Well it’s that time of year again. You know, that time of year when you realize that Halloween is actually TOMORROW and you haven’t got a costume yet, so you go to the store to look for a costume and what you actually find is a costumez.
You’ve seen costumez before. You probably just thought the costume store got their shipment mixed up with Victoria’s Secret.
Hermionez Grangerz costumez
Cheerleaderz costumez (That’s not actually a costume!!)
It’s, like, all the stores will sell. I’m very much against costumez. And I would love to say it’s for some noble moral reason, but it’s not. I’m opposed to costumez because I’M ANNOYED!! WHY DO BOYS GET ALL THE AWESOME COSTUMES???!?!?
However I’ve always believed in expressing my opinions in very peaceful and democratic ways.
So this year, I’ve put a pretty awesome plan in action that will eliminate costumez altogether!!
It goes something like this:
I discreetly hide somewhere at a costume party.
When no one is paying attention…
EEEEEEP!! (girl scream)
The costumez undergoes FULL TRANSFORMATION!!! (Thanks to my awesome thrift-store shopping skillz.)
Because, see, if girls knew they could actually have, you know, real costumes, then maybe the stores would finally sell wookie suits in our size! We must end the madnesz. Starting with me.
Yes. Yes you can.
Boys love a girl with a brain!
I know it’s shocking.
I’ve even put together a logo for the movement:
I’m not sure it’s overt enough i might need to add more blood.
Anyways, all I need now is to be invited to some Halloween parties! You too could have a piece of this:
Animate a mask around the eyes as they blink. (Add a little feather to the edges)
Desaturate, superimpose over the top of the vintage pic.
Now that it’s Halloween season, remember last year’s post? Here’s the sequel:
7 More Awesome Villains You’ve Never Even Heard Of!
I really like villains. i don’t know why….probably because I’m surrounded by all you namby-pamby goody-two-shoes. Here we go!
I kind of have a thang for Barnabies. In this 1986 Babes in Toyland (starring a very young Drew Barrymore), he pals around with his buddiez Mack and Zack, stealing cookies and inciting Toyland Terror. But really all he wants is love.
Anything else you need to know is here:
I wish I lived in a bowling ball.
2. Fegan Floop
Fegan Floop from “Spy Kids” takes undercover agents and turns them into fooglies–putty-like creatures of their former selves. But really all he wants to do is write children’s shows. I sympathize with this guy. And also love his theme song (written by Danny Elfman).
Here’s a cabbage patch kid as a fooglie.
I bet you’re so glad you visited the blog today!
3. The Prognoviach, from “Condorman”
Hailing from Eastern Europe, the Prognoviach are highly trained assassins-in-cars. Expect high-speed car chases through winding canyon roads, synchronized driving, and falling over cliffs in a big flaming ball of fire. Each one of these baddies is “a dedicated killer.” Definitely not something you want to see in your rear-view mirror.
Unless you have a Condorman car. Then you’re ok.
My nephew adores Condorman, so my sister made him the Prognoviach for his birthday. Lucky kid!
Each one of those cakes is a dedicated killer.
4. Clockwork Droids, from Doctor Who
The ominous ticking clues you in: these guys are hiding in your room. And they want pieces of you.
Now go break every clock in your house. You’ll feel safer.
5. Lina Lamont
Actually you’ve probably heard of Lina. She can’t sing, she can’t dance, she can’t act….she does however have a pretty neat voice. It’s my secret wish to have a “Talk Like Lina Lamont” Day. It’ll be filled with words like, “Dope” and “Darn tootin’!” and “Whatsa matter with my voice??” When I’ve taken over Canamerica that’s the first thing I’m going to do.
The micro-managing bureaucrats from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Don’t try to get any paperwork done with them, and DON’T listen to their poetry. It’s almost as bad as mine.
7. Princess Mombi
If Princess Mombi from “Return to Oz” didn’t give you nightmares, then her Wheelers did. If the Wheelers didn’t…then you’re lying. This movie still freaks me out. I’m totally watching it this Halloween.
You can re-enact this scene with Barbie Doll heads. I always did. (Yes, my childhood was awesome)
Last week, my aunt related a story to me:
Her 6 month old was sleeping in the swing and her 2-year old was watching Dinosaur Train with a bowl of pretzels and she figured that now was a pretty good time to sneak away and take a 90-second shower.
45 seconds in, and she heard a giant crash.
