Cultrface is a blog about culture and how it can enrich our lives.

The History of Japan By Bill Wurtz

If you’re gonna showcase your unique delivery, why not do it with a video about the history of Japan? Content creator and musician Bill Wurtz achieved “Internet notoriety”, according to Wikipedia, with his “history of japan” video back in 2016. It featured his quirky style, non-sequitur imagery, and shot his subscriber count out of the stratosphere.

It went viral and currently has over 45 million views. It helped to spawn a wider “sequel” entitled “history of the entire world, i guess” which garnered even larger popularity.

The Eccentric Life Of Ed Wood

The Eccentric Life Of Ed Wood

Reviled modern-day directors haven’t got anything on Ed Wood. The American filmmaker made a slew of horrendous low-budget movies in the realms of sci-fi, horror, and crime. During the 60s and 70s, he started making more pornographic films with his signature camp style.

His most famous pieces include Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and Night of the Ghouls. But perhaps his work wasn’t that bad under their original gaze as he remained obscure until his death in 1978. Then, two years later, Wood was awarded a Golden Turkey Award for Worst Director of All Time in 1980 and his work was given another look.

Besides his filmmaking, Ed Wood was also known for his cross-dressing. It’s said his mother wanted a daughter and would dress Wood up in girl’s clothes, inspiring him to carry it on into adult life. He said he loved the feeling of angora on his skin.

In the video below, his life and work are examined through modern eyes to see whether Ed Wood was that bad or simply misunderstood.

Stream it below.

Anish Kapoor banned from colour-changing paint

anish-kapoor-stuart-semple-pinkest-pink-blackest-black-colour_dezeen_sq

From the blackest black to the pinkest pink, Anish Kapoor has now been banned by Stuart Semple from using his new colour-changing paint. In case you missed the original drama, Anish Kapoor got exclusive rights to the Vantablack pigment and artists got angry. So Stuart Semple turned the tables.

There’s also a legal requirement where you must confirm:

“You are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor.”

And people wonder why the masses look at art and think it’s full of pretentious arses.

(via Dezeen)

A Brilliant Banana Bread Bottom Cheesecake

Banana Bread Bottom Cheesecake

My mum used to make banana cakes every now and again and it was delicious. Banana bread is equally as wonderful a creation. So is cheesecake. But what if you put them all together to create a banana bread bottom cheesecake?

That’s what Tasty did. BuzzFeed’s culinary video series are always making unique dishes and this is a great addition to their repertoire. Their recipe only needs four bananas (and all the other stuff of course).

Bad news it also uses gelatin for the cream cheese which is obviously a no-go for vegetarians and vegans (and to be honest, the whole thing is off-limits to vegans) so you might need an alternative solution for that.

Otherwise, this is a fine-looking banana bread cheesecake and I hope to make this one day.

Stream the “how it was made” video below and read the banana bread bottom cheesecake recipe on the Tasty website.

(Full recipe: https://bzfd.it/2npg3eS)

Brutal bookends

Landmarks Bookend (Set of 2) by Klemens Schillinger

The brutalist bookends are a concrete take on the Mayan pyramids (although they’re very close to being ziggurats).

An architectural twist on functional accessories, reimagined in stylish concrete. Subtle in colour but crisp in form, Klemens Schillinger’s Landmarks collection evokes a certain understated cool. Perfect for those who want dimensions to rule style: each step is an extruded offset of the footprint that comes before it.

I have two books on brutalism on my bookshelf and these bookends would be perfect for them. I’ll give it some thought.

UPDATE: The bookends are no longer available on Hem.com but there are plenty of alternatives on Etsy.

Emotional Simpsons Scenes

Top 10 Simpsons Moments That Will Make You Cry

If there’s one quote or moment in The Simpsons that really gets to me, it’s that. Along with Bart crying because he failed his social studies test and Homer sitting on his car watching the stars. But Bart crying makes me cry the most.

Amongst all the jokes and pop culture references, The Simpsons have had some really poignant moments. The fact the comedy takes precedent means when the sad parts come, you know what they are and stop accordingly. The mark of a great show (until it stopped being funny after like 2000).

Anyway, you can watch nearly 13 minutes of emotional Simpsons scenes below and cry too.

