The Old Leather Man was a proto-hobo who has been preserved by history because (as mefites learned back in 2007)
- He wore a 60-pound “boot suit” made entirely of leather
- He roamed a 365-mile path around the state and part of New York roughly every 34 days.
- His identity was a mystery. (Could he have been the disgraced Jules Bourgelay? Well, no, actually - we learned in 2008 that that was a hoax.)
The Green Book, a guide which informs you where you can safely fill up your car, where to eat without being attacked or where you can can sleep without fear on your dangerous journey. It may sound like something from a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel but the hostile land in question is segregation-era America and the book is real. First published in 1936 by a Harlem postal worker, Victor H Green - in his words, "to give the Negro traveller information that will keep from him running into difficulties and embarrassments". These embarrassments included lynching. (SLBBCdoc) [more inside]
Adult Rappers is a documentary that chronicles the lives of 30 rappers stuck in between obscurity and making it, including battle rappers, retired legends, new blood, and many others from the U.S. and Canada who have achieved various levels of success, and explores what it means to chase your dream while simultaneously trying to earn enough just to get by. Trailer (Vimeo). Full documentary (also Vimeo). [more inside]
In his new four-hour series, BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by leading scholars, celebrities, and a dynamic cast of people who shaped these years, Gates travels from the victories of the civil rights movement up to today, asking profound questions about the state of black America—and our nation as a whole. [more inside]
BBC Series Planet Earth II Will Be Unparalleled, Says Attenborough [The Guardian] “A lone eagle soars high above craggy mountain tops, the tips of its wings lifting lightly in the wind. A lemur leaps from tree to tree in a dense forest, the camera following the animal with every bound. An enormous grizzly bear wriggles his back against a tree, as if caught in an embarrassing dance. This is planet Earth, but not as you have ever seen it before. That’s because, more accurately, it is Planet Earth II [YouTube], the latest – and perhaps most spectacular – blockbuster nature series the BBC has ever made. Ten years after Sir David Attenborough narrated the channel’s groundbreaking epic Planet Earth, the 90-year-old broadcaster has returned for part two, a lavish six-part series that will screen on BBC1 from Sunday 6 November. Shot over three years in 117 filming trips to 40 countries, it is one of the first series to be fully filmed in the latest UHD and HDR formats, according to the BBC, and features countless sequences that could not have been achieved without new, ultra-lightweight cameras and drones.” [more inside]
The Story of Funk - One Nation Under A Groove is a 2014 BBC documentary about the birth and evolution of funk music. [SLYT]
In Food Hacking, a documentary series of shorts from Vice's Munchies, host Simon Klose explores the people and science mapping out new boundaries of Japanese cuisine, as well as their social and environmental implications. [more inside]
HBO's Class Divide is a documentary that profiles the neighborhood of West Chelsea, New York, and in particular focuses on the housing projects that sit across the street from Avenues: The World School, a private school with an entrance fee of $50,000 per year.
The PBS documentary series "The Migrant Kitchen" explores Los Angeles’ booming food scene through the eyes of a new generation of chefs whose cuisine is inspired by the immigrant experience. The filmmakers visit the kitchens of those who have transformed the culinary landscape of the city, combining traditional ethnic cuisines and a fusion of new flavors and techniques. Ep 1: Chirmol: How a Guatemalan Tradition Journeyed to an American Menu; Ep 2: Barkada: L.A.’s Exploding Filipino Food Movement; Ep 3: Mercado: Artisanal Street Food & L.A.'s Best Mole; Ep 4: Loghmeh: Whole Animal Roasts & Middle-Eastern Culinary Traditions; Ep 5: Banchan: Korean Food Beyond BBQ. [Scroll down the pages for related background and recipes.]
Frozen Dreams: Russia's Arctic obsession (16 min.) is a Financial Times video feature about Russian Federation preparations to take advantage of the Northern Sea Route opening up along its Arctic coast, which may at some point offer a preferable path for global shipping between the Atlantic region and East Asia, in comparison with the conventional route through the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, and Indian Ocean. [more inside]
In 2008, Iggy Pop asked Jim Jarmusch to make a documentary about Pop's wildly unsuccessful (until recently) but hugely influential band The Stooges. It took 7 years, during which time many of the original members died... but now the film is finished, and it opens in limited release on October 28th. Pop and Jarmusch interviewed each other in Rolling Stone for the release. [more inside]
Above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, a half-day's journey by snowmobile from the nearest paved road or tree, a village called Kivalina sits on a slip of permanently frozen earth bracketed by water — a lagoon on one side and the Chukchi Sea on the other. Everything on Kivalina is hard: there are no roads, few jobs, and rising waters that will soon swallow the island whole. But life can get better if the villagers catch a whale. It hasn't happened since 1994, but that's no reason to give up. This just might be the year. [more inside]
Taller Than the Trees [N/YT] by Megan Mylan - "Japanese men haven't traditionally been caregivers. But for Masami Hayata, it's a crucial part of raising his family." (via)
Vimes Short documentary on an airport parking lot in Los Angeles, where pilots, mechanics and flight attendant live in trailers. Feels like a J. G. Ballard novel.
