Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Magician (1900)

My old acquaintance Tom Frank, who I wrote about a while ago, has pulled up stakes in Seattle and moved back to L.A. to be with his new love and start the next chapter of his life. In the process, he has discontinued his intensly personal diary-cum-blog Coming Through the Haze and started up a new blog about his L.A. experience, Reverie.

His latest post points to The Magician, a delightful Edison company short from 1900 which contains some early special fx work. Would that we could all work such wonders live!

Thanks Tom! And good luck with your new life!


Coming up next: The documentary that Salon's Andrew O'Hehir called "...the most important political documentary of this decade, and perhaps of my lifetime" is available to watch online!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Flatlife, plus Five More Minutes of Mitch

I stumbled across this by accident (isn't that how the Net usually works?) and just had to pass it along. Flatlife is a short animated film by one Jonas Geirnaert, who was 21 when he submitted it to Cannes as a lark and was as surprised as anyone when it won best short animated film. It's a charming slice-of-life in an apartment complex, cleverly conceived and beautifully executed.

Five More Minutes of Mitch features the brillliantly trippy comic Mitch Hedberg, whose wacked-out stoner observations always overlaid an essential sweetness. Hedberg died of a drug overdose a year ago March at the age of 37, which gives this clip a sad undercurrent.

His widow, comedian Lynn Shawcrowft, has a moving personal blog here.



I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store oftentimes I will drop it, so that it achieves its maximum flavor potential.

I'm gonna fix that last joke by taking out all the words and adding new ones.

I like to hold the microphone cord like this, I pinch it together, then I let it go, then you hear a whole bunch of jokes at once.

This one guy said, "Look at that girl. She's got a nice butt." I said, "Yeah, I bet she can sit down excellently!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Big Snit

The Big Snit (1985), a wonderfully loopy short animated film by Richard Condie, is now online! I saw this when it first came out, as part of a feature-length "Animation Festival," and it was without a doubt the flagship piece of the festival. It still holds up beautifully, with its off-kilter rythms and its alternating surreal poetry and apocolyptic love story -- a gem.

The Big Snit was produced by the fantastic National Film Board of Canada, and they have put it and forty-nine other shorts online for free here. Thanks NFB! (And thanks BoingBoing for the heads up!)


It appears my blog may now be banned in much of India. Well actually, all blogs on Blogger and Typepad and anything on Geocities -- and maybe a lot of other domains. Check BoingBoing's ongoing coverage for up-to-date reports on this heinous censorship.

The rise of national Net censorship is a growing problem; thanks to BoingBoing for publicizing this problem with their excellent coverage.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pistachio Pudding

Oh man! Here's a funny little short called Pistachio Pudding, by one "needmoreshrooms" (don't we all?). I don't know anything about this kid except that he has a great, bizarre sense of humor and he's a disciplined editor. The pacing is what sells this so well.

Once again, I love YouTube and all the technology that has enabled talented people the world over to generate this kind of content. A 24-year-old kid with a camera and a computer can get out there and have fun and make something lively, wacky, and -- most importantly -- watchable.