Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Maciej of Idle Words has assembled a page of Polish propaganda posters - nice!
Monday, December 30, 2002
Ebony magazine ads 1972, right on with yo' bad self. I hereby predict that afro puffs will have a comeback in 2003.
How can I resist an article that begins: "American music magazines suck."
I never heard of the weekly radio program Studio 360 until catching a brief listen in the car yesterday. Sounds exactly like my kinda show. Just look at what this week's installment on toys has to offer: a story on the guy who assembled a website of Bible stories enacted in Legos, a feature on the Fisher Price PXL-2000 (a kiddie camcorder from the late '80s that has become an unlikely favorite of avant-garde filmmakers), and a new interview with my idol, Gary Panter. Better catch the entire show online before it gets replaced by a new one this Sunday.
By the way, Studio 360's host Kurt Anderson contributed a nifty short story set in 1800s New York to the January Metropolis magazine, too.
Fimoculous ranked Scrubbles #16 on his 23 Best Blogs of 2002. I'm honored to be in such great company. Thank you!
Herb Ritts died last week Big loss. Probably more than any other photographer, Ritts was responsible for "the look" of the last fifteen years. His work was simple, clean and sexy, usually involving nothing more than the subject basking in natural sunlight against a white backdrop. It always struck me how, in his celebrity portraits, I could tell just from the lighting alone they were shot in Los Angeles. The sunlight in this part of the country has this intangible quality you can't find anywhere else. The L.A. Times has an appreciation; Rocktober compiled a list of Ritts' music videos. And here's an online gallery.
Sunday, December 29, 2002
This page needed a new look, so here's what I came up with. Does anyone have ideas on how it can be improved? Use the TALK button to please let me know, and be honest. There's still room for tweaking. Some off the cuff notes on the redesign:
1. The logo. Good: looks cool. Bad: big file (80 some K). Graphic below it conflicts.
2. Posts area. Good: Thinner width makes posts easier to read. Bad: I have a long, long weblog now. My Blogger template should be showing only two weeks' posts, but that thing never works.
3. Sidebars. Good: Better organized, streamlined into two separate "here" and "there" columns. Bad: More graphics make it busy looking, archives section is ugly and unelegant.
Also with this new look, a new way of posting items might come. The longer I've work on Scrubbles, the harder it's becoming to find ways to say "here's a cool link, check it out". As the number of weblogs grows and grows, the simple old link and comment format is getting to be a less distinctive way of communicating things. I might intersperse link-intensive posts with longer think pieces ( I especially like how Travelers Diagram formats his content). But then again, this page may stay the same as always. What do you think?
Sunday, December 22, 2002
Scrubbles will be taking a break until Sunday, December 29. Happy holidays, everyone!
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Happy cartoony '60s people from around the word united in a love of humanity. Where are Mary Blair's lawyers when you need 'em?? Anyhow, this comes from the comprehensive site the Canadian government put together to commemorate Expo '67. The future never looked so sunny. (via No Sense of Blace)
The New York Times weighs in on the latest WTC site proposals. Each design, avant garde as they are, has its own merits (well, at least the watercolor renderings of the "traditional" one have pretty colors). Studio Daniel Libeskind's icy, Krypton-like fortress comes closest to the sort of luminous, transluscent hub of activity that I envisioned for the WTC site back in August. That's the winner for me.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
The 50 Most Loathsome People In America, 2002. A side note: I'm so glad they put Tiger Woods in there. Every time I see his expressionless mug in any of the several hundred TV commercials he's done, constantly wearing that stupid Nike hat, I want to vomit. (via Daypop Top 40)
The Onion A.V. Club Least Essential Albums of 2002. There must be a special room in hell where Deepak Chopra's Gift of Love II is playing 'round the clock.
The February 2003 issue of I.D. magazine is a keeper - a special dealie on the "40 Best (and Worst) Designs of the New Century". It covers everything from automobiles to online gaming, food, typography and vintage furniture reproductions. Neat stuff for design maniacs.
I loved this quote from Chipp Kidd, answering the question "What's the worst atrocity of book design of late?":
I think the success of the Harry Potter books once and for all proves that jackets don't sell books. Whereas the writing and imagination in the text take the genre to a new level, the [U.S. edition] covers look like every other example of silly YA fare - literal, c-grade illustration with a goofy logo laid upon goofy art. This discrepancy is underscored when you consider the two little "annex" books that author J.K. Rowling did last year [Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them]. The design for those are much more sophisticated and are meant to look like actual books of magic from the 19th century. And they sold just as well.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Salon has a great interview with David Thomson. If you haven't checked out his
New Biographical Dictionary of Film, do so - his eccentric personality is all over it. The book is actually somewhat iffy as a reference, but we all have the IMDB to thank for that dry, completist stuff anyway. The value of Thomson's volume lies in his sharp, opininated writing - the thing is worth getting for his acid-tongued assessment of Norma Shearer alone (reason enough for me to include a pic of Miss Shearer with this post, but I digress).
