15 Minutes of Shame

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Winnebago Man video is the granddaddy of all viral. Foul-mouthed, vitriolic outtakes from a real promotional shoot starring an RV salesman named Jack Rebney, it circulated underground on VHS tapes in the 1990s, before YouTube turned “the angriest man in the world” into a phenomenon. Spike Jonze is rumored to have sent out copies of the video as Christmas gifts; Conan O’Brien named it as one of his all-time favorites; and Larry David cited Rebney as inspiration for Curb Your Enthusiam.

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"Pale Fire" Redux

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One of the highlights of new releases in poetry this fall is a long poem by John Shade that begins with the remarkable line “I was the shadow of the waxwing slain.” It’s all the more remarkable because John Shade does not exist.

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360 Staff Pick: The Badger Game

Monday, July 26, 2010

Matt Schickele is a tragically underrated songwriter who has put out a handful of solo records of piercing strangeness and beauty. Delicate and jagged, Schickele's harmonies constantly edge toward the dissonant while staying just this side of earworm. On The Badger Game, he sings over perfectly realized small chamber arrangements, but there's nothing trendy about it. Son of the composer and educator Peter Schickele, Matt comes to his classical eclecticism by birthright, and he has composed an opera (in progress), a large number of published bagpipe tunes, and music in many other genres. Fans of Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird should all take note: this record bears repeated -- obsessively repeated -- listening.

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Outclassing the Mad Men

Friday, July 23, 2010

Over the last few days, the internet has ooed and aahed over a viral marketing campaign from Old Spice.  In just two days, a production team and a charming actor named Isaiah Mustafa created 183 short videos; instead of paying for TV airtime, Old Spice simply uploaded them to YouTube.  It was the kind of bombshell that the creative minds at Sterling Cooper could only dream of.

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Mama-Say What?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The first-ever disco song, the one that spawned the entire American craze, made its debut in the Top 40 this week in 1973.  Only, back then, it wasn't yet disco.  In fact, it wasn't even American.

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360 Staff Pick: Infra

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 

You wouldn't guess that Infra, an ambient-classical piece by Max Richter, was originally conceived as a score for Britain’s Royal Ballet; nothing about it screams 'dance' to me. While the music leaves the choreography to our imagination, it translates into an album quite nicely. Richter contrasts melodic chamber arrangements with subtle swaths of static and electric ripples. Yet the colors don't clash: on record they gel to suggest a painting, rather than a dance.

 

 

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MoMA's Chicken Coup

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Be careful what you wish for. New York's MoMA thought it had commissioned a group of artists and architects to create a farm in the courtyard of it's Queens outpost, P.S.1.  And on opening day they didn't disappoint.

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How To Play A Cactus

Monday, July 19, 2010

'Our first cactus was in B flat' says Jason Treuting. And so goes Kurt's conversation with Matmos and So Percussion, two bands who've come together to make Treasure State, an album made using the sounds of aluminum sheets, pails of water and yes, a cactus.

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Drawing on Captain Ahab

Friday, July 16, 2010

Illustration is hardly a new art form -- after all, it's been around for just about as long as stories have, although it's generally been confined to children's literature (where it's thrived).  But illustration has recently had a bit of resurgence in the grown-up art world.  Take Zak Smith's exhaustive project to depict every page of Thomas Pynchon's dizzying epic Gravity's Rainbow.  But my favorite is the cleaner and more colorful vision of a different American classic: Moby-Dick.

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Does the Guggenheim Need YouTube?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? Until one of the art world's most renowned institutions began trafficking in amateur YouTubevideos...

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TV Opening Titles: Bite-Sized Beauty

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A lot of the time they go unnoticed, or we simply fast forward through them like advertisements, another obstruction between us and our favorite TV show.  But sometimes, when they're done properly, they are a thing of beauty. They can provide provide skillfully disguised plot indications, and give you valuable character insights, all wrapped up in a stunning sensory parcel that sets the mood for the coming show.

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360 Staff Pick: Girlsville

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No soundtrack is more perfect for your 2010 summer than this classic rock from 1991. Songwriter Billy Childish's bluesy punk rock pairs unbelievably well with the stripped-down vocals from the singer Holly Golightly. There's not a bad track out of the twelve delightfully brief garage pop tunes. Start with 'First Plane Home,' where the catchy group vocals and relentless guitar riff are through after just 99 seconds.

 

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Keep Calm and Cary Grant

Monday, July 12, 2010

I recently moved from the UK to the US, and in looking for the perfect souvenir that would encapsulate the years I'd spent in Old Blighty, I stumbled upon this poster.  And, corny as it may sound, it spoke to me.

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The Apples in Stereo Are Back from the Future

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Apples in stereo have been turning out impeccable indie pop tunes for nearly 17 years now.  The band's latest album is something a little different: Travellers in Space and Time is a danceable concept album about time travel.

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"Heartland" Gets Some Love

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It's been an awesome year for Owen Pallett. His record Heartland has just been named one of the best of 2010 -- and it's only July.

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Harlan Ellison: Best Seller

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Harlan Ellison is a lot like the stories he writes: intense, ingenious, and slightly deranged.  Ellison has made a career writing “speculative fiction” (a title he prefers to the more mainstream 'sci-fi').  He's also had a prolific career in Hollywood, working on groundbreaking TV shows like 'Star Trek', 'The Twilight Zone', and 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'.

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360 Pick: Rotary Downs Plays On

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hurricanes and oil spills won't stop this New Orleans band. They embrace city's gumbo-like spirit layering each tune with a jillion textures and the odd horn riff. Through it all, they never lose their rock n'roll cred. Take 'Montrez-Vous:' it's got a seriously danceable hard-driving percussion but also includes xylophone, cowbell, maracas, bongos, organ, and a chorus in French. The final track 'Indian Summer' makes time for trumpets, gorgeous vocal harmonies, whimsical lyrics, and messy jam-bandy moments. Worth putting on repeat in any season.

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Extreme Makeover: Uncle Sam Edition

Friday, July 02, 2010

I’m as patriotic as the next guy.  But this morning on the subway, I couldn’t help but feel a bit deflated by the sight of our national mascot peddling fast cash. Uncle Sam, how could you?  Playing into our all-American desires to get rich quick and bling ourselves silly. That’s why Studio 360 proposed ...

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A New National Anthem

Friday, July 02, 2010

This Sunday is the 234th birthday of the United States of America, and across the nation people will be watching baseball, illegally shooting off fireworks, eating apple pie, and generally swelling with patriotic pride.  And on radio stations across the land, Studio 360 will modestly proffer a new national anthem ...

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360 Staff Pick: Underground

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Serbian director Emir Kusturica’s black comedy Underground follows a group of Yugoslavians who flee to their cellar at the outbreak of WWII. The surreal storyline mixes black humor, unique characters, a raucous soundtrack and stunning imagery. Coming on the heels of the modern Balkan War, the film won ...

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