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SXSW 2009: “We Live in Public.”

SXSW 2009: “We Live in Public.” (photo)

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Josh Harris might just be too good a subject for a film. A dotcom millionaire, Harris was unerringly ahead of his time, seeing promise in the internet before it really existed, focusing on chat at the dawn of services like Prodigy, moving into web-only TV before there was even infrastructure for it, and putting the home life of himself and his girlfriend online 24/7 all the way back in 2001. (The fact that by the end of “We Live in Public” he’s been forced to flee to Ethiopia to escape his creditors seems today merely more evidence of forward thinking.) Such was Harris’ foresight that the filmmaker he picked to document his work some ten years ago was Ondi Timoner, now the only director to twice win the top nonfiction prize at Sundance. Timoner was there to capture his rise and the fall and to get some truly spectacular footage, which she assembles with plenty of snap, crackle and pop. But she can’t bear not to editorialize on top of it all, and the conclusion she draws, a cautionary one about how putting your personal life on the web in exchange for the attention it brings is a faustian bargain, seems as dated as a dial-up connection.

If there is a lesson to be learned from Harris, it’s probably more like: Being ahead of the curve doesn’t mean a damn thing, not unless you’re also able to act on it. When Harris pools together the last of his once formidable theoretical fortune and crawls back to the tech world years later in search of funding, new business plan in hand, no one even knows who he is. And he isn’t perfectly clear on that point either. He’s a web entrepreneur at the dawn of the age of internet fame, a pop-eyed geek who mistakes himself for a celebrity and puts his business on the backburner in order to pursue experiments like Quiet, an extravagant month-long art installation/party in which attendees wore uniforms, slept in pods, showered and shat in the open and were filmed the whole time. It’s a project Harris claimed reflected his vision of what life in the wired future would be like. When that wound down, he convinced his new girlfriend Tanya Corrin to move in with him for a 100 day adventure in continually webcast cohabitation, broadcast 24/7 at The many cameras around their Manhattan apartment mean that the implosion of their relationship by day 81 is squirmingly well documented.


“We Live in Public” often feels like it’s on fast forward, Harris’ fortune won and lost in an hour, the quick-cut images of the Silicon Alley heyday bleeding into ones of 9/11 and the more somber and sober New York that followed, producing a sense of overloaded shell-shock. As we get a decade on from the dot com days, the common reading of the era seems to be one of hubris and also of failed idealism, but Harris’ manipulation of everyone around him was misanthropic, playing off their worst exhibitionist tendencies, his idea of an internet-shaped world fascistic. And yet, even as his business was failing and his lover walking out the door, he did everything he could to maintain his place in the online game, and maybe that’s the most telling thing all.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.