Monthly Archives: December 2013

Design: Extreme DVD, Blu-Ray sets

These aren’t all from 2013 but a good many are. It’s nice to see some actual thought going into some of packaging. However, this did seem to be the year where they took the main characters head and simply filled it w/ DVDs, but that’s OK (the Jackass package is pretty clever). Favorites? The Dexter box is very cool as is the Breaking Bad collection. The older films like the 10 Commandments and the Sound of Music seem pretty uninspired  but a life sized bust of Moses filled w/ media might not be the way to go with these films.

Breaking Bad - The whole series in a cool plastic barrel and nice apron

Breaking Bad – The whole series in a cool plastic barrel and nice Los Pollos Hermanos apron

Dexter - The series in a nice wood 'blood slide' box

Dexter – The series in a nice wood ‘blood slide’ box

Jackass - The movies (I think)

Jackass – The movies (I think)

Inland Empire - Japan only w/ copy of shooting script and Lynch 1

Inland Empire – Japan only w/ copy of shooting script and Lynch 1

Marvel Heroes (Iron Man, Thor, et al) - Phase one w/ light up features in a sweet attache

Marvel Heroes (Iron Man, Thor, et al) – Phase one w/ light up features in a sweet attache

Masters of Horror - In a dirty skull

Masters of Horror – In a dirty skull

The 10 Commandments w/ 'parting sea' case and tablets - tons of extras

The 10 Commandments w/ ‘parting sea’ case and tablets – tons of extras

Game of Thrones - Series 1 & 2 in wood case w/ 'secret door' and scroll

Game of Thrones – Series 1 & 2 in wood case w/ ‘secret door’ and scroll

Up - W/ Pixars signature hopping lamp (don't know if it actually hops)

Up – W/ Pixars signature hopping lamp (don’t know if it actually hops)

Predator - All the movies in a 3D head

Predator – All the movies in a 3D head

The Walking Dead - Series 3

The Walking Dead – Series 3

Heathers - Contained in a nice metal locker w/ T-Shirt and book

Heathers – Contained in a nice metal locker w/ T-Shirt and book

I Robot - Bad movie, nice packaging

I Robot – Bad movie, nice packaging

For Mom - The Sound Of Music - w/ a whole bunch of your favorite things.

For Mom – The Sound Of Music – w/ a whole bunch of your favorite things.

X Men - All the movies so far

X Men – All the movies so far

Planet of the Apes - All the movies from the 70's in a creepy ape head

Planet of the Apes – All the movies from the 70’s in a creepy ape head

Friday the 13th - Everything plus the 3D one w/ glasses

Friday the 13th – Everything plus the 3D one w/ glasses and mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Style: Peter O’Toole – RIP

Peter James O’Toole (2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013)  O’Toole first appeared on film in 1959 in a minor role in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England. His major break came when he was chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962), after Marlon Brando proved unavailable and Albert Finney turned down the role.His performance was ranked number one in Premier magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.  The role introduced him to US audiences and earned him the first of his eight nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor (being the most nominated actor without winning the award).

O’Toole did it all; movies, stage, drama and comedy – even voice over animation (Disney’s Ratatouille) and a Sho-time series (Tudors). He would act until 2012 when he announced his retirement. In 2003 he received a Academy Lifetime achievement award and 3 years later would be nominated for the 8th and final time for the role of Maurice in the film Venus.

O’Toole died on 14 December 2013 at the Wellington Hospital in London, aged 81, following a long illness.

Check out Lawrence of Arabia first then go to his comedies – What’s New Pussycat, & How to Steal a Million. His historical epics are pretty great too; Becket and Lion in Winter. Stay clear of the Penthouse porno flop Caligula – it’ll just make you mad.

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As T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia

As T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia

What's New Pussycat?

What’s New Pussycat?

What's New Pussycat? w/ Peter Sellers

What’s New Pussycat? w/ Peter Sellers

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On stage in 'Baal' - 1963

On stage in ‘Baal’ – 1963

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Baal

Beckett

Beckett

With Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million - promo

With Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million – promo

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With son Lorcan

With son Lorcan

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Elaborate CD Box Sets – 2013

It’s that time of year again. Here are a few grand ideas for stuffing stuffers. Perhaps Santa will bring you the $300. Clash retrospective in a cardboard boom box, the 15 CD Blind Guardian (?) set or the entire work of John (Cougar) Mellencamp in one nicely designed box. 2013’s designs seem a little less elaborate than the last few years, no metal traveling case with 6 anatomically sized dildos of each of the members (ha) of Rammstein or the $500 box of U2’s single LP – Actung Baby! There is some nice stuff though so save your pennies and happy holidays.

