News and Features

Afternoon Delight: 600 Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Characters In One Handy Place

Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re back from lunch but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back Tuesday at 1 p.m. for another installment.

GraphJam advertises itself as “life and pop culture graphed for your inner geek.” It’s devoted to making whimsical pie charts and Venn diagrams about almost anything: “What happens when you press the ‘Close’  button on an elevator’ — the entire pie chart gives, of course, one answer: “Nothing.” Or “Reasons I Don’t Have a Girlfriend” — which has several small wedges like “I’m shy” and “I’m average-looking” but most of it is taken up with “I AM A LEVEL 80 WARLOCK.”

But occasionally, GraphJam pops up with an amazing display of information like this one by Juan Pablo Bravo. You can enlarge-ify it to find characters and shows you remember from your misspent childhood (as David Sedaris once confessed, he even used to watch the boring programming that came on after the Saturday morning cartoons in the faint hope that maybe a cartoon character might pop through a door). Or you can find surreal creations you’ve never heard of, like The Great Grape Ape Show.

And it comes in English and Spanish. In Spanish, Fred Flintstone is “Pedro Picapiedras,” the Smurfs are “Los Pitufos” and Hong Kong Phooey is “Hong Kong Phooey.”

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Last Chance for This Week's Big Deal

We’ll do our weekly drawing around noon today. So there’s still a little time to enter to win tickets to see T Bone Burnett at the Brinker Forum or TITAS MOMIX (click here to enter both). Or perhaps to enter for four tickets to see The Sound of Music at Casa Mañana (click here for that one.)

To win you must be an Art&Seek newsletter subscriber. Takes just a second. Go here to do it.

And check back next week. Because the next Big Deal will keep you entertained into the winter.

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Friday Round-Up

Indie Movies, Indie Theater: Art&Seek was busy daydreaming about the holiday weekend and that’s our excuse for overlooking the news that the Texas Theater has new operators – Aviation Cinemas – and will begin showing classic and indie movies and film series starting Sept. 30. Pegasus News told you about it. As did The Observer. And Front Row. And, now that we’re not thinking about deviled eggs, picnics and the end of summer, we have too.

Badu in Cheap Clothing: Erykah Badu is singing in H&M adds. Could this mean the stylish but inexpensive clothing store will finally come to North Texas? Hmmm….deviled eggs.

Treasure in the Texas Desert: For the first time in almost 20 years, we can see work from the artist James Magee, when the The Nasher opens Revelation: The Art of James Magee. This morning, Jerome will tape an interview with Magee, who spent the last 20-some years building The Hill in the desert outside El Paso. Only a small clump of  people have toured The HIll, but this week Jerome and I have been paging through photos and reading essays from a beautiful new book on same by UTD art professor Richard Brettell, Nasher curator Jed Morse and photographer Tom Jenkins, who died in 2008. I can’t sum-up Magee in a morning round-up sentence – why he’s building a monument in the desert, why the titles of his works are poems, why he assumes different personas to create different types of art – but check back here for video of the Art&Seek segment of Think, airing tonight on KERA TV. Or go to the Nasher.  In addition to works from Magee, the exhibit includes a film of The Hill by Quin Mathews.

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Afternoon Delight: French New Wave-vrrrroooom


Reading Rob Tranchin’s musings on Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless — and digging up photos to post with the piece — reminded me how much the French ‘new wave’ directors (Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, Rohmer) loved Paris, loved Paris street scenes. Breathless, Godard’s iconic film about a brief love affair between a young American and a small-time Parisian crook, is screening at the Angelika.

Parisian streets and illegality naturally reminded me of a different kind of “breathless”: Claude Lelouch’s C’etait un rendezvous, which has been an underground classic known primarily to gearheads, race-car buffs and fans of the Cobra-vs-Charger-chase sequence in Bullitt. Lelouch wasn’t a dues-paying member of the nouvelle vague, but he was certainly associated with it in his earliest works like Un home et une femme. This nine-minute short is a tire-squealing dash through the streets of sleepy Paris just a little after dawn in August 1976, past the Arc de Triomphe, around the Paris Opera and practically into a number of startled pedestrians and pigeons (viewers have pointed out that, for a guy in a hurry, the driver does take the long way around). The driver rips through a dozen red lights (I lost count), on occasion he drives on the sidewalk and swerves into the oncoming lane — which are, admittedly, pretty much standard survival techniques for French drivers.

