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Astonishing matte paintings from ‘Ghostbusters’
03.25.2015
09:37 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Ghostbusters
matte paintings


 
Ghostbusters is one of the most iconic movies of all time—it was the most successful comedy of the 1980s, by far, and that’s an objectively true statement—it was the #6 grossing movie in that decade, behind (in order) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back, Batman, and Raiders of the Lost Ark (box office figures from Box Office Mojo).

The question arises, Why was it so successful? Strictly considered as comedy, it doesn’t hold a candle to other movies of the era, such as Night Shift, Better Off Dead, Vacation, Airplane!, just to name a few. Aside from the obvious charm of its lead actors, Ghostbusters succeeds because of its scale, its status as a movie that’s both scary and funny (like Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein) in which all of Manhattan Island takes a righteous beating.

As it happens, Ghostbusters employed the talents of two of the nation’s leading matte artists, being Matthew Yuricich, a veteran of the trade who had worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Logan’s Run, Point Blank, Blade Runner, and North by Northwest, and Michelle Moen, called by Richard Edlund, the movie’s visual effects supervisor, “one of the best, if not the top, matte painters in the business.” A movie as successful as Ghostbusters benefits from key contributions from every corner, but if you wanted to argue that the movie’s matte artists were as responsible for its success as its actors, I wouldn’t argue.

Film is obviously a 2-D medium most of the time, which is what allows for the possibility for jaw-dropping visual trickery such as this. Taking in scenes like this, or scenes from Star Wars and Blade Runner, the mind knows that the images aren’t actually possible but it never occurs to the viewer that maybe somebody could paint a landscape that detailed and specific. But people can do that very thing—they’re visionaries who are responsible for some of the most indelible images of cinema history.

Many of these photos come from the indispensable blog Matte Shot.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we see how the shot is a combination of three different elements.
 

 

Here’s Yuricich working on the painting directly above.
 

 
via Tombolare
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The DEA has trippy looking patches that make you kinda WANT to do drugs
03.24.2015
08:13 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs

Tags:
DEA
patches


 
I had no clue the DEA’s Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit had such cool looking patches. I just always assumed they were boring, I guess. Looking at these, they’re quite the opposite of what I expected. They’re like trippy biker gang badges or some glow-in-the-dark black light poster from the ‘70s. The top one looks like something you’d have seen for sale at a Dead show…


DEA Ecstasy and Club Drugs patch
 

DEA Operation Green Air patch
 

DEA Heroin Intelligence Unit patch
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
In bed with Andy: David Bailey’s banned ‘Warhol’ documentary

002warbailbed.jpg
 
Among the reasons given for the banning of David Bailey’s documentary on Andy Warhol were: its possibly breach of the Vagrancy Act and a suggested sex act that was not “conducive to road safety.” These were the stated opinions of lawyer and judge Lord Justice Lawton and the sports journalist and broadcaster Ross McWhirter.

McWhirter was one-half of the famous twin brothers Ross and Norris McWhirter who compiled, wrote and edited the Guinness Book of Records. It was McWhirter who initiated the bizarre events that led to Bailey’s film being pulled from broadcast in January 1973, and temporarily banned until March of the same year. McWhirter was responding to the press previews for Bailey’s film that appeared in the Sunday papers on January 14th that described the film as “shocking,” “revolting,” and “offensive,” with the worst scene (erroneously) described by the Daily Mail as showing:

...a fat female artist [who] dyes her breasts and then rolls about on canvas ‘painting’...

This was Brigid Berlin making one of her famous “Tit Prints,” which was cited by Lord Lawton as a possible source of offense.
 
004bailwarx.jpg
Director and subject.
 
David Bailey had spent about a year working on his documentary about Andy Warhol—it was the last of three films Bailey made for Lew Grade’s television company ATV, the other two were profiles of photographer Cecil Beaton and director Luchino Visconti—and he had spent considerable time with the often monosyllabic and elusive artist, and had interviewed many of Warhol’s Factory entourage including Candy Darling, Paul Morrissey, Fred Hughes, Jane Holzer and art dealer Leo Castelli. Bailey had given over directing duties to William Verity, while he spent his time asking questions and getting close to the film’s subject.

