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Darkon


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This is a great film about very ordinary people trying to break out of their humdrum lives. The subjects are the type of people who once seem utterly odd, but now … less so. They are the folks who dress up in historical costumes and role play in fantasy worlds. They are members of Darkon, a live-action role-playing game that’s been continuing for 25 years. Every two weekends hundreds of Darkon enthusiasts take over parks in the DC area and stage physical battles for imaginary cells on a paper map. They use foam padded weapons with intricate rules of combat. Everyone takes the game and their roles almost creepily seriously. The elf clan speaks elfish to each other! It’s a combination of martial arts, Dungeons & Dragons, re-enactments, World of Warcraft, and a 25-year strategy board game. Sales clerks become white knights, house dads become heroes. Maybe. We follow the dreams of an upstart wannabe king as he challenges the reigning imperial army to several foam battles. It is what he lives for. The entire time this film magically transverses that very thin line between: grow up, “it’s only a game” and “all life is a game,” this too counts. The extreme dedication of these multitudes to this surrogate world is both pathetic and totally inspiring. Their enthusiasm is no more misplaced than say someone who spends years trying to put a tiny white ball in a hole in the grass. But it is a hundred times more creative. This film captures the immense passion by which these misfits pursue their vocation. It’s a great view of the human spirit. All hail Darkon!

– KK

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Darkon
Luke Meyer, Andrew Neel
2006, 90 minutes
DVD, $20

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted June 17, 2011 at 9:58 am | comments
in category Play


SRL: 10 Years of Robotic Mayhem


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Who wouldn’t want to see machines destroy other machines? Long before Battle Bots, Terminator and the Matrix series, Mark Pauline and his collective of avant guarde engineers have been staging demolition derbies featuring custom built mechanical monsters. They spit fire, explode, squash metal, whack off parts and grind each other up – within feet of onlookers packed into a parking lot or highway underpass. The aim is to create danger and provoke the audience out of its passivity. This compendium of four past performances is the best of their influential grunge theater and robotic art.

– KK

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Survival Research Laboratories: 10 Years of Robotic Mayhem
Directed by Jonathan Reiss
2004, 60 min
$20, DVD

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted June 5, 2006 at 6:00 pm | comments
| in category Play


America’s Funniest Home Videos


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Go ahead and laugh. We do. This is slapstick comedy at its best and worst. Despite what our mothers told us, we laugh at other people falling down, getting hit, hitting themselves, throwing up, playing pranks, getting pranked, and being very stupid. I can’t explain it, but no matter how many different ways you see it, it’s still funny to watch a baby whack her daddy in the groin, or the bride fall into her wedding cake, or the idiot sled into the parked car. Without commercials, this version of the TV show is relentless in its delivery of visual gags.

– KK

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America's Funniest Home Videos: Volume 1
Directed by Vin Di Bona
1990, 720 min.
$2 per episode, Amazon Instant Video rental

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted May 11, 2006 at 5:00 am | comments
in category Play