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Monthly Archives: October 2007

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Rhapsody in Nitrate

There’s a fascinating thread going on the Criterion discussion boards — apparently someone has tracked down what might be the only surviving copy of F.W. Murnau’s lost silent 4 Devils in Tacoma, Washington of all places. The ensuing discussion on intellectual property is an interesting read, not to mention the excited reactions from film lovers. Hopefully this discovery is real and, far off, we’ll see a DVD release surface. (via Dave Kehr)

Name That Film on Flickr

Name That Film

Lately I’ve been delving into the Name That Film flickr group. It’s not just the fun of trying to guess the film stills captured off DVDs, but a lot of the images have a strange, surreal beauty (like the one above by frequent contributor Poletti). One can especially get a lot of interesting frames from the “in between” scenes minus any actors. I’ve done a few captures of my own, one of which was guessed within minutes of uploading.

39 and Lovin’ It

Birthday Mix CD CoverToday was my 39th birthday. Since I won’t have a Father’s Day or wedding anniversary, it’s the only date-exclusive holiday I have — and I’m grabbing it for all it’s worth. To paraphrase a famous cliché: I’m not getting older, I’m getting better. The celebrating started last Saturday when I received a mailed envelope of goodies from my friend Ion. He made me a special mix CD with a Warholized version of my own dorky high school yearbook photo on the cover. The mix includes songs by Bananarama, the Go! Team, Beck, Bread, Donny Osmond, and obscure ’60s Brits Sharon Tandy and Pickettywitch — which only goes to prove that Ion knows me all too well.

Later that night, Christopher gave me his wonderfully chosen gifts. He got me the hefty coffee table book Shop America: Midcentury Storefront Design 1938-1950, which is bursting with luscious painted renderings of glass and steel Streamline Moderne storefronts with chi-chi men and women milling about. Great stuff. He also got me the Disney Rarities DVD set, which has been on my Amazon Wish List for a long time. But that’s not all — he also surprised me with an older book called Hollywood Panorama. This was based on a mural that an artist named Bob Harman did in the early ’70s containing hundreds of cartoon portraits of old movie stars. We first got wind of this while watching Harman on an old To Tell The Truth episode; his work is both fascinating and bizarre at the same time. Check out this detail from the cover:

Hollywood Panorama

I also had a great Monday. The day was mostly spent working, but I did get to have a treat when my Mom came over for lunch. We got some Pei Wei to go and dined at home while listening to the ’40s satellite radio station. Doesn’t that sound sweet? I feel truly blessed to have such a great family and friends.

March of the Penguins

In the Heart of the Amazon ForestHello — I am back from Key West, Florida, with a keen suntan and lots of stories to tell. More about that later, but first I wanted to write about something I found in the Atlanta airport bookstore. Shortly before our return trip, I had finished the Peggy Lee bio I brought and was in the mood for something short, literate and different for the long plane ride back home. The store had a display of a new Penguin Classics series called Great Journeys, each slim paperback sporting a beautiful cover design by David Pearson. There’s a whole lot to love here: the perfectly symmetrical illustrations, the colors reminiscent of old kiddie textbooks, the touchable paper texture, the smart use of Adobe Caslon as the only font. Despite the high price, I laid down ten bucks for Henry Walter Bates’ Victorian-era In the Heart of the Amazon Forest and it was a good little diversion for the ride back home.

I oughta note that the UK edition of Great Journeys contains twenty titles, while we in the US only get ten. Peruse David Pearson’s site for more droolworthy book design.