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Monday , August 2, 2010
Random Video Entry: In Which I Obsess Over That Antoine Dodson Video Everybody's Watching
So, if you've been alive and somewhat on the Internet for the past few days, you've probably noticed there's a new viral video thing going around. Antoine Dodson is a "new Internet hero"--Antoine's sister Kelly woke up in the middle of the night to find a strange man had broken into the apartment she shared with her brother in Huntsville, AL, and the man had gotten into bed and was trying to take off her clothes. She screamed and fought, and Antoine came in and scared off the attacker, who got away but left plenty of evidence. WAFF interviewed Kelly and Antoine about the attack, never realizing that their news report would become Internet viral gold, mostly because of Antoine's impassioned, unadulterated message to the would-be rapist. It's hard to describe the video, so watch for yourself to see the Internet magic that is Antoine Dodson:
This video is an amazing combination of OMG, WTF, disturbing American political frisson and kinda-awesomeness that makes it a cultural studies scholar's wet dream, and an interesting opportunity to look at the reasons we watch something again and again and again--to examine why some videos become so freaking compulsive and what it says about us in general. The most obvious talking point when it comes to this video is Antoine's basic self--maybe it's not PC to say it, but he's a riveting combination of gayness, Southernness and "blackness." To get all performance-studies on you, it's rare to see these strands of performance come together in one text; you just don't see people like Antoine Dodson anywhere in a popular culture that generally still marginalizes people of color. And poor people of color? Forget about it. You can read the extraordinary interest in the video as a kind of tokenism, and some people have criticized Antoine as reflecting poorly on the community in Huntsville. Antoine's just being himself in a particularly raw way, but that self is both fascinating and unacceptable, depending on where you stand in terms of race, class and sexuality.
Of course, there's no denying that the video makes a lot of people laugh at first. There's an OMG/WTF factor--Antoine's combination of style, emotion and authenticity is a magical elixir that entire reality television franchises are made out of. There's an authenticity to his feelings of anger and frustration, but the distance between his expression ("Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your husband 'cause they be rapin' everybody!" is now an instant catchphrase, inspiring numerous remixes) and the very real emotion that lies underneath them is often what creates comedy. (Watch any comedy, and what's often funny is how seriously people say ridiculously-put things.) I'd also argue that the video's comedy comes from the collision of Antoine's real, genuine emotion and style and the general "reasonable, i.e. sterile" measuredness of the newscast format. If you want to argue that the newscast format is a container that wraps up disturbing news in a way that makes it palatable to watch over dinner, then Antoine busts out of that wrapping in a big way.
But the fact is, this isn't a comedy--it's ultimately a real attempted rape episode and the attacker is still out there. What's remarkable and riveting about the video is that he's genuinely ANGRY that someone almost raped his sister. This, to me, should be a natural reaction when someone is attacked like this--but it illuminates the extent to which rape as a crime is NOT treated with any seriousness overall in our culture and society. (Two words here: ROMAN POLANSKI.) It's disturbing to watch the video upon repeated viewings and notice how the family is frustrated and angry, but completely unsurprised by this crime. (It's worth watching the followup video to be even more disturbed by how the crime recedes even more from the news report.) It's also interesting to note that nowhere in the footage do you see any uniformed police, just one little crime investigator at work, which is an interesting visual message about how seriously crimes against women of color and poor communities are taken. In a way, what other recourse do Antoine and his sister have but to bring awareness to what must have been a frightening ordeal for them via direct address through the media? Antoine's straight-up charisma and bad-assness was able to penetrate the general indifference that rape as a crime is given in our culture, and on some level it's just fucking refreshing that someone gets angry and personal about an attack like this. Thanks to the video, they have "awareness" up the wazoo at this point, but what steps have been taken to catch the attacker? I hope they catch them, and I would love to see a video of Antoine dressing down the perpetrator in that uniquely bad-ass, righteous style without some smirky-ass news reporter tools getting in the way.
