Thursday, December 30, 2010

Remembering Frank Frazetta...


"I want you to know that I have very little respect for anything on earth, except man's ability to produce work such as this" - Gail Wynand in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead"

2010 saw the loss of some very talented and unique people in the entertainment field this year, but none hit me as hard or as personally as the passing of artist Frank Frazetta. So I wanted to say goodbye to 2010, ultimately a truly shitty year for me, by remembering Frank and his work with this little video I made. My advice for the 3 peope that will bother to watch this is save it to your HD if you can, watch it on full screen and crank up the volume!

video

Frank Frazetta - 2/9/1928 - 5/10/2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Harley New Years!


Last new art for 2010

"La Quinn Nouveau"

Isnt she cute?


all colored pencil on approx. 11" x 14" vellum surface Bristol paper

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Artman's Bedroom Antics....Part IV


The latest work in my bedroom renovations. As Clint from Heartbreak Ridge might say...

"Its a Clusterfuck sir!"

First the easy part! I got my 5 main recessed overhead lights installed and wired up the dimmer switch, nice!!

And here's my real problem...Mr. door...brown-eyed devil, plannin' on taking me back slam... *oops* sorry, had a Vin Diesel moment there...Well, take a look at this mess, is it any wonder that door NEVER shut right from the day I moved in?

I was hoping to get the old door jamb off and reinstall it again properly, but 'twas not to be! So I took a new piece of jamb wood and chiseled out the three hinge mortises (in lamens terms- chisel out a little 'seat' for the hinge to sit in so its flush with the piece of wood) and screwed it in place. The first step is always to get the hinge side installed level and tight and then work it from there. If that part is wrong the rest wont have a chance in hell of being right, as the previous door installer had so gloriously proven!

I also installed some more drywall....yeah i friggin hate working with that shit! The overhead lights look good!

Ok time to test the door and make adjustments....is it level???

GOOD ENOUGH!

So get the rest of the jamb installed and then I gotta fix my one mistake (besides starting this whole project in the first place that is!) which was I underestimated how poorly that door was installed and so I didnt cut my first piece of sheetrock wide enough, which left a gap between the door and the wall that the door trim wouldnt be wide enough to cover (check the previous pics above). So the fix was simple, just cut a small piece of sheetrock and fill in the gap. You can also see I have the "secret closet" all walled in and started taping that as well. At the end of the day the door closes like a champ, so yay for me.

Here I installed some pieces of 1/2" plywood flush into the back wall where my bed is gonna go. This is so when I install my wall sconces (which are really heavy) they will be biting into wood not drywall and I wont need wall anchors or anything else. This whole wall is going to get a new piece of sheet rock installed right over this mess and none of this will show or need to be smoothed over. I also installed 1/4" plywood on the alcove ceiling above. This is because I'm eventually going to use decorative paneling up there and it'll be way easier to install that with some wood to nail into. It's also way lighter than drywall would be. Still it was FUN putting those pieces up all by myself.
Next up is start getting the ceiling finished off. Oh yeah I just cant WAIT for that slice of hell!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Kirk Douglas!


Second only to Cagney as my fave actor

Still a Champion!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

She's been Away Too Long!


This vintage unused Clara Bow postcard arrived today from Romania, $6 including shipping!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Metropolis...


Like many others, I had the very enjoyable experience of viewing the world television premiere of the newly restored Metropolis on TCM last Sunday night…

This is a film I first saw when I was very young...so young that I don’t recall ever NOT knowing of Rotwang, Maria and the “Machine Man”, and I’ve seen it many times over the years but I never enjoyed it as much as I did the other night! Partly because for the first time I am seeing the closest thing to Fritz Lang’s full length cut but also simply because, like most great films, Metropolis gets better and better with age.

