Bec Stafford

Bec Stafford has a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Queensland. She blogs and interviews for MDP Web and The Spotlight Report.

labyrinthcoverIt might surprise some readers to learn that Jim Henson’s extraordinary fantasy vision, Labyrinth, was a box office bomb. Released in 1986, it was the last feature film the creative giant would direct before his passing in 1990. Since then, however, the musical fantasy has attracted its own enormous fandom and now enjoys bona fide cult status. This year marks the film’s thirtieth anniversary and Insight Editions has compiled a lavishly illustrated and richly detailed hardback companion book that explores the creative process through the eyes of the costumers, designers, and artists whose combined efforts brought Henson’s dream to life. The gorgeous edition features a foreword by Toby Froud (who was cast in the role of baby Toby Williams and is the son of the film’s conceptual designer, Brian) and an introduction by Henson’s son, Brian, who is now the chairman of the Jim Henson Company.

The book is divided into four parts: Inspiration, Characterization, Realization, and Summation. The first section covers the project from a creative seed through to script writing and puppet making stages. Based on British fantasy illustrator Brian Froud’s concepts and executive-produced by George Lucas, Labyrinth’s original screenplay concept was delivered in the form of a type of ‘poetic novella’ by Canadian poet, Dennis Lee (Alligator Pie, Fraggle Rock). During its development, the script was to famously undergo several iterations (estimated at around twenty-five). The first screenplay was penned by Python luminary, Terry Jones, who admits that his ‘best contribution was just starting off something that the puppet-makers made much better and improved.’  Following Jones’ initial draft and some tweaking by Henson, Fraggle Rock writer, Laura Phillips, was recruited to rework the material until it was structurally sound and more closely aligned with the emotional journey Henson had envisaged. Further alterations were made by Jones and Phillips in turn refined his revisions. Still unsatisfied, Henson called upon renowned script doctor, Elaine May, (Heaven Can Wait, Reds, Tootsie), who worked quickly to add humanising touches that also resulted in the character of Sarah being more authentically rendered. The final script was dated April 11, 1985. Astonishingly, principal photography was to commence in London only four days later, on April 15.

The Characterization section covers each of the major players and kicks off with an overview of David Bowie’s character, Jareth the Goblin King. The section includes behind-the-scenes set shots of Bowie and Jennifer Connelly (Sarah Williams) interacting with fellow cast members, taking direction from Henson, and rehearsing scenes. Interesting detail is provided about the other actors who were also initially considered for these central characters, as well as the reasoning behind the final casting choices. The development of the ‘puppet creatures’ is explained, from concept art through to creation, manipulation, and effects.

The Realization section describes the elements involved in production and filming, from Henson’s Creature Shop workings, costume making, choreography, and performance through to soundtrack composition, photography, effects, and editing. Interviews with members of the cast and production team create a vivid history of the experience and reveal trivia, tidbits, and anecdotes that will fascinate fans. The challenges of shooting various sequences (Shaft of Hands; Bog of Eternal Stench; Ballroom Scene; Battle of the Goblins) are outlined in interview snippets from Brian Henson, who vividly recollects his time on set, George Lucas, Jennifer Connelly, production designer Elliot Scott, storyboard artist Martin Asbury, and other members of the creative team. Summation nicely rounds up the post-production details. George Lucas shares his recollections of editing the film, which he acknowledges as not being a ‘mainstream big hit’ but ‘a really good movie… a niche movie … eccentric’. Final touches, such as the opening and closing sequences involving the owl, are even explained in detail. The film’s initial reception, enduring popularity, and massive following are discussed, as are the untimely deaths of Henson and Bowie. Finally, Cheryl and Lisa Henson (Jim’s daughters), George Lucas, and Jennifer Connelly share touching recollections of working with Jim Henson and acknowledge his creative legacy.

This ‘ultimate visual history’ certainly lives up to its name. In addition to the countless sketches, still shots, costume photos, and concept art that fill every inch of its pages, the book is also filled with a wealth of removable plates that give it a unique scrapbook feel. These include costume sketches, production notes, script excerpts, staff memos, and storyboards. Unquestionably the definitive Labyrinth history, this 30th-anniversary release is an absolute must-have for fans of one of the best-loved fantasy films of all time. 

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History

Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann

Foreword by Toby Froud

Introduction by Brian Henson

Insight Editions 18 October, 2016

192 pages

ISBN-10:1608878104
ISBN-13:978-1608878109

TS-Sharp Turn HR FrontCov-webFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tara Takes ‘Sharp Turn’ To Twelfth Planet Press

Marianne Delacourt’s unorthodox PI Tara Sharp finds a new home at Twelfth Planet Press as the second novel in her award-winning series, ‘Sharp Turn’ gets a revamp

Cover design by Catherine Larsen

UK 12/12/16 – Award-winning author Marianne Delacourt has just unveiled the new look for her action-packed crime series Tara Sharp and a rewrite of the gripping second novel Sharp Turn. Under the crime imprint Deadlines, this version of Sharp Turn is published by Twelfth Planet Press, an advocate of women’s voices in science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime genres and a natural home for Delacourt. The re-release offers new and revised material for fans of Tara’s exploits, but retaining the humour, peril and paranormal flavour of the original release.

