Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Blogumentary is over here!

You heard me. The action is here: This is now just an archive (and a place for Google experiments.)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Digital Television Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Seriously you guys. You should go visit Chuck. Love that dude.

Saturday, February 21, 2004


Urban Warrior is an excellent documentary film by my friend Matt Ehling, whom I've known since grade school. I'd encourage anyone concerned about the current state of civil liberties in a post-9/11 world to contact Matt for a screening:

Within recent years, the formerly bright line separating U.S. military operations from domestic police work has become increasingly blurred. From Waco, to the WTO protests, tactics once reserved for wartime combat are being used in domestic law enforcement operations with increasing frequency.

The United States has traditionally recognized a separation of the roles and jurisdictions of its police and military forces. However, during the 1980s and 90s, the Pentagon began supplying both military training and surplus military hardware to domestic law enforcement agencies. Paramilitary SWAT teams, utilizing urban combat tactics, sub-machine guns, and armored personnel carriers, now exist in 90% of American cities with a population of 50,000 or more. Since the terror attacks of 9-11, new calls have been made to involve the military in domestic affairs, and to further eliminate the traditional fire walls that have long separated these two entites.

"Urban Warrior" casts a critical eye on this trend, investigating the impact of military-style police work on civil liberties, and examining case studies ranging from the WTO protests, to the Elian Gonzales raid.

From ETS Pictures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


I'm ditching this joint. Find me here:

Enjoy fine posts, such as:
Blogs Save Lives
Bill O'Reilly vs. Terry Gross
Junior Senior live video at SXSW
Chuck Olsen Brings Blogumentary to Carleton Digital Arts Festival"

Did you know Blogumentary is an open source film? Yes, it's true. What the world needs now is an open source documentary so researchers, filmmakers, and bloggers can make their own use of the raw footage. By the way, this is not to be confused with the film about the open source movement, Revolution OS.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Liberry Boy tipped me off to the fabulous new Sloan album Action Pact, for some reason only available in the U.S. as an import. So I give this MP3 to you, dear reader, as a public service. To whet your appetite. Mmmmm, chunky Canadian power pop. When your appetite is good and soggy, go get your own copy (Amazon has a few used copies left).

SLOAN: Gimme That (MP3, 2.4 MB)

If you enjoyed this download, you may want to buy this T-shirt. [ via Kristia ]

ADDENDUM: Check out the video for Rest of My Life. I love that song. Who wants to road trip to Vancouver?

Totally unrelated: Peaches records with Iggy Pop

Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing Australian filmmaker/blogger Matt Clayfield in the original cyberspace: the place between the phones. He taped himself with a borrowed Sony VX2000. Matt worries about the phone bill, but (a) it's sure cheaper than airfare to Australia, (b) it's tax deductible, and (c) worth every cent. I know he said something particularly brilliant, too, although I have no idea what it was now. Every once in awhile in an interview I'll hear words that make me tingle (no, not down there) because somehow they've boiled the essence of their experience down to a few short scintillating sentences. I know it sounds like sound-byte syndrome, but those are the bits that make a documentary snap-crackle-pop.

This marks the third long-distance Blogumentary production. Viva la Revolucion de 'open-source'!

Matt is involved in all sorts of collaborative filmmaking experiments. Besides filming himself for Blogumentary, he just started The Winter Bolero Project. Ten short films based in his town of Mount Gambier and its people. But there's a hitch. He will limit each film to a topic and aesthetic obstacles that we determine. So release your inner Lars von Trier and email Matt.

Further adventures in global collaborative filmmaking: The Continuity Project.

Monday, September 22, 2003

With autumn descends a sweet melancholy. All strawberries and gold. I want to fall into swirls of psychedelia.

Happy 32nd to our gal Maggie. We had a fine time at Azia, not to mention various asian-fusions and mango mojitos. I'm awfully busy so blogging will be light. And GreenCine just linked me, too. Sorry! I'll be back soon enough, with video clips even.

