Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ghost Rider Sneak Peak



Get your first look at the upcoming Ghost Rider film starring Nicholas Cage right here. You’ll see a sneak peak into how Johnny Blaze, portrayed by Cage, transforms from ordinary man into the Spirit of Vengeance known as Ghost Rider. Directed by Mark Stephen Johnson, Ghost Rider is set for a President’s Day Weekend release of February 17, 2007.

Check it out!

MM

Monday, December 26, 2005

Musicmatch Customers Screwed



Toth to Xeni Jardin:

Yahoo bought Musicmatch, and has deep-sixed its service team for the software product while still allowing folks to download it and subscribe to it. In the meantime, paying subscribers to Musicmatch get shoddy service, and lifetime purchasers of the software feel (and are) very screwed. It's hardly a good business plan to alienate users of one of the more popular music programs out there -- the free version shipped loaded on millions of PCs over the past 5 years.

Personally, I've been a loyal user since about 2002.

Link to Yahoo Group for Musicmatch enthusiasts, who are not so enthusiastic at the moment.

MM

Theater Owners Want Cell Phones Blocked

This is great news:

The National Association of Theater Owners wants the Federal Communications Commission to allow the blocking of cell phone signals in theaters.

John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners "have to block rude behavior" as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.

Fithian said his group would petition the FCC for permission to block cell phone signals within movie theaters. Some theaters already have no cell phone policies and ask moviegoers to check their phones at the door, Fithian said.

The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association -- a Washington-based cell phone lobby that is also known as CTIA-the Wireless Association -- said it would fight any move to block cell phone signals.

"We're opposed to the use of any blocking technology, because it interferes with people's ability to use a wireless device in an emergency situation," CTIA spokesman Joseph Farren told the Times.

Fuck yeah!

Link!

MM

France: "Fuck You, Hollywood!"

Last night, the French parliament voted to affirm the legality of filesharing free music and movies on the Internet:

If the amendment survives, France would be the first country to legalize so called peer-to-peer downloading, said Jean-Baptiste Soufron, legal counsel to the Association of Audionautes, a French group that defends people accused of improperly sharing music files.

The law would be a blow to media companies that increasingly use the courts worldwide to sue people for downloading or sharing music and movie files. Entertainment companies such as Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and News Corp.'s Fox say free downloading of unauthorized copies of TV shows and movies before they are released on DVD will cost them $5 billion in revenue this year.

The amendment, which is attached to a bill on intellectual property rights, states that "authors cannot forbid the reproduction of works that are made on any format from an online communications service when they are intended to be used privately'' and not for commercial use.

Go, Frogs, Go!

Toth to Xeni Jardin

MM

Saturday, December 24, 2005

CHRISTMAS CANCELLED



Santa's Dead and it's ALL YOUR FAULT! CHRISTMAS HAS BEEN CANCELLED!

Santa heard that you were good and he died laughing! Seriously, have a great holiday, and thanks to all the well-wishers who sent me the same.

MM

Thursday, December 15, 2005

So Long, Pryor



RIP, you funny motherfucker.

MM

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How a Geek Beat Vegas



TOTH to Magic Bullets for the heads up on this great new book:

If you think a gang of real-life geeks can’t take on the world and win big . . . think again. And whatever you do, don’t sit down across a gaming table from Jon Finkel, better known as Jonny Magic. Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids is his amazing true story: the jaw-dropping, zero-to-hero chronicle of a fat, friendless boy from New Jersey who found his edge in a game of cards–and turned it into a fortune.

The ultimate bully-magnet, Finkel grew up heckled and hazed until destiny came in the form of a trading-card game called Magic: The Gathering. Magic exploded from nerdy obsession to mainstream mania and made the teenage Finkel an ultracool world champion.

Once transformed, this young shark stormed poker rooms from the underground clubs of New York City to the high-stakes tables online, until he landed on the largest card-counting blackjack team in the country. Taking Vegas for millions, Finkel’s squad of brainy gamers became the biggest players in town. Then they took on the town’s biggest game, the World Series of Poker, and walked away with more than $3.5 million.

Thrilling, edgy, and ferociously feel-good, the odyssey of these underdogs-turned-overlords is the stuff of pop-culture legend. And David Kushner, acclaimed author of Masters of Doom, masterfully deals out the outrageous details while bringing to life a cast of characters rife with aces, kings, knaves . . . and more than a few jokers. If you secretly believe every player has his day, you’re right. Here’s the proof.