The bizarre rise and fall and resurgence of tiki bars and cocktails is an interesting history that starts with two men, Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron, who traveled to the South Pacific and brought back some "island culture" to the United States with them in the 1930s, continuing on with the craze really booming after WWII vets returned from tours overseas. With the ebbs and flows of popularity, the cultural appropriation in "Tiki culture" has often been overlooked, as to the Māori mythology and meaning behind Tiki carvings and imagery and Hawiian culture of leis and luaus. Let's talk Tiki bars: harmless fun or exploitation. [Soundtrack: Les Baxter's Ritual Of The Savage ( 1951) and Martin Denny's Exotica (1957)] [more inside]
I'm going to imagine you have the basics: over ₤10M in the bank, a yacht, luxury London apartment, second home in Monaco, offshore bank account, and if not a private jet, at least access to one. Good, are you sitting comfortably in your designer Italian armchair? Then we can begin. -The Banker's Guide To Art
In a 91-page decision, a federal judge today overturned Brendan Dassey's conviction in Teresa Halbach's murder. (Full opinion available here.) The Teresa Halbach case recently made headlines in the popular 2015 Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, which focused primarily on the case, circumstance, and trial of Dassey's uncle Steven Avery. The case against Brendan Dassey was based in large part on a confession that documentary filmmakers, lawyers, and ultimately a federal judge deemed to be involuntary and coerced. In granting the writ of habeas corpus, the federal judge ruled that the State has 90 days to either release Dassey, or schedule the case to be re-tried by a jury, presumably without the inadmissible confession.
In the Great Lakes region there are people with roots in Finland and among indigenous North American peoples. It’s impossible to know how exactly many of these so-called ‘Findians’ exist, but their numbers are estimated in the hundreds. Author Katja Kettu, journalist Maria Seppälä and photographer Meeri Koutaniemi documented their lives over the course of three years. Their experiences form the basis for their book, ‘Findian country’.
Martha's Vineyard is well known as an idyllic summer vacation spot, but all is not well on the island. Affordable housing is hard to find. Housing for seasonal workers is hard to find. 57% of the dwellings on island are seasonal... [more inside]
Electric & Musical Industries was formed in 1931, initially releasing classical music, but went on to launch the Beatles, who changed the record label's operations and funded the company for years and years. The label's recording rules were further broadened by Queen and Pink Floyd. EMI ushered punk into the mainstream with Sex Pistols, and then embraced the New Romanticism and the polished excesses of Duran Duran. They made music videos big with Pet Shop Boys and made Brit Pop a thing with Blur, and were home to Radiohead. This is the inside story of EMI, one of the greatest British brands in recording history, as told by people involved with the record label's storied history, augmented by company and performance footage. [more inside]
Lionel Powell is an artist, a teacher, and TREEMAN — a Plantlike Amphibious Celestial Being in Venice Beach. [Vimeo, 2:47] [more inside]
In 1997, Björk interviewed musicians Alasdair Malloy, Mika Vainio, Tommi Grönlund, and Arvo Pärt in a two-part BBC documentary entitled Modern Minimalists - part I | part II
Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder [iTunes] is podcast documentary in ten episodes about the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987. The main producer, Peter Jukes, is a TV screenwriter and political activist who became obsessed with the Morgan murder and has turned that obsession into a podcast. He is not the only one still interested, as the UK government set up the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel to review the case and look into "police handling of the murder investigation" and "connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists" after years of pressure by Morgan's family. So far there have been four episodes, with new ones coming each week.
Thirty Million (direct Vimeo link), a U.N.-funded half-hour film about the expected effects of climate change on the country of Bangladesh. Radio interview with one of the directors on Radio New Zealand. Bangladesh will lose 70% of its land area if there is a one-meter sea level rise, displacing thirty million people. [more inside]
The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past - The Art of Conducting: Legendary Conductors of a Golden Era - The Art Of Piano: Great Pianists Of The 20th Century - The Art of Violin [more inside]
The Story of India, written and presented by Michael Wood for the BBC, is a six episode documentary that serves as an entertaining and solid introduction to Indian history. All six episodes are available in full (6 hrs). [more inside]
British body mod artist Grace Neutral heads to South Korea to compare and contrast their mainstream beauty standards with the (still illegal) underground tattoo scene.