When ATV gave a press screening for Bailey’s Warhol, little did they consider that the negative response of the press would lead to the film being banned. When Ross McWhirter read the press previews, he was sufficiently disgusted that he saw an opportunity to strike a blow for the silent majority—for whom he believed himself to be the obvious spokesman. In fact, he was over-reacting to some hearsay about a film he had not seen.
 
0000war0000.jpg
 
On Monday 15th, McWhirter prepared to take out an injunction against the Independent Broadcasting Authority—the TV watchdog—for allowing Bailey’s film to be screened. On Tuesday January 16th, he issued a writ against the documentary to stop it being broadcast. However, McWhirter’s writ was dismissed during a one-minute High Court hearing. Like all zealots, McWhirter was not one to have the law stop him, and he appealed the High Court’s decision.

McWhirter’s actions gained support from an unlikely quarter: one of the ITV broadcast regions Anglia decided, after is chairman Lord Townshend and two members of the channel’s planning committee had watched the documentary, not to screen the documentary as Bailey’s film was:

...not of sufficient interest or quality.

McWhirter’s appeal was heard at 17:00hours on Tuesday January 16th, the day Warhol was set for broadcast. The Appeal Court consisted of Lord Justice Cairns, Lord Justice Lawton, and was presided over by Lord Denning. Although he had not seen the programme, McWhirter claimed in his writ that the press previews were sufficient to suggest the show would cause considerable offense. Any programme that was considered to be offensive to “good taste and decency” was to be banned under the guidelines of the Television Act of 1964.

Causing offense to the viewing public was not McWhirter’s only concern over Bailey’s film as his writ went on to describe some of its possible dangers:

At one point there is a conversation between a man dressed as a Hell’s Angel and a girl. In that piece, the girl discusses sex with the man and says she would like to have sex with him on the back of a motorcycle doing 60 miles an hour. Apart from anything else, that does not sound as though it is conducive to road safety.

Like McWhirter, none of the Lords had seen Bailey’s film, however this didn’t stop them pontificating about its possible criminal intent. According to the Guardian newspaper, Lord Justice Lawton was deeply concerned over Brigid Berlin’s breast painting:

...the viewers of Britain were to be shown pictures of a fat lady doing something that sounded to him very much like a breach of the Vagrancy act, apart from anything else…

 
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The offending “tit printing” scene.
 
However, it was the IBA who received the greatest criticism from Lord Denning for their perceived failure to view the documentary before transmission. This, as it later turned out, was a major oversight by Denning and co. as they had failed to ascertain whether anyone from the IBA had actually watched the film—which in fact they had. IBA General Director Brian Young, Head of Programmes Joe Wellman, together with their deputies, had all watched Bailey’s film and suggested cuts and had even insisted on the addition of an introductory voice-over.

Still this did not stop the appeal judges voting 2-1 in favor of an interim injunction that temporarily banned the film from being screened on television—a documentary on craftwork was broadcast instead.

Watch David Bailey’s ‘Warhol’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Random tweets reformatted as Western Union telegrams
03.23.2015
12:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Twitter
telegrams
Western Union


”@kiki_13056,” 2013
 
I stumbled across the work of Charles Gute when a friend sent me an image of this amusing, meta-commentary pin. That drove me to his website, and I was not disappointed.

This series is called “Random Tweets Reformatted as Telegrams.” It’s an easy trick, but putting these “virtual” messages usually consumed on smartphone screens on old-timey telegrams more redolent of the Wild West or the Hindenburg crash or something, it just works.

Gute notes that “there are notable similarities between formats, such as the economy of words and syntax imposed by a limited number of characters,” which is certainly true. Plus, the last Western Union telegram, a medium that had existed for more than a century, coincided almost exactly with the first Tweet—there was a gap of almost two months—so it’s like the one short-form method of communication passed the baton on to the other.
 

