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 Joe DeMartino
Sept. 30, 2017

1. He wasn’t very funny at the start

Triumph’s first appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien had him mocking the celebrity guest of the night. Robert Smigel, the humorist and Triumph’s “puppeteer” was positioned out of sight behind a mock stage, rendering Triumph mostly immobile. The jokes weren’t bad -- he started off with the now-famous “for me to poop on” bit and went from there -- but the whole setup seemed weirdly limiting. Insult comedy works best when the comic either jumps rapidly from subject to subject, cutting down his targets swiftly and moving on, or when he has a long time to build his insults out of the ruins of a single target’s ego. These early segments are heavy with potential, which is likely why they kept bringing the character back, but they really needed Triumph to get outside the studio.

2. Everyone ignores Robert Smigel

There is very little that’s subtle about Triumph. He’s a crappy hand puppet with a loud, heavily-accented voice who is there to rip you to shreds. He gets right in your face, so it’s easy to see why you’d concentrate on him for the duration of your interaction, but almost everybody seems to totally discount the guy voicing him. He’s right there!

Joe DeMartino is a Connecticut-based writer who grew up wanting to be Ted Williams, but you would not BELIEVE how hard it is to hit a baseball, so he gave that up because he writes words OK. He talks about exploding suns, video games, karaoke, and other cool shit at his blog. He can be emailed at jddemartino@gmail.com and tweeted at @thetoycannon. He writes about sports elsewhere. The sports sells better.

by Thomas Michalski
Sept. 29, 2017
As much as we identify certain sounds with certain places, one of the most beautiful things about music is that it travels well; that a styled forged from a unique local culture can still speak to someone on the other side of the world, who can in turn add their particular dialect to the conversation. In the internet age, regional strains become global trends almost overnight, making it difficult to discern where an artist might be from just by listening to them. Take up-and-coming duo Ninos Du Brasil, who, between their name and predilection toward the irrepressible rhythms of carnival, you might reasonably assume to be based in, or perhaps émigrés from, Brazil, when in fact they hail from somewhere far less colorful and exciting...
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 Lindsay Long
Sept. 27, 2017
The perilous streets of Mexico have long been notorious for brutal street gangs, and the Intrépidos Punks prove to be only one more example of such a sinister society. With police brutality, rape, and vandalism this Mexploitation hell ride wastes no time cutting to the chase. Before the spray-painted intro credits even have a chance to dry, sexy nuns wielding guns stage a bank heist. Fleeing the scene, they are met with a group of leather clad, fro-hawked bikers and take off to the sound of a sick Sweet Emotion-esque theme song. Punk isn’t just a costume it’s a way of life for these savage cretins who kill time and brain cells partying hard or terrorizing the streets on their customized cycles...
Currently holdin’ it down in the dirty south city of Atlanta, Network Awesome contributor Lindsay can be found frequenting house parties, punk rock shows, seedy thrift stores, or glued to her computer screen unearthing the endless gems today's internet offers. A self-proclaimed fan of all things vintage, including the nudie mags of yesteryear, she possesses an insatiable appetite for anything visually mind-blowing or just totally tasteless. Notorious B.I.G. sums her up best with a line from ‘Gimme the Loot': ”Dangerous. Crazier than a bag of f*@#$%g angel dust.”

by Tom Keiser
Sept. 26, 2017

William Girdler was one of the kings of 1970’s exploitation films. His films varied widely, from natural disaster films, such asThe Day of the Animals and Grizzly, to paranormal movies, such as The Manitou, and even blaxploitation films such as the Pam Grier vehicle Sheba, Baby. Girdler died in a helicopter crash in 1978 at the age of thirty, cutting short a career that included several hits and more than a few near-misses.

Perhaps the biggest of Girdler’s near-misses was 1974’s Abby, starring Carol Speed, William Marshall, Austin Stoker, and Academy Award nominee Juanita Moore. Riding the coattails of William Friedkin’s 1973 blockbuster The ExorcistAbby details the possession of the title character and her exorcism...

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 Thomas Michalski
Sept. 24, 2017
To say Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 sensational novel Valley of the Dolls was a bestseller is something of an understatement. By the time of the author’s death from breast cancer in 1974, the Guinness Book of World Records had certified it the best seller, as in “of all time”. The success of the novel, which chronicles the sordid private lives of a trio of pill-popping young starlets, long rumored to be based on real life actresses, was almost instantaneous, and it followed that Hollywood, always looking to cash in, came calling soon after. With a sizable built in audience of bored housewives and other vicarious trashy thrill-seekers awaiting the adaptation, Mark Robson’s 1967 film of the same name was almost guaranteed to do brisk business at the box office, but unsurprisingly, the critics, including Roger Ebert, who later co-wrote the 1970 sequel/parody Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with the breast-obsessed director Russ Meyers, panned it, just like their peers had done the book. They did however, have reason to, the film is a confused, clunky experience, but that didn’t stop a small but devoted audience, especially among the LGBT community, from repeating its endlessly quotable