Friday, October 24, 2008

Wassup? 2008

Eight years later the original "Wassup?" boys return, in a surprising, brilliant mashup of culture and politics. This is what YouTube was made for.

YouTube link

True dat.

You can watch the original Bud commercial (which itself was an adaptation of a short film).

(via Andrew Sullivan)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"a brighter day will come"

My friend Pani linked to MC Yogi's pro-Obama hip-hop video "Vote for Hope" last week, both for its relaxed vibe and its skillful use of motion graphics.

I figured it might take off big, like "Yes We Can", but so far it hasn't (just over 100,000 views so far). The rhymes are a bit simplistic, but the song's bassline, beats, and snippets of Obama's speeches have hooked it in my ear.

And almost any speech by Obama is a reminder of the value of oratory to the presidency. I remain hopeful that come election day the numbers will move towards this candidate who despite his flaws speaks a vision that speaks to people's hope for the future for themselves and their children.

And not to the once-dignified shell of a man who seems only to speak in sneers, sarcasm, derision, and scorn.

YouTube link

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

Finally got to see this, albeit with two boys clinging to me and the last reel with the sound turned down. (Oops. Didn't check to see that this was PG-13). Liam pointed out that the thing that made the scary parts scary was the sound. And sure enough, with no sound, no music and no screaming and yelling, the adrenaline levels went waaaay down. The sound came back up for the necessary post-duel exposition that wraps up the story ("this is the boring part," said Liam).

The boys were prepared for the plot, knew many of the characters and planets from library books and The Clone Wars tv movie from the Cartoon Network, although after so many explosions and light sabers duels it's apparently hard to remember that the infant Luke will be a young adult in the next movie and it's the same person ("Whose house is that? What planet are they on? What happened to Luke's father?")

Satisfying, partially since the movie was an improvement over the previous two prequels, but mainly because it puts into place the story details that set in motion the first movie.

Absolutely stunning visuals... although I kept thinking of Hawaii Five-0, with long tracking shots of cars driving down the highway, and parking in front of office buildings, just to remind everybody "Hey, we're in Hawaii!" Lucas has so many subplots he's juggling, he has to put in establishing shots to remind us what planet we're on now, and each planet has to be distinct, just to remind us how big and diverse the galaxy is and how hard his art department is working.

But I wondered if the critics, who had a nominal duty to pass judgement on the film for those who hadn't seen the other five, thought it worked as a standalone. Some of them did, some didn't.

And then I found one critic who absolutely lambasted it. Hated it with a fiery passion. I burst out laughing reading his review.
The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith” seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.

Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hot Topics 2008: General Election Ballot Measures

What's hot?
State propositions are hot!

Cal's Institute for Governmental Studies Library has once again provided state proposition analysis and an list of endorsements (updated as they come in) for all your democratic information-gathering pleasure!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Theme from Shaft. Live. On Ukuleles.

Sheer awesomeness from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2007.

I'm also quite partial to their covers of:

Ennio Morricone's main theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
You Don't Bring me Flowers

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals

Missed in the initial hubbub over the Palin/Biden/Ifill debate sketch, this two-minute Andy Samberg sketch becomes the stuff of SNL legend.

Via Jesse Thorn et al.

Late Show - George W. Bush: How'd He Do?

Letterman & Co. look back at Bush's promises from the 2000 campaign and sees how well he executed on them.

YouTube link

Yes We Can (hold babies).

An entire blog devoted to photos of Obama (and Biden) with infants and children on the campaign trail. Seeing babies being crowd-surfed over to the candidate is both awesome and vaguely alarming.

Link via Andrew Sullivan.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Take On Me: Literal Video Version

Filmmaker and musician Dustin McLean literalizes A-Ha's iconic video from the 80's.

Ever wish songs just sang what was happening in the music video? Well now they do.

Hat tip to Chordstrike

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Laura Marling, Singer-Songwriter, Myspace Artist

Neo-folk artist Laura Marling is 18 years old, and drawing comparisons to Sandy Denny, the McGarrigle sisters, Martha Wainwright. Musically she reminds me of a young Suzanne Vega or Michelle Shocked, but with a darker mood. She started touring the UK soon after people started noticing her songs on Myspace when she was 17. Her first launch party turned into a busking session on the street because she was underage and the venue wouldn't let her in. Captured on video here:

No ukulele, no iSight gimmicks, although now that she's signed to Virgin records, there are several artsy music videos available on her web site.
I find them a bit too artistic as to distract from the music, so here's a live set in the studio in the Netherlands.