Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two View Movie Review: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying & Learned to Love the Bomb

President Muffley
Set at the height of the Cold War, Dr. Strangelove begins when Air Force General & Commander of the Burpelson Air Force Base Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) orders all B-52 airplanes to enter the Soviet Union & bomb it with nuclear weapons. The order was given under a special code that would follow after the assassination of the President. But the President wasn't assassinated. General Ripper made the order out of fear that the Soviets were fluoridating the water supply. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) meets with General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) & other high ranking officers in the "War Room" to figure out a way to stop the apparently unstoppable planes while General Ripper's executive officer, Lionel Mandrake (also Peter Sellers) tries to persuade General Ripper to call out the abort orders, because they learn that if there is a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, there is a automatic doomsday device to be released by the Soviets.

Group Captain Lionel Mandrake
If you ever want to see a film about the Cold War, this would be it. It perfectly satirizes those nerving years & comments on the ridiculousness of the situation, which is why this is such a great comedy. And since this is a Stanley Kubrick film, there are a lot of sexual undertones, despite there only being one female character in the whole film. The opening sequence features an airplane getting fueled up during flying (featuring phallic symbols), the reasoning behind General Ripper's paranoia (he claims fluoride makes him impotent), & the President & the officers' backing of Dr. Strangelove's post-nuclear war plans (in which 10 women to every man would live in mineshafts) are just some of the subtle sexuality featured.

Dr. Strangelove
Speaking of Dr. Strangelove, which is Peter Seller's third & most hilarious character in the film, he is the President's scientific advisor, as he was an ex-Nazi physicist. Crippled & suffering from alien hand syndrome, Dr. Strangelove accidentally calls the President "Mein F├╝hrer" on a number of occasions, & Strangelove's explanation of a polygamist's society is extremely funny. He takes pleasure in the fact that the Nazi's two worst enemies, the USA & the USSR, might end up destroying each other causing a Nazi paradise where only the strong survive in a hyper-sexual world.

Dr. Strangelove has aged very well & is still relevant today & is considered one of the best political satires, if not the best.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheese or Font

It's Monday morning & I'm sure most of you don't feel like doing any work right now, so if you feel like taking a break, trying your hand at Cheese or Font. It's pretty simple: you get a word & you have to figure out if it is a cheese or a font. If you think that sounds easy, it really is not.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Center Paige: Anxious Homes

Do you cringe at the thought of having to clean your house for a mandatory party? Does a guest usually catch you off guard while your house is a disaster? Are you a modern woman who doesn't have the time to make your residence look pristine every damn minute? Well, we have the artists' book for you. Jackie Batey's Anxious Homes is the perfect guide for anyone who wants to appear to be tidy. Each book is inkjet printed & bound with a simple signature pamphlet stitch. Presented in a matter-of-fact, domineering tone, you will learn how to create vacuum lines on a rug or carpet, how to clean the taps in your bathroom, & methods to hide your hosting anxiety. This guide will "give the impression of a clean house in under 20 minutes," but if you have less than that, there are also steps for those with 10 minutes or 3 minutes. Now is your chance to be the falsely confident host your mother was.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Alternative Hair Show

Traveling the world is the avant-garde Alternative Hair Show. Created by Tony Rizzo to raise money for leukemia research after the death of his son, the show started in 1983 & has become more popular every year. The show highlights leading hairdressers & hair artists with a knack for offbeat & innovative hair designs. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Graphic Novel of the Month: City of Glass

"It was a wrong number that started it all..." which is the line that starts City of Glass. In the graphic novel adaptation of Paul Auster's book of the same name, mystery writer Daniel Quinn gets a puzzling phone call asking for detective Paul Auster. After many nights for the same request, Quinn decides to play along & gets a case from Peter Stillman, a mentally abused man-child, & Stillman's wife & speech therapist, Victoria. They tell him that Stillman was locked in a dark closet for years by his father, Peter Stillman Sr., a professor who was seeking out the original language before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. After serving time for child abuse, Peter Stillman Sr. is being released & the couple is worried that he may show up to get revenge, so they pay Auster (Quinn) to follow Stillman.

That is the overall narrative structure of the novel, but this is more than just a detective story. There is much to say about this novel & I wrote out five paragraphs of analysis with more on my mind, but I deleted it all. It's just too heavy of a novel to be discussed in a couple of statements. There are assertions & contradictions in the novel about identity, authorship, & semiotics, along with many visual themes & motifs. If I were to teach a class on comic theory (which may or may not be a class anywhere, sadly) I would have this as part of my required reading. I also didn't realize this, but City of Glass perfectly pairs up with last months G.N.o.t.M., Understanding Comics. I would recommend reading that one first, and then hit City of Glass. It will help you with the match shots & panel transitions that are fill the pages, making City of Glass quite cerebral & technical. 

To put it into perspective as too how much effort was put into this novel, it took four people to adapt it from a written novel to a graphic novel. Paul Karasik wrote the script, David Mazzucchelli drew it, Paul Auster supervised the adaption & Art Spieglman organized it. I haven't read the original, but as a work on its own, it is something of a revelation.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Letterpress Appreciation Day-Open House

For all of you JCBA fans, you'll know that September 18th is Letterpress Appreciation Day because the standard height for wood and type is .0918, hence 09/18. We had our second annual Open House for Letterpress Appreciation Day & guest were able to use the our cast iron Washington Press to make a broadside with the quote "Don't Forget to Live Today." Also, our Vandercook Press was up & running as guest were able to print our 19th Century image of a flying time machine that we've been using since Arthur's birthday. Attendance was good; some say we had close to hundred people, & some say a couple of hundred. We lost track after eleven. If you weren't able to make it this year, mark your calendars, because this will be an annual event. It's free and fun for all.