Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Master Class in Animation From Terry Gilliam

Open Culture has fast become one of my favourite online sites. There is so much great information on there that I find myself regularly sharing interesting links and content through these pages.

Today’s Viewing List includes another nod to Open Culture for bringing the inimitable Terry Gilliam to my attention. Terry, you should know, is the legendary animator with the Monty Python team (and if you don’t know who they are, you should hang your head in shame).

Gilliam was born in Medicine Lake, Minnesota, and began his career as an animator and strip cartoonist, and went on to become a highly regarded screenwriter, film director, actor and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. To name just a handfull, among his many directorial credits are Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). Since this is a travel site, embedded here is a video of Gilliam’s 1974 animation, The Miracle of Flight.

If you are tempted to try making your own animations, the following 14+ minute video shows you how to make your own cut-out animations.

Thanks to Biblioklept and Open Culture for bringing this to our attention.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Famous Letters and 1880s Brooklyn

The Reading List today looks at the letters of famous (and infamous) writers of notes, letters and other correspondence. Appropriately enough, we begin with …

Letters of Note

Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated every weekday.

Fascinating correspondence from such luminaries as the writers Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, and Charles Bukowski. There is correspondence from Francis Ford Coppola to Marlon Brando; from Hunter S. Thompson to a 'Production Executive' at indie movie studio The Shooting Gallery; and a very creepy letter from Mark Chapman (the man who killed John Lennon), to an unnamed person enquiring about the possibility of auctioning his copy of Double Fantasy. The very same copy that Lennon had signed just hours before Chapman shot him! Read more...


Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives

Now here is something right out of the vaults. It is an online collection of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a newspaper that has been in publication since 1841.

Incredibly, the early issues of the paper, dating from 1841 until 1902, have been archived by the Brooklyn Public Library, and readers and researchers can trawl their way through 60 years worth of publications for specific names, events, and other historic information.

The screen shot here shows the cover of the edition for Thursday, May 24, 1883. It was on this day that the Brooklyn Bridge was officially opened, and in a special 12 edition, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle covered all the major particulars of the opening including guest lists, speakers, a history of the construction project, and a whole lot more.

It is fascinating stuff, and history buffs looking to capture a sense of what it must have been like living in New York City and in particular Brooklyn during the late 1880s, will get a lot out of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Newtown Creek Tour

Newtown Creek barges © Bernie Ente

The recent Circumnavigate Staten Island tour was completely sold out, and the next Working Harbor tour is sure to do the same, if only because the two hour tour of Brooklyn’s Newtown Creek is an incredible bargain at just $10.

The good news gets better because not one, but two tours of Newtown Creek are being conducted on the same day, so you have two chances of securing a place on these popular tours. Here are the details:

When: Sunday, 23 October, 2011
What: Two Cruises – 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: Departs from Pier 17, South Street Seaport at the foot of Fulton Street, Downtown Manhattan 

Getting There
Take the A C J Z 2 3 4 or 5 Train to Fulton Street and walk east to Pier 17
Souvenir Tour Brochure with historical information and vintage maps.
The cruise takes place rain or shine. 
The Newtown Creek tour is organised by the Working Harbor Committee and the Newtown Creek Alliance
The low $10 price is made possible by funding from the NewYork City Environmental Fund (NYCEF) for Newtown Creek, which in turn is part of the Hudson River Foundation
To stay informed about upcoming Hidden Harbor Tours bookmark the Working Harbor website…

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Viewing List 7

Ishi, The Last Yahi
Years ago I read a book called Ishi, The Last of His Tribe. It tells the story you can see in the video embedded below. A story both shocking and poignant about this Native American who was the last surviving member of his tribe, the Yahi.

The Snag Films website from where I have sourced this video states: In 1492, there were more than ten million Native Americans in North America. By 1910, their numbers had been reduced to fewer than 300,000. In California, massacres of Indians in the 1860s and 1870s had nearly exterminated the Native peoples in the state.

Therefore the sudden appearance in northern California in 1911 of Ishi, "the last wild Indian in North America," stunned the nation. For more than 40 years, Ishi had lived in hiding with a tiny band of survivors. When he walked into the white man's world, he was the last Yahi Indian alive.

