Lost Notes is a music documentary podcast from KCRW (Santa Monica, CA). For our third season, the poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib explores a single year: 1980 - the brilliant, awkward, and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music. Check out the episode guide in the Extended Description. Here's my essay introducing the series. [Previously on Projects: Season 1 | Season 2] [more inside]
Salutations Everyone! We all have read the quotes about McLuhan, now hear and occasionally see him speak, it's quite different than just reading, as if the person, or medium, if you will, alters the content of what's expressed, or message, ya might say. Seriously though, I'm serializing a project entitled: "Western Cynical: McLuhan Unclaimed", it's available on YouTube, episode 13 is premiering very soon. [more inside]
I wanted to wait until we had a sufficient pile of episodes out there to share, but ... Lost Notes is back for another season! Our exec producer/host this season is the great Jessica Hopper - one of the sharpest music writers and critics in the room. Check out the episode guide in the Extended Description. [more inside]
'Change the Subject' is a documentary about working to change how libraries label immigrants. Here's a trailer (and a second trailer). In 2014 a Dartmouth College student researching undocumented students in the U.S. repeatedly encountered the term “Illegal aliens” as a subject heading in the library catalog. Dismayed by this use of biased language she worked with CoFIRED (a student run undocumented immigrant rights group at Dartmouth) and rallied college librarians, and ultimately librarians across the United States, to challenge how the Library of Congress categorizes books and other materials about undocumented people. This 55 minute film features interviews with students, faculty, librarians and congressional representatives involved in this instance of campus activism that entered the national spotlight (NYT link). As of this posting, the Library of Congress has yet to 'Change the Subject' and 'Illegal aliens' remains the authorized cataloging term for issues related to undocumented immigrants. [more inside]
Late Night in the Studio takes a deep dive into the illustrious history of the CBC. In each episode, our archivist host Moe will show us a special treat (which happens to relate to events in his personal life) from the the catacombs of the CBC; films which feel authentic to the time and place they are supposed to be from... but they're created by us. Late Night in the Studio is part history, part imagination. [more inside]
Sarasota Half in Dream is a feature-length Surrealist documentary about dead turtles, crab swarms, decaying resorts, and microscopic histories. Streaming online for free. [more inside]
We just released our 5-minute-documentary about Frank Lukas who collected heaps of memories while getting to the very top in the BMX world today. Now we are telling his story in association with Carhartt. What makes the film special is the mixture of old analogue clips, high quality shots, projections and animations which is pretty unusual for a bike film. It is not just about BMX. It is about a man who followed his dream although there was only a really small chance of succeeding. It is about working one’s way up and not giving up despite all struggles.
My brand-new podcast for KCRW! Wheee! Over a year in the making, it's a brand-new series devoted to “the greatest music stories never truly told.” [more inside]
Proud to announce my first collaboration with fellow Mefite glasseyes - we met in an AskMe about textiles and ethnic fashions a few years ago, and this is teh culmination of months of work. Join us in this journey through fabric shops and fashion magazines to see how brands are built through word of mouth and hard work in the informal economy.
For one fleeting moment in the summer of 1989, college radio, MTV, classic rock, and the avant-garde intersected when The Ordinaires, a nine-piece orchestral art-rock band from New York City, summoned the ghosts of ‘70s stadium-rock bombast with an infamous cover tune. And after a decade surviving near-death experiences and religious condemnation, the band was about to face its most formidable obstacle: itself. This is the story of a time and a place never to be repeated, in which an unlikely group of people made a most unusual noise. These are Nine Views of the Ordinaires. (59m) [more inside]
A photography blog documenting the interiors of homes in inner west Melbourne, Australia. [more inside]
What do an autoline fisherman in Iceland, a robot maker in Korea, a costume designer in Brazil, an intern in Egypt and an aspiring professional gamer in the US by way of Canada have in common? They are the five players, from a monthly user-base of 70 million, featured in Live/Play - a 38 minute documentary film I directed and edited about League of Legends players around the globe. In the interest of full disclosure, yes, this film was funded by Riot Games but I got the thumbs up to post it here.
