... 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]
In the mid-1950s, Dickie Goodman was a struggling song writer working with song publisher Bill Buchanan, when the two men came up with the idea of a fake radio program interrupted by a UFO attack (similar to the hoax Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds), except in this case, the aliens spoke the language of rock 'n' roll. The result was Flying Saucer, Parts 1 and 2 on Luniverse Records, the first novelty break-in record and a forerunner to the modern mashup. [more inside]
"Reagan's president elect...." 30+ years ago Heaven 17 released their first single, (WE DON'T NEED THIS) FASCIST GROOVE THANG. Stop your good time dancing, 'cause here they are three decades later (still) performing it at Abbey Road studio and sounding pretty fine. Turn volume up before playing.
Photos of Rhodesian military vehicles taken between 1979 and early 1980 with a Kodak Instamatic.
The Last Days of Pompeii, written by the infamous Edward Bulwer-Lytton, was a Titanic size blockbuster novel back in the 1830s--- but it has not aged well. It is most well known for its many film versions-- there was the silent landmark film from 1913, an adaptation in 1935 and a spaghetti peplum with Steve Reeves from 1959-- but perhaps the most memorable (and exhaustive) version was the colossal star-studded miniseries made in 1984. [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]
AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [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)
You may not know who the Costacos Brothers are. But if you were a sports fan in the US during the 1980's, chances are that you had one of their posters up in your room.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Chicago gangs distributed gang cards to stake their neighbourhood claim. Full gallery available here.
WALK .. is a trippy 1983 journey from one part of Minneapolis to another. It begins with a guy who can hardly move. He slowly gains stuttered motion and utters basic letter sounds, then begins a real and imaginary walk. His journey is from his view - floating. At the end of this walk, he meets a friend. Walk's film surface is hand worked and street noise is composed as music-concrete. 16mm B/W SLYT
[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)
Let the robot dancing begin! Yellow Magic Orchestra performs the oft-sampled "Firecracker" on Soul Train, 1980. YMO --". . . presently the most popular band in all of Japan"-- also perform "Tighten Up".
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)
You've probably heard Madonna's Holiday. You might be aware of the Dutch rap version by MC Miker G & Deejay Sven. What may be new to you is the Soviet parody. [more inside]
Pop quiz! What do these musicians have in common: Lou Reed, E Street Band keyboardists Roy Bittan and Danny Federici, rhythm section Andrew Bodnar and Stephen Goulding of The Rumour, dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, erstwhile SNL bandleader G.E. Smith, session horn section the Brecker Brothers, LaBelle alum Nona Hendryx, guitar virtuoso Adrian Belew, and David Johansen of the New York Dolls? Answer: they were (most of) the studio band on the 1981 album Escape Artist by Garland Jeffreys. Which raises the question, "Garland who?" [more inside]
SI has written an oral history about the making of the movie "Major League". Charlie Sheen was also interviewed for this piece.
Smash Hits! was a UK music magazine, first published at the end of 1978. It charted the progress of pop styles, including the rise of 2-Tone, and included a number of freebie discs, first as flexi discs, and later on CDs. The magazine faltered in the 1990s, and closed shop in 2006. Since then there have been a few one-off "special editions," first a 2009 tribute to Michael Jackson, and then a Lady Gaga special in 2010. 30 years after the first issue went on sale, a fan posted the first issue online. So far, new scans have been posted fort-nightly, following the original release schedule. 73 issues are online to date, each three decades after they first were sold. (via MetaChat)
30 years later, Neil Peart breathlessly recounts, track by track, the making of Rush's seminal album Moving Pictures.
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
Youtube channel of early/mid 1980s alternative rock music recorded in Estudios Roma, Madrid [more inside]
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]
Il était une fois... les technologies du passé. (YouTube) Adorable Francophone kids will make you feel old as they try to figure out technology from the 1980s.
The pumpkins are mouldering or smashed, candy wrappers are strewn about, and your costume is tossed aside. Keep the mood going for a bit longer with some Halloween mixtapes, from film composer Alan Howarth (credits, IMDb), and three(tracklist) streaming mixes from electronic/breakbeat producers Evil Nine. If you are looking for more beats and rapping in your mixtapes, here are three volumes of Night of the Living Dead (NSFW), from Cookin' Soul.
"[T]he most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do."
"He’s a minimalist and constantly reducing things to their simplest level. It’s not simplistic. It’s simplified. Steve is a systems designer. He simplifies complexity." John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview [via]
I'm Remembering has pics of things that people aged 30-40 will remember from their childhood and adolescence. Who could forget Tiger Handheld games, Hypercolor shirts, Paint With Water books, Surge soda, Scholastic Book Club, Slice cola, Madballs, Ring Pops, and, last but not least, Zack Morris's cellphone?
Mallory's Clothes. As per the Tumblr description, a comprehensive rundown, in chronological order, of Mallory Keaton's outfits from the series Family Ties (1982-1989). Found by Matthew Perpetua (behind the Fluxblog mp3 blog), then also discovered by Justine Bateman herself.
Retrospace will bring back all those memories. '70s home decor. '80s teen comedies. Lifestyle magazines from 1977. And so much more. So very very much more. [more inside]