She ran out to discover this:
(Baby was ok)
Anyway, it got me thinking about kids and babies and stuff.
If you were lucky, after the stork delivered you, you opened your eyes to a scene like this:
If you were luckier, however–and I was!–your very first vista was this:
You were a younger sibling!
This makes growing up an adventure, because kids that age only sort their life interactions into two categories:
Toys and Not Toys.
And babies make the BEST toys! They make noises and move and stuff. They’re better than matches!
Like a baby chic punching a hole through its shell, this kind of stuff makes babies stronger. If a younger-sibling baby lives past the first 3 months of it’s life, that’s a pretty good sign it’ll live to puberty.
I myself have made a noble contribution to this theory. When I was 3 or 4, I remember my mom’s friend had come to visit with her newborn. I think the novelty of my two younger siblings had worn off, so I was super excited to hold the thing. I washed my hands and sat in a big chair and was pretty much ready for some great baby bonding time.
After 3 minutes or so, the novelty wore off.
I wanted to stop holding her, but interrupting the grown-ups did not seem like a good idea.
So I came up with this really awesome idea!*
I’d been to the park earlier that week and remembered the slide and thought it would be a lot of fun if I could make myself a human slide! I would put my legs at an incline and point my toes and it would be so much FUN!
*it didn’t occur to me to just set the baby down. Common sense was never my forte.
Here’s how it happened in my head:
Um. Here’s how it happened in real life:
The grown-ups weren’t real happy about that.
But it DID prove me right! This stuff makes babies stronger. And the baby? She grew up just fine.
I think. I mean, she did ask me to be her friend on facebook, so…she’s mentally sound I think. Or is she??
Anyway, the moral of this story is: Kids, let the world be your playground. It makes you stronger.
…Which is exactly what I told my aunt.
(I don’t think she appreciated it)
Time for round 3? Ok!
In the book, Delsarte studies colors from stained glass windows, colors from India & Biblical tradition, and even Aztec painting, and splits the 3 primary colors into head/heart/body.
Heart is a cinch. Red. I never would have considered blue powerful or yellow enlightening, but it is surprising to see how it all fits. Some iconic pics:
Yellow was especially surprising to me, since it doesn’t strike me as a smart color. But light bulbs pop up over a character’s head when they get an idea and kings wear yellow crowns, so it makes sense.
The secondary colors are a mix of these. Purple is considered an immature color–is it because there’s no head color in it? Brown is considered down-to-earth, which is just a dark version of orange. I don’t know as much as I wish I knew about color, but our perceptions of it seem to match Delsarte’s. (Color though is so wibbly-wobbly…desaturated blue can mean something completely different than a zingy blue.)
WHITE and BLACK are iconic of course. White is pure and inspirational, whereas black symbolizes darkness and evil. Thank you Mr. Phantom :)
Ok! Practical application time! Keeping Delsarte poses & gestures & colors in mind, take a look at these Disney princesses below and see if you can peg which one is:
1) The most romantic
2) The most powerful
3) The most willful
4) The hardest to relate to
You have 5 seconds.
Got your guesses? Ok!
Most romantic goes to:
Pocahontas. She is in complete body stance–splayed gesture, her hair flows past her heart zone to the body zone, and her hem ends in the body zone too. (She also has a shoulderband you can’t see in the body zone that adds more contrast.) I think the yellow dress and necklace offsets this a little, but she is definitely a vital.
At the other end of the scale, this picture of Lady Gaga. She’s masked her face, form, and head, and so the audience is distanced emotionally from her.
Like a mask, the character’s clothes & shape can alienate the audience from the character. With the Delsarte theory it makes sense why big poofy dresses are considered so romantic–because they distance the person from the body/power zone and focus on the form in the heart zone.
(There are also divisions for the nose, mouth, around the eyes, etc…it’s a crash course so we can’t get in to all of that. But you can always read the google book.)
Hands (the head part of the body section) also have three parts: palm = body, back = heart, side = head.
The power & movement behind the head/heart/body divisions also had those three parts. The more powerful and convex is body, the least powerful, more head = concave, and the happy middle is the heart.
Delsarte took all these movements & pieces and created exercises and gestures that symbolized the characters’ emotions & desires.
Here’s a (rough) Delsarte gesture lineup:
1) Romeo, with a convex gesture, legs splayed, left hand in body area, comes off as mostly passionate and sensual. It’s softened by his hat & feather, giving interest in the heart & head zone, as well as his right hand (giving him a more soliloquy feel.)
