Brexit is not the cause of Britain's renewed interest in its weird folk heritage, in the joys of cults and pagan sex. But the sudden veering into that world's darker side, where violence and groupthink and human sacrifice rule, seems guided by its anguish and sickly glee. Here's Michael Newton on the new flowering of folk horror.
Folk horror, which is the subject of a new season at the Barbican, presents the dark dreams Britain has of itself. The films pick up on folk’s association with the tribal and the rooted. And our tribe turns out to be a savage one: the countryside harbours forgotten cruelties, with the old ways untouched by modernity and marked by half-remembered rituals. ...
They may lurch into the ludicrous, but with surprising earnestness these films nonetheless play out a three-way philosophical debate: between enlightened rationalism, orthodox Christianity and renewed paganism. Sex is at the heart of this debate: just as these films both adore and recoil from natural beauty, so human loveliness entrances and repels them.
The anxiety comes from an unsettled telepathic quality of exurban British life, where eccentricity is adored so long as privacy is abdicated, and the heightened empathy of the village lurches to the crowd's destruction of individuals. Newton notes that a key theme of British folk horror is that the supernatural is never so vulgar as to show itself: the darkness is in people. And by the time you get to see it, you are thrillingly both participant and victim: "The pagan rite we are witnessing is the film itself." Read the rest
Liam Williams was given money by the BBC to explain the success and culture of YouTube vloggers.
A search for the next megastar vlogger finds an unlikely victor in struggling comedian, Liam, who must undertake a series of challenges in order to win a £10,000 prize. Along the way, several successful YouTubers give him help and advice.
Both an explainer and a The Office-like mockumentary, there is a weird magic about this that seeps out with the skill and naturalism of its performers. Why, exactly, do young people stare for hours at people just like themselves, talking about themselves? And why is there a corresponding caste of tired, decade-older cynical people wishing they could be there with them? Read the rest
Most of history exists for us only in black and white. As a kid, we had a black and white TV because it was all we could afford. I grew up watching The Wizard of Oz every year in the 1960s and had no idea it was a color film.
At least that exists in color because it was a big budget motion picture; most moving images of pop culture before a certain period don’t—or, at the very least, the color film is hard to find.
I’m doing research for a new book which involves the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. At ages 6 and 7 I spent many splendid hours at the 1964/65 World’s Fair in Queens, where I lived. Of course not only is my memory of it in color, but there’s lots of color film of it available. But the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair is something I only saw in black and white until recently. There are many intriguing photos such as this one.
via Chicago Collections
So it was quite shocking to discover this Technicolor short film (the first full-length motion picture made in 3-strip Technicolor, Becky Sharp, was still two years away). The buildings are painted in a wild assortment of colors.
Most YouTube videos have at least a few views: the uploader making sure it works and applying basic edits. But zero views? That's a special class of film: automated, forgotten, mistaken, baffling, beautiful. Astronaut will show them to you. [via MeFi]
Today, you are an Astronaut. You are floating in inner space 100 miles above the surface of Earth. You peer through your window and this is what you see. You are people watching. These are fleeting moments.
These videos come from YouTube. They were uploaded in the last week and have titles like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321. They have almost zero previous views. They are unnamed, unedited, and unseen by anyone but YOU.
I can't stop watching. It seems almost too perfect, like a montage in a movie about the wonderful, unbeknownst things humans were doing before the Orange Death held sway. Read the rest
As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.
It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works.
We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025Healthiest country in the world for dietKeeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisonersFirst to legalize same-sex marriageHighest concentration of museums in the worldHighest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first languageHighest population density in EuropeHome to more bikes than peopleCycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the worldAmsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high risesLargely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest
On Election Night, you went to bed crying, and this time, I couldn't fix it. Like half the country, you thought you would be going to bed with your candidate as the president-elect. I wiped away a big, globby tear from the end of your nose, proud of you for caring so deeply about your country. I said it was going to be OK. I explained that, "politics goes back and forth, and this year it just wasn't our turn. Remember when I was for Obama and you were for Hillary, and she lost the primary, but you ended up liking Obama?" Your thirteen year-old defiance broke through your tears, as you declared, "No, this is different!"
You then spouted off a litany of things I didn't know you thought much about:
"It's different because Donald Trump doesn't have the basic morals of everything our country stands for. He doesn't even have the morals of a normal Republican. It's not that the other side won. It's that the person who won is literally against half of the people in the country. He doesn't like Muslims, Mexicans, anyone who is LGBT, he definitely doesn't like women, or people of color. He doesn't like ME. It seems like he only likes people like himself -- white males. How can he be our president?"
