Part 1 covers Bill Melendez, Orson Welles, and François Truffaut. Part 2 covers Martin Scorsese, Richard Lester, and Mike Nichols. Part 3 covers Hal Ashby. Part 5 will be posted on April 13.

Anderson’s scavenger-hunt aesthetic stands him in good company, alongside Quentin Tarantino, David Gordon Green, James Gray, and the other Anderson, P.T. But what makes Wes Anderson distinctive is the sheer range of art that has fed his imagination—not just recent American and foreign films, but films from 30, 50, even 70 years ago, plus newspaper comics, illustrations, and fiction. The spectrum of influence gives his work a diversity of tone that his imitators typically lack. It is a style of substance.

rushmore = charlie brown

crush on teacher = crush on red haired girl

childish strips

– rushmore – pause on phone to run across bball court to block a layup

– royal tennabuams and toys

– life aquatic has rec center

– darjeering is summer camp

wes anderson = Scorsese

– slow motion to show emotion

– overhead shots

– the whip-pan, panning to most important thing on wall  or person

wes anderson – Richard Lester

– juvenile acts, running towards rec center pool = racing shopping carts

wes anderson = Mike Nichols’s second film, The Graduate

– age gap love stories

– quick dialogue

– structure

– deadpan comedy of manners (the celebrated “plastics” moment)

– dark-night-of-the-soul melodrama (Ben’s revelation to Elaine that he’s sleeping with her mother, the high point of which is an unfocused close-up of Elaine that slowly sharpens again as she absorbs the reality of her predicament)

– over-the-top farce (the climactic melee at the church, ending with Ben grabbing a huge cross, swinging it at the wedding party as if warding off vampires, then using it to seal the doors and trap them inside the building).


the graduate – simon and garfunkel songs


– a genuine affection for underdogs, losers, and eccentrics, a vivid sense of the absurd, an ability to intertwine comedy with tragedy

j.d. salinger:

– Max Fischer, could be Holden reimagined as a Type A personality.

– self-aggrandizing lost soul, a tortured adolescent whose abrasiveness seems partly traceable to the death of a beloved family member (Holden’s brother, Max’s mother).

Anderson’s films, like Salinger’s stories, are filled with loquacious, combative, often hyperachieving individuals who seem fully formed and secure in their identities but who reveal themselves as deeply damaged—by class anxiety, social expectations, and family dysfunction.

– They are too smart by half, and both artists let us know that their characters’ intelligence affords no insurance against despair or death.

– Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic is a middle-aged Max Fischer, desperately trying to defeat death with art

– The hyperverbal Whitman brothers of The Darjeeling Limited are haunted by their dad’s funeral, literally carry their dead father’s baggage around with them

– Both artists have a knack for what might be called “material synecdoche”—showcasing objects, locations, or articles of clothing that define whole personalities, relationships, or conflicts.

The need to be cool is lamented in Tales of Mere Existence. © Lev Yilmaz.

Tales of Mere Existence

Joined: September 07, 2006
Last Sign In: 3 hours ago
Videos Watched: 6,576
Subscribers: 53,061
Channel Views: 717,743
PLEASE READ: 2 of my videos, “What would penis do?” and “How I found out about girls” are CONSTANTLY being listed as “No longer available”. It is my suspicion that people are listing them as inappropriate or something, which is of course pretty absurd. I did not delete them, I’ve just listed them as private until I figure out what to do. -Lev

Name: Levni (Lev) Yilmaz


I am on MySpace, under: tales_of_mere_existence

Country: United States

Rereading old Life in Hell collections recently, I was please to find myself reacting exactly as I did when I first read them in the ’80s; at any given moment I was equally likely to drop the book and a) giggle or b) have a good brood. Matt Groening’s SoCal-blues comic creation could carry me along on the lilt of its amusing language and dorky graphics, and suddenly do a soul smackdown with Creative Self-Expression checklist items like “Write several unsold screenplays, then move back to Idaho.” A good man feeling bad, Groening as cartoonist in the early 1980s was simply a funny guy who wasn’t afraid to take his darkest thoughts to their logical conclusion.

