As we consistently grow in the digital world, it is become very apparent that you should be using social media in a way to advance your presence and make yourself known in your own unique way. With sites like YouNow, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and so many more continuing to grow exponentially each and every year, many young people are taking this initiative in getting their creative juices out there and making their mark on society. That can truthfully be said in many different ways about The Merrell Twins, who have taken their social media fame and brought it to unexpected heights in a short amount of time. [Read more…] about One on One with YouNow Sensations The Merrell Twins!
March is going to be one drag of a month, my darlings. With the premiere of the newest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiering tonight on LOGO, I wanted to check in with one of my favorite New York City queens Sherry Vine, who is doing some pretty big things of her own. What are these big things? Well, launching her own Queer TV network called gaySVTVworld! The network launched about two weeks ago and people are already buzzing about this legendary queen and the fun and new ideas she has brought to the table to this fantastic concept. [Read more…] about NYC Drag Superstar Sherry Vine Launches Queer TV Network
It is very rare when you find someone that can combine the two greatest loves of my life all into one amazing package- food and a sexy guy. Well that answer has finally been solved in an incredibly talented and handsome guy by the name of Adrian De Berardinis, otherwise known as a Youtube sensation called The Bear-Naked Chef.
Phi Phi O’Hara- Learning From The Past & Working On The Future
RuPaul’s Drag Race has slowly become one of the best reality shows on television. In order for a show like this to work, there has to be a particular formula that the viewers can feed off of. Things such as intriguing competitions, the handful of contestants that you root for to ultimately win, and the one or two people deemed the villains that you love to hate, or hate to love. The latter couldn’t have been any truer than season four finalist Phi Phi O’Hara, who was truthfully the first queen ever on that show to have so much controversy and outright public anger than ever before. [Read more…] about Phi Phi O’Hara- The “Bitchy” Queen Speaks Out
Since 2006 The Druid Underground Film Festival has been a traveling powerhouse of the most bizarre and provocative films on earth!
Now it’s arriving at the Anthology Film Archives, with two screenings on Monday, April 21st at 8pm and Tuesday, April 22nd at 8pm.
Let’s start with the usual information. What is the history of this festival and how’d you get it started?
The DUFF is the accumulated result of my lifelong journey meeting filmmakers in late night trains, liquor stores, breaking bottles in alleyways and through the US mail. As an organization I’ve been doing it for 8 years. We started in LA when I lived on a single mattress on the ground in a noise/punk venue where I was assigned to book 1-3 events a week. Being a filmmaker who knew a lot of unrepresented artists, it was easy to find the work as I was surrounded by it. At that time it was a monthly event.
Now we are an organization which receives hundreds of submissions a year and I just got back from a California tour screening in LA, SF and Humboldt County. We’ll be in NYC at Anthology Film Archives April 21st and 22nd.
So booking was your coffee money while you started fitting underground cinema into that space?
Yeah. Right out the gate I challenged the state of the venue itself. When I booked Metal shows I would project Mike Kelley and his bizarre, evil looking videos almost to trick people into expanding their minds.
Why’d you bring it to New York?
Taking DUFF to NY is a logical direction of the fest as a lot of work is international. NYC is the most international city in the US, making us accessible to weirdos from all over the world.
This will be the NY premiere.
Oh, I did not know that. What’s your outreach out here been like thus far?
We did a DVD release party in Brooklyn but Anthology will be the full main program.
I got a team of dedicated video freaks to distribute 1000 flyers around the city. People who contacted me because they saw that what we were doing was different than any other fest. Also a comic book store (Forbidden Planet) has been spreading the word about the show. They’re great.
I get approached by people on the subway who recognize me from the campaign now, which is great because they either make films or know someone who makes films. We are just growing a great little community day by day.
Yeah the social media version of us is out there. I think it’s good that more people are turned on to getting regular updates on the fest. We have some pretty NSFW pix on our Tumblr that I’m proud of.
