Georges Méliès

imageFrench film Pioneer and innovator Georges Méliès was born December 8th 1861. After completing his education, Méliès joined the family shoe business. Later he visited London And,after visiting the Egyptian Hall, run by the famous London illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne, he developed a lifelong passion for stage magic. Méliès returned to Paris in 1885 Where he studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, also attending performances at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, founded by the famous magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, he tookmagic lessons from Emile Voisin. In 1888 Georges Méliès purchased the Théâtre Robert-Houdin Which was equipped with lights, levers, trapdoors, and several automata, and Over the next nine years, Méliès created over 30 new illusions including the Recalcitrant Decapitated Man, bringing comedy and melodramatic pageantry to performances which all proved popular. Méliès also worked as a political cartoonist for the liberal newspaper La Griffe.

CONQUEST OF THE POLE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CtrELhltAwo

Méliès began working more behind the scenes & acted as director, producer, writer, set and costume designer as well as inventing many of the magical tricks. He also brought many famous magicians to the theatre. As well as performing fairy pantomimes, an automaton performance during intermissions, magic lantern shows, and special effects such as snowfall and lightning. In 1895, Méliès was elected president of the Chambre Syndicale des Artistes Illusionistes and Between 1896 and 1913, Méliès directed 531 films. Which were similar to the magic theatre shows and contained tricks” and impossible events, such as objects disappearing or changing size, and by experimenting with multiple exposures he was also able to play seven different characters simultaneously in film. After seeing the Lumière brothers’ films he bought several films and an Animatograph film projector & By April 1896 the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was showing films. Méliès built a film camera using parts from automata and special effect equipment. And developed and printed the films himself. In 1896 he patented the Kinètographe Robert-Houdin, an iron-cast camera-projector, which Méliès referred to as his “coffee grinder” and “machine gun” and began shooting his first films in May 1896, and screening them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin and founded the Star-Film Company. His earliest films included Playing Cards and A Terrible Night

VOYAGES DANS LE LUNE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eeqfxe4WSqk

whereas The Lumière brothers intended their invention to be used for scientific and historical study dispatching camera operators across the world to document it as ethnographic documentarians,’ Méliès’s Star-Film Company, catered for the “fairground clientele” who were intersted in magic, Art and illusion and Méliès began to experiment with special effects in his filmmaking using them in The Vanishing Lady, where a person seemed to turn into a skeleton before disappearing and then reappearing later. Then In 1896, Méliès built a film studio on his property in Montreuil, just outside of Paris. which had glass walls and ceilings so as to allow in sunlight for film exposure, and also included a shed for dressing rooms and a hangar for set construction. In 1896 Méliès made 78 films and 53 in 1897 covering every genre, including documentaries, comedies, historical reconstructions, dramas, magic tricks and féeries (fairy stories).

Méliès also made advertisements for whiskey, chocolate, and baby cereal. Although he only made 30 films in 1898 his films were becoming more ambitious and elaborate, including the historical reconstruction of the sinking of the USS Maine, Divers at Work on the Wreck of the “Maine”, the magic trick film The Famous Box Trick, the féerie The Astronomer’s Dream, the religious satire TheTemptation of Saint Anthony And A Dinner Under Difficulties. He also experimented with superimposition In the films Cave of the Demons and The Four Troublesome heads, and the early horror film Cleopatra depicts her mummy being resurrected in modern times. Méliès also made The Dreyfus Affair, and Cinderella, which were popular in both Europe and The United States. At first US filmmakers such as Thomas Edison resented the competition from foreign companies & attempted to block Méliès from screening most films in the US prompting Méliès and other film makers to established a trade union Chambre Syndicale des Editeurs Cinématographiques as a way to defend themselves in foreign markets using Théâtre Robert-Houdin as the group’s headquarters. In 1900 Méliès made 33 films, including Joan of Arc, The One-Man Band and The Christmas Dream, and In 1901 Méliès made the Bus, The Brahmin and the Butterfly, Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, both based on stories from Charles Perrault. In1902 Méliès made The Devil and the Statue, The Man with the Rubber Head and A Trip to the Moon, Which was loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon, in which Méliès himself stars as Professor Barbenfouillis, president of the Astronomer’s Club, who oversees an expedition to the Moon where they encounter a group of Moon Men.

