Entries from December 2008 ↓

Benjamin Button’s Butt.

Benjamin Button fantasy poster

SlashFilm.com reader  and graphic designer Bruno V came up with this allusive, “poster that never was” one-sheet mock-up, above, for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, opening tomorrow.

Directed by maestro David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) and starring Brad Pitt with Cate Blanchett, the film, based on a story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tells the tale of a boy who is born old—with wrinkled, liver-spotted skin and white hair—only to become younger as he ages.

Benjamin Button teaser poster with Brad PittThough skilled, Bruno’s riff on Benjamin Button violates the cardinal rule of any movie with Brad Pitt in it: Show His Face As Often As Possible. See right, for an example, from an early teaser poster. Or as one of the commenters on /Film.com puts it, less delicately, “Who the f#@% wants to look at a wrinkled ass baby?”

Actually, if you ask me, actor Taraji P. Henson, who cradles the infant, is the bigger obstacle. Since she’s Black and not Will Smith, Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, or Queen Latifah, putting her on a movie poster runs the risk of confusing the prospective audience. It could make them think that they’re going to see a Black movie—maybe one starring James Earl Jones as the wizened family patriarch—and not a flick starring half of the world’s sexiest couple.

At least, so goes conventional wisdom, and if there’s one thing we can all agree on, Hollywood definitely knows their stuff.

Nighty-Night.

That’s a very unusual cake.

Welcome to a short film called Pencil Face.

Watch it after 12:00 midnight, tonight, with all the lights turned off, and the sound turned up.

Merry Christmas.

[via insomnio.org]

Bling Bling.

Stellar plate snowflake by Kenneth Libbrechtm CalTech

From New Scientist,

These snowflake photos were taken by Kenneth Libbrecht of CalTech, using a specially-designed snowflake photomicroscope. They show real snow crystals that fell to earth in northern Ontario, Alaska, Vermont, the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

The example above is called a stellar plate snowflake.

These are thin, plate-like crystals with six broad arms that form a star-like shape. Their faces are often decorated with amazingly elaborate and symmetrical markings.

Plate-like snowflakes form when the temperature is near -2 °C or near -15 °C. Such snowflakes are common.

Isn’t nature beautiful?

Guys, some advice: On Christmas, don’t waste your money on expensive diamonds. That’s just compressed carbon, dug out of old, dirty rocks in conflict-stricken lands.

Instead, when you’re walking through a snow-kissed lane, give that special girl of yours one of these immaculate jewels, a photomicroscope, and say, “I love you.”

You’ll be able to tell how she feels when she returns the favor…by dumping a couple billion more of them down your shirt as she walks away.

Oh: That’s not anger on her face. That’s passion.

Aaaahh…love.

Ah…Christmas.

[via Panopticist]

The Hips That Speak Berlitz.

Jackson 5 with Vicki Lawrence, The Carol Burnett Show

I may like nothing less than any film or video where Black people teach white people how to dance, or to otherwise be cool.

That said, I can kind of bear the otherwise talented Vicki Lawrence (Mama’s Family) in this clip from The Carol Burnett Show, above, because there’s just not a lot of high-quality footage around of the Jackson 5 performing their hot, often-less-heralded semi-single, “Body Language (Do the Love Dance).”

Continue reading →

Eliminating the 10:1 Wealth Gap.

American history in six panels

Differences in the conditions borne by Black and white Americans can be measured by all kinds of metrics—life expectancy, infant mortality, rates of incarceration, and many more.

But according to Smart Money magazine, when it comes to quantifying the economic disparities between Black and white Americans, median net worth may be the most trenchant and clarifying measure of all. Says the magazine in blunt, yet utterly startling language,

White households in the United States had a median net worth of $118,300 in 2004, the most recent year for which Federal Reserve data is available—10 times the median net worth of the typical black household, which was just $11,800.

Why does this absolutely outrageous ratio exist?

Continue reading →

The Closer That Gets to the Floor, the Less Likely It Is Anyone Will Be Able to Buy It.

Indizes sculpture by Andreas Nicolas Fischer

On his web site, Berlin-based artist Andreas Nicolas Fischer, like a German Tom Friedman, says he “works with data, sculpture and code.”

Indizes, above, made of poplar plywood, is a “data sculpture, visualizing the stock market indices S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial, and NASDAQ in the year 2008 from January to November.” The white poplar form, thus, traces the downward spiral of the market over the last year.

No word on price, but art always remains a great investment, even if stocks don’t. Get it for the fired hedge fund manager on your list.

[via BoingBoing]

Pleasure Palace.

Are you gonna go my way?

Artist Steven Shearer’s 1997 sculpture, Activity Cell with Warlock Bass Guitar, above, from this past spring’s Double Album: Daniel Guzmán and Steven Shearer at New York City’s The New Museum makes me think of Lenny Kravitz whenever I look at it, for some reason.

No Higher Calling Than To Serve.

Obama the Waiter?
Illustration by Mike Flugennock

Shortly after the election, Katherine Rosman, writing for The Wall Street Journal, talked about a party she’d attended as a freelance writer, before she’d joined the esteemed newspaper, and about her chance meeting that night with a politician from the Midwest.

On a warm weekday evening in 2003, a group that can fairly be described as representative of the media elite gathered at one if its favored venues: the garden behind the Manhattan apartment of journalists Tina Brown and Harold Evans.

The occasion was the publication of “The Clinton Wars,” by Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to President Bill Clinton. Editors from the New Yorker and the New York Times were in attendance along with media figures like Steven Brill and Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner. The guests mingled and sipped wine. Even Clinton showed up, instantly becoming the epicenter of attention. …

Standing by myself I noticed, on the periphery of the party, a man looking as awkward and out-of-place as I felt. I approached him and introduced myself. He was an Illinois state senator who was running for the U.S. Senate. He was African American, one of a few black people in attendance.

Continue reading →

Japanese Schoolgirls? Zombies? Katanas? Chainsaws? I’m In, B.

Uniform Sabaigaru clipping

If you ask me, there’s only one way to deal with zombies: Rack ‘em up and knock ‘em down. I don’t care if they’re urban, rural, or suburban. You gotta show ‘em who’s boss, and you can’t be the least bit ambiguous about it, or soon enough, one’ll be sinking his nasty dental work into your neck.

Uniform Sabaigaru’s heroinesIf you really wanna raise the stakes though, do what the new low-budget Japanese horror flick, Uniform Sabaigaru, above, which opened recently, does: Throw innocent teenage schoolgirls, right, into the mix. If you think co-eds can be brutal, wait’ll you hand one of ‘em a Black & Decker.

Continue reading →

Bad By Design.

Pooh Man, Funky As I Wanna Be cover

Its laughable gynecological ambitions aside, what may be most fascinating about this long-derided cover for rapper Pooh Man’s 1992 Jive/Zomba album, Funky As I Wanna Be, above, is that it’s one of the most expertly executed ones on the Museum of Bad Album Covers web site.

Continue reading →