Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reference material

Exterior shot of The Lake Pub from The Returned (Les Revenants).

Fabrice Gobert is both writer and director of the French television series, The Returned. To create the eerie music so intrinsic to the mood of the episodes, he offered Dominic Aitchison from Mogwai some direction. He listed films that had music he liked, and also shared photos by the American photographer Gregory Crewdson. The influence of Crewdson's vision is striking.

Photos below, by Gregory Crewdson

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Maira timeline

Maira Kalman. I've loved her work since seeing it for the first time in 1989 
(Stay Up Late).    24 years and counting, that love is officially a part of me.

Friday, December 20, 2013



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wall of Death

Since the early 1900s, the Wall of Death or Well of Death attracted daredevil motorcyclists and stunt drivers, who performed centrifugal feats in carnival shows, motordromes and amusement parks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The King Down Under

Before the stardom, the army, the goofy movies, the entourage, the spangled suits, the karate moves and Las Vegas, there was an ambitious young singer from Memphis, Tennessee. 

Elvis at 21, an exhibition of photographs by Alfred Wertheimer
at the National Portrait Gallery in Australia
until March 10, 2014

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Returned

What makes a human, human?

With that in mind, what makes a zombie, zombie?

Victor, you're creeping me out!
The Returned can be seen on the Sundance Channel
or purchased by episode on Amazon.

Victor loves to draw, play on the trampoline and hold hands when he walks.
Like other young children, he is shy around strangers and is afraid of the dark.
He is handsome, yet unnnerving. 

Maybe because he is dead, having died some 35 years ago.

The French series The Returned offers a new and disturbing version of
the dead returning to inhabit the world of the living.

I love fast zombies.
I love slow zombies.
And now, a new love: zombies that talk, make themselves sandwiches, crack jokes
and get into fist fights. They seem just the way we remember them before they passed away.

Only different.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Truly, madly, deeply

As part of their senior thesis exhibition at Musashino Art University,
Saiko Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi created portraits of couples
using a CT scan  and x-ray machine.

Eerie and spectacular!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gear dress

The Beatle dress, circa 1964

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy and healthy

Friday, December 6, 2013


The Dallas Buyers Club is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician who, after being diagnosed with AIDS, began smuggling alternative and illegal drugs into the USA to extend his life as well as the lives of other patients.
The film tells an important story of a disease and the frustrating bureaucracy that conceivably translated to the death of scores of patients. 

Matthew McConaughey (having his best year ever) plays Woodroof with astonishing range. Jared Leto is cast as Rayon, a transsexual AIDS patient, instrumental in creating the network of buyers for Woodroof. Both McConaughey and Leto dropped between 30 to 40 pounds to appear believably ravaged by illness. Losing or gaining weight can have a dramatic impact on 'getting into character', and this is especially so in the case of Ron and Rayon.

There's plenty of chatter about McConaughey's fierce and convincing performance, always followed by comments on his shocking weight loss.  But Jared Leto's transformative turn as Rayon has a quiet power that steals some of that thunder. In one scene, Rayon, who typically wears flowery dresses and bright lipstick,visits her conservative father. It's clear her father never supported or approved of Rayon's true nature, and out of respect Rayon wears a man's suit for her visit. Those few moments where Jared Leto looks so uncomfortable in the suit, so unhinged to be sans make-up, so tortured to pretend to be male if only for a short visit, they reveal how deeply the actor inhabited his role.


 Jared Leto as Rayon

Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Light as a pillow

I love these paper pillow lights from IKEA
They look fantastic as a group in this very dark bedroom.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 List: Best films for far

When I lived in Los Angeles, Decembers were filled with film screenings with my good friend Matt. We saw several titles each week, sometimes several in a single day. The best screenings were followed by Q & A sessions with the cast or director or writer (my most favorite panel had Jeff Bridges, T-Bone Burnett and Robert Duvall).  Oh, we sat through some awful movies too, and the thing about screenings is that (understandably) it's totally unacceptable to get up and leave.

Miss you Matt!

I look at my list of favorite films (so far) for 2013 and recognize they all have stellar performances combined with excellent writing. But the interesting way in which these stories were told made them especially great. In no particular order:

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

20 Feet From Stardom (Morgan Neville)

Mud (Jeff Nichols)

Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

All is Lost (J.C. Chandor)

Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)

The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)

Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley)

Gravity (Alphonso CuarĂ³n)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bug me, Baby

Mattel's Scooba-Doo doll, circa 1964

Pull her Chatty-Ring to hear her say:

I dig that crazy beat, yeah!
Play it cool, don't be a square.
Hey, dig this.
I dig food, like when do we eat?
Come on, let's get with it, like wheeeee!
Hey Sweetie, like you're something else, y'know?
Hey Doll, like you're way out!
Dig my crazy black stockings!
Scooba-Doo song
I'm hip, y'know, like a beatnik.
Bug me, Baby.

Blonde or brunette...dig it!