Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Back in the day (somewhere around nineteen mumble-mumble), a new art form appeared: the Anime Music Video. It's been around a while and, like any art-form, it's sometimes good.
Sometimes it's dreadful.
The internet and cheap software have made it a much easier thing to come by. But! There was a brief period of time when videos were made by people who were used to the old way of doing things.
Are they using computers now? Heck if I know.
Can you guess what's "actual size" in this video?
No anime is sacred.
Some make you feel good.
Some remind you that you haven't seen everything.
Some just work, even though they shouldn't.
Did I mention the word wrong? Maybe I should have.
Dangit! Gil Scott Heron has died.
But whitey's on the moon.
I bet you don't know who is his.
But whitey's on the moon.
You may have heard that the revolution will not be televised. I hear it will not be telegraphed, either.
It's an iconic bit of poetry.
I had heard "Revolution" many years ago, but it wasn't anything I could play at top decibel from my car. This track, however, I do like to play at the local 7-11....just to make people uncomfortable. (Maybe NSFW.)
But maybe you don't know Foxy Brown? Oh, you should.
Oh, Blaxploitation, is there no line you won't cross?
Whereas the "Revolution" and "Whitey" might be fun and amusing, "Winter" was a more potent and mournful piece that spoke to everyone. This is how I felt in 2008.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Florida Anime Experience isn't looking to be a massive event; I'm thinking a couple hundred people at most. But in an environment where anime conventions now have to also cater to steampunk, musical acts, Vocaloid, Touhou, and especially the followers of the zombie apocalypse, FAE seeks to be a back to "basics" anime convention. And since nobody goes to video rooms anyway, they asked me and my AWO cohorts to program one of them entirely with stuff WE'D want people to see.
So between that and the rest of the schedule, I have a semi-clear conscience in jumping IN MY MERRY OLDSMOBILE (come to think of it, I've never used that one!) and hurling DOOM down upon the masses this Friday night (5/27/11), 10 PM, in Main Events. Alas, unlike all you graphic design impresarios I lack the ability to edit this image so they're holding something apropos in lieu of rifles. As such there is no flyer. But expect the tried-and-true mix of HELL classics combined with goofball Japanese cartoon clips, wacky Z-grade action movie antics, odd commercials, Orson Welles, and that one music video where Rocky fights ED-209.
Here's hoping the laptop holds together. Never did quite restore it fully following the otherwise successful Anime Boston HELL-stravaganza...
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
The education and implementation of home video entertainment was a daunting and incredible task that could only be explained through demonstration with or without dialog. Here for you are just a few examples of a bygone era in edu-tainment!
Saturday, May 21, 2011
If you want to be "Rapture Ready" everything you need to know about the end times is covered in the Hell classic A Thief In The Night.
Although A Thief In The Night is only about 70 minutes long it takes 40 minutes to actually get to the Rapture. There's lots of hippies singing, a couple of sermons, and lots of warnings about the Rapture. Plus some really good bad acting and classic clothes and hair from the late 60s/early 70s. This drags on and on and then when you're not expecting it, it happens.
You'll still be here when I get back, right?
The first thing you'll notice is that those who are "Caught Up" tend to be using power equipment when they are "gathered together in the clouds." So there'll be lots of things like lawn mowers and electric mixers and jet airplanes that will have to be turned off.
But then the real fun begins. The United Nations Imperium for Total Emergency(AKA U.N.I.T.E.) immediately take over the TV with old white guys wearing armbands and setting up I.D Centers with guys in red shirts making everybody take The Mark. Paramilitary UNITE goons show up in white panel vans and start hauling away all those annoying hippies from the first half of the movie. Which would seem like a good thing, except the annoying hippies keep singing while in the UNITE detainment camps.
And that's pretty much how it's suppose to go. Or was it all a dream?
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The stewardess came by and asked what we wanted to drink. Excited that my mom wasn't there to tell me to order a milk, I gleefully asked for a Coke. The man in the suit next to me had other things on his mind.
"Do you have TWA coffee?" he asked.
