Robb Report on the iconic fashion designer Willi Smith #

willi smith

According to a 1983 People magazine article, Smith’s brand employed 85 people and shipped its men’s and women’s lines—WilliWear is credited as the first brand to encompass both under one label—to more than 1,000 department stores nationwide. A year later, the company was grossing some $25 million annually (over $55 million when adjusted to today’s figures) and embarked on the first artistic collaboration of its kind with the likes of Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger and Keith Haring creating widely accessible designs. And yet for many who weren’t alive at the time of Smith’s massive success, his name was a mystery before 2020.

Remembering Milton Glaser

Remembering Milton Glaser A'51

Glaser had an enormous impact on the field of design and creativity and a panel of 11 designers gathered to discuss his work and share their stories.

He had such a firm belief in the responsibility of designers, to society, to the entire community around us.

Milton was not just designer and illustrator (sic), he was doing all these different things as a true renaissance man.

25 Black art documentaries you need to watch

Last February, Lachelle Chyrsanne compiled a list of 25 must watch Black art documentaries.

From the list, I’ve only seen 5:

  1. Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (2011)
  2. Black Is the Color: A History of African American Art (2017)
  3. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
  4. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)
  5. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019)

There’s no time limit on watching these so I’ll add them to my ever-growing Letterboxd watchlist. The documentaries I have watched were very powerful and worth your time and investment.

See also: James Baldwin on the meaning of liberty, Toni Morrison on Jazz, and Jean-Michel Basquiat on how to be an artist.

The enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey

Taken from this article, published in 2016:

Every year, about 275,000 people tour the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, and as they stroll through its brick buildings nestled in a tree-shaded hollow, they hear a story like this: In the 1850s, when Daniel was a boy, he went to work for a preacher, grocer and distiller named Dan Call. The preacher was a busy man, and when he saw promise in young Jack, he taught him how to run his whiskey still — and the rest is history.

This year is the 150th (sic) anniversary of Jack Daniel’s, and the distillery, home to one of the world’s best-selling whiskeys, is using the occasion to tell a different, more complicated tale. Daniel, the company now says, didn’t learn distilling from Dan Call, but from a man named Nearis Green, one of Call’s slaves.

See also: the history of mint julep and black bartenders and a very brief history of Jamaican rum

(via TWBE)

36,336 versions of the 'I know a place' meme

Remember the X be like ‘I know a place’ and take you to a Y meme? Well, Darius Kazemi decided to create over 36,000 variations of it using ConceptNet, a semantic network designed to help computers understand the meanings of words.

As Darius says, there is probably some bad stuff in here but that just adds to the charm.

One of my favourites:

180 degrees be like ‘i know a place’ and take you to the corner

Genius.

Meme related: Conflict in Literature with Daffy Duck and the opposite of ASMR.

Audrey Hepburn speaking Dutch in an interview from 1959

Audrey Hepburn in a rare 1959 interview speaking Dutch

Transcript via Direct Dutch Institute; footage via VRT Archive and thanks to Eyes on Cinema for uploading it.

Interviewer: Waar bent u geboren?

Audrey Hepburn: Hier in Brussel. Dat kan ik met heel veel vreugde aankondigen.

Interviewer: U spreekt zeer goed Nederlands met een tikje Hollands accent. Hoe komt dat?

Audrey Hepburn: Omdat mijn moeder Hollands is en ik de oorlog in Holland heb doorgebracht. Ik heb er acht jaar gewoond.

Interviewer: En bent u dan terug naar België gekomen?

Audrey Hepburn: Ik ben er een paar keer geweest, heel kort. Het is heerlijk er weer te zijn vandaag.

Interviewer: U bent een filmcarrière begonnen enkele jaren terug. Hebt u daarvoor een toneelklas gevolgd?

Audrey Hepburn: Ik heb gedanst. Ik ben mijn carrière begonnen als balletleerlinge in Holland en ben als balletleerlinge ook naar Londen gegaan in 1948. En toen langzamerhand – van het een kwam het ander – heb ik heel kleine rolletjes gespeeld en een enkele film in Londen en toen heb ik de opportuniteit gehad om ‘Gigi’ te spelen in New York in het theater en diezelfde jaar heb ik een test gemaakt voor ‘Roman Holiday’, dus. 1952 was een groot jaar voor mij.

