showbiz

‘That something is irrational is no argument against its existence, but rather a condition for it.’ –Nietzsche

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With the First Amendment, you’re never protecting Jefferson; it’s usually protecting some guy who’s burning a flag or doing something stupid. […]

Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills.

{ George Clooney/Deadline | Continue reading }

photo { Christopher Morris }

‘I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.’ —Steve Martin

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It’s called “beauty work.” It’s a digital procedure of sorts, in which a handful of skilled artists use highly specialized software in the final stages of post-production to slim, de-age and enhance actors’ faces and bodies. […]

Under strict non-disclosure agreements, Hollywood A-listers have been quietly slipping in and out of a few bland office buildings around town, many to sit in on days-long retouching sessions, directing the artists to make every frame suitable. […]

Hips are narrowed, calves slimmed, turkey-necks tucked. Pores are tightened. Eye-bags reduced (often, entire hangovers are erased). Hair is thickened, teeth whitened. Underarm-skin is de-jiggled. Belly fat obliterated, abs raised.

{ Mashable | Continue reading }

‘What is good is easy to get, and what is terrible is easy to endure.’ –Epicurus

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{ Ad for Blow-Up, 1966 | more }

‘Pendant les premiers temps de son mariage, il se croit heureux. En fait il est hébété, il a reçu un coup sur la tête.’ –Léon Tolstoi

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Love stories are dynamic processes that begin, develop, and often stay for a relatively long time in a stationary or fluctuating regime, before possibly fading. Although they are, undoubtedly, the most important dynamic process in our life, they have only recently been cast in the formal frame of dynamical systems theory.

In particular, why it is so difficult to predict the evolution of sentimental relationships continues to be largely unexplained. A common reason for this is that love stories reflect the turbulence of the surrounding social environment. But we can also imagine that the interplay of the characters involved contributes to make the story unpredictable—that is, chaotic.

In other words, we conjecture that sentimental chaos can have a relevant endogenous origin. To support this intriguing conjecture, we mimic a real and well-documented love story with a mathematical model in which the environment is kept constant, and show that the model is chaotic. The case we analyze is the triangle described in Jules et Jim, an autobiographic novel by Henri-Pierre Roché that became famous worldwide after the success of the homonymous film directed by François Truffaut.

The results fully support our conjecture and also highlight the genius of François Truffaut.

{ Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science | PDF }

photo { Man Ray, Rayograph, 1925 }

Krzysztof, a physics professor, has more faith in computers and logic than in God. It is winter. His son, Pawel, anxious to try out a new pair of skates, asks him if he can go out to the local pond which has just frozen over. Krzysztof determines that the ice is thick enough through a series of scientific calculations. Pawel goes skating, the ice breaks, and he drowns.

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{ Collapse of Antarctic ice sheet is underway and unstoppable but will take centuries | What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? }

quote { Krzysztof Kieślowski, The Decalogue I, 1988 }

Driver Take Me to O’Block

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After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. […] That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind.

{ No Film School | Continue reading }

Two roads diverged and you took both

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Lawsuit Accuses Hit Show New Girl of “Blatant Plagiarism”

[…]

In documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, it’s clear Counts and Gold aren’t fucking around.

{ Defamer | Continue reading }

images { 1 | Jayne Mansfield, 1964 }

‘Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed.’ —Homer

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{ Behind the Scenes Look at the Horror Classic “The Shining” }

Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality

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Summer movies are often described as formulaic. But what few people know is that there is actually a formula—one that lays out, on a page-by-page basis, exactly what should happen when in a screenplay. It’s as if a mad scientist has discovered a secret process for making a perfect, or at least perfectly conventional, summer blockbuster.

The formula didn’t come from a mad scientist. Instead it came from a screenplay guidebook, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In the book, author Blake Snyder, a successful spec screenwriter who became an influential screenplay guru, preaches a variant on the basic three-act structure that has dominated blockbuster filmmaking since the late 1970s. […]

Instead of a broad overview of how a screen story fits together, his book broke down the three-act structure into a detailed “beat sheet”: 15 key story “beats”—pivotal events that have to happen—and then gave each of those beats a name and a screenplay page number. Given that each page of a screenplay is expected to equal a minute of film, this makes Snyder’s guide essentially a minute-to-minute movie formula.

{ Slate | Continue reading }

photo { Ralph Crane }

(With the subtle smile of death’s madness.)

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“You know in a mental institution they sometimes give a person some clay or some basket weaving?” he said. “It’s the therapy of moviemaking that has been good in my life. If you don’t work, it’s unhealthy—for me, particularly unhealthy. I could sit here suffering from morbid introspection, ruing my mortality, being anxious. But it’s very therapeutic to get up and think, Can I get this actor; does my third act work? All these solvable problems that are delightful puzzles, as opposed to the great puzzles of life that are unsolvable, or that have very bad solutions. So I get pleasure from doing this. It’s my version of basket weaving.”

{ Woody Allen/WSJ | Continue reading }

photo { Lonneke van der Palen }

It will be: Spectacular Spectacular

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The quality of a performance does not drive the amount of applause an audience gives, a study suggests.

Instead scientists have found that clapping is contagious, and the length of an ovation is influenced by how other members of the crowd behave.