"Yes," said the stewardess.
He grinned. "Do you have TWA tea?"
She blushed very deeply and responded in a faint whisper, "Yes, sir. We have tea."
And he leaned forward, leering the whole time. "Well, see you when tea is ready."
I do remember that she seemed to shrink in on herself and slunk away.
The man in the suit turned to me with a triumphant look on his face. "You have to let them know who's in charge, young man."
My eight-year-old self had short hair that summer, due to an incident with some bubble-gum. I had been called "young man" the entire trip and this was the last straw. I kicked the guy in the knee and yelled, "I'm a girl and you're mean!"
To prevent any further ruckus, the stewardesses moved the man in the suit to the back of the plane. My new neighbor was a very nice old man who taught me logic problems.
The stewardess gave me a candy bar. For free.
So, what does that have to do with cartoons?
If you watch "Tom and Jerry" on TV these days, it's not Lillian Randolph voicing that maid. Her voice was redubbed by Turner in the mid-1990s in hopes of making the character sound less stereotypical; the resulting accent sounded more Irish (no stereotypes there!).
This is what we call bowdlerizing. We get the term from Thomas Bowdler, who wanted Shakespeare to be more "appropriate" for women and children. What this means is Love's Labour Lost is probably only about twenty minutes long.
What it also means is we cannot learn from the past, because it's been dumped down some kind of memory hole.
Offended? You should be. Does that mean that the offensive material should not be available? No. You can't remake the past and it has to be there, no matter how awful or offensive it might be. This was made when we were at war and so we had to make the enemy something slightly less than human. You can't kill someone if you think they're just like you. They have to be something inhuman or else you won't be able to pull the trigger.
Oh! Those Nazis are so funny! How could they ever hope to defeat us? No...we're smarter than them.
They can't even speak correctly! Ha ha! Silly Nazis.
Let's fast-forward a bit here and look at something fairly innocuous from 1959.
Living in Texas, I can't watch this without wincing a bit, so I guess I'm well programmed. All the classic stereotypes are here: lazy, stupid, greedy....
If you think those haven't had any influence, check out this video and its title. Don't read the comments.
Remember that whole thing about making the enemy less than human? Yeah.
Works both ways.
Anyone can make propaganda! That's part of the fun. That's also the disgusting thing about it. And you should be offended by that video; it proves you're still a human being.
But the most important part about this dreadful collection is it actually happened. Maybe you laughed a little. Maybe you got upset. Maybe the whole thing put you into a full-on rage. We can't ignore these things or pretend that they didn't happen.
I don't think I'd be the person I am today if that little incident on the plane hadn't happened. I know that it happened and that similar things still happen. It doesn't make me hate guys, just assholes.
We show this cartoon at shows. Sometimes, we show a live-action version. You know why?
Because that guy was a total douchenozzle. We're making fun of his dumb ass. Everyone sing along and mock that guy who thought he was doing SERIOUS BUSINESS and ended up in a ditch, covered in petrol, on fire.
See how far propaganda gets you? It just gives the future something to make fun of.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Here's a good collection of animated shorts from the 1960's that still feels so relevant to me today (even if the rest of the world moved on). Including a little more dialog to set-up these pieces with my usual anecdotes.
Outside the usual Television and movie fare of the day, you had a few of these small-time works that may have seen limited distribution someplace like film fests, movie theaters and so-on. One of the few animators to break away from the advertising world momentarily to put out some twisted works of his own was British animator Bob Godfrey. This piece cleverly mocks the ad world while inspiring future guys like Terry Gilliam with it's novel approach to cut-out animation.
Another British gent of mentionable importance (no not Richard Williams, sorry guys)is Yellow Submarine director George Dunning. Beginning his career with the National Film Board of Canada in the 1940's, he moved to the London to start up what was to be the London office of UPA but after a falling out with the main studio renamed it TeeVee Cartoons, Ltd. (or "TVC" for short), which would go on to produce TV commercials, specials, movies and the likes for decades to come (not to mention the Beatles cartoon show). In "The Apple", a man's desire for a single apple takes on many obstacles in his task (plus Dick Williams was involved in this one)...
