WRLD: Time travel, ESP, giant ants, great cinema, weird cartoons, road trips, occupied Japan, sun trails, San Francisco, and free funk

Watching

Future Cops
A really weird, so-bad-it's good, early 90's Hong Kong movie based on the Street Fighter video game. Worth watching just for the opening scene. Featuring Andy Lau, Simon Yam, and Jacky Cheung.

Beyond the Black Rainbow
"The movie looks like it was lit by lava lamps, scored on Moog synthesizers, written between bong hits and acted underwater. None of this is meant as praise." - Miami Herald

Phase IV [Amazon, Netflix]
Scientists engage in a battle of wits with some super smart ants. Unfortunately this isn't currently available streaming. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of this film is fun, and sometimes available on YouTube.

Side by Side [Amazon, Netflix]
A fascinating documentary on the motion picture industry's transition from film to digital. Featuring interviews with David Fincher, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Soderbergh. Highly recommended.

Life Itself [Amazon, Netflix]
Most of us just would have given up and died. Watch the difficult end to Roger Ebert's interesting life in this painful, intense documentary.  The vintage footage of Siskel and Ebert arguing on and off camera is amazing. The love of cinema shines through the hubris at times. This one stayed with me for weeks after viewing.

 

The Criterion Channel on Hulu Plus

For $7.99 per month, there are 900+ Criterion Collection movies available streaming on Hulu with no commercials. Kurosawa. Fassbinder. Ozu. Fellini. Antonioni. Godard. The best entertainment and art education value that you can buy anywhere.

 

Reading

Powr Mastrs 1 - C.F.
"It reads like the dream of someone who spent all night copying art out of the Dungeons and Dragons manuals while watching Yellow Submarine over and over." Volume 1 is out of print, and due to be reprinted in December of 2015. Very unique. Worth seeking out.

Drive - Andrew Bush
Bush took the passenger seat out of his car and replaced it with a tripod. He put a flash in the back seat, and photographed people driving next to him in Southern California. I've always enjoyed seeing this work online. Seeing the whole project in book form is a treat.

The Dog of the South - Charles Portis
A young guy's wife runs off with her ex. He tracks them to Mexico in a crazy road trip in a 1963 Buick. A cast of eccentrics populates this hilarious, meandering journey. Couldn't put this one down. Great fun.

Chewing Gum and Chocolate - Shomei Tomatsu
An amazing body of work documenting occupied Japan. The essays are excellent, too. On many best photo book lists for 2014, including mine. Highly recommended.

Asylum of the Birds - Roger Ballen
Ballen keeps evolving. He started as a photographer, moved into a mix of photography and installation, and this book pushes the work even further away from straight photography. A unique, singular, dark vision.

Megahex - Simon Hanselmann
Well, this ain't Three's Company. A stoned witch, her cat boyfriend, and their often pranked owl roommate have some every day adventures. Sometimes Werewolf Jones shows up and things get really out of hand. Beneath the demented, gross, and weird situation comedy are some deeper truths about relationships that may get under your skin.

Sunburn - Chris McCaw
McCaw uses large hand-built view cameras with aerial photography lenses to take extremely long exposures of the sun on paper negatives. The results are often astonishing. If you're into long exposure photography, this book is essential.

South of Market - Janet Delaney
Large format portraits of San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood in the 70's and 80's, accompanied by short interviews. A wonderful document of a neighborhood that was about to undergo some dramatic socio-economic changes. This work is on view at the de Young in San Francisco until July 19, 2015. Highly recommended for those interested in Bay Area culture and history.

 

Listening

RPM OOP - An amazing blog that features high quality transfers of out of print jazz, free jazz, and free funk records. Don't know where to start? Check out James Blood Ulmer's Tales of Captain Black featuring Ornette Coleman. There are a lot of gems on this wonderful site.

75 Dollar Bill - What if you took Mauritanian music from the Sahara, mixed it with the raw boogie of Hound Dog Taylor, and then added a sprinkle of jazz and improv influences? Maybe some Velvets and No Wave, too. 75 Dollar Bill's Wooden Bag blends all of this stuff up into a great album that'll make you nod your head and stomp your feet.

Doing

The Valley Junkyard Night Photography and Light Painting Workshop was a lot of fun. Below is a little planet time-lapse video of the photographers who attended. About 60 360º stills were shot with a Ricoh Theta, one every 5 seconds. The resulting images were processed in Lightroom and output as TIFF files. The TIFFs were batch converted to little planets in PTGui Pro. The little planets were brought into Photoshop, where the animation was created and timing adjusted. This one looks best in HD full screen.

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