Monthly Archives: May 2010

Good Bye, Easy Rider. #DennisHopper

From by Jesse Baker

The much-loved American filmmaker and actor Dennis Hopper died Saturday at his home in Venice, Calif., seven months after his manager announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 74.

Early in his career, Hopper shared the screen with the likes of James Dean in 1955's Rebel Without a Cause and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1956 epic Giant; later he worked with Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke and John Wayne in the 1969 Western True Grit. And though he started out a long way from Hollywood — in Dodge City, Kan., where he was born in 1936 — metaphorically the movies were always with him.

"I was raised at the end of the Dust Bowl, and I used to tell people the first light I saw was not from the sun but from the light of a movie projector," Hopper told Fresh Air host Terry Gross in a 1996 interview.

Hopper's directorial debut came in 1969, when fellow actor Peter Fonda came to him with an idea for a film.

"You direct, I'll produce, and we'll both ride and act in it," Fonda recalled telling Hopper. "You've got the passion, you understand framing. You go for it!"

Set in the wide-open spaces of the American Southwest, Easy Rider was about two freewheelers who ride their motorcycles from Los Angeles to New Orleans. It was all drugs and rock 'n' roll — and it made for a box-office hit. Hopper was intoxicated by the freedom that came with putting together a low-budget, self-made movie, and his directorial debut became a trailblazer for independent films in the 1970s.

In the wake of Easy Rider, and the best-screenplay Oscar nomination that came with it, Hollywood thought it had found its new golden-boy director. Money for Hopper's next project, The Last Movie,came rolling in — but the project didn't quite live up to expectations. In fact, it was a total failure: Addiction plagued Hopper during filming and post-production, says New York University film-studies professor Robert Sklar, and he soon lost himself in the editing of the picture.

"But it shaped his career, in a way," Sklar says. "He went from the top to the bottom in about the space of two years, and he spent a lot of time trying to come back."

Indeed, much of Hopper's story as an actor involves his trying to clean up, clear up and make a comeback.

"It's too easy to justify using drugs and drinking because you're an artist," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross, in a conversation about his battles with addiction. "I can't cop to that excuse."

But Hopper did go on to enjoy a number of comebacks, and not just in film. Indeed, throughout his life, Hopper defined himself as more than just an actor. As a child, he took art lessons from the painter Thomas Hart Benton; he went on to make friends with art-world titans like Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and David Hockney, and to become a serious painter, sculptor and collector himself.

At James Dean's urging, he'd taken up photography in his teens, and with his camera he documented everything from Berkeley hippie love-ins to the 1963 March on Washington. In his later years, he transformed vintage photos of his friends and colleagues — Paul Newman, Bill Cosby, pop artists and politicians — into billboard-size oil-on-vinyl paintings. Making pictures was a real passion for Hopper; when he played a crazed photojournalist in Francis Ford Coppola'sApocalypse Now, Peter Fonda noted that the character was remarkably similar to Hopper's real-life persona.

Countless other film projects followed, including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Blue Velvet (1986), the notoriously expensive sci-fi flop Waterworld (1995) and the beloved sports drama Hoosiers (1986) — which won him another Oscar nomination, this time for best supporting actor.

"If we go back and look at his career, there are lots of interesting discoveries to be found," says NYU's Robert Sklar. "He isn't only Easy Rider, he isn't only Apocalypse Now, he isn't only Blue Velvet — there is so much more to think about."

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‘STEP OFF, I’M DOING THE HUMP!!’ Celebrating 20 Years of “The Humpty Dance” {VIDEO} #HumptyDance

From Rolling Stone, by Rob Sheffield

” He got stupid. He shot an arrow like Cupid. He used words that didn’t mean nothing, like “loopid.” Humpty Hump was his name and he single-handedly saved the summer of 1990, easily the worst radio summer of all time. Let us now celebrate 20 years of “The Humpty Dance,” summer jam of summer jams, the song that has kept a grateful nation getting busy in Burger King bathrooms ever since.

Sometimes a summer song fights its way out of a crowded pack. Like, what was the summer song of 1984 or 2003? You might say “When Doves Cry” or “Crazy In Love,” while someone else would go for “Ghostbusters” or “Seven Nation Army,” maybe even “Missing You” or “Ignition (Remix).” But any fan can agree these were jam-packed summers for pop radio. Other years, there’s a clear-cut champ — no matter what else you cranked on the beach in 1994, there was only one “Gin and Juice,” and despite all the great tunes kicking around in 2006, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” was first among equals. But 1990 was a dismal little sweatbox — you’d have to reach back to the pre-Beatles era to search for a radio summer that weak. There was only one song everyone could agree on, one song you could blast at a party without driving everyone out to the porch. And that song was “The Humpty Dance.”

