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 Nathaniel Hoyt
July 18, 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 Kristen Bialik
July 17, 2016

La Belle Verte is as close to a hippie commune as a sci-fi movie can get. Granted, it has some essential sci-fi prerequisites to make us comfortable: aliens, space travel, advanced programs, a critical eye on humanity. But there are some fitting absences. This is not the sci-fi of Starship Enterprises, high-tech gadgets made of shiny steel, or intergalactic battles with deadly rays of the shrink and/or freeze variety. In fact, there’s really no “science” involved at all.

The basic premise of the movie is this: a race of advanced human beings from a distant planet holds a community meeting on the summit of a mountain and decides they need to send someone to check in on Earth, as it’s been 200 years since their last visit. This is a problem because no one wants to go to Earth. It’s a gross and dangerous planet. People have archaic things there like cars and monetary systems. But at last, a woman named Mila steps up and says she’d like to go to Earth. The community gives her two programs to use (a kind of software for the mind). One activates whenever she talks with an earthling, and gives the listener a light jolt in the direction of a social and environmental consciousness. The second, more powerful program is activated by violently pulling back her head with wide eyes and a creepy smile. The result is disconnection, a radically jarring experience that advances the mind of the earthling five centuries...

Kristen Bialik is a writer, teacher and graduate student of Journalism and Mass Communication. In her spare time, she's a baker of pies and maker of stories.

by Thomas Michalski
July 16, 2016
During the war years, Walter Ruttmann made propaganda films for the Nazis. The only reason I jump into this essay with that troubling fact is that most summaries of the German experimental filmmaker’s storied life try to slip it in at the end, as if they’re saying it under their breath. His work for the Third Reich raises a lot of questions, both biographical and philosophical, among them why Ruttmann didn’t flee the country like so many of his peers, how much culpability filmmakers and artists who glorified Hitler share in his crimes, and can a work of art be formally, aesthetically appealing even if it’s content is abhorrent. Due the limits of space and to preserve my own peace of mind, we’re not going to go too deep into those hefty topics (and besides there’s plenty of ink spilled over them already in regards to Leni Riefenstahl, whose Triumph of the Will Ruttmann co-edited). Instead, it seems a better use of our time to look further back, before Hitler’s sweeping rise to power, when Ruttmann was making a very important (and very un-fascist) series of films...
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 Chrisaphenia Danai Papagrigoriou
July 15, 2016

In order to fully comprehend Christoph Doering’s “3302” as a piece as well as a (oh yeah) narrative movie, we want to get inside this particular cab he drives through Berlin, so let's take a time machine to the early 80’s. 

It’s 1979 in Berlin. The wall is proudly up and the youth proudly scatter in whatever direction they want. If “no future” is actually a point in time, this is it. Not decisively against everyone and everything but rather narcissistically hedonistic...

Chrisaphenia Danai Papagrigoriou

by Thomas Michalski
July 15, 2016
Watching an Otis Redding performance is like witnessing a force of nature, as if he’s channeling directly that very powerful, ineffable thing that gives soul music its name. The voice that pours out of him doesn’t describe an emotion, it is an emotion, a raw transference of yearning loneliness or excited passion, whatever the song calls for. It’s so organic, so unfettered, like a man possessed, that it hides another aspect of Redding’s live show, which is that a lot of thought and preparation and work went into it. It’s not contrived by any means, the feeling in he brought to the stage is 100% real, it’s palpable in every breath and every jerky movement, but it took years of consciously honing his craft to be able translate it to an audience in a way that they could understand...
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/