When Joanne the Scammer Visited Britain

When Joanne the Scammer Visited Britain

A very insightful 20-minute documentary on Branden Miller, the man behind Joanne the Scammer, and his journey to Britain for the first time. Getting to see both sides of the Joanne coin makes for interesting viewing and you become more appreciative of the performer as well as the performance. There were wonderful dresses and lots of sightseeing in that classic Joanne style.

UPDATE: It appears the video was cancelled so enjoy this Caucasian tweet and the preview for the documentary that never happened. Iconic!

Joanne The Scammer Takes Britain: Behind Branden Miller's Rise To Fame | Instant Exclusive | INSTANT

The UN want to combat cultural appropriation. But is that enough?

Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation exists no matter what side you’re on. It is harmful to those marginalised and used to make profit under this guise without the slightest notion of understanding or desire to do so. That’s where the ruse fails.

Voices against cultural appropriation are being heard as lawsuits continue to go to court. From the Washington Redskins trademark dispute to Urban Outfitters’ illegal use of the Navajo tribe name, this isn’t going away and the UN appear to agree.

According to Konbini, UN delegates have gathered in Geneva to discuss the newly created committee within the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which was established in 1967. Their aim is to challenge international law and open regulations to “include and protect property ranging from designs to language”.

This sounds reasonable in theory but the louder voices are often the richest. Once a product or aesthetic is out there, it gains traction and exists in that form regardless of the law.

Nothing will stop Coachella girls of non-Native American heritage wearing those headdresses, nor will the Tumblr posts cease to exist. That’s not to say this is all in vain but there needs to be some kind of education about what cultural appropriation as well.

It’s common to see an appropriator decry the lack of education from the affected party. Information is available on the internet and in libraries of books but they require lessons taught directly to them or they won’t bother to pay attention.

That needs to end.

Cultural appropriation doesn’t just happen – it builds internally and works its way through the design process right to the board. A lack of racial, cultural and, gender diversity also plays a part. If a room full of white men in their 50s think it’s okay, who’s to tell them it isn’t until the brand already exists?

Musicians who decide to wear geisha outfits or African garments – many with predominately white management and crews behind them and no feeling of worry that this isn’t okay. When people of the affected cultures speak out, they need to be heard and the appropriators need to stop, think, and learn.

A lack of racial, cultural and, gender diversity also plays a part. If a room full of white men in their 50s think it’s okay, who’s to tell them it isn’t until the brand already exists?

Many would claim education isn’t necessary as the racism is known but ignored. But this isn’t easy to prove conclusively, at least not in the eyes of the proposed laws. Katy Perry has made a career out of it and recently opened up to Deray, but this discussion fell short for many people of colour in the same way Trevor Noah’s cupcake pandering to Tami “with the blonde hair” Blahren on The Daily Show.

“I listened and I heard and I didn’t know,” she told Deray. “I won’t ever understand some of those things because of who I am. I will never understand, but I can educate myself, and that’s what I’m trying to do along the way.”

Miley Cyrus appeared to have passed the racist symbiote onto Katy as she reverted to the sweet innocent meadow-rolling pop singer but her non-apology left a lot to be desired. Cultural appropriation is a helluva drug.

But the lines can blur and faves become problematic. Would you bring George Michael and Michael Bolton into the same discussion? Ebony published an article on the “cultural smudging” in 2015 and it’s worth considering what appropriation actually involves. And is it just a white vs. non-white battle?

Beyoncé was accused of cultural appropriation when she did an African-themed baby shower photo shoot. She was also pulled up for her Desi-themed video for Hymn For The Weekend. Can it work between non-white races and even inter-race?

Ultimately, The UN’s proposed legal restrictions and protections are a step in the right direction. But they shouldn’t be the ultimate deterrent when those talking aren’t allowed to be heard. Once a culture of listening is promoted, maybe we can get somewhere.

Possibly The First Ever Cat Video From 1894?

Professor Welton’s Boxing Cats (1894)

The video, filmed by none other than Thomas Edison, shows two cats “boxing.” But don’t worry, no actual punches took place, just gentle swipes in boxing gloves for about 30 seconds. Amongst his plethora of inventions, he was also a filmmaker. This cat video is probably the least strange and least harmful of his collection.

Of all the things I can imagine cats doing in a video, boxing isn’t one of them. But Thomas Edison had other ideas (even if some of them were stolen *ahem*).

*whispers* I still prefer Nikola Tesla.