Myths grew up around Rendezvous (partly because it was publicly unavailable for years): That the car was Lelouch’s own Ferrari 275 GTB (a good guess, judging from the growling sound), that Lelouch hired a professional Formula 1 driver (after all, Lelouch had filmed Le Mans), that Lelouch was arrested  (he filmed it without any permits).

According to this site and others, none of this is true. Lelouch drove the car himself, using his own 6.9 liter Mercedes 450 SEL because a Ferrari, even with a gyro-stabilized camera mounted to provide a headlight-POV, proved too bouncy. Lelouch wasn’t arrested, but he was given a ticket.

And that rather un-Mercedes sound of barking gear-shifts and snarling acceleration? It was the sound of a Ferrari, Lelouch confessed, but the V12 rumble was dubbed later (the Mercedes and the live recording quality didn’t seem racy enough). Other than that, the film features no cuts and no speeded-up tricks, as it declares in French at the start.

Except, in effect, one:  Putting a camera that low to the ground makes the action seem faster than it really is (the same effect can be seen when you drive and look, not at the distance ahead, but at the immediate road surface you’re passing). Hence, the long-running debate over just how fast he was going. Lelouch has said 160 kph — or about 100 mph — and Google map calculations with a stop-watch tend to confirm it.

By the way, the film is now available on DVD through Spirit Level Films. It’s even more impressive on a big home screen with the sound cranked up. The only bad thing to say about Rendezvous? It probably has encouraged way too many idiot stunt races through other city streets.

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Q&A: Matt Larson and the Art-O-Mat

Guest Blogger Tina Aguilar teaches Humanities at El Centro College.

Art-O-Mat at Whole Foods

Art adventures abound everywhere we go, and out of the blue I spied a project that I was surprised to see at Whole Foods Market at Park Lane.  Have you wanted to collect art or even get your own art out to the masses? You are in luck because Dallas has its very own Art-o-Mat machine to peruse. Photography is what caught my attention as I gazed at the dispenser choices and then slid in my $5 bill. Matt Larson, a Florida artist, offers a glance into a natural landscape with an ethereal focus. As I pulled out the slip of paper with his blog tag and request to track ownership, I was excited to see it was shot from his iPhone, and I had to learn more about his artwork.

In 1997, Art-o-Mat started as a one-time piece that was part of a solo installation of 12 works by artist Clark Whittington in Salem-Winston, North Carolina, where you could buy photographs for $1 from a refurbished cigarette machine. Originally he had an idea about an art vending machine and, “one day over lunch a friend saw his sketches and told him about discontinued cigarette machines.” Whittington found a local company that was decommissioning machines. His concept magnified into the collaborative art group named Art in Cellophane. All local artists across the world are encouraged to submit work for consideration. Whittington’s philosophy is simple, “we want to connect artists with patrons and allow artists to reach people.” Selling over 25,000 pieces a year, Whittington says, “human to human contact is a lot more valid than clicking on a screen to view or select art.” One of Whittington’s latest machines has found a home in Australia. Dusty Edwards, Whole Foods Market, Associate Marketing Coordinator of Decor, notes that, “he and his colleagues knew of a machine in the Mid-Atlantic region in Tenleytown, Washington, D.C.,” loved the idea, and “bought some art from it when we saw it. With Dallas having a lot of art in the community, along with the recycled statement of the machines, it seemed like a perfect fit for the Park Lane store.” They plan to consider future regional placements and soon will put one at the Montrose store location in Houston.

Tina's Art-O-Mat purchase, Matt's work

Tina Aguilar: How did you find out about the Art-o-mat?

