Kevin Kelly talks about the Electronic Whole Earth Catalog in this 1980s news segment

Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly's first job was at the Whole Earth Catalog. Here's a video from the 1980s that shows Kevin describing the HyperCard version of the Whole Earth Catalog. (Try it here!)

I feel fortunate to have worked with and become a friend of Kevin's. We've known each other since the late 80s when we traded subscriptions for bOING bOING (when it was a zine), and the Whole Earth Review, which he edited. About 20 years ago Kevin started Cool Tools, which is an outgrowth of the Whole Earth Catalog and for the last six or seven years, I've been Kevin's business partner there. The Electronic Whole Earth Catalog is a bridge between the print version of the Catalog and Cool Tools. Also, I miss HyperCard. I wish it was still around and that it was the way to make websites. Read the rest

Freaky 1980s Leonard Cohen TV performance

Leonard Cohen performs "First We Take Manhattan" on Sweden's Kulturen TV program in June 1988. It's perfectly bizarro 1980s while also being so very Cohen.

Below, Cohen's interview on the same program:

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Impressive four minute mash-up of 50 music videos from 1988

The Hood Internet cut up bits of 50+ music videos from 1988 and mashed them into a four minute video. It would make the perfect soundtrack to a montage of 80s movie montages.

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Crowdfunding "In Search of Tomorrow," the ultimate 80s sci-fi film documentary

In Search of Tomorrow is slated to be a four-hour-long love letter to the sci-fi films of the 1980s. It is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and has raised almost $470,000 dollars to date, with 32 hours left to go. It is being produced by the same folks who crowdfunded and produced the documentary on 80s horror films, In Search of Darkness.

In Search of Tomorrow will take viewers on a year-by-year deep dive into the many awe-inspiring worlds of ‘80s Sci-Fi movies, breaking down the most iconic and eccentric films you know and love (and many you may have forgotten or missed), and examining the science, technology, and artistry behind the fiction.

The completed feature will be more than four hours long and feature insights and anecdotes from an extensive collection of experts and iconic talent, including filmmakers, actors, special-effects and visual effects masters, tech advisors, authors, influencers, and visionaries. Not only will they tell their own stories, but they will share opinions about their own favorite Sci-Fi movies.

Learn more of their Kickstarter page. Image: Promotional poster Read the rest

1985 design for Pepsi Cola can made for astronauts

From the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC: a Pepsi can designed for astronauts!

In 1984, researchers for Coca Cola had an idea about dispensing carbonated beverages in space to give astronauts more choices to drink and also to create a stellar advertising opportunity. The company developed a can that would work in weightlessness to keep the cola fizzy without spewing out of the can. NASA agreed to let the astronauts try the Coke device on a Shuttle flight. When Pepsi learned of this project, it also wanted to participate and developed its own container. Both Coke and Pepsi products were flown on the STS 51-F mission in 1985 so crew members could evaluate the dispensers and do a taste test. Results were mixed and NASA did not add either company's product to the Shuttle food pantry; the mid-1980s "Cola Wars" continued on earth but not in space. NASA gave the Museum this extra Pepsi can that was modified for spaceflight.

Image: Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

[via Bruce Sterling] Read the rest

Stuck on VHS is a visual history of video store stickers

Stuck on VHS is a book that has over 1000 photos of stickers that video rental stores of the 1980s and 1990s would stick onto the cassettes. These stickers would be used to let people know about a video's genre and rating, and also to remind them that they could be fined if they neglected to rewind the tape before returning it. I don't have a copy, but it looks like a true delight for anyone interested in design.

For a taste of what's inside, check out their Instagram account.

 

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You know it must be one HELL of a video! STUCK ON VHS is sold out online, but copies are available at all @drafthouse theater locations and VHStival Tour stops! We’re hoping for a repress sometime later this year, and will keep everyone updated! Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy! Let us know what you think when they arrive, dudes! Can’t wait to share it with you! #vhs #vhstapes #videostore #videostores #videorental #vhscollector #vhscollecting #vhsstickers #vhsculture #vhsforever #vhsishappiness #stuckonvhs #devil

A post shared by STUCK ON VHS (@stuckonvhs) on Jan 22, 2020 at 6:57am PST

 

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And a doggone good deal, too!! Gotta love those animal mascots with human teeth! #vhs #vhstapes #videostore #videostores #videorental #vhscollector #vhscollecting #vhsstickers #previouslyviewed #fullyguaranteed #vhsculture #vhsforever #vhsishappiness #stuckonvhs

A post shared by STUCK ON VHS (@stuckonvhs) on Oct 1, 2019 at 8:16am PDT

 

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It’s not a bad question, Burt!

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‘80s Mascot "Bleachman" Wants You To Shoot Up Safely

Recent reckless comments from the president about injecting disinfectants have spurred urgent press announcements from health professionals and cleaning product manufacturers alike about the dangers of shooting up bleach. In San Francisco, it has also summoned visions of a noble helper from bygone days who wouldn’t have suffered such foolishness about shooting up. A local superhero who was dedicated to educating civilians about the proper use of bleach and injections. One who sought to prevent the spread of HIV and fight the stigma of drug use, all while wearing a cute outfit.