Méliès also produced three other films The Coronation of Edward VII, using actual footage of the carriage procession in the film, Gulliver’s Travels, based on the novel by Jonathan Swift and Robinson Crusoe, based on the novel by Daniel Defoe. In 1903 Méliès made Fairyland: A Kingdom of Fairies, Ten Ladies in one Umbrella, The Melomaniac and Faust in Hell, based on the opera by Berlioz, and In 1904 he made a sequel, Faust and Marguerite. based on an opera by Charles Gounod, the Barber of Seville and The Impossible Voyage Which was about an expedition around the world, into the oceans and even to the sun. Méliès also create a special effects film for a theatre revue, entitled The Adventurous Automobile Trip. In 1905 Méliès contributed two short films to The Merry Deeds of Satan : The Space Trip and The Cyclone, and also made The Palace of Arabian Knights and the féerie Rip’s Dream for the 100th birthday of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. in 1906, he made a film version of The Merry Deeds of Satan and The Witch. In 1907 Méliès made nineteen films, including a parody of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a short version of Hamlet and in 1908 Méliès made one of his most ambitious films: Humanity Through the Ages, which retells the history of humans from Cain and Abel to the Hague Peace Conference of 1907.

Méliès made three films in 1909 and In 1910 his brother Gaston set up a studio called the Star Films Ranch in Texas, where he began to produce Westerns. By 1911 Gaston had renamed his branch of Star Films American Wildwest Productions & produced over 130 films between 1910 and 1912. Between 1910 and 1912, Georges Méliès produced 20 films including Whimsical Illusions and Spiritualist Phenomena.The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Haunted Window & In 1912, Méliès made Conquest of the Pole, inspired by Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole in 1909 and Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole in 1911. This included giant monsters and also has elements of Jules Verne’s The Adventures of Captain Hatteras he also made The Snow Knight and Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon.

Sadly in the autumn of 1910, Méliès made a fateful deal with Charles Pathé that would eventually destroy his film career, whereby he accepted a large amount of money to produce films while Pathé Frères distributed and reserved the right to edit these films, and also held the deeds to both Méliès’s home and his Montreuil studio as part of the deal. Later he also started having financial trouble thanks to his brother Gaston’s poor financial decisions, and he lost $50,000 and was forced to sell the American branch of Star Films to Vitagraph Studios. As a result Méliès was unable to pay the money he owed Pathé thus breaking the contract and he was declared bankrupt and stopped making films. the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was shut down for a year and Méliès left Paris for several years. In 1917 the French army turned the main studio building at his Montreuil studio into a hospital for wounded soldiers. He and his family then turned the second studio set into a theatrical stage and performed over 24 variety show revues there until 1923 when it was torn down in order to rebuild the Bouvevard Haussmann. The French army also confiscated over 400 of the original prints of Star-Films’s catalog of films in order to melt them down and retrieve their celluloid and silver content. The final straw came In 1923, when Pathé took over Star-Films and the Montreuil studio. And In a rage, Méliès personally burned all of the negatives of his films that he had stored at the Montreuil studio, as well as most of the sets and costumes. As a result many of his films do not exist today. Nonetheless, just over 200 Méliès films have been preserved and are available on DVD. After being driven out of business, Méliès disappeared from public life. By the mid-1920s he was making a meager living as a candy and toy salesman at the Montparnasse station in Paris.

However in 1920s several journalists began to research Méliès and his life’s work, creating new interest in him. As his prestige began to grow in the film world, he was given more recognition and in December 1929 a gala retrospective of his work was held at the Salle Pleyel. Eventually Georges Méliès was awarded the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honor) which was presented to him in 1931 by Louis Lumière. Lumière himself said that Méliès was the “creator of the cinematic spectacle. In 1932, the Cinema Society arranged a place for Méliès, his granddaughter Madeleine and Jeanne d’Alcy at La Maison du Retrait du Cinéma, the film industry’s retirement home in Orly, where Méliès worked with several younger directors on scripts for films including a new version of Baron Münchhausen with Hans Richter and a film called Le Fantôme du métro (Phantom of the Metro) In his later years.

