Fiery Music Video for “Movie Music Kills a Kiss” by Califone Filmed In One Single Shot

Movie Music Kills a Kiss” is a new video by the band Califone for a song on their current album Stiches. The video is directed by singer Tim Rutili who leads the band with a rotating group of collaborating musicians. The video comprises a single shot and was apparently done in one take.

Their previous album All My Friends are Funeral Singers accompanied a film directed by Rutili of the same name which also features actress Angela Bettis. The title track video is below. Califone are currently on tour.

Danish Archer Lars Andersen Uses Ancient Techniques to Shoot Arrows Faster Than Anyone

Lars Andersen is a writer and artist in Denmark who developed an interest in historic archery techniques and uses them to get remarkable speed and accuracy. This recent video shows him hitting 3 targets while riding on the back of a Harley.

His approach is a departure from the predominant modern style of archery, and draws on ancient techniques employed by Saracen, Native American, Chinese and other bow-slingers of old. In includes holding arrows in the hand which he says helps enable him to be more instinctive and able to for example shoot arrows while off-balance or jumping in the air.

Lars Andersen jumping archery

The video below, released a year ago, is a veritable Mythbusters episode with Anderson doing things like firing 3 arrows in 1.5 2 seconds, shooting 11 arrows in the air before the first one hits the ground, shooting faster than the Elven archer Legolas in a Lord of the Rings clip, and more, all narrated by a accidentally comical robotic narration.

This interview with OutdoorHub features more about Anderson’s skills and how he learned these ancient techniques.

image and videos by Lars Andersen

via Ira’s Abs, Sploid

Comedy Team Diani & Devine Want to Make a Funny Film About the End of the World

Diani & Devine Meet The Apocalypse is a new feature film by the comedy team of, wait for it, Diani & Devine. Actually it’s not a film yet, it’s a Kickstarter campaign with a glimmer in its eye and about two weeks to reach its goal.

Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse

For a small film they’ve assembled an impressive cast of veteran actors including Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Armin Shimerman (Star Trek Deep Space Nine), Janet Varney (Legend of Korra), and Harry Groener (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Diani & Devine are releasing a new video each day while the campaign is on, including a series of “Apocatips” (helpful hints for a better end of the world) and this endorsement by Mark Twain–whose death was previously exaggerated.

While these guys have yet to rendezvous with the end of the world they are previously acquainted with Kickstarter (and Mark Twain). Last year they successfully raised funds for a theatrical release of their film The Selling about a real estate agent trying sell a haunted house.

Their first Kickstarter effort in 2011 was a pitch to publish a new edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which substituted the word “robot” for the word “N-word” to make everyone more comfortable and avoid confronting some of “the inconvenient facts about our country’s past”. That very funny, satirical proposition brought in 5 times their goal and helped them print hardbound copies complete with new illustrations of “Robot Jim” by Denise Devine to augment the original drawings by E. W. Kemble. Twain’s book has been in the public domain since 1942.

Robot Jim and Huck illustration by Denise Devine and E. W. Kemble

For their latest apocalyptic cinematic undertaking, you can imagine the t-shirts and downloads and signed headshots of the cast and other unimaginable gifts they are offering to their supporters. Their Kickstarter has raised about a quarter of the $100,000 they need. But if they don’t make it, will it be the end of the world?

video and images via Diani & Devine, image via mikl-em

Thug Notes, Gangsta Speak Summaries of Classical Literature

Turns out there’s a difference between being illiterate and ill literate. Sparky Sweets, PhD hosts Thug Notes a weekly series of gangsta speak dissertations on classic literary works via YouTube. Sweets delivers genuinely insightful, erudite reviews of books by the likes of Orwell, Huxley, Hawthorne, Dostoevsky, and even Tolkien. Along the way we get a kind of thesaurus of streetwise synonyms for “kill”. Murk, cap, ice… it turns out there’s a lot of murder in classic literature.