If the story wasn’t true it would surely be unbelievable, but true it was, as this documentary shows.

Click here to see Ishi, The Last Yahi...  Make sure you click on the Full Screen icon at the bottom right of the video for optimal viewing.


I’ve never been to India, and although I might make the journey there one day, it is not high on my ‘bucket list’. However, I know people who have been to India, and loved the country, the food, the culture and its people, and that keeps the idea of a visit alive in the back of my mind somewhere. (Online Tips For Designers and Bloggers) has collected together 40 Beautiful Photos of India, and they are indeed beautiful.

As the site states: "India is so vast and full of variety that even the Indians don’t get to see the whole of it, let alone the tourists. You have to visit the place to know it. However, the photographs give you a good idea of how the place looks and how it should feel like. It also helps you to decide what places you want to visit when you are planning a trip to India."

Thanks to Paul Steele (Twitter: @paul_steele) for bringing these to my attention.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Reading List 6

Three more websites worth exploring for those readers interested in street photography, and overcoming writer’s block.

Fifty-two weeks on the streets

Phil Coomes, is picture editor the BBC mobile website, and has an interesting piece on street photography, with many examples of the genre that is worth checking out.

Phil writes about an open street photography challenge in which leading photographers issue weekly projects that are open to all interested photographers to participate in. Participating photographers upload their images to Flickr where members of the challenge can view the photographs and comment on the work of others, and recieve comments on their own work.

There are some great images on the site, and whether you choose to join the weekly challenge, or just want to get some ideas or inspiration from the works of others, I highly recommend you take a look for yourself. Read more...

io9.Com is a website for Sci-Fi enthusiasts, and staff writer, Charlie Jane Anders has put together a great article describing ten types of writer's block with great advice on how to overcome them. Of course, the information is perfect for writers across all styles of writing - including bloggers, which is why it caught my attention and why I'm including information about it here. 

Charlie writes: "Part of why Writer's Block sounds so dreadful and insurmountable is the fact that nobody ever takes it apart. People lump several different types of creative problems into one broad category. In fact, there's no such thing as "Writer's Block," and treating a broad range of creative slowdowns as a single ailment just creates something monolithic and huge. Each type of creative slowdown has a different cause — and thus, a different solution."

Charlie Anders then proceeds to examine the concept of writer's block and pulls it apart to examine its consituent parts to provide a better understanding of the problems and how to deal with them. Read more here...

Street Photography for the Purist is a free 160 page eBook on the art of street photography. Written by Chris Weeks, a professional photographer living in Los Angeles who has made his remarkable insight into street photography available on deviantart.
The ebook was first written and published in 2006 but the information is as relevant and inspiration now as it was then.
All the work in the book is in black and white and it serves as much as a source creative ideas as a training manual describing the art of street photography both as remarkably easy as well as incredibly difficult.

The book features contributions by photographers such as :  Severin Koller, Michael Kaiser, Matthew Craig, Rainer Pawellek, Deborah Delasio, Errol Lyons-Rainey, Darren Abate, Massimiliano Mortillaro, Bernhard Wolf.
Chris has an interesting writing style and is not afraid to express himself - often in quite colorful language, so be prepared for numerous expletives and personal opinions that may make your enjoyment of the book less than fullsome. However, Chris and the other writers impart lots of good ideas and it is well worth persisting with if you are interesting in street photography.

Thanks to Seven by Five (7x5) for bringing this to our attention.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Fotos – Port River Craft

An afternoon on one of the two Port River dolphin cruises is one of my hidden gems of any visit to Adelaide, and I try and join one of the trips at least once a year. Both the vessels provide commentaries, sell refreshments, and for between $6 and $8 per person, are an absolute bargain in anyone’s language.
A close up look at the CSL Pacific, seen here loading gypsum (or maybe it’s cement), at Port Adelaide. I happily admit to a bit of a fetish about large industrial machinery and the CSL Pacific, with it conveyor belts and its rust-streaked hull, has it in spades – to coin a phrase.
The MV Dolphin Explorer, seen here, takes on passengers for the two hour ‘dolphin cruise’ on the Port River. I should point out that these are wild dolphins, and no attempt is made to feed or attract them to the cruise boats during the voyage. If the dolphins feel playful, they may make an appearance to the delight of passengers, but there are no guarantee that you will see them. Having said that, I have joined the cruise on at least four occasions over the years, and each time I have seen some of the 30 Bottlenose Dolphins that have made the river their home.
Above, the Birkenhead Bridge is one of several bridges that span the Port River, two of which open to let vessels pass beneath them. It may be frustrating for motorists waiting to pass, but it never fails to fascinate those visitors who have time to take in the spectacle of bridges opening and closing their ‘jaws’ like some giant sea creature that has risen from the deep.

