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      China's toxic livestreaming culture: the vicarious lives of angry, alienated, uneducated rural gamers

      China has a massive livestreaming industry, centered around the YY platform, which started out as a Twitch-style gamer livestreaming platform and now hosts a huge number of wildly popular vloggers who earn money when viewers toss them virtual tips that they can redeem for cash. Read the rest

      Trailer for new documentary about the 60s-70s Laurel Canyon music scene featuring Tom Petty, Cat Power, Jackson Browne, Norah Jones

      In the 1960s and 1970s, Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon neighborhood was flowing with sex, drugs, and folk-rock and roll. Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Jackson Brown, Carole King, the Mamas & The Papas, and countless other musicians made the scene or had homes in the hills. Echo in the Canyon is a new documentary about that magical moment and the influential sound that emerged. The trip back in time to this "legendary paradise, as Tom Petty called it, was directed by Andrew Slater with Jakob Dylan as executive producer.

      “The best test of songwriting is that it transcends its moment in time,” Dylan said in a statement. “And there is no doubt that the songs we explore in this film are as powerful today as they were in 1965.”

      Echo in the Canyon will see a national release in June.

      (Rolling Stone) Read the rest

      Ten year old son of the late, great drummer, Dennis Davis, interviews Tony Visconti about his father's work with Bowie

      This is so wonderful. Hikaru Davis is the son of the late session drummer, Dennis Davis, who died in 2016. Among many others, Davis played with Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Roy Ayers, and Iggy Pop. But he is most famously remembered as one of David Bowie's drummers, playing on Bowie's 70s records, from Young Americans to Scary Monsters.

      When Davis died, his son, then ten (now 13) decided that he wanted to know more about his father and what made him a great drummer by interviewing friends and fellow musicians who'd worked with his dad. The result is HD Projects, a YouTube channel presenting these interview videos as they're finished.

      In the most recent upload, Hikaru interviews producer and longtime Bowie collaborator, Tony Visconti. In the video, Tony breaks down Davis' drumming on Bowie's Lodger track, "Look Back in Anger."

      Here is Hikaru's statement about his documentary project and interviewing Tony Visconti:

      After my father’s passing, I didn’t want to hear anybody say his name. It was not because I wanted to forget about him. It was my way of mourning. It made me sad, angry, and depressed to hear his name from someone. I wanted to keep him only inside of me. Maybe I was too selfish. But I was only 10 years old.

      After a while, I started looking at social media to see what people were saying about my father. And I saw an article in Rolling Stone Magazine about Dad’s death. That’s when I saw Mr.

      Read the rest

      Watch: The Inventor documentary trailer about the rise and fall of Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes

      The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, HBO's documentary about fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, who started her multi-billion-dollar healthcare company Theranos when she was 19-years-old, airs on March 16. That gives me six days to finish the highly-engaging Theranos bio, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by Wall Street Journal reporter, John Carreyrou, if I don't want any book spoilers. Here's the trailer to whet your appetite. Read the rest

      The making of It, Stephen King's 1990 miniseries

      From the scary movie documentarians "You're So Cool Brewster: The Story of Fright Night" and "Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary" comes "Pennywise: The Story of It."

      Read the rest

      Dieter Rams's "10 Principles of Good Design"

      Legendary designer Dieter Rams lays out the ten principles underlying his approach to "good design."

      A scene from "Rams", Gary Hustwit's new documentary about legendary designer Dieter Rams, with original music by Brian Eno. Motion graphics by Trollback & Co.

      Read the rest

      New documentary about Adnan Syed from the "Serial" podcast

      This spring, HBO will air a new documentary about Adnan Syed, the subject of the first season of the Serial podcast. The four-part series is directed by Amy Berg ("Deliver Us from Evil"). From the Baltimore Sun:

      Syed, the subject of the wildly popular “Serial” podcast, was convicted in 2000 of killing his former girlfriend and Woodlawn High School classmate. But “Serial” raised questions about why his attorney, M. Cristina Gutierrez, did not call a potential alibi witness. The attorney died in 2004.

      Syed’s conviction was vacated in June 2016 by a Baltimore circuit judge, and the Court of Special Appeals upheld the decision, prompting the state to bring its case for reinstating the conviction before Maryland’s highest court in November.

      The HBO trailer prominently features Syed’s family friend, Rabia Chaudry, who brought the case to “Serial” host and former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig. The documentary, directed by Academy Award nominee Amy Berg, promises “a piece of evidence that nobody even realized existed for all these years.”

      It’s unclear when the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, will make a decision. Chaudry said in November that Syed’s family expects a ruling by August.

      Read the rest

      Watch the Private Life of a Cat

      Back in 1947, decades before cat memes became a way of life, experimental documentary filmmakers Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid gave us a lovely glimpse of the "Private Life of a Cat." From Archive.org:

      RECORDS FEMALE CAT & HER 5 KITTENS AS MOTHER CAT APPROACHES LABOR, KITTENS ARE BORN & OBTAIN MILK & MOTHER CAT THEN CARES FOR THEM IN LEARNING & GROWING PROCESS, IN WHICH TOM CAT OCCASIONALLY PARTICIPATES.

