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Reggae Britannia
Documentary about reggae's influence on British music and society, featuring Big Youth, Max Romeo, Linton Kwesi Johnson, the Specials, Dennis Bovell, Aswad, Steel Pulse and more.  
 
The acclaimed BBC4 Britannia series moves into the world of British reggae. Showing how it came from Jamaica in the 1960s to influence, over the next twenty years, both British music and society, the programme includes major artists and performances from that era, including Big Youth, Max Romeo, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jerry Dammers and the Specials, the Police, UB40, Dennis Bovell, lovers rock performers Carroll Thompson and Janet Kay, bands like Aswad and Steel Pulse and reggae admirers such as Boy George and Paul Weller  
 
One day in 1992 Stella Liebeck spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee into her lap. Ever since, people have been fighting over what really happened.  
 
Undisputed: Ms. Liebeck sued McDonald’s, and in 1994 a jury awarded her nearly $3 million, $2.7 million of which was punitive damages. The disputed part is all the rest: Ms. Liebeck and her legal action quickly became a national symbol of frivolous lawsuits, a source of TV punch lines and outrage from the commentariat. The business world used the moment for what became known as tort reform, while others called it a blatant effort to bar the courthouse door. And in it all, Ms. Liebeck’s story was largely lost.  
 
So the story of Stella Liebeck opens the new documentary “Hot Coffee,” which will be shown [tonight] Monday on HBO, part of its summer documentary series.  
 
“Everybody knows — or thinks they know — the McDonald’s case,” said Susan Saladoff, who put her legal practice aside to direct and produce the film. “But they really don’t know it at all. I didn’t do this to become a filmmaker. I made this movie because I had something to say that needed to be said, and nobody else was saying it, at least to regular folks, to the public...”
Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new era in mail art: Presents, Three Months of Mail Art for Hyperallergic HQ, an opening that promises booze AND epic results! At least, those are my predictions. As many readers will have already noticed, Hyperallergic has been collecting mail art for three months, posting the submissions from far and wide. Come tomorrow, no more tantalizing JPEGS: the mail art show opens!
The following five artists all have at least one thing in common: without the everyday dirt that most others work hard to collect and discard, they would be unable to produce the impressive pieces seen below. For those who obsess about cleaning, the pictures you’re about to see may cause a twitch or two.  
 
NOT ART but odd: 34 Scary Photos of The World’s Filthiest Homes
The Hidden Message
The Hidden Message is a social network art project. It consist of a limited number of artworks that form a single message. Every canvas has one letter placed where it is placed in the original message. The aim of the project is that by sharing informations and knowledge between the participants, they find the Hidden Message.
The Clash’s Joe Strummer wrote and directed this rather strange gangster filck, Hell W10, which stars fellow bandmates, Paul Simonon as Earl, and Mick Jones as kingpin gangster, Socrates. The film centers around a tale of rivalry and ambition, murder and violence, mixing the style of 1930’s gangster movies with 1980’s London. It’s a reminiscent of something Alex Cox might have made (who later directed Strummer in the punk spaghetti western Straight to Hell), and while the film self-consciously meanders, it holds interest, and is aided by a superb soundtrack from The Clash. Watch out for Strummer as a mustachioed cop.
Scientific Illustration
Science and art geeks alike can admire the work of medical and scientific illustrators. There are some real gems like the gorgeous depictions of animal anatomy by Hermann Dittrich.  
 
some pix maybe nsfw in your corner of the world ...
Recently, French-born, Berlin-based artist Cyprien Gaillard built a pyramid out of 72,000 bottles of beer at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and invited visitors to contribute in a key way: by getting bombed on it.
(And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)  
 
This is a slightly edited version of a talk I gave yesterday at Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York.  
It’s a simple list of 10 things I wish I’d heard when I was in college.
National Jukebox
The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives.
The advent of the Internet, has allowed users to "see a world in a grain of sand" and "hold infinity in the palm of your hand", even if only for five minutes’ surfing over a morning coffee before the day's tasks begin.  
 
Music in particular can be disseminated as never before, and for classical aficionados there is always more to discover in this seemingly infinite realm of resources. Even as the Berlin Philharmonic uploads the latest high-definition concert footage, some rare archival gem is lying in wait, freed from the physical confines of a library and unearthed at the click of a mouse. Want to see Callas singing at the height of her powers? Type in "Callas": chances are you’ll find just what you were looking for, alongside something you never knew existed.  
 
