Why P2P file-sharing can spell the demise of the Bush administration and how not to let American Idol take over the White House.
MOORE VS. BUSH, ROUND 2
We’re doing something a little different today — because today is the day filmmaker-slash-activist Michael Moore’s latest movie,Slacker Uprising, comes out. (Plus, it’s a nice transition from last week’s themes of P2P revolutions and the current White House being easily mistaken for a potato.)
And just like us today, Moore is doing something different with this himself: He’s giving the movie away as a free download, making it the first major feature-length film to debut legally as a free internet download. In his typical convention-defying, sticking-it-to-the-man style, he’s offering not one but five ways to snag it — from iTunes and Amazon Digital downloads to a number of live streaming options.
He’s doing it for two reasons: To get the word out and thus further the film’s ultimate goal of getting more young voters out on November 4, and to thank all his supporters over the years with a free gift on the 20th anniversary of his first film, Roger & Me.
The film was shot over 42 days leading up to the 2004 election, when Moore toured 62 cities across America with the same mission: Turning out a record number of young voters, which he considers a success given young adults voted in greater numbers than they ever had historically, and the youth segment was the only demographic group Kerry won.
(We, on the other hand, are less generous with the acclaim for a year in which American Idol still received more votes than the presidential election — quite the eye-opener when the American public finds a marginally talented popster to be a better idol than the nation’s leader.)
So go download the movie or find a screening near you so you can rub elbows with like-minded potato-haters. (Heck, host one, even.)
You’ve seen the promos. You’ve heard the promos. You’ve smelled the promos. The 2008 Olympics have been a long time coming, and now they’ve finally come. And while we have high hopes for U.S. Olympic teams, we sure hope the performance of the American teams tooting the horn is no predictor of the nation’s competitive edge over other nations.
Case in point: the BBC promo for the Olympics make NBC look like a bunch of sponsor-grubbing YouTubers.
“Journey to the East” is based on the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West and follows the adventures of Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy as they make their way to the other end of the world using Olympic athleticism to overcome the literal and abstract hurdles.
If this looks and sounds familiar, it should be: the enachanted short film (because we can’t bring ourselves to call it a mere video) is the brainchild of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the duo behind the pseudo-band Gorillaz. (Albarn is perhaps better known as the frontman of Blur and the mastermind behind The Good, the Bad & the Queen.)
The 3,000-frame animation took 12 weeks to complete and required 12-13 drawings per second of screen time, eating up 50 pencils and over 8,000 sheets of animation paper. If you think that’s quite a production, just wait for the audio: it was recorded on unusual Chinese instruments, 20 of them total, with a choir of 38 Chinese singers studio-dubbed to sound like 76 people. The two parts — the animation and the music — were developed simultaneously over the course of the 4 months so they woud fit together in the most perfect, organic way possible.
…And now it’s back to “This segment brought to you by Exxon-Mobil.“
We’re all about redefining perception by exploring new ways of looking at things normally taken for granted. And, apparently, so are you — some of our most popular content has been just in that vein. (Like this, this, this and that.) So today, we do exactly that: re-perceive.
Most of us secretly wish the world had remained as we saw it when we were kids — bright, colorful, full of simple shapes and yet full of wonder. What would happen if that childhood world came to life in our adult reality?
That’s exactly what Korean artist Yeondoo Jung explores in his photoseries Wonderland. He collected over 1,000 drawings from 5-to-7-year-old South Korean children, curated the few best suited for the project, then recreated the depicted scenes with live models, dramatic costumes and flamboyant colors.
The result: a stunning, visually and conceptually dazzling collection of surreal photography that leaves us dreamsome and a little sad at the same time, the eerie bittersweetness of an imagined reality we’ve long dismissed as unattainable.
And speaking of the harsh clash between childhood dreams and adult reality, how about that all-important what-do-you-wanna-be-when-you-grow-up question? If we all ended up doing exactly what we answered at age 6, Capitalism and the entire Western civilization would have to depend on a dysfunctional army of astronauts, Yankees pitchers and Broadway starlets.
One answer we bet was quite uncommon: “phone sex operator.” Which makes us wonder about the persons behind the personas — who are the people who end up in this bastard child of the sex industry, the faceless strangers who inspire such blind and uninhibited intimacy? Are all of them really tall 36DD blondes?
In his new book, Phone Sex, photographer Phillip Toledano explores the complex human element behind the sexy voice through a crosssection of art and sociology that makes us reconsider the purely transactional nature of that industry.
“I’m 60 years old, have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and married for 25 years. I have a son in his last years of college who lives at home. He’s a 4.0 with a double major in English Literature and Religion. Men call me for an infinity of reasons. Of course, they call to masturbate. I call it “Executive Stress Relief.” It’s not sex; it’s a cocktail of testosterone, fueled by addiction to pornography, loneliness, and the need to hear a woman’s voice. I make twice the money I made in the corporate world. I work from home, the money transfers into my bank account daily. I’m Scheherezade: If I don’t tell stories that fascinate the Pasha, he will kill me in the morning”
Read the fascinating interview with the artist at The Morning News and marvel at the gallery, complete with insight from the subjects ranging from the mundane to the unexpected to the utterly bizarre.
Just like the fundamental currency of the phone sex business, many of the relationships we form in life are with virtual strangers little pieces of whom we get to know through random glimpses, strangers we build up into idols and antagonists, heroes and villains, based on how we put those random little pieces together.
Take celebrity culture. Or politics.
Some of the greatest American idols have inspired tremendous reverence and unconditional empathy in us common folk. Which is why their deaths become a national tragedy we experience and grieve like the death of a close friend. In 1968, a train between New York and Washington carried one such national tragedy: Robert F. Kennedy’s coffin. That train also carried Look Magazine photographer Paul Fusco.
Originally assigned to shoot the funeral procession, Fusco soon realized that the greater ceremony took place along the tracks of the 8-hour ride: Americans of all walks of life saluting the fallen hero, some barefoot, some wearing their finest church clothes. The Fallen was born.
Fusco only had one shot at each scene and, unable to change his position or perspective throughout the entire ride, but he made the most of it in a way that revealed the pure patriotism lining those 229 miles.
Using color-intense Kodachrome film, the photographer captured what history books never could: the raw impact Kennedy had on the people, stripping away all the political pretense to unveil the deep-felt human connection.
See The Fallen in its entirety at New York Times Magazine, with a deeply moving voiceover from the photographer himself.
On a much lighter note, a much less artistically talented but no less experimentally brave guy takes on another kind of hero culture: movie heroes and superheroes. (Yep, we’re at it again.) D-list actor Andrew Goldenberg has taken to doing something so random and so bizarre that it’s simply brilliant: putting lyrics to movie theme songs.
Tux-clad and shakily on-key, he merges the worst of Broadway with the best of Comedy Central for a whole new level of spoof hilarity.
From Superman to Batman to Indiana Jones, he spares no blockbuster hero. Our favorite: Jaws. If Lucas were dead, he’d be rolling in his grave. Laughing. RIGL is the new ROFL.
The collection represents the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of the 400,000 images taken by NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite, hand-selected by NASA’s own scientists for an exhibition at the Library of Congress in 2000 — reassurance that at least some of our tax dollar is going to, um, the arts.
The images remind us of David Gallo’s stunning TED footage of those wondrous, color-shifting deep ocean creatures. Most of all, they remind us how amazing Earth is at its rawest, deepest core — and how overwhelming the sense of urgency about preserving it is.
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