Chad Sell’s Drag Race Illustrated

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What bet­ter inspi­ra­tion could an artist ask for than a bunch of amaz­ing drag queens? They’re styl­ish, sexy, and sick­en­ing! My work cap­tures the fierce per­son­al­i­ties and per­for­mances of those fab­u­lous fake ladies in a clean, clas­sic style.’

With their larger-than-life pres­ences and glit­tery cos­tumes, the gender-bending stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race are the per­fect sub­jects for por­trai­ture. Illus­tra­tor and comics artist Chad Sell, best known for his his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Logo on RPDR web­comics, and his work on the upcom­ing iOS game Dragopo­lis,  pays awe­some, witty trib­ute to the ladies in an exten­sive series that cap­tures his favorite con­tes­tants’ finest moments.

Check out Chad’s work at www.chadsellcomics.com.

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Prom It’s a Pleasure: Etiquette Film From1961

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The Prom It’s a Plea­sure is a well-produced color film that stars the 1961 Coca-Cola Junior Miss Pageant win­ner as the guide to a well-mannered prom night.

From the phone call ask­ing Junior Miss for the date, to the drop-off at the end of the night, this film details prom eti­quette for the curi­ous and uncouth teenager. It also explains that the boy should call his date’s mother before the dance to find out the color of her dress so he can match the cor­sage to it.

Whole­some six­ties movies often dealt with Amer­i­can morals, and this prom night film is a clas­sic exam­ple. At the high school dance itself, the film shows how to dance, how to ask some­one to dance, ways to ask some­one to dance, how to fill out a dance card, and how to nav­i­gate the refresh­ments, which con­sisted mostly of Coca-Cola, not sur­pris­ingly. In addi­tion to all the prom do’s and don’ts eti­quette tips, this film fea­tures great footage of a typ­i­cal six­ties prom.


RuPaul’s Can I Get An Amen

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The queens test their vocal abil­i­ties as they sing in RuPaul’s 1980s “We Are The World” inspired char­ity sin­gle. This Band Aid/USA For Africa-inspired par­ody is the lat­est viral video to come from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” star­ring RuPaul along with this season’s top eight queens: Alyssa Edwards, Coco Mon­trese, Jade Jolie, Ivy Win­ters, Jinkx Mon­soon, and Rox­xxy Andrews, Alaska, and Detox, aka “Rolaska­tox.” And they weren’t lip-synching for their lives, here: This singing was live.

This  awe­some faux charity-single does indeed have a lot of heart and humor and is actu­ally not faux at all, since sales of the bizarre song, avail­able now on iTunes, will ben­e­fit a very wor­thy orga­ni­za­tion: the L.A. Gay & Les­bian Cen­ter. Can I get an amen up in here?

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John Waters Introduces ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’

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The Girl Can’t Help It is the gar­ish acme of Cin­e­maS­cope and DeLuxe Color, mon­u­men­tally loud and bla­tantly exploita­tive —a ver­i­ta­ble Parthenon of vul­gar­ity and a supremely unfunny com­edy that is pure eau de Fifty-Six. This satire of Elvis and Mar­i­lyn (or rather, of their clones) shim­mers with radioac­tive pinks and cobalt blues; at once stri­dent and sta­tic, the movie defines the atomic-Wurlitzer chrome– tail­fin Fontainebleau-lobby look. Producer-director-co-writer Frank Tash­lin is one of the very few Hol­ly­wood direc­tors who broke into movies as an ani­ma­tor and, like the Dean Martin–Jerry Lewis come­dies that pre­ceded it, The Girl Can’t Help It is some­thing like a live-action Looney Tune.

Appro­pri­ated by John Waters some 15 years later as the only suit­able way to intro­duce his 300-pound gender-blur Divine in Pink Flamingos.

Grotesque stereo­types col­lide with billboard-sized car­i­ca­tures. This proto Pop Art pathol­ogy might be too painful to con­tem­plate were it not for the exotic life forms flour­ish­ing around its periph­ery. Cli­max­ing with a rock show per­formed for an audi­ence of teenage white zom­bies, The Girl Can’t Help It is pop­u­lated by all man­ner of failed honkers and would-be cool cats—as well as Fats Domino, the Plat­ters, a gospel-shouting Abbey Lin­coln.

The coolest pres­ence ever recorded by a Hol­ly­wood cam­era may be Lit­tle Richard, first seen stand­ing entranced before a piano—as if won­der­ing whether to pul­ver­ize or incin­er­ate it.

In Alba­nia, is any­thing so bad it’s good?” “Lit­tle Richard was “…the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.“
Here, our beloved Pope of Trash intro­duces Frank Tashlin’s gem­stone for every­one to enjoy.…

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Once Upon a Honeymoon

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When our soci­ety went from “buy­ing to replace” to “buy to be happy”, the effect snow­balled over the decades with the force needed to keep from expe­ri­enc­ing a real exis­ten­tial crisis.

