Welcome to the online studio of Francisco Mattos, built w/ printed pieces, design endeavors, personal projects, and tryouts for web layouts.
Rocky celestials orbit the Sun, generally speaking, from west to east, in a prograde motion. Sometimes though, they will become stationery, and then start to shift from east to west, in what Astrology calls a retrograde transit.
Over the course of 2020, they will all take turns beig retrograde, and Hermes as always will do so three times.
In the scheme of things, and across the heavens, it has come to pass that these celestials incl. the primordial god Uranus, who begat the Titan Cronus, who begat the Olympian brothers Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. Zeus then sired Aphrodite, Ares and Hermes.
| ⁕ |
An exception will be Hestia, broken up and marooned in the Asteroid Belt. The primordial goddess of the hearth is carrying eternal fire and is not willing to tarry during this period, when light will dim and the Abyss come into view.
| ⁕ |
This probability could take place on July 11, and fire signs especially should practise self-control, if something unpleasant manifests.
After taking only four steps into 2020 URANUS finds the prospect of more dispirited business deals to unsettling that the god of the sky turns around. The primal-god and progenitor of the race of celestials recognizes that his current torpid state is not suited for this turulent time.
▶ Magic Mocked
Except the expected, expect an eyewash. Time to sit down w/ one’s thunderous thoughts for a tête-à-tête. Time enough to adapt and embrace astonishment. Father Sky's parting gift can be a realization that less is, overwhelmingly, more. In a natal chart it denotes eccentric behaviors privately practised and the endless shunning of new technologies in favor of the tried and true.
CRONUS had a gleam in his eye as he entered 2020 when he looks down and notices that he hasn’t been paying attention at all. He has blundered into the underworld. Worse yet, the god of wealth has taken ill, and it will take til mid-autumn before he can walk again.
▶ Sad Spell
Playing mind games now isn’t a useful pursuit; the sad too go out on dates. Time enough to declutter closets and sort out negativity from positivity. The god of plenty’s parting gift is a tidier habitat. In a natal chart it denotes a natural depressive having no father figure. No discipline. No inner peace. No self-esteem. No lightheartedness. No boundaries. No respect for the elderly. A moody self-nag.
Pinned under the weight of the world, HADES is marinating in generosity and greed in equal measure. The god of the underworld has been in and out of this predicatment going on 12 years; it is draining the last drops of his innocence. He will soebd early spring to late autumn spitting out just enough faux pas to make room for his skimpy good manners.
▶ Death Denied
Be prepared to let go. Be prepared to be picked on. Be prepared to pay up for IOUs. Time is granted to take a swim in one’s subconscious, submerged for a luxuriant soak. Time enough to prune the past, face the future. The god of the dead’s parting gift should restore situations and people to the way they were. In a natal chart it can cause constant application of the brakes: Inability to change and unable to express intensity. Inability to go w/ the flow and unable to recognize what just took place. Inability to trust and unable to guard from predation. Inability to lead while reluctant to forgive manipulation and betrayal.
Summer is taking baby steps when minor divines visit, causing ripples to placid POSEIDON, triggering the god of the sea. At its zenith, he will be porous and will release enough light that a glimpse of the Abyss will happen.
▶ Soul Slammed
Self delusional no more; the god of earthqukes is still and clear. Time enough to slowly wake up from a dream. Poseidon's parting gift is to return one’s own veil, his need for a net now over. In a natal chart, there will be a diffuse unawareness of beginnings and ends, as well as a diffuse awareness of the ego and its extent.
ZEUS is in great discomfort, spending early summer til the harvest moon upside down. The chief of the gods is going through a ritual to counter degradation in moral conduct, inducing emptiness to take on light.
▶ Diamond Dusted
Time enough to detach from jollity. A disbelief in the future sets in, overlaid w/ a general lassitude for warning signs of optimism. Time is granted to set up, and run, endeavors both personal and collective. The allfather’s parting gift is a gain, made through pain. In a natal chart it can denote stunted growth, and a practitioner of the seven vices. A show-off; broke to boot.
ARES will take a two-week break before autumn ends, w/ him are his two sons. While Deimos holds a lit torch, Phobos takes out 13 stitches on his father’s arm. The god of war alone knows it was from self-laceration. Now what should be a straightforward task morphs instead into a delicate operation filled w/ unpredictability.
▶ Libido Lost
Trivial and transient frustrations make for an accident-prone period. Ares departs w/ no gift forthcoming, save a scar that needs healing. In a natal chart, the frustrations will multiply: Unresponsive father. Undefined face. Unfulfilled focus. Unsettled fights. Unassured fucks.
Throwing on a summer dress does not become APHRODITE, as she falls prey to a virus imparting a coarseness in her behavior, and she knows it. Two weeks on, the goddess of love will either have innoculated herself or have resorted to performing a reset ritual. She can expect relapses lingering into autumn.
▶ Royalty Ruined
Ruminate for all it’s worth, then try to renovate. Aphrodite’s parting gift is a hindsight which is both helpful and unhelpful. In a natal chart it can manifest in strained affections; desires lurk when they shouldn’t. Self-defeating; attracted to the unattractive.
