A-ha! This app turns your living room into a 1980's music video using augmented reality

I lived through the eighties and I approve of Trixi Studios’ "Take On Me" iOS (proof-of-concept only) app which turns your surroundings into a pencil-sketched, a-ha-style music video using augmented reality. The Chicago-based team created it with Apple's ARKit, which is a suite of developer tools launched in June that adds AR to apps.

Here's a-Ha's original music video, in case you're feeling as nostalgic as I am:

Thanks, Robert Scoble! Read the rest

1988 home video of driving on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles

Gilbert Arciniega was an early adopter of shooting videos of 1980s day-to-day life, like this footage of him zipping down Interstate 10, aka the 10 freeway in LA lingo. Includes 1978 Datsun 280Z car radio in the background. Read the rest

What was really in Nickelodeon's green slime

In this video, former Double Dare game show host Marc Summers reveals what was really in Nickelodeon's famous green slime:

Slime gets identified with "Double Dare" a lot, and then again on "What Would You Do?" But it actually started on a show called "You Can't Do That on Television." What happened was, if you said the words, "I don't know," you would get slimed.

You know, it's weird. Slime is hot again. And there's all these recipes online that have nothing to do with what we used as real slime. It started off as vanilla pudding, apple sauce, green food coloring, and a little oatmeal.

However, in a 2016 interview with A.V. Club, Double Dare's set designer Byron Taylor said that oatmeal was not used:

We didn’t use the recipe from You Can’t Do That On Television [for slime], because the oatmeal would dry and harden under the lights, and you literally couldn’t get rid of it. It would turn into plaster. We used a combination of pudding, and I liked applesauce, because it was translucent. You tinted it.
Maybe oatmeal was used or maybe it wasn't, I don't know... Read the rest

Here’s how the 1980s got its colorful look

It turns out a lot of the aesthetics of the 1980s can be traced back to an Italian design collective. As Vox explains in this new video created by Dion Lee:

[The] Memphis Design movement dominated the '80s with their crazy patterns and vibrant colors. Many designers and architects from all around the world contributed to the movement in order to escape from the strict rules of modernism. Although their designs didn't end up in people's homes, they inspired many designers working in different mediums. After their first show in Milan in 1981, everything from fashion to music videos became influenced by their visual vocabulary.

[via The A.V. Club] Read the rest

Fun retro clip-art inspired animation

Paris-based Yeaaah! Studio released this terrific homage to 80s clip art and comics, stringing together a bunch of animated gifs to tell a story of modern romance. Read the rest

Poptone: Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and Diva Dompé play Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, and Love and Rockets

Poptone is the new live flashback experience from Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins, being two-thirds of Love and Rockets and Tones on Tail, and half of Bauhaus. Joined by Haskins's talented daughter Diva Dompé, the trio is revisiting tunes from their highly-influential careers at the intersection of glam/goth, psychedelic post-punk, and avant-garde experimentalism. These are artists whose magnificent work shaped the alt.culture underground of the 1980s and 1990s and, for me personally, were a portal to endless streams of high weirdness in art and music. By all accounts, Poptone is a fantastic trip. Tour dates are here.

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With no music, A-Ha's "Take On Me" video is dark and disturbing

Musicless Musicvideo's Mario Wienerroither strips down A-Ha's 1980s anthem "Take On Me" and adds in appropriate sound effects. The result is rather strange and ominous.

Here's the beloved original:

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A look back at The Hags, a 1980s all-girl skate gang

The Los Angeles punk and skate scenes of the mid-1980s produced a brief, shining moment of total badassery in the form of The Hags, a now-legendary all-girl skateboard gang that prowled Hollywood and West LA. Bust magazine takes a loving look back. Read the rest

Behold the most excellent first official White House portrait of Melania Trump

I think it's amazing. It's more Scientology than Scientology. She looks like she's about to drop the first forty minutes of Mallwave, a genre of electronic music made of irony that's been aged in acrylic casks since 1987, ready to blast all the other waves into space to dance among the stars.

Update: of course it turns out Mallwave is not only already a thing but is already over.

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Shaun Cassidy sings "Rebel Rebel" (1980)

Today, Shaun Cassidy is a successful TV producer. In the 1970s he was better know as the little brother of David Cassidy. In 1979 Shaun hired Todd Rundgren to produce his album Wasp. I don't think the album did well, but is has some great tracks on it, including a cover of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," "So Sad About Us' (Pete Townshend), "The Book I Read" (Talking Heads) ,"Once Bitten Twice Shy" (Ian Hunter), "It's My Life" ( Animals) and "Shake Me Wake Me" (Four Tops).

It was his last album.