You can read an excerpt from Rolling Stone here!

MM

Dangerously Strong Magnets



Check out the warnings for these large neodymium magnets.

Beware - you must think ahead when moving these magnets.

If carrying one into another room, carefully plan the route you will be taking. Computers & monitors will be affected in an entire room. Loose metallic objects and other magnets may become airborne and fly considerable distances - and at great speed - to attach themselves to this magnet. If you get caught in between the two, you can get injured.

Two of these magnets close together can create an almost unbelievable magnetic field that can be very dangerous. Of all the unique items we offer for sale, we consider these two items the most dangerous of all. Our normal packing & shipping personnel refuse to package these magnets - our engineers have to do it. This is no joke and we cannot stress it strongly enough - that you must be extremely careful - and know what you're doing with these magnets. Take Note: Two of the 3" x 1" disc magnets can very easily break your arm if they get out of control.


Nice! Won't you send a couple to Steve Brooks today?

TOTH to Mark Frauenfelder.

Link!

MM

Send Mail to God/Santa


TOTH to Cory Doctorow:

The USPS has posted official instructions for addressing postal mail to God and/or Santa Claus (are they the same entity?):
To write Santa for goodies or with wish lists you should address your letter to Santa Claus as follows:

The USPS will see that the letter is received at the proper place. Please ensure to include the return address on the letter itself! Letters to God can be addressed in the same way replacing "Santa Claus" with "God". And here I thought you needed the Ark of the Covenant to send messages to God.

Link!

MM

Decorate Your Holidays with Tampons



TOTH to Cory Doctorow:

TamponCrafts sports instructions for making all kinds of seasonal decorations out of tampons: tree-ornaments, angels, even a menorah!

Link!

MM

Monday, December 12, 2005

Coolest Trick in the World



Magic audiences can now view internationally renowned close-up magician, David Redfearn, perform his "cool magic" trick online at his new web site "event magic."

During the 2-minute video, David comments that he is about to perform possibly the coolest trick in the world, before amazing his audience as he makes a torn, chosen playing card appear within a frozen block of ice.

Originally aired on ITV1 in the UK, and performed for TV presenter Carol Smillie, the trick is one of David's favourites.

As resident magician at Chelsea Football Club, David has performed in front of celebrities and royalty around the globe and regularly features at corporate hospitality functions and events.

To view "Cool magic" in action click here!

MM

Cyril Takayama


TOTH to Pagliacci and Martin Colclough for the heads up on Cyril Takayama:

Cyril Takayama, a F.I.S.M. award winner and member of the Magic X Live, the group responsible for NBC's T.H.E.M has recently been featured on Pagliacci's web site. And for good reason: his shit kicks ass all over the United States' David Blaine and Criss Angel! Don't believe me? Check out the links below:

First, check out Pagliacci's Japanese Crap and Japanese Crap, Part II.

Shadow Chopsticks

Hamburger Trick

Cyril Loses His Head

Japanese Trick

Card Through Glass

Card Transformation

Refill Water Bottle Trick

Cyril Candy Magic

MM

List of Free Online Games

Mark Hurst of Good Experience has put together a list of high-quality, free, online games.

"These are online games that, in my opinion, offer a 'good experience' - good game design with an overall attention to quality. Unless otherwise noted, they're all free, online, and available right now."

Link!

MM

Bottles Impossibly Filled with Objects



TOTH to Cory Doctorow:

Harry Eng, a former minister and elementary school teacher, makes these "impossible bottles" that are filled with objects that have been carefully squeezed through the necks of the bottles and arranged with tweezers and surgical haemostats.

Link!

MM

Nail Head


According to an Associated Press report, Isidro Mejia, 39, was atop an unfinished home when he fell from the roof onto a co-worker who was using the nail gun. The two men tried to grab each to keep from falling, but both tumbled to the ground. At some point, the nail gun discharged and drove the nails into Mejia's head.

Mejia is now walking with minimal assistance and speaks somewhat slowly because his brain's speech center was affected, but his progress has been "remarkable," his doctor says. With rehabilitation therapy, he should fully recover.

MM

Kong Review



KING KONG reviewed by John Shirley

Directed by Peter Jackson, starring Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Andy Serkis. Written by Fran Wash, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson.

