UPDATE (2/17/10): Xeni wanted to add to two more videos to her picks: "Goat Rap" and "Wilkinson's Family Restaurant," both by Liam Lynch. She writes: " Liam Lynch is the one-man-band video genius behind the surreal and long-form 'Lynchland' video podcast at lynchland.net. He is a musician, puppeteer, writer, music video director, and frequently collaborates with Tenacious D. He co-created the Sifl and Olly Show (MTV), and directed Sarah Silverman's film Jesus is Magic. These two clips, uploaded by fans with his permission, give you a taste of the wacko world of 'Lynchland.' " The playlist is updated here.
We're pleased to have Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing curate our homepage today. She goes deep into the Boing Boing archives to give you her personal take on the interesting, funny and sometimes out-there videos that thrive on Boing Boing and YouTube. Below is a video she made just for the occasion, as well as some insightful notes about her selections. To view the full playlist, click here.
"Boing Boing started 20 years ago as a photocopied paper 'zine for "happy mutants," who explore the world with curiosity and wonder. In 2000, Boing Boing morphed into a website, then a blog, and just a few years ago we started producing original video. We've released hundreds of episodes about everything from floating in zero gravity to deep-frying cellphones, featuring personalities from Buzz Aldrin to John Hodgman to David Byrne. Just as Boing Boing's leap from paper to web opened up new possibilities, so did the shift from text-based blogging to video. Some stories and sensations you just can't share in any other medium than video. I cruise YouTube every day for inspiration, light bursts of entertainment, or to follow up on "Oh my God, you have to see this" messages from friends. Here are a few of my favorite-d things.
1) Mardi Gras 1956: Through My Father's Lens (2010)
This episode of Boing Boing Video is a special one, featuring rare and historic film from Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1956. Artist Mar Dore stumbled on a box of slides in her family's home in Texas and inside, discovered photographs that her father took of the parades in the era of Mad Men -- that box, like a time capsule she says, opened a door into history. We worked with her to retell that story in video.
2) Peter Serafinowicz: The Boing Boing interview (2010)
My interview with actor and comedian Peter Serafinowicz. He's starring as Paul McCartney in the Robert Zemeckis remake of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, his Mac parody ads are the stuff of viral legend, his #PSQA tweets delight mutants throughout the globe, and fans of his BBC show find much to LOL in the likes of Brian Butterfield and the robot talk show host Michael-6.
3) Swell Season (2009)
This Swell Season feature is one of the most visually beautiful episodes we've ever produced of Boing Boing Video. Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová speak with us, and perform an unreleased song for us during their current U.S. tour.
4) Flaming Bacon Lance of Death (2008)
This Boing Boing Video episode documents an experiment from PopSci columnist Theo Gray's book MAD SCIENCE. Using prosciutto and an air hose, Mr. Gray constructs a high performance thermic lance that can slice sheet metal. In this video, you'll also see a purely vegan thermic lance built from one cucumber and several dozen thin vegetable-oil coated breadsticks. If you like this, you may also enjoy "Sculpting in Solid Mercury, with Liquid Nitrogen."
5) Spamasterpiece Theater, with John Hodgman (2007-2009)
Back in 2008, we did a series of episodes in which John Hodgman did dramatic readings of actual spam emails received by Boing Boing editors. This one's my favorite. These were so much fun to put together. Related: this sneak-attack on Hodgman in his hotel, while he was writing "Areas of My Expertise." And these fake ads for his book which were also a total blast to film with him "Part 1" and "Part 2."
6) DAVID BYRNE, playing the building (2008)
Music legend David Byrne transformed an entire NYC building into a giant musical instrument. We explored that building with him in this Boing Boing TV episode, and discovered some crazy gems of urban archeology together.
7) Elephant-blogging in Benin with Xeni (2008)
It's not every day that we get to travel to remote stretches of African wilderness to tweet about baboons and videoblog elephants. But this episode documents one such day: it's an ambient exploration of the creatures rustling around in a West African wildlife preserve at dawn.
8) Through the eyes of the pueblo (Guatemala) (2008)
This episode in our BBtv WORLD series was comprised of video shot by K'iche people in a Maya village in the highlands of Guatemala. The world they see around them, through their own eyes and in their own language. Some of what the children shot really surprised me. They caught on right away, faster even than the adults, and quickly taught each other how to record and play back video. Some of them seemed to transform into instant YouTube stars -- new alter-egos showed up out of nowhere. One boy we'd come to know as quiet and well-mannered over the course of many previous visits here shot himself throwing gang signs against the sunlight, like shadow puppets, while he walked a path that leads to a Mayan altar. Another girl who was very shy with us in person recorded video of herself making outrageous silly faces, and speaking in a boisterous, confident voice to her new handheld lens. Two related episodes you might enjoy, also shot in the pueblo in Guatemala: "How to Take a Mayan Sweat Bath" and an episode about a corn grinder the children use.
9) American Furry Part 1 & Part 2 (2008)
This was one of our first Boing Boing TV episodes, and it's still one of my favorites. So: Furries get no respect. Usually, when you hear about people who dress up like life-sized stuffed animals, it's in the context of an unfriendly internet joke. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Marianne Shaneen spent more than two years following these people around, capturing their lives in and out of their "fursonas." She's working on a documentary film called "AMERICAN FURRY: Life, Liberty and the Fursuit of Happiness," and shared some of their stories with us here.
10) Floating in Zero Gravity is Fun, Earthlings! (2008)
This was one the most fun I've ever had shooting a Boing Boing Video episode. With me on this Zero-G weightless flight are Intel Chairman Craig Barrett; my friend Sean Bonner from metblogs; and a bunch of science teachers from grade schools and high schools throughout the United States who were on board to conduct microgravity experiments for the kids back home. As you watch, keep an eye out for the floating lego robot, a flying pig, and the barfing guy who is totally barfing for real. What you see in this episode is what it feels like, guys, and it feels awesome.
11) Challenge Accepted, Boing Boing! "For Tax Reasons" (2007)
Animators Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, aka For Tax Reasons, produced this animated short for Boing Boing with all the elements that make Boing Boing great: Steampunk, LARP armor, papercraft, Commodore 64s, MMORPGs, Final Fantasy, suicide cults, and meditations on bad websites.
12, 13) Man's Game & SHOES
Liam Kyle Sullivan is a video genius. I have so many favorites, and I subscribe to his video podcast. This is one of his more recent uploads, about the manly manly game of football. Also, a classic: Ohmigod, shoes. Betch.
14) British comic genius Harry Enfield
I think this is my favorite clip of all time: Women, Know Your Limits.
15) Eric Wareheim's channel
Tim Heidecker is best known to many as half of the duo behind "Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job," but he's an amazing music video director. Some of his recent work is here, on his YouTube channel -- the Major Lazer stuff is insane.
16) We love cute baby videos on Boing Boing
I think this is one of the cutest we've seen yet, in which an award-winning British actor attempts to teach Shakespeare to a toddler.