I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx


by Thomas Michalski
Jan. 17, 2017
During the war years, Walter Ruttmann made propaganda films for the Nazis. The only reason I jump into this essay with that troubling fact is that most summaries of the German experimental filmmaker’s storied life try to slip it in at the end, as if they’re saying it under their breath. His work for the Third Reich raises a lot of questions, both biographical and philosophical, among them why Ruttmann didn’t flee the country like so many of his peers, how much culpability filmmakers and artists who glorified Hitler share in his crimes, and can a work of art be formally, aesthetically appealing even if it’s content is abhorrent. Due the limits of space and to preserve my own peace of mind, we’re not going to go too deep into those hefty topics (and besides there’s plenty of ink spilled over them already in regards to Leni Riefenstahl, whose Triumph of the Will Ruttmann co-edited). Instead, it seems a better use of our time to look further back, before Hitler’s sweeping rise to power, when Ruttmann was making a very important (and very un-fascist) series of films...
Thomas Michalski is a writer and radio host from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can keep up with his comings and goings over at http://www.voodooinspector.com/

by Brian Correia
Jan. 14, 2017
There are artists who are meticulous. They prefer to perfect and manicure their art before showing it at what they consider the exact right moment. They erase the sketch marks, increase the fidelity, prune and primp until they have what they consider a well-polished, finished product. These artists showcase their work deliberately. They stick to what they know. Their experiments, if they experiment at all, are carefully considered. Artists like this may go years without releasing anything, and when they finally do, it is an event. Jeff Keen may have been one of these artists...
Brian Correia is a budding computer scientist and aspiring writer from Boston, Massachusetts who couldn't decide which hip-hop lyric to put in his byline. The top three, in no particular order, were as follows: “cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce,” “spiced out Calvin Coolidge loungin' with six duelers,” and “I got techniques drippin' out my buttcheeks.” He is on Twitter (@brianmcorreia) and Tumblr (brianmcorreia.tumblr.com) like the rest of the kids.

by Nathaniel Hoyt
Jan. 11, 2017

Back when I was a recent transplant from the deep suburbs to Boston, I worked at a Trader Joe's. While working there I wore a stupid shirt, tried not to cut yuppies with the box-cutters, and generally despised everything about the place. However, I did become friends with some charming weirdos who, like me, got a job there thinking it'd be a bunch of misfit freaks like ourselves. We were partly right: there were a lot of freaks, but behind all the team cheer and tacky Hawaiian shirts stood a rigid corporate infrastructure (of course), managed by ex-military drill sergeants, and overlorded by a remote dynasty of German billionaires, whatever hope we harbored that this was different from any other for-profit business was steadily abandoned. Not that there was any great hope to begin with, merely a passing wish that maybe there existed a part-time job requiring no experience that wasn't indentured slavery to a run-of-the-mill evil corporation.

The disillusionment brought us together. I befriended a tall, Nordic-looking neurotic named Mike. One day Mike picked me up after our shifts were over, saying we were going to see this crazy band called Psychic TV. I'd never heard of them, and from Mike's description I was having a hard time understanding what it was I was going to see. That's the first time I'd heard the name Genesis P-Orridge – a name I still find hilarious, and place in the hallowed pantheon of great adopted punk names like Jello Biafra and Lux Interior. My interest was downright piqued...

Nathaniel Hoyt is an inconceivably complex system of sentient organic materials dedicated to eating poorly and playing video games frequently. He has a Tumblr account that he doesn't quite know how to use, which you can view at dedolence.tumblr.com, although admittedly there's probably better ways to waste company time. As a do-er of many things, feel free to seek Nathaniel out if you have any things that need doing, like bicycle fixing, coffee making, artwork drawing, or opinion giving. END COMMUNICATION.

by Kollin Holtz
Jan. 10, 2017
Vegan Black Metal Chef is pretty incredible. It comes on the heels of the hit show Metalocalypse, but aside from being metal, they have very little in common. I think my favorite parts are the ones like in episode one where he accidentally adds too much of one ingredient proclaiming, “I hate it when that happens.” It combines two things, veganism and black metal simply because they are the passions of web series creator and star Brian Manowitz. Though veganism and black metal are not typically associated with one another, Manowitz describes his inspiration originating from a need to share the message that being vegan, and eating good tasting food do not need to be mutually exclusive. His videos depict him chopping ingredients on the counter, or “altar” as he likes to call it, with his array of outlandish, unconventional metal knives that would look out of place in a regular kitchen, but seem to be right at home in his homemade Black Metal kitchen. It should be noted that he does not exhibit the forced, or shriek-ish nature many of your vegan friends may have exhibited towards you or others, but preaches that being vegan is something you need to come to on your own...
Kollin Holtz is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker living in a closet under the stairs in San Francisco, CA. Check out his website,www.kollinholtz.com for updates on his shows, and his podcast “Closet Talk With Kollin Holtz.” You may also follow him on twitter @KollinHoltz if ya fancy.

by David Selden
Jan. 5, 2017

The German artist Paul Klee famously described the act of drawing as “taking a line for a walk.” For Peter Foldes, who had studied painting at the Slade School Of Art and the Courtald Institute, this definition seems particularly apt. In his wordless 11-minute animation Hunger, the line vibrates and wiggles, looping back on itself in a constant state of mutation. It transforms itself from person to object and back again as it describes the process by which its protagonist ultimately becomes the victim of his own gluttony.

Peter Foldes was born in 1924 and was one of a number of Hungarian émigrés drawn to animation. Following his relocation to Britain in 1946, Foldes became closely associated with the Halas and Batchelor Animation Studios. Founded in 1940, the studio was known as the British Disney, producing hundreds of animations ranging from commercials and public information films to full-length animated features, notably Animal Farm (1954), and later pop promos (including the animated film for Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, as previously featured here on Network Awesome).

Peter Foldes earlier works, including Animated Genesis (1952), On Closer Inspection (1953) and A Short Vision (1956) were produced with the encouragement of John Halas and in collaboration with Foldes’ wife, Joan. His work achieved considerably notoriety after A Short Vision was screened on the Ed Sullivan Show. The film, which had been assembled in the Foldes’ kitchen, graphically depicts the annihilation of the world. A blunt Cold War allegory, the experience of watching it apparently left much of Sullivan’s audience...

After a long international career exhibiting video installation and photography, David Selden renounced the art world in favor of the far less superficial drag scene and became intimately involved with a number of notorious London fetish clubs. ‘Retiring’ to Berlin in 2007 having run out of pseudonyms, he has written about music for Dorfdisco and about art for Whitehot Magazine as well as contributing numerous catalogue essays and translations for a variety of publications and websites. His misadventures in the world of anti-music can be endured at affeprotokoll.tumblr.com