Thursday, February 28, 2008

Svatohor from Long Ago and Far Away

From 1989 to 1993, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) featured a delightful program of animated fairy tales, legends, and folkloric stories from around the world: Long Ago & Far Away. It was hosted by James Earl Jones. Yes, that James Earl Jones, famous as the voice of Darth Vader and for playing the role of Conan the Barbarian's arch-nemesis, Thulsa Doom. My daughter, Holly, and I loved the series, and always watched it every Sunday morning.

My favorite episode was this stop-motion animated Russian tale of Svatohor (Saint Mountain), a brave hunter who faced impossible tasks and the evil dragon-like creature Gorym Gorynet. Here, courtesy of YouTube, is that original feature in three parts.

I wish this series would be released as a DVD set. It would be a hot seller. Enjoy.

And here's a Snickers candybar commercial that parodies my favorite Russian fantasy movie, Ilya Muromets (The Sword and the Dragon). Though Zmey Gorynych, the three-headed dragon, doesn't actually appear in it, Ilya is there in all his Slavic glory.

Viktor Kuprin

Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Atomic Age Cinema's The Kick Gets BARFed!

I just returned from Armenia, having spent most of the month there on family business. It was just in time for their general election and one of the coldest winters in their history. Votes were being “bought” by the incumbent political party for 5000 drams, about $16 US. The corruption there is simply awful, and makes those of us who follow events in Armenia wonder why they try so hard to be a miserably bad copy of Russia.

While I was there I wanted to get some souvenirs for our friends, including the infamous Atomic Age Cinema crew here in Bloomington. Every Saturday afternoon at The Cinemat, Bloomington’s premiere video rental and digital showplace, the Atomic Age Cinema organization presents a children’s matinee of classic and international cartoons and old-time movie serials. The matinee host is The Kick, a superhero sidekick, assisted by the gargantuan guy-in-a-gorilla-mask, Mogo. Perhaps that stands for “Mo’ Gorilla.”

Of course, one of the most important aspects of being a superhero is personal hygiene, and that includes keeping your superhero costume clean and spiffy. So, Ronnie, my son, and I carefully selected an appropriate souvenir gift for The Kick and presented it to him at last Saturday’s show. The gift: a package of lemon-scented BARF, the leading detergent sold in Armenia! The Kick graciously accepted our present, and will, hopefully, be lemony fresh during future shows. For some reason BARF is not marketed here in the USA.

The Kick and Ronnie (a.k.a. The Crab Man) with BARF from Armenia

The Mighty Mogo received a clutch of Armenian dried persimmons, which he immediately devoured with gusto. Armenia was famous for its fruits and vegetables throughout the Soviet Union, a benefit of its mineral-rich volcanic soil, altitude, and abundant sunshine. Having shaken many a persimmon tree in Indiana during my childhood, I can accurately report that Armenian persimmons are absolutely delicious though their dusty appearance may put off some American fruit lovers. It’s actually natural sugar crystals that form on the fruit’s skin, that’s how sweet and rich they are, somewhat reminiscent of dried dates, but better!

Later I plan to present some other Armenian souvenirs to the hosts of Atomic Age Cinema’s Saturday midnight horror show, to Baron Mardi and Doctor Calamari. More on that later.

Do S'Vadaniya,

Viktor Kuprin

Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,