Friday, February 28, 2014


That's (above) the old Chouinard art school in the 30's, the school that later morphed into Cal Arts. It was Walt Disney's idea to combine the Chouinard Art Institute and the LA Conservatory of Music so that different artistic disciplines would be taught under the same roof. It was an interesting idea...cross pollination and all that...but did it work?

One problem was that formal modern dance got very serious more than half a century ago...too serious... and dancers committed to that might not have been the best people to inspire comedic animators.

You have to wonder what would have happened if a showbiz dancer like Bob Fosse had supervised the Cal Arts dance program. Imagine the young Fosse lecturing to an animation class.

He would have shown them things like the Astaire tilted hat, the Jolson extended arms, face-open palms like a minstrel, clowning pantomimes, hiccuping joints, locking arms and legs that take a pose then suddenly drop it, tiny stepping like Jimmy Durante with knees bent and arms dangling would have been quite a show.

Fosse believed in keeping the actors moving, in establishing a stylized, confident flow that's never contradicted by a wrong gesture. He was influenced by what vaudevillians used to call "eccentric dancing," and he combined that with ballet.

Wow! What a teacher he would have made! What an influence such a teacher might have had on subsequent animation styles. Hmmmm....if any Cal Arts students are reading this will you write to Theory Corner to let us know how the dance/music/ animation synthesis is working out these days?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Untitled from withnail pimple on Vimeo.

I thought I'd test Vimeo, just to see how it works. Holy Cow! They put graphics over the bottom of their videos!  Not only that, but they put that stupid link underneath. What were they thinking?


Sorry for not posting sooner. I've been very busy, and still am. Just so nobody thinks I'm dead, here's a few recent photos from the "Astronomy Picture of the Day" site. 

Above, that's Dingo Gap on Mars as seen by the Curiosity Rover.

How big is our galaxy? VERY. Our galaxy contains an area equal to that occupied by all six of the galaxies shown. 

Here's (above) the center of a nearby galaxy. The stars are so densely packed, so close together, that a person standing on a planet there would see nothing but extremely bright light in all directions, all day long. I can't even imagine how intense the ambient radiation would be.

If intense radiation was confined to a small area in the very center of galaxies I wouldn't bother worrying about it, but I think it's more widespread than that, and may seriously hamper our ability to explore the galaxy and find intelligent life.

Above, the Earth at night as seen by the International Space Station.

Here's (above) the surface of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

Here's something you don't see every day. I'm talking about that white dot near the middle of the picture. It's an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy. It's tiny but it concentrates half its 200 million suns in a radius of only eighty light years. On the average the stars there are 25X closer than in our own neighborhood of the Milky Way.

A super massive black hole at its center leads astronomers to guess that it's the remnant of a larger galaxy that was torn apart by proximity with something else.

This (above) is the Earth seen from from a distant probe. From this angle the Moon seems close enought to Earth to scrape it. This is exactly the way Wally Wood used to draw planets and their moons, way before there was any photo reference for it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I put up a lot of old-time mugshots lately, and I thought I exhausted the subject, then Jorge sent me a link to more that I'd never seen before. These were police photos of prostitutes taken in Montreal in the 1920s. What a find!

None of them were what I expected. American gangster movies of the period always portrayed prostitutes as high-living Flapper-types (above). After seeing Jorge's pictures I'm wondering if that image was exaggerated. I don't see any Flappers here.

Here's a few of the Montreal pictures. The woman above was a madam in a house of ill repute.

So was this woman (above).

And so was this woman (above). Yikes! Two of these women managers were pretty mean-looking. I wonder if that's because some of their employees were virtual slaves. I don't know if that's the case...I'm just guessing.

Some of the women (above) who were mere sex workers in those houses looked pretty mean themselves. 

Maybe they were madams in training. They look hard as nails.

Some of the workers looked tragic, as if nothing good ever happened to them in their entire lives.

Others looked simple-minded.

By the 1940s the women (above) in the mugshots looked more normal...well, sort of.

Maybe by then more women were in that business voluntarily. 'Just a guess.

What were women in that line of work like before the 1920s? I'm not sure, but this mugshot (above) from 1920s Australia might contain a clue.

BTW: Most of these pictures were derived from a site called "vintage everyday," 1/26/2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Miley Cyrus's "Bangerz" concert tour opened on Valentine's Day in Vancouver and, to judge from this phone video (below), it must have been something to see.

Yikes! Youtube removed the video clip I had above. I was hoping it would show why I liked her in spite of the overly raunchy things she does. She has a sense of humor and  believes in knocking herself out to put on a creative show. Just out of camera range was the animated film John K did as a backdrop.  I saw parts of it while it was being made.  Pret-tee impressive!

Haw! There's the film in the background. Do you see it? It's just behind the giant and dwarf Miley dances with. Kudos to animators Alex and Gabriel.

I wish I knew more about the people who put the show together. The art direction looks spectacular.

Holy Cow! She looks great in costumes.

She even looks good in buck teeth.

John's film is stunningly creative and has to be seen to be believed, but I don't know how fans can do that. It's not a stand-alone music video, it's a backdrop for a band.

 For now animation fans will just have to buy a ticket to the show. Here's the schedule for the rest of this month. It looks like it'll come to L.A. on the 20th and 22nd.

Here's the price guide for the concert at the Staples Center in LA. The prices run from $80 for the pink seats to $1900 (!!!!!!!!) for the yellow ones. If you want to meet and greet Miley that'll run you...are you ready for this?... $2660. Yikes! Major concerts like this are unbelievably pricey! I wonder what sitting behind the stage would be like.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


It's almost Valentine's Day!!!!!!!  Is your loved one hard of hearing? Maybe she'd appreciate a copy of the love poem I'm writing for the hearing impaired.  I'm not finished yet, but here's how it starts. See if you can guess what the poet (me) is saying. I'll give phonetic hints along the way, then print out the whole thing in ordinary script at the end.  

Okay, let's do this thing!

(Cough! Cough!)

Oops! Sorry about that.

Okay, here goes......












llllllll..... There, I let that last "L" syllable just roll off my tongue.

The whole thing is "My-love-for-you-is-like-a-tickled-thistle." Tickled thistle...get it?'s a repetition of the "th" sound. Us poets know about stuff like that. 

Notice that I left out harsh, explosive know, stuff like....



Don't ask me how I know to do that. It's a gift I was born with.