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 Casey Dewey
July 26, 2014
In 1959, the United States of America inducted it’s 50th state in the nation, Hawaii. Polynesian mania hit America’s mainland middle class like a tidal wave. Backyard luaus were an excuse to show off your new tiki hut. Tiki Lounges were erected from coast to coast, letting patrons have a chance to sip cold, exotic drinks like The Scorpion and the The Blue Hawaii, while tropical birds shrieked and squawked in a glass cages behind the bar. Lounge lizards Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Les Baxter provided the soundtrack to America’s latest trend: inviting you to close your eyes, hear the waves, and maybe feel the grass skirts of the Hula Girls softly tickle you while you drank your lunch. America’s restless youth latched on to something else Hawaii’s inclusion brought: surf culture. And every youth culture has to have it’s own soundtrack...
Casey Dewey resides in Tucson, Arizona. He's a film writer for the Tucson Weekly and host of "Deep Red Radio" , a radio show dedicated to film soundtracks on 91.3 KXCI FM. He enjoys tacos, cervezas and garlic in everything. He wakes up every morning to a fresh pot of black coffee and at least two hours of Dragnet on TV.

by Timothy Misir
July 25, 2014
The highlight of David Elfick’s 1973 biography about surfer and photographer George Greenough has to be Pink Floyd’s epic 23-minute-long song “Echoes” that closes the film, itself a film within a film, set to ground-breaking surf cinematography shot by Greenough himself...

Timothy Misir is a Russia-based Singaporean writer and researcher in urban planning and architecture. He is currently working at The Moscow Times where he is a copy editor and writes for the arts section. He can be contacted at tim.misir@gmail.com.

by Daniel Creahan
July 24, 2014

In the phenomenal “Krusty Gets Canceled” episode of The Simpsons (one of my personal favorites, even if you only consider Bette Midler’s superhuman strength), Krusty, having lost Itchy and Scratchy to a competitor, is forced to resort to Eastern Block animation, namely a strange communist derivative called  Worker and Parsite.  Needless to say, the kids don’t stick around­.­­

The short is a pretty bold-faced homage to the Russian powerhouse of animation, Soyuzmultfilm, and its many imitators.  Formed by Stalin as a reaction to the budding cultural phenomenon of Mickey Mouse, the state-run studio employed an approach eerily similar to a 5-year plan to build Soviet animation into a global power.  And power it was.  Even today, Soyuzmultfilm is the second largest animation studio in the world.  All told, the studio has produced over 1,500 works in its 77 year history...

Daniel Creahan currently spends his days in Brooklyn, NY, dividing time between music, writing, and questionable photoshop collaging.  He prefers any and all of these while slamming 3-5 cups of coffee and wearing a warm pair of slippers.  You can read him complaining about Rihanna on his Twitter (@SupposedGhosts), or check out some music at his label (prisonartcatalog.com).

by Kristen Bialik
July 24, 2014
The magic of the green screen is, at this point, ubiquitous. You can find it in some of the lowest-budget videos and in almost all of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. You see it every night on your local weather report as the weatherman stands in front of a blue or green matte that appears to be a map of sweeping cold fronts or looming precipitation. We think of green screens as a unique tool that can transport us into deep space or out to sea with a few edits, but they can be so much goofier than that. The true magic of the green screen is that it can become whatever you can dream up. Sometimes, that dream is apparently a jiggly rainbow pyramid shifting in front of a fake cityscape or neon keyboard keys dancing with snowflakes and bubbles while mustachioed drummers do their thing...

Kristen Bialik works in public relations in Milwaukee, WI. When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to learn Korean, trying to write short stories, or trying to scheme up ways she can work for Conan O’Brien in Burbank. They’re works in progress.

by Justin Martinez
July 23, 2014

Shot in Sun Valley, California with $5,000 financed through credit cards, writer-director Donald G. Jackson’s Roller Blade (New World Pictures, 1986) is a 16mm, non-sync sound, hair metal dystopia with maybe-accidental strains of The Holy Mountain(1973, dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky), with a little Road Warrior, a little Alex Cox, a pinch of William Klein.

A few years earlier, Jackson did some pick-up shots with James Cameron for The Terminator, another film that posits a future gone to shit. It was a major theme of the decade. The 1980s had a crime problem. The Cold War still raged with Russia when it was still considered a nuclear threat. Apocalypse narratives satisfied the public’s born-again Christianity and desire for judgement. In Roller Blade, “frontier justice” is meted out when police authority is overwhelmed, getting “tough on crime” the unavoidable -- but secretly enjoyable -- response...

Justin Martinez is a playwright living in Lawrence, Kansas.  His work can be found at www.racialfacial.com.