Tuesday, 31 March 2009
When looking through fairytale books nowadays, I can't help but noticing just how hideous most illustrations are. There are various illustration trends, all of them equally ugly: the "postmodern" illustration, usually made very obviously by computer and which just looks "fake", the "naive" illustration, which looks like the illustrator thinks children are idiots, or the "arty" illustration, of which I'd rather not speak. All those self-proclaimed illustrators should just look back to the ultimate classic of fairytale illustration (we all remember his Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland versions), Arthur Rackham. His style, between Preraphaelite and Art Nouveau was simple, detailed, narrative, with a very airy and free trace that makes us think his characters are in a world which has less gravity. In his work, fairies and other characters, subtle and fragile but still real, bathe in the rare light of fantasy. I am not a big fan of fairies, trolls and gnomes, still Arthur Rackham's illustrations make me dream...
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
We don't care how much time has gone by, or how fashionable it is to say "I'm not impressed by them"; we still think The Beatles are simply the best band ever. Their music influenced everyone from their time on and their outrageous style marked british youth culture forever. Why does everyone have to know them for their worst songs like "Yellow Submarine" or "ob-la-di, ob-la-da"? They should be remembered by amazing tunes like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Oh, Darling" or "Help". Their music is still completely fresh (in fact, much fresher than most of nowadays music), and it will probably remain so for the next 50 years.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
The star of Pabst´s “Lulu” was not only one of the biggest symbols of the roaring 20s for her sexyness and crazyness, but she was also a true individualist. She couldn’t have cared less for what Hollywood and the public thought of her. All her life, she made her own choices, both professionally and personally, sometimes paying a high price for it. Hollywood made Louise Brooks famous for her daring hairstyle and flapper-like allure, but the films she made in Europe (which had for her the consequence of being blacklisted in Hollywood) showed the best of an obscure and exotic personality, sexually ambiguous and liberated, always playing outcast characters in a very human way. Her social compromise and edgyness were not appreciated back in America, and thus Brooks gradually quit cinema to work in Bloomingdale’s for a living. She then earned a good reputation writing about film, of which she had a very deep knowledge and an undeniable talent. Her having the courage to quit being a film star to be completely free as a person is what makes us absolutely crazy about Louise Brooks.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Nowadays, they are obsolete and grotesque; but, from the 1920's until the 60's, detective magazines were read weekly by all of America. The detective fever kicked off with the Great Depression, when bootleggers and swindlers were normality and petty criminals, as well as big time gangsters, were very nearly superstars. As time went by, the econmy grew stronger and as a result crime rates lowered. It was then that the stories began to focus on domestic crime and to take a very sexual nuance. Women acquired a very important role as the lowest version of "Femme Fatale", either as deadly temptresses or as well deserved victims of horrible tortures; only fit for the gutter, in any case. The attractions of detective magazines were many: they offered sin, scandal and sex for the bargain of 15 cents; enough to feed the lowest passions of the average American without making him feel guilty. For, as the seal on the cover of all magazines said, "crime does not pay".