See a portfolio of other images on my Twitter stream…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hello Sailor! SA Maritime Museum, Adelaide

During the recent Port Festival I popped into the South Australian Maritime Museum on Lipson Street, Port Adelaide.
During the Festival, the Museum was offering free entry to all visitors, so camera in hand, I joined the throng and shot some video footage of some of the many displays and exhibitions that can be seen there. But first, a bit of background may be in order.

Housed in the old port Bond Stores, the Museum showcases life on the waves from the early days of exploration to more idyllic times, as Australians developed a beachside culture that is envied around the world.

The Maritime Museum features exhibitions, ships models, interactive displays, an anchor from explorer Matthew Flinders’ ship HMS Investigator, a full sized replica ketch, the Active II, and the largest collection of ships figureheads in the southern hemisphere, among many other delights and maritime curiosities.

Located nearby at Queens Wharf visitors will also find the historic lighthouse from South Neptune Island, and the decommissioned steam tug, Yelta, both of which form part of the Museums extensive collection.

Here, appropriately enough, to the tune of the old sea shanty Bound For South Australia, is my quick tour of the South Australian Maritime Museum:

More information:
Address:126 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide
Phone: (08) 8207 6255
Open daily from 10am to 5pm (ex Christmas Day)

Adult: $10 | Concession: $8 | Child: $4.50 | Family: $25 (2 adults & up to 5 children) Groups of more than 10 people: 10%discount, bookings essential
School Groups: $3.00 per student, bookings essential

Monday, October 10, 2011

Circumnavigate Staten Island

Top Left: Graveyard of Ships © Mitch Waxman
Bottom left: Staten Island Ferry With Statue of Liberty, and Right: Light house © Bernie Ente

The next New York City Hidden Harbor Tour is looming on the horizon, and will involve a Circumnavigation of Staten Island and look at six New York harbor lighthouses.

The tour takes place Sunday, 16 October, 2011

This tour will feature 6 lighthouses as well as the following points of interest:

  • St George Terminal
  • Kill Van Kull
  • Arthur Kill
  • Tottenville
  • Stapleton - Fireboat Firefighter II
  • And the graveyard of ships
The graveyard of ships (Witte Marine Scrap yard) is located in Rossville. It was once one of the largest marine scrap yards on the East Coast. It is now officially known as the Donjon Iron and Metal Scrap Processing Facility.

Opened in 1964 by J. Arnold Witte, Sr., the scrap yard is known for its large collection of old tugs, ferries, car floats, and more. These ships would come there quicker then Witte could disassemble them. This resulted in many boats and ships slowly rotting and sinking in the Arthur Kill.

There are quite a few noteworthy vessels here, including the New York City Fire Department fire boat Abram S. Hewitt. This graveyard of ships is a very popular point of interest on the Circumnavigation of Staten Island Tour.


Date: Sunday, 16 October, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on board the NY Water Taxi
Departs from The Battery Slip 6
(Water Taxi Stop in front of Castle Clinton)

Getting There
Subway: 1 to South Ferry, R/W to Whitehall St. or 4/5 to Bowling Green
Tickets: $60/$50 for WHC members and seniors

More Information

Working Harbor Committee…

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Viewing List 6

Happy Birthday, John
John Lennon, who was born on October 9, 1940, would have been 71 today, so to mark the occasion I thought it appropriate to embed the video you can see below.

It presents John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their September 11, 1971 appearance on the Dick Cavett Show.

Dick Cavett was one of America’s leading talk show hosts at the time, and this interview, and other Lennon interviews with Cavett, is part of a DVD that you purchase at Amazon.Com. The DVD contains three complete episodes of the late-night talk show featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono's most candid interviews as well as rare live performances.

