Even if I neglect the blog on other days (and apologies for that, it’s just a very busy time right now), the list of links needs to be offered each Sunday. I rarely embed audio clips here (mostly because I find doing so trickier than video) but this is a lovely long piece from Radio New Zealand with the editor of the London Review of Books, Mary Kay-Wilmers, speaking about the magazine and especially about the late Peter Campbell who was a wonderful illustrator and a great graphic designer and the loveliest of men. Peter was originally from New Zealand and his work is currently on show in an exhibition at the City Gallery in Wellington, a detail from which is reproduced above.
Also, Boyd Tonkin wrote an interesting profile of Mary Kay Wilmers and the LRB for the Independent this week. Across the jump, more links from the past week, with h/ts for recommendation to @pacificraft and @emilynussbaum.
• Before and after Mickey – an interview with Donald Crafton: over the past week Henry Jenkins at his Confessions of an Aca-fan blog has posted four parts of a wonderful interview (with numerous video illustrations) with the animation historian Donald Crafton (the title link is to part one; these are direct links to part two, part three and part four). Crafton has a new book out, Shadow of a Mouse: Performance, Belief and World-Making in Animation, which Jenkins describes like this:
Crafton’s latest project expands the time line of his earlier work, allowing us to understand more fully how he might apply his analytic approach to think about sound era animation, especially the works of Walt Disney, but also a range of his contemporaries. Second, as the title suggests, Crafton’s focus here is on what performance studies approaches might tell us about the study of animation and vice-versa. The result is contemporary genre criticism at its very best — drawing on a broad corpus of works, combining history and analysis in imaginative ways, providing new ways to look at films we thought we knew well, and in the process, rejiggering the cannon to focus our attention on people and projects that have largely faded from view.
• Do we still [heart] Hitchcock?: I’m not sure about the headline, but this is a very valuable piece from the British Universities Film & Video Council’s Viewfinder Online with the great scholar Charles Barr arguing that we all need to see Hitchcock in broader contexts than we currently do.
• To the close observer – in memory of Donald Richie: another revered film scholar, Donald Richie, died this week; Richie was the most eminent English-language expert on Japanese cinema and culture, and Catherine Grant at Film Studies for Free does him proud with a terrific page of links to his online writings and interviews – go explore.
• Fire in the sky: do read Rebecca Rutkoff at Moving Image Source on the 2012 screening of parts of the late Gregory Markopoulos’ experimental film epic Eniaios at the outdoor site of the Temenos in the remote Peloponnese.
• On the enduring appeal of Die Hard: perhaps the best piece you’ll read today – for The York Times Magazine Adam Sternbergh explains just why he has ‘spent more time watching, contemplating and analyzing John McClane than I have, say, Hamlet.’
• From Shawshank to Skyfall, how master cinematographer Roger Deakins got these ten shots: there’s no justice in the world of Oscar if DoP Deakins doesn’t get the nod for his astonishing work on Skyfall; this is a great Vulture interview with the man himself, enhanced by clips including this opening of Fargo (1996):
• The animal menagerie of Rhythm and Hues: I missed this just before Christmas – it’s Kevin B Lee’s video tribute (with transcript) for the BFI website to the special effects house that made the magic for The Life of Pi – and which sadly has just filed for bankruptcy in the States.
• Oscar predictions, election-style: Nate Silver looks ahead.
• Shark week: @emilynussbaum at The New Yorker on House of Cards and Scandal and Washington politics on the screen… (please could we have an Emily Nussbaum writing this smartly about British television?)
• Scandal is crazier than House of Cards – and has much more to say about Washington: … and Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress on the same.
• The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Read not Dead) @ Sackler Studios, Shakespeare’s Globe: Peter Kirwan at The Bardathon really made me wish that I had been to the recent staged reading of Francis Beaumont’s ‘post-modern’ early modern play.
• A Wagner Ring that’s sustainably powered: regulars will know that I am a sucker for the Ring cycle, and this is a good piece by Mark Swed for the Los Angeles Times about the new Munich production for the composer’s 200th anniversary: ‘the freshest, least self-conscious and most memorable Ring that I have seen or heard about in nearly 40 years’.
• A fascination with endgame: Jackie Wullschlager at the Financial Times most definitely makes you want to see the Barbican’s big new show The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns.
• We couldn’t stop looking: at the New York Review of Books Charles Simic pays tribute to the photography magazine Aperture, where he worked from 1967 to 1970.
• Eleanor Rossevelt and the Soviet sniper: a compelling World War Two tale by Gilbert King at the Smithsonian’s blog Past Imperfect.
• Take a bullet for the team: David Runciman in the London Review of Books is really good on Jack Profumo, Stephen Ward and the scandal of ’63.
• How Napoleon Chagnon became our most controversial anthropologist: a terrific piece by Emily Eakin forThe New York Times Magazine about perhaps the best-known and most-maligned living anthropologist.
• Linked data: connecting together the BBC’s online content: necessarily nerdy but important nonetheless – Oliver Bartlett at the BBC INternet blog.
• Recognising speech: a valuable brief report by Luke McKernan about the speech-to-text conference that he organised recently at The British Library.
• Bob Godfrey – a career in clips: … and finally, the wonderfully inventive british animator Bob Godfrey died this week, and this is a lovely Guardian tribute assembled by Richard Vine; it includes this remarkable clip from Productivity Primer (1964), which would have been a good deal more prosaic without Godfrey’s imagination.