Friday, March 31, 2006

It's exciting, innit, to see little baby internet grow so big, and so useful! So much free crap!

Still, there are nights when you read about a fella (f'rinstance, Naftule Brandwein) performing for Murder, Inc. in the 1920s, dressed in an Uncle Sam suit draped with hundreds of Christmas lights which almost electrocute him when he gets too sweaty. And you think, Great! I'd like to see a picture of that! But there isn't a picture anywhere. There's scarcely any music.

Here is some audio from PBS, and here is where I found the best photo.

For more Naftule, I guess you just have to hit the record shops. If there are any left.
It may be more expensive than a sheet of blotter acid, but it will have the same immediate effect, and will not reduce your brain to a cheesy rind: the Terry Gilliam's Personal Best DVD.

55 minutes of cut-out historical figures shuffling about and wagging their jaws, for your amusement. Plus helpful tips from the Gill hisself.

I spent my hard-earned money on this, and boy am I glad I did.
It has happened to all of us... you wake to find hundreds of sightless muppets playing klezmer music in your apartment, coaxing you into the afterworld, beaning you with hard black bread. Still, it's refreshing to see a film about this sort of humdrum daily goings-on. Thanks, again, to the HCB - the hardest working man in show business.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I recommend checking in at the famous hydrocephalicbunny blog at least every day, if not every 20 minutes or so, but today is an especially irrresistable day. The HCB man has important updates regarding sculptures by John Casey (at right), animation by Richard Condie, and a terrific video for Sigur Ros by Liron Damir. I have said it before, and I say it again: make HCB part of your daily wakeup, alongside multivitamins and feeding the gerbils. A must!

Apologies to Russian-speaking wee ones reading this, since this clip seems to have been dubbed with Russian dialogue that sounds like it may not be entirely wholesome. But the visuals are just so gumbylicious, and the tenor of the mismatched dialogue is pretty giggly. Plus, it's free.

It's from, via cartoonbrew. Lots of great stuff at these sites, and of course at youtube!

Wal-Mart will begin selling anti-gravity coils in 2009, according to this news brief. From

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I hope everybody knows how much fun flickr is... I can spend hours poking around it. I just figured out how well its "most interesting" feature works when you look up a favorite artist/architect. Try it!



Niki de St. Phalle (more here)

Simon Rodia


...and then feast your eyes on sint-katelijne-waver's set of pictures (above). Not too ugly, eh?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There is so much amazing octopus footage online now, it's hardly worth putting on the giant brass helmet and walking around the ocean floor anymore.

Today is a special day: the day that Gabe Hufstutler posted his logo for Random Cartoons at the Frederator blog. I hope we see more of this promising young talent in the near future. Thanks Gabe!!

Why The 1970s Scared the Bejeezus Out Of Me:

1. The Superfriends danger theme (sadly, this seems to be unavailable online at the moment, but here are some Superfriends arrangements to put you in the right mood - I recommend this LIVE RECORDING OF A MARCHING BAND playing the SF theme). I actually have a Pavlovian fear response to this theme, if I so much as remember it.

2. The Dunwich Horror. Available for any 3rd-grader to read, at the local library.

3. A Pictorial History of Horror Movies by Denis Gifford - a terrifying monster book my friend Bob had. Scared me but good, when I was 7. A bunch of times.

4. Power Records' The Mark of the Man-Wolf Book and Record (at left).

5. The vampire from Star Trek.

6. The vampire from Buck Rogers. (thanks, Jeff, for bringing that up again).

7. Finally, and most traumatically, Oompa loompas .
My favorite View-Masters of all, when I was 6, were my Batmans. Specifically, the now-classic The Purr-fect Crime... featuring Julie Newmar, whose catsuit-covered form, viewed zillions of times in 3-D, made me wholeheartedly hetero at a precocious age.

When I needed a break from Batman versus Julie, though, I turned to Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. Part of the appeal here was that I never did see the show, and the View-Masters were so shrouded in mystery. For one thing, there were monkeys that wore clothes and seemed to disappear into their sofa (which I tried to do many times). Plus, there are only about 7 words on each frame of a View-Master to provide context. Plus, I was only six and couldn't read so good. Plus, who reads View-Master captions anyway?

If you want more of the mystery solved, try the documentary, then enjoy some chimp tunes.

(A tip o' the hat, and click o' the View-Master, to the hard-workin' Kip Brockman.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I offer you a roundup of today's postings at other sites... Here's some stuff!

The squid blog, loaded with helpful links... including the inevitable octopodcast (from boingboing)

Attwenger has traditional Austrian ommpah sounds, plus a happening breakbeat accompaniment. It's really Austrian!! ... from WFMU blog.

