Captain Eo Flies Again

I went to Disneyland on Monday for the first time since my high school graduation night, which was a very, verrry long time ago. The biggest lure to re-enter the happiest place on Earth? Captain Eo‘s triumphant return, of course. The 17-minute, 3-D [or 4-D, if you count the synchronized in-theater effects] film stars Michael Jackson as the captain of a spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader of a dark planet deep in the throes of a cyber-catastrophe.

Coppola-directed and Lucas-produced, Captain Eo began screening in 1986 and was shut down at the height of the alleged child abuse drama in the early 90s. Re-opened, predictably, after Michael Jackson’s death, this film is quintessential Jackson. As Eo, in addition to feeding his notorious Disney obsession, Michael gets to shoot lasers from his fingertips and to hang with adorable fantasy creatures and robots. He also wears a tight, studded white leather space suit while saving the world through the power of music and dance. This is who he wanted to be. Captain Eo should have been a mini-series.

One of my favorite aspects of watching this film again was finding all the influences from from sci-fi and fantasy films of the time. There’s the Geiger’s Alien-inspired Supreme Leader, the Gilliam’s Brazil-inspired pipes and steam of the dark planet, the Jim Henson-inspired puppets alongside nods to Star Wars and Terminator. You can probably find even more influences if you watch Captain Eo beyond the jump, but I don’t recommend it if it’s your first time and there’s a chance you might make it to an in-theater screening. It’s just so much better in 3-D!

Opulence, I Has It

We’ve talked about Russian stereotyping a couple of times in the past, and both instances have been followed [for the most part] by thoughtful, lengthy discussions. Not this time! Here’s a very, very silly and over-the-top commercial for DirecTV featuring a tacky Russian tycoon in a hyper-gaudy, gilded lair surrounded by fur-clad floozies who hand him remotes atop trays loaded with gold bars. This short video is jam-packed with money-LOLs. There are bodyguards, large dogs playing at a poker table, gold busts of the tycoon presented by models, and my favorite: a miniature pet giraffe. And on the topic of LOLs – this character’s manner of speech is straight off the internet, the scene opening with him saying, “Opulence, I has it”. I just can’t bring myself to be offended, it’s too damn funny.

Also, I want a tiny giraffe.

Nick Cave Rewrites The Crow, Cillian Murphy to Star?

Nick Cave’s participation in the remake of the new Crow has been confirmed, and I’m finally starting to get excited. The Crow, a film based on James O’Barr’s eponymous comic book series, was a sort of holy grail to me and my darque little crew back in the early nineties. Unapologetically dramatic, The Crow had everything an angsty kid could want:  love, destruction, hot bloke in makeup, great villains, pretty girls. There was one year when I watched the film at least five times.

Now, I haven’t actually seen it in over ten years, for fear that it won’t hold up. I’m told it doesn’t. Still, the concept of a shiny new remake of my childhood/adolescence favorite is an uncomfortable one. Nostalgia and Brandon Lee’s death on the set veil The Crow in shimmery, inviolate mystery, and, had it been anyone other than Nick The Stripper doing the re-write, I would have probably shunned it. As things stand though, I think there’s reason to get at least a little fired up, especially with new rumors of Cillian Murphy possibly signing on to play Eric – almost as weird as casting Brandon Lee! If only Stephen Norrington could be replaced… Yes, then I can almost picture it. Until we know more, let us remember The Crow that once was. I leave you with a question: who would you cast as the ideal Eric?

The Crow is available on YouTube in its entirety.

Michael Jackson, Multiplied

It’s been over a year since Michael Jackson’s death. We still haven’t published any sort of commemoration, which may seem a little weird for a site that’s devoted this much real estate to the Jacksons. While I can’t speak for my co-editors, I know that it’s taken me this long to absorb the idea of MJ being dead, let alone write about it. And, honestly, who really wants to add to the deluge?

With all the dismal tabloid dookie and conspiracy theories floating around out there, it’s heartening to see people like Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider simply take inspiration from the once-king of pop and pay tribute with a multi-layered a cappella medley. Though the video looks simple enough, that’s all Sam, with Kurt beat-boxing over to the left. A-dork-able!

Televarieté 1982

Summer’s in full swing on this side of the globe. And while some of us prefer to spend it muttering curses from our dark, igloo-cold habitats, others revel in everything the roasting season has to offer, from scant jumpers to synchronized gymnastics.

For fans of knee socks, stripes and side ponytails everywhere, here’s a gem I’ve been saving for this special time of year. Brought to you by the ever-dauntless Ballet Company of the Czechoslovak Television, this mighty dance number sets out to demonstrate a harmonious marriage of disco and sports. Watch, as these leggy athletes march, kick, and river-dance their way into your heart. Also, look out for inexplicable boxing pantomime around the middle. A choreographic triumph!

