Saturday, October 31, 2009

"the undisputed worst movie in cinematic history"

Best Worst Movie is the acclaimed feature length documentary that takes us on an off-beat journey into the undisputed worst movie in cinematic history: Troll 2.

In 1989, when an Italian filmmaker and unwitting Utah actors shot the ultra-low budget horror film, Troll 2, they had no idea that twenty years later they would be celebrated worldwide for their legendary ineptitude.

Two decades later, the film’s now-grown-up child star (Michael Paul Stephenson) unravels the improbable, heartfelt story of the Alabama dentist-turned-cult movie icon and the Italian filmmaker who come to terms with this genuine, internationally revered cinematic failure.

Is Troll 2 really the worst movie ever made as claimed by IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes? Or is Troll 2, as some would claim, a misunderstood masterpiece that never fails to entertain… a work of genius? Twenty years after Troll 2 was made, the feature length documentary BEST WORST MOVIE explores the Troll 2 phenomenon through the personal story of the cast of characters that took part in its creation and why it is celebrated by fans worldwide.

"a viscera-free, retro-flavored display"

Think of it as a fright night with less bite.

With Halloween celebrations so often a bath of blood and guts these days, Matt Ford and Lori Merkle Ford have organized a viscera-free, retro-flavored display and show at their Woodland Hills house. Ford, an Emmy-winning lighting designer whose credits include Academy Award shows, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Last Comic Standing,” and Merkle Ford, a lyric soprano and voice-over actress, spent the last month setting their scene. Hologram-type effects and computer-controlled moving figures follow an original score with narration by voice-over actor Corey Burton, who also has narrated a Halloween scene for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

Apparitions appear in windows, characters rise from tombstones and other effects animate the yard and house, but Ford said the 11-minute show is really driven by the story: A 1930 actress marries a shady screenwriter whose previous wife and daughter died under suspicious circumstances. On Halloween night, the dead return as ghosts, and then ...
You’ll have to see the show to find out. It will repeat every 15 minutes from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saltillo Street, which is closed off between Canoga Avenue and Rios Street. Ford suggested parking by the golf course on Canoga. Admission is free, but donations are accepted to defray the cost of storing the sets, lighting and other rigging.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Have no fear ---- no sequel here

DreamWorks announced Tuesday that it would not be producing a sequel to "Monsters vs. Aliens," which received a tepid response in key overseas markets. (DreamWorks Animation SKG)

"The Sound Behind the Image"

Get your ghoul on this weekend with a horror lineup that includes an academy event and a graveside screening.

The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences ushers in the Halloween weekend tonight at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater with its "The Sound Behind the Image III: Real Horrorshow!" event hosted by Oscar-winning sound editor David E. Stone.

The evening will trace the evolution of sound in horror films from the silent era (1925's "The Phantom of the Opera") to today's digital age (2008's "Cloverfield"). Also on hand will be Oscar-nominated sound effects editor Mark Mangini and Oscar winner Richard L. Anderson, who will offer a look at the sound effects for the 1982 classic "Poltergeist," as well as Oscar-winning production sound mixer Gene Cantamessa and supervising sound editor Don Hall, who will discuss their work on Mel Brooks' seminal 1974 comedy "Young Frankenstein."

"Dracula" is back

The New Beverly Cinema returns to the thrilling days of Universal horror films tonight with 1931's "Dracula," starring Bela Lugosi, and 1935's "Bride of Frankenstein," directed by James Whale. The revival theater goes '80s Friday night with a triple bill of 1980's "Fade to Black";1985's "Once Bitten," with Jim Carrey; and 1985's "Teen Wolf."

"Death takes no holiday . . . "

Every day is the Day of the Dead and Halloween for Cathee Shultz and J.D. Healy.

For more than 18 years the couple have collected the possessions of serial killers, the mummified heads of decapitated mass murderers and such things as photos of celebrity crime and autopsy scenes.

Portions of their collection have been on display at their Museum of Death in Hollywood since the first of the year.