Matt Larson: Wow, good question. We found out about the Art-o-mat probably 10 years ago or so when the Tampa Museum of Art use to have one in their lobby—way back. About two years ago we saw one in Charleston at the college … we were viewing an exhibition there while on vacation. We thought it was so cool and it just happened to be about the time we launched our blogs (my wife is a photographer too). I think that’s when the light bulb lit—we both thought it would be a great way to promote our new blogs to drive traffic. Plus as added value, it’s a blast to do and the pieces are fun to collect. Art-o-mat has a great website and the quality of the artists participating is incredible. After a little research, we realized that many were using the medium to promote their work, create collectable pieces … all while having a great time doing it.

T. A.: Tell me about your process and using toy cameras.

M. L.: I like the concept of using toy cameras that were meant to just point and shoot, give to kids, etc. and making serious pictures with them. Not sure why but I do get a thrill when I see a $20-50 camera make an image suitable for a gallery or museum wall. That is the challenge here for me. I think this is all just a 180-degree turn-around from working with so many art directors over the years telling me what to do and what not to do. This is me just out and about making images for me of things I see. It’s simple, raw and true. No real tricks or bells and whistles.

T. A.: How do you decide what to create and send?

M. L.: For Art-o-mat … I try to send out things that look really interesting and different … landscapes shot in my style of focusing on something from 4’ away as opposed to the quintessential infinity shot that everyone seems to do. I like to do the opposite of the norm. I like to be different. And I like to break rules. One does not need an expensive camera to make art is another message of mine.

T. A.: Do you have a favorite camera?

M. L.: No. I love them all.   The Holga, Diana, and my Argus Bean are all equal and I have different uses for each of them, believe it or not. There is a method to the madness. For example, I always use the Argus Bean camera in sepia mode—it’s capable of making the most beautiful image with no toning or anything. The Holga and the Diana have different softness factors to them, so I use those accordingly.

T. A.: Were you surprised to hear from Dallas, Texas?

M. L.: Yes, on my Art-O-Mat insert to my images on blocks I have a call to action that says, let me know where you purchased your camera … I get emails all the time and love to hear about the purchase too. They all have stories to tell me—like yours!

T. A.: What is your Polaroid Book Project?

M. L.: In 2008, I shot a whole year with my Polaroid 600 camera just before Polaroid stopped producing the film. I knew from day one it was a project. I was happy to just publish my first book on Blurb called the Polaroid Project and it features about a forth of the images shot that year. My next book in progress will be images shot with my iPhone.

T. A.: Is there a certain theme for your next series for the Art-O-Mat?

M. L.: Not really, I’m pulling from all bodies of work and from all cameras. I ship them in sets of 50 and always try to include five different images in all my shipments. I like the people to be able to buy more than one and get a different image. I’m a collector too now and often buy more than one work from an artist. Go check out on the Art-o-mat site the gift box of 10 images in a carton. It’s so cool and it’s fun. Each piece goes to an answer you gave while placing the order. It’s a blast and you’ll love it!

Matt Larson welcomes a visit to his blog. If you are interested in submitting work for the Art-O-Mat machines, you can log on to www.artomat.org for more information. Take time to check out the Art-O-Mat machine at the Whole Foods Market Park Lane store in the vino section. For the collectors out there, two machines can be found in Keller at Art251 or, if you feel like a drive, two-hours away at the Longview Museum of Art.


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An Appreciation: Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless"

Tonight’s your final chance to see on the big screen, a newly restored version of Breathless – the 1960 groundbreaking first film from French director Jean Luc Godard. KERA’s Rob Tranchin explains in his review why he views Breathless as an existentialist anti-hero of a movie.

Screening times today at the Angelika

Another take: An essay by Dudley Andrew from the Criterion DVD release.

KERA radio report:


Breathless stars a young Jean Paul Belmondo as Michel, a small time French hood who idolizes Humphrey Bogart, and Jean Seberg as his American girlfriend, Patricia.

Michel is on the run from the police, and Patricia is trying to figure out whether she loves Michel.  But the plot is only a pretext for making a movie, and Godard’s redefinition of what a movie could be made Breathless an international sensation and a landmark in film history.

For one thing, it’s the way the film deliberately quotes and then violates movie conventions in favor of delivering an intensely present experience.  The famous jump cuts in Breathless seemed heretical at the time, but they represent a simple idea—Godard simply removed the boring parts from a continuous shot.  That’s what makes the movie feel like jazz: it quotes the melody, but it’s the improvised departure from the melody that makes the music soar.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyuK2mWwfP4
Another slap in the face of convention is the way Godard intentionally reminds us that it’s Belmondo and Seberg we’re watching, not Michel and Patricia. The fiction breaks down, but not our interest.

