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Space Punk: The Online Video Years – “Group Pussy Riot burns Putin’s glamor”

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Mike Long – ‘Shake Appeal’

In 366 days, the Hamilton, Ontario performance artist and DJ made 366 videos of dancing (for the camera) in public space. The Stooges’ ‘Shake Appeal’ in front of a police boat is probably my favorite –

but … there’s a lot to choose from. I remember one with some very cool slow moves to Minor Threat in the supermarket that was pretty boss but it seems to have disappeared. No problem – ‘Vitamin C’ by Can in the cereal aisle is plenty nice.

He plays the music on a boom box (not on headphones) while dancing, then replaces the recorded audio with the actual track. Hamilton!

Rikki Lovejoy – ‘Baby Got Back In Department Store’

There’s a whole phenomena of videos of Walmart intercom pranks and most are either dull or painful, but this one transcends the genre. Sir Mix-a-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ is already a pretty complicated piece of pop music. The song that proclaims “I like big butts and I cannot lie” is nothing but a blatant, offensive objectification of women … unless you also see the lyrics as advocating expanded notions of beauty and acceptance of different body types, or pick up on the intro skit in which a pair of valley-accented girls – presumed white – go on about how disgusted they are by the size of the rear end of another girl ending with “She’s just so … black!” So ‘Baby Got Back’ as performed over the Walmart p.a. system by a big-size white teenage boy (he calls his production company FAT Videos) just adds a few more layers to ponder. Is there much more to it than just being obnoxious? Probably not, but there could be. Plus, unlike most of the intercom prank kids he manages to pull it off without giggling.

SF Pride at Work – ‘Don’t Get Caught In A Bad Hotel’

A pair of women wait to check in at the counter of the Westin St Francis Hotel in San Francisco while members of a marching band quietly collect in the lobby. When one of the women turns to the other and exclaims, “Wait a second, honey we can’t check in here – this hotel’s under boycott!” the lobby erupts with a messy version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ complete with trombones, synchronized dancing and lyrics addressing the worker-led boycott of the hotel. There are hundreds of flash mob musical clips floating around the web – but this one shows the form sidestepping the usual “that was weird but so what” self-indulgence. Pop music, social struggle, the site and the network all come together: making a ruckus in the lobby makes it an event – but the real audience is potential visitors to the hotel, not the ones already booked in. (The boycott ended successfully last year when employees accepted a new contract.)

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