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Film Review: ‘Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles’

Originally posted on Variety:

Chuck Workman’s latest bouquet to cinematic history, “Magician,” provides [pmc_film_review_snippet]a solid overview of Orson Welles’ life and output[/pmc_film_review_snippet]. While little here will be news to cineastes, the mix of interviews and archival footage — particularly high-quality clips from the subject’s directorial features — should engage fans while providing a fine introduction for those whose knowledge doesn’t stretch beyond recognizing the words “Citizen Kane.” More a natural for ancillary formats (it’ll be a film-studies classroom perennial) than theatrical exposure, the documentary plans a theatrical launch on Dec. 12.

A straightforward, chronological approach in chaptered form starts with “1915-1941: The Boy Wonder,” charting Welles’ eccentric, transient childhood, and the thirst for artistic expression that led to adventuresome stage triumphs (like the all-black “Voodoo Macbeth”) in his early 20s. He also became a highly popular radio actor (notably as voice of “The Shadow” on that mystery serial), and it was in that medium…

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[PHOTO] Vintage Fire-Eating Devil

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“La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas.”

― Charles Baudelaire


[PHOTO] Hitchcock Halloween

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Vintage Sci-Fi Comics: ‘Captain Rocket’

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pulpcovers


Sacré Bleu! Saboteurs Deflate Sex-Toy Artwork, Paris Installation Reduced to a Flaccid Heap

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A giant inflatable sculpture that caused outrage in Paris for its resemblance to a sex toy will not be reinstalled after being reduced to a flaccid heap by vandals, its creator said Saturday.

American artist Paul McCarthy, 69, was slapped three times in the face by an outraged passer as “The Tree” was put up on the city’s ritzy Place Vendome on Thursday next to a column topped by a statue of Napoleon.

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And on Saturday vandals cut a support cable to leave the 24-metre high work — which provoked a storm of mirth on social media for its resemblance to a “butt plug” — slumped on the pavement.

The FIAC contemporary art fair, which organised for the sculpture to be put up close to the Ritz Hotel, said in a statement that “the artist was worried about potential trouble if the work was put back up”.

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“Instead of a profound reflection about objects as a mode of expression with multiple meanings, we have witnessed violent reactions.”

– Artist Paul McCarthy, pretending to be unhappy about the notoriety he’s enjoying as a result of his infantile ass-toy stunt

“Individuals waited until the security guard’s attention was elsewhere and cut the cable that kept the sculpture in place,” a police source told AFP on condition of anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Big Ass Sex Toy Masquerading as ‘Art Installation’ Provokes Outrage in Paris

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Place Vendôme Hosts Giant Inflatable Buttplug

Ruth Bender reports: Not everyone in Paris appears to like contemporary art.

A massive, green, inflatable installation by U.S. artist Paul McCarthy was vandalized in central Paris in the night from Friday to Saturday, according to a police official, after the piece of art entitled “Tree” sparked outrage.

The artwork, set up last week on the famous Place Vendôme, ignited a wave of comments on social media for its resemblance to a sex toy. It attracted even more attention after the Los Angeles artist—known for his sometimes controversial and provocative work—was attacked by a person in the street Thursday as “Tree” was being set up on the square.

French Mayor Anne Hidalgo Meets Young French Designers In Paris

 “Art has all its place on the streets of Paris and no one can hunt it away,”

–  Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, in a tweet condemning the attack

According to French daily Le Monde, a man approached Mr. McCarthy as he was watching “Tree” being blown up and hit him in the face three times. According to the paper, which was interviewing the artist during the incident, the man shouted at Mr. McCarthy that “he wasn’t French” and that his artwork had “nothing to do in this square.”

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A spokeswoman for Mr. McCarthy didn’t respond to requests for comment. The police official said no complaint had been filed on such an incident.

In the night from Friday to Saturday, a group of individuals cut through the cords that were holding up the artwork, the police official said. A person in charge of overseeing “Tree” then deflated it to limit any damage, the official said. Read the rest of this entry »


[AUDIO] Miles Davis: ‘Darn That Dream’

“Darn That Dream” by Gerry Mulligan

 


An American Wife on the Loose in France: ‘Secrets of Paris Nights’

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[VIDEO] Astrud Gilberto ‘My Foolish Heart’

As often happens, I found this song on my way to look for something else. I was captivated by the scenic video, taken from a boat, apparently unrelated, but what a tasteful way to represent the feeling of listening to Astrud Gilberto‘s voice. I’m familiar with instrumental versions of this song, have rarely heard it with vocals, so I paused to take in the lyrics. I wasn’t aware that Astrid Gilberto recorded this 1949 classic song. She gives it her own signature sound. I swear, I could listen to Astrud Gilberto read the phone book, and think it’s musical, and romantic.

