August 12, 2004

Now THAT'S a Scion, or The Influence of The Toaster on Japanese Cars

Even in the remotest backwater of Japan where we've been for the last two weeks, the popularity of tiny, square city-friendly cars is startling. Easily 25-30% of the cars on the road here in Shikoku are what's known as '1-box' or '2-box' models. 1-boxes have plenty of room for four people, and not much else, while 2-boxes often have decent storage/luggage space in the back. A couple are even minivan-like in their spaciousness. I started calling these things toasters, but...
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Posted by greg at 12:10 AM | TrackBack

September 25, 2003

The Suntory Commercials of Akira Kurosawa

Nothing wrong with bigname film folks making commercials. Errol Morris (whose The Fog of War I just saw and will write about soon) directed the Apple Switch ads. Swedish master Ingmar Bergman made some cake by selling cakes of soap. Hell, Spike Lee's got a whole agency, SpikeDDB, to sell out through. And as Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation shows, Japanese commercials are a great way for stars to pay their jumbo mortgages. Coppola mentioned she got the idea...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:01 AM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2003

My Video Art Bootlegging Article in the Sunday NY Times

Thanks to the adoring fans who commented on my article in the NY Times yesterday about video art tape trading. I won't list them by name (mostly because it's possible to list them by name, and doing so might crush my carefully crafted illusion of worldwide fame). I met Chris, the "star" of the piece several months ago, a guy in a small southern town who has become an impassioned expert on, of all things, video art. My working title...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:31 PM

August 13, 2003

Cremaster 2: Videotape Boogaloo

Until this spring, there was still a press release on Art House Films' website heralding the coming DVD release of The Cremaster Cycle . If Matthew Barney's films are obsesed wtih potentiality, announcing and never releasing the DVD's seems somehow appropriate. After all, cremasters are designed to rein things in, not let 'em hang out, right? Inexplicably, nine hours in the Guggenheim's theater didn't give me enough Cremaster in my art/media diet. So after bailing on the mass market...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2003

DVD extras for The Atomic Revolution

Well, almost. I consolidated all my posts on The Atomic Revolution, the shockin' awesome Military Industrial Complex comic that artist Ethan Persoff re-discovered. Now it's a feature. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out online, Saturday at 3:30....
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Posted by greg allen at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2003

Part 3: The Making of The Atomic Revolution

Finally, for the the half dozen people who are as intrigued by The Atomic Revolution, the Cold War propaganda comic Ethan Persoff put online, here is at least part of the story of its origins. Mushroom cloud, from The Atomic Revolution, image: The comic itself is copyrighted 1957, by Mr. M Philip Copp, an artist nearly subsumed in an Eisenhower-era Establishment. At a time when comic books were being attacked in Congress and the popular media for contributing to...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:41 PM

June 19, 2003

First, Industrial Comics, Now Industrial Musicals

[via Scrubbles] The Golden Age of corporate comic books coincides nicely with the Golden Age of industrial musicals. Jonathan Ward tells their history. These lavishly produced sales-and-morale-boosting programs were usually performed only once or twice, at a company's sales or management conference. Souvenir records were pressed in extremely small numbers and distributed only to the conference participants, making them very rare....
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Posted by greg allen at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

On The Atomic Revolution: Part 2, American Business Concerns

The non-comic comic book is often cited as a phenomenon of these troubled times...These garish publications are marked by horror, violence and practically everything but humor. They have evoked nation-wide condemnation. In recent years a far different kind of "unfunny comic" has made an appearance. It is a publication, drawn in newspaper strip form, prepared for and distributed by American business concerns...These little books are becoming an important tool in industrial public relations. They go to stockholders, employes, schools, civic...
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Posted by greg allen at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2003

On M. Philip Copp, The Military Industrial Complex's Goto Guy For "Unfunny Comics"

Discovering The Atomic Revolution--a stunningly drawn, cheerleading 1957 comic book for Our Friend, The Atom--and being in an apocalyptic Animated Musical state of mind, I set out to discover its origins, and its elusive creator, Mr. M. Philip Copp, whose only other known (to Google) publication was a 1952 comic book, Crime, Corruption & Communism....
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Posted by greg allen at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a Winner

detail, The Atomic Revolution, image: [Dublog, you rock.] If I could get the artist of The Atomic Revolution to do my Animated Musical, I would. Ausin-based artist Ethan Persoff found the mysterious 1957 comic book at an estate sale, along with "a corporate memo, a vinyl recording discussing Einstein's theories and a large calendar-sized brochure of modern-art-inspired paintings using a number of atomic weapons companies' logos." He scanned it and posted it online. The caption for the above...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2003

Confound me: Wim Wenders' Audi Roadmovie

I, of all people, should like a sponsored roadmovie featuring an Audi, and a Handspring. Go figure. Another GreenCine find, Wim Wenders has directed a The Other Side of the Road, a 6-minute filmmercial for the introduction of the Audi A3. See it at Audi's Germany site. Like most Wenders work, plot takes a backseat to scenery (and since the A3 is a hatchback, it's a very small backseat). Some grungy couple, a sleek couple, a lot of desert driving,...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2003

Because Google says I have it: here is The Architect's Speech

I won't reveal it here, and I can't verify it until I see the movie again, but Clark Kent has put out an annotated transcript of The Architect's explanation to Neo of The Matrix. And before you get into any heady arguments over the philosophy of Matrix Reloaded, read Ken Mondschein's excellent, spoiler-filled analysis at Corporate MoFo. Enjoy, and keep coming back....
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Posted by greg allen at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2003

Nude Scenes At BYU

Originally titled, "One reason I decided to become a filmmaker: Nude scenes at BYU" Alfredo taking out the bad parts in Cinema Paradiso, which had more than 50 minutes cut for its original release. You know how, in Cinema Paradiso, the priest would sit, bell in hand, and pre-screen that week's film? And when an indecent scene came along (in post-war Sicily, all it took was a kiss), he'd ring the bell with great seriousness, and a sighing Alfredo'd...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:54 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2003

Introducing Features

I swear, I wrote this on the train, before seeing Jason's latest post. If only I'd waited till I got home, perhaps I'd just switch to Movable Type/TypePad and forget the whole thing:Sometimes, my posts get a bit long. (Usually, I notice this when a reader--invariably not from The New Yorker--asks if I'm auditioning for The New Yorker.) Sometimes, actual interviewing, research, reporting will yield far more information than will fit in a post. Sometimes, there may actually be a...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2003

Night Of A Thousand Film Geeks

clockwise from top R: UA's Bingham Ray and honoree Alexander Payne David O. Russell, last year's honoree, still in a euphoric daze "special friend"/screenwriter Jim Taylor, freezing on way to afterparty John Waters and sycophantic fan, photo: David Russell crowd shot, which captured the supposedly elusive cracked-me-up international man of mystery Last night at MoMA, Alexander Payne and Bingham Ray talked about Payne's career and films (including Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt). The Museum's Film & Media Department gave...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:33 AM

January 06, 2003

'Lost' Swedish Soap Commercial Director Ingmar Bergman Finally Gets Recognition

The Surgery, Bris soap commercial directed by Ingmar Bergman See, if you stick with it long enough, recognition will come. When his commercials for Bris soap were shown in 1951, Ingmar Bergman seemed to be living the admaker's dream: "He had final cut, he had free hands, he could do whatever he wanted," says director Anders Roennqvist. Inexplicably, though, the promising young director soon vanished into ad-biz obscurity; I searched Adwik Svenska's 80-year archives using my mobile phone, but...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2002

Well, I'll be damned, or How Norman Mailer IS The Center of The Universe

Had a man been always in one of the stars, or confined to the body of the flaming sun, or surrounded with nothing but pure ether, at vast and prodigious distances from the Earth, acquainted with nothing but the azure sky and face of heaven, little could he dream of any treasures hidden in that azure veil afar off. - Thomas Traherne, The Celestial Stranger, mid 17-th c. Effusively compared in this Guardian article to the Apollo astronauts' first...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)