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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The Open Road: London filmed in colour, 1927

Between 1924 and 1926, Claude Friese-Greene filmed “The Open Road” — a documentary of the United Kingdom from Lands End to John O’ Groats. What’s most remarkable about this footage is that it’s shot in colour using a process called Friese-Greene Natural Colour, based on the Biocolour process originally developed by his father William.

This is an eleven-minute segment of that film, restored by the BFI, shot in London.

The Lost World Of Friese-Greene (2006) DVD at Amazon.co.uk (via Boing Boing)

Gowalla: The location based travel game

Gowalla web and iphone screenshots

Ok, “game” might be pushing the term a little bit but it’s still good fun. Much like other location based social services like Brightkite and Foursquare, Gowalla allows you to “check in” to locations in the real world to update your profile on the website and on the iPhone app.

What makes Gowalla a little different is that it’s been created by Alamofire, the people behind the moderately addictive Facebook card collecting and trading (stealing) game, Packrat.

Simply, as you check into places in the physical world (using GPS — no cheating here!) you might find that someone who has checked in before you has dropped a virtual item and, if you want it, trade it for an item in your possession. Trading, checking into locations and other actions offer rewards in the shape of virtual pins, much like your Xbox or PS3 achievements.

So, what’s it got that’s better than Foursquare, the current fore-runner in this area? Well, for starters you can play it anywhere — Foursquare is limited to a few cities, mostly in the US. Secondly, Trips. Checking into a series of locations such as a series of iconic locations in Central Park, or Frank Lloyd Wrights buildings in Chicago unlock bonus pins. These are limited at the moment but there’s promise of more.

Finally, it features a lovely user interface and exquisite collectable pins, stamps and location badges illustrated by Brian Brasher and David Lanham.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? What are you waiting for? Get collecting!

Gowalla Free (iTunes App Store link)

National Geographic Native American Place Names Map

native_american_town_names

National Geographic Magazine: What’s in an American Name?

Native American words echo in the names of lakes, rivers, mountains, states, cities, and small towns across the United States. The first settlers, who put many European words on the map, also borrowed names from local tribes. They often mispronounced what they heard—that’s how the Washoe word dá’aw, or lake, became Tahoe.

(via Aegir)

The Submarine Voyage Returns to Disneyland

Submarine Voyage

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage re-opened in Tomorrowland at Disneyland last week after the original Submarine Voyage closed to guests nearly ten years ago. The Re-Imaginering blog heralds the new attraction as a beginning of a promising new era at Disneyland:

Along with the submarine fleet, another long lost unit has come marching home again… the animators. And they are bringing the “Walt” back to Disneyland.

In the acquisition of Pixar, Disney has bought back their wandering soul and healthy inner child – at a premium – and it could not have been a better move. Here are to be found the traditional Disney talents and ideas, the Walt spirit in exile.

The Disney Blog highlights a number of links to launch coverage, two ride-throughs and interviews from the press event.

Disney Geek has a photo journal of his first visit ride of the subs on June 15th.

Autumn and the Plot Against Me

Autumn and the Plot Against Me: One man’s long search for the location in a Windows XP desktop photo. (via Kottke)

Could California split from the USA?

Could California split from the USA? “California’s governor has also put his finger on a little discussed flaw in America’s constitutional formula. The United States is almost certainly too big to be a meaningful democracy. What does “participatory democracy” mean in a continent? Sooner or later, a profound, probably regional, decentralization of the federal system may be all but inevitable.” (via Kottke)

Monorails from old aeroplanes… and driverless buses

masstramdrawing1.JPG

Mass Tram America: Here’s a rather interesting concept for a monorail built entirely from decommissioned, de-winged Boeing plane fuselages. Powered by renewable energy sources the tram can theoretically travel from 100-200mph. (via Danny’s Land)

I’d also love to see these driverless electric and biofuel hybrid buses too. They work by following magnets on the floor, satellite navigation and with onboard sensors. Is the future finally here?!

