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Busta Rhymes: the James Brown of hip-hop, there's no use coming on stage after him

Busta Rhymes is back with his 9th studio album, Year of the Dragon. It's free* for a limited time from Google Play, and also available to stream and download from DatPiff**. If that wasn't enough, Google Play put together a 21 minute biographical documentary on Busta Rhymes, with Busta and some close collaborators talking about his last 20 years. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 22, 2012 - 33 comments

The journey from Sputnik to Mir (and all the dead ends in between)

Red Star in Orbit is a three-part BBC documentary about the history of the Soviet space program, originally broadcast in 1990 as part of the ongoing series Horizon. Based on a book by American space historian and NASA vetran James Oberg, who features prominently in the program, Red Star in Orbit was filmed and assembled while the slow collapse of the USSR was already underway. The filmmakers were given an unprecedented amount of access to active Cosmonauts, veterans of the program and to Star City itself. [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities on Aug 20, 2012 - 41 comments

Voguing: Old Way & New Way

Two short documentaries about voguing - 1989 and 2011. An evolution of a dance form and a subculture.

Voguing: The Message traces the roots of this gay, Black and Latino dance form, which appropriates and plays with poses and images from mainstream fashion. Voguing competitions parody fashion shows and rate the contestants on the basis of movement, appearance and costume. This tape is a pre-Madonna primer that raises questions about race, sex and subcultural style. [Dir. Jack Walworth, David Bronstein & Dorothy Low 1989 13 min.]

VOGUE: A Twist on the Dance Floor is an intimate look into modern day voguing and how it's leaving a big impression even today. Starring legendary vogue fem Dashaun Evisu. [Dir. Danilo Parra, Produced by Dashaun Wesley; 2011 11 min.] [more inside]
posted by stoneweaver on Aug 19, 2012 - 12 comments

as if he just fell asleep watching the game

Team Spirit is a short documentary by Errol Morris about the funerals of passionate sports fans. (SLYT)
posted by Sticherbeast on Aug 16, 2012 - 11 comments

Stan Brakhage on birth and death

Stan Brakhage on birth and death*. [graphic childbirth and autopsy footage] (* previously - dead links) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 16, 2012 - 9 comments

Bully Pulpit Games' Fiasco

TableTop’s Fiasco episodes may be the greatest roleplaying documentary made to date. ... Not only are the two episodes it takes to show their session a joy to watch (and they are a pleasure) but they succeed in something that is really difficult to do: capture the essence of a game session. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 14, 2012 - 32 comments

Drugs 2.0

Drugs have changed a lot in the past ten years. You have, mainly, these two men to blame/thank for most of the fervor. Laws are flexing accordingly. [Shulgin previously: 1,2]
posted by fieldcannotbeblank on Aug 14, 2012 - 20 comments

The Bully Pulpit

Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 13, 2012 - 237 comments

Mike and George Kuchar

It Came From Kuchar [trailer] is a 90 minute long documentary about the underground filmmaker brothers Mike and George Kuchar. It is also available to view on hulu and via Amazon. It could also possibly be available on Netflix. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Aug 12, 2012 - 4 comments

Herb and Dorothy

On July 22, 2012, Herb Vogel passed away. Herb worked his entire life for the US Postal Service, while his wife Dorothy worked for the Brooklyn Public Library. In spite of their humble backgrounds, the couple were renowned in art circles for amassing over the course of decades a deeply personal collection of over 2500 pieces of 20th C. contemporary American art, a collection so vast that it could not be housed in the National Gallery of Art. A traveling exhibition entitled Fifty Works in Fifty States was set up to share the Vogel's treasures with the American public in museums across the country, as well as online. The wonderful story of the deep love that the Vogels shared for each other and their passion for art, beauty and human creativity was told in the eponymous documentary Herb and Dorothy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 7, 2012 - 21 comments

How “2001″ Became the Space Odyssey We Know

"James Cameron narrates this documentary on the classic film 2001. It includes archival footage of the late Arthur C. Clarke in the 1960s touring spacecraft manufacturing facilities, footage of designers putting together models, snippets of archival footage of Kubrick, interviews with various luminaries, and various other amazing stuff I’ve never seen. It also features interviews with Doug Trumbull and others who did special effects for the film. If you’re a 2001 fan, this is 43 minutes of candy. Skip to 7:00 to find out how they did the floating-pen trick — including an interview with the actress who played the “Space Hostess” who grabbed the pen seemingly from midair. Skip to around 11:00 to meet the guys who played the apes ... . Around 13:45, Clarke explains how the monolith originally was to have a movie screen on it ... ."
posted by SpacemanStix on Aug 4, 2012 - 34 comments

There is grandeur in this view of life.

