Groening and Barry Take New York (Sarah Larson, The New Yorker)
"In the early eighties, discovering non-mainstream culture (independent cinema, post-punk rock, comic strips that weren’t 'Beetle Bailey') was much like being a detective, and local alternative newsweeklies were valuable providers of clues. They reviewed art and music that was hard to find; most important, they printed Groening’s 'Life in Hell' and Barry’s 'Ernie Pook’s Comeek.' Both were electrifyingly good. You wondered who these people were, where they came from, why they did what they did. I remember the jolt I felt when looking at the copyright page of Groening’s book 'Love Is Hell' and seeing an odd message, like a note left in a knothole: LYNDA BARRY IS FUNK QUEEN OF THE GALAXY. Groening and Barry were friends!"
FACT mag's 100 Best Albums of the 1980s. Inspired, sometimes surprising selections slightly off the beaten path: Whodini, Whitehouse, Suzanne Ciani, Nurse With Wound, and Godflesh while no Talking Heads, R.E.M., or Clash. Complete with free downloadable mixes guaranteed to make you shake your ass like a dork at work. [more inside]
YouTube user lem0ns2lime aka Carlos C. likes supercuts. Let's start with Muse - Explorers (5:49), which was cut down to 20 seconds without lyrics, just breaths. Then the video of Muse in concert was truncated down to 15 seconds long. That really built up the tension and energy, so let's amp it up with a bunch of gasping WWF and WCW wrestlers from the 1980s (previously), and there's the sequel, Absolutely No Words 2. If you like your wrestlers with laughing (via rough edits), you might enjoy Jim the Laugh Machine (aka Jim the Anvil Neidhart, with extra laughter).
Dave Holmes (yes that Dave Holmes) re-vists the hit songs and music videos of July 1983
"You live now, Adam Ant, as you have lived many times throughout history, fighting evil wherever you may find it!"
New Wave Artists of the 1980s aging gracefully (and not so gracefully) Don't click the link if you want to remember them "as they were" but why not click, because some of our favorites are still stone cold foxes 30 years later!
Stratus Dance Club mid-80s style - videos from a club in Spring Valley CA offer hours of dancing voyeurism. [more inside]
Katra Turana is the most delightfully baffling band I know. Sometimes they sound like a calypso band gone mad. Sometimes they sound like a tornado slamming into a string quartet. Sometimes they're catchy and heartwarming. Sometimes they're sparse and sinister. Or they're annoying in grandiose ways. And sometimes they blossom into something that's vulnerable, lush, and devastatingly beautiful. I know next to nothing about them. They confound me. I hope you find them as wondrous and as special as I do.
How we made Knightmare The creator and the dungeon master of the 1980s fantasy game show revisit dodgy technology and terrified children. The wikipedia entry explains more. Knightmare mentioned previously on mefi
Return of the Living Dead (NSFW) is one of the greatest zombie movies ever made. Not only does it have loads of great looking zombies in it, it's one of the few zombie movies, besides its sequel, that has a perfect blend of humor and horror.
Wendy Melvoin is fresh from high school. She is a wearing a V-necked sleeveless top, and patterned shorts. She is playing the first chords of a new song on her purple guitar, opening chords that she wrote, a circular motif with a chorus effect. Wendy is nineteen and she has the high cheekbones and diffident confidence of a Hollywood upbringing. She half-smiles at the faces that crowd close to the low club stage. This is Wendy’s first gig with the new band, and the song she is playing is “Purple Rain,” and nobody in the audience has ever heard “Purple Rain” before because this is the night that Prince and the Revolution record the song.
... Buckaroo Banzai is paradoxically decades ahead of its time and yet completely of its time; it’s profoundly a movie by, for, and of geeks and nerds at a time before geek/nerd culture was mainstreamed, and a movie whose pre-CG special effects and pre-Computer Age production design were an essential part of its good-natured enthusiasm. What at the time was a hip, modern take on classic SF is now, almost thirty years later, almost indistinguishable from the SF cinema that inspired it in terms of the appeal to modern viewers: the charmingly old-fashioned special effects, and the comparatively innocent earnestness of its tone. - Danny Bowes [more inside]
On May 15, 1981, at The Ritz in New York City, Public Image Ltd. performed as a last-minute replacement for Bow Wow Wow. It didn't end well. (previously) [more inside]
WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing covered a range of cultural issues and was widely known for its innovative use of graphic art. Started as a simple one-man operation that included artwork and text solicited from friends and acquaintances, the production, team, and circulation of the magazine would grow over the years. Its content also evolved to cover a wider expanse of stories that captured a smart and artsy Los Angeles attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but with its own distinct aesthetic. The magazine’s energetic creativity and flair for the absurd would remain a constant. As design problems arose, solutions were often improvised on the spot, creating a quirky and prescient editorial sensibility that remains one of WET's most enduring legacies. Its layout and design helped to catalyze the graphic styles (NSFW) later known as New Wave and Postmodern.
