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And those who were seen dancing and more by Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche quote poster Black and white
Friedrich Nietzsche quote poster Black and white by MercedesP
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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

“It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!”

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”

“In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.”

“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.”

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

“I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

“No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.”

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Art Gallery – Heart Notes Panel Wall Art

Art - Heart Notes Panel Wall Art
Art – Heart Notes Panel Wall Art by RomoMonroe
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Matte Wall Panel (14×11)

Decorate your space with custom Wall Panels that are as unique as they are versatile. Mix and match your pieces with traditional art and canvas prints for a fresh wall! Your custom photos and art are directly printed on MDF, a durable substrate that produces vibrant images for long term display. These wall panels are heavy weight with beautifully burnished sides that add character.

Dimensions: 14″ (length) x 11″ (width) x 0.75″ (height).
Printed using UV high-res printing, producing vibrant, long lasting images.
Designed with a key-hole for easy hanging.
Finished with organically burnished sides.
Designer Tip: To ensure the highest quality print, please note this product’s customizable design area measures 14″ x 11″.

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10 Things you may not know about the Brooklyn Bridge

Long exposure wide angle view from the Brooklyn Panel Wall Art
Long exposure wide angle view from the Brooklyn Panel Wall Art by iconicnewyork
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The Brooklyn Bridge opened to the public on May 24, 1883, thereby connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn for the first time. Dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” early visitors gawked at its immense granite towers and thick steel cables, not to mention its birds-eye views. The bridge, which took 14 years and around $15 million to complete, remains among New York City’s top tourist attractions and a busy thoroughfare for commuters. On its 130th birthday, here are 10 things you may not know about the frequently photographed landmark.

1. Boss Tweed helped get the project started.

William M. “Boss” Tweed, the infamously corrupt head of New York City’s Tammany Hall political machine, latched on to the Brooklyn Bridge project from the very beginning. According to sworn testimony he gave later, he facilitated up to $65,000 in bribes to New York’s aldermen in order to win their backing for a $1.5 million bond issue.

He then became a major holder of bridge stock and joined a committee charged with managing the project’s finances. Tweed allegedly hoped to skim money from the city’s bridge contracts, much as he had done with other large public works. But he was arrested in 1871 before he could fully realize his plan. It has since been estimated that Tweed and his cronies stole at least $45 million, and perhaps as much as $200 million, from the public coffers during their time in power.

2. At least 20 people died during the bridge’s construction.

The first fatality came in 1869 before construction had even begun. German-born John A. Roebling, who designed the bridge, was taking compass readings one afternoon when his foot was crushed between some pilings and a boat. His toes were amputated, and a few weeks later he died of tetanus.

Other workers fell off the 276-foot-high towers, were hit by falling debris or succumbed to caisson disease, better known as “the bends. “No official figure exists for the number of men killed, but estimates range from 20 to over 30. Dozens more suffered debilitating injuries, including Roebling’s son Washington, who became bedridden with the bends after taking over as chief engineer from his father.

3. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world—by far.

A few high-profile collapses in the first half of the 19th century prevented suspension bridges from immediately catching on. Undeterred, Roebling figured out how to stabilize them, largely by adding a web truss to either side of the roadway platform. He built four suspension bridges in the 1850s and 1860s, including one over the Ohio River and another near Niagara Falls. All would later be dwarfed by the Brooklyn Bridge, which, with a main span of more just over 1,595 feet, was by far the longest suspension bridge in the world. It remained that way until 1903, when the nearby Williamsburg Bridge overtook it by 4.5 feet.

4. The bridge opened with a massive celebration.

Huge crowds gathered on May 24, 1883, to watch the bridge’s opening ceremony, which The New York Times described, in reference to Brooklyn, as “the greatest gala day in the history of that moral suburb.” President Chester A. Arthur, New York Governor (and future president) Grover Cleveland and various local politicians marched onto the bridge, accompanied by a military band and an attachment of troops.

