Takashi Murakami (1963- ) is a Japanese artist who has gained international fame for his strange and rather terrifying art.
Murakami is considered one of the most thought-provoking contemporary artists in Japan, and it is easy to see why. Looking at his art is a bit like being on acid (or at least how this is being portrayed in films, I have no personal experience with acid). His work range from cartoony paintings to sculptures, giant balloons, performance events and factory produced watches, t-shirts and other products. He also collaborated with Marc Jacobs to create handbags for Louis Vuitton, which is always a good thing. His signature character is called Mr. DOB, a creature vaguely reminiscent of Mickey Mouse, only the nightmare-version.
Murakami is classically trained in the traditional nihon-ga style, something that is recognizable in his art, in between all the references to pop-culture. He himself does not consider his work pop-art however: “If my art looks positive and cheerful, I would doubt my art was accepted in the contemporary art scene. My art is not Pop art. It is a record of the struggle of the discriminated people.”
Please enjoy some more pictures of his work:
I, at least, find his art really, really scary. But still brilliant. What do you think?
Good Omens: The Nice and Proper Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990) is the brainchild of the amazing authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, which means that it is probably one of the funniest books ever written.
It is a story about the End Times. The Apocalypse is nigh, which comes as a bit of an inconvenience for the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, who both have grown rather fond of their quiet earth lives and of the human race. They team up to secretly work against their respective bosses and make sure that the apocalypse is postponed. However, the boy thought to be Antichrist, and raised as such, is really just a normal eleven year old boy, due to an infant mix-up at the hospital. The real Antichrist is living peacefully with his parents, completely unaware of all the trouble that is coming his way.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse saddle up and the race is on. Who will find Antichrist first? And will the world survive?
This is a great story filled with wonderful characters, with the very best from both Gaiman’s and Pratchett’s worlds. If you want to have fun, read this novel.
Ah yes, another Friday night with nothing interesting on the telly. Well, fear not, my friends, I have an excellent suggestion for tonight’s entertainment: The King’s Speech (2010).
It is the Second World War, Britain is facing a crisis. The king dies and the successor to the throne abdicates. It is now up to the seemingly unfit second son, George, to take on the role as king and keep his country calm. However, he is held back by an insufferable stammer. Will he, with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue, be able to overcome his handicap and rule the land?
The King’s Speech won four Oscars for best directing, best motion picture, best leading actor and best original screenplay. It also won 64 other awards, so you know that this is a good film. It stars Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth and Jeffrey Rush as Lionel Logue.
This is a must-see, so if you haven’t already, do so tonight!
Sometimes it may seem like one of the criterias for becoming a Vili Flik hottie is to be dead. Not true. Please don’t die. So today I present to you the still living (and may he do so for a long, long time) fabulous hottie James Franco (1978 – ).
Now, most of you probably already know that the James is an actor. But did you also know that he has a bachelor’s degree in English, and no less then three master’s degrees – two in writing and one in film? That’s rather impressive, I should say.
And of course, if you wanna meet this intellectual, good-looking, rich and famous guy, you could always enroll as a drama student at New York University, where he works as a teacher. Oh yeah.
Of course, when he’s not busy teaching or studying or reading Kafka, James Franco can sometimes be seen acting. You may have seen him as
Daniel Desario in Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
James Dean in James Dean (2001)
Harry Osborn in The Spiderman triology (2002-07)
Scott Smith in Milk (2008)
Aron Ralston in 127 Hours (2010)
And I saved the best for last, because James Franco portrays one of our favorites in the 2010 movie Howl – he is Allen Ginsberg.
And if you still haven’t seen Howl, well, you know what to do.
PS: in Lily’s honor, I give you the ultimate proof that our hottie is, in fact, human:
James Franco sleeping in class. We’ve all been there, sweetie.
Steampunk fashion is admittedly not really a vintage style, but its roots in Victorian style clothing qualifies it as at least slightly vintage.
Like all good things, steampunk has its origins in literature. The term was coined in the ’80s, but works of steampunk fiction were written as early as the ’50s. According to wikipedia, “steampunk was influenced by, and often adopts the style of, the 19th century scientific romances of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, and Mary Shelley.” In short, it often describes a parallel universe where most machinery run on steam (hence the name), and where clothes and language are very Victorian, yet with modern influences. Again, in the words of wikipedia: “while most of the original steampunk works had a historical setting, later works would often place steampunk elements in a fantasy world with little relation to any specific historical era. Historical steampunk tends to be more “science fictional:” presenting an alternate history; real locales and persons from history with different technology. Fantasy-world steampunk […], on the other hand, presents steampunk in a completely imaginary fantasy realm, often populated by legendary creatures coexisting with steam-era or anachronistic technologies.”
Accessories are important, and they should contain some kind of clockwork mechanism, be self-designed and home made, but esthetically pleasing. As steampunks are always looking for adventure, goggles, gas masks, carrier bags and compasses are crucial, and one should always have some mode of transportation available.
And of course, no lady leaves her house without a hat….
Too dependent on modern technology to fully commit to the steampunk lifestyle, you say? No problem! Steampunks are nothing if not inventive, and modern gadgets can be ingeniously adapted.
Steampunk is also well represented in films and television. Famous examples include The City of Lost Children (1995), Wild Wild West (1999), Metropolis (2001), Vidocq (2001), A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) The Prestige (2006), The Golden Compass (2007), and Sherlock Holmes (2009). There are also clear steampunk elements to Doctor Who (1963-), particularly with some of the doctors (the most recent TARDIS is very steampunk indeed). And let’s not forget the steampunk Dalek…
Now, let’s check out some lovely steampunk clothes and outfits, shall we?
The British luxury fashion house of Burberry was founded by Thomas Burberry (1835-1926) in 1856.
Since 1956, the fashion house has done quite a lot of cool stuff such as inventing the iconic trench coat, outfitting Norwegian Roald Amundsen on his expedition to the South Pole (now there’s a stylish explorer for you).
Burberry operates under five different brands: Burberry Prorsum, Burberry Sport (fail), Thomas Burberry, Burberry Black Label Men and Burberry Blue Label Women. My favorite? Burberry Prorsum.
The chief designer, or creative officer, if you will, of Burberry these days is the magnificent English designer Christopher Bailey (1971 – ), who’s held the position since 2009.
If you’re not familiar with actor and cult icon Bruce Campbell (1958 – ), you should check out the Evil Dead-movies (1981-92) which earned him his cult hero status. When you’ve done that, watch his performance as a mummy-fighting geriatric Elvis Presley in Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) (a fairly underrated movie in my opinion). Then, it’s time for his self-degrading My Name is Bruce (2007). By this time, you are familiar enough with his face to play a game of Spot-The-Bruce in Sam Raimi’s films (he appears in almost all of them). It is at this point that you need to read his hilarious and insightful autobiography If Chins Could Kill – Confessions of a B-Movie Actor (2002).
The title says it all. In this memoir, Campbell recounts his life as an actor whose main body of work consists of so-called B-movies. As he puts it: “The bigger the movie, the smaller the part.” Hilarious as the man himself, the book also offers an interesting inside look at the Hollywood movie-industry – not from the view of a hugely overpaid A-list star, but from someone who tries to make a living in a notoriously unstable profession. Enjoy!