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History on the Screen 2: Thanks Be to GOT!

GAMEOTVMONEY

Thank heavens for the success of Game of Thrones!

BernardCornwell_TheLastKingdom

The-last-kingdom-poster

Its huge wave of popularity emboldended moneymen, er, TV producers to greenlight similar shows set grimly & grimily in that distant past of dark armor, shields & swords that gives Game of Thrones its look and feel.

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Surging forth first (or at least most notably) on this cashflow has been the epic & popular “Vikings”, and now “The Last Kingdom”, a BBC adaptation from a book in a series by British historical novelist and former news correspondent Bernard Cornwell that chronicles goings-on in England in the centuries before the year 1000.

And it’s awesome.

Statue_d'Alfred_le_Grand_à_WinchesterIt’s set during the reign of King Alfred the Great of England, so in the late decades of the 800s AD/Common Era (CE). Like stories &960 copy cinematic adaptations before such as Little Big Man, it inserts a fictional character into totally historically accurate situations to tell the past context in human detail.

For now, and for any fan of the show, here’s a chart I’ve done showing Alfred’s descendants for a few generations. Click on it and in the new tab click it again so you can check it out in detail if you like. More on this show later.

FROM ALFRED SM2

More on the show next time.

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Historical Imaging 2

MOTT nB 3

Maps

This follow-up post presents the historical imaging I’ve done focused on maps and location. Actually, I’d say that it’s most correct to say that this is imagery driven not by simply the “location”, but by the agenda of attempting to locate a thing; to impart a sense of how and where the thing in question is located–oriented–to the viewer.

To locate a thing so that it fits with the audience’s world.

Obviously this can’t always work.

It turns out (of course) that usually at least some sort of context is necessary. For images of a place (whether from a map, an aerial photograph or other rendering, crude diagram in the sand…whatever!), for it to mean a ding dang thing, your intended audience much of the time needs to have at least some basic geographical knowledge.

But that said, it’s a very interesting and multi-faceted challenge to try and make an image conveying a sense of place if you consider your audience consisting of people who don’t know…don’t really care. lol

When & Where… & when, again?

  1.  Basic “when & where” map for an individual or familyMD2MA-1
  2. Tighter focus on the “where” (central Massachusetts in this case; a father and son located)
    TMPLTON ROYLSTN copy
  3. Placing the very specific in the macro
    1. Farmstead of 4x-great-grandad that served as homebase for 3 generationswashcozoom1
    2. City unfamiliar to coast-dwelling typesLOUISVILLE 1 copy2
    3. When the exact part of a foreign place is important (for some reason)Jura copy
    4. Using cool maps cooly. For this one, the only context necessary is that this is the east coast of Ireland, just south of Dublin and that north is to the right.
      Wicklow 3D2 copy
    5. Tighter focus–after you’ve given some context
      1. Tober Townland was directly referenced on the map above, so now  you can zoom in there to see detail. The inset maintains the tether to the broad knowledge base you’re attempting to access.TUBBER1 copy 2
      2. southwestern Wisconsin, a couple miles off the Mississippi River & 5 or 7 miles from Illinois, showcasing an original land grantee whose descendants carried on in the location; 4x-great-grandkids remain in 2017.T DUSTIN LAND copy
      3. Various specific spots within a larger, but still relatively small (and not commonly  nown) location, the Dordogne in southwestern France. In the upper right of this one is Jumilhac, the castle seen in the last post.
        jumilhacLAYERS-3
      4. one place, Haverhill, Massachusetts and vicinity…

        image2212 copy

        … variations on perspective

        HAVERHILL SALEM copy

      5.  One place in detail: Foley, Minnesota

        FOLEY copy

Foley sits nearly smack dab in the middle of the state, among the flat, flat fields 15 miles east-northeast of the mini urban hub of St. Cloud and the bend over which it presides of the still quite wide Mississippi River. The tiny hamlet FLC LHC FOLEY copyof Foley has given the world doctors, lawyers, Indy 500 participants, lumber, all-night jazz dances in barns once upon a time, and been home to retired farmers, aspiring capitalist fashionistas, former religious zealots & their kids, descendants of royalty and lots and lots of regular people who very well might’ve been born in other countries or been the kids of those who were.

