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

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. Iconic!

Update 2: I found the video on Facebook but uploaded it to my server because I don’t trust Meta to keep it there. Please note: this video is about 1.5GB in size so keep that in mind before watching. It’s recommended to watch this with a WiFi connection and maybe avoid clicking the link if you’re on a mobile data plan that isn’t unlimited.

Stream the trailer below.

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 to Paris.

(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

Teen Gets Yale Acceptance Letter and Free Pizza

It’s one thing to get accepted to Yale but another to have sent your personal essay with an ode to Papa John’s. That’s precisely what Tennessee teen Carolina Williams did and the move prompted the admissions officer to order pizza after reading.

Carolina rejected Yale for Auburn in the end but that story doesn’t end there. Papa John’s caught wind of her pizza prose and sent her a bunch of free stuff!

(via Eater.com)

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).

Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (Documentary)

The Barcelona Pavilion was originally designed for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe but was demolished after the exposition ended.

Mies had a series of photographs taken of the building beforehand and thanks to these images, a group of Catalan architects were able to reconstruct it between 1983 and 1986.

This documentary details every innovate aspect of the pavilion, with quotes from Mies himself. Every element of the building had a purpose without the coldness of others of the era.

Innovation was the underlying theme, with opulence from the materials used (red onyx, marble and travertine.) As a lover of both Mies and the construct, I found it fascinating and learnt a lot from it.

Anyone with even a passing interest in architecture, design, or the modernist period will enjoy this documentary.

SeMies related: Another Mies documentary and Paul R. Williams: the Black architect of public buildings and celebrity homes

[36] German Pavilion | Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

The Minimalists + the art of letting go

I got into The Minimalists in 2017 after a breakup and while the minimalist movement is heavily whitewashed and misguided, these guys talk sense.

Rather than getting rid of everything and only buy 5 expensive white items in your expensive white apartment, they tell you to keep the things that have value and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t. It seems basic but that’s the trouble with letting go: it can be a fine art.

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known to their four million readers as “The Minimalists,” have written four books, including the bestselling memoir, Everything That Remains. They write about living a meaningful life with less stuff at TheMinimalists.com. Their new film, Minimalism, is currently the #1 documentary of 2016.

Stream their TED Talk below.

The Art of Letting Go | The Minimalists | TEDxFargo

Proper Magazine is a proper magazine

Proper Mag

Head to any half-decent intercity newsagents and you’ll see a wall full of different magazines, glossy and independent, carving out a space to exhibit their culture of interest.

Proper Magazine started out as a fanzine quite some time ago and the indie mag has grown into a website and creative agency. Having worked with the likes of Adidas, Clarks, and Barbour, Proper know their stuff when it comes to clothing brands and related cultures.

The icing on the cake for me, however, is their online store. It contains the usual fare of t-shirts, stickers, and socks but I’m enamoured with the mugs on offer. Yes, I fell in love with some fancy mugs, okay? But they come in all kinds of wonderful colours and my particular favourite is the Proper El Pibe Mug (as I have a soft spot for Colombia after Italia 90 but unfortunately it’s no longer in stock.)

El Pibe Mug by Proper Magazine

Proper Mag knows their audience well, as to be expected with decades of experience between the editors, Neil Summers and Mark Smith. Having their base in Manchester also helps; a cosmopolitan city with its own rich heritage, away from the clutches of London. Want to know more?

Visit the Proper website and check out the list of stockists so you can grab a copy!

will.i.am Can See the Future

Vic Berger is the master of comedic videosurrealism (I don’t know if that’s a thing but I’m making it one) and for this particular short, he puts together clips of will.i.am being… will.i.am. The added sound effects perfect the oddities.

will.i.am is a unique guy but this twists and distorts what we already knew into something truly spectacular. It also makes me wish I had a talking toilet. And some ill.i’s (yeah, they actually exist). You just take the wam out.

You’ll see what I mean.

The National Film Archive of Japan uploads 60 animated films from 1917–1941

The Bear Brothers

The National Film Archive of Japan (NFAJ) has kindly uploaded 60 films from 1917 to 1941, each one primitive as the other. But when you think these creations were the foundations of masterpieces like Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, you’ll appreciate them even more.

This shows Japanese animations are more than just anime so I’d highly recommend you watch some of them and get more accustomed to Japanese cinema.

Check the National Film Center’s website for a full list of movies.