Boing Boing 

Mystery of creepy 1970s Sesame Street clip solved

I didn't truly appreciate what a miracle is YouTube til I realized how many half-remembered Sesame Street sketches, songs and puppet shows from my grainy, nostalgic childhood could be found there. Some of them seem quite odd in retrospect, and there are folks out there dedicated to tracking down the oddest.

Jon Armond and friends had some lingering memories of a 1970s song-animation where the cracks on a girl's wall come to life and become her friends -- Crack Camel, Crack Monkey and Crack Hen.

It all goes a bit creepy when they meet Master Crack, a large, monstrous face-like cluster in a corner of the room, plaster crumbling from the maws of his eyes. Who thought this would be a good idea to show children?

To find the "Master Crack" clip, Armond went on a veritable quest, recorded in this audio documentary. If Serial was just about trying to find weird old children's show clips from the 70s I'd be so hooked.

Anyone remember an old Sesame clip that was just the stop-motion transmutation of a sandbox into a desert scene, accompanied by gentle music? I think two toy rhinos were placed into it at the end. If you know that one and can find it, Tweet me (@leighalexander)!

[h/t Laughingsquid]

Laura Poitras's Citizenfour: the real story of Edward Snowden

The award-winning, fearless filmmaker's documentary on her work with Snowden premiered yesterday, and it's full of bombshells.

Read the rest

Rare footage of the 1914 Martian conflict

The History Channel's created a bizarre secret history of a war against Martian invaders that's an allegory for WWI. The accompanying video has a spooky resonance and plausibility that is not to be missed.

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Video: "How Ballet Shoes Get Made"

I'm proud of my wife and daughter who are both beginning ballet students. They'll enjoy this documentary about the making of ballet shoes! (via Digg)

Documentary about people and vultures

Help fund Requiem For A Bird, an artistic documentary about Mumbai's Parsi people who ritualistically gift their dead to vultures whose population there has been decimated as a consequence of an anti-inflammatory drug previously given to cattle.

Read the rest

Why did the 9/11 'falling man' image disappear?

fallingman

At Design Observer, a fascinating piece on how photographer Richard Drew's iconic, disturbing image of a man falling to his death from the World Trade Center on 911 has been erased from public view.

Read the rest

New film about Kurt Cobain death conspiracy

Last week was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Soaked In Bleach is a new film mixing historical footage and interviews with dramatizations that dredges up the tired old conspiracy theory that Cobain didn't kill himself, but was murdered by a hit man. Hired by who? One guess. Of course one of stars, at least of the trailer, is the detective Tom Grant who was retained by Love and later claimed that she had paid a hitman to off her hubby. If all this sounds familiar, you must have seen Nick Broomfield's 1998 documentary "Kurt & Courtney."

Terms and Conditions May Apply documentary screening this Sunday with Reddit AMA and panel

Cullen writes, "There is is a special screening this Sunday 11/17 at 5PM Eastern by Demand Progress of Terms And Conditions May Apply, a New York TImes Critic's Pick documentary about how governments and corporations are tracking your every online move. The first 3000 people to visit the online screening can watch the film for free. Afterward, there will be a Reddit AMA that focuses on the issues raised by the film, including how to rein in the NSA's surveillance. The film's director, Cullen Hoback, will be joined by several privacy experts including the ACLU's Ben Wizner, who's responsible for coordinating Edward Snowden's legal defense in the US."

Antibiotic resistance: Watch a documentary tonight, join in a live chat tomorrow

Tonight at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central, PBS Frontline will air a documentary about the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I got a chance to see a preview of the show, and it's definitely interesting, including details I wasn't previously aware of, despite having written about this topic before. Particularly interesting: An emphasis on naturally occurring gene transfer between different species of bacteria, which is allowing antibiotic resistance to spread at an alarmingly quick rate. I had also not realized that antibiotic-resistant bacteria probably kill more Americans every year than AIDS — "probably", because nobody is required to actually track and report this stuff. Your local hospital could be in the midst of a serious outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and, unless they choose to voluntarily release that information, you might never know.

