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Skinemax
November 2, 2011 10:52 PM   Subscribe

Skinemax is Koyaanisqatsi for a generation raised on late night television and B-movie VHS tapes. It's long form entertainment for short attention spans. An hour long VJ odyssey, it will move your body and warp your mind. A nostalgic look back at a half remembered childhood growing up in the 80s and early 90s, Skinemax takes a close look at the culture of that era. The images that motivated, delighted, and terrified us on the silver screen, set to propulsive modern music that pines for a simpler time.
posted by naju (78 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wish I were cool enough to use words like Koyaanisqatsi to describe my projects.
posted by BrandonW at 11:18 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wish this were cool enough to deserve to use words like Koyaanisqatsi when the first three minutes was 90% clips from Demolition Man, The Addams Family Movie, Weird Al's UHF and Transformers and/or Gobots cartoons. Body not moved, mind not warped, unless that's what you call a strong need to sleep.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:22 PM on November 2, 2011 [22 favorites]


If nothing else, the video is useful for invoking some fairly hardcore nostalgia.
posted by BrandonW at 11:27 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah it seems like a bunch of random clips of random movies.
posted by empath at 11:28 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


While I do like me some Demolition Man, I was hoping this would contain some boobs or something. Also the tracks don't transition very well. 1.5 stars.
posted by silby at 11:35 PM on November 2, 2011


Only made it about 3:30 in. On the other hand, that Kevin Kline is one lucky sum'bitch i'nt he?
posted by humboldt32 at 11:39 PM on November 2, 2011


The Emergency Broadcast Network wants you to watch more TV.
posted by loquacious at 11:43 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Related, if MeFi is into stuff in this vein.
posted by BrandonW at 11:43 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dude, you compared this to Koyaanisqatsi. That is so wrong on so many levels. You compare Baraka to Koyaanisqatsi, and then leave that whole genre alone until something truly better comes along.

Them's the rules, and you gotta abide.
posted by roboton666 at 11:47 PM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wish this were cool enough to deserve to use words like Koyaanisqatsi when the first three minutes was 90% clips from Demolition Man, The Addams Family Movie, Weird Al's UHF and Transformers and/or Gobots cartoons. Body not moved, mind not warped, unless that's what you call a strong need to sleep.

agreed and favorited and, it's worth noting, the soundtrack's pretty darned average to boot. But I'd still be pleased if a full on 24-7 channel of this kind of stuff suddenly popped up in my cable package. Sometimes I just need a few minutes of twenty-thirty year old EVERYTHING in overload.
posted by philip-random at 11:49 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it helps if you're roughly my age and grew up with all this pop culture detritus and are possibly into a Videodrome wormhole of VHS nostalgia for stuff that you were definitely too young to be watching and was very strange in retrospective and what were your parents thinking letting you watch this? and also it's late at night and you're willing to just go along with an hour's worth of pure visuals and tropes and 80's synths.

Also I think they weren't totally serious about the Koyaanisqatsi.
posted by naju at 11:50 PM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Related, if MeFi is into stuff in this vein.

Also related:
Arthur Lipsett using collage in the early 1960s to make some really quite wonderful short films for the National Film Board of Canada.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:56 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that EBN stuff brings me back. Used to watch it on public access in Westerly RI. My first exposure to that kind of thing when I was about 12. Now I have to continue my search to find anyone that remembers The Larry Mongoli Show.
posted by Snyder at 11:56 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah Naju, I get it now after you so astutely pointed it out, b-b-but KOYAANISQATSI IS MY GENERATION'S TOY AND THEY CAN'T PLAY WITH IT LIKE THAT!

:-)
posted by roboton666 at 11:57 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


While this wasn't quite as decadent and amazing as ConcreteTV, it had my rapt attention for the full hour. It was actually an extremely coherent and meaningful composition for me. For instance, I knew ten minutes into it that it would feature both They Live and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. How I knew this, I couldn't begin to guess, but I knew both of them would be in there.