This year we released a Best of the Fest DVD, 13 shorts and more accumulated form the first 5 years that showcases work from Rodney Ascher (Room 237) and Damon Packard (Reflections of Evil) as well as a badass embroidered patch we got sewn up in Woodstock available at our shop online.
It’s important that above all else the physical material of the movie trade be showcased because real culture is on the street, not in cyberspace.
That gets us to the meat of the question. In this day and age of YouTube channels, the proliferation of independent film festivals, easier access of foreign works through digital distribution channels, and audiences fragmented amongst various media, what is “Underground Film” and how does one go about curating it?
Something great happened when technology got cheaper. With video uploading on the Internet came unprecedented access. Anyone can make and distribute a movie, but the downside is that the precious gems are a lot harder to find and get lost out there. But they’re out there.
Most film festivals are content in collecting submission fees from their call for submissions, booking one screening and calling it good. I’ve heard of festivals contacting filmmakers who’ve shown at Sundance to book their films sight unseen.
This to me isn’t progressive culture. Progress is challenging the system to present works which are subversive and present new images to the scene. This includes so-called experimental films which tend to be exercises in technique and not truly experimental in that sense.
The dagger point of experimental film, in my view, should be the in creating new images and that is what you’ll find at Druid. No matter how polished or accomplished, if I’ve seen it been done before it won’t go in the program. Our culture doesn’t need another film festival of film festivals, it needs a shock to the system.
It’s meaningful, then, to show this at the Anthology Archives, which holds much of the history of American experimental film.
Yes. Anthology is one of the last of the US theatres representing the original masters of experimental cinema.
Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, these people were my heroes and i was lucky enough to see their work on VHS as a kid. I took my 1st girlfriend’s virginity to Invocation of My Demon Brother playing on loop on a TV in the living room of my Mom’s house.
These masters came from a place within themselves. This is the point. So much of our society is a recycling of external images and this is why our movies suck now. It’s bullshit. We need new filmmakers with the guts to go inside themselves to the innermost secret place and come out filming!
Is there an opportunity then for the DUFF to nurture the growth of local underground filmmakers?
Absolutely. We are working on a platform for winning filmmakers to communicate online so that they can work together internationally.
I also encourage anyone who has been inspired by any film or been turned on to new ideas to contact the filmmaker in some way. Even if it’s just a YouTube comment like “Cool movie,” it can be a tipping point for a filmmaker who may be on the verge of calling it quits.
Filmmaking isn’t in a vacuum. We make the work so that the world responds and if the world does not, sometimes we lose a mad genius of cinema. The responsibility lies on you.
That being said we’ve had a lot of great people meet at our screenings and now are working on each others films.
So you’re no longer monthly, but yearly, and you’re a traveling film festival. Do you have any plans to take it other places than LA and NY, or do you have any shared programming with other festivals?
We are now doing a yearly event, yes. In fact we received so many entries this year that our long form shorts and features are screening on May 28th at Spectacle Theatre.
We are open to traveling and are cooking up new projects for NYC. We do a free raffle at every screening and will be giving away like over $300 worth of prizes or something crazy this year. Lots of crappy VHS and tickets to weird events. The Found Footage Festival has also generously donated some goodies to the pot.
Why should people choose to get their asses in those seats on Monday and Tuesday nights versus all the other events happening across this vast metropolis?
If you come to DUFF you will see an exhibition of totally new ideas and images! You will see actual live footage of the devil with an erection arrested on the side of the 5 freeway! You will see bizarre and hilarious animations from all over the world! You will see (in action) a bicycle make love to a live human being! You WILL leave the theatre laughing, conversing with fellow theatergoers and filled with inspiration for days to come!
In December of 2010 I went on leave from my job in the United Arab Emirates to visit Egypt with a coworker. On the first night after we landed in Alexandria, he crashed out in the hostel and I wandered around to get a feel for the streets. I ended up walking through a street demonstration with several people giving speeches in Arabic over megaphones, but I was not aware of what the speeches were about. The fact that I wandered into the demonstration at all indicates my poor situational awareness.
