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Monthly Archives: May 2009

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The Mall — of the FUTURE!

At a local Goodwill recently, I bought this strange little book for kids that was originally published in England. Titled Department Store, it’s a career guide from 1979. I liked browsing through it to see what swanky department stores looked like in the ’70s, British ones at that (shades of Are You Being Served?). The book also contains some hilariously awful illustrations, some of which are the latest additions to my Kiddie Korner flickr set.

My favorite section was this speculative illustration on what the department store of the future may look like. They certainly got the shopping from home part right; other ideas appear interesting enough in concept, but never caught on (click the illustration to see a larger view).

Mall of the Future (1979)

Mall of the Future (1979)

Fascinated by Cheryl Ladd

Of all the things I thought of today, how on earth did the subject of Cheryl Ladd’s singing career come up? The actress released a few albums during her Charlie’s Angels heyday, even scoring a minor hit with “Think It Over” in 1978. The clip below features Ladd performing “Fascinated.” I’ve actually written about this catchy tune before, only it was a rendition by The Gong Show‘s Jaye P. Morgan. Cheryl’s version appeared on a Japan-only release in 1981 (the Japanese really dig singing actresses, apparently). I don’t know if this footage was taken from a TV special or music video, but it is, uh, fascinating. I can’t decided which part I like best. Could it be where Cheryl is wearing a spacey gold sequined outfit and ’80s hair — or maybe where she’s photographing mannequins, then suddenly becomes a mannequin?

As if that wasn’t cool enough, the song can be downloaded at Cheryl’s own website. She’s gorgeous, and she approves of file sharing — what more could you want?

Home Movie Time

Amateur filmmaker Sid Laverents has died at age 100. Although I’ve never heard of Laverents before, his story is one of those heartwarming examples of someone whose hobby eventually defined their life. For Multiple SIDosis, Laverents spent four years filming multiple versions of himself performing a sprightly “Nola.” It’s a charming little film that ranks among the few amateur works included in the Library Of Congress film preservation collection. What slays me about the obit was that he didn’t start doing this until after he turned fifty years old!

Weekly Mishmash: May 10-16

Factory Girl (2006). Showtime recording. Remembering the mixed reviews that this Edie Sedgwick bio got, this one got avoided until Christopher put it on the TiFaux recently. Sedgwick’s life, as a ’60s socialite turned habitué of Andy Warhol’s Factory turned burnt out druggie, certainly has the makings for a good film. Too bad this superficial thing isn’t all that. Going by the dim memory of reading Jean Stein’s terrific oral biography Edie: American Girl in high school, I could tell the filmmakers took many liberties with facts, hiding behind it with music video-like flash and dazzle. No doubt about it, this is Edie for Dummies. Not that everything here is awful; I thought Sienna Miller did an admirably good job as Sedgwick, and Guy Pierce did the best of any actor in capturing Warhol’s creepy narcissism. 1996’s I Shot Andy Warhol was an infinitely more rewarding and realistic portrait of that scene. For those who are curious about Edie, the only thing I have to say is — read the book.
Full Moon High (1980). Flix recording. While we’ve been enjoying the free premium cable, I’ve been checking out plenty on the unwanted stepchild in the Showtime family — Flix. This must be the place where all the weird little old movies that nobody really asked for on DVD go, including this genial werewolf spoof from z-budget movie auteur Larry Cohen. A youthfully cute Adam Arkin stars as a ’50s teen who ventures to Romania with his wingnut dad (Ed MacMahon), only to be bitten in the wrong place at the wrong time. As parody, this movie is an unfunny failure. Its cheesiness and “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” humor reminded me, in a bad way, of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Mostly I enjoyed it for the oddball cast: Kenneth Mars, Bill Kirchenbauer, Roz Kelly, Elizabeth Hartman, Demond Wilson, Pat Morita, Bob Saget, Jm J. Bullock. Adam’s dad, Alan Arkin, even shows up as a straight-shooting doctor. You would never see that constellation of actors together on anything, outside of a Love Boat repeat.
The Lookout (2007). Excellent indie suspenser with Joseph Gordon Levitt as a former high school hockey star who is left brain damaged after a terrible auto accident. Falling in with a manipulative young man (Matthew Good, unrecognizable from Match Point), he becomes coerced into participating in a heist at the bank where he works. Although some of the characters seemed a bit cut-and-dried, this was a dynamite story with a nicely desolate small-town atmosphere. Levitt was outstandingly good; that Third Rock from the Sun kid has really matured into a good actor.
There Will Be Blood (2007). Showtime recording. Also excellent, although I think we missed a lot of the gorgeous photography in this regrettably panned-and-scanned showing. Daniel Day Lewis definitely earned his Oscar here. Compelling story, long but richly rewarding. Both of us could tell that he used John Huston as his vocal inspiration, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Thomas Kemper Black Cherry Soda

Thomas Kemper Black Cherry SodaThomas Kemper Black Cherry Soda. Yep, it’s been several months and I’m still making my way through the specialty bottled sodas I bought last Fall. Truthfully, I need to be in a special mood for a full-on serving of sweetened soda. Whenever I want something sweet, it’s more than anything else likely that I’d do a mixture at a restaurant soda fountain (try four parts Diet Pepsi to one part Manzanita Sol Apple; it’s delicious). Bottle-wise, my next victim was the honey-sweetened black cherry flavor from Portland-based Thomas Kemper. This was really good, fizzy in texture with a subtle woodsiness to the cherry flavor. The sweetness didn’t hit me over the head, which is just the way it should be. The root beer is Thomas Kemper’s signature flavor; now I want to try that.

Twitter Bird

Advertising Age‘s Simon Dumenico analyzes why Oprah Winfrey and Twitter might not be such a good match. I gotta admit that I’m really taking to Twitter. I enjoy reading the 71 people I follow there (which really isn’t that many, all things considered), and I often post a “tweet” once or twice a day. If I think of something short and pithy, my first impulse is to post a simple Twitter tweet rather than do a long weblog entry. It’s a fun diversion, but it doesn’t replace blogging for me.

It’s interesting to note the Twitter users who, unprovoked, chose to follow me. Some are bloggers that I follow, or ex-bloggers who fell off my radar. Others are perfectly random people. Often I’ll get a fellow designer or illustrator that I never heard of before (similar to Flickr). Sometimes I’ll follow a famous person, and be thrilled when they follow me back. Then I’ll check their profile and find that they’re following 17,000 other Twitterers — oh well.

Love Is Company

Last night, the spouse surprised me by taking me to a performance of the legendary Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical Company. Although the original cast recording is tattooed on my brain, this was the first time I’d seen this show live on stage. For a budget-constrained local production, it was very good, energetically performed, and surprisingly timely for a show on contemporary relationships that is closing in on forty years old.

Speaking of Company, how about a clip from the fantastic D. A. Pennebaker documentary on the recording of that original cast album from 1970? This scene has the dynamite Pamela Myers singing “Another Hundred People” while Pennebaker’s camera focuses on the various instrumental sections. One thing that is really evident here: the recording’s brilliant musical arranging by Jonathan Tunick, with bits and pieces of melodies “quoted” from other songs in the show (notice the trumpets’ “Bobby baby” around 1:55). As was customary back then, the album was recorded in one all-night session during the show’s opening weekend, a crazy process brilliantly captured in this doc. More scenes here.