Tagged: New York Times

VHS in the NYT and QUADEAD @ MAD Museum

Today in the New York Times Arts and Leisure section you will find a little article about the VHS Series at the Museum of Arts and Design.  I know you all already know about it, but that’s because you are hip and you follow the Daily Planet… or maybe because I won’t shut up about it.  Hey you would be running your mouth too if a government funded museum asked you to help curate an exhibition celebrating one of your favorite things in the entire world!  Thank you Bloomie, The Gates and Waterfalls were weak in my opinion but you’ve redeemed your self with this one.

VHS overload!!!

Think about all the people across the country that the NYT will inform, bringing the masses up to speed with all you cool cats.  Now lets get real, its one thing to be in the know, but knowing amounts to nothing more than a pile of beans unless you actually come out and experience it.  And what better way to experience the true essence of VHS than with a screening of Tales From The Quadead Zone, one of the oddest films of the video era.

This Friday July 6th at the MAD Museum, I (Matt D) will host an epic event of analog proportions.  Not only will your eyes be assaulted by the oddity that is Qudead, but be prepared to experience a reel of VHS trailers that could only come from the bowels of forgotten film history. Included will be  Shot on Video trashterpieces, films that have never made the jump to DVD, and more weirdness than may be humanly possible to take, so make sure you mark your calendar because this must see to be believed cinematic experience will be a once in a life time event.

The direct-to-video market not only created more opportunities for creating and distributing breakthrough cinematic works, it also fostered the creation of a new chapter in “trashterpieces,” a genre of camp cinema that celebrates spectacular failures in traditional filmmaking techniques. Affordable home video equipment and an ever-expanding home viewing market paved the way for a slew of aspiring filmmakers. This created a “backyard Hollywood” movement in which many striving artists and opportunistic businessmen could capture and release their visions on video.

A horror anthology in three parts (thereby nullifying the theory that the “Qua” stands for four), Tales From the Quadead Zone is held together by a framing segment in which actress Shirley Jones reads stories to the ghost of her child from a book entitled Tales From the Quadead Zone.  Failing on nearly every traditional level, Tales From the Quadead Zone is often described as a car crash of a film.  However, the film’s earnest ambitions, and resulting great failure, make it a true camp classic made possible by the VHS camcorder.

Special introduction and VHS trailer reel by Matthew Desiderio Producer of the upcoming Documentary Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector

Tales From The Quadead Zone
Friday, July 6, 2012 – 7:00 pm
$10 general / $7 members and students
The Theater at MAD
2 Columbus Circle
(59th st & 8th ave)
click here to purchase tickets, or call 1.800.838.3006

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The Randomness on a Holiday Season Saturday

It’s a Saturday in December and we’re in full gear Holiday Season drive here at FPNYC.

Christmas, Bruce Willis Die Hard
From my favorite Christmas movie- Die Hard.
  • Man, do I wish one of our suppliers and/or colleagues made a high-quality repro of that shirt (I’m looking at you, founditemclothing.com ).
  • Can’t think of that perfect gift for the comics-savvy person/people on your shopping list? Tom Spurgeon (aka The Comics Reporter) has some great suggestions.
  • Perennial all-ages bestseller Bone has some mighty stiff competition from Amulet this year.
  • You may have seen in an earlier post that Lynda Barry came by the shop last week and signed all our copies of her new book, Picture This.  Pick yours up while we have stock, or contact us for mail-order availability.  There’s something else… What was it?  Oh yeah, the book was also favorably reviewed  in The New York Times last week.

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NYT: The Pekar Legacy

A terrific piece on Harvey Pekar, focusing mostly on the author’s legacy and his future in print, graced the cover of today’s Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times…

Known for the irascible, self-doubting persona he cultivated in American Splendor and his day-to-day existence, the frizzy-haired, wild-eyed Mr. Pekar, a writer whose comics were illustrated by other artists, was an improbable candidate for lasting glory. A major influence in the underground world but never a big seller, he was always waiting for his cult fame to recede each time it unexpectedly crested.

His obsessive drive combined with the sheer number of his collaborations produced a two-dimensional record of his shaggy life, rendered in varying styles by numerous illustrators. Now only his widow and the artists he worked with are left to narrate his final chapter, a tale of bruised feelings and allegations of opportunism, with nothing more at stake than the writer’s modest legacy. But no matter how it plays out, Mr. Pekar is bound to emerge as enigmatic as ever.

“Put it this way,” [Pekar coolaborator Dean Haspiel] added. “Nobody owns Harvey Pekar. Not even Harvey Pekar.”

The full article’s pretty fascinating and can be read in full here.