Tuesday , July 6, 2010
Random Video Entry: Claire Danes on The Jon Stewart Show in 1994
Have you seen that Claire Danes ad for the prescription meds that make your eyelashes bigger? It's so weird! I tried to find it on YouTube and failed miserably - but on the plus side, I did come across this clip from a Jon Stewart Show episode that aired the day before my 17th birthday. Nice facial hair, Jon! Nice top, Claire. But she's pretty damn cute when she talks about her then-boyfriend Andrew Dorff, who was introduced to her by the chronically underestimated Sharon Cherski. Turns out Andrew is Stephen Dorff's kid brother, and in 1997 he put out an album called Hint of Mess, featuring the songs "Insecuriosity," "Overneath," "No Butter, No Oil," and "Angel Puppets." I've never heard any of those songs, but my favorite is definitely "Angel Puppets."
Tuesday , June 8, 2010
The New Lady Gaga Video is So Mid-90s Madonna!
It's crazy how mid-90s David Fincher-directed Madonnsky "Express Yourself" this is, right down to the crazy bra at the end! Gaga is one of those pop culture figures that make me all ambivalent-feeling, but I can't deny how much I love this song, mostly for its Swedish disco-y/ABBA/Ace of Base qualities. "Alejandro" the video lacks the bananas factor that "Telephone" and "Paparazzi" has for me; I kind of wish it had more genuine WTF/OMG-ness to it, because when it does, it has that spark of humor and cheekiness that Gaga needs, I think. It's dark and stylish, but maybe that's my thing with it -- it's not a dark and stylish song. It ultimately looks like a W magazine photo shoot come to life, which makes sense, considering fashion photographer Steven Klein directed it. I do like the dancing Mexican dudes with the bowl haircuts and leather suits, though. But I'm a big fan of dancing Mexican dudes in anything, really.
Sunday , May 9, 2010
Happy Mother's Day!
When I get sad, I like to watch this video in my head.
Wednesday , April 14, 2010
Werner Herzog Reads Madeline
"But most interesting to them was Madeline's appendectomy scar. She has been voonded in the abdomen, and szerefore left the segregated vorld of girlhood. Zis is an obvious metaphor for menstruation and sexual maturity."
P.S. Don't forget to check out Werner Herzog Reads Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel! (Thanks, Wapner!)
by Liz in Videos
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Monday , April 5, 2010
MORE JACQUES COUSTEAU, LESS HUCK FINN: A Special Message From The Sea To YOU! Remember in January, when Emily "Switchfoot" Richmond left to sail around the world, and we were sad and happy at the same time and just loved her so much we could barely breathe? THAT WAS INTENSE. Now Emily and her beautiful Bobbie are getting ready to cross The Largest Ocean On Planet Earth, and they're asking for a l'il help from YOU. (And you! And you and you and you!) By April 19 at 3 a.m. EDT, Ol' Switchfoot needs to raise $5,000 to get herself some essential safety gear (medical supplies, storm sails, satellite phone, etc.), and as of now she's still got $3,768 to go. So, if you're into safety and supporting beautiful adventures, please check out Emily's MORE JACQUES COUSTEAU, LESS HUCK FINN Kickstarter project and send some much-needed dough her way. And if could post about the project on your own blog, or Facebook, or Twitter, or all of the above, that would be amazing too. Also, do take a look at the gallery of photos Emily's taken thus far on her trip. (I especially dig the Polaroid where the horse falls down, or something.*) And don't forget to watch Emily's little hello video, sent from the Mexican seashore straight to nogoodforme.com! You can tell she's full of good ideas, cuz of that lightbulb shining bright above her adorable head.
Monday , April 5, 2010
MORE JACQUES COUSTEAU, LESS HUCK FINN: A Special Message From The Sea To YOU!
Remember in January, when Emily "Switchfoot" Richmond left to sail around the world, and we were sad and happy at the same time and just loved her so much we could barely breathe? THAT WAS INTENSE. Now Emily and her beautiful Bobbie are getting ready to cross The Largest Ocean On Planet Earth, and they're asking for a l'il help from YOU. (And you! And you and you and you!)
By April 19 at 3 a.m. EDT, Ol' Switchfoot needs to raise $5,000 to get herself some essential safety gear (medical supplies, storm sails, satellite phone, etc.), and as of now she's still got $3,768 to go. So, if you're into safety and supporting beautiful adventures, please check out Emily's MORE JACQUES COUSTEAU, LESS HUCK FINN Kickstarter project and send some much-needed dough her way. And if could post about the project on your own blog, or Facebook, or Twitter, or all of the above, that would be amazing too.
Also, do take a look at the gallery of photos Emily's taken thus far on her trip. (I especially dig the Polaroid where the horse falls down, or something.*) And don't forget to watch Emily's little hello video, sent from the Mexican seashore straight to nogoodforme.com! You can tell she's full of good ideas, cuz of that lightbulb shining bright above her adorable head.
Monday , March 22, 2010
Random Video Entry: Cherie Currie & Her Twin Sister Singing On Some German TV Show In 1980
Definitely the second mind-blowingest thing that happened this weekend was how I really kind of loved the hell outta the Runaways movie: It's got probs, some of it's so dumb and cliched, and it's pretty uncomfortable to hear Dakota Fanning speak the words "I'm thinking with my cock," but mostly it's just exhilarant and soooo beautiful. And Kristen Stewart ruled, and I was so stoked for Joan Jett in the end. And Cherie Currie made me real sad, so it's nice to see her all happy-looking here, singing a Head East song with her twin sister on German TV. If I had a twin sister, we'd probably wear our matching Mickey Mouse-in-Fantasia sweatshirts all the time.
by Liz in Videos
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Friday , March 12, 2010
Dance Party Friday: "Dr. Cat" by Mary Timony Every Friday from now until forever, here's some weird video with really sexy dancing. TGIDPF! BECAUSE SOMETIMES NOT EVEN DEVENDRA BANHART IS WOMAN ENOUGH FOR ME. P.S. Let's all learn the dance sequence, and then dance it. Together.
Friday , March 12, 2010
Dance Party Friday: "Dr. Cat" by Mary Timony
Every Friday from now until forever, here's some weird video with really sexy dancing. TGIDPF!
BECAUSE SOMETIMES NOT EVEN DEVENDRA BANHART IS WOMAN ENOUGH FOR ME.
P.S. Let's all learn the dance sequence, and then dance it. Together.
Tuesday , February 9, 2010
Random Video Entry: "Spin the Bottle" by the Juliana Hatfield Three
I can't remember why I recently decided to watch this video for the first time in like 15 years, but it's a pretty sweet little Valentine's-week treat. Some thoughts:
-Ack, Lewis Largent! Nice shirt. I think maybe in 1994 I thought he was hot, kind of? Hmmm.
-YUCK, the dude from The Kids in the Hall. He's charming here, but The Kids in the Hall sooooo makes me break out in hives. Like, one night ten years ago my roommate was watching The Kids in the Hall in our living room and I ran away into the kitchen and he asked what was wrong and I told him: "I hate The Kids in the Hall. It makes me want to die." And then my roommate accused me of being hyberbolic but, truly, if given the choice between "watching an entire episode of The Kids in the Hall" and "dying," the former would only win out by the smallest of noses. Like, one of those creepy alien Paris Hilton noses. That's all that's keeping me from death, when it comes to The Kids in the Hall.
-Awww, Tanya Donelly! So adorbs, always and forever. If I were playing Spin the Bottle I'd totally want Tanya to be there, for shy little cheek-kissing purposes. It's cute when she gets smooched by Steve Zahn, although it makes me feel that much worse about Juliana getting kissed by Ethan Hawke at the end. I mean, imagine if Ethan Hawke kissed you? Stuck his tongue down your throat, "mopped your tonsils"? That would be so bonkers, and uncomfortable!
