Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Docus I plan to watch this year (and they're free) Part 1


  • A To Zeppelin: The Story Of Led Zeppelin Free (US audiences only) -  Chronicles the band's history, from their 1968 formation to their reign as 1970s hard-rock giants, with rare photographs, archival footage, and interviews. (2004)
  • A Brief History of John Baldessari - Free - A short film narrated by Tom Waits on the life and work of West-Coast conceptual artist John Baldessari. (2012)
  • A Land Without Bread - Free - Ostensibly a documentary about the Las Hurdes region located in a remote corner of Spain, this Luis Buñuel’s film is, in fact, a lacerating parody of travel documentaries. (1933)
  • A Look Behind the Future - Free - Intriguing 1966 documentary takes you inside the making of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and the thrilling technologies then in real-life development. (1966)
  • A Man Among Men: Alberto Giacometti - Free - An hour-long documentary about Giacometti, by Jean-Marie Drot. (1963)
  • A Poet in Cinema: Andrei Tarkovsky - Free - A rare look at Andrei Tarkovsky's thoughts on life and filmmaking. Directed by Donatella Baglivo. (1983)
  • A Story of Healing - Free - Won Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. Follows a team of volunteers in Vietnam. (1997)
  • A World of Art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Free - Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is a three-dimensional encyclopedia of art history. Filmed in 2004.
  • Albert Einstein: How I See the World - Free - Documentary on physicist Albert Einstein which chronicles the experiences that lead him to become a great advocate for world peace. (1991)
  • Albert Camus: The Madness of Sincerity - Free - About the life and work of writer Albert Camus, including interviews with his former mistresses and Camus' daughter Catherine and her twin brother Jean. (1997)
  • Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein Free - Documentary on the two artists from 1966.
  • Alfred Stieglitz: The Eloquent Eye Free - A revealing look at the "Father of American Photography." Appeared in the PBS American Masters series. (1999)
  • Ansel Adams, Photographer - Free - Documentary reveals the artistic and technical approach of Ansel Adams, America's finest photographer of natural landscapes. (1958)
  • Ansel Adams: The Incisive Art - Free - Explores the work of one of America’s most famous photographers, Ansel Adams as he goes beneath the surface to record nature and the quality of humanity. (1962)
  • Arduino: The Documentary - Free - Revisits a project launched in the Italian town of Ivrea back in 2005. The challenge? To develop cheap, easy-to-use electronics components for design students. (2010)
  • At the Museum - Free - The Museum of Modern Art (aka MoMA) creates an 8-part documentary series on what it takes to run a world-class museum. (2017)
  • Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief - Free - A mini-series created by Jonathan Miller explores the history of atheism in the world. (2004)
  • Audio Ammunition - Free - A series of short documentaries on The Clash and five of their classic studio albums. Produced by Google. (2013)
  • Bob Marley 'Come A Long Way' - Free - Documentary made for NZ tv show 'Good Day' by Dylan Taite. (1979)
  • Beat This!: A Hip-Hop History - Free - Originally part of the Arena television series, the TV doc was among the first crop of documentaries about hip-hop and hip-hop culture. (1984)
  • Bed Peace Free - 70 minute documentary revisits John and Yoko’s famous 1969 Bed-Ins, which amounted to a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War. (2011)
  • Beautiful Equations - Free - Artist/writer Matt Collings takes the plunge into an alien world of equations, asking top scientists to help him understand five of the most famous equations in science. (2010)
  • Bela Lugosi, Hollywood's Dark Prince - Free -Biographical documentary about Bela Lugosi (1882-1956), the legendary Hungarian actor most identified with the image of Dracula. (1995)
  • Benoit Mandelbrot: Father of Fractals - Free - In this final interview shot by filmmaker Erol Morris, Mandelbrot shares his love for mathematics and how it led him to his wondrous discovery of fractals. (2013)
  • Billie Holiday: The Life and Artistry of Lady Day - Free - What makes this low-budget documentary worthwhile is the music. The film features some of the best surviving footage of Holiday performing. (2004)
  • Black Coffee - Free - A three part look at  “the world’s most widely taken legal drug,” a beverage whose intellectually intense die-hard enthusiasts give wine’s a run for their money, from historical, political, social, and economic angles. (2007)