By mid-spring HERMES is spent and falls into the sea of unreason. For two weeks the god of commerce is an empty vessel swimming through a complex school, getting in shape to deliver many many messages in one trip, and put aside his unhelpful outlook about failure. | ⁕ | By summer solstice the god of communication’s winged feet give out again as he plummets, this time through clouds. The delay will cost the god of divination to lose three weeks in hyper-objective contemplation amidst a messy domesticity. | ⁕ | During autmn equinox the god of travelers gets to practise good manners yet manages instead to incur unhappy relationships. The guide of souls to the underworld will then have to unclog his cluttered brain and reset his god-given intuition.
▶ Augury Ambushed
The most frequent, therefore the most worrisome of visitations, and all happening inside one’s brain. Mistakes now can cost; re-dos do recur. Breakups then breakdowns; logic takes a break. Time is granted to adopt thought-out words in order to throttle miscommunication, misdirection and mistakes. Time enough to be a listener. Even time to work out private connundrums. As a parting gift, Hermes restores garden-variety sanity. In a natal chart it can signify someone born w/ a spoon in its mouth, hence inarticulate talking, leading to untidy thoughts. Exhibits good rapport w/ the word No.
| back |
The scientific spirit has cast out the Demons and presented us w/ Nature, clothed in her right mind and living under the reign of law.
My everyday tools can include Photoshop w/ thread, InDesign w/ glue, Acrobat w/ exacto knife, Office w/ stamps, and HTML w/ a thesaurus.
♣ | Typography
Johnny Strike Voices, guitars (words) Hank Rank Drums, percussion Roger Strobel Bass Michael Campbell Processed sounds, bowed strings, soundscapes Joey D'Kaye Guitar, synthesizers, theremin
♥ | Business cards
For De Vera
♣ | Leaf
2009 Holiday card
for De Vera
♦ | Cutout
2010 Holiday card
for De Vera
♠ | Pencil
A hand-drawn map of the staircases of Forest Hill. There are eleven: Alton, Alton Backstairs, Magellan, Merced, Montalvo, Oriole, San Carlos, Sola, and the Grand Staircase, which drops down to Dewey Avenue.
Forest HillSan Francisco's Forest Hill is a "small town" conveniently located near the middle of the city. Boundaries are roughly Seventh Avenue and Laguna Honda Boulevard to the north and east, Taraval Street to the south, 14th Avenue to the west. It has its own light-rail station, bringing the K, L and M lines to its doorstep. Built in 1912 on land originally owned by Adolph Sutro, roadways took on a sinuous route to allow for horse and carriage to make it to the top, and are wide and generous, albeit steep.
B-&-w on newsprint
| back |
Illustrated w/ collages, drawings, maps, paintings, photographs, prints and quotes
| ❡ | Out west, when 1848 was only twenty-four days old, New Jersey mechanic James Marshall was making a routine inspection of a water channel underneath the sawmill he ran for his employer, he noticed some odd-looking ore in the waters of the South Fork of the American River, it was “... gold, bright, yet malleable.
“ I then tried it between two rocks, and found that it could be beaten into a different shape, but not broken.” | ⁕ | Nine days after Marshall emerged from the waters w/ his find, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, transferring a large tract of Mexico to the United States. | ⁕ | These concurrent events then precipitated the California Gold Rush of 1849, when people came from all over the world, carrying their tools and dreams and praying to the god and goddess of wealth for a show of “colour” | ⁕ | First they came from Monterey, San Francisco, San Jose and Sonoma: clerks, doctors, laborers, lawyers, mechanics, rancheros. Also, sailors who had deserted their ships, and soldiers who had deserted the Mexican War. As word spread they came from Hawaii, Mexico and Oregon. | ⁕ | Gold seekers showing up at John August Sutter’s sawmill, where gold was first discovered, had no need for milled lumber, and his business went into decline. All the while, a new settlement grew across the Ameircan River and became Coloma, the first gold rush town in California. Next to Sutter’s Mill stands a monument, the first in the west and built by the Native Sons of the Golden West, to mark the grave of James Wilson Marshall, the “discoverer of gold.”
It was easier to cross the isthmus of Panama to get to California than to go around South America. Journey by canoe up the Chagres River to the jungle town of Culebra, where donkeys await for the trip to the Gulf of Panama, eleven miles away.
| ⁋ | Maps were consulted on how to reach the Far West, and what would become the California Trial began w/ established routes there. Emigrants showed up either in towns along the Missouri River, or those in Illinois or Iowa. There they formed wagon trains and headed west across a landscape of grasslands, prairies, rivers, steppes and valleys to reach of Fort Laramie in Wyoming. In the first six months of 1850 over 39,000 people were recorded as having passed through this fur-trading post.
| ⁋ | Beyond Fort Laramie is the Rocky Mountains where its best gateway spot to cross awaited: South Pass, a broad and level corridor. Eighteen miles is a fork in the road: Oregon-bound folk turn right and those on the Mormon Trail and ones afflicted w/ gold fever turn left, toward Fort Bridger, Salt Lake City, and California.
