Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees
February 13, 2008 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees was the first movie on the internet. Also, allegedly the first indie movie edited on a digital non-linear system. Mostly, though it's just awesome because it features a cameo from William S. Burroughs and is just plain weird.

spoiler: garden of eden cave = vengeance for the dead
posted by juv3nal (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
aw crud. add a "the" at the beginning of the spoiler there.
posted by juv3nal at 4:27 PM on February 13, 2008

I wanted to like this movie, I really did. But bad video effects and the constant droning narration had me wondering what the fuck.
posted by waraw at 4:36 PM on February 13, 2008

god I watched this movie so many times when I was a freshman in college. A friend had a vhs copy he made in a/v class in high school. thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen the first time I watched it. It really... REALLY doesn't bear up under frequent repeat viewings, however.
posted by shmegegge at 4:39 PM on February 13, 2008

Wax is probably my favorite film of all time. Once upon a time, I'd show it to my friends, and try to make them understand why I loved it so fiercely. Eventually, I gave up and acknowledged that it's always just going to be a very personal pleasure.
posted by phooky at 5:06 PM on February 13, 2008

Yeah - it's hard work to love. If you like this, check out Matthew Barney.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:07 PM on February 13, 2008

Wax is an awesome film. I also find it pretty amazing that waxweb is still up - I remember checking it out in the early days of the web.
posted by pombe at 5:09 PM on February 13, 2008

Matthew Barney
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:16 PM on February 13, 2008

^^Probably worth a NSFW on that Matthew Barney link.^^
posted by nanojath at 5:23 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

LobsterMitten: I haven't seen the Cremaster cycle, and I expect I'd enjoy it if I did, but from what I've read it seems like the antithesis of Wax: polished, high-budget, perfectly lit, and entirely inaccessible. I mean inaccessible in a literal sense; Wax is available on DVD and VHS, and can be freely viewed and wandered through online, while I get to see Cremaster, maybe, someday, at a time and place appointed by Barney, unless I want to lay out close to a quarter million clams for a DVD.
posted by phooky at 5:52 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Gasp! WAX on DVD! My VHS collection just got 20% more redundant!

while I get to see Cremaster, maybe, someday, at a time and place appointed by Barney, unless I want to lay out close to a quarter million clams for a DVD.

You didn't hear it from me, but some rich person (or some rich person's PA) has leaked DVD rips of the cycle to various places online.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:31 PM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah - it's hard work to love.
Balderdash! It's mytheopic in the memory --- 1993, dude! --- and reads like a Daniel Johnston/J.J. Abrams mash-up today. It's been on my top ten list for years and after I finish watching it online I will re-examine as necessary! It is nice not to be huddled around the architecture department's only video-capable computer this time 'round, that helps focus the mind on ya know, the movie.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:38 PM on February 13, 2008

Yes, nanojath, definitely - thanks for adding that, sorry I didn't. The first page that's linked isn't NSFW, but subsequent pages one might go to are.

Yeah, I meant the Matthew Barney struck me as being similarly oddball, not immediately linear, experimenty. It is definitely different in the ways you describe. One of the episodes has a lot to do with bees, this may also be why the two are linked in my simple, simple mind.

And DenofSizer, agreed that Wax is a much more undergroundish, discover it like a secret than the super-hyped Barney. It does definitely remind me of the early-middle '90s, when being a weirdo was still actually fringe, before the web made it easy to connect to other weirdoes without having to find the mailing address for a weird zine or video catalog. That time is very poignant to me, I've got a bunch of ziney stuff, collections of Odd Things, lists of mailing addresses and BBS dial-up numbers and so on from that time which represented so much work and the huge effort to reach other weirdoes, and all of these then would be superseded/go online just a few years later.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:52 PM on February 13, 2008

Waxweb was also a Moo and a VRML installation. Lots of crazy online experiments with that media. There were some interesting early web pioneers who helped David Blair get it online, folks whose careers I know about now, but I'm drawing a blank finding their names right now.
posted by Nelson at 8:05 PM on February 13, 2008

Ha! I rented this at dobbs' store many years ago. I thought it was pretty neato.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:14 PM on February 13, 2008

LobsterMitten: somehow, your comment has made me suddenly wish I had a stack of Mondo 2000s and FringeWare reviews stashed away somewhere. I wonder why that aesthetic evaporated so completely.

And hm, I am a sucker for bees. Perhaps I will follow a nameless poster's suggestion and use my programming skills to reshape the internet into a shield.
posted by phooky at 10:11 PM on February 13, 2008

How can I download this whole movie? I saw it years ago but want a copy.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:50 AM on February 14, 2008

I bought a limited edition copy for reasons which escape me now. I think it had to do with location (I lived in NM) and Borroughs.

I will own up - I didn't understand the movie and I hated it with every fiber of my being. My copy ended up in the trash a long time ago.

I think it was the narration that put me over.
posted by gnash at 12:43 PM on February 14, 2008

If the downloadable copy of cremaster you're referring to is the one available via various bittorrent trackers, I would like to state for the record that that is a rip of a bootleg VHS from many years ago and the quality is far too terrible to put up with.
posted by shmegegge at 1:07 PM on February 14, 2008

If you love Wax and haven't seen Tribulation 99, I think you're in for a treat.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:21 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

ooh, thanks juv3nal! i saw this once, over a decade ago, in an art theater. i kinda liked it at the time - it'll be interesting to see it again.
posted by lapolla at 2:10 AM on February 15, 2008

I could have sworn I posted this here back in 2000, but nope. Thanks for the update -- I haven't seen it all the way through since it had it's big-screen debut at my college in New Mexico (just a bit north of where it was filmed). Time to grab the DVD!
posted by ewagoner at 9:20 AM on February 15, 2008

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