Celebratory cannon fire rang out when they reached the Manhattan-side tower. The festivities also included an hour-long fireworks display, receptions and a number of speeches. Just before midnight the bridge opened to the public, and more than 150,000 people streamed across over the next 24 hours. Not everyone was happy, however. Many Irish boycotted the ceremony because it coincided with the birthday of British monarch Queen Victoria.

5. A tragedy occurred almost immediately.

A week after the opening, on Memorial Day, an estimated 20,000 people were on the bridge when a panic started, allegedly over a rumor that it was about to collapse. Twelve people were crushed to death on a narrow stairway, and others emerged bloodied and in some cases without clothes. One eyewitness described men and women “with their limbs contorted and their faces purpling in their agonized efforts to breathe.” No changes came about in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, except that more police were stationed on the pedestrian promenade.

6. The bridge toll was higher then than it is now.

When the Brooklyn Bridge first opened, it cost a penny to cross by foot, 5 cents for a horse and rider and 10 cents for a horse and wagon. Farm animals were allowed at a price of 5 cents per cow and 2 cents per sheep or hog. Under pressure from civic groups and commuters, the pedestrian toll was repealed in 1891.

The roadway tolls were then rescinded in 1911 with the support of New York Mayor William J. Gaynor, who declared, “I see no more reason for toll gates on the bridges than for toll gates on Fifth Avenue or Broadway.” The Brooklyn Bridge and three other bridges that likewise cross the East River have stayed free ever since for both walkers and drivers, even as New York’s other major bridges and tunnels have gotten steadily more expensive.

7. At the time, the bridge connected two different cities.

Brooklyn did not become part of New York City until 1898, following a referendum that passed there by just 277 votes (out of more than 129,000 cast). Prior to the merger, it was the fourth most populous city in the country—behind only New York, Chicago and Philadelphia—with loads of manufacturing jobs, many churches, relatively low crime and good schools.

8. The bridge quickly became a cultural sensation.

The Brooklyn Bridge has arguably inspired more art than any other manmade structure in the United States. Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and dozens of other well-known painters have incorporated it into their works, as have photographers (Walker Evans); documentarians (Ken Burns); playwrights (Arthur Miller); novelists (Henry Miller); newspaper columnists (Jimmy Breslin); urban historians (Lewis Mumford); poets (Jack Kerouac); and musicians (Wyclef Jean).

It likewise has had a slew of TV shows and movie cameos, including “The Docks of New York,” “It Happened in Brooklyn,” “Moonstruck,” “Godzilla” and “Spider-Man.” Meanwhile, advertisers have used the bridge to sell everything from Vaseline to Absolut Vodka, and it is even the symbol of an Italian chewing gum.

9. The bridge has always attracted daredevils and showmen.

Circus entertainer P.T. Barnum took 21 elephants over the bridge in May 1884 to show that it was safe. The following year, Robert E. Odlum, a swimming instructor from Washington, D.C., became the first to leap into the East River below. He died, but a number of later jumpers survived, including one man allegedly trying to impress his girlfriend and another who wore large canvas wings. Other stuntmen have flown planes under the bridge and bungee jumped from or climbed its towers.

  1. Peregrine falcons nest atop it.

Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on record, capable of reaching speeds over 200 miles per hour. They disappeared from the eastern United States due to DDT poisoning, but made a comeback after the pesticide was banned in 1972. Surprisingly, the birds soon began thriving in New York City, where they nest on bridges, church steeples and skyscrapers. Today, about 16 pairs of peregrines live in the Big Apple, and the Brooklyn Bridge has become one of their regular nesting sites.

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Pub Culture and Pub Life in Ireland

Dingle, Ireland. Postcard
Dingle, Ireland. Postcard by NationalGeographic
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Irish Pub Culture – more than drinking.

Irish Pub Culture and Irish Pub Life is a much talked about subject at home and abroad. While the number of pubs in Ireland is falling dramatically because of the current economic crisis, a smoking ban and changing lifestyles, the pub as an institution remains an important part of Irish tradition. Below is an introduction to Irish pubs and pub etiquette in Ireland.