You can purchase the DVD via this link: The Dick Cavett Show - John Lennon and Yoko Ono

The Lennon's clearly enjoyed being with Cavett and even cast him in one of their films. the September 11, 1971 show is notable as the first American television interview John gave after the breakup of The Beatles. Enjoy...

Thanks to Open Culture for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Viewing List 5

New Orleans: A Living Museum of Music (2010, 57 minutes)

Narrated by Wendell Pierce, this CINE Golden Eagle award-winner is an intimate look at the fantastic music that emanates from New Orleans - "America's music," namely jazz.

Learn about the work of local musicians like Irvin Mayfield and educators who mentor young talent; museum curators who care for musical treasures such as Fats Domino's Steinway piano, ruined by the Katrina floods; historians and archivists who research and document the stories, including the Louisiana State Museum's Greg Lambousy who shares Louis Armstrong's first cornet; activists working to protect, heal and inspire the many musicians whose livelihoods were taken away by Katrina, such as the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic.

"The living museum is a manifestation of participation," proclaims Ellis Marsalis, revered jazz pianist, patriarch of the Marsalis family jazz dynasty, and one of the many artists featured in A Living Museum of Music, which you can watch below. Make sure you click on the Full Screen icon at the bottom right of the video for optimal viewing.


Cecelia Webber Photograph

Take a closer look at the picture on the right. What do you see?
- A couple of flowers.
Well, yes, but look closer.

Los Angeles based artist Cecelia Webber creates flower and butterfly assemblages using hundreds of nude human form photographs. That’s right, every stem and petal in the image is composed of naked human bodies! Although Cecelia’s photographic compositions can take up to two months to produce due to the complexity of finding the right pieces, the results – as you can see – can be quite stunning.

You can see more of Cecelia’s, and purchase images from her site at Cecelia Webber Photography…

Thanks to AmO Life for bringing Cecelia’s work to our attention.


And finally, something to leave you with a smile on your dial, and joy in your heart: an amazing ‘surfing’, skiing, and skateboarding bulldog. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Reading List 5

This week the Reading List looks at the street photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, twenty free London attractions, and the importance of saying "Thank You".

10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography

Eric Kim, at Eric Kim Photography has put together a great photo essay outlining 10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography.
Among Eric's suggestions: Focus on geometry, Be patient, Travel, Stick to one lens, Take photos of children (see image), Be unobtrusive, See the world like a painter, Don’t crop,  Don’t worry about processing, and Always strive for more. 

There’s an excellent article over in the travel section of the BBC.COM website, outlining 20 free attractions in London. As the article, by Robert Reid states: No city in the world has more free stuff to do. In addition to admission-free world-class museums, there are parks, canal walks, supermarkets (Portobello Road Market at Notting Hill Gate, Camden Market at Chalk Farm Road, Columbia Road Flower Market in East London) and maybe even some royal-spotting to pass the time. The possibilities are endless.
As you would expect, all the heavyweights are here including the British Museum, Houses of Parliament, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and National Portrait Gallery. But among Robert’s recommendations are some less well known sites like the British Film Institute's Mediatheque, which features four cinemas (not free) and the fun Mediatheque, where you can peruse the DTV/film archives and watch items for free.
The there is the Museum of London, of which Robert writes, “Off the radar to most visitors, yet one of the city's great attractions, this museum offers a walk through London's various incarnations - from Thames Valley geological history, to Anglo-Saxons and 21st-Century bankers.”
He also offers the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, the Photographers' Gallery, Serpentine Gallery (in Kensington Gardens), and others. All in all, it is a great list to get you started if you are planning a visit to London at any time.

Uncornered Market on The Importance of Saying Thank You

Daniel Noll over at the Uncornered Market has been musing on the importance of saying Thank You as you travel the world. He begins…
This is about saying thank you: why we do it, the ways we do it, the cheapening of it, the deepening of it. And why, when you’re traveling, it’s one of the most important words to know in the local language.
Thank you. For travelers, it’s no wonder those words are among the first our guidebooks suggest we learn. With such a simple expression, satisfaction is affirmed, respect is underscored, roads of goodwill are paved and we are bound to one another just a little bit more than we otherwise might have been. Read full article here...

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