The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 8, 2017
by Dan
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Fade to Black

Hilton Als on James Baldwin, movies, and Raoul Peck’s documentary I Am Not Your Negro, for The New Yorker: One has the sense, in the sections of “I Am Not Your Negro” that are devoted to Baldwin’s relationship to film, that Peck … Continue reading

October 6, 2016
by Dan
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Gimme Danger

A Jim Jarmusch documentary about Iggy Pop and The Stooges? YES. Gimme Danger is scheduled for a limited release on October 28th.

August 25, 2016
by Dan
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The Last Punchcutter

One for the letterpress obsessives and tool aficionados, The Last Punchcutter is a beautiful, wordless film capturing Giuseppe Brachino — who was the head of the engraving department of the Nebiolo Company from Turin — hand-cut a punch for metal type: (via Coudal)

August 22, 2016
by Dan
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“Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads?”

Remember Those Great Volkswagen Ads? is a short documentary about the classic, highly influential ad campaigns created by Manhattan advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) for Volkwagen in the 1950s and 60s: (via Kottke)

August 18, 2016
by Dan
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Welcome to The Last Bookstore

Welcome to The Last Bookstore is a short, inspiring documentary about Josh Spencer, owner and operator of The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles:

June 22, 2016
by Dan
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RAMS: The First Feature Documentary About Dieter Rams

Gary Hustwit, the director of the documentaries Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized, is making a feature-length documentary about the life and work of designer Dieter Rams: You can support the production on Kickstarter.

March 30, 2016
by Dan
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Graphic Means

Before the desktop computer revolutionized the way the graphic design industry worked, type and image were painstakingly put together by hand with the aid of various ingenious machines and tools. Currently in production, the documentary, Graphic Means explores graphic design … Continue reading

February 22, 2016
by Dan
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Gramercy Typewriter — Family Business Since 1932

The latest short film in Huck magazine’s ‘Family Business’ series visits Gramercy Typewriter Co., the father and son typewriter repair shop in New York: You may remember that Gramercy Typewriter Co. was the subject of another short documentary a couple of years ago… … Continue reading

June 12, 2015
by Dan
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Dear Araucaria

The Rev John Graham, better known as Araucaria, set the Guardian’s cryptic crossword for 55 years. In December 2012, Araucaria announced that he was dying of cancer through a series of clues in a crossword. In this short film, Graham talks … Continue reading

February 24, 2015
by Dan
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Jesse and the Typewriter Shop

Related to yesterday’s post on Gramercy Typewriter Co. in New York, here’s a short film about U.S. Office Machines, one of the last remaining typewriter repair shops in Los Angeles: (Thanks Sam!)

February 23, 2015
by Dan
3 Comments

The Last of the Typewriter Men

At Medium, Mary Pilon profiles Paul Schweitzer of Gramercy Typewriter Co. — a father-and-son business in the Flatiron District of New York that will still repair your typewriter: “Computers are being updated all the time,” he said, rolling his eyes at a PC laptop his son keeps in the corner. … Continue reading

September 26, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Comic Book Heaven

Comic Book Heaven is a short documentary by E.J. McLeavey-Fisher about Joe Leisner, owner of the comic book store Comic Book Heaven in Sunnyside, Queens New York:

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