Ryeberg Playlist: Exploding Convention

1) Iceland Goes Flash and Boom

Eyjafjallajöekull burst through the ice to belch rock and ash 55,000 feet into the air. Prevailing winds carried the ash southwards. That meant beautiful sunsets all over Europe!

John Irvine, ITN News (April, 2010)

2) And the Skies Go Quiet

The volcano also meant commercial planes grounded in Europe for six days, stranded passengers by the millions, and airlines 1.2 billion dollars in the hole. If those numbers seem high, behold typical air traffic over a 24 hour period.

Worldwide Commercial Air Traffic Over a 24 Hour Period

3) Something For Your Eyes to Look At

Eyjafjallajöekull was big news the world over; it offered up such spectacular images. But all those TV reporters unable to lease a helicopter in Reykjavík had to content themselves with rather more conventional stories about distressed airline companies and inconvenienced travelers. You can be sure they ran something like this.

Charlie Brooker, “How to Report the News” (“Newswipe,” 2010)

4) The Sun Behaving Badly

How puny our volcanic eruptions compared to an everyday solar flare, which spews about ten billion tons of matter into space at a speed of 250 miles per second. All that stuff—electrons, protons, helium, oxygen, iron—can cause our communication satellites to go dead and even trip circuit breakers down here on Earth.

NASA has posted the first images from its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), an unmanned spacecraft launched this last February to study the behavior of the sun.

Before watching this video, you’ll want to start the Pink Floyd clip below for suitable musical accompaniment. Really. Crank it up.

NASA, First Images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (April 21, 2010)

5) No-One Flies Around the Sun

Adrian Maben, “Echoes, Part 1 and 2” (“Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii,” 1972)

Angry Vesuvius, circa A.D. 79, encased Herculaneum and Pompeii in lava and ash. Mid-18th century, we began digging it all up. In 1972, Pink Floyd set up in the ancient amphitheatre and played six songs for the cameras. David Gilmour took his shirt off and sang: “The echo of a distant tide. Comes willowing across the sand. And everything is green and submarine.”

6) A Few Other Things On My Mind

We all know that President Obama can shoot hoops. During this game of H-O-R-S-E (in this case, P-O-T-U-S) with former NBA star, Clark Kellogg, he shows he can talk smack pretty effectively as well.

Clark Kellogg vs. President Obama, CBS Sports (April, 2010)

Just when it looks like he’s down and out, he sinks a couple perfect shots and gets the victory. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

7) Following the Script

Man, Obama is smooth. His scripted could not be more off-the-cuff, his off-the-cuff could not be more scripted. No wonder comedians have a hard time making fun of him.

An infinitely easier object of derisive pastiche is the Hollywood movie trailer, as hilariously demonstrated by Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher of “BriTANicK.”

BriTANicK, “Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer” (March, 2010)

Brian and Nick met at the Atlanta Workshop Players Performing Arts Camp and now live in New York City. They join other largely web-based sketch comic duos, like Adam and Dave, Tim and Eric, Clark and Michael, “The Bitter End,” “Flight of the Conchords,” Peter and Pat of “Good Morning World,” etcetera.

8) Better Than a Prime-Time Movie

Live news programming, for all its rigid conventions, allows room for the unexpected. Otherwise robotic news anchors, for example, can somtimes lose their composure, their balance, their breakfast, their scripts, their senses, or even their makeup.

Randene Neill, Global News British Columbia (2009) — thx Michael O

9) Just ‘Cause I’m Shallow Doesn’t Mean that I’m Heartless

Yes, every blooper, mishap, mistake, fail, and embarrassment will find its way into millions of homes. All of us will get our fifteen minutes of public misuse. Not only drunk girls. Rockstars too.

LCD Soundsystem, “Drunk Girls” from “This is Happening” (2010) — thx Carl W

10) Dancing Among Corpses

Not sure if the following video amounts to public disgrace or public honor. These American soldiers decided to fill a few of the lonely hours in Afghanistan by doing their own version of Lady Gaga‘s “Telephonevideo—yeah, the one where she checks into a women’s prison, is force-stripped by transsexual prison guards, makes out with a buff co-prisoner and dances among the corpses of her dozen murder victims.

Perhaps it’s the refrain soldiers relate to most: “What did you say? Huh? You’re breaking up on me. Sorry, I cannot hear you. I’m kinda busy. Stop callin’, stop callin’, I don’t wanna think anymore! I left my hand and my heart on the dance floor.”

The fellow who posted the video—Malibu Milkshake Melcher—writes: “Right now this is the temporary version, we have more scenes to cut, and edit, however with guys always on mission it is harder to film than you think.” No doubt.

malibumelcher, “Telephone: The Afghanistan Remake” (April, 2010)


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