Background to Irish Pub Culture

For all its fame and excesses, the best part of Irish drinking pub culture is the social aspect. Traditionally, the church, pub and the local football club were the three main social outlets for people in rural Ireland. The pub had the habit of following the other two. By that I mean that people went to the pub after Mass or after a football match. The pub was where the village met, stories were exchanged and the ‘craic’ (fun) was had.

Irish People rarely drank at home until recent years, because the social aspect was a vital part of enjoying alcohol. The atmosphere, warmth and friendliness of Irish pubs is such that the idea has been exported around the world. There is hardly a city anywhere on the planet that does not have at least one, if not several, Irish pubs.

While it is hard to put a value on the contribution of the pub to the social fabric of Ireland, it is just as hard to measure or ignore the fact that a lot of alcohol comsumption can be over the top in Ireland and binge drinking is all too common. Nevertheless. enjoyed sensibly with good company, a social drink in an Irish pub among friends or friendly strangers, can be hard to beat.

Origin of Word Whiskey

The word whiskey comes from ‘uisce beatha’, meaning ‘water of life’ in Irish Gaelic. Scottish people spell whiskey without the ‘e’, ‘whisky’. While there are hundreds of Scotch whiskies there is a much smaller number of Irish ones, the most well known being Jameson and Bushmills.

Pint Drinking in Ireland

If you simply ask for ‘a pint’ in an Irish pub, you will be given a pint of stout, the black beer called Guinness . However, in Cork, Murphys or Beamish are more common stouts than Guinness .

While common in England to ask for a half as a ‘half pint’, in Ireland the term is a ‘glass’, so you may ask for a ‘glass of guinness’

A common beer or ale in Ireland is ‘Smithwicks’ (which you pronounce ‘Smithicks’) which a lot of my foreign non Guinness drinking friends prefer.

Ordering a Drink in Ireland

You pay for drinks after receiving them unless you are ordering food at the same time. It’s a normal part of Irish pub culture for a barman will expect to be paid after he gives you a drink or round of drinks, so to stay on his good side, have the money ready. But don’t make a big display of showing your money to all either – nothing annoys Irish people so much as someone showing off.

Tipping in Irish Pubs

You generally do not tip barmen in Irish bars but if there are waiters, often called lounge girls or lounge boys, tip them occasionally. Don’t expect to find waiting staff in small or country pubs. You may have to go to the bar to order.

While in England it is customary to pay for an occasional drink for the barman, in Ireland it is much less common.

Irish Round System

If you are in company, it is customary for each person to buy a round of drinks. This round system is still a very strong part of Irish pub culture but if the group is very large, it is also increasingly common to split into small groups of three or four for the purpose of buying rounds. It’s common to hear the expression ‘Whose round is it?’ or ‘It’s my round’.

If you do not feel like another drink, then don’t skip when it’s your own time to buy. Do it on someone else’s round. Leaving the pub before buying your round can be considered bad form, depending on the company you are in. You will get away with it once but it will be frowned upon at best after that.

Don’t try and keep up with round system if you don’t feel like drinking anymore. Most people are understanding and you shouldn’t feel pressured to keep on drinking though you may have to put up with a little slagging (teasing). For that reason, however, it’s a good idea to buy your round early!

Irish pub culture experience

It’s common to begin a chat with the barman, the guy beside you in the pub or even with the stranger standing beside you at the urinal in the toilet (restroom).

Yes, Irish people do not say ‘bathroom’ except in a house and do not use the word ‘restroom’ at all. Very occasionally you will hear the word ‘lavatory’ but the word ‘jacks’ is particularly common around Dublin.

Sunday afternoon is a common time to see a Gaelic football or Hurling match on TV in an Irish pub. It can be a very passionate affair particularly in the middle of summer as the All-Ireland Championship gets in to full swing.

