodyte architectural mecca of Matmâta, which is about 70 miles north of Tataouine (R.I.P., Owen and Beru).

The life-altering modern politics, on the shameful other hand, was brand-new news to me.


Photograph by Jamal Saidi for Reuters.

This is what a futuristic rebel alliance looks like.

The ousting of Tunisian president Ben Ali came as a result of public backlash in the wake of a sham election last October, condemned by the Human Rights Watch. This was followed by incendiary WikiLeaks which surfaced, detailing the president and his family’s lavish lifestyle in an impoverished country.

The revolt was largely organized via social media, relying heavily on texts, facebook, and twitter. Search #sidibouzid for the hundreds of thousands of tweets from Sidi Bouzid, the seat of the so-called Jasmine Revolution.


via the Peace and Collaborative Development Network.

Coming so soon after the 2009 election riots in Iran, which were similarly organized, some of the power-hungry dictators in the Arab world are getting understandably nervous about the precarity of their positions. I said goddamn. How now, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? You can’t hide technology from the people forever.




What I’m also trying to say, though, with both the “it’s so cold” story and the absolute ignorance of grave disturbances in another country’s Force until seeing it on a quasi-serious news program, is that I’m a shallow, isolated slave to materialism. It is not a proud moment.

Mean Girls Monday: Let ’em down easy

January 24, 2011

Very smooth decline. No Big Deal.

Daily Batman: Year of the Cat

January 24, 2011


“Year of the Cat” by RealityMisfit06 on the d.a.

You’ve probably heard by now that Anne Hathaway, as I speculated and fervently hoped in the past, has been cast as Selina Kyle in the new Christopher Nolan film The Dark Knight Rises.

I’m reading sassy molassy left and right about how Ms. Hathaway is unsuited to the role because she is “too nice” and wholesome. I guess you just don’t know her like me, fans of Havoc, GQ readers, the FBI, and the Vatican do.*

I predict this beautiful, complex, and plenty dark actress will prove the doubters wrong. Yes, I’m biased, because I’ve said before that she’s one of the best and most interesting actresses out there today, but even I am prone to take the long view when it comes to my number-one all-time favorite comic book character, so I hope my defense does not get dismissed out of hand.

I further add that she has merely been cast as Selina Kyle, and we have no idea in what direction the character will go in this particular film, as Nolan is slowly developing his own universe in his Batman movies — and, as a final warning to those who are up in arms about this casting choice, you think all people everywhere in the world were in unanimous excitement when Michelle Pfeiffer was cast in Batman Returns? Was there unilateral rejoicing at the decision to put Halle Berry in the Catwoman movie of which it’s best I just stop speaking?

Of course not. This is an iconic character. There will always be rumblings of discontent, no matter what. All I can say is, remember how you felt when you first heard Heath Ledger was tapped as the Joker? Misgiving-less? I wasn’t: I thought it was an inexplicable and potentially terrible decision. And how do I feel about that choice now? How do you?

Exactly.

Give Nolan, and the lovely and talented Anne Hathaway, a chance.



*The Vatican?? What am I talking about? Answer: I’m talking about taste in men almost as historically bad as that of your hostess. Read all about the sad affair. Saw her mock herself on SNL for it, though. You have to really respect a good sense of humor.

Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys: Echo Sackett edition feat. Yvonne Buckingham

January 22, 2011


Yvonne Buckingham.

When morning came, and when I had my breakfast, I sat waiting in the sitting room. I was wearing a poke bonnet and a long full skirt trimmed with bows of ribbon and a shawl around my shoulders. My knitting bag was on my lap and my pick was inside my skirt in its scabbard and ready to hand. A girl can’t be too careful.

(Louis L’Amour. Ride the River: Book Five in the Sackett Series. New York: Bantam, 1983.)

Winter of my discontent: Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day

January 22, 2011

Photo from the marvelous Cappy. As he said, it works on multiple levels.