Of course, with millions of YouTube clips dedicated to classical music there’s plenty of filler to sift through. Limelight has strung together just 40 of the most informative, representative and entertaining videos we could find to present a selective, chronological history of western classical music from the twelfth century to the modern age. Concert, recording and documentary footage has been assembled to illustrate the most epoch-making moments and innovations in the field.
Alejandro Jodorowsky Talks "El Topo" and "Holy Mountain" on Blu-ray  
 
In 1970, world cinema was turned on its head by Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's surrealistic Western El Topo. A violent fable about an unbeatable gunfighter (played by Jodorowsky) who loses his humanity to gain enlightenment, El Topo drew inspiration from a dizzying array of sources, including Zen Buddhist tracts, Antonin Artaud's "Theater of Cruelty," the films of Jean Cocteau and Sergio Leone and the art of Salvador Dali. Its head-spinning melange of arthouse and grindhouse tropes made it a sensation among the cognoscenti of the counterculture (most notably, John Lennon and Yoko Ono) and helped to kick off the "midnight movies" scene of the early '70s. Jodorowsky would follow El Topo with The Holy Mountain (1973), a equally dense-layered fantasy about a mystic (Jodorowsky again) who leads the six "most powerful people" on Earth to the title location, where they hope to unlock the secrets of the immortals.  
 
Though Jodorowsky made several films after this powerhouse duo, including 1990's Santa Sangre, none would capture the imagination of the movie-going public like El Topo and Holy Mountain. Unfortunately, few could see the films following their initial theatrical runs; rights issues kept them in limbo for decades until they were released by ABKCO and Anchor Bay on DVD in 2007. On April 26, both entities will present Blu-ray editions of El Topo and Holy Mountain. To commemorate the occasion, Amchair Commentary spoke with Alejandro Jodorowsky via phone at his home in Paris, where he imparted his unique, decidedly frank (and possibly NSFW) views on his masterworks, the Blu-ray releases and his much-discussed future projects.
There are hundreds of them scattered throughout villages and rural landscapes in the former Yugoslavia. Once the site of pilgrimages by schoolchildren, military veterans, patriots, and mourners who had lost family in WWII, these Spomeniks are today rarely visited. Often built out of concrete in a style dubbed Brutalism, these secular totems were meant to endure, impervious to the mere march of time...  
 
The Belgian photographer, Jan Kempenaers, has traveled the many countries of the Balkans during the past decade and has recorded these monoliths with his camera. He has compiled several dozen of them into a book, titled simply
Spomenik.  
 
By John Bailey, American Society of Cinematographers.  
 
[cc: history]
The Animal Crossdressing project grew out of a 5-week residency in summer 2001 at Caribbean Contemporary Arts on the island of Trinidad. While visiting the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain one day, I met the zoo keeper who was in charge of the snakes. I watched him feed and care for the snakes over several weeks, and over time saw many mice, rats, guinea pigs and even rabbits swallowed whole. I never got entirely used to watching the feedings, and couldn't squelch my sentimental response to devise a scheme for some ways the prey animal could escape its fate. Port of Spain abounds with fabric stores, stocked with everything from staid grey cottons used for school uniforms to outrageous shimmery synthetics used to make costumes for Trinidad's famous Carnival. Given this strong cultural tradition of masquerade, I decided to make an outfit for a rat that would disguise it as a snake. I found a stretchy nylon snakeskin print that was perfect for the task at hand, and also fashioned a costume that crossdressed the snake by using its body as the tail of an enormous, three foot-long stuffed rat. The project was restaged in New York in 2002 with pet animals and documented in a more controlled studio environment using photography and video. It wasn't until I saw the video footage that I realized how many transformations had come into play: the snake's body, lying inside the unzipped rat suit, looked like the intenstines of a giant rat. The predatory snake was suddenly both the prey and the guts ingesting the prey, all visible inside a huge gutted rodent that looked like it had just turned the tables on a snake and swallowed it whole.
Dusty vinyl records, vintage film cameras, rickety typewriters and antiquated recording equipment … these are the creative tools being used by some emerging artists. Pure nostalgia? Or a laudable refusal to escape the speed and sanitised perfection of contemporary digital culture?