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‘The Midnight Parasites’: Yōji Kuri’s surreal Hieronymus Bosch inspired animation from 1972
12.15.2017
10:19 am
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Yōji Kuri is the big daddy of Japanese animation. Now in his late eighties—he hits the big nine-“o” next year—Kuri was one of Japan’s key pioneering animators/artists/directors who produced around forty short animated films during the 1960s and early seventies—all of which brought independent Japanese animations to global attention. He was for a time namechecked as “the only Japanese animator whose work is known in the West,” which, although a nice piece of hyperbole, gives some idea of his importance at the expense of ignoring quite a few of his contemporaries.

Anyhow.

Kuri’s animations tend to be strange, surreal, experimental, and darkly compelling, yet often accomplished in what you might call a naive style. Take for example his Hieronymus Bosch-inspired animation The Midnight Parasites from 1972. Here Kuri imagines what would life might be like if we all lived in Bosch’s painting “Garden of Earthly Delights.” It’s a basically shit and death or rather a cycle of life where blue figures live and die; eat shit and shit gold; are skewered, and devoured; are regurgitated and reborn to carry on the cycle once again. It’s dark, dirty, oddly beautiful, with a groovy soundtrack—the kinda short flick that might pop up as a support to the late night psychedelic double-bill at the local fleapit.
 

 
Via Monster Brains.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.15.2017
10:19 am
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This mouth-watering Instagram is dedicated to real-life re-creations of food from Miyazaki movies
11.14.2017
08:55 am
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It’s been noted that all of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies, in addition to being a feast for the eyes, are positively obsessed with food. There’s always a section in every movie where the characters enjoy a bite to eat, and in every case the food is meticulously observed and rendered. The food can be grand or simple, doesn’t matter, the same careful attention to detail, whether it’s the feast of the king in The Cat Returns or Umi’s cooking in Up on Poppy Hill or the candies in Grave of the Fireflies.

Some dedicated Instagrammer going by the name 01ghibli23 has decided to recreate the meals of Miyazaki’s movies in real life, right down to the careful positioning of the egg on the bread or the pieces of carrot on the plate. In addition to these re-creations, there are also pix of Miyazaki’s posters and Totoro-shaped cookies and stuff like that.

Great, now I want to watch all of Miyazaki’s movies and I’m hungry….. Actually that’s not a bad place to be at all!
 

Breakfast from Howl’s Moving Castle
 

Ramen from Ponyo
 

Breakfast from Kiki’s Delivery Service
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.14.2017
08:55 am
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Storyboards from ‘Aeon Flux,’ including the iconic fly-eye sequence
10.19.2017
01:28 pm
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The run of Aeon Flux on MTV in the early 1990s coincided with a period in my life when I was living abroad, but whenever I was stateside I would scarf down as many episodes as I could manage. The show looked and sounded like nothing else, something that continues to be true to this day, and seemed to resist regular plot continuity to an almost mind-blowing extent—at least I never watched it with any expectation that there was an intelligible “plot” that could be “followed.” Considering that all of the early shorts—seen initially on MTV’s experimental animation anthology Liquid Television—culminated in the eponymous protagonist’s repeated demise, it’s safe to say that narrative coherence was largely beside the point.

Aeon Flux (actually Æon Flux, right?) was the kind of show that was probably pilloried for being “pretentious” and self-serious but actually strikes me as a perfect expression of a certain variety of dry wit—if this sequence from “Tide” doesn’t make you grin at any point, you’re probably not paying close enough attention. One needn’t have been aware of the existence of the cyberpunk genre to intuit it from any random scene from the show, which also evinced an interest in fetishism and domination to an extent that was rare for a TV show in the 1990s. Every character looked like an emaciated Egon Schiele subject, and occasionally a spindly albino would materialize and lick someone’s earhole.