I really think the mashup is the greatest art form of our time. Between Kutiman, 2500 mash-up collections, and stuff like this and Concrete TV, it's a good time to love stuff pasted onto other stuff in creative ways. (Sturgeon's Law, of course, still, and as always, applies.)
posted by cthuljew at 12:15 AM on November 3, 2011


Skinemax takes a close look at the culture of that era.

By chopping up children's entertainment into second long bit edited together, grouped by the number of videos I could simultaneously run without crashing my computer. This is a close look at the culture in the same way that browsing an airport bookstore is conducting a survey of English lit.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:18 AM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


This would go over well in a hipster bar. In fact, I almost think I've seen this before. Watching things like this is a good excuse not to talk to people.
posted by chemoboy at 12:21 AM on November 3, 2011


That's not how I remember Skinemax at all. I stared for hours at the scrambled signal waiting for those scant moments when I'd be able to make out the random nipple.

In retrospect, I'm surprised that the cable company was so attentive as to scramble the image, but left the sound intact. I remember hearing things far beyond my years that were left to my imagination image-wise. I imagine that at the time, priorities were more centered on protecting the product than on preserving innocence. Nevertheless, it's interesting how things change.
posted by Graygorey at 12:41 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: make out the random nipple.
posted by loquacious at 1:24 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ha! Actually, what I remember from skinemax as a kid was staying up all night at a sleepover with a friend who had it only to have really crappy horror movies as our reward.
posted by chemoboy at 1:33 AM on November 3, 2011


Wait, wait, wait... wasn't what everybody called "Skinemax" just Cinemax, except late at night when they would play all the soft core stuff? For example, Cherry 2000
posted by P.o.B. at 2:34 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Skinemax, I served with Koyaanisqatsi, I knew Koyaanisqatsi, Koyaanisqatsi was a friend of mine. Skinemax, you're no Koyaanisqatsi.
posted by crunchland at 3:02 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just have to ask, can anyone else read the word "Koyaanisqatsi" without the voice in their head rendering it as a repeated slow basso chant. "Koyaanisqatsi. Koyaaaaaaanisqatsi". My brain is doing it now, and probably will keep doing so for the next 10-20 seconds.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:33 AM on November 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I fancy myself a connoisseur of world spirituality, but damn if Baraka wasn't awful.

Ahem, excuse me.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:29 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


.kobayashi.: no, plus I see the ending shots.

--

I really OOK think PANA the mashup PON is the YIP greatest art VAN form YUP of our time. OOK


Hey, you're right! Ikki
posted by sneebler at 4:58 AM on November 3, 2011



I just have to ask, can anyone else read the word "Koyaanisqatsi" without the voice in their head rendering it as a repeated slow basso chant. "Koyaanisqatsi. Koyaaaaaaanisqatsi".


Yep. Plus all those traffic shots. Actually, that movie kind of blew my mind when I saw it the first time, when I was about 13, but really disappointed me when I watched it again in my 20s. I should try it again and see how I like it now.

I stared for hours at the scrambled signal waiting for those scant moments when I'd be able to make out the random nipple.

I remember staying up almost all night at sleepovers at a friend's house, all of us staring so intently at the static.
posted by Forktine at 5:43 AM on November 3, 2011


Yeah it seems like a bunch of random clips of random movies.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by The Deej at 6:09 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does not do what it says on the tin.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:24 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The '80s sure loved their hand-painted lightning effects.

(This is fun morning coffee viewing. Thanks for posting.)
posted by HeroZero at 6:25 AM on November 3, 2011


As you go further in, you see the clips are grouped thematically.

In the 80's, when I was a kid and my parents had cable, HBO and Cinemax would have about 40 movies they showed over and over then the month would end and they'd have a different 40.

So by the time June turned to July those movies were watched, man.
posted by sourwookie at 6:41 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did the person who make this not understand the use of the term "skinemax" ?