Also - Leonard Maltin's piece on why classic films have taken so long to reach DVD dates from last October, but it's great reading anyway. Very informative - and a sad reminder of the realities of the home video biz.
2002 Awards from the New York Film Critics Circle. 'Far from Heaven' is the big winner, although surprisingly Julianne Moore didn't win Best Actress (Diane Lane took the prize). Nice to see that 'Spirited Away' and the restored 'Metropolis' got honors as well.
Monday, December 16, 2002
Heroes and Weirdos – nice little summary of the burgeoning action figure industry. I liked Todd McFarlane's boast that he could sell a Jessica Fletcher action figure to his own mother.
The McCalls - dig the three studly guys on this 1970 McCall's sewing pattern. (Christopher found this for me at a thrift, of course). I think this would make a cool comic book - a trio of crimefighting male models!
NPR recently did this report on "The Sounds of Christmas", an intruiging art exhibit at Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art. With the help of local DJs, artist Christian Marclay takes hoary old Christmas albums and mashes them together into funny, sometimes eerie sound collages.
Friday, December 13, 2002
How to Decorate Your New Aluminum Christmas Tree - a 1959 pamphlet from the Aluminum Company of America. Don't forget the aluminum butterflies and birds! (via Quiddity)
This Flash presentation by Condour at Wackyneighbor manages to combine Dubya and Osama, the 'Karate Kid' theme song, and crappy religious album covers from Show And Tell Music into one rockin' show. Indescribably weird, but I like it!
Interesting article from New York magazine: "With its 250 channels, digital cable (DTV), often in conjunction with TiVo, is spurring a new sort of highbrow, socially acceptable cocooning." Or the "not tonight, I've got a Bette Davis pre-Code double feature to watch" syndrome. Yeah. Currently, I have my hands full with the Trio channel's month-long Brilliant But Cancelled festival (via Max).
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Yahoo! Top Picks of 2002 - big congrats to Jennifer and Kim (specifically her JCPenney 1980 catalog site) for making the list, yay! 6 of the 25 picks were linked to on Scrubbles once.
Yesterday was my office's annual Christmas lunch/gift exchange. This year, we were advised to get a "white elephant" gift and spend less than $5 on it. I decided to make an '80s Preservation Kit using stuff purchased at thrift stores, complete with a custom-designed sign. The contents:
- Vinyl placemat, gold with ribbed texture (looks like it came off the set of 'Miami Vice')
- Hexogonal green coffee cup with geometric pattern on the sides
- Paperback of Danielle Steel's novel Star
- Paberback of Garfield comic strips ("his 15th book")
- Magenta ladies' belt with faux crocodile texture - hip!
- Cassette of the Say Anything soundtrack
- Butterick pattern of various casual dresses; very Melanie Griffith in Working Girl
- Framed art of poolside scene, sorta looks like David Hockney
My supervisor got it. She was really excited about the soundtrack (one of her favorite movies, it turned out) and the magenta belt. She didn't know what the sewing pattern was for, either! Everybody there loved the joke.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Holiday greetings come in threes:
- A Holiday Treat from Marlo Thomas, 1977.
- Christmastime at the Monsanto House of the Future.
- A potpourri of Star Wars Christmas Cards.
Or, the perils of conspicuous consumption in tough times: Santa's Got a Brand New Jag, wicked editorial from Mark Morford of sfgate.com.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
I've been reading a lot of Rick McGinnis' Movieblog lately, and I'm simply amazed with everything he posts. Whereas your humble scrubmeister haphazardly assembles links accompanied with flippant little comments on things and stuff, he'll take a film-related something and observe it from every angle. Read his entry on Winona Ryder's shoplifting trial for a primo example. Whoda thunk a silly, overexposed story like that could be so interesting?
(Is it me, or does Winona's shoplifting footage recall that Simpsons episode where Homer smuggles a buncha candy under Marge's overcoat?)
Two things that caught my eye today thru the usual bl*gs - a page of Muppet Magazine covers [Mister Pants] and a huge, nicely presented stewardess uniform collection [Quiddity].
Monday, December 09, 2002
Panoramic view of Times Square (via The Morning News) - neato.
This Patrick Nagel gallery practically screams "Eighties". The art of Dennis Mukai, from the same website, is in a similar vein. Spurred on by these, I went looking for info on 'Interview' magazine cover artist Richard Bernstein - and found out, sadly, he died last October. Not much of his work is on the 'net, but ebay currently has an old Debbie Harry print for sale that is pure vintage Bernstein.
