Cultrface – a blog dedicated to culture and how it enriches our lives.

Jean-Michel Basquiat – "Milk and Asbestos"

Jean-Michel Basquiat – "Milk and Asbestos"

While on my internet travels, I stumbled upon a Basquiat artwork I’d never seen before.

Milk and Asbestos was painted between 1980-1984 in acrylic and gouache on a smaller surface than usual for Basquiat; a board at 16x12x2 inches. The piece depicts a skull as the focal point with words such as “JAIL JAIL”, “SOAP SOAP”, and the title “MILK + ASBESTOS” painted in the space.

It’s currently held by Mandarin Fine Art Gallery, having been in various private collections since its completion.

For more on Jean-Michel Basquiat, check out Sammy Willbourne’s top 5 Basquiat paintings.

Burger King rebrand is simple, nostalgic, and effective

You may have heard about Burger King’s recent rebrand, their first in over 20 years. Older customers may also think the “new” logo looks the same as the logo used between 1994–1999.

It’s fundamentally similar but there are noticeable differences and I’m sure a designer could explain why they’re significant. But a rebrand is more than a different logo.

But my favourite part? This ingenious monogram.

It’s a B and a K and it looks like a condensed version of the fuller logo, in the style of a burger.

The Flame brand font family was designed by Colophon Foundry in bold, regular and sans, reminiscent of Cooper Black and Raphael Abreu, global head of design for Burger King’s parent company, told It’s Nice That he “wanted a font that make people want to take a bite out of it.”

“We are also very playful and bold in how we use the new font. There is a variable version where we stretch and compress it and create expressive and impactful illustrations with it.”

Unfortunately, I swore off ever eating from Burger King 20 years ago this year after a bad experience and, well, I’m not going to change that. But I still love The Slider.

Doom Haikus, sponsored by 2020

edvard munch's scream

Doom Haikus is a collection of “gloomy haikus” and its origin story is simple:

Everyday* in 2020, we posted the top news stories to Mechanical Turk, asking turkers to respond with a 5, 7, 5 syllable haiku. These are the results.

*almost

And those results are “about 2,000 people” who responded with over 2,700 haikus, “forever memorializing the worst year of our lives, as anxious sets of 5, 7, 5 syllables.”

Here’s one from January I thought was funny:

AOC Makes Claim
Joe Biden is too Centrist
She is Progressive

There’s been a lot of discourse around doomscrolling and the physical and mental drain on us but these doom haikus seem almost… cathartic? They don’t solve the issues we have faced, are facing, or will face but they try to make sense of things, even for 17 syllables.

Nancy Grace reading Shakespeare (by Ryan Ken)

It’s been a long year and we’re only into the second week. Things are heavy for so many of us and sometimes you need a bit of light relief to keep you going.

Of the main people I follow on Instagram for that purpose, Ryan Ken is one of my favourites. His hilarious send-ups of white people in all kinds of situations are mental palate cleansers and this one is no exception.

Yesterday, Ryan donned his blonde wig to impersonate Nancy Grace reading Shakespeare. The impersonation is spot-on and Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet never sounded so American South and fed up.

Black comedy related: The TikTok meme with the dancing duck and Steve Harvey on getting fired.

A Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture timelapse video

A Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture timelapse video

We’ve featured Steven Richter in an article about his custom Jumanji board and here he is making a Venom/Eddie Brock sculpture.

Richter opted for the live-action Eddie Brock from 2018’s Venom rather than the Topher Grace rendition from Spider-Man 3 (and probably for the best). I particularly like this comment from the video:

Every sculpture starts off as a very rough Easter Island head.

But it doesn’t take long before Richter gets the face looking more realistic before he starts on the Venom half of his face. The symbiotic detailing is the real highlight of the sculpture. In fact, it was so good, he put it on his Etsy shop and it sold but you can request a custom sculpture if you want a Venom of your own.

For Venom-related objects that are in stock, check out these Venom socks.

Venom Sculpture Timelapse - Venom

Viggo Mortensen speaking 7 languages

Viggo Mortensen

tl;dr: Viggo Mortensen speaks English, Spanish, Danish, French, Italian, Catalan, and Arabic

We’ve featured a few polyglots on Cultrface, from the Black man speaking Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Arabic to supermarket shoppers to a couple of guys sharing 21 languages between them.

But this is arguably the most high-profile example of a polyglot we’ve featured so far and it’s none other than Oscar-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen.

