Friday, January 28, 2011

Pre-war animation from Japan

This is a clip of a animated story created in Japan before WWII (so prior to 1939). The cartoon is about a wolf that is nursed back to health by a friendly rabbit only to regain its strength, resulting in his pursuit of the caring rabbit for dinner. There are subtitles. It's interesting to see what was going on in the nation of Japan before its major reconstruction after the end of WWII. And, it is very cute--for lack of a better word. The clip was found by a gentleman--Josh Wagner--who says it was brought from Japan to the US by his great-grandfather. Wagner has also put together a nice documentary featuring more clips and photos of pre-war Japan with some narration by his uncle whom lived in Japan for many years as a kid with his parents who were missionaries. See that clip HERE on Japan Probe.

Pre-WWII Japanese Animation (with subtitles) from Josh Wagner on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Welcome to Pine Point by The Goggles

This is a interactive film by a duo who call themselves The Goggles. It's formatted much like a documentary and is about a town in Canada that was dissolved--eliminated--erased. The work brings to life the place and people of Pine Point while raising the question of what it means to have your hometown--the place where you grew up and which helped shape the person you were to become--erased: houses demolished or moved, roads left to ruin, etc. Yet, this place that once was is documented and lives on in the memories of those who once lived within its borders. The "film" (?) is very engaging and most interesting in how it is laid out: a very creative way of documenting and presenting work. See it HERE.
Source: Birche

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jacques Dutronc: Les Playboys

I have not idea what Jacques Dutronc is really singing about (most likely the ridiculousness of "playboys"), but the video is satirical enough to get the point. 60's french pop.
Pic from Varon Journal HERE.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Portlandia is the series that stars SNL standout, Fred Armisen, and begins airing on IFC on Jan. 21. This is the first episode of the series which IFC has posted on youtube. The show is basically a showcase for Armisen and co-star Carrie Brownstein who portray multiple characters in several skits, not-necessarily linked, throughout each episode. The premise is that Portland is a very distinct place--a place where the dream of the 90's is still alive--with inhabitants whom are just as idiosyncratic as their city. I can't wait to catch the first on-air episode next week! Enjoy.

"Winter's Children" by Jim Mangan

This just looks like fun. Enjoying what you love despite the extremities--in fact, it makes you feel more alive. I also think that the Native American blankets look great against the snow. I've never tried snowboarding--snow tubing, yes--but this makes me want to give it a go.
Video by Jim Mangan

Winter’s Children: Naked Ambition on

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aeon Commercial--Japan

Aeon is an English Language school in Japan (one of the largest). I am a fan of the look of this commercial, but its humor is subtle (making fun of English pronunciation of Japanese words). Actually, the commercial incites a question over communication as in when one is asked to respond or utilize a specific language.
Source: Japan Probe HERE

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ted Williams: The smooth voice of the formerly homeless

A video recently hit youtube and generated over 11 million views, finding its way onto several news programs including NBC Nightly and CNN Blitzer. If you haven't heard, the video features a homeless man, Ted Williams, with a very pleasant "radio" voice. The video was shot in Ohio and Ted Williams has found himself in the midst of notoriety and uplift since.Williams was given a chance to showcase his talent on-air and many job offers, even a mortgage offer, have been rolling in.

All the good will is very American and the nation does love a uplifting story of second chances--particularly one that includes a person's new-found recognition of special talents. Williams' story is also one of possible redemption as he found himself homeless (for about 10 years) after bouts with drugs and alcohol. While this is a great "second chance" for Williams, how optimistic should one be in regards to his ability to re-enter the world of the homeful?

Putting aside the very contentious issues that arise from the situation of giving a job to a homeless man over someone who has had more of a stable work history or in consideration of society's role in creating a scenario wherein Williams became homeless in the first place (this would seem to downplay his own role in self destructive behavior)--putting all that aside, what I am most interested in is Ted Williams' acclimation back into the working world and a homeful world. Being on the fringe of society for ten years must have some affect on a person resulting in possible behavioral or mental issues that might need to be worked through before a person can make a secure and healthy re-entry into mainstream society. On top of this work, for Williams, is the attention that his story has garnered--attention that may be as much of a curse as it is a blessing.

One only hopes that Williams has been offered assistance from a trained professional that can guide him through his journey back from the fringe. Getting to work, filing benefit and insurance paperwork, having to be somewhere everyday, paying a mortgage, obtaining a back account, budgeting for various bills: all these tasks must be daunting for people who have been homeless for a long period of time during which their main focus has been simple survival. Such a challenging journey, and one that Williams will now face, is of interest and goes far beyond the initial feel-good appeal that his story has generated thus far. And what about his background? What about a relationship? Whom does a formerly homeless and newly homeful person date (and one might argue that if Williams were gay, he may be compelled to stay closeted as not to disrupt the good will that has been bestowed upon him--but, perhaps this is a overly pessimistic view. Furthermore, I am not implying that Williams is gay, but am just thinking of a hypothetical)?

I wish Ted Williams well as he works to put together a new life, possibly featuring a career in broadcasting--only time will tell. I do hope that he is able to use his ten years out of work, living in tents and begging on the streets, to his advantage. I hope he is able to overcome the challenges that must accompany a return the the homeful world. This is a second chance for Ted and an opportunity for us--greater society--to learn about what being homeless and helping the homeless truly means.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mark Ronson &The Business International w/ Boy George--"Somebody to Love Me"

I'm enjoying this song. I think it amazing to bring Boy George back on a contemporary track. His voice is a bit huskier and raspy, but you know it is him--he sounds good. The video is to take us back to 1982 when the Culture Club craziness was taking shape--sharp idea. Enjoy.
Mark Ronson site HERE