DIY MTV: Music Videos Struggle to Keep Up With YouTube 

Wednesday, Jun 18 2008

In this age of YouTube saturation, the power of the music video as marketing and branding tool has only grown greater, but breaking through the clutter of music clips takes increasing ingenuity. Program 1 of the Los Angeles Film Festival’s “Eclectic Mix” music-video showcase establishes early on that animation (from stop-motion with puppets and dolls to CGI) and artsy (if not always artful) black-and-white images continue to be the form’s dominant modes of expression, with nods to horror flicks (see Aesop Rock’s Night of the Living Dead homage, “Coffee”) and the influence of Salvador Dali ( the Happy Bullets’ “The Vice & Virtue Ministry”; Trans Am’s “Tesco vs. Sainsbury’s”) also especially noticeable. By contrast, Beirut’s simple concept of carefully edited home movies for their “Postcards From Italy” video offers a fusion of lyrics, images and emotion that overshadows much else in the program. Highlights of program 2 include Kid Sister’s “Pro Nails” and Simian Mobile Disco’s “Hustler,” both of which fuse ghetto-fab outlandishness and hipster irony, with “Hustler” reconfiguring the standard hip-hop video into a pageant of too-skinny girls of all races, decked out in bikinis, oversized sunglasses and ’70s hairdos, all slathering themselves in food and condiments. As cool, smart, provocative and hilarious as many of these clips are, most are still outpaced by the DIY remixing and reimagining being done by some clever, ordinary folk with access to the tools of pop culture. Nothing in these programs is quite as audacious or perversely thrilling as the student video that floated across YouTube some months ago in which clips of Miss Piggy were carefully edited so that she appeared to be lip-synching to Peaches’ raunchy “Fuck the Pain Away.” That was a marriage of audio and visuals that truly stopped you in your tracks.

(Click to enlarge)

click to enlarge Beirut's Postcards From Italy video, screening June 21 and 27
  • Beirut's Postcards From Italy video, screening June 21 and 27

Related Stories

  • Are Strawberries the New (Old) Superfruit?

    Forget goji, acai, aronia, maqui, noni and all those other so-called superfruits. The most powerful health-boosting berry of them all may just be the humble ol' strawberry. Packed with essential nutrients and potent phytochemicals, strawberries may be a beneficial force in lowering cholesterol, according to researchers from Università Politecnica delle...
  • Pizza-Making Tools

    Tools of the Trade is a series in which we ask chefs, bartenders and other food folks which tools they simply can't live without. Today we talk to Massimiliano Di Lascio, Master Pizzaiolo at the new DeSano pizzeria in East Hollywood. Salerno, Italy native Massimiliano Di Lascio has dedicated his life to pizza. From Salerno to Singapore...
  • Chinese Sausages + Where to Find Four Regional Versions

    When you think of sausage, Chinese cuisine is probably not what immediately comes to mind. Germany, obviously, then probably Italy. But China has an incredibly rich history of sausage-making. Chinese sausages tend to be much sweeter than sausages familiar to American palates and, as you might expect from a country
  • Pizza Vending Machines: The Next Big Thing?

    It seems the non-packaged food vending machine trend is not slowing, not one bit. We've all heard of cupcake vending machines. And of course, there was the rise and fall and resurrection of Burritobox. And now we hear word of Let's Pizza, a pizza vending machine. Because, of course there would be a pizza vending machine. You don't...
  • Lawsuit Pits Punk Label vs. Hair Metal Label

    You know Frontier Records, right? The seminal local punk label was behind '80s albums from classic bands like Circle Jerks, the Adolescents, Suicidal Tendencies, TSOL and Red Kross. Or, wait, perhaps you're thinking of Frontiers Records, the Naples, Italy imprint which specializes in hair metal and classic rock, and has

Beirut's Postcards From Italy video, screening June 21 and 27

Eclectic Mix 1 screens Sat., June 21, 7 p.m., at the Italian Cultural Institute and Fri., June 27, 7:15 p.m., at the Landmark; Eclectic Mix 2 screens Sun., June 22, 4:30 p.m., at the Italian Cultural Institute and Sun., June 29, 7 p.m., at the Landmark.

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Wed 16
  2. Thu 17
  3. Fri 18
  4. Sat 19
  5. Sun 20
  6. Mon 21
  7. Tue 22

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!


  • Nicolas Cage's 10 Best Movie Roles
    As video-on-demand continues to become the preferred route of distribution for a certain kind of independent film, much is being made of Nicolas Cage's willingness to slum for a paycheck, with recent examples including already-forgotten, small-screen-friendly items like Seeking Justice, Trespass, Stolen, and The Frozen Ground. (His character names in these projects -- Will Gerard, Kyle Miller, Will Montgomery, and Jack Halcombe -- are as interchangeable as the titles of the films.) Aside from citing the obvious appeal of doing work for money (a defense Cage himself brought up in a recent interview with The Guardian), it's also possible to back Cage by acknowledging the consistency with which he's taken on "serious" roles over the years.

    David Gordon Green's Joe, which hits limited release this weekend (more details on that here), marks the latest instance of this trend, with Cage giving a reportedly subdued performance as an ex-con named Joe Ransom. In that spirit, we've put together a rundown of some of the actor's finest performances, all of which serve as proof that, though his over-the-top inclinations may make for a side-splitting YouTube compilation, Cage has amassed a career that few contemporary actors can equal. This list is hardly airtight in its exclusivity, so a few honorable mentions ought to go out to a pair of Cage's deliriously uneven auteur collaborations (David Lynch's Wild at Heart, Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes), 1983's Valley Girl, 1987's Moonstruck, and Alex Proyas's Knowing (a favorite of the late Roger Ebert).

    --Danny King
  • Ten Enduring Conspiracy Thrillers
    With the approaching release this week of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, many critics, including L.A. Weekly’s own Amy Nicholson, have noted the film’s similarities (starting with the obvious: Robert Redford) to the string of conspiracy thrillers that dominated American cinema during the 1970s. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the most enduring entries in the genre -- most of them coming from the ‘70s, but with a few early-‘80s holdouts added in for good measure. This is by no means an exclusive list, and more recent films like Roger Donaldson’s No Way Out (1987), Jacques Rivette’s Secret Defense (1998), Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State (1998), Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana (2005), and Redford’s own The Company You Keep (2012) speak to how well the genre has sustained itself over time. Words by Danny King.
  • Behind the Scenes of Muppets Most Wanted
    "The endurance of the Muppets isn't just the result of the creative skills of Henson and collaborators like Frank Oz, or of smart business decisions, or of sheer dumb luck," writes this paper's film critic Stephanie Zacharek in her review of Muppets Most Wanted. "It's simply that the Muppets are just ever so slightly, or maybe even totally, mad. Man, woman, child: Who can resist them? Even TV-watching cats are drawn to their frisky hippety-hopping and flutey, gravely, squeaky, squawky voices." Go behind the scenes with the hippety-hopping Muppets with these images.

    Read our full Muppets Most Wanted movie review.

Now Trending