Glee’s Very Extraordinar Holiday Spectacular!

The Glee Holiday Spectacular!

Imagine flipping through the television channels and you turned on Glee’s Extraordinary Merry Christmas, expecting a group of rambunctious teenagers covering a number of holiday pop songs, but instead you get a black-and-white homage to Judy Garland’s 1963 Christmas Special, complete with laugh tracks, a Luke Skywalker lookalike (including a lightsaber) and an Irish holiday elf!

Well, this Glee Christmas program was every bit as strange as it sounds, but maybe in today’s times it takes a show like this to spread holiday cheer and inspire the gift of giving.

The Glee Holiday Spectacular!

(Best Watched in Full-Screen Mode)

The Glee Cast: Do They Know It’s Christmas?

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Glee Star Cory Monteith Dead at 31, Found Alone in Vancouver Hotel Room

Glee Star Cory Monteith Dead at 31, Found Alone in Vancouver Hotel Room

Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson in the Fox hit television show Glee, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room Saturday, Vancouver police said. He was 31. Police stated thar the cause of death was not immediately apparent, but they ruled out foul play. Monteith spent time in rehab earlier this year, checking into a drug addiction treatment facility in April. He had been frank about his struggles with substance abuse, telling Parade Magazine in 2011 that he began using drugs at 13, and by 19 went into rehab after his mother and friends intervened.

Monteith had been on the musical comedy show since it began in 2009. In 2011, he won a Teen Choice Award for top actor in a comedy. The show’s cast won a Screen Actors Guild award for an ensemble in a comedy the prior year.

Cory Monteith’s Greatest “Glee” Performances

Glee: We’ve Got Tonight

Cory Monteith: Can’t Fight This Feeling

Glee: Don’t Stop Believing

Just the Way You Are (Glee Cast)

Glee: Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Glee: Just Can’t Stop Loving You

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Nude Skydivers: Big Boobs Bloom as Huge Bazongas Bewilder the Bamboobled!

Nude Skydivers: Big Boobs Bloom as Huge Bazongas Bewilder the Bamboobled!

Nude Skydive is a very funny 2 1/2-min. commercial spot directed by Peter Harton for a Danish discount retail company. The topless women are plummeting faster than the prices at Danish web discount retailer Fleggaard in this humorously racy web film! While topless skydiving certainly sounds like it’s interesting enough, I’ve actually posted this because I just love it when a golf or tennis match gets unexpectedly interrupted!

Nude Skydivers: Big Boobs Bloom as Huge Bazongas Bewilder the Bamboobled!

(Best Viewed in Full-Screen Mode)

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Les Blank Dies at 77: Created Sensuous, Lyrical Films of America’s Periphery

Les Blank Dies at 77: Created Sensuous, Lyrical Films of America’s Periphery

Les Blank’s sly, sensuous and lyrical documentaries about regional music and many other idiosyncratic subjects, including Mardi Gras in New Orleans, gap-toothed women, blues musicians and the filmmaker Werner Herzog, were widely admired by critics and other filmmakers if not generally known by moviegoers. Blank died on Sunday at his home in Berkeley, California at the age of 77.

His 42 films mostly depicted slices of folk culture, but his best known, Burden of Dreams, documented director Werner Herzog’s fanatical making of Fitzcarraldo. When Les Blank arrived in the lush, untamed Amazon in 1981 to make a documentary about Werner Herzog’s film, he knew the German’s reputation as a daredevil director. Herzog had chosen the remote jungle locale, plagued by tribal skirmishes and the perils of nature, for authenticity.

Burden of Dreams became a telling portrait of a filmmaker’s mad descent into obsession and raised serious questions about ethics in making movies. In 1982, Blank won an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for Burden of Dreams, which sent shock waves through the cinematic community for its unflinching portrayal of Herzog’s blind pursuit of art while filming Fitzcarraldo.

Read more about the life and works of Les Blank in the New York Times here.

Dry Wood: Creole Life in French Louisiana

Dry Wood (1973) is Les Blank’s fascinating look at black Creole life in French Louisiana, where food and music are the featured elements. The film is awash with deftly framed portraiture, cunningly observed social scenes, beautiful nature photography and the poetic juxtaposition of imagery and sound. Pleasant, slow scenes of rural life are held together by the wild, insistent music of Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot.