Dave Curd's site has some eyeboggling visuals, if you like that sort of thing. I got it from Drawn.

Now I am going back to sleep. Shhh.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bibliodyssey is hands-down my favorite blog ever (maybe one hand down... the other hand goes to WFMU). I can't spend 2 minutes on this amazing cornucopia without wishing I read more, and knew more, and had better aesthetic chops.

I used to have dreams, as a kid, of a tiny gateway from my basement into a parallel universe, with all kinds of tiny unforeseen wonders. Bibliodyssey keeps the dream alive, and makes it look easy.

Thanks, mysterious Bibliodyssey host!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Even if you have no interest whatsoever in absinthe, you will love Jack Turner's account, in last month's New Yorker, of alembics and Moor's heads in 2006, as absinthe-crazed Americans try to brew the stuff as they did in 1909. Whee! Chemistry is so chic these days.

Translation of poster at right: "absinthe makes the heart grow fonder"
In case you did not hear, Pixar's 2007 release Ratatouille will be embarrassingly good, because Brad Bird is now directing it.
I love bug-themed films. Not in a repressed, Crispin Glover way, I just think bugs look amazing on film, and they must be fun to animate... watch Microcosmos, Joe's Apartment, Hoppity Goes to Town, A Bug's Life, James and the Giant Peach, or... most entertaining of all, Starewicz's The Cameraman's Revenge. And now (drum roll) for the low, low price of a plane ticket to London, you can go to the Arts Pestival! It shall bring out the aesthetic entomologist in all of us. (thanks to Boingboing for the info!)

Plus, for you bug-eaters out there, some recipes for Mopane worms. South Africans are way out front of the rest of us here. My pal Jason, an entomologist, brought back Mopane worms from SA and cooked up ziti with homemade sauce and worms. They crackle, and taste, exactly like Wasa crackers. I kid you not. Mmm mmm.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

There is more to Tove Jansson than I had realized... I always thought it started and ended with the barbapapa-hippo Moomins. Nope! She does paintings, collages, and these diorama things too! She is the real deal. There is a lovely, jolly Finnish site about her, out there just waiting for you.
My dad pulls up to the house every so often, in spring and summer months, with his minivan looking like the Jawa colony arriving in Mos Eisley, ready to unload all the scavenging found in the desert. Amongst the treasures Pa has found are several tiny German children's books by Erwin Moser. Dude is great - he tells these strange little tales and makes charming illustrations. Scour the suburban yard sales for your own!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Here is a great interview with Norton Juster, the author of one of my favorite books as a kid - The Phantom Tollbooth. The interviewer here says everything I wish I would say if I ran into Norton himself.

And here is the home of the inimitable Jules Feiffer, who made the original and best illustrations.

Mysterious Mose... it's real live puppet magic in 2006!

That's how the year was supposed to look!

Thank you Drawn!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Remember Kill Bill Vol. I? 'Ja like it? Not really? But you liked the animation?

Here is a fine l'il interview with Production IG, which made the movie as far as I'm concerned, and some information about their forthcoming feature Tachigui! (The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters)
I will keep this short, because I am not happy to admit this. I have come to the conclusion that Marvel Comics made a marvelous thing with X-Statix. Now that I am finally reading it (it was news, back in 2002).

It was funny, well-written (by Peter Milligan) and drawned by artists with spunk, such as Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, and Paul Pope. As an extra bonus, it has marvelous Kirbyescent colors thanks to Laura Allred.

I am now on the record as liking a defunct Marvel Comics product. I hereby revoke my art snob license... again. >Snif!<

Thursday, March 09, 2006

One of the board members over at the Crap-Mill Corporate World Headquarters recently clued me in to Twice Upon A Time, and I am now a fan and proud owner of a VHS copy. If you haven't seen it (or haven't seen it in 20 years), it is a beautiful, batty, visually unique (animated fabric cutouts!) lark of a film, and deserves more attention. It ought to be included on some future DVD edition of Monsters Inc, since there are a heap of obvious borrowed ideas (and a shared production designer, Harley Jessup).

There is a writeup about the background of the film in the new ANIMATION BLAST, and an amazing article by Taylor Jessup (offline, for some reason, but the derelict carcass is available as a Google cache, and needs to be read by any and all). Apparently my VHS copy is a bowdlerized version, and somewhere out there is a more potty-mouthed version that was released in theaters in the 80s for, like, 20 minutes. Still worth tracking down the edited version on eBay, if you are a fan. And you should be!
I can't get over the snowballing inevitable awesomeness of the Quintron-Miss Pussycat Axis. They have puppets, they have the Drum Buddy, they have numerous vastly entertaining party albums to their names (featuring the finest organ playing since Lucho Azcarraga), and today I learn that they have their own marching band. Sweet mother of mayonnaise!!!!