Interviewer: Er waren verschillende actrices die zich hebben aangeboden voor die film.

Audrey Hepburn: Ja die zijn uitgezocht, nee die rol was niet voor mij bedoeld.

Interviewer: U hebt in Londen gewerkt . U hebt in New York gewerkt en u bent naar Hollywood gegaan. Heel different. Was dat zoals men leest in publicaties in dagbladen? Hoe was dat om in een paar woorden te zeggen?

Audrey Hepburn: Het is niet zoals men werkelijk in dagbladen leest. Daar is het altijd óf mooier óf niet zo mooi en ik moet zeggen dat ik erg veel ervan houd om daar te werken. Ik heb heel veel vrienden. Zoals u weet, de filmindustrie is al heel lang in Hollywood. Dus is er een heel hoog peil, een heel hoog professioneel peil. Ik weet niet of ik dat goed zeg…

Interviewer: Ja, u zegt dat zeer goed.

Audrey Hepburn: Ik vind het heerlijk. Ik werk er erg graag.

Interviewer: En is er een goede geest onder elkaar, onder de acteurs…

Audrey Hepburn: O ja, er is een hele ernstige geest. Het is jammer dat men dat niet vaker leest. Men leest vaker over… de dingen die gebeuren. Maar men leest zelden van die hele vroege ochtenden dat mensen opstaan en al heel vroeg in de studio zijn. En honderden en allemaal klaar staan om heel vroeg te werken en de hele dag lang heel serieus aan het werk te zijn en er heerst een hele ernstige atmosfeer omdat men zijn werk heel ernstig opvat.

Interviewer: Hebt u een bepaalde voorkeur voor een regisseur? U hebt gewerkt met Billy Wilder…

Audrey Hepburn: Eigenlijk niet. Ik heb ontzettend veel geluk gehad, zoals u weet, met de regisseurs waarmee ik heb mogen werken. En dat is het enige dat ik zeggen kan.

Interviewer: Parijs heeft in uw films een voorname rol gespeeld.

Audrey Hepburn: Ja is dat niet merkwaardig? Helemaal in mijn carrière. Ook in het theater. Want ‘Gigi’, zoals u weet, is van het Franse verhaal afkomstig van Colette. En het tweede stuk die ik met mijn man Mel Ferrer heb gespeeld was ‘Ondine’ van Jean Giraudoux. En in het verhaal ‘Sabrina’ kom ik uit Parijs en in ‘Funny Face’ ga ik naar Parijs. En er is vaak zoiets geweest. Het heeft me heel veel geluk gebracht.

Interviewer: U hebt uw man toch niet ontmoet in Parijs?

Audrey Hepburn: Nee dat niet.

Interviewer: Maar dat had dan toch ook een groot geluk geweest, ook al is hij niet afkomstig uit Parijs. Houdt u van muzikale films?

Audrey Hepburn: Ja, heel veel. Het is heerlijk om te werken met muziek almaar om je heen, wat men eigenlijk doet.

Interviewer: En de reden waarom u hier bent is natuurlijk de film ‘The Nun’s Story’ die voor een deel gedraaid is in België en voor een deel in Belgisch Congo. Hoe is Belgisch Congo meegevallen? Hebt u geen moeilijkheden ondervonden, kwestie van temperatuur…?

Audrey Hepburn: Helemaal niet. Ik zou het heerlijk gevonden hebben om interessant te mogen zijn en te zeggen: ‘oe, het was zo warm, ik viel iedere dag flauw’. Maar dat was niet zo. Het was heel warm en ik vind het fijn om dat te kunnen zeggen en het was wel ontzettend mooi. Ik zou dolgraag terug willen gaan. Mijn man kent het nog niet en ik zou dolgraag eens samen teruggaan. Ik vond het prachtig.

Interviewer: En de rol zelf, hoe is dat u meegevallen?

Audrey Hepburn: Het is een moeilijke rol. Moeilijk en ik heb heel hard gewerkt zoals iedereen. We hebben ons best gedaan. En ik hoop dat het zo zal aflopen dat het publiek ernaartoe gaat. En dan, weer, het is een ernstig onderwerp en ik hoop dat we het eer aangedaan hebben.

