Friday, January 31, 2014

Every day, a new discovery: Stairway to Stardom!

Yes! Every day, and in every way, I'm getting better and better. I don't know how I've lived so long without Stairway to Stardom, which actually appeared in a short Wikipedia entry:

Stairway to Stardom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stairway to Stardom was a public-access television series aired in New York City from 1979 to the early 1990s. It was described by NPR as "an amateur talent show many see as a low-rent precursor to American Idol."[1] Filmed "in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement,"[2] the host Frank Masi would bring on amateur singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians to show off their questionable talents. Describing the show, The A.V. Club claimed that "without exaggeration, it was one of the greatest shows ever to be on television."[3]
Clips of the show have appeared on the web and gained a cult following.[4] The opening theme song was performed by Steve Luisi and All The King's Men.

I wouldn't have found these gorgeous and  gif-ready YouTube clips (God, just think of the gifs. . .stand back, I hope you like gifs, because this is about to become an all-gif blog) without the guidance of a wonderful Facebook page called Kitsch Bitsch. When I first started watching them, I thought someone had mislabelled old SCTV variety show broadcasts from Melonville. But no! This was a real show that went on and on for years, though by now most of the slightly-chubby and/or crazed contestants are either middle-aged or dead.

Aieeee. This could be the start of something big, or something awful, however you want to look at it. It seems to me these choice bits from Stairway to Stardom are being uploaded by the dozen now. Having watched a few, the cheesy camera effects are perhaps my favorite touch. But oh, I just don't know where to start!

Prehistoric Skype and other artifacts from the dark ages of the internet

Don't ask me where I find these things. My wonderful Gifsforum site has given me options I never had before, including dicking around with size, color intensity, and "frames" per second, yielding a sort of Charlie Chaplin effect. Add this to a bizarre snippet from an early '90s (or late '80s - it looks too old for '90s) preview of The Internet, and you have some mighty strange things going on. I think this was some sort of magical preview of a primitive proto-Skype. 

Compressed gifs have a sense of surrealism about them, and also upload much more easily because they have fewer whatchamacallits. Which is about the summit of my technical knowledge. It's only because these things are now ridiculously easy to make that I am able to do this at all. The only real challenge comes in isolating exactly the few xeconds you want, and adding effects.

More to come! I should try to do some Year of the Horse ones, because today is the actual day. And wouldn't you know it, now I find out that being a Wood Horse isn't lucky at all this year. But it was ever thus! Next week I get my galleys! Another step towards horsedom in my personal quest to get back on that mythical horse, which has taken me years and years.

SPECIAL BONUS GIFS! These are taken from a YouTube video of a 1981 news report, describing how those lunatic subversives at the San Franciso Examiner want to put their newspaper on "home computer".
This sad-looking guy is identified as someone who Owns Home Computer, as if he used to work in the circus or something, or has six heads.

 This piece practically claims you have to pry the top off your monitor to get your paper and uses some gorgeous affects such as a red dial-up phone that has to be crammed with great force into some strange thingammy. My favorite is the techie who has to duck down to see the rapidly-moving, Flintstonesque type on his monitor, which looks like Diver Dan's helmet on a bad day.

 In the background is an office that resembles The Daily Planet in the 1940s. I'll bet you any money those guys are going to the coffee room for a smoke. Great Caesar's Ghost!

Ah! Your morning newspaper, no longer delivered to your door all soggy and dog-drooled-on, and without having to pay some punk paperboy who probably has a Ponzi scheme going on the side! No, we're high-tech here, and we get our newspapers on our HOME COMPUTER! That is, if you can read a monitor that's six inches square!

An ad for your Electronic Examiner - on your HOME COMPUTER! Isn't that a little hard to pull off? Steve Jobs was probably in kindergarten then. Like that first primordial creature who bravely crawled up out of the ooze and eventually became human, he ascended from the mud of primitive technology and saved the world. Or something. Or just messed it up in a different way, but at least now there's Kijiji.