2) 2 is strongly romantic, with both hands in the heart zone, and the hair ending in the heart zone as well. Her arms are bent in more of a head way (Arms out = body, arms square = heart, and arms acute = head) which tempers the romantic with concave shyness (concave, head).
3) This guy is a mix of all three parts. His legs are in a head position, left hand in the head zone, but with one hand in the heart zone and both arms in heart gesture. The belt or whatever that is adds contrast in the body zone, giving him a bit of a physical/sensuality
^^ These examples are really terrible. You’re welcome.
Ok so below we have our good friend the 1925 phantom, and then a Charlie Chaplin film.
The tone of these two pictures are strikingly different. Beyond the phantom trying to get Christine to Do It His Way & Charlie is giving the girl something, you can figure out why the emotions are so different using Delsarte.
The logic part of the Phantom, with dark rings around his eyes, makes him look eccentric. His gesture is splayed, which is very physical and forceful, and his hands are in the heart zone (almost in the head zone) making him look forceful, in love & complete fruit loops. Staging and values help that out, where he’s a dark figure towering over poor will-less, frightened (eyes and splayed fingers) & very romantic-feeling (both hands in heart zone) Christine.
Both of these characters are on equal standing–heart and head. Both of them are in concave, less willful gestures. Charlie has one hand in head, one hand in heart. The girl’s cupped hand = less force, hand in heart zone, a concave gesture of kneeling (a 90 degree heart gesture, leaning towards head). Her left hand is in the body zone, but with the back out. So the picture has a very romantically sweet feel to it.
Next time: Colors and applications!
When I was a pipsqueak in college, I took a costume design class where we studied Francois Delsarte’s systems of expression. Francois Delsarte was a Parisian who lived from 1811-1871, and believed that emotions and feelings could be symbolically expressed through visual means.
These are just a few Delsarte poses.
The idea caught on like a man on fire, and was hugely popular in America. Theaters, movies, even kids’ classes (complete with kids’ books of exercises) learned Delsartism.
Delsarte poses from “Phantom of the Opera” (1925).
A pretty good summation, I think, you can find starting at :13, from “The Court Jester”.
So, a pretty stylized way of communicating emotions. As popular as it was though, it fell hugely out of fashion (along with it’s buddy, melodrama) in favor of more realistic ways to tell a story. I think it’s still ingrained in western culture, however, and is used in more symbolic, stylized storytelling like animation and musicals & other children’s media. So, I’m pulling together a 3-post series on the system in hopes that people will find it as interesting as I do.
If not, here are a bunch of crummy drawings for you to enjoy anyway. Hahaha.
In the Delsarte system, the body was split into 3 parts:
Head: These areas symbolize logic and reason. Delsarte refers to it as “Mental”.
Heart: Emotion and feeling. Also known as “Moral.”
Body: Physical & passion. Also known as “Vital.”
Ok, that makes sense so far. Head = logic, torso = emotions/heart, and limbs = action & physical. Each of these segments also have 3 segments of head, heart, and body.
With limbs, the hands and feet = the more logical parts. Hands make gestures to show what we’re thinking, feet tap when we’re impatient, etc. Forearms and calves, the more emotional, cradling babies, embracing, that sort of thing. The upper arms & legs are the vital, and the more in action they are, the more passionate the pose.
(The elbow, btw, is known as “The Soul of the Arm”. In case you wanted to know.)
Shoulders as logic, chest as moral/emotional, and stomach & below as vital.
The head is split the same, the eyes and above as the logic, the cheeks & nose as emotional, and the lips and chin as the action & vital.
I know it sounds like complete crackerjax. In a weird way, though, it also makes sense. Kissing someone on the forehead has a very different feel than kissing them on the cheek (more affectionate) and kissing on the lips (more sensual.)
By this breakdown, it also makes sense why people think blondes are dumb–they have very little contrast in the head zone. People with light skin and dark hair, on the other hand, seem much smarter & more interesting. Similarly with glasses, we don’t assume people are smart because they’re straining their eyes from reading–it’s because glasses add contrast & shape in the logic area!
Anyways, if you can’t wait for the next two installments, read the Delsarte System of Expression, a book published in 1885 and now on the internet. If you like small words, though, wait around for the next post & I will try to do justice to this fascinating stuff.