|Image: Gahan Wilson for Playboy|
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Yesterday we attended the Steampunk exhibit at Muzeo, a small museum in a re-purposed old (1908 through 1987) library in Anaheim, CA.
You know a place is cool when there is a labyrinth outside it. This one has an monument honoring soldiers at the center. Low waterfalls near the benches were not operating, but it is easy to imagine how serene it must be.
Inside, there was a room that was dedicated to the influences of Steampunk, including Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Nickola Tesla, and Mary Shelly. Each had their likeness displayed in a frame with a bit about their work. Here is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the code he used in his popular Sherlock Holmes story "The Case of the Dancing Men", though mainly it is his Professor Challenger tales that were Steampunk influences.
There were few costumes in the exhibit, and some headgear.
A very large hand-painted canvas poster took up almost one wall.
Disney movies were mentioned several times. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and Time After Time were two that I can recall.
Other canes included the Doc Holliday Nut Cracker cane, the Tesla Plasma cane, Samurai Grip Handle cane, Faucet cane, Cylinder cane, and the (Citizen) Cane Time Extractor.
There was also an exhibit of Victorian art in the adjacent building, all of it on loan from a couple who must be extremely wealthy. I didn't want to aim my camera at any of the many old and delicate oil paintings, but they were beautiful, as were their frames, and several were life-size.
The same couple also collected Victorian personal effects, such as these imaginative match cases in all manner of shapes: heads, moons, animals... They were often humorous, and at the time, were considered a conversation-starter.
We also went to see Wicked, the musical, playing at the gorgeous Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
|photo: Don Solosan|
This is my second time seeing Wicked. I swear they must tell the actresses playing Glinda to channel Kristen Chenowith, who did play this role once. They all sound exactly like her. But then, the actor playing the Wizard of OZ this time seemed to be channeling Jimmy Stewart, and the actress playing Elphelba, the lead character who happens to be green, had the voice of Sarah Jessica Parker- which wouldn't be poor casting, either.
The set for Wicked is rather Steampunk, by the way, with lots of clock gears almost always in view as a major part of the scenery. Here's Glinda and some clockwork.
And guess what else is nearby?
|Ignore the cleavage!|
We also recently saw Martin Scorsese's movie "Hugo", which also was full of old clockwork.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Well, Halloween 2011 is over and it's time to start thinking about that next major holiday: Halloween 2012.
My mom's friend sent her the above photo of an amusing display at a house along her commute. Aquick search revealed the pattern for the dog chasing a skeleton at the Winfield Collection (the link is here.)
They have several good choices for easy designs from plywood. Here are two more:
Thursday, October 27, 2011
|photo: Better Homes and Gardens|
We were rather entranced by this standing skeleton in the 2011 Better Homes and Gardens special Halloween Tricks and Treats edition of their magazine, and were further intruiged when we saw how light and poseable it was. We also liked that this is a realistic-looking skeleton, and that it is of a thick, durable plastic.
|photo: Better Homes and Gardens|
|photo: Better Homes and Gardens|
This is the first year we have seen these skeletons, and since they were hard to find and sold out quickly, this post is dedicated to them, in the hope that it helps other people who have seen the skeletons in the magazine and are also trying to track them down.
These 63-inch tall skeletons with eyes also have a small button on the head that activates flashing blue and green colored lights and some sound effects, which we were ambivalent about. I doubt that I'd ever need to push that button again, and really, I'd be fine if the skeleton came without the eyeballs. But because the eyes light up red, removing the eyeballs would reveal a hole where the electronics go (and also leave some giant eye sockets) so I guess my skeletons will have eyes for the time being.
Another good feature is that the entire skeleton glows in the dark.
One tiny negative: there is random brown paint on the glow-in-the-dark bones. One of my skeletons got a big dose of the brown paint on one leg and not so much on the other.
The skeleton's stand is very small and unobtrusive. Just some black metal plates, but they do attach to pipes that go up his legs and across his hips. The plates are not easily removed or adjustable. It is surprising how stable he feels on such a small stand.
The only assemply is to attach each thigh bone to it's respective shin bone. The right and left sides are even labeled 'A' and 'B' so it really is simple.
Here's the box:
We're not sure, but we think they are made by Halloween International, because there is a logo on the box that says that:
We also see on the box that they are distributed by Christmas International
To make it a little more complicated, the side of the box says Halloween USA
Something else I really liked about him was that his joints ratchet into place, so he will hold a pose with having to use glue or other means.
|The skeleton from Halloween International|
2011 was a bumper year for new skeletons on the market. For comparison, here is the above skeleton standing between two other new skeletal offerings:
The $30 Walgreens skeleton is hanging on the left. It has an aged appearnce and is super lightweight, but the plastic is thin and brittle. I returned it to the store, and saw another in the store had his neck torn. Hanging from the right is the $40 Target skeleton, which glows in the dark, is of durable plastic and has ratcheting joints. I like his face and am pretty happy with him, but I do wish that he could stand on his own (the stand is a big feature in my book and worth the $17 price difference). I don't have a photo of it here, but I hung the Target skellie next to an expensive Bucky skeleton from Anatomical Chart Supply, and they look quite alike. I won't be buying any more Bucky skeletons, since there are these inexpensive and realistic options now.
So there you have it, a quick round-up of the new skeletons of 2011.
Monday, October 24, 2011
You may recall my post about the return of Boney Island, one of the most beloved home haunts of all time. Friday night saw the debut of Boney Island's new theme of skeleton magicians performing tricks. The show was a great success with a large turnout, including the press. You would never guess that the plan to put on a new show was hatched only this summer, and that many of the items to build this show were obtained in only the past month or two.
Here's creator Rick Polizzi:
The 10 magic cauldrons shot green glowing water 12 feet into the air, eliciting applause:
The popular fortune teller answered questions and amused the crowd:
|Neighbor David, on the right, is the secret voice of the fortune teller|
|The crowd usually gets deep for the fortune teller|
One skeleton held a flashlight while another talented skeleton made shadow puppets with his boney hands, including a bird, a witch, a castle- even the Boney Island skull logo!:
Like Houdini, The Man In The Can was a skeleton bound in a strait jacket, and wiggled to escape it while under water in this creepy confine:
Another skeleton magician sawed other skeletons in half...but he made a few errors:
Oh yes, the pumpkins are in that crazy 3-story tall treehouse.