Armed with a Ringling Brothers-inspired oversized needle and festooned with a jug of bleach for a head, “Bleachman” was the official mascot of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation during the late ‘80s. Not only was his image plastered in advertisements on bus stops and free papers all over town, like all great superheroes, he had his own comic book and catchphrase too. “If you use the drug, you gotta use the jug,” Bleachman would quip before demonstrating the step-by-step process for cleaning needles. The "live action" costumed character made personal appearances too, patrolling the streets of San Francisco to educate IV drug users on the best way to prevent contracting HIV, stopping to take photos with fans along the way.

Witness him in all of his celebrity glory in this surprisingly candid PSA on late night television.

Needle exchanges and safe injection sites may have reduced the need for Bleachman’s services, but in these current dark times of misinformation, perhaps he will swoop in to save us once more. Read the rest

A day in NY in the early 1980s through the eyes of musicians, artists, activists, filmmakers, and more

I recently bumped into this piece in The New York Times Style Magazine from a few years ago which chronicles a day in the life of New York City in the early 80s through the memories of dozens of well-known NY artists (of all stripes), gallerists, club owners, and activists.

Kim Gordon, musician

When I first moved to the city, there was a garbage strike. I was hustling. I had a horrible graveyard shift at a coffee shop, one of the only places to eat in Chelsea, open 24 hours — super crickets, deserted. I worked part-time for gallerist Annina Nosei. She and Larry Gagosian had this space, it was a condo loft in a building on West Broadway. [By 1 a.m.] I’d be somewhere like [the TriBeCa No Wave club] Tier 3, seeing [the electronic Berlin band] Malaria!, and then walking over to Dave’s Luncheonette. A lot of the alternative spaces — Franklin Furnace, A-Space — had music, too. Hearing hip-hop on the street, minimalist new music, free jazz — it all added to this fabric that was a landscape.

I was kind of tomboyish, but also pretty poor. I had glasses, so I put these flip-up sunglass visors on them. But I didn’t feel super cool or anything. The people who were chic, the downtowners, pretty much just wore black — that could instantly give you a look. Our first goal [as Sonic Youth] was getting a gig at CBGB. Then it was getting a good time slot at CBGB, so you weren’t on last and weren’t on first. Read the rest

This '80s robot watch is nifty looking

Check out these GLORIOUS images of a wonderful 1980s robot-space-tech themed watch with little pop-out mechanical arms. Read the rest

Watch this person passionately rave about the joy of mall walking as exercise (1987)

This clip is apparently from "Malltime," a 1987 episode of the British TV documentary program Equinox. Some insist that the woman is an actor, and that may very well be true especially given the mall is located in Los Angeles. But that doesn't mean she isn't also a very enthusiastic mall walker.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

VHS horror movies are corrupting our children! A "20/20 Special Report" from 1987

Above: In 1987, TV newsmagazine 20/20 revealed the real horror of horror movies: children watching splatterpunk films on VHS in the comfort of their living rooms!

"Fair warning though: There is some graphic violence in this. But we say that for you, not your kids -- they've probably already seen it."

(via r/ObscureMedia)

Below, The Damned's tribute to the genre, "Nasty" (1984):

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Watch skateboarder Tony Hawk, age 13, in his first TV appearance (1981)

In 1981, Tony Hawk, age 13, appeared on the Captain Kangaroo TV program shredding at the legendary Del Mar Skate Ranch in Southern California.

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Listen to a 1980s teenager's Commodore 64 covers of Huey Lewis songs

It was hip to be square, even in 1986. Especially in 1986. Jma Mitch writes:

As a teenager in 1985 and 1986, I used my trusty Commodore 64 and the "Music Construction Set" program to create computer versions of a slew of songs by the greatest musical artist of all time: Huey Lewis and The News. Only Huey songs, that was the only artist I did. I recently (Feb 2020) was able to access my 35 year old C64 disks, many of which survived, including the ones with the songs I'm uploading to this channel. Some of the songs sound better than others, but these are the original unedited files.

More here: "Commodore 64 plays Huey Lewis (1985-1986)" (YouTube via Waxy)

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Stellar lineup for 1980s music festival: Bauhaus, Blondie, Devo, Echo & The Bunnymen...

On May 2, 2020, Carson, California will be host to an incredible 1980s music revival. The Cruel World Festival lineup includes Bauhaus, Blondie, Devo, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Violet Femmes, The Church, English Beat, Public Image Ltd., Gary Numan, Marc Almond, Christian Death, Missing Persons, and more than a dozen other acts. Oh yeah, also, um, Morrissey. When I first saw the lineup, I thought it was a hoax.

The good people at Goldenvoice are producing the festival at Dignity Health Sports Park. Tickets go on sale this Friday starting at $135.00.

Cruel World Fest

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Professional dancers analyze the finale "Time of my Life" scene in Dirty Dancing

Professional choreographers Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Grant deconstruct the final dance in Dirty Dancing. Original below. Nobody puts Patrick Swayze in the corner.

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Watch this Coleco Adam home computer commercial starring Lori Loughlin (1984)

In this 1984 TV commercial for Coleco's failed Adam home computer, Lori Laughlin observes a young fellow able to power through his school assignment thanks to the magic of word processing. Laughlin asks, "Is that legal?" Ahem.

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Fast times at Roosevelt Field Mall, a documentary (1983)

In 1983, a crew of young, DIY documentarians visited Long Island's Roosevelt Field Mall to study mall culture. This is Mall City. (via r/ObscureMedia)

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