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Kubrick’s Cover Story: the double narratives and hidden meanings of ‘2001’
03.13.2012
08:01 am

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Movies
Thinkers

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Rob Ager is a Liverpool-based film theorist whose videos have been popping up on YouTube for the last few years. He tends to get lumped in with the usual conspiracy brigade, and while Ager’s work does approach material in the same analytical fashion his conclusions can be very different.

This close examination of Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Oddessy theorises that Kubrick was working on this film with a “double narrative” structure. Thus, the imagery, set design and camera shots created a complex story all of their own that was separate, and sometimes in direct opposition to, the commonly accepted themes of the Arthur C. Clarke screenplay.

Ager’s work falls on just the right side of conspiracy-culture to be of interest to skeptics and conspiracist’s alike, and with this particular film analysis he is careful to avoid any “tin foil hat” readings of the text, which can be a major downfall of “critical” videos of this kind. 

What Ager does posit is that Kubrick was working with a language of imagery that spoke directly to the subconscious and could be in contrast to the spoken words. This is more than a little believable when you take into account that Kubrick’s incredible talent and the huge amounts of time and effort that he spent on the various different aspects of his craft.

Kubrick’s Cover Story is in four parts, and comes in at just over an hour long. Not for everyone, perhaps, but definitely of interest to film students and the hardcore Stanley Kubrick fan (not to mention those who have a soft spot for a lilting Scouse accent):

Kubrick’s Cover Story part one:
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Kubrick’s Twisted Dimensions: why ‘The Shining’ is a masterful mindbender

Kubrick’s Cover Story part two to four after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Planet of the Apes’: A behind-the-scenes home movie of the 1968 classic film
03.12.2012
04:22 pm

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Pop Culture

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Roddy McDowall’s behind-the-scenes look at the making of the classic film Planet of the Apes in 1968. The quality is incredible as we watch McDowall slowly made-up to look like Cornelius, and then join his co-stars, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans and Charlton Heston, on the beach at Malibu for the film’s shock ending. I can still recall the playground buzz over this film, months before its arrival in the U.K. The bubble gum trading cards came first, only one grocery store stocked them, its owner, a thin, waxen-faced man in his late 50s, couldn’t fathom the film’s attraction. “Talking apes? What utter nonsense…tsk..tsk…tsk. Whatever next?” But it was believable to our fertile minds, and revolutionary.

This was the film that inspired my admiration for Roddy McDowall - how could he wear all that make-up? What was it like to act with it on? McDowall later said:

“A year before production, [the producer] Arthur Jacobs talked to me about the project. I was one of the few people he explained the whole thing to, including the ending. He talked with me about playing Cornelius, and I thought it was all intriguing. About a year later, I signed to do the film, and to have my face molded for the makeup. The first film was very difficult because it was made in the summertime, at the Malibu Ranch. In August, with all those quartz lights, it hits like 140*, and it’s just unbearable. Although it was a wonderful experience, because I like [director] Frank Schaffner very much, I thought I would never do one again….”

“The heat made us perspire, which in turn worked on the spirit gum which in turn forces the reapplication of the adhesive - which in its turn works on the skin….”

Planet of the Apes is a very hard film for me to judge because it was such a physical agony doing it. I’d begin to sweat remembering the heat. I think it’s a fabulous movie, up until I come into the film, and then it’s just purely a subjective reaction.”

The difficulties of wearing his make-up didn’t stop McDowall returning to the role of Cornelius in Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), and a Planet of the Apes TV series, all which I followed through the books, the comics, the cards and the films.
 

 

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Police use acne lights to get out of a spot of bother?
03.12.2012
03:04 pm

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Current Events
Science/Tech

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Young troublesome teenagers may soon find themselves in a spot of bother, when Cardiff Police introduce pink beautician’s lights to disperse their unwanted presence. The “acne lights” will highlight any spots, boils, pimples, and blotches, which it is hoped will lead to much hilarity and so disperse the gangs. The police response comes after 18 ASBOs (Anti-Social Behavior Orders) were issued over the last 6 weeks. Acne lights have been previously used in Nottinghamshire. The Cardiff police are also considering other deterrents, including high-pitched mosquito alarms, and classical music.