Sunday, December 08, 2002
At my workplace around this time every year, we have an auction of different stuff the newspaper receives for review. This time around I won a DVD set containing every episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. It retails for $70 at Amazon, but I got it for ten bucks - woo hoo! So it became an early Xmas gift for Christopher, and we've been digging the episodes. Captain Scarlet was the "Supermarionation" series that Gerry and Sylvia Anderson did in between Thunderbirds and UFO in the late '60s. Needless to say it's kitschy and fun, although the tone is much darker and more violent than T-Birds. The characters are also more realistically proportioned than the Thunderbirds - the Andersons were able to move the mechanism that makes the puppets' lips move from the head to the chest - so the effect is like watching miniature dramas played out by Ken and Barbie dolls. Weird. Unfortunately, the darker storylines mean some episodes move at a snail's pace, but why carp when you have so many groovy, impressively futuristic sets and gadgets to look at. I'm always fascinated by things that depict a future full of reel-to-reel computers and giant panels full of flashing buttons, and this doesn't disappoint in that respect.
In a rare instance of going out to see a movie, we saw Far from Heaven over the weekend. Wonderful movie with some gorgeous retro production design. Julianne Moore is a marvel. Still, this is so much more than a simple period piece. Some of the disapproving critics have interpreted the film as a shallow, self-congratulatory "look how far we've come" statement, but I think Todd Haynes actually intended the opposite message. Racism and homophobia are both still with us, we just don't have the plush trappings of billowy dresses and whale-sized cars to hide behind now.
Friday, December 06, 2002
This Hoax Photo Test is fun. I got 14 out of 20 correct. (via Friday Fish Wrap)
Thursday, December 05, 2002
"Everybody say cheese!" I came across this photo while digging through the found photos section at kittyville.com. Isn't it hilarious? Where are those kids now? Look at those faces, beaming with hope and happiness and pride about how well they carefully chose their outfits at The Limited and Chess King.
That pic also strangely reminds me of a movie I just TiVoed - Paris Is Burning. Twelve years later, it's still wonderful; equally outrageous and sad. Watching it now, it occured to me how very "meta" that film is. It's a documentary about urban gay youths co-opting a Dynasty-like version of opulence in the form of elaborate drag balls -- which would later be co-opted by the preeminent pop star of that time in the form of "Vogue". I expect it will be further co-opted as a lavish Broadway musical someday.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
This pantyhose packaging gallery (via Coudal) is amazing. The first thing that struck me here was the Big Mama pantyhose. As a wee tyke, I remember seeing this in my mom's womens magazines and thinking: what kind of lady would willingly buy something called Big Mama pantyhose? Nevertheless, some of the designs at that site are pretty groovy.
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Cute garden gnome tables from the talented hands of Philippe Starck. That's right, Philippe Starck. Starck is one of my favorite industrial designers. His Costes chair is something of a classic, and the spacey lemon juicer he did was hip enough to decorate the kitchen counter of AbFab's Edina Monsoon.
A critique of the NBA logo dude (via Slatch) offers a list of contemporary b-ball stars as ideal replacements. To which I say - blecch! Sure, the silhouette may be looking a little Ward Cleaverish nowadays, but that's why it's so beloved. It's an icon. Replacing the old guy with a flying Michael Jordan would be a travesty (besides, Nike's already marketed that image to death).
Early Soviet Children's Books spotlights such favorites as Goodnight, Lenin and Pat the Proletariat Bunny (just kidding). Beautiful illustrations. Via Reenhead.
Monday, December 02, 2002
Stumbled across this today in a font search - Holiday Times, a font that appears to be created after that distinctive typestyle used in the old Rankin Bass xmas specials on TV. I set the weblog's name in it here. Nice, eh?
Also: this old TVParty article offers an in-depth look at the production of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". It answers the burning question -- what was up with that doll on the Island of Misfit Toys? It wasn't like she was missing an eye or had a third arm growing out of her back. It turns out she was there for psychological reasons, like she had bulimia or something.
The 1930 DeMoulin Bros.& Co. Fraternal Supply Catalog No. 439 is a fascinatingly sadistic artifact. Pages and more pages of practical jokes for fraternity lodge members. Most involve electric shock - yipe. Check out the politically incorrect costume section. (via Boing Boing)
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Assembled all your holiday gifts yet? I've already got at least one down - an Edward Gorey silver dancing cat pin for my mom. She's not particularly a fan of Mr. Gorey's or anything, but I couldn't resist. I always see holiday gift giving as an opportunity to foist my exquisite tastes on family members, whether they like it or not! More Gorey gifts can be had at Gorey Details.
I just created a nifty '60s cartoon-inspired desktop for Enzo at Codepie.com based on his song, "Sleeves". View it here or download directly: 1600x1200 | 1024x768 | 800x600