The Clash - with tons of extras.

The Clash – with tons of extras

Moody Blues

Moody Blues

Merzbow (?)

Merzbow (?)

Small Faces

Small Faces

Wings Over America

Wings Over America

Blind Guardian

Blind Guardian

Johnny Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, John Mellencamp

Johnny Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, John Mellencamp

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Paul Simon

Paul Simon

Kishi Bashi - Limited 7" single set (not a CD but beautiful)

Kishi Bashi – Limited 7″ single set (not a CD but beautiful)

Sonic Youth - Japan Only

Sonic Youth – Japan only release of The Eternal

The Kinks at the BBC

The Kinks at the BBC

Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie

Deicide (?)

Deicide (?)

Beatles - 50th Anniversary Set

Beatles – 50th Anniversary Set

Beach Boys

Beach Boys

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Harrison’s Ceramic Nightmares

Edinburgh-based artist Jessica Harrison transforms the collectible ceramic ladies that populate grandmothers’ china cabinets into spectacles of gore. These elegant abominations are now on view at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York as part of Body & Soul: New International Ceramics, the first of a series of exhibitions highlighting different materials. Body & Soul is centered on the human figure in contemporary ceramics, and as the exhibition text notes; “Through clay the figure becomes the catalyst for addressing the emotional impact of contemporary pressures that confront our society today.” – ehm?

Harrison’s pieces are created from found ceramic figurines, altered in horrific ways with epoxy resin putty and enamel paint. There’s something more to these than just a kitsch re-imagining. They’re somehow more beautiful than that. Maybe it’s the memory of these from most people’s grandmas cupboards, I don’t really know. I do know that they’re beautiful and weird and gruesome and incredibly cool.

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The Life and Mysterious Death of Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd was a dish, a dame, a bombshell and also a very funny comedienne and actress. She was one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the late 20’s and early 30’s. Appearing in over 40 movies between 1926 and 1935. Thelma is best remembered for her comedic roles in the Marx Brothers movies, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers. She also appeared with most of the silents and early talkies biggest stars, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and William Powell, to name just a few. In the 1930s, she opened a restaurant, Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe, and took up residence in a luxurious apartment above the cafe. Located near the ocean on the Roosevelt Highway at Catellammare, it became a popular place. It was in the garage of the Sidewalk Cafe on December 15, 1935, that she was found in her parked car, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning, deceased at the age of 29 – supposedly a suicide, maybe a murder.

Though her death was ruled a suicide by the courts but there were quite a few other possibilities. Why would she kill herself? Thelma was riding high with a string of hits, successfully making the transition from Silents to the Talkies, owned a successful restaurant, dated some of Hollywood’s most famous stars and basically, had it all.

The Grand Jury investigation into her death yielded conflicting results. Spots of blood were found both on and in the car, and on Todd’s mouth. This led to the theory that she might have been knocked out before the car was started.

The first suspect was Thelma’s ex-husband, Pat DiCicco, a self-described agent with underworld connections. After one too many beatings, Todd divorced him. He felt humiliated by all the publicity and may have sought revenge. Hm?

Another suspect was Lucky Luciano, Americas most famous gangster and mob boss. Rumors circulated that Lucky wanted to use Todd’s restaurant as a front for his gambling operation. Allegedly, just days before she was discovered dead, Luciano informed Todd of his interests in her restaurant. The story goes that Thelma pooh-poohed Lucky’s offer and was killed for her refusal and disrespect.

Hard to say. Everybody’s got troubles. Maybe she did call it quits in her garage almost 78 years ago. It’s probably not important any more, so go rent her movies instead, start with Monkey Business.

 

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TT at door

With Groucho Marx

With Groucho Marx

 

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Thelma in This is the Night w/ Cary Grant

Thelma in This is the Night w/ Cary Grant

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Thelmas Cafe

Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe

Design: Playboy in the 1960’s

Playboy in the 1960’s still had a bit of naivete to it. It really did focus on the man of the times and actually had unbelievable articles (Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was first published in 3 consecutive issues, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel On Her Majestys Secret Service as well. Jack Karouac and Norman Mailer both had exclusive stories in the 60’s).  With no real full-on nudity or sex of any kind, Playboy was still a real shocker to puritan America reaching close to 5 million in sales by the end of the 60’s. Everyone knows what it has become today and it’s amazing it’s still is published at all (down to 1.5 million). These older covers were – for the most part – clever, fun and well designed and spoke directly to the era. Remember to look for the hidden rabbit logo, it’s on every cover. Some easier to find than others.

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1965-Playboy magazine cover August

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Playboy November 1965 Cover Pat Russo

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