Tag Archives: Tim Burton

Jonathan LeVine Gallery Presents: Mike Leavitt’s King Cuts!

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock Is a Bird, by Mike Leavitt (All Photos By Gail)

You loved his homage to the contemporary art world in Art Army Royalty; you thrilled to his Star Wars character mashups with Empire Peaks; and now, Mike Leavitt returns for his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine, King Cuts – honoring the artist’s obsession with 16 of the Best Film Directors Ever! And what great show it is!

Orson Welles
Orson Welles with Key Props from Citizen Kane and A Touch of Evil

Great film directors make sacrifices and compromises when creating a movie. They’re eaten by their work and very often their body succumbs to the pressure. In King Cuts, Leavitt transforms some of the most renowned directors into satirical sculptures, combining their physical attributes with features reminiscent of their most recognizable on-screen characters. Standing 18 inches tall at one quarter inch scale, each sculpture is carved from a single block of wood, similar to the way these auteurs might cut a take or reel.

Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola with Thematic Images from Rumblefish, Dracula, and The Godfather

Through his clever mash-ups, Leavitt has created totems devoted to the best story tellers of all-time that explore the role of being an artist and pose the question, is it possible not to merge art and life?

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick Wears the Dress of One of the Twins from The Shining. Also Present are References to Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001

Stanley Kubrick Detail
Stanley Kubrick Detail with Alex DeLarge’s False Eyelashes

Similar to the way Kubrick, Spielberg and Tarantino use the camera like a window to gaze out, Leavitt humorously reverts the gaze back to them. Under their control or not, work sweeps over the life of the creator. Their imagery becomes more powerful than themselves and their icons overtake their anatomy.

David Lynch
David Lynch is Presented with Allusions to The Elephant Man, Dune and Wild at Heart

Mike Leavitt
The Artist, (Right) at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception. He is very nice to fans!

Trading Cards Set 1

Mike also made a set of collectible trading cards of each of the Director’s Sculptures, and the back of each one has a little story about each character.

Trading Cards Set 2

Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow, and the card which describes her, below.

Kathryn Bigelow Trading Card

Leavitt is obviously a passionate film buff who aims to elevate these directors as high artists, while also surreally lampooning them with a taste of their own iconic medicine. He explains, I love movies and I love art. The magic overwhelms me. Moviemakers are consumed by their work, similar to the way my own work overtakes my life. Whether a block of wood, a scene ending or film reel edit, every cut takes conviction. Trust in that vision is so powerful that they relinquish their anatomy. That’s why I sculpted their bodies physically devoured by their work.”

Tim Burton
Tim Burton Personified with Motifs from Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhards

Installation View
Installation View, Left Right: Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, George Lucas

Mike Leavitt’s talent is just insane. The details of each sculpture are absolutely breathtaking and this exhibit is lots of fun to experience in person. Don’t miss it!

Mike Leavitt’s King Cuts will be on Exhibit Through June 11th, 2016, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
King Cuts Signage

James Cameron
James Cameron, Avatar Meets Titanic with side of Aliens and Terminator

Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson Films include The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Nightmare Before Christmas Sneakers

Nightmare Before Christmas Sneakers
Image Source

I found these fun Nightmare Before Christmas-themed sneakers on Pinterest, but a few layers of link clicks revealed that they were part of a Buzzfeed list featuring 50 different pairs of custom painted sneakers. Click on “Image Source” hyperlink above to see the full list!

Tim Burton Recreates The Look of Original Alice Cooper Band for Dark Shadows Film Cameo

Alice Cooper Dark Shadows
Alice Cooper with Dennis Dunaway Clone to his Left

It’s not exactly a secret that singer Alice Cooper has a small part in the new Tim Burton film version of the 1970s Gothic TV Soap Opera Dark Shadows. What I didn’t know until I saw the film yesterday is that it’s not just Cooper but the entire original band called Alice Cooper that’s recreated for several scenes taking place during a ball at the Collin’s family mansion, Collinwood. For these scenes, Alice fronts a group of actors who mime to the band’s hit “No More Mr. Nice Guy” as well as the fan favorite “Ballad of Dwight Fry” from 1971’s Love It To Death. I must say that Burton did a terrific job of casting actors who look remarkably like original band members Glen Buxton, Mike Bruce and Dennis Dunaway (see photo above). And while the actor playing drummer Neal Smith is mostly hidden behind Alice during the performances, at least he appears to have Smith’s trademark long blond hair.

