May 9, 2009


Category: Documentaries,Documentary,Events,Urban Farming — Biella @ 7:26 am

If you are into sustainable farming this movie will likely catch your fancy.There is a screening here in NYC at the end of May. Supposedly they are going to stream the movie online, which I certainly hope to be the case. A political documentary that is behind bars is really not so useful and is a contradictory project as well.

If you are into the idea of farming but live in the city, and New York City in specific, you can attend a Htink workshop on May 17th and start urban farming.

September 9, 2007

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Category: Documentary,Games,Tech — Biella @ 5:40 am

I spent much of my early childhood at the video arcade. I was fortunate enough to have a best friend who 1) Lived in the old quarters of San Juan where you could walk everywhere 2) Had three older teenage sisters who would take us when we were still quite young to the arcade, which also doubled as a fantastic ice-cream parlor.

My favorite game there was galaga, and I played it incessantly (and had to use a foot stool too!!) As a result of all that childhood gaming, I am still pretty half decent at it. For example, I more often than not beat my partner (except under less than auspicious conditions, like being sleep deprived), which is pretty unbelievable as he is much more of a video game wizard than I and otherwise beats me in everything.
Back in my first year in grad school, a cohort of us would play Galaga after our large theory class, and I would also always win (and by a lot and then get crushed at foosball).

So of course when I heard that there was a documentary on the very genre of arcade games that consumed so much of my early childhood, King of Kong and a movie that was rumored to leave you at the edge of your seat (which seemed like an impossibility to me), I decided to fork over the cash and check it out in the movie theatre last night.

And it was well worth every penny. The movie somehow managed to capture a story and set of subjective experiences that I think are incredibly hard to portray via film: the individual and social intimacy that comes with machine interaction. The story lines revolves around two very different characters who are masters at conquering one of the hardest video games in the world, Donkey Kong and are trying to clinch the world record. The tale of rivalry between them is really good in and of itself and probably without this drama, the movie would have not worked. But what I also found amazing was how the movie conveyed the persistence of the (older) game. They live on in the lives of individuals and collectives, despite the rise of a whole, new class of games that are much more popular today. I am not sure how much longer they will live on, or if the movie was also inadvertently portraying the rise and slow decline of an era that will, in another 50 years, become part of the archive of dead history.

Whatever the case, if you had a loving relationship with these games (or your friends or parents did), check out the movie. It really has some incredible footage and moments and will make you want to run to that old arcade, once again.