"It's extremely graphic. Take a look at the picture behind you. It's our test photo," Shultz tells a visitor who is about to plunk down the $15 museum admission fee.

If the photograph of the victim of a crash between a motorcycle and a truck doesn't leave you weak-kneed or nauseated, you're good to go through the bars of a cell door from San Quentin State Prison's death row into the exhibit area, she says.

Past an alcove holding a hand-hewn casket dating from the early 1900s, jaws drop and stomachs sink as the self-guided tour begins.

It starts out gently enough. The first room is dedicated to funerary customs, with a display of mortuary matchbook covers and walls papered with undertakers' business cards and the funeral home logo-imprinted hand fans used by mourners in the old days before air conditioning.

There is antique mortuary equipment and empty vintage embalming fluid bottles. But there is also an explicitly detailed training film on how to embalm a body that runs continuously.

John Howell, a 54-year-old tourist from Branford, Conn., doesn't want to watch the video but can't help himself. "We don't have anything like this at home," he says.

His son 29-year-old son, Jeff, has seen enough. He moves on and pauses in front of a glass display case containing a man's head. A sign identifies it as the guillotined remains of Henri Landru, the "Bluebeard of France" who was executed in 1922 after being held responsible for the deaths of 11 women.

"That's his real head," exclaims an astonished Jeff Howell, a restaurant server who lives in Highland Park.

Farther into the museum is a hallway displaying gruesome fatal traffic accident photos and a window that opens into what appears to be a bedroom. Inside, a bunk bed holds two figures clad in sneakers and black clothing with purple shrouds over their heads.

It's a scene from the 1997 Heaven's Gate mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego, where 30 cultists expecting a trip into the great beyond on an approaching comet poisoned themselves. A recruiting video made by cultists plays nonstop. Signage explains that the bunk bed, one of the shrouds and one set of the sneakers are authentic -- and still had the distinctive odor of death when they arrived from the suicide scene.

There are original newspaper front pages that detail horrific murder rampages and cannibalism, and hundreds of photos: crime scene and morgue pictures from the Manson family murders, the brutal Black Dahlia slaying and President Kennedy's assassination. One set of photos shows a pair of murderers and their chopped-up victim.

A taxidermy display includes a Chihuahua that was killed along with actress Jayne Mansfield in an auto accident in 1967. Nearby, a small theater screens unending footage of actual deaths -- no simulations here, we are told.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Project by the Amazing Santiago Calatrava

Chicago Spire (occupancy by 2011, hopefully)

The "Mercedes McLaren SLR"

Better hope for no rain, snow or wind.

Autumn Leaves for your desktop

Click on "Autumn_Leaves" above for a wonderful selection of wallpapers for your desktop -- in Autumn colors.

Looks like "bimplebean" had a wonderful time in Yosemite

Shown above is Yosemite's El Capitan.

To live in Manhattan Beach is to be truly blessed.

Manhattan Beach, California is my home -- I try to walk daily and usually down on and around the Manhattan Beach Pier.

"not much more than a box on wheels"

TOKYO — The Daihatsu Deca Deca, debuting at the 2009 Tokyo Auto Show, is a delightful family-oriented microvan. It's really not much more than a box on wheels — but one with such clever touches as slim fold-away seats and flip-out doors.

The Deca Deca is ultra-compact, measuring only 133.7 inches long overall — more than a foot shorter than a Mini Cooper. The Deca Deca resembles a cargo van from the driver side, with a single door and a massive sheet-metal panel with a tiny horizontal window at the top, and a more conventional people mover from the passenger side with a set of doors, hinged at the front and rear.

The load floor is low and flat, the seats are reconfigurable and the passenger-side doors swing out wide to provide easy access to the cabin. A turbocharged 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine drives the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Promises, Promises"

Confirming rumors that have been circulating on Broadway during the last two weeks, producers said today that Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes will star in a revival of the musical "Promises, Promises," set to open April 25.

