An animated short by Joe Bichard and Jack Cunningham, buy cialis MARS! tells the story of, seek well, medicine the planet Mars. Specifically it details the meeting of two groups of creatures. The first is a menagerie of Tetrominoe-esque creatures who inhabit the center of the planet. The second are a flotilla of space-faring ships who land on Mars for more sinister reasons.

The FAM: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller

And so it shall be that this work-week on Coilhouse begins and ends with Jim Henson. This week The FAM presents one of the greatest television series of all time, Jim Henson’s: The Storyteller. Only lasting 2 seasons the first was broadcast in 1988 and starred John Hurt as the titular storyteller. This was followed up two years later by a second season focused on Greek myths, which lasted for four episodes and featured Michael Gambon in place of Hurt. Today’s FAM features five episodes of the superior first season [Note: All episode descriptions come from wikipedia, ’cause I’m lazy]:

“Fearnot”: From an early German folk tale. The Storyteller recounts the adventures of a boy who goes out into the world to learn what fear is, accompanied by a dishonest but lovable tinker.

“Hans My Hedgehog”: From an early German folk tale. A farmer’s wife drives her husband mad with her desperate measures to have a baby. She says to him that she wants a child so bad, she would not care how he looked even if he were covered in quills like a hedgehog. That, of course, is what she gets: a baby covered in quills, as soft as feathers. His mother calls him ‘Hans My Hedgehog’ and she is the only one to love him; his father grows to hate him for shame. So eventually Hans leaves for a place where he can’t hurt anyone and where no-one can hurt him.

Deep inside the forest, for many years Hans dwells with his animals for companions. One day a king gets lost in Hans’ forest and he hears a beautiful song being played on a bagpipe. He follows the music and finds Hans’ castle. When Hans helps him to escape the forest, then king promises that he will give to Hans the first thing to greet him at his castle – which the King secretly knows to be his dog. Instead, it turns out to be his beautiful daughter, the princess of sweetness and cherry pie. Hans and the king have made a deal that in exactly one year and one day his prize (the princess) shall be his.

“Sapsorrow”: From an early German folk tale, this is a variant on Allerleirauh by the brothers Grimm. There is a king, his dead wife, and his three daughters. Two are as ugly and as bad as can be, but the third, Sapsorrow, is as kind and as beautiful as her sisters are not. There is a ring belonging to the dead Queen, and a royal tradition that states that the girl whose finger fits the ring will become Queen as decreed by law.

“The Heartless Giant”: From an early German folk tale. A heartless giant, who once terrorised the land before being captured and imprisoned, is befriended by the young prince Leo who, one night, sets him free.

“The True Bride”: Based on an early German folk tale, The True Bride. A Troll had a daughter, but she left straight off, so the Troll took Anja, an orphan, to replace her to wait on him hand and foot.

I was 8 when these originally aired and two things made watching them a difficult proposition. The first was that the episodes came on dangerously close to my and my brother’s bedtime. The second was that we did not have television. That is, we had a television and VCR, but no cable or reception. My grandparents next door, however, did and we would give them a cassette so that they could record them for us. We must have watched these episodes dozens upon dozens of times, pushing the magnetic tape well beyond its intended lifespan — every story then taking place behind a veil of falling “snow”.

Henson and his team did a phenomenal job with the puppetry and make-up; and Anthony Minghella’s writing is top-notch. Tying it all together is Hurt, whose gravelly delivery is pitch-perfect. With his curmudgeonly dog, voiced by Brain Henson, at his feet he manages to outdo some of the visuals using only his words and that wonderfully expressive face. Time has done nothing to detract from the quality of the series, and upon watching them again, I find that they enthrall me just as much now as they did when I was a child. The low quality YouTube feed even manages to evoke that VHS-like haze on everything. Maybe I’ll put on some footie pajamas later and take this nostalgia trip as far as it will go.

