Now that California has a budget surplus, the question for the state’s lawmakers is pretty simple: Should they use all the new money to reverse recession-era cuts to social programs. Or, should they spend up to $400 million a year of the new resources on more taxpayer handouts to the film industry? Yesterday, 59 California state legislators called for the latter, sponsoring a bill to increase tax credits to the film and television industry. Call it yet another Hollywood heist, this one engineered with a double-shot of chutzpah.
Christine Fox, the former mathematician at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar who inspired Kelly McGillis's character in Top Gun, has become the first female Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two role at the Pentagon. Fox will serve in an "acting capacity" until a permanent person is confirmed for the job by the Senate. (CNN)
What do Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Julia Roberts, Benicio del Toro, Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Richards have in common? As young, mostly-unknown actors they all appeared on Miami Vice, my favorite TV cop show (except for Barney Miller). Yes, that's Ben Stiller in the above clip. "27 Actors Who Got Their Starts on Miami Vice" (Mental Floss, via Next Draft)
The soundtrack to Forbidden Planet (1956) was a milestone moment in the history of electronic music. It was the first entirely electronic film score, composed by Louis and Bebe Barron using DIY circuitry inspired in part by Norbert Wiener's 1948 book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, a seminal text in its own right. At the time that the film's producer at MGM, Dore Schary, met the Barrons they were beatnik musicians hanging out in Greenwich Village. The soundtrack to Forbidden Planet continues to astonish even today. (Listen to the "Main Title" at left.) My friend Ken Hollings, author of the fantastic outré history book "Welcome to Mars," created a wonderful audio documentary that just aired on BBC Radio 3 about the Barrons and their iconic "electronic tonalities."
Who goes hang gliding in a leisure suit? Bond. James Bond. Graphic designer Matt Spaiser's blog "The Suits of James Bond" should be an inspiration to all of us. Nobody in Hollywood wore terrycloth or linen better than 007.
The official LEGO DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future goes on sale August 1. The kit, containing Minifigs of Marty McFly and Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown, is based on a design submitted to LEGO by fan builders Masashi Togami and Minifig Builder Sakuretsu. The two are donating their royalties from the product to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. LEGO Back to the Future
Artist John Stezaker collected, cut up, and collaged vintage publicity photos of classic Hollywood film stars into provocative portraits of unreal celebrities in juxtaposed elegance. Simple but highly effective.
“Images in charity shops are like orphans,” Stezaker told the British Journal of Photography. “They’ve lost their context or culture, they’ve gone a little bit out of date. They’ve been neglected and overlooked for years and people have passed them by, then suddenly here I am, the alternative foster home, but unfortunately I then inflict terrible abuse down in the basement where I cut them up.”
Making the rounds on Hollywood local blogs today: Some so-called "Little People" who work in Hollywood are upset at the producers of the forthcoming Universal motion picture Snow White and the Huntsman, because tall people have been cast in the role of Snow White’s dwarfs. The bodies of the "tall people" actors will be morphed using special effects tech. Matt McCarthy, speaking for a prominent self-decribed “midget theater group” (this is the word Matt uses, not my selection), says they plan to stage a protest.
You'd think that the proponents of SOPA would give up that legislative dead parrot's ghost. But they're still doing the rounds on radio and in print, claiming that millions of Americans were 'duped' into opposing their harmless little internet censorship law.
The fresh (!) talking points go like this: Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and others 'lied' to the public about what SOPA was in the crucial final moments, 'abused our power' by going dark for a day, and thereby tricked legislators and the public into turning on a much-needed new law.
A Canadian oil company called Paramount Resources has changed its name to Pixar. Seriously.
Previously known as Paramount Resources, I guess the executives got tired of being named after one of Hollywood’s has-been brands. As far as I can tell, this is not a joke, there’s even a serious sounding press release composed without a hint of irony. It’s being reported in the wider media as well.