You have the time, late at night, when you've brushed your teeth and there's nothing on basic cable but old episodes of Futurama, which are pretty good by the way but still don't quite capture your attention enough to prevent you from monkeying around with the special features on the I Am T-Pain iPhone application, during which time you discover the World button, which is sort of like T-Pain roulette, playing songs that are being recorded at that moment by various ding dongs around the world. You see the globe spinning, and on the surface of that globe shines a light into the sky. This is the geographic location of the amateur auto-tuned sonic magic you are hearing. Adding to the 2.0-ness of it all, you can thumbs up the song, and comment as you listen. You can also see other peoples thumbs ups, which are also geographically oriented, telling you a lot of people in the plains states really dig Chunky Strap III, while their comments -- hahahah; dope shit yo; wack; sexy shawty! -- float above the glove at random. If you have it, try it. Even the bad songs are good. For a little while. You can fwd the unlistenable tunes. But it only took four fwds for me to get straight to this gem right here.
Built by Cornerstone Church in Fresno, the Holocaust Experience
will guide visitors through scenes of 12 major events that took place
between 1933 and 1945. The scenes span from the rise of Adolf Hitler to
Kristallnacht, or "the Night of Broken Glass," when nearly 1,000
synagogues were set on fire across Germany, to Hitler's decision to
execute genocide as "the final solution to the Jewish question."
...Using nearly 100 actors from the church, which is housed in a
historic Fresno theater, the Holocaust Experience begins at an
induction center, complete with Nazi soldiers stationed at guard towers.
Visitors then view a documentary showing how Hitler rose to power
and move through a series of scenes, including a depiction of the
Warsaw Ghetto that features actual video footage and a reconstructed
prison train car featuring the recorded account of a Jewish rabbi who
at age 8 rode one of the trains to Auschwitz.
The exhibit also includes scenes depicting the gas chambers and
ovens where mass murders and cremations took place, as well as
a timeline of the Holocaust that adorns a long hallway. The exhibit
ends in an auditorium displaying a memorial and a video with survivors'
The Zombie Zeitgeist A full scale movement is on the lurch. But why the best zombie movie ever made a video game?
Believer interview with Mark Allen Digital artist and awesome gallerist Mark Allen talks about Tekken Torture Tournament and other projects where people were wired to machines and did strange things in public.
Believer interview with Marjane Satrapi Enlightening Q & A with the Persian cartoonist, memoirist, quick conversationalist in which she declares: “THE WORLD IS NOT ABOUT BATMAN AND ROBIN FIGHTING THE JOKER; THINGS ARE MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.”
Yeti Researcher Yet another 100-page issue of the world's top academic journal devoted scholarship about the Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasqatch, and other mystery primates worldwide. For researchers and lay audiences alike, the latest YR features a history of Sasquatch sightings in southern California, an update on the wily orang pendek of Sumatra, and a new look into Teddy Roosevelt's obsession with bagging a Bigfoot. As Editor-in-Chief, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Panda PowerPoint! I guess I don't mind being "the entertainment" when it's at Mark Allen's second annual Holiday Fry-B-Que. Presented: preliminary findings from my ongoing research into the most charismatic megafauna of all: Giant Pandas.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Dec 9, 2006 For those who missed it, there will be more. World, Explained is going strong! Money was raised, laughs were had, and for those paying attention, small amounts of useful information about things like the aurora borealis were transmitted. Plus: Michael Cera = lovably funny. And Nick Diamonds' renditions of Dumb Dog and Hanging Tough are still in my head. As is that horribly catchy Fresh Step jam.
Jest Fest at Skylight Books Somehow I wound up hosting the 10th anniversary jubilee for Infinite Jest at Skylight Books. Because who doesn't love a jubilee, right? Despite being delirious with Hepatitis A (that's the mild, non-lethal kind; I'm not at risk for Hep B since I always go the needle share and choose clean-looking prostitutes), I managed to not mis-pronounce anyone's name and make an erudite joke and poke gentle fun at Michael Silverblatt.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | June 10, 2006 Number Three! Last one was sold out so we moved to a slightly larger theater. Andy Richter hosted, and his opening exegesis of CSI: Miami warmed the people up right. Evany Thomas presented her very scientific findings on the Secret Language of Sleep; Starlee Kine bared her neuroses to the world (or at least the 300 people in the audience); Josh Davis showed video of his 135-lb self sumo wrestling a 550-lb opera singer from San Bernardino; and Davy Rothbart closed it out with some Found Magazine magic. Grant Lee Phillips, Sam Shelton and Zooey Deschanel provided the music punctuation! I can still hear their rendition of We Are the Champions.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Feb 11, 2006 The second in our series of precision comedy and fact-based entertainment extravaganzas benefiting 826LA. Patton Oswalt was kind enough to host, and Jon Brion joined in on the piano and guitar as thematic accompaniment. Presenters included: David Rees, Michael Colton, John Hodgman (along with his hirsuit troubadour, Jonathan Coulton), and me. Plus: a fashion show of exciting multi-user garmentry.
Little Gray Book Lecture at Galapagos How to Observe President's Day. Jonathan Coulton's technical wizardry has made this entire show available online. The summary from PRX: Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. My contribution? Yes, from Yeti Researcher. Again. Actually that was the first one. So I have only five stories!
July 25: TJ to LA -- A Night McSweeney's Readings I was honored to be part of a strange triptych along with Salvador Plascencia and Josh Kun. Sponsored, somehow, by La Ciudad magazine, we all packed into Beyond Baroque with no air conditions. 150 people showed at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening, which we took as a good sign of something. Sal held up and anxiously discussed drawings from his novel, Josh delivered an essay on the Dr. Moreau of Tijuana, and my shtick (again) was Pac Man and metaphysics, this time with fun slides.
October 8th: Skylight Books w/Stephen Elliott Fun times were had by all. Someone in the audience actually mistook me for an expert on the psychology human character. We ate shrimp cocktail and drank cheap wine and laughed at Bush and celebrated the certainty of right besting wrong in American democracy. A lot of good that did.