Rockefeller had a gas station here (like 10s of thousands of of other places in these United States); women turned out nearly to a 100% here in 1924 the first occasion they GnG OGG FOLEY copywere permitted to help choose the President. Foley is a stand-in for whatever your little town is, or was. Our Town is the most performed play (or close to it) in America because 100s of millions of us came from our towns like this. “I didn’t, but my mom did”,–we’re all from it together.

These small towns, whose children and grandchildren have flocked and flown out to the gothams and metropolitanias  were in their way, factories of the ever-new, ever-renewing people, of us all–factories of Americans.

The sprawling and ever interconnected suburbs and ex-urbs where so many millions of us now reside and have for some time–they are built by the developers and they are inhabited by the dwellers on the model of the myriad iterations of “Small Town America” like Foley, Minnesota. It was in these places that generations of people learned and were taught how to be Americans. Despite the regional differences that might inculcate one attitude or another toward or about other people, the style of day-to-day interaction and pacing and level of attentiveness to the people around you, it’s all very similar in this small town substrate of our collective sense of ourselves and how and who we are.

It is from this America that in many critical ways we came. And it seems to me worth knowing in order to figure out into what America we are, might, or can decide to be going.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Historical Imaging

VAUX GRDNS 1870s

Portfolio

Showcasing images I’ve created, composited and/or altered in order to make historical situations, places or circumstances more readily accessible to as many people as possible.

This grew out of my effort–shared with anyone who gets intricately lost in making family trees–of trying to find relevant imagery to use for people of whom no pictures exist (e.g., anyone who lived before the 1840s). But not just relevant, you really want to push it further and find images that are interesting, too. Or at least I do. And accurate, for instance, to the time when a particular ancestor or historical personage might have actually lived or been at a given location. So from these endeavors, the following sampling of images.

First Example

This is Château de Jumilhac, a castle south of Limoges in southwestern France. In the course of working on a friend’s family tree, I learned some of his ancestors had been ChteaudeJumilhacleGrand copyinvolved in actually building it back in the 1200s. (!!) They’d been among its lords, too, for 150 years or so. After first thinking, aha! whatta sweet image to use for that string of ancestors, I learned as I read more about them and it, that the conical rooftops (that will surely strike Americans as quintessentially “fairy-tale”) were added hundreds of years after his family had been on the scene in the depths of the actual Middle Ages. Well I couldn’t use a historically inaccurate image, so I did something about it.

ChteaudeJumilhacleGrandOLD copy

 

 

This is much closer to what it would have looked like to the de Bruchard family as they knew it.

 

 

 

An older photograph also lent itself to easy changing:

chat_jum6

 

 

 

Before

 

 

 

Chateau-JUMILHAC-LE-GRAND-OLD2 copy

 

 

 

After

 

 

 

 

So the examples here are each within a category:

  • People & Location
  • Now to Then
  • Obsolete Professions
  • SketchUp 4 Teaching History
  • Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

People & Location

  1. Swedish origin spot of my great-grandmother and 3 generations of her people

BIG AERIAL

South-central Sweden, Vastragotaland.

 

2. Recent Dukes of Argyll at their seat, Inverary Castle, Scotland

DUKE 11 1

 

Now to Then

  1. View from the Mayflower

2. Castle Hornby

On the left, as seen around 1900 (& today); on the right, as it was when my ancestor lived there (incidentally, just about the last–my most recent–ancestor to reside in a castle…500 years ago!)

 

Obsolete professions

Two variations

 

SketchUp 4 Teaching History

  1. Construction of the White House (the Executive’s Mansion) in the 1790s in Washington, D.C.

These are views of a multi-layered SketchUp model I’ve built of various stages of the White House’s construction. Here we see the foundation as it was originally laid down in 1791-2. The layers reflect the actual materials, orientation and configuration learned from researching primary source material (such as reports of the crew who laid the new foundations in the 1950s as to what they found as well as reports of Thomas jeffereson, architect Benjamin Latrobe and others involved in the early days of the building). The close-up is the northwest corner, seen from just a few feet south and west of it.