Later, in Cairo, my coworker asked a taxi driver, “So what do you think of Mubarak?” The taxi driver said, “I cannot speak about Mubarak, but I feel eventually we will have to speak about Mubarak. Because, see, we cannot talk about Mubarak, so we have to talk about Mubarak. You see?” Unfortunately, that would be the full extent of my personal experience with what later became internationally known as the Arab Spring, which swept the news a full week after my return from Egypt. I didn’t even know what I was looking at until various media told me.
Three years later, Netflix has distributed a documentary called The Square, after Tahrir Square in Cairo, which came to be the focal point of mass protest against Mubarak’s and subsequent regimes. The Square has been nominated for Best Documentary in the 2014 Academy Awards. It comes at a point where the topic is so familiar that many people have already solidified their opinions about it, but it’s a new look into the revolution from filmmakers that have been recording the mass protests in secret for several years.
Coming into the documentary with my personal experience as a prelude, I wanted to see how the documentary presented the events in a different manner than the walled-in thirty second clips embedded in shimmering red and blue motion graphics presented in major mass media outlets. As it turns out, the concept of media becomes an underlining metanarrative to The Square’s attempt to reclaim the Arab Spring for the populist revolutionaries.
A range of characters includes Ramy, a musician; Khalid Abdallah, an actor known for his role in The Kite Runner; and various activists, painters, and civil rights watchmen. The main plot, however, surrounds two protestors known as Ahmed and Magdy. Ahmed is a young populist seeking a brand new Egypt after living his entire life under Mubarak’s rule. He’s introduced speaking about his childhood, history, and hopes in the revolution while walking down the street in a heavily vignetted tracking shot that seems to be aiming more for focus tilt and ends up being a serendipitous dreamovision in high contrast DSLR. Magdy is introduced less stylistically as an interviewee attempting to represent the Muslim Brotherhood.
The cameras let themselves be rolled along waves of protestor movements, successfully pulling off a giddy and delirious effect to match the revolutionary fervor as more and more voices join in to describe their hopes of the future. Surprisingly early on in narrative time, Mubarak steps aside and everything seems renewed. And of course, shortly after everything gets much, much worse.
It’s there that the movie gains its focus (though starts racking focus in tighter and tighter focal lengths) to tell a three part narrative of the revolution from the ground level. Mubarak turns out to be only the first part, as the military then moves in and outstays its welcome long enough to set up a Parliamentary election (swept by the Muslim Brotherhood) and a Presidential Election (that goes to Morsi). Mubarak, the military, Morsi: the three acts, each who have access to their own mass media to write a narrative. A military general known as Bekheit insists in an interview that the military was the start of the revolution. A television recording of Muhamed Morsi insists that it was the Muslim Brotherhood.
Without access to mass media, Ahmed, Magdy, and other protestors start gathering together whatever cameras they can to record everything, communicate to each other through social networks and street-level word-of-mouth, speeches, and demonstration, and share videos on YouTube. Khalid Abdallah becomes a sort of Metatron, using his media and entertainment experience and the advice of his father (often a floating head in a Skype window) to put these videos into context and keep eyes on the streets and away from figureheads. Their instinct in this matter is well founded as the demonstrations become targets of brutality and the cheerful characters we met earlier on are beaten, imprisoned, and shot at with live rounds. Warning: the documentarians don’t look away.
Meanwhile, Ahmed and Magdy’s relationship starts to drift as Ahmed becomes more and more aware of the significance of finding a universal, non-military and non-religious constitution, and Magdy’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood starts to get ambiguous. On the one hand they are both principled men who feel dedicated to those they supported before, but on the other hand, the realities of conflict and differing opinions rears its ugly head just in time for the new regime to start dividing the ranks of protestors against themselves. Neither man is able to keep everybody on their side of the fence, and the two of them even struggle not to argue amongst themselves.
