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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.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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