and I quote

february 2015

click for permalink February 27, 2015

Humanity marked a new all-time low this week when the entire internet felt compelled to weigh in on the color of a dress. We're not talking pink vs. coral or some other highly subjective, largely semantic distinction, like the ongoing debate my grandmother and I used to have over this one particular (I say beige, she says grey) bath towel—we're talking about black vs. white. In case you were one of those rare birds who happened to be flying above the tornado when it touched down, you might think I'm exaggerating, so here is the authoritative voice of no less than the New York Times with a full story and scientific analysis (spoiler alert: someone knows how to use the eyedropper tool in Photoshop).

Heated debate erupted between white-and-gold vs. black-and-blue factions, accusations and insults were hurled and answers were demanded... to every question but the right one, as far as I'm concerned.

If you're taking such lousy fucking pictures that the color of your dress becomes a topic of debate between politicians, celebrities, scientists and all the mainstream and social media, don't you think it might be time to get a real fucking camera?

[P.S. The debate is over, btw. It's black and blue.]


click for permalink February 23, 2015

So this year we watched the Oscars at the annual fund raiser and fancy dress opportunity put on by VOKRA at the Morrissey because movies, over-hyped award shows, events I could hit with a rock from my apartment (if I had windows that opened) and saving the KITTENS (VOKRA's raison d'être) are just a few of my favorite things. Everybody wins — unlike, for example, in the best dressed competition...

(I know it's not a competition.)

(But if it was, Lupita N'yongo's dress made of
6,000 pearls would've been hard to beat.)

The good news is that the pre-awards furor over this year's lack of racial diversity became so much a part of the story, even Forbes reported on the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag in this bizarrely-titled article, How Black Twitter Ignited An Oscar Viewing Boycott. It was the first joke of the opening act and the last joke in the Best Picture acceptance speech. Despite "Selma" losing out to "Birdman" in the Best Picture category and neither its female director nor its star being nominated, the performance of Best Song "Glory" and the subsequent acceptance speech elevated the proceedings and brought tears to the eyes of viewers everywhere, from the live studio audience to those watching from The Morrissey in Vancouver where I was.

(It's also possible that some were aware of the
#OscarsSoWhite campaign, but totally missed the point.)

Actually, there was a lot of awards show-appropriate activism on display last night, from Patricia Arquette's shout out for women's equality — and the audience's unexpectedly exultant response — to Best Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's wishes for his Mexican countrymen and women, to the truly shocking (to me anyway) win for CitizenFour, accepted by Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and company to what seemed like undivided audience approval. Not to mention it was probably the gayest Oscars in living memory (I mean openly gay), which of course is always a good thing... and it was followed by an utterly unremarkable, totally uncontroversial kiss between two men on The Walking Dead later that night. My inner child (the gay, male 13-year old one) was rejoicing, especially after Graham Moore's acceptance speech.

Oh, and yes — I did actually call my mother after the Oscars (thank you, J.K. Simmons)... I left a weird, rambling, weepy message that probably confused her more than anything until she figured out that there was nothing wrong and I was just a little bit drunk...

In case you missed it, or missed a moment and yearn to find out exactly what someone said, check out the surprisingly comprehensive, mostly non-partisan IMDB Synopsis of The 87th Annual Academy Awards. If you prefer your recaps on the judgier side, Rolling Stone has Oscars 2015's 20 Best, Worst and WTF Moments; and if you like them studded with great photos, videos you can actually watch no matter what country you're in and judgy to the point of uncalled-for, head on over to the Telegraph for Britain's take on the Oscars 2015: 10 talking points.


click for permalink February 8, 2015

Whilst lolling around in anticipation of the half-season premiere of The Walking Dead today, I happened across the original 1985 British TV-movie on which the 1987 US TV series Max Headroom was based. Despite my abiding affection and nostalgia for the series and my previous attempts to rewatch it online (most recently this summer, when I successfully viewed the first four episodes before taking a break, but by the time I got back to it, the account hosting them had been shut down), I had never seen the original.

Like I said it's British, so you can assume it's better than the US version in most of the ways that matter to today's audiences; it's darker, wittier, subtler (well, a little anyway... it was the 80s and "subtlety" had a bit of a different meaning back then) and it's less violent but more satirical and subversively clever. It's a lot more Road Warrior meets MTV than your typical British production, though. I was actually surprised at how faithful the US pilot was to the UK original, right down to the casting of three previously unknown British actors in the lead roles, and not to mention keeping the 100% nonsensical to US audiences origin of the title character's name, which is taken from a road safety sign: "Max. (aka maximum) Headroom." That would never happen today. (It would be like if a new American adaptation of a British show called itself "Mind the Gap," you know?)

Anyway, here it is on YouTube while it lasts:


There are some lines that I'm amazed they managed to get through the filters when they broadcast the US version, like when Edison Carter, having just been attacked by a mob, meets his new "controller," the extremely lovely Amanda Pays. She asks him, "How's your head?" He sizes her up and smirks, "Fine. How's yours?" She looks momentarily offended but clearly not much because 30 seconds later, he's resting his chin on the top of her head as she taps away at her terminal and helps him break into the network's—oh well, you know, plot plot whatever whatever. My point is, I don't think ABC was paying very close attention to what the characters were actually saying when they approved the script. Although, to be fair, they both have those British accents, which in the 80s automatically meant posh, so they were probably just hearing, "tally ho, old chap" and "good morning, Ms. Moneypenny" no matter what they said.

The best thing about it though, is just how fucking 80s it is... I mean, every set is dark, grimy and rain-slicked — regardless of whether it's supposed to be indoors or outside — there are random wires and TVs and components everywhere (1985-style, aww, yeah) and in every scene there is either steam or smoke or fog pouring in from somewhere and spears of light slicing across the screen at an angle. Once you notice this, it's impossible to not notice it in every scene. Sure, it's laughable and like every music video from the 80s — I mean, at one point the bad guys shatter a gold-framed mirror in slow motion for absolutely no reason — and did we really need a scene where she's running in slow motion in the rain in a short, belted trench coat with what appears to be nothing under it and somehow the coat is all but transparent when wet? (Har, it must not have been a London Fog(TM)...) but after a while, the art director's commitment to this aesthetic kind of has to impress you. I mean, it's every scene. Parking garage? Wet. Steamy. Spears of light coming in at an angle. TV network reporter's office? Check, check and check. Someone's apartment? Same thing. An elevator door in a high-rise office tower opens and smoke wafts out ahead of the actors. It's bizarre. They must have kept an industrial-sized meat locker full of dry ice on set. The entire production must have smelled like an after hours club.

What freaked me out just a little, though, while we're being perfectly honest, is that this was aired 30 fucking years ago. Okay, but not just that. You know what was on TV "30 fucking years ago" when I was watching the TV series in 1987? Leave it to Beaver. Is it possible that Max Headroom would seem as archaic and quaint and not-of-this-world to a teenager watching it today as "Leave it to Beaver" seemed to me when I was 13? You know, don't answer that because I don't really care.

Anyway, it gave me great joy today.

[A typical scene: wet pavement, fog, spears of light.]