In the end The Square is merely the first act of a larger narrative history has yet to tell, but it firmly takes the perspective of the populist protestors to fight against the representations of the military and Muslim Brotherhood. It’s also worth studying as a look into the learning curve of a revolution, as individuals are increasingly left with the burden of representing themselves and their fellow activists coherently and in a manner that doesn’t get subverted from above or contradicted from below.
Viewer beware, you are entering into the lost land of imagination, after the warmth of Hollywood’s carefully placed and critically lauded hits have faded and you settle down to bed, intending to hit up the cineplexes over the next few weeks for a bit of catch-me-up before all those award shows hit, and upon scanning the listings, have the horrifying misfortune of seeing the new releases. It has arrived: January, Hollywood’s graveyard of zombie franchises.
And what better to start the toss off into lonely auditoriums than a new spin-off of the wildly successful Paranormal Activity series. The Marked Ones has all the warning signs of a train wreck: they’ve stopped numbering the iterations, the release was pushed back from the franchise’s annual holding space as the go-to Halloween movie, and except for a couple announced cameos, it’s dropping the lineage of the previous installments in favor of a brand new cast. You could almost say it was… marked… for failure?
Except I basically had all that written before I’d seen it. It’s actually a lot of fun, and if you’re getting tired seeing the giants of Hollywood clash over golden figurines, you might as well jump in for the ride.
Helmed by franchise writer Christopher Landon, The Marked Ones follows Jesse and Hector, two best buds recently graduated from high school, staving off boredom in their run-down apartment complex by toying around with the new camera Jesse’s received for graduation. Between smoking pot and pranking each other, the two manage to start poking their camera into places they don’t belong and end up finding a strange ritual they don’t understand performed by Anna, the old woman downstairs, who they quickly decide must be some bruja.
Which isn’t really enough to distract them from setting off fireworks and other shenanigans, until Carlos the school valedictorian shows up and offs the old lady in a spectacular manner while Jesse notices a strange mark appear on his wrist, not to mention suddenly acquires spectacular abilities of strength and levitation. Which is all well and good for his YouTube channel until strange noises start upsetting the electronics and his behavior starts to get weird.
From there it’s all exorcisms and shaky cam as Jesse and friends venture progressively deeper into lower levels of the bruja’s hellhole and even follow up on trying to find what caused Carlos to go loco. Ali Rey makes her appearance to provide tie-in and exposition, and the audience tries to tell the characters what not to do as they immediately proceed to do precisely that.
However what makes the movie really roll is the friendship between Hector, played by Jorge Diaz, and Jesse, the headlining Andrew Jacobs. As horror protagonists, they do predictably stupid things, but as Latino teenagers just trying to spend their last summer together and get laid, they’re those really goofy guys you know from that one party we don’t talk about.
Like how a good children’s movie will provide some references that will go over the head of the kiddos so that the adults can have a laugh, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones contains enough bumps, screeches, and scratches to keep the 14 year olds on edge while using the same elements of surprise and shock for some rather good slapstack pratfalls and screwball Spanglish. The found footage style lets the story jump cut and fast forward through all the boring stuff until Hector manages to get the neighborhood gangsters to pull out the big guns (literally) and it’s all Cholos versus Brujas in some empty plastic-and-dust mansion somewhere up in mapped but unmarked gringo territory.
It’s worth the price of admission as long as you allow your b-movies to be packaged in a brand name. The Paranormal Activity series has managed to keep a legitimate cult following from its beginnings as an actually independent breakout hit through its progressively commercial sequels (and prequel), and The Marked Ones indicates that the filmmakers are willing to expand the world and make it playful.
I’ll be honest, I have never been a fan of reading books. I always found them boring as compared to the thrilling action of a video game. Reading web articles can get boring too as I sit and stare at the screen, having to scroll down every few seconds. After a while of either staring at a computer screen or in a book, the words seem to fade away as the background, which is typically white, seems to bleed onto the words. Well, now I have found a new way of reading web articles that makes it seem fun. I now use “ReadQuick – Speed Reader for iOS”.