In the video below, we see Mortensen speaking 7 languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Danish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Catalan
  • Arabic

It’s a joy to hear, especially with the natural accent and inflexions. This is likely nothing new to some but I was none-the-wiser (he’s also an author, musician, poet, photographer and painter).

Viggo Mortensen Speaking 7 Languages

The hidden history of Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton addressing the public

It’s hard not to have a visceral reaction to Judas and The Black Messiah. The new trailer dropped earlier this year and as Daniel Kaluuya turns around in the first second of it, donning a beret and being viewed only through a keyhole, we wait with a big, held breath.

“Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party”

The music drums through to intensify a legacy of a man many of us have never heard of. But his words blast the screen.

“I AM. A REVOLUTIONARY.”

He is pictured standing, invoking his audience’s emotion and reminding them that it is not him who is the key to their salvation, it’s each other. Black people, Latinx people and white people can be seen in the meeting hall where he is speaking. We know that the film will touch Fred Hampton’s time in the Black Panthers and the start of his Rainbow Coalition.

Many people may have come into contact with Fred Hampton for the first time. And if there’s anyone you should read about, it’s Fred Hampton. But if they weren’t going to teach us about Malcolm X in school, they sure as hell weren’t going to teach us about Fred Hampton.

So who was he?

Before we get into Fred Hampton, we have to understand the time he came up in, what he was walking into, and why he died so young. When the Chicago PD gunned him down, Fred instructed the FBI that in cold blood, as he lay sleeping next to his 8-month pregnant girlfriend, he was only 21 years old.

COINTELWHO?

Let’s talk about COINTELPRO.

COINTELPRO was a program by the FBI that targeted Black activists in the civil rights movement. Fred Hampton was many things but his death sparked the unmasking of a very concentrated, racially motivated eradication of Black revolutionaries that people, up until that point, could only chalk up to conspiracy theory. Black revolutionaries kept on being murdered and assassinated, and although everyone knew that it WAS the Feds, they couldn’t prove it until Fred came along.

The program was started in 1956 by J. Edgar Hoover. It aimed to infiltrate, discredit and surveilling and disrupting American political organizations. They targeted the Communist Party USA, anti-Vietnam war organizers, environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement, The Young Lords and they even lightly monitored the Ku Klux Klan, and when I say lightly? I mean LIGHTLY.

But… the organizations that they thought were the most threat to national security in America? Black Nationalist groups and civil rights movements. But they had a real concentrated pressure and violence on the Black Panthers. They were billed the NUMBER ONE threat to National Security.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the classified documents:

Prevent the rise of a “Messiah” who could unify and electrify the militant Black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a “messiah”; he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat due to his age. King could be a real contender for this position should he abandon his “obedience” to “white, liberal doctrines” (non-violence) and embrace Black Nationalism.

My Man Fred

Fred was the Black Messiah they were talking about. But we can’t talk about Fred unless we talk about his political ideology. Often we get wrapped up in singular speeches or moments. It happens with Martin’s “I have a dream” speech and Malcolm’s pilgrimage to Hajj. Fred gets wrapped up in the Black Panthers, naturally, but he was above all else, a revolutionary socialist.

He saw the most important factor in the fight for freedom. The real enemy was capitalism, fueled by white supremacy which permeated everyone’s struggles from poverty to xenophobia, islamophobia, sexism, anti-Blackness, anti-Semitism, transphobia and everything else. He knew that to be truly free, you had to mobilize everyone in the lower classes, to lead a revolution and that racism was a vehicle of distraction to keep us from tackling capitalism and the 1%. This was the key to making him one of the most feared Black revolutionaries of the time. That and the normal COINTELPRO tactics weren’t working.

Fred walked into the Black Panthers just before a power vacuum. Bob Brown stepped down because of all the tricks the FBI were doing. These included:

  • Anonymous letters which contained lies, blackmail and threats to violence (Martin Luther King had been blackmailed to try and make him kill himself.)
  • Illegal wiretaps.
  • Forged documents.
  • Informers

This is what Fred walked into. He’d been being watched since he was 18, anyway, but as he ascended to power through his charisma and socialist ideals, he became the FBI and Chicago PD’s biggest target. But there are things in his legacy that have changed the whole landscape of activism and socialism.

