I was lucky enough to attend a SXSW screening of Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet, a documentary about chiptunes, an underground music form that uses hardware from old video game consoles, like classic Nintendo Game Boys and NESes, to create new, original music. Most of this music bears little resemblance to 8-bit video game music (except, of course, for the sound quality); it's more like bright, happy amped-up techno, the kind of music that makes you feel like you're going on an adventure. Reformat the Planet tracks the creation of Blip Festival, a four-day chiptune extravaganza that happens in Brooklyn and features artists from all around the world. The movie is just 82 minutes, but is packed with great live footage, interviews and insights into the chiptune-making process.
No matter how subtle and cerebral – or in the case of Lewis Carroll's 1865 tale, wonderfully meandering and weird – the original story, these days, Hollywood will figure out how to transform it into an action movie.
It's somewhat of a running joke in feminist circles that, while awesome, a PhD in Gender Studies doesn't exactly bring in the big bucks. Well, Jenny Hagel is looking to change that (or at least the character she plays in her new web series, Feminist Rapper is). In the first episode, "A Lady Made That," a frustrated Gender Studies professor learns how to rap to try and get her students excited about the historical contributions women have made to society. A catchy rap that rhymes a'ight with Margaret Knight? A clueless student who confuses Judge Sandra Day O'Connor with Judge Dredd? A freestyle rap over the credits about Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony? (Seriously don't skip the credits because that freestyle is awesome.) I am already anxiously awaiting the next episode.
People unfamiliar with veganism—and hell, even people within animal rights movements—tend to think of vegan and animal advocacy issues as predominantly white concerns. It's a fair accusation that white privilege is rampant in AR movements and that many animal rights groups are constructed in homogeneous ways—because generally speaking, it's true.
One of my favorite blogs has always tackled issues of animal rights and race in tandem, as their tagline explains, "Because we don't have the luxury of being single-issue." Johanna Eeva, founder of the increasingly popular, always informative, and thought-provoking Vegans of Color blog, recently corresponded with me about the site and the challenges of deconstructing interlocking oppressions in an online forum.
The New York Times Magazine (I know, my fave) has a piece on celebrity chef Katie Lee today, and former Times food critic Frank Bruni details her rise to celeb chef fame. The article also describes how Lee supposedly traded culinary school to be married to Billy Joel, but to assume that the connections made were not perhaps more invaluable is disingenuous. Perhaps this wasn't what Bruni meant to imply, but I do get weary of the "she gave up her dreams for her other dream—a man" narrative.
You may have seen some news this week about a new line of Mad Men Barbie dolls. Not surprisingly, the dolls are lacking in the body diversity department, even though they are supposed to be doll versions of actual women. This is annoying, and a certain LOLcat is not going to stand for it anymore:
In honor of the music video that is sweeping the virtual nation today, (it's Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's "Telephone," but I bet I didn't have to tell you that) a few of us here in the office got on our trusty GChat accounts and commented along with the video. Read what we had to say about transmisogyny, pastiche, and sandwiches – and leave your own comments – after the jump!