Not that I don't look forward to an hour of mash up video from my youth, but it's a complete failure as a title, made all the more ironic, because the term arose from that time period.
posted by Atreides at 6:41 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought the disparity between the quality of images between the footage clearly taken from VHS and the footage clearly taken from disc to be pretty jarring in the first few minutes. I like Sandra Bullock, and DM was an okay movie for what it was, but its juxtaposition alongside Optimus Prime and Megatron seemed a total non-fit for my aesthetic. That's about as far as I made it.
posted by Edogy at 6:52 AM on November 3, 2011


What, no Tobacco?
posted by kaseijin at 7:08 AM on November 3, 2011


Dude, you compared this to Koyaanisqatsi. That is so wrong on so many levels.

Compare Koy... to Mondo Cane - which showed us, with style and wit and humanity, what Koy...'s dessicated landscapes only aspire to show. As soon as you take out the annoying-insect Phil Glass mechanisms added to unbalance you (with a result like manufactured wine), Koy... boils down to a whole bunch of (sumptuous) time-lapse shots mashed together.

Skinemax is well-intended, but I can't eat enough sugary cereal to keep up for long.
posted by Twang at 7:11 AM on November 3, 2011


Addams Family Values is actually funny as hell. You wouldn't know it from this, however.
posted by jscalzi at 7:33 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wednesday Adams burning down the camp seriously creeped me out as a kid, which in turn really embarrassed me.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:56 AM on November 3, 2011


Anybody remember Weird TV? They used to show people pumping gas, looking bored. Awesome stuff.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:12 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Too linear. It would have been better if there was more juxtaposition between the clips. However, I do now wish I had the skill to edit together all the 80s sci-fi visions of the future into one neon dystopia presided over by Afrika Bambaataa.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:22 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, this went over about how I would expect on this site.

I liked it. I think the Koyaanisqatsi comment is ironic. Oh yeah, irony is bad. Hipsters, mumble, npr, classic rock, mumble, where's my recliner.

I like this type of music, so that helps, and also appreciated Kurt Russell as a leitmotif throughout.
posted by codacorolla at 8:23 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh hey look it's that thing I saw that one time.
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I fancy myself a connoisseur of world spirituality, but damn if Baraka wasn't awful.

How so?
posted by Ratio at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2011


(that being said Addams Family Values has at least four of the best one liners in all comedy, not in the least is 'THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THEY'RE FROM CATALOGS!"
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


(also, thank you uncensored showings of Heavy Metal for allowing pre-teens their first shot of animated boob (for them) and muscle guys wearing nothing but lion cloth and sweating (for me) Thank you.)
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on November 3, 2011


It's no TV Carnage.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:49 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Editing an hour long piece of video to music requires such incredible love and commitment that it's bizarre that they seem to have abandoned pacing and quality. The world still awaits its 80s Qatsi trilogy.
posted by felix at 8:54 AM on November 3, 2011


I'm going to reserve judgement re: the pacing and music-matching to when I'm in a more appreciative state of mind.
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on November 3, 2011


a more appreciative state of mind

Late-night viewing, in full screen mode, with drug-like substances (and tongue-in-cheek comparisons to iconic high-art films out of your mind) would seem to be ideal. Not that I'd know re: drugs. Sheesh, I didn't expect this to be so despised by you guys!
posted by naju at 9:08 AM on November 3, 2011


my thing is, we've seen a lot of this kind of stuff, and unless you're predisposed to linking this kind of music then it's just a bunch of "Hey look remember that, well now it's cool cause it reminds you of it" Modern Nostalgia that doesn't really seem to be well cut together or in sync with the music or creating clever or interesting juxtaposition, it's ambitious, sure, but poorly directed and hazy. In order for mega-cuts like these to work every single second has to be interesting and every cut/transition important. The Electric Method does this kind of thing all the time and I love it, but I don't like this.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


> oh hey look it's that thing I saw that one time.

