Things We Like: Henry Murals, “Melvin and Howard,” and Wrapping Kittens
Monkey Goggles Klassics: “Man with a Mural Mission: Meet Ryan Henry Ward” by Geoff Carter
From November 12, 2009: “As you read these words, a superhero cat has saved a pit bull. A goat has learned a new song on his guitar. And Ryan Henry Ward has probably created another mural. The workaholic Seattle artist is on a self-made mission to create fifty murals in and around the city. He finds blank walls on houses and businesses, gets permission to paint fanciful creatures on them, and does just that, free of charge. Were you to drive around Seattle today you’d almost have to go out of your way to avoid seeing his colorful works in Wallingford, Ballard, Fremont … I hesitate to make a complete list of murals and neighborhoods, because he’ll render it obsolete before I finish writing it. He’s averaging three murals a week.” Read the rest here!
Jonathan Demme’s “Melvin and Howard” is based on a true story about a guy named Melvin Dummar (Paul LeMat) who picks up an elderly hitchhiker that turns out to be Howard Hughes (Jason Robards). Melvin babbles to his passenger and sings him a song called “Souped-Up Santa Sleigh” without realizing that he is riding with a famous billionaire. Later, when Hughes dies, it is revealed that he has named Melvin as a beneficiary in his will and a legal battle erupts.
Much of the film exists within Melvin’s blue-collar world, filled with authentic details like crappy jobs and all-too real-characters. Mary Steenburgen won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Melvin’s estranged wife. The humor is low-key, letting the actors inhabit an authentic Americana that rings truer than most Hollywood attempts at similar stories. Demme’s first mainstream success is one of the best films of the 1980s. – Spenser Hoyt
I know it’s a bit early to be busting out the Christmas stuff, but c’mon. This video is the cutest holiday-related thing I’ve seen since Zooey Deschanel put on that Santa’s Helper outfit for “Elf.” I’ll never understand why cats put up with us making them into furry little burritos, but I’m awfully glad that they do. – Geoff Carter
PHOTO BY GEOFF CARTER