‘Slagging’ is a big part of Irish pub culture. It really means making fun of someone and can be hilarious at times. Occasionally it can seem very close to the bone. Listen rather than participate but if you become the victim, remember that most of the time the aim is not too offend but to have fun, so just laugh it off.

If you offer to buy someone a drink, it is polite in Ireland to reply ‘Ah, no’ even though a person may be dying to accept. So you may have to offer at least twice if not two or three times.

Ireland’s no smoking ban

While the smoky Irish pub is a much exported image, it is no longer a part of Irish pub culture. Since 1997, there has been a smoking ban in almost all public buildings. The law is respected (surprisingly) almost everywhere. Hence, Irish pubs now often provide a sheltered area for people to smoke outside.

It is also quite common to see a group of smokers standing in front of a pub smoking. If you are a smoke, you can take it as an excuse for chatting to strangers as you light up.

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The Gilded Age of American Civilization

Fashion Poster
Fashion Poster by Incado
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The ways in which society may amuse itself around, in any country and at any time, an exceptional opportunity for the display of wealth and the assertion of social importance. Thorstein Veblen has graphically demonstrated this conscious or unconscious motivation in many forms of recreation.

It is clearly evident throughout American social history. The worthy citizens of eighteenth-century Philadelphia vied with each other in the magnificence of their banquets, loading their tables with massive silver plate and serving such a choice selection of imported wines that the visiting John Adams stood amazed at the “sinful feasts.”

The planters of Virginia rode to hounds in close imitation of the English country squires whose social status they sought to emulate in every possible way. Merchants of New York and Boston were already aspiring to yachts in the 1850’s, their sons to membership in the exclusive boating clubs, while all the fashionable world sought out Saratoga or Newport as a step upward on the social ladder.

It was in the latter half of the 19th century, however, the Gilded Age of American civilization, that society most flagrantly bent its pleasures to display. The newly rich born of industry’s great advance since the Civil War-owners of railways, coppermines, textile-mills, steel-plants, packing-houses, and cattle ranches.

A little band of idle rich held the final redoubt in the fashionable world of the 1880’s and 1890’s, and the families of the new plutocracy felt it essential to prove beyond shadow of doubt that they too were idle and rich. It was not in the American tradition, which esteemed riches and abhorred idleness, but urban society was running after strange gods. And, in any event, the new plutocrats generally supplied the riches and left it to willing wives and a younger generation to demonstrate the idleness.

Concert singing, visits by foreign musicians, and orchestral playing also revealed a growing taste among the sophisticated for more serious music. Jenny Lind had paved the way for the tours of European artists in the middle of the century, and Ole Bull had made two memorable visits. In the 1890’s Ysaye, Paderewski, Fritz Kreisler, Adelina Patti, Melba, Calvéé, and Madame Schumann-Heink were all on tour. Symphonic music had had its start with the organization of the New York Philharmonic as early as 1842, but it was not until 1878 that this orchestra had any real rival. In that year the New York Symphony Orchestra was established, to be followed in another three years by the Boston Symphony, and in 1891 by the Chicago Orchestra. Walter Damrosch and Theodore Thomas were adding a new interest to the musical scene.

Grand opera also had become firmly established. It had long been a distinctive feature of the social life of New Orleans, and there had been various attempts to introduce it in New York and other cities. Troupes of Italian singers had come and gone; elaborate opera houses had been opened-usually to fail after one or two seasons. “Will this splendid and refined amusement be supported in New York?” we find Philip Hone asking in 1833. “I am doubtful.” And for almost half a century his doubts were largely justified. It was in 1883 that the Metropolitan Opera House, costing nearly $2,000,000, provided grand opera with its first really permanent home in America.

With the first post-war boom in the 1860’s, observers began to note that New York society was becoming entirely based upon wealth, social prestige being won by those who had the most splendid carriages, drawing-rooms, and opera boxes. George Makepeace Towle has described the balls and assemblies-ladies in sparkling tiaras, suppers of oysters and champagne, fountains gushing wine or sprays of perfume. He was somewhat horrified by “so unceasing a round of glittering gaiety and dissipation.”

