Edifice. Ash Thorp’s latest short evokes the feeling we had waking in a jon boat at 5 a.m. to a glassy smooth lake disturbed only by the wake of an alligator nosing calmly past.
After enjoying the first seven episodes of Happy!, which is impossibly good, we were elated to see that Netflix is releasing a series based on Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 novel, Altered Carbon.
The trailer looks as slick as a fresh sleeve. Our cup runneth over.
Christopher Soren Kelly gives a strong performance, but Infinity Chamber always feels one step away from brilliant.
Travis Milloy’s film centers on Frank, played by Kelly, who wakes up in a prison cell monitored and looked after by a computer. Although the plot is another of the time-loop/questionable-reality genre, of which Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress is one of our favorite examples, Infinity Chamber feels original. The film never quite lives up to the expectations set during its first thirty minutes, but it allows for two interesting interpretations without being cryptic or heavy-handed. It pairs well with this brief essay from the Boston Review, Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans.
Dickhead Finds Out How Free Speech Works in Gainesville, FL
Here is one of the better videos, which does not feature the dickhead, but does feature a guy holding what appears to be a poster supporting the alt-right. This is how Gainesville does it:
So a piece of shit showed up to speak at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, home to The Fest, No Idea Records, visionaries like Bill Bryson, Professor Anthony Oliver-Smith, heavy hitting journalism profs like Mike Foley,and too many professional hippies and punk kids to mention. Gainesville gave us Scott Camil, Harry Crews, Justin Taylor, Against Me!, and For Squirrels. It boasts a prairie where alligators, wild horses, hikers, and bison co-exist. When De Soto showed up in Gainesville, the people he encountered spent an entire night in the middle of a lake standing on each others’ shoulders to take turns shooting arrows at his men. When Andrew Jackson led an expedition south to kill the same people, he had to stop somewhere around Gainesville because his soldiers could not handle the swamp and started offing themselves.
How did that work out for this yahoo? Well, the scumbag got drowned out by what the former dean of UF’s j-school and all around great guy William McKeen once called “the cacophony of democracy.” Sometimes good speech does push out bad speech. Or, as one of our favorite media law attorneys recently put it, “the cost of free speech is its unconsidered consumption.” Make your media consumption count.
Others Will Follow is a well produced s.f. short film by Andrew Finch that is well worth nine minutes of your life. It is the inspirational sister short to a music video produced by one of our more talented members roughly one year ago.
Others Will Follow was inspired by this speech, written for Nixon to deliver if the men aboard Apollo 11 were stranded on the moon. Written by Bill Safire, the speech is dated July 18, 1969 and titled: IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER. We took an office poll, and we agree that Stanislaw Lem should have been consulted, but the speech does include helpful stage directions such as “PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT: The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.” (emphasis added). Safire also suggested that “[a] clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to ‘the deepest of the deep,’ concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.” Sounds deep huh?
Safire worked as a PR executive from 1955 to 1960, which reminds us of the line HST wrote while covering the ’72 election and particularly the McGovern campaign against Nixon: “The assholes who run politics in this country have become so mesmerized by the Madison Avenue school of campaigning that they actually believe, now, that all it takes to become a Congressman or a Senator–or even a President–is a nice set of teeth, a big wad of money, and a half-dozen Media Specialists.” Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 56-57 (Simon & Schuster 2012) (1973). Guess what Hunter? They do not even need nice teeth anymore. Others have followed.
Safire, we should note, later distinguished himself as an actual journalist, and wrote a column for the New York Times in an “exercise in restrained fury” upon learning that Nixon had authorized the FBI to wiretap “the home telephones of 17 men–four newsmen and 13 Government officials–to find out why classified information had appeared in the press and to prevent future leaks.” William Safire, The Suspicious 17, N.Y. Times, Aug. 9, 1973. If Safire wrote this essay in “restrained fury,” we would love to see his screenplays. Our favorite passage almost reads like HST:
For myself, I cannot go along with this fraternal silence of the suspicious 17. I did not knock myself loose for Mr. Nixon in 1959 and 1960, and then cast my lot with him through the long, arid comeback years of 1965 through 1968, to have him–or some lizard-lidded paranoid acting in his name without his approval–eavesdropping on my conversations.
Id. Both HST and Safire sound quaint in their then scathing appraisals of political SOP. Seventeen whole people huh? Home phone lines tapped eh? Sounds terrible.
Safire ended his column with a furious but restrained question aimed at Nixon: “Does the President realize that there are tapes and transcripts of his own conversations with aides now in the files of the F.B.I. out of his control, taken years before he began taping himself?” Id. Yes, he probably did, but he probably did not care. As Nixon told David Frost, “[w]hen the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” We have some attorneys on our membership rolls, and we have been advised that is not strictly accurate. It still took roughly fifty years for strong evidence to surface supporting the long suspected fact that Nixon fucking sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to end the conflict in Vietnam solely to help Nixon’s campaign efforts. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of god, we read that somewhere, but some fall a little shorter than others.
As stated above, Others Will Follow is a hopeful version of what one of our members might have produced if she was not, well, one of us. Her music video for Overlord’s track Mission to Mars tells the story of an astronaut purposefully taking a one-way trip to the red planet. It is inspirational in its own way.
The footage of Mars appearing in the music video below was, incredibly, shot without any special effects at a red rock quarry in Pennsylvania. Our comrade also, incredibly, got permission to film in a decommissioned naval facility housing a REAL HUMAN CENTRIFUGE. The track is great, and the video just won “Best of the Fest” at the Bucks Fever Film Festival. Look for Mission to Mars at film festivals across the country in the near future. After ranting about Nixon and reading the almost darling outrage of HST and Safire, I almost feel like I am the astronaut in Mission to Mars. How bad did Sam Rockwell have it in Moon?
This incredible show, Electric Dreams, from Channel 4 on the BBC first aired on September 18, 2017. It will not be available in the United States until 2018 unless you use a VPN and log in across the pond. Do not confuse this program with Addicted to Sheep or Electric Dreams, two other great programs from Channel 4.
The first episode of Electric Dreams, a series based on PKD shorts, is The Hood Maker. The first episode is based on PKD’s short story, Immunity, published during 1955 in Imagination. Channel 4’s adaptation explores the relationship between humans and what humans view as their evolutionary replacement.
We have only watched two of the four episodes available as of today, but both were well produced and did not disappoint us despite our high expectations.
One of our more ambitious members used “learning Audacity” as an excuse to avoid doing actual work and produced this audio version of her favorite Samuel Beckett short, Play.
Still more from our favorite anchor: