Documentary about Fela Kuti, Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist

In the 1970s and 1980s, Legendary musician Fela Kuti pioneered the sound of Afrobeat, an entrancing amalgam of West African highlife music, jazz, and American funk. Among his fans, he counts David Byrne, Brian Eno, and Thom Yorke. Fela was also a lifelong social activist and organizer who served time, a "prisoner of conscience" according to Amnesty International. One biographer famously described Fela as a "superstar, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend."

Above, Jean Jacques Flori and Stephen Tchal-Gadjieff's excellent concise documentary about Fela, shot in 1982. It's aptly titled "Music is the Weapon." From the film description:

Fela Kuti is to African music what Bob Marley is to reggae: its prophet. All contemporary forms of black music, from funk to electronic, owe something to the irresistible groove of the Afrobeat sound that he created. He recorded more than 60 albums and spent a lifetime fighting against political corruption in his homeland of Nigeria, where the people affectionately called him their "Black President."

Shot in Lagos at the peak of his career in 1982, this documentary contains interviews with Fela detailing his thoughts on politics, Pan-Africanism, music and religion, alongside unpublished versions of songs like ITT, Army Arrangement and Power Show.

And here's one of my favorite Fela tracks, "Fear Not for Man":

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Crime funnies: helmeted robbers' sledgehammers can't break jewelry store glass

There's a wealth of found-comedy in watching this gang of armed, helmeted robbers try in vain to smash the glass in this Malaysian jewelry store in Jalan Besar, Sungai Buloh: the hammers bounce off the fantastically tough glass, whose resilience is positively otherworldly, while the otherwise beautifully choreographed robbery (which includes some pretty snazzy outfits!) founders. Read the rest

Lichens never looked more beautiful than they do in this short film about a curator of lichens at the University of California.

Kerry Knudsen is curator of lichens at the University of California. He is profiled in Matthew Killip's short film. Knudsen's intense passion for the beauty and mystery of lichens is thrilling.

The Atlantic has an article about Knudsen, called The Ex-Anarchist Construction Worker Who Became a World-Renowned Scientist. Read the rest

Lockdown tool prevents ladders from kicking out

Ladder lockdown is a metal tray with super-grippy patches on its underside; set it down on any surface (including ice!) and then set your ladder's feet in the tray and cinch it in place and the ladder won't "kick out" and injure you and your loved ones. Read the rest

City claims building park stairs too pricey, later tears out free stairs built by a resident

Retiree Adi Astl just wanted some stairs down a well-trod embankment in his local park. The city told him it would cost between $65,000 and $150,000, so he and a homeless guy built a nice set of stairs for about $550. Astl was then informed he violated municipal code section 608, and the stairs were ordered removed.

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This psychedelic Nyan Cat art car is headed to Burning Man to dole out 'toaster pastries' and 'phat beats'

Ok, this year's Burning Man is going to be great. First of all, there's going to be that 40-foot tall pink flamingo. Now I'm hearing that a 20-foot long, LED-lit mutant vehicle --based on Chris Torres' popular 2011 meme Nyan Cat-- will be roving around the desert. It's a project of the Astro Cats camp who plan to serve up "toaster pastries" (I guess they can't say "Pop-Tarts") and pump out "Nyan-Cat inspired dance music" as they drive the giant space-cat around the event.

The name of the vehicle? Nyan Car, of course.

The Astro Cats are currently crowdfunding Nyan Car on GoFundMe. One of the pledge rewards is for a "special 'toaster pastry'" that can only be redeemed on-playa.

Even if you're not a Burner, give their pitch video a watch, it's pretty spectacular. Read the rest

Another Puddles Pity Party appearance on 'America's Got Talent'

Studio audiences continue to be thrilled by the giant clown with the golden voice. Read the rest

Lightning hits a car going down the street, then it gets creepy

You don't want to be in a car that gets struck by lightning in this town. It happened to the the folks in this car, and within seconds a mob of zombies dressed in black surrounded the car and presumably devoured the occupants. Read the rest

Comedian Bec Hill translates Edith Piaf into nonsensical English

I like the way Bec Hill translates Edith Piaf's French vocals. She simply assumes Piaf is signing in English, and writes it on a flipboard along with photos. NSFW? Read the rest

This Burning Man documentary traces its history from a bohemian gathering to a global movement

This 20-minute documentary is definitely worth a watch. It follows Burning Man's fascinating history from its "humble countercultural roots on San Francisco’s Baker Beach" to "the world-famous desert convergence it is today." If you've ever been to the big event in the Black Rock Desert, I guarantee it'll give you a greater appreciation and understanding of it.