Aeon Flux was the brainchild of Peter Chung, a Korean-American CalArts grad who cut his teeth under Ralph Bakshi and also at Disney. A couple of weeks ago he participated an interview with The Art of the Title, in which he pointed to The Prisoner and the claire ligne style of Hergé and Moebius as key influences. It’s well worth a read. In the piece one of the items of visual collateral is the storyboard for the “Venus eyetrap” sequence, probably the most familiar visual element from the series.

On Deviantart, one can find nine further storyboards from artist Mike Jackson, who worked on “The Purge” and “A Last Time for Everything” late in the series’ run.

Having recently consumed several clips on YouTube, I’d like to offer the insight that dialogue almost always violated the show’s essence—the best sequences are as wordless as Harpo Marx. The entire series is available at Amazon for less than $20.
 

 

 
More production art from Aeon Flux after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.19.2017
01:28 pm
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Skin-deep stop-motion animation imprinted on naked human bodies

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To celebrate their tenth anniversary in business, creative agency DBLG decided to make an experimental animation in collaboration with London-based animation studio Animade. After the usual rounds of toing-and-froing and sending ideas back-and-forth, the two companies decided on making a stop-motion animation imprinted on the naked human body called Hey Pressto!you see what they did there?

Animade made the individual animations which were then passed onto DBLG who modeled “every frame in Cinema 4D and exported them as a physical 3D print.” Then it was a case of finding models who were willing to have the animation imprinted on their bodies. Some 270 applied, from which eight models—four men and four women—were chosen who were willing to have their butt cracks, nipples, and belly buttons filmed.

It was decided to film all the models at the same time as it took forty minutes between each shot for the mark of the imprint to disappear. But you know, no gain without pain, etc. The resulting film Hey Pressto! is certainly imaginative and quite amusing.
 
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Watch the animation and a film on how it was made, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.19.2017
08:03 am
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Tattoo You: Vintage photographs of women getting tattoos
07.26.2017
10:48 am
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Janet ‘Rusty’ Skuse—once Britain’s most tattooed lady.
 
Let’s try and imagine just how shocking it once must have been to have seen a young lady decorated in tattoos out shopping on the high street. It must have been quite something. These days, it’s almost de rigueur for young ladies to sport tatts. This morning, for instance, while taking the train to work, on came three young girls who barely looked old enough to be out of junior high let alone inked with a set of rather splendid tattoos. One had an eagle on her shoulder. Another had a snake curled from ankle to thigh, while the third flexed a bloody heart on her bicep. To be honest, it all seemed quite ordinary and utterly mundane. The last time I was ever surprised by a tattoo was when a friend (hi Bert) had a massive, thick, heavily veined penis tattooed on his thigh right down to his knee, no less. It was certainly a talking point when he wore shorts—but that was obviously the idea.

Tattooing has been around longer than we care to think—way back to the Stone Age apparently—and its ubiquity today tells us there is nothing outsider-ish, or edgy in having a drawing inked on the flesh. But at one time, well within living memory, a heavily tattooed woman would be considered dangerous and suspect and could probably only find work in a traveling freak show (right next to the Bearded Lady).

Which brings us to this fine selection of women going under the needle and having some fanciful designs made upon their bodies. In their own way, each of these women was a pioneer of body art at a time when only criminals, sailors and lowlifes sported tattoos.
 
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A soldier has her arm tattooed in tattoo parlor in Aldershot, England, 1951.
 
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1940.
 
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1964.
 
More ladies getting tatted, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.26.2017
10:48 am
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Charlie Brown’s shirt now available as a Vans shoe
07.11.2017
11:37 am
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I’m digging this old school Vans sneaker dressed up as Charlie Brown’s iconic shirt. Vans has teamed up with whoever owns the Peanuts trademarks featuring Charles M. Schulz’s iconic characters. Not only is there an ode to Charlie Brown, but there are other Vans showcasing Snoopy, Lucy van Pelt, and the entire Peanuts gang.

Vans Created with vintage artwork from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the Vans x Peanuts Old Skool combines the iconic Vans skate shoe with sturdy canvas and suede uppers, a Charlie Brown-inspired sidestripe, and an embroidered tongue.

The Charlie Brown sneaker retails for $70 here.


 

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.11.2017
11:37 am
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For Men Only: The clitoris. What it is. Where it is. What you should do with it when you find it
06.21.2017
12:26 pm
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Like many women, Canadian screenwriter and animation director Lori Malépart-Traversy seems to have gotten frustrated with the weird aura of ignorance surrounding what is after all the primary vehicle for female sexual pleasure. You may have heard of it: the clitoris.

She took matters into her own hands (stop!) and created this smashing three-minute animated movie about this sometimes misunderstood sexual organ, which is so goddamned adorable, it’s easy to forget that the content is pretty much X-rated.

(Even having said that, it’s difficult to imagine a group of ten-year-olds that would be substantially harmed by watching a short film as engaging, funny, and informative as this one. Chances are they’ve seen worse by that age.)

The movie is in French but there are helpful English subtitles. Frankly it’s pretty clear what’s going on—or at least it should be, your mileage may vary—even with no text at all. I have to admit that my life is improved by having the phrase “clitoral obscurantism” added to it. (Damn you, Freud!!)

One waits eagerly for the day when the utility of the clitoris and the importance of the female orgasm are acknowledged by all of humankind. In the meantime, watch this terrific video:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.21.2017
12:26 pm
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Someone made an IRL SpongeBob and Patrick
06.15.2017
11:12 am
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It took a little digging around to figure out who made these “real life” versions of SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star. They’re scary has hell to look at. To feel the full-effect, click on the images to enlarge ‘em to see what I’m talking about.

The artist who made these 3D characters is named Miguel Vasquez and you can visit his site here to see more. If you dare… , that is.


 

 

 
via Ronny

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.15.2017
11:12 am
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‘Tom Waits for No One’: Obscure Oscar-winning animated music video from 1979
06.14.2017
12:18 pm
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A few months ago, I heard that not long after I was in a certain store, that Tom Waits had visited the same establishment maybe about 90 minutes later. I must have mentioned this to four people, whether in person or over email and they all, each one of them, replied “Tom Waits for no one.”

I went from thinking, “Oh what a clever pun” the first time I heard this to thinking that this phrase must refer to something specific and so I googled it. How I have managed to be a lifelong Waits fan (and the editor this blog for 9 years) and miss this one is beyond me—it’s a big world, and an even bigger Internet, I suppose—but miss it I did. Maybe you did too?

“Tom Waits for No One” is the title of an absolutely amazing animated short that was made in 1979 by the Lyon Lamb company, the Oscar-winning technological innovators behind the Lyon Lamb Video Animation System which allowed animators to see immediate pencil tests of something without having to shoot it on film. After that, the company worked on developing a rotoscoping (hand-drawn tracing of live action footage) device for animator Ralph Bakshi, who decided to go in another direction right as the thing was ready to be demoed for him. Through a series of lucky events (seeing Tom Waits in his memorable TV appearance on Fernwood 2Night, then a few weeks later noticing Waits’ name on the marquee of the Roxy nightclub after a screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind was sold out), John Lamb came to direct Waits in a rotoscoped animation for his song “The One That Got Away” to demonstrate their new device for the film industry. It was produced by his then business partner Bruce Lyon and utilized the (apparently mostly volunteered) talents of several up-and-comers who’d all go on to greater things, including lead animator David Silverman who went on to The Simpsons and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
 

 
Over thirteen hours of video was shot and edited down to 5,500 frames, which were then individually re-drawn and hand-painted onto celluloid acetate. What today would take a comparatively trivial amount of time then took the best in the business about six months of hard work.

Lamb told the Tom Waits Library:

“I toured Waits’ apartment at “The Tropicana” on Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood in the same time period. He had 2 adjoining rooms with the common wall removed to make the joint bigger. Newspapers, manuscripts, ash trays and empties cluttered up the digs about waist to shoulder high throughout. A path literally led from the fridge to the piano… piano to the couch… couch to the bedroom and so on. If it was foliage, you would have needed a machete to hack your way through… the path was just wide enough to maneuver your torso through, sometimes having to turn sideways to navigate a tight turn. “

“Tom also came to our studio in a middle-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Beverly Hills/West L.A…. primary residences to old silent era movie stars and the families of Hollywood entertainment personalities like Allen Carr, Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Freed and the sort. So Tom drives up in his 66’ Bird with “Blue Valentine” spray-painted on the rear quarter panels [late 1978, as shown on the back cover of the album Blue Valentine]. His Bird was stuffed with newspapers, manuscripts and clothing from floor to ceiling, just like his apartment. There was only enough room for the driver behind the wheel, even the passenger seat was stuffed to the roof, his vision was completely obstructed except for his forward view out the windshield, and all these old neighbors are peering out their windows watching this seedy looking character with a wrinkled suit and porkpie Stetson hat meander across the street ... pause and head up the stairs to our old Spanish - studio house. One of the old neighbors called after his arrival to see if everything was ok or if we wanted her to call the police.”

 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.14.2017
12:18 pm
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The Fantastic Adventures of Mr. Rossi: The melancholy and oddly psychedelic children’s cartoon
05.09.2017
02:15 pm
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Signor Rossi—or as he was variously known, Herr Rossi, M. Rossi, Mr. Rossi and Señor Rossi—was the creation of famed Italian animator Bruno Bozzetto when he was just 22 years old. The character debuted in 1960’s Un Oscar per il Signor Rossi. Signor Rossi is a middle-class “everyman” (Rossi is the most commonly found last name in Italy) who would just like to live the easy life (have a vacation, buy a car, go on a safari, win an Oscar, etc.) but somehow always sees his dreams flounder around him. His comic misadventures, often undertaken with his sidekick dog Gastone (“Harold” in English-speaking countries), reflected the social changes then happening in postwar Italian society, including being over-worked and dealing with all manner of pointless bureaucracy. The trippy, ultra-colorful style of animation looked not unlike something that Peter Max might have produced. There were four Signor Rossi shorts made in the 1960s and another three were made in the 1970s before the theme music was changed in 1975 to Franco Godi’s impossibly catchy song “Viva Felicità” (“Viva Happiness”):

Viva, viva happiness,
Tried to catch it, no success,
Viva, viva happiness,

“Hello, I’m Mr. Rossi”

Mr. Rossi, what you want?
All the tray of ice cream cones,
A cocoa castle for a home

Custard cakes, coffee breaks, holiday, we’re all the same.

And then? And then? And then?
Mr. Rossi, what you want?
To drive a fancy rocket car,
Take a shower with champagne,
Tuxedo, Rococo, break(a) the bank at the casino…

And then? And then? And then?

Viva, viva happiness,
Tried to catch it, no success

[spoken quickly:]

Gonna-do-the-happy-dance,
happy-happy-dance,
viva-viva-happy-dance,
over-here-over-there,
over-here-over-there,
should-be-watching-aware
should-be-watching-aware

Sunshine (Sunshine)
Yellow (Sunshine)
Ocean (Ocean)
Lazy (Ocean)
Loving (Loving)
Someone (Loving)
Flowers (Flowers)
Daisy (Flowers)

This is what makes happiness,
You have more than you can guess,
viva, viva, happiness….

 

 
As there was almost no dialogue, the original cartoons had no barriers to being enjoyed by anyone in any language and the show became incredibly popular in Germany, Spain, France, and England. (The Disney Channel in America aired the cartoons in the early 80s). Godi’s theme song undoubtedly helped with the show’s success around the world. Once you have heard its whimsical melody, it’s difficult to ever forget it. If Mr. Rossi kinda/sorta seems familiar to you, all you have to do is listen to his iconic theme music.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.09.2017
02:15 pm
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