I wonder what’s to stop these pesky kids from smashing the lights or nicking the speakers?
 

 
With thanks to Tom Law
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Navigating SXSW with Daytrotter’s Sean Moeller
03.12.2012
02:05 pm

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Music
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Probably one of the top questions many (most?) SXSW attendees ask themselves upon looking at the (frankly overwhelming) festival schedule is (to be very frank) “Who ARE all of these bands? I’ve never heard of half of them.” (No, you’re not alone!)

One thing for sure about SXSW—but you can say this about music in general in 2012—is that there are a lot of great acts around, but how do you find out about them?

We asked Sean Moeller, Daytrotter’s man with the golden ear how he discovers emerging bands and lures them to his Rock Island, IL studio for a session.

Since a large part of Daytrotter’s appeal is the “filter” of your ear—you’re kind of like the Internet generation’s John Peel—I’m curious about what filters Sean Moeller himself employs to find out about new music before anybody else (or is that a closely guarded trade secret?)

I kinda just have one filter and it’s if I like it or not. A song or a band hits me rightly or wrongly, pretty quickly. It doesn’t take much. The ear “guts” just get it or they don’t. As far as outside filters, some of the greatest things that I hear about are from bands that we’ve worked with in the past and have become friends with. As everyone knows, great writers and musicians gravitate to other great writers and musicians and everyone’s always excited to talk about something great that they just heard. I learn a lot about different scenes and what’s happening there through friends like that. Sometimes they’re dead wrong and I’m not hot on something, but the majority of the time, it’s interesting.

What was the original impetus behind starting Daytrotter?

The original impetus was really just wanting to have some kind of platform—however big or small it was going to wind up being—to showcase artists that I really believed in or thought were incredible. I was that guy in college who was always listening to and recommending things to friends that were so foreign to them. I hardly had anyone listen to me. I was writing for a number of music magazines and even there—my pitches would fall on deaf ears, so I just started my own thing. And the idea of taping the sessions—and doing it the way we do them, live to tape—was something that me and our original engineer thought would be best. The sessions were just supposed to be something different. A new way to hear someone.

Which performers have produced the most magical Daytrotter sessions?

That list would be a long one. I think there are a bunch of different kinds of magic. There are the ones where the mere presence on tape and who they were was so special—Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Louvin or Raphael Saadiq. But then there are SO many who just surprise you. Even bands that you’re sure will be great, come in and we’re able to/they’re able to capture a truly inspired performance. It’s why anyone goes to see a live performance. It’s that chance that everyone hopes for. It’s the essence of what we try to do every day.

What sessions are you looking forward to recording this year at SXSW?

I’m really excited to tape Eric Burdon of The Animals, Jimmy Cliff, Built To Spill, PAPA, Counting Crows, Of Montreal, Spoek Mathambo, Diamond Rugs, Father John Misty, Youngblood Hawke, Harriet and a bunch of others. We’re gonna tape a good handful of old friends and that’s always a good time down there too, people like Barnstormer alums Hellogoodbye, Miss America (which is all of Nathaniel Rateliff’s band), Delta Spirit and Madi Diaz. Good times!

Who would your “dream” act be to record a Daytrotter session with if you could get into a time machine and travel back to their heyday?

I think Hank Williams or the Beach Boys during the “Pet Sounds” years would be the cream for me.

Check out the Daytrotter app at the iTunes store.
 

 
More SXSW 2012 coverage at Tap Into Austin 2012

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Even better than the real thing:  Madonna meets the bad trip lady
03.12.2012
01:35 pm

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Dance
Music
Superstar
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Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further - this new Madonna single is AWFUL. It’s really is so terrible that I’m gonna call “Girl Gone Wild” Madonna’s Showgirls moment: it’s so bad, it’s good!

And that’s why this video is just perfect.

