Monthly Archives: June 2009

Chip Kidd Picks His Favorite Book Covers

Chip Kidd is the Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf and he has designed some of the most iconic book covers of our generation.  Click HERE to see some of his favorite dust jacket designs created by his peers.

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The Man Wall

Bring the sports bar experience home with The Man Wall ($14,900). This all-in-one chunk of awesomeness features room for four TVs — one 52″ and two 26″ units are included — a 1200-watt Panasonic home theater with integrated speakers and wireless surround units, two 25-cigar humidors with gauges, a 32-bottle wine rack, a microwave, a live 7-foot sports ticker at the top with built-in computer, a full-size kegerator with tap, an iPod docking station, DVD player, and the ability to control it all via a single remote control. (From Uncrate.com)

the-man-wall

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Couples Retreat Trailer

Universal Pictures has released the trailer for Couples Retreat, the upcoming comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell and Faizon Love.

The film is due out on October 9th, 2009.

Based on an original idea of Vaughn’s, the comedy follows four Midwestern couples who embark on a journey to a tropical island resort. While one of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the other three set out to jet ski, spa and enjoy some fun in the sun. They soon discover that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional. Suddenly, their group-rate vacation comes at a price. What follows is a hilarious look at real world problems faced by all couples.

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Michael Jackson Shot 3D Video Project Before Death

Two weeks before he died, Michael Jackson wrapped up work on an elaborate production dubbed the “Dome Project” that could be the final finished video piece overseen by the King of Pop, The Associated Press has learned.

Jackson was apparently preparing to dazzle concert audiences in London with a high-tech show in which 3D images — some inspired by his “Thriller” era — would flash behind him as he performed on stage.

“It was a groundbreaking effort,” said Vince Pace, whose company provided cameras for the shoot, a 3D system he created with filmmaker James Cameron.

“To think that Michael’s gone now, that’s probably the last documented footage of him to be shot in that manner,” Pace said.

Two people with knowledge of the secretive project confirmed its existence Monday to the AP on condition they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.

They said it was a five-week project filmed at Culver Studios, which 70 years ago was the set for the classic film “Gone With the Wind.” Four sets were constructed for Jackson’s production, including a cemetery recalling his 1983 “Thriller” video.

With 3D technology “the audience would have felt like they were visiting the ‘Thriller’ experience, like they were there,” Pace said.

Shooting for the project lasted from June 1-9, with Jackson on the set most days. The project was in post-production, at the time of Jackson’s death, and had been expected to be completed next month. It was not immediately clear what would be made of the video footage now.

Producer Robb Wagner, founder of music-video company Stimulated Inc., did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the project.

Michael Roth, a spokesman for Jackson’s Los Angeles-based promoter AEG Live, said he hadn’t heard about the production but did not rule that it could be part of the company’s contract with the entertainer.

According to one of the people with knowledge of the project, a willow-thin, pallid Jackson left a memorable impression on the crew, arriving in a caravan of SUVs with hulking security guards in tow. The person said Jackson introduced himself to workers on the set and walked with a spring in his step but at one point needed assistance as he descended steps off a stage.

Besides the cemetery, one set was draped in black with an oversized portrait of Jackson in his “Thriller” werewolf costume. Another set was designed to simulate a lush jungle, and a fourth was built to replicate a construction site, with a screen in the back to allow projection of different backgrounds.

Taping took place in marathon sessions ending early in the morning. One scene filmed on the construction site set included scantily clad male dancers wearing carpenter’s belts.

According to Stimulated’s Web site, the company was hired to produce screen content for Jackson’s planned comeback concerts in London. Stimulated has worked with Def Leppard and the Pussycat Dolls, and produced content for the Academy Awards and the Emmys.

Michael Jackson EBONY

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Apple Launches Online iPhone 3GS Availability Checker

Apple has launched a new online tool to allow potential iPhone 3GS customers to check on the stock levels at any of the company’s U.S.-based retail stores. Currently, iPhone 3GS availability varies wildly from store-to-store, with some stores sold completely out and some down to just one model available; most of the company’s biggest stores, such as The Grove in LA, the downtown San Francisco store, and the company’s glass cube 5th avenue store in New York City, have all models available. The availability checker page notes that the 8GB iPhone 3G is in-stock at all Apple Retail locations.

