Monday, August 24, 2015

Classic Monsters - The Kirk Hammett Collection at SFO Museum

There's a lot going on here that you might have questions about. First of all, yes, SFO refers to the San Francisco International Airport, and yes, SFO does have an acclaimed museum, installed throughout the entire airport. Should you be lucky enough to be traveling to or from SFO, you will have a pleasing walk through its terminals, witnessing lovingly curated works of art and eclectic collections galore.

Classic Monsters in an international airport? Yes—the Hollywood heavy hitters from yesteryear: Frankenstein's monster, Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon—all those guys (in my rush to get to my gate, I didn't capture any Bride of Frankenstein, which is disappointing). There's some lesser-known monsters too: Great Garloo, Uncle Fester, Mole Man, and one of my favorites, The Crawling Eye. If you're hankerin' for some monster memorabilia, this is the exhibit to see.

Thirdly, you read that right—this is the collection of Kirk Hammett, Metallica guitarist and horror-movie fanatic. According to the SFO Museum exhibit guide, Hammett stumbled upon the 1931 Frankenstein on TV when he was six years old and never looked back, man. Hammett's so deeply committed to monsters, he even starred in a movie called Some Kind of Monster.

Check out his modus operandi:

Kirk Hammett knows his monster stuff and is a pure fan of the genre. Here's some quickly snapped photos from the SFO exhibit in terminal 2, post security. You can see the SFO Museum even if you're not traveling by getting in touch and scheduling a visit. The SFO Museum FAQ answers all other questions.

And now, Monsters.

Everyone calls him Frankenstein but let's be frank, he's simply the Monster

Creature From the Black Lagoon board game with cheerful pop-art spinner

You gotta admire the creative type who came up with The Crawling Eye

Fester puppet deserves a closeup

Great Garloo robot cost $17.98 in 1961 - probably higher today

I like to imagine Hammett relaxing after a grueling rehearsal by making some monster candles

Hammett used to bring his magazines to class - no doubt a popular fellow in the school yard

A very effective Mummy's Chariot model

I kind of want to befriend Hammett so we can play some board games

The Wolf Man paint-by-numbers kit comes with oils (classy)

Creeeeepy model kit for that creepy kid who lived down the block

Kind of dark

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

She Mob video - "Snow Smoked"

Another procrastination project wherein I create a wee slice of art instead of tending to my responsibilities. Which you don't even want to hear about—they're that mundane.

Here's Suki O'Kane singing lead on a composition she wrote in collaboration with Allen Whitman and Jonathan Segel, with lyrics by Erik Ehn. She Mob plays the tune and we enjoyed doing so. The Prelinger Archives supplied the footage. I placed the footage just so, and now—mundane duty calls.

Snow Smoked is available on She Mob's fourth album, "Right in the Head."

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Stan Brakhage Film Stills from the Underground

The other day I watched some beautiful experimental films by Stan Brakhage. Don't think I just popped a Criterion Collection disc in the DVD player and instantly felt cool by taking time out for silent, hand-painted experimental film (well, as cool as it's possible to feel, watching the ancient technology that is DVD).

My first thought was, JESUS, get ON with it! But I always think that when I watch art films. And I even have special training for them, having earned an MFA in Cinema in the 90s. You know who likes art films? MFA film departments, that's who. But after his very early 1960s and 70s work gave way to the 80s and 90s, I settled in and started randomly pushing "pause" just for fun—to see what would happen. The still frames that froze on my screen were stupendous.

Stan Brakhage was a sort of regular-guy mountain man who never could stop making films, however poor or struggling or parental he happened to be. He called himself a frustrated poet, but if you take the time to screen some of his work, I think the poetry comes through. He was the kind of obsessive artist who inspires by his very nature (endless obsession and hard work, against all odds). Whether his movies "click" for you or not, I hope you can take some of that kind of focus and put it into your passions.

Everyone should have passions in life, whether it's making a great Cobb Salad, or meticulously applying moth wings and plant remnants to raw stock and processing it to see what happens—as in Mothlight, Brakhage's 1963 exploration of a moth reaching the end of its lifespan. Of course, DVDs and Internet streaming can't replace the incredible painted-light qualities of actual film footage projected on a screen, but we do what we can.

Make it happen. See what happens. See.

The Garden of Earthly Delights 1981

The Dante Quartet 1987

The Dark Tower 1991