  • Blitzkrieg Bop Free - Hour-long TV documentary takes an old school look at CBGB during the heyday. Features The Ramones, Blondie and The Dead Boys. Mixes live performance with short interview clips. (1978)
  • Brian Eno: The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1971-1977 Free - Explores Eno's life, career and music between those titular years—the period that some view as his golden age, and others as just one great era in a long and very eclectic career. Find alternative version on YouTube here. (2012)
  • Caravaggio - Free - A documentary by Robert Hughes (circa 1975)
  • Chick Corea: Documentary of Legendary Jazz Great, Pianist and Composer - Free - Short documentary features Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Bela Fleck, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and more.
  • Confrontation: Paris, 1968 - Free - A documentary by Seymour Drescher (Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh & former student of George Mosse), looks at the student and worker upheaval in France in May, 1968.
  • Conversations with Myself - Free - Alan Watts walks in the mountains and talks about the limitations of technology and the problem of trying to keep track of an infinite universe with a single tracked mind. (1971)
  • Cream's Farewell Concert Free - Tony Palmer captured Cream's final show (starring, of course, Eric Clapton) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, November 21, 1968.
  • Creative Process: Norman McLaren - Free - This feature length documentary is a journey into Norman McLaren’s process of artistic creation. (1990)
  • Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks the World - Free - Tells the story of the wah wah effect pedal, from its invention in 1966 to the present day. (2011)
  • Curious About Cuba: The Great Museums of Havana - Free - This film shows a side of the island nation that we seldom hear about: her art, history, and culture. (2008)
  • Cyberpunk - Free - Documentary introduces the culture of Cyberpunk. Features vintage footage of William Gibson & Timothy Leary (1990).
  • Dark Side of the Moon Free - William Karel satirizes the notion that Stanley Kubrick was behind the great moon landing hoax. (2002)
  • David Bowie: Sound and Vision - Free - Takes you on a journey throug Bowie's career. Features interviews with Bowie, Iman his wife, his musical contemporaries including Iggy Pop, Moby and Trent Reznor. (2002)
  • David Bowie: The Story of Ziggy Stardust - Free - Film tells the story of how Bowie arrived at one of the most iconic creations in the history of pop music. The songs, the hairstyles, the fashion, etc. (2012)
  • David Lynch on the History of Surrealist Cinema - Free - Pretty much what the title said. (1987)
  • Day of the Dead - Free - Designers Charles and Ray Eames short portrait of the Mexican festival, Day of the Dead. (1957)
  • Degenerate Art - Free - Directed by David Grubin, this documentary explores the 1937 art exhibit under the Nazi regime, which featured modern art, or what the Nazis called 'Entartete Kunst' or 'Degenerate Art. (1993)
  • Dial H for Hitchcock - Free - Made to celebrate the centenary of Hitchcock's birth, this documentary concentrates on his major US films. Surviving collaborators, colleagues, and directors are interviewed. (1999)
  • Diane Arbus: Masters of Photography - Free - The documentary created soon after the photographer's death is based on interviews with those who knew her best. (1972.)
  • Dreams Are What We Wake Up From - Free - Documentary about Raymond Carver was directed by Daisy Goodwin and includes contributions from Richard Ford and Jay McInerney. (1989)
  • Dream of Life - Free - Directed by Steven Sebring, the film offers an intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith. (2008)
  • Earthlings - Free - Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, and with a soundtrack provided by MobyEarthlings "is a feature-length documentary about our absolute economic dependence on animals raised as pets, food, clothing, entertainment and for scientific research." (2005)
  • Einstein's Brain - Free - A strange documentary that follows Japanese scholar Kenji Sugimoto's quest to find Einstein's brain. (1994)
  • Eraserhead Stories - Free - Offer as much information as you’ll find anywhere on the making of David Lynch's first feature film. (2001)
  • Europe After the Rain - Free - Documentary on the two great art movements, Dada & Surrealism, created by the Arts Council of Great Britain. (1978)
  • Everything1017 - Free - A short documentary on how David Byrne and Brian Eno make music together. By the late visual artist Hillman Curtis. (2012)\