While Fred was Deputy Chairman, the Black Panthers started their Free Breakfast Program for children. Health Clinics and ambulance services were quickly started too. Although the Panther’s legacy is deeply rooted in the right to bear arms and create their own police force to protect Black and marginalized folx from the police, their programs strived to educate, feed and protect communities. When these nationwide programs gained success, they branched into services for blood banks and buses for relatives’ prisons. With all this going on, the Chicago chapter’s membership and credibility grew.

But Fred wasn’t stopping there. He thought turf wars between gangs were counter-productive towards real progress, so instead of leaving them to do their own thing, he tried to tackle it. He held meetings with rival gangs. They related to him because he was their age, and he could cut through to explain to them that the real enemies weren’t other gangs. It was the rich, running Chicago for their own means. This made a lot of sense to the gangs, especially the Young Lords. They said Fred helped them uplift their aims, and provide for their communities and they agreed that they didn’t want to lose their turf to developers. Fred helped “bring them out of right of the gang and start organizing the community” (José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, leader of the Young Lords.).

This was essentially the heart of Fred’s revolutionary thinking; a broad coalition of all the oppressed that could rise against the rich capitalists that were gutting communities and keeping people in poverty. He knew he couldn’t stay mobilizing just Black people and Black Nationalists—he had to unite everyone. He saw the importance of strength in numbers. So as he began to change people’s thinking, he started crafting a broad coalition.

He reached out to the Brown Berets, the Young Patriots, the Red Guard Party and the Blackstone Rangers. He called them Rainbow Coalition. This in itself, was the only way towards a revolution, and the powers that be knew it. It would have changed history, but it put a target on Fred’s back, that sealed the fate of a life taken too soon.

The FBI was shaken to its core. In 3 short years, Hampton had mobilized a strong group living in poverty, and their gang affiliations meant they were done for a revolution, no matter how bloody. They couldn’t have it. They knew they’d found their Black Messiah and they knew he had to be stopped before he even started. Hoover had targeted Garvey in the 20s, and through the 60s, it was Malcolm, Martin and Fred. With Fred’s leadership skills and his universal communication, the usual tactics were trash. So Hoover had to come up with another plan, that was vicious.

Hoover originally contacted the Chicago Police who said hell no at first. Next on the list, Edward Hanrahan was an upcoming and coming democrat, and Cook County’s State Attorney. They came to an agreement, which probably had something to do with Hanrahan’s ambitions to take over from his mentor, Richard Daley, as mayor. Hanrahan put in an informer, William O’Neale.

Okay, let’s talk about William O’Neale.

He was a petty criminal who was recruited by the FBI extremely early on. He had been tracked as early as 1966. FBI agent Roy Martin Mitchell caught him driving a stolen car over the state line to Michigan. He was told these charges would be forgotten if he agreed to be an informant. So he did. He infiltrated the Black Panthers, and eventually ended up as their head of security. He had taken out leases for flats and had keys to nearly all of them, including Fred’s.

Unjustified murder

On December 4, 1969, Hanrahan chose 14 officers from his office and Neale put an X on the floor plan he had provided of Fred’s flat for the feds. The X was Fred’s bed. The night before, Fred had been teaching a class and Panthers had been at his flat, where O’Neale had drugged Fred’s drink and cooked food for the other Panthers. Some Panthers stayed, but O’Neale and a few others left.

At 4:20 AM, the police stormed the flat. They pounded on the door and the Guard, Mark Clark asked who was there. The first group of cops yelled “Tommy gun!”, and started to shoot. Clark was dead on impact. As a reflex, his trigger finger flinched and a bullet flew into the ceiling. This is the only shot the Black Panthers were able to shoot off. Now both teams of Feds were inside, and they continued shooting a spray of bullets at everyone in the flat.

Hampton’s pregnant girlfriend, Akua Njeri, laying next to him recalls the murder:

“I saw bullets coming from…the front of the apartment…Sparks of light. I had slid over on top of Chairman Fred. I don’t know what I was thinking, or what I was doing, I just moved over and covered his body,”

“He didn’t move. Just lifted his head up. It was like he was going in slow motion.”

“He never said a word, he never got up out the bed”

“[Someone] kept calling out, ‘Stop shooting! Stop shooting! We have a pregnant woman, a pregnant sister in here.’ At the time, I was 8 and a half, 9 months pregnant. Pigs [police] kept on shooting.”

When the shooting stopped, she said she slid over Fred’s body and put his house shoes on. She thought of all the things she needed to do to get her and her baby through a life or death night.

