I’ve always been a movie junkie. I attribute my transition from childhood’s “All movies are fun!” sentiments to actually, really deeply loving film and movies to my Dad who harbors a keen interest and love for the form himself. On more than one occasion he handed out reprieves from getting my homework done so we could watch something great on broadcast television like Mel Brooks’ The Twelve Chairs or John Sturges’ perfect and perfectly American The Great Escape.
While working in the studio either screenprinting, packing orders or just cleaning up and re-organizing I tend to gravitate to watching old TV shows and movies (when I’m not listening to music or podcasts). Of late, I’ve been on a documentary kick, and came across the epic, whip-smart, and incredibly energetic film Best Of Enemies, written & directed by Morgan Neville & Robert Gordon, about Gore Vidal & William F. Buckley’s intensely bitter relationship. And it’s this relationship’s enmity that brought them both to wider recognition and audiences around the world as both political commentators as well as leading critical thinkers (for good or for ill) around the world. In this current Presidential election cycle, this film couldn’t be more current, prescient and on-trend.
Enough said, luckily it’s available in at the film website here, as well as on iTunes, Netflix, & On Demand. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE FILM
In the summer of 1968 television news changed forever. Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley believed each other’s political ideologies were dangerous for America. Like rounds in a heavyweight battle, they pummeled out policy and personal insult—their explosive exchanges devolving into vitriolic name-calling. Live and unscripted, they kept viewers riveted. Ratings for ABC News skyrocketed, and a new era in public discourse was born.
Here’s something great that you might enjoy as much as we do. In 1968 Saul Bass, the already legendary designer, created & co-wrote the short experimental film Why Man Creates with screenwriter Mayo Simon. Simon, most well-known for writing Futureworld isn’t the only Hollywood credit on this short – the young George Lucas was enlisted as a 2nd unit director as well.
Why Man Creates (posted recently on Fast Company’s site) is a wonderful snapshot of the extraordinarily playful + intensely serious thinking about Design (with a capital D) and intellectual thought so much a core foundation of Mid-Century American culture. There is no pandering to the audience, there is just fast-moving play & rhetoric mixed into one dense, small chunk of time and space planted quite firmly in a New York / East Coast vibe. We love it!
Bass’ description of the creative process that guided his career:
“Where do ideas come from? From looking at one thing, and seeing another. From fooling around, from playing with possibilities, from speculating, from changing, pushing, pulling, transforming, and if you’re lucky, you come up with something worth saving, using, and building on. That’s where the game stops and the work begins.”
Sounds just about perfectly true. We hope that you enjoy!
(Read more about the truly amazing Saul Bass here on his AIGA Medal induction page and also here on Wikipedia.)
- Flatstock, in Austin TX during SXSW Music Festival
Here we go!
The very first Flatstock Rock Poster Convention of 2012 is right around the corner and we’re getting all of our posters, prints, tees, test prints and thingamajigs into gear. We’re chomping at the bit and rarin’ to go with lots of new work to show at first taste of Spring and favorite Texas town during the amazing SXSW Music Festival.
Flatstock 33 will display the works of more than 100 artists from across North America and the globe. The exhibition is free and open-to-the-public running March 14-17 and features posters representing decades of styles, colors and techniques for sale. Show up early and be ready to be overwhelmed with amazing posters. (You might want to bring some dough since you won’t want to leave empty handed!) The exhibition is free and open to the public.
This year is just slightly more exciting than ever with a couple of added events in Texas.
- Wednesday 3/14: Hot gig poster printing awesomeness! We were commissioned by the HGTV network to design a poster for one of 4 showcase nights of great music they will be hosting at SXSW at their beautifully renovated venue, The Studio. Our silkscreen poster (see the design below) will be hand printed on-site by Andy MacDougall of Squeegeeville with the help of Austin’s own Coronado Studio during the opening night of The Studio on Wednesday 3/14 and we’ll be there too, signing posters and they are completed and handing them out to the first 300 folks at the show. (Note, you must be a registered SXSW participant to attend The Studio showcase shows.) The bands appearing for Wednesday night’s showcase are: Say Hi, Young Orchids, Oh Mercy, Sean Bones, The Pierces & Girl In A Coma. For more info about HGTV’s The Studio, full band and poster artist list click here.
