Friday Afternoon Movie: Alice In Wonderland (1903)

Ahead of Tim Burton’s newest, Hot Topic flavored attempt to completely discredit his career as a director, the British Film Institute has released this restoration of the very first film based on Lewis Carroll’s classic, from 1903 directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow. At just over nine and a half minutes it is a “greatest hits” version, choosing to frame each scene based on John Tenniel’s famous illustrations for the book. In doing so, it features characters and situations that do not make appearances in most modern versions; namely the events concerning the Duchess. The BFI also points out that, like Burton, Hepworth also cast his wife as the shrill and psychotic Queen (although Burton casts his as the Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass and we can assume that here Hepworth’s wife plays The Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), and even makes an appearance himself as the Frog Footman. Their cat also puts in some screen time as the Cheshire Cat; an effect that is at least up to par with the computer generated special effects found in the upcoming film. It’s a lovely bit of history, though one that requires a knowledge of the material to fully appreciate. Certainly much less to ask of your viewer than enduring Johnny Depp made up like a clown for two hours.

“I am very glad, because I’m finally back home.”

At the risk of offending the Soviets in the audience I present this gentleman to you with limited commentary; instead allowing his melodious singing voice and terrifying rictus to speak for themselves.

And, cialis my, they speak volumes.

“Totally like whatever, you know?”

Video by Ronnie Bruce.

This typographical visualization of poet Taylor Mali‘s performance of “Totally like whatever, you know?” just knocked me on my ass. Literally. I am sitting on the floor, heart beating very fast, fist in the air, shouting “YES, YES, YES!” because Mali has called my demographic out on one of our most persistent and obnoxious habits: a general lack of self-respect when it comes to the way we talk.

Generally speaking (hurr), American twenty-to-thirtysomethings are a flakey, indolent lot in regards to oral communication. The aptly named Generation Why is suffering an epidemic of infantile intonation, “then he was all/she was all” shortcuts, verbal tics of the “like”, “and um” and “you know” variety, and shamefully poor diction on the whole. We’re all starting to sound like Janice from the Muppets, only less classy.

(Found this snapshot in a random search. Wanted to obscure this gal’s face ’cause it’s all about the shirt. Photoshop blur tool did something… arty. Hopefully she won’t mind.)

I’m certainly not immune! And the more time I spend with peers who replace commas and pauses in oral communication with “like”s and “you know”s, the more prone I am to the same witless fucking verbiage. It’s horribly contagious. In the past, I’ve taken to wearing rubber bands and snapping them against my wrists to break myself of bad speaking habits. After a night out with particularly self-indulgent friends, I find myself listening to the old guard on NPR and the BBC for hours, just to cleanse my own impaired palate.

Bravo, Taylor Mali, for eloquently lamenting, as Roger Ebert puts it, “the decline of talking like you’re intelligent and sincerely care.”

By the way, who else is following Ebert‘s vibrant Twitter stream? This gem is only one of literally hundreds of incredible links I’ve followed from there in recent months. I doubt he’ll ever see this post, but seriously, Mr. Ebert, if you happen to read this, thank you so much. These days, you’re not just a top film critic… you’re one of the most important cultural curators on the web. Bravo to you, too. (Fer sure.)

Who Are These Fish People?

An excellent question and perhaps an unexpected one; but only to those that didn’t know Steve Peterson. The science teacher at Oblong High School and head of the A/V club, Peterson was a regionally-known expert on the subject of ancient cultures — specifically fish people from Sirius. Long after the school day would end, Peterson could be found, alone, recording an extraordinary body of work that cast a critical eye on the accepted theory of the origin of life on this planet. What arose from these tapes was a revelation, a vast series of clues including ancient Egyptian art and mythology, fish hats, the Pope, and Taco Bell. Also, breasts and penises.

Those who would dismiss Peterson as insane or a mulleted quaalude user are misinformed. In the days leading up to his mysterious disappearance, Peterson mentioned to many that he was being followed; his house staked out by individuals in a windowless white van. Peterson was last seen on March 5th, 1987. A student, James Whitlock, passed him on the street and grew concerned, describing Peterson as appearing “spaced out, more than usual I mean.” Whitlock approached him and asked if everything was ok, to which Peterson responded that indeed it was and that he “just needed a burrito.”

It should be obvious, then, that Steve Peterson was no madman. No dear reader, that is merely what they want you to think. The reality is that he was simply too close to the truth and the powers that be had him removed. This is all that remains of his life’s work; his revelation. All we can do know is carry on his memory and continue to ask: Who are these fish people?

[Uploaded by Rokhausen, found by Monty.]

Into the Holes. ALL OF THEM.