Whether or not you get a chance to watch the documentary tonight, we hope you'll join us here tomorrow for a live chat session with the producers and a doctor who specializes in treating patients with antibiotic-resistant infections. That starts at noon Eastern/11:00 central, and will be moderated by either me or Rob. We've got some questions we're looking forward to addressing with the panel, and we hope you'll bring in some great questions, too. The first half of the chat will focus on the documentary. The second half will be aimed more at a practical understanding of what you can actually do to protect yourself, your family, and your community.

Spirit Level documentary: how economic inequality is bad for the world

Here's a 2-minute preview of "The Spirit Level," a documentary based on the the bestselling book about the way that income equality is better for society, and how 30 years of economic policy has made everything much, much worse. The doc is funded by a successful Kickstarter, but they're still looking for pre-orders.

SpiritLevelDoc

Doc about Louisiana atheist seeks funding

Bill sez, "Husband-and-wife Berkeley filmmakers Jason Cohn and Camille Servan-Schreiber won a Peabody award for their documentary about design pioneers Charles and Ray Eames, 'Eames: The Architect and the Painter.' Now they want to make a film about Jerry DeWitt, a former Pentecostal preacher who went public about his loss of faith, then lost his wife, yet remains in a town described by its mayor as 'the buckle of the Bible Belt.' Robert Worth profiled DeWitt's pain in the Sunday NY Times Magazine last August - whereupon Jason and Camille headed to rural Louisiana to interview him. As their Kickstarter page shows, they need to raise $30,000 in order to convince bigger funders that the project is viable. Sam 'End of Faith' Harris donated this week, and they're more than halfway to the goal."

Yuck! NYC fourth grader sneaks camera into school, makes documentary about gross cafeteria food

Here's a clip from an upcoming documentary by a fourth grader who snuck a camera into school to document his horrible school lunches and the vast distance between the food that the school claims to serve and food he and his friends end up eating.

Zachary is a fourth grader at a large New York City public elementary school. Each day he reads the Department of Education lunch menu online to see what is being served. The menu describes delicious and nutritious cuisine that reads as if it came from the finest restaurants. However, when Zachary gets to school, he finds a very different reality. Armed with a concealed video camera and a healthy dose of rebellious courage, Zachary embarks on a six month covert mission to collect video footage of his lunch and expose the truth about the City's school food service program.

Yuck: A 4th Grader's Short Documentary About School Lunch (via Reddit)

Documentary on activist who taught people to make solar cottage industries in 16 countries

Gmoke sez, "Richard Komp has taught people how to make solar as a cottage industry in at least 16 different countries over the last few years. There's a documentary called "Burning in the Sun" about his work in Mali and he's even got an Introduction to Photovoltaics series on YouTube. Reports from his 25 international trips available here"

Solar as a Cottage Industry

Kickstarting a deep-sea documentary on the nuclear wrecks of the Bikini Atoll

Steven Boyett sez, "Wreck diver and videographer Adrian Smith has launched a Kickstarter project to fund an expedition to document the forgotten wrecks sunken by the Bikini Atoll atomic explosion in 1946. No video record exists of these historic wrecks (many of them captured German and Japanese warships), and they are quickly eroding."

The naval vessels exposed to close-range atomic blast at Bikini Atoll represent the three major Pacific combatants of World War II. They are the only vessels ever sunk through the detonation of atomic weapons. These unique ships and submarines lie almost two hundred feet underwater, and are rapidly deteriorating. No comprehensive visual record exists to document their current state or unique reactions to their exposure to close-range atomic detonation. Soon it will be too late.

The ships themselves lie in waters from 40 ft (12 m) to 185 ft (56 m), deep but diveable with the correct equipment and training.

The “Baker” blast at Bikini Atoll was global front-page news when it occurred — so well-known that a French designer scandalized the world by introducing a line of two-piece swimsuits a mere four days after the Baker blast. The name of this new fashion? The bikini.

The Atomic Armada - The Forgotten Wrecks of Bikini Atoll by Adrian Smith (Thanks, Steven!)

Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse

Chloe from Portland's Reading Frenzy sez,

Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse is the a documentary about a teenage boy who finds himself through punk rock, zines, and comics and loses himself to schizophrenia. Although he was able to manage his illness with medication, live independently, and make a life for himself -- a success story within the mental health community -- his story ends in tragedy. Six years ago he was confronted and apprehended by Portland Police, tackled, beaten and tased, refused medical treatment, and ultimately died in police custody. He had committed no crime other than to run when ordered to stop.