The film, titled City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, was created by Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada for its current exhibition of the same name.

Never-before-seen photographs, artifacts, journals, sketches, and notebooks reveal how this temporary experimental desert city came to be—and how it continues to evolve.

The show is open now until January 7, 2018 and boasts an impressive roster of speakers and events including talks with Burning Man co-founders Marian Goodell, Larry Harvey, Michael Mikel and Harley K. Dubois.

After the exhibit ends in Reno, it heads to Washington, D.C. to be housed at Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery for its "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" show from March 30 through September 16, 2018.

photo by Stewart Harvey

Previously: Eat Fuck Kill, the legend of the playa's first meme Read the rest

For twelve years, this family has let bees nest in their living room

In addition to benefiting from excellent feng shui, the family harvests about 15 kilograms of honey each year from their bee housemates, who showed up on the day of a wedding. Read the rest

Watch these adorable rescued sea lions get released back into the wild

Buoy and Canoe were in bad shape when they were rescued, but they bounced back thanks to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Watch this heartwarming footage of the pair getting released back into the ocean. Read the rest

See this incredible full circle rainbow

Someone on a crane captured this stunning video of a full circle rainbow. Unfortunately most of us never get a chance to see circle rainbows because the ground interrupts. Here's an explanation from Phil "Bad Astronomy" Plait in Slate:

...To see a rainbow, you face away from the Sun (180°), then look about 42° away from that point (180°–138°). The drops in an arc along that angle will then bend the light back toward you, and you get a rainbow, with the colors spread out a bit because they bend by different amounts.

Oh, wait. Did I say “arc”? Because technically, any raindrop 42° away from the anti-solar point (ooh, fancy science-speak again) will bend the light back to you. We see rainbows in the sky because in general the ground is close to you. When we look up toward the sky we see for a long way, and there are lots of raindrops along your eyeline that can add their light together to make the rainbow. When you look down, the ground gets in the way, there aren’t as many drops, and you don’t see a rainbow.

(via DIGG)

(image above via WoahDude) Read the rest

'Détour,' the new film by 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' director Michel Gondry, was shot on a phone

Using a $14.99 app called Filmic Pro, French indie director Michel Gondry shot his charming new short film, Détour, entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus. According to Europe1, Apple financed the project to show the quality of its phone's video capabilities.

Follow the adventures of a small tricycle as it sets off along the French roads in search of its young owner.

Here's some behind-the-scenes videos showing some of tricks Gondry used in the film:

(Open Culture) Read the rest

Spectacular footage of desert ants versus antlion death traps

Namibian desert Hotrod ants have evolved to tiptoe around to avoid baking to death in the unrelenting sun. But other dangers lurk, like these terrifying real-life sarlacc pits created by antlions. Read the rest

97-year-old Dunkirk survivor on the new film chronicling the battle: 'It was just like I was there again'

Ken Sturdy, a decorated survivor of the Battle of Dunkirk, attended the Calgary premiere of Christopher Nolan's new film that chronicles the skirmish's history.

Now 97, Mr. Sturdy was just 20 years old when he fought at the Battle of Dunkirk during World War II. At the premiere of Dunkirk, a teary-eyed Mr. Sturdy told Global News, "I never thought I would see that again. It was just like I was there again."

He continued, "I cried because it's never the end...As the human species, we are so intelligent. We do astonishing things. We fly to the Moon but we still do stupid things."

(reddit) Read the rest

Watch a rope of molten steel barely miss a worker

In steelworker parlance, a cobble is a bit of steel that catches on a roller during manufacturing.

Cobbles cause the molten steel coming out of the furnace to back up and snake wildly around. This guy was lucky to be uninjured after a close call with a cobble.

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