The advance of the new millionaires was picturesquely described as “the Gold Rush” by representatives of older social traditions. “From an unofficial oligarchy of aristocrats,” Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer sadly wrote, “society was transformed into an extravagant body that set increasing store by fashion and display.”

Nor was New York alone in this competitive rage for showy display. A sycophant press might boast that its ornate fancy-dress balls and ten-thousand-dollar dinner parties were the most expensive ever known, but the world of fashion throughout the land was closely following its lead. There was an epidemic of gaudy magnificence in the amusements of what went for society. One Chicago magnate brought an entire theatrical company from New York to entertain a group of his friends, and a wealthy woman in another city engaged a large orchestra to serenade her new-born child. San Francisco was notorious for its “terribly fast so-called society set, engrossed by the emptiest and most trivial pleasures.” A fortunate miner who had struck it rich in Virginia City drove a coach and four with silver harness; another had champagne running from the taps at his wedding party.

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All About Giza Pyramid Complex in Egypt

Giza, Egypt. Canvas Print
Giza, Egypt. Canvas Print by NationalGeographic
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The Giza pyramid complex is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers’ village and an industrial complex. It is located approximately 9 km (5 mi) west into the Libyan Desert from the Nile river at the old town of Giza, and about 13 km (8 mi) southwest of Cairo city centre.

The pyramids, which have historically loomed large as emblems of ancient Egypt in the Western imagination, were popularised in Hellenistic times, when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is by far the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.

The Pyramids of Giza consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu and constructed c. 2560–2540 BC), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters further south-west. The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as “queens” pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids.

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Black Hills National Forest Canvas Print

Black Hills National Forest Canvas Print
Black Hills National Forest Canvas Print by SeeAmerica
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Black Hills National Forest Canvas Print

Illustrated by Matt Brass. Matt is an art director, family man, and filmmaker in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has been in marketing and advertising for 14 years. He has worked on various national accounts but has not lost his first love, illustration and design. Black Hills National Forest is located in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming.

The forest has an area of over 1.25 million acres and is managed by the Forest Service. Forest headquarters are located in Custer, South Dakota. This design is from Creative Action Network’s See America collection. Over 75 years after the government first commissioned posters to showcase the country’s most stunning natural features under the banner: “See America,” the Creative Action Network (CAN) & National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) have set out to do it again by launching a new version of See America, enlisting artists and designers from all 50 states to create a new collection of artwork celebrating our shared national parks and other treasured sites.

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Retro Captain America and Marvel Entertainment character library

Captain America Character Art Classic Round Sticker
Captain America Character Art Classic Round Sticker by AgeOfUltron
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With a library of more than 8,000 characters, Marvel Entertainment, LLC is one of the world’s preeminent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel’s operations are focused on utilizing its character franchises in licensing, entertainment, publishing and toys. Marvel Entertainment’s areas of emphasis include feature films, DVD / home videos, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions. Rooted in the creative success of more than 60 years of comic book publishing, Marvel has successfully transformed its cornerstone comic book characters into blockbuster film franchises.

In December 2009, The Walt Disney Co. completed its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment and its library of characters. “The Walt Disney Co. is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

Marvel Studios’ Hollywood renaissance has been nothing short of spectacular, with record-breaking franchises such as “Iron Man,” “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” “The Fantastic Four” and “Ghost Rider” – resulting in a string of eight consecutive #1 box office openings. Since 1998, Marvel films have grossed more than $6.1 billion worldwide at the box office, firmly establishing the company as one of the most successful entertainment brands in the world.

Marvel Entertainment is currently in production on “Captain America: The First Avenger,” directed by Joe Johnston, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Its future slate of films in development include, “Marvel Studios’ The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Spider-Man 4,” “Deadpool,” “Ant-Man” and “X-Men Origins: Magneto.”