| ⁋ | One can also get to Oregon from California, by taking the Applegate Trail (1846), a route used by emigrants as a less hazardous alternative to the last leg of the Oregon Trail. | ⁋ | All overland travelers used specific routes depending on their starting point and final destination. The condition of their wagons and livestock, the availability of water, were deciding factors.
| ⁋ | The Oregon Trail begins in Missouri and leaves from Fort Leavenworth, Independence and Saint Joseph for a two-thousand mile journey to the Oregon Territory. After crossing the Great Plains and getting to the other side of the Rocky Mountains, this journey starts to head west northwest to Fort Hall on the Snake River, then Fort Boise, Whitman Mission, The Dales, Fort Vancouver, Fort Astoria on the Columbia River, and journey’s end in Oregon City, founded in 1929.
| ⁋ | The Santa Fe Trail goes from Independence, Missouri, through Kansas and a corner of Colorado, crossing the Arkansas River, passing Bent’s Fort, to reach Santa Fe in New Mexico. There it loses its identity somewhat as it connects w/ the Southern Emigrant Trail (a commerce and travel route also known as the Gila Trail). From Santa Fe, one is to follow the Gila River west to Fort Yuma. This part of the journey is known as the Old Spanish Trail (1829), an trade route btw. Santa Fe and the Pacific Ocean.
| ⁋ | In the 16th Century the Spaniards were devising a way to bring trade from the inland to the coast.
| ⁋ |
The Mormon Trail begins in Nauvoo, Illinois, passing Council Bluffs, Iowa, Scottsbluff, Nebraska, before joining up w/ the Oregon and California Trails in Wyoming.
After crossing the Rockies, the Mormon Trail continues south southwest to Salt Lake City, crossing Utah Territory and ending in Los Angeles. (Travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the El Camino Real, a 600-mile “royal road” connecting 21 missions and built by the Spaniards, from San Diego to Sonoma.
| ⁋ | An eight-month sea route from New York to San Francisco involving a harzardous rounding of Cape Horn.
| ⁋ | Clipper ship leaving New York on a maiden voyage to San Francisco.
| ⁋ | Clipper ship Comet, making the fastest run on record, battered by a hurricane off Bermuda.
A gold miner will start w/ a pickaxe, shovel and pan. Then add a rocker, a hopper, conduct hydraulic experiments. A water wheel would be nice, picking up individual quantities of gold-bearing gravel and sand.
| ⁋ | Each gold miner totes his personal gear: a pair of blankets, frying-pan, some flour, salt pork, brandy (or some other sanctifying spirit); some procure a mule. Field gear must-haves are a pickaxe, shovel and pan.
| ⁋ | Ruddy ones w/ no financial backing whatsover learn to congregate along mountain trails and wait for supply wagons passing through, to bring food and tools and to carry out gold dust. Saturday nights were for salooning and carousing, and Sunday is a holiday: writing letters, laundry or napping.
| ⁋ | A twelve inch shallow sheet-iron pan to rinse soil w/ water and locate the gold.
| ⁋ | A ROCKER is a rectangular wooden box mounted on two rockers and set at a downward angle.
| ⁋ | The HOPPER is a box, sitting on top of the rocker, and lined w/ a sheet of perforated iron sheet. Beneath that is an area known as the “riddle-box.”
| ⁋ | The LONG TOM is an improved rocker and hopper, reaching up to twenty feet in length. A long sheet of perforated iron lines the bottom and beneath that is the riddle-box.
| ⁋ | From Mexico, Chile, Peru, England, France, New York and New Orleans – women too had gold fever, and their presence brought semblances of calm to hot-headed men.
| ⁋ | Depicted in history as adventuresses, courtesans, harlots, pickpockets, prostitutes and the demimonde, these women were also book-keepers, cooks, laundresses, maids, homesteaders and wives. When mountain roads improved sufficiently to make travel btw. mining towns feasible, they set forth also as performers, donning bright costumes and giving stagings in dance and song.
| ⁋ | In 1851, Mrs Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe arrived in San Francisco w/ her husband, but they soon left for the gold fields. In her letters home she depicts life during that era. Known to history as Dame Shirley, she learns about geology among other insights, and pays a visit to a rural doctor’s rude office of pine shingles and cotton cloth.
On July 11, 1851, “English Jim” Stuart, a member of the Sydney Ducks, was hanged for robbery and murder.
| ⁋ | Yerba Buena was originally a hamlet w/ an excellent harbor, found on the tip of the San Francisco peninsula. Meant to be a maritime trading post, the Spaniards first built structures profane and sacred, the Presidio and the Mission of San Francisco de Asis. Ships docking in its cove discharged sailors who were greeted by a Spanish-style plaza (now Portsmouth Square).
| ⁋ | On arrival gold miners sought lodgings in shanties and tent towns on Telegraph Hill, and stayed long enough to buy supplies and provisions and head for the gold regions. | ⁋ | Before there was a Barbary Coast it was known as Sydney Town, situated around the base of Telegraph Hill. It was a frontier patch of lawless land ruled by English convicts by way of Australian penal colonies. Brought over in convict ships to work in gold mining, they deserted en masse, returned to San Francisco, and regrouped as a gang, the Sydney Ducks, preying on people and property and willing to commit murder to survive. Soon they were joined by a gang of lady pickpockets.
| ⁋ | Sydney Town was replaced by a red-light district knownworldwide as the Barbary Coast, chock-a-block w/ bars, saloons, brothels, concert halls and dance halls, where “getting shanghaied” was first tried out. It suvived the 1906 Earthquake but by 1917 was no more.