A game I would love to play: One day, on MeFi, The Whelk posts this comment in every thread where it is true -- where the thread refers to something he saw that one time -- and only one thread where it isn't true -- where the thread refers to something he's seen either many times, or never before. The game is in guessing which thread comment is the lie. You get one shot. Winner is the first person to guess correctly, and s/he gets bragging rights, or a funny postcard, or something.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:26 AM on November 3, 2011


KoyaaniPhoebe
posted by xod at 10:04 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, that movie kind of blew my mind when I saw it the first time, when I was about 13, but really disappointed me when I watched it again in my 20s. I should try it again and see how I like it now.

Every now and then the good ole days were actually good. I saw Koyaanisqatsi a good half dozen times in its first year of release -- always in theaters, always on a big screen with a big soundtrack (that Philip Glass stuff just erupts at certain volumes). The word astonishing comes to mind.

A few years later when I caught it on Cable TV, it was like listening to Led Zeppelin IV through an intercom -- just not the same thing.
posted by philip-random at 10:43 AM on November 3, 2011


The only similarity I noticed to "Koyaanisqatsi" is that both films put me to sleep.
posted by Larry Duke at 11:09 AM on November 3, 2011


This reminded me why the worst line in Juno is where she yells out "Thundercats are GO!" to announce she's gone into labour. Diablo Cody's a pretty self-satisfied writer in general, but man you could just see her patting herself on the back for thinking to make that precious reference just then. The first two minutes of this thing (before I decided I didn't find snippets of mid-80s cartoon junk compelling enough to keep watching) were like that line repeated over and over again, as if the reference itself were so goddamn clever that doing it 20 times made you a genius.

Recalling a thing is not analyzing it; referencing something is not recontextualizing it; sampling several things in sequence is not (necessarily) composition. There is art to be made from cut-up and collage and remix, but these tools are not intrinsically artful.

Maybe the Koyaanisqatsi reference was tongue-in-cheek, but by making it at all they ask us call it to mind, and remember why it's such a powerful film, and remember why nostalgic quick-cut Transformers clips aren't.
posted by gompa at 11:29 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Relevant!
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


You could, instead, read "Ready Player One" for a soothing bath of 80s pop culture that is also a very fun, near-future novel. I haven't seen so many references to "Simon and Simon" so close to Zork since the last time I watched an 11" color TV.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:52 AM on November 3, 2011


Elephant Parts.
posted by zomg at 12:43 PM on November 3, 2011


Modern culture is just a boot stomping on a Human League shirt--forever.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:07 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eh, that should be 'stamping.'

Hey, remember Snorks?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:08 PM on November 3, 2011


I fancy myself a connoisseur of world spirituality, but damn if Baraka wasn't awful.

How so?


Koyaanisqatsi had Philip Glass; Baraka had ex members of Dead Can Dance. Not the same thing.

Modern culture is just a Converse boot stomping on a Human League shirt--forever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:11 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I saw Baraka in big, glorious 70mm during Ebertfest last year, and it's an experience I'll never forget. Such detail and scope. That movie absolutely holds its own with Koyaanisqatsi in terms of breathtaking visual beauty. I admit it's hard to compete with the Philip Glass score, but just about every soundtrack falls short in that regard.
posted by naju at 1:22 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


thanks for remind ing me that i gotta watch koyaanisqatsi

i think im gonna skip on hey guys remember the 80s part XIX: rumble megamonster vampires from beyond the nostalgiadome

did i mention im not even thirty

i dont care what you liked when you were a child and im the future
posted by beefetish at 1:30 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I admit it's hard to compete with the Philip Glass score

Especially when played live alongside the movie, by Philip Glass & his ensemble, in the Sydney Opera House.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:36 PM on November 3, 2011


What's not to like about this?
posted by crunchland at 1:37 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's not to like about this?