Staying in England just a bit more, there's the studios of Halas & Batchelor, who continued on it's merrily way after producing the country's first animated feature film a decade before (Animal Farm). The 1960's would see more influences from the artistic and experimental field as they approached some interesting topics and other silly pursuits in comedy as we will see in these following shorts..
When Warner Brothers wasn't making the usual Looney Tunes in the 60's, stuff like this got made which I felt best utilized what the studio was capable of by the end of the decade.
When taking over the nearly finished Paramount Cartoon Studio (a.k.a. "Famous Studios"), animation director Shamus Culhane tried to take the studio in a new direction it didn't think to take or willing to go with beyond a few staffers who sided with Culhane's intentions of trying to replicate what Gene Deitch did with Terrytoons before in the 50's. Out of a couple years' worth of work are these humble gems...
Not to outdo Disney, but one guy there did make a pretty tripped out film himself, all hail Ward Kimball and his bird flick!
When not entertaining Americans with such films as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs and more, Mel Brooks lends his creative talents to this Oscar-winning short film from director Ernest Pintoff, "The Critic" from 1963.
No posts about 60's animation out to be complete without a mention for John and Faith Hubley, whose work throughout this decade was quite varied and unique.
Some Odds and Ends (because I know it would take more than a single post to get this all in!
Monday, May 16, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Before Blogger blew up last week, we had a few comments on the "Star Hustler" post mentioning "Alive From Off Center". I wasn't able to find videos of the opening credits, but I do have a couple mp3s.
The original opening, by Laurie Anderson and David Byrne:
And a later version:
The thing about this show was they showed everything. Most of the funky art films I saw as a kid, I first saw there. I've collected what I can.
"What Do You Mean We?" was the first time we saw the Laurie Anderson "clone"; and, as a result, the duo hosted the show several times afterwards. I do recall that they introduced the next piece.
"The Street of Crocodiles" by the Brothers Quay. In the "Alive From Off Center" introduction, Anderson reads some of the story to her clone. The clone, upset that a chair might have some secret life, stands and moves the chair to the far corner of the room.
And no, they did not do the video for Tool's Sober. That was Adam Jones.
This was also how I found out about Jan Svankmajer and his short films. The Brothers Quay pay tribute to him in The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer. As it turns out, they didn't discover him until 1983, long after their own style had cemented.
Besides stop-motion, AFOC regularly featured classical animation. (Go here for the full piece, uploaded by the animator herself.)
Sometimes the show just got weird. Meredith Monk's "Book of Days" never went anywhere, yet still felt preachy. She's also the only performer I've ever walked out on. Granted, it was at intermission, but I couldn't take it anymore. I'm sure she's a fine artist, just not one I care for.
This piece is roughly 30 minutes long and I do have the patience for it. I'm happy to have found it.
Praise House - Teaser
JULIE DASH | Myspace Video
AFOC also featured a lot of dance performances. Whatever art was out there, they were going to show it. Any dance. Seriously.
"Codex" was one of the most brilliant things I had ever seen. This work might look a little familiar.
Again, a very weird show. I didn't know anything about Gertrude Stein back in 1987. The language is fascinating, and she plays with how it sounds more than what it means.
Shortly after this, I got into William S. Burroughs and Ezra Pound. While in high-school, I thought more about the sound of words and the feelings they invoked, rather than the simple meanings of things.
I do feel a slight embarrassment looking back on what we considered "a masterpiece of video art" back then.
By the same respect, I'm proud that there was a show like AFOC. Yeah, I know, it was on the middle of the night and you had to wait until "Dr. Who" was over before you got to see, but I taped them so I should share them with my family and friends.
There was something very exciting about dragging this thing out of the darkness.
I don't think there could be a show like AFOC now. Sure, there's "Independent Lens" on PBS, but it's not the same. You can look up anything online now and the cost of producing material like that has dropped so much, it's not as...special.