”@hanannanahh,” 2013
 

”@longliveallyson,” 2012
 

”@zackshack,” 2013
 
More old-timey tweets after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Simpsons Tattoo’ collects the very best Springfield-inspired body art
03.23.2015
05:08 am

Topics:
Art
Television

Tags:
tattoos
The Simpsons


 
The Instagram account The Simpsons Tattoo is surprisingly delightful. I’m not shocked that a lot of people have body art inspired by the show, but it is a little unexpected that 1) these tattoos are done so well (as opposed to tragic crust-punk poke-and-stick) and 2) there are so many deep cuts (no pun intended). Fan tattoos of most cartoons tend to obsess over main characters and pivotal moments, but Simpsons fans may just be a more esoteric breed; so much of the work curated here features secondary, or even tertiary characters. Some of them aren’t even a character, but a bit of iconography (the diagram of the blowfish is particularly inspired).

What’s even more entertaining is your ability as a viewer to identify the most random reference—I haven’t seriously watched the show in years, and I laughed out loud in recognition of some of the one-off jokes that someone was daring and committed enough to permanently adorn themselves with.
 

 

 
More Simpsons ink after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The dark art of H.P. Lovecraft illustrator Lee Brown Coye
03.21.2015
02:06 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Occult

Tags:
H.P. Lovecraft
Lee Brown Coye


 
Even in the twisted milieu of pulp illustration, Lee Brown Coye was an outlier. His was not a world of square-jawed detectives or musclebound Tarzan manqués, nor was he one to luridly but lovingly render the adipose flesh of reanimated dead in colorful gouaches. Coye did ten darkly expressionistic covers for Weird Tales between the mid ‘40s and early ‘50s, in dolefully subdued shades that emerged from dense, nihilistic black fields to coalesce into nightmarish wraiths. It was strong stuff that recalled Emil Nolde and Georges Roualt, and even if he’d never done anything else, those covers and his black and white interior work for that publication surely would have made him the cult figure who inspired Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, and Stephen King. But there were also his macabre black and white ink drawings that graced book covers for the likes of Arkham House and Farrar & Reinhart. Coye secured his reputation with his work for the Sleep No More anthology before going on to produce definitive covers for H.P. Lovecraft works like The Dunwich Horror, At the Mountains of Madness, and perhaps his masterpiece, his work on Three Tales of Horror, which sports 19 Coye illustrations, all more than sufficiently disquieting to merit accompanying Lovecraft’s dark mythos.
 

 

 
More eldritch darkness after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Before he wrote ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds’ and ‘Kurt Cobain,’ Wesley Willis was a street artist
03.20.2015
01:38 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Wesley Willis

Wesley Willis Rock Over London
 
If you know anything about Wesley Willis, you’re probably familiar with him as a quirky, hilarious and ultra-prolific songwriter performing as both a solo artist and with the punk-fueled Wesley Willis Fiasco. Willis, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1989, gained a cult following in the 1990’s preforming songs like “I Wupped Batman’s Ass,” ”Kurt Cobain,” and, perhaps most famously, “Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds” to list just a few.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Post punk icons as classic Marvel Comics superheroes
03.20.2015
07:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Marvel Comics
Butcher Billy


 
Butcher Billy, the Brazilian designer behind the hilarious “Post/Punk New Wave Superfriends,” which reimagined punk and post punk icons in the guise of Justice League superheroes, has given Marvel Comics their fair turn. Because you NEEDED to see Siouxsie Sioux as Scarlet Witch, Mark Mothersbaugh as Iron Man, John Lydon as Wolverine, and Ian Curtis as Spider-Man. And I needed to finally get a chance to write the phrase MORRISSEY SMASH!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Trippy Czechoslovakian movie posters of classic American films
03.19.2015
12:28 pm

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
posters


Hello Dolly, poster created 1970
 
Man, I really got lost in the massive archive of Czechoslovakian posters of American films on the Terry Posters website. I cherry-picked the ones I really dug, but there are a ton more that might strike your fancy. A lot of these are for sale too. If you see something you just gotta have, it just might be available for purchase.

