Monday, June 30, 2008

You tell 'em, grandma!

So while checking the online price of the "Mad Men" Season 1 DVD set at Amazon, I decided to read some of the user reviews. I didn't have to scroll down very far before I found this rage-fueled gem, obviously submitted by a 117 year-old woman who probably hasn't had a good laugh since Uncle Miltie last wore a dress. Here is her acerbic review:

Sad to see a show that glorifies drug use!

Some interesting writing and acting ruined by use of the tobacco and alcohol drugs. Just as the movies are FINALLY starting to clean up their act with these drugs, this series comes along and almost tries to glorify them. Both drugs are weapons of mass destruction, especially tobacco. I'm sure the tobacco and alcohol pushers are happy with this series!

Jeez- heaven help this crone if she ever stumbles upon an episode of "Nip/Tuck."

But I'm glad she shined a cold revealing light on a sinister and oft-ignored blight of modern society - the alcohol pushers! They lurk on every corner, whispering to me as I walk the filth-strewn streets of this decaying metropolis. They keep trying to push their alcohol on me, but I am strong. Begone, alcohol pushers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What the huh?

I cut through the downtown Macy's yesterday on my way to meet a buddy for lunch, and as I passed by the men's shoe department I beheld something that violently grabbed my eyeballs and started raping them. Was it?...could it be?...Ye gods, it is! A display for colored docksides / deck shoes! They're back for the attack, and they're available in green, yellow and red, so you're assured of getting a color that will offend someone.

A wave of sensations washed over me: disbelief, anger, fear, nausea...then, after I finished beating the salesman who asked if I wanted to try a pair on within an inch of his shabby life, I started to coolly access the situation. Obviously someone would want these things, or a company wouldn't have made them, and a large chain department store wouldn't have bought them. But who? And why?

Suddenly I had the answer: an asshole would want them, plain and simple. So then the ad guy in me took over, and I decided to write some taglines for the relaunch of these grosteque abortions. Blogfoot readers are encouraged to pen their own and submit them to the comments section. Here's some to get you started.

"Sperry Top Siders - It's time to be a prick again."

"Sperry Top Siders - For those who attended the fancy summer camp in 'Meatballs.'"

"Sperry Top Siders - Asshole Spoken Here."

Have fun, Blogfoot readers.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Dynamite" magazine pulled no punches

If you grew up in the inflation-wracked, energy-crunched 1970's and bothered to attend school, you no doubt remember "Dynamite" magazine. It was sold through your school's "Weekly Reader" or Scholastic Book Club program, which was basically a pamphlet where you check off books you wanted to buy ( I bought my first Bigfoot book from the weekly reader program around 1974 or so), and a week or two later your stuff showed up. It was an exciting time.

"Dynamite" came a bit later, I think it started around 1976 or so. You could order it from weekly reader, but for some reason I felt a subscription was necessary. It was a kids magazine, so the subject matter was generally movie or TV stars kids would be interested in. "Issues of the day," I guess you could say. Like this one below:

That's right: after much wailing and teeth-gnashing amongst the editorial powers-that-be, it was finally decided that the top stars of 1978 were - Chewbacca and Shaun Cassidy. Well, they do have similar hairstyles. No doubt Lee Majors, various Sweathogs and Donnie & Marie are still demanding a recount.

"Dynamite" also gave megastars like the Captain & Tenille and Shields & Yarnell (mimes who somehow had their own TV show) valuable exposure to that critical 8-10 year-old demographic and their disposable incomes of .75 cents a week in allowance. But "Dynamite" was more than just fluffy entertainment news. They would eagerly tackle the tough issues of the day in order to supply answers to questions that were prompting schoolyard fights all across this great land of ours. To wit:

I think time has answered this question appropriately enough, no? I mean, come on - The 1978 "Sgt. Pepper" movie had George Burns in it. The "Sgt. Pepper" album? No George Burns. A clear win for the Bee Gees.

I also like that when deciding to sink it's teeth into the musical debate of the ages, they chose to go with a "Mad" magazine-style illustration for the cover in order to convey the gravity of the issue at hand. Exactly how "The Washington Post" would do it, I imagine.

Eventually (within one year) my interest on this dopey magazine waned, but not before I received not one but two cool King Kong posters that were included with issues. One was the 1976 remake poster (which came in an issue with King Kong holding "Laverne & Shirley" in his hand), and the other was a kick-ass 3-D poster of the old Kong on the Empire State Building, which hung in my room for several years. I still have the issue with the remake poster, but alas, not the cool 3D one.

**Short intermission while I go try and find a google image of said 3-D King Kong poster***

No dice. I remember seeing it on ebay about 5 years ago (and getting outbid on it), but now I can't seem to find an image of it. Nostalgia, thou art a harsh mistress.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Somehow I don't think this quote will show up on the movie poster or DVD packaging

From Harry at Ain't It Cool News comes this critical bon mot regarding Mike Myer's newest vehicle "The Love Guru":

"If shit got 'The Love Guru' on it, shit would wipe it off."

Hmmm - I'm guessing he didn't like it very much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Great scene

Here's a fine bit of late 60's cinema, courtesy of Director George Roy Hill - a tense-yet-funny scene from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Recognize the big, knife-wielding guy? Why it's none other than Ted Cassidy, who played "Lurch" on "The Addams Family." I stumbled upon this because my wife sent me an article about Lou Ferrigno that mentioned Ted Cassidy doing the 'voice' of the Hulk (more of a growl, really) on "The Incredible Hulk" TV show, as well as the narration during the opening credits that had that speedy piano chord behind it ("Dr. David Banner: physician; scientist. Searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation alters his body chemistry. And now when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs...."). As you can see from this clip, Ted definitely had some acting chops. He really played the scene nicely.