The musical, which is based on the Oscar-winning Billy Wilder film "The Apartment," will open at the Broadway Theatre, according to Playbill.

Chenoweth, who won an Emmy in September for her role in ABC's canceled "Pushing Daisies," will play the role of Fran Kubelik, which was originated by Shirley MacLaine in the 1960 film. Hayes, who is best known for his role in NBC's "Will & Grace," will take the part of Chuck Baxter, originally played by Jack Lemmon.

"Promises, Promises" had its first Broadway production in 1968 and starred Jerry Orbach and Jill O'Hara. The musical features a book by Neil Simon and songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

The revival will be staged by choreographer Rob Ashford, who will be making his Broadway directorial debut. Ashford's production of "Parade," starring T.R. Knight, is playing at the Mark Taper Forum.

It's unclear whether the revival will use a revised version of the book that Simon wrote for a 1997 concert staging of the musical in New York.

Rumors of Chenoweth's casting in "Promises, Promises" were published in the New York Post earlier this month. The article quoted a source as saying that a television version of "Promises, Promises" and a DVD release are both likely possibilities.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"City of Toothpicks"

A miniature city made out of millions of toothpicks -- It took Stan Munro (38) 6 years to build this toothpick city. He used 6 million toothpicks and 170 liters of glue. He can spend until 6 months to create a building and each of his creations is built to 1:164 scale. He works at the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, New York (USA). Look at the amazing works of one of the most patient men in the world.

(Source unknown)

How many of these people do you know ???

Probably quite a few.

"Are Werewolves the New Vampires?"

Is all the excitement over Jacob Black's transformation upcoming in New Moon becoming a craze? Robert Pattinson isn't the only reason to see the follow-up to Twilight, and many can't wait to see how CGI and months of Taylor Lautner's gym time will look on screen.
And that's just the beginning of werewolf entertainment. Next February, we'll meet Benicio Del Toro's The Wolf Man, as well as a rebooted Teen Wolf TV series. Teen romance novel Shiver, which also happens to be about a werewolf, is set to be adapted into a film as well.

Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen and some people sit on the side lines and say "Whaa hoppened?"

For more than three whole minutes, Thomas Snyder - twice a world Sudoku champion - sat contentedly on the floor of a Convention Center stage today after he'd finished the final puzzle at the Philadelphia Inquirer National Sudoku Championship. It was the high-voltage $10,000 final round.

Behind him stood a large board with a tough advanced Sudoku puzzle he'd completed in a breakneck 4 minutes, 14 seconds. He looked relieved as his two competitors still worked to complete their boards, with the same puzzle. The next to finish was Tammy McLeod.

And that was when the numbers came crashing down, you could say, on Thomas Snyder.

He'd begun to walk over to congratulate McLeod on coming in second - a $4,000 award - when his board caught his eye. And there it was.

Two sixes in one column. You can't have two sixes in a column in Sudoku, a logic game you complete by filling numbers into blank squares. In a column, you can have the numbers one through nine.


And once.

Instead of congratulating McLeod for placing second, Snyder motioned to his Sudoku board to show that her (also impressive) speed of 7:41 made her this year's national Sudoku champion. In all, three boxes - or cells, as players call them - of his puzzle were incorrect.

"Popcorn and samosas"

San Jose - It's 8 p.m. Friday and the historic Towne Theatre downtown is sold out. About 500 moviegoers have crowded into the three-screen movie house, paying up to $12 a ticket to watch not the latest Hollywood blockbuster but instead the premieres of three Indian movies that are opening simultaneously in India.

Tonight's showcase feature: the Tamil action thriller "Aadhavan" starring hunk Surya Sivakumar, who enjoys rock-star status among fans known to break out in cheers when his image appears on screen.