Digital Underground had already released a fantastic hip-hop twelve-inch in the late summer of ’89, “Doowutchalike,” which built up huge anticipation for their debut album, Sex Packets. Humpty Hump had a cameo in that tune, saying, “Homegirls, for once, forget you got class! See a guy you like, just grab him in the biscuits!” When the Bay Area crew finally dropped Sex Packets that winter, everyone seemed to feel hugely disappointed and forgot about it. But a few months later, “The Humpty Dance” began showing up on MTV and the radio, and blew everything else away. That soles-of your feet bassline. That “Do me baby!” hook. That tone-deaf male chorus, that irresistible “let’s get stupid” gear change at the end, all those cornball jokes about how he likes his oatmeal (lumpy) and his beats (funky). Humpty had the whole song to himself, crowing, “Both how I’m living and my nose is large!”

There were a few other worthy hip-hop singles that summer — A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It,” YZ’s “Tower With The Power,” Roxanne Shante’s “Brothers Ain’t Shit”— but none of them came close to going pop. And Top 40 radio was in sorry-ass shape — this was a time when Nelson could look like a sign of life. MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” still lingered on from the spring. Wilson Phillips and En Vogue both scored horrific hits called “Hold On.” Jon Bon Jovi tried to get serious with “Blaze of Glory.” There were niche hits that people loved to argue about: Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart” (which I loved), Snap’s “The Power” (which I hated), Madonna’s “Hanky Panky” (which has to be one of the strangest Top 10 hits in history). But it was “The Humpty Dance” that kept us sane enough to keep the arguments going. All summer long, I went to house parties where they played it six times. At one of these parties I tried spinning Public Enemy’s “911 Is A Joke,” but it instantly cleared all females off the dance floor, pissing off my housemates yet giving us all a new appreciation for Humpty Hump.

Humpty seemed to go hand in hand with the “Black Bart” t-shirts that were equally ubiquitous that summer. The Simpsons had only been on the air for a few months, yet everywhere you went, you saw bootleg Black Bart shirts. (The other big t-shirt that summer? Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry had just gotten busted smoking crack on camera, so if you lived in D.C., Virginia or the Carolinas, you saw a lot of “THE BITCH SET BARRY UP” shirts.) Like Bart, Humpty became part of the culture, an Eshu-Elegba trickster god in Groucho drag, the stuff of legend. He made occasional reappearances in Digital Underground’s music — he got married in “Tie the Knot,” and defended his nose as an Afrocentric political statement in “No Nose Job.” But we all owe him for “The Humpty Dance.” Thank you, Humpty Hump. All over America, Burger King employees are still mopping up after you. “

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Adidas + Technology = 2010 Fifa World Cup #WorldCup #Soccer #Futbol #Adidas

By Linda Tischler, from

" Other manufacturers may produce colorful balls for next month's FIFA World Cup, but there's only one official ball, and for the 11th year, Adidas earned the right to field its version of what a world-class ball should look like.

This tournament's ball, called "Jabulani," which means "to celebrate" in Bantu, represents advances in both design and innovation.

Rather than being made of leather, which is traditional, the Jabulani ball is constructed of synthetics. Instead of 14 panels, there are only eight, which are held together by thermal bonding, not hand stitching.

That "grip 'n' groove" technology makes for improved wind channeling and, thus, a truer flight, Adidas officials say. Fewer seams also translate into a greater striking surface, making the Jabulani the roundest and most accurate soccer ball ever created.

As a result, this ball is faster than ever — potentially making for higher-scoring games. That's a plus for markets, like the U.S., where less soccer-savvy audiences are less appreciative of a sophisticated defense than of the primal thrill of a boot into the net.

But it's likely to lead to frustrated goalies, who have already started to whine about it. Kasey Kelly, a U.S. goalie, told the Wall St. Journal that the ball is too unpredictable and thinks the sport should just decide on a ball, and forget futzing around with innovation. Take away that man's iPad!

Apart from the technical finesse this ball represents, its design was also conceived to pay homage to the African continent's first crack at hosting the games.

Following the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Adidas dispatched designers to Africa to begin gathering data for the 2010 redesign. "Designers showed us videos from their trips," says Antonio Zea, director of soccer for Adidas America. "They had pictures of fans who create these hard hats decorated with dioramas about their teams that expressed their passion for the game."

