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 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.

by Susan Cohen
July 22, 2014
I hate Lena Dunham in the way that all modern 20-something females of a certain smart, creative ilk hate her: Because she did it first. She made it possible for (mostly) realistic portrayals of modern 20-something females of a certain smart, creative ilk (and, unfortunately, of a certain economic class and ethnic background) to become relevant on a wider cultural scale. There wasn’t really a movie quite like Tiny Furniture before Lena Dunham came around, and there hasn’t been one made like it since then — at least not one that has seen the same amount of success...

Susan Cohen decided to leave her career in journalism to go back to school — for journalism. She's still not sure if she made a mistake. Visit susanjcohen.com to learn more about her. 

by Tom Keiser
July 20, 2014

Curtis Harrington’s name may not be familiar to most film buffs, but he has left an imprint on filmdom over the last half a century. In his eighty years on earth, Harrington, who died in 2007, worked with and befriended a unique group of individuals, from James Whale to Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren to Roger Corman and Aaron Spelling.

In the documentary House Of Harrington, released in 2009, Curtis Harrington gives a first-hand account of how his career. A child of California in the 1930’s and 40’s, Harrington’s career began (and ended) with his obsession with Edgar Allan Poe and The Fall Of The House Of Usher. In between, he created many classic B-horror and television movies, usually featuring legendary actresses in their later years such as Shelly Winters and Gloria Swanson. Near the end of his life, critics called him “the George Cukor of horror,” recalling the famed director who also had a reputation of working well with actresses. Other projects included directing for the TV seriesCharlie’s Angels and Dynasty and advising on Bill Condon’s biopic of friend James Whale, Gods And Monsters...

Tom Keiser has written for Network Awesome Magazine, The Awl, and the United Football League website.  He lives in New Jersey, and has a Twitter and a Tumblr.

by Ben Gray
July 19, 2014

If you had to sum up his career in a single word, you'd probably say that Ernie Kovacs was a comedian. But that's a silly thing to say, so my advice is: don't try to sum up his career in a single word. Instead, you should probably say that he was not only an innovative comic whose work inspired everyone from David Letterman to Monty Python, but he succeeded in time slots that had never been tried, edited unrelated scenes together at a rate that had never been seen, pioneered new visual techniques, and presented audiences with surreal landscapes they weren't always prepared to deal with. He took television from its infancy, when it was but as a slight evolution of stage performance, and he made it a medium of its own. He was arguably television's first genius, and even when he was alive, its most under-appreciated visionary.

Ben is co-Editor of Network Awesome Magazine and a snappy dresser from Boston, MA. He has a few weekly columns in The Weekly Dig, and occasionally shows up to read his poetry at things. He loves raves, pulp literature, online dating, and looking at pictures of robots on the internet. As co-editor of NAmag, he is suddenly very very busy and he loves every minute of it.

by Jake Goldman
July 18, 2014

On a recent episode of comedian Marc Maron's wildly popular WTF podcast, Conan O'Brien spoke of his comedic influences. Chief among his inspiration was Second City Television, otherwise known as SCTV, a Canadian-produced sketch comedy show that eventually made its way to NBC. It served as a launching pad for such legendary talents as John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis and Eugene Levy. The show, O'Brien said, was particularly awe-inspiring because of its attention to the small details; “What’s that saying, God is in the details?” he said. And it’s true -- you could sense the amount of care SCTV's ensemble cast put into each and every single joke, not resting until every possible angle of a scene or joke was covered.

It's a pretty excellent observation. In fact, O'Brien's remark was so spot on, I'm a little miffed I hadn't thought of it myself, but more on that in a moment...


Jake Goldman is a writer and a teacher. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.  Occasionally he writes songs.  If you are so inclined, check out Internetdogfist.com for words and Otsego.Bandcamp.com for music.