Brooklyn-based artist Elizabeth Sweetheart really loves the color green. In fact she loves the color so much, there are not many objects in her life that aren’t marked by its vibrancy. From her braided hair to her rounded spectacles, Sweetheart’s life is dyed green. For this simple reason she has been nicknamed “The Green Lady,” and embraces the name and the joy it brings to others by continuing her passionate collection of all things green.
“I think people really, really like to believe that you like something enough to really carry it through,” says Sweetheart in a film created by Great Big Story about her obsession. “When you are young you tend to think you look good in black, but as you get older you realize that color is so fun. I will continue to be green because it is so positive. I think when it is not, then I’ll change to my next favorite thing.”
You can learn more about the artist’s life, and the 20-year span of her collecting, in the short film created by Great Big Story above. (via Laughing Squid)
In this documentary short titled Ten Meter Tower, Swedish filmmakers Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson paid 67 people $30 to climb to the top of a ten meter (33 foot) high dive for the very first time all while being filmed. Would they decide to jump? Would they be too scared? The resulting footage is surprisingly riveting as people slowly come to terms with their fears and make a decision. It’s one thing to admit defeat in private, but adding the cameras must add a near insurmountable amount of pressure. The filmmakers share with the New York Times:
In our films, which we often call studies, we want to portray human behavior, rather than tell our own stories about it. We hope the result is a series of meaningful references, in the form of moving images. “Ten Meter Tower” may take place in Sweden, but we think it elucidates something essentially human, that transcends culture and origins. Overcoming our most cautious impulses with bravery unites all humankind. It’s something that has shaped us through the ages.
Ten Meter Tower premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. (via Metafilter)
On July 2, 1978 the New York Times made a significant technological leap when they scuttled the last of 60 manually-operated linotype machines to usher in the era of digital and photographic typesetting. When working at 100% efficiency with an experienced operator the Linotype machines could produce 14 lines per minute cast on the spot from hot lead. That number would increase to 1,000 lines per minute the very next day using an array of computers and digital storage.
Typesetter Carl Schlesinger and filmmaker David Loeb Weiss documented the last day of hot metal typesetting in a film called Farewell — ETAOIN SHRDLU (the obscure title is poignantly explained in the film). This amazing behind-the-scenes view not only captures the laborious effort to create a single page of printed type, but also the the emotions and thoughts of several New York Times employees as they candidly discuss their feelings about transitioning to a new technology. One man decides he’s not ready for the digital age and plans to retire on the spot after 49 years, while others seem to transition smoothly into the new methods of production.
This historically significant documentary was digitized in 2015 and made available online in HD from Linotype: The Film, another documentary about linotype printing that includes portions of Farewell. While I’ve always been somewhat familiar with the history of typesetting and printing, I didn’t fully grasp the absurd mechanical complexity and scale required to print a newspaper before the digital age. Each newspaper page was cast in a 40 lb. block of lead!? A huge number of employees were deaf!? If you’re a graphic design or typography professor, here’s a great way to spend 30 minutes.
Part film trailer, part home video, part testament to the power of unbridled creativity, this extended teaser gives us a glimpse into the unusual life of the Zenga Bros and their obsession with absurdly tall bicycles. Born and raised in Vancouver, the 6 brothers come from an eclectic family of 9 children who were taught from a young age to explore their own creativity, no matter where it lead them. This belief was embraced so thoroughly it became a lifestyle complete with a set of three intersecting tenets called the Three Beans: Create Everywhere, Redeem Everything, and Be a Fool.
The Zengas have engaged in community art projects since 1999, but the most notable has been the design and fabrication of tall bikes. They first encountered photos of similar bike designs in the late 90s in a zine and soon the boys were singularly obsessed with building their own unwieldy cycles. The bikes have connected them to makers from around the world, taken them on a trip across Africa, and will culminate in an upcoming tall bike tour and film currently in production by one of the brothers, Benny Zenga. The Zengas also produced a film last year with Booooooom titled Skate Heads that’s definitely worth a watch.
Since the 1960s, Alex Carozza has been repairing and building accordions in New York City for customers around the world. Now, at the age of 88, he’s reportedly the only person left in the city still repairing these complicated instruments in a cramped studio with his 93-year-old assistant. Great Big Story sits down with the “Sultan of Squeezeboxes” for a brief but charming interview. (via Devour)
Glass is a 1958 non-verbal documentary short by Bert Haanstra that contrasts glassblowing techniques used inside the Royal Leerdam Glass Factory with more modern industrial machines. The first half shows several men at work using traditional glassblowing to create ornate objects like vases and mugs set against jazz music, while the second part shifts abruptly into the mechanized world of industrial glass production set to a whimsical score of more synthesized music. Also, there’s a ton of great smoking! It’s a really unusual little film that went on to pick up an Oscar for Documentary Short Subject in 1959.