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.
I’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’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:
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):
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?)
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.
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.
“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 Weeklytasks 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)
Superheroes’ political affiliations. Green Arrow a "Total Fucking Communist"? Wonder Woman’s "Sapphic Socialism"? Batman a paranoid independent? Somebody’s made a close reading of The Dark Knight Returns. Works for me! (guest submission from Andrea)