2 polyglots have an awesome chat in 21 languages

unique encounter between 2 polyglots in 21 languages

It gets a little awkward in parts but regardless, you have two people who speak 21 languages between them. I can barely speak English sometimes. At the moment, I’m learning Portuguese with Spanish and French on the side. I love polyglots and some of my favourite people speak multiple languages. I better brush up on meu português.

What is a polyglot?

A polyglot is someone who can speak multiple languages. The word comes from the Greek polu-, meaning many, and glōtta, meaning tongue.

Languages featured:

English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Mandarin, Thai, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Tagalog, Korean, Danish, Vietnamese, German, Albanian, Croatian, Macedonian, Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian.

(P.S. I recommend learning a language using Duolingo)

Trump Has Always Been Trash, But Here's A Pizza-Related Example From 1995

1995 Donald Trump Pizza Hut Commercial

Stuffed crust aside, NO ONE should be eating pizza crust first, let alone being a white supremacist president like Trump. The storyboards from this Pizza Hut commercial featuring Donald and Ivanka Trump were on sale for $15,000, if you’re weird and love that sort of crap.

I also want to point out I’m not ignoring all the evil, disgusting things he’s done in contrast to his pizza eating habits. All I’m saying is this is a sign of an evil man and we were warned at least 24 years ago. Make of that what you will.

Brief Excerpts From James Baldwin's 1,884-Page FBI File

james baldwin

Such was the strength of racism and homophobia during the Civil Rights Movement. You can still feel that potency today, if not in different ways. But this quote from Literary Hub is harrowing:

My memorandum date 7-17-64, which concerned the captioned individual’s plans for a future book about the FBI, has been returned by the Director with this question: “Isn’t Baldwin a well-known pervert?” It is not a matter of official record that he is a pervert…

James Baldwin, a well-known pervert? M.A. Jones of Crime Records elaborated further:

While it is not possible to state that [Baldwin] is a pervert, he has expressed a sympathetic viewpoint about homosexuality on several occasions, and a very definite hostility toward the revulsion of the American public regarding it.

M.A. Jones of Crime Records

It is no wonder Baldwin moved across the Atlantic.

(via Literary Hub)

40,000 Movie Posters Under The Sea with Posteritati

Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Poster

The store/gallery is based in New York where you can purchase everything from a 1960s Swiss Scene Card of Casablanca for $150 to a 1933 Argentinian King Kong poster for $75,000.

Batman Returns poster
Batman Returns poster

As well as posters, Posteritati also sell books. The ones that caught my eye were Art of the Modern Movie Poster (2008) and The Independent Movie Poster Book (2005). If I was a rich man, I’d buy so many posters (and maybe a Fiddler on the Roof poster.)

Find more on the Posteritati website.

(via Kottke.org)

FilmGrab: an archive of movie stills and potential memes

FilmGrab

What is FilmGrab?

FilmGrab started out as a personal archive for its creator, Donnacha, and soon turned into a treasure trove filled with nearly 80,000 images from over 1000 movies. The images are free to use for personal use (and we love a site with free to use images) and one of those uses could be for memes, for example. With so many films to choose from and a wide range of genres, there’s bound to be something “memeifiable” in there.

Of course, these kinds of sites cost money to maintain and Donnacha has created a Patreon if you wanted to pledge to the cause. We strongly recommend you do.

No matter what you use FilmGrab for – providing it’s not for commercial purposes – you should appreciate the time and care taken by both Donnacha and the filmmakers themselves in creating cultural showpieces.

FilmGrab | Twitter | Facebook

The Cultural Legacy of the Russian Revolution (BBC Audio Doc)

If you’re foolish enough to succumb to the whims of the media, you’d think Jeremy Corbyn is attempting to paint Downing Street a bright shade of Soviet red. He may want a revolution but not in the way Russia experienced in 1917. In this BBC World Service radio documentary, special guests depict the cultural influences of the Russian Revolution.

From Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago to the politics of Lenin and Trotsky, it all comes as part of the Hope, Tragedy, Myths exhibition at the British Library in London. What did it mean to be part of the early days of the Revolution?

And what about the subsequent decades of communism and the hostility that came with it? A range of voices from Uzbekistan, Syria, and Iceland tell their respective stories about the cultural legacy left behind.

You can listen to the documentary on the BBC Sounds website (sign-in required).