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: Winter Dreams - Free - Peabody award-winning film chronicles the life of Fitzgerald, one of America’s greatest novelists, in images and ideas as lyrical and inventive as his prose. (2002)
  • Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood - Free - A look at "Gonzo journalist", Hunter S. Thompson with his collaborator, British illustrator, Ralph Steadman. (1978)
  • Fellini: A Director’s Notebook Free - Federico Fellini introduces himself to America in experimental documentary aired on TV. (1969)
  • Fellini, I'm a Born Liar - Free - A look at Fellini's creative process. In extensive interviews, Fellini talks about his background and then discusses how he works and how he creates. (2002)
  • First Orbit Free - A real time recreation of Yuri Gagarin's pioneering first orbit, shot entirely in space from on board the International Space Station. (2011)
  • Flamenco at 5:15 - Free - An Oscar winning documentary takes you inside a Flamenco dance class. The film is about dance as it is about life. (1983)
  • Flâneur III - Free - An attempt at capturing the character of Paris by following the development of the city's different forms throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, in the spirit of the German philosopher Walter Benjamin. (1998)
  • Founding Fathers - Free - Documentary narrated by Public Enemy’s Chuck D presents the true history of hip hop.
  • Fractals: The Colors of Infinity Free - Arthur C. Clarke brings us inside the world of fractal geometry, David Gilmour provides the soundtrack. (1995)
  • From One Second to the Next - Free - German director Werner Herzog presents a harrowing 35 minute film on the dangers of texting while driving. (2013)
  • Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine Free - About the famous match between chess legend Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer created by IBM. (2003)
  • George Eastman House: Picture Perfect Free - The urban estate of George Eastman, who made photographers of us all, is a treasure trove of photographs and one of the world’s premier film archives. (2003)
  • Georges Bataille: À Perte de Vues - Free - Documentary on the subversive French philosopher Georges Bataille. (1997)
  • Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life in Art Free - A short documentary on the painter narrated by Gene Hackman.
  • Giacometti - Free - An intimate look at Alberto Giacometti in his studio, making his iconic sculptures (1965)
  • Glass Free - Directed by Bert Haanstra, this short documentary about the glass industry won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1959. (1958)
  • Glenn Gould - Off the Record and Glenn Gould - On the Record- Free - Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor made a pair of gorgeously shot documentaries about the Canadian pianist, giving viewers insight into his life and music. (1959)
  • Haruki Murakami: In Search of this Elusive Writer - Free - Alan Yentob travels through Japan, from the midnight Tokyo of After Hours to the snowed-in Hokkaido of A Wild Sheep Chase, in a quest to find artifacts of the novelist’s imaginary world.
  • Heavy Metal Parking Lot - Free -  Filmed in 1986 at a Maryland concert arena parking lot before a heavy metal show, this hilarious documentary is an unvarnished anthropological study of American metalheads in their mid-'80s glory.  You can also see the 2006 followup,"Heavy Metal Parking Lot Alumni: Where Are They Now."(1986)
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment - Free - 18-minute film features a selection of Cartier-Bresson’s iconic photographs, along with rare commentary by the photographer himself. (1973)
  • Henry Miller Asleep & Awake - Free - Tom Schiller's 34 minute voyage into the world of Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn). (1975)
  • Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film Free - Epic, 13-part documentary chronicles the early history of cinema. (1980)
  • Home - Free - Yann Arthus-Bertrand's film that will make you look at our planet in a new way. (2009)
  • Homemade American Music - Free - A history of rural southeastern traditional American music, as told and played by Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard. (1980)
  • How Long is a Piece of String - Free - Alan Davies attempts to answer the proverbial question. But it turns out to be much harder than he thought. (2009)
  • How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made - Free - Disney's in-house documentary walks you through the stages of Snow White‘s development. (1939)
  • Human, All Too Human - Free - A three part documentary on the life & thought of Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre. (1999)

