Oh Crap

4 08 2010

A Brick

Yo, check out this awesome variant that was on BoingBoing today. Animator Landstrider took that washing machine people keep sending you and “[g]ave it eyes and a soul” (his words). Now the washing machine looks less like a washing machine and more like a Pre-Columbian vessel. Or Thomas the Tank Engine.

L: washing machine; R: washing machine with eyes.

L: The eyes of a washing machine, after eating the flesh of a hallucinogenic cactus; R: the eyes of Lowly Worm, after eating an apple.

I’m posting the original too, because of the prolonged convulsion that racks the cabinet even after it’s shed most of its components.

Above: the death throes of an appliance (washing machine), as portrayed in Washing Machine Self Destructs (2010). Below: the death throes of a replicant (Pris), as portrayed by Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner (1982).

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Sony Pictures Launches Excruciatingly Stingy “B:LA” Teaser Campaign at Comic-Con, Online

23 07 2010

They Had Me At “Doom”

If you’re lucky enough to be at the San Diego Comic-Con, you suck. If I had just one nerd friend that I could drag with me to things like this, I’d be there too right about now. It seems like it’s crazy as all hell.

So for months, there’s been almost no new images or details about Battle: Los Angeles—which I imagine is in keeping with Marketing 101, or whatever, but it sure has been annoying. As of this weekend, though, those days of information blackout are over; there’s B:LA data literally pouring out of San Diego right now. In fact, I’m not even gonna try to keep up with it. Let the cream rise to the top, and all that. Twelve bloggers blogging, eleven twits a-tweeting.

Viral teaser campaign: San Diego Comic-Con (image yoinked from a Giant Freakin Robot post).

By the way, in an earlier post I said that this joint was dropping on 17 February (F is for February; February is for film failure), but a few months ago Sony bumped it back to 11 March. Peter Scrietta at / Film calls this release date the “coveted 300 slot”; I guess it’s the opening weekend during which 300 broke not one but two spring box office records (it’s all on Wikipedia, if you’re interested). So we shall see.

Viral teaser campaign: San Diego Comic-Con (image yoinked from a FirstShowing.net post).

Until the Comic-Con dust settles, we the losers who didn’t go can only gnaw on the thrown bone that is the official website. Because the web address featured on all this advertising media demands nothing less, I’ll isolate where I would otherwise incorporate:

reportthreats.org

Yeah. About that. Okay, so on the main page of the Battle: Los Angeles website, visitors are invited to “enter the site and find out the truth”—which happens to be the exact tagline Sony Pictures used in its Phase I viral marketing blitz for 2012 (don’t strain yourselves or anything). And indeed, when you click through, it’s all standard teaser fare. The fictitious organization. An emphasis on verisimilitude. And lots of video. They have all of this “footage” organized into categories, and I nosed through most of it (if you’re wondering whether that was a waste of time, the answer is yes, it was).

If you’re a glutton for punishment, I recommend the “Eyewitness Testimonials” category. Start with the one I gravitated to right away: the one labeled “Doom”. It’s wrapped flimsily around this premise of a shared event at what I’m gonna go ahead and call a swap meet. So in the course of these “testimonials”, the vendors (or whatever), who include a scruffy, lip-pierced bad-ass and some concerned seniors,  succeed only in conveying that they are bad actors who can only get viral campaign work (with the exception of the black lady—I totally bought what she was selling). And isn’t that the same outfit that George Sr. wore while he was hiding out with the staircar down in Mexico?

Clockwise from top left: inked and street-savvy member of 18-to-24-year-old demographic who knows what he saw; hard-working chaser of the American Dream whose accent lends a sense of mystery and who has seen more than her share in her time on this earth but never anything like what she saw on the day in question; inventor of the Cornballer (¡Si! ¡Si! The Cornballer!), with longtime secretary/personal assistant Kitty Sanchez.





How to Distinguish Heroes from Villians

8 07 2010

HINT: The Rich Pretty One Who Spits at Cameramen When He Loses is the Hero

The photograph below, which I found on flickr user chris.huggin’s photostream, blew me away so completely that I felt compelled to break my own image format rule in order to do it justice. I guess technically it’s a detail of the original, since I cropped it drastically. The original’s here. Hopefully this won’t get yanked (I think I’m good, under the whole creative commons license thing), ’cause I needn’t point out how totally perfect it is both for this blog in general and this juxtaposition in particular.


