Tag Archives: ” YouTube

“Lost Film” Resurfaces

In the 3 days since it was posted on YouTube, a “Lost Film” has rocketed around the internet.

Well, at least on Facebook groups filled with folks who grew up in Westport in the 1960s and ’70s.

The 4:30 color video — grainy and jerky, with scenes of teenagers, Weston center, downtown (including the old YMCA and Mobil station, now Vineyard Vines), a 1-light cop car and the 9-building, 1-story Staples High School — is made much more compelling by dream-like music. For those who lived here then, it’s almost like stepping into a time warp.

A scene from "Lost Film." The Main Street building on the left -- now the Gap -- was then a furniture store.

A scene from “Lost Film.” The Main Street building on the left — now the Gap — was then a furniture store.

It’s safe to assume that “Lost Film” — the YouTube title — means that whoever shot it finally found it, decades later.

The story is stranger than that.

It turns out that in 1970 or so, Staples Class of ’72 member John S. Johnson and 2 friends — Wayne Vosburgh and John Fisher — found the 16mm film on campus.

Because home projectors then were 8mm, they asked the librarian for help. She set them up in a room. They did not think much of what they saw.

For the past 46 years, the spool remained in Johnson’s dresser drawer. He sometimes thought about transferring the film to video.

Walking downtown, by Westport Taxi. It was located a few doors down from what is now Tiffany.

Walking downtown, by Westport Taxi. It was located a few doors down from what is now Tiffany.

Last week — before leaving on a trip to Westport — he dropped it off at a local shop to get it done.

After viewing the digitized version, his perspective changed. Johnson realized each scene went by too quickly to dissect and reminisce.

He slowed it down about 50%. Then he added the ethereal music.

The video says “circa 1967.” Johnson now believes it was made around 1969.

It shows teenagers in Westport in a very specific point in time.

But it’s also timeless.

(Hat tips: Bill Scheffler and Mary Gai)


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A Merry Marpe Christmas

First Selectman Jim Marpe extends season’s greetings to all Westporters, the YouTube way.

If there’s a Tumblr, Instagram or Snapchat version, “06880” will let you know too!

(If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here.)

Will You Go To The Prom With Me?

On Saturday, juniors Khaliq Sanda and Roscoe Brown found a new way to ask girls to the prom.

Presumably they’ll drive — not fly — to the dance next month.

(Click here if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube.)

April Fool’s: The “Where The Hell Is Matt?” Edition

Monday’s “06880” post on removing 80% of Westport’s traffic lights was my little April Fool’s joke.

(What? You JUST NOW realized it wasn’t true? Holy crap!)

Meanwhile, YouTube posted its own — more intricate but (IMHO) less funny — April Fool’s prank.

YouTube “announced” that the past 8 years have been an elaborate contest. As of midnight Monday — April 1! — they’d shut down, review every video ever uploaded, and pick one ultimate “winner.”

What makes this blog-worthy is that YouTube gives 2 shout-outs to Matt Harding — the 1994 Staples grad whose videos of himself dancing poorly, from Macchu Picchu to Mongolia (and every place in between) made him an early YouTube sensation. (Later, it earned him corporate contracts.)

First, the April Fool’s video shows a brief clip of Matt in mid-dance.

Later, he’s “interviewed.”

YouTube April Fool - Matt Harding

“I better win,” he snarls. “Otherwise, all those years of traveling the world were a waste of time.”

You can watch the video below. (Click here, if your browser does not link directly.)

And for those of you who are easily snookered, remember: It’s a joke!

Mia Gentile Steems You

“1-800-StanleySteemer, the carpet cleaner” is not the world’s most obnoxious remember-this-phone-number jingle.

That honor goes to 1-877-Kars4Kids. Hands down.

The real Mia Gentile.

But even if you think Stanley Steemer is only mildly repellent, you won’t want to miss Mia Gentile‘s music video.

Sure, she repeats the melody over and over. And over. And over again.

But each version is only a few seconds long.

Each is sung in a different genre. There’s jazz. Opera. Girl group. Country. Latin. Torch song. Punk rock. Gospel. Lady Gaga.

Combined with dozens of costume changes, a rollicking piano accompaniment, and Mia’s versatile, vibrant voice, the result is a YouTube video that has — of course — gone viral.

It got 500 hits a couple of hours after Mia posted it on a few Facebook walls. Within a day, there were 13,000.

Now it’s nearing 50,000 hits.

Not bad for a video done just for fun. This was no guerrilla marketing ploy.

Mia Gentile, pitching Stanley Steemer.

Hopefully, though, it will bring the talented 2007 Staples grad — a veteran of Players shows like “Cabaret,” “The Wiz” and “Children of Eden,” who went on the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and earned praise for her regional theater work in plays like “Next to Normal” — to the attention of Broadway casting directors.

Or at least, the producers at a show like “Ellen.”

Mia first recorded “1-800-StanleySteemer” as a voice demo. It was a way to prove her range of styles.

Roger Klug — a very talented rock musician, writer and producer, who collaborated with her on the project — wanted her to turn her jingles into a music video.

The idea sat on the back burner while Mia auditioned in New York. When she returned to Cincinnati, though — performing every night in “Normal,” and singing in jazz clubs — she finally knocked out the video.

It took a few days to come up with costumes. But it was a fun project. Now it’s taking on a life of its own.

Mia, Mia and Mia — a ’50s girl group.

The Facebook friends whose walls Mia shyly posted the video on forwarded it along. It found its way to Reddit, Tumblr and College Humor. Quickly, it went viral.