One of the factors influencing the ball's design was South Africa's diversity — its various climates, tribes, and languages. The number 11 turns out to have been seminal: "There are 11 players on a soccer team, 11 distinct tribes in South Africa, 11 languages spoken, and this is our 11th time to furnish the World Cup ball," Zea says. To honor all that, Adidas used 11 colors on the ball and a graphic image that represents the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

Adidas will also outfit 12 federations at the World Cup, more than any other brand. In addition to South Africa, they'll include Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Spain, France, Nigeria, Paraguay, Denmark, France, and even Greece.

Adidas jerseys will feature the company's high performance compression TECHFIT technology, in which various bands around the shirt improve speed, power, endurance, and vertical jumping ability. Adidas says the new technology — soccer's answer to the Olympics's controversial swimsuits — can improve a player's power by 5.3%, his vertical leaping ability by 4%, and his sprinting speed by 1.1%.

"The bands minimize muscle vibration, which minimizes fatigue," Zea says, adding that the company also makes TECHFIT underwear.

Asked about the potential for controversy — which broke out already when the French team wore TECHFIT gear when playing Ireland — Zea is philosophical. "Our innovation gives players a slight edge, but still allows them to be part of the team."

Zea says replica balls and jerseys will be on sale at soccer specialty retailers. Adidas is also promising a huge digital push as part of the tournament, with lots of social networking to engage fans.

Below are the F50 adiZero cleats, which will be worn by World Player of the Year Lionel Messi (Argentina) and U.S. forward Jozy Altidore at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. "

Pictures taken from

Picture 1:  Adidas' Jabulani ball

Picture 2:  Adidas' Argentina & France team jerseys

Picture 3:  Adidas' F50 adiZero cleats

Taken from the full story at

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“The Future Of TV Is: There Is NO TV (Just Different Screen Sizes) ~Avner Ronen, Boxee {Video} #PSFK #DigitalVideo #Boxee

From the PFSK Conference New York 2010/

” Some highlights from his talk:

– “The internet rather than proprietary networks will be the backbone for video (tv is just one more connected screen).” Boxee is a great example of how this would be implemented. As a mutli-media browser that combines the “worlds of The Internet and television,” Boxee allows users to stream entertainment from across inputs, channels and platforms (i.e. LAN shares, DVD, and online services like BBC iPlayer,, NPR, ABC, Blip.TV, CNN). Companies like Boxee that aggregrate rather than segregate, will be the entertainment operations of the future.

– “For the most successful shows, video will only be a piece of the offering (coming: gaming, social interactions, mobile.)” Ronen predicts the rise of transmedia and the fluid movement of entertainment across platforms and media (we’ve already started seeing this happen around cult shows like Lost, The Simpsons, and The Sopranos).

– “Discovery of entertainment will remain mostly passive” here, Ronen points out, is an opportunity for innovation. How we discover entertainment is still largely a top-down process – how can we create apps and technologies to change that dynamic – so that audiences are discovering shows they like in an active, seamless way?

– “Audience fragmentation will grow (platforms will become audience aggregators).” With access to new and diverse content constantly growing, niche markets are becoming stronger, larger, and more myriad. Platforms are evolving into audience aggregators – taking over the role that networks once held.

– “The future of TV – there won’t be TV.” A reality that won’t come to fruition for at least several years, says Ronen, but a truth entertainment and media companies must come to terms with if they want to survive. “

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” if you never try anything new, this is as good as your life is going to get ” ~ @eskimon

You Won’t Lose This TV Remote: Comcast Converts iPad Into TV Remote {VIDEO} #Xfinity #Comcast #InnovationRemote

I’d like to see a dog chew on this remote. 😀

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Trending Google Search Topic: ” HOW DO I DELETE MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT “

” ADOTAS – Google, you always know what I’m thinking! Or perhaps I let you do my thinking for me… Anyhow, ReadWriteWeb discovered that when a user types in the words “how do I” into the Google search box, the fifth entry on the drop down list of suggestions is “how do I delete my Facebook account” (right after “how do I love thee” and “how do I get a passport,” proving that Shakespeare and trying to get the hell out of your country are still more popular).

When I inserted “how do I” on my own Google toolbar, deleting a Facebook account actually came up beneath “how do I breathe lyrics”; as someone who listens to the radio about as often as I lactate, I discovered this was a song by R&B singer Mario, who begs the question “How do I breathe when you’re not by my side?” I suggest listening to the instructions at the beginning of Bush’s “Machinehead.” You know, Liz Phair also had a breathing problem a few years back — must be a lot of asthma in the music industry. ”

More at….

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