Sunday Procrastination Reads

Here’s what I’m reading and watching instead of grading student papers:

  • Via an email tip: Henry Jenkins’ “Taking Media in Our Own Hands,” a very cool article focusing on grassroots media, specifically Machinima and PXL THIS, an annual film festival devoted to the Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy video camera. The Pixelvision camera never caught on with the children who were its intended consumers, but experimental filmmakers such as Sadie Benning have put the toy camera to highly innovative uses.
  • A trailer for a promising indie film, The Puffy Chair, which I’m now looking forward to seeing.
  • Also via the Filmmaker Magazine Blog, a pointer to what sounds like a fascinating film, Gary Tarn’s Black Sun, which eventually led me to Tarn’s London Film Festival diary, where he names Chris Marker, Dziga Vertov, and Errol Morris as influences. The documentary focuses on the experiences of painter Hugues de Montalembert’s experiences with going blind.
  • Filmmaker Magazine also mentions that Southland Tales director Richard Kelly’s passport has been placed “under review,” ostensibly because there is a terrorist on the watch-list named James Kelly (James Richard Kelly is the director’s full name). The fact that Kelly has just written and directed a film about a futuristic US police state is entirely coincidental.
  • ’80s nostalgia is alive and well. The cinetrix calls attention to Tribeca’s Screenplay section prize winner, Milton Liu’s “John Hughes Ruined My Life,” which focuses on a 30something woman who grew up on John Hughes movies and finds that “searching for her Jack Ryan is more like ‘Some Kind of Terrible.'”

Update: Blogger was down earlier, so I couldn’t find the link, but I also wanted to mention Joe Swanberg and Kris Williams’ web series, Young American Bodies (video is NSFW), which is playing on Nerve.com. Joe reports that the series will be running for twelve episodes, and thus far, it looks quite promising.

Update 2: The grading is done, and my “summer vacation” has begun. I also feel somewhat obligated to mention the fact that I made the Washington Post Express Blog Log again, this time for my snarky comment about Richard Kelly’s passport difficulties. Here’s a PDF if you want to see for yourself (I’m on page 32).

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