Sutter’s Mill by the American River. Gold was also found along the tributaries of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers: at Auburn, Diamond Springs, Grizzly Flats, Missouri Flat and Placerville.
| ⁋ | Coloma was the first gold mining town, begun as an encampment next to Sutter’s Mill. By 1852, it had a post office and a jail – both popular destinations.
| ⁋ | Gold mining also took place at Bidwell’s Bar, Cut Eye Foster’s Bar, Downieville, Dutch Flat, Goodyear’s Bar, Grass Valley, Helltown, Illinoistown, Iowa Hill, Kanaka Flat, Lousy Level, Marysville, Murderers Bar, Nevada City, Plumas City, Poker Flat, Rough and Ready, Washington, Whiskey Flat, Wisconsin Hill, and You Bet.
| ⁋ | For warmer nights gold miners headed south: Angels Camp, Chinese Camp, Dogtown, Fair Play, Hornitos, Jackson, Mokelumme Hill, Mormon Bar, Rawhide, Rich Gulch, Shaw’s Flat, Sonora, Volcano.
| ⁋ | Now a ghost town inside Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park.
| ⁋ | Home to Native American tribes incl. the Miwok, the Sierra Nevada was rudely affected by the Gold Rush. In 1849 an incident occurred along the Middle Fork of the American River when some forty-niners died and then some Native Americans were killed. An uneasy truce obtained when Native Americans were hired on as laborers and paid in tin, but by 1900 their numbers had declined to ±16,000.
| ⁋ | Before James Cagney as the Frisco Kid and Edward G. Robinson in Barbary Coast> dramatized life during the era, there was a lost 1913 feature, The Last Night of the Barbary Coast.
Like all those seeking a better tomorrow, the Chinese too came to the California Gold Rush, and soon formed a fraternity in Coloma, squatting spent claims and working as a team over the “tailings” left behind. In 1880 this gold-mining Chinatown was destroyed by fire.
Events from February 4, 1846, when the ship Brooklyn left New York for San Francisco w/ members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints aboard, to the last day of 1849, when a state census listed some 42,000 overlanders, another 35,000 who came by sea, plus 3,000 sailors who deserted their ships.
| back |
A documentary by filmmaker Gary Hurstwit, Heveltica the Documentary (2007) posits Helvetica as the most user-friendly of fonts.
“I saw Helvetica everywhere [in New York City], and watched how people were interacting with -- but not really thinking about -- it. People going about their lives, letting a typeface tell them which direction their subway train was headed, where they could park, where the bathroom was, how much to pay for a hot dog. I felt like I’d stumbled onto a secret language.”
m | “Don't look at me as if you had a source of income other than your salary.”
▶ 5 Fingers (1952)James Mason works in the British embassy in Istanbul as the ambassador’s valet. He is also a spy, taking photographs and selling them through diplomatic channels, and ends up involving penniless Danielle Darrieux in a gutsy scheme to get-rich-quick and disappear into South America. | • | Set during World War II and based on the true story of an Albanian-born servant of the British ambassador in Turkey. | • |
• SPY DOUBLE FEATURE: The Prize (1963)
m | “Laughter is the argument of idiots against every new idea!”
▶ Woman in the Moon (1929)Willy Fritsch and Gustav von Wangenheim build a rocket and both love the same woman, Gerda Maurus. They can only make their dream of going to the moon real if they accept finance, and so it comes to pass that Fritz Rasp comes along for the ride as the on-board agent, while Gustl Gstettenbaur is a stoaway no one was expecting. | • | It turns out that our satellite is actually ovoid in shape and has an atmosphere. Otherwise this description of a trip to the moon in 1929 does not age. It remains still a précis on the spirit of space flight, “… spreading imaginative splendours and romantic sweep.” There are many firsts in this film, e.g., the countdown sequence. | • | Directed by Fritz Lang from a script by Thea von Harbou, based on her novel >The Rocket to the Moon. | • | Emil Hasler, Otto Hunte and Karl Vollbrecht were responsible for the look, employing special effects by Oskar Fischinger and Konstantin Imen-Tschet, and seeking out rocketry assistance on how to arrive at production models of liquid-fired rockets. Responsibility for capturing it all on film went to Curt Courant, Oskar Fischinger, Konstantin Imen-Tschet, and Otto Kanturek. | • | The only full-length silent scifi film. The restored version runs to three hours and 40 minutes, w/ the opening dinner scene alone clocking in at 45 minutes. The original score is by Willy Schmidt-Gentner. | • |
• MOON DOUBLE FEATURE: The Astronomer’s Dream (1898) by Georges Méliès
m | “… add to man’s dream of truth.”
