March 21, 2011

They usually don’t call you “The King of Cool” without good reason. McQueen’s life reads a little bit like your favorite novel. Here are the Sparknotes for McQueen’s journey into stardom:

Father abandons mother and son when he’s six months old, mother is unable to raise son alone so she sends him to his grandparent’s farm (which, in this case, was in Slater, Missouri), son is in and out of trouble, moves back in with mom, goes back to farm, joins the circus (no, I’m not kidding), reunites with his mother in the big city (Los Angeles), joins a gang, commits petty crime, gets sent to a boys reform school in Chico, graduates and eventually joins the Marines, receives an honorable discharge 3 years later, uses the money from his G.I. Bill to study acting, begins to race motorcycles on the weekend to make ends meet while playing small roles in play productions, works his way into bigger parts, gets launched into limelight after acting alongside Frank Sinatra in Never So Few, earns and executes an exceptional performance in his first starring role in The Magnificent Seven, the legacy begins, and boom goes the dynamite.

Note: McQueen used to demand bulk goods (jeans, electric razors, etc.) from the studios he did work for. It was later discovered that he would donate these items to the boys at the reform school he attended as a kid.

BADASS MONDAY: Marlon Brando

March 14, 2011
Alright, if you follow Badass Monday, you’re going to start to think that I have a thing for actors, particularly those that I am a generation or two removed from. And it’s true, I absolutely love them (and most of their films – said in my most high brow, pretentious voice). Brando came to mind for a couple of reasons. He stars in A Streetcar Named Desire, which I have been forced to watch for a class. (Remember, I’m in college.) And with the True/False Film Festival just behind us here in Columbia, I got to thinking about past films I’d seen at the festival, including one called Smash His Camera. It includes a scene where a young Brando punches a paparazzi photographer in the face.
Anyway, Brando’s of Midwestern blood himself, having been born in Nebraska and raised in both his birth state and Illinois. Instead of rambling in sentence form, lets just do this in bullets (pretend like you popped opened a Snapple):
  • Brando was kicked out of high school for riding his motorcycle through the halls.
  • He was the named the fourth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.
  • Brando was one of Time’s 100 Most Important People of the Century.
  • He quit production of a movie to devote his time fully to the civil rights movement.
  • Oh yeah, he was Vito Corleone. No big deal.
image sources: [x]

BADASS MONDAY: Robert Redford

March 7, 2011

Robert Redford has been one most important figures in film since he began his screen acting career in 1962. Films of his that you should have already seen:

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (starring alongside his buddy Paul Newman)
  • The Sting
  • Spy Game.
Actually, I guess those are just my favorites. His acting, however, is probably least significant in his repertoire of accomplishments. Redford’s ventures into directing, independent film, and political activism have made as profound of an impact on his legacy as his acting. His passion for independent film inspired his founding of the Sundance Film Festival. Redford is also a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
He also looks good. All the time.

image sources: [x]


February 7, 2011

I am a huge (HUGE) Avett Brothers fan. Their recent rise to popularity first struck a bitter chord to me (I’ve been a listener since 2005 – I was 14) and I became protective of their music and my own fanhood. I’ve grown out of that stage, however, and I’m glad to share them with the rest of the world, mostly because I think everyone should know how incredible their music is. Somewhere in there, though, I think everyone should have the chance to stare at Scott Avett. Aside from playing banjo in the Avett Brothers, Scott enjoys painting, making prints and posters for his own shows, and (not) grooming his beard. If I could have the pogonotrophy of any other human on the face of the Earth, it would be Scott. Also, born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, raised in Concord, North Carolina – Scott Avett is the definition of Americana. What is more American than a banjo? You’re right, nothing.


January 27, 2011

When we get down to it, every guy has a few dudes that they see as inspiring, or, maybe more accurately, just freaking cool. There are certain men that simply radiate a pervasive air of intrigue. Men that you want to be more like, whether you think about it consciously or not.

We attempt to adapt certain elements of their distinct personalities in an effort to make ourselves just a little more like them. It could be their sense of personal style, their attitudes, their behaviors, whatever. A man by the name of David Hume* once said that man makes his own ideas by, in layman’s terms, mixing, compounding, separating, and dividing the other ideas and things we see around us. I think this provides a pretty solid picture of how we start shaping our own personal style. We mix our taste with others that we see and enjoy.

So, with all that being said, I’m going to highlight men that, granted, already stand out by themselves. Men that influence me aesthetically and behaviorally. In short, dudes that make me want adapt parts of their style and/or lifestyle into my own. Lets get started – the first pick in the 2011 Swag Draft:


Yes, Paul freaking Newman. Now, I’ll concede that this is not an original thought, almost everyone with knowledge in the realm of mens style understands that Paul was a beacon of badassness in his prime. The actor and philanthropist headed up some of the country’s most classicallyAmerican films – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Slap Shot, to name a few. I’d go as far as to say that Newman invented modern day swagger. Anyway, the dude was handsome, talented, and, maybe most importantly, charitable. Brother has donated upwards of $300 million to different outreach organizations.

* Lost: Desmond David Hume. You’re my constant.

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