Cartoonist/animator Lev walks a similar walk, although his talk, he insists, can be stilted, especially at parties. This Bay-area artist suffers the hipster disease so many of us share, the need to be cool in a crowd followed by the “I shoulda said” lament on the drive home. To heal himself he began doing Tales of Mere Existence, a series of films and comic strips at once universal and painfully personal. Tales of Mere Existence, a four-minute suite of short shorts currently making festival rounds and also available as a DVD from the artist’s IngredientX Website, is a collection of spoken narrations that Lev animated in real time by drawing caricatures in ink or pencil on some sort of translucent paper over glass, while filming it from the opposite side.

These micro-stories move fast and hurt good, as Lev goes for laughs in fearless ways that shock you even as you quietly nod your head in recognition. Unforgettable is a 45-second sequence called “Jealous” with frankly pornographic renderings of fourteen different couples copulating, under the narration “I try not to think about my ex-girlfriends too much, but when I do, I know that THIS is what Carol and her new boyfriend do and THIS is what Lisa and her boyfriend do and THIS is what Veronica and her boyfriend do and THIS is what Emily and her boyfriend do and THIS is what Mary and her boyfriend do and THIS is what Kara and her boyfriend do…”

Running the gamut from goofy to depressing, these introspective shorts dwell on subjects from guys who quote Monty Python to Tommy Hilfiger underwear, homemade haircuts, and the Theory of Popularity. Lev is a funny sombitch — go see his E.T.-related short 1982 on his Website and you’re sure to wish you had had him for a friend that year. Secure in the confidence that indeed he has the comedy chops, he has now, like all smart comic personalities, freed himself of them. Like Don Hertzfeldt’s Temporary Anesthetics and Scott Dikkers’ Jim’s Journal, Tales of Mere Existence is taking Lev beyond getting the gag to where he can focus on getting under the skin.

Taylor Jessen is a writer living in Burbank. On Saturdays he goes whale-tipping with a group of ne’er-do-well marine biologists.


This entry was posted Friday, 3 April, 2009 at 10:37 am


100 Abandoned Houses is a series project from photographer Kevin Bauman, which exploits the fact that Detroit has lost nearly half of it’s population in the past 60 year.

Check out 15/100 houses after the jump:

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Research Award Announcement

2009-2010 UC Irvine Libraries Southeast Asian Archive Visiting Researcher Award

The UC Irvine Libraries is pleased to offer an award of $500 to one individual to use the research collections in the Southeast Asian Archive, part of the UC Irvine Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

The Southeast Asian Archive was established in 1987 to document the experiences of refugees and immigrants from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam who came to the United States, and especially to California. The Archive’s strengths include materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants in the United States (and to a lesser extent, worldwide), refugee camp and other experiences of the “boat people” and land refugees, the development and progress of new ethnic communities, and the culture and history of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. There is a special focus on materials pertaining to Southeast Asian Americans in Orange County and California. Holdings are in English and in Southeast Asian languages (primarily Vietnamese), and include organizational records, personal papers, books, periodicals, and a wide array of unique and ephemeral material. For more information about the Southeast Asian Archive, consult the website.

The award is intended for a researcher who lives outside of Orange County and is not affiliated with UC Irvine. Faculty, students, and independent researchers are encouraged to apply. Research should be conducted between June 2009 and March 2010. Shortly after visiting the Southeast Asian Archive, the recipient must provide a one-page statement of his or her research findings, which may be edited and used in the UC Irvine Libraries’ publications. The award is intended to generally defray expenses for traveling to Irvine and conducting research in the Southeast Asian Archive. Funds will be distributed in two installments, before and after the completion of the research project.

The application deadline is May 15, 2009. Applications will be judged according to the relevance of the proposal to holdings of the Southeast Asian Archive, the proposed outcome of the research, and the qualifications of the applicant. The recipient will be notified before June 1.

A generous gift from an anonymous donor has made this annual award possible.

Send the following information to

1. Up-to-date resume or CV
2. Applicant name:
3. Address:
4. Telephone:
5. Email:
6. Title of project
7. Brief description of proposed research (no more than 500 words)
8. Collections or items that you anticipate using and how they are relevant to your proposed research (no more than 500 words). For information about the collections’ strengths, make sure to consult the following page:
9. Proposed outcome of the research (no more than 500 words)
10. One letter of reference from someone familiar with your research
11. Proposed dates for visiting the Southeast Asian Archive

More information about traveling to the UC Irvine campus is available at For more information about the Southeast Asian Archive and the award, please contact Christina Woo, Acting Southeast Asian Archive Librarian, at