President of Marvel Entertainment and “Thor” producer Kevin Feige explains why Marvel has been so successful in adapting its comic book characters to the big screen: “The secret to Marvel comics is the depth and complexity of the characters, all of whom are flawed in some way,” says Feige. “That’s what makes our characters interesting and why they have withstood the test of time. This dynamic has also allowed us to successfully transition Marvel characters into the film medium and expose them to a large segment of the audience that has never read a comic book. We have also been very fortunate that we have been able to attract uniquely talented actors and directors, as well as the best film technicians from top to bottom which has resulted in the best kind of mega-event movies out there.”

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.

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All About Orient Express

Orient Express Vintage Poster print
Orient Express Vintage Poster by willie50
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The Orient Express was the name of a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL). The route and rolling stock of the Orient Express changed many times. Several routes in the past concurrently used the Orient Express name, or slight variants thereof. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name has become synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul), the original endpoints of the timetabled service.

The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was still rough and dangerous. CIWL soon developed a dense network of luxury trains all over Europe, whose names are still remembered today and associated with the art of luxury travel – the Blue Train, the Golden Arrow, North Express and many more.

All About Orient Express

In 1977, the Orient Express stopped serving Istanbul. Its immediate successor, a through overnight service from Paris to Vienna, ran for the last time from Paris on Friday, June 8, 2007. After this, the route, still called the “Orient Express”, was shortened to start from Strasbourg instead, occasioned by the inauguration of the LGV Est which affords much shorter travel times from Paris to Strasbourg. The new curtailed service left Strasbourg at 22:20 daily, shortly after the arrival of a TGV from Paris, and was attached at Karlsruhe to the overnight sleeper service from Amsterdam to Vienna.

On 14 December 2009, the Orient Express ceased to operate and the route disappeared from European railway timetables, reportedly a “victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines”. The Venice-Simplon Orient Express train, a private venture by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. using original CIWL carriages from the 1920s and 30s, continues to run from London to Venice and to other destinations in Europe, including the original route from Paris to Istanbul. In March 2014 Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. was renamed Belmond.

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Popular Culture and The Rise of Hollywood

Welcome to Hollywood Poster
Welcome to Hollywood Poster by redposterboy
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The rise of Hollywood signaled the arrival of America’s urban-industrial age, a period when traditional values and established notions of family and community, of the social and political order, and of individual freedom and initiative were radically transformed. Hollywood movies were among the first and were certainly the most widespread and accessible manifestations of an emergent “mass culture” which brought with it new forms of cultural expression.

Businessmen began to realize the financial potential for movies. While movies were first shown as part of other forms of entertainment, they soon became the featured attraction themselves. By 1905 the first nickelodeon had opened in Pittsburgh, where customers each paid a nickel to see a full program of a half dozen short films. The opening of theaters completed the elements necessary for an industry: product, technology, producer, purchaser, and distributor.

As the United States became an increasingly child-centered culture, concern grew about the moral effects of popular culture on the young. This was not simply a matter of its content: many educationalists shared philosopher Charles Horton Coolef’s disquiet about its “expressive” function in stimulating emotions. The “rapid and multitudinous flow of personal images, sentiments, and impulses”, he feared, produced “an overexcitation which weakens or breaks down character”.

One man who learned his trade from Griffith was Mack Sennett. Sennett worked for Griffith for a few years as a director and writer, but his interests were more in comedy than in melodrama. In 1912 he broke away and began to work for an independent company, Keystone. Here he learned to merge the methods of stage slapstick comedy with the techniques of film; the results were the Keystone Cops, Ben Turpin, and Charlie Chaplin. Sennett’s films used only the barest plot outline as a frame for comic gags that were improvised and shot quickly.

From the Sennett method, Charlie Chaplin developed his own technique and character. He began making shorts under the direction of Sennett, but in 1915 he left and joined with Essenay which agreed to let him write and direct his own films at an unprecedented salary. Here he fleshed out his tramp character; one of his first films for Essenay was The Tramp (1915). He continued making films that combined his own comic sense and acrobatic movements with social commentary and along with Mary Pickford became one of the first “stars.”

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