He also acted in a few advertisements . In 1936 an abandoned building was rented on the property of the Orly retirement home to store the collection of film prints. They then entrusted the key to the building to Méliès and he became the first conservator of what would eventually become the Cinémathèque Française. Although he was never able to make another film after 1913 or stage another theatrical performance after 1923, he continued to draw, write and advise younger film and theatrical admirers until the end of his life. By late 1937 Méliès had become very ill and he was admitted to the Léopold Bellan Hospital in Paris. one of Méliès last drawings was of a champagne bottle with the cork popped and bubbling over. Méliès died of cancer on 21 January 1938 just hours after the passing of Émile Cohl, another great French film pioneer, and was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Monuments to an Elegy by Smashing Pumpkins

Today I have been listening to Monuments to an Elegy, the tenth studio album by the alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, which was released December 8, 2014. The album is part of the ongoing project, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope along with Oceania and the next album “Day for Night”. Monuments to An Elegy is described as having an epic guitar sound and My favourite songs on the album include Anaise, One and All, Drum + Fife and Dorian (which reminds me a bit of Depeche Mode/New Order).

Currently Jeff Schroeder and Billy Corgan are the only musicians officially in the Smashing Pumpkins, however The album features Tommy Lee, (Mötley Crüe,). playing drums on all nine of the album’s tracks. The upcoming tour will feature Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk on drums, The Killers’ Mark Stoermer on bass and Nicole Fiorentino playing on guitar. Singles on the album include “Being Beige”,”One and All,””Tiberius”, and “Drum + Fife”.

Tiberius
Being Beige
Anaise!
One and All
Run2me
Drum + Fife
Monuments
Dorian
Anti-Hero

Diego Rivera

DiegoRiveracontroversial Mexican artist Diego Rivera was born on December 8, 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico. He was a prominent Mexican painter who became an active communist, and His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. He arrived in Europe in 1907, and studied in Madrid, Spain, and from there went to Paris to live and work in Montparnasse where cubism in paintings by such eminent painters as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque was becoming popular, & Rivera embraced this new school of art,later, inspired by Cézanne’s paintings, Rivera shifted toward Post-Impressionism with simple forms and large patches of vivid colors. His paintings began to attract attention, and he was able to display them at several exhibitions.In 1920, Rivera traveled through Italy studying its art, including Renaissance frescoes. He returned to Mexico in 1921 to become involved in the government sponsored Mexican mural program planned by Vasconcelos and painted his first significant mural Creation in the Bolívar Auditorium of the National Preparatory School in Mexico City

In the autumn of 1922, Rivera participated in the founding of the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors, and also joined the Mexican Communist Party .His murals, subsequently painted in fresco only, dealt with Mexican society and reflected the country’s 1910 Revolution. Rivera developed his own native style based on large, simplified figures and bold colors with an Aztec influence clearly present in murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City.In the autumn of 1927, Rivera arrived in Moscow,to take part in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution & painted a mural for the Red Army Club in Moscow, but in 1928 he was expelled and returned to Mexico where he was expelled from the Mexican Communist Party too. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was also held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

some of Rivera’s most famous murals are featured at the National School of Agriculture at Chapingo near Texcoco, in the Cortés Palace in Cuernavaca, and the National Palace in Mexico City. In 1930, Rivera accepted an invitation from architect Timothy L. Pflueger to paint for him in San Francisco. After arriving in November Rivera painted a mural for the City Club of the San Francisco Stock Exchange and a fresco for the California School of Fine Art, later relocated to what is now the Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute. In November 1931, Rivera had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Between 1932 and 1933, he completed a famous series of fresco panels entitled Detroit Industry on the walls of an inner court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. ”Rivera’s radical political beliefs, attacks on the church and clergy made him a controversial figure even in communist circles. His mural Man at the Crossroads, for the Rockefeller Center in New York City, was removed after a furor erupted in the press over a portrait of Vladimir Lenin it contained. As a result of the negative publicity, a further commission to paint a mural for an exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair was canceled. In December 1933, Rivera returned to Mexico, & repainted Man at the Crossroads in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1940, Rivera returned for the last time to the US to paint a ten-panel mural for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco & The mural and its archives reside at City College of San Francisco.As well as having some controversial political views Diego Rivera was also an atheist who considered religions to be a form of collective neurosis. and some of his work caused a big fuss particularly his mural Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda depicted Ignacio Ramírez holding a sign which read, “God does not exist”. This painting was not shown for 9 years – until Rivera agreed to remove the inscription. He stated: “To affirm ‘God does not exist’, I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez .” Sadly Rivera eventually passed away on November 24 in 1957.

