U2: Zoo TV Live From Syndey

U2 Zoo TV Live From Sydney


If I could build a time machine to take me to see any band in his­tory, it would be a trip to the early 90s to catch U2 at any point along their leg­endary Zoo TV tour. New to DVD, Zoo TV: Live From Syd­ney doc­u­ments the lads’ per­for­mance in Syd­ney dur­ing the aptly named Zoomerang leg. Rewatch­ing the event in the 21st cen­tury is inter­est­ing; on one hand, it’s almost shock­ing how far ahead of the curve U2 was in 1993, preach­ing a pretty weighty post-modern, ironic kill-your-television the­sis in front of thou­sands of rock ‘n’ roll fans each night. But on the other hand, the fix­a­tion on cable and satel­lite TV now looks rather quaint. True cul­tural desen­si­ti­za­tion and alien­ation via media over­sat­u­ra­tion came, in the end, from the inter­net. “Every­thing you know is wrong”, indeed.

U2 - Zoo TV Live From SyndeyI’d hate to see the band’s util­ity bill at the end of this tour…

Zoo TV was less a rock con­cert than a care­fully chore­o­graphed the­atri­cal event. Bono donned mul­ti­ple cos­tumes and per­sonas through­out each show: a drunken rock star clad in leather and flay shades, a para­mil­i­tary in fatigues, a gold lamé cow­boy hat-wearing megachurch tel­e­van­ge­list blast­ing mil­lions of U2 bucks into the audi­ence, and finally emerg­ing as MacPhisto, a kind of washed-up wasted devil tired of life but still up for a good time.

Bono as MacPhisto in U2 - Zoo TV Live From SydneyBono’s dev­il­ish alter-ego MacPhisto

Regard­less, what’s amaz­ing is that despite all the high-mindedness and avant-garde video art con­tributed by Brian Eno and Emer­gency Broad­cast Net­work, U2 still man­aged to put on a truly ass-kicking rock con­cert and get mil­lions of peo­ple around the globe to come and love every sec­ond of it. And for me to buy the DVD.

Buy any of these fine prod­ucts from Ama­zon and kick back a few pen­nies to The Dork Report:


The Dork Report for November 28, 2006

Because the Dork Report loves to quib­ble with lists of things: sharpen your fangs for Time Mag­a­zine’s All-TIME 100 albums. The edi­tors attempt to pre­empt crit­i­cism by admit­ting their exclu­sion of Pink Floyd, but I’d like to add a few more points:

  • I think the inclu­sion of so many greatest-hits com­pi­la­tion albums is a cop-out. I sup­pose one could argue that the con­cept of an “album” as a stand-alone work wasn’t estab­lished until around the time of The Bea­t­les’ Sgt. Pep­pers and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, severely lim­it­ing the decades from which to cull a list of “best albums”. But look how many vin­tage artists are rep­re­sented in the cur­rent decade: Elvis Pres­ley, Muddy Waters, Hank Williams? If none of those could man­age to squeeze out a clas­sic stand-alone album in their own era, it shouldn’t penal­ize Pink Floyd’s mas­sively pop­u­lar and influ­en­tial and crit­i­cally acclaimed Dark Side of the Moon.
  • Per­haps another rule could have been to exclude mul­ti­ple albums from the same artist? That said, I love Radio­head too much to make the Sophie’s Choice between OK Com­puter and Kid A. But that said, if I had to pick one Bowie album, I wouldn’t choose Ziggy Star­dust or Hunky Dory (the real con­test is between Heroes and Low).

Pre­view the first four min­utes of this year’s Doc­tor Who Christ­mas Spe­cial (spot­ted on Insom­niac Mania):

The Dork Report for November 27, 2006

MacHeist 2 ended last week, so catch­ing up: I’ve landed a free trial copy of 1Passwd; at first blush it looks like it might actu­ally help me bring some sense to the pass­word chaos of my online life. (Hubert, are you listening?)

Infor­ma­tion Archi­tects Japan asserts Web Design is 95% Typog­ra­phy (see also part II).

Trail­ing the Mac­Zot, MyDreamApp, and MacHeist share­ware mar­ket­ing stunts comes MacAp­pA­Day, giv­ing away 5000 copies of a dif­fer­ent Mac share­ware pro­gram every day start­ing Decem­ber 1.

Tom Baker, (almost) everybody’s favorite Doc­tor Who, blogs for Block­buster UK. Despite fre­quent allu­sions to mor­tal­ity (he’s get­ting up there), he’s still a total riot.

Set­ting new stan­dards in Doc­tor Who eso­ter­ica: Tar­get Prac­tice exam­ines each and every slim nov­el­iza­tion (before video, let alone DVD, the sole way to col­lect and “re-experience” the clas­sic sto­ries — and come to think of it, still the only way since many of the orig­i­nal episodes have long since been junked). Lest that sub­ject be too broad for the true Who anorak, From the Heart of Europe ana­lyzes the nine nov­el­iza­tions by late Who star Ian Marter.

