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Showing posts from May 9, 2011

THE CREATOR BEHIND THE EARLY HORROR MOVIE MONSTERS, JACK PIERCE!

As we look back on the cinematic pioneers of the 20th century, no individual is more significant in his field than genius makeup artist Jack Pierce, the legendary monster-maker who worked in the 1930s and 1940s at Universal Studios during their classic horror period.
   Pierce's story is equal parts triumph and tragedy. After immigrating to the United States from Greece at the turn of the century, he attempted to play baseball, unsuccessfully trying out for a semi-professional team in California after achieving some notoriety as a shortstop in Chicago. He next worked in the fledgling motion picture industry in the 1910s and '20s, trying his hand at a variety of jobs ranging from early nickelodeon manager to stuntman to assistant cameraman. At this time, Universal was a nascent little studio in the San Fernando Valley, referred to as "Universal City" in 1915, after only three years in business.





The brainchild of former haberdasher Carl Laemmle, Universal was …

THE GIANT CANDLE RACE FROM ITALY!!

Trumpets blare, women weep and a giddy crowd roars as burly men carrying towering wooden pillars charge through narrow streets in a medieval tradition of pride and devotion to their patron saint.
   For more than 800 years, the ancient central Italian town of Gubbio has erupted in a riot of yellow, blue and black each May for the "Festa dei Ceri" (Festival of the Candles) to honor patron saint Ubaldo Baldassini, a 12th century bishop.






   In a day filled with feverish festivities that include hurling jugs of water onto a crowd, the highlight is a strenuous race where three teams tear through the town and up a mountain with 400-kg wooden pillars balanced on their shoulders.
   The festival taps into a deep-rooted sense of local pride and tradition -- the sort of fierce identity tied to their town or region that Italians are famous for. Gubbio's residents -- known as "Eugubini" -- scoff that even residents of nearby Perugia would not understand wha…