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Words of our trade



These phrases aren’t journalese, in the sense that you’d never see them in a newspaper, but it’s hard to understand British journalism without knowing the language of our newspapers. A reporter never looks at a potential story without asking, ‘How will this fit in the paper?’ These are the words they use to answer that question.

byline • the most important words in any story.
byline bandit • the person in the office who kindly offered to take down some words you were phoning over, but totally forgot where they’d come from when it was time to file.
embargo • news-providing organisations often send information or quotes out that aren’t to be used before a particular time. The benefit is twofold: it gives journalists time to read long reports properly before writing them up, and gives news-providers some control over where the stories appear – a midnight embargo keeps things off the evening TV bulletins, giving them a better chance in the morning papers. Their success depends on their being kept, which with hot stories and the 24-hour news cycle is a problem. In practice the words ‘strictly embargoed until midnight’ mean ‘expect to see this “on Twitter around 10pm’.
exclusive • there is some aspect of our report that you will not read anywhere else. Sometimes, it will be the word ‘exclusive’.
headline • the bit in big letters at the top of the story.
leaders • every day, newspapers offer small pieces of wisdom which, if only they were followed, would ensure the whole planet was as harmonious and well-run as a newsroom. Unfortunately, no one reads them.*
masthead • the bit with the name of the paper on the front page.
nib • stands for News In Brief, a three-paragraph single-column story of 60 words. Usually the product of a 90-minute drive, three hours standing in the rain, 400 words filed over a poor internet connection, and five minutes’ aggressive cutting by a sub-editor in a warm office.
scoop of interpretation • an exclusive that involves seeing the same thing as everyone else and then coming to the opposite conclusion.
skyline • the panel across the top of the paper with the masthead, placed there to remind journalists that what really sells the paper is the promise of a free sewing pattern (Daily Mail) or dinosaur poster (The Guardian).
spike • to kill a story. “A word derived from the days when sub-editors would have tall metal spikes on their desks, on which they could impale stories and, after a couple of drinks, bits of themselves.
splash • the lead story on the front of the paper, which grabs the person passing the newsstand and says ‘Read Me Now Or Die Ignorant!’ Or, sometimes, ‘Will this do?’
spoiler • a story run to undermine a rival’s big exclusive, generally by pretending to have the same story.
spoof • a not-very-exciting front page put on the first edition of the paper to stop rivals stealing the very good scoop that will be appearing on the front of all the later editions, which have much larger print runs.
standfirst • generally on features, an introductory sentence or two with the name of the interviewer in bold letters, but the name of the interviewee not, to remind you who the important person is in this piece.
subhead • the bit underneath the headline, in smaller but still quite big letters, that explains the pun.”

From Thomas Hutton, The Strange Language of News


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Bukowski


Holy Wedlock in Lepanto


Thursday, August 02, 2018

The journalist-flaneur

“Benjamin’s account of the journalist-flâneur also focuses on his commodity-status in the marketplace of the literary industry: a writer-cum-commodity. In the age of high capitalism, the journalist, who observes the city and reads it as a text, cannot be free from the market and must produce and sell his information as a commodity. Then, finally, he becomes a commodity himself. The journalist is the prototype of the salaried flâneur, standing between the writer and the advertiser. The difference between the literary man and the journalist lies only in their different perception. The journalist already recognizes his commodified status as a writer, while the literary man is still reluctant to sell himself (even though he is doomed to sell eventually). The journalist as an analogical figure of the commodified flâneur is congruent with the figure of ‘the sandwich-man’, who walks the streets with advertisements hanging on his body as ‘the last incarnation of the flâneur’. When the flâneur himself becomes commodified, the end point of flânerie is reached; the journalist is completely transformed into a commodity and, as such, becomes part of the endless series of spectacle of the city.” From “Walter Benjamin and the Media” by Jaeho Kang