From Wikipedia, here’s some background on the song itself.

The music was composed by Victor Young and the lyric was written by Ned Washington. The song was introduced by the singer Martha Mears in the 1949 film of the same name. The song failed to escape critics’ general laceration of the film. Time wrote in its review that “nothing offsets the blight of such tear-splashed excesses as the bloop-bleep-bloop of a sentimental ballad on the sound track.” Nevertheless, the song was nominated for an Oscar, losing out to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Frank Loesser.

The song was also a popular success, with two recordings of the song listed among the top 30 on the Billboard charts in 1950Gordon Jenkins‘s recording of “My Foolish Heart”, Sandy Evans, vocal, reached the top ten on the charts. However, Billy Eckstine‘s version became a million seller, spending 19 weeks on the charts and peaking at number six. Read the rest of this entry »


Hallucinogenic Plants May Be Key to Decoding Ancient Southwestern Paintings, Expert Says

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Dozens of rock art sites in southern New Mexico, recently documented for the first time, are revealing unexpected botanical clues that archaeologists say may help unlock the meaning of the ancient abstract paintings.

“Every one of the sites where we find the tobacco, we also find El Paso ceramics, or we find other kinds of pots…that date generally in that same range.”

Over a swath of the Chihuahuan Desert stretching from Carlsbad to Las Cruces, at least 24 rock art panels have been found bearing the same distinctive pictographs: repeated series of triangles painted in combinations of red, yellow, and black.

A rock art panel found at Dripping Springs, New Mexico depicts abstract triangle motifs. At this panel and others like it, potent wild tobacco was found growing beneath the image. Photograph enhanced with DStretch. (Courtesy L. Loendorf)

A rock art panel found at Dripping Springs, New Mexico depicts abstract triangle motifs. At this panel and others like it, potent wild tobacco was found growing beneath the image. Photograph enhanced with DStretch. (Courtesy L. Loendorf)

And at each of these sites, archaeologists have noticed similarities not just on the rock, but in the ground.61A-gXHiStL._SL250_

[Order the book "Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers" from Amazon.com]

Hallucinogenic plants were found growing beneath the triangle designs, including a particularly potent species of wild tobacco and the potentially deadly psychedelic known as datura.

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Researchers believe that the plants may be a kind of living artifact, left there nearly a thousand years ago by shamans who  smoked the leaves of the plants in preparation for their painting.

“I think there’s a real good chance that they’re using tobacco in large enough amounts that they’re going into altered states of consciousness.”

“I think almost certainly that they’re trancing on this stuff,” said Dr. Lawrence Loendorf, president of the archaeological firm Sacred Sites Research, of the ancient artisans.

Wild tobacco found growing beneath rock art at Dripping Springs, with triangle motifs visible at right. (Courtesy L. Loendorf)

Wild tobacco found growing beneath rock art at Dripping Springs, with triangle motifs visible at right. (Courtesy L. Loendorf)

“I think there’s a real good chance that they’re using tobacco in large enough amounts that they’re going into altered states of consciousness, and I think that’s how [the hallucinogenic plants] are getting there.

“[They're] getting to those sites because they were used for special ceremonial purposes.”

Wild tobacco bush (Solanum mauritianum)

Wild tobacco bush (Solanum mauritianum)

The region that Loendorf and his colleagues have been exploring was once home to the Jornada Mogollon, a culture of foraging farmers similar to the early Ancestral Puebloans, who occupied the territory from about the 5th to the 15th centuries. Read the rest of this entry »


Artist & Model

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[PHOTO] 20th Century Glamour: Paris

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[Explore this: The Eiffel Tower (25th Anniversary Special Edition) and other fine books at Amazon]

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[PHOTO] Books, Babes, Bullfights, Bravado; 20th Century Man, Ernest Hemingway

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From LIFE magazine

[Explore the vast Hemingway collection at Amazon]


Guy Invites His Artist Wife to Decorate His Nissan Skyline GTR with a Sharpie Pen

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(see more)

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Comic Panel: That’s What SHE Said

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‘Captain America 3′: THR’s 5 Things to Know About the Planned Civil War Story Arc

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Whose Side Are You On?