Craig Baldwin creates "collage essay" films, redeeming or taking revenge on the trash(ed) videos of the past, and making movies on the cheap (YT interview). The work of this culture jammer, media appropriator, director and documentarian (Sonic Outlaws, Archive.org) stretches back to his short student films in the 1970s, and often includes political commentary, usually concerning the exploitation of countries and people under imperialism, capitalist or otherwise. But you might have to look beyond the chaos on the surface, as found in the ultimate conspiracy theory film, Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1991 - 48 minutes, Vimeo). [more inside]
Established in 1982, the [San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive] preserves 6000 hours of newsfilm, documentaries and other TV footage produced in the Bay Area and Northern California from the Twentieth Century. We are a part of the J. Paul Leonard Library’s Department of Special Collections and oversee material owned by local TV stations KPIX-TV, KRON-TV, KQED and KTVU. All 1,659 items in the collections can be streamed. A few notable inclusions within. [more inside]
Al Fry is an old-school eccentric, mostly from the pre-internet days. He lives (or lived) out in Idaho, which was his home-base for distributing Fry's Incredible Inquiry's Catalog, covering "technology, alchemy, weird science (PDF), Tesla, anti-gravity, occult, crystal power, and other fascinating fringy topics." And then there are his videos, including Hidden World History and Strange Beings 1, narrated by A. H. Fry himself. His videos have been collected a few times over on YouTube (1, 2). And he has written about making tipis.
Every Episode of David Attenborough’s Life Series, Ranked [The Atlantic] This Sunday, Sir David Attenborough, naturalist, maker of wildlife documentaries, snuggler of gorillas, wielder of That Voice, keeper of the blue shirt, and Most Trusted Man in Britain, turns 90. To mark the occasion, and celebrate his unbeatable oeuvre, I re-watched all 79 episodes of his Life Collection, and ranked them from worst to best—or, really, from least great to greatest.
Roadliners. A short documentary about a Glaswegian freehand painter of text and signs on roads.
Filmmaker and editor trappped makes eerie documentaries about prolific Youtubers. [Content warning: descriptions of child sexual abuse in third link (and possibly other Hampow93 vids).] [more inside]
Last Men Standing. The stories of eight men who aren't supposed to be here. Diagnosed with HIV in the 1980's, when that was a death sentence, they are now living lives they never expected to have. [more inside]
Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest [NYT]: "By the time many young men do reach college, a deep-seeded* gender stereotype has taken root that feeds into the stories they have heard about themselves as learners. Better to earn your Man Card than to succeed like a girl, all in the name of constantly having to prove an identity to yourself and others." [more inside]
BBC Radio 2 presents a 4-hour, 4-part career retrospective of Pet Shop Boys. The first two hours, Chart (Part 1, Part 2) cover their 11 main studio albums released during their 28-year relationship with the Parlophone music label. Hour three, Collaborate, covers their forays outside of pop music into musical theater, silent film scoring, ballet, and even a BBC Proms classical music piece. The final hour, The Pop Kids [which deviates from PSB naming conventions in ways that annoy me deeply -ed] looks at their most recent recordings, both done for their own label, X2. [more inside]
Orson Welles, sitting in a dark library and smoking a cigar, narrates the 1975 28-minute long NASA documentary "Who's Out There" on the subjects of Mars, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life and civilizations. Also featuring Carl Sagan.
A Journal of Insomnia is an interactive documentary that only comes alive at night. Make a nighttime appointment to experience a sleepless night through stories, images and webcam videos shared by the insomniac of your choice. [more inside]
A four part documentary, each of 15 mins, about Jan Švankmajer probably the greatest living surrealist. Pt. I. | Pt. II. | Pt. III | Pt. IV.
An interview from 2012 - Freedom is becoming the only theme, and a previous incredibly thorough post.
An interview from 2012 - Freedom is becoming the only theme, and a previous incredibly thorough post.
Jesse Owens usually gets all the attention when people talk about the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, but the documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice looks at the other black athletes who traveled with Owens to Hitler’s Berlin 80 years ago, including Jackie Robinson’s big brother Mack, and Tidye Ann Pickett-Phillips, first black American woman to compete in the Olympics.
Net cafe refugees | Dumping ground | Overworked to suicide. A three-part documentary based on Shiho Fukada's portrait series, Japan's Disposable Workers. Previously. [more inside]
The first feature-length documentary to shed light on the Black Panther Party — and all its reviled, adored, misunderstood, and mythologized history. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is now streaming online. [more inside]
The Brain: What is Reality To conjure a reality from all [that] sensory information your brain needs about half a second. [more inside]
A variety of documentaries about Negro League baseball: Only The Ball Was White, Black Ball, Extra Innings: Preserving the History of the Negro Leagues, and The Long Summers of Lou Dials. [more inside]
Keith Haring's New Year's Eve Party with his paintings and favorite music is a video taken at Keith's New Year's Eve Party welcoming 1984 via the 5 Ninth Avenue Project, , which uploads the work of video artist Nelson Sullivan, who, when he died in 1989, left behind almost 1,200 hours of footage of the now iconic and heavily romanticized Downtown New York scene
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)