Worleygig.com has learned from a source inside the Alice Cooper camp that the concept of giving the audience an authentic, 70s-era Alice Cooper Band experience is owed not just to Tim Burton but also primarily to Johnny Depp (who must be a fan) and Burton’s team executed it beautifully, and as well as they could given the infinitesimally brief amount of screen time given to anyone other than Alice. It is certainly a deserved homage to one of the most innovative and enduring American bands of the seventies. What makes this story even more interesting though is the fact that Cooper’s former band mates (who were all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011) apparently had no idea they were being represented in the film. Apart from being aware that Alice had a cameo in Dark Shadows, drummer Neal Smith told me on the phone that Alice hadn’t offered him any details on the part and that he was hearing about the entire original band being represented in the film for the first time from me. One might think that with the Hall of Fame induction last year, Cooper would consider that having their likenesses portrayed in a major motion picture would be newsworthy to his former band mates. But then again, why would he. Overall, I really loved the film, even though I was expecting to be disappointed, and thought the Alice Cooper band bits were lots of fun, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” being my favorite song from the original band and all. it Have you seen Dark Shadows? If so, what did you think?

Tim Burton Character Playing Cards!

OMG this  is so cool:  a deck of playing cards emblazoned with colorful images of Tim Burton’s best loved characters, such as Stain Boy, Toxic Boy and Oyster Boy, among many others! Do you want them for your 7 year old boy? Each deck of collectible playing cards featuring the art of Tim Burton (deck measures 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ x 3/4″) sells for just $4.95 at This Link!

Gail’s Top Ten Media Related Things of 2009!

“I Got Yer Top Ten Right Here”

Everybody with a tongue in their mouth keeps asking me when I am going to post my list of Top Ten Favorite CDs of 2009. I am telling you now that this will not be happening; mostly because I only liked 3 or 4 new CDs released in all of 2009, so that is too few to make a list of ten. Obviously. What I will do however is make a list of my Top Ten Favorite Media Related Things of 2009, which will include not only CD(s) but also TV Shows, Art Exhibits, Movies, Books and other stuff. OK, here we go.

Favorite Documentary: Anvil: The Story of Anvil
Anvil: The Story of Anvil was really my favorite movie of 2009. Sue got it for me on DVD for Christmas, because she rules. Anvil!
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Movie: District 9
District 9 was my favorite movie of the year that was not a documentary. It was really, really good. You should see it.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Art Exhibit: Tim Burton Art Retrospective at MOMA I just blogged about this show a week or so ago, because it was so mind-blowing. If you live in the tri-State area and miss this exhibit you are an idiot.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Live Show: Fiction Plane at the Mercury Lounge
Fiction Plane
is a band I saw perform at the Mercury Lounge sometime last summer. Sting’s son Joe is the lead singer/bass player of this band, but don’t hold that against them, because they are a fucking awesome band. I also interviewed their drummer, Pete Wilhoit, for an upcoming feature in Modern Drummer, and he was really cool.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Biographical Book: Fall to Pieces By Mary Forsberg Weiland
I generally remain unmoved when drug addicts write books whining about how their lives turned to shit because of drugs. I did not feel that way about this book.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Coffee Table Book: Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock
This terrific scrapbook on Queen, my favorite band of my teenage years, makes me wish I actually owned a coffee table so I could proudly display it in my home for all to see.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Non-Reality TV Show: Mad Men
Mad Men is the best TV show ever in the Universe of all time. Period.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Reality TV Show: Top Chef
There should be no breaks between seasons of Top Chef, ever.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite CD: Adam Lambert, For Your Pleasure
Too gay sounding for even Geoffrey – my go-to barometer for all things in the gay spectrum – to handle, it is a testament to how shitty modern music is that this ends up being my favorite CD of the year. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic CD! Adam Lambert! Runners-up for this category include Call from Restricted from ex-Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard, and Smithereen’s drummer Dennis Diken’s Late Music.
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

Favorite Broadway Show: Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking
Even better than the book!
Related Worleygig.com Blog Post Here

OK, I’m Signing Off on These Lists Until 2011!

Have Your Mind Blown at MOMA’s Tim Burton Art Retrospective!