"It's not an adventure story, is it?" says the character Jimmy in Peter Jackson's more-than-a-remake of King Kong. Jimmy's referring to Conrad's Heart of Darkness, a work much invoked in this film, but he's also clearly talking about King Kong, and he's right: it's not an adventure so much as a story of inner exploration. It's also a love story. A story of love between a woman and a giant ape.

You know the story, don't carp about spoilers: Movie director has a map providing directions to an unknown island, wants to film its mysteries, finds a lost world reminiscent of Conan Doyle's, teeming with dinosaurs and dominated by the giant ape, Kong. The pretty blond beauty, Naomi Watts in this version, is kidnapped by natives to be sacrificed to Kong, and, though terrified, she instead develops a peculiar rapport with him, as he protects her against dinosaurian predators. She's rescued by her beau, and the director manages to drug the giant ape and take him back to New York, where disaster and tragedy ensue. But wait—there's more.

This being an homage as well as a fresh take, it's set in the era of the original, the 1930s, against the backdrop of the Depression, the decay of Vaudeville—both nicely presented in quasi-Felliniesque scenes—with somewhat familiar coldblooded movie studio types propelling Jack Black as Carl Denham, the grasping and manipulative director, into fleeing the country in a rusty old tramp steamer—itself an homage to a whole genre of adventure films--so they don't seize his basic footage. Without his star he plucks one from the chorus line of the unemployed, Naomi Watts, likable and affecting as Ann Darrow, and nearly drags her aboard the tramp steamer, where she meets the vain, Lex Barker-like leading man, and, more importantly, Adrien Brody, sullenly attractive as screenwriter Jack Driscoll. Since Driscoll is fated to rescue her on Skull Island, they've got to set up his motivation, so they make sure you know he falls in love with her, in the course of the voyage to the island. Jackson and writers have to kind of rush that romance, to set it up in time, and you never do quite believe in it—but then the characters in the film are all fairly sketchy. They have to be, the movie doesn't have time for back-stories, it deals in archetypes, because the archetype of primate sexuality, rage, and loneliness has to crowd out the rest of it: Make room for Kong.

The ship too is crowded, so much so that poor Driscoll has to bunk in a cage kept in the hold for wild animals. The writer, forced to sit in a cage and type—that kind of symbolism I relate to.

When they get to the island, basically crashing into it in the fog, they quickly encounter the most repellently savage savages you've ever seen in cinema. Jack Black, quite convincing as Denham, pretends he's going to give the receipts of his masterwork to the family of the men killed, in their memory, but we quickly realize he's full of crap, he'll say and do anything to get his film made. (Does Jackson emphasize this because he knows every director has to be a trampling bully, and he has guilt pangs about it?)

Ann Darrow is inevitably plucked by Kong, like a fruit, from her sacrificial bonds. He seems about to eat her for several minutes, as he rages through the jungle, carrying her in his hand, and here Jackson explores every last possible variant possible to a woman carried in a giant's hands—a kind of Kama Sutra of man-handling by a building-sized ape. We see her flung about helplessly in his grip, at first terrified, then dazed, her mouth open, her hair whipping about, her head flung back, and the comparison to sexual ecstasy is undoubtedly intended. When Kong saves her from three, count 'em three, giant dinosaurs, fighting them all at once, she stands awed and clearly touched, a primal femaleness in her responding to Kong's archetypal primal male protective instincts.

A little later she makes friends with him—even dancing for Kong, a combination of burlesque and jape, trying to keep him entertained, perhaps so he won't eat her. She soothes his savage breast, and they enjoy a sunset together, a scene that's so well handled you somehow believe it.

One of Jackson's challenges was to come up with fresh dinosaurian terror. The Jurassic Park movies are the gold standard of dinosaur mayhem, but Jackson has set a new standard that future explorers of cinematic lost worlds will have to improve on. His dinosaurs look great, dino by dino, and a marvelous scene with T-Rexs entangled with Kong in vines, hanging in a canyon, is a completely unexpected burst of originality.

Jackson has a habit of pushing the envelope on special effects, trying to convey imagery that isn't quite technologically possible yet. A brilliantly imagined dinosaur stampede, with our heroes dodging under gigantic feet, the thunder lizards tumbling over one another, shows its special-effects seams: some of the characters are distorted, warped at the edges, and the scene sometimes has a two-dimensional look. It looks like he tried to do something combining CGI and blue screen that doesn't quite work—but the Niagaral flow of titanic imagery will sweep away most of your objections. Earlier in the film the Time Square scenes are colorful and well-researched but the backdrops aren't always convincing; too, there are moments on Skull Island when some miniatures look, well, miniature.