However, there was some truly wonderful things out there, and each one of those wonderful things should be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible.
It's like how I used to tape "Dr. Demento" on Sunday nights back in the late 80s. Throughout the rest of the week, on the drive to and from school, we'd listen to those tapes I had made and sing along.
And that's really the thing I love about "Anime Hell" and what we do on this blog. We go out and find those wonderful things, or strange things, or even horrible things that taste like a stale Christmas. But we find them and we share them with you. "I found a shiny! Come see the shiny and enjoy it the way I did!"
That's what AFOC was for me, back in junior-high. It was this wonderful thing or a strange thing or even a horrible thing, but someone showed it to me. And I got to tape it and show it to others. I got to see something that no one else got to see (or, at least, relatively few people) and it wasn't prime-time and there were no commercials. Sometimes, it was art for art's sake; but, sometimes, it was a whole new world I had never imagined was out there.
And, I hope, we can do that for you.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
"Star Hustler" was frequently the last thing a station would show. I mean it. The last thing they would show before signing off. Yes, back in the day, stations would sign off at the end of the night.
I used to catch it after watching "Dr. Who" (Tom Baker, FTW!) or "Blake's 7". Later, in the 90s, they would show "Alive from Off Center" or an old horror movie, then sign off.
In 1970s, Jack Horkheimer was appearing on news programs talking about astronomy. He was approached by Florida's PBS affiliate, WPBT, to do a series of half-hour programs about astronomy. He agreed on the condition that WPBT help him create a series of 5-minute shows on stargazing. This was the beginning of "Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler."
In May 1985, the show went national, being broadcast on PBS stations around the United States with the enthusiastic Horkheimer that most people are familiar with. He realized that he was playing a character in order to generate enthusiasm for the show
The show has many catchphrases that viewers associate with Jack Horkheimer. Horkheimer's appearances on the show are always marked with his opening line, "Greetings, greetings, fellow star gazers!" and his signature closing line, "Keep looking up!" These are the most widely recognizable quotes from the show but there were also others in common usage throughout the series.
With the rise of the Internet, however, search engines were giving results for the "Hustler" adult magazine instead of the program's web site showing up at the top of results. As a result, the producers renamed the show "Star Gazer" to avert any confusion, accidental or purposeful.
The theme, by the way, was Debussy's First Arabesque.
Monday, May 09, 2011
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Let's all be grateful for the mothers we had.
And the ones we didn't.
"You're pissing on my mum!"
Oh, Anthony Perkins and mothers! What an ordeal!
NO WIRE HANGERS!
Speaking of Joan Crawford....
I'm not even going to say what the deal with "Baby" is. But that's an evil mom.
History lesson! This was one of the most popular episodes of The X-Files, and the least re-aired.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Here's the thing about this ad: those aren't pantyhose. Those are far more classy things, known today as thigh-highs.
Personally, I can't wear pantyhose. They say one size fits all, but it's a lie. Because I'm tall and thin, I either get a matching top or a means to smuggle things to the Vietcong. I have to do the stocking\garter-belt thing because it's the only way I can get a pair that fit.
But, for a while, pantyhose were the only thing you could get without shelling out some serious clams. Pantyhose were everywhere.
Now, before you go through this little history, let me say this.
I had to watch a lot of pantyhose videos before I was able to get this together. Even if you put in the search phrase "commercial", there's some stuff you'll find that you do NOT want to see.
Yeah, them's good pantyhose.
I remember this ad. I also remember the plastic egg the Leggs came in and how that was super cool. My action figures used them as escape pods for a very long time.
Now, that "erases panty line" is a little misleading. The thing about pantyhose was that you did not wear them with panties. You were already wearing pantyhose. Just think about that for a bit. We had convinced a generation of women to wear long underwear.
And then there was the Asian thing. Because silk is Oriental.
Not that Rockettes would ever be able to get away with garter-belts. That's a totally different show, there.
These ads always made me feel a little bad for ZZTop. By the same respect, I had to consider them marketing geniuses. They knew what was going to happen when the put out that song.