“Keep your hands up. Don’t stumble. Don’t fall. They will kill you and your baby.”

“There two lines of police, they were laughing. [They] grabbed me by the top of my head, slung me to the kitchen area.”

“Somebody said, ‘He’s barely alive, he’ll barely make it.’. . .The shooting started back again. The pigs said ‘he’s good and dead now.’”

Fred’s ghost

In the aftermath, several Black Panthers were severely wounded. They were all charged with aggravated assault and attempted murder, which was bullshit, so the charges were later dropped. Hampton, 4 months after his 21st birthday, and just as he had signed on to be the spokesman for the BPP Central Committee, had been slaughtered in his own bed.

While the raid had been swift, the coverup could be hailed as one of the most incompetent in history. They claimed they’d been in a shootout, but tests came back disproving it. The Panthers had only got off one shot from Clark, and that was obvious. Cops had fired at least 90 bullets for Clark’s one. They looked like murderous, callous, fools.

This wasn’t a victory, though. The coroner ruled “justifiable homicide”. Isn’t that some bullshit? The pigs went to my man’s flat when he was DRUGGED and shot up everyone in the thing and… justifiable homicide? Of a 21-year-old? Really? But if there’s one thing we know, the system is run by bitch boys who can’t take real opposition because the capitalist ideology is so weak. It barely stands up to criticism, or we wouldn’t lose so many of our revolutionaries. Their opposition wouldn’t be so callous, uncivilized and downright criminal.

After Fred’s death, the police’s incompetence was still thriving, and they unsealed his flat. The Panthers gave tours of it, showing the “bullet holes” that had been circled as their shots in the coverup, were actually nailheads. An understandable deep trauma of rage, anger and disdain swept across the Black community and the communities that had been aligned with Fred. When Hanharan tried to get re-elected, he was destroyed by his opponent and his career was done. Hoover always remained invisible, and his career was highly decorated in white circles whilst he was alive. But…

In 1971, 8 activists from Pennsylvania, set up a citizen’s commission to investigate the FBI and its dodgy dealings. One thing we have to remember about the FBI, CIA and all secret services around the world, they’re not for us, the people. They’re criminal sections of “intelligence” that work to uphold the murderous system we have now and instil fear and intimidation, so we all tow the line. They’re not for us; they’re for the criminals.

These absolute Gs, raided the Media, PA FBI office and stole a thousand documents. They found:

  • The FBI informers reported every single meeting and action on the Black Panther Party, the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee and lots of others.
  • They used informers to discredit and create distrust amongst the ranks of organizations.
  • Hoover had a special bias towards Black revolutionaries and had a personal vendetta in destroying Black freedom movements.

Now, these were things that were widely known in the community; you just needed proof. Nonetheless, seeing it all on paper? Wow. So, there was an investigation and the start of a Senate Investigating community. By this time, the state tried to say that COINTELLPRO was dead. I call shit on this and think it’s still operating today, just more carefully, and Hoover escaped any fault, dying in 1971.

But for once, the state was up for conviction. Black Panthers members had long been defendants and the tables had turned. The families and survivors sued. The trial took place years after the case was filed and the case lasted 18 months. In 1977, the jury had deadlocked on a verdict and the judge threw out the case. In 1979, the Court of Appeals found that the Government had hidden documents relevant to the case and demanded a new trial.

Njeri wrote in her book “My Dance with Justice”: “It got to the point that the plaintiffs didn’t trust each other; we were sick of the lawyers and they were sick of us. . . .The survivors just wanted this nightmare to be over.” While there was anxiety happening with the filing survivors, the police department defendants were getting increasingly paranoid that damning evidence was going to be revealed and their lives would be over.

In the end, both sides agreed to a settlement of $1.83 million which is just over $4.9million today. Each government branch, City, County and Federal paid about a third.

So what happened to O’Neale? Well… He admitted he didn’t feel bad for his part in it. In a 19984 interview with the Tribune, he stated he chose his sides early and didn’t feel bad about his part. He’d slipped drugs into Fred’s drink, he’d given the layout of Fred’s flat to the feds and he’d willingly given the feds intel in his time infiltrating the Panthers. But he did seem genuinely horrified at the murders. Fred’s body was dragged out and a pool of blood followed the trail; that’s how nasty it was. In O’Neale’s head, he thought it was only going to be a raid, and his uncle, speaking in 1990, says he got caught up, in far too deep. What started as him trying to learn a charge, turned into being the accomplice and the facilitator of one of the most gruesome and influential assassinations on a Black revolutionary.

