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The Holidays with Charlie Brown and Co.

Tis the time of year when all festivities are apparent and ever-changing. From one month to next we are given holidays; beacons of excitement which guide us through the tumultuous days in-between. Unsurprisingly, this is one of our favorite times of year.

And who better to share in the spirit than The Peanuts? Like pleasantly recalled memories from our childhoods, each of their holiday movies encourage the nostalgia. We find Tom Whalen’s design work to be memorable, elegant, and all-encompassing when it comes to these classics, with each piece exhibits a tone and mood appropriate to their subject matter.

Like the jovial gathering of a Thanksgiving feast.

Or a child’s moving monologue of finding meaning in the materialism, in the beauty of a winters night.

And the mysterious excitement that comes with being a child on Halloween.

Times have changed, becoming more digital and less personal. And yet despite the changes, some things thankfully stay the same. They remain timeless, and undying.


Heroes. Villains. Humans.

Performance drives cinema, that much has always been clear. Since the silent era days of Charlie Chaplain, Douglas Fairbanks, and Greta Garbo, our responses to the subject matter present within any given film have varied depending on the skill of the actor within. Throughout film history characters have fallen into three categories: that of the Hero, that of the Villain, and (increasingly so in this modern era) that of the Human.

No one  grouping is superior to another; as that is a case-by-case subject dependent on the actor in the role, bringing to mind the saying, “(He/She) stole the show!” Yet if performance drives cinema, (as it is entertainment, though some films are more “artistic” than others) then only by a cohesive working of the writing, cinematography, and all other facets of filmmaking do you witness something noteworthy.

Heroes, unmovable and incorruptible, face adversity with an inner strength many of us wish we had.

Villains, the true kind of which there is no mistaking, are as thrilling as they are unnerving to watch.

And Humans, flawed in ways which we often can relate all too well to, engage us in the most thoughtful of ways: offering us the chance to imagine ourselves in their shoes, making the same decisions, and facing the same outcomes.

We are separated only by circumstance, for we created them. Be they echoes or interpretations, aspects of their personas exist within the writer, the actor, the audience. It’s the believability of a character that is the most powerful, driven by performance and absorbed by the insatiable eyes of the masses, be they a Hero, Villain, or Human.

Is there a performance, Human, Villain, Hero, or otherwise which has captivated you so intensely?


If You Write, You Read, And You Should Read This

Despite being published 12 years ago, Stephen King: On Writing remains a compass and road map to every pencil-wielding, Starbuck’s-visting, laptop-carrying, self proclaimed wordsmith of varying degree. There exists within every page a refreshing volume of honesty; an amount which may have proven (and still prove) to be far too…well, honest, for some.

Unrestrained by ego or ill-will, Stephen King holds nothing back in admitting the struggles of any who choose to make sense of their world through words, and yet in recounting his past reveals the joys and plausibility of a life spent doing just that.

A mini-biography of sorts, the life of Stephen King was, in the early days, not nearly as grand as any who’ve read his fiction may envision. The arduos challenges, some comical and others dismal, which he reflects upon are entirely human in their vulnerability, and as a reader I found myself experiencing fleeting echoes of what he may have felt; the joy of a father unable to afford medicine for his sick child coming home to an unexpected paycheck/publishing; excitement at the phone call which finally propelled him into the spotlight; pity and pain when, years later, a van nearly took his life.

By all accounts, I am a fan. That much is clear I’m sure. What I mean to get at specifically is exactly what I’ve said in the title of this post: If you write, you read, and you should read this. As one who writes daily I’m forever grateful for the pointing out of weaker areas in my own work, like taking a college course from your favorite professor for all of $16.

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of Stephen King’s work, are interested in what made him who he is, or are looking for an entertaining way to learn how to better your craft, I implore you to pick up a copy of On Writing for yourself.

“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing…the more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.” –Stephen King, On Writing (pg. 150)


Mini-Movie Review: ‘Skyfall’

From the very beginning you know this is Bond, pure and unrestrained.

After a reboot comparable to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, 007 found himself the #1 spy once more with Daniel Craig at the helm. However, an unrefined film with a plot as convoluted as it’s title, Quantum of Solace left many movie-goers feeling rather dissatisfied. In an effort to come back strong, director Sam Mendes and his talented team chose to go back to basics while still retaining that 21st century sense of style and relevance.

It was the right decision on many levels. The headlining single “Skyfall” by Adele serves well to the symbolic, dramatic, and haunting opening title sequence, while Javier Bardem brought his reliable sense of unease and creepiness to a villan who, in the wrong hands, would’ve instead been ridiculous.

In an effort not to spoil anything, I won’t delve too deeply into the plot points which so characterize and callback the Sean Connery days of James Bond. The script here is a polished, engrossing work of cinematic set-pieces and calculated coolness. The exotic locations, a staple of the series, are varied and utilized as more than mere scenery, and Bond himself by the end is a far more interesting person and character for the revelations found across his journey.

This is Bond at his best.

9/10


Toothpaste Art

Our graphic designer Josh and writer David recently submitted their entry into the pop-culture spoofing website I-Mockery‘s Halloween Toothpaste Art Contest.

Tasked with creating an art piece purely out of toothpaste, they conceptualized, rough drafted, and fine-tuned their WINNING piece into a wonderfully cheesy work of toothpaste art. Check it out below!

Read the article describing their process here.

Also check out the other entries, and their featured piece here.

Image

‘Halloween’s Last Kiss’


Press Play: Playlist


Break out the blue jeans and favorite sweaters, because Fall is upon us and bringing with it the cool chill of change. It’s a time for pumpkin spice flavored, well, everything. A time to flood your senses with new sights, smells, and the exciting calm before the holiday season storm.

Like the leaves, your music changes to one more suited to the moody atmosphere.

So brew some coffee, carve a pumpkin, and enjoy our fall playlist favorites.

  1. Minds Without Fear – Imogen Heap (feat. Vishal Shekhar)
  2. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
  3. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
  4. Spitting Image – Freelance Whales
  5. The Girl – City and Colour 
  6. Black – Kari Kimmel
  7. We Will Walk Through Walls – Electric President
  8. Madness – Muse
  9. Blood For Poppies – Garbage
  10. I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons
  11. I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
  12. Fly – Nick Drake

Press Play: Remix

When an original becomes stale, it’s time to re-work it. Make it fresh. Hear it new. Re-discover the reason you loved it in the first place. Sometimes it’s stripped down and simplified, other times it’s amped up for a movie.

So go ahead, enjoy a collection of songs that on their own were great, and with a little TLC continue to age well.

These are the remixes and covers that we love most:

  1. Immigrant Song – Karen O, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (Original by Led Zeppelin)
  2. Hello Seattle (Remix) – Owl City
  3. This Woman’s Work – Greg Laswell (Original by Kate Bush)
  4. Dream On – Blessthefall (Original by Aerosmith)
  5. Baby – Reliant K (Original by Justin Beiber)
  6. Rainbow Connection – Jason Mraz (Original by Kermit the Frog)
  7. It’s Oh So Quiet – Bjork (Original by Betty Hutton)
  8. I Want You Back – Discovery (Original by Jackson 5)
  9. Gimme Sympathy (iTunes Session) – Metric
  10. Major Tom (Coming Home) – Shiny Toy Guns (Original by Peter Schilling)
  11. All My Loving – Jim Sturgess (Original by The Beatles)
  12. Nothing Better (Styrofoam Remix) – The Postal Service