“It wasn’t our intention to do this for casting directors, but that’s a happy byproduct,” Mia says. “Casting directors want to put you in a box. If people can see I can play a variety of types, that would be great.”

In less than 3 minutes, the video proves, Mia can sing just about any style, and perform just about any role.

Mia and Mia channel Lady Gaga.

Including a sexy woman in a sequin skirt, oozing sensuality while singing about a carpet cleaner: call Mia Gentile.

Though not at 1-800-StanleySteemer.

Click below for Mia Gentile’s YouTube viral video.)

It Won’t Win Any Oscars, But…

..for a great, wide window into Staples and Westport life in 1972, this YouTube video gets our vote.

Does this make you nostalgic for back-in-the-day? Are you glad you grew up then — or are you glad you’re growing up now? Click “comments” for thoughts as random as this video.

Cory’s Story

Last week, “06880” reported on the latest viral video: 6-year-old Ethan, a young Westporter with autism whose rendition of “Piano Man” has taken the internet by storm.

But can you make a video go viral — even for a cause as important as saving lives?

Dave Stalling — a Westport native, and father of an 11-year old boy — recently asked himself that question. So he created an emotional, heartfelt YouTube plea about his son. Cory has a fatal disease: Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“Funny and often silly videos go viral and get the attention of the world,” says Dave. “It may seem naive, or perhaps just a desperate attempt by a desperate father who loves his son. But I hope this more serious video will go viral enough to get the attention of influential, caring people who can make a huge difference and help save the lives of my son, and thousands of boys like him.”

Cory Stalling and his dad, Dave.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease for which there is currently no cure. But researchers are very close to finding effective treatments. Clinical trials are underway, with promising results. However, more money and support is needed.

“My hope is to raise awareness about Duchenne, strengthen support for finding a cure, and help us turn hope into reality,” Dave says. “I’m simply asking people to take 5 minutes of their lives to help boys like my son have full lives.”

Dave, who grew up in Westport and graduated from Staples in 1979 — where his mother still lives — often brings his son here to visit from his home in Montana. Photos in the video show Cory playing at Compo Beach and Sherwood Island, and boating and swimming in Long Island Sound.

Click on the video below — and then share it far and wide. For donation details, click here.

What The Hell Is Matt Doing Now?

Most internet sensations have the shelf life of a firefly.

But Matt Harding dances on.

The 1994 Staples graduate earned international acclaim the same time YouTube came of age.  Abandoning what he thought would be his life work — designing video games — Matt decided to travel the world.

In 2003, he did an impromptu dance in Hanoi.  A friend filmed him, and a tradition began.

By 2006 people around the planet were viewing his videos.  He danced — “badly,” which was part of the charm — in Mongolia, Cambodia, Antarctica, Machu Picchu, Namibia, New York, Fiji and Iceland.

And everywhere in between.

Matt Harding and friends in Papua, New Guinea.

Over 75 million folks watched him.  His videos — showing him dancing on a crab-filled South Pacific Beach; in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan; in the slums of Mumbai — are goofy, gleeful, and oddly compelling.

Sometimes he dances alone.  In the DMZ, 1 somber Korean soldier stood behind him.  Usually, though — in the plazas of Buenos Aires, the villages of New Guinea, the plains of Africa — folks of all ages giddily join in.

And Matt dances on.

Last summer he danced in places most people hesitate even to walk:  Haiti.  Iraq.  Afghanistan.

He was welcomed joyfully.  “I keep learning, and re-learning, that people are friendly, everywhere I go,” Matt told KING-TV last week.  He lives in Seattle now, and the local station caught up with him there.

In 2011, he heads to Cuba.

“I’m still dancing,” he said.  “It’s become my job.

“This is what I do.  And I can’t think of anything better to do.”

Last summer Matt danced -- and juggled balls -- in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Steamboat Soaps

What do you get when you cross “The Office” with “All My Children“?

Steamboat:  The Series.”  It’s one of the most popular comedy offerings on YouTube — and a smash hit for Westporter Scott Bryce.

Scott Bryce

“Steamboat” is a soap satire.  Scott — a veteran actor who directed all 5 episodes — calls it “a behind-the-scenes look at the last desperate, dying days of a daytime soap opera.”

He shot “Steamboat” in just 1 day, at Norwalk’s Palace Digital Studios and the SoNo Academy.

Scott’s soap bones are strong.  He played Craig Montgomery on 113 episodes of “As The World Turns“; he’s been on other soaps, and his father — Ed Bryce — starred (off and on) as Bill Bauer on “Guiding Light,” from 1959 to 1983.

It was Ed’s TV “grandson” — Dr. Rick Bauer, played by actor Michael O’Leary — who called Scott last year, when “Guiding Light” was canceled after a 57-year (!) run.

Scott put together a cast of soap actors — many from “Guiding Light,” some from “As the World Turns” and other shows — and put them in roles that were the antithesis of what they were known for.

The response to the 5 webisodes has been great.  Sound and Fury, for example, called it “a loving look at the unseemly backside (and darkside) of producing a daytime soap.”

Scott is pitching the “Steamboat” series to anyone he can think of:  Comedy Central, the Soap Network, ABC, Ben Silverman.

Scott is hopeful it will get picked up by a distributor even bigger than YouTube.

“‘Steamboat’ is a metaphor for our entire world,” he says.  “It’s about the downsizing of all of us.  As budgets get sliced, egos get sliced too.”

But there’s hope.  “Even non-soap fans get it,” he adds.  “And they laugh.”