As a side note: The poster for Ghostbusters below really has me scratching my head….


Ghostbusters, poster created 1988
 

Mary Poppins, poster created 1969
 

My Fair Lady, poster created 1967
 

Planet of the Apes, poster created 1970
 

Cinderella, poster created 1970
 

Rebel Without A Cause, poster created 1969
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Dope Rider,’ the trippy wild west comic from ‘High Times’
03.19.2015
11:57 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Media

Tags:
High Times
Dope Rider


 
A handful of times between 1975 and 1986, a comic called “Dope Rider” appeared in the rollable pages of High Times. Heavily influenced by the gritty, intense westerns of Sergio Leone, “Dope Rider” was the creation of a young New York comix artist named Paul Kirchner. If Kirchner’s strong compositions and clever wordplay didn’t already make him a perfect fit for High Times, the trippy visual tropes surely did, the most potent among them being the constant presence of a skeleton cowboy prowling the vistas of the American Southwest.

Kirchner himself has a blog up in which the entire run of “Dope Rider” is available as large jpegs—that’s right, every page. It turns out that “Dope Rider” didn’t even start its existence in High Times at all. The first incarnation of the character was executed on spec, so that Kirchner would have a sample ready for prospective freelance employers. It eventually appeared in the October 1975 issue of Scary Tales. Two more installments appeared in the November 1974 issue of Harpoon and the March and May 1975 issues of Apple Pie, which were actually the same magazine—the name change occurring “after lawyers for National Lampoon started clearing their throats.”

The same year “Dope Rider” found its way to High Times, where it reached its largest audience and also used color images for the first time, which certainly improved its impact on the magazine’s baked readers.
 

Kirchner’s High Times bio, from the August 1976 issue
 
The primary function of any “Dope Rider” comic was to induce an “Ohhh wooow” reaction from the zonked readers. The comic occasionally featured a locomotive engineer with a third eye in his forehead who would supply cockeyed dictionary definitions such as: “Pyramid, n., to look within, to peer amid.” Most of the comics featured either a psychedelic vista or a shootout in which the Dope Rider skeleton character was killed—if not both. In “Crescent Queen,” Dope Rider inquired of a raven how to get to Tucumcari; the bird replies, “No one gets there, man. It’s one of those places you just end up.” Right on, man…..

That first High Times comic, titled “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch,” got Kirchner a little unwelcome attention from the Hell’s Angels:
 

I did one very bad thing in this story—I depicted the logo of the nation’s premier motorcycle club on the back of Dope Rider’s vest. That motorcycle club, whose New York City clubhouse was a few blocks from the High Times editorial office, sent over a contingent of large, hairy negotiators to make it clear that they didn’t care to be associated with High Times or the Dope Rider character. [High Times founder and editor Tom] Forçade let me know he would just as soon not have that happen again. I’ve blurred the logo out here in case they’re still checking up. (Love you guys!!)

 

Kirchner would later find more regular work at Heavy Metal, where he turned out a brilliant, surrealistic comic series called “The Bus” for several years. (That series is available in book form.)

Here’s a list of all the appearances of “Dope Rider” in High Times:
 

“Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch,” August/September 1975
“Beans for All,” December/January 1976
“Crescent Queen,” August 1976
“Taco Belle,” June 1978
“Matinee Idyll,” January 1981
“Loco Motive,” May 1986

  
In addition, Kirchner also worked up a single-page parody of his own series for Al Goldstein’s National Screw. In that story the character was called “Dopey Rider,” and the story was titled “Toe-Jam.”

I’ve cherry-picked a few of the more striking images for this post, but to see the entire “Dope Rider” output, you just have to go to Kirchner’s blog. He also has a Cafe Press store with plenty of great Dope Rider swag.
 

 

 
More “Dope Rider” after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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