Besides relaunching our corporate site (why oh why did I say I'd have it done this month?) we're packin' up for the big move. Hard to believe we'll be in our new house in less than a week. Oh yeah, and sinus surgery on October 2 – I'll post CT scans of my brain very soon. They'd make a great album cover.

Friday, September 19, 2003

I'm taking a break from Central Standard tonight, but wanted to make sure y'all mark your calendars for THE M-80 PROJECT on Wednesday, Oct 1. (Non-locals, watch for the DVD.) It's re-premiering at the stellar Sound Unseen festival (oh no, another bucket-o-heroin!). M-80 features some amazing stuff from a 1979 No Wave/New Wave concert at the Walker Art Center. You don't want to miss DEVO performing as "DOVE The Band of Love" with two killer songs performed by our hero Booji Boy. I'm tempted to be evil and post a clip, but don't want to spoil it.

Also: Minneapolis punk legends SUICIDE COMMANDOS performing "Complicated Fun" as heard in Target commercials. Speaking of, Complicated Fun (the blog) is supposed to interview my man Chris Strouth about the project. I'll be spending part of my weekend working with Christo on the opening and title graphics for the film, sortof a simpler b&w "24-Hour Party People" style. Not to be missed!

Unfortunately I will miss much of Sound Unseen due to moving, sinus surgery, and preparing for an Oct. 8 Blogumentary screening down at Carleton College. Today I interviewed none other than Space Waitress, who was gracious enough to share thoughts about her recent depression before heading off to visit our favorite Iowa bloggers, Lane and Tina. Next week, a long-distance open-source interview with the infamous Matt Clayfield in Australia. Seems he got his hands on a Sony VX2000 – my camera of choice.
Watching thursday night's films, I was simultaneously comforted by and disappointed with the low production value. "Oh, that's kinda crappy... but hey, I can do this!" It's a lot easier to get away with low production value in documentary because you're there to learn, not to see a sweeping panoramic crane shot bursting with technicolor. It's much more difficult all-around to make a convincing and enjoyable narrative film. You need good writing and believable actors, it needs to look nice and resolve somehow. That's a tall order, and Want left me wanting.

I applaud it's vision and creativity – it's loaded with culture-jamming fake ads and creepy sex addiction – but it left me feeling thoroughly icky and wondering what the point was. I can't argue with the Variety writeup though: "Imaginative on a smartly handled low budget." Writer/Director/Editor Michael Wohl was part of the original Final Cut Pro team and authors a book I own, Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro which is is chock full of Want stills.

The Invisible Powers program was quite good, particulartly Subvertisers and Supermax Wisconsin. I think a much better film can be made on the culture jam movement, but until then Subvertisers will do just fine. To their credit, they don't restrict themselves to interviewing artists and activists. They talk to a Clear Channel exec who says, "Here's my phone, here's my email - nobody is calling me asking to use our billboards." He argues that culture jammers are vandals, and that Clear Channel donates a certain percentage of billboard space to nonprofit organizations. San Francisco's Billboard Liberation Front isn't buying it (heh). They say their billboard liberations are easily removable, and they leave a bottle of scotch for the Clear Channel workers who remove them. I'm not 100% with the culture jammers, but I think we need their voice. We need to question the corporate advertising and media assault we are numbed to everyday. We need antidotes.

Supermax Wisconsin, apparently produced by a bunch of UW-Madison students, looks at the evils of high-security solitary confinement and the prison system in general. At first I was unsympathetic to the film's cause: so they put some prisoners in a white room with a toilet and a concrete bed. It's prison fer chrissake! I was more compelled by the deeper problems with the prison system in general - the prison business, politicans' cheap "tough on crime" stances, the culture of punishment vs. rehabilitation. Nevertheless, it was very skewed and presented no hard evidence or opposing viewpoints. Technically well-produced, and certainly worth a look if it comes to your town.