Here's the whole album: Read the rest

Rogue Wave's new video for cover of Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door"

Today my friends in Rogue Wave released the video for their lovely cover of Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door." The track is from their latest release "Cover Me," a quite wonderful covers album that consists entirely of Rogue Wave going back to their 1980s musical roots, influences, and mix tape favorites. Songs include The Cure's "In Between Days," The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary," The Church's "Under the Milky Way," The Romantics' 'Talking In Your Sleep," and many more 80s MTV classics. "Cover Me" is available for digital download or colored vinyl -- pink or splatter paint, natch.

The video for "Let My Love Open the Door" was directed and edited by Jim Granato with color effects by Truckee Lynch.

"The idea for this video has been circling around my brain since we finished tracking it," Zach Rogue says. "A fantasy about what I could tell my younger self if I had the chance."

Check out Rogue Wave tour dates here.

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How the Nintendo NES Zapper gun worked (and why it doesn't on today's TVs)

My 10-year-old son Lux is a retro videogame historian who collects and studies 1980s consoles and games with the gravitas of a PhD student working on his thesis. Last year he acquired Nintendo's NES Zapper gun controller from 1984 that was used to play shooting games like Duck Hunt. (Below, a TV commercial for the NES Deluxe Set including the Zapper and R.O.B. The Robotic Operating Buddy.) Unfortunately, the NES Zapper doesn't work with modern LCD televisions. The video above from "Today I Found Out" explains the clever technology behind the NES Zapper gun. And here's a great text explanation from How-To Geek about why it doesn't work on non-CRT screens, something my son already knew but, of course, wanted the Zapper anyway for, er, display purposes:

First, it requires extremely precise timing between the trigger pull on the Zapper and the response on the screen. Even the slightest difference (and we’re talking milliseconds here) between the signal sent to the NES and the signal displayed on the screen can throw it off. The original timing sequence was based on the very dependable response time of a CRT hooked up to the analog NES signal. Whether the old tube TV was big, small, cutting edge or 10 years old, the speed of the signal via the CRT display standard was reliable. By contrast, the latency in modern digital sets is not reliable and is not the same as the old consistent delay in the CRT system. Now, this doesn’t matter in most situations.

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Yugoslavian computer magazine cover girls of the 1980s-90s

From Flashbak:

Računari was a computer magazine of the former Yugoslavia which lasted from 1984 until the late 1990s – surviving the economic turbulence and wars of the 1980s-90s, and even outlasting the country itself. The title simply means “computers” – and its content was just that: very bland, very technical, nothing flashy… but its covers were another matter entirely.

Despite the very low-key tech content, the guys at Računari decided to put some spice on just about every cover. Nearly every issue featured a ravishing Eastern Bloc Beauty straddling computer hardware. Let’s have a look at some of these covers spanning the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. Enjoy.

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Watch George Michael and Morrissey discuss breakdancing and Joy Division

In May 1984, George Michael and Morrissey, promoting respectively “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and The Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," appeared on the BBC program Eight Days A Week. They discuss such urgent matters as the film Breakin' (released as Breakdance outside the US) and Mark Johnson's book An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division.

(via Dangerous Minds)

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Listen to Wham's "Careless Whisper" before George Michael fixed it

This is Wham's "Careless Whisper" (1984) before George Michael took matters into his own hands. (The visuals are from the music video we know and love.) From Wikipedia:

The song went through at least two rounds of production. The first was during a trip Michael made to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he went to work with producer Jerry Wexler at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Michael was unhappy with the version that was originally produced and decided to re-record and produce the song himself, this time coming up with the version that was finally released. The version Wexler produced did, was released later in the year, as a (4:41) B-side "Special Version" on 12" in the UK and Japan.

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The story of the world's worst videogame

For better or worse, video game designer/programmer Howard Scott Warshaw is perhaps best known for the Atari 2600 game "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982). That game is considered by many to be the worst video game in history and blamed for driving the video game industry crash of 1983. (To be fair, it wasn't entirely Warshaw's fault. He was also the talented developer behind the classic Yars' Revenge and other fine titles.) Above is the Big Story of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Warshaw, now a psychotherapist in Silicon Valley.

And in case you missed it, the film Atari: Game Over is a wonderful documentary about E.T. and the mass burial of unsold copies of the game.

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Watch "Terminal Madness," 1980 TV special about personal computers

In 1980, WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin produced this feature about early personal computers and the geeks who loved them. I enjoyed the discussion of The Source, which was the first online experience I ever had.

George Martin, who posted the video to YouTube, writes: "About halfway through the video there is a segment filmed at my home showing how I had programmed a Cromemco Z-2 computer to control lights and appliances."

(Thanks, UPSO!)

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