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

A newspaper in Manila, 1858, dissected

“The number lying before me of the Comercio (Nov. 29, 1858), a paper that appears six times a week, consists of four pages, the printed portion in each of which is 11 inches by 17; the whole, therefore, contains 748 square inches of printed matter. They are distributed as follows:—
Title, 27½ sq. in.; an essay on the population of Spain, taken from a book, 102½ sq. in.; under the heading “News from Europe,” an article, quoted from the Annals of La Caridad, upon the increase of charity and Catholic instruction in France, 40½ sq. in.; Part I, of a treatise on Art and its Origin (a series of truisms), 70 sq. in.; extracts from the official sheet, 20½ sq. in.; a few ancient anecdotes, 59 sq. in. Religious portion (this is divided into two parts—official and unofficial). The first contains the saints for the different days of the year, etc., and the announcements of religious festivals; the second advertises a forthcoming splendid procession, and contains the first half of a sermon preached three years before, on the anniversary of the same festival, 99 sq. in., besides an instalment of an old novel, 154, and advertisements, 175 sq. in. total, 748 sq. in. In the last years, however, the newspapers sometimes have contained serious essays, but of late these appear extremely seldom.”

Excerpt From
The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes
Tomás de Comyn

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

When Pacquiao Cheated

“While Manny Pacquiao is now called the best boxer in the world, he has not always dominated his opponents, including some that were evidently inferior. On October 14, 2000, Pacquiao took on Nedal Hussein in a half-filled Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City, the Philippines. Filipinos were hardly gracious hosts to Hussein, who is known as Skinny. Maybe they were worried. Before the fight, Skinny’s record read 19–0 (11 KOs) to Pacquiao’s 29–2 (20 KOs).
Skinny was put up three hours away from the venue in a one-star hotel. “Wasn’t pleasant, that was for sure,” says Hussein, an Australian. “But if you can’t handle the challenge, you shouldn’t be a boxer.”
In the first four rounds, Hussein dominated Pacquiao. Then Pacquiao started outboxing Hussein. “He had a reputation as a bit of a gambler, and someone who drank more than he should have, but he had stamina,” Hussein told me between selling used cars at Knockout Autos in Sydney. In the fourth round, Pacquiao walked into an ordinary jab and fell to his knees. The count went to eighteen seconds. Pacquiao, brain throbbing, was visibly hurt, gasping for oxygen and equilibrium. The crowd was silent, arms crossed. As Skinny went in for the kill, Pacquiao desperately held on. Hussein couldn’t get Pacquiao off him and tried to muscle him away. He accidentally elbowed him. “Just trying to push him off, to be honest,” says Skinny. Carlos Padilla Jr., a Filipino referee who had worked the “Thrilla in Manila,” deducted one point. After the long count and the iffy deduction, Hussein was rightly livid. He nodded fatefully as if to say, “This is sorta fucked up.” Pacquiao was tired. The hometown announcers were calling Hussein a dirty fighter, but it was Pacquiao who was wrapping his elbow around the Aussie’s neck, trying not to fall down. As the fight wore on, Pacquaio, clad in black trunks, recovered well and started outboxing his opponent. In round seven, Hussein, now the exhausted boxer, bull-rushed Pacquiao and knocked him down.
Between the ninth and tenth rounds, the fans threw bottles into the ring. In round ten, Skinny had a cut, not too serious, on his cheek, and Padilla stopped the fight. It was a premature stoppage. “I felt cheated by the referee,” says Hussein. “As long as the fighters keep fighting, let them fight.” (Hussein made $8,000 for his controversial loss, while Pacquiao soared to fame and fortune. Hussein still feels robbed but expresses no bitterness toward Pacquiao, who he says has developed into an even “better offensive fighter, he is smarter, and more disciplined and dedicated.”)
At the end of the controversial fight, Pacquiao seemed more relieved than giddy. He was still a world champion, but barely. He hadn’t even gone against the true class in his division, which were Mexicans and Americans.”

