Television

25 Things You Didn’t Know About MTV’s First Broadcast

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The MTV of today is packed with more reality television than music videos. But the groundbreaking network used to air music videos, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and promised that we’d “never look at music the same way again.” And we haven’t, after the channel’s maiden broadcast back in 1981. Today is the 34th anniversary of that first year on air. Here are some fun facts about the very first music videos played on MTV and the network itself that reveal the channel’s widespread cultural influence.
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Famous Pirate Media Hijacking Incidents

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In 1972, video collective Videofreex launched the first pirate TV station with the help of a transmitter given to them by activist Abbie Hoffman. Throughout the late ‘70s, the underground group “attempted to harness the democratic power of portable video.” BAMcinemaFest is honoring their fascinating chapter in media history today, which includes a Q&A with members of the collective. There’s a long and weird history of artists and citizens hijacking television and radio broadcasts, which we touch upon, below.
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Alternate Routes: Tidal’s Music Discovery Problems, RSD’s Silver Lining in Ork Records Reissues

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Alternate Routes is a column from Flavorwire contributor and WFMU DJ Jesse Jarnow, in which he’ll explore music solely distributed outside the Big 3 of Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.

The highest-profile new alternate route of 2015 is easily the celeb-endorsed hi-fi streaming service Tidal, presenting a would-be challenge to iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon with the glittering attraction of music unavailable elsewhere. The notion of an artist-owned platform that doubles as a label is enticing, though perhaps music is not what they meant when advertising “exclusive content and experiences.” Two months in, the $9.99/month site only offers two recordings that would obviously qualify as original releases in a proper discography, a pair of new live non-albums by Jay Z and Jack White — archived streams technically, with neither tracklists nor backing musician credits — captured weeks apart in Manhattan and Fargo, North Dakota, respectively.
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Pop Culture’s Fiercest Warrior Women

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From her shaved head and war rig to her mechanical arm, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road has been a high point of the new film. A determined action hero who is resourceful and fierce, Miller’s surprisingly feminist post-apocalyptic tale is a welcome addition to the canon where badass female warriors reign. While Furiosa is become compared to Ellen Ripley from Alien, we’ve rounded up a few other great warrior women to appreciate. Feel free to add your favorite picks, below.
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Pop Culture’s Most Famous and Fabulous Cape-Wearers

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A child prodigy piano player turned glittering Vegas entertainer, flashy songbird Liberace would have been 96 today. Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as the flamboyant performer, introduced younger audiences to the King of Bling. Liberace was known for his outrageous stage shows, which featured everything from chorus girls and wild animals, to a Rolls-Royce and special effects. But Liberace was best known for his gaudy, sparkling, exotic costumes — including his capes. Today, we associate capes with superheroes, but pop culture has proven that cape-wearers are not limited to those with superhuman powers.
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