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Joaquin Phoenix is ‘still here’ after car wreck

German director Werner Herzog, celebrated art-house auteur and inventive documentarian, can add action-adventure hero to his list of credits. The director of “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?” recently recounted the true story of saving Joaquin Phoenix’s life in 2006, when the actor’s car flipped over on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Sascha Ciezata, an animator who recognized the cinematic potential of this mythic tale, illustrated the story and narrated it using Werner’s original audio track. The result is a beautiful and offbeat web short befitting both subjects.

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Television to die for

Truth is the new lie for a failing theater company in the spot-on "Slings & Arrows."

Although it might seem as if all popular culture were aimed at capturing the ever-fleeting attention of 14-year-olds, a recent study says otherwise, at least when it comes to TV. The report, released last month by Baseline Inc., showed that the median age for the major broadcast networks is a staggering, and comparatively doddering, 51. The vast audience that keeps “Dancing in the Stars” on air? Median age 60. In other words, old. Too old, conventional ad sales wisdom goes, to bother selling anything to. This is bad news, it would seem, for network executives who desperately need those shrinking ad revenues.

While this information might be a revelation to those who consume, or work in (or feel bombarded by, or shun), mainstream media, here at PBS we merely shrug and get back to the entertaining business of appraising antiques. We’ll see your median age 51, and we’ll raise you 6 years and a gift basket filled with Civil War memorabilia.

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NYT vs. WSJ: Now in CGI

The Taiwan-based animation company, Next Media, has cast its cyborg gaze upon the ongoing media battle between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to hilarious effect in this viral video. High points include a balletic fight sequence between a finger-snapping Rupert Murdoch and Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. in a “West Side Story”-inspired rumble.

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Internet killed the video star

For as long as I can remember, the big knock on MTV has been that “they don’t play videos anymore.” And while that’s mostly true, and the network has shifted its focus to other kinds of “programming,” MTV is still a major outlet for (usually major label) artists on the verge of breaking through. But there are a lot more music videos out there than programming hours, and as a result, the Internet is taking over the medium.  Initially artists and labels took to the Web because in a post-“Real World” world, they simply needed a place to go.  On the Web, you can curse, you can run long films in support of a three-minute song, and you can distribute with the click of a mouse.  OK GO’s now-legendary treadmill routine exploded on YouTube, not on television, and brought the band a new level of celebrity. But now, the Web is transforming the music video into something far more interactive and non-linear. Read All »

Revisiting the children of the storm

Photo: Brenda Ann Kenneally for The New York Times

In 2006, The New York Times Magazine sent photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally to New Orleans to document how Katrina and its ensuing chaos had affected the city’s children a year after the initial devastation. Kenneally’s stark images, seen in this multimedia feature, captured four families whose lives had been dramatically upended by the storm and the preexisting poverty that Katrina both exacerbated and exposed with brutal swiftness. Read All »