“ReadQuick” is an app that helps you learn how to speed read. You might think that learning how to speed read will be hard, as you might not be able to understand what the message is. This app is able to help you develop that skill of speed reading by showing you one word at a time. The science behind it is that your brain will recognize the word without having to read it letter by letter. The length of how long that word is on the screen depends on how many words you want to read in a minute. It ranges from 50 to 800 wpm (words per minute). If you think 50 wpm is a lot, try to read this article word by word every second, equaling 60 wpm and you’ll get the idea that it may be too slow for most people. By default, the app is set to run at 250 wpm.
When you open the app for the first time, it will ask if you want to subscribe to their mailing list for “updates, tips, and speed reading info.” There is also information on how to use the wpm slider and how to access articles directly from the web or from you news stream using Instapaper or Pocket. Personally, I use Google Currents to search for articles that I can save to Instapaper to read later, then go log in my Instapaper account on ReadQuick and speed read the articles there.
The top left button will bring up the menu on the left side of the screen. Some of the options are reading articles from Instapaper and Pocket as well as a “Featured” section that has at least 8 different new sources that make ReadQuick really useful. In the “ReadQuick” section, there is an article that will give you a description of what the app is and how it works.
You can track your stats of how well your speed reading is going. It can track how many words you have read in a week, month, and year. It will also give your average speed and top news sources.
I could write a ton more about how awesome this app is, but that would take the fun out of your experience in trying it out yourself.
The only downside I have found is that the app costs $4.99 on the Apple App Store. It’s not a cheap price, but I think you get your money’s worth since you can access tons of articles on the web and learn how to speed read through them. It one app that works on iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad. It has a native resolution on the iPad so it doesn’t look like the crunched down version from the iPhone like some other apps do.
I’ve only had the app for less than a month and already I am up to 350 wpm. At times I have attempted to read an article at 800 wpm, of which I know I am getting better at since I am able to get bigger pieces of information at that speed than in the beginning when it was all a blur.
This app is a good way of impressing other people when they happen to see you staring at your iPhone or iPad and they just see words flashing in a split second and wonder how you can read that fast.
I doubt that you will be able to speed read so fast that you will flip through books in like 5 seconds much like what Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” could do in some episodes. If you can, make a YouTube video of your ability and prove it to the world.
If you want more information from the creator of this app, just check out http://readquickapp.com/. They will have the link to the App Store there too.
Have fun and geek out!
“My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani” – This is how Matthew introduces himself in his YouTube video that start outs with his face and voice obscured. Matthew goes on to tell the story of how he decided to drink and drive, the details of the accident that led to the death of Mr. Canzani back in June of 2013. It’s a strange story that could only happen in today’s Internet age. This 22 year old man came online with a video to share his regrets about the incident and to implicate himself as the killer. Media reports show that the prosecutors office has already picked up the video as evidence and will be charging Matthew with the crime.
What an extremely sad story. It’s sad that a man only 22 years of age was selfish and decided to drink and drive, now he will be locked up at a great cost to himself, his family, and society. It’s even sadder that a poor innocent man lost his life in a needless accident.
Have you heard about the craze taking over the viral world? Well you must have, unless you live under a rock. The Harlem Shake phenomenon has taken over the internet and I must say, I am amused. I am a YouTube junkie and have come across this new video trend that is sweeping the blogosphere and viral video world.
The Harlem Shake is a latin techno song by DJ Baauer. It’s actually really sick and has an amazing beat. The song alone has coaught my attention but the videos people have made to go along with this song are EPIC!
Each video is about 30 seconds long and involves one person “shaking,” usually in some form of a mask. The “shaker” is surrounded by people going about their normal routine, when suddenly…the bass drops and the video skips to a room full of people dancing like crazies! It is the most laugh out loud video’s I have seen in awhile!
There are so many good videos to mention, there are the fire fighters, the Norweigan Army, the old people, etc… The list goes on.
I am tempted to make one for myself, maybe involving my dog (hmmm?) maybe not. All I know is that if you have not seen some of these Harlem Shake posts you are seriously missing out! You can search them on www.youtube.com or check some out here!