The May 14, 1938 episode of the CBS radio program Columbia Workshop was entitled "Melodrams" and featured poetry spoken by David Ross and underscored by Bernard Herrmann. The episode has been divided into four sections as follows:
Sisters (1973) is a film written and directed by Brian De Palma that stars Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt and is scored by Bernard Herrmann. It's a psychological thriller, not without aspects of satire, that uses techniques like split-screen effects in highly-inventive ways. ===
The Sadist (1963), a low-budget film written and directed by James Landis, is about an escaped convict and his girlfriend who hold a group of teachers hostage in a junkyard. Despite the film's limited means, the basic situation is so well-rendered that it creates a constant tension throughout.
More information about the film can be found here:
Mark and Delia Owens have been working in Africa since the 1970s with hyena and elephants and more recently in Idaho with grizzly bears and gray wolves. They have written books about their work and have been the subject of a National Geographic special and a made for TV film. More information about them and their organization can be found here:
Paleothea is a website that recounts tales involving women in Greek mythology in down-to-earth prose. Most of the myths are illustrated with images from classical paintings. Follow this link to take a look:
Intimate Lighting is a 1965 Czech film, directed by Ivan Passer, that is considered one of the highlights of the Czech New Wave.
Here is Roger Greenspun's 1969 review of the film from The New York Times:
IVAN PASSER made "Intimate Lighting" in 1965. It played at the 1966 New York Film Festival. I've seen it several times now, most recently in connection with its opening at the Fifth Avenue Cinema, and it loses none of its charm, to age or to repeated viewing. It is one of those very special movies that does not so much reveal new secrets each time you see it as confirm a justness and good humor that was never hidden.
Passer's anecdote (it doesn't amount to a story) concerns a cellist from Prague who, with his young mistress, visits a country town where he is to give a concert with the local orchestra. He spends a day and a night with an old school friend, a violinist who heads the town's music school and who has settled down with his mother and father, a plump wife, three kids, a car, and a garage full of chickens.
Nothing very significant happens. There is a family dinner, some amateur chamber music, and country funeral and a wake, a drunken late-night session involving the two friends and a family breakfast the next morning—with which the movie ends.
"Intimate Lighting" is constructed out of a series of minor embarrassments and low-keyed confrontations. Everything in the film's situation suggests incongruity and ironic distancing. But Passer has been at pains to keep all lines of communication open and never cruelly to play lifestyles off against one another. His warmth is neither sentimental nor condescending. And in all likelihood he has made a funnier movie from an awareness of imperfect reconciliations than he could have from an exploitation of disparities.
Understatement both in performance and technique, which has become a characteristic almost to cliché in many Czech movies, works perfectly in "Intimate Lighting." Passer, who has been known mostly as a scenarist to Milos Forman, is a perceptive director, and he has a fine cast to work with.
Because everybody except Vera Kresadlov (the mistress) has essentially a character part to play, it is difficult to single out anyone for praise. But I especially enjoyed Vlastimila Vlkova as the athletic grandmother, and Karel Uhlik as the town pharmacist whose violin technique is a struggle between musicianship and arthritis.
"I love this music. I love it passionately," says the pharmacist, who then takes up his violin and virtually saws apart a movement of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik." But he does love it, and the mess he makes of Mozart is the kind of testimony to love with which "Intimate Lighting" is filled. All the country people protest too much—their love of art, of family, of the lives they have to lead—but their protestations add up to a truth to which men agree and which it would be folly to disapprove.
For the final breakfast the grandmother has made an eggnog so think and rich it won't pour out of a glass. She tells the family and guests that "with a little patience" they will have a treat. And so in the last scene they all stand, glasses raised, mouths open, utterly ridiculous but sublimely patient.
Thunderbean Animation is both an independent animation studio and a company that releases DVDs of classic animated shorts. To see examples of the work they've done and find out how to purchase their DVD releases of vintage cartoons, follow this link:
Les Noisettes (The Nut-Gatherers) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
SightsWithin is a website that offers high-quality scans of classical paintings by such artists as Watteau, Fragonard, Bouguereau, Alma-Tadema, Gerome, & Friedrich, and other works of early photography and architecture.
In their own words: "SightsWithin is here to share the magnificence of art created throughout history. Its goal is to give everyone access to all of these creations. However, there are contemporary limits to this striving. Newer artworks, unfortunately, cannot be published. Any artwork of an artist that hasn't deceased more than 70 years ago cannot be displayed on this page due to copyright restrictions. The exception of that rule is given in the cases where we receive explicit permission to display one's artworks. Nevertheless, we hope you find many personal treasures among the works we have managed to collect."
The End of August at the Hotel Ozone is a 1967 Czech science-fiction film, directed by Jan Schmidt and written by Pavel Juracek, that concerns itself with a band of women looking for mates in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Steve Kurtz is a Los Angeles-based writer-television producer. His personal blog serves up his opinions on television, music, theater, films, news events, and politics. Follow this link to take a look:
Corpus Fluxus is the website of independent filmmaker and performance artist Ross Lipman. Lipman is also one of the team of people who restore films at the UCLA Film & TV Archive. Lipman can be seen at work in Alejandra Espasande Bouza's 2010 short, Allegro Non Molto:
Follow this link to see Lipman's own website and learn more about his activities:
Ikarie XB-1 is a 1963 Czech science-fiction film directed by Jindrich Polak and written by Pavel Juracek who later wrote the screenplays for the Czech films Daisies and The End of August at the Hotel Ozone.