Hey, I've been to all those places! And seen the monkey dance, too, but with added fire & exploding coconuts. Nice that at Angkor, Borobudur & Gunung Kawi the hordes of hawkers are kept outside the grounds, and you don't see them in the clip. A bit dodgy that the filmmakers try to seamlessly link Khmer Hinduism in Cambodia with Buddhism in Java & then to Hinduism again in Bali - all just one exotic mishmashed spiritual other.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:48 PM on November 3, 2011


I don't even get why the Addams Family movie is included in a mashup of B movies and late-night etc. It was a huge family-friendly blockbuster. It is still watched and enjoyed.
posted by hermitosis at 1:54 PM on November 3, 2011


all just one exotic mishmashed spiritual other.

Indeed! I've also been to many of those places and events. Seeing them packaged as some kind of flyover thing that is divorced from both context and ugly mundane details really left a bad taste. Yes, Baraka has eye candy, but it's just someone's weird vision of a homogeneous world that doesn't exist.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:32 PM on November 3, 2011


i dont care what you liked when you were a child and im the future

Hello future. Thanks for stopping by. Have a seat.

I would like to discuss your disuse of punctuation and capitalization, because if we don't find an amicable solution soon (IE, y'all using your shift keys and those little symbols that aren't letters) I'm afraid I might actually start using this here phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range that I seem to be building to clear the rabble off of my lawn.

Also, can we talk a little about Deadmaus, Skrillex and dubstep? We need to find you some fresher tunes that aren't rehashes of 90s rave aesthetics run through a square-wave LFO ketamine blender.
posted by loquacious at 4:36 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, Baraka has eye candy, but it's just someone's weird vision of a homogeneous world that doesn't exist.

I get and agree with what you're saying about the weird pseudo-spiritual tourism in Baraka, but what I got out of it wasn't really that message at all. To me it seemed to be more about how humanity has lots of different ways of achieving the same various kinds of ecstatic, spiritual experiences and end-goals of worship.

I thought it was a pretty good overview of humanity and our own invented place or places within the natural universe. I'd be ok with it being included on a list of films to share with a first extraterrestrial contact to help describe who we are. (Along with Koyaanisqatsi, Requiem for a Dream and about a dozen others of wildly varying hope and cyncism.)
posted by loquacious at 4:41 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Koyaanisqatsi is the Beatles. Baraka is the Monkees, who weren't completely awful -- just no Beatles.

Which makes Powaqqatsi ... Wings?
posted by philip-random at 5:26 PM on November 3, 2011


And Naaqoyqatsi is...ah, I don't know, it was unwatcheable. A 1980s conception of what was thought to be "futuristic". Sigue Sigue Sputnik, perhaps?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:55 PM on November 3, 2011


Welcome. You can do anything. Anything at all. The only limit is yourself.
posted by Xoebe at 6:17 PM on November 3, 2011


Also, can we talk a little about Deadmaus, Skrillex and dubstep? We need to find you some fresher tunes that aren't rehashes of 90s rave aesthetics run through a square-wave LFO ketamine blender.

He said he was the future, not a year and a half ago.
posted by codacorolla at 7:08 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


the future is so a year and a half ago
posted by philip-random at 8:49 PM on November 3, 2011


He said he was the future, not a year and a half ago.

Aw, snap! Yeah, well, I didn't have a witty retort for that one back when I first heard it on a Cassingle!
posted by loquacious at 10:11 PM on November 3, 2011


I'm highly critical of the Qatsis, but this sucks more. None of these movies deserve to be reduced to crappy .5 sec clip status for this music.

I can't watch more than 4 seconds of this in a row without getting mad. I wish I could find a way to never look at the screen besides peripherally.

I mean, why in the world wouldn't I just put Xanadu itself on? IT EVEN SOUNDS BETTER.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:19 PM on November 3, 2011


I liked cassingles more when they were quadrophonic cartridges.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:20 PM on November 3, 2011


> I don't even get why the Addams Family movie is included in a mashup of B movies and late-night etc. It was a huge family-friendly blockbuster. It is still watched and enjoyed.

Addams Family Values only, by my reckoning. Because I never saw that one.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:22 PM on November 3, 2011


Baraka was way better than any of the -qatsi films. Less heavy handed, better images.
posted by ifjuly at 5:22 AM on November 4, 2011


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