You’ll have seen the footage before, no doubt, as Tara posted it a few weeks back in its original form: “Skeletons Having Sex On A Tin Roof” by Orphic Oxtra. It works even better here, as Madonna’s insipid, wannabe-edgy lyrics (“girls just wanna have some fun” - er, okay) are juxtaposed by that cheerful-slash-insane-looking dancing lady. The overall half-assed vibe of the song’s production fits the video’s green-screen ethos like a glove. Madonna will have to go some way to top this with the official video.

Also, just for the record, no “808 drums” were used in the making of this song:

Madonna “GIrl Gone Wild” [Official Music Video - NOT!]
 

 
Thanks to Sharon Needles and Matthew Rothery.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Small Apartments’ premiere: Matt Lucas & Johnny Knoxville at SXSW
03.12.2012
12:30 pm

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Small Apartments focuses in on the small lives lived inside of a run-down Los Angeles apartment complex on the wrong side of the tracks. Little Britain‘s Matt Lucas is both creepy and sympathetic in his stellar performance as the eccentric Franklin Franklin, an underwear-clad Swiss alphorn-playing weirdo who accidentally kills his horrible landlord (Fargo‘s Peter Stormare). Franklin adores his handsome, charismatic older brother (James Marsden) who lives in a mental institution and sends him daily letters, cassette tapes of his rantings and ravings, and fingernail clippings. One day when no letter arrives, Franklin panics and goes to investigate what’s happened to his sibling.

Franklin’s soda bottle-filled apartment is flanked by his neighbors, Tommy Balls, a ne’er do well stoner liquor store worker (a terrific Johnny Knoxville) and Mr. Allspice, a bitter, divorced painter who moved into the building and just never left (James Caan). Neither can stand freaky Franklin or his annoying alphorn playing.

The cast is rounded out with a wonderfully nuanced performance by Billy Crystal as a world-weary fire investigator and a spray-tanned Dolph Lundgren, unexpectedly hilarious as an egotistical pop psychologist who preaches the gospel of “brain brawn.” Juno Temple plays an aspiring teen stripper with dreams of Vegas who lives in the building and the always pitch-perfect Amanda Plummer shares awkward/sweet screen time with Knoxville as Tommy Balls’ worried mother.

Director Jonas Åkerlund is practically a legend for his music video work (Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up,” Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s “Telephone” and dozens of other iconic clips) and known for his meticulous eye, strong art direction, innovative camerawork and clever edits. The slow-moving Small Apartments, is, as the title implies a small film, but one that sports an impressive A-list cast and, despite the Coen Brothers-esque darkness of the plot,an ultimately uplifting message.

The screenplay was written by Chris Millis and adapted from his own novella, which won the 23rd Annual International 3 Day Novel-Writing Contest in 2000. With a haunting soundtrack courtesy of Swedish composer Per Gessel.
 

 

 
More SXSW 2012 coverage at Tap Into Austin 2012

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Kony 2012’s Visible Funding: Invisible Children’s anti-gay, creationist, Christian right donors
03.12.2012
12:15 pm

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Xeni Jardin over at Boing Boing reports:

Bruce Wilson digs in to the sources of funding for the group behind “Kony 2012,” and finds that 990 IRS tax forms and yearly financial disclosure reports from the nonprofit and 990s from its major donors “tell a story that’s jarringly at odds with the secular, airbrushed, feelgood image the nonprofit has cultivated.”

The documents show that Invisible Children received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the biggest financial backers of California’s anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8, with links to James Dobson, The Family (see Jeff Sharlet’s excellent book on the subject), and similar Christian Right entities.

Read the rest of the story: Kony 2012’s Visible Funding: Invisible Children’s anti-gay, creationist, Christian right donors at Boing Boing.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Indian Jewelry will psych you out
03.12.2012
11:09 am

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Music

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The angular industrial stomp of Houston’s Indian Jewelry has much in common with the sonic depravities of Faust, Suicide and fellow Texan weirdos the Butthole Surfers. Their live shows are seizure-inducing whirlwinds of evil, stroboscopic energy and throbbing power electronics delivered with the force of being hit by a Mack truck, but by all accounts, bandleaders Erika Thrasher and Tex Kerschen, a happily married married couple with a newborn baby girl, are two of the nicest and most well-adjusted people around who also happen to make ear-splitting rock and roll drones for a living.