WH OLD 3

Here’s the southern facade, seen from the southeast, depicted as the Limestone facing began to be mounted on the brick walls.

And the same face seen from the southwest, a little further along in the process:

WH OLD 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WH OLD 1

 

And here’s the north (properly, the front) as it neared completion. (The portico that we know today  was not added until the 1820s).

 

Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

Here you can see various elements that went in to the image at the very top of the page (the black & white 1800s looking street).

That’s Liverpool, England. Specifically, Vauxhall Road, looking across it from near where my gr-gr-grandad, a guy named Edward Dunn, had a business in the 1870s, to the intersection with Blacklock Street, toward the site of Vauxhall Gardens, a housing project that was destroyed in WWII during the Blitz just before Xmas 1940.

VAUX GRDNS 1940

 

 

Composite of contemporary shot (made B&W) with old shot.

 

 

 

VAUX TEST OLD COMP

 

Composite of two images; the corner building has been added to the street shot. I then added this with the B&W version of the current corner seen in the shot above this to get the image seen at the very top of the page.

This is the current shot, unaltered.

VAUX GRDNS 2000s

 

 

And the combo with the building destroyed by Nazi bombs in WWII is below again for easy comparison.

 

 

 

VAUX GRDNS 1940

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Tree of the Roses

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This post serves up a long overdue updated version of a tree showing the kings and queens of England who sprang from the many uncrowned sons of King Edward III (seen above with his wife and 2nd cousin Philippa of Hainault). It’s as tidy as can be, leaves out very little, actually, and conveys a lot without being totally overwhelming.

Firstly, though, here’s a chart as a frame of reference showing Edward & Philippa and their sons, not one of whom was ever King of England. (Always click on it, and then once you go to the tab it opens in, click it again so it assumes its full and I hope enjoyable capacity.)

E3WAROROSES16 copy.png

The king immediately following Edward’s death in 1377 was the son of Edward, the oldest son and was named Richard II. The next king was picked by Richard to be one of the grandkids of the 2nd oldest son Lionel, but instead the oldest son of the 3rd son, John, Duke of Lancaster, decided to be king and simply took the crown, telling his younger (half) brother that neither he nor any of his descendants ever got to be king, and then passed it on down to his son and then he to his son. But then it went to a great-grandson of the 4th son, Edmund, Duke of York named Edward (again, this time the 4th, or: IV), then very briefly to his teenage son before going to his (Edward IV’s) younger brother who happened to nicely bookend this hot-potato-like game of the throne that had commenced with Edward III’s death by being named Richard also, and thus the 3rd, or: III.

But then he went and got killed by someone who was a great-great-grandson of the 3rd son (John of Lancaster) who happened to be married to a lady who was both a 4x-great-granddaughter of the 2nd oldest son (Lionel, Duke of Clarence), a 2x-great-granddaugher of the 3rd son (John, Lancaster again) as well as a 2x-great-grandaughter of the 3rd son Edmund (of York). This guy was named Henry and when he took that crown became the 7th one, or Henry VII. The son of his and wife Elizabeth was of course, good ole Henry VIII, he was, and all three of this Henry’s kids would rule England when their time came, but since none of them had any kiddies, the crown passed, as is well known, to a man who was the great-grandson of Henry VIII’s big sister Margaret, one James, who was already by right of birth James VI, King of Scots, and on the death of his grandma’s and grandpa’s 1st cousin Elizabeth I in 1609, became King James I of England.

Click on this chart below, download it so you can zoom way in.

There will be a follow-up post that offers something in the way of an explanation of chart-making choices and highlighting some of the use-values of the chart.

If you repost, borrow, or in any way use it, please attribute. Thanks. Enjoy!

e3waroroses1623

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Brothers Pt. 3

AFRICA L2R copy 2

Welcome to the third part of this little spree of posts on Y-DNA and the worldwide lines of descent of the men who’ve been the agents and embodiments of its dispersal. Here are links to Part 1 & Part 2.

In this post I’m sharing more detailed charts I’ve made showing these descents, first of which is a slight revision of the first one I posted showing the African “trunk” of what I’m calling the world’s brothers. The main difference is simply that it’s oriented left to right instead of top down; I’ve also added some brief explanatory notes on it. Again, all the charts I post should be clicked on and then opened again at their max size.