That’s What She Said

The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and his leading lady, Polish born, Czech actress Anny Ondra, perform a sound check for his feature film Blackmail in 1929 which was released in both a silent and “all-talkie” version. What begins as an innocent little back and forth is quickly turned into crude double entendre with a simple “said the actress to the bishop” or in this case “as the girl said to the soldier.” BFIfilms, in their YouTube description, notes that one outcome from this test was that Ondra’s lines would later be dubbed live off-screen by Joan Barry, who sounded decidedly more British.

A bit of bonus trivia: production of Blackmail had already begun when producer John Maxwell decided that, based on the success of films like The Jazz Singer, it should also contain parts with sound. He authorized Hitchcock to film only a portion of the film in sound but, Hitchcock being Hitchcock, he decided to surreptitiously record the entire film in sound. Also, Anny Ondra wasn’t the only actor who experienced changes in the final product. In the longer, silent version, the role of the Chief Inspector was played by Sam Livesey whereas the sound version featured Harvey Braban.

via reddit : The Daily What

Prince Poppycock Holds Court on America’s Got Talent

Coilhouse favorite Prince Poppycock [né John Quale] has finally gotten to strut his stuff for a nationwide audience by auditioning for America’s Got Talent. The Prince slayed it on Tuesday, exposing an unsuspecting audience to his most-recognizable act, Figaro’s Largo al Factotum aria from The Barber of Seville. A dazzling vision in a green satin frock, powdered wig, and white stilettos, he sang to first cautious, then thunderous applause and a profusion of praise from the judges.

Of course he made it to the next round! You can practically see him conquer every heart in that room. I love that Poppycock appears both as John and the Prince, and admire his ability to be down-to-earth and to radiate regal bravado all in one go. And now AGT loves him too, so much that his photo is featured not once, but twice on the show’s page over at NBC.

They don’t call him “Poppycock” for nothing. Bravo, Your Royal Highness!

Just in time for the episode’s airing, on Monday’s midnight Prince Poppycock launched a website with photos, video, a calendar, a diary, and a boutique.

Down, Down, Down And Demons For Gulf Charities

A quick little heads up for Coilhouse readers: Between now and June 15th Tiny Showcase is selling a lovely print entitled “Down, Down, Down” by Jen Corace. For every print sold, half of it ($15.00) will go to the Gulf Restoration Network, which is described thus:

The Gulf Restoration Network is committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf Region for future generations.

The GRN’s vision is that the Gulf of Mexico will continue to be a natural, economic, and recreational resource that is central to the culture and heritage of five states and three nations. The people of the region will be stewards of this vital but imperiled treasure, and they will assume the responsibility of returning the Gulf to its previous splendor.

Meanwhile Julliana Swaney at Oh My Cavalier is selling her print “Night Demons” in an edition of fifty, 100% ($30.00) of which goes to the Audubon Society’s oil spill clean-up effort. Considering the shenanigans going on down that way recently, these organizations (and others) can use all the help they can get. In this case, you get a sweet print in return. Seems like a fair trade to me.

via Pikaland : Super Punch

“The Puppet Makers” Print Giveaway!

“Versailles, 1685. France has industrialized centuries before her neighbors but focuses on creating exquisitely ornate robotic shells for the aristocracy called, DOLLIES. Towering, lavishly expensive, [they] run on electricity provided by damming the Seine. Only the court elite wears DOLLIES, but their upkeep is beginning to bankrupt France. During the king’s birthday party, his Dolly explodes but is found to be empty…”

Artist Molly Crabapple (look for her illustrations in #05!) and author John Leavitt have been creating lots of buzz in recent weeks with The Puppet Makers, their gorgeous “rococo steampunk murder mystery” set in Versailles, 1685.  DC Comics’ online imprint, Zuda, has been publishing it in page-by-page increments each Wednesday. A stunning new page went up this morning.

Molly –generous and supportive friend to Coilhouse that she is– would like to give away a signed, limited edition print of one of The Puppet Makers’ pages to the Coilhouse reader with the “best guess as to where the king is”. Read up, then leave your deduction in comments for a chance to win!

Allan Barnes’ Wet Plate Dreamworld

Model: Maggie of Lucent Dossier. Collar by Dream Rockwell.