Interviewer: En dan een laatste, een klassieke vraag. Welke zijn de plannen?

Audrey Hepburn: Op het ogenblik heel weinig voor mij. Mijn man gaat een andere film regisseren dus wij gaan morgenochtend terug naar Los Angeles en dus hij gaat aan het werk en ik ga huishouden doen, net zoals alle andere vrouwen doen.

Interviewer: Ik wens u veel succes in uw carrière…

Tam Tam: the cutest baby pygmy hippo in Japan

Tam Tam, the pygmy hippo looking at the camera

Tam Tam is a pygmy hippo from Osaka, Japan. He was born in February 2019.

As pygmy hippos are classed as Endangered, it’s remarkable to see newborns anywhere, let alone Far East Asia where they aren’t native. But the World Conservation Union estimates that fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos are left in the wild so captivity is unfortunately the safest place for them.

The video below shows Tam Tam at swimming in the pool showing his growing teeth and nursing underwater. But above all else, it shows him being the cutest baby pygmy hippo in Japan.

Stream it below and consider a donation to the Pygmy Hippo Foundation.

ミニカバの赤ちゃん 手乗りサイズだったけど大きくなりました! / Adorable baby pygmy hippo at Japanese aquarium

Hippo related: Pablo Escobar’s hippos and 10 hippos from cartoons, literature, and other media.

UROULETTE takes you on a random journey through the Web

There’s nothing I love more than falling down a small Web rabbit hole and UROULETTE gives me that buzz along with the risks associated with its namesake.

Those risks relate to the potential broken links. As the site launched in 1998, a lot of the random links you’ll find won’t go anywhere. Link rot is a growing problem on the Web and sites like these are akin to visiting abandoned buildings in major cities.

But if you’re lucky enough, you’ll find an awesome site that hasn’t changed in decades and nothing beats seeing Times New Roman and minimal styling on the internet (before it was called brutalist web design).

Internet related: the internet art of Mazaccio & Drowilal, a gallery of early internet images, and over a sextillion ways to spell Viagra.

Helena Hauss's Hell Hath no Fury ceramic sculpture set

A picture of a blue ceramic grenade, Morning star, spiked baseball bat, and battle axe

Dangerously beautiful from artist and sculptor Helena Hauss.

A set of custom made sculptures hand painted in the delft blue style of ceramics. It’s an approach to represent the inner strength and fury that comes with being a woman, in contrast to an appearance of delicacy we’re too often branded with. 

I love the visually dissonant nature of Hell Hath no Fury. Just keep the baseball bat away from me.

Blue and feminist related: Seitō – a 1911 Japanese magazine exclusively for women

It's vichyssoise, sir. It's supposed to be cold.

vichyssoise

When you think of cold soup, your mind immediately goes to gazpacho, a Spanish soup comprised of stale bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, tomato, and cucumber. But fans of Batman Returns will think of another kind: vichyssoise.

In the famous scene with Bruce and Alfred, the butler hands Bruce the bowl of creamy soup to which he spits it out—”it’s cold!” And the immortal line:

It’s vichyssoise, sir. It’s supposed to be cold.

I didn’t understand the concept of cold soup as a kid and I still wouldn’t try it but the backstory of vichyssoise gives an indication of why it’s a thing.

Vichyssoise is a potato and leek soup created in 1917 by French chef Louis Diat of the Ritz-Carlton. He made it cold for restaurant guests to keep cool during the summer (which is ironic as the winter of 1917 in New York produced the temperature recorded in the city: 2°F or −17°C on 30 December 1917 at Central Park).

Given the fact that Batman Returns has a 1920s/1930s vibe to it and Bruce is a billionaire who you wouldn’t expect to get a drive-thru burger (which is funny because Michael Keaton later played former McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc in The Founder), vichyssoise seems like a logical choice.

In terms of recipes, this one from Simply Recipes looks like a good one as well as Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Vichyssoise recipe. Or if you’re desperate for something quick and maybe hot during the winter, you can get a can of potato and leek soup and add any extras you feel it needs.

Batman Returns and soup related: a Turkish hangover cure made from tripe, Hungarian dishes and recipes, and did Danny DeVito eat a real fish in Batman Returns.

