Keeping up with pop culture can feel like a chore, especially if you find yourself in crowds where making casual reference to what you watch and listen to is part of day-to-day communication. Some aspects of the culture are just too vast to ever totally simplify. (Call me old, but I can never keep track with how quickly pop singers come into huge popularity and then seem to disappear.)
But more manageable than music are movies, which don't tend to get to reference-able level until it has not only saturated the audience, but also soaked deep into our memetic fibers. But in some cases, this takes a long time, and some of the films people
In 1982, three eleven-year-olds saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and it changed their lives forever when they decided to make a shot-for-shot remake that summer. Well that summer turned into 7 years, with full sets, choreography, fire effects, broken hearts, and endless devotion. Twenty-five years later, they return to shoot the missing scene....
Around here, it started in January. All of sudden, several repertory and arthouse theaters had Back to Future II on their marquees. This kind of stuff is normal in the summer, when it's super hot and folks are seeking a little respite in the AC, or the "Movies in the _____" take over parks and swimming pools and gardens. But Back to Future II popping up all over on Martin Luther King Day weekend?
Alright we gotta talk about hoverboards for a second. They're awesome, we'd all use one if they functioned like Marty McFly's, and for the most part they've been a dream of the future. In fact, every couple years there's some tiny innovation that doesn't amount to much or there's a viral hoax to let us down like Tony Hawk's HUVr prank earlier this year. No more.
"Wetter is better." Never has a marketing campaign worked so well on yours truly. The original Super Soaker 50 was the true great gift lust (well, that and a by-then unpurchaseable Fireball Island game) my version of Ralphie's Red Ryder. And nothing was sweeter than that moment on my [9th? 10th?] mid-June birthday...which is a pretty great time to get a giant pressurized neon water gun.
Remember as a kid, when a movie came out, and everyone saw it? Standing in line in the heat, drinking from your matching collectable cup from whichever participating fast food restaurant. People in the Batman logo t-shirts, or listening to the big hit song from the soundtrack...on the radio?
For many years, it was no longer about finding Waldo, but about turning the pages and pointing out where I knew he was, and trying to make it to the end of the book as fast as possible. Cause - between the ages of eight and ten - I had those suckers memorized.
But, that was decades ago, and my visual cues are all gone.
I know the first thing that blew my mind, creatively. I mean, I remember especially liking the "Under the Sea" part of The Little Mermaid when I saw it in the theater, and realizing that I could tell the difference between early moptop Beatles singles and the more experimental stuff that came later, but I distinctly remember the first time I was like, "Man, this is real craftsmanship"... or whatever word made since to me at age seven or eight.
I haven't carved a pumpkin in years. I didn't really like doing it as a kid, and I especially don't like doing it now. Will I clean a sugar pumpkin out and cook with it? Absolutely. But a decorative job? For some reason...not for me.
Which is why I'm especially appreciative when some inspired home squash
Whether by urban legend or repeatable data, anyone that grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System was aware of the, "when the game won't load, you show blow into the catridge, and even the system," particularly on pesky games like the metallic cased "The Legend of Zelda." I'm even willing to bet that that characteristic soundbite of forced air rushing around a 4x1" plastic hollow would be instantly recognized by anyone born from 1975-90.
But...did it actually work?
Boston-based graphic artist and designer Matther DiVito has created these fantastic geometric animations that remind me of the little production studio tags at the end of the education TV shows we watched as kids in the 80s - like the end of 3-2-1 Contact or those "The More You Know" bits from Saturday morning.
Noise pop is used to describe that genre of songs that find the perfect balance between messiness and ear candy, "a certain yin and yang of melody and dissonance."
The creators of Noise Pop Festival and the Noise Pop Podcast have picked the 100 songs that best represent the genre, and they're letting you listen to them, for free.
There's nothing like one of your favorite things from childhood (The Princess Bride) joining hands with something you love as an adult (great design) for the purpose of something you like plenty (wine) at something you strive to support (independent movie theaters).
Enter The Bottle of Wits, which is each of those beloved things, and probably more.
When I was a kid, I loved nearly everything about Ducktales - the myth and culture-based plotlines, that guy that could count everything really fast then turn into a robot, to the oh-so-evil and impossibly named Flintheart Glomgold. But, even as a five-year-old, I was a skeptic about the famous Moneybin. I even remember asking my dad how it was possible to land on a giant pile of coins and sinking in, instead of just going splat on the surface. I even got out a jar of pennies and jammed them with my fist to see if I could break through.
The world has Peanuts, the Muppets, and any number of 3D computer-animated movie characters, but those of us who were kids in the late 80s and 90s, we have Calvin & Hobbes.
Fans and filmmakers Jim Frommeyer and Teague Chrystie created this stop-motion tribute to Bill Watterson's amazing contribution to pop culture and art, recreating 3D models of some of the strip's most notable recurring themes - Calvin's joyfully demented snow creations.
Click play to watch this awesome video:
We've seen vintage toy-inspired furniture before, such as the giant LEGO storage boxes, or this colorful Tetris bookshelf, but this Rubik's Cube shaped chest of drawers is truly brilliant. The quality of the work is amazing, and it actually rotates and turns (at least on the X-axis). But most importantly, its creator and designer shares step-by-step instructions to show you how it was put together, and so you can make on yourself!
Robbie Ausberger is a photographer who tries to recreate "glamour" photo shoots from the 1970s...the sort of pics you might find in the archives of a Sears Portrait studio or Olan Mills in some abandoned shopping plaza.
Friends, there's a might fine new web series called Craftovision, an "internet show dedicated to DIY culture. IT'S ALIVE. [It's] where we feature episodes and post awesome DIY randomness that we find."
It's hosted/produced by the always talented Corinne Leigh, and I'm loving the latest episode. It not only features a sweet sewing project for guys - this Space Invaders-inspired 8-bit hooded sweatshirt, but an interview with Raynor, a crocheting-for-guys expert who blogs at The Shy Lion.
Click play to watch the latest episode and see the tutorial: