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The Cultural Blender



April 2007: "The Cultural Blender 1" wmv streaming video file for Windows Media. It is 9 min. and 16 seconds long and streams at 512kbps. The file is 33.8MB. It is streaming from this site, and can be paused till buffering is complete if there is a problem streaming to older computers or slower browsers.If you have Mozilla Firefox you need to install the Windows media plug in available from the Mozilla site. The player is full functioned and is set to 512kbps. In Windows Explorer 6, the video will stream at 200percent. In Firefox, Right click and choose 200%. Right click zoom: full screen for the largest picture. Mac Users have to go to YouTube or Google. Links are below.


Click the "magazine covers" below to see some of the individual pages which are now complete for several of the "icons" featured in the movie and on the "Cultural Iconography Page." The video is rated PG-13 and contains some nudity with photos in the Marilyn Monroe section. A "censored" version can be seen on YouTube where Marilyn is wearing a bikini.

Our Icons are Pop Icons

The Shirley Temple Page The Marilyn Monroe Page The John Wayne Page The Elvis Presley page



Download mpg file HERE The download file is a high quality mpeg file which can be viewed full screen on your computer. Since the file is large, it may take several minutes to download. Right click on the link and "save target as" to your computer.

Cultural Blender Part 1 (2007) 9.16 Mpeg 2 file 256 MB



Over one month in the making! I had the "wrap party" on April 18th. I'm finally finished with Part 1 of "The Cultural Blender Movie". The renovation project I began back in February for this website included plans to create a video of the "icons in the blender". Almost all my free time since has been relegated to constructing individual webpages, updating the total design of the website, and using my new Sony Vegas video editing software to make the movie, which will eventually incorporate all 40 or so images in the blender graphic. Future movies will encompass the worlds of pop music. (Two or the "images" in the blender are the "jukebox" and the 45 rpm single record player, which affords me the whole history of pop music from which to choose.)

The first internet movie is 9 minutes and 16 seconds long. Almost two minutes of "credits" are included at the end of the video, sourcing the music, film and video footage, and giving web addresses for the official sites of the icons featured, so there's only about 7 minutes of animated footage. Part 1 of the video contains the following American pop culture icons in order of appearance.

Shirley Temple, Coca Cola, Napster, John Wayne, Jesus Christ, Elvis, John F. Kennedy, the lunar landing, Star Trek, Howdy Doody, The Lone Ranger, Davy Crockett, Marilyn Monroe, Arnold Schwarzenegger, cigarette advertising, Richard M. Nixon, and the Smiley face. Each icon is given a few seconds of footage, and the animation consists of layered images, video, music, and sound bytes. This is almost like a "living web page" from AllThingsMike. I have tried to assure that everything is high quality, and that I've given credit for everything I am featuring. Most of the images were gained in countless web searches beginning in 2001, when I created this website. I use a lot of the chroma key and pan and zoom features familiar from slideshow programs, but everything has been personally manipulated.

There are 329 separate images and numerous sound bytes included in these nine minutes. I made almost a dozen overlays in order to get the amount of layers I needed. Watching the video again the night before I finally uploaded it to my server, I was still finding "mistakes" and want to tweak it some more, and the footage I compiled first is not as "professional" as the later footage, but if I keep tweaking it I would never present it. The credit sequence alone took two full evenings to complete.

I'm quite proud of my latest "baby". I always wanted to see one of my videos "take off" like other famous viral videos on the internet. Perhaps this is the one. I know that nine minutes is "long" in internet time, and because of the quality and the size of the file, the video will load slower on some computers. As usual I give my readers a chance to sample the video in a number of ways.

1. GOOD. There is a feed on my Xanga blog, with ratings and boost capabilities for subscribers of my blog. The quality has been compromised somewhat on their server.

2. SO SO. The Google feed. is not as clean as the Xanga feed, but is available.

3. BETTER. The best quality stream is above on this page. It begins immediately when you click the page, so you might have to hit pause on the player until the buffering is complete if you have trouble viewing the stream. It will play in whatever plugin you have designated for your computer. (Windows media, Quicktime, or Realplayer, to name three.

4. BEST. Above is the download link which is available for a limited time of the complete 256MB Mpeg2 version of the movie. This is the highest quality video version available, Right click the link and "save target as" to your computer, in order to have your own "copy" of this video. It could take up to a half hour to download the file to your computer, but once on your computer, you can view at will without delay anytime you wish. (I will disable the download when my server bandwidth limit is reached, hence the "limited time".)

5."MODIFIED VERSION" A "modified version" of the video has been uploaded to my YouTube Channel HERE. This version "clothes" the nudity of the Tom Kelley photographs in the Marilyn Monroe sequence. Since YouTube doesn't allow nudity, this "YouTube safe" version is the best bet for viewers who are disinclined to view nudity, even from an artisic standpoint.