▶ Madame Curie (1943)Fictionalized account of the challenges and triumphs of Marie and Pierre Curie, winners of the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. | • | The screenplay by Paul Osborn, Hans Rameau, Walter Reisch and Aldous Huxley, is set in Paris in the 1890s, and unfurls slowly to depict the tedious tasks of research science. In this case delving into radioactivity, and grasping that certain states can cause changes on photographic plates, that uranium and thorium can separate, and all this can lead to a new discovery. | • | The cavernous and detailed sets is by Edwin B. Willis and Hugh Hunt, w/ art direction from Cedric Gibbons and Paul Groesse. All this finesse is carefully photographed by Joseph Rutenberg, who is probably doing this while listening to a recording of the musical score by Herbert Stothart. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon star as the brilliant and shy physicists. Quietly directed by Mervyn LeRoy. | • |
• FAME DOUBLE FEATURE: Miracle Woman (1931)
m | “If I get knocked out, I hope you’ll throw a little water on me.”
▶ Gentleman Jim (1942)Set in 1880s San Francisco, when new rules for boxing came about, this is a fictionalized telling of the life of heavyweight champion Jim Corbett, personified forever after by Errol Flynn. | • | Alexis Smith is the woman who loves him in spite of herself, and his entire entourage is embodied by Jack Carson. Ward Bond is the “Boston Strongboy” boxer John L. Sullivan, w/ Rhys Williams as a British coach and William Frawley as Corbett’s manager. | • | Directed by Raoul Walsh from a script by Horace McCoy and Vincent Lawrence, and based on the autobiography of Jim Corbett (1866-1933). | • |
• BOXING DOUBLE FEATURE: Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
m | “Ouch!”
▶ The Brothers Grimm (2005)Set during the reign of Napoleon in French-occupied Germany. Matt Damon and Health Ledger are brothers and con-artists who concoct supernatural-believing schemes and perform sham exorcisms in order to prey on superstitious folk. Brother Heath also collects and writes down folklore and other fantastic tales, while brother Matt is more interested in the ladies. | • | Tomas Hanak is the woodsman and Lena Headey his daughter. Jonathan Pryce is the French general in charge of investigations, and Peter Stormare is his vile inquisitor. The second dark side is represented in its entirety by Monica Bellucci as the Mirror Queen. | • | Ehren Kruger came up w/ an over-the-top script chockful of bon mots and cheesy dialogue and every sentence swinging from the chandeliers btw. olde English and Hollywood Now. His screenplay sprinkles popcorn into the plot: beanstalk, king, mirror, pea, red cape, rose, spell, toad, tower, wolf, woodsman, even a floor scrubber. Music by Dario Marianelli, moistened w/ Brahms. | • | Damon and Ledger play real life brothers Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, and their book Grimms’ Fairy Tales is an evergreen item available at your library. | • |
• FAIRYTALE DOUBLE FEATURE: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962)
m | “You know what you are? You’re a man w/ his shirt off!”
▶ Stranded (1935)The three themes of ambition, greed and love are braided together to tell the story of the building of a bridge at Golden Gate. It culminates inside Worker’s Hall where mob justice takes all. Before that happens there are others taking place at the Builders Protective League, Bureau of Missing Persons, Municipal Lodging House for Women, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. | • | George Brent is a no-nonsense foreman and luminous Kay Francis as the woman who believes in him. | • | Directed by Frank Borzage from a screenplay by Delmer Daves, based on Frank Wead and Ferdinand Reyher’s story “Lady w/ a Badge.” | • | Threading throughout the movie is documentary footage of the actual bridge build, when union wages were $11 a day, and nets laid underneath to catch falling workers. The build had zero fatalities until the last day of construction, when about eighteen workers fell. The nets saved some but not all. Built to hold up to ten bodies only, the netting broke and took some to their deaths. | • | The Golden Gate Bridge opened for traffic in 1937. | • |
• LABOR DOUBLE FEATURE: Native Land (1942)
m | “It’s like writing a minuet in a time of plague.”
▶ No Time for Comedy (1940)Rosalind Russell is the sophisticated and sensible actress-wife to rube-husband James Stewart, now a sophisticate himself because spoiled to blazes by success. He scored a smash hit w/ his very first play; now he is on the cusp of loing his mojo and his marriage. | • | Administered tough love daily by their maid Louise Beavers, they have to negotiate a season in hell because they could not make time for comedy. Allyn Joslyn is the Broadway director, and Clarence Kolb the short-sighted producer. Charles Ruggles is a banker and Genevieve Tobin his wife, a cougar tinged by touch. | • | Directed by William Keighley, from a script by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein, based on the hit Broadway play, written by S.N. Behrman especially for Katherine Cornell and Laurence Olivier. | • | The film begins in gee-shucks mode and ends w/ a stage monologue to an empty house. A curdled comedy from the golden age of Hollywood. | • |
• SCRIPTWRITING DOUBLE FEATURE: In a Lonely Place (1950)
m | “We are asking Kwan Yin to reshuffle her hand.”