-And oh, Ethan Hawke. Once upon a time, in 2007, nogoodforme.com recipe developer Hallie Faben left me a MySpace comment that read "Ethan Hawke? Ethan Hawke." Which pretty much perfectly encapsulates the emotional complexity of my relationship with Ethan Hawke: I always start out real skeptical, and then I remember "Oh yeah - you're kinda great most of the time! I kinda really like you. You were very, very good in Before Sunset and Tape and Training Day. Congratulations. You're welcome." He's been in my brain lately, mostly due to this New York feature on his theater work with Frank Whaley and my homeboy Josh Hamilton, which is a good read indeed. Also I recently listened to the commentary from Reality Bites while cleaning the house and during one of those mega-tense Troy vs. Michael scenes Ben Stiller commentates something like, "Yeah, our actual relationship was pretty much exactly like this," which is funny and unsurprising. Anyway, he has terrible hair and clothes here but the lip-synching's sorta endearing...Ethan Hawke? ETHAN HAWKE!
P.S. It excites me that the video up next on 120 Minutes was "Cursed Female" by Porno for Pyros. But that one's not very Valentine-appropes.
Friday , July 10, 2009
The DJ Freak Illness Guide to Home Movies: Michael Jackson Memorial Edition
As a special Friday treat, we bring you this guest post from nogoodforme pal DJ Freak Illness aka Katie Perry (not to be confused with Katy Perry, who we're not friends with at all and will never ask to guest-blog for us.) Enjoy!
I am a sucker for many things, but my hands-down Numero Uno sucker-maker is dancing. In that category, my top sub-sucker-makers are: dancing at weddings, choreographed dancing in general, and anything that involves both dancing and Michael Jackson. Put 'em together and what have you got? Choreographed dancing to Michael Jackson at weddings!
And I ain't the only one! Browse the YouTube and you will find many many wedding tributes to the King of Pop. There are others, sure (the way lamer Nobody-Puts-Baby-In-a-Corner first dance, the Country-Music-Morphs-into-"Low"-by-Flo-Rida first dance, some "Baby Got Back" first dances, which I admit I find somewhat charming), but MJ leads the pack by a healthy margin. I have some theories about it: a bride and groom are vulnerable on their wedding day, partly because they are in the midst of a very public display of their wide-open little hearts (ideally anyway), and MJ was a balls-to-the-wall, wide-open little hearted performer. Onstage, he was raw in a way that, say, Madonna isn't. Who better to imitate on the day you bring everyone you know to the same place to show them how disgustingly in love you are?
I had some other theories too, but I forgot them. ANYWAY. Last year, I got really obsessed with Thriller wedding videos, which almost always cheer me up when I'm feeling blue. Now that I've been feeling blue about MJ's passing, I've revisited a few of them. Here, for your enjoyment, a sampling of clips from the Three Major Types of Michael Jackson Wedding Dances:
THRILLER IN THE FELLOWSHIP HALL - GROOMSMEN STEAL THE SHOW
This is one of my favorites, I think mostly because of the way they zomb into the frame at the beginning and then how the main guy is always just this side of Really Into It but he's still pretty good. I also like to pretend he's Win Butler.
MJ AS WINDOW INTO THE BEDROOM, OR: "WATCH OUT! WE'RE UNPREDICTABLE!"
This is one from the "surprise first dance" genre, in which the newlyweds start out shuffling in earnest to something acoustic and love-y, and then BAM! The rug is pulled from under our feet! Like the story of the Titanic, it's way predictable, but the ending still gets me.
I like this one because when they're dancing to Jack Johnson the wife seems a little twitchy and uptight, but then when "The Way You Make Me Feel" hits, and especially around 1:47 and 2:27, I feel like they really want the audience to think a lot about them having SEX! Which is fine, I guess. Also, the high-five at the end kills me, I admit it.
THRILLER WITH LAUGH TRACK: EVERYBODY LIMBO
Then we have the bride + groom + wedding party-style Thriller, which has a more celebratory feel since the whole gang is in on it. This one I enjoy mainly for the occasional zoom on the bride grabbing her crotch and the fact that the audience is howling with laughter the whole time.
Sigh. Farewell MJ. May your moves be mangled by generations to come.