Puttin’ on the Ritz: Twiggy edition

January 21, 2011

Getting prepped and pumped up for Paolo’s birthday bash tonight with a massive crew of friendohs.


Twiggy, aka Lesley Hornby Lawson, 1967. via fyeahfemmes on the tumblr.

His birthday is the one night of the year where, by group consent, Paolo gets to go completely nuts. Miss D always throws him a wonderful theme party of his choosing* (this year is redneck/white trash, which is of course a delicate minefield of walking the line between good-natured cultural tropes and accidental offense, but we had an insane amount of fun shopping for it) and he gets to go all-out in the business of debauchery. What will the night bring? Only time can tell! Have a fabulous Friday and I’ll catch you guys on the flip.




*Memorable past parties have included Paulopalooza: the Battle of the Bands; Disco Fever; Pauloggio: Casino Night; and a fiesta where Miss D taught me how to make her bomb-ass ceviche.

Flashback Friday — Movie Moment: A story in stills, Inaugural edition, Flesh and the Devil (1926)

January 21, 2011

This post originally appeared on Dec 29, 2009, at 2:02 p.m.

Garbo vamps.

Flesh and the Devil, 1926. Directed by Clarence Brown, based on the play The Undying Past, a translation by Beatrice Marshall of the 1894 German play Es War (“It Was”) by Hermann Sudermann.

Starring Greta Garbo as Countess Felicitas von Rhaden, later Mrs. von Eltz; John Gilbert, her real-life lover and one-time fiance as mistreated hero Leo von Harden; and Lars Hanson as Ulrich von Eltz. Gonna relay the brief plot via some killer screencaps. Enjoy.

At the crux of this silent melodrama is a love triangle aggravated by protagonist Leo’s continued desire for Felicitas, the adulterous wife of his best friend Ulrich — who married Felicitas after Leo’s duel with her first husband resulted in Leo’s being stationed in South Africa for five years — and author of his misery.

Supporting players are Barbara Kent and George Fawcett as Ulrich’s younger sister, who begs Felicitas to stop trying to have both her brother and his friend, as it can only result in yet another duel, and sage Pastor Voss, who has known both men all their lives. But the real star, of course, is Garbo and her face. Everyone else kind of fades in to the background.

The action begins with a ball where recently-trained soldier Leo first meets Felicitas von Rhaden, who he’d glimpsed briefly leaving the railway when he arrived in town. Felicitas also remembers the eye contact and throws him some more smoky glances. Stealing away from the ball with Leo, she conveniently does not mention she has a husband, so when Count von Rhaden catches them getting up to sexytimes in her bedroom, Leo has no choice but to accept the Count’s challenge to duel him.

Question for discussion: Would you seriously die for some chick you met at the train station even when you just had empirical evidence thrown in your face that she was lying by omission about being freaking married, so you knew there was a pretty good chance she was a skank? I mean, is her honor really more important than your life? What is wrong with boys? Anyway, Leo wins the duel and kills the Count.

For his trouble, Leo is sent to a remote army post in South Africa, but Felicitas stays in his thoughts, as evinced by these two, above and below, gorgeous pre-fancy FX stills. For me, simple cinematographic tricks of the early films are far more beautiful, haunting, and multi-dimensionally resonant than a thousand unnecessary CGI lensflares. (Dreamworks, write that down.)

Leo arrives home to find that, in his absence, Felicitas has married Ulrich, his best friend since childhood, who once became Leo’s blood brother with his little sister Hertha as a witness, and who was supposed to be keeping an eye on Felicitas for Leo while Leo was “out of town.” In Ulrich’s defense, having sex with a woman is a really good way to keep an eye on her while also taking time for fun. I mean, you can’t be all work and no play.

Felicitas is still all-up-ons, which obviously causes great conflict for Leo, who is still no great shakes at hiding his feelings. (He also continues to suck at not fooling around with married chicks.) Meanwhile, Ulrich’s little sister Hertha has caught on to her sister-in-law’s game and tries to intercede with Felicitas, seemingly to no avail. Leo goes to Pastor Voss for advice, who tries to counsel him against pursuing a relationship with Felicitas.