The new footage was taken from a 16mm print and was in pretty bad shape, but it didn’t bother me at all and of course made it very easy to see - Yes, there is a shot I never saw, and here is a whole scene that’s “new” and holy shit this is a whole subplot that I’ve never seen before so man, talk about a kid in the candy store type thing, it was just GREAT! I would say without a doubt the actor who almost ended up getting cut from the film entirely was Fritz Rasp who played the “Thin man” character. He is probably best known as the lowlife pharmacist who molested Louise Brooks in that other German masterpiece “Diary of a Lost Girl”. He seemed to appear in at least half of the restored footage in Metropolis, most of it involving a “new” sub plot with the worker that switched places with Freder, Jon Fredersen’s son.

Certainly another reason I enjoyed this more than ever is over the last few years I have developed an intense interest (that’s a polite way of saying obsession!) with Art Deco and if there was ever ONE film that is a literal Deco feast for the eyes it is Metropolis! So I noticed so much more as far as set design, b/g’s, props etc etc, everywhere your eyes go there is something to see, a meticulous production in every respect!

As a kid I remember being fascinated by the scenes of the workers toiling at their jobs and of course the incredible transformation scene. Robot Maria is still a mesmerizing cinematic achievement!

I don’t think one can talk about this film without saying something about Brigitte Helm, I mean talk about the role of a lifetime! The contrast between her “good” and “bad” Maria’s is quite remarkable and few actresses ever took to a “Bad Girl” role with such gusto and enthusiasm! She really is unforgettable, as is the entire picture, it just staggers the mind to think this was released in 1927!

What I see i this film is a really intense visual interpretation of “The Mind/Body Dichotomy”, a concept quite prevalent in 20th century philosophy. Whereas that concept usually refers to an individual, Metropolis expands on the idea to show an entire society existing in this fashion. It’s certainly something I never keyed into before and so, meditate on this further, I will.

Another thing I noticed for the first time is the similarities between this and Lang’s First Hollywood film “Fury” with Spencer Tracy (an absolute MUST see!) in so far as the portrayal of the “masses” and mob mentality, neither film paints a pretty picture of it at all. In fact, there’s one shot of a woman tossing a torch onto the stake where “bad” Maria is being burned and in Fury there is an almost identical shot of a woman tossing a torch at the prison Tracy is locked away in. “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” is certainly a strong theme in Lang’s body of work, to the extent of which I’ve seen anyway (I am still sadly lacking in viewing his German work but have seen many of his American films)

I also see certain similarities between this and Ayn Rand’s short story “Anthem”. The life and living conditions of the workers in Metropolis are very much like how she described life for the characters in her story. Though her story takes place in a future primitive collectivized society, and her main character toiled as a lowly street sweeper, I have no doubt she was influenced by the film because she had stated Fritz Lang was her favorite director. One can also clearly see the influence on George Lucas with THX-1138 and of course, C-3PO from Star Wars is a direct descendant of Maria. I also see “Bladerunner” in those shots of the city and the new Tower of Babel, so lets just take into account how much influence Star Wars and Bladerunner have had on all the sci-fi that’s followed them!

An another note, I really enjoyed hearing the original score with this new version. The last time I saw this film it had a horrendous almost jazz type score that totally did NOT fit the imagery at all!
If you've never seen this film before, please do yourself a huge favor and rent it or catch it next time it plays on TCM!

Happy Birthday Brooksie!


Louise Brooks - 11/14/1906 - 08/08/1985

Unforgettable!

The above shot is unusual as Brooksie rarely wore jewelry.

The Kansas girl who became a dancer, who became an actress, who became a has-been, who became a recluse, who became a writer, who finally became a legend!

Below are a few images from my favorite Louise Brooks film, G.W. Pabst's silent masterpiece "Diary of a Lost Girl"

"We had faces!" - Gloria Swanson, Sunset Blvd.


The Juvenille Detention center scenes are not to be missed!

Absolutely beautiful

Friday, November 12, 2010

Remembering Grace Kelly - 11/12/1929


First she left Hollywood too soon, and then sadly, she left the earth too soon as well.






Saturday, November 6, 2010

Artman's Bedroom Antics....Part III


YES! FINALLY! I got my ass back into my bedroom renovations!!