Join me as I drop some of da illest classical literature summary and analysis that yo ass ever heard. Educate yo self, son.

Dr. Sweets’ critiques touch on foils, motifs, themes, symbolism and all that. While he has major literary knowledge, he clearly brings a minor in philosophy–dropping Nietzsche quotes like they were über hot and explaining Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 with a pertinent dose of Heidegger. Here are a few choice off-the-shelf examples:

“Thug Notes” debuted on YouTube earlier this year. The name is a play on “Cliffs Notes” the original literary summary series for lazy high school students.

Sweets, who is from LA, claims to be a legit PhD and have an agenda to deflate the exclusivity of academia. In an interview he says he wants to inspire teachers:

Sometimes you have to seize it, and I hope Thug Notes inspires teachers to explore alternative methods to really engage their students. On a larger scale, I also hope that people realise that comedy is a powerful tool for education!

It seems to be working:

Thanks Tony Campanale!

The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy, Documentary About Improv Legends of the 1960’s

At long last the legacy of The Committee, an improvisational comedy troupe based in San Francisco in the 1960’s, is getting deserved attention. Exactly fifty years after they formed (and forty years after breaking up) the documentary The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy is in production. It chronicles the group’s groundbreaking comedy improv and the political focus that set them apart from their more famous sibling Second City.

Chicago’s Second City Theatre opened in 1959, and has justifiably been recognized as a catalyst of modern American comedy; their influence can be seen in the original Saturday Night Live cast, and in shows like SCTV, Cheers, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. The Committee Theatre was founded in 1963 in San Francisco by several Second City members who came for a summer and stayed a decade. They included Del Close who would become a legendary improv teacher credited by Bill Murray, Mike Meyers, Tina Fey and many others as a kind of comedy guru.

Famous Committee alumnae include Rob Reiner, Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnati, Head of the Class), Larry Hankin (Friends, Breaking Bad), and future cast members of M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart show, NYPD Blue, as well as Gary Austin who founded LA’s Groundlings and Carl Gottlieb who co-wrote Jaws & The Jerk. Members of the troupe, including Reiner, joined The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour as writers and cast in 1968, helping win an Emmy for the show while also getting cancelled over epic battles with the network’s censors over content.

The Committee's 1973 album

The cover of The Committee’s 1973 album “Wide World of War.”

Like Second City their innovative sketch comedy was built on improvisation, and in fact Del Close and The Committee invented what is now one of the most widely used improv techniques “The Harold“, a series of improvised stories and scenes which is the signature form of the Upright Citizens Brigade and many other troupes around the world.

The Committee performed nightly in San Francisco and around the country for years and are cited as major influences by everyone from Tommy Chong to Harry Shearer. But little evidence of their ephemeral improvisational art remains. Some 1968 recordings have emerged and a few clips on YouTube, but these barely scratch the surface.

The San Francisco Improv Festival, who recently organized a 50th anniversary reunion for The Committee, have a current Kickstarter campaign to support the film. They hope to uncover missing links in comedy’s evolution with new interviews of more than a dozen former Committee members including Hankin, Hesseman, Gottlieb, and founder Alan Myerson. From the film’s co-director, Jamie Wright:

When we look back on the course of modern comedy, much of the story of how we got where we are is the story of improvisation. Most of the casts & writers of SNL, 30 Rock, and most of our favorite comedy shows and movies are full of improvisors who cut their teeth in the tradition that The Committee helped form. In their early use of drug humor, the portrayal of openly gay characters on stage, and their relentless pursuit of political & social satire, The Committee both pushed boundaries and broke new ground for comedians who came after as well as birthing the forms that many of today’s improvisors train in.

video via San Francisco Improv Fest, image via mikl-em

Riding the Booster, Stunning Space Shuttle Launch Video

Did you ever want to know what it’s like to ride a rocket into space? This video is exactly that. For real. A sensory overloading intimate perspective of a Space Shuttle blasting into Earth’s upper atmosphere at 3000 miles an hour. And then what’s it like to let go and fall back down to Earth.

