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
Oct. 20, 2016

“This is the true story... of eight strangers... picked to live in a house...work together and have their lives taped... to find out what happens... when people stop being polite... and start getting real... The Real World.”

You know what it is. With one measly sentence, the world was introduced to what would become known as “reality TV.” And what better place for the format to debut than MTV (Music Television), a station that until shortly before The Real World's 1992 debut, primarily played new wave music videos? Well, that's what the show's co-creators Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray thought, anyway. We have them to thank (or blame) for 20 years of sex, booze, and bitch slaps (not to mention my favorite reality TV image, Survivor champ Richard Hatch's pixelated penis.) But the truth is, the network that today drags TV down to new depths with trashploitation shows like My Super Sweet 16 and, of course, Jersey Shore, was once a magnet for young (and weird!) artists with fresh voices...

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 Audra Puchalski & Hannah Ensor
Oct. 18, 2016

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl might as well be sisters, that’s how close they’ve become.  It’s not just their wrist-boxes that keep them related, close, akin.  No sex, but what if Spider Lady, while disguised as Electra Woman, seduced the real Electra Woman? Who would love whom? And for what qualities?

Knowing Frank’s middle name is tantamount to devotion, to walking on coals or remembering an anniversary, though for Spider Lady it’s an anti-anniversary, it’s every time she went out on a first date and called and called and when the date finally picked up, the date said, I’m not interested.  It’s your declamatory attitudes and the flap of your arms. Dates can be so unfair, they come in with some really firm idea of what they’re looking for (e.g. convex or concave belly) and if you’re not it, not that thing, then you must be an impostor...

Hannah Ensor and Audra Puchalski live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they where they cackle & move their hands around, go to breakfast and get everything they want, discuss potential running shoe acquisitions, and then fall asleep suddenly even though they are not both quitting coffee. They also enjoy watching lizard dramas, like real, live lizards having drama with each other. Audra and Hannah are the co-founders of the journals Yes?Yes. and its subsidiary, The Horse Review.

by Kerry Flint
Oct. 18, 2016

George Kuchar, with over 60 films and 100 videos now to his credit, was a pioneering experimental filmmaker most admired for his ability to make films on a shoestring budget. Along with his brother, Mike Kuchar, he made 8mm and later 16mm experimental films as part of the burgeoning underground avant-garde film scene in the 1960's. The Kuchars were key figures in 1960’s underground cinema and inspired many filmmakers including John Waters, Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage. What made Kuchar so distinctive was that he was influenced by commercialisation but at the same time also managed to embrace the brave new attitudes of the 1960’s counterculture.

Born in 1942, Kuchar grew up in the Bronx and was greatly influenced by Hollywood melodrama and by his trucker father’s penchant for trashy television and novels. George and his twin brother set out to replicate the fantasy of Hollywood in their own low-budget films. The Kuchar’s films are garishly over the top and regularly described as 'camp', a term penned in 1964 in Susan Sontag's  seminal essay, “Notes on Camp” in which she sought to define an increasingly prevalent cultural trend, described as ‘a sensibility of passionate extravagance'. Kuchar's films were central to this trend, offering audiences a series of over the top scenes in which the overacting forefronts the film's superficiality...

Kerry is a Writer, Stylist, Digital Consultant, Editor, Blogger and Vintage Dealer based in London. Kerry writes for and edits a number of publications alongside managing Marketing Campaigns for Fashion clients, Digital Consultancy and offering a creative input to a variety of campaigns and projects. Also a published Poet and Vintage Fashion dealer Kerry spends her spare time on Market stalls and writing the blog www.tricky-customers@blogspot.com.

by Whitney Weiss
Oct. 16, 2016

Martin Scorsese is one of those American directors whose complete oeuvre is more varied than regular people initially realize. Those unfortunate enough to come of age in what some say is his era of decline might even have a tragically skewed perception of his films, assuming that they're all beat-em-up people pleasures (or vehicles for a portly Leonardo DiCaprio). On some level, the former's not entirely off; dads and teenage boys love Casino, Goodfellas, and The Departed because, on the surface, they're movies about wise guys, gangsters, crooks, crooked cops, and the women unfortunate enough to end up married to or sleeping with them. Look a little closer, though, and there's plenty more going on in those films than the tired old glorification of macho guys. And much like his movies, Scorsese is the kind of director (and person) who is far more complicated than first impressions might lead you to believe. 

Whitney Weiss lives in Buenos Aires, where she DJs, throws a party called Father Figures, and is one-half of a band that bridges the gap between Snap! and Quad City DJs. If you want to hear what she's up to, you should visit soundcloud.com/djwhitneyweiss.

by Jake Goldman
Oct. 15, 2016

If you trace the history of comedy across American television, you will find more than a few oversights and blunders in programming. Gigantic television networks are at the mercy of advertisers, and the people doing the advertising care, not about a show's content, but the numbers it produces. Got a impossibly huge audience in the coveted 18-49 demographic? You'll get the shiniest, most precious time-slot available. And, who cares if your show is filled with the same inane, recycled story-lines, with the same, neatly categorized characters you've seen a million times: the chauvinistic husband, the jolly-yet-stupid fat guy, the angry wife in high heels and on and on and painfully on. Who cares? You're pushing Pepsi and Pepto Bismol. You're moving mounds of Mounds and scads of Skittles. You're spoon-feeding America what they want to hear; you're doing the work for them, letting them kick their feet up and sit back, only moving when they laugh, on cue, with the fake audience that's also laughing. What a deep, Pavlovian mindfuck.

I've gone off the rails. What I'm trying to say here is: often times shows that take risks and go against banal convention are not rewarded. And it's a damn shame. There are many egregious examples: Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Frank's Place, The Ben Stiller Show, and, case in point: The Dana Carvey Show.

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.