Starting Out & Story 1/3: "The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer explains how writing became his 'favourite thing ever', working on a Friday in a video store to the following Monday as a staff writer, and the essence of storytelling."
Characters, Comedy & TV 2/3: "How did Joss Whedon bring together all the Marvel superheroes? And why does he come up with his funniest lines at funerals?"
Directing & Discipline 3/3: "Whedon talks about the challenges of directing, how he 'treats film like the military' and his advice to new filmmakers."
"There has been one big change since Battlestar Galactica was starting out: Serialization, which had been an anathema to most network executives, is now valued and sought after. But there's a flip side to that, [Ron] Moore said: Executives want writers to walk into pitch meetings with several years' worth of storytelling already worked out in advance."
Ikea Heights is a melodrama shot entirely in the Burbank California Ikea Store without the store knowing.
"I’m certain that the 'faithful film adaptation' of the 1937 Hobbit these critics seem to want would in fact turn out to be awful, or at least fall far short of Tolkien’s ultimate vision. Here are five reasons why..."
Appendix I: A guide to Peter Jackson's Hobbit.
Stephen Colbert schools James Franco on Tolkien knowledge.
O mor henion i dhu:
Ely siriar, el sila
Ai! Aniron Undomiel
Tiro! el eria e mor
I 'lir en el luitha 'uren.
From darkness I understand the night
dreams flow, a star shines
Ah! I desire Evenstar
Look! A star rises out of the darkness
The song of the star enchants my heart
Ah! I desire...
Brian Butler's staging of the Bartzabel Working - first carried out by Aleister Crowley in 1910 and reported here last year - has turned up on YouTube. Noot Seear, of Twilight fame, participated as Magus Adjuvant while James Franco had volunteered as the Material Basis.
The Spirit of Mars turns up in the second half with Christopher Emerson substituted for Mr. Franco for the event.
VICE: "What would Crowley have thought about these spectacles, and how do they jibe with his own methods?"
"Elf advocates in Iceland have joined forces with environmentalists to urge authorities to abandon a highway project that they claim will disturb elf habitat, including an elf church."
"A privileged view into the lives of a cast of Hebridean animals, narrated by Ewan McGregor."
"Archeologists announced today that they had unearthed the oldest musical instruments ever found -- flutes that inhabitants of southwestern Germany laboriously carved from bone and ivory at least 35,000 years ago."
"The mysterious monument of Stonehenge has stood without assistance for more than a millennium. It finally received a modern renovation — and the druids aren't happy about it."
"It was the last of twelve falsobordone Miserere settings composed and chanted at the service since 1514 and is the most popular: at some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was allowed to be performed only at those particular services, thus adding to the mystery surrounding it. Writing it down or performing it elsewhere was punishable by excommunication."
Camille Paglia features.
"Well a full grown american badger is approx. 90 cm long. assuming they are three times as long as they are tall, we can approximate a badger as a cylinder with volume of 0.063 meters³..."
NB: Posting will be irregular due to the aftermath of the ice storm and impending holiday.
Bill Cunningham reports from SantaCon 2013 in New York City.
"The fashion world would be a dreary little place if this whimsical British designer hadn't taken a tumble off his bike at age 18."
Goddess Guide: A morning with Paul Smith.
For example: Paul Smith x John Lobb.
"Paul Smith brings his love for the eccentric to John Lobb for a line of special edition shoes. The collection takes three of Lobb's signature styles which include an oxford, derby, and a loafer in a vibrant array of colored leathers and suedes."
"Why receiving Beyonce's latest fragrance means your relationship is doomed."
Their survey results meet with expectation. Though to breath the word "classic" putting Thierry Mugler's Angel in the same sentence as Chanel No. 5 is abomination.
Here illustrating the Chanel Spring-Summer 2012 Haute Couture Show. Shades of Philip Glass, obviously.
"See Iris van Herpen's dress develop from conception to completion in these process images, captured throughout the week-long LiveStudio."
En: An interview at length with the charming, lovely Irin Van Herpen.
"Watch Iris van Herpen discuss her craft and concepts in conversation with Niamh White and Nick Knight during her week-long LiveStudio."
The fall of the House of Juicy.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week gives the boot to fashion bloggers.
"Months after an encounter with a mysterious 'Doctor', Sherlock becomes obsessed with discovering more about this impossible man... until the man makes an unexpected return. In anticipation of both the Doctor Who Christmas Special and the Third Series of Sherlock, I created a small crossover story. Though it may not be perfect, I'm still pretty happy with the results."
