Backstage Magic

10 05 2010
I always believed performance is about sincerity shared in the confidence of warm intimacy. Where better to find this sort of thing then in the back-stages and green rooms scattered thoughout the history of the world? That’s where the real magic happens. Here are a few examples
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STEVIE NICKS  (Wild Heart)
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From a Rolling Stone photo session, presumably around 1983/4 in which a camera catches Stevie Nicks and band perform ‘Wild Heart’ from the heart. Very real, very beautiful.
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Leonard Cohen (Bird on a Wire)
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After a nervous and uncertain Cohen walks of stage and retreats to the dressing room, resolving not to perform, his friends and co-performers urge him on with a version of ‘Bird on a Wire’. This footage is magic, not just for the reality of the situation which is conveyed but for the beauty of such a real moment. Watch for Bob Johnson (Simon and Garfunkel’s producer) as he performs the second verse. The sight of a broken Cohen on the floor of the tour bus at the end is really something. Despite the encouragement he did not go back out to finish the set.

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The History Of Hacking (Discovery Channel 1994)

16 04 2010

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Covering the pre-PC phone phreaking era through invention of the home computer by hackers and the eventual and inevitable industrialisation of the home computer. Good times.





QUENTIN CRISP – Denis Mitchell’s documentary (1968)

15 04 2010

After the publication of his book, The Naked Civil Servant, in 1968 Quentin Crisp was approached by documentary maker Denis Mitchell to be the subject of a short film in which he was to talk about his life & voice his opinions.

It was my previous post (Chelsea Hotel Doc) which brought Crisp to my attention so think of this post as a sort of continuity. That said actually, there is often a sort of continuity in the posts you find here;one line of inquiry leads to the next.





Chelsea Hotel (Arena, BBC 1981)

15 04 2010

1981 BBC documentary on the famous New York hotel and its colorful inhabitants. The documentary is incomplete here but still a worthwhile watch. Some highlights include Andy Warhol and William Burroughs having dinner; Quentin Crisp pontificating in a blue rinse hairdo on his balcony and Nico performing “Chelsea Girls”.





Douglas Adams – Hyperland (1990)

30 03 2010

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Hyperland is a 50 minute long documentary film about hypertext and surrounding technologies written by Douglas Adams and produced by BBC Two in 1990. It stars Douglas Adams as a computer user and Tom Baker, with whom Adams already had worked on Doctor Who, as a software agent.  Very prescient.





Ways of Seeing

22 03 2010

First episode

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Second episode – female nude

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Third episode -oil painting

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Fourth Episode – Advertising

Ways of Seeing is a 1972 BBC four-part television series of 30 minute films created chiefly by writer John Berger and producer Mike Dibb. Berger’s scripts were adapted into a book of the same name. The series and book criticize traditional Western cultural aesthetics by raising questions about hidden ideologies in visual images. The series is partially a response to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation series, which represents a more traditionalist view of the Western artistic and cultural canon.

The book Ways of Seeing was made by Berger and Dibb, along with Sven Blomberg, Chris Fox, and Richard Hollis.  The book consists of seven numbered essays: four using words and images; and three essays using only images.The book has contributed to feminist readings of popular culture, through essays that focus particularly on depictions of women in advertisements and oil paintings. Ways of Seeing is considered to be a seminal text for current studies of visual culture and art history.

The first part of the television series drew on ideas from Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” arguing that through reproduction an old master painting’s modern context is severed from that which existed at the time of its making. The second film discusses the female nude. Berger asserts that only twenty or thirty old masters depict a woman as herself rather than as a subject of male idealisation or desire. The third programme is on the use of oil paint as a means of depicting or reflecting the status of the individuals who commissioned the work of art. In the fourth programme, on publicity and advertising, Berger argues that colour photography has taken over the role of oil paint, though the context is reversed. An idealised potential for the viewer (via consumption) is considered a substitution for the actual reality depicted in old master portraits.





80 Blocks From Tiffany’s

10 03 2010

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80 Blocks From Tiffany’s is a 1979 documentary directed by Gary Weiss. It depicts the daily life of gangs within the context of the South Bronx. It deals primary with two African American and Puerto Rican gangs known as the “Savage Skulls” and the “Savage Nomads”