▶ Three Strangers (1946)They came together to enact a ritual which is meant to fulfill a prophecy to acquire untold wealth, but cannot quite forget the mystic-like paths they had each taken to arrive at this shared spot at the same time: Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre (“the Laurel and Hardy of crime”) and Geraldine Fitzgerald. | • | Directed by Jean Negulesco w/ distressed theatrical flourists, from a shadowy screenplay from John Huston and Howard Koch. There is an underwater-quality to Arthur Edeson’s cinematography, which film editor George Amy agitates slightly in order to prolong the ripples forever threatening to disspell the plot. | • |
• CHINOISERIE DOUBLE FEATURE: Portrait in Black (1960)
m | “I just love insects, because they never lie.”
▶ Genocide (1968)Mankind’s reckless experiments triggers a revolt by winged insects, incensed w/ heat-death and nature unbalanced, and is over w/ in 84 minutes. | • | Progenitor of a J-branch into eco-horror, the corrosive script is by Susumu Takaku, who writes dialogue for the insect-mind: “The Earth does not belong to human beings alone. We don’t care if mankind destroys itself w/ nuclear weapons, but we refuse to let you take us w/ you. Destroy the human race! Genocide! Exterminate all humans!” | • | An absurd, disturbing, phantasmagoric, prickly, profound, topical, and wacky film released in the U.S. as War of the Insects. | • |
• APOCALYPSE DOUBLE FEATURE: Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
m | “Beautiful, aren’t they?”
▶ Mrs Parkington (1944)In an instructive moment during its golden age, Hollywood produced a script w/ adult themes and then turned on the works to bring it to the silver screen. | • | Walter Pidgeon is a cut-throat financier and his decisions cause a tragedy in a coal mine. Greer Garson is a suddenly-orphaned coal miner's daughter who becames his ward then wife. Apprised of her subsequent treatment as a doormat, she has recourse to end up chatting about it w/ Cecil Kellaway, as the canny Prince of Wales, and Tala Birell the Euro-aristo fucking her husband. | • | Before that, she is given life lessons most especially from Agnes Moorehead as another Euro-aristo, walking precariously btw. artifice and pragmatism. Selena Royale is the longtime maid. | • |
• STRONGMAN DOUBLE FEATURE: The King and I (1956)
m | “… may be too late.”
▶ The Ugly American (1963)Marlon Brando is the newest member of the U.S. diplomatic corps in Southeast Asia, walking through an uneasy dream. Set in the 1950s in a volatile country in descending into civil war. | • | Directed by George Englund, from a screenplay by Stewart Stern, and based on a 1958 novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. | • |
• VIETNAM DOUBLE FEATURE: Indochine (1992)
m | “Spam in a can.”
▶ The Right Stuff (1983)Biopic of the seven test pilots who went through ground testing to win a seat at the table of the original NASA team to go to the Moon. | • | They are played by Charles Frank, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Lance Henriksen, Scott Paulin, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward. | • | Kathy Baker, Veronica Cartwright, Mickey Crocker, Mary Jo Deschanel, Susan Kase, Pamela Reed and Mitti Smith are the astronaut wives. | • | Sam Shepard isChuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier, Barbara Hershey is his wife. Kim Stanley is the barkeep, and Jeff Goldblum and Harry Shearer are recruiters. | • | Philip Kaufman directs from his screenplay, based on Tom Wolfe’s novelization of the beginning of the U.S. space program. | • |
• SPACE DOUBLE FEATURE: Fight for Space (2016)
m | “Stop shoving your rotten soul in my lap.”
▶ The Iceman Cometh (1973)Drunks in a seedy saloon enact habitual habits. “The days grow hot, O Babylon! ’tis cool bneath thy willow trees!” But when the son of an American anarchist shows up looking for kin, a different desperation seeps in. | • | Fredric March is the saloon proprietor, Stephen Pearlman and Tom Pedi the bartenders. Their barfly buddies are ex-soldiers Martyn Green and George Voskovec, ex-newspapermen Sorrell Booke and Jon McLiam, ex-cop Clifton James, ex-gambler Moses Gunn, ex-lawyer Bradford Dillman, ex-radical Robert Ryan. | • | Current streetwalkers who join are Hildy Brooks, Juno Dawson, Evans Evans (Velma in Bonnie and Clyde). Bart Burns and Don McGovern are the boys in blue, Jeff Bridges the youth (first role), and Lee Marvin the traveling salesman Hickey, a ray of sunshine-through-glass. | • | Premiering on stage in 1946 and set in 1912 in a saloon in New York, this is a four-hour television broadcast of a play by Eugene O’Neill, and directed by John Frankenheimer. | • |
• FOOTLIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: Under Milk Wood (1972)
m | “Listen, John, demons stay in hell, angels in heaven … the great détente of the original superpowers. ”
▶ Constantine (2005)A fast-forward telling of hell on earth races past thrills, tensions and terror. | • | Keanu Reeves is demon-hunter John Constantine. Rachel Weisz knows how to handle a gun because her day job is policework but here she is seeking an answer from beyond the grave. | • | Peter Stormare is the fallen archangel Lucifer Morningsta and Gavin Rossdale is Balthazar his lieutenant, who leads a syndicate of demons. Tilda Swinton is the archangel Gabriel and her angels are Valerie Azlynn, Domino Harvey and Robbin Ryan. | • | Shia LaBeouf is a magician’s apprentice who gets to hang out w/ Max Baker who has a knack for locating holy objects. Djimon Hounsou is an ex-witch doctor and Pruitt Taylor Vince a priest w/ a super-ability. Others play Vermin Man and Scavenger. | • | Directed by Francis Lawrence as a non-stop ride in costumes designed by Louise Frogley, guided by a no-bad-line screenplay by Jevin Brodbin and Frank A. Cappello and by the comic book by Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis. The stunt-happy cinematography is by Philippe Rousselot, capturing special and visual effects by Stan Winston and Phil Tippet, in a production designed by Naomi Shohan and decorated by Douglas A. Mowat. Art direction by David Lazan, emcompassing a truly vast team. | • |
• OUTSIDE DOUBLE FEATURE: Alphaville (1965)
m | “It is going to be a happy time in England, this year in the future.”
