Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays from Aurora Picture Show!

Happy Holidays from Delicia, Rachel, Mary, Camilo, Guy & Tara!

We hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season. As usual, the Aurora family has been so busy popping up cinemas across Houston, hosting coffee talks with emerging artists, hobnobbing with future filmmakers, and keeping up with avant-garde (those kids are crazy), we barely have time to sit down and write this. But it was an exciting year and we know that everyone cherishes these annual holiday letters.

A quick update on the family:

Camilo seems to be liking his latest job assignment - "to finish all the leftovers". Just so you know, the second shelf is his. He continues to complain that we do not provide enough savory treats, so we ordered him some pepperoni pizzas when he spent three weeks at Aurora Boot Camp with thirty-six tweens and teens ALL DAY LONG. He survived unscathed and went on to host classes from most of Houston's university art education programs at the Aurora Video Library, not to be mention still being the only one who really knows how to make sound come out of our speakers and put video on our screens.

We are so proud of our Rachel too, she has finally quit drinking at work - sodas of course. Our resident food truck expert no doubt, she has lead the Aurora team to victory on over twelve free outdoor public screenings this year, complete with pedal parties, live music, and balloon arches, not to mention the countless other screenings, fundraisers, and events this year. Just please don't mention that Willie/rain thing to her... still has her torn up inside.

Mary helps keep the women in the office well-supplied with chocolate candies, much to the dismay of Camilo. Not only has she had sweet success with her personal art endeavors, but she has also proven that no one compares to her when it comes to curating custom shorts programs and one-of-kind live cinema performances like Luke Savisky's —a night that included a lot of sweat, six projectors, 4 cameras, and multiple projections on grain silos over 60 feet tall. And she still looked cute afterwards.

Delicia is just rocking the whole motherhood balancing act, and even with bouts of "mommy brain," she makes sure that Aurora walks the fine line between classy style and raunchy fun. She even has the other ladies thinking about wearing red lipstick in the new year. But we all know that only the one who rocks the grant deadlines deserves that honor.

The most recent addition of Tara has been seamless. She leaped into the Aurora family 100%, putting on her prom dress when instructed, hitting the streets to sell Aurora memberships and raffle tickets, and always making sure to gather the gang for the perfect "say cheese" moments.

Guy, well he's our guy. No request seems over the top for him, from photo back-drop creation to constructing scaffolding, he is our go-to guy and the first person we all want to share a Saint Arnold brew with at our events.

We also have news from Aurora's first lady Andrea, who is multitasking trudging through the Pittsburgh snow, blogging for Glasstire, completing her Warhol Research fellowship, and working on a desk-wide exhibition ( all while missing her Aurora comrades. Good thing she is the holder of the warmest fruitcake recipe in the South.

Couldn't be prouder of the little Aurora tikes this year - all growing up so fast - and proving their selves and their talents every day. Especially, since, while the family sure knows how to stretch a dollar, this year has been especially rough year for us.

In fact, we hate to ask, but if any of you have anything you could spare in the way of a gift to Aurora this holiday season, it would sure make us all do a special thank you dance and bask in the knowledge that we can make 2011 an even greater year of offerings for Houston and beyond.

Wishing you the most cinematic of holidays,

The Aurora Gang

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Each month Aurora Picture Show hosts a free educational video salon with a visiting curator and/or artist at the Aurora Picture Show Video Library. In November we were lucky enough to have artist, Peter Lucas join us. Lucas facilitated a one-hour discussion on the history of title sequences in film, which included sample excerpts from some popular titles.

Lucas presented a primer on those dynamic, first few minutes of the featured films that set the stage. At their best, these movie appetizers were great short films in and of themselves, combining elements of typography, animation, visual effects, still and live-action photography, music and sound, and clever editing. While it's largely ignored in historic overviews of both cinema and design, Lucas explained, this fringe history of creative, efficient, and often experimental movie intros have had a great impact on contemporary film, art and motion graphics. 

Lucas screened a selection of opening sequences that were created in the 1950s and 60s- the "golden age"- and discussed the interdisciplinary history. The clips that Lucas brought for us are listed below, along with their You Tube links (if they are available) in case you missed the salon.

      Kreise (Circles) (1933) Short film by Oskar Fischinger

      Man with the Golden Arm (1955)  Saul Bass 

      Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Saul Bass

      Psycho (1960) Saul Bass

      Vertigo (1958) Saul Bass

      North by Northwest (1959) Saul Bass         

      Ocean’s Eleven (1960) Saul Bass         

      Dr. No (1962) Maurice Binder

      Charade (1963) Maurice Binder

      From Russia With Love (1963) Robert Brownjohn

      Goldfinger (1964)  Robert Brownjohn

      Nine Hours To Rama (1963) Saul Bass

      Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) Wayne Fitzgerald

      Dr. Strangelove… (1963) Pablo Ferro        

      To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) Stephen Frankfurt

      Seconds (1966) Saul Bass

      Alfie (end titles) (1966) Vic Singh & Harri Peccinotti       

      Billion Dollar Brain (1967) Maurice Binder

      Thomas Crown Affair (1968) Pablo Ferro

We want to thank the Brown Foundation for their support and Peter Lucas for coming and educating us on this fascinating topic. Aurora is proud to generate meaningful discussions that provide context and encourage media literacy. 

To all who missed November's salon, we hope to see you in December! Check our calendar!