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‘Peyote Queen’: Storm De Hirsch, the woman who made movies without a camera
08.26.2014
08:14 am

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Animation
Art
Drugs
Movies

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Storm de Hirsch


 
Storm De Hirsch is one of those avant-garde goddesses without much name-recognition outside of underground film circles, but her influence and dynamism has always been lauded by peers. Jonas Mekas, for example (often referred to as the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema”), called her psychedelic classic, Peyote Queen, “among my favorites ... beauty and excitement.”

De Hirsch was actually a published poet before transitioning to film, and as such didn’t have ready access to a camera early on. Her first improvisational techniques were innovative manipulations of whatever film was just lying around at the time, making her as much a “sculptor” of celluloid as a filmmaker. The results of her experiments are now recognized as foundational films in avant-garde cinema. In an interview with Mekas, she spoke of her early work, like Peyote Queen, saying:

I wanted badly to make an animated short, but I had no camera available.  I did have some old, unused film stock and several rolls of 16mm sound tape. So I used that—plus a variety of discarded surgical instruments and the sharp edge of a screwdriver — by cutting, etching, and painting directly on both film and [sound] tape

 

 
De Hirsch continued making films into the 1970s, and though she eventually got ahold of a camera, it’s what she accomplished without one that most baldly represents her creative drive. She was dedicated to the work and its preservation, even hand repairing the raw film itself, (which one would assume was left very delicate after her initial artistic mangling). One of her former intern even remembers her hand-coloring the fading frames of Peyote Queen with magic marker in 1973, restoring the splashy, electric feel you see below.

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Bukowski, it’s going to be sickening’: Charles Bukowski uncensored and animated
08.14.2014
12:44 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Heroes

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Charles Bukowski


 
A candid conversation between Charles Bukowski, his then-wife Linda Lee Beighle and his co-producer John Runnette (the one asking the questions) from the 1993 Run With The Hunted recording session. Although this is just a short snippet of a conversation, it’s a perfect moment that reveals so much about the writer’s private self, which, in fact, doesn’t seem all that different from the version of himself that he presented in his autobiographical novels. I suppose imbibing as much alcohol as Buk did on a daily basis might erase that public/private dividing line quite a bit!

Bukowski: I just don’t love my stuff that much. You know what I’m interested in? What I’m going to type tomorrow night. That’s all that interests me… the next poem, the next fucking line. What’s past is past I don’t want to linger over it, and read it and play with it and jolly it up. it’s gone, it’s done. If you can’t write the next line, well, you’re dead. The past doesn’t matter.

~snip

Bukowski: I think my writing is really pretty fucking powerful stuff but I think after I’m dead and safe, they’re going to trot me out, I’m going to really be discovered you know.

Animation by HarperAudio.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Twin Peaks’ opening credits in glorious 8-bit
08.12.2014
11:19 am

Topics:
Animation
Television

Tags:
Twin Peaks
8-bit


 
The tireless folks over at Welcome to Twin Peaks inform me that a Twin Peaks video game was rumored to be on the table in the early nineties, but never came to fruition. It’s never too late to live your dreams, however, as evidenced by both the recently designed (and free!) Atari-style Twin Peaks game, and by this 8-bit intro of the iconic Twin Peaks opening credits, complete with chiptune Angelo Badalamenti!

The attention to detail is exquisite! Now, could we get a chiptune “Dance of the Dream Man,” maybe with a dancing, 8-bit Michael J. Anderson?
 

 
Via Welcome to Twin Peaks

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Karl Marxio Brothers: An 8-bit ‘Marxism for Dummies’ for the digital generation

marx8bit1.jpg
 
Dialectical materialism as explained by 8-bit philosophy, a kind of “Super Marxio” or “Marxism for Dummies” for the digital generation. Why bother with boring old Das Kapital when you can bluff your way through the exam with this four-minute video?

More low resolution gems of useful information on Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, Sartre, Zeno, Descartes and Kierkegaard can be found here, or better still, read the books.
 

 
H/T Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Soviet anti-war animation told entirely with wooden matches
08.01.2014
12:59 pm

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
Russia


 
Garry Bardin’s 1983 short “Konflikt” has the rich color and narrative intensity often associated with his work, but unlike his other stop-motion films, which use malleable materials like clay and origami paper, “Konflikt” works almost solely with a mundane, seemingly lifeless object—the wooden match. With very little in the way of a set, Bardin constructs an entire war, from segregation (the tell-tale wall), to initial conflict, to escalation, to doomsday. It’s a strange thing to be moved by a bunch of matchsticks, but somehow they’re animated into truly expressive characters.