Excerpt From
PacMan
by Gary Poole

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Dishwasher hands


I first heard this phrase from a poem of Jennifer Weber, back when she wasn’t even a mother. Now she has two gorgeous daughters who are now artists. 
Do artists have dishwater hands? Only if they are watercolorists. 
I didn’t look at Jenny’s hands the last time we saw each other two years ago at Baguio Brewery. Dishwater hands are temporary even if the small brews were cold and Baguio was nippy that night. 
Now I recall that poem was about daughter defiance. Maybe Jenny uses an automatic dishwasher.
I, on the other hand, loves to wash dishes the old way. Using a sink, sponge and dishwashing paste. 
Recently, I got a scare about the billions of bacteria sponges were supposed to harbor and bought the brush with fill-in dishwashing liquid but it wasn’t the same.
I didn’t get dishwasher fingers because I don’t allow the dishes to get so high anyway. Dishwasher hands are when they become wrinkly or, as the Americans call it, pruny. 
There was another recent science news that wrinkled fingers are an evolutionary advantage because they perform like “tire treads” which allow for heightened grip in wet environments. 
Well, good for our ancestors who need to grasp mudfish so they can eat or our future children in Waterworld but this is not what I want to talk about. 
It’s why I like to wash dishes. Sometimes when I’m rushing things especially writing, I absentmindedly find myself in front of the sink and preparing to clean the dishes. Then I immerse myself in it and my stalled ideas return to me. 
There is something about the mess you are confronted with and then cleaning them and organizing them into spoons, bowls, plates, and utensils. Then the white sink wiped clean. 
Then I can easily go back to what I was writing and often they clear themselves to me. 
My friend Wilfredo Pascual wrote this in his poetics: “Nothing beats washing dishes in the sink, to me one of the most comforting household chores, very contemplative, a lot of unclogging, outpouring and cleansing taking place, an extremely beneficial time to scrub my memories through running water and soak my stories. It composes me. It also develops the mind’s fluidity and grip. You can’t let one soapy chinaware slip from your hand and shatter everything.”
I tried to recall when we did tandem dishwashing. Never did. In parties, we shy away from the kitchen. I recalled just one such scene in his Bangkok loft: 
Me: Ako na maghugas
Willi: No, hindi pa tapos. We still have wine. 

Sometimes he washed dishes ala Rita Gomez in New York, with left hand holding a cigarette. 
But that’s it. Contemplative washing. Wash the grime and be served anew. 
I scanned my favorite reference book, “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey and not one of the more than 100 artists there included dishwashing in their routine.  The included artists were mostly dead so automatic dishwasher was not part of the common appliances then. 
But it worked for us and I again have science to back me up. Time Magazine wrote about a Florida State University study of 51 students who were asked to wash dishes. 
“The researchers found that people who washed dishes mindfully (they focused on smelling the soap, feeling the water temperature and touching the dishes) upped their feelings of inspiration by 25% and lowered their nervousness levels by 27%. The group that didn’t wash the dishes mindfully did not gain any benefits from the task. “It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,” the study authors conclude.”
It’s all about mindful dishwashing then. Otherwise, you end up with broken ideas and broken dishes, anyway. You mind your dishes and inspiration, courage and, hopefully, words will come. 

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