Tomorrowland: A History

A 24-minute long tribute to Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland from 1971 through 1995 and includes many many memorable classics including the Wedway Peoplemover, Flight to the Moon, Mission to Mars, Autopia, Dreamflight, Carousel of Progress, Space Mountain and the Skyway. The film is put together from home video, official Disney film footage and concept art. I remember much of the stuff here and I, like many others, have watched the land struggle to find its footing in this more cynical age. (via BoingBoing)

Il Etait Une Fois… Walt Disney exhibition report

Eyvind Earle's concept work for Sleeping Beauty

Once upon a time Walt Disney: Remember the Walt Disney art exhibition that I told you about last month which is currently showing at the Grand Palais in Paris? Well, we’ve just got back and I have to say that it exceeded all expectations; the thing was huge — three floors of gorgeous animation history chronologically laid out for my consumption!

After a 20 minute queue outside in the rain (I put the long line down to being a holiday weekend) we finally got inside where I was immediately mis-recognised as a French actor. My poor grasp of the French language eventually gave me away as an imposter and the guy apologised and wished me a good holiday.

Highlights for me were seeing many many pieces of original Mary Blair concept art for Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, Eyvind Earle’s numerous, enormous, background pieces for Sleeping Beauty and other films, Salvador Dali’s concept work for Destino (and the film played in its entirety), and many original character sheets and sketches.

When I first saw the Mary Blair work I actually had to practically press my nose against the glass to check that they were the real thing and not just prints. They were, indeed, the real thing and I was delighted to be able to see her pencil outlines just visible beneath the paint! This is the kind of thing you never get to see in coffee table books, now matter how good. Just seeing how the Mad Hatter’s hat, for example, was originally sketched much larger brought her thought process to life.

Eyvind Earle wasn’t a Disney artist that I knew much about before this exhibition but I was blown away by his concept work and, in particular, backgrounds. The first time I saw one of his paintings I stopped and couldn’t move away from it… quite literally! After viewing the pieces from afar I was drawn in to inspect the detail of each one… the combination and use of colour, the painting techniques on his massive paintings. No print, or indeed DVD, could ever do this detail justice! What’s more fantastic is that these are backgrounds; emphasising that numerous art forms must be combined, with equal importance, to produce a truly outstanding animated feature or short.

Low lights? The inability to take any photos of all the fantastic stuff on display… (wishing I’d bought a notebook and pen with me) and the disappointing selection of prints and postcards available in the shop, postcards were mostly poor crops of incredible artwork and really didn’t do the originals justice, especially after just being overwhelmed by them in the flesh. The book and the guidebook were only available in French and printed on some rather cheap paper stock (when the exhibition reaches Montreal later in the year I’ll be interested to see if an English language guidebook becomes available). A shame really, but I couldn’t leave empty handed. I picked up a print of a Marc Davis sketch of Bambi’s Thumper which was a rather reasonable six euros. I also regret not purchasing the accompanying DVD but, as we were on a very tight budget, I just couldn’t afford to.

And talking of not being able to afford not to… if you’re in Paris before the 15th January, or in or around Montreal between March 8 and June 24th, you really can’t afford to miss this.

If you want a complete overview of the show, take a look at this article at Animated Views (thanks Jenny)

Update: Michael Barrier mentions in his post about the exhibition that an English language edition of the book is available to pre-order on Amazon.

Santa’s Village, California

Santa's Village

I’d never heard of Santa’s Village… boy, have I been missing out! Thankfully, Jordan Reichek fills me in… and Google helps me find even more crap than I could ever dream of! Apparently, the park opened in 1955 (the same year as Disneyland) or 1957 (depending on what reports you read!) and closed in 1998.

Santa’s Village Lives in Memory.

Update: I’ve also just noticed this fantastic collection of images from Universal City Studios in the 60s and 70s on the same site. It sure was a lot smaller back then, and it looks like that flash flood has been “scaring” visitors for over 25 years! Have a root around further for shots of Knotts Berry Farm and Ghost Town and Will Rogers Park.