Author Archive | JoeNolan

40 Years of Jaws

Jaws

I’ve been posting about the 35th anniversary of The Shining over the last several weeks, but I thought it might be better to wait until it was officially summertime to post about the 40th anniversary of Jaws. The summer movie as we know it today didn’t exist until Jaws devoured box offices all summer long in 1975. Along with Star Wars‘ release in 1977, the pair of films changed the entire calendar of film releasing, creating the template for the modern blockbuster and put an end to the New Hollywood movement that made both of the movies possible in the first place.

Besides the game-changing industry impact of Jaws, the story of the making of the film was nearly as treacherous, desperate and paranoia-inducing as the plot of the film. From shooting on the open ocean, to doubts about the inexperienced director, Steven Spielberg, to the malfunctioning mechanical monster, it’s a wonder the movie ever made it to the screen.… Read the rest

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Porn On Psychedelics

PsychSex

The new Psychedelic Sex book published by Taschen this spring is currently being sold on eBay for $69. That’s a silly point to make about what amounts to a seriously in-depth look at what happened to the burgeoning culture of “men’s magazines” when they ran smack into the psychedelic revolution in the 1960’s.

During a tiny, titillating window between 1967 and 1972, LSD, the sexual revolution, pop art graphics and the go-go entrepreneurialism that’s always been the hallmark of the pornography industry all combined in a cauldron of hippie chicks, surfer girls and counterculture couplings that created “psychedelic sex.” While the freaks flew their flags of free love and good drugs in San Francisco, men’s magazine publishers were anxious to sell the revolution to the squares on the sidelines.

Magazines like Way Out and Where It’s At attempted to capture the aesthetics of psychedelic culture beginning at the place where the jeans and the fringe and the flowers hit the floor.… Read the rest

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The Future: 1972

Future Shock

It’s common for folks like myself and the readers of this blog to frequent sites and browse magazines filled with articles about leaps in information processing, advances in artificial intelligence, and the future of human/machine interfacing. It’s the 21st century after all, and even though many of our institutions and officials are woefully culture-bound to reality paradigms that were cast aside many decades ago, the rest of us are living in the future. We are busy helping to define what tomorrow will be instead of allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by perceived, pessimistic inevitabilities.

We’re used to these ideas and this kind of thinking in 2015, but we can also feel the anxiety of trying to maintain a sense of self and place when the very nature of information seems to be changing, and changing everything we understand about ourselves and the world around us.

Some folks saw this coming almost 50 years ago, and you can watch a movie about it.… Read the rest

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35 Years of Shining

The_Shining

This spring my favorite Stanley Kubrick film is celebrating its 35th birthday. The Shining was beat up pretty badly when it debuted in 1980 — Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall’s performances were panned and Kubrick was held responsible. Of course, years later, the film is considered to be a classic by the master.

In celebration, here’s a great little video game that allows you to follow the ill-fated Torrance family to the Overlook hotel. It’s a great celebration of the film that recalls many of its most famous scenes and tropes: steer the car though the mountain pass that opens the film, help Jack type his novel, navigate the hedge maze and progress through the game as each level is designated with a day of the week title card just like the chapters in the film.

Let’s Play: The Shining Video Game here

In addition, here’s Rob Ager’s analysis of spatial anomalies in the layout of the Overlook Hotel, one of the best documentary videos uncovering secrets in Kubrick’s masterpiece.… Read the rest

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V for Vendetta Turns Ten

V

This year we celebrate the tenth birthday of the film V for Vendetta, based on the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore. Moore is more than cantankerous when addressing the cinematic adaptations of his work, and movies like Watchmen, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen explain his ill-temper.

That said, for me, V is the exception and probably the best adaptation of Moore’s work we’re likely to see for some time. The movie was as faithful an adaptation as one might imagine and it brought a huge audience to the book’s examination of fascist psychology and propaganda. The book is one of Moore’s best, but I doubt that the Occupy Movement and Anonymous would have adopted the iconography of the Guy Fawkes mask if the image hadn’t been so widely exposed by the film.

