30 Nov 2005 12:13 pm
Recently I met Joel Eisenberg and immediately recognized a kindred spirit. As we got acquainted, Joel mentioned his cool collection of rock concert photos that he shot back in the day when there was a bit more access, less restrictions. Joel and I agreed to go through his 35mm color prints and negatives and pick out some great moments to share on this here web site, in the Vintage Rock Photography section.
We’re kicking this off with the best from Joel’s Vault of Grateful Dead concert photographs, and there are many more San Francisco Bay area favorites to come, including a thread of photos that connect with recently departed SF concert legend Chet Helms. We look forward to sharing all this with you. Keep that love light on, and leave it on!
23 Nov 2005 03:06 pm
The Madagascar DVD is out in stores, gasoline has receded from record highs, and we have plenty to be thankful for. There’s been many requests for Media Spin to post more Madagascar images, especially Lemurs and Penguins, and we are working on that. For now, you MySpace.com image borrowers (and I know who you are), let’s see who snags these first. Have a happy!
P.S. For more Madagascar stills click here.
Last night the San Francisco chapter of SIGGRAPH presented a screening of the SIGGRAPH 2005 Electronic Theater at the Lawrence Hall of Science on the UC Berkeley campus.
First of all, I had never traveled up to that part of the Berkeley campus, very high up in the hills surrounded by Tilden Park. It was a clear night under nearly a full moon, and view of SF Bay was spectactular. Here is a web cam of the view.
The Hall of Science is was full of surprises: a robotic dinosaur exhibit, lots of hands on science and physics demonstrations, a gallery containing original M. C. Escher (no… not M. C. Hammer!) lithographs, and a very interesting museum honoring Ernest O. Lawrence, UC’s first Nobel laureate and inventor of the cyclotron. On display are early cyclotrons and films of the team working at Berkeley’s Radiation Lab.
One of the standouts of the SIGGRAPH 2005 computer animation festival was Cubic Tragedy, a very clever look at a 3D character learning polygonal modeling tools and giving herself unsuccessful geometric plastic surgery. There were a number of excellent non-commercial technical works, NASA’s MODIS Daily Global Snow Cover and A Semi-Lagrangian Contouring Method for Fluid Simulation. Not as technically challenging, and very funny in a unfaithfully based way, was Learn Self Defense by the wonderfully comic stylings of the Chris Harding Animation Concern.
11 Nov 2005 09:47 pm
Here’s the answer to that lyrical old question, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?”
There’s just something about Paris, that charming birdlike quality.
Forgive me, this is just one of my addictions manifesting itself. My crude Martha Stewart Photoshop collage gets a lot of attention, so I thought I’d play with an equally bad variation. A little ostrich farming might be all the therapy I need.
Why We Fought
The men and women of World War II have been dubbed The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw’s book. Frank Capra’s World War II war documentaries, Why We Fight on DVD captures the history and urgency of the times. It was a different era before political correctness (the Japanese enemies were referred to as “Japs”), civil rights advances, and there is a spirit of post Depression, can-do American unity. The country was recovering from the Great Depression, and building up its role as a global manufacturing giant. This was before the divisive paranoia introduced by Senator Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare of Communism that dominated U.S. foreign policy for decades. In fact “The Battle of Russia” heaps great praise upon the Russians for beating back the Nazi advance and handing Hitler some of his first defeats.
The 8 films on 4 DVDs are a long hard slog, as good old Rummie our present Secretary of Defense would say. 450 minutes of badly transferred grainy black and white film with rough, tinny soundtracks distracts from a totally absorbing appreciation of the historic experience. All the same, these are valuable recordings of World War II history and our country’s mood.
Crisply narrated by Walter Huston, there is classic footage of Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Nazi, Japanese and Allied armies. Why We Fight World War II – The Complete Series. American Propaganda Films of WWII, original release 1942-1944, 4 DVD Series, 2005, 450 minutes
- Disc 1: “Prelude to War”, “The Nazis Strike”
- Disc 2: “Divide & Conquer”, “Battle of Britain”
- Disc 3: “Battle of Russia”, “Battle of China”
- Disc 4: “War Comes to America”, “The Negro Soldier”
The Battle of China historically recounts the Japanese attacks and agressions upon China, showing some of the first ever aerial bombings of cities, and the rape of Nanking Massacre.
The War Comes to America includes an idealized corny section narrated by Humphrey Bogart covering the breadth of the American landscape and human melting pot. The sequence begins showing a group of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, in its form of that time, without the 1954 “under God” insertion.
Viewing the war propaganda films of the 1940’s, we see an America that is carefully neutral, at peace, hesitant and humble about entering the world stage of war. These films are crafted to rally isolationist USA into battle, clarifying the moral imperitive to defeat a globe conquering Hitler. Upbeat, cheery anthems such as “This is the Army Mr. Jones”, introducing the Selective Service draft call, practically dance our men and boys off to war.
The Negro Soldier opens with a montage of American churches, enters a large cathedral and a somber chorale, not joyful gospel music. The church minister delivers the sermon and narrates the entire hour of film.
The Germans developed a huge arsenal of tanks and cannons, an air force with advanced aeronautical capabilities and were fully loaded to strike. Many of the aircraft and rocketry plans captured by the British, Russians and Americans were applied in 1950’s and 60’s fighter aircraft and space race technologies. One obvious point is: Saddam’s Iraq was not even close to 10% of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. It was a different time and place, and by today’s standards, it is surprising it took the USA as long as it did to enter WWII.
All images from Why We Fight World War II – The Complete Series.
09 Nov 2005 08:21 pm
Those Freaky Hilton Sisters
Long before Paris and Nicky Hilton, there were Daisy and Violet Hilton, San Antonio’s Siamese Twins. According to rattsfreakshow.com the Hilton sisters were pygopagus twins – conjoined at the hips and buttocks. They shared blood circulation and were fused at the pelvis but shared no major organs. In 1932 the twins appeared as themselves in the movie Freaks, which dared to pose the question of whether or not conjoined twins can have a love life. In the case of the Hilton sisters, the answer was yes – they were notorious for their many affairs and allegedly had a strong desire to outdo one another in the area of dating.
If you are a glutton for more Hilton Sisters photos, past and present, go to the jedimaster.
08 Nov 2005 03:00 pm
GeoSpot Web Site Launch
Hello World! GeoSpot, the Internet start-up company where I am Creative Director, made our initial web site public today. I’ve been involved in the development of GeoSpot since April, working closely with the founding entreprenuer and software technology executive. The splash page on the web site is a one minute Flash preview of the big things to come at GeoSpot.
Fighting The Good Fight
Congratulations to Participant Productions on reviving the spirit of conscience and meaning in filmmaking with two recent releases: Good Night, And Good Luck and North Country. Thanks to the wall of right wing noise, the past few years have seen a mighty counter surge of intelligent, truth seeking documentaries and fact-based motion pictures, such as The Corporation, The Fog of War, and of course the work of Michael Moore.
Good Night, and Good Luck covers Edward R. Murrow’s confrontations with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his Government sponsored investigations and accusations of Communist activities, a Red scare witch hunt that inspired Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. Incredibly, to those of us who truly believed the American psyche had evolved above and beyond those dark days, we now have the likes of Ann Coulter and right wing robot mouths reviving the glories of McCarthy’s delusional deeds. Has she no shame?
Participant Productions was founded in 2004 by eBay philanthropist Jeff Skoll. It is heartening to see capital success put to good use this way. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Keep on fighting the good fight.
P.S. You should definitely support these films by going out and seeing them!
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