LA-based Allan Barnes’ love of “Jurassic” image-making technologies – ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, instant film, and the like – lends itself well to his portraits of artists, models and performers from the LA scene. Recently, his work has displayed a greater degree of sartorial opulence thanks to contributions from the likes of Lucent Dossier’s Dream Rockwell (who created the collar above), Billy and Mellie (formerly) of Antiseptic, and one Miss Laila (responsible for the masks/headpieces below, though there’s no known URL for her work), among others. Sadly, many of the most stunning images are marred by what I consider to be a gruesome watermark, but that doesn’t dissuade me from sharing them after the jump. Barnes is also a teacher, so LA residents interested in learning old-timey processes are encouraged to follow him on Flickr for updates on workshops in the area.

[via httf]

Dr. Mangor and Laila. Wet plate collodion on aluminum. Makeup by Meg.

Mystery Presents: Banquet Frozen Dinners

Banquet would like to present to you it’s newest frozen dinner concoction: giblet gravy, sliced turkey…and murder! No, not murder, but there most certainly could be. It is obvious though that housewife Cynthia has had her mind shattered by the prospect of such an easy to prepare and savory meal; that or she has stopped taking her lithium again. Still, I maintain that the combination of formal wear, opulent setting, and thunderstorm most definitely points towards the possibility of murder, most fowl or otherwise.

(Yeah, I hate myself for that too.)

BTC: Jim Henson’s ads for Wilkins Coffee

Just a wee bit o’ vintage muppet-on-muppet violence to kick start your morning. The backstory, via Wikia:

In 1957, Jim Henson was approached by a Washington, D.C. coffee company to produce commercials for Wilkins Coffee. The local stations only had ten seconds for station identification, so the Muppet commercials had to be lightning-fast — essentially, eight seconds for the commercial pitch and a two-second shot of the product.

From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee and other Wilkins products, including Community Coffee and Wilkins Tea. The ads were so successful and well-liked that they sparked a series of remakes for companies in other local markets throughout the 1960s.

The ads starred the cheerful Wilkins, who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy Wontkins, who hated it. Wilkins would often do serious harm to Wontkins in the ads — blowing him up, stabbing him with a knife, and smashing him with a club, among many other violent acts.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Blue Velvet

In remembrance of Dennis Hopper, who passed away on May 29th, The FAM presents David Lynch’s 1986 masterpiece Blue Velvet, a film that did perhaps just as much for Hopper’s career as it did for Lynch’s. I would imagine that most, if not all, Coilhouse readers have seen this film at least once. Starring the aforementioned Mr. Hopper as the psychotic Frank Booth as well as Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern, and Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet is the story of a small town that hides dark and terrible secrets. It’s a classic Lynchian theme by now, but coming after the disaster that was 1984’s Dune — a film that I must admit, I like very much and a book, I must admit, I dislike as equally — it was a revelation.

Much of the film’s success must be placed at the feet of Mr. Hopper who, after accepting the role of Frank Booth (he was Lynch’s third choice for the part) was said to have exclaimed “I’ve got to play Frank! I am Frank!” His portrayal of Booth: impulsive, unpredictable, and terrifically violent, makes for one of the scariest characters in all of film. His constantly shifting moods and disturbing, recursive, Oedipal-tinged sexual proclivities, combined with his iconic nitrous oxide kit, are the perfect foil for McLauchlan’s naive, amateur detective. It’s a truly masterful performance.

In many ways Blue Velvet may be Lynch’s crowning achievement, and part of reason for that, I would maintain, is due to its relative simplicity. The imagery he uses here is powerful, but it is also far less obtuse than he has a tendency to be. In other words the signal to noise ratio of meaningful symbols and Stuff David Lynch Thought Looked Pretty is fairly low, making for what I feel is a much more complete and perhaps enjoyable experience.

At the very least, it’s a chance to see Dennis Hopper at his crazed, drug-addled best, every line spewed wild-eyed, frothing, and peppered with profanity. He shall be missed.