Cultrface – a blog dedicated to culture and how it enriches our lives.

What if Superman V hadn't been cancelled?

What Could Have Been: Superman 5

Bullets & Blockbusters looked at the original and ill-fated Superman V script that would have featured Christopher Reeve had Superman IV not been so bad and the whole franchise collapsed into itself. Although I knew about the weird journey that Superman IV’s sequel took from the late 80s into the 90s, I’d never heard the OG script involving Brainiac and it actually sounded like it would have been watchable.

Alas, we’ll never get it but it’s fun to dream.

Palestine (the one in Illinois) and the mystery of Jean LaMotte

Palestine is the name of a village in Illinois, USA. As of the 2020 Cencus, it had a population of 1,233 (~95% white), and the median income per household was $41,700. But why is it named Palestine? Well, according to an archived page from Pioneer City, it looked like Palestine:

It is said that French explorer Jean LaMotte first gazed upon this region in 1678. He gave it the name Palestine, as it reminded him of the biblical land of milk and honey.

But when I tried to look up Jean LaMotte, all I found were references to him naming the Illinois village after the Middle Eastern country. Surely a European explorer who “visited” the US and named some land after a more famous land thousands of miles away would get some recognition?

I tried Google Scholar: nothing. And then opted for JSTOR and found one plausible reference of him in a journal article about a Dutch East India Company expedition in French Indochina in 1643. It’s French but using DeepL, I managed to translate some of it. The article stated that Jean LaMotte commanded one (or two) yachts called Wijdenes and Zandvoort, leaving on 13th January from Formosa (now Taiwan), asked for leave on 20th February (which he took) and went to Batavia (now Jakarta) on 18th April. That’s it.

So he existed but finding any more information about him—online at least—is nigh on impossible.

If anyone else knows more about him, please let me know and help me out of this rabbit hole. In the meantime, I wonder what the residents of Palestine, Illinois think about the genocide of their namesake’s land.

Some links on Cinco de Mayo

A woman and girl wearing Jalisco dresses pose for a photo at a Kansas City Cinco de Mayo celebration (1998)

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrated predominately in the US by people of Mexican heritage. It takes place on 5th May (hence the name—Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for 5th of May) and commemorates Mexico’s victory over at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

It’s important to note that Cinco de Mayo is not the same as Mexican Independence Day which takes place on 16th September. In Puebla, people reenact the battle and perform in parades dressed as both Mexican and French soldiers. In the US, Cinco de Mayo performers dance, sing, and celebrate Mexican culture. However, there are concerns that the holiday is more of an Americanised commercial day in modern days compared to its origins:

Cinco de Mayo celebrations have become more popular in the United States than in Mexico. In the past few decades, this historic day has changed from a regional celebration of Mexican American culture into nationwide Latino/a holiday hijacked by the alcohol industry and other commercial interests. […] Using content analysis of Cinco de Mayo advertisements in magazines, billboards, liquor ads, and store displays from 2000 to 2006, five mediated representations emerged: Mexico’s Fourth of July, Mexican St. Patrick’s Day, Drink de Mayo, Sexism in a Bottle, and Mexican Otherness. These representations are anchored in a new racism ideology that emphasizes cultural difference, individualism, liberalism, and colorblindness, which reinforce existing racial inequalities. The implications of the alcohol industry’s Cinco de Mayo advertisements is the increased targeting of Latino/a youth from working-class communities with high rates of alcohol-related violent deaths and illnesses.

The abstract from “Cinco de Mayo, Inc.: reinterpreting Latino culture into a commercial holiday“, by Jose Alamillo

I thought it’d be cool to post some interesting links on Cinco de Mayo and its various traditions so here they are:

Links

A supercut of people at gunpoint convinced they won't get shot... and then getting shot

"What are you gonna do? Shoot me?" Gets shot. Supercut/Compilation

For me, nothing beats people thinking they’re superior and then falling back to earth—or in this case eventually under the earth (RIP). The supercut (above) shows the classic trope of “what are you gonna do, shoot me?” followed by getting shot.

