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Le Course De Kessel

August 12th, 2011 by

la course de kessel

Run it.

(Photo gleefully via starwarsanyone.tumblr.com.)

Today is movie trailblazer Ray Harryhausen's 90th birthday.

June 29th, 2010 by

Today, June 29, Ray Harryhausen turns 90.

Harryhausen with skeleton maquette.

"Ray Harryhausen with skeleton maquette. Photo: Christopher Bahn, 2006/03/21."

Harryhausen is a man whose works have truly touched millions. His unduplicable special effects work has amazed, frightened and inspired people of all ages across the world.

He spearheaded and mastered stop-motion in a pre-computer time when all "special effects" were hands-on, and every effect he created was a work of art.

There is a physical weight to the impossible things that he put on the screen. An imperfect realism that renders the impossible almost too real. His work creates awe, no matter the age of the viewer.

Here in this video via AintItCool.com is nearly every creature the gentleman has ever created:

For this, Mr. Harryhausen is to be celebrated, and he is.

From guardian.co.uk's coverage of Harryhausen's birthday celebration in Britain:

It was nearing the end of Bafta's Ray Harryhausen 90th birthday tribute at the BFI Southbank last Saturday that special effects makeup maestro Rick Baker took to the stage to offer his praise. For the previous two hours or so, a stunning list of the movie industry's biggest, most innovative and respected names had, in person or via video messages, offered their undying love and gratitude to Harryhausen and his work, all offering incredibly specific tales of when they first encountered his unique contribution to cinema and how greatly it affected them. For Baker, the problem he faced was how could he say anything that had not been already said – even the "we are all children of the Hydra's teeth" line had been used. Twice. So, the six-time Oscar winner asked a question that, upon reflection, is rather terrifying, something no one else there would have dared to even speculate on: What if Ray Harryhausen had never been born? "I'd be asking you if you wanted fries with that ... Peter Jackson would be shearing sheep."

The Children of the Hydra in battle mode.

"The Children of the Hydra. Scene from the film Jason And The Argonauts, Copyright 1963 Morningside Worldwide Pictures."

After that it was impossible not to consider how different cinema would be without such an inspiring figure. Just going by the list of acolytes who contributed to the evening alone, we'd have no Star Wars, no Terminator, no Toy Story, no Pan's Labyrinth, no Edward Scissorhands, no Jaws, no Shawshank Redemption, no Wallace and certainly no Gromit. Those are just the collateral damage, without Harryhausen there would be no Jason And The Argonauts, no 7th Voyage Of Sinbad and no 20 Million Miles To Earth. That's not a world I'd want to live in. It wouldn't be much fun.


Best of all was Harryhausen's longtime friend Ray Bradbury, who told the tale of how they met, aged 18, for the first time outside the house of mutual pal Forrest J Ackerman (the man who coined the term "sci-fi" – these gentlemen pretty much invented everything). Invited back to check out Harryhausen's dinosaur models, Bradbury decided the two should be best friends and have spoken or met each other at least once a month for the last 72 years. I don't think anyone there failed to tear up over that. Beautiful.

Positively wonderful. Thank you, Harry.

Ray Harryhausen and his works.

His official autograph mailer handout.

For more, visit rayharryhausen.com.

(Skeleton photos via foursecondmemory.com. Autograph photo via movieeye.com. Inspiration via Dr. Abominable.)

Leave sharks alone.

June 28th, 2010 by

leave me alone

This wonderful print comes via Jay Ryan from his The Bird Machine company.

From his site:

leave me alone
approximately 18 x 24 inches, printed on french cover
seven screens used
edition of 130, signed

profits from the sale of this print will be sent to pangeaseed, a group working in tokyo to raise awareness of the cruelty of the practice of shark finning.

Ryan's artwork is consistently surprising, engaging, and pleasing. See more of it here on TheBirdMachine.com.

Besides awesome art, Ryan also makes awesome music. His dual bass guitar-wielding band Dianogah exudes the same sense of calm goodwill that his art does. Quite recommended.

Now, here is an epic interview done by a puppet with Mr. Ryan at the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. The segment concludes with kids testing the theory of whether or not you can dance to Dianogah. Brilliant.

Apology accepted, Captain Needa.

June 18th, 2010 by

Apology accepted, Captain Needa.

From Michael Fleming's wonderful tweedlebop.com.

Apology accepted indeed.

Do not be scared of being eaten

June 9th, 2010 by

Paul Of Navarone explains what's inside the fox, tiger, rhino, and brown bear.

These come to us from Paul Of Navarone.

He took it upon himself to figure out how the insides of animals work, and we are all richer for his experience.

Paul Of Navarone explains what is inside a shark.

Paul Of Navarone explains what is inside a coyote.

Paul Of Navarone explains what is inside a hyena.

From Paul's notes on the hyena:

whilst travelling abroad, it has been my luck to be cornered and attacked by a wide variety of the worlds beasts. they see me as a tasty snack - my scrawny swimmers build and milky green complexion giving the illusion of good health food chow.

it has also been my experience at home, that small children, upon seeing my scars ask about these same beasts with a dread and fear in their little bodies entirely unhealthy for todays youth. and so. to dispel the foggy claptrap built up over years of wildlife documentary, bedside fairy tales and poor parental fearmongery, (it is no wonder bedwetting is the prevalent killer it is today) i bring you part 1, in a series of information graphics detailing my experience in the digestive flume of beasts.

there is nothing to be frightened of.

why if it teaches even one ignorant child, then it will have been worth getting eaten alive by all these different animals to find out whats inside. it still amazes me, that we can put a man on the moon, but we cant tell whats on the inside of a doberman. whichever political party has the guts to make this their key issue will get my vote. thats for damn sure.


the hyena.

this is one of a series of box frames i have made about whats inside animals(about 30 in total).

the box frame measures 256 x 256 x 45. so fairly close to the size of a piece of a4 paper (300x200). i took a photograph with admiral ackbar standing in front for scale. thats a small model of admiral ackbar and not the real 6ft tall admiral ackbar obviously. i made the illustration of the hyena on the front with the text. it is adhered directly to the glass. the illustration on the inside is not mine, its vintage and is ripped directly from an old 1970s childrens book - oh my!! - and is stuck down with coloured plumbers tape.

perhaps you could keep it on a shelf above your newborn so as to instill a fearless outlook in the nipper. perhaps youre a teacher and could keep it in your school classroom in the event of rabid hyenas sparking mob panic in the playground. perhaps you could keep it by your armchair and when your youngest comes home in a terror you can klunk him round the earhole with it, and warn him sternly of the dangers of cowardice in the face of clear science, which is what this is, i assure you.

hyenas have beaches inside. fact.

id really like to be able to send to america and beyond. but airmail rates are practically theft to do so. (it weighs 1.6kg). so its just for the uk i guess.

(Via LJ/randompictures via krushisabitch via Paul Of Navarone. This post goes out to Neko Case.)

TK-421 Crossing The Alps

May 23rd, 2010 by

TK-421 crosses the Alps.