Check out these photos - Miss Pussycat (above) drying out band uniforms after Katrina tried to stop tha funk...

Michelle the Parade Princess.

Now I officially cry because I am not them. Or, as the Termite Queen says, it makes me want to lay a bunch of eggs.
While you and I have been dawdling and frittering away our time, Ronald Grandpey has been busy. Here is his latest epic, La responsabilité que donne le fait d’avoir deux jambes, which would be in French if it had any words.

Apparently this is an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Pinch your nose and jump in!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hey HEY! For all you cheapskates who never bought your own copy of PREQUEL, the pièce de résistance by the mighty PROBOT PRODUCTIONS, there is great news from L.A. Now you can just stream it, in all its beauty. A world of Star Wars action that George never ruined with CGI... a world of parties on the Wookie planet... a world where action figures act more fluidly than most Hollywood actors.

You'll laugh, you'll beep, you'll burn out your servomotor.
The Hairy Lobster. The Hairy Lobster. The Hairy Lobster. Plus check the BBC links to get caught up with other delights from the deep that we didn't even know about until just now.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I had hoped - no, we had all hoped - that children's TV never got more soul-pulverizingly bad, or more lysergic, than the Krofft Super Power Hour (thanks for nothin', Bob). I should have guessed, before reading it on the WFMU blog, that Japanese TV - which even on a good day is more frighteningly weird than the Kroffts - would have taken the (urinal) cake.

Kure Kure Takora (Gimme Gimme Octopus), your standard octopus-and-peanut-in-love-with-walrus ménage-à-trois, can be enjoyed here and here. Buy him here if this leaves you starved for more.

Now excuse me while I wash my eye sockets out with soap.
I do occasionally think about what I am posting. Seth Scriver: my fave Flash artiste in the world?! Is he? Yes. But close on his heels is the mysterious Joe Horne. Who is Joe Horne??? Why does he haunt my dreams? WHY?? He made Stevie and Zoya, and then what... Baby Huey or something. What does this mean??

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Did you ever wish you had the ability to draw, and bring to life, all those neurotic heavily-perfumed karaoke-singing subdebs that you see on the bus? YESSSS! No? Not really? Arthur de Pins does it very very well, and I wish him the best. Poor guy!!
A picture is worth a thousand words, bla, bla, bla. Fine, but this collection of pictures needs a little explanation, if you ask me. Apparently Link Hogthrob was an historical character.

Thank heavens for WFMU blog. That's all I know.

and speaking of Link... use this site for all your future questions about Muppets and such. More than you will ever need to know.
Just a reminder: the reason we stay home from school on Tuesday March 7? To celebrate Happy The Electric Company Is Finally On DVD Day.
Hey now! If you haven't been to Seth Scriver's site in a while, you might not know that for only $30 (Canadian! that is only $26.20 for you Amerikanischers) you can have your own custom-decorated wine bottle separator! Mr Scriver is still my favorite flash artist in the whole wide world. I make it a point to re-watch at least a half-dozen of his short films every few weeks, and you should too.

I happen to know that if you order a VHS copy of his animation, he frequently provides a complimentary one-of-a-kind oil painting on the Maxell cardboard VHS box. Unbelievable! Save up for this one!
30 seconds of new cheerful niceness from Studio AKA. The site is all-flash, and hard to navigate. Try "news" and then clik on the entry that has kissing cacti...
Do you find that a lot of online bloggy arty stuff (featured here at AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, f'reinstance) is, y'know, fun and eye-catching, and free, which is wicked awesome... but not usually very funny? How often does online bloggy arty stuff literally make you laugh? Seriously! Like, not often. Here's a blog of sketches by Dan Krall that actually made milk come out my nose.

Friday, March 03, 2006

DID YOU KNOW? You can still order from the 1979 Sears catalog? Just mail your 1979 money in a vintage envelope, with 1979 stamps. I don't know... it's worth a try.

No... no you can't. Sorry.

You can still look at it, though, courtesy of retrolounge.
Wonder Pets is a new kids' show premiering on Nick Jr. at 11:30am today. It has bona-fide (not synthesized) music, all the dialogue is sung like an opera, and the visuals are a hypnotically mesmerizing photo-animation style - along the lines of Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann's crazy photo-books, but animated. Very cool, especially if you are 5. But not exclusively. I think it's great.

The “behind the scenes” video features future animation industry titan Jen Oxley... send her money and chocolate while she is still accessible!