Indian Jewelry is currently out on their “Expect Delays” tour in the Western region of the United States.

Is it true that you never rehearse? How does that work, do you all go into some sort of hypnotic mind-meld before you walk onstage?

Not exactly, we have rehearsed before, but it didn’t go well. Now we rely more on a technique we call ‘just try to listen to the song on your own time and then go for it.’

Are you two the new Kim and Thurston? How does your daughter like touring?

The new Kim and Thurston?  We’re not even the new Sonny and Cher. But if Kim and Thurston were forever lost in a steaming subtropical strip mall of a city, if Kim and Thurston were a little slow on the draw and didn’t get along that well with others, if musicality was completely out the window, social climbing was altogether forbidden, and Thurston had to use a stepladder to reach the books on the high shelves… then maybe we could draw a likeness.

We do tour with our infant daughter, and she has seen almost every graffiti-ridden alleyway in the US and she’s barely seven months old. She gets five adults fawning on her day and night. She hates the carseat but she loves the constant attention.

You must play in Austin a lot, what are the things that people just in town for the festival shouldn’t miss?

We’re from Houston, not all that far away, and here’s what long experience has taught us: All this talk of “beer” and “barbecue” is a throwback to the Bush dynasty; before their reign Austin was a wilder, freer, more psychedelic place. So go veggie (or at least Tex-Mex) and seek out the more illicit realms of pleasure. That is to say, that, like everyone else you’ll find us in line at Tamale House!

Where will you be playing during SXSW?

Playing our showcase with Future Blondes and Lumerians Saturday the 17th at the Iron Bear. That and a party via Austin Psych Fest at the SpiderHouse sometime on the 15th.

This raw, single-shot video from Chris Musgrave was recorded at an Oakland CA underground venue that must remain un-named to protect the complicit. Black out the room, then turn up the volume to make-believe you were there.
 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dangerous Minds at SXSW
03.12.2012
10:20 am

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Current Events
Music

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Austin street art. Photo credit: Mirgun Akyavas
 
Greetings from sunny Austin, TX. Well at least it’s supposed to be sunny today and tomorrow, but never mind that persistant pouring rain, Dangerous Minds will be covering the SXSW music festival all this week. I got in last Thursday and Marc Campbell and I have been roaming around Austin trying to take it all in and report back about a little of what’s going on here. It’s a loud, colorful food truck-strewn chaos of a city right now, that’s for sure. Every single square inch of Austin seems to have some sort of corporate branding.

I’ve eaten some great food, seen some amazing films and soon enough the music part of the festival wil start. In the coming days, we’ll be bringing you movie premieres (Small Apartments with Matt Lucas and Johnny Knoxville, the epic new Bob Marley documentary, the charming Grandma Low-Fi, the Bad Brains doc and many more), interviews with Indian Rope, Cloud Nothings, Daytrotter’s Sean Moeller and some “unplugged sessions” that have been scheduled with Jonathan Wilson,Father John Misty, Jenny O, Bee vs. Moth, Madi Diaz, Chelsea Wolfe, Poor Moon and the premiere of a new music video from Bay Area druid spacerockers Lumerians.

Click here to see Mirgun Akyavas’ photo gallery of Austin street art.

More music and film coverage at Tap Into Austin 2012.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bringing peace to a universe near you, it’s the ‘Space Stallions’
03.12.2012
10:07 am

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Animation
Television

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If, like me, you were raised on a strict diet of American and Japanese cartoons as a child of the 80s, then you are in for a treat with Space Stallions, which comes across as THE best kids show that never existed. And that’s just on the strength of the intro sequence.

An homage to likes of Ulysses 31, ThunderCats and Bravestarr, Space Stallions was created by The Animation Workshop, and what a great job they did too. We’re particularly tickled by the sword-cum-keytar, and the convoluted plot dynamics that would only make sense to a sugar-rushing 8-year-old:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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