Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ilf and Petrov in America

"When we had been in New York for a week and, as it seemed to us, we began to understand America, we were quite unexpectedly told that New York is not at all America. They told us that New York is a bridge between Europe and America, and that we were still situated on the bridge. Then we went to Washington, being steadfastly convinced that the capital of the United States is indisputably America. We spent a day there, and by evening we managed to fall in love with this purely American city. However, on that very same evening we were told that Washington was under no circumstances America. They told us that this was a town of governmental bureaucrats and that America was something quite different. Perplexed, we traveled to Hartford, a city in the state of Connecticut, where the great American writer Mark Twain spent his mature years. Much to our horror, the local residents told us in unison that Hartford was also not genuine America. They said that the genuine America was the southern states, while others affirmed that it was the western ones. Several didn't say anything but vaguely pointed a finger into space. We then decided to work according to a plan: to drive around the entire country in an automobile, to traverse it from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and to return along a different route, along the Gulf of Mexico, calculating that indeed somewhere we would be sure to find America....

"This picture should be captioned as follows: 'Here, this is America!'

"And, indeed, when you close your eyes and try to rekindle memories of this country where you spent four months, you don't imagine yourself in Washington with its gardens, columns, and full collection of monuments, nor in New York with its skyscrapers and its poor and rich, nor in San Francisco with its steep streets and suspension bridges, nor in the mountains, factories, or canyons, but at such an intersection of two roads and a gasoline station against a ground of wires and advertising signs."

--Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov, Odnoetazhnaya Amerika, 1937, translated by Erica Wolf

Friday, September 17, 2010

"We have no chance": England vs. United States, 1950 World Cup

"From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"On 29 June 1950, at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the United States defeated England 1–0 in a group match.

"At the time, the English considered themselves the 'Kings of Football', with a post-war record of 23 wins, 4 losses, and 3 draws. Conversely, the Americans had lost their last seven international matches by the combined score of 45–2. The odds were 3–1 the English would win the Cup, and 500–1 for the U.S.

"The American team consisted of semi-professional players, most of whom had other jobs to support their families. The team had also been hastily assembled, and had only been able to train together once, and that was the day before they left for Brazil. 'We have no chance,' recently-appointed coach Bill Jeffrey told the press.

"Newspaper headlines in most World Cup nations trumpeted the shocking upset, except in the United States and England.

"There was only one American journalist even at the World Cup: Dent McSkimming of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who could not get the newspaper to pay for the trip, and had taken time off work to cover the event. His report of the match was the only one to appear in any major American newspaper.

"In England, so unexpected was the result that it was presumed that the 1–0 scoreline was a typing error and so it was reported that England had won on a scoreline of 10–0 or 10–1.

"England's blue kit, which had made its debut in this match, was never worn again.

"The United States and England did not play another World Cup match against each other until the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which ended in a 1–1 draw."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival goes to Los Angeles

2010 September 11, 2:00 PM

Warner Grand Theater
478 West 6th Street
San Pedro, CA 90731-2632

Aaron Vanek

The first H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Los Angeles will screen six of the best movies that have played at the original HPLFF in Portland, Oregon, from the past 14 years.

2pm - 2:45 = Socializing and opening ceremonies
2:45 - 5:45 = Movie Block 1 (180 minutes)
5:45 - 6pm = Q&A with block 1 cast and crew
6pm - 6:45 = Break
6:45 - 7pm = Astra Dance performance
7pm - 9:30 = Movie Block 2 (150 minutes)
9:30 - 9:45 = Q&A with block 2 cast and crew
10pm - 2am = Party at Whale & Ale (free admission with festival ticket, 21+), music by Thelonius Dub

"Block One:
Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008) - An award-winning documentary about the man who created the Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft. Directed by Frank H. Woodward. (90 minutes)

Cool Air (1999) - "Never underestimate the power of the human will." Jack Donner (Transformers 3, Star Trek: The Original Series) stars in this powerful period adaptation of the classic Lovecraft tale about a man who will do anything to survive. Masterfully filmed in Los Angeles on a shoestring budget, directed by and also starring Bryan Moore. (44 minutes)

AM 1200 (2008) - Eric Lange (Lost), John Billingsley (True Blood), and Ray Wise (Reaper, Twin Peaks) star in this taut supernatural thriller about a man on the run who flees into a far worse Hell than the one he left. A modern Lovecraft-inspired tale directed by David Prior. (40 minutes)

During the break, The Astra Dance Company, a theatrical dance company inspired and influenced by famed Gothic horror author Edgar Allan Poe, will perform some of their haunting scenes:

"Block Two:
The Music of Erich Zann (1980) - One of the earliest versions of one of Lovecraft's most popular stories. A boarder is drawn into the web of his mysterious old musician neighbor, who plays haunting music for an unseen audience. Directed by John Strysik. (17 minutes)

The Call of Cthulhu (2005) - Filmed in Mythoscope, this black and white film was made as if it were produced in 1926, the year Lovecraft wrote his definitive tale about a worldwide cult bent on raising their obscene god from the depths of the ocean. Expertly crafted by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, this is the most faithful Lovecraft story adaptation to date. Winner of many awards. Directed by Andrew Leman. (47 minutes)

Re-Animator (1985) - This extreme 80's horror movie spawned many filmmakers to follow in its footsteps by adapting Lovecraft tales. Starring Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek, The Frighteners) as Herbert West, a scientist obsessed with curing death. 2010 is the 25th anniversary of this outrageous horror-comedy. Directed by Stuart Gordon. (86 minutes)

Portland H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival founder Andrew Migliore

All directors of all six films: Stuart Gordon, Frank Woodward, Bryan Moore, David Prior, John Strysik, Andrew Leman, and Sean Branney

Music composer Richard Band (Re-Animator, From Beyond)

Actor Eric Lange (AM 1200, Lost)
Actor Jack Donner (Cool Air, Star Trek: The Original Series)
Cast and crew from The Call of Cthulhu: Noah Wagner, Barry Lynch, Patrick O'Day, Richard Lucas, Leslie Baldwin, cinematographer David Robertson, and special visual effects artist Dan Novy

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society:
Behind the Scenes Costumes:
Author Cody Goodfellow and Perilous Press:
Artist Mike Dubisch:

Mythos Con:
Film Threat:

"The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: "

Monday, September 06, 2010

Every Last One

"Eventually, every fetish will be commodified and every commodity will be fetishized."

--A.S. Hamrah, "A Better Mousetrap," Hermenaut, 2000 March 1