This is an important story to our local community (Portland, Oregon) because of James' early involvement in the punk scene, the fact that he was connected to so many people who have gone on to be successful musicians (Greg Sage), artists (Mike King), writers (Monica Drake), and filmmakers (Steve Doughton), and that he was a downtown Portland fixture for decades (also a Reading Frenzy customer). But his story has broader implications around the issues of police brutality and corruption, civil rights, and mental health issues. Of course it is especially near and dear to my heart because James found a vital outlet for his ideas and creativity through zines and comics.

Brian Lindstrom is a Portland filmmaker who has a number of compelling works under his belt. Lindstrom has created a very human portrait of James Chasse, someone the police and the media thought they could sum up in a few words and dismiss. He allows everyone -- family, friends, witnesses, and experts -- to speak for themselves, while he explores every angle of James' life and death. Any attempt to reason this tragedy away or blame the victim is almost effortlessly vaporized by the truth.

Chloe adds, "Also wanted to make sure you got the link for the free download of the zine we put out a few years ago. It's a nice supplement to the film.

Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse (Thanks, Chloe!)

Pirate Bay documentary TPB:AFK ready for download

At long last TPB:AFK, the Kickstarter-funded documentary about the persecution of The Pirate Bay is finished and online, and ready for you to download:

Peter Sunde, one of the three founders followed in the documentary, previously told TorrentFreak that he has mixed feelings about the final TPB AFK cut but that “it tells an important story.”

TPB-AFK highlights a lot of the negative events the three founders went through, ending with the final guilty verdict early last year. Needless to say these events had quite an impact on their lives.

“It’s still a fucked up story and the film makes me think about the past years of my life quite a lot,” Sunde says.

The Pirate Bay founder added that he might have chosen other material to include and that many of the good parts have been left out.

“It’s Simon’s decision what to include and it’s his view of our story. I like that he’s independent from us and that he’s promised to release lots of extra material for some of the things that I might have wanted to have included,” Sunde said.

TPB AFK: Watch and Download The Pirate Bay Documentary NOW [TorrentFreak/Ernesto]

Download via BitTorrent [The Pirate Bay]

The Source Family, documentary about 1970s Los Angeles freak cult/commune

The Source Family, a magnificent documentary by my friend Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, will see nationwide distribution this spring, starting with a May 1 premier at the IFC Center in New York City. The film tells the story of Father Yod and his Source Family, a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. Boing Boing is delighted to premier the trailer above. Far fucking out.

YoddddThe Source Family’s outlandish lifestyle, popular celebrity hangout restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals, controversial spiritual leader Father Yod, along with his 13 wives, instigated local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise. Years later, family members surface and the rock band reforms, revealing how their time with Father Yod shaped their lives in the most unexpected ways. These personal accounts, along with interviews with outsiders, make up the interviews in the film. However, the story is largely cinematic, expressed through the use of the group’s extensive film and audio archive maintained by Isis Aquarian, one of Father's wives, Family documentarian, and a central character in the documentary (as well as being associate producer). The film’s soundtrack is composed entirely of original Source Family music produced from 1971-1975.

The film was inspired by The Source: The Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family, a fantastic 2007 book written by family members Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian, edited by Jodi Wille, and published by our pals Process Media.

The Source Family: A Documentary

Crowdfunded doc on the Amazing Randi seeks funding

Justin sez,

In 2010, Boing Boing wrote about about James "The Amazing" Randi coming out of the closet as a gay man. Coming from the famed exposer-of-deception, many found his honesty inspirational. Then, in September of 2011, his live-in partner of 25 years, Jose Alvarez - the man who famously adopted the persona of "Carlos" for their "Carlos Hoax" - was arrested for identity fraud. Carlos, er, Jose, is actually named Deyvi Pena.

Luckily, documentary filmmakers Justin Weinstein (writer, editor of Being Elmo) and Tyler Measom (director, Sons of Perdition) were filming with them for their new doc, An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story. In addition to getting the inside scoop on the Deyvi story, the doc features such greats as Richard Dawkins, Penn & Teller, Tim Minchin, Bill Nye, Neal DeGrasse Tyson, Adam Savage, Alice Cooper, and more.