6. MAC USERS. I cannot make quicktime files with my software.

Below are some screen captures from the movie. All were captured from the uncompressed avi version of the movie on my hard drive, and saved as jpgs in the Picture Publisher program. These captures highlight some of the images of the cultural icons featured in the blender video. The Sony Vegas software has much more editable transitions than the Pinnacle Studio software I have used in the past for my online videos. I "learned" the Vegas program while making this video, which is by far my most intricate animated work for the internet, so some of the sequences are better than others as I learned more shortcuts and better ways to manipulate the images.



Left: The title sequence has the blender jump off the counter of a "dream kitchen" of the fifites, and the icons are given a "grating" by the blender prior to presenting themselves. The whole idea of the Cultural Blender is that our cultural icons all have equal weight in cyberspace. Right: The first images of the video show a zoom into the kitchen of the house pictured on this "all American suburb" street. The 1956 Chevy Nomad station wagon is one of my Danbury Mint models, and I shot it in front of my HDTV with the 'bluescreen' for the chroma key effect, and during the process actually scratched my HDTV screen, but the scratch doesn't show up when watching movies thank God.

Left: From the Coca Cola sequnce, which was shot later than some of the other sequences appearing at the beginning of the video, and then inserted later. I was not going to include but one image of a coke bottle, but there are so many great images online for Coca Cola that I included more "footage" of this advertising icon. There is actually even more transitions that I didn't use and that might show up in a "director's cut" a little later. Right: The John Wayne footage just had to include the closing moments from his most iconic film, John Ford's "The Searchers". Since I couldn't download the actual footage from a YouTube video, I set up my camera on a tripod and "shot" the video streaming from YouTube. It isn't crystal clear, but doesn't have to be.

Left: A segment of the Elvis section. The photos of Hollywood in the Elvis and the Marilyn sections are my own, from my Hollywood Blvd. series of photos on my Webshots Gallery. Right: Star Trek is included in the Blender, and this shot of the original Enterprise "docking" with the blender is one of the most "three dimenisonal" images in the video, but was accomplished with still photos, and not a model.

The Marilyn Monroe section of the video takes the most time, and was lovingly assembled at the same time I created the Marilyn Monroe webpage. I didn't even include some of the composites I made because of the length of the segment. The Marilyn footage was problematical, becuase it includes nude photos of the actress from her calendar shoot in the early 50s. Because I cannot afford to lost my YouTube account because of censorship, I self censored the sections showing nudity by "clothing" Marilyn. The image on the right became the "YouTube" image for the video, as it is halfway through the movie. There are some "easter eggs" or "winks" included in the video. Hint: One of Marilyn's photos is not actually Marilyn Monroe, but another more recent (hopefully) iconic actress "playing" her in the photograph. Other "easter eggs" appear in the Smiley Face section and the end credit sequence.

Left: Another "kitchen" sequence introducing the Arnold Schwarzenegger section. The kitchen background began as a photo from a Google search on 50s kitchens, and I "tweaked" the image, adding additional "appliances" besides the Blender. The "housewife" is "borrowed" from the cover image from James Lilek's book "The Gallery of Regrettable Food" Lilek's website: "The Institute of Official Cheer" is one of the early inspirations for the Cultural Blender, and I have linked to his site from the Channels page of this website since 2001. Right: Images of Arnold from the Schwarzenegger section, including a video and soundbytes from his movies.

Left: A still showing the Old Gold dancing pack, an L&M pack, and the beginning of the Winston television ad, from the Cigarette Advertising section of the Blender. Most of the cigarette advertising I got for this segment was from an excellent website featuring both print and television ads from America's history. Right: Some of the many images in the Smiley Face section, which ends part one of the Cultural Blender Movie.


allthingsmike© and ©

©, ElectricPoetry © 1999-2007 MikeVideo Enterprises and Michael F. Nyiri. All original essays, poetry, and art are copyrighted, and cannot be used without permission. The author is pleased to see his words on the pages distributed by others, but only if permission is granted. All popular cultural and news images are taken from the internet in general, and no copyright enfringement is implied by the use of these images. Some images used in composites might be copyright, but all attempts to identify and credit all images is ongoing. If you see words or images that are not credited correctly, please email the webmaster

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Cultural Blender uses images and references to American Popular Culture. So even though, in the interest of science, images and references are used, full credit will always be given, or at least attempted, within the context of this document. On the “Channels” page, where links to these sites will be posted, there constitutes a bibliography , of sorts. If you see a photo., part of a composite, mention of a trend or a feature of American Popular Culture which you do not believe I have documented correctly,please email the webmaster.

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