The ZX Spectrum's chief designers reunited 30 years on, discussing what became 80s Britain's most popular home computer and gaming platform, despite stiff competition from the technically superior Commodore 64.
Roger Spottiswoode looks back on his 1983 film Under Fire.
On May 19, 1984, an unemployed ice cream truck driver named Michael Larson went on Press Your Luck and over the course of two episodes, took home more money than had ever been won in the history of television: $110,237 -- to the shock of the show’s producers and host, the late Peter Tomarken. How did he do it? The show’s game board had only 5 patterns of 18 squares, and Mr. Larson had memorized them all. After the show, CBS tried to disqualify him but couldn’t, because Larson hadn’t done anything illegal. But they did refuse to allow those episodes to be aired in syndication. So, they didn’t re-air until 2003, when the Game Show Network produced a Tomarken-hosted documentary about Mr. Larson’s incredible win: Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal. [more inside]
25 years ago today, the professional wrestling boom sparked by the Captain Lou Albano/Cyndi Lauper "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" reached its zenith with WrestleMania III - whose attendance record of 93,173 for a live indoor "sporting" event in North America stood until 2010. The match between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat is prized by aficionados as one of the greatest in wrestling history. Look into the videoscope! [more inside]
Michael Mann's "Thief" is a film of style, substance, and violently felt emotion, all wrapped up in one of the most intelligent thrillers I've seen. - Roger Ebert [more inside]
It arrived at MIT in the middle of the night... 1988 computer virus - (via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]
Mountain Dew, Gamma World - and cake! GeekDad's Ethan Gilsdorf uncovers a long-lost pile of loot - silent Super 8 footage of a 1981 Friday night D&D session. JJ Abrams couldn't have faked it this good. (SLYT-sorta)
[Absolute Beginners] has a glossy immediacy, and you can feel the flash and determination that went into it. What you don't feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the 70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. - Pauline Kael [more inside]
As a historical document the book is exhaustive and valuable. But I did not come away feeling that I knew or understood Hüsker Dü — the musicians themselves, their music, or any of the people around them — any more intimately than I already did. Earles’ writing is at once densely opinionated and emotionless. He expertly follows the chronology of the band’s tours and releases, but he never makes it understandable why some of us look back on this band so reverently, or why it would be worth somebody’s time to discover Hüsker Dü today. (previously)
After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
Alex Cox: REPO MAN was made as a "negative pickup" by Universal at the time when Bob Rehme was head of the studio. At the time, the big deal over there was STREETS OF FIRE, and nobody really noticed our film [8 MB PDF] at all. Which was lucky for us, since Bob Rehme had "green-lighted" a film which was quite unusual by studio standards. (previously)
Melt your brain into goo on an overdose of crass 80s consumerism and TV without the TV shows at 80sCommercialVault. Superbowl 19 commercials. Commercials from Jaws. Saturday morning commercials. Daytime / evening commercials. [more inside]
Under the stewardship of Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, Cannon Films was responsible for many of the worst - and a few of the best - movies of the 1980s. Along the way it won an Academy Award and enriched the language. (previously) [more inside]
On March 15, 1993, The Truth Commission for El Salvador published its report From Madness to Hope: the 12-year war in El Salvador. The Commission attributed the assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero to the death squads, as well as the deaths of the victims of the El Mozote Massacre. ... Five days after the commission issued its report, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved an amnesty law covering all the violent events of the war.
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience. - Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
Rock Scene magazine - scans of every page of all 54 issues from 1973-1982, featuring artists like Bowie, Queen Lou Reed, the Ramones, The New York Dolls, Blondie, Talking Heads, Willy DeVille, and more. (via Dangerous Minds)
Threads (1984). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) Testament (1983). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) [more inside]
"My exact words were: I’d like to overthrow the government. I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I’m delighted that came into the show." - former Doctor Who script editor Andrew Cartmel on the shows 80s political stance. Terrance Dicks and Andrew Cartmel on Newsnight. Meanwhile former Doctor David Tennant gives his veiws on the Master-like characteristics of Tory leader David Cameron.
Exhibit A: "But avoid spilling red wine because you don't want him to remember you for the wrong reasons."
Exhibit B: "So there you have it, men. Feminism: It may just get you a striptease! Happy Valentine's Day!" (via Geameade)
Exhibit B: "So there you have it, men. Feminism: It may just get you a striptease! Happy Valentine's Day!" (via Geameade)
Hey, what ever happened to Julie Brown? ( not that one) She was a hit in Earth Girls Are Easy with her number, Cause I'm a Blonde. She had another hit with the Dr. Demento staple The Homecoming Queens' Got a Gun! Then she faded into the cultural-artifact twilight ... [more inside]
80s era holiday television complete with antenna, TV guide, and remote.
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