As couples, parents pushing children in strollers and bands of young men stream into the 81-year-old theater, past the concession stand selling popcorn, mango juice and Indian fruit bread, an employee of the film's distributor is showing his gratitude. He hands out doughy sweets called laddu, wishing patrons a "Happy Diwali" in Tamil, a salutation of the Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

History can have a sense of humor

It's only fitting that Tombstone, which gained fame for a shootout, has a rough-and-tough gunslinger grave site. Check out the political commentary on the epitaphs of Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury, killed as they battled Wyatt Earp and his posse at the O.K. Corral. For a taste of headstone humor, there is "Here lies Lester Moore / Four slugs for a 44 / No Les / No more" and George Johnson (wrongly sentenced to hang for buying a stolen horse): "He was right / We was wrong / But we strung him up / And now he's gone." Who says you can't be a quick draw with a pen?

History of an Icon

Sure, the Golden Gate Bridge is awe-inspiring, but what is it really all about? If you’re interested in the inner and outer works of the bridge, as well as its past, you will soon—well, in a couple years or so—be able to indulge your curiosities through an outdoor exhibit planned for the tourist landmark. Earlier this week, the National Science Foundation granted the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District $3 million to build educational exhibits related to the San Francisco icon’s history and engineering.

At the south side visitor area, which sees over 10 million annual visitors, a central feature of the exhibit will be a 92-foot-long scale model of the bridge. Next to that will be 24 interactive satellite exhibits, where you might learn, among other facts and figures, that 250 pairs of vertical suspender ropes hold up the roadway that you see.

"England's Limpley Stoke Valley"

"A River Runs Through It"

George Drury Smith's view as he looked across the city of Dinant, Belgium, from the tower of its 11th century citadel was so captivating that he snapped his shutter, despite the gloom. The spire of the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame glistened darkly. He used a Panasonic Lumix DMCFX07 with a Leica lens.

"burst of clouds"

Ron Drake of Santa Barbara and several family members were gifted with clear weather on their last day of an otherwise rainy Alaska trip. As they enjoyed a plane trip to a glacier near Mt. McKinley (also known as Denali), Drake zoomed in and snapped a photo of the burst of clouds coming off McKinley caused by high winds. He used a Nikon Coolpix S10.

Bernard Madoff may be coming to your door

Many Halloweeners like to dress up with costume ideas that some might judge tasteless… There is no doubt that Bernie Madoff is probably the most hated man on Earth right now and a lot of people would rather never see his face again, ever, so it might be quite of a shock for them on Halloween night when opening to door to trick and treaters!

"an attention-grabbing face for Halloween"

MAKEUP: A great costume for this Halloween starts with the makeup, like this Lady Gaga (Poker Face) makeup done by MAC. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

No bug eyes and shark-like teeth for these vampires

Somewhere on the way to today's multiplex, the traditional horror-movie vampire received an extreme makeover.Max Schreck's Count Orlok of 1922's "Nosferatu" -- bald, hunched, with claw-like hands, bug eyes and shark-like teeth -- morphed into the hollow-cheeked, Abercrombie & Fitch model looks of "Twilight's" Robert Pattinson, all James Dean glowering and choreographed hair.

Beautiful vampires populate the small screen as well. HBO's "True Blood," (based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series) has easy-on-the-eyes Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard and other members of the undead mixing it up in backwater Louisiana, and in the CW's new "Vampire Diaries," comely undead teens walk the halls of Mystic Falls High.

Who will give the bride away ???

Dramatic "bridal gown" with studded leather corset.


The Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Team rappels down the new 10-story police headquarters building next to a freshly unfurled flag during it's grand opening ceremony.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"the tallest building west of Chicago"

The U.S. Bank Tower is the tallest building in Los Angeles. The 73-story tower which rises 1,018 feet (310 m) in Downtown Los Angeles was completed in 1989. It also stands as the tallest building in the state of California and the 9th-tallest building in the United States. (The building has gone through many names; it is currently the U.S. Bank Tower, formerly Library Tower, formerly First Interstate Tower.)


Just a sample of some of the Digital Photo Art on this exciting website.

"Things More Fun Than Reading the Sarah Palin Memoir"

Sarah Palin will sit with Oprah Winfrey Nov. 16 for the first interview from the former Alaska governor since she stepped down from office.

