Friday, May 18, 2018

Sunset Junction Jiffy Lube

I sketched this yesterday while waiting for my car to be serviced at the Sunset Junction, Los Angeles, California, USA Jiffy Lube. I was struck by this vista as I pulled my car into the service queue, even snapped a photo with my smart phone. After dropping off the car, I walked around the neighborhood, did some errands, and still had time to kill upon my return. I’m exploring strategies for drawing urban landscapes that’s fun and expressive, not painful (all those god-damned windows and square buildings… br-r-r-r..).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Louis Wolheim

 Everybody, I want to introduce you to my latest heart throb. His name is Louis Wolheim. I met him on Turner Classic Movies about a month ago on Silent Sunday Nights, when the network was screening the silent version of “All Quiet on the Western Front”. I was watching, more from inertia than interested when all the sudden HE appeared, hiding beneath the rear bumper of a German WW 1 military truck in the heavy rain at night, waiting for his chance to steal a pig carcass. In the movie, he’s Cat, the German troop leader and mentor/mother hen to the green cannon-fodder recruits trying to survive the Great War’s unrestrained slaughter.
 “WHO THE FUCK IS THAT?”, I wondered, now transfixed by the movie. Here we have an an almost too-perfectly cast  type of the big galoot, the thug, the Mafia enforcer, except that he can act both broad and subtly, is charismatic, soulful and telegenic, quick-silver moving between comedic and deadly serious, often in the same scene. “Where have you been all my life?”, and looked him up on my smart phone with one eye while the movie continued (with him not the focus of attention).
 From the website, immortalephemera.com, I quote author Cliff Alperti; Louis Robert Wolheim was “A Cornell graduate who stayed on in Ithaca, New York to tutor students in math, it was pure chance that brought Wolheim to stage and screen when a pair of brothers (John and Lionel Barrymore) visited Ithaca on location … and decided to base their own film company in the picturesque town located in Central New York.”
 “Most sources state that Louis Robert Wolheim was born in New York on March 28, 1880. All except the census records, that is, which show that through 1905 Wolheim would give his birthplace as Russia and that he and his family would emigrate to New York in 1888.
Wolheim's parents, Elias and Lena, had married around 1870 and according to the 1900 census Lena was mother to ten children total, just three living at the dawn of the twentieth century. Of the three only two, Louis and younger brother Morris, were living with them at that time. Louis Wolheim would be very proud of his Jewish heritage and according to drama critic Ashton Stevens had disdain for Jews in theatre who changed their names to better appeal to the marquee.
 “The bright Wolheim attended the City College of New York before heading off to Cornell where he'd earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1906. The stories are a bit hazy because Wolheim himself was quite the yarn spinner, but his famed mashed up face is typically credited to a injury received while playing football at Cornell.”
 He'd tutor Cornell students in math over drinks in the Dutch Kitchen bar of the Ithaca Hotel, among them, supposedly, Adolphe Menjou, who did attend the school for three years. Menjou claimed that "My instructor in mathematics at University Prep was the late Louis Wolheim. He had a mind like a calculating machine and a face that looked as though it had been run over by a truck" (26). Menjou added that he suspected Wolheim made more profitable use of his mathematical mind gambling with cards and dice.
 “As for the face, he was sensitive about it.
There were newspaper reports announcing a plastic surgery intending to fit him with a profile resembling John Barrymore. Tracy Hammond Lews article "Louis Wolheim's Nose Caused Much Trouble," quoted by Yvonne Shaffer in Performing O'Neill, claimed that at one time very early in Wolheim's acting career he did get his nose fixed at his mother's insistence. Supposedly he went out to celebrate his handsome new appearance that night, got into a brawl and promptly had the nose re-broken.
 As for the looming surgery in 1927, which was to be performed by the same doctor who had fixed heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey's nose, Shaffer writes that United Artists stepped in with an injunction to halt any procedure because they wanted the same face that they signed to a contract.
 Wolheim died of cancer in 1931, at age 50, just before he would have started filming “The Front Page”, later made starring Adolphe Menjou.
I was bereft when I learned of Wolfeim’s untimely demise. What a shame, what a waste. He died at the dawn of the sound era, most of his career was acting on Broadway (he originated the lead rolls in “The Hairy Ape” and “What Price Glory”) and most of his earlier, silent movies are lost.
 The pencil drawings are done from freeze frames of the Turner Classic Movie DVD.
 I found that disc frustrating. The commentary, by Robert Osborn, focuses entirely on the callow young lead, Lew Ayers and doesn’t even mention Wolheim. WTF?!?
And the version TCM chose to release was the American Talkie version, not the silent version I’d seen a week previously. It’s weird seeing an all-American cast portraying an all-German story.







Thursday, May 10, 2018

Children of the Wind, My Portfolio, Part Three

(CONTINUED FROM PART TWO)

The storyboard for the “Children of the Wind” trailer is some of my best work and I intend to put it on my portfolio website (www.bradrader.net). Three weeks ago, just as I was about to start preparing my copy of the storyboard for inclusion, Joe Pearson emailed me . Joe informed me that he was clearing his storage area and had come across the original storyboard; did I want it?