      (via r/ObscureMedia)

      Previously: Maya Deren's Sights and sounds of Haitian vodou Read the rest

      Glossary of Broken Dreams: now available to stream!

      Johannes Grenzfurthner writes, "My film 'Glossary of Broken Dreams' (which is getting more and more relevant, given all the political turmoil currently around) (previously) is finally available on Vimeo on Demand (buying and renting). Read the rest

      The Office documentary reportedly confirmed by Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration

      Robert Ray Shafer who played Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration on the US version of The Office apparently posted the below to his Facebook page confirming a documentary in production about the beloved show. Of course this will be a documentary about a mockumentary. According to this Facebook post, the documentary "That's What She Said (And They Said Too)" is expected to be premiere on the show's 15th anniversary in 2020. (via r/DunderMifflin)

      Read the rest

      New Ted Bundy documentary based on deeply creepy unheard jailhouse recordings

      If you're into the dark fringes of true crime media... The forthcoming documentary "Conversations With A Killer," about serial killer Ted Bundy, is based on 100 hours of two journalists' unheard audio interviews conducted on death row before Bundy was executed in 1989. From Rolling Stone:

      The series also explores how Bundy was able to avert capture as he didn’t adhere to the serial killer stereotype; women flocked to Bundy’s trial despite the serial killer’s gruesome “sex crime slayings of more than 30 women.” “He was charming, good-looking, smart... Are you sure you got the right guy,” one woman says of Bundy in voiceover.

      “I’m not an animal, I’m not crazy, I don’t have a split personality,” Bundy said in one recording. “I mean I’m just a normal individual.”

      "Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" premieres on Netflix on January 24, the anniversary of Bundy's execution. Read the rest

      Watch this trailer for the new Fyre Festival documentary!

      The Fyre Festival documentary premieres on Netflix on January 18 and I can't wait. If you remember the Fyre Festival, you definitely weren't there... because, y'know, it didn't happen. And I'm glad, because if it did, we wouldn't have this fantastically ridiculous story. From NetFlix:

      Created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, Fyre Festival was promoted as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas featuring bikini-clad supermodels, A-List musical performances and posh amenities. Guests arrived to discover the reality was far from the promises.

      Chris Smith, the director behind the Emmy Award Nominated documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, gives a first-hand look into disastrous crash of Fyre as told by the organizers themselves.

      Read more Boing Boing posts about the Fyre Festival. Read the rest

      Ask Dr. Ruth: Watch the trailer for the new documentary about the iconic sex therapist

      Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a German-born Jewish Holocaust survivor who emigrated to the United States in 1956 and eventually became arguably the world's best known sex therapist. She's hosted multiple radio and TV shows and written dozens of books about sex. Now, the 90-year-old is the subject of a new documentary titled Ask Dr. Ruth that will premier at the Sundance Film Festival in a few weeks. Directed by Ryan White with distribution by Hulu, the film will be in theaters later this year and presumably streaming after that.

      Read the rest

      Watch Mr. Rogers' wonderful show for adults from 1978

      In 1978, Mr. Rogers hosted a television show for adults called "Old Friends...New Friends" in which he interviewed interesting musicians, artists, athletes, teachers, and others "about their search for meaning in life." A clip of the show appeared in last year's documentary about Fred Rogers, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?." Above is that complete episode, titled "Inner Rhythms" and featuring classical pianist Lorin Hollander. There are 19 other episodes profiling the likes of composer Hoagy Carmichael, barrio teacher Nancy Acosta, comedian Milton Berle, and psychoanalyst Helen Ross.

      Read the rest

      Documentary about Moby-Dick devotees

      David Shaerf, a professor of English and cinema studies at Michigan's Oakland University, is fanatical about Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. He's so fanatical that he made a documentary about Moby Dick fanaticism. The film is titled "Call Us Ishmael" and in it, Shaerf joins the devotees who gather annually in New Bedford, Massachusetts to read Moby-Dick aloud, without stopping. He interviews the likes of Frank Stella who spent 15 years making a piece of art for each of the book's chapters. He talks with the likes of Laurie Anderson who developed an entire live performance and tour titled "Songs and Stories from Moby-Dick" and Matt Kish, the librarian/illustrator who drew "Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page." Now, Shaerf is seeking help via Kickstarter to get Call Me Ishmael ready for release by clearing the music, legal fees, and insurance before he can hand it off to the film's distributor.

      It sounds like a whale of a project and I look forward to seeing the film!

      "Support "Call Us Ishmael" via Kickstarter!" (Thanks Ora Pescovitz!)

      Read the rest

      The Bleeding Edge: a terrifying, enraging look at the corrupt, deadly world of medical implants

      Prior to 1976, the FDA did not regulate medical implants, and so shoddy and even deadly devices proliferated, inserted into Americans' body. Read the rest

      Meet the proprietor of the last chess supply store in New York City

      Imad Khachan is proprietor of Chess Forum, the last chess shop in New York City.

      “When no other place will welcome you, you have a seat [here],” Khachan says.

      Khachan is the subject of King of the Night, a short documentary above by Molly Brass and Anne Hollowday.

      (The Atlantic)

      Read the rest

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