Saturday, November 5, 2011

(today's zomby) AND THE POWERS OF TEN!

ZOMBY!!! returns... uh, a little earlier than expected:

So November didn't work out the way I'd planned it, but you know who can put my problems in perspective? Charles and Ray Eames!

Mr. & Mrs. Eames doing something

One of the definitive "fun couples" of the Twentieth Century, Charles (1907-1978) and Bernice "Ray" (1912-1988) Eames were pioneers of American design who worked in a variety of fields, including fine art, architecture, furniture design, and film. Still today, I covet one of their best-known creations: the iconic Eames Chair:

Technically "Eames Lounge and Ottoman." Cost: $3579.

But I'm not here today to talk about fancy furniture. I'm here instead sing the praises of the Eames' most famous short film, Powers of Ten (1968). I've watched this countless times, and I never get tired of it. I guess I just like the whole planetarium/science museum vibe of this piece. There are so many disparate elements at play here. Elmer Bernstein's memorably chilly score contrasts with the affable, plainspoken narration by physics professor Phillip Morrison. Sad to think that Bernstein, Morrison, and both of the Eames are dead now, but here's the movie which will place all of human existence into its proper context:

I've long felt that the "Galaxy Song" from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life would make a great companion piece to Powers of Ten. Same basic subject matter, but an entirely different approach:

P.S. Yes, The Simpsons did a nifty parody of Powers of Ten some years back:

I'm with you, Homer. Wooooooooowwwwwww! A big part of the appeal of Powers of Ten is its "mind blowing" trippiness, cool in that late 1960s way. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey also came out in '68 and had a similar effect on its audiences. Appropriately, The Simpsons does a little mash-up of the two films by using "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" on the soundtrack.

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