Another thing I really like about this clip is that Cassidy did the classic George Kennedy technique of slowly taking off his shirt while still talking, thus striking fear into the heart of your opponent. It's a simple formula: If you take your shirt off while talking, you mean business.

A lot of people angrily tear their shirts off these days, which is both obvious and lame (I blame 80's-era Hulk Hogan for this). Plus, you ruin your shirt. Slowly and calmly unbuttoning it is the way to go. It displays a calm and confidence that is guaranteed to make the other guy wet his pants. Try it at your next big meeting, and watch clients fall in line.

Oh yeah - here's a nice still shot of Newman's kick to Cassidy's groin. Should make a nice wallpaper for your laptop:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kinski, round 3

Here's a couple more pics showing the inclusion of green in dear old Klaus' face. At this point I have also colored in the eyes. Color tip: eyes are not white, they are basically a lighter hue of the subject's skin color. In most cases teeth would be treated basically the same. White is a color that doesn't really exist in nature, and using it out the tube is too glaring, and using it to lighten other colors results in weak, foggy hues, in my opinion.

A close-up of Mr. Kinski's penetrating, red-rimmed gaze. Note the blues, greens and oranges.

So at this point I have invested about 10 hours into the project, and would estimate that the painting is about 25% done. Now that I have all my values established via these glazed layers, I will begin to apply thicker layers of paint, blending some areas and keeping others sharply defined, and hopefully giving everything more volume and luminosity. For some reason I keep playing the same CD over and over when I work on this, which is "Saturnalia" by The Gutter Twins (an utterly fantastic record, btw). I start the CD and basically paint until it's over. Once it ends, I clean my brushes and rejoin the surface world (I work in a basement studio).

OK, that's enough painting for the time being. I won't post shots of this again until it's noticeably further along. Next up : thrill to pictures from the Blogfoot "High & Low of Wisconsin Architecture" tour, where we visited the strange and eerie House on the Rock as well as Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin estate in one dizzying, rain-soaked weekend.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I call that a bargain

I don't know how many of you watched the first two episodes of the new Discovery Channel series about NASA called "When We Left Earth" last night, but it was straight-up awesome. Tons of great archival footage and commentary from titans of the field like Gene Krantz and assorted astronauts who were right in the thick of things. The series continues next Sunday and is essential viewing, in our humble opinion.

On a related note, I was ordering the DVD of said episodes of the Discovery Channel website, and I noticed they had a link to for a fantastic item I already have called "America in Space: NASA's First 50 Years," a giant picture book whose title should pretty much explain itself to all but the densest among you. What raised my eyebrows is that this huge $50 book is currently a mere $10 at Amazon! Yowsa, wotta deal! I don't want to shill for a corporation, but that's just too darned cheap not to spread the word about. I'm assuming it's due to the Discovery Series, but who knows why, and who knows how long it will last. Check it out.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dude named "Uncle" who recently commented, please contact me

I was moderating my comments this morning (all 2 of them - boy, you people are an opinionated lot. Real firecrackers, you are.), and I found this one, which almost made me spit out my coffee:

"I worked odd jobs at JCPenney (late 70's at "Apache Plaza" in St. Anthony, MN) and one of the oddest was wearing the Super Dennis robot costume around the store. "Super Denims" were JCPenney kids jeans."

Alright - a local boy! This comment was left in the last day or so, but was in response to some older posts regarding me trying to figure out if there really was a Robot used to advertise a line of children's jeans in the 70's or if I imagined the whole thing while in the throes of a chickenpox-related fever dream. Actually I know it existed, but I have been unable to find any proof on this worthless thing called the web that's supposed to be such a resource. If you're unfamilar with this story, previous posts are here and here.

Uncle, whoever you are, your blogger profile is disabled, so contact me so we can discuss further. And please tell me you have a photo of yourself in said robot costume. Blogfoot would pay handsomely (say, $5 or so - I'm the J. Jonah Jamenson of the internet!) for the rights to publish such a photo. Just leave a comment for this post with your email, and I'll email you and delete the comment.

Quick Kinski update

I added a darker brown to the deepest folds of his face, and mixed some blue with a darker red to make a new background - deeper and less 'orangey' - which gives him a lot more dimension.
And menace. Always looking to up the menace factor with this one.

Since this pic was shot, I also started glazing in shades of green into his facial shadows (cheekbones, above the eyes), and it's working pretty well. I'm starting to think this piece could turn out decent.

More next week once I throw some more hours at it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

How charming

So I was sitting in the lobby of a large downtown office building at lunchtime today waiting for a conference call to start regarding a shady business deal I'm cooking up, and while waiting for the phone to ring,
I wiled away the minutes gazing out onto the bustling pedestrian thoroughfare known as Nicollet Mall, when a cute little boy wandered into view. He had nice features, had a neat little outfit on, etc (you notice these things more when you have a kid yourself).

Then his mom entered the frame, and gave him a beverage to drink from. Well that's nice - a picturesque little snapshot of parenthood, thought I. Except for one little detail, that is. A detail I sadly wasn't quick enough to capture with my cellphone camera.

The mom was wearing a large belt buckle that read "Kiss My Ass."

Now, I don't want to throw stones here - but when my kid was born,
I took stock of my life and decided that maybe it was time to retire things like my "Kiss My Ass" belt buckle, which is why mine now resides in a box in the basement, waiting for the day when we have a rummage sale and someone can pay a quarter for the privilege of letting strangers that happen to look at their waistline know that make no mistake, theirs is an ass that should be kissed.