They say it takes a few people to start clapping for applause to spread through a group, and then just one or two individuals to stop for it to die out.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

‘I don’t look at scripts. I just write them.’ –James Cameron

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{ Insertmeanywhere.biz }

If you make me an offer I can’t refuse, then I won’t be able to refuse it

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Frances Kaye, a publicity agent, described a movie party she attended at a Palm Springs resort. A live orchestra entertained a thousand-odd guests while a fountain spouted champagne against the backdrop of a desert sky. As partiers circulated, a doctor made rounds like a waiter, dispensing drugs to guests from a bulging sack. On offer were amphetamines and barbituates, standard Hollywood party fare, but guests wanted Miltown. The little white pills “were passed around like peanuts,” Kaye remembered. What she observed about party pill popping was not unique. “They all used to go for ‘up pills’ or ‘down pills,’” one Hollywood regular noted. “But now it’s the ‘don’t-give-a-darn-pills.’”

{ Andrea Tone/Mindhacks | Continue reading }

‘There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.’ –Nietzsche

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Andy Warhol took the subject of homosexual obsession to the big screen [in 1965]. The film was “My Hustler.” […]

By the mid-1960s, the movie taboo against homosexuality was down. But progressive depictions of gays (let alone lesbians) were rarities. In American movies, gay characters were portrayed as deviant misfits who inevitably met with societal scorn or tragedy (usually suicide). British films like “Victim” and “A Taste of Honey” were somewhat more open-minded in providing sympathetic (if epicene) depictions of gays.

“My Hustler” was radically different because it was not the least bit apologetic of the gay lifestyle. While the film dabbled in stereotypes (the bitchy queen, the rough trade call boys, even the fag hag best friend), no one was shown as a victim, let alone a freak. It was a raw, honest vision of a portion of the gay world which movie audiences never witnessed before.

Warhol was not, by any stretch, a polished filmmaker. His films were unsophisticated in their technique and production values were painfully low. In fact, “My Hustler” consists of two unbroken shots running 33 minutes each (the length of a 1,200 foot reel of 16mm film). While the visual aspect may seem stagnant, the film’s imagery and wall-to-wall talk makes its feel as if one if literally a voyeur to the mini-drama at hand.

“My Hustler” takes place on the Labor Day weekend at the beachfront Fire Island home of a wealthy and not-young queen (Ed Hood). He called a New York Dial-a-Hustler service and was sent a tall, muscular blonde hunk (Paul America). The film finds the older man on his deck watching his leased boytoy reclining on the beach. It is quite a sight to behold, as the hustler rubs suntan oil on his body and whittles with a piece of wood. And speaking of pieces of wood, the guy’s tight bathing suit leaves little to the imagination.

This scene is interrupted by two uninvited guests: Genevieve, the rich and bored socialite (Genevieve Charbon), and Joe, a late-30s hustler (Joe Campbell). The three sit on the deck and talk/bitch/dish among themselves about the stud in the sand. The camera pans back and forth between the deck trio and the hustler (there are no edits – just a continuous run of the camera). For long periods, the camera is fixated on the hustler while the others talk on the soundtrack. Joe claims to know the hustler, Genevieve states she can charm the guy with her sex appeal, and their mincing host belittles both of them with acidic camp remarks (he calls Genevieve a “fag hag” and calls Joe “the sugar plum fairy” – a line that Lou Reed would use in “Walk on the Wild Side”). All three make blunt comments about the object of their gaze (ranging from whether he is a real blonde to fantasizing about the length and width of what the bathing suit is barely concealing). Genevieve eventually makes her move and invites the hustler to go swimming with her.

{ Film Threat | Continue reading }

‘This feeling grows, now and then, into a more or less passionate love, which is the source of little pleasure and much suffering.’ –Schopenhauer

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Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn’t that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes.

{ Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964 | Continue reading }

Who on Earth could that be?

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{ Mannequins from the Korova Milkbar set of A Clockwork Orange, 1971 at LACMA, until June 30 | 2 }

I have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life, if I die by next Sunday

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{ The Amazing Transparent Man, 1960 }

In the dark land they bide, the vengeful knights of the razor

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{ Temple of Schlock | Continue reading }

On October 4, good luck planet Jupiter goes retrograde (backward) in Gemini, your house of personal goals and new beginnings

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Sawing a woman in half is a generic name for a number of stage magic tricks in which a person (traditionally a female assistant) is apparently sawn or divided into two or more pieces. […]

Magician Les Arnold is reported to have been the first to have devised a clear box sawing (known as the “Crystal Sawing”) as far back as 1976. The Pendragons performed a variation called “Clearly Impossible”, in which the box used is both particularly slim and also transparent. […]

As a teenager Dorothy Dietrich became “distinguished as the first woman to saw a man in half” [she is also the first and only woman to have performed the bullet catch in her mouth].

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

images { Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing, 1987 | Irving Penn, Chieftain’s Wife (Torso), Cameroon, 1969 }

Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon

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[A possible explanation for why we enjoy watching sad films]

Media psychologists have long puzzled over how individuals can experience enjoyment from entertainment such as tragedies that often elicit profound feelings of sadness. The present research examines the idea that a focus on “meaningful” entertainment and affective responses identified as “elevation” may provide a framework for understanding many examples of sad or dramatic entertainment. The results of this study suggest that many types of meaningful cinematic entertainment feature portrayals of moral virtues (e.g., altruism). These portrayals, in turn, elicit feelings of elevation (e.g., inspiration) that are signified in terms of mixed affect and unique physical responses (e.g., lump in throat). Ultimately, elevation also gives rise to motivations to embody moral virtues, such as being a better person or helping others.

{ Wiley | via BPS }

pastel on paper { Johannes Kahrs }