You can help them get the film made by supporting it via Kickstarter (and get some great memorabilia).

An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story (Thanks, Justin!)

Trailer for Pirate Bay documentary

Evan sez, "Just released: the trailer for the upcoming documentary "TPB:AFK" about the founders of the Pirate Bay. The film will be released for free online at the premiere of a major film festival. Release date to be announced during Jan 2013. Staring Peter Sunde (Flattr Co-founder), Gottfrid Swartholm Warg (PRQ), Fredrik Neij (PRQ) Directed by Simon Klose."

I blogged this back in 2010 and helped support it on Kickstarter. Got a very cool t-shirt!

The Pirate Bay: Away From Keyboard (official trailer) (Thanks, Evan!)

Bill O'Reilly-watching climate-change-denier is moved to tears by polar melting documentary

Alexander sez, "James Balog had his movie Chasing Ice released, which is about the attempt to capture melting polar ice on film. A self-described daily Bill O'Reilly watcher, who used to tell people to get out of her house if they said global warming was anything other than 'bullshit', saw it -- and started crying. I really, really, want to see O'Reilly watching her reaction."

Synopsis « Chasing Ice (Thanks, Alexander!)

Raising money for "American Commune," a documentary about The Farm

SF writer Spider Robinson sends along this Kickstarter for "American Commune," a documentary in production about The Farm, a famous hippie commune in Tennessee, being made by two women who were raised on The Farm as small kids, then moved to Los Angeles. They need to raise $50K to finish their post-production (they've already shot and edited the movie, with the help of Emmy-winning editor Michael Levine).

I have a couple of friends who are ex-Farmies, and they're some of the sweetest folks I know. I'm sure that's not a coincidence.

In 1970, 300 hippies founded a commune in the backwoods of Tennessee and set out to change the world. Members shared everything, grew their own food, delivered their babies at home and succeeded in building a self-sufficient society. By 1980, The Farm had 1,500 members and hosted 10,000 visitors a year. Their socialist experiment sowed the seeds for many of today’s most progressive movements, including organic farming, natural birth, vegetarianism, and solar power. Countless reporters—everyone from Dan Rather to Walter Cronkite—have covered The Farm in news segments, but we are the first insiders to tell our story.

American Commune (Thanks, Spider!)

Self-taught 15-y-o from Sierra Leone is a king-hell maker

This short documentary about a teenager from Sierra Leone who taught himself electronics and got a residence at MIT is inspiring and humbling -- what a kid!

15-Year-Old Kelvin Doe is an engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone who scours the trash bins for spare parts, which he uses to build batteries, generators and transmitters. Completely self-taught, Kelvin has created his own radio station where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker, DJ Focus.

Kelvin became the youngest person in history to be invited to the "Visiting Practitioner's Program" at MIT. THNKR had exclusive access to Kelvin and his life-changing journey - experiencing the US for the first time, exploring incredible opportunities, contending with homesickness, and mapping out his future.

Self-taught African Teen Wows M.I.T.

Zombie documentary from "The People v George Lucas" crew needs your support

MC Frontalot sez, "From the folks who made The People Vs. George Lucas (in which I am lucky enough to be a talking head), a new documentary about zombies and their place in our culture. Simon Pegg and Alex Cox are in the teaser trailer. Looks like the filmmakers need $30,000 in the next six days if they're going to fan-fund this thing. Since tPvGL did so well, I'm guessing that more traditional avenues are open to them if this fails. But I think it's way cooler for the audience to make this thing their own."

Brought to the screen by the creators of the groundbreaking participatory doc THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS, and co-hosted by Geekscape’s own Jonathan London and Red Letter Media’s infamous Mr. Plinkett, DOC OF THE DEAD will delve deep into the myriad crevasses of zombie culture to deliver the first-ever in-depth look at a contemporary social pandemic of global proportions. Shot and edited in a cinematically edgy, high-octane style, DOC OF THE DEAD will host a rich and entertaining dialogue with zombie experts and celebrities, seek participation from YouTubers and indie filmmakers, and examine viral cultural trends to explore the possibility and ramifications of an actual zombie outbreak with sociologists, virologists, chemists, and members of the Zombie Research Society.

