Join us May 19 for a Disney event: THE ROAD TO ‘TOMORROWLAND’

Are you a Disney fan? (And do you live near Portland, Oregon?) Then please, come join us for a very special event: THE ROAD TO TOMORROWLAND.

We’ll show incredible highlights from Disneyland TV specials that inspired the new Brad Bird movie TOMORROWLAND: clips from Man In Space, Our Friend The Atom, and more. Then we’ll take you on a tour of the 1964 World’s Fair…then on to Walt Disney’s utopian “Florida Project”…in all, over two hours of beautiful mid-century animation, optimism, and awesomeness.

It’s an amazing way to immerse yourself in the retro-future with some like-minded fans…not to mention, great background for the new movie!

How to attend

Even though we’ve rented a small theater, seating is limited to 19 people. Please email us in advance to reserve a spot.

when: Tuesday, May 19, 8pm-11pm.

where: Indigo Twelve West, 430 SW 13th Avenue, downtown Portland.

Hosted by

Alex Pasco, Louie Mantia, and Greg Maletic of the Golden Horseshoe Review: everyone’s favorite Disney Parks podcast!

Disneyland Tips

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I love Disneyland, but it’s a complicated place.

I go a lot, so people ask me how they should plan, and what they should do when they get there. I’ve gathered my thoughts below.

(Keep in mind: these are just my opinions. Others’ may differ, wildly.)

When to go.

Picking the right day (or days) to go is the most important decision you’ll make. Use TouringPlans.com’s Crowd Calendar: they give you a nice one-to-ten rating describing how crowded each of Disneyland’s two parks will be on a given day.

You pay about $7.95 to get access to their information, but the $7.95 is a bargain compared to the misery of going on a super-crowded day.

How long to go.

Three days in the parks is probably the ideal length, if you want to see and do most everything and not feel rushed. Not that you can’t go for two days: you can, and it’s still worthwhile. (A caveat: if you have small kids, they’ll slow you down and will make “seeing it all” nearly impossible. But don’t worry about that. You’ll have fun anyway, and you can see more of it next time you visit.)

And if you’re thinking about going for just a day…of course, you can: that’s what most people do. But make sure you adjust your expectations accordingly: it’ll be a little more hectic, and you’ll only see a fraction of what’s available. But it’s still a fun day.

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Apple Rings and Watches

There is, undoubtedly, a lot of truth and clever insight in Craig Hockenberry’s piece, Wearing Apple. (Please read it; it’s definitely worth the time.)

But first, some issues I had with his argument about why a watch seems out-of-the-question.

The Competition

He notes:

…the companies that dominated the music player and mobile phone markets were making complete crap prior to Apple’s arrival. Granted, there are a lot of cheap and crappy watches on the market, but they’re not remotely interesting to the demographic that buys Apple products. And to many people, a fine timepiece is more about status than technology.

I’m not aware of many Apple users that wear “fine timepieces”. (Rolex is the only company that springs to my mind if I even try to think of companies that build fine timepieces. It’s possible it’s just me…but I live in a den of Apple users, and I don’t hear them talking about fine watches, either.)

I don’t see what would be wrong with Apple entering this market from a brand/status perspective. Apple would trample the existing players.

The Customer

Then, Hockenberry seems to argue against his own point:

Who is going to buy this wearable technology?

Trends are always set by the younger generation. Especially with clothing, jewelry and other items that appeal to a demographic with a lot of expendable income.

So Apple’s product needs to compete with high-quality, luxury brands…yet youth will define this market? I don’t see any of the younger generation wearing luxury watches, or watches of any sort.

The earlier point and this one can’t both be true. (For the record: it’s this one that’s true. Youth will define the market. Again, another reason why an Apple watch doesn’t seem out of the question to me.)

The Ring

Then I think he gets on track, in a big way:

The first step is to start looking at things from Apple’s point-of-view. I ask myself, “What problems can a wearable device solve?”

As I think about answers to that question, it leads me to the conclusion that Jony Ive and crew aren’t looking solely at the wrist. Wearable technology could take cues from other kinds of jewelry: rings and necklaces, for example.

I do agree that a ring is—conceptually—closer to what Apple will release than a watch. I’ve always envisioned Apple’s watch as having a minimal screen and almost no interactivity; a subordinate, an adjunct, to your phone, and certainly not the combination TV/GameBoy/mini-iPhone that people seem to think it will be.

But Hockenberry doesn’t mention something I think is important: an Apple ring is scarily close to a punchline.

Asking customers to wear a ring instead of a watch is a big deal. Now, it seems like it’s asking less. But really, it’s asking more; a lot more. Asking a non-ring-wearer to become a ring-wearer (and most male youth are not ring-wearers) is asking them to almost jump to a different demographic.

A ring is also more personal than a watch. Rings are to identify my marital status, my membership in a club (my high school class, my Super Bowl-winning team.) People feel close to Apple…but that close? By contrast, wearing a watch is…wearing a watch. No biggie. (For what it’s worth, in a different but not entirely dissimilar situation, Disney is asking people to wear a watch.)

I’d like an Apple ring. It satisfies exactly what I want from an Apple watch. But…it’s asking customers to make a big leap.



Re-creating the old General Cinema Bumper

General Cinema Feature Presentation

My friend Cabel had curious gaps in his movie knowledge. Gaping, er…gaps. He’d somehow missed Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby…you name it, he’d missed it. We decided to rectify the problem—partially—by kidnapping him, renting out a local theater, and forcing him to watch two movies he’d never seen, but needed to see. (The movies we picked? For reasons too numerous to mention: Goodfellas and Aliens.)

We had the movies; we needed some trailers, too, so we picked a very humorous trailer for Rocky (another flick he hadn’t seen), one for The Godfather, and another for The Terminator. (Hadn’t seen that either.) But that wasn’t all: I wanted authentic vintage bumpers to announce “Coming Attractions”, “Feature Presentation”…plus a special message for Cabel.

One of my clearest moviegoing memories as a child in the ’70s was the distinctive General Cinema opening bumper. There was only one half-way decent sample of it online, but its quality leaves something to be desired. Fortunately that clip has a pretty reasonable audio track—and wow, what an audio track!—so I used the audio and took this as the opportunity to fulfill a dream I’ve had for years, to re-create the video of the General Cinemas bumper. (I’m experienced with After Effects, but wanted learn Apple’s Motion. Verdict? It took a while to get the hang of it, but I won’t be going back to After Effects.)

Here’s the result. It’s not exactly like the original…but it is pretty close. Feel free to use it yourself. (There’s a Coming Attractions version, too. And here’s the all-blue version from the early 70s. Finally, here’s the humorous version we showed to Cabel during intermission.)

How was it done?  I made the background from a photo of a ruby I found on the web, run through Motion’s Kaleidoscope filter. I drew the projector, scrolling circles, and text in Illustrator. After that, Motion’s incredible “Bad Film” filter added scratches, jitter, and the like. (A secret: did you notice that the blue film projector graphic is comprised of the letters G-C-C, for General Cinema Corporation? Whoever designed that was brilliant.)

Oh, and by the way: if you like these bumpers and you live in the Portland area, you should come to our Match Cut Movie Club. The whole renting-the-theater-and-showing-surprise-movies thing bit us hard, and we’re going to be doing it once a quarter. I’m also taking it as my opportunity to go crazy with all my mid-century bumper motion graphics fantasies, so you’ll see lots more stuff in this style. Please come check it out! It’s lots of fun.