The video opens with Columbo, followed by the likes of Total Recall, The World Is Not Enough, True Blood, Game of Thrones, and Star Trek.

Akira: Quick Action Recorder

AKIRA - QUICK ACTION RECORDER

The video above shows some early footage of Akira, per-colorisation:

One of the most notable tools used in the production of the film was the use of the Quick Action Recorder. The quick action recorder allowed the animators to take pictures of individual frames (like a down-shooter) and replay the frames at 24fps (frames per second). This technique was extremely helpful in correction and timing for the film, giving the staff a way to observe their work before moving onto cells.

via Exploring Akira

(h/t pdp.dev)

Tim Curry and Grace Jones

Tim Curry sat next to Grace Jones. He is wearing elaborate prosthetics and she is sat next to him wearing a black head scarf, dark spaghetti top and pants

Grace Jones was filming the James Bond classic ‘A View to a Kill’ in the adjacent studio at Pinewood whilst Tim Curry was filming ‘Legend’ during 1984. Jones used to hang out with Tim whilst he was having his prosthetic makeup applied for the character of Darkness. Tim’s makeup took up to six hours to apply and the two would chat and pose for humorous Polaroids together throughout the day.

(via MLTSHP)
Mount Fuji in Japan, seen from the International Space Station. It is the seventh-highest peak of an island on Earth and hasn’t erupted since the Hōei eruption, which lasted from 1707–1708. Click the image for a 3060×2036 version on Reddit

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (or Armenian Genocide Memorial Day), a day commemorating the victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915. It’s said that 1.5 million Armenians were starved and murdered.

It’s tradition for people to walk to the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial in Yerevan and lay flowers at the eternal flame.

You can see photos of each Remembrance Day from 2007–2022 on the Armenian Genocide Museum website.

(h/t Andrew Strohelein)

Berlin Tempelhof Airport

Berlin Tempelhof Airport by Reading Tom, shared via CC BY 2.0

Tempelhof Airport was one of the first airports in Berlin, Germany, operating from 1923 until 2008. It was known for its iconic pre-World War II architecture, its role in the Berlin Airlift, and for having the then-world’s smallest duty-free shop.

The airport closed in 2008 after a referendum and despite protests to keep it open. The former airfield has since been converted into a recreational space called Tempelhofer Feld while the airport has also been used for Formula E races, and Tempelhof Sounds, a three-day rock music event.

A fun fact about Angostura bitters

I’ve seen Angostura bitters bottles from time to time and never knew why their labels were bigger than the bottles. Until now:

The label on Angostura bitters is larger than the bottle. When company founder Johann Siegert died, his sons planned to enter the tonic in a competition and divided the preparatory work between them. One oversaw the design of a new bottle, the other of a new label. They failed to coordinate the work, and by the time the mismatch was apparent they had no choice but to use the oversize labels. The oddity was so distinctive that it’s been retained as a branding measure.

(via Futility Closet)

The Criterion Channel’s April 2024 lineup is packing 'Heat'

With it being 1st April, The Criterion Channel has announced its April 2024 lineup and it’s a scorcher. Amongst the many titles available to watch, we have:

  • A tribute to William Friedkin
  • “Come Back, Africa” a Lionel Rogosin a film made in secret in South Africa about a young Zulu man’s struggles to provide for his family under the crushing burden of apartheid
  • Martin Scorsese’s After Hours
  • A collection of anime films by Makoto Shinkai
  • Three movies from Cameroonian director Rosine Mbakam
  • A candid documentary on the late great Maurice Hines
  • Michael Mann’s crime classic Heat (hence the puns)

Criterion related: Ashley Clark’s Afrofuturist film series on Criterion Channel and Black titles from a Criterion Collection line-up in 2021

I love the Square Enix Music logo

I’m on a heavy Square Enix tip at the moment (which you can read all about on our sibling site, Distant Arcade) and I noticed the logo for their music label/channel/section of the business (above).

It’s… beautiful. The simplicity of it and the colours. There is a slight caveat to this being geared towards people who can read English in terms of deciphering the shapes as the initials of Square Enix Music but even if you did, you could miss it and when you point it out to someone, they’ll be amazed too.