Friday, March 18, 2011

Found Footage Festival comes to BottleTree

The Found Footage Festival, the acclaimed touring showcase of odd and hilarious found videos, will debut its brand-new show in Birmingham this month. Hosts Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, whose credits include The Onion and the Late Show with David Letterman, are excited to present their new lineup of found video clips and live comedy on Saturday, March 26th (8 p.m.) at the BottleTree (3719 3rd Ave. South). They are also proud to announce that the show will be preceded by a 25th anniversary screening of the legendary short documentary, "Heavy Metal Parking Lot." Tickets are $10 and are available at

The Found Footage Festival is a one-of-a-kind event showcasing videos found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout North America. Curators Pickett and Prueher host each screening in-person and provide their unique observations and commentary on these found video obscurities. From the curiously-produced industrial training video to the forsaken home movie donated to Goodwill, the Found Footage Festival resurrects these forgotten treasures and serves them up in a lively celebration of all things found.

Among the new clips to be featured in the Volume 5 program:

-Self-hypnosis videos about how to be a better lover, businessman, and bowler
-A 1986 home movie taken during a debaucherous weekend in Florida
-A collection of ventriloquism how-to videos that will forever haunt you
-A brand-new compilation of exercise videos featuring Cher, Lyle Alzado and the American Gladiators

The Found Footage Festival was founded in New York in 2004 and has gone on to sell out hundreds of shows across the U.S. and Canada, including the HBO Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. The festival has been featured on National Public Radio, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and G4 TV's Attack of the Show, and has been named a critic's pick in dozens of publications, including The Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune. The FFF can also be seen twice a week in a popular web series on The Onion's A.V. Club, in the hit documentary "Winnebago Man" and in a forthcoming book by Running Press.


Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett began collecting found videotapes in 1991 after stumbling across a training video entitled, "Inside and Outside Custodial Duties," at a McDonald's in their home state of Wisconsin. Since then, they have compiled an impressive collection of strange, outrageous and profoundly stupid videos. Pickett, a writer/director, and Prueher, a former researcher at the Late Show with David Letterman, have written for The Onion and Entertainment Weekly and directed the award-winning documentary, "Dirty Country" (, now available on DVD. They are also the masterminds behind the Kenny "K-Strass" Strasser yo-yo pranks that hit local morning TV news shows across the Midwest and have since racked up millions of hits on YouTube.


Called one of the "greatest rock movies of ever" by Cameron Crowe, "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" will receive a rare theatrical screening at the Found Footage Festival in honor of its 25th anniversary. Videotaped in a concert arena parking lot before a Judas Priest show in Maryland in 1986, the short documentary began as bootlegged videotape but has since been hailed as an anthropological masterpiece by USA Today, SPIN, VH1, GQ, and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. For more information about the film and directors John Heyn and Jeff Krulik, visit


The BottleTree is a live music venue with an emphasis on national touring acts, and also a wonderful restaurant that serves an eclectic mix of food that caters heavily to vegetarians and features locally grown, seasonal vegetables. The venue is located at 3719 3rd Ave. South in Birmingham. Tickets to the Found Footage Festival are $10 and are available at or at the door.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TEDx is Coming to Birmingham

TEDx is coming to Birmingham!

Birmingham – TEDxRedMountain will make its official debut in Birmingham on May 19, 2011 from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m. TEDxRedMountain offers an opportunity to connect with proven and successful visionaries who have propelled ideas into action and will feature presentations by local thought leaders focusing on the theme “Forge On: Galvanizing Ideas for the Future.”

Interested speakers and attendees must apply to participate in the limited-space event. Applications will be available at starting March 11. Speaker applications must be received by March 31 and attendee applications must be received by April 15 to be considered for admission.

About TEDx (x = independently organized event)

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to organize local, independent TED-like events around the world; and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

TED2011, “The Rediscovery of Wonder,” was held February 28-March 4, 2011, in Long Beach, California, with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs, California.


Tracy Smith

Gail Cosby

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New: BFP Music is Now Online

What is BFP Music? It's your music. We don't need to write some drivel about how your favorite band reminds us of King Crimson, or how we choose to categorize their sound, it's all like apricot wine, or chocolate truffles.

Our terms...local, local, local. If it has a local connection, you'll see it here. Old, new, future, we don't care. Primarily we'll focus on music from Birmingham. But we're game for Alabama stuff too. Country, pop, rock, alternative, we don't give a crap. If your pet rats make music on their exercise wheel...we want to see it.

You can view our posts at, stop by our Facebook page, Birmingham Freepress-music, or follow the link from our website.

The philosophy behind Free Press music is that art speaks for itself. We might fill in some details: show dates, history of the band, members, what the band members wore to bed last night, that sort of thing. But we intend to keep it simple. We might throw a comment onto the Facebook page. You might find a review, if it's really good, in the features section of the paper. But we intend to keep the boring stuff that nobody reads out of BFP Music.

Please email questions, comments or anything you want to see us post to:

OK then. That's that.