Palin will appear in part to promote her book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," which will be released that week. It is so far the only interview announced this fall for the former vice presidential candidate.

There are no plans for Palin to appear on "Late Show With David Letterman," where a recurring comedy bit has been "Things More Fun Than Reading the Sarah Palin Memoir" (No. 61: getting run over by a lawn mower; No. 14: driving into a tree; No. 45: walking into traffic).

Nissan Leaf is coming . . .

Nissan Leaf (Itsuo Inouye / Associated Press / August 2, 2009). The drivetrain: All-electric :: When available: Late 2010 :: Price: $25,000 to $33,000 :: Range: 100 miles :: The juice: Although Nissan will start mainly with fleet sales, a few Leafs (Leaves?) will be available to individuals before a larger rollout in 2012. Nissan hopes to eventually build this relatively low-cost electric vehicle in Tennessee.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Threads of Thought"

by Jeffrey Batchelor

Icy Features

The Ice-bar in Orlando, Florida is the first and largest permanent ice bar in America. The ice sculptures are created by a Master Carver who has won awards in the international Ice Carving Olympics and also in Harbin, China at the worlds largest ice festival. Made from over 50 tons of ice, the interior features a crystal palace with throne, fireplace, sofa and chairs all carved into exquisite designs. The cocktails are served in glasses molded from clear ice and are a special design created by a local supplier.

The Department of Water and Power Building crowns downtown L.A.

The Department of Water and Power's John Ferraro Building opened in 1961. It crowns downtown L.A. alongside the Los Angeles Music Center, both of which stand on what was once a Victorian-studded neighborhood on Bunker Hill. The '60s were characterized by such massive renewal efforts. Nearly 50 years on, some victors in this tussle are now themselves in danger of tear-down.

The Music and the Drama Continues

The Mark Taper Forum, part of the Los Angeles Music Center campus, has housed a resident theater company since 1967. The Ahmanson Theatre, also part of the complex, opened that same April. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the biggest facility in the Welton Becket-designed complex, opened in 1964. The exterior of the Ahmanson was altered during renovations completed in 1994, but the Taper's exterior retains its distinctive look after renovations unveiled in 2008. (Center Theatre Group)

"Dreamers in Dream City" at Autry National Center

Water engineer William Mulholland, circa 1927, gets an Owens Valley setting courtesy of Harry Chandler. (Harry Chandler/Autry National Center)

"The Return of a Classic"

Over 50 years out of print the October release of DARK CARNIVAL by RAY BRADBURY will be the literary event of the year for Bradbury fans. After many years Ray Bradbury has agreed to allow this classic to be published in a LIMITED edition, with bonus material, edited by his long-time bibliographer Donn Albright.

"Striking Images"

Edward Cella Art + Architecture recently moved from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and a pair of first-rate exhibitions fills its handsome mid-Wilshire galleries.

"Visualizing a New Los Angeles: Architectural Renderings of Carlos Diniz” introduces L.A. viewers to the stylish designs of the architect-turned-illustrator who was the go-to-guy for the most talented and ambitious architects working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Above: Theme Building, Century City Master Plan, 1963. Photo credit: Courtesy Edward Cella Art + Architecture

Looking for "progressives, fascists and communists"

Last night Fox News ranter Glenn Beck went off on the art made more than 70 years ago for Rockefeller Center, corporate headquarters of NBC and -- not coincidentally -- supposed arch-enemy of Rupert Murdoch's television empire. To the surprise of no one, but to the great amusement of the blogosphere (here, here and here) -- Beck donned his art critic's tin-foil conspiracy hat to find hidden evidence of "progressives, fascists and communists" in the carved reliefs and paintings of a landmark Manhattan building complex that was made a national historic monument in 1987. (Let's see; who was president that year? Oh, yeah: Commie-symp Ronald Reagan.)

