Archive for the ‘entertainment’ category
For the month of October, the Pictorial will be heavily focusing on the life, work and art of the legendary Buster Keaton. It felt right we should do so, given Buster’s 116th birthday on October 4th, the month-long salute to Keaton’s films on Turner Classic Movies, and some exciting new releases from Kino video.
Project Keaton will be a month long open forum in which writers, artists, everyday Joes and everyday Janes (like me) from all over the world are being invited to tip their pork pie to Buster. The goal is to foster a month of creative exchange, with Buster as muse, and to celebrate one of cinema’s few, true geniuses.
There are no rules as to content: essays, reviews, art, critiques, tributes, prose, poetry, all are welcome. And, since this is a month long project, there are no pressing deadlines: participants may contribute as little or as much as they wish any time at all during the course of October.
The Pictorial has some fun Keaton-related giveaways planned (more on that later!) and plenty of goodies to keep your slapstick sweet tooth satisfied. (Alliteration foul, I know, couldn’t resist.)
I’m also hoping Project Keaton will provide a great cross-platform for writers and artists to explore each others work. All participants’ contributions will receive coverage here on the Pictorial blog, our Twitter feed as well as the special Project Keaton Tumblr and Facebook page.
If you are interested in participating, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or respond to this thread with your appropriate contact email and we’ll add you to the Project Keaton roster.
C’mon, everyone. Let’s really give Buster something to smile about!
As all you readers of the Pictorial are well aware, I’m something of a Turner Classic Movies junkie… As I know many of you are too! Which is why I’m just plain tickled pink over the fact that TCM recently asked my pal Will McKinley and I to participate in their September podcast. Will lives in New York City and I’m based in L.A., but I just so happened to have a holiday planned in the Big Apple so we were able to, most happily, oblige!
TCM’s podcast host Scott McGee, a really lovely guy, sat down (virtually) with Will and I for a lovely long chat about the month’s programming. We touched on everything from Metropolis to The Red Shoes, but they decided to post our conversation about the pre-code classics Baby Face and The Story of Temple Drake. It was a heck of a lot of fun, and one hell of a privilege, and I hope it’s as much fun to watch as it was to make:
So once in awhile, Ol’ Blue Eyes gets under my skin and, ring-a-ding-ding, he absolutely ends up doing it his way and there’s nothing I can do-be-do-be-do about it.
The Wee Small Hours and No One Cares have been regulars on my semi-new turntable– pieces of art that positively thrive in the acoustic-friendly, teensy confines of my studio. (One of the small perks to overpriced, undersized Hollywood living.)
Frankie, by many accounts, may have been an insufferable pain in the arse… but I’m perfectly willing to go out of my way to understand those foibles (God knows I’m an insufferable pain in the arse on many an occasion…!) the minute that rich baritone hits the scratching vinyl. After all, who are we if we are not all flawed?
Prior to his Academy Award winning role in 1953′s From Here to Eternity, Sinatra’s career had become a total write-off. From bobby-soxer idol to matinee movie star, Sinatra surrendered it all to face scandal head-on by marrying the woman of his dreams in 1951, Ava Gardner. The press had not been kind. Nor had his fans been loyal.
In between Frankie’s rejuvenating venture as a vocal artist with In the Wee Small Hours (1955) and his poignantly beautiful Where Are You? (1957), Sinatra’s resurrected career as popular recording artist and movie star benefited from this little MGM musical, 1956′s High Society.
The Pictorial could write volumes on Frankie but for the time being, I happen to love this delightful moment of unbridled frivolity in which, it is quite obvious, Frankie is having an absolute ball. The demons were still around the corner, chasing him as they always had and always would be, but it’s marvelous to see Frankie bring his A-Game in charming fraternal intoxication with Bing Crosby in High Society.
Just watch and let Frankie pinch YOU in the Asss-tor Bar:
p.s.: Frankie’s duet with Celeste Holm is likewise delightful:
I’m a Los Angeleno by birth, a Londoner by heart, and an aspiring New Yorker.
Having just returned from another whirlwind trip in the City That Never Sleeps, that honeymoon glow is still warm enough to post some of my favorite street view snaps from the City that I’m falling more, all the more, head over heels in love with.
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“Hollywood at Home provides a unique behind-the-scenes look at the crossroads between the last real glamour years and the TV decade. It is a remarkable portrait of mid-century America.”
So reads the back cover of Hollywood at Home: A Family Album (1950 – 1965), a slight yet strong volume from Sid Avery’s lens and Richard Schickel’s pen.
And it’s quite true.
As film historian and cinema omnivore Richard Schickel writes in the introduction:
“In Sid Avery’s portraits of Hollywood in the 1950s, its citizens mime normalcy. They diaper a baby, fry an egg, play charades, wash their cars. Beloved screen veterans… the serenity and seemliness with which all of them face the camera in this, the entertainment industry’s most chaotic moment since the advent of sound, strikes the social historian– not to mention the movie critic– with a strange and occasionally poignant force.
Some variant on this question keeps recurring as one turns these pages: Why are these people smiling?”
And then: “Like these favored show folk, the rest of us ordinary citizens of the American 1950s were busy miming normalcy too. It was expected of us. A depression had been survived, a war had been fought, and now everything was supposed to be all right. … Get married. Have 2.3 children. Buy a house in the suburbs. Go to church. Send the kids to college. Die quietly. … But there was something abnormal about fifties normalcy. …
“As with all fictions, one was free not to by it. But the mass media did buy it and sell it. And we, the great audience, bought it from the movies and the magazines and the broadcasters. We also did our best to resell it, to our sometimes dubious selves, and then to each other.
The pictures in this book were made as part of that process. They represented Hollywood as it wanted to see itself and to be seen by outsiders: securely functioning and apparently contducting business as usual.”
Far be it from me to expound upon Schickel’s words, so I leave you with them… and Avery’s sumptuously subliminal shots.