Once Upon a Hon­ey­moon is a 1956 musi­cal spon­sored film about a cou­ple wish­ing for a new home. It starts off with a group of angels who decide to help a cou­ple have a hon­ey­moon. The hus­band (Jeff) tries to write a song, while the wife (Mary) day­dreams about a new home, and imag­ines what it would be like to have the lat­est house­hold prod­ucts with the help of the angel. The angel then helps the man come up with a new song called “A Cas­tle in the Sky”.

The film was directed by Gower Cham­pion, and starred Vir­ginia Gib­son, Ward Ellis, Alan Mow­bray, Chick Chan­dler, Veron­ica Pataky and Rus­sell Hicks. In recent years the film has gained a small fol­low­ing, after it was mocked on the show Mys­tery Sci­ence The­ater 3000. It is in the pub­lic domain.


1922 Kodachrome Test Footage

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This clip is a very early, full-color Kodachrome film made by Kodak in 1922 to test new film stock and color pro­cess­ing. It is a lovely lit­tle four-and-a-half min­utes of pretty actresses ges­tur­ing for the cam­era. The color and light­ing are exquisite—all warm reds with flat­ter­ing highlights—making it a purely enjoy­able thing to watch.

In 1922, for all its tech­ni­cal achieve­ments, Kodak hadn’t yet done away with the flicker that gave movies one of their ear­li­est and most endur­ing nick­names: the “flicks.” The flicker resulted from vari­a­tions in film speed pro­duced by the slow, hand-cranked cam­eras of the time and by vari­a­tions in the den­sity of the film itself.

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Even more inter­est­ing to a mod­ern viewer are the women’s ges­tures. They act out flut­tery, inno­cent mod­esty; warm mater­nal love; and in the longest sequence, sexy, puckered-lip vamp­ing. Their open expres­sions of feel­ing and the par­tic­u­lar way they move their hands and tilt their heads, even more than the fash­ions of their clothes and makeup, imme­di­ately mark them as women of the inter­war period. Recently a Russ­ian film scholar, Oksana Bul­gakowa, has shown how var­i­ous feel­ings and mean­ings were coded in the ges­tures of early film actors. Some of these are so unfa­mil­iar now, they seem like a for­eign language.

Today, when we watch a TV show or a movie, we see a wide range of act­ing styles and behav­iors. A hun­dred years from now, which ones will be seen as defin­ing our age?


Izabela Kaczmarek-Szurek’s Extreme Knitting

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Izabela Kaczmarek-Szurek is a Polish-born graphic designer whose work ranges from poster art to illus­tra­tion to tex­tile design. How­ever, it’s her knit­ting illus­tra­tion (we think she may have invented this) project enti­tled ‘Extreme Knit­ting Cal­en­dar’ that has us mak­ing faces of awe.

She explains: ‘This cal­en­dar present an idea to knit­ting your favourite idol. This is my sub­jec­tive selec­tion of famous peo­ple. For these illus­tra­tions, I took 3rd place in the famous graphic com­pe­ti­tion “GRAFFEX”, orga­nized by pol­ish lifestyle mag­a­zine EXKLUSIV.’


Design for Dreaming, General Motors’ Futuristic High Camp

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Set at the 1956 Gen­eral Motors Motorama, this is one of the key Pop­u­luxe films of the 1950s, show­ing futur­is­tic dream cars and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.”

Design for Dream­ing (1956) is a musi­cal spon­sored film about a woman (played by dancer and chore­o­g­ra­pher Tad Tad­lock; real name “Thelma Tad­lock”) who dreams about a masked man (dancer and chore­o­g­ra­pher Marc Breaux) tak­ing her to the 1956 Gen­eral Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Frigidaire’s “Kitchen of the Future.” The entirety of the dia­logue is sung, though the actors do not move their lips to their char­ac­ters’ pre­re­corded voices.

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Design for Dream­ing has gained a small cult fol­low­ing, with some enjoy­ing it for its per­ceived camp value, and oth­ers enjoy­ing it for nos­tal­gic rea­sons. One promi­nent show­ing of the film was as a short fea­ture in a fifth-season episode of Mys­tery Sci­ence The­ater 3000 (MST3K).

The BBC doc­u­men­tary series Pandora’s Box by Adam Cur­tis made exten­sive use of clips from Design for Dream­ing, espe­cially in the title sequence. Some footage was also used in the music video for Peter Gabriel’s 1987 sin­gle “In Your Eyes”, Rush’s 1989 music video for “Super­con­duc­tor”, a 1989 com­mer­cial for the Nin­tendo Game Boy game Super Mario Land, a 1994 com­mer­cial for Power Mac­in­tosh, and in brief clips on an episode in the 2nd sea­son of Penn and Teller: Bull­shit. Clips were dis­played dur­ing Nine Inch Nails con­cert per­for­mances. Part of the film, with dia­logue, is played dur­ing the open­ing titles for The Hills Have Eyes. Some snip­pets (with­out dia­logue) are played in the video watched by Michael Dou­glas dur­ing his phys­i­cal in The Game and in the open­ing titles for The Step­ford Wives.