But Jackson more than makes up for any slight visual defects in the movie--makes up for it with Kong himself, who's a solid, breathing entity, with undoubted presence; the illusion is unprecedentedly perfect. In the magnificent climactic scenes, we see Kong humiliated, depressed, chained--then released, primal rage unchained, to rage magnificently through New York City. The final scenes at the Empire State building largely follow the original film but are of course more immaculately realized—and they're choreographed as artfully as any ballet, as movingly as an opera.

Symbolism enwraps interlocked themes; male sexuality, female desire, hidden agendas, friendly faces hiding monsters, human indifference to suffering, the mindless savagery that is civilization—crueler than any giant ape could be, calling us to a need to redefine our relationship with wildness, with the animal world itself. At one point Jackson rather heavy handedly quotes Heart of Darkness to explain his subtext, telling us we all have to explore our own Skull Islands, come face to face with inner beast, see it as it is, and if not tame it, come to terms with it.

Despite Jimmy's caveat, the movie is bursting at the seams with adventure, but it's the relationship between Kong and Ann Darrow—and between us and Kong—that makes the film work. We feel Kong's loneliness as our own; we feel his desire for contact with the Other as our own; we look into his eyes and recognize ourselves. We come to love the big guy as much as Ann Darrow does.

And when King Kong dies--that's going to be our end too, don't you see. We're apes, who're going to fall on the pavement, shot down by “civilization.”

Link!

MM

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stainless Steel Playing Cards



TOTH to Cory Doctorow:

At nearly $400 a pack, these stainless steel playing cards are probably too much to actually own (let alone shuffle). Nevertheless, it gives me great comfort to know that they exist and would cause an almighty kerfuffle at a Transport Security Agency checkpoint.

Link!

MM

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.



I went over to the Pagliacci blog and noticed his newest entry and an email from "Max Maven" in the form of the following:

Subj: Activity
Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2005 8:33 AM
From: MaxMaven@aol.com
----------------------------------------------------------------
What a charming blog.

Fuck me? No, I think it would be far better if you were to go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,

Max Maven


Of course, this was in response to Pag's entry regarding Max's newest book, Protocols of the Elders of Magic.

Funny thing is, I agreed with Pagliacci's first take on the book. Still do. Having met the Mav, I know that he is a pretentious individual who feels his shit doesn't stink, and that keeps me from wanting to have anything to do with him and the horse he rode in on. My life is fuller for it, and it would take much more than a "fuck you" letter to change my mind about him.

Pagliacci, why apologize to this sad excuse of a human being simply because he told you to go fuck yourself? The reason Max is the way he is is because too many magicians kiss his ass already. Hopefully, it was Brad Henderson's email and not Max's highly educated and non-personal email that changed your mind about the book.

MM

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

World's Ugliest Dog Dies



Jesus Christ, this was an ugly motherfucker of a dog!

A celebrity pooch named Sam has died.

With a hairless body, crooked teeth and a tiny tuft of hair on his knobby head, Sam was billed as the ugliest dog in the world.

Owner Susie Lockheed said he died Friday, just short of his 15th birthday.

Sam, who had his own Web site at SamUgliestDog.com, first captured ugliest-dog honors at a California fair in 2003 and had won the contest both years since.

He was a purebred Chinese crested hairless and his looks made him an international celebrity. He made the British tabloids and was on TV in Japan. And, somehow or other, Sam was even on the radio in New Zealand.

He also once compared hair with the famously coifed Donald Trump.

Link!

On top of that, there were Sam T-shirts, calendars and coffee mugs. And he had three doggie pals: TatorTot, TinkerBell and PixieNoodle. How does this relate to magic, you ask?



MM

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Magic Blogs: They Are A Changin'



It cetainly looks as if the magic bloggers are beginning to realize just how hard it is to keep a blog interesting and entertaining (not only for readers, but for the writers as well).

The first blogger to take a break is Andster, my former blogging Magic Mafia brother, who has run into some personal problems and needs to take time off to recooperate. I wish him all the best.

Secondly, the Magic Circle Jerk has given over the jerking responsibilities to Magic Enigma, so I've updated my blogroll to reflect that change (now Sarcastic Magic Circle Jerk Enigma). My best wishes and luck go out to both Andy at MCJ and Magic Enigma.

