Friday, November 21, 2008

Link Proliferation: "Girls Priced to Sell!"

The Gutter Waits for Girls Like Me!

Over at the Alphabet Soup blog, designer Michael Doret reveals his pulp-tastic cover design (shown above) for Tashen monumental (336 pages of lurid goodness) True Crime Detective Magazines: 1924-1969.

In his blog entry, Doret discusses the thinking that went into his work and shows some of the source material he used as inspiration.

Systematic horrors

NME described London's Silvery as what would happen "if Damon Albarn spent the 90's taking acid."

Here's the steampunkish, darkly trippy video to their song "Horrors."

Exit plot, chased by bear

Though not horror focused, NYTimes has a short article on the work of David Kirkpatrick, one of the founders of MIT newest Media Lab project: the Center for Future Storytelling.

From the article:

The center is envisioned as a “labette,” a little laboratory, that will examine whether the old way of telling stories — particularly those delivered to the millions on screen, with a beginning, a middle and an end — is in serious trouble.

Starting in 2010, a handful of faculty members — “principal investigators,” the university calls them — will join graduate students, undergraduate interns and visitors from the film and book worlds in examining, among other things, how virtual actors and “morphable” projectors (which instantly change the appearance of physical scenes) might affect a storytelling process that has already been considerably democratized by digital delivery.

The lab will work alongside major film studios to try to re-teach the art of narrative to Hollywood.

But Mr. Kirkpatrick and company are not alone in their belief that Hollywood’s ability to tell a meaningful story has been nibbled at by text messages, interrupted by cellphone calls and supplanted by everything from Twitter to Guitar Hero.

“I even saw a plasma screen above a urinal,” said Peter Guber, the longtime film producer and former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment who contends that traditional narrative — the kind with unexpected twists and satisfying conclusions — has been drowned out by noise and visual clutter.

A common gripe is that gamelike, open-ended series like “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Spider-Man” have eroded filmmakers’ ability to wrap up their movies in the third act. Another is that a preference for proven, outside stories like the "Harry Potter" books is killing Hollywood’s appetite for original storytelling.

Dance, dance, execution

From the vaults, here's a 1922 short feature of the ballet, The Danse Macabre. Look for the nicely animated title sequence and the nifty Death-as-fiddler costume.

Dispatches from the Poe Wars

WHYY's Babbitt-blog It's Our City, sounds the alarm for Philly to get its crap together with regards to the on-going battle of what city gets to claim Poe as their own:

With the Bicentennial of Poe next year (he was born Jan 19, 1809) all the Poe cities-Bmore, Philly, NY, Richmond and Boston-are rolling out the red carpet for Poe tourists. Baltimore has two websites promoting its events. Last month, they held a press conference to promote the Bicentennial which is still making waves in newspapers and news sites online. Richmond has a website, as well. And now Boston, the city with the smallest of claims to Poe’s Legacy (his actress mother gave birth to him while passing through on a theatrical tour), is hosting a two day celebration and calling for their city to recognize Poe as own of their own.

Philadelphia has lots of events planned for the Bicentennial, or should I say, the Park Service and other groups have lots of events planned. There is no organized effort to reach out to the Poe tourists (and believe me, there are lots of them), bring them to Philly and show them why this is his true “literary” home. So far, all Philly has done is bring in Elvira for a couple Halloween events. Do they have any plans to promote the Bicentennial next year?

"The horned beasts of suck"

Speaking of literary feuds, perhaps the weirdest feud I've ever heard of is currently "raging" amongst fantasy authors of the YA-ish persuasion: zombies versus unicorns.

I kid not.

It apparently started when, in a discussion of Simon Pegg's hatred of running zombies, novelist and academic Justine Larbalestier dropped that she thought unicorns were "metaphorically as dead as the dodo."

The seemingly all-pervasive Io9 has the round up of shots fired in this crucial conflict.

Zombie unicorn mask (above) by flickr user MATTY™.


Speaking of zombies, I highlight this page of the upcoming Zombie Cop graphic novel – you see, he polices zombies, so he's zombie cop in the sense that he's the cop of zombies; but he also IS a zombie, so he's a zombie cop in the sense that he's, you know, a zombie cop, so it works on many levels – because of the sound the guy getting disarmed makes: "GAAAAAAAH!!"

Isn't the more the sound you make when you spill something on the couch, rather than when, say, a zombie – regardless of its connections to law enforcement, official or otherwise – rips off your freakin' arm?


Shon Richards said...

The MIT story lab is a neat concept that sounds like a Warren Ellis plot. I am a bit amused by the idea of former Hollywood executives bemoaning the lack of story. The reason movies don't have complex stories is when a million dollar company needs to make a product that will sell millions, they need to be as simple as possible to appeal to the audience with the most disposable income, teenagers. Or at least, that is how Hollywood behaves.

Oliver said...

re: Blur on acid

I know I can't be the only one who finds this tiresome. Why are the things described as being "such and such on [drug]" never anything like the drug mentioned? That youtube clip would be better described as "if Damon Albarn spent the 90's making a Modest Mouse video from the early 00's".

Oh and on the Center for Future Storytelling thing. It's a good idea, and something that definitely needs to be addressed if Hollywood wants to stay relevant, but I don't think reaffirming the tired 3 act structure is the way to do it.

CRwM said...


To be fair, I think NME was describing the band and not the video, but your point still stands. The first music critic to use the construction "X is like Y if Y wasn't Y but was X" gets my vote for the Pulitzer.

"Silvery is like Blur if Blur wasn't Blur but was Silvery."

In a pinch, I'd be willing to consider a critic who made drug comparisons, but used no psychoreactive drugs in their simile:

"Silvery is like Blur on antihistamines."