Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Just like "Pufnstuf," "Lidsville" has come under scrutiny for a variety of reasons. By the time the Kroffts' third series hit the air, they'd discovered that they'd gained a reputation with viewers older than their target demographic, and it's reflected in the writing. Matter of fact, although it was very innocent (and would fly over the heads of youngsters), they even managed to slip in a pretty dirty joke during a song crooned by Hoodoo and crossover guest Witchipoo.
The titular "Lid" is an old slang term for a hat, but by the '70s the word "Lid" had taken on an entirely new meaning, namely as slang for an eighth of an ounce of marijuana. The title coupled with the completely off the wall premise (living hat people) and trademark, kitschy, colorful designs of Sid and Marty Krofft shows, resulted in the show now being looked upon as a kiddie acid trip. And perhaps rightly so, though the Krofft brothers vehemently deny the use of any mind altering substances by themselves or the crew. Butch Patrick, however, later claimed that he'd smelled a very distinctive odor wafting from Sid's office...
Seeing episodes of the show today, it looks like Charles Nelson Reilly was having the time of his life devouring the scenery. And perhaps he was once the cameras were rolling and he got into character. However, the makeup and wardrobe that Reilly had to wear as Hoodoo was grueling, and he was so miserable on-set that he was unashamed to let everyone know of his misery. One day Reilly took "a Hoodoo Holiday" and simply didn't come to work -- which halted production, much to the annoyance of the entire cast and crew. For years following "Lidsville," Reilly tried to distance himself from the show (he gnashed his teeth every time someone mentioned it on "Match Game"), but before he died, Mr. Reilly finally embraced the role that made him familiar to a generation of children.
Music wasn't quite as pivotal to "Lidsville" as it was to "H.R. Pufnstuf" and "The Bugaloos," but there was still plenty of it. Butch Patrick entered the show telling producers he couldn't sing, so he wasn't called on to do it often. In Hoodoo's home, there was the resident "Hat Band" who'd routinely interrupt scenes with their annoying songs -- which were usually all sung to the same melody. One of the good hat people was a definite precursor to Adam Sandler's recurring "SNL" sketch, Opera Man -- Tonsilini the top hat only spoke in operatic song. No album was released, so I ripped the music from the DVD. If I were to include all of the songs sung by The Hat Band and Tonsilini, this share would be unbearable, so it's incomplete... but it has all of the big songs from the show and at least it's listenable. Butch Patrick did eventually record a few songs; I've not been able to find his single "Gypsy Rainbow," but I tacked on four of his other tracks: "I.O.I.O." / "I Want Sugar All the Time" (backed by Sugarloaf) and "What Ever Happened to Eddie?"/"Little Monsters," which he released under the name "Eddie and the Monsters." I've also included Marilyn Manson's song "Dope Hat." Nope, I'm not mad as a hatter for doing so -- Manson sampled some dialogue from "Lidsville" in the song.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Two brand new Halloween books!!! Both fun and enjoyable with great illustrations, but different in text quantity (not quality, though).
Boo, Bunny! is a pre-school level book with just a few words on each page. The "squeaks" and "eeks" and "hop, hop, hop", follow a pair of little bunnies out trick-or-treating. They encounter shadows, rattling bones, a black cat, and a mix of spooky (but harmless) Halloween things as they make their way up to a door to say those magic words: Trick-or-Treat! I appreciate the author having the bunnies remember those other magic words: Thank-you!
Bone Soup is a Halloween version of the old "Stone Soup" tale. In this one, our clever hero is Finnigin. Finnigan wanders the land over, looking for a good meal. No one welcomes him because of his very large eating mouth and very large appetite. Finnigan figures out how to brew up a delicious soup and he does it with the help of all the unsuspecting townspeople, the very same ones who were reluctant to feed him in the first place. He outsmarts them all and everyone enjoys a delicious Halloween feast . . . well, that is if you consider wormy cheese, stewed eyeballs, bat wings, and spider eggs delicious!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Take a closer look: Introducing Chen Hongzhu
Most people pop outside their place of work to purchase a sandwich or a cup of coffee during their lunch hour, I popped out this afternoon to visit the charming Sesame gallery on Upper Street in Angel, Islington.
The painting in the window caught my attention and I decided to call in to find out more about the Chinese artist Chen Hongzhu.
The owner, James Freeman, certainly has a keen eye for new talent as Chen’s work is already causing a stir with the good people from the Tate also knocking at his door.
Chen was born in Chongqing, China in 1982 and graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Academy, B.A. in Oil Painting in 2009. This is what James had to say about her:
‘Influenced by American painters such as Mark Ryden and John Currin, her zoomorphic self-portraits meld surrealism with self-examination. They depict seemingly perfect porcelain dolls that are nevertheless damaged & fragile, the cuts and dripping blood on the otherwise pristine bunnies hinting at traumas faced and survived. Her paintings suggest a tragedy in beauty, a disappointed innocence, but also a steely determination – disillusionment, yes, but also a persistence to carry on’.
The show is on for another two weeks and is well worth a visit.
From the end of October, Sesame will be changing its name to the James Freeman Gallery to reflect how the gallery has grown over the past seven years, and where they are heading in the future.
James Freeman Gallery
354 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 OPD
T: 44 (0)20 7226 3300
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Witch Hazel Looney Tunes' Sweetheart June Foray Voices Our Lovely Witch Hazel
Bugs Bunny squared of against Witch Hazel for the first time in 1954 cartoon called "Bewitched Bunny" which was a retelling of the fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel and again in 1956 in "Broomstick Bunny". Her last outing with Bugs was in 1959, in "A Witches Tangled Hare" which was a parody of Shakespeare's MacBeth.