The pastor suggests that Felicitas is not the innocent pawn that love-goggled Leo perceives her to be, but instead is an active agent of temptation, perhaps even a metaphorical vehicle of Satan, a lying symbol of the falseness of a life lived away from a strong moral code.

Leo doesn’t totally cotton to the idea that the love of his life is just a jezebel who enjoys hurting men for sport, but Pastor Voss reminds him of the ruin she has wrought in his life already, forcing him to kill a man, sending him in to exile, and coming between Leo and Ulrich, his friend since boyhood. The pastor says, “I christened you separately, but I’ve scarcely seen you apart since.”

Mulling over the idea that Felicitas is not-so-blameless in this game of love, Leo flashes back on some particularly creepy and un-Christian moments in which he has caught sly-eyed Felicitas.

(It’s amazing the clarity that comes with celibacy.) This seems to actually get through to Leo, who it ends up has a capacity for outrage after all.

He goes and angrily confront Felicitas, taking her to task for the trouble she has caused him, seemingly for her own amusement, as she has specifically told him she will not leave Ulrich and that she wants to have her husband and Leo for a lover, too. When she doesn’t recant or apologize, Leo furiously goes for the throat.

Ulrich busts in to find Leo throttling his wife. Felicitas orders him to shoot Leo immediately — probably hoping that he will, and Leo won’t have the chance to explain why he was mad. Ulrich instead challenges Leo to a duel the next evening on a sort of sandbar-cum-island in the middle of their village’s lake called the Isle of Friendship, on which they used to play as boys.

Hertha, Ulrich’s sister, comes and begs Felicitas to stop the duel, but she will not. Finally, Hertha prays to God to soften her adulterous sister-in-law’s heart, and suddenly Felicitas looks guilt-stricken, gets all bundled up, and rushes out in to the freezing Winter night. This is cross-cut with scenes of the men preparing to duel, but finding themselves unable to even raise their guns and aim at one another because of their lifelong friendship. They realize this high-class hooker has basically wrecked them emotionally, and conclude that they would both be better off well-shot of her. They are friends again.

What’s been going on with the finally-redeemed Felicitas in the meanwhile, who’s been hurrying out across the ice to the Isle of Friendship as the men rekindle their love for one another and realize how worthlessly she has behaved? Mmm. Spoiler alert.

Bad girls finish last. Some releases further hammer this point home by showing a final scene in which the loving younger sister, Hertha, is on a carriage preparing to move to Munich, and Leo comes chasing after it to stop her. (Implying they will now hook up, because she is sweet and patient, and wants the best for everyone, instead of being kind of a whore, and now Leo and Ulrich will be brothers for real.)

Final thoughts: Boys, stop taking back your dreadful same old bitchface ex-girlfriends and tolerating their bullshit. Find a new bitchface and get embroiled in new bullshit!

Winter of my discontent: The invincible summer within

January 21, 2011


via.

In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

That’s what I’m talking about. Right there. I’m serious.

That truth is exactly what I hoped to discover in this project. And when I read it, I thought, but I have done this already, last Autumn, when I came back from such bad health. And I mulled it over in my mind and realized that all my choices and my actions and even my thoughts since last Fall have been slowly turning toward this idea that I not only have the right to, but in fact need to pursue the summer dreams, and not get bogged down and bound up in doubtful snow. This may seem elementary and obvious to you, but, for a person as repressed as I’ve always been, this idea is revolutionary.

That invincible summer inside me that I always let the depths of winter drown out deserves to shine no matter what. I’m going to particularly try this tonight. Wish me luck.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Art of the cover

January 21, 2011


via.

Fight Club Friday: It Happens, the shit that came out of Marla’s mouth edition

January 21, 2011

Oh, hey: how’s the judging, Judgey Judgewell?


via.

Look. In Marla's defense. We ladies? Sometimes we just say things and aren’t so much aware of what those things are, such like any person might do after getting banged like a screen door in a hurricane. It Happens.