O’Neale had gone into the witness protection program, as word of his work started to spread and he feared for his life. On the eve of Martin Luther King Day in 1990, he spent the day with his uncle, a retired truck driver. His uncle said he kept spending a long time in the bathroom and tried to get out of the back window. His uncle pulled him back a few times, but eventually, O’Neale got loose, ran down the highway and was struck by a car. His death was ruled a suicide.

After coming back to Chicago secretly from California secretly around 1984, he’d tried a similar suicide attempt in 1989 but was only injured.

Bill Hampton, a brother of Fred said:

“The act (of being an informant,) he committed was unjust. He tried to live with it and couldn’t”

And that’s how arguably, one of the biggest traitors in Black revolutionary history lived his last day. He was always adamant that he felt no remorse but the feelings of being a pawn in a bigger plan that became overwhelming must have weighed on his mind, along with the gruesome crime scene photos afterwards.

A long legacy

There are a few things we can learn from Fred. Read about socialism. Recognize that struggle is international, and the pull of white supremacy and capitalism are inexplicably linked. If we are to have a socialist revolution, we must unite the underclasses together. Educate yourself. Learn to separate communism and socialism from the dictatorial regimes that have used it to gain popularity and as a vehicle to get egotistical, power-hungry people into power.

And don’t let romance pull away from the horror. He was 21 years old. He was gunned down sleeping, in his bedroom, with his 8-month pregnant girlfriend next to him. Severely outnumbered and drugged, he was a sitting duck, brutally murdered for being too powerful. He was a socialist revolutionary with a call to action for all the oppressed. He knew that racism was just a vehicle for capitalism to continue to exploit from the masses. He knew of the importance of alliances and the power of education and knowledge. Ultimately, the murder of a far too young Fred Hampton tells us a few things. He was too smart for them. He was on the right track. He may have been the closest one to spark a socialist revolution.

It pains me deeply to remember Fred. For how young he was. What he was, could have been and what he could have started. His death sparked just as much like his life, but that doesn’t make it any less unjust. His death went on to expose the unconstitutional and murderous operation of COINTELPRO, sparked the formation of an operation that would shine a light of the truth of all of the FBI’s shady workings, and went on to get at least a settlement out of all 3 stages of government. So even in death, he was ruffling feathers and inspiring changemakers to carry on organizing.

But above all, he reminds us that organizing outside of the system, in our communities is vital for a socialist revolution. We can’t depend on the government that is killing us to make a stand for us. We must do it on our own streets and with the same message, Fred Hampton shouted in his short, short life.

“We don’t think you fight fire with fire best; we think you fight fire with water best. We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism. We’ve stood up and said we’re not going to fight reactionary pigs and reactionary state’s attorneys like this and reactionary state’s attorneys like Hanrahan with any other reactions on our part. We’re going to fight their reactions with all of us people getting together and having an international proletarian revolution.”

Long live Fred Hampton’s spirit.

The closest we ever came, to a true revolution.

Hungarian cuisine: 5 delicious dishes & recipes

Our article on Hungarian chess master Paul Charles Dozsa has been quite popular (although we now know the man from the meme was actually Cecil George Edwards). But regardless, it got me thinking—what are the best dishes in Hungarian cuisine?

In this list, I’ll be looking at 5 recipes and dishes from Hungary.

1. Goulash (gulyás)

Let’s get goulash out of the way. In the realms of Hungarian cuisine, this dish is the one everyone thinks of. The name originates from gulyás, a word for “herdsmen”. It still means that but it also takes the meaning of the actual stew. There’s also gulyásleves which is a thinner soup than goulash.

Most modern recipes include tomatoes but they were nowhere to be seen in the original recipes. Meats in goulash recipes include lamb, pork, beef, and veal and a wide variety of vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots and peppers. To quote my friend, Tom: “Goulash in a bread basket is also beautiful.”

Beef Goulash - Hungarian Beef Goulash Recipe - Paprika Beef Stew

2. Chicken paprikash (paprikás csirke/csirkepaprikás)

I love to season my meat with paprika (keep your mind out of the gutter, please) and so do the Hungarians. They love the paprika peppers and spice so much, they have two museums dedicated to them. For chicken paprikash, the meat is cooked in a roux containing paprika, then simmered in a sauce for around 40 minutes.