Genesis-Movement.org has the scoop on the Gen­e­sis remas­ters due as soon as March 2007.

Happy Feet

Happy Feet movie poster


Happy Feet is a tough one to try to reduce to a sin­gle stars-out-of-five rat­ing. It pos­sesses two extreme split per­son­al­i­ties, its lack of inte­gra­tion call­ing into ques­tion its integrity. Was there a strug­gle behind the scenes between a stu­dio want­ing another cookie-cutter car­toon ani­mal kid flick vs. a film­maker envi­sion­ing some­thing of substance?

The first film totally embod­ies the worst cliches of the con­tem­po­rary CG ani­mated film: danc­ing, singing ani­mals talk­ing the kind of stereo­typ­i­cal enth­nic jive that would be con­demned as racism in a live-action film. Peo­ple laugh at Robin Williams’ “let me ‘splain some­thing to joo” Mex­i­can schtick in Happy Feet, but feel queasy about Ahmed Best’s gay rasta­far­ian rou­tine as Jar-Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I. The cute­ness of see­ing anthro­po­mor­phized pen­guins shim­my­ing to con­tem­po­rary pop hits wears off fast, yet takes up at least half the film, sorely test­ing the patience of any adults forced to be in the audi­ence (in my case, it was a free work junket).

The sec­ond film is more in keep­ing with direc­tor George Miller’s track record with Babe: Pig in the City. A sur­pris­ingly dark and edgy film, the sequel to Babe was a stealth “real movie” that appealed to adults as much as kids, hav­ing more in com­mon with City of Lost Chil­dren and Brazil than Charlotte’s Web. After seem­ingly end­less, I say end­less, musi­cal rou­tines, Happy Feet slowly begins to reveal its true nature as an eco­log­i­cal para­ble. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for turn­ing kids into ecow­ar­riors, but many chil­drens’ films have man­aged to blend life lessons more fully into the nar­ra­tive; Toy Story II is about engag­ing with life, love and friends now as opposed to wor­ry­ing about the future or pin­ing for the past; Iron Giant is about break­ing the cycle of vio­lence; Happy Feet is about… either bootyshak­ing or over­fish­ing. I’m not sure, and nei­ther is the film itself.

The Dork Report for November 16, 2006

Weird Al” Yankovic, not only a bril­liant satirist, is also a shrewd col­lab­o­ra­tor: check out his new video with Jib Jab: Do I Creep You Out.

Enter­tain­ment Weekly tasks a Star Wars vir­gin to watch all six Star Wars films in chrono­log­i­cal order (as opposed to order of release), and is shocked to learn it doesn’t work. Well, duh. I assumed it was obvi­ous to all that the cor­rect order to watch them would be IV » V » VI » I » II » III. A pre­quel is not necess­sar­ily intended to be viewed first. Or to put it another way, pre­quel is like one big-ass flash­back, meant to illu­mi­nate what you’ve already seen, but whose sig­nif­i­cance isn’t pal­pa­ble if seen first. (guest sub­mis­sion from Andrea)

Blender’s most dis­atrous albums. Proud to say I only own one of them, Moby’s Ani­mal Rights. (guest sub­mis­sion from Andrea)

Aban­doned Places. (guest sub­mis­sion from Dave)

Piece together LEGO minifig bands. Hilar­i­ously accu­rate, espe­cially the incar­na­tions of U2 from 1987, 2000, and 2004.

The Dork Report for November 13, 2006

Down­load the new avant-garde ring­tones for the N8800 Sirocco Edi­tion phone by Brian Eno and Ryuichi Sakamoto. (spot­ted on Nerve Net)

Brian Eno pro­filed on Apple.com on the event of the release of the DVD-ROM 77 Mil­lion Paint­ings. Oddly, the “team used Macs almost exclu­sively,” but the vaunted “gen­er­a­tive” aspect of the piece does not work on a Mac. (spot­ted on Nerve Net)

The Dork Report for November 5, 2006

The Tele­graph inter­views Peter Gabriel on free­dom from choice, Lithuan­ian rap music, and pass­ing on the Gen­e­sis reunion.

Paul Cor­nell goes booz­ing with his fel­low Doc­tor Who writ­ers on his blog, the House of Awk­ward­ness.

The Guardian inter­views The Restora­tion Team, miracle-workers regen­er­at­ing vin­tage Doc­tor Who footage for DVD. (spot­ted on Kaster­borous)

Brick­wiki, includ­ing nar­ra­tives like “<a href=“http://brickiwiki.wetpaint.com/page/10_katmax” onclick=“javascript:_gaq.push([’_trackEvent’,‘outbound-article’,‘http://brickiwiki.wetpaint.com’]);“s+OCT-06″>The Grue­some Tale of Dr Schlieffer” and mas­sive projects like the LEGO air­craft car­rier.