VH1’s “Pop-Up Video” Pioneered the Internet’s Snarky, Meta Voice

Pop-Up Video premiered in 1996 over the objections of music purists who thought annotated music videos were the harbinger of the apocalypse. The annotations were written in a distinct style that could either lampoon or laud the video or just provide facts loosely tied to the video content.

‘The Internet Before The Internet’: How ‘Pop-Up Video’ Changed The Way We Devour Pop Culture

Uproxx.com, 10.28.16

“Yacht Rock”: Smooth Grooves, Man. Smooth Grooves.

Yacht Rock was a popular online mockumentary series that took aim at soft rock superstars like Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins and Hall & Oates. These caricatures were often taken to the limit with such plot devices as kidnappings, aliens, and harpoon impalements.

Sail Away: The Oral History of ‘Yacht Rock’

RollingStone.com, 6.26.15

I Don’t Want My MTV: Convincing Old Media to Rock Out

In 1981 some headstrong kids tried to start a music TV station, trumpeting low costs and an advertising pipeline to American youth culture. In general the establishment yawned, but the iconic “I Want My MTV” ad campaign was a sensation, and the cable operators had to fall in line, soon to be followed by the advertisers.

Birth of an MTV Nation

VanityFair.com, 6.4.08

How AMC Built “Mad Men” and How “Mad Men” Built AMC

In some ways Mad Men was about secrets: Don’s true identity, business dealings, the unending infidelities. In a well-done piece the Hollywood Reporter goes deep on the secrets behind the show itself. THR also published a follow-up where the stars talk about their most memorable scenes.

The Uncensored, Epic, Never-Told Story Behind ‘Mad Men’

HollywoodReporter.com, 3.11.15

‘Mad Men’: Blackface, Fat Suits, Severed Nipples and More Untold Stories From THR’s Oral History

HollywoodReporter.com, 4.2.15

The Long Shadow of the Special Effects Company Behind “Star Wars”

Industrial Light & Magic was born out of necessity–20th Century Fox didn’t have a special effects department and 1975’s Star Wars clearly needed one. The unrelenting drive for innovation led the small startup to eventually work on 317 movies and it remains at the forefront of its industry.

The Untold Story of ILM, a Titan That Forever Changed Film

Wired.com, 5.19.15

Malice at the Palace: The NBA’s Ugly Player/Fan Brawl

It was near the end of a blowout win by the Pacers on Detroit’s home court, and a few hard fouls resurrected the animosity from the previous year’s rough Eastern Conference Finals. The blood was running, so to speak, and that’s when a punk fan threw a Diet Coke at the infamously volatile Ron Artest. The ugliest brawl in modern U.S. sports history was ignited and the NBA was changed forever.

Malice at the Palace: An oral history of the scariest moment in NBA history

Grantland.com, 3.20.12

Kirk Gibson’s Iconic Pinch-Hit Game-Winning Homer in the ’88 World Series

It’s one of the most replayed clips in sports history: Gibson leaning low over the plate to swat a looping liner into the right-field seats, then hobbling around the bases with his famous fist pump.

‘That was a cool feeling’: An oral history of Kirk Gibson’s iconic 1988 home run

SI.com, 10.15.13

The U.S. Wins the First World Cup of Hockey in Montreal

Everyone knows about the American’s “Miracle on Ice” victory over Russia in the 1980 Olympics, but it was a miracle because the U.S. was not an international power in the support. It would take another 16 years before American hockey was ready to regularly compete with the world’s best, and their coming-out party was magical: rallying from 2-1 down in the third period of a decisive game three, scoring four goals in the final 3:18.

‘They had a swagger to them:’ An oral history of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey

ESPN.com, 9.13.16

Groundbreaking Nerd Nirvana: “Mystery Science Theater 3000”

The premise behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 was simple: “People say shit when they’re watching movies.” When it premiered in 1989 nerdom was securely in the periphery of the cultural zeitgeist. “D & D” was synonymous with hopeless loser. MST, however, showed that nerds could talk aggressive smack about things they cared about, and they often had an encyclopedic knowledge of their target, thus paving the way for the Patton Oswalts of today.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece

Wired.com, 4.22.14

How Seattle’s Working Women Answered the Call in WWII

Seattle’s population exploded by 50% during World War II as Boeing and other local industries scrambled to meet huge production benchmarks. More than half the workforce was women, and their proficiency had both immediate and long-term ramifications. This well-done piece includes a number of period-specific advertisements and announcements.

Seattle’s working women of World War II: An oral history

Crosscut.com, 3.25.16

“Cheers”: Behind the Scenes of the 80s Sitcom Titan

Cheers, about the neighborhood bar where everyone knew your name, was great because it stayed simple. The focus was on regular working-class guys with relatable issues. The aristocratic mannerisms of Frasier, Lilith and Diane are presented as alien, and worthy of [friendly] condescension. Amy Poehler calls it the best TV show ever, and who are we to disagree?

“The Best TV Show That’s Ever Been”

GQ.com, 9.27.12

 

Kelly Slater and John John Florence’s Legendary Duel at Teahupo’o

Tahiti’s Teahupo’o surf spot has only been surfed intensively since the turn of the millennium, but has already reached near mythical stature in the world of pro surfing, largely because the wave rises dramatically upon hitting a dangerous reef. In 2014 Kelly Slater and John John Florence, two of the best pro surfers in the world, went head-to-head in competition at this newly famous beach, a setting for one of the most discussed surfing duels in recent memory.

Kelly Slater V. John John Florence: An Oral History Of The Greatest Heat In Surfing History

Uproxx.com, 8.19.15