January 26th, 2019
Long before the virus, there was the park.
It was here, at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park that the 1964 World’s Fair took place. Most of the futuristic structures created for the fair survive only in vintage photos. Yet, there are still a few remnants so striking they have become iconic symbols of the borough of Queens.
Like the New York State Pavillion, designed by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster, which stayed because it was too expense to demolish.
Or the Unisphere, dedicated to “Man’s Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe”. Designed by Gilmore Clarke and made of stainless steel so it would never rust, its three rings represent the orbits of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (the first Russian), Astronaut John Glenn (the first American), and Telstar 1 (the first communications satellite that enabled the first transatlantic television transmission, linking the United States and France).
Finally, the Rocket Thrower, a 43-foot bronze figure designed by sculptor Donald De Lue; a giant launching a rocket with the one hand and reaching for the stars with the other.
Imagine what it would be like to step out of the subway and see these gigantic structures, all new and fully functioning, for the first time!
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens N.Y.
November 4th, 2018
“We’re right out here with the rest of the colored folk and the Puerto Ricans and Italians and the Hebrew cats. We don’t need to move out in the suburbs to some big mansion with lots of servants and yardmen and things.”
And so it was in 1943 that Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille came to live in this modest house in the working-class neighbourhood of Corona, Queens. They lived here for the remainder of their lives.
Today, the Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives is open to the public, offering guided tours while audio clips from Louis’s homemade recordings are played, and visitors hear Louis practicing his trumpet, enjoying a meal, or talking with his friends.
No one else has lived in the house since the Armstrongs passed away; the rooms, furnishings, ornaments, the all-mirrored bathroom and that lovely show-stealing turquoise kitchen reflect their personalities, taste and times they lived in. I tried to stay behind every time our guide moved on, to take a better look at each room. I was sure that if I touched the walls I would hear the echo of Louis’ trumpet playing – and not from the audio clip.
The Museum is expanding across the street from the House. The new Education Center will complement the existing experience with an exhibition gallery, a jazz club where musicians will rehearse and perform their music, and a store. The museum’s research collections, currently housed at Queens College’s library, will move into an Archival Center on the second floor.
The anticipated completion was pushed back to 2021 (pre-Covid-19).
November 4th, 2018
Tut’s Fever is a working movie theater and art installation created by Red Grooms and Lysiane Luong, an homage to the ornate, exotic picture palaces of the 1920s. Inspired by the tomb paintings they saw during a trip to Egypt, Grooms and Luong covered the walls, floor and seats of the theater with hand-painted, Egyptian-style depictions of Hollywood royalty. Silent screen star Theda Bara works the box office, Mae West stands behind the concessions stand, and Mickey Rooney is the usher. Rudolf Valentino, Elizabeth Taylor and many others grace the walls, and each slipcovered chair in the theater features an image of Rita Hayworth. Visitors can open a sarcophagus to find a sculpture of James Dean lying in his tomb, cigarette still dangling from his mouth.
And a model-size piece of the City’s history @the Roxy
Classic movie serials are screened in Tut’s Fever every weekday at 1:00 p.m., and weekends at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:30 p.m.
May 13th, 2018
From life in the Buffer Zone
A Bufferin aspirin commercial narrated by Jim Henson. Two of his children, Cheryl and John, have cameo appearances.
May 13th, 2018
Just imagine the dizzying awesomeness of a nightclub like Cyclia…!
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Footage for Cyclia, c. 1968 . Jim Henson . Henson and his colleagues shot thousands of feet of 16mm film for an unproduced one-hour film called Cataclysm, which was to be shown from multiple projectors around the interior of Cyclia to create an immersive environment. . Cyclia was a concept for a nightclub that Henson developed, where the walls, floors and ceiling would be broken into faceted, crystal-like shapes onto which films would be projected, a sea of images choreographed to the volume and type of music played. The project was eventually abandoned but not before Henson had the change to shoot thousands of feet of film. . From The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited, which I caught in Queens back in 2018. The exhibition is traveling – current stop: Albuquerque Museum, until April 19, 2020. . . #fromthearchives #nyc #queens #astoria #museumofthemovingimage #experimentalfilm #jimhenson #cyclia #cataclysm #psychedelicart #experimentalart #futura #futuristic #visionaryart #visionary #mobilevideo #pixel2video #soundon🔊
From the Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited
May 13th, 2018
From The Jim Henson Exhibition which features all our favourite puppets from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, and a whole range of character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, and costumes from Jim Henson’s universe. It is now travelling, currently stopped at the Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, NM, until April 19, 2020. Check here for future venues.
”The Jim Henson Exhibition features a broad range of objects from throughout his remarkable career. It reveals how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers brought to life the enduringly popular worlds of The Muppet Show, the Muppet movies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. It also includes material from Henson’s experimental film projects and his early work, presenting him as a restlessly creative performer, filmmaker, and technical innovator.”
May 13th, 2018
No CGI – only superior craftsmanship. And utmost respect.
The Discovery spacecraft model for 2010 had to be reconstructed by analyzing film clips from 2001: A Space Odyssey, since the original model used in that film had been destroyed. The shot of the Discovery spacecraft moving past the moon was achieved with an optical printer, which combined elements of previously photographed images on a single, new negative. Optical printers have since been made obsolete by the advent of computer generated images.
Because of the high cost of building full-scale sets, filmmakers often create realistic environments by combining life-size models or miniatures with live-action photography.
This construction is only one part of a very large and complex miniature of the Tyrell Skyscraper. When combined with atmospheric lightning, aerial-view camera movements and fire and smoke effects, this model appears, on film, to be part of an authentic cityscape.
The single most shocking image in The Exorcist occurs when the head of Regan MacNeil, played by Linda Blair, rotates a full 350 degrees. To achieve this shot, special effects makeup artist Dick Smith built a life-size dummy of Blair, complete with a mechanically controlled rotating head, engineering by effects specialist Marcel Vercoutere. To create the figure, Smith made a mold of Blair’s body and filled the mold with foam latres. The head has radio-controlled eyes that could be made to move during shooting.
Smith and others made the puppet’s mouth appear to move by photographing Linda Blair and then superimposing the image of her moving mouth onto the image of the puppet. This superimposition was done using an optical printer. Today, this sort of shot is achieved more efficiently with computer graphics.
”Chest of Souls” Prosthesis
A Nigthmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Four separate makeup effects teams were hired for the fourth sequel of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Steve Johnson, of XFX, Inc., was responsible for the spectacular final sequence, in which Freddy Krueger is killed. Johnson used mechanical puppets attached to actor Robert Englund, as well as tween-foot-high groin-to-neck puppet of the character with fully articulated arms.
The ”Chest of Souls” was worn by Englund in long shots. The sweater was used on the oversize mechanical puppet. Inside the torso of the puppet were four assistants and actors, who thrust their arms out and shredded the sweater to created the effect of souls trhying to escape Krueger’s body. The torso was made out of enormous strips of specially ordered dental dam (the stretchy rubber that dentists use), with skin-textured foam latex set on top. The hole in the middle of the sweater was covered with the dental dam to simulate Freddy’s skin.
1/ Dress worn by Hedy Lamarr as Delilah in Samson & Delilah (1949)
2/ Reconstruction of Costume worn by Diane Keaton as Annie Hall (1977)
3/Costume worn by Sarah Jessica Parker as Donna in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
May 13th, 2018
From the collection || Objects I wish I had kept
May 13th, 2018