Vexating, Vertiginous, Vomitous Viewing

Some intense POV footage of an electrician free-climbing a 1768-foot-high broadcasting tower. (Warning: If you’re remotely phobic of heights, you do not want. DOOOOO NOT WANT. Skip it.)

[via Dusty Paik]

In addition to pulling a heavy bag of tools up behind him on a cord, this valiant man is also undoubtedly laboring somewhat under the additional weight of his PENDULOUSLY ENORMOUS BALLS OF LIGHTNING-REPELLING STEEL.

Even if you’re not scared of heights, this has gotta be one of the most challenging commutes on earth. (Or, to be more accurate, away from the earth.) The narrator’s cheerfully stoic delivery adds an odd 50s educational film vibe to the clip.  “It’s good to take a break, and take a look around while you rest.” Oh, is it? Personally, my butthole’s trying to climb into my ribcage just watching this, but I’ll take your word for it, sir.

FAM: Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon?

Welcome to a Russian Roulette episode of The Friday Afternoon Movie, brought to you by my lack of functioning brain cells and a YouTube search for “documentary”. Today we present the kind of programming many viewers of FOX TV might remember in and around the time of the X-Files. Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? begs the titular question in the voice of an announcer for a monster truck rally with a smooth chaser of X-Files alum Mitch Pileggi to help lend an air of mystery and intrigue. This is all in the service of one of my favorite, inconsequential conspiracy theories — an elaborate hoax perpetrated by NASA in order to stick it to the Communists. Or not. I’ve never really been sure as to why NASA would go through such lengths to fake such an event; “Communists” is merely a solid go-to for any conspiracy taking place before the fall of the Soviet Union. Either way, it’s 40 minutes of “experts” with backyard bunkers explaining how the American flag could not flutter without an atmosphere and even hints at murder most foul. Enjoy.

The Mundane Lives Of Space Men

I can’t say I’m necessarily a huge fan of the entirety of Hunter Freeman’s portfolio, but I do very much love this series of photos of an astronaut going about his or her day; my favorite being the bored, newspaper reading individual above. It strikes me as the sweet spot of juxtaposition between far out adventure and the everyday.

via Cgunit

When Herzog Rescued Phoenix

Remember back in 2006 when Werner Herzog heroically rescued Joaquin Phoenix from a wrecked car? Well, now there’s an animated reenactment, crafted by Sascha Ciezata using audio lifted from an interview Herzog granted to promote My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, his film collaboration with David Lynch:

[via Laughing Squid]

Herzog’s rescue of the troublesome actor took place within days, maybe weeks of a freakish incident that occurred on Herzog’s balcony during the middle of an interview with film journalist Mark Kermode: “A sniper opened fire with an air rifle … Herzog, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, said, ‘Oh, someone is shooting at us. We must go.’ He had a bruise the size of a snooker ball, with a hole in. He just carried on with the interview while bleeding quietly in his boxer shorts.”

Responding to Kermode’s incredulity, Herzog stated, smiling, “It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid.”

Sascha, if you’re reading, please consider making an animation of that.

Up and Over It!

Squee-inducing multiculti meme du jour:

[Bricey! Thank yooooo!]

Riverdance veterans Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding are taking the internet by storm with their Irish hand dancing, thanks to this video shot and directed by Jonny Reed. Their collective name is Up and Over It! There’s something so charmingly Keatonesque about their placid faces and frantically leaping limbs, isn’t there?

That ultra catchy song they’re dancing to is “We No Speak Americano”, a collaborative track by Yolanda Be Cool and DCup that heavily samples the 1956 hit “Tu vuò fà l’americano” by the lively Italian singer/pianist Renato Carosone.

Respect and Love for Marlon Riggs

A wee bit o’ cheer, courtesy of Marlon Riggs and the Institute of Snap!thology…

… that’s spurring me to write up an overview of something far deeper and more complex. This “Snap Diva” sequence is one of the more lighthearted scenes from Tongues Untied, a powerful independent film by activist/educator/filmmaker/author Marlon Riggs. The clip was sent to me earlier today by an old friend as an offhandedly affectionate “haaaay”, but it ended up triggering intense memories of watching Riggs’ films on PBS over a decade ago. I was bowled over by them at the time; I’m overjoyed to be reminded of them again.

Riggs died of AIDS in 1994 while still struggling to complete his final film, Black Is…Black Ain’t. An intensely personal, well-researched examination of the diversity of African-American identities, Black Is…Black Ain’t was completed by Riggs’ colleagues after his death, and released posthumously in the mid 90s. “His camera traverses the country, bringing us face to face with Black folks young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight, grappling with the paradox of numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness.” [via]

Riggs was a giant of public television during the late 80s and early 90s, and a truly inspiring force for positive change. Via glbtq:

Riggs’ experience of racism began in his segregated childhood schools but continued even at Harvard, where he studied American history, graduating with honors in 1978. He then earned an M. A. in 1981 at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he later taught documentary film courses.