Toronto, 26 June, 2010. Butchering the beef window.

South Africa, 29 June, 2010. What’s not to love.






Get Off Your Swizzleskid and Call Today

8 07 2010

WARNING: This Will Throw Off the Master Schedule By Seven Minutes

Today is the third and final day of “The Great Harlan Ellison Book Purge #3″. There are first-edition Harlan Ellison books, a ton of comics, some screenplays and even some ephemera—all at very reasonable prices. You can also have anything you buy personalized. So act now. There’s only one phone line and one operator (it’s Ellison’s wife, Susan, on a pre-paid cell phone), and the lines are only open (i.e., the pre-paid cell phone is only turned on) for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. I know; awesome, right? Here’s the catalog. The telephone number and hours are listed on page 4.

It is with reserved glee that I can report my success (on my 201st try—for real) in procuring two items that have an insane amount of assigned meaning for me: a 1965 1st printing Pyramid Books paperback of the short story collection Paingod and Other Delusions (Catalog #98), and a “Repent, Harlequin!” poster from the 1986 Harlan Ellison roast, signed by the artist, Frank Miller (Catalog #283).

L: Paingod and Other Delusions (1965); R: Guesstimate of what Frank Miller’s “Repent, Harlequin!” poster (1986) looks like, based on the scant descriptions and single, small image I was able to find online.

Susan was totally cool, by the way.

So I got Paingod because it includes “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”. If you haven’t read it, then they obviously don’t have the 7th grade on your home planet (or else that was the day you were getting high with the bad-ass cheerleaders in that one lavatory on the third floor that no one ever checked). “Repent, Harlequin!” was the short story responsible for convincing me that the dystopia was the most important of all speculative fiction themes. In fact, this is pretty much my favorite future concept short story of all time, with the possible exception of Steven Vincent Benét’s post-apocalyptic “By the Waters of Babylon“—but they’re kinda apples and oranges, anyway.

Like any dystopian tale worth its stimcredits, Ellison’s has a rebellious protagonist who would rather perish than conform, an urban setting where the caste system has become quite literally vertical, and loads of neologisms. Throw in some candy beans, though, and we’re in seminal territory. Here’s an excerpt, which I hope doesn’t get me deleted:

Jelly beans! Millions and billions of purples and yellows and greens and licorice and grape and raspberry and mint and round and smooth and crunchy outside and soft-mealy inside and sugary and bouncing jouncing tumbling clittering clattering skittering fell on the heads and shoulders and hardhats and carapaces of the Timkin workers, tinkling on the slidewalk and bouncing away and rolling about underfoot and filling the sky on their way down with all the colors of joy and childhood and holidays, coming down in a steady rain, a solid wash, a torrent of color and sweetness out of the sky from above, and entering a universe of sanity and metronomic order with quite-mad coocoo newness. Jelly beans!

Yes, slidewalk (sic[k])! And only, what—five commas, is it? Not to mention the sublime assonance of his “solid wash” bigram, which is so painterly that I want to cry. The bookends are also nice—back in 1965, this device wasn’t cliche yet.

“Repent, Harlequin!” is one of those few short stories I could realistically end up rereading a thousand times before I die. Yeah. It’s a thing.





Furverts Thrown Bone

1 07 2010

Yiffy Ad Campaign Continues to Cater to Niche Fetish

This zoomorphic Orangina ad campaign has been going strong for, like, two or three years now, but the new 10-second shaving spot caught my attention. It just went up on Orangina’s YouTube channel, which is where the company tests out its ads before moving the most popular ones to television. Oh, and if you think I’m being crass or presumptuous about the whole furry angle, just check out the “enthusiastic” comments left on the Orangina channel page. You’ll find that the usernames and avatars kinda speak for themselves.

Big game deodorizing with Orangina after big game.

Way to tap into the whole locker room fantasy thing, BTW. So here’s the deal with these print and video ads: talking animals walk erect among us, hanging out and hooking up with human beings as if this were the most normal thing in the world. Animal anatomies are barely zoomorphed. Toes are spread on hoofed mammals just enough to afford working digits; pupils are altered on carnivores just enough to express non-verbal cues.

Okay, so, animals. Not really original, but the approach is disciplined, so in theory I’m still on board.