Phil Collen (Def Leppard)

defBdayPhil Collen, the guitarist with Heavy Matal band Def Leppard was born December 8th 1957.Formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement.Def Leppard ’s strongest commercial success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry was produced byRobert John “Mutt” Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album’s stand out track “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” became one of the first metal videos played on MTV in 1982. The band’s next studio album Pyromania in 1983, with the singles Photograph and Rock of Ages, turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2004, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Def Leppard’s fourth album Hysteria, released in 1987, topped the U.S a nd UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the United States, and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album contained loads of great songs, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100number one “Love Bites”, alongside Pour Some Sugar on Me , “Hysteria”,Armaggeddon It , “Animal” Rocket“., Gods of War and WomenTheir next studio album Adrenalize reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992, and contained several hits including, “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”. Their 1993 album Retro Active contained the acoustic hit song “Two Steps Behind”, while their greatest hits album Vault released in 1995 featured track “When Love & Hate Collide.

Light my Fire

The_Doors_of_Perception_by_cheapexposureBest known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band The Doors, TheAmerican musician, singer, and poet James Douglas “Jim” Morrison was born December 8, 1943. The Doors were formed In the summer of 1965, when, after graduating from the UCLA. Morrison and fellow UCLA student Ray Manzarek formed the group during that same Summer of 1965. after meeingt months earlier as fellow cinematography students. Thereafter, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger auditioned and was then added to the lineup. All three musicians shared a common interest in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation practices at the time, attending scheduled classes, but Morrison was not involved in this series of classes, claiming later that he “did not meditate”. The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception (a reference to the “unlocking” of “doors of perception” through psychedelic drug use). Huxley’s own title was a quotation from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”The Doors achieved national recognition after signing with Elektra Records in 1967. The single “Light My Fire” spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July/August 1967.Later, The Doors appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular Sunday night variety series that had introduced The Beatles and Elvis Presley to the United States. Ed Sullivan requested two songs from The Doors for the show, “People Are Strange”, and “Light My Fire”.

Morrison began writing during his adolescence. At UCLA he studied the related fields of theater, film, and cinematography.He self-published two separate volumes of his poetry in 1969, entitled The Lords / Notes on Vision and The New Creatures. The Lords consists primarily of brief descriptions of places, people, events and Morrison’s thoughts on cinema., but The New Creatures verses are more poetic in tone.Jim Morrison’s vocal influences included Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, which is evident in his own baritone crooning style used in several of The Doors songs. It is mentioned that Morrison as a teenager was such a fan of Presley’s music that he demanded people be quiet when Elvis was on the radio. The Frank Sinatra influence is mentioned in the pages of “The Doors, The Illustrated History”, where Frank Sinatra is listed on Morrison’s Band Bio as being his favorite singer. Morrison was also well-known for often improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live.

THE DOORS LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL 1968

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cJEL6b9Z78w

Due to his wild personality and performances, he is regarded by some people as one of the most iconic, charismatic and pioneering frontmen and continues to remain, one of the most popular and influential singer-songwriters in rock history. The Doors’ catalog has also become a unequivocal staple of classic rock radio stations. To this day Morrison is widely regarded as the prototypical rock-star: surly, sexy, scandalous and mysterious. The leather pants he was fond of wearing both onstage and off have since become stereotyped as rock-star apparel. In 2011, a Rolling Stone readers’ pick placed Jim Morrison in fifth place of the magazine’s “Best Lead Singers of All Time”. Morrison was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”, and number 22 on Classic Rock Magazine’s “50 Greatest Singers In Rock”.Sadly Following The Doors’ explosive rise to fame Morrison developed a severe alcohol and drug dependency, which culminated in his untimely death in Paris on July 3rd 1971 at age 27. The exact cause of his death is sill disputed by many to this day and continues to be the subject of controversy, although A Heroin overdose is suspected as the cause of death nobody is certain as no autopsy was performed on his body after death.