Friday, April 20, 2007

Not just for teenagers anymore.

As you all know, Kurt Vonnegut died last week. I was (am) truly saddened to hear the news. He is one of a series of artists and writers that blew my small teenage mind wide open. Only 2 years before his death, he wrote a book of essays. One of my favorite thoughts from that book was his threat to sue the tobacco companies for promising on all of their packaging that smoking would kill him, yet, at 82, he was still alive.

One thing that I’ve noticed—as I read the copious remembrances of him in the press and on private blogs, is that people seem to file him in their “teenage” file. What about now? When is the last time you’ve read a Vonnegut book? About 4 years ago I had the sudden urge to re-read Bluebeard. I have no idea why, I’m not one for re-reading books, but I followed the urge anyway. Maybe I was feeling a little like the main character, whose critically acclaimed paintings were all disintegrating because of the unstable paint mixture that he used. I’ll admit I was feeling uninspired and stuck and the book was what I needed: whole new worlds, again... etc. I loved it even more than the first time. And so it goes.

Breakfast of Champions, it’s been a long time. How would you like to leave the shelf for awhile?

Here’s a great remembrance of Kurt Vonnegut by John Irving.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Behold my new poster, and mantra. Please excuse the crappy picture--do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a picture?

This is a reproduction of one of a series of posters put out by the British Government during World War II. Keep that stiff upper lip, citizens! Not only are they wise and obvious words, but whenever I'm feeling stressed about my silly life, I can say "At least bombs aren't falling on my head."

I bought the poster online from Barter Books in Northumberland, England and I should also thank Anna at Twelve22 for calling my attention to it in the first place by posting about it on her blog.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Here I am! I've been in Chicago for the past week. My first time there and I loved it. Unfortunately it was a business trip so I had very little time to see the city. Thankfully my hotel was downtown (in the "loop) so I got to do some walking around in the core.

The "El" (the famous elevated train) is a very strange sight, though. It's really quite ugly, obscuring the buildings on either side and making it very dark down below--but it's also cool at the same time--especially the first time you see a train going by. I try to think how this must have been greeted by citizens of Chicago when it was first built!

We also had some fantastic meals. I think my favorite was at Shaw's Crab House. It was so reminiscent of the 30's/40's that we were certain Al Capone was about to walk in the door. Oh, and the crabcakes were divine. On the way to the restaurant I spotted the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album cover! Which I now know as the Marina City towers (my picture above).

And of course, I got in some shopping. The Marshall Field's Building (Macy's) was quite amazing (8 floors!), but I certainly didn't find any bargains there. However, I did find some great deals and came home with a new scarf, bikini and red boots (which would be quite an outfit if worn all at the same time).

The only unfortunate thing was that I woke up with a cold on the second last day-- making the the last two days miserable. Then, when I tried to buy some cold medication I nearly had to promise my first born to get it. I had to show my passport, give my date of birth and address and sign something. And then, while my head is pounding, my nose running and I'm sweating under my winter gear, the pharmacist can't enter my postal code because "the system won't accept letters in the zip". Anyway, I finally got the drugs and went back to my meth lab for a night of hard work.

Chicago, I loved you. I hope to be back sometime soon to see more.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ever since I discovered Alfred Hitchcock films, I’ve been in love with the art form that is Title Sequences. Saul Bass is famous for his title sequences for Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, John Frankenheimer and the one that started it all: Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm. Read more about Saul Bass here.

One of my favorites lately, is the end title for the film “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. I went to see it at the theatre and thankfully, stayed for the mesmerizing end titles. The movie is good and the set design is amazing, but those end titles made we want to buy it when it came out on DVD. Read more about the producer here.

All this to say that last week I came across a website highlighting title sequence art in movies. You can actually view the sequences right online. Check it out here:

What are your favorite movie title or end sequences?