Riggs first gained recognition for writing, producing, and directing the Emmy-winning, hour-long documentary Ethnic Notions (1987), which explored black stereotypes and stereotyping. The film helped establish Riggs’ career as a contemporary historical documentary producer.

But most of his later films and writings probe the dichotomy Riggs perceived between the strong, “Afrocentric” black man and the black “sissy” gay man. As a “sissy” himself, Riggs felt deeply his status as a pariah within the black community.

Tongues Untied (1989), Riggs’ most famous film, is an extensively reviewed and critically acclaimed documentary that met with controversy in conservative circles when it was aired on public television. Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, it figured in the cultural wars over control of the NEA and the Public Broadcasting System.

Beats Antique’s “Blind Threshold”

Today, Oakland-based electronic/world music trio Beats Antique released their third album, Blind Threshold. Zoe Jakes, David Satori and Sidecar Tommy are pushing into uncharted sonic territory once again. Their new record is rich with contributions from various performers, namely our very own Mer, whose violin and theremin work is present on several tracks, including “Vardo“, “Rising Tide“, “Grandstand” and “Miss Levine“. That last song is a haunting tribute to the band’s friend Breanna Levine; she unexpectedly passed away a few months ago.

The 14 tracks on the self-released album include, in the band’s words, “vaporous violins and Danny Elfman-esque dementia; glitchy, laser-guided harmonica provided by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper; and two very different vocal tracks that range between restless pop hooks provided by singer songwriter LYNX, to the vibrant Eastern European folk melodies of New York vocalist Eva Salina. All wrapped up into an intricate collection of orchestral textures, heavy beats and sub bass. The new album was mastered by the great producer TIPPER with art and design by Andrew Jones and photography by Sequoia Emmanuelle.”

Preview the entire album below, and download it here.


Karl-Heinz Stockhausen’s 1956 piece ‘Gesang Der Junglinge’ (Song of the Children) analysed song verses into their elementary phonetic components and deployed electronically generated aperiodic sound – more commonly known as ‘white noise’. The Disabled Avant-Garde also generate white noise in this piece by varying the syne-waves produced by a loudly whistling boiling kettle. As with Stockhausen, a vocalist intones ‘inside’ the white noise (but using a different song – something by Roy Orbison). The total effect produced is to provide the listener with no idea whatsoever of what it must sound like to be profoundly deaf’.

That is the official description for Disabled Avante-Garde’s video “Stockhausen”. I must say, however, nothing may encapsulate the internet better than image of a disabled little person in a wheelchair, plastered in heavy makeup, accompanied by a tiny, confused dog and a conveniently placed broom, giggling gleefully as a man waves his posterior in front of her — all set to the tones of a screeching tea kettle.

BTC: The Shower Scene from “Gimme An F”

Rise and shine, comrades. Time to face another Monday morning. You know what might help? A hot shower. With Stephen Shellen. In a pair of tighty-whities:

“Oh gawd I’m getting all tingly.”

Gimme An ‘F’ was the slimy, raw Meatballs-textured afterbirth that slid out of the ass end of 1984 while Footloose and Flashdance were still showing at drive-ins. Kudos to Katrina Galore for toilet-plunging its most memorable scene up from the depths. (Katrina, delightful pervert that she is, just made it known that she’ll be co-editing an upcoming anthology of Dystopian Erotica. They’re currently calling for submissions. Go git ’em!)

The FAM: The Return of a Clockwork Orange

Hot and steamy mini-documentary action on today’s FAM in the form of The Return of A Clockwork Orange, Film4’s look at the controversial film 30 years after director Stanley Kubrick banned the film’s showing in the UK. I’m going to assume that if you have any interest in this you are familiar with both the film and the book it was based on, so I’ll not go over them here.

Even with a working knowledge of Clockwork Orange it is difficult, I think, for modern audiences to understand why a film like this would cause such an uproar, saturated as we are with films that go way beyond Kubrick’s film in terms of graphic depictions of violence, both physical and sexual. The Return of A Clockwork Orange does an excellent job, then, of painting a picture of the political and social climate of England in the early 70s, giving a much clearer for the context for the furor over this film. Released in the same year that saw Ken Russell’s beautiful, bloody The Devils and Sam Peckinpah’s shocking Straw Dogs it was the crescendo in an increasingly heated debate on whether films should be allowed to portray such extreme behavior — a debate that continues today mostly concerning those video games the kids seem to love so much.

The end result is a short but well-informed look at a war between a nation and one of film’s greatest visionaries.

Addendum: Apologies for the inferior quality of this video. This version features much clearer visuals but the audio gets completely out of sync by the second part.