That’s because it’s not about the story.  Rather than deliver a drama about life, Breathless seems to deliver life itself.  As Belmondo and Seberg talk about choice and destiny, the world and a thousand questions about it press in from outside the edges of the frame: Mozart, Faulkner, movies, radio, sirens and sunlight all crowd their way onto the screen.

Breathless is fifty years old this year. The newly restored print showcases cinematographer Raoul Coutard’s sensuous black and white photography in sequences that capture the romance of Paris at night, the roguish glint in Belmondo’s eyes, the youthful glow of Jean Seberg’s luminous skin.

Godard has said he thought he was remaking Scarface but later realized he had remade Alice in Wonderland instead.  Like Alice, Breathless combines irony and self-consciousness with a poetic yearning for beauty that Godard proves can be found in the cinema.

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Thursday Morning Roundup

BIRMINGHAM TO DALLAS TO CHICAGO TO LA: Which sounds like a lyric from ‘Route 66.” Actually, it’s the path of Tracy Scott Wilson’s drama, The Good Negro, which premiered at the Dallas Theater Center in 2008. Next, the drama about a Martin Luther King-like character leading civil rights protests in Birmingham, Alabama, played the Public Theatre in Manhattan and the Goodman in Chicago. It now has opened at the Stella Adler Theatre in LA. The LATimes calls Wilson’s playwriting “schematic” but her “storytelling has scope and wit.”

REMEMBER THE ANIMEFEST! Last weekend it was Dallas Comic Con (DMN video: comic books are “like a soap opera for guys — it’s awesome”). This weekend, we get a little more specialized. It’s the Japanese soap operas for guys, although to be fair, one of the refreshing hallmarks of Japanese manga books and anime films has been the complete involvement of young female characters and readers — a trait that slowly has influenced the American industry. Anywayzies, anybody with their own AstroBoy costume should gather Friday at the Hyatt Regency for AnimeFest.

YOU MEAN, WE DON’T HAVE UNTIL NOVEMBER?? In June, Fort Worth’s Pantagleize Theatre announced it will be the first tenant at 1115 Rio Grande, a space next to the trad-rad-and-renovated Fort Worth Public Market. The company will open with an eight-show season this fall. dfw.com catches up with how the construction of the 102-seat black-box theater is going — because it’s getting a grand-opening gala Sept. 16.

AND SOMEBODY SAVED MARCEL PROUST’S OVERCOAT. An Italian journalist has written a book about it.

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2010 Hiett Prize Winner Announced

This year’s Hiett Prize will go to Mark Oppenheimer, the author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture, and Wisenheimer: A Childhood Subject to Debate. Oppenheimer is also a lecturer at Yale and a creative writing teacher at Wellesley. The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture will present the award Oct. 19.

The annual prize is presented by the Dallas Institute to a writer-scholar in the humanities who has demonstrated great promise — and it’s intended to encourage and assist the winner for any future accomplishment.

A cash award of $50,000 provides the encouragement.

A full bio follows:

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Afternoon Delight: Jungle Boogie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AytWOmJtQ8I&feature=player_embedded

Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re back from lunch but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back tomorrow at 1 p.m. for another installment.

If you were listening to KXT 91.7 this morning, the great Gini Mascorro played “Jungle Boogie” for you in the 8 o’clock hour. And there’s a greater than zero chance you were trying to bust some of the Soul Train moves from this video in your car on your way to work. On a side note – how great would be it be to get these same dancers from 1973 back in a room and have them perform these dances again today?

(h/t April Kinser)

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Cliburn Names President and CEO

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Categorized Under: Fort Worth Arts, Music

The Cliburn Foundation sends word today that it has named David Chambless Worters president and chief executive officer. Worters is the current president & CEO of the North Carolina Symphony. He replaces Richard Rodzinski, who retired in July after 23 years and six Van Cliburn competitions.

Keep reading for the full news release:

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