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Archie in the NYT, Flight from the Jersey Shore

Well, I’m back.” -Sam Gamgee

I just spent a day on the Jersey shore with some family, and my return trip to Astoria, Queens is a four hour saga that will live in infamy in my memory for a long time to come.  But I won’t use this space to describe the horrors of the New Jersey Transit combined with a Giants/Jets game letting out followed by a sweltering 34th Street station wait for an N train that never seemed to come, and the drunken teenage riot of karaoke that plagued the final leg of my journey.

I will, however, use this space to hip you onto an article I came across in The New York Times’ business section (of all places) discussing Archie Comics…

Archie_NYTAt 68 years old, Archie is suddenly looking awfully spry.

His new zest for life is the work of new management at Archie Comics. The team is aggressively trying to take the tried, true and previously lethargic Archie family of characters, including Betty and Veronica, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Josie and her bandmates, and transform them into global brands in comics, film, apparel and more.

“We’re at the beginning of the beginning,” says Jon Goldwater, co-chief executive of Archie Comic Publications. “We’re going to expand. Publishing will always be part of it, but we must morph into a multimedia company.”

With more than $40 million in print and digital sales last year, Archie Comics, based in Mamaroneck, N.Y., is a small player in a large but unforgiving market dominated by DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment. Archie’s titles capture less than 1 percent of sales at comic book specialty shops, and the competitive challenge is only growing: Comics in general are battling the popularity of other distractions like video games and YouTube. And traditional readers of comics are aging, with no steady stream of new ones to take their place.

But comics alone are not what generate the hundreds of millions of dollars that characters from DC and Marvel can rake in, which is what Mr. Goldwater wants to emulate.

The full article can be found here.

And to the comic fan who interrupted me while I tackled the crossword, here’s the full list of this week’s new comics to answer your question.

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Graphic Novels as Gifts: NY Times & Doctorow

The Times has published an article with recommendations of gifty graphic novels for the 2009 holiday season. I’ll have my own in the next few days, but theirs is an eclectic bag and includes many obvious choices (Scott Pilgrim, Fables, Gaiman books).  One notable entry surprised me (in as much as I wouldn’t normally expect the haughty tabloid to feature a book published by Marvel… hell, I wouldn’t ordinarily expect Marvel to publish such a non-superhero, mass-market-friendly book:

oz‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’

Dorothy’s journey to Oz may seem a well-trod path, but “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” a retelling of the L. Frank Baum novel, feels delightfully new. It is filled with characters (the queen of fieldmice) and concepts (Emerald City visitors must don special spectacles or risk blindness) from the original text, which the writer, Eric Shanower, has used to maximum effect. The illustrations, by Skottie Young, are often stunning, especially his depictions of what Dorothy and friends see when gazing upon Oz.
It really is a lovely book, and perfect for nearly anyone on your shopping list.

Also, Cory Doctorow recently posted a gift guide at BoingBoing and in it included, among other gems, the superlative Norman Saunders art book.

saundersNorman Saunders was a prominent illustrator for Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang, Modern Mechanics, pulp detective, western, war, and science fiction magazines, men’s adventure magazines, and bubblegum cards and stickers, including Wacky Packages and Mars Attacks. Anyone interested in 20th century magazine illustration pretty much has to have this book in his or her library. I devoured the 368 technicolor pages filled with examples of his work from the 1920s to the 1980s.

FP has copies in stock, signed (by Norman’s son David) and unsigned.

‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’

Dorothy’s journey to Oz may seem a well-trod path, but “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” a retelling of the L. Frank Baum novel, feels delightfully new. It is filled with characters (the queen of fieldmice) and concepts (Emerald City visitors must don special spectacles or risk blindness) from the original text, which the writer, Eric Shanower, has used to maximum effect. The illustrations, by Skottie Young, are often stunning, especially his depictions of what Dorothy and friends see when gazing upon Oz. (Marvel Entertainment, $29.99)

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Oh, BTW… Basil Wolverton Exhibition @ The Gladstone Gallery NYC

In case you missed the write-up it got in the in the Times last weekend (“The van Gogh of the Gross-Out) or were otherwise unaware, there’s a pretty swell exhibit of Basil Wolverton’s art running at The Gladstone Gallery here in NYC.

The Wolverton Bible from Fantagraphics

The Wolverton material best suited to a general audience, though, may be his Bible illustrations, which he was doing in the 1950s and ’60s, concurrently with his early Mad work. In 1941 he had become a member of a Protestant sect called the Radio Church of God, later the Worldwide Church of God. He was ordained as an elder in 1943, and as his contribution to the sect he illustrated some of its apocalyptically minded publications, as well as the biblical account of the earth’s final days.

The exhibit also features selections of Wolverton’s art from Mad Magazine, “Powerhouse Pepper,” commercial illustrations, and a smorgasbord of other ick-inducing oddities.  The show is only up for another week or so (August 14th), so be sure to get to it ASAP!


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