The latest in her series of ‘funny, sexy, smart crime novels for men and women’, Sharp Turn sees Tara’s unconventional PI business evolving, and she’s attracted some interesting customers.  With her dryly humorous take on the world, Tara is expected to both charm new audiences and delight old fans this winter, as she confronts a shady job in the high octane world of the motor cycle industry. Luckily, Tara is better equipped than most, with the uncanny ability to read people’s auras. Armed with a vanilla slice and backed up by her pet galah, Tara is about to come head-to-head with some very dangerous characters.

Book One in the Tara Sharp series, Sharp Shooter was the 2010 winner of the Davitt Award for Best Crime Novel and nominated for the Ned Kelly Award 2010 Best First Crime Novel. Expect the release of Book Three Too Sharp and Book Four Sharp Edge in early 2017.

Author MARIANNE DELACOURT says, “Tara is a protagonist who really grows with her readers. To begin with, she’s an outgoing Australian girl who’s never really taken responsibility for herself. Her unusual gift puts her in some risky situations and through her tenacity and resourcefulness she comes out on top. The series shows her learning how to find a meaningful way to use her gift, while trying to maintain normal relationships with the people around her. She’s just trying to make a living, stay alive, and keep her sense of humour.”

Praise for the Tara Sharp series:

“Australia’s Marianne Delacourt delivers the laughs and action with her sassy, unorthodox PI Tara Sharp…” The Herald Sun

“Tara Sharp is a gust of fresh air in the local crime fiction scene. While it is wonderful that our more literary crime writers are finally getting the attention they deserve, there’s still plenty of room for fast-paced commercial female-oriented Australian crime fiction. And Marianne Delacourt (aka sci-fi writer Marianne de Pierres) has certainly nailed that brief.” The Australian Bookseller and Publisher

“Delacourt has invented a Stephanie Plum character who is just as ballsy and loveable but this one lives in Perth and has two pet Galahs instead of a hamster. An easy read with multiple story layers, Sharp Turn will keep you guessing till the end, pick it up this summer if you like Janet Evanovich and Val McDermid’s Blue Genes.” She Said

Sharp Turn is available now from Twelfth Planet Press. Book One Sharp Shooter is available from Twelfth Planet Press and from Amazon.

Notes for Editors:

Author MARIANNE DELACOURT is the alter ego of award-winning, internationally published Science Fiction writer Marianne de Pierres. Renowned for dark satire in her Science Fiction, Marianne offers lighter, funnier writing under her Delacourt penname. As Delacourt, Marianne is also the author of Young Adult fiction series Night Creatures (Burn Bright, Angel Arias and Shine Light). She is a co-founder of the Vision Writers Group and ROR – wRiters on the Rise, a critiquing group for professional writers. Marianne lives in Brisbane with her husband and two galahs.

tarasharp.com.au      
@mdepierres

Australian Publisher TWELFTH PLANET PRESS is a Perth-based publisher, seeking to challenge the status quo with books that interrogate, commentate and inspire. While showcasing the depth and breadth of Australian fiction to a wider audience, Twelfth Planet Press aims to and provide opportunities for fiction written by female writers, raising awareness of women’s voices in science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime genres.

twelfthplanetpress.com
@12thPlanetPress
facebook.com/TwelfthPlanetPress

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Bec Stafford

Bec Stafford has a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Queensland. She blogs and interviews for MDP Web and The Spotlight Report.

street-art-world-young-coverMelbournian Alison Young has chronicled twenty years of street art, from anonymous scrawls, urban tags, and random public expression to the more celebrated stencils and subversive street painting of Banksy, Swoon, and Haring. In her in-depth analysis of street art’s evolution and inner workings, Young demonstrates her obvious love of the ephemeral, mutable, art movement that has similarly caught the imaginations of countless other global passers-by.

Young’s fascination with the subject and ability to weave a cogent, absorbing narrative about street art’s practitioners, patrons, audiences, and spaces makes for an illuminating and deeply satisfying read. Young explores the making and meaning of street art, as well as its reception and commercial viability, answering a range of tantalising questions surrounding this sometimes mysterious, often illicit, worldwide phenomenon. Who produces street art? Who buys it? What are the challenges surrounding exhibitions and appropriate gallery space? And how have societal attitudes towards street art changed over time?

Strikingly illustrated from cover to cover, this well-arranged and intelligently researched text offers authoritative and comprehensive insight into this ubiquitous yet mysterious world. Tracing street art from its origins through to modern commodification, the text is a testament to its author’s unflagging dedication to the subject. In her Further Reading and Further Viewing sections, Young also provides a well-chosen selection of related texts that will be useful to scholars or anyone interested in pursuing further information. This highly recommended publication strikes a pleasing balance between coffee table book and reference text and belongs on the bookshelves of casual art lovers and aficionados alike. 

Street Art World

Alison Young

18 Nov, 2016 Reaktion Books

256 pages

isbn: 9781780236704

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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