... 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]
posted by Egg Shen
on Aug 19, 2012 -
SSS is a 1988 experimental film featuring rapid-fire clips of dancers on the streets and junkyards of New York's East Village
, "painstaking synched" to improvised music by Tom Cora (cello), Christian Marclay (turntables), and Zeena Parkins (harp). It's by filmmaker Henry Hills, whose official site is here
. More collage films here
, including Radio Adios
, the quick cut-up KINO DA!
("a manic collage film from the mid-80s when it still seemed that Reaganism of the soul could be defeated,
" with appearances by John Zorn, Fred Frith, Arto Lindsay, Ron Silliman among others), and Gotham
, one of three films Hills made for Zorn's Naked City project.
posted by mediareport
on May 25, 2012 -
Thermal, CA: home to the #1 song of the '80s.
During the '70s and early'80s, the small, arid farming town
was home to Freedman Co., run by Mr. Steinberg and his son, Billy
, who ran vineyard operations. Billy also made music
, time permitting. After his demo was secretly given to a star
, he went to L.A., and met his musical collaborator, but the farm pulled him back. He kept writing in Thermal, though.
"I remember writing the lyrics. . . while driving around in a red pickup truck that I owned and I was driving around my father’s dusty desert vineyards. I had been involved in a very emotionally difficult relationship that had finally ended I had met somebody new... I came up with the line, ‘I made it through the wilderness...I was beat, incomplete, I’d been had.’ All of the lyrics just poured out"
That was Steinberg & Kelly's
first #1 hit
... followed by four more
, along with other hits
you might not suspect.
posted by markkraft
on May 11, 2012 -
In the Warhol episode, Marion Ross (TV mom of Ron Howard in Happy Days) is a former Warhol superstar, married to stodgy Tom Bosley (TV dad of Ron Howard). Bosley doesn’t know about Ross’ past in underground film, and she’s afraid that they’ll run into Warhol, playing himself, aboard ship.
Andy Warhol takes a pleasant cruise on The Love Boat
posted by scody
on May 8, 2012 -
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.
posted by Trurl
on May 4, 2012 -
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]
posted by zarq
on Apr 3, 2012 -
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!
In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys
brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power
was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 1, 2012 -
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]
posted by Trurl
on Mar 29, 2012 -
I catch a lot of flak over my description of the years 1974 to 1983 as the Golden Age of roleplaying games, much of it based on a misunderstanding of my original point, namely that, after this period, tabletop RPGs would never again command the same degree of broad cultural significance that they did during this time. A good illustration of my point is this odd product, from wargames publisher SPI: Dallas: The Television Role-Playing Game. Published in 1980, the same year as the company's more well known foray into roleplaying, DragonQuest, Dallas was designed by none other than James F. Dunnigan, famous as (among many things) the designer of the classic wargames Jutland and PanzerBlitz. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Feb 29, 2012 -
RETRONTARIO: Yours To Rediscover.
"RETRONTARIO was created to celebrate the neglected corners of Ontario’s rich televisual history; to put back into circulation material which rightly or wrongly had fallen into a black hole and was for all intents and purposes, lost."
posted by chunking express
on Feb 13, 2012 -
...there’s some desperation to this junk version of “Dancing in the Street,” with both parties trying to affirm their A-1 celebrity status. One of the more pernicious effects of the whole Live Aid/Farm Aid/Band Aid spectacle was to cement the hierarchy of the “legend” rock acts and a smaller tier of anointed successors from the slightly-younger generation (Tom Petty, Sting, Dire Straits, U2). It was the height of the Boomer Counter-Reformation. The late Eighties would see the over-publicized returns of everyone from Steve Winwood to the Monkees to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to a revamped George Harrison to a MOR version of Pink Floyd to Robbie Robertson pretending that he was Peter Gabriel (a version of Gabriel who couldn’t sing) to an all-star Yes and a Zeppelin-sampling Robert Plant, culminating in the return of the “revitalized” Stones in 1989, the touring company now reincorporated into a gleaming multinational. As Marcello Carlin said back when Popular covered this single: “Suddenly we were once again reminded who in pop and rock mattered and who didn’t…With their massacre of “Dancing In The Street,” Bowie and Jagger seemed to relish rubbing it in.“
-The Annotated Jagger/Bowie "Dancing in the Street"
posted by anazgnos
on Jan 17, 2012 -
[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]
posted by Trurl
on Dec 12, 2011 -
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)
posted by Trurl
on Dec 3, 2011 -
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)
posted by Trurl
on Nov 4, 2011 -
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
on Nov 2, 2011 -
: 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)
posted by Trurl
on Oct 31, 2011 -