He's our president because people voted for him and he won the election. I will be raising you under a Donald Trump presidency until you go to college in four years. Read the rest
A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files. And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.
What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.
But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.
It's like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!
Yes, you can purchase this one!
And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.
The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.
So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.
Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.
She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask. And Ryan just kept standing there.
Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.
Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.
The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. Read the rest
LA is chock full of beautiful theaters, but the one to be at on Wednesday nights is the famous Fais Do-Do Ballroom. It’s not because of the rich history that oozes from its architectural pores – it’s because that’s where Scot Nery will be. And when you go to his show, don’t be surprised if he greets you at the door and offers you a piece of cake. After all, you’re stepping into an entertaining party of his design.
When the show begins, Scot explains the 3 rules that each of his performers must live by:
While on stage, anything goes but the act must not be longer than 4 minutesAt the 3 minute mark, a yellow warning light will be triggered as a reminder to wrap things upIf 4 minutes are exceeded, Scot will literally run onto the stage and boot the performer as the house band plays the Boobie Trap theme-song
Every show that Scot puts on is completely different from the last and his emceeing style is ridiculously energetic as he introduces the evening’s 14+ acts.
At times Scot may feel that the energy isn't quite up to his standards and he'll take matters into his own hands by tumbling, contorting his body, doing one-handed pushups and lovingly pelting the audience with heavily salted snack treats.
While on stage, he's like a big happy kid who’s doing exactly what he's always wanted to do and his show is as if the Little Rascal’s grew up, stayed together and became hilarious adults. Read the rest
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it's drama you crave, but the Hillary v. Trump show is driving you to near-suicide, then the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire is your new best friend. Returning for its third season on Tuesday, August 23rd with a two-hour premiere, you'll still get your fix of intriguing plot twists, flawed personalities, and high stakes, but without the partisan tantrums and pre-apocalyptic anxiety.
What the Hell is this Show About?
The show's title refers to the computing term (HCF), "Halt and Catch Fire," an early technical command that sends a computer into race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained. The namesake series takes place in the personal computing boom of the 80s, when IBM was dictator, and before "website" was a word. Though HCF is categorized as a "workplace drama," you could say the same thing about Breaking Bad, and you'd be completely missing the point--and the thrill--of both shows.
To "break bad" is a colloquialism used in the American South meaning to challenge authority. Breaking Bad and HCF have three important things in common: obscure, nondescript titles that run the risk of losing potential viewers who need their plot summaries spoon-fed and hashtagged, a committed, forward-thinking home on AMC Networks, and the consistently visionary TV producer Melissa Bernstein. Read the rest
Forthcoming game No Mans Sky promises players the experience of exploring a nigh-infinite universe of beautiful, dreamlike worlds. But its fans are far from serene. When a journalist reported a development delay, he was sent death threats--a black hole of rage that expanded to the game's creators when they confirmed the news. Read the rest
The Guardian featured essays by UK punks who made the scene when it first emerged in the late 1970s. Above, Terry Chimes, 59, original drummer for The Clash, now a chiropractor.
"I just wanted to be in a band, and this was the most exciting band I could find," he writes. "Everyone else in The Clash was angry at the world and the establishment. I wasn’t. That’s why I left, actually. I felt like the odd one out.
Below, Jordan, 60, Sex Pistols stylist, Adam and the Ants, manager, now a nurse.
"A lot of the major music moguls were extremely sexist," she writes. "An A&R guy once said to my face, 'This is not a woman’s job. You should be cooking and laying on your back.' I didn’t want to be there any more, so I came home to Seaford."
Read Elspeth Reeve's fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the "secret lives" of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made.
It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it.
Then it happened. On August 19, just days before his twentieth birthday, Lilley tried to log in to So-Relatable but couldn’t. Greenfield checked the site, which redirected to an error page: “There’s nothing here. Whatever you were looking for doesn’t currently exist at this address.” They’d been terminated, their blogs revoked by Tumblr for violating its terms of service.
Tumblr had just dissolved the sites of some of its most popular teenage users, an estimated 30 million follows gone. Including Pizza. Blogs that had brought relief from unremitting high school agony and then miraculously made their teen creators more money than they could have ever imagined, were erased from the internet, except for fragments reblogged on other sites. The day before, if they’d had a funny thought, they could share it with half a million people. And now, nothing.
“Plasma ball destroys the web.”
Yes, friends, Tanner's latest creation is the answer to unfriendly YouTube comments, harassing or abusive Facebook posts, douchey viral ads, you name it. Whatever on the internet is wrong. Read the rest