Where they lose me is when they start messing with my semantic differentiation. I mean, my human brain is still pretty plastic, but my monkey brain doesn’t like being told to drink detergent. Oh, you mean I can put floor wax in my mouth and swallow it? Thanks for nothing, Mr. Yuk™. Depicting a soft drink as an H&BA item is pushing it—watching a female panda laud the merits of using Orangina as a douche definitely tested my limits, as did the zit-popping chameleon (as if lizards weren’t repellent enough). But depicting a known potable as a household cleaning agent seems counterintuitive for a reason.

Delusional puma aftershaving with Orangina before misbehaving with body hair-less cat.

This new one, though, which may or may not ever find its way to French TV, really makes me wanna take aerosol shots of Orange Pledge® right from the can (no wax, no buildup; removes up to 84% of allergens in dust). Because most furries are same-sex oriented, it was probably only a matter of time before Orangina reinforced the stereotype of homosexual men as shallow, mirror-gazing body fascists by slapping some abs on a lower mammal. And not just any lower mammal, but one from the Feliformia suborder: an effing cat!  Real nice—everybody knows they spend way too much time grooming.





Speaking of Party Boys

23 06 2010

Somebody’s Learning to Dance the Twelve-Step

Chris Klein checked into Cirque Lodge the other day. He did what he had to do, I guess, having bagged himself a DUI arrest last week—which didn’t bode well in light of his 2005 DUI conviction. Apparently, he was swerving on the 101. I like to think that it looked something like this, only with his dog, who was reportedly in there somewhere, too:

Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) after a night of partying in Rollerball (2002).

Yeah, that’s right. Rollerball. Oh, you didn’t know? You better call somebody. Because Rollerball was a better remake than most people allow themselves to admit. I don’t have anything else to say about Chris Klein’s 30-day stay, anyway. That was just a gateway to post screen grabs from something that nobody on the planet besides me was thinking about.

Why. What were you feeling in 2002? Shakira? 8 Mile? The Osbournes?

I’m not suggesting that the film is perfect, mind you. An extended chase sequence at the end of the second act, for example, is shot in night vision, which is so distracting and ugly that this fifteen minutes of the film is almost unwatchable. But as far as if-this-goes-on dystopian scenarios go, this bread-and-circus tale is fairly respectable. It’s got globalization and commodification galore.

“Label out.”

It’s also got loads of industrial grime and not a little violence.

There will be blood alcohol level.

If nothing else, it’s fun to look at five years ago as depicted by a creative team eight years ago.





Short, Barefoot Photographer Temporarily Loses Camera to Coolest Celebrity Ever

15 06 2010

Sing-Songy Protest Rendered More Ridiculous by Thick Accent

I’ve been waiting for something really, really awesome to happen so that a blog post after so many months of inactivity wouldn’t seem forced. I’d just about given up hope on anything awesome happening ever again. That’s when I saw this:

Shia LaBeouf has always struck me as somebody who would be fun as hell to party with. Seeing him stare down some cameraman across a fence “over the gate” definitely reinforced this perception. Plus, didn’t that dude just, like, apologize, or whatever, for the Transformers sequel, which I didn’t see? I’m not looking it up, but I think I saw something to that effect in my feeds.

L: Shia LaBeouf in I, Robot (2004); R: Shia LaBeouf in the Walgreens incident (2007)

Anyway, I have a few observations. First of all, I love how the photographer pronounces it “Shia LE Beouf”  instead of “Shia LA Beouf”. If you’re trying to get along with your celebrity, the first thing you’re probably gonna wanna do is pronounce his name correctly. Especially if you’re presumptuous enough to use familiar terms like “bro” and “dog” with someone who, by your own admission, you’ve never badgered all day from behind your lens before. If English is your L2, then all the more reason to get it right.

This is unfair of you, bro. This is unfair of you, man. Very unfair of you, dog.

Secondably, the chanting at the beginning is accidentally brilliant. That photographer missed his calling, because he’s spitting some ill shit:

Shia LaBeouf.
Shia LaBeouf.
In my car.
Look at Shia LaBeouf,
Touching my stuff,
In my car.

Okay, Shia.

Somebody totally needs to mash that audio into something somewhere. Out of context, it sounds straight-up altermodern. Oh, and why does a person named Renée Zellweger get mentioned as somebody who’s cool with paparazzi? Who’s looking for pics of her?

Wot, no crybaby paparazzi?

If you’re interested in going reductio ad absurdum with this, then you should go here. The “-shia-” interfix gets old quick, but if you haven’t seen it before, the ridiculousness catches you off guard in a good way.