Tomas: There is Only Money and Sex

Tomas: There is Only Money and Sex

Tomas (an acronym for There is Only Money And Sex) is a series of three short-short animated films by James Palumbo, which are based upon his debut novel Tomas.  Both the films and the very timely book set out to chronicle some of the more sordid aspects of the age in which we are presently living.  Tomas is a brilliantly grotesque retaliatory attack on bloated bankers, salacious socialites, filthy-rich professional sportsmen and the cancer of economic excess.

The films and book have been received with considerable critical acclaim.  While some have described his new works as startlingly grotesque, Palumbo responds, “Is it grotesque?  What does that mean?  I don’t want to say something boring or clichéd, but it really has gotten to extreme levels.  Something’s got to give.  It’s gotten to the point of Sodom and Gomorrah.”  Reviewers have applauded Palumbo’s new works as dripping with disdain for the cancer of economic excess, picking up the literary baton of monomaniacal money lust carried by Bret Easton Ellis during the 90s.

The series of three animated short films is presented here as one piece: Champagne-Fuelled Jungle; Torture, Truffles and Truth; and lastly, Cocks Away! In the finale, an army of male members parachutes from the skies to the tune of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, the battle-cry of finally rising up to redeem mankind.

Tomas: There is Only Money and Sex

The series of three animated shorts can be viewed as separate pieces on Vimeo here.

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Dogged Fameball Ego-Blobber Julia Allison Airs on Most Obscure TV Channel Ever!

Dogged Fameball Ego-Blobber Julia Allison Airs on Most Obscure TV Channel Ever!

Gawker reports that the never-ending ego-blobber Julia Allison has just informed them of some amazing, breaking world news: Her videoblog, TMIweekly, has been picked up by NBC’s New York Nonstop. Now, this turns out to be highly appropriate, because New York Nonstop is certainly as close as it gets to the edge of internet obscurity, while still letting one claim to be on television. This makes it quite a suitable perch for the vapid, irrelevant musings of Allison, an inappropriately well-known dating columnist for Time Out New York, and her two cohorts, Silicon Valley heiress Meghan Asha Parikh and vapid handbag designer Mary Rambin. The episodes of TMIweekly, Allison’s videoblog, have featured the goofy trio blathering on and on about totally uninteresting aspects of their lives (just imagine very bad Twittering, only videotaped).

It’s all part of their faux-business called NonSociety. Allison recently reported that NonSociety had taken in revenues of $60,000 during all of 2008. Calculating with an advanced business metric known as earnings before expenses, that would give NonSociety’s three pseudo-socialite Foundresses a living-level that’s just slightly above minimum wage. Now, whatever NBC is paying Allison for her 24×7 filler, it’s certainly too much, as NBC’s own officials seem to realize! Meredith McGinn, Senior Manager of Special Products for NBC4, explained to the New York Daily News: “You’ll get your meat, your news, weather and headlines-every 15 minutes. In between those 15 minutes, you may have a two-minute segment, a two-minute pod, a five-minute pod. So the shows we’re looking at are in little bits, not your traditional half-hour newscasts.”

So the news is the meat, which makes TMIweekly what, exactly? Shredded lettuce? Mayo? Anything, surely, except relish. So rather than force-feed you to watch even one awful episode of Julia Allison’s TMIweekly, here’s Gawker videographer Richard Blakeley’s much funnier parody-spoof, Welcome to NomSociety:

Julia Allison and Cohorts: Welcome To NomSociety

Thanks to Gawker.

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NY Fashion Week: Skintight Baggies and Other Fashion Mishaps for Socialite Ferrets

Fashion Week: Skintight Baggies and Other Fashion Mishaps for Rich Socialites

New York’s Spring Fashion Week is going strong right now in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. All of the fashionista fameballs are there, stretchin’ their necks so to gawk at the latest weirdo high-fashion getups. Don’t you wish you were there? Nope, me neither. Nope, not never. That’s for darn sure. But I did manage to round up some downright classic pichures of a few of the most silliest, stupidest and just plain old dumb-lookin’ fancy couture outfits that have polluted the fashion runways so far. So here are some of the fashion clunkers that all the high-falutin’ rich, blue-blood socialites are salivatin’ over. Yep, you can take a look-see right here, in case you might be just dying with curiosity to see what you’re missing out on! And also, please don’t fail to watch the video of a poor little Fashion Week model having to run barefoot all through Manhattan’s rainy, scary streets in her raggedy old dress!!