How nutty did Beck get? As nutty as usual. He pointed to a portrait of Lenin in Mexican master Diego Rivera's destroyed Rockefeller lobby mural, "Man at the Crossroads," but forgot to mention that old John D. had the mural removed because of it. (Facts are stubborn things -- even more stubborn than demagoguery.) With comedy stylings like that, Beck is turning out to be the Harold Harby of our day.

Who was Harold Harby? A Los Angeles city councilman in the early 1950s, Harby took up propaganda-arms with a paranoid group of right-wing loonies called the Society for Sanity in Art. They made it their patriotic duty to search out Communist symbols they just knew were hidden in that weird, postwar abstract art.

"living works of art"

Crop mazes have been used for ceremonial purposes for centuries. The modern version sprouted in the early 1990s thanks to British maze-developer Adrian Fisher, who is credited with creating the first corn maze in Pennsylvania. After that, the race was on to create the biggest, strangest or scariest labyrinth. The 10.2-acre corn maze above at 1 Fun Farm in Farmland, Indiana, zigzags for more than two miles.

From the ground, maze-travelers see a seemingly endless series of twisting paths with an occasional clue along the way. But from the air, it's clear these mazes are living works of art.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Spooktacular in Vegas"

Alice Cooper will be playing at Las Vegas' Orleans October 23-25 -- Trick or Treat.

"Where the Wild Things Are"

The fantastic island home of the Wild Things in "Where the Wild Things Are" looks like it required globe-hopping to capture its parts on film -- the landscapes include turbulent coastline, barren forest, desert sand dunes and rocky cliffs. All (with the exception of the dunes) were located within 90 minutes of downtown Melbourne, Australia.

"Maybe it could have been shot in America," said production designer K.K. Barrett. "But it would have required such a caravan traveling to so many different places. We couldn't have found them in an hour and a half of each other." Even the dunes weren't far -- a six-hour drive to the southern coast.

Each location was depicted as it was, except for the forest, filmed at a camp burned in a forest fire. "The guys in the [Wild Things] suits had low visibility," Barrett said. Some trees were real, "but some were fake ones we moved around" so the actors wouldn't bump into them.

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"

Where is the searing insight of Paddy Chayefsky when we need it? If ever a screenwriter could put troubled times in perspective it was Chayefsky. Two of his finest screen tonight at the Aero Theatre, a one-two punch to the gut that kicks off with 1976's "Network." A study in prescience, "Network" envisioned the perils of reality TV years before it existed as millions tuned in to watch Peter Finch's newsman Howard Beale self-destruct in front of them ("Jon & Kate Plus 8," anyone?). Faye Dunaway's icy producer forever running the numbers would win her an Oscar, one of four the film would take home. The 1971 film "The Hospital," with its issues of poor care and its habit of killing patients, turns out to be remarkably salient today as well. Brilliant, but scary -- then again, that was Chayefsky.

"Audrey Hepburn has remained timeless"

There are movie stars and then there are movie stars -- performers who have such a unique and often indescribable quality that their very name connotes the magic of the cinema. Audrey Hepburn was definitely a movie star.

Hepburn has remained timeless. Her characters, her look and her persona seem as contemporary today as they did nearly six decades ago.

Beginning Friday, LACMA is saluting the actress with its series "Audrey Hepburn: Then, Now and Forever." The event begins with a double bill of 1953's "Roman Holiday" and the 1981 comedy "They All Laughed," directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who will introduce the screening. On tap for Saturday is her Oscar-nominated turn as Holly Golightly in 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and 1967's marvelous romantic comedy "Two for the Road," in which she's paired with Albert Finney. The series continues through Nov. 13.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Unusual Ferrari Car-Motorcycle

Did you see the new transformers? Well, this design is not transformation, but still it is a remarkable unification. It’s a motorcycle with a car attached to it. So, if you have a girlfriend that doesn’t enjoy riding a motorcycle, which I really doubt, you can still ride your favorite motorcycle and let her ride in a car.

This might settle all the car drivers and bikers arguments.

. . . and then again it might not.