Sunday, July 23, 2017

Jesus on toast

'It's normal to see Jesus on your TOAST': Humans are hardwired to see famous faces on everyday objects, claims study 

Seeing faces in inanimate objects and patterns is known as face pareidolia
The phenomenon is common, but little is known about why it happens
Researchers analysed brain responses to seeing faces in patterns
Response originates in the frontal cortex and travels to the visual cortex
Findings suggest humans have evolved to recognise facial shapes due to their importance in social interactions 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sublime and surreal: Harold Lloyd art gifs!


Cat squash

Is this the world's worst wax museum?

So did you honestly think Madame Tussaud's cornered the market on celebrity waxworks? Guess 

There's this place. This shabby little English museum that looks like it should be IN a museum, or else a mausoleum.The brochure informs us:

It was named after the great grandson of Madame Tussaud, the founder of the famous waxworks museum in London in 1835.

The Great Yarmouth museum’s website describes it as 'different from many wax museums, in that it remembers the stars and famous people as they were at their height of fame and influence.'

It adds: 'See your gallery of how people looked, how the passionate owners captured them at this time and preserved them for your enjoyment. Many wax museum (sic) update their models to keep the realistic to reflect the current looks or styles.

'If you are looking back to the 70s, so (sic) the stars as they were. Nostalgia and memories. Show your grand children the stars and leaders during your generation and help us bring the museum to life.'

"Museum" and "life" aren't usually used in the same sentence, but there you are. I doubt if Louis Tussaud (the Tussaud that nobody talks about) had much to do with the design of these things. I'm not going to tell you who they all are, of course! There are too many of them, and some simply confound me. As with bad taxidermy, bad waxworks are meant to be cringeworthy, provoking uneasy laughter and memories of Vincent Price melting down girls in his giant vat of paraffin. 

What I love most of all is that all the photos are exactly the same size, so I could make a gif of them in about twelve seconds. Thank you, Louis Tussaud!
But keep in mind there are (were - the place experienced a meltdown and had to close a couple of years ago) a purported 150 figures in this place, and I've only shown you 36. 

The torture chambers sound like the most interesting feature of the exhibit. Pity we'll never get to experience them.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

All day, all night, Harold Lloyd

I think it started with this one. There didn't seem to be much scope for animation (if you can call it that), but that never stopped me before. The idea is that someone thinks this is a still picture, then. . . OOPS!

Similarly, this thing flips into reverse at the strangest times. This little doll was something you could win as a prize at theatres (I think) where Harold's movies were showing. There are lots of them on Pinterest and eBay, collectibles, though whether they're authentic or not is anybody's guess. The original doll was maybe 10" high and was made of oilcloth. The paper doll version, above, is likely a reconstruction.

I take no credit for these incredible Harold dolls, the likes of which I never saw while researching his life. They are on a site called Red Cap Art Dolls, links below. I might have been tempted then to buy one, and maybe stick pins in it when the novel ultimately failed. Oh well! There's something quite beautiful and something more than a little creepy about this Harold doll, not to mention effeminate. Dolls are innately creepy anyway, as I've covered in many a post. A human in miniature, they invite the best and worst kind of treatment from their owners. Come to that, it sounds like we're talking about children.

I found a total of four photos of the doll: two with hat, and two without. From the four, I made eight frames (reversing each of them to give me that added dimension of creepiness). Then, combining them every-which-way, Harold began to move, rigidly at first, clunkily, and then - as I sped up the frame speed and mixed it up a little - to dance.

I am forever being blown away by the calibre of artwork on I'm not trying to steal it! Really, not. Borrow it for a few seconds, maybe, to make hokey animations out of. Then give it back. But I want you to see this. This artist is called BlueCatNeoguri. He captures something essential about Harold, especially the hairline which is really difficult to "get". It's not a 21st century hairline, because it is combed straight back with a lot of pomade. That's what they did then, but because Harold had thick, black, unruly hair, it was forever falling out of that configuration. It was even curly when wet. That, and his blue-blue Welsh eyes (not apparent here) added to his sexiness.

I didn't make this at all - only made a gif out of an old YouTube video. In those days, meaning the 1920s, this was as good as you could get. There are still a few of these around, rocking back and forth spastically and wincing.  I hate to do this, but here is a closer shot:

Not a pretty sight. To get the taste of that one out of your mouth, here is one more by the brilliant BlueCatNeoguri of DeviantArt. Christ, how I wish I had talent!: