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
May 5, 2016

The nice thing about writing for Network Awesome, which is a volunteer gig by the way, is that there’s literally no direction or instruction, meaning more or less complete freedom on my part. That means that when I start researching some deranged piece of video that’s recently landed in my inbox, and I’ve requested that they only send me their most far-out, left-field stuff , I can follow the tangent that interests me most, though how you’ll feel about it I never can tell. Today’s subject, Three Plays by Gertrude Stein, is a good example. Certainly the life of the pioneering writer and intellectual is fascinating enough, and these three productions of her abstract stage works by Dutch graphic designer Jaap Drupsteen, which feel something like watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse on bad acid (when the dancing dog woman stars licking the prism people it’s really…something), definitely invite the kind of misguided deciphering that could easily fill this space in a reasonably entertaining and informative manner, but I wanted to know more about something else. If this was, as it appears to be, a “television special”, who exactly was putting this kind of crazy shit on the air? As it turns out, it was PBS, and they were doing it once a week for over a decade...

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 Cory Vielma
May 3, 2016
The legendary German live-music TV show Beat Club ended its run on December 9, 1972. Newly christened as Musikladen, the show picked up exactly where it left off with its first episode running a mere four days later. All told, Musikladen would end up running 12 years, with its 90th (and final) episode appearing November 29, 1984. In its 12 years, an incredible number of performers would grace its stage, from the top acts of the day to bands whose only point of reference today is their appearance on the show. Together, Musikladen and Beat Club had a huge impact on how music is presented on television, not just in Germany but in the rest of the world. If you are old enough to remember the early days of MTV, think about how often they played clips labeled “Closet Classics”— a hefty chunk of those videos were actually just clips from Musikladen or Beat Club. This is also interesting because I would posit that MTV and the rise of the music video were at least partially responsible for the demise of Musikladen, but more on that later.

Early in Musikladen’s history it seemed that while the show was trying to keep going with what it had built as Beat Club, they had also made small changes to set it apart. Anyone familiar with (the later years of) Beat Club knows that they embraced emerging video effect technologies whole-heartedly and were by no means shy...

Cory Vielma is an American musician, photographer and occasional guy who strings words together, based in Berlin. Under the name The Sadnesses, he has released several records and has had the pleasure of writing for such great publications as SF WeeklyGreencine.com and Si Señor Journalism Compendium. His love of music and film runs so deep that it has permanently altered his DNA and given him the ability to smell time and taste rhumbas. Additionally, he is very fond of a good veggie burger with fries and a side of mustard.

by Anthony Galli
April 23, 2016

Memory Vague is the sound of the future lamenting its past.

Possibilities thwarted, opportunities squandered, potential wasted, connections missed.

Or…Memory Vague is the sound of the past mourning its future. A last look at all those things that never are meant to be.

Memory Vague bypasses the present altogether, constructing its identity with ghosts and fragments from glimpses of another age. It hints that it may launch into an unexpected celebration at any time, but reconsiders its position and, instead, mulls over its former glories and failures...

Anthony Galli currently lives in Athens, Georgia. He shares a birthday with his black cat, Magic, and they both claim Wings of Desire as their favorite film. Anthony has published two books of poetry, Amnesia for Insomniacs and Invisible Idiot.

by Chris Martin
April 18, 2016

Graphic design as an art form rests on a very precarious ledge between form and function. To lean too far to either side of this theoretic fulcrum defeats its purpose. This balancing act makes the immense and accomplished work of Tadanori Yokoo that much more impressive, as he is able to have immense success in design as a satisfactory product to his client but also genuinely express himself and push the boundaries of visual expression...

Christopher Martin recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in English and a specialization in Film Studies. Shockingly, he is currently underemployed. In his free time Chris likes to read old science fiction novels, enjoy what little nightlife Western Massachusetts has to offer, and watch as many films as possible. He also spends too much time on Tumblr.

by Cory Gross
April 18, 2016

The name of Kenzo Masaoka is practically synonymous with the early development of Japanese animation. Born in Osaka in 1898, the same year that Japan's first movies were produced, he rose to ascendancy in the 1930's. Amongst his accomplishments are the introduction of cell animation to Japan and the release of the first Japanese animated talkie,Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka in 1933.

Now sadly a lost film, “Within the World of Power and Women” broke with tradition in certain critical ways. First of all it utilized sound, dispensing with the role of the benshi (live film narrator of the silent era) in direct follow-up to the first Japanese talkie film Madame and the Courtesan in 1931. Well-known actors and actresses were hired to voice the parts, including Ranko Sawa of the Takarazuka Kagekidan...

For Cory Gross, the past is a lifestyle choice. Native to the ranchlands of Western Canada, he works as a museums and heritage professional in Calgary, Alberta, teaching science, nature, history and art. He also volunteers with a number of science and history organizations in the city, holds a graduate degree in theology, and enjoys travelling at home and abroad. His love of Victorian science fiction and antiquated adventure stories is on display at his blog Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age