Fashion Week Model Runs Barefoot Thru Rainy, Scary Streets in Raggedy Dress

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Richard Avedon: Deconstructing the Personality to Burnish the Legend

Richard Avedon: Deconstructing the Personality to Burnish the Legend

Portraits to Confirm and Confer Identity

For more than fifty years, Richard Avedon’s portraits filled the pages of the country’s finest magazines. His stark imagery and brilliant insight into his subjects’ characters made him one of the premier American portrait photographers. Born in New York City in 1923, Richard Avedon dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marine’s photographic section. Upon his return in 1944, he found a job as a photographer in a department store. Within two years he had been “found” by an art director at Harper’s Bazaar and was producing work for them as well as Vogue, Look, and a number of other magazines.

During the early years, Avedon made his living primarily through work in advertising. His real passion, however, was the portrait and its ability to express the essence of its subject. As Avedon’s notoriety grew, so did the opportunities to photograph celebrities from a broad range of disciplines. Avedon’s ability to present personal views of public figures, who were usually distant and inaccessible, was immediately recognized by the public and the celebrities themselves.

Many sought out Avedon for their most public images. While many photographers are interested in either catching a moment in time or preparing a formal image, Avedon found a way to do both. In 1994, the Whitney Museum brought together fifty years of his work in the retrospective, Richard Avedon: Evidence. In 1989, Avedon received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London.

Avedon’s Studio: A Dramatic Arena

Avedon’s studio was in a converted stable-house on New York’s East 75th Street. Once entering the house, you walked into a lobby whose brick walls were lined with Avedon’s legendary images of Marilyn Monroe and a large print of the model Dovima in a black-and-white Dior evening gown, her long arms stretched between the long trunk of one elephant and the floppy ear of another. You continued past a kitchen galley, down a few steps to a dressing room, and then down a few more steps, past a small room with desks and a light box, through a doorway, and finally into a white space that was repainted for every sitting.

This white space was like a stage, lit by a simple key light, with stretched white cloth behind it. The shift from the reception commotion to the studio quiet, from the real world to a play one, was abrupt and dramatic. Avedon referred to it as his set; in fact it was an arena that put anyone who stepped into it immediately on show. The white floor separated the subject from the unpainted rest of the cavernous space, as well as from the workers who occupied it (Avedon and his three assistants). The arrangement inspired a drama on both sides of the camera: between acting and being seen.

The encounter, like the setting, raised the stakes of play. The game was hide-and-seek, and it was exhilarating and scary. What would Avedon see? Or see through? For each subject, the arrangement created a kind of immanence, a palpable internal demand; the subject had to do something, to be someone. The negotiation of identity was a simulacrum of life. Here in the studio, the subject was called on to improvise; whether professional showman or novice, they had either to mask or to pronounce themselves. From Avedon’s perspective, all choices were telling. His task was to encourage, interpret, re-stage and retouch the portraits in order to confirm and confer identity.

The desire to be properly seen was one of the reasons that, for decades, the performing legends of the Western world paraded through Avedon’s studio door. Many of them could understand their own talent, but they couldn’t grasp what it was in them that attracted the public so powerfully. “They don’t always know what they’re showing,” Avedon once said. “I never quite understood it, this sex symbol,” Monroe said of herself. In his portraits of her, Avedon captured that sense of confusion about her charisma, which she was able to control in front of a camera, but which she imperfectly understood.

Whether Avedon was mourning his father in a series of harrowing death-bed portraits, capturing dramatic portraits of renowned celebrities or exploring the burned-out faces of Utah drifters, within the camera’s vigilant focus the position of a head, a hand, or a lidded eye assumed the significance of a symbol. These studies have a dark glamor. The glamor of Avedon’s portraits, the arrangement of balance of line, texture, figure, and shadows within the frame, speaks with an uncanny, heartbreaking eloquence.

Richard Avedon: The Photography of Minimal Essentialism

Richard Avedon: Portraits of Crisis and Power

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Hollywood’s All Abuzz: It’s Oscar Dayze!!

Hollywood news conferences, The Red Carpet, movie stars, celebrities, fancy designer gowns, jewels and parties! Hollywood is a town that’s all abuzz as celebrities are flocking from all over the world for Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. Here’s a video of Oscar Winner Predictions, as well as other great videos, including: a video about the worst movies of all time, an imaginative short film about the Oscars and a video about Eve Arnold’s wonderful celebrity photography.

The 2008 Academy Awards Oscar Predictions

The Worst Films Ever Made

The Oscars

Eve Arnold’s Celebrity Photography

Viewers can read The New York Times’ Oscar Predictions here.

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