Fun fact: Jonathan Harker ate chicken paprikash while he travelled to Dracula’s castle in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. (And in case you didn’t know, Transylvania was part of the Hungarian Empire until the 20th century.)

3. Pörkölt

It’s another meat stew. Pörkölt is similar to goulash in that it contains meat (boneless), paprika, and vegetables. But the main difference between pörkölt and goulash is the latter has more gravy and the meats can contain bones.

The most popular variant of this Hungarian dish contains beef and onion as detailed in this Daring Gourmet recipe. Pork is another popular choice, served with nokedli like the one in the Where Is My Spoon recipe.

4. Sour cherry soup (meggyleves)

Let me preface this by saying: I hate cherries. So the idea of a cold sour cherry soup is hell for me. But not for the Hungarian population so my opinion is invalid here.

Meggyleves is made with sour cherries (which come in 2 variants: Morello cherries and Amarelle cherries). It’s traditionally served as a dinner course, either as a starter, main soup or a dessert and it works best served during the summer.

Random fact: Turkey produced 187,941 tonnes of sour cherries in 2012, compared to Hungary’s 53,425 tonnes.

5. Spätzle (nokedli)

Spätzle, or nokedli, is a type of pasta made with fresh eggs, bread flour, and salt. The geographic origin of spätzle is unknown, leading to many nations claiming it as theirs.

The pasta is best known as a German delicacy but Hungarians love it and serve it with soup or you could have it with cherries in kirschspätzle.

Honourable mentions

You should also try:

  • Palacsinta (a thin crêpe-like variety of pancake)
  • Halászlé (a hot, spicy paprika-based fish soup)
  • Főzelék (a thick Hungarian vegetable stew or soup)
  • Dobosh (a Hungarian sponge cake)
  • Lángos (a deep fried flatbread although my friend Tom recommends to have it at a restaurant rather than a takeaway)

Hungarian cookbooks to buy

Enjoyed all the food? Want to nose dive into the world of Hungarian cuisine? Check out the list of books below and experience Hungary without leaving the comfort of your sofa. Well, you’ll have to make the short journey from there to the kitchen but someone’s got to do it.

Vini Naso's "The Masks We Wear"

I watched a very wild video involving anti-maskers in the US fighting with people wearing masks (as you should). It devolved into physical abuse and shouts of “China communists” and “mask Nazis”. People are trash and COVID is real.

Masks are necessary. They inspired the Cultrface logo (RIP DOOM) and have represented a lot of meanings in life and art for centuries. Canadian artist Vini Naso understood this when he created his visual art series, “THE MASKS WE WEAR”:

In this series I wanted to bring together the folkloric fused with a futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic to create something that felt timeless or time agnostic. Ironically, the pandemic has made this series especially timely for our ‘new normal’.

This series has recently been featured on Vogue Italia on an article about leading artist working at the intersection of Art, Beauty and Technology.

If I could see and breathe through something like that, I’d probably rock one on weekends to scare the maskless who choose not to stay safe.

Check Vini’s Behance project to see the series in full.

A Weird AF RoboCop Video Collage

Back in August 2020, I posted RELAXATION TAPE NO. 2: the opposite of ASMR, a collection of random video mashup/collage/clusterfucks made by CDTcrew. Before I found that, I got into one of their shorter videos called ROBO.

It’s an absolute mess. And I love it.

Imagine RoboCop condensed into 102 seconds with no care for editing or how your eyes and ears will feel after it’s finished. But I still love it. The video takes clips from the film, behind-the-scenes interviews, the video game, and random commercials. It’s also way more violent than the film appears to be, which is quite an achievement.

As I suggested in the RELAXATION TAPE article, I don’t expect anyone to enjoy this but I do so join in if you wanna.

The case for Brutalist architecture

In 2017, ARTiculations made a video arguing the case for Brutalist architecture, a polarising style at the best of times.

For the most part, Brutalism was a favoured style of public or institutional buildings such as government facilities, libraries, universities, museums, and social housing. Concrete is a product that is relatively inexpensive, plentiful and accessible. The heavy and enclosed building envelope with limited glazing made it easier for climate control, thus making it economically sensible and practical for institutional use, which in turn also symbolized a degree of modesty and public accountability.

The video looks at some of the Brutalist buildings still standing around the world (governments don’t hold back when they get an opportunity to take them down) and delves into the philosophies behind Brutalism and what it represented.