Lastly, it appears as if Sarcastic Magician is also taking a rest from blogging as reported in his last post. I hope he reconsiders as he is one of the few who bring a smile on my face in this fucked up industry.

UPDATE:

In the tradition of MCJ (the name, anyway), it looks as if there's a relatively new magic blogger on the block. I've added his blog to the blogroll as well. Pretty nifty posts there, so check out Magic Spank.

MM

Friday, December 02, 2005

Woman Sued for Naming Coffee Shop After Herself



TOTH to Cory Doctorow:

A judge in Oregon has ruled that naming your shop after yourself is a trademark violation if your name is too similar to that of a big corporate brand.

A woman named Sam Buck opened a coffee shop in Astoria, Oregon in 2000, two years before a Starbucks opened down the road. She named her shop Sam Buck's, and the judge in her case said that she willfully infringed on Starbucks's trademark in so doing.

Now she's stuck with hundreds of thousands in legal fees and the added expense of throwing out all her cups, her sign, etc.

She says she doubts people have trouble distinguishing her 10-foot-wide shop from a Starbucks, and that her business logo is not easily confused with that of Starbucks.

Link!

God bless America!

MM

Thursday, December 01, 2005

ALIUN Dessimation

TOTH to my blogging brother, Andster, for the heads up on what shouldn't be such a big surprise:

After a year and a half of work on ALIUN, Ellusionist has decided not to release the illusion. I know this will come as a disappointment to many, but whatever you are feeling could be multiplied several times for the team at Ellusionist… we were looking forward to the release and we are the ones who put countless hours into the project.

THE REASON

As the project neared completion we became aware of a feature with ALIUN that might compromise the safety of the person using it. Before any Ellusionist-produced product is released, it is first evaluated by our entire staff in a physical, sit-down meeting. While primarily for the purpose of creative improvement, these meetings also exist to ensure quality and, most importantly, safety. During this period, we play devil’s advocate vehemently and we are very hard on the product.

A member of our team introduced a concern we had not thought of before in regards to safety and a certain mechanical part of the device. We were somewhat astounded that we had not thought of this issue before, and I immediately made several calls. We found that this piece did possess the unlikely yet present potential to cause physical harm to the person using it. Although it was unlikely (which is why we hadn’t thought of it initially) it was still possible.

After a final recent development meeting with our creative staff, Ellusionist has chosen not to release the effect. The absolute last thing I would want to see is one of our members or customers hurt by a mechanical device that we created— no effect, no matter how amazing it is, is worth that risk. In addition, our legal counsel could not green-light the project with a clear conscience.

Having to make that call was extremely hard for us, and tempers flared in the meeting as we realized we could not release ALIUN after all of our hard work.

Our apologies to all of our members, clients, and to the magic community who were expecting a great levitation to be released shortly. ALIUN is great, no question about it, but safety must take a front seat to everything and anything else. All I can say is that we are as disappointed as you are, but we are moving on with many, many great ideas and products to be released in the coming weeks.

Brad Christian

Click here for the Aliun levitation patent application.

Click here for the Aliun levitation demo video.

MM

Pagliacci of the Elders



Bravo to Pagliacci for telling it like it is and having the balls to say it.

Link!

I have some personal advice for the pompous Mr. Goldstein:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

MM

Spider-Man 3



Breaking News out of Los Angeles this morning:

"Toby is out, George is in" News leaked this morning in the Los Angeles entertainment paper the 'Daily Variety' that Toby Maguire has been dropped from the Spider-Man movie franchise and they have brought in newcomer George Glückwunsch. Spokes people for Marvel and Sony pictures stated "we've always been looking for an actor who could be Peter Parker first and Spider-Man second, we realized we were working backwards. George IS without a doubt the best Spider-Man we've seen and we can mold anyone into Peter Parker."

Reports went on to say "although living in his grandmother's basement in Bass River, New Jersey, George has been a street actor for the last 2 years. His acting chops on are par with most of Hollywood's A-List already and that includes "That 70's show" actor Wilmer Valderrama."

Glückwunsch was discovered climbing trees in his local neighborhood and scaring the local children dressed as Spider-Man. "George's commitment to the role is unmatched. We can't get him OUT of the make-up" laughed Gene Gabo yesterday at the top secret news conference "at first we were a bit concerned about the make-up, (and of course the nudity) but seeing George that first day on the set, when my arm crawled with goose bumps..I knew we had picked the right actor."