Hug It Out: a series about starting over and snuggling

Hug It Out: a series about starting over and snuggling

I found this series last year via a scene from an actor’s showreel on YouTube and it offered some comfort during Lockdown 1.0.

Hug It Out tells the story of Gwen, a recent divorcee from LA who restarts her life as a professional snuggler (someone who is paid to cuddle or snuggle). Cue all kinds of awkwardness, inappropriate exposure, emotions, and swearing from a host of characters.

Kincaid Walker executive produced the web series and stars as Gwen alongside Jason Eksuzian who directed.

Hug It Out isn’t relatable on the surface—I neither have the money nor the necessity to hire a snuggler, in or out of a pandemic—but the subtext resonated with me a little. Having to start again after a relationship break up and not knowing where to go or how to navigate your new life is difficult and Gwen’s character had her fair share of mishaps throughout the series. But she grew into her new job and gained some confidence back for herself, expertly shown in one episode where she confronts an old friend who she’d fallen out with after Gwen’s marriage and subsequent breakup.

All 6 episodes are streamable on Vimeo or you can watch them via the Hug It Out website. And there’s a special COVID-19 short which answers the question “how the hell does a professional snuggler survive during a pandemic that dictates social distancing?” In case you were wondering.

Donate to the TLF Freelance Emergency Fund

My dear friend Keidra is the co-founder of The Learned Fangirl and they have an emergency fund for freelancers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More info:

As a small indie publisher, The Learned Fangirl has always been committed to uplifting the voices of writers from marginalized groups.

The COVID-19 outbreak has made times especially difficult for freelance writers. Many have not been paid for outstanding invoices or no longer have work coming in for pay. We want to help in any way we can to support rent, food, utilities, and other needs.

In partnership with our nonprofit fiscal sponsor Independent Arts & Media, The Learned Fangirl has created the TLF Freelance Emergency Fund to support freelance culture writers who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Our priority is arts and culture writers who self-identify as being from a marginalized identity (ex. person of color, Indigenous, disabled, LGBTQ)

As the fund is running low at the moment, I urge you to donate if you’re in a position to do so as freelance writing is hard at the best of times. It would help a lot of writers from marginalised groups continue working and give us the best cultural pieces we’ve ever written.

Donate to the TLF Freelance Emergency Fund today.

The internet art of Mazaccio & Drowilal

Skɪz(ə)m exhibition view (copyright Martin Polak, 2020)

Mazaccio & Drowilal are a French art duo that make artworks from found internet images.

Whether it’s IRL still lifes of desktop icons, dogs staring wistfully into sunsets, or celebrity snapshots defaced with paint and tape, the duo’s subject matter is universally familiar to anyone who’s found themselves in a thumb scroll wormhole, and that’s exactly the point.

Quote from It’s Nice That

It’s all trés cool, trés French, and trés internet. That sentence didn’t make any sense. But the art does to me and that’s all that matters.

Internet-related: Internet Archaeology: a gallery of early internet images

Almost every typeface seen at Disney theme parks

I make movies for a family audience written in the Disney font

Mickeyavenue.com is the home to an “incomplete listing of typefaces seen at Walt Disney World, etc.”

Since listing all of the typefaces used at Walt Disney World would be impossible, and a huge waste of time, here’s a list of just the few that I’ve noticed, and the locations at which I recall seeing them (yes, still a huge waste of time).

Some of the fonts are well-known—Cooper Black, Helvetica, and Broadway—and some more obscure typefaces like World Bold, designed by Deborah Lord for Epcot’s Future World area.

Disney and typography related: the history of Walt Disney home video, Pizza Typefaces, and favourite typefaces of 2020.

Steamed Hams but its an oral history

Originally called “Chalmers vs. Skinner,” the two-minute-and-48-second piece was part of an unusual episode of The Simpsons that aired during the show’s seventh season, on April 14, 1996. While most episodes of The Simpsons focus on the show’s titular family, “22 Short Films About Springfield” was different, as it was broken up into a series of short segments focusing on Springfield’s supporting characters. “Steamed Hams” — as “Chalmers vs. Skinner” would later come to be known — was simply one of those segments. 

(via MEL)

See also: Steamed Hams but there’s a different animator every 13 seconds, in the style of Seinfeld, and in the style of Dragonball Z.