Personally, I love Brutalism but it’s a problematic fave. A lot of the buildings were made poorly and cut corners for the sake of ideology rather than to make peoples’ lives better, per its intentions. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that intentions mean little when the impact is massive and long-standing. You could even say 2020 has been brutal itself.

The Case for Brutalist Architecture | ARTiculations

The history of Walt Disney Home Video

An illustration of Mickey Mouse opening the Walt Disney vault and letting lots of cash out

This year, I’ve noticed more and more the billions Disney has lost due to terrible business ventures. The only reason why they’ve been allowed to do it is because they’ve made many billions more and… it’s Disney.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot thanks to Yesterworld Entertainment, a YouTube channel that “exists outside of the tangible reality of the present where we explore and investigate theme parks, movies, video games & Entertainment stories of the past”.

In this episode, they examined the history of Walt Disney Home Video and the infamous Disney vault, a collection of Disney films used by Walt Disney Animation Studios for home video releases. The convoluted but lucrative process is explained in the video but in a nutshell, Disney released movies on VHS for a limited time, then put them “in the vault” for a number of years before re-releasing them, therefore controlling the availability—and scarcity—of its media property.

But as Yesterworld shows, it was a confusing and frustrating ideology.

Stream the episode below and become a patron if you enjoy it.

Yesterworld: The History of Walt Disney Home Video and the Infamous Disney Vault

Video/Disney related: 20th Century Flicks: the last video rental shop and an interview with Jim Cummings.

Copyrighted works from 1925 enter the public domain today

Cover art for The Great Gatsby

Happy new year to you all. I sincerely hope 2021 is better than 2020 (unless you’re Jeff Bezos).

Today is Public Domain Day again and that means copyrighted works from the US from 1925 are open to all. (For more information on it, we wrote about it in 2019.) The official Public Domain Day 2021 page explains why this year is so good:

In 2021, there is a lot to celebrate. 1925 brought us some incredible culture. The Harlem Renaissance was in full swing. The New Yorker magazine was founded. The literature reflected both a booming economy, whose fruits were unevenly distributed, and the lingering upheaval and tragedy of World War I. The culture of the time reflected all of those contradictory tendencies. The BBC’s Culture website suggested that 1925 might be “the greatest year for books ever,” and with good reason. It is not simply the vast array of famous titles. The stylistic innovations produced by books such as Gatsby, or The Trial, or Mrs. Dalloway marked a change in both the tone and the substance of our literary culture, a broadening of the range of possibilities available to writers, while characters such as Jay Gatsby, Hemingway’s Nick Adams, and Clarissa Dalloway still resonate today.

Below you will find a list of applicable works from 1925. Always remember to check works from any years prior to 1925 to make absolutely sure you follow any licence requirements (if there are any). And below the list is a Disney cartoon from 1925 not featuring Mickey Mouse.

A list of lists of public domain works from 1925

Walt Disney - 1925 - Alice Solves the Puzzle

How to make a smashburger (by J. Kenji López-Alt)

The late night smashburger

I’ve given way too much money to Five Guys this year. I tried my hand at making one and, while it wasn’t the same, it was tasty nonetheless. The basic premise is the same for most modern burger outlets:

  • 2 flattened beef patties
  • Cheese slices in between
  • An assortment of fillings (my faves are pickles, ketchup, and mustard)

American chef J. Kenji López-Alt made a video in March demonstrating his way of making a “late night smashed cheeseburger” in the style of a smashburger, as popularised by the fast food chain Smashburger.

My mouth watered throughout the video so stream it below and let us know what you’d have in your smashburger.

Late Night Smashed Cheeseburger

Beef related: Burger King’s rebrand and Salt Bae: the king of steaks.

How to brew Chinese tea correctly

How to brew Chinese tea right

Forget everything you know about brewing Chinese tea as Goldthread has the inside scoop.

In their video, they look at the “right” way to brew Chinese tea, including the ceremonial process known as gongfu cha:

Gongfu means skill, and cha means tea. It’s a form of Chinese tea service that dates back to the 14th century in Fujian. It places emphasis on the tea’s taste, temperature, and quality.

The ceremony of gongfu cha is a far cry from the American TikToker who made tea in a microwave with a truckload of sugar and milk. If there was a spectrum of tea making, China and the US would be on either side.

Stream the video below.

How to Brew Chinese Tea the Right Way

Tea related: Is tea the new wine?