THE AMAZING WORK OF JOHN ALVIN

by Ariadna Zierold

john henry alvin, john alvin, poster, posters, movie, cinema, film, art, e.t., blade runner, gremlins, the goonies, beauty and the beast, aladdin, the lion king, star wars, upper playground

John Henry Alvin (November 24, 1948 – February 6, 2008) was one of the most celebrated contemporary American cinematic artists. He illustrated multitude of film posters for American cinema. He is credited for designing posters and key art for over 135 films, beginning with the poster for Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1974).. Alvin’s trademark style came to known as Alvinesque by his associates and friends.

john henry alvin, john alvin, poster, posters, movie, cinema, film, art, e.t., blade runner, gremlins, the goonies, beauty and the beast, aladdin, the lion king, star wars, upper playground

Sunday newspapers held attraction for young Alvin as it featured movie advertisements which led to his growing interest in movie poster creation. In 1971, he earned his graduate degree from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and soon after took up a job as a freelance artist.

john henry alvin, john alvin, poster, posters, movie, cinema, film, art, e.t., blade runner, gremlins, the goonies, beauty and the beast, aladdin, the lion king, star wars, upper playground

Alvin’s work included the movie posters for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, Gremlins, The Goonies, The Color Purple, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. He also created the anniversary posters for Star Wars.

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MODERN-DAY FOSSILS BY DORA BUDOR

by Ariadna Zierold

dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground

New York-based Croatian artist Dora Budor creates sculptures and films that expose the technical and otherwise overlooked elements of movies. Budor most regularly engages with movie props—objects which are inherently fake or flawed, yet appear real and perfect on-screen—in order to “reanimate” them and give them a second life through recontextualization.

dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground

A series of sculptures built around discarded movie props with artificial weathering, rust, and dust positions the objects as modern-day fossils. Budor views cinema through an anthropological lens, seeking to explore how people interact with films and the way that fictional characters become part of a collective emotional reality.

dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground

Unreleased Photos from New Documentary “Blue Velvet Revisted” by Peter Braatz

Blue Velvet is celebrating its 30th birthday this year coinciding with Peter Braatz’s release of Blue Velvet Revisited – never before seen photos and footage depicting the making-of. Director, Filmmaker and Transcendental Meditator, David Lynch asked German-born Braatz to come out to North Carolina to “observe him direct.” Braatz shot 70 reels of Super 8 film and took nearly 1000 photos. The behind the scenes look encapsulates the world of Blue Velvet and David Lynch like a fly on the psychedelic wall of the 1985 set. Photos of Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, Kyle MacLachlan and of course, Mr. Lynch himself. 

“David was producing every piece of art,” Braatz says. “He’s writing, he’s creating props, he’s making set decoration. You see him in my film working on each piece himself. So it’s not just a portrait of Blue Velvet, but a portrait of David in 1985 as an artist.”

“Beneath that appearance there are so many things happening,” says Lynch in Blue Velvet Revisited, and this making-of piece will take its viewers there. The documentary is being released along with a soundtrack just out from Crammed Discs.

“Sound is so important to him [Lynch], he adds so many things in postproduction,” Braatz says. “Ants crawling under a glass or—how do you call it in English?—a match that goes on fire. These things are mostly related very closely to the sound of the picture.” Angelo Badalamenti composed the original movie’s soundtrack and went on to create many more musical masterpieces with Lynch on projects such as Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks.

Now Braatz has made an homage to Blue Velvet, sensual, provocative and true to the eccentric, dreamy vibrations of what is now a voyeur classic. A “meditation,” he calls it.

Braatz hopes the documentary will have a film festival premiere this year.

Photos: Peter Braatz Blue Velvet Revisited 

David Lynch

Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini

Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan

Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan

Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan

 

“DIGGING UP THE MARROW” BY ALEX PARDEE

by Ariadna Zierold

Back in 2010 and long before “Digging Up The Marrow” became a motion picture, artist Alex Pardee handed Director Adam Green a mini-art book from his galley exhibit for “Digging Up The Marrow” that sparked their 4 year collaboration on the film together.

alex pardee, digging up the marrow, collection, film, the citrus report, upper playground

The collection focuses on monsters and unique creatures that just may be living underneath our feet in a place called “The Marrow.”

alex pardee, digging up the marrow, collection, film, the citrus report, upper playground

A ton of art from Pardee is put on display in the found-footage horror film. Wise’s character, who discovers monsters in the marrow, has an artist create an interpretation of what he’s seen. They’re 90% accurate, according to Wise’s character in the film.

alex pardee, digging up the marrow, collection, film, the citrus report, upper playground

Pardee’s self-proclaimed influences include 1980s horror movies, pop art, graffiti and gangster rap. Alex has been featured in magazines, gallery shows, and notably in the designs for the clothing company he co-founded, zerofriends. He is best known for illustrating The Used’s album artwork.

Ai Weiwei “Never Sorry”

We aren’t going to pretend to be some sot of academics who have known about Ai Weiwei for decades and are like all the other art blogs out there that pretend to almost be apart of Weiwei’s inner circle. We just love everything he stands for, and the wide range of work he presents, from a pavilion to a simple picture with his middle finger to a hall full of sunflower seeds. The man is as influential and important as they come. And that is why we should all see this film.