In the age of ultra-polished music videos featuring flawless human specimens in various stages of aggressive air-humping, we oft forget the common man. What about that guy behind 7-11, who claims to be a sailor, smells of fish, and gives you the stinkeye? What of uncle Merv, whose gravy-encrusted beard and consistent belligerence have become an almost-comforting staple at family gatherings? I for one, am tired of steely abs and tits on my screen [there are so many, all the time]. In the VonSwank-directed video below, justice is served as Josh Heironymous* represents the intrepid proletarian to the tranquil sound of “Into the Holes” by Lily Fawn. Sit back, relax, get your zen on and enjoy three minutes of a Real Man giving his all to the camera, the way you’ve always dreamed of.

*I note, not without triumph, that Joshua and I shared a Chicago apartment during my one year of college. I got to watch him do this all the time.

Related post: Our Top 10 Most Preternaturally Beautiful Men

Better Than Coffee: Jenyne Butterfly

[via Dusty, thanks!]

Jenyne Butterfly is a bee-YOOO-tee-ful aerialist and pole dancer who lives and performs in Las Vegas, and teaches workshops internationally. A consummate show-woman, she’s won a wide variety of pole-dancing titles and championships over the past several years.

Plenty of clips of her live performances are up on the web, all glitter and stilettos and sass. But this is the clip that I love best– Jenyne in casual rehearsal duds, doing a master class demo somewhere in Scotland. She’s especially relaxed and strong here, the picture of effortless grace… even when she’s melting into peals of laughter because the pole has started spinning too fast! It’s a testament to how sometimes, a performer’s more candid, unguarded moments can be the most mesmerizing. Her joy is contagious.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Life On Earth

Well, not all of it. 1979’s Life on Earth, made by the BBC and narrated by the incomparable Sir David Attenborough was a defining moment in nature documentaries and propelling Attenborough to international success; allowing him to build a massive oeuvre, whose most recent offering was Planet Earth a series almost more well known as a way to show off one’s high-definition television than as a documentary. His upcoming series, simply entitled Life, is set to debut on Discovery in March. Like Planet Earth, however, which excised Attenborough’s voice-over, replacing him with Sigourney Weaver, Discovery has this time chosen to showcase the narrative talents of the insufferable Oprah Winfrey. As Americans we are, apparently, incapable of bearing the horror of a British accent.

Back to Life on Earth. If anything, today’s FAM is merely an exercise in entertaining my own nostalgia. When my brother and I were children we watched this series to the point that the two VHS cassettes that comprised the official Time Warner offering were nearly useless, the stunning images smeared as they were with static and lines as the magnetic strips inside struggled to retain some semblance of visual fidelity. It is by now, I’m sure, a shadow of its former self. I can rest comfortably, however, knowing it gave us more hours of entertainment than should have been possible. In this case, it is lucky for me that one cannot wear out the internet.

And Now We Pause for a Falco Moment

Pimpin’ shades, bought at the Austrian equivalent of Walgreens: 10 schillings. Economy-sized tub of Murray’s Pomade: 20 schillings. Totally rad pleather cafe racer jacket: 80 schillings. Rental of a carnival video karaoke machine to make the music video for your #1 hit single: 200 schillings. Having your hapless, adorable herky-jerky dancing immortalized for all time: priceless.

Hell, let’s pause for two Falco moments.

And have you seen the man’s gravesite?! DUDE.

Photo by mKlinsiek.

(Born February 19th, 1957. Died February 6th, 1998.)

Inside of Tokyo’s Cat Cafes

Who wants to see the kawaii-est wide-eyed fuzzy meow-meows? If you said “yes,” venture quickly beyond the cut for some serious Investigative Journalism that I did for you all while I was in Japan. Yes, dear readers, I took time out of my precious vacation to conduct some intensive research into the fascinating phenomenon of Tokyo Cat Cafes. It was extremely taxing work, and I’m pleased to report the results of my findings: fat kitties, skinny kitties, airborne kitties, funnel-wearing kitties, and much, much more.

It’s known that holding or stroking a cat reduces blood pressure and improves one’s general state of mind. For Tokyo residents, the level of everyday stress faced by the average worker, coupled with the fact that most apartments forbid pets, has created a niche industry: a set of cafes where, for an hourly rate, one can bask in the blissful company of felines. Of these cafes, Calico is one of the most popular. An exclusive look, full of kitty shenanigans, after the jump!

Camille Rosa Garcia’s Alice Raffle Winners

On Monday, as promised, nine names were pulled out of a hat. The first three will receive a copy of It Books’ brand new Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia, the second three will get a limited edition lithograph and the final three, a tote bag. If your name didn’t get pulled, the book can still be yours – it’s available online, here.

For those curious about the raffle process, it was fairly simple. I pasted the comments from our post into a document, removing comments from staff, double comments and comments from ineligible folks, printed the document and then cut it up, comment by comment. The separated answers we placed into an actual hat, and voila!

I hoped the winners would be announced on Monday, but we had to confirm everyone’s US and Canadian residence first, which took a little longer than anticipated. Without further ado, drum roll, please!

Ed Autumn
Sarah Obscura

Babs Noir

Vulgaire Turpentine