That said, let’s give the author his last word. Here’s Moore talking about V

Stay Awake!… Read the rest

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Celebrating Ginsberg

ginsberg

Following last month’s release of The Essential Ginsberg and the author’s June 3 birthday, here is the impressionistic biography An Elegy for Allen Ginsberg which tells the story of the Allen Ginsberg’s life from the point of view of his final days…

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Please subscribe to my YouTube channel where I archive all of the videos I curate at Insomnia. Click here to check out more book posts.

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Philip K. PreDICKtions

Precog

In 1981, Philip K. Dick seemed to cast himself as one of the Precogs from Minority Report, when he offered a list of his own prognostications to be published in the collection Book of Predictions. Here’s what PKD saw when he stared into the crystal ball courtesy of the PKD Otaku fan zine, issue number 11, 2003…

1983
The Soviet Union will develop an operational particle-beam accelerator, making missile attack against that country impossible. At the same time the U.S.S.R. will deploy this weapon as a satellite killer. The U.S. will turn, then, to nerve gas.
1984
The U.S. will perfect a system by which hydrogen, stored in metal hydrides, will serve as a fuel
source, eliminating a need for oil.
1985
By or before this date there will be a titanic nuclear accident either in the U.S.S.R. or in the U.S.,
resulting in shutting down all nuclear power plants.
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Going Gonzo!

Hunter Sam

Fear and Loathing On the Road to Hollywood is a documentary featuring writer Hunter S. Thompson and artist Ralph Steadman on a road trip to Tinsel Town. Also known as Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision, the Documentary Heaven site has the skinny…

A fascinating, 30 year old BBC documentary on the Good Doctor and Ralph Steadman, five years after Nixon’s resignation, and on a road trip to Hollywood (to work on what would become Where the Buffalo Roam).

Includes an interesting scene of John Dean chatting with Hunter about his Watergate testimony (at about 32 minutes), the birth of the “Re-Elect Nixon Campaign” (with a Bill Murray cameo), and a remarkably eerie scene with Hunter and Ralph planning Hunter’s final monument and his ashes being shot into the air, long before the actual fact.

Here is Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision. YouTube has removed the sound on most versions of this due to copyright infringement, but this playlist has audio up through the last 6 minutes — the best version available…

Stay Awake!… Read the rest

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The “Art” in Particle at the LHC

Symmetry

We often think of science and art as opposites that might never meet. In truth, the two have always had much in common and this new meeting of opera and particle physics demonstrates that we humans are at our best when our intellects and our imaginations combine and cooperate. The site for the new Symmetry film has the info…

Symmetry is a dance & opera film, in which Cern researcher Lukas is thrown off balance, while working on the theory of everything and the smallest particle. The film takes place in Cern’s large hadron collider. Through Claron’s singing he rediscovers love, in an endless landscape. She takes him back to the moment before the big bang, when time didn’t exist; a love with no end…

Check out this trailer for Symmetry

SYMMETRY – dance & opera film inside CERN from TRUTH.IO on Vimeo.

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Please subscribe to my YouTube channel where I archive all of the videos I curate at Insomnia.… Read the rest

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End Times Canines

AIBO

Whether your think artificial intelligence is fact or fiction, the beginning of a brave new world or the end of this one, for many of Japan’s robot dog owners, doomsday has already come in the form of the end of the production of their really remarkable canine companions. Here’s the lowdown from RT Daily News

AIBO pet dogs are the world’s first home entertainment robots with artificial intelligence (AI). They can speak, sense, and express their feelings – which encourages many owners to treat the toys as real family members. The gadgets are even known for developing their own unique personalities.

Many who bought the dog robots now feel abandoned by Sony, which canceled the production of AIBOs in 2006. The last tech clinic for the toys was closed in March 2014, creating a massive shortage of spare parts.

Sony sold more than 150,000 units between 1999 – when they were created – and 2006.Read the rest

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