And then there's the pseudo-Asian version that even goes so far as to use an Asian actress and mention "Oriental silk". You have to give it to Leggs; they knew their audience.
Granted, that was back when we thought the Japanese were going to own everything.
This was a theme for at least two years.
Eventually, women entered the workforce en masse, and they needed those vaunted pantyhose. When the announcer says that women today were playing "tug of war", it's not between career and family. It's with those darn pantyhose!
Those pantyhose had to be tough enough to make it through a rough day at the office.
Look at that power-suit. She's got shoulders in separate zip-codes. She will take no crap and pantyhose that run are crap
Women were on the move! We were going to work, being active, and shopping! Oh, women and their shopping. In heels. All day.
But we could still be glamorous, and handle the kids.
We had not, however, forgotten about the Asians.
For a very long time, "baby-cakes" was a catch-phrase for me and my friends.
Part of this spot reminds me of the Tom Waits episode of Fishing with John.
As you can see, we were still allowed to be culturally insensitive those days.
Classic comedic misdirection.
Hitchhiker's guide to cheap electronics.
Jilted by low prices!
As you can see, the bride finally succumbed.
Everyone got in on the act.
Christmas was always a big deal.
This one actually kinda scares me.
I miss these guys.
They did radio ads as well.
ADAM AND EVE
THE TOWER OF BABEL
THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC
THE STORY OF JOSEPH
THE STORY OF MOSES
SAMSON AND DELILAH
DAVID AND GOLIATH
THE WISDOM OF KING SOLOMON
THE SUFFERING OF JOB
THE STORY OF DANIEL
JONAH AND THE WHALE
Friday, May 06, 2011
Oh Thank Heaven!
Come On In, Coke!
The early years of the Terebi Gamu!
TV's & VCR's (but no cable, apparently they were fine with the ol' rabbit ears but hell, they got STEREO far earlier than we did)
A little too much overload, let's cool off with some POCARI SWEAT or a fancy NESCAFE to wash all that down!
A craft now lost to the ages, photography!
And now, misc. crap!
Me and Chris are talking about K-Tel and Ronco Records. So this has to be posted. I always loved how they rigged Robby's toe to tap in this commercial. Now that's what I call a K-tel classic.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Dawww...that's so cute. I have no idea what's going on.
I was actually looking for Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
So! It turns out that Mosfilm has released ALL of their movies online. This is very exciting.
I don't see Kin Dza Dza on there, but I'm still happy (nine minutes in for genius!).
The angst! The passion!
That's right: rabbits have crappy lives. Hillbilly wolves get no mail, but foxes with hoovers do.
Anyone caught cheating gets punched in the nose. Right in her red furry nose.
Dawww...kids enjoying snow. Why do adults have to screw things up?
Well.....while we're in Russia.
Kris Overstreet, over at White Lightning Productions, has been very kind and donated many many many prizes to us over the years.
BUT! His talents do not end there! He also has an Internet Radio Show over at Dementia Radio on Wednesdays (Nine PM, Central). You should all listen in and give Kris a shout-out. He's a lovely person and we appreciate him.
There's also a list of all the conventions where Kris will be on the White Lightning site. If you're near one, go see him! Tell him "thank you" for everything he's done.
GIVE THIS MAN MONEY.
Monday, May 02, 2011
The piece was left unpublished by Mark Twain at his death, largely due to pressure from his family, who feared that the story would be considered sacrilegious. Twain's publisher and other friends also discouraged him from publishing it. According to one account, his illustrator Dan Beard asked him if he would publish it regardless, and Twain replied "No, I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead."
This was the only one I could find in English.
Really, the secret to learning Dutch is realizing how much Dutch you already know.
The kids, if you can call them that, are named
Barbazoo, yellow, male, lover of animals
Barbalala, green, female, lover of music
Barbalib, orange, female, lover of books
Barbabeau, black and furry, male, lover of art
Barbabelle, purple, female, lover of beauty
Barbabright, blue, male, lover of science
Barbabravo, red, male, lover of strength and heroism
I think these have been translated into just about every language.