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Watchmen Director’s Cut Headed To Theaters

The director’s cut of “Watchmen,” featuring an additional 25 minutes of footage and the death of a supporting character, will receive a limited theatrical rollout during the weekend ahead of its July 21 home-video release.

The superhero saga will screen in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis and Dallas.

The rollout will culminate with a special screening July 25 at Comic-Con in San Diego, taking advantage of a Blu-ray Disc feature that will allow any viewer in North America to watch the movie at the same time as the audience at Comic-Con, see and hear director Zack Snyder comment on the movie, and even ask questions. The screening will then be archived and will be able to be accessed for future viewings.

“Comic-Con, it isn’t just comic book fanatics, it’s cinephiles as well. It’ll be cool to discuss what people are thinking,” Snyder said at a “Watchmen” press day, held Wednesday at Warner Bros., where the news was unveiled.

The day was designed to showcase a bonus Blu-ray feature called Maximum Movie Mode as well as features to be seen in Snyder’s Blu-ray release of “300: The Complete Experience.”

watchmen

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Trailer for ‘The Box’

An unhappily married couple receives a small wooden box on their doorstep. At the push of a button, the box brings its bearer instant wealth but also instantly kills someone the bearer doesn’t know. Richard Kelly directs the upcoming thriller which stars Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Michele Durrett.  Look for ‘The Box’ in theaters on October 30th, 2009.

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Clever Shopping Bag Designs

HERE are some clever shopping bags that were used in advertising campaigns by various companies from around the world.

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The handles of this shopping bag are made of transparent fishing line, which makes it appear as though it is being held without handles.

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TV pitchman Billy Mays Dies

Billy Mays, the burly, bearded television pitchman known for his boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean, has died. He was 50.

Tampa police said Mays was found unresponsive by his wife Sunday morning. A fire rescue crew pronounced him dead at 7:45 a.m.

There were no signs of a break-in, and investigators do not suspect foul play, said Lt. Brian Dugan of the Tampa Police Department, who wouldn’t answer any more questions about how Mays’ body was found because of the ongoing investigation. The coroner’s office expects to have an autopsy done by Monday afternoon.

“Although Billy lived a public life, we don’t anticipate making any public statements over the next couple of days,” said Mays’ wife, Deborah. “Our family asks that you respect our privacy during these difficult times.”

Tampa area media outlets reported that Mays was a passenger on a U.S. Airways flight that made a rough landing on Saturday afternoon at Tampa International Airport, apparently blowing its front tires in an incident that left debris on the runway.

Tampa Bay’s Fox television affiliate interviewed Mays after the incident.

“All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping,” MyFox Tampa Bay quoted him as saying. “It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head.”

U.S. Airways officials said Sunday they could not immediately confirm that Mays was a passenger.

Born William Mays in McKees Rocks, Pa., on July 20, 1958, Mays developed his style demonstrating knives, mops and other “as seen on TV” gadgets on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. For years he worked as a hired gun on the state fair and home show circuits, attracting crowds with his booming voice and genial manner.

After meeting Orange Glo International founder Max Appel at a home show in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s, Mays was recruited to demonstrate the environmentally friendly line of cleaning products on the St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network.

Commercials and informercials followed, anchored by the high-energy Mays showing how it’s done while tossing out kitschy phrases like, “Long live your laundry!”

Recently he’s been seen on commercials for a wide variety of products and is featured on the reality TV show “Pitchmen” on the Discovery Channel, which follows Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their marketing jobs. He’s also been seen in ESPN ads.

His ubiquitousness and thumbs-up, in-your-face pitches won Mays plenty of fans. People line up at his personal appearances for autographed color glossies, and strangers stop him in airports to chat about the products.

“I enjoy what I do,” Mays told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. “I think it shows.”

Mays liked to tell the story of giving bottles of OxiClean to the 300 guests at his wedding, and doing his ad spiel (“powered by the air we breathe!”) on the dance floor at the reception. Visitors to his house typically got bottles of cleaner and housekeeping tips.

Discovery Channel spokeswoman Elizabeth Hillman released a statement Sunday extending sympathy to the Mays family.

“Everyone that knows him was aware of his larger-than-life personality, generosity and warmth,” Hillman’s statement said. “Billy was a pioneer in his field and helped many people fulfill their dreams. He will be greatly missed as a loyal and compassionate friend.”

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