"A Swedish study found that the planet was warmer in ancient Roman times and the Middle Ages than today, challenging the mainstream idea that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main drivers of global warming."
"A gladiator's helmet left behind in the ruins of Pompeii is the centrepiece of an exhibition to be unveiled in Melbourne ... The 2,000-year-old bronze helmet is one of 250 items brought together at the Melbourne Museum to illustrate life in the ancient city."
The Vatican Library and Oxford University's Bodleian Library have put the first of 1.5 million pages of ancient manuscripts online.
"The old Iran is re-emerging from behind the fundamentalist veil, an ancient land with roots reaching right back to the beginning of time. Centuries before Jesus, a man was born here whose vision still shapes our world. His name was Zarathustra, but he’s also known as Zoroaster. Fire was his fascination."
The Leo Strauss Center hosts a collection of audio files of Strauss' courses.
"This is a interview I shot with Norris Chambers, the last person living, as far as I know, who knew Robert E. Howard. I interviewed him in 2007, as he took a tour of Howard's house for the first time in many many years. His dad and REH's dad were great friends, so Norris spent lots of time in Cross Plains at the Howard House. Robert was older than him, so he and Howard weren't friends nor close, but he is the last person living who spent any sort of time in a personal way with my favorite author."
In which we discover, amongst other things, Ursula Le Guin went to high school with Philip K. Dick.
"The BBC World Service Drama production of Neuromancer aired in two one-hour parts, on 8 and 15 September, 2002. Dramatised by Mike Walker, and directed by Andy Jordan, it starred Owen McCarthy as 'Case', Nicola Walker as 'Molly', James Laurenson as 'Armitage', John Shrapnel as 'Wintermute', Colin Stinton as 'Dixie', David Webber as 'Maelcum', David Holt as 'Riviera', Peter Marinker as 'Ashpool', and Andrew Scott as 'The Finn'. It can no longer be heard on The BBC World Service Archive."
But it is available here.
"A group of Siberian percussionists have become an internet hit with an exhibition of ice drumming on frozen Lake Baikal. In minus 20C, they found by pure chance that the one metre thick ice has a distinctive and haunting rhythm all of its own, reported the Siberian Times."
"Hymn for Mother of God of St.Nectarius of Aegina in church-slavonic. St.Sergius & Herman of Valaam church."
Italian photographer Piero Pazzi has released the 2013 edition of his Roman Priest Calendar.
"In December 1953, Coco Chanel began her incredible return to center stage. The designer reopens her Haute Couture house after fifteen years of absence. The collection is welcomed by the French press with an icy silence. Only the American media supports the looks that define the rebirth of Chanel's style."
"Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a 2011 American documentary film directed by David Gelb. The film follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant, on his continuing quest to perfect the art of sushi. The film also profiles Jiro's two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs. The younger son, Takashi, left Sukiyabashi Jiro to open a mirror image of his father's restaurant in Roppongi Hills. The 50-year-old elder son, Yoshikazu, obligated to succeed his father, still works for Jiro and is faced with the prospect of one day taking over the flagship restaurant."
Click to enable captions.
"Producer Sarah Koenig's mother lives by a set of rules about conversation. She has an actual list of off-limits topics, including how you slept, your period, your health, your diet and more. You don't talk about these things, she says, because nobody cares. This week we try to find stories on these exact topics that will prove her wrong."
"It turns out that the Prado’s Mona Lisa is not just any 500-year-old copy. It was most likely painted by someone who was sitting right next to Leonardo da Vinci, trying to duplicate his every brush stroke, as he produced his famous lady with the enigmatic smile."
Simulation: "The Prado’s copy of the Mona Lisa was most likely painted by Salaì, Leonardo’s assistant and reputed lover. Salaì, whose nickname means 'little Satan', joined his master’s studio in 1490, at the age of ten, and worked with him until Leonardo’s death."
"David Smith, a traditional signwriter, has been practicing reverse glass decoration and ornate gilding for more than 29 years. His designs are featured in pubs, liquor labels, businesses and album art."
"To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its signature Greyhound logo, Trussardi has teamed up with Japanese illustrator Yuko Shimizu and Director and visual effects master James Lima to produce Sky Watcher, a short animated film set around Milan. Supervising the music was British musician and record producer Steve Mackey, former member of the cult britpop band Pulp."
Related (literally): Trussardi My Name.
"Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores directed the Trussardi My Name commercial in the prestigious setting of Milan full of charm and history. The interpreter of this journey is Gaia Trussardi, the Creative Director of the Maison."
A reference for the narrative and dramatic sources of all William Shakespeare's works (excepting Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Tempest, all originals).
"At age 78, E.O. Wilson is still going through his 'little savage' phase of boyhood exploration of the natural world. In 'Lord of the Ants,' NOVA profiles this soft-spoken Southerner and Harvard professor, who is an acclaimed advocate for ants, biological diversity, and the controversial extension of Darwinian ideas to human society."
Documentarian James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, is worried about robots.
"The Lord Of The Rings has a specific climate, described in J.R.R. Tolkien novels and a scientist claims he has mapped it with the help of a computer and discovered that director Peter Jackson may have made a mistake in choosing the location for his films."
"There are two varieties of Jovian radio bursts: Through the loudspeaker of a shortwave receiver, the so-called 'L-burst' sounds like ocean waves crashing on a distant beach. The 'L' stands for long. If a recording is slowed down dramatically, the S-burst sound like eerie drifting whistlers. Through the loudspeaker of a shortwave receiver, the so-called 'S-burst' produces a staccato of rapid popping sound with a beat that reminds some of woodpeckers. The 'S' stands for short."
Lawrence Roullier White considers a "near impossible task" in perfumery; "a range celebrating the botany of the British Isles using ingredients from our somewhat challenged natural history. Perhaps it was the focussing brief, perhaps it was the skill of the perfumer, Anastasia Brozler, or the foresight of the brand’s creator, John O’Sullivan, but most probably it was the combination of all three; a trinity which has yielded one of the most interesting collections of late."
"Discover the Dior Homme Spring 2014 collection by Kris Van Assche."
"Device 6 is a metaphysical thriller in which the world is made almost entirely from words. Playing it is like reading a book—except, in this book, the words veer off in unexpected directions, rather than progressing in orderly fashion down the page. When Anna, the game’s protagonist, turns a corner in the narrative, the text does too, swerving off to one side at a right angle, forcing the player to rotate the screen."
"Installation artist Laure Prouvost has won this year's Turner Prize for her piece Wantee, which takes the audience in search of her fictional grandfather."
Also: Behind the scenes at the 2013 Turner Prize.
"In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the skull scarf, Alexander McQueen presents an exclusive collaboration with Damien Hirst. The iconic skull scarf has been a signature accessory of the house first seen in the 2003 Irere collection."
A Wallpaper* design collaboration.
The new eau de parfum by Valentino.
"Today, the press is offered a rare glimpse into Orphin, where all Guerlain fragrances are manufactured from blending to packaging: the 10,000 m2 plant will be open to the public, as part of LVMH’s 'Journées Particulières' operation, an open-doors weekend in several of the group's facilities and private rooms."
Vocabulary builder: "Made by hand, the baudruchage consists of applying a waterproofing membrane on the neck of the bottle of perfume. Today, the baudruchage is exclusively reserved for the perfumes of Chanel and Guerlain."
"Given the economic problems created by the euro, it might seem like a non sequitur to encourage a single language for the continent. But a hard core of Latin enthusiasts say the language would foster a sense of European unity that's been lacking since the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, which used Latin as one of its official languages."
"Simon and Nikolai Haas have always been makers. Their studio spawns anything from set design to wearable art, masks for Lady Gaga and gold-leafed furniture for Louis Vuitton stores. Donatella Versace recently commissioned the design duo to make a limited edition collection of fashion and design items covered in the brand's signature Medusa heads and honeycomb patterns. Ahead of Design Miami the twins let us into their 'weird alien ecosystem.'"
Hat tip to Alexei.
"Like most US TV shows of the time, Babylon 5 was recorded on film but mastered - having special effects, music and sound effects added - on video tape. Video tape cannot be upscaled to high-definition resolution, preventing the show from being upscaled as-is and released on Blu-Ray. Instead, the only way to upscale the entire show is to go back to the original film elements, extract a HD image and then re-edit each episode from scratch. Whilst the original audio tracks can be re-used, the special effects would also all have to be remade from scratch and edited back in. In the case of Babylon 5, which sometimes had 100 CGI shots per episode, this would be extremely expensive and time-consuming."