I make stained glass windows for a living. For a long time I've wanted to make a stop motion movie of a window going together. So I finally did it. [more inside]
A radio documentary on the AIDS crisis and its impact on the “gay paradise” of Fire Island throughout the 1980s. The 25-minute piece airs this week on KCRW’s “UnFictional” program, in commemoration of World AIDS Day 2013. My Web site has a companion page introducing the guests and featuring additional content not heard in the broadcast version. [more inside]
In February of 2012, I was in Helsinki traveling with Rachel Lovinger when I was contacted by long time goon Russ Rogers. His question was simple: since DEFCON was coming up on the 20th anniversary, and I had been both an attendee and director of several technology-based documentaries, would I be interested in doing a documentary on DEFCON and its 20th year? I said I needed to think about it, but I really didn't have to think that long. A year and a half later, I put the finishing touches on a two hour movie and an hour of bonus footage, having spent the previous 18 months planning, shooting, organizing, editing, and just generally living this movie day in and day out. While we weren't able to cover every last aspect of DEFCON (and who really could?) I think you'll find there's something for everyone in the movie. It was done out of love And respect for this incredible event, I hope it brings a whole new appreciation of the special event DEFCON has every year. [more inside]
I did a fun Q&A with Cory Welles, director of the documentary 32 Hours, 7 Minutes. The film takes its title from the US transcontinental speed record, set during the 1983 US Express (a secretive race from New York to LA, and successor to the famous Cannonball Run). [more inside]
in 2010 I (along with many others) were interviewed for a documentary on the formation of the world-wide life-drawing cabaret show I helped found. After two years on the festival circuit, it is now available for all and sundry on Vimeo. Interviews with Akynos, Gal Friday, Amber Ray, Molly Crabappple, and more. NSFWish video and audio. Directed by Peter Bolte (14 min)
Beyond Flavortown - When the users of Metafilter found their website bombarded with negative reviews of the new Times Square eatery, they decided to shuffle on over and see for themselves what the fuss was about. We recorded their reactions.
A short interactive online documentary telling some segments of the life of a resident of Leith, Edinburgh. Having gone from respected high school teacher in Scotland to convicted cocaine smuggler in Guyana - these snippets show him as he begins to rebuild his life.
94 Elements is a global filmmaking project based around the 94 naturally occurring elements, from Hydrogen to Plutonium. Award-winning and upcoming filmmakers each take one element as the basis for a human story around how it's used - watch the 2 minute trailer here and you can see the first film now on the project website. There are opportunities for upcoming filmmakers to win commissions to make new films for the project, such as this pitch at the Sheffield DocFest in June, and we've got great plans for some really interesting data-vis work around how we use our resources.
A short film documenting my recent trip across the Republic of Mali to record indigenous and regional music. After the kidnappings and murder in Timbuktu in December 2011, I had forfeited all plans to go to the northern half of the country ... until the day I was piled into a 4x4, completely unplanned, and swept away to Timbuktu as the personal guest of a Malian gendarme. This film documents my early work in Mali ... and the utterly unique experiences that awaited me in Timbuktu. [more inside]
My documentary radio project, ShortWaveMusic [prev], has gone global! This is a new short video documenting the 2011 season, filmed on location throughout the United Arab Emirates in October 2010. (Future editions will include Ghana, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. Prior seasons were recorded in Ibiza and Bulgaria.) [more inside]
With the invaluable help of some friends, I put together this mockumentary about the economy. NSFW, if anyone still has work. [more inside]
I'm the artist-in-residence for the city of Kitchener, Ontario this year (2011). My project is to photograph 1,000 or more people within the city to create a photographic documentary of the diversity of our community. [more inside]
Travelling around the globe to film, interview and discover the lives and motivations of the world's street artists. 40 cities in 30 countries in 10 months! [more inside]
Premiering February 11th, a documentary film about Pruitt-Igoe – perhaps the most infamous and contentious urban failure in living memory. The buildings' violent implosions were famously cited as the moment marking "The Death of Modernist Architecture". But this real failure quickly took on mythical characteristics; its complex history reduced to bullet points. The real lesson, the film argues, is about the profound ways the American City changed in the 20th century. [more inside]