Animator Chuck Jones admits that he "borrowed" his idea of Witch Hazel from the 1952 Disney cartoon "Trick or Treat". Realizing that Disney could not claim ownership of the witch hazel name he had no qualms about creating his own version. June Foray is the voice for both versions.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Bryon Williams, 45, a convicted felon with two prior bank robbery convictions, targeted workers at the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tides Foundation, said Oakland police Sgt. Michael Weisenberg in court documents.
Officer Jeff Thomason, an Oakland police spokesman, claimed Williams targeted the two nonprofit organizations because of their political ideologies. The Tides Foundation works to advance progressive social change, according to its Web site.
Williams was pulled over for speeding and weaving through traffic Saturday night on an Oakland highway. California Highway Patrol officers say once they approached his truck they found Williams alone, donning a bulletproof vest and armed with three guns, including a rifle.
Police say Williams armed himself with a handgun and started to exchange fire with the officers, and a 12-minute shootout followed. More officers responded after Williams reportedly reloaded three different guns inside his truck, reported CBS affiliate KPIX. After the exchange two CHP officers were taken to a hospital where they were treated for minor injuries. Williams was admitted to a hospital and treated for gunshot wounds to his arms and legs.
Williams "made a decision that he would not be arrested and that he was willing to shoot and kill officers," according to the probable cause filing.
After his release Williams sat in a wheelchair with his head bowed during his arraignment Tuesday in the Alameda County Superior Court. He refused to enter a plea as the judge recited his charges, which include four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, several weapons charges, and a count of possessing body armor while a convicted felon, reported KPIX.
The judge also indicated that Williams' two previous bank robbery convictions--one in 1995 and another in 2001--could make him eligible for life in prison according to California's Three Strikes Law if he is convicted in the freeway shootout.
According to Thomason, Williams told investigators that he was disturbed because he was unable to find a job due to the poor economy.
Williams' mother, Janice Williams, said to the San Francisco Chronicle that her son was angry with "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items."
CHP spokesman, Sam Morgan, said the FBI is now involved in the case after a bomb squad robot recovered a binder labeled "California" from Williams' truck.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Halloween Corn Maze: A cornfield is cut into a jack o'lantern-shaped maze for Halloween. (Photo Credit: Corbis)
From Juxtapoz Magazine - September 30, 2010
Opening Reception: October 9, 2010 (8 - 11pm)
Merry Karnowsky Gallery / 170 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
In her satirical and playful work, animal and human hybrids engage with each other and their environment, a familiar yet surreal world in which bird-headed women riding fish seem perfectly natural. Cheriel's works are meditations on the tedious dramas of her real-life Los Angeles social circle where boyfriend stealing friends, narcissistic hippies, do-gooders, and intellectuals are anthropomorphized into a surreal world of random theatre. Her paintings are the alchemy that transform pettiness into visual treasures.
“Cheriel's vibrant, gestural work beautifully juxtaposes humans, plants, and animals, connecting species figuratively and literally. Her pieces are whimsical, but profound in their ability to shift the viewer's perspective to value all life equally. Deedee's work demonstrates a powerful tension between the design elements of stripes, patterns, and color fields, with lyrical illustration. Deedee's work is idiosyncratic in the most ideal way... it is a reflection of her unique personality.”
- SHEPARD FAIREY
Referring to the magic of transforming societal ailments into beauty is the source for the title of the show, "Abracadabra" the incantation chosen by magicians and mystics to heal the seemingly incurable. The word was originally used by a Roman physician in the 2nd Century who prescribed disease sufferers to wear an amulet containing the word “Abracadabra” written in the form of a triangle. Combining elements from nature, urban landscapes, history, and pop culture, the paintings delve into the universal human need to find commonalities between ourselves and the world around us.
Using acrylic paint on wood and paper in a combination of textile-like patterns, delicate lines, haphazard drips, and fragile expressions, the artist transforms personal dramas into a commentary on humanity’s heroic quest for love and connection. In one painting a cult-like group of horse-headed women kneel before a bear-headed shaman who growls sharply in brightly colored patterns resembling native weaving. The horse-women, while cultish and beautiful, can also be seen as vain and unpredictable, as referenced in Chinese, Celtic, and Greco-Roman symbolism.
With influences (East Indian temple imagery, folk art, feminist punk rock, mysticism,
and the naturalistic environments of her Pacific Northwest childhood) derived from her diverse background, Cheriel’s work explores narratives that recognize the urgency and continuing conflict in our attempts to connect to the world and each other.
Cheriel began her art career creating record covers and T-shirts for the Oregon music scene in the early '90s. She played in several all-girl bands and co- created the semi-autobiographical film Dow n and Out with the Dolls. Her artwork has shown in galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, London, and Melbourne, Australia. She currently lives and works in Los An geles, CA.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The 2011 Turner Prize will be presented at Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, it has been revealed.
The prestigious prize is awarded each year to a British artist under the age of 50 for work in the 12 months before.
In the run-up to the winner being announced in December 2011, there will be an exhibition of the shortlisted artists' work at the Baltic.
The Gateshead venue will be the first non-Tate venue outside London to host the prize.
Tate Liverpool hosted the event in 2008 and from then it was decided to present the prize at Tate Britain and a gallery outside London in alternate years.'Tremendously exciting'
The shortlisted artists will be announced in April.
Previous winners include Gilbert & George, Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst.
Baltic chief curator Laurence Sillars said: "It is tremendously exciting that Baltic will host what is undeniably one of the most important and recognised prizes for contemporary art in the world.
"The exhibition will bring the work of four leading artists that represent the very best of contemporary British art to Gateshead.
"We look forward to welcoming visitors from near and far to Baltic to see this extraordinary exhibition and to participate in the exhilarating debate that never fails to accompany the prize."