documentaries

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The Lost Arcade: documentary about Manhattan's last arcade

The Lost Arcade, a documentary about the encroachment of gentrficiation upon the last real video arcade in Manhattan, is now available to watch online.

Directed by Kurt P. Vincent, the story is as much about the Chinatown Fair’s community as the games, celebrating the final years of a pop culture phenomenon that moved into our homes so slowly we never realized what we were losing.

“I wanted to create a film that would capture the spirit that hit me the first time I walked through those doors,” writes Vincent. “There was a melting pot of a community that congregated there, where all walks of life came together and shared one common interest: video games. It was a microcosm of what New York was all about. Not the overpriced New York we’ve come to accept, but what this city originally stood for and still does when you look deep enough.”

The Lost Arcade sheds a behind-the-scenes light into the demise of arcade culture, as it coincided with the rise of home console and online gaming, and showcases the dichotomy of how gamers connected then vs. now. But more importantly, it highlights the diversity and camaraderie among the competitive gamer community that arcades like Chinatown Fair were so uniquely able to foster.

View links: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, VHX, Vimeo, and Vudu.

Previously: The Lost Arcade: doc about rebirth of legendary NYC arcade

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Interview with a man who manufactured 750,000,000 Doses of LSD

Peter Sjöstedt-H interviewed famous 1960s acid chemist Tim Scully for High Existence.

In 1977 Tim Scully was imprisoned for the manufacture of LSD, a high-standard variety thereof well known in the 1960s as Orange Sunshine. Following his release in 1980, Scully returned to a life concerned more with electronics than with acid-infused ideology. The story of his acid adventures with Nick Sand have been documented in the new film The Sunshine Makers – philosopher Peter Sjöstedt-H here asks Tim Scully eight questions stemming therefrom.

In the documentary you complained of “bad trips” after your run in with the law. Do you believe that the so-called “bad trip” can be beneficial?

There wasn’t room in a 90 minute film to explain this point fully. During the time from late 1966 through mid-1970 I was frequently followed by federal agents. I had to lose them before doing anything important. They knew that I knew that they were following me and I knew that they knew.

In mid-1968 my 2nd Denver lab was busted as shown in the film when I was out of town. I was arrested by federal agents in the spring of 1969 on a fugitive warrant from Denver. I was able to get bailed out but I was facing a possible 56 year prison sentence in Colorado and I spent the next several years commuting to Denver for court proceedings. That didn’t stop me from continuing my work in the LSD underground.

In the summer of 1970 at the very end of my involvement in the LSD underground I went to Chicago to pick up a tablet machine and I found that I was being followed by federal agents after I drove away. In the past I’d been followed by federal agents many times but I’d always been able to lose them. That last time I was completely unable to shake the tail. That was frightening; at the time I was free on appeal bond from my bust in Denver and being followed by federal agents for the tablet machine was not a good thing, to put it mildly. I ended up arranging for that tablet machine to be sold to a company making candy. Then I returned to an LSD purification lab I had been working in and had a lab accident that caused me to get very high. That’s when I had a really bad trip in which I saw federal agents in the woods surrounding the lab. I interpreted that as a clear message from my unconscious that it was time for me to quit and I did.

Yes I believe that bad trips can sometimes be beneficial even though they are very frightening. It may take some work to come to an understanding of the material that comes up in a bad trip but the result of that work can be useful insight.

Here’s the trailer for The Sunshine Makers (2017):

And here is the trailer for “The Sunshine Makers” (1935), which is basically the same story:

https://youtu.be/zQGN0UwuJxw

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A Good American: a documentary about Bill Binney, an NSA whistleblower who says 9/11 could have been prevented

Bill Binney resigned from the NSA in October 2001, after 30 years with the agency where he was viewed as one of their best analysts: he quit because he believed that Bush-appointed leaders in the Agency had chosen to respond to the challenge of electronic communications by building out illegal, indiscriminate mass-surveillance programs that left the country vulnerable to terrorists while diverting billions to private contractors with political connections.
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