AFRICA L2R

And next is the branch that came from “CT Little Brother” in the chart above. CT is the working designation of the Y-DNA haplogroup of the men who first left the garden-like cradle of Africa about 72,000 years ago, and from whom 90% of the world’s men descend.

ASIAN1 copy

Next we have “The Rest” of us, the Brothers. It’s worth noting that almost all of the migrations demonstrated in these charts were back in the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic period).

THEREST1

And last for today is this amazingly elegant & simplified version of the big picture from a great site called The Genetic Atlas:

Y-DNA-tree

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Brothers Pt.2

ydna basx.png

I made this chart to just show the basics of what’s up with Y-DNA to give context for anyone who wants or needs it to yesterday’s post.

And the map below puts it in a geographic context. Always click on images like this map or charts so you can see them larger, more easily and in detail. Cuz it turns out that the degree to which we humans are just such a mix is truly astounding. This migration route maps only begins to hint at that.

More later today! Watch this National Geographic documentary if you haven’t seen it.

Migration2.jpg

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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History on the Screen

jonahhexmalko.jpg

Suggestions Toward Best Practices
when Bringing History to the Screen

       Goal I

Endeavor to have the production feel contemporary (i.e., the opposite of drawing attention to the “pastness” of it).

And it’s this aspect and some of the details listed below that led me to cite jonah-hex-movie-posterJonah Hex. It’s NOT a great movie. It wasn’t trying to be. But it brought MTV music video style filmmaking to a period piece, and it completely succeeded on that level. I say that because from my last post my dear mother was curious …so curious I thought she might actually go out and watch it. So to her and others with–uhem, more refined tastes, you won’t find yourself watching what you might think of as great art, but 0611-jonah-hex-josh-brolin-on-horsejpg-5d1a92c487a77991_largemark my word: in the long run, it will be seen as a work that contained perfect versions of technical forms that will help male any historically based film or video work succeed where others have failed. 🙂 Plus Malkovitch (see top) always delivers wonderfully as an evil psycho.

Toward this end of shrinking the distance any viewer must go to ID w/ the flick:

1) contemporary music

2) dialog, while accurate to certain specifics of word choice and pronunciation, should be spoken in regular, contemporary American English, including cadence; it reduces the distance for the viewers’ vicarious experience

bfb141129-little-big-man

-> canonical example of success of this: Little Big Man (when the main character played by Dustin Hoffman, is in the Cheyenne Indian community, and so they’re supposed to be speaking in the Cheyenne language, 000078_15all the actors speak normally, especially Hoffman, contrasting sharply to then he’s in the “White” world where he speaks with a broad and low-vocabulary Appalacian-esque dialect.)

 

3) use (but not overuse) of contemporary/hyper-contemporary shooting and cutting style; e.g.:

– fast jump cuts, ala VH1/MTV
– moving tracking shots (i.e., POV moving in two directions @ once
– tight close-ups of faces w/ relevant background visible
– askew angles
– various gels (washed-out, fiery, etc)
– handheld/cinema vérité & drop-frame

– considered casting for historical figures;
– strong resemblance either literal or in their presence:
– actors who fit the part;
~ Thomas Jefferson: S. Dillane studied political philos b4 actingsaints_and_strangers_still

 

~ William Bradford: Victor Kartheiser has that “soft” deal (Saints and Strangers)

 

LC2272-600Border.jpg  aidnquinn

~ U.S. Grant: Aidan Quinn looked just like him (Jonah Hex)
 

 



~ Nixon: John Cusak embodied him precisely (The Butler)

John-Cusack-as-Nixon

 
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Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 7.35.37 PM

~ Ike: actor in Right Stuff (Robert Beer) looked EXACTLY like him

 

 




article-2199538-14E09F90000005DC-909_306x423.jpg

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 7.21.56 PM~ LBJ: Donald Moffat in Right Stuff embodied him to a tee

 

 

 


lbm-custer

appomattox-1.jpgAnd of course Richard Mulligan as General George Armstrong Custer (Little Big Man).

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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