▶ Privilege (1967)Set in a “…near future,” where a pop celebrity becomes a tool of the State and his life micro-managed by his handlers in government and the church. | • | The meltdown begins to be apparent when a christian rock group gets to perform “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Jerusalem.” | • | Paul Jones portrays the idol as an internee, singing "“I’ve Been a Bad, Bad, Boy” and “Free Me” to his enraptured audience. (Jones is also the real-life lead singer of Manfred Mann 1962 to 1966.) Jean Shrimpton plays a fellow celebrity, who comes to paint his portrait. | • | Cinema verité film by Peter Watkins. Screenplay by Norman Bogner, from a Johnny Speight story. Mike Leander did the music and Peter Suschitzky handled cinematography. The art direction by Bill Brodie was abetted w/ costumes by Vanessa Clarke. | • |
• SIXTIES DOUBLE FEATURE: Lonely Boy (1962)
m | “You are on board the Andronicus bound from Bizerte to Dubroynik.”
▶ Modesty Blaise (1966)Comic strip characters Monica Vitti and Terence Stamp come to life and battle sophisticated thief Dirk Bogarde in an op-art universe. | • | Directed by Joseph Losey. The look of the era was handled by Jack Shampan and Richard Macdonald, and the special effects by Les Bowie. Evan Jones wrote the script and Jack Hildyard lensed the action, dressed in costumes by Beatrice Dawson and music by John Dankworth. The theme song is sung by David and Jonathan. | • | Based on the 1963 British comic strip, created by Peter O’Donnell and illustrated by Jim Holdaway. | • |
• COMICSTRIP DOUBLE FEATURE: Danger: Diabolik (1968)
m | “You got the bouquet?”
▶ L’Atlante (1934)Dita Parlo marries boat captain Jean Daste and begins married life onboard his river barge. When the boat gets to Paris she disappears, and her husband goes into the city searching for her. | • | Directed by 28-year-old Jean Vigo from a scenario by Jan Guinee, the film evokes a dream-realism from long long ago. | • |
•THIRTIES DOUBLE FEATURE: Maria Chapdelaine (1934)
m | “It’s no longer radioactive!”
▶ This Island Earth (1955)War-hungry aliens from the planet Metaluna search the galaxy for ways to defeat their off-planet enemies the Zahgon. Jeff Morrow and his extraterrestrial crew kidnap Earth scientists Rex Reason, Robert Nichols, Faith Domergue and Russell Johnson and enlist their corroboration. | • | Stories by Raymond F. Jones were turned into a screenplay by George Callahan and Franklin Coen. A comic book come-to-life, filmed in Technicolor. | • | Robert Hickman, Jack Kevan and Chris Mueller built the Metaluna mutant, which was designed by Millicent Patrick. | • |
• OFFPLANET DOUBLE FEATURE: Forbidden Planet (1956)
m | “Hmm-hmm. You can pasture peas on her.”
▶ Search for Beauty (1934)Produced as a stag film to throw a goodbye-&-big fuck-you kiss to the incoming era of the Hays Code. | • | Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino lead the bevy, when as Olympic champions they are hired to embark on a “world tour for perfect youths.” | • | A girlie magazine brought into existence; features footage from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. The behind-the-scenes dionysian art direction are by Hans Dreier and John B. Goodman, who are giving acting advice to those in front of the cameras, decked out in apollonian costumes by Travis Banton. | • |
• PINUPS DOUBLE FEATURE: Murder at the Vanities (1934)
m | “… go for a walk.”
▶ King and Country (1964)Tom Courtenay is the World War I private accused of desertion during battle, and Dirk Bogarde his military defense attorney who must guide his client to a dark place. | • | Directed by Joseph Losey from James Lansdale Hodson’s novel, which turned into a play by John Wilson before becoming a script by Ean Janes. | • |
• WWI DOUBLE FEATURE: Journey’s End (2017)
m | “I wanted to give you a ghost for your birthday.”
▶ Sylvie et le Fantõme (1946)Ghost story set inside a vast house (ghost dog anyone?). The owner’s daughter is about to turn sixteen, and the father wants to give her a fake ghost for her birthday. The house is already haunted by a ghost, so what could go wrong? | • | Odette Joyeux as the birthday girl, and Jacques Tat as the ghost (first role). Joining in this frothy pastisch are Marguerite Cassan, Paul Demange, Jean Desailly, Gabrielle Fontan, Pierre Larquey, Claude Marcy, Francois Penier, and Raymond Rognoni. | • | Directed by Claude Autant-Lara, screenplay by Jean Aurenche, cinematography by Philippe Agostini and the just-right music by Rene Cloerec. A pastiche of Old Dark House. | • |
• WHIMSY DOUBLE FEATURE: The Enchanted Cottage (1945)
m | “So you are going to fix everything up by getting good and tight!”