The Evolution Documentary channel (autoplays video) has collected documentaries and clips about evolution available on youtube, including documentaries from BBC, Nova, and National Geographic. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Aug 3, 2012 - 8 comments

Not A Crime

Montreal Cops Chase Skateboarders [more inside]
posted by TheWhiteSkull on Aug 2, 2012 - 20 comments

Mort de Chris Marker

Chris Marker, director of La Jetée and Sans Soleil, among many others, and co-writer of 12 Monkeys, has died at age 91. English obit. French obit. Article on Chris Marker in the Guardian from 2002. Another appreciation from 2002. La Jetée on YouTube. Previously. Previouslier.
posted by chavenet on Jul 30, 2012 - 68 comments

Versailles, Florida

Orlando, FL - 10 ac, 90K sq ft, 13 bed, 30 bath, 20 car garage, 3 pools, 2 tennis cts, bowling alley, skating rink - $100M [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 28, 2012 - 140 comments

Travel on your stomach

The Perennial Plate: An American Food Trip is an online documentary series of short videos featuring "adventurous and sustainable eating" beginning in Minnesota and continuing around the US.
posted by Miko on Jul 22, 2012 - 3 comments

Kumaré Sutra

"At PSFK Conference NYC, Vikram Gandhi spoke about his latest movie Kumaré - The True Story of A False Prophet. While he was born in New Jersey, the film director spoke about how he had been noticing how the Indian-heritage culture he had experienced as he grew up, was being used by Americans and other Westerners to help solve their emotional and spiritual issues. To explore this idea further he dressed up as a guru, created a backstory with YouTube video and website, spoke like his grandmother and recruited followers in Arizona. What's unique is that throughout the film is that he tells everyone he was an illusion and asks his followers to look in a mirror to solve their own problems." [more inside]
posted by vidur on Jul 8, 2012 - 42 comments

Fred Flintstone has it made.

"Dinosaurs welcome us along our highways, and infiltrate the most private domains of our home..." [more inside]
posted by Sayuri. on Jul 6, 2012 - 12 comments

He’s documenting history, one Asian movie theater at a time

Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
posted by blueberry on Jul 1, 2012 - 6 comments

Peefeeyatko. Bigfoot for "Give Me Some More Apples"

Frank Zappa - Peefeeyatko Documentary covers Frank Zappa's later Synclavier computer compositions. Features Boulez, Xenakis, and a guy who knows Bigfoot personally. Previously
posted by Dr. Fetish on Jun 21, 2012 - 13 comments

This post is just in time for the annual spaghetti harvest.

In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 20, 2012 - 22 comments

Hollywood - Celebration of the American Silent Film

The wonderful, and fairly rare, 13-part documentary series from 1980 - Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film - is narrated by James Mason for Thames Television. Episode One - The Pioneers - [52 mins] [the rest are linked inside] shows:-
"the evolution of film from penny arcade curiosity to art form, from what was considered the first plot driven film, The Great Train Robbery, through to The Birth of a Nation, films showing the power of the medium. Early Technicolor footage, along with other color technologies, are also featured. Interviews include Lillian Gish, Jackie Coogan and King Vidor.*"
[more inside]
posted by peacay on Jun 18, 2012 - 19 comments

Sing us a Song to Keep us Warm, There's Such a Chill

In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 16, 2012 - 66 comments

Groupies (1970): "foul-mouthed, clever, patient, anxious, ugly, beautiful, self-aware girls" (and boys)

"For the real function of "Groupies" is to display fantastic personality — in its foul-mouthed, clever, patient, anxious, ugly, beautiful, self-aware girls. Everybody is always on camera; everybody has a story (anything from last night's conquest to total life history) that she tells almost compulsively — and from this eager collaboration between medium and messenger grows a vitality that is its own sufficient reward." Groupies, the 1970 documentary of female (and a few male) groupies and the bands they follow, is up on DailyMotion. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 8, 2012 - 21 comments

Filmed in Sand-O-Vision

Jeff Broz and his teenage friends filmed this seven and a half minute Sand-O-Vision "documentary" on the set of Return Of The Jedi, in 1982.
posted by gman on Jun 8, 2012 - 10 comments

"And what were they serving at El Bulli? Water!"

