If you've been with us from the beginning, you know our relationship with Youtube is complicated; it was integral to our formation (remember the days?), and then immediately and infamously demonstrated that it could taketh away with impunity. This ongoing skirmish made the papers. Literally.
The Stanley Kubrick tribute also played at SXSW as part of a seminar that focused on fair use vs. copyright infringement. (I didn't attend, but I heard the argument was in my favor.) Cut to today, when we're gonna do something we almost never ever do: show you videos not made by us. To be entirely fair, YouTube is one of the better things to come out of the Web - at least for folks like you & us; but because I can still feel it breathe, watching over me, we've sent our more ambitious stuff to Vimeo. Nevertheless, as a consumer, the 'Tube continues to be an emporium of oddities, and I don't think that's any kinda revelation - it's become the library of everything. And like any library: sometimes the inventory changes, sometimes someone doesn't return a book, and sometimes books get banned (or canceled). It's fallible because it's organic; there may not be anybody at the wheel, but it was still built on rock n' roll, and that vibe's gone largely unfucked-with. They've dumped a trash bag of commercials all over it and some of the great content is gone... But continuously being replaced with equally-good stuff.
Someday these may be sad, grey, dead links. But for right now, enjoy these 8 groove approved videos that are not only a credit to the effectiveness and excellence of that website, but each of them a source of inspiration, nostalgia, and provocative entertainment.
Please be considerate, and don't talk during the show.
Loews Theatres Policy Trailer
If you know this, you'll know what I'm talking about. And if you don't, you'll still know what I'm talking about. Every theater chain (and even some of the arthouse joints) has their own little production about snacks & sanitation, but this is the one that introduced me to the moviegoing experience. And while its melody haunts my reverie, this goes far beyond some old toy commercial or discontinued cookie: this glossy disco intro was the fanfare to all of my formative cinema experiences - every time I saw it, it meant something special was about to happen, which transforms it from common reminiscence to some sorta Pavlovian pleasure that I feel in my heart and my soul. I can smell the popcorn.
Weather Diary 1
George Kuchar was an underground filmmaker who was known for producing a bunch of campy, surreal shorts and features, but I know him best from his ongoing Video Diary series throughout the 80s and 90s - particularly his Weather Diaries that featured him videotaping trips to Oklahoma in search of tornadoes. But the premise isn't the punch; George is a mix of comedic genius and a kind of admirable madness that is both hilarious and mesmerizing. The even-more-amazing thing is the way he handles low-grade analog video as a superior art form - pulling off beautiful shots and, to my understanding, editing in the camera. If you do enough internet digging you can find some of his stuff, but Part 1 in its entirety is on YouTube, and so we are blessed.
100% Weird Promo Compilation
From Nick at Nite to MonsterVision, every cable channel had some sorta 'after hours' programming block - and for a few years in the 90s, Friday nights on TNT was 100% Weird: a double or triple feature of black & white B-movies worthy of MST3K (most of them already or eventually were). But the real draw was the format they built around it - as demonstrated here by this collection of gorgeous promos that integrate colorful pop art into cleverly-edited film clips, and the contrast between the two is one of my absolute favorite moods. And if nothing else, these recall a cozier time, when if you wanted to watch 'weird,' you had to stay up late -- and that hits differently.
Riley Reid Twerking
Supposedly there's a trend of young women dancing to music in front of their camera... No big thing - except this one is truly special. The title is misleading, as it exploits our accumulated 'cam girl' fatigue and clickbait instincts, but don't be fooled: Adult performer Riley Reid improvising interpretive dances to Glen Campbell, ELO, and Rob Zombie is the sexiest and most inspiring thing you will see today. A+
Wacky Zany Video
To describe this in words would be to water it down, and ain't nothin' sadder than watered-down Kool-Aid. This frenetic half hour of sketch comedy, music videos, interactive games, TV commercials, and whatever the fuck else was in the public domain at the time, once existed on a videocassette that one could order from Kay-Bee Toys. That's all you really need to know and I've already said too much; had I actually had this tape in 1991 (there's usually some floating around eBay), I woulda worn it the hell out. It's a modern art masterpiece, and I discovered it thanks to YouTube.
Passage À L'acte
If you follow us on social media, you might've heard me mention this before -- which is fine because its impact on me can't be overstated. Up until the first time I saw this, the phrase "video art" sounded pretty phony & pretentious - until I learned that you can legitimize anything by injecting some humor into it. I saw this in a darkened theater on a giant screen at top volume and it melted my face off - this miniature video player doesn't do it justice, but you could always press your nose up against the screen.
Dead of the Living Night
We've been championing this clip since the inception of this site, and we're not ashamed to say it's been an ongoing source of inspiration. Once part of a video installation of the same name, it's been ripped and shared and bootlegged and removed and uploaded like a game of Q*Bert, and we always try to grab it whenever we can find it; it's a faithful reminder that you don't need to cut to a song to make music.
My favorite assignment in school was the "All About Me" exercise in which I got to present all my hobbies & interests in an artistic way. (This must be a shock to you.) My only hangup was the conundrum of choosing just the right attributes that represented "me" without leaving anything out. (This must be a shock to you.) Enter Frank Film, which taught me that you needn't leave anything out of your self portrait, and the more nuance and texture you add makes it that much more engaging. Again, I first saw this as a film print, and compressed pixelation doesn't add anything but frustration. But this is an Oscar-winning film in its entirety, and here it is - so get it before it's gone!