Archive for February, 2006

Imagineer This!

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Neat idea for a weblog, via Boing Boing: Re-Imagineering analyzes Disney theme park attractions and makes suggestions on how to improve them. Mostly the contributors trash the bottom-line “bean counter” mentality of the Michael Eisner era and have a guarded optimism for the incoming John Lasseter reign. I like their skepticism and the reminders of past things (in Disneyland specifically) that worked and why. A good companion to Al Lutz’s columns at MiceAge.com.

Gruesome Twosome: God Save the Telly Edition

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

_cptscarlet.jpg
Barry Gray: “Captain Scarlet”
TV theme, 1967 | BUY

John Barry: “The Persuaders”
TV theme, 1971 | BUY

In the spirit of insternational comraderie, I am reaching across the pond today for a duo of marvy vintage British TV themes. The funky charm of Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation productions couldn’t have had a better complement in Barry Gray’s music. Captain Scarlet and The Mysterions is one of my faves. Although the version here to my knowledge was never actually used in the show itself, it’s a fine piece that calls to mind go-go girls dancing in cages, hips aflutter. Check out more of Gray’s work for Anderson on this page. And what about John Barry’s seductive theme for the Roger Moore/Tony Curtis sleuthing series The Persuaders? Quite sexy and Bond-like. Which begs another question: why can’t today’s TV themes sound this friggin’ fantastic?

We’re Soaking In It

Monday, February 27th, 2006

After a couple of weeks of patient waiting, my review of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room has been posted at Mindjack Film. Interesting movie. I hope it bucks the odds and wins the Oscar, even if that scenario might result in a mob of angry penguins.

Speaking of home entertainment options, Christopher and myself had a buying binge at Best Buy over the weekend. Some of the results of that binge are listed in the “Recommended” section on the front page (down on the right side). I got the Simpsons Complete Season 7 set. This is likely the final Simpsons season set I’ll buy. The show slid into an amusing but undemanding formula right around this period. I’d even say that Bart Sells His Soul was the last truly brilliant episode they did, with Moe’s Family Feedbag storyline (“Daddy, this place smells like tinkle”) counting among the series’ best subplots ever. We also bought Creature Comforts, containing all 13 episode of the Aardman-produced programme on one disc (at 15 minutes apiece, they don’t take up too much room) and some great extras. Funny stuff, and in anamorphic widescreen to boot!

TV with a Rich, Creamy Filling

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Here we go again: Slate.com on VH-1. The writer has some good observations, although I seriously wouldn’t want to meet anyone who finds that “Celebreality” junk appealing. Although I try to stay away from VH-1 like a strict dieter wants to avoid Twinkies, they’ve seduced me again with the forthcoming I Love Toys. C-list comedians riffing on Stretch Armstrong? I am so there.

New in the Store: Happy Shoppers

Friday, February 24th, 2006

This family of grocery shoppers have made their debut at The Scrubbles Store, available as both a spiffy tote bag and a nifty refrigerator magnet. Interesting that the drawing’s colors share a similarity to the authentically retro illustrations from a 1956 insurance booklet posted by Ward at his weblog.

store_happyfamily.jpg

Overall, I’m satisfied with this drawing — except that the woman’s legs are too realistic. They needed more simplification like the girl’s legs, and no delineation between feet and shoes. Simple is hard to do.

Shuffle Off to ‘Kokomo’

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

The Onion A.V. Club asked a few quasi-celebrities to put their iPods on shuffle and talk about what comes up. Seen together, the results come off as too samey with a uniform indie/wannabe hipster vibe. A weblog post on the same article nets much more gratifying, diverse responses from readers. It actually inspired me to do the same thing. Here’s what came up:

1. “Colour My World” — Petula Clark A big chunk of my iPod is devoted to the subgenre of ’60s pop that I call “Hollywood Hippie-Lite”. Sitars add a bit of exotic flavor here, but not enough to hinder Miss Clark from, say, belting the tune on Ed Sullivan.

2. “Just What I’ve Been Looking For” — The Vogues Dovetails nicely from the previous song, a sublime bit of melodic Sunshine Pop that shoulda been a big hit.

3. “Captain of Your Ship” — Reparata & The Del-Rons Cool tune fits squarely in the subgenre of Girl Group Gone Psychedelic.

4. “She’s on My Mind” — The Moon More melodic Sunshine Pop with a groovy sped-up trumpet solo that travels from one ear bud to the other. This one (and a whole lot more) came from a mix made by my friend Ion.

5. “3 Horas da Manha” — Tamba Trio From a Cafe Apres Midi compilation, an easygoing Bossa-Meets-Adult-Contemporary cut from 1975.

6. “OK Chicago” — Resonance Weird ’70s funk/cop show-style instrumental (with sound effects); another from Ion’s mixes that I hadn’t heard in a while. Sounds strangely contemporary, like something Theivery Corporation would do.

7. “Boys and Girls” — Reparata & The Del-Rons Another Reparata song from their excellent best-of CD (thanks, Ion!).

8. “Doce e Eu (You and I)” — Paul Winter and Carlos Lyra This is a strange juxtaposition, from stomping girly pop to gentle bossa nova. Another winning Cafe Apres Midi cut.

9. “Mike Mills” — Air Oh, man. I love this song so much that that it usually gets repeated two or three times, like the aural equivalent of crack. Gorgeous synths and strings ebb and flow in mesmerizing fashion.

10. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — Paul Desmond A mellow, rainy day jazz interpretation of the Simon & Garfunkle classic. I bought this on iTunes and loved it so much that I went ahead and bought the rest of Desmond’s album.