Okay so the electrician was finally able to get out here last Thursday and wire up my ceiling lights, wall sconces, switches and new receptacles. Basically this is what's held me back from making any progress in here. I also had a brainstorm of an idea but it meant dismantling the small closet and reworking it, sort of renovating my renovation so to speak. After pondering it for about a week I decided to (paraphrasing Mommie Dearest) "RIP OUT THAT BITCH OF A CLOSET AND PUT A WALL WHERE IT OUGHT TO BEEEEE!"


ummm yeah something like that......

So to recap here's what it used to look like.....

And here's how it looks now. The closet opening has been relocated to the front wall which I'm gonna build a small display shelf on hinges to cover it, in effect, making it a "hidden closet". Doing this opened up over a foot more floor space where my bed is gonna go and that might not seem like much but believe me it will make the difference from being sort of cramped in that area to NOT being cramped at all, plus I can hang artwork or movie posters there instead of looking at a closet door. It only took about 3 hours to make that change so I'm glad I did it!

Recessed lights are all installed in the main ceiling area now, let there be LIGHT!

Tonight I installed the 2x4's that the ceiling beams will attach to. I had to tack on some strips of 1/2" plywood along one side to make the width equal to the inside dimensions of the larger beams. Working overhead is NOT fun. I still have to patch up the hole where the old woefully inadequate overhead light was.

Here you can see all the wiring for the lights that will go over my bed and the wall sconces as well. Once the celing is in place, I can hook the light fixtures up myself no problem but all that wiring was way to complex for my fragile little mind to comprehend so I hired a professional.

I used some scrap pieces and built some small dummy beams to see how they would look. 2 larger beams with smaller ones intersecting like a tic-tac-toe thing, it'll be hella cool! Of course these are just rough, the finished ones will have nice rounded edges and be stained the same color as the rest of the trim in the room.

Here you can see how it gets installed. Just slips over the 2x4 and then either nailed or screwed in place. The 2 larger beams are gonna be made out of 14' pine boards and should be a laugh riot to install once they're built! I may actually have to find someone to help me with that part of it!

Because I can.

To be continued...

Friday, November 5, 2010

COMICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This past weekend I attended my first comic convention in almost 15 years! I was mostly on the lookout for Silver Age Flash comics, more specifically from the intitial run of issues penciled by Carmine Infantino, #'s 105-174.

#124, I believe to be the 2nd appearance of Captain Boomerang. Flash took an awful lot of shit from that guy, luckily Elongated man was around to help out this time!

#130, I always LOVE when Flash's "Rogues Gallery" makes an appearance! I believe this is the first issue for that!

Issue # 131, the first issue with a Silver-Age Green Lantern crossover! I always loved this cover!

Issue #151 has Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash and Shade making an appearance. Awesome cover, Shade is one of the coolest looking of Flash's villains! That is most certainly Murphy Anderson inking Infantino on that one, IMO the greatest penciler-inker team in comics history!

#158 - Flash becomes the "One Man Justice League"!

#118, I didnt find this at the convention, this was a gift from my very good friend Mr Door Tree. The lead story is Infantino/Anderson and it's a beauty! Thank you Mr Tree!

I also found a dealer with a big stack of Harley Quinn issues all priced at 50 cents a peach, sooooooo....


This cover is SILLY!









All in all it was great fun to be at one of these conventions again but I have to say I was a bit appalled at how disorganized some of the dealers kept their stuff. I would think in this economy they'd do eveything possible to make going through stacks of comics easy and fun - not a chore, not sifting through a box with DC, Marvel, Darkhorse etc, etc, all mixed together and nothing priced!!!
Anyhoo, now I have 33 issues left to get to have the entire run of Flashes I want but a lot of them are the early ones and are way more pricey *sigh*
and to think years ago I had this whole run plus 2 of the Flash Showcase issues as well....oh man, I could cry!!!
I think I will...but secretly!