It seems that because of George's 'method acting' techniques, Super Movie special effects teams WETA (Lord of the Rings and the upcoming King Kong) and ILM (Star Wars) have merged to form WILMA. The WILMA team has been formed to work specifically on this third installment of one of the most highly anticipated comic film franchise sequels ever. "We basically have to remove his "$%*@ and $@**$" from every scene. That isn't going to be easy"

When asked if things were going smoothly a top Hollywood spokesperson said: "George isn't like other actors, he doesn't wear pants. I like that."

MM

I See Dead People



Art, science, something in between or just plain freak show? Everyone who visits Professor Gunther von Hagens' display of ingeniously-posed human corpses comes away with a different opinion. With the exhibition having moved from Europe to Asia, how - if at all - have perspectives changed?

Von Hagens' BODY WORLDS exhibition has been dogged by controversy since its inception. It's not difficult to see why: you're looking at actual dead people. The professor, an anatomist, uses a pioneering process called plastication in which volunteers' bodies are skinned and their tissues soaked and hardened in chemical agents. The result is eternal preservation.



What's the point? According to the BODY WORLDS website, it's all about research and education. For specialists in science and medicine, 'whole body plastinates are considered the best anatomical specimens'. As for the rest of us, a greater awareness of the human body supposedly leads to better-informed lifestyle choices. A follow-up survey six months after the Vienna exhibition found 33% of visitors pursuing a healthier diet and 25% engaging in more sports activities.

Sounds great. So what's the problem? As I said before: you're looking at actual dead people. German critics labeled the show, 'a gross violation not only of bodily decorum but of human dignity itself'. An incensed 50-year-old man attacked one of the London exhibits with a hammer. British anatomists protested that von Hagens's display was 'mere spectacle' and might deter families from donating bodies to medical science.

With this backdrop in mind, I joined the queues at Seoul's National Science Museum to have a look for myself. Chattering school kids filled the cheerily-lit hall with all the energy of an afternoon away from the classroom. Exhibits posed as javelin-throwers and goal-keepers were being earnestly sketched for school projects and discussed matter-of-factly with teachers. I imagined Professor von Hagens looking on and nodding in approval.



Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two boys pointing and giggling at the javelin-thrower's plasticated penis. And it struck me - you've guessed it - these are actual dead people. Suddenly all kinds of questions began raising themselves. On the subject of human dignity, how would I like to die and have my body flayed and displayed in all its gory glory for school kids and old ladies to gawp at (answer: thanks but no thanks). And what exactly is the difference between those old 19th century freak shows with their bearded ladies and two-headed children and BODY WORLDS with its deformed fetuses and hunchbacked torsos?

The obvious retort to the latter question would center around marketing and audience perception: the notion that BODY WORLDS, through its publicity and museum location, calls for and gets a considered and scientific response from its viewers. If only life were that simple. If only we all thought as the professor would have us think.

The blurring of science with art begins in BODY WORLDS' own website:

Leonardo and Michelangelo, the most famous artists of the Renaissance, carried out anatomical dissection. Many professionals in the field of art are concerned and informed through BODY WORLDS.

Parallels between the timelessness of portraiture and sculpture and the professor's immortal dead people stare back at those with eyes to see. Some exhibits - the thoughtful Rodinesque chess players spring to mind - even seem to pay a kind of death-imitates-art homage.

The more you allow your mind to ramble, the more problematic the whole concept of BODY WORLDS becomes. Audience-watching merely adds to the confusion. What, for example, am I supposed to think of two twenty-something nuns studying a dead woman's ovaries?

It should be said the exhibition has caused no controversy in Korea. Giggling boys aside, the audience during my visit appeared genuinely fascinated, viewing the plasticates within a purely scientific and educational framework. I observed a number of shy young couples, who probably haven't even got to the kissing stage yet (this being conservative Korea), studying male and female genitalia without batting so much as an eyelid. Mind you, who's to say what they were really thinking.

Art, science, something in between or just plain freak show? As in all exhibitions, the choice is the beholders. It isn't difficult to block out the doubts and view the displayed corpses through the cold eyes of an amateur anatomist. Eventually, though, your mind will probably wander, and you in turn will wonder what BODYWORLDS is all about. The answers - like the questions - will be up to you.

Link!

MM