For the Hollywood Reporter, Abid Rahman writes: The incredible news that Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to bring Iron Man to Captain America 3 has set the Internet on fire and with good reason as the most likely story arc that Marvel will use in this casting scenario is Mark Millar‘s fabled Civil War limited series from 2006-7.51mbHDux7JL._SL250_

[Check out "Captain America: The First Avenger" (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) at Amazon.com]

Nothing has been confirmed at this stage, with no definitive word on Iron Man gracing Cap 3 or that Civil War will be the source material. However, with all the rumors, leaks and drip drip of information coming out of people close to the project, there’s a high likelihood that Marvel will base the basic premise of Cap 3 on Civil War.

[Variety has its own edition of "Marvel's Civil War: 5 Things You Should Know". Who started this # of things you should know thing, anyway? Anyway, check it out here]

Marvel Entertainment started off its 75th anniversary celebrations at this year’s New York Comic Con with the announcement of what the company is calling its biggest event yet: Secret Wars.

Marvel Entertainment started off its 75th anniversary celebrations at this year’s New York Comic Con with the announcement of what the company is calling its biggest event yet: Secret Wars.

[Read more Marvel Announces 'Secret Wars' Cross-Platform Event for Spring 2015]

So what’s the fuss about Civil War? Well, THR have put together 5 key things that occur in the comic series Civil War that will have heavy ramifications for both Cap 3 as well the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, future Ant-Man and Dr. Strange movies and even planned Avengers sequels several years 61nLpE0yQSL._SL250_from now.

[Order “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” [Blu-ray] from Amazon]

Warning, major Civil War spoilers ahead.

1. Civil War needs more than just Iron Man and Cap – Millar’s Civil War featured a huge universe of Marvel characters who were forced to take sides following the introduction of the Superhero Registration Act, an American government initiative to regulate and control vigilantes who also must reveal their identities. In the comics, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Daredevil, Cable, Nick Fury and Captain America rebel against this government attempt to control superheroes. In favor of the legislation you have, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Widow, She-Hulk, 51ZfnmGAFdL._SL250_Venom, Mr Fantastic and many others.

[Order the Big Box Iron Man 3 Movie Collection: Iron Man / Iron Man 2 / Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray]

The inherent problem with adapting Civil War is that Marvel would need to populate the film with enough superheroes for a ‘war’ to look like a war. Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four are out as the rights to those characters rest with other studios, so Marvel will have to get creative to flesh out the secondary superheroes. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Harlem, New York City, 1970s

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Harlem, New York City, 1970s (By Anthony Barboza)

Historical Pics

 


Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe & Lauren Bacall in ‘Como Casarse Con Un Millonario’ 1954

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Spanish one sheet for HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (Jean Negulesco, USA, 1954)

Artist: Soligo

Poster source: Heritage Auctions

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Vintage Classic: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘PSYCHO’


Take Back Columbus Day

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The idiot ideologues who have been dismantling the American identity will be stopped only if we fight back

NRO‘s Ira Straus writes: The effort to deconstruct America’s identity continues apace. Seattle has abolished Columbus Day. So has Minneapolis. So has South Dakota.

And not just abolished it neutrally, but replaced it with something intended to be understood as its opposite: an “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” (or, in South Dakota, “Native Americans Day”). It amounts to declaring officially — or rather, implying officially, since it would not be safe for politicians to say openly what the theorists of this deconstruction say — that our American society, which Europeans built on the heels of Columbus’s voyage, is fundamentally wrong and needs to be replaced by its “Other.”

“…The political classes in Seattle and Minneapolis evidently are among those who are prone to hate it. They have joined hands with the activists who make it their profession to deconstruct America’s history and identity. They tell us that we should celebrate the Native Americans as co-shapers of our society, in place of celebrating the actual shapers — or more accurately, transmitters — of our society.”

Shame on Seattle. And on Minneapolis. And on South Dakota. Shame on their politicians and elites, who did the deed. Shame on their citizens, who voted for the politicians and who have not stood up to them when they proceeded to thumb their noses at America.

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Is there any honor in all this shame? Yes. Honor to the Italian Americans of Seattle! They alone stood up to this travesty.

But, honestly, even they deserve just a half-honor. They did not stand up as Americans; they stood up as another ethnic minority, demanding appreciation for the special Italian contribution to America through their native son Columbus. They tried to be broad-minded about it and agree to have an Indigenous Peoples’ Day too, as long as they kept Columbus Day for themselves. But they asked nothing to honor the roots and identity of America per se. That, apparently, would have required too much courage. Only minority groups are supposed to need recognition nowadays.

It means that no one stood up for what Columbus Day is actually about. No one. Read the rest of this entry »


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