This limited edition, hand silkscreen printed poster will be available exclusively at The Studio by HGTV on 3/14 during the show.
- Thursday 3/15: We will be appearing at the SXSW Film Festival Premiere of the poster documentary film Just Like Being There by director Scout Shannon on March 15th at 4:15pm at The Vimeo Theater (inside the Convention Center at 201 Trinity St.) and Allison will be speaking after the Premiere in a Q & A session with a selection of other Flatstock posters artists who also appear in the film.
Who: Over 100 working rock poster artists from all around the globe. Click here for the list of Flatstock 33 participating artists.
Where: Flatstock 33 at SXSW in the Austin Convention Center on Level 1 – Ballrooms A, B, C – same place as last year!
- Wednesday 3/14 from 2:00pm – 6:00pm
- Thursday 3/15 – Saturday 3/17 11:00am – 6:00pm
What: The FLATSTOCK poster show series is presented by the American Poster Institute (API). It is an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring the work of many of the most popular concert poster artists working today and happens 4-6 times a year with scheduled shows in Austin, TX at SXSW, Barcelona Spain during Primavera Music Festival, Chicago, IL during Pitchfork Music Festival, Seattle WA at Bumbershoot Fest, and in Hamburg Germany during the Reeperbahn Festival.
If you are in Austin for SXSW we hope to see you at the amazing Flatstock Rock Poster Convention, so come say hello!
Hello 2012! We’re so glad to meet ya.
And to make you feel right at home, here’s a beloved classic that influenced us as kids, even to this day. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, in it’s entirety. Baby New Year! Rudolph! Father Time!
We hope that your New Year 2012 is bright and the best yet.
In 1953 UPA released a groundbreaking and incredibly executed short animated film version of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart” with art by Paul Julian and a single voice actor, the incomparable James Mason.
This short is absolutely top-notch. I can’t believe that I hadn’t seen it before.
The claustrophobic spookiness is perfection, as is Mason’s voice over in translating Poe’s main character’s intense sense of rationalization of his crime. In short, it’s beautifully creepy and does full justice to Poe’s iconic short story.
One of the few not-for-children shorts produced in they heyday of Disney and Looney Tunes, this film also has the distinction of being the very first to have received an X-rating in the UK at the time of its release. Ahhh how the world has changed.
Hope that you dig this little gem too.
Click for more info and full list of available films
And it’s pretty darn exciting. The Criterion Collection of films has been an outstanding aggregator & distributor of excellent movie-making from around the world for over 2 decades. Keeping pace with the advent of DVDs and now more online film viewing, Criterion has released 35 movies for Netflix online streaming tool “Watch Instantly”.
For someone like me, who uses the heck out of the “Watch Instantly” feature on Netflix, often while printing or otherwise working the studio, these releases are a welcome addition.
The list of Criterion releases is impressive and not at all a slacking one. The complete list (with links right to their corresponding Netflix pages) is here at the Criterion Cast podcast site (or by clicking the above & below images). It’s also worth noting that Criterion’s standards include routinely fantastic renderings of poster and cover art for their releases as well. Some of my favorites are below.
Well, it’s a funny ol’ world and a funny time to be thinking about American politics. And not really so much “funny ha ha”. In a random stroke of good timing I just finished watching the film Chicago Ten after hearing a piece about it on NPR’s All Things Considered a few weeks ago. It was so compelling just to listen to the bits played that I “Netflixed” the movie right away.
The movie is a documentary, but with an interesting mixture of animation and live action archival footage of the 1968 Democratic Convention protests, riots and defendents in the subsequent trial. The animation and related audio portions are based on the existing film and audio recordings of the trial itself as well as appearances by the Chicago 8 themselves, in a sort of rotoscoped look, which is quite cool. For a documentary nerd such as myself, it’s an added bonus that the dialogue in the animated portions of the film are directly taken from court records and other filmed materials.
Ultimately, like other documentaries about the turbulent late 1960s in the US, Chicago 10 reveals an intense period of change, conflict and eventually some resolution. Albeit at times, seemingly tenuous. “Netflix” it.