Movie Millisecond: I am so happy

January 21, 2011


via.

Daisy Earles of the Doll Family as Frieda in Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932). When people tell me, “You should see x,” or “read y,” my hackles raise, but honestly? You should see Freaks. It’s really special and fascinating.

Teevee Time: Per mi amico, HRH edition

January 21, 2011


via jewahl on the tumblr.

Or was the culprit … pie? That one was totally for HRH. Big ups, husbandohs! Thanks for staying awake on that trip, lo, so long ago.

The official CBS site had the entire Twin Peaks series up and it got rigorously screencapped all over the place by far more skilled folks than I, so please do look for a Twin Peaks category coming soon to a blog near you. (Hint: this one.)

Daily Batman: Batman City

January 21, 2011


Comic by H. Coldwell Tanner, via iheartbatman.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Lynn Karrol, Miss December 1961

January 20, 2011


Photographed by Frank Eck.

The lovely and talented Lynn Karrol was Playboy‘s Miss December 1961.


If you’re looking for a girl with both feet on the ground, look elsewhere, for December’s air-borne miss, Lynn Karrol, is smitten with the life aloft – at least part of the time.

(“She Floats Through the Air.” Playboy, December 1961.)


Platter party. Hey-o!

She’s a lissome 22-year-old ex-Pittsburgher transplanted to Manhattan, has held a pilot’s license since she was 16 and has recently taken up the exhilarating sport of skydiving (she’s logged nine jumps so far).

(Ibid.)

I always figured why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?, but the thrills I generally seek are of a totally different nature, so I’m essentially unqualified to comment.


Miss Karrol’s somewhat singular avocation has not been plucked out of thin air: her father owns a small flying field on the edge of Pittsburgh and Lynn returns there several weekends a year to perfect her technique.

(Ibid.)

I did always want to learn to fly, both a plane and a helicopter. I can ride a motorcycle and drive a boat already, so, the way I see it, once I knock out flying, I’m that much closer to being the first full-out Bond villainness.

I do not count Elektra King because she was acting out against her daddy and was initially partnered up with that schmuck Renard: what I’m envisioning is a self-motivated woman who has solely built up her empire with the express intent of world domination, with no Y chromosomes helping other than, you know — stress relief.

Speaking of which, the Bond Girl project is already 100% in the works! I am keeping this promise: been collecting pictures, quotes, and trivia already, and I’m probably going to buy Maryam d’Abo’s book this weekend. So do get back to me with anyone you want to see included, because February is not long enough to do all of the Girls. The most swaying arguments will have to include pictures.


When she isn’t hitting the silk, she’s donning it – as a fashion and television model. Lynn acquired her mannequin’s poise at a Pittsburgh finishing school; after graduating, she stayed on to teach her newly acquired social skills (make-up, styling, speech, etc.) to fledgling models.

(Ibid.)

Maybe I have not yet met the right Pittsburghers, but I’ve just never pictured “Pittsburgh” and “finishing school” in the same sentence. “Keep your pinky finger in the air while you eat cheesesteak sandwiches and holler ‘Jagoff!’ at the ref in the Steelers game, ladies. Always. It’s Continental.” Then again, I’m sure people would say the same of cotillion and pageants in my dusty corner of California and it still happens.

Surprises are everywhere: diamonds in the rough.

But how fun is the idea of a finishing school teacher who weekend skydives? I love it.



AMBITIONS: To be the best in my field, in either television, commercials or motion pictures.
TURN-OFFS: Rock ‘n’ roll, untidiness, rude cab drivers.

(Playmate data sheet.)

Rude cab drivers? Is that a Thing? Like if there was a group of people who did find that attractive, so much so that you’d have to let people know, “I’ll tell you one thing that does not turn me on, is those rude cab drivers,” and the people might respond thoughtfully, “Now, see, I kind of like that.” I’m not being clear. I guess I just mean to say that I’d think it goes without mention that rude people are generally not anyone’s turn-on. Doesn’t it? So I wonder if she’d recently had a bad run-in that was weighing on her when she filled out her data sheet.

