May 2014 be less weird than 2013, or more weird but in a good way. Either’s fine.
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Over the years, I’ve created PowerPoints for many deeply unsavory reasons – to push pharmacological products using sketchy ‘data’ published by the parent company, as part of half-assed attempts on educators’ parts to get hip with technology and liven up rote classroom presentation (one of the few chunks of high school, along with forced learning to type without looking at our hands, that actually had real-world applications), to reinforce big business mentalities I did not believe in. Each of which falls under the standard use of PowerPoint, a program designed with the twofold goal of ‘snappy corporate presentations’ and ‘useability by the computer illiterate’.
In spite of, or rather because of the inherent weirdness at this intersection of Business and Flair, the program’s potential for pure art has been explored by several artists, most notably David Byrne’s E.E.E.I tour. I was going to say ‘accidental’ or ‘ironic’ art, but all that’s ever needed to turn something practical into art is to remove the practicality.
Which brings me to my recent, happier experiences with PowerPoint – created for a friend’s yearly salon of presentations on whatever we wanted, far from the boundaries of desks or logic, these slides were fun to create. No templates! The pure joy of random transitions! Finally using all the sound effects your supervisor expressly forbad! Unfortunately after the small gathering was over, the presentations languished on my computer. No more! I finally figured out how to time slides and export to a movie file, so that you, The Reader, may benefit from my research.
Admittedly quite a bit is lost in translation – no transitions, only one audio track and no sound effects, no me rambling on about a particular subject while accidentally skipping three slides ahead – but I’ve tried to make up for it with a dip into my recently acquired well of 50s instrumental tracks. Enjoy!
Today I’m focusing on Ephemeral safety films featuring that all-knowing, all-judging voice of reason, The Narrator. This Paternalistic Condescender is the bridge between You, The Viewer and You, the Doofus on Screen. Unlike the overtly idiotic and risky Goofuses from the ‘Goofus and Gallant’-style videos, people in Paternalistic Condescender videos are relatable, identifiable, and make terrible choices. You, The Viewer are in the unique position of sharing the Narrator’s godlike omniscience and wisdom, while still capable of all the foibles of your onscreen counterparts. The idea is to see yourself in the mistakes onscreen, and listen to the literal Voice of Reason (almost always male) to avoid them yourself.
Before we start, remember how I mentioned the one time that guy caught everything on fire in ‘Hospital Safety’?
The narrator remains calm and impassive even as the ward burns to the ground.
I’ve written a lot about ‘Live and Learn’ (and made several GIFs of children falling off cliffs), so I’ll let these additional images speak for themselves.
What I didn’t know until recently is ‘Live and Learn’ had a sequel filmed 2 years later in color called ‘Why Take Chances?’ It features the same Narrator remarking calmly on childrens’ foolish impulses and casually noting their grim injuries. ‘Why Take Chances’ goes a step further and features intertitled cartoon versions of the kids’ injuries. Somehow that seems like it would impress kids with the idea they’d only get ‘cartoon’ killed if they dropped a piano on a pal’s head.
‘Time Out For Trouble’ is BANANAS. It features a rare female narrator, but since the entire premise of the film is how accidents are caused by EMOTIONS (instead of, you know, boiling water falling on you), of course they have a female narrator. When the narrator isn’t tsk-tsking couples in broken relationships for their psychological pain, the voiceover is provided by (I am not making this up) a psychotic clock bent on killing the leading lady through emotions for calling the clock an eyesore.
(Just one of the many ways the clock uses household items and rage to kill)
1990′s ‘Range Safety’ is the ‘Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does’ of gun safety. The narrator has all the outrage and breathless pace of a Hard Copy story intro at the many, many ways people incorrectly use guns.
It’s been a busy September, preparing for the best and spookiest month of all: OCTOBER. Yes, cool weather, warm beverages, cider donuts, haunted everything, costume planning, and horror films as far as the eye can see – October has it all*.
I’ve been doing my small part for Spectacle Theater’s run of amazing midnight movies – check out the trailer for SATAN’S BLOOD (aka ESCALOFRIO, which literally translated means ‘feverish chill’ or just ‘chill’ – I can see why the English title might want to push the Satanic angle a bit more).
Now, a warning for the prudish (aka, me): this movie has SO MUCH SATANIC NUDITY. So. Much. I cannot emphasize how much nudity in direct correlation to Satanic activities this movie contains. At least 1/2 of its full running time has people completely naked, with 1/3 of that directly tied to Satanic activities. I understand this movie comes from Europe, where perhaps the culture’s a little more relaxed about struttin’ around nude. I mean, part of what makes America the country it is is its strong foundation of Puritan frowniness on the physical (and the corresponding mixed messages layered on top of that). But still, if you are not prepared for it, the amount of full-frontal in Satan’s Blood comes as a shock. It’s a midnight movie, so I’m assuming their jaded audiences won’t even blink twice, but as the person who had to watch, re-watch, trim and edit this, it was a bit much.
*You may have caught my exclusion of ‘pumpkin-flavored ____’, another October ubiquity. However much I love pumpkin flavored stuff, the same gaggle of ladies that irritate me the rest of the year would stab a man for the last Pumpkin Spice Latte, so I’m leaving it off the list of pure October delights.