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Ray Bradbury, RIP

fahrenheit 451 605x1000 Ray Bradbury, RIP RIP ray bradbury

An excerpt from Bradbury’s finest novel, Fahrenheit 451. The author died yesterday, June 5.

“When did it all start, you ask, this job of ours, how did it come about, where, when? Well, I’d say it really got started around about a thing called the Civil War. Even though our rule-book claims it was founded earlier. The fact is we didn’t get along well until photography came into its own. Then — motion pictures in the early twentieth century. Radio. Television. Things began to have mass.”
Montag sat in bed, not moving.
“And because they had mass, they became simpler,” said Beatty. “Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple population. Films and radios, magazines, books levelled down to a sort of paste pudding norm, do you follow me?”
“I think so.”
Beatty peered at the smoke pattern he had put out on the air. “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending.”
“Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume. I exaggerate, of course. The dictionaries were for reference. But many were those whose sole knowledge of Hamlet (you know the title certainly, Montag; it is probably only a faint rumour of a title to you, Mrs. Montag) whose sole knowledge, as I say, of Hamlet was a one-page digest in a book that claimed: ‘now at least you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbours.’ Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.”
“Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click? Pic? Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline! Then, in mid-air, all vanishes! Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!”
“School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”
“The zipper displaces the button and a man lacks just that much time to think while dressing at dawn, a philosophical hour, and thus a melancholy hour.”
“Life becomes one big pratfall, Montag; everything bang, boff, and wow!”
“Empty the theatres save for clowns and furnish the rooms with glass walls and pretty colours running up and down the walls like confetti or blood or sherry or sauterne. You like baseball, don’t you, Montag?”
“Baseball’s a fine game.”
Beatty went on, “You like bowling, don’t you, Montag?”
“Bowling, yes.”
“And golf?”
“Golf is a fine game.”
“Basketball?”
“A fine game.”
“Billiards, pool? Football?”
“Fine games, all of them.”
“More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? Organize and organize and superorganize super-super sports. More cartoons in books. More pictures. The mind drinks less and less. Impatience. Highways full of crowds going somewhere, somewhere, somewhere, nowhere. The gasoline refugee. Towns turn into motels, people in nomadic surges from place to place, following the moon tides, living tonight in the room where you slept this noon and I the night before.”
“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex-magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”
“Yes, but what about the firemen, then?” asked Montag.
“Ah.” Beatty leaned forward in the faint mist of smoke from his pipe. “What more easily explained and natural? With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me.”
Beatty knocked his pipe into the palm of his pink hand, studied the ashes as if they were a symbol to be diagnosed and searched for meaning.
“You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these.”
“Yes.”
“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too. Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriams. Forget them. Burn them all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
“There was a girl next door,” he said, slowly. “She’s gone now, I think, dead. I can’t even remember her face. But she was different. How — how did she happen?”
Beatty smiled. “Here or there, that’s bound to occur. Clarisse McClellan? We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things. You can’t rid yourselves of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle. We had some false alarms on the McClellans, when they lived in Chicago. Never found a book. Uncle had a mixed record; anti-social. The girl? She was a time bomb. The family had been feeding her subconscious, I’m sure, from what I saw of her school record. She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it. The poor girl’s better off dead.”
“Luckily, queer ones like her don’t happen, often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early. You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your dare-devils, jet cars, motor-cycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.”

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Go see Francis Ford Coppola’s newest film, “Twixt”

IMG 2831 Go see Francis Ford Coppolas newest film, Twixt twixt trailer jimmy dimarcellis francis ford coppola

We had the chance to see, thanks to our friend Jimmy DiMarcellis who art-directed the film, Francis Ford Coppola’s newest horror/B-movie ode/personal heartache/brilliantly experimental film, Twixt, this past weekend in the Napa Valley town of St Helena. It was one of the most imaginative and fun films we have ever seen, and such a thrill to see what an original vision both Jimmy and Coppola were able to get onto the screen. It is a must-see for anyone who appreciates experimental film, and Edgar Allan Poe.

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Spike Jonze goes to Paris: “Mourir Auprès de Toi”

Screen shot 2011 10 18 at 7.41.41 PM 605x305 Spike Jonze goes to Paris: Mourir Auprès de Toi stop motion Spike Jonze shakespeare and co Paris Mourir Auprès de Toi animation

We guess Spike Jonze, after his past few projects, is just more sensitive and in tune with youthful, nostalgic emotions than we ever gave him credit for. Designer Olympia Le-Tan and Spike teamed up for this film that premiered on Nowness, and is a stop-motion animation set in Paris’ famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore.

Here is a little summary: On a shelf in famed Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company, the star-crossed love story of a klutzy skeleton and his flame-haired amour plays out amidst Le-Tan’s illustrations of iconic first-edition book covers. “It’s such a beautiful and romantic place,” offers Le-Tan of the antiquarian bookstore. “The perfect setting for our story!” The project started after Jonze asked for a Catcher in the Rye embroidery to put on his wall and the plucky Le-Tan asked for a film in return. Enlisting French filmmaker Simon Cahn to co-direct, the team wrote the script between Los Angeles and Paris over a six month period, before working night and day animating the 3,000 pieces of felt Le-Tan had cut by hand.

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi on Nowness.com.

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