Riding the Booster: Up and Down in 400 Seconds is like a dashboard-cam-view from the rockets that powered Shuttles to space. Featuring high definition audio and video recorded by cameras mounted on Shuttle SRBs (solid rocket boosters). The footage is pulled from recordings of two shuttle launches (Atlantis in 2007 and Endeavour in 2009). The film starts just before launch, covers the ascent up to about 200,000 feet and then the “graceful tumble” as the SRBs fall back to Earth, into the sea actually, and awaiting pickup by the NASA team.

The video was posted in March 2012 by Michael Interbartolo who worked for a decade at Space Shuttle Mission Control. The 30-year Space Shuttle program was officially retired in 2011. In Fall 2011 we covered the final journey of the Shuttle Endeavour which took place much closer to Earth.

Interbartolo mentions this being an excerpt from an upcoming DVD called Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle. But that DVD doesn’t seem to exist yet (more than a year later). However there’s a related video with amazing ground-based footage of Shuttle launches (below). It features detailed commentary about the footage and was produced by NASA Glenn Research Center in 2010.

Via Michael Interbartolo, Discover Bad Astronomy, io9

Fragile Territories, A Laser and Sound Art Installation by Robert Henke

Fragile Territories” is a laser and sound art installation by Berlin-based musician Robert Henke which ran from November 2012 to January 2013 at Le Lieu Unique center for contemporary arts and music in Nantes, France.

As seen in this video the installation, three years in the making, features four fast moving laser beams that project evolving light patterns on a 30-meter wide wall in a dark room. The artist describes other aspects of the piece:

Sounds – transformed recordings of a piano – fill the room, sometimes in sync with the visual aspects and sometimes running simply in parallel. Whilst everything is floating and happening in rather long intervals, a constant black shadow is moving in front of the projection, from left to right, every 4.2 seconds, like a giant blade of a windmill, a negative object that contrasts the bright projection by muting it where it appears. It is not only obscuring the image but also dampening the sounds at its current position and emitting a low frequency noise itself.


photo via Le Lieu Unique

More details about “Fragile Territories” are in the English version of the exhibition brochure (pdf).


image via Le Lieu Unique

Trained as a hardware engineer, Robert Henke has made electronic music for two decades under the moniker Monolake and his own name. He is also an important contributor to Ableton Live, the popular music software which was created by Gerhard Behles his original Monolake collaborator. Despite the fact Monolake is named after a lake in Nevada, Henke hails from Munich Germany and is based in Berlin.

In Spring 2013 Henke is teaching algorithmic composition of electronic music at Stanford University and performing live across the US. Here’s a great interview with Henke and more of his music.


photo via

The Singing Ringing Tree, A Landmark Musical Sculpture in England

The Singing Ringing Tree” is a musical sculpture near Burnley in the North West of England built by architects Tonkin Liu. It was designed in 2004 and completed at the end of 2006. It is one of four landmark art projects called “Panopticons” built in the early 2000’s in Lancashire. The film above was directed by Zsolt Sándor with sound by A Man Called Adam.

The Singing Ringing Tree

photo by Mid Pennine Arts

The tree is constructed of stacked pipes of varying lengths, orientated to lean into the directions of the prevailing wind. As the wind passes through the different lengths of pipe, it plays different chords. Each time you sit under the tree, looking out through the wind, you will hear a different song.


photo by Andy I-dophotos Woodhouse


photo by Mid Pennine Arts

The tree won a 2007 award for architectural excellence from the Royal Institute of British Architects. As part of the project’s launch local kids and young adults wrote fanciful stories inspired by the sculpture.


photo by Mid Pennine Arts

The Halo in Haslingden, Rossendale was the fourth and final Panopticon to be constructed opening in September 2007:

Glowing Halo

photo by Peter Hudson