But as a genre, the American action film featured hallmark stars (Schwarzenegger! Stallone! Willis!) and identifiable tropes (kill villain; make pun about method in which you killed villain), and it produced at least one bona fide masterpiece, “Die Hard.” (If you can’t get behind “Die Hard” as a great American movie, then I’d argue that you hate greatness, movies and America.) And the action movie carried, briefly, as all good genre movies do, the cultural weight of metaphorical significance. Action films meant something.How the American Action Movie Went Kablooey - NYTimes.com
Debuting in 1993, the VCD was the answer to a film pirate’s prayers. VHS bootlegs degraded with each generation of copying, but digital video enabled every copy to be identical to the source disc. The pressing plants that manufactured music CDs could pump out VCDs en masse. By 1998 China had over 500 VCD companies and produced twenty million players per year. By 2000, players were in about a third of urban households. It became identified with low-end, Asia-centered piracy.Observations on film art : Pandora’s digital box: From the periphery to the center, or the one of many centers
h/t Chad Mumm
A Trove of Historic Jazz Recordings has Found a Home in Harlem, But You Can’t Hear Them - Magazine - ABA Journal
Among the treasures: Coleman Hawkins, the first great tenor saxophonist in jazz, playing multiple ad-lib choruses on the classic “Body and Soul.” Billie Holiday, accompanied only by piano, singing a moving rubato version of “Strange Fruit,” a chilling musical condemnation of lynching. The Count Basie Orchestra performing at the world’s first outdoor jazz festival, the 1938 Carnival of Swing on Randall’s Island in New York City. Basie’s tenor sax stars, Lester Young and Herschel Evans, sharing solos on “Texas Shuffle.” Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson—on harpsichord instead of his usual piano—performing “Lady Be Good!” And the list goes on. The collection is, in a word, historic.
And, Morgenstern says, “the sound quality of many of these works is amazing. Some of it is of pristine quality. It is a cultural treasure and should be made widely available.” The question, however, is whether that will happen anytime soon. And if it doesn’t, music fans might be justified in putting the blame on copyright law.