Drive 8.7 km (5.4 miles) west of the municipality of Roses in Catalonia, Spain, and you'll get to the gates of the renowned avant-garde restaurant, El Bulli. Run by Ferran Adrià since 1987, the restaurant closed in 2012 due to Adrià and his partner Juli Soler losing a half million Euros a year on the restaurant and Adrià's cooking workshop in Barcelona. Slate's Noreen Malone wrote an article on the history of the "I Ate at El Bulli" piece, giving an overview of tropes that you could expect in an IAaEB piece, and you can browse images tagged "elbulli" on Flickr for snapshots of personal experiences. But for an extended look into what went into making the ever-changing 35-course taster's menu, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (Trailer on YT and Vimeo) is a 109 minute documentary on the preparation and implementation of the 2008/9 season, an "extreme fly-on-the-wall vérité, with only the barest context provided." If you're looking for recipes, Molecular Recipes has a few listed under the El Bulli tag. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 4, 2012 - 26 comments

One of 'em Suck!

Former major leaguer and current minor league manager Wally Backman says some very colorful things. The full censored episodes are online (starting with Episode 1: Where's Wally Backman?) Mostly NSFW. [more inside]
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Jun 3, 2012 - 6 comments

"I've been lucky enough to film with elephants, gorillas, bears and none of them have ever sat on my head."

Magic Meerkat Moments: In this clip from BBC's Planet Earth Live, we get to see meerkats, which have become so acclimated to film crews that they now view them as part of the landscape and use them for shade and as vantage points. [via]
posted by quin on May 24, 2012 - 35 comments

"Never Be Satisfied"

"I'm just looking for a second chance. Other people get second chances. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Spousal beaters. Not gamblers, though. But, if you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me, it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in. So that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports. No one else can say that." Here, Now is a short documentary that looks at baseball legend Pete Rose, as he lives his life today. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2012 - 45 comments

Robert Hughes' "The Shock of the New"

Shock of the New is a 1980 documentary television series by Robert Hughes produced by the BBC in association with Time-Life Films and RM Productions. ... It addressed the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised. - Wikipedia [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 22, 2012 - 18 comments

Occupy, Resist, and Produce

The Take is a 2004 film [~90m] by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis about the reclaimed factory movement (worker-managed co-operatives) in Argentina. It's presented here in 9 parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9. Also in a convenient playlist for easy viewing. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on May 20, 2012 - 11 comments

The Weight of a Nation

Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis, Challenges. HBO’s multi-part research documentary The Weight of the Nation examines obesity in America in four parts, marshaling leading doctors, epidemiologists, economists, researchers, and community leaders to understand and explain the individual costs and public solutions to a multi-faceted social and individual problem. The documentary both explores large picture statistics, while giving voice “to those that often too seek to be invisible: members of the nearly 70 percent of Americans currently diagnosed as overweight or obese. (AV Club Review)” [more inside]
posted by stratastar on May 16, 2012 - 42 comments

"I always thought that board games were things that adults didn't play."

The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends is a short documentary by Jay Cheel whose subject is summed up by its title. You can see other short films by Cheel at his website. The main protagonist of the doc, Gerry Eng, a.k.a. Reed Farrington, has been the subject of many Cheel films, such as Cooking with Gerry, Cooking with Gerry #2, Poutine, A Very Gerry X-Mas and Reed's House.
posted by Kattullus on May 10, 2012 - 84 comments

The dying arts of kamra-e-faoree "instant" photographs and hand tinting photos in Afghanistan

"From photography’s earliest days, enterprising practitioners realized they could take their services directly to the people. This lead to the horse-drawn wagons called “Daguerreotype Salons” and then to portable, darkroom tents that allowed wet-plate photographers to make pictures outside. As technology advanced, the tents morphed into a single apparatus that combined both camera and darkroom, which allowed photographers to work anywhere. Afghanistan is one of the last places where street vendor photographers still use such a hand-made, wooden camera called kamra-e-faoree or “instant camera.” Observing this practice lead photographer Lukas Birk & anthropologist Sean Foley to undertake the Afghan Box Camera Project." - Photo Technique Magazine introduction to an interview with Lukas Birk [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 9, 2012 - 4 comments

British Council Film Collection

The British Council Film Collection "is an archive of over 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time." A couple of essays and case studies also already up, with more to come.
posted by Abiezer on May 3, 2012 - 7 comments

Sexy Baby

Sexy Baby is a documentary by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus (AV Club interview) about "sexiness in the cyber age" that follows the stories of an ex-porn star, a 22-year-old teacher saving up for labiaplasty and a 12 year-old girl. Trailer (probably NSFW)
posted by bytewrite on Apr 27, 2012 - 127 comments

"...information based in part on theory and conjecture."