More information about the film can be found here:
Benjamin Frankel (1906-1973) was a British composer who wrote several symphonies, a violin concerto, and many scores for films and television. Follow this link to the composer's official website run by the Benjamin Frankel estate:
Jacques Fath (1912-1954) was a French fashion designer, responsible, in part, for what was called the "New Look" in postwar haute couture. He designed the wardrobe that Moira Shearer wears in The Red Shoes and the front of his fashion house can be briefly glimpsed in the film as well. Follow this link for more information about Fath's life and work:
Whoever named Sankaku Complex wasn't kidding. It's complex! Prepare yourself for an overload of visual and textual information. Also, prepare yourself for large breasts and a lot of nudity in general. Of course, this isn't just a porn site, what is going on here is a lot of information and fan input about anime and manga, a majority written by Japanese commenting on their own culture. And, in addition to the anime-manga-related posts, there is a lot of off-color news stories about real Japan itself.
Here is The Fiberglass Chairs-Something Of How They Get The Way They Are, a 1970 film about industrial production directed by designers Charles and Ray Eames film with a light jazz score composed by Buddy Collette.
This is La Peine du Talion [The Talion Punishment (aka Tit for Tat)] (1906), directed by Gaston Velle, a charming, if archaic (and even somewhat violent), early hand-tinted French short film about a group of magic butterflies who turn the tables on a lepidopterist and his two assistants.
This is a music video (in German without English subtitles), directed by Wim Wenders in 2009, for the song "Auflosen" by the group Die Toten Hosen from their album "In Aller Stille".
The couple in this music video obviously enjoy visiting each other but for some reason have chosen not to live together. She has a larger loft space than his hotel room and perhaps she requires "space" for herself, just as she writes in a journal which is a personal activity and space he is excluded from. Even though they seem to wait boring hours for each other, perhaps they fear that if they live together or marry, another sort of negative quality would emerge where they'd rather be dead, as might be indicated by the brief shot of the couple shooting themselves in the head in silhouette when they stand together in the same window frame. At another point, the couple is framed again in a window whose pane comes between them. Throughout the video, they are together, yet separate.
Here is the incredibly cute and leggy J-Pop girl group Perfume with their 2010 song "Voice". I do not know who directed this music video (which is in Japanese without subtitles), but it presents a self-reflexive view of celebrity and stardom. Despite the main lyric, "Everything...you need to use your voice," the life of a pop icon is more than just singing: the icon lives in an unreal (and as depicted in the video, surreal) world of cartoon props where timing, dance, and image are just as important as the voice.
The girls are dominated by cookie cutter patterns (actually patterns of all kinds, background patterns, patterns on their clothing, etc.) but struggle to fit themselves into these molds. In one key shot (2:56-3:10), the girls cannot discover themselves in a forest of figures and end standing apart from them. The women are nominally icons who don't completely become symbols and so retain some of their own individuality and human identity. On the other hand, in another shot (3:24-3:39), the girls walk aloofly through a row of similarly-shaped silhouettes of people indicating that they are apart from the crowd and exist beyond the ordinary public.
The icon is both human and celebrity, someone who exists between the real and myth, between person and projection. In one moment, she's human, but in the next second, she can become a photograph with fake tears coming from her eyes. Or, as is indicated when the girls complete billboard images of themselves (2:10-2:24), the star is a half human/half-icon sort of hybrid.
The girls obtain their false diamond treasure. It's the "heart" from inside the chest of one of those public figures implying that fame, money, or the love of fans still originates with the public. It's also "the real thing" (as fake as it looks) as opposed to the version they reject from a different origin in a store window (you can't purchase the love of fans). The trio hold their diamonds aloft in the same position that their hands were held in in the video's opening shot. Does this gesture mean they were special to begin with and destined to find the treasure all along? At the start they hold aloft "thin air". Does this means the diamonds they obtain at the end are also no different from thin air? But just then, at their moment of triumph, their false patterned world collapses around them. Fame is fickle. Stardom insecure. The wall that forces itself on them at the very end is not unlike the other walls (either solid or with some part cut out) that they’ve had to file past or conform through to get to their destination. Indeed, it's simply a larger version of the wall of black dots that one of the trio walks past near the start of the video. But this time the holes in the patterned wall are ironic. By falling around the girls, the holes reveal just how fake the fake world they’ve been inhabiting really is while revealing the lights and set of the video they've been making. Oh well. Confronted with nothingness, the girls simply laugh and remain "just girls". Or do they? Throughout the video, surface appearance is contrasted with reality. We see the trio laughing like normal girls but, because we don't also hear them laugh as we should, in this last moment, the girls miss out on becoming completely real people to us. Finally, voiceless, the girls, surrounded by the darkness of the set in the real world, can't break free from their ghostly limbo somewhere between life and artifice.
Virginia Postrel's amazing website, Deep Glamour, is constantly on the lookout for "things glamorous". Perhaps the site is more for the ladies in the audience, but it looks at culture through a very specific prism and discovers a number of appealing surprises. The site also links to a plethora of other neat sites, images, and articles.