▶ The Wet Parade (1932)The need to regulate grain during World War I led to a complete outlawing of liquor all together. Spanning the years 1916 to 1931, this story tells of how this decision affected the lives of two families. | • | Lewis Stone and Walter Huston are the patriarchs destroyed by drink, and Robert Young and Dorothy Jordan their children. Neil Hamilton is a son who succumbs to the same state, while Myrna Loy runs a speakeasy, Jimmy Durante is a federal agent, and a formidable supporting cast of fifty-plus. | • | There is a stand-alone documentary showing how Americans met challenges in the curtailment of their right to liquor, incl. from the criminal world, where potential customers brought blossomings of new enterprises: use a cheap ingredient like bulk denaturated (i.e., unfit to drink) cleaning fluid (i.e., ethyl alcohol + methanol), bottlie it and slap on a bogus name-brand label. | • | Directed as an old-fashioned tonic by Victor Fleming, and adapted by John Lee Mahin from the 1931 novel by Upton Sinclair. Released before Prohibition had ended. | • |
• MOONSHINE DOUBLE FEATURE: Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)
m | “I bet you slept w/ her.”
▶ I Knew Her Well (1965)Country girl thinking of turning herself into a glamorous movie star moves shows up in the film colony and becomes mesmerized as she is slowly exploited, and Stefania Sandrelli conveys a trail of melancholic mist wafting away as she walks through her sunken dream. | • | Mario Adorf, Jean-Claude Brialy, Joachim Fuchsberger, Nino Manfredi, and Enrico Maria Salerno are the callous men she meets in her search, and sensitive Franco Nero the one she ignores. | • |
• HANDKERCHIEF DOUBLE FEATURE: The Lovers (1958)
m | “Imagine.”
▶ Fantastic Voyage (1966)A team is quickly assembled in order to save a comatose man - from inside his body. | • | The submersible is skippered by William Redfield and carrying doctors Arthur Kennedy and Donald Pleasence, nurse Raquel Welch, and CIA agent Stephen Boyd - because. They must perform an operation and remove a blood clot from inside a patient's brain. Chaos ensues. | • | Directed by Richard Fleischer, from a screenplay by Harry Kleiner and adapted by David Duncan from a story by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby. The music by Leonard Rosenman pulses w/ bass, clarinet, piano, trombone, violin and percussion. Ernest Laszlo was behind the camera, and it was edited by William B. Murphy. | • | The special effects, under the art direction of Dale Hennessy and Jack Martin Smith, were by Johnny Borgese, Greg C. Jensen, William O. King, and the visual effects were by L.B. Abbott, Art Cruickshank, Emil Kosa Jr., and Jason Richardson. Marcel Delgado did the miniatures and the stunts were performed by Donna Garrett and Sol Gorss on sets designed by Stuart A. Reiss and Walter M. Scott. The scenic art was by Bill Anderson. | • |
• INNER SPACE DOUBLE FEATURE: Powers of Ten (1968)
Host to Royalty
Hyde Park by the Hudson, a 2012 British film retelling of the 1939 stay, at the dawn of nazism, by King George I and Queen Elizabeth, at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s country estate in order to secure a Special Relationship between the two and declare the Atlantic Ocean a pond. Film features newsreel footage of the Royal visit by Pathe News.
RETURN TO REASON
A Haunted House
-by Virginia Woolf-
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure — a ghostly couple.
“Here we left it,” she said. And he added, “Oh, but here too!” “It’s upstairs,” she murmured. “And in the garden,” he whispered. “Quietly,” they said, “or we shall wake them.”
But it wasn’t that you woke us. Oh, no. “They’re looking for it; they’re drawing the curtain,” one might say, and so read on a page or two. “Now they’ve found it,” one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the hosue all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. “What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?” My hands were empty. “Perhaps it’s upstairs then?” The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.
But they had found it in the drawing-room. Not that one could ever see them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing-room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling — what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat softly. “The treasure buried; the room …” the pulse stopped short. Oh, was that the buried treasure?
A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, cooly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burnt behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us; coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found it dropped beneath the Downs. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat gladly. “The treasure yours.”
The wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering though the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seek their joy.
“Here we slept,” she says. And he adds, “Kisses without number.” “Waking in the morning—” “Silver between the trees—” “Upstairs—” “In the garden—” “When summer came—” “In the winter snowtime—” The doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.
Nearer they come; cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken; we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern. “Look,” he breathes. “Sound asleep. Love upon their lips.”
Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.
“Safe, safe, safe,” the heart of the house beats proudly. “Long years—” he sighs. “Again you found me.” “Here,” she murmurs, “sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure—” Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. “Safe! safe! safe!” the pulse of the house beats widly. Waking, I cry “Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.”
| back |