I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx


by Brian Correia
May 26, 2016

For the greater part of the twentieth century (and especially in the wake of the World Wars), Italy was a hotbed for film. Whether it be the precocious kid from The Bicycle Thief, the cold hard stare of “The Man With No Name,” or the technicolor inventive gore of giallo, Italian filmmakers have produced more than their share of legendary celluloid. The singular career of Federico Fellini alone assures that Italian films will never be left out of a “best films evar” conversation among the type of people who refuse to call movies anything but “films”. And rightfully so. But like any other cinematic heavyweight, Italy has produced its fair share of films of... questionable merit. In fact, as the careers of old standbys like Fellini and Mario Bava faded to black, the late seventies and majority of the eighties saw Italian film fall into a bona fide slump. Poorly made and derivative flicks became the order of the day.

In that era, poorly made and derivative science fiction flicks were especially prominent. In the wake of Star Wars’s massive success, Italy wasn’t the only country scraping the bottom of the barrel for two bit robots, bleeps, bloops, pastel laserbeams, space aliens, and tight-fitting costumes (In fact, I’d venture to say that every movie studio in the world probably produced at least one turd in the process of trying to get that George Lucas money) but based on director Alfonso Brescia’s output alone, Italy was among the worst.

Enter today’s selection, Cosmos: The War of the Planets AKA Battle of the Stars AKA Cosmo 2000: The Planet Without a NameAKA Year Zero: War in Space AKA Red Skull Caps For Everybody...

Brian Correia is a budding computer scientist and aspiring writer from Boston, Massachusetts who couldn't decide which hip-hop lyric to put in his byline. The top three, in no particular order, were as follows: “cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce,” “spiced out Calvin Coolidge loungin' with six duelers,” and “I got techniques drippin' out my buttcheeks.” He is on Twitter (@brianmcorreia) and Tumblr (brianmcorreia.tumblr.com) like the rest of the kids.

by Ryk McIntyre
May 26, 2016

Ah, the 1980s... the global tension, the regrettable fashions, and Max Headroom. It all made so much sense to us back then. Now, looking back, it looks as absurd as wearing leg-warmers while standing in line to buy Spandau Ballet records. And yet, at the time, so many of us did just that.

For the uninitiated, Max Headroom (played by Matt Frewer) was a distillation of so much of the 1980-s zeitgeist: the slightly-edgy (read: on cocaine), stream-of-consciousness (read: borderline hip Tourette’s Syndrome), tending towards shallow smarm that encapsulated our vision of the Future (read: we were pretty sure we were doomed at the time)...

Ryk McIntyre is a Multi-Hyphen sort of person. Poet, critic, performer, workshop facilitator and co-host at both GotPoetry! Live (Providence) and Cantab Lounge (Cambridge,MA). He's been living in RI for the past 6 years, with his wife and daughter. Ryk has performed his work at Boston's ICA, NYC's New School, Portsmouth, NH's Music Hall and Lollapalooza, to name just a few. He has toured the US, performing in countless Poetry open mics and festivals.  He turned down Allen Ginsburg once.

by Nathaniel Hoyt
May 24, 2016

Back when I was a recent transplant from the deep suburbs to Boston, I worked at a Trader Joe's. While working there I wore a stupid shirt, tried not to cut yuppies with the box-cutters, and generally despised everything about the place. However, I did become friends with some charming weirdos who, like me, got a job there thinking it'd be a bunch of misfit freaks like ourselves. We were partly right: there were a lot of freaks, but behind all the team cheer and tacky Hawaiian shirts stood a rigid corporate infrastructure (of course), managed by ex-military drill sergeants, and overlorded by a remote dynasty of German billionaires, whatever hope we harbored that this was different from any other for-profit business was steadily abandoned. Not that there was any great hope to begin with, merely a passing wish that maybe there existed a part-time job requiring no experience that wasn't indentured slavery to a run-of-the-mill evil corporation.

The disillusionment brought us together. I befriended a tall, Nordic-looking neurotic named Mike. One day Mike picked me up after our shifts were over, saying we were going to see this crazy band called Psychic TV. I'd never heard of them, and from Mike's description I was having a hard time understanding what it was I was going to see. That's the first time I'd heard the name Genesis P-Orridge – a name I still find hilarious, and place in the hallowed pantheon of great adopted punk names like Jello Biafra and Lux Interior. My interest was downright piqued...

Nathaniel Hoyt is an inconceivably complex system of sentient organic materials dedicated to eating poorly and playing video games frequently. He has a Tumblr account that he doesn't quite know how to use, which you can view at dedolence.tumblr.com, although admittedly there's probably better ways to waste company time. As a do-er of many things, feel free to seek Nathaniel out if you have any things that need doing, like bicycle fixing, coffee making, artwork drawing, or opinion giving. END COMMUNICATION.

by Thomas Michalski
May 22, 2016
Usually, when a movie is adapted from a piece of literature, it’s kind of a one way street; you have the inspiration and subsequently the thing it inspired. Readers can debate a film’s faithfulness to either the letter or spirit of its source material, but that’s because they have this concrete, unchanging thing to compare it to, the author’s original, unadulterated vision. In certain rare exceptions though, what ends up on the screen has an impact on what subsequently ends up (or doesn’t end up) on the page, as with 2001: A Space Odyssey, which developed as both a novel and a film more or less simultaneously, or Harlan Ellison’s Nebula Award-winning short story “A Boy and His Dog”which, before L.Q. Jones still-controversial 1976 film version, was meant to take on a very different, much larger form, one that has since been realized in pieces, but never completely...
Thomas Michalski is a writer and radio host from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can keep up with his comings and goings over at http://www.voodooinspector.com/

by Kristen Vagliardo
May 21, 2016
Being an anthropomorphizer to the nth degree, I firmly believe that animals talk to each other – not just about where one can find food or shelter, but things like, “How’s yer day?” “What’s up with Muffy’s fur?” “Dude, you got any more of that fermented grain?” etc. So of course I am enraptured with Tales of the Riverbank. In this gem of a children’s show, Saturday morning early-risers were allowed an exclusive look into the daily lives of Hammy Hamster, G.P. Guinea Pig, Roderick the Water Rat and the other woodland creatures. Kids laughed and sighed as they enjoyed the triumphs and endured the trials life on the riverbank. Our Riverbank friends fit firmly into the groundwork laid by Mr. Ed vis à vis talking animals, but this time the action is decidedly human-free. I can only imagine the herds of animal lovers who answered the riverbank’s call of the wild on Saturday mornings. Hammy taught several generations of children that small creatures had a lot to say and that perhaps we all have a lot to learn from those who see from a different vantage point...


Kristen Vagliardo is a Central Square girl who works at a museum and used to write lots of incredibly boring papers on obscure topics. She enjoys the Egyptian Revival, refusing to buy music from itunes (thus filling her apartment with needless CD detritus) and quoting from eighties movies that no one else recognizes. You can find her on Twitter at vagliard.