A few days later when I went to collect the original from Joe, I was surprised to learn that Gary Hartle (co-creator of “Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys”) had been brought in as a co-producer. Gary was/is a horse expert, owning several on his ranch near Castaic, California. Joe strategized that Gary’s first-hand expertise would be invaluable on this equine-centric project. In this capacity Gary re-drew a large part of my storyboard. I have opted not to use Gary’s newly discovered re-draws, as beautiful as they are (Gary is really good at drawing horses), because this is my portfolio, not Gary’s. One can see ghost of his drawing in the panels ‘Sc 2 Pnl 1’ and ‘Sc 3 Pnl 1’. 

“Hicksville”, by Dylan Horrocks, is one of my favorite graphic novels. It tells of a young man vacationing in New Zealand who happens on an obscure outpost of the Akashic Library that houses all the failed and/or stillborn artist projects throughout History. I hope the unproduced 26 half-hours of “Children of the Wind” reside there, to be enjoyed by all.

The trailer for “Children of the Wind” was fully produced and can be viewed at 

 Children of the Wind, Scene 68, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- ANIMATE OL/UL; SLIDE B.G.- IBNI & NUNU race toward cam; NUNU gains quickly OS-
Children of the Wind, Scene 68, Panel 2
ACTION: As IBNI gains toward cam, shift direction of BG SLIDE to mimic LIVE ACTION DOLLY SHOT- we see SCORPION is riding atop IBNI’S head, pincers holding on to IBNI’s mane-

 Children of the Wind, Scene 68, Panel 3
ACTION: As SCORPION gains into C.U., we see that he is frightened-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 68, Panel 4
ACTION: IBNI  and SCORPION gain O.S., HELECOPTER gains IN-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 68, Panel 5
ACTION: -gains into MCU-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 69, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- NIGHT-  ANIMATE OL/UL; SLIDE B.G.- KAMIL & NASIR drive dune buggy, followed by two other dune buggies- 
 Children of the Wind, Scene 70, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- NIGHT-  ANIMATE OL/UL; SLIDE B.G.- SALUKI,  with SCORPION riding his head, and WOLF, with SNAKE riding on her head, run toward cam- T.I.-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 71, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- BEDOUIN ENCAMPMENT- NIGHT-  ABDUL  AZIZ and rest of tribe sit around bon fire, IBNI & NUNU flanking ABDUL-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 72, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- SUNSET- BACK LIT SETTNG SUN-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 73, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- INDIA WATERFRONT-DAY- DHOW with IBNI on deck glides IN in FG, slowing as it approaches  shore-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 74, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- INDIA MARKETPLACE- DAY- T.I.on AMIYA looking at cam-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 75, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- INDIA FOREST- DAY- ELEPHANT touches IBNI’S snout with trunk-
Children of the Wind, Scene 76, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- BEDOUIN ENCAMPMENT- NIGHT-  ABDUL  AZIZ grooms IBNI-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 77, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- INDIA MARKETPLACE- DAY- PAN BG- OLDER AMIYA rides 3 YEAR OLD NUNU-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 78, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- INDIA FOREST- DAY- C.U. on IBNI, screaming- B.G. PAN, animating rotation of IBNI mimicking LIVE ACTION DOLLY SHOT, then T.O. to revealing crouching TIGER- IBNI is kicking hooves to ward off TIGER-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 79, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- RIDING CLUB STABLES- DAY- VERT PAN up DANNAH, looking sharp in her riding gear-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 80, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- GROUP OF RIDERS race along the horizon-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 81, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- C.U. on FALCON-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 82, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- RACING STADIUM- DAY-T.I. on DANNAH leading ADULT NUNU out of stands, toward track-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 83, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- C.U. on CADI, smiling, giving “thumbs up” sign-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 84, Panel 1
ACTION: INT- STABLES- NIGHT- 14 YEAR OLD AMIYAH strokes IBNI’s muzzle-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 85, Panel 1
ACTION: T.O. on ADULT IBNI lowers head, looks at cam-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 86, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DAY- 14 YEAR OLD AMIYA steps forward, reaching out toward o.s. IBNI-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 87, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- B.G. SLIDE- ADULT ABDUL AZIZ rides ADULT IBNI, leading group of other BEDOUIN riders-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 88, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- RACING STADIUM- DAY- B.G. SLIDE- C.U. on ADULT IBNI, walking across stadium-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 89, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DAY- C.U. on BAKIR, removing his sun glasses-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 90, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- M.C.U. on SCORPION, gesturing as he speaks-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 91, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- RACING STADIUM- DAY- B.G. SLIDE- C.U. on DANNAH, leading ADULT IBNI across stadium- 
 Children of the Wind, Scene 92, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- DAY- BG SLIDE- ADULT ABDUL and  ADULT IBNI look forward as they walk-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 93, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- RACING STADIUM- DAY- IBNI stands on his haunches next to DANNAH-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 94, Panel 1
ACTION: EXT- DESERT- SUNSET- BG PAN- ADULT IBNI & NUNU run side by side-
 Children of the Wind, Scene 94, Panel 2
ACTION: They gain away from cam as they begin to mount hill-
NARRATOR: “Ibni and Nunu”
 Children of the Wind, Scene 94, Panel 3
ACTION: -dropping into silhouette as the become more distant-
NARRATOR: “They run free. They are…”
Children of the Wind, Scene 94, Panel 4
ACTION:- until they come to a stop, framed by the setting sun- DX on title lettering- 
NARRATOR: “…the Children of the Wind.”

THE END!

Followers