Archive for the ‘design’ category

Roll Credits: FUNNY FACE

Here’s the thing. It takes a veritable army of people to make a film. We spend $15 for two hours of entertainment, while cast, crew and everyone from craft services to construction workers labor for weeks and months on end– for the writers, producers and directors, the time could stretch to a year and beyond. And yet, when the film is over, there is more or less and immediate stampede for the exit. Especially if you’ve finished that extra large diet coke from the concession stand.

And … that’s kinda not cool. Read more ►

Pictorial Palette: Natalie Wood

Long overdue doesn’t even begin to explain just how LONG long has been since our last Pictorial Palette. So long, in fact, I feel it requires a re-introduction is necessary to any who might be new to the Pictorial. From the Pictorial Palette’s inaugural post in 2010:

Henri Matisse once said, “With color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft.”

That being the case, I do not hesitate to say that movie color is without doubt some of the beautiful magic ever conjured. And given its proven abilities to brighten even the grayest of days, the Pictorial is implementing a weekly color palette, sampled off a film (or production) still from Hollywood’s Golden Age. One of the Pictorial’s missions is to always try and look at the world through Technicolor glasses–yes, even a world as problematic as ours– and it is our hope  that these little swaths of color will provide a needed burst of energy– perhaps even inspire a smidge of creativity–to infuse and rejuvenate the weekly drudge.”
Read more ►

The MadMen of TCM: A Greatest Hits Mix-Tape

Classic film fans have, over the past several years, embraced an emerging, and vibrant, niche community.  This is highly evident right here in the blogosphere where, if I do say so myself, the very finest blogs on the interwebs are those manned by classic film fans (Shameless plug for Hollywood Revue, Backyard Fence, Out of the Past, True Classics, MovieStar MakeoverSales on Film, Filmoria, and so many many many more amaaaaazing blogs  — all of these and many more will rock your black and white world.) But the unsurpassed leader  of this long-surpressed niche, is the cable network Turner Classic Movies.

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A Life in Photographs: Linda McCartney

Hubby Paul. Cover shot from Taschen's Linda McCartney: A Life in Photographs

Oh Taschen. Yummy, delectable, I-want-to-devour-you-whole Tahhhh-Shen. So beautiful. So sumptuous. SO expensive. And yet, somehow, worth every blessed cent. Your anthologies agonize me with want. I covet your sweetly binded spines and secretly despise those who have your volumes proudly displayed on their hand-crafted cabinetry. I’m a hater, what can I say?

I own one Taschen volume, their recent Los Angeles: Portrait of a City, and countless other titles clutter my wish list. (The Stanley Kubrick Archives, anyone?) But their newest release has been automatically scratched from any such “wish” list and sent straight to the top of “must have” indulgences.

My tongue hit the floor when I came across the latest Taschen catalog advertising Linda McCartney: A Life in Photographs … a decadently illustrated 300+ page volume chronicling ’60s Rock photographress supreme and the  Mother of all Rock moms? I am SO on this one.

Linda McCartney‘s life may very well be overshadowed by the incalculably large shadow of her legendary husband (she married a Beatle for goshsakes– and not just any Beatle, but one half of the greatest songwriting team of the 20th Century. And you can quote me).

But Linda was hardly a mere footnote in rock history.

She was a chronicler of it.

They met and fell in love like a good old fashioned romance novel. Down to earth, no-frills artsy girl happens upon society’s most eligible, rich, handsome bachelor, and the two fall madly in love, throwing convention to the wind. (The same, interestingly enough, is quite true of the couple’s acutely avant garde counterpart, John and Yoko; although to quite a different reaction … something that is another post altogether…)

Linda was never really just “Mrs. Paul McCartney.” Although she was an inextricable part of Paul’s life and work, straight up to her tragic death at age 56 from breast cancer, she was not only a wife and mother, but an artist.

A formidable one, in her own right, which this new Taschen anthology documents both exquisitely and authoritatively.

Sir Paul McCartney and his fashion-guru daughter Stella, along with siblings Mary, James and (half-sister) Heather,  have collaborated to present this highly personal tribute to a striking artistic talent, devoted mother, and truly gracious lady.

The publisher’s description sums it up perfectly:

From her early rock ’n’ roll portraits, through the final years of the Beatles, via touring with Wings to raising four children with Paul, Linda captured her whole world on film. Her shots range from spontaneous family pictures to studio sessions with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, as well as artists Willem de Kooning and Gilbert and George. Always unassuming and fresh, her work displays a warmth and feeling for the precise moment that captures the essence of any subject. Whether photographing her children, celebrities, animals, or a fleeting moment of everyday life, she did so without pretension or artifice.

These photos are only a few from the selection of shots that will thrill any fan of 60s rock culture… or indeed, any true fan of photography itself.

Working Mum


Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holdling Company


Jimi Hendrix,1967


John. 1968. This shot speaks volumes.


The Rolling Stones-- taken on Linda's fortuitous shoot which secured her future as a rockumentarian goddess.


Evocative shot of Steppenwolf-- the first band signed under The Beatles' fledgling late '60s' label, Apple Records.


It's a bird ... it's a plane ... no, it's ... erm ... Paul in hotpants.


A cluttered desk at the McCartney farm in Scotland-- 1970s.


The McCartneys, Paul, Stella, James (and Linda behind the lens, of course) at home in Scotland.


Candid shot of The Beatles from the April, 1967 Sgt. Pepper's press-op. Paul got Linda's number not long after.


All in all, Taschen’s tribute is endearing, heartfelt, and probably their most sentimental volume to date.

I leave you all with my personal favorite Paul and Linda moment. Paul’s campy but oh-so fun music video featuring Michael Jackson, Say, Say, Say (1983), with Linda very much a part of Paul’s company, pitching in the best she can … bless her darling heart.

We love and miss you, Linda!

Pendersleigh and Sons… and the Lost Art of Cartography

Vintage Cartography -- Map of California from the 1930s

The art of cartography is about as extinct as the art of the written letter.

What need is there for a hand-drawn community renderings in the age of instant information, when most people have GPS maps on their cellphones? No need at all.

But Los Angeles based writer Eric Brightwell doesn’t care.

Hence this blog post.

Taking his inspiration from the colorful, sometimes whimsical, often not exactly to scale maps that were popular in the early 20th century, Brightwell has created a cartographic journey though Southern California hearkening back to a much simpler, but no less keenly inquisitive, time in our history.

Being a California native, I’m terribly fond of this style of cartography– the mistmatched typography and rather askew geography which was often the result of the rushed booming years of California tourism.

The 1650 Gallery in Echo Park recently hosted a show of Brightwell’s high-spirited homage to the lost art of cartography (under the moniker Pendersleigh and Sons) and the experience was  so delightful that I simply had  to post just one or two of the many highlights here: