Luminous Cities: Creative Explorations of Architectural Structures in Urban Landscapes

Edward Steichen, The Maypole, Empire State Building, New York City, 1932

Andreas Feininger, New York at Night, c. 1940

Eugene Atget (France), Coin de la Rue Valette et Pantheon, 5e Arrondissement, Matinee de Mars, 1925

Stephen Thompson, Grande Canale, Venice, c. 1868

Henry Hart (England), House of Parliament, London, c. 1847-1857

Luminous Cities: Creative Explorations of Architectural Structures in Urban Landscapes

Luminous Cities is a fascinating collection of photographs, which have been selected from a delightful exhibition of photographs of the built environment on display at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The world’s great cities have always been vibrant centers of creativity, in which the built environment is often as inspirational as the activities of its citizens, and since the nineteenth century photographers have creatively explored the idea of the city.

The exhibition enables the viewer to examine the various ways photographers have viewed cities as historical sites, bustling modern hubs and architectural utopias in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through the work of a range of photographers, Luminous Cities leads viewers on a fascinating journey around the world, into the streets, buildings and former lives of some of our greatest international cities.  The many fine photographs presented here, and in the remarkable slide show, include works by renowned photographers Eugene Atget, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Berenice Abbott, Bill Brandt, Lee Freidlander and Grant Mudford amongst many others.

Photography in the City: Contemporary Urban Atmospheres

Slide Show: Luminous Cities/Architectural Structures in Urban Landscapes

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1944) is the original classic cartoon version of this endearing Christmas tale, which was created by Max Fleischer two decades before Rudolph came to the small screen.  Johnny Marks’ infectious song leads into the well-known story of Santa’s winter weather troubles and how the bullied little deer saved the night.  The other reindeer in Christmastown don’t make Rudolph feel very welcome, constantly making fun of his shiny red nose.  But when terrible weather threatens to keep Santa Claus from making his annual toy-giving rounds, Rudolph is added to the team precisely for that bright nose, which guides Santa’s sleigh through the skies like a beacon in the night.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1944)

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Christmas in New York City

Christmas in New York City

Christmas in New York City is a beautiful three-minute holiday short film by the young Seattle filmmaker Matthew Brown.  The film presents amazing imagery of the city and really captures some of the best moments of New York City during the Christmas season.

Christmas in New York City

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Classic Bump n’ Grind: The Old Time Burlesque

Classic Bump n’ Grind: The Old Time Burlesque

Long before strippers started twirling on shiny brass poles in G-strings, men would get goofy watching women twirl their pasties at the old-timey burlesque shows.  America’s big cities often had dozens of burlesque theaters that featured bodacious babes in barely-there costumes, at least until prudish city officials started banning the shows.  But with the neo-burlesque movement coming back into vogue, and with Christina Aguilera and Cher co-starring in the new movie, Burlesque, here’s a fond look back at the heyday of burlesque.

Old Time Burlesque: Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

Variety Girls: The Old Time Burlesque Dancers

Slide Show: Classic Bump n’ Grind/The Old Time Burlesque

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Waxing Poetic: Death To The Death Penalty

Amnesty International: Death To The Death Penalty

139 countries have wiped out the death penalty,
Only 58 are left to convince.

Death To The Death Penalty is a very moving animated short film directed by Pleix for Amnesty International.  Waxing poetic while drawing inspiration from the Amnesty logo, a lit candle, its technique uses a computer graphics simulation of wax.  The film provides a beautiful and moving message against the death penalty.

Amnesty International: Death To The Death Penalty

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The End of an American Icon: Coney Island at Night

The End of an American Icon: Coney Island at Night

This classic Edison short, featuring revolutionary night photography of Coney Island around the turn of the century, was shot by the Edison Studio filmmaker Edwin S. Porter on June 25th, 1905. His camera caressed the lit-up amusement center with long sweeping movements, producing an eerie beauty. The smooth pans and tilts were a remarkable technical accomplishment at the time, given the fact that night scenes required longer exposures.

Coney Island at Night: The Edison Film Studio (1905)

Yes We Can: American Stories of Hope

Yes We Can: American Stories of Hope

Qasim Basir is a young filmmaker living in New York City who has been inspired by Barack Obama. In an article on The Huffington Post, Qasim wrote that, “He has inspired me, a usually self-motivated individual, to try to be a better person overall. I sometimes find myself in situations where I have a choice to do my best or just get by. And something in me refers back to something Obama may have said about making this country better. Then I realize that if I can do better in all of my endeavors and we all do the same as a collective nation, this place can actually get better.”

As a filmmaker, Qasim wanted to do something in support of the man that he so admired. By chance, one of his filmmaker friends in Los Angeles, Mike Lynch, was thinking along the same lines. Late one night, Qasim received a call from Lynch in his small Manhattan studio. Lynch said, “Qasim, we need to do something to support Obama.” That call sparked a flame in Qasim that inspired him to stay up all night and draft some ideas for a short film series. He wanted the series of short films to capture the quality that he most admired about Barack Obama.

It was by no means easy for Qasim to achieve his vision. It took everything that he and Lynch had to pull together enough resources to be able to finish the series of films. Along the way, they received free assistance from some usually highly paid professionals and raised most of the financial support for the film series through friends’ donations. Qasim feels that, “That’s why what we did here is so significant. We took a page out of Obama’s book and were successful at it. Almost like a prototype, test, or a living example of how his plan for this country can really work. A grass roots effort, people pulling together with a common purpose, even without all the necessary means, can make something positive and significant happen. I like to say that we accomplished this with nothing but Hope.”

Entitled The Inspiration of Barack: “Yes We Can” Film Series, Qasim refers to them as “Seven American Stories of Hope.” Each of the short films is about different people who, in the face of suffering and hardships in their lives, were inspired by Obama to confront their hardships and take an essential step forward. Each of the titles begins with Yes We Can, which is followed by College, Economy, Family, Housing, Immigration, Vote and War.

A screening of The Inspiration of Barack: “Yes We Can” Film Series, along with a “behind the scenes” video, is scheduled to place at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 12th at Tribeca Cinemas (54 Varick St., New York City).

Yes We Can: College

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