DOC OF THE DEAD (Thanks, Frontalot!)

BBC radio documentary on same-sex couple coping with cancer and mortality

BB reader Jane Lowers sends along this beautiful BBC Radio documentary about two men in California who have been together for decades, now facing one's terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis. "I know both of them; Eric was a columnist at a radiology magazine I used to work for," says Jane. "Their house is every inch as insane as described. But the story -- trying to decide how to deal with a diagnosis, how to use the time you have, and how it can affect relationships -- was very well-described, I thought."

Movie poster for Jodorowsky's Dune

Kilian Eng created this poster for an upcoming documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky's legendary project to film Dune, "possibly the greatest Sci-Fi film that never was."

Poster for the upcoming documentary [via Super Punch]

PoV documentary on underground bike-messenger racing

Here's a trailer for "Line of Sight," a documentary on underground bike-messenger racing that uses helmetcams to capture some pretty insane (and often terrifying) examples of cycling skill:

Line Of Sight is a rare view into underground bicycle messenger racing which has become a global phenomenon. For over a decade Lucas Brunelle has been riding with the fastest, most skilled urban cyclists around the world while capturing all the action with his customized helmet cameras to bring you along for the ride.

This is bike riding like you've never seen before, in gripping first-person perspective through the most hectic city streets, on expressways in Mexico City, over the frozen Charles River, under the Mediterranean Sea, across the Great Wall of China and deep into the jungles of Guatemala.

LINE OF SIGHT - Official Trailer

Spirit Level documentary needs your support

Katharine sez, "Dartmouth Films are working with the Equality Trust on a documentary film of 'The Spirit Level, which aims to take the message of the book -- that more equal societies are better for everyone -- out to a wider audience. With growing unease over the last year about tax avoidance & the social effects of inequality (and the success of movements such as Occupy and Uncut), the film hopes to put pressure on governments and political parties from all ends of the political spectrum to pursue fairer policies. The film's campaign is live for three more weeks only at Indiegogo, and you can support the project by pre-buying the film or following the film on Twitter."

Just Do It environmental outlaw activist documentary screening, free online for May Day

Emily sez,

Just Do It - a tale of modern-day outlaws is an exciting new documentary which takes you behind the scenes of the secret world of environmental direct action in the UK. Granted unprecedented access to film, director Emily James embedded herself inside a group of nonviolent UK activists as they shut down airports, stormed the fences of coal power stations, and super-glued themselves to bank trading floors, all despite the very real threat of arrest.

The film opened in the US just last week on Earth Day, however, in solidarity and support with May Day actions planned around the world - starting at 5:30pm EST on Monday 30th, the full film will be available to watch online for FREE for 24 hours on occupy.com, with a live Q&A with director Emily James at 7pm EST. To reserve your seat for the 5:30pm screening, simply head over to www.occupy.com/watch/ or to watch the film at any time during the 24-hour invitation, click "watch now" in the player.

You'll remember Emily and her awesome movie from such blogposts as this one.

Just do it | Occupy.com

Bully gets cut, rated

The Weinstein Company has caved to the MPAA and edited down the documentary Bully in order to get a PG-13 rating. Unrated, uncut versions of the movie will still be shown in some theaters -- a concession from the MPAA. See more about the story here, and here. (Thanks, Xeni!)

Documentary about 1970s northern California Star Trek conventions

Apropos yesterday's post about 1970s science fiction convention costumes, Strephon Taylor sez, "I just saw your post on the 1970's science fiction costumes. I made a documentary on the early northern California Star Trek conventions called "Back to Space-Con", it has a ton of costume footage, I think you will dig it. We have some of the earliest full sound film on the subject. We got contacted by the producers of Trek Nation for our convention footage! "

This feature-length documentary film tells the story of the 1970's Bay Area Sci-Fi conventions called Space-Con. Told by the original organizers and fans. Includes celebrity interviews, costume contests and over 40 minutes of rare convention footage. See the Federation Trading Post in Berkeley and very first Star Trek convention in San Francisco. A real treat for any Star Trek or Star Wars fan. Film stars Bob Wilkins, John Stanley, Ernie Fosselius, and many more.

BACK TO SPACE-CON Trailer B