Stephane Halleux’s First Film, Monsieur Hublot

French sculptor and Coilhouse Issue 02 featured artist Stéphane Halleux is trying his hand at a new medium – animation. In response to countless questions, pleas, and threats he’s created a digital character after one of his leather and scrap metal sculptures, Monsieur Hublot. There is no word yet on the release date of the eponymous, seven-minute short, but we do know that Mr. Hublot [named thusly as a nod to Jacques Tati’s tragically inept Monsieur Hulot] is a bachelor accountant suffering from a host of obsessive-compulsive ailments. He lives in a small, gadget-packed  apartment with his robotic dog, loves his leather trench coat  and despises noise.

Together with Zelit Productions, Stéphane hopes to eventually develop the project into a feature-length film. Meanwhile, a frame-sponsoring system is in place, allowing interested fans to take part in the short’s development at up to 9EU per frame. From the Monsieur Hublot website:

In exchange, among other things and depending on the amount of images sponsored, they will get updates on the film’s production, a print of one of their sponsored images signed by Stéphane Halleux, the opportunity to appear in the the credits, etc. As for ourselves, this quid pro quo will enable us to complete the financing of the short film and to prepare the release of the feature film.

I love this idea!

Two charming animation tests from Monsieur Hublot have been released into the wild, so far. Watch below as the character gets his bearings and faces off with a light switch, then check out his outfit in more detail.

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.

Devendra Banhart: Foolin’ You Into Submission

Posting this here was preceded by a long, arduous internal debate. It’s true that I’m far from a Devendra Banhart fan. In fact, I’m fairly allergic to just about everything  I’ve seen of him, little as that may be. Until this video, that is. Taking a big step away from his neo-flower-child-meets-Castro-Jesus look, Devendra, along with director Isaiah Seret, made a video for the song Foolin’ that pays tribute to tender man-love, old school pulp films, as well as to their biggest fan ever, Tarantino. What I love most about it is the fact that it shows a heavy S&M relationship in a positive, humorous, light. It’s just so darn happy-making, I can’t help myself!

Marking this NSFW for gratuitous use of bloodied butt-crack, sexy violence, and dangerous thongs. Dig it:

[Thanks, Whitechapel]

Jeremy Geddes And The Cosmonauts

Jeremy Geddes, an accomplished artist from Australia, is working on a series of cosmonauts that has me wishing for a modern, minimally-decorated living space so that I may grace my walls with his work.

The White Cosmonaut

Whether they’re suspended in monochrome space, seemingly ascending with flocks of doves, or floating across barren cityscapes, these cosmonauts’ head-to-toe space armor makes them into blank representations of ourselves. Almost any emotion can be projected into these paintings: is the cosmonaut doing a happy air dance, or is he dead in his suit? Or maybe they’re just awesome space people, placed into aesthetically-pleasing, universally-appealing settings.

Heat Death

OK, the title of the piece above leaves less to the imagination, but I prefer to think of him merrily romping through the empty, radioactive streets, enjoying the lack of gravity. Geddes has consistently said that he wants these pieces to raise questions, rather than answer them, which is precisely what makes me love them more each time I look. Whatever the case may be, this series is gorgeous beyond belief.

The Red Cosmonaut

There are more, bigger cosmonauts on Geddes’ website. Click the jump for two more images here.

Clearsignals: Stars Lost Your Name

It’s been nearly a month since Portland-based, multi-disciplinary artist John C. Worsley released Stars Lost Your Name, and it’s still my daily work accompaniment. The twelve-track album begins as a beautiful, dreamy blend of minimal electronic grooves and sedate guitar riffs, then slowly escalates, fluctuating between waves of intricate, restless layers, and muted ambiance. At times measured and brooding, at times brimming with anticipation, this is easily one of my favorite albums of 2010 so far. Bonus? Every song is named after a star, the album thus forming a constellation.

I’m a sucker for a concept album, and Stars Lost Your Name happens to be one of those. The official story goes like this:

On the 24th of February, 2010, a moving truck was picked up in Portland. Over the course of the following 6 days, 12 states, and 3096 miles, while helping a friend move from Portland, Oregon to Cambridge, Massachusetts, these 12 songs were initially composed; in motels, in living rooms, and in the passenger seat.

After returning to Portland by air, 6 more days were spent recording and arranging before the album was deemed finished at 66:48 in length on the 12th of March, and released the following 24th; a roadmap, memoir, and secret constellation.

You can download Stars Lost Your Name in its entirety, for free, here. Thank you, John. However, if you like what you hear, the album is also on iTunes. Love it with money!