This week, Quentin Tarantino stops by Studio 360 to talk about the Academy Award-nominated film “Inglourious Basterds.” Of course, he’s no stranger to the awards circuit — he was nominated for an Oscar for Directing “Pulp Fiction” (1994) and won a little gold man for writing the film’s original screenplay. But he says one of the best perks of the buzz is meeting some of his childhood idols. In this sneak preview of his conservation with Kurt, Tarantino remembers his comic hero at age 5:
Despite all his acclaim, Tarantino is still that awestruck kid in the video store.
The document is so fragile that it can be displayed only 10 days out of every year. It seems Lincoln wrote the landmark document in pencil on whatever paper he happened to have around his office. The cross-outs and changes are by Secretary of State William H. Seward.
Here is a work with an undeniably huge impact. Though it didn’t actually free any slaves (that couldn’t happen until the Civil War ended), it was a critical precursor. It reminds me of the power of words – and that even penciled noodlings can change the course of history.
Sure, Abraham Lincoln isn’t most people’s idea of a triple threat (though his voice was said to be a reedy tenor). But his memorial in Washington, DC, has staying power. History was made there, and continues to be made there. It was the backdrop for opera singer Marian Anderson’s barrier-defying concert in 1939 and the setting for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Last week we explored how the monument became America’s soapbox and guidepost – with the help of Sarah Vowell, David Strathairn, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
One of the defining aspects of an American Icon is that it can both reflect and absorb our interpretations. We all have our own memories and experiences of these works of art. Now we’re at work on our next series, and we’d love to know what you think of the new Icons we’ve chosen In the fall of 2010 we’ll broadcast episodes exploring The Autobiography of Malcolm X, “I Love Lucy,” Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Do you have particular memories about these works?
If pale young couples on the misty heath isn’t your cup of Earl Grey, “Bright Star” will change your mind about British costume dramas. Jane Campion (“The Piano“) wrote and directed this exquisite film based on the heartbreakingly short life of the poet John Keats and his intense romance with Fanny Brawne. Though its only Oscar nod is for costume design, the writing and the raw emotion of the actors will leave you spellbound.
- Michele Siegel
If pale young couples on the misty heath isn’t your cup of Earl Grey, Bright Star will change your mind about British costume dramas. Jane Campion (The Piano) wrote and directed this exquisite film based on the heartbreakingly short life of the poet John Keats and his intense romance with Fanny Brawne. Though its only Oscar nod is for costume design, the writing and the raw emotion of the actors will leave you spellbound.
In this week’s show, Kurt says that we can find the Lincoln Memorial on the back of any old penny. Well, that old penny is getting a new backside. Last week, the United States Mint released a new one-cent coin, in honor of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. While it still features his head on one side, the memorial will no longer be engraved on the tail.
(courtesy of usmint.gov)
In its place is a union shield — with 13 vertical stripes, representing the states, joined by a bar inscribed with E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one.” That shield has a special association with Lincoln. An artist commissioned to create work for the U.S. Capitol building during Lincoln’s presidency used the shield in frescoes that still hang on its walls. And the union shield is prominent in some Civil War memorabilia.
Feeling nostalgic for the Lincoln Memorial? Listen to our show about the American icon:
With the Winter Olympics in full swing, you may have noticed there’s a lot of competition for your attention as well. In between the slaloms and the triple axels, there’s also the slightly shameful attraction of (dare I say it) the advertisements. Take this awesome one from AT&T featuring silver medal-winning snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler:
What struck me was how the tone of this ad differed sharply from the advertisements I watched a couple weeks ago between plays of the Super Bowl. In contrast to Bleiler’s cosmic athleticism, several of the Super Bowl ads depicted emasculated men reclaiming their masculinity in hyper-macho, if not misogynistic, ways. Like this one, for example:
Apparently, that put enough bees in enough bonnets to inspire this retaliatory spoof:
This sort of tit-for-tat is amusing, but something else leaves me unsettled: the retort has women lashing out not just against the advertiser, but against men in general. To me, what starts (in both videos) as a playful battle of the sexes, ends up revealing something vicious and truly disconcerting. This isn’t just about advertisers routinely preying on our insecurities, it’s about stoking fires that lead to discrimination and leave both sides burned.
And even though I may not run out to buy a shiny new AT&T cell phone after seeing Gretchen Bleiler swoop up that half-pipe into outer space, at least the message is true to the real spirit of sport: “Here’s to possibilities.”
Halfway into the first week of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, some athletes have already taken issue with the judging. But at these games, there is no discordant French judge at the center of the controversy. Instead, it’s the style police stirring things up.
Figure skater Johnny Weir has provoked two fashion-related confrontations. The first was between Weir and animal rights activists protesting fox fur in his costume. The second was between his fox fur costume and good taste. But at least Weir’s threads show ambition – unlike Kevin Van der Perren of Belgium, whose sparkly skeleton outfit looked like a four-year-old’s Halloween costume from the 1980s.
Canadian American national hockey team goaltender Ryan Miller has also drawn ire – not for his play, but for the artwork on his helmet. During last night’s game between Canada and Switzerland, Miller was forced to cover the “Miller Time” logo on the back of his helmet with a large, white piece of tape. International Olympic Committee rules forbid “advertising, demonstrations, and propaganda,” and the question of whether Miller was promoting ice-cold refreshment or his own on-ice performance was too murky to resolve before Canada’s victory over the Swiss.
But perhaps the biggest style uproar of the 2010 Olympics is about the “anti-uniform” – the plaid jacket and faux-denim jeans worn by the U.S. Snowboarding Team. Designed by snowboard manufacturer Burton, the ensemble has raised some questions about the appropriateness of wearing jeans to a formal event, such as an Olympics medal ceremony. Burton defends the faded and torn look – the pants are actually made with waterproof Gore-Tex fabric – as representative of the snowboarder ethic, but at the same time thoroughly American.
Leaving aside the question of how true to snowboarder culture a mass-produced “distressed” line of high-tech athletic wear may or may not be…I think the anti-uniform just looks cool. Snowboarding invigorated the Winter Olympics when it debuted as a medal sport four years ago in Torino in 1998 in Nagano. Now Snowboard Cross is one of the most exciting and most popular events of the games. The snowboarders are clearly doing something right. They probably deserve the benefit of the doubt – and a little room to experiment – in both sport and fashion.
Our Valentine Redesign Challenge elicited many great entries to our Flickr page. And we received mailed-in submissions too. They ranged from a set of miniature cards “inspired by a muse and faces of love” to my favorite, a three-foot tall by two-foot wide poster from Victor Stabin. He created the “microcephalic minotaur” — a small-headed monster once imprisoned in the Cretan Labyrinth — as the new ambassador of the day.
Victor Stabin's Microcephalic Minotaur
But is Stabin’s monster still living in the Cretan Labyrinth or has it broken free to spread the seeds of romance? I hope it’s the latter, because love as proffered by a monster seems so apt for the messiness of modern day romances.
It made me wonder why we don’t use food more often as an artistic material. Aside from the ice-swan centerpiece or the happy face of chocolate chips on your pancakes (if you’re very lucky), it’s just not done enough, in my book.
That’s why I was particularly blown away by the food sculptures on the site fabulously40.com (some of which are below). These people are serious about playing with their food.