Dry Wood: Creole Life in French Louisiana

Lightnin’ Hopkins: The Sun’s Gonna Shine

The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1969) brilliantly captures the great Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins. In this deeply moving film, Blank reveals Lightnin’s inspiration and features a generous helping of classic blues. The Sun’s Gonna Shine is a lyrical recreation of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ decision at age eight to stop chopping cotton and start singing for a living.

Lightnin’ Hopkins: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1969)

Gap-Toothed Women: Societal Attitudes toward Standards of Beauty

Gap-Toothed Women (1987) is Blank’s charming valentine to women born with a space between their teeth, which ranges from lighthearted whimsy to a deeper look at issues like self-esteem and societal attitudes toward standards of beauty. Interviews were conducted with over one hundred women, including super-model Lauren Hutton and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Gap-Toothed Women: Societal Attitudes toward Standards of Beauty (1987)

Always For Pleasure: An Intense Portrait of New Orleans’ Street Celebrations

Always For Pleasure (1978) is Blank’s intense insider’s portrait of New Orleans’ street celebrations and unique cultural gumbo: New Orleans has a gut-level mythic quality, a resonance unique among American cities. Always For Pleasure amplifies that resonance with second-line parades and Mardi Gras madness, featuring live music from Professor Longhair, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers and more. This glorious, soul-satisfying film is among Blank’s special masterworks.

Always For Pleasure: An Intense Portrait of New Orleans’ Street Celebrations (1978)

Burden of Dreams: A Shocking Portrait of a Filmmaker’s Descent into Obsession

Burden of Dreams (1982) is Les Blank’s extraordinary feature-length documentary about the messianic German director Werner Herzog struggling against desperate odds in the Amazon basin to make his epic feature, Fitzcarraldo. The documentary sent shock waves through the cinematic community for its unflinching portrayal of Herzog’s blind pursuit of art while filming Fitzcarraldo, a film about a man obsessed with hauling a steamship through the jungle to strike it rich in rubber. Burden of Dreams was honored with a British Academy Award for Best Documentary of 1982, and many critics consider it Blank’s most awesome film.

Burden of Dreams: A Shocking Portrait of a Filmmaker’s Descent into Obsession (1982)

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From Little Tuffy of Chicago: A Very Happy Holiday Season to All!

From Little Tuffy of Chicago: A Very Happy Holiday Season to All!

About 2 years ago, an acquaintance showed up at my door with a tiny ball of fur, an eight week-old brown poodle that he’d bought at an outdoor flea market in downstate Illinois. A little pup who had probably been raised abusively in a terrible puppy mill. Although I had no intentions of ever having a pet in my northside Chicago apartment, I relented and took little Tuffy into my home, and soon thereafter into my heart. Needless to say, Tuffy has brought endless joy to this quietly retired senior citizen.

Wishing You a Joyeux Noël

Joyeux Noël is a delightful, humorously cheerful one-minute animated short film. It was created by the people from the Barcelonian motion graphics house United Fakes, who would like to wish all of you a very happy holiday season!

Wishing You a Joyeux Noël

Kug Fu Tuffy: A Happy Kung Fu Christmas from Little Tuffy of Chicago

Little Tuffy Frolics at Wiggly Field with His Best Friend, Miss Olive

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Thanksgiving: Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want

Norman Rockwell: Freedom from Want

Thanksgiving: Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want

Paintings by: Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Freedom from Want or The Thanksgiving Picture is one of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings, inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms. Freedom from Want was published in the March 6, 1943, issue of The Saturday Evening Post and later was included as the cover image of the 1946 book Norman Rockwell, Illustrator, written when Rockwell was at the height of his fame as America’s most popular illustrator.

Mary Chapin Carpenter: The Thanksgiving Song

Casey Neistat and His Son Make Thanksgiving Dinner

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Golden Fall: Dreamlike Moments of Pleasure

Golden Fall: Dreamlike Moments of Pleasure

Golden Fall is a wonderful inspirational documentary short film by Miles Peterson, which captures spectacular fall colors in dreamlike moments of pleasure. Music is Flumina by Fennesz and Sakamoto.

Golden Fall: Dreamlike Moments of Pleasure

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