Geoffrey and I learned our lesson a few week’s ago about “just showing up” at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art and trying to get in to see the Tim Burton Retrospective on the strength of our Corporate Memberships. That lesson was: it doesn’t happen. I cannot put too fine a point on letting you know that advance tickets are an absolute necessity. Otherwise you’ll never be granted access to what is surely the most overwhelmingly amazing and impressive art exhibit I’ve seen in my life. And I have seen a shitload of art.

TB Toys
Dangerous Toys (Photo By Geoffrey Dicker)

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that Tim Burton’s films are consistently hit or miss with me – the hits being Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Ed Wood and 80 percent of Beetlejuice; the misses being, oh, just about everything else he’s directed. But what have always resonated with me are Burton’s outrageous visual sense of the absurd and his darkly humorous predilection for the macabre. Despite his lack of ability to just tell a fucking story, it cannot be denied that he’s a staggeringly talented visual artist.

Another Friend of Mine Named  Jeff Visited the Exhibit and Let Me Post This Shot of him at the Gallery Entrance! Coolness! People Behind Him Are Watching the Stain Boy Videos.

I barely know where to start in describing how mind-blowing this exhibit is, but maybe the best place is at the beginning of the galleries, with the series of short animated videos featuring the twisted adventures of Burton’s Stain Boy character. Stain Boy is a diminutive, mutant superhero whose only superpower is that he leaves a stain wherever he goes. Each of these five or six videos are about 3 minutes long, and although you have the option of skipping them and taking an express lane into the main exhibit, I strongly urge you to take the extra time to view each one, because they are genius. Inside the main gallery you’ll find what Geoffrey and I estimated to be between 700 and a thousand pieces of art from Burton’s collection, (many dating back to his high school days in Burbank, California) of caricature sketches, rough notebook drawings, canvases, story boards, sculptures, short films and on to personal correspondences, props and costumes from his many movies. Represented are items from Beetlejuice, Planet of the Apes, Mars Attacks, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeny Todd, The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands, what is arguably Burton’s most popular film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and everything else he’s ever had a hand in or on. Comprehensive!

TB Corpse Bride
Corpse Bride (Photo By Geoffrey Dicker)

There was not one item in the entire collection that did not make me stop and say “Wow.” So, high Wow Factor and all, I think you need to see this thing. Photography is not allowed, but Geoffrey always seems to find a way around that, thank god.  It was extremely crowded as well and it took us  two hours to walk the entire exhibit, but it was so well worth it. Our viewing time was at 3:00 PM and we were done by 5:00 PM. Afterward we went out for Mexican food, what a fun day!

Tim Burton at MOMA runs through April 26, 2010. For more information and to purchase advance tickets for just $20 (which includes full admission to all galleries at the Museum) visit MOMA Dot Org.

Tim Burton Blue Thing.pg

Tim Burton Retrospective Coming to MOMA New York!

Tim Burton Drawings
Image Source

A lot of people I know wet their pants with excitement every time Tim Burton directs a film, but I am not so easily impressed. With the exception of 1994’s Ed Wood, which is a work of genius, most of Burton’s films are heavily flawed, poorly directed and a staggering celebration of style over substance that just leaves me puzzled. I realize that I am in the minority on this one, but I doubt my opinion could be swayed. I still plan to see Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland when it comes out next year, but I plan to get very high first.

My lack of fan-ship when it comes to Burton’s films, however, does not crossover to my view of his artwork, which is pretty amazing. If you’ve seen the illustrations in his book, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy, you know what I am talking about. So I was very psyched to read just this morning that a retrospective of Burton’s paintings and drawings is coming to the NYC Museum of Modern Art in under two weeks. Burton himself offers that the exhibit is “going to be an out-of-body experience.” Here’s what New York Magazine has to say about the Burton retrospective: “For the show, curators Jenny He and Ron Magliozzi raided Burton’s curiosity cabinets for more than 500 photographs, paintings, doodles, storyboards, stories, sculptures, and sketches dating back to his student years at the California Institute of the Arts. Many have nothing to do with the films he’s directed. Some are on canvas, many on notebook paper. Quite a few are on cocktail napkins. ‘Sometimes these things look like they’re just weird,” Burton says, “but I don’t keep a journal or a diary. They help me to remember a certain feeling — they become time capsules.’” Holy crap, this sounds like one more show not to miss!

Tim Burton at MOMA opens November 22nd!