I saw many of them in French as a kid, while spending time in Canada. It was either this, or Zoom the White Dolphin. You'd think with that kind of exposure, my French would be better than the occasional "Non touché pas, s'il vous plaît."
By the same respect, my German should be better than "Halten Verboten!"
I had these books as a kid, my favorite being the one on how they build their monolithic dome style house. It was a few years later that I discovered a shmoo.
THE FRIENDLY GIANT (NET/CBC, 1953-85)
MR. DRESSUP (CBC, 1967-96)
MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD (NET/PBS, 1968-2001)
How Public Television in this country was saved over 40 years ago...
SESAME STREET (NET/PBS, 1969-????)
CARRASCOLENDAS (PBS, 1970-78)
THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (PBS, 1971-77)
ZOOM (PBS, 1972-78)
THE NEW ZOO REVUE (1972-77)
PINWHEEL (Nickelodeon, 1977-89)
YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION (CTV/Nickelodeon, 1979-90)
THE KIDS OF DEGRASSI STREET (CBC, 1979-86)
3-2-1 CONTACT (PBS, 1980-88)
THE GREAT SPACE COASTER (1981-86)
TODAY'S SPECIAL (TVOntario/Nickelodeon, 1982-87)
THE EDISON TWINS (CBC/The Disney Channel, 1983-86)
When Nelvana was trying to divert attention away from Rock & Rule's eventual bombing in the states.
READING RAINBOW (PBS, 1983-2009)
SQUARE ONE TELEVISION (PBS, 1986-94)
Sunday, May 01, 2011
I had seen this late one night, many years ago, and I only caught the last bit.
Thanks to the power of the internet, I saw the rest the other night.
Firstly, there's a pre-orange George Hamilton. He's a complete douche in the film and you quickly come to understand that half the things that happen to him are because he's such a dick to everyone.
Michael Rennie (post "The Day the Earth Stood Still") has a minor role in all this. Really, you wish he could be used more, considering the topic.
And Yvonne De Carlo is in this! Oh, come on, you remember who Yvonne De Carlo is. She plays a drunk widow in a trailer. It's great.
Getting back to the actual movie:
George Hamilton is a douche chemist who is gettin' it on with Suzanne Pleshette, his geneticist co-worker. They're working together to train a "superman" for their rocket tests.
Arthur O'Connell freaks out because there's a superman in their test subjects.
Predictably, people start to die.
Georgie boy goes on the run from cops who never take their hats off. They tell him to not leave town, so he leaves town and is almost killed.
Back in town from his near-killin', George runs into Suzanne Pleshette's land-lady, who has a polydactyl cat. Just an odd thing I noticed.
There's a car-crash, a fire, and a shoot-out. It's a strange film produced by George Pal, and that only shows in the last few minutes.
You can't get it on Netflix, but a copy is available on Amazon and Pirate Bay.
I won't tell you how to live your life. You do what you think is right.
You'll want someone to remake this this, with a whole new soundtrack.
Just in case you don't know, the plural of "you" in Spain is "vosotros". It basically means "you all".
Now, in Mexico and most of South America, the plural of "you" is "ustedes". It's very formal and means "Your honors". There are two forms for "you" in Spanish: "tu" (not formal) and "usted" (formal). I can't tell you why "vosotros" fell out of favor in the New World when saying "you all", but it did.
So, imagine my consternation when trying to tell a group of ten-year-old boys to shut up during a bull-fight in Spain. My Spanish language education had always been for Central and South America, never Spain proper.
Like hell, I'm going to tell a bunch of kids, "Your honors, if you could please be quiet?"
Yes, I can link Trent Reznor to Kevin Bacon. Watch:
David Bowie and Brian Eno wrote this song. Trent Reznor is featured.
Brian Eno worked with Peter Gabriel on this track.
Peter Gabriel used to be in Genesis.
Phil Collins was in Genesis.
Phil Collins was the voice of the polar bears in "Balto".
Balto was voiced by