In 1973 and 1975, two one-hour television documentaries aired in the US: In Search of Ancient Astronauts (Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and In Search of Ancient Mysteries (Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The same producers also put out The Outer Space Connection (Parts 1 and 2) in 1975. All were narrated by Twilight Zone's Rod Serling. In 1976 a series was developed. Since Serling had passed away in 1975, popular actor Leonard Nimoy was chosen as host. In Search of... ran for six seasons, from 1976 - 1982, and was devoted to discussing unusual mysteries and phenomena. All 144 episodes can be seen on YouTube. Playlists: Seasons 1 and 2. Seasons 3 and 4. Seasons 5 and 6.
posted by zarq on Apr 23, 2012 - 51 comments

"...I want to make a kind of music that had the Long Now and the Big Here..."

Imaginary Landscapes (1989): a visually hypnotic and impressionistic portrait of musician Brian Eno, directed by Duncan Ward and Gabriella Cardazzo. (40 mins.)
posted by Neilopolis on Apr 22, 2012 - 20 comments

Who Killed Nancy?

Who Killed Nancy is a documentary examining the lives and deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. It features interviews with many of the people on the Punk scenes in both London and New York, including people who were in Sid and Nancy's Chelsea Hotel room on the night Nancy died.
posted by marienbad on Apr 22, 2012 - 23 comments

You can vote once per day per category

2012 Vimeo Awards Nominations — There are 13 categories including four new ones. The Experimental category is lots of fun. [previously]
posted by netbros on Apr 19, 2012 - 9 comments

"Best spring break ever, bro."

10 Types of Documentaries We Can Live Without
posted by IvoShandor on Apr 19, 2012 - 80 comments

I married adventure

Before Joy Adamson went to Africa, before Margaret Mead sailed to Samoa, before Dian Fossey was even born, a Kansas teenager named Osa Leighty married Martin Johnson. Whether dancing to jazz in Congorilla or meeting headhunters in Borneo, her life with Martin ultimately led to hours of pioneering documentary footage, books, movies and more. Her autobiography inspired a Kate Spade purse, a perfume and her marriage an entire line of clothing while her joie de vivre put her on the cover of a book on trailblazing women of history. Osa Johnson went on to become a character in a play, in a poem while her married life gave birth to a museum (or two). When Osa met Martin, she married adventure.
posted by infini on Apr 19, 2012 - 4 comments

I woke up gay.

I Woke Up Gay (SLYT): In the small town of Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, seven years ago, a 19-stone rugby-playing ladies man and bank clerk Chris Birch snapped his neck while larking around doing somersaults and backflips with his friends. As the tabloids excitedly revealed a while ago, he suffered a massive stroke and woke up as a completely different person -- a person who happened to be gay. [more inside]
posted by gertzedek on Apr 18, 2012 - 105 comments

Claude Lanzmann

Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Apr 16, 2012 - 6 comments

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 9, 2012 - 36 comments

Four turns for a dollar. 500 turns for two dollars.

Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick (previously) makes the day of the nine-year-old proprietor of Caine's Arcade.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Apr 9, 2012 - 46 comments

Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms

Wired called them, digital graffiti and John Carmack spoke of them at QuakeCon 2011 but they remain little known. A recently released full-length documentary (download) gives a portrait of the creative digital subculture from 80s to the present day. [more inside]
posted by Z303 on Apr 9, 2012 - 37 comments

Dirty Pictures

Dirty Pictures [1h30m] is a documentary (trailer [1m30s]) about Alexander Shulgin, his life, his family, the drugs he has developed, the people he has affected, the boundaries of experience he has explored, the effects he has had on society, and the understanding of the mind and the psychedelic experience which have resulted from his experiments and chemical creations.
posted by hippybear on Apr 4, 2012 - 23 comments

The News Corporation scandals

Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 28, 2012 - 58 comments

"The stories of these cases are very painful."

This is an animated documentary about Mohammad Mostafaei who is an Iranian lawyer in exile in Norway. Mostafaei specialized in advocating for defendants who faced the death penalty and the animation focuses on one of these cases, that of Behnoud Shojaee. The animation features Paul Bettany reading Mostafaei's words, is a part of Amnesty International's campaign against the death penalty.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 28, 2012 - 3 comments

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