There’s a US tendency to assume every piece of Soviet political art is somehow centered on America, but it’s difficult to argue the short as a literal depiction of the Cold War. Most obviously, the titular conflict involves a direct border dispute and open battle, something that wasn’t the context for the US and USSR. Still, the final act of warfare in the film is so violent (yet so expected), it’s difficult to ignore parallels with nuclear fears.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Laughing gimp mask with teeth is a f*cking nightmare
08.01.2014
07:31 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Art
Fashion

Tags:
Gimps
Tokyo Ghoul
cosply


 
Gimp masks don’t normally bother me, but gimp masks with smiling teeth do! Dear lord!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is a cosplay mask honoring a character from Japanese manga series Tokyo Ghoul?


 

 
via JWZ, 東京喰種 カネキマスクの作り方 その6, Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Animated sheet music for Miles Davis’ ‘So What’
07.25.2014
11:33 am

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
Miles Davis


 
Mesmerizing animated sheet music for Miles Davis’ “So What” by Dan Cohen on YouTube.

If I had seen something like this around when I was younger, it would have made piano lessons and learning to read music oh so much easier…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The gleefully twisted absurdist animations of Chriddof
07.24.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
Chriddof


 

Chris Lyons AKA Chriddof is one of the great enigmas of the Internet. A British culture-jamming, avant-garde surrealist and absurdist mixing video and audio, music and noise, comedy, horror, and retro television altogether into a delightfully incomprehensible, arty mess. And yet he never takes himself too seriously (except for the cases where he decides to close his account[s]); in fact, if you were to ever ask him on YouTube what the sources of any of his videos or the tools he used are, he’ll answer you perfectly straightforward. He’s a strange bloke, but a cool one.—ThornBrain

With his long filmography of not-at-all-very-long films, the English artist Chris “Chriddof” Lyons is a front-runner for best YouTube surrealist ever. Working in so many styles he can barely be said to actually have one, and with an oeuvre spread across multiple media and countless YouTube channels (many of them deleted, some resurrected), he is an exasperatingly mercurial figure in spite of the sheer amount of work he shares with the world. The ‘About’ page on his web site is this…
 

 
...and that’s all. His work, it’s our good fortune, is significantly easier to access than biographical information. He regularly updates a Tumblr with his videos, music, drawings and writings. Many of his videos are rhythmically edited and really, really funny found media cut-ups, but the pieces I’m keen to share with you are his twisted 3D animations. He warps what appear to be rudimentary DAZ or Poser figures into short, freakish, body-horror creations that make me laugh even as I’m weirded out, baffled or horrified, which is a hell of a neat trick.
 

 

 
SO MUCH MORE after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Watch the first film adaptation of ‘The Hobbit,’ a 1966 animated short that takes… some liberties
07.22.2014
08:01 am

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
The Hobbit
JRR Tolkien


 
Any film adaptation of a Tolkein epic is going to have to make some major edits if it clocks in at twelve minutes. The elaborate history of Middle Earth and the sagas that shape it are so painstakingly constructed, a totally faithful movie would just have been boring as hell—there’s the medium to consider. However, this version of The Hobbit, rendered as a 1966 cartoon fairy tale, barely even uses the book as a framework. The producer actually obtained film rights before The Hobbit became popular, and after his attempt to produce a feature-length movie fell through, he was left with a contract that still required him to create a “full-color film” to retain them.

Spotting a loophole, he realized no specific length of color film was mentioned, so he threw together what you see below. Avoiding legal breach with a twelve minute cartoon, he was then able to sell the rights for roughly $100,000—a pittance for what he could have made, of course, but nothing to sneeze at back then, either. Of course, this leaves us with a totally random film, with a hastily tacked on princess, a total deficit of dwarves, and an inexplicable series of name-changes—goblins are “groans” and “grablins,” Gollum is as “Goloom,” and Smaug is “Slag.”

Taken as an cartoon that has nothing save for the title to do with The Hobbit, the short actually does quite well for itself. The narration is compelling, the story is constructed well, and the classic Gene Deitch animation is great—distinctively Eastern European work from Czech illustrator Adolf Born is jagged and erratic one minute, ethereal and shimmering the next.

I’d say it’s a must for any Tolkien completist, but only if you can refrain from having a nerdfit with all the liberties taken.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Smoking is ‘The Drag’ in this ultra-groovy 1966 anti-smoking PSA
07.17.2014
08:03 am

Topics:
Animation
Drugs

Tags:
smoking


 
God bless those Canadians and their national arts funding—even their public service programs are some of the loveliest little vignettes ever committed to animation. Take “The Drag,” an anti-smoking PSA from 1966. Sure, it’s a bit of a preachy cautionary tale of peer-pressure, but the swingin’ soundtrack and groovy animation makes for a great little cartoon. The animator, Carlo Marchiori is now a muralist, and you can see how he gravitated toward lush graphics early on.

Funnily enough, as a public service announcement, “The Drag” is actually a bit of a flop. Our nicotine-addicted protagonist (who refers to cigs as “the drug”) avoids lung cancer but instead blows himself up on account of a gas leak? Huh?

Got that kids? If you don’t wanna quit, just make sure you’ve got an electric stove!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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