Once a guy was a horrible, horrible dick to me from in front of me at the ATM line and I’ve never forgotten. So I try to be extra-nice in lines on purpose because of how bad it was. Not even kidding — I don’t know if the guy was a mean drunk or was having the worst day of his life, or what. But the man I was dating at the time could tell you more if he hadn’t walked away while the guy was bitching me out. Later, when I asked him about it, he said, “I just knew if I didn’t walk away I’d yell at him or punch him.” I thought, what do you think I felt like doing? He placed such a premium on staying in control of his emotions that I was left to defend myself. And from then on I felt like I couldn’t count on him to stick up for me, like he’d always put himself first.

Ms. Karrol mentions in the article that her ambition is to become a television and film actress. She certainly seems to have had both the raw materials (beauty and poise) and the drive for it, but I’m coming up goose eggs on credits.

Whether her dream came to fruition under another name altogether is lost to the annals of the internet, but according to the IMDB, a “Lynn Karol” — one “r” — featured in the film Guadalajara en verano (Julio Bracho, 1965).

The movie featured the Dean Reed twist song, “Don’t Tell Him No,” and I have no other information about it other than that the actual star of the film was o.g. luchadora Elizabeth Campbell, aka the Golden Rubi. Dang. Old school.

Ms. Karrol / Karol returned to Playboy in 1964 to pose with none other than superfly jam-master Peter Sellers in a “Sellers Mimes the Movie Lovers” pictorial which parodied classic pairs from the movies. The article’s subtitle was “Peter the great creates antic take-offs on famous lovers of the silver screen.” Soon as I get my hands on scans, I’ll try to throw some of that up for you.

Winter of my discontent: Winter afternoons like the heft of oppressive cathedral tunes

January 20, 2011


Notre Dame, December 8, 2010. Photographed by Remy De La Mauviniere.

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons —
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes —

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us —
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are.

(Emily Dickinson. Poem No. 258.)

When everything is gloomy and all the grass and crops buried under the snow, and Christmas has gone and it’s a new year, and there is nothing to look at or on which to work but your soul: this I find oppressive.

Like cathedral tunes calling me to examination of conscience before reconciliation, my least favorite sacrament. (And I’ve had more than most people. What’s got two thumbs and survived Last Rites? This guy.) In this world one of the things I particularly don’t like is taking stock and looking back, and that’s all a human can really do in the winter, traditionally. But that’s what I try to force myself to do with this journal, and is also the purpose for this Winter of my discontent theme to begin with. So I should stop looking for quotes or cute pictures with which to avoid being serious about it, and start actually fulfilling the task I set out for myself.

I feel like this is unrelated, but I had this revelation about tooth whitening the other day that turned my stomach — it is bleaching your bones. I know that we have many grooming rituals which are ridiculous when one takes the long view of humankind, rituals in which I readily participate such as make-up and hair teasing. But to bleach one’s teeth suddenly struck me as wrong on a deeper level.

Teeth are bones, and people bleach them so they will be more attractive. They want pretty bones. That is macabre and horrific and insane. What the fuck is the matter with people?

On the other hand, I would be a hypocrite not to admit that I guess I’d do it if I had the spare change. I want pretty bones as much as the next guy. I’m not a complicated conundrum, I’m just a shallow, uncertain mess.

Tell the whole cotton-picking town

January 19, 2011


via Jacque Nodell’s wonderful sequential crush on the blogger.

“Nobody Wants a Girl Auto Mechanic!” Career Girl Romances #66 (December 1971), Charlton Comics.

Winter of my discontent and Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Textual healing, “Snow, the hardest thing to imagine”

January 19, 2011

Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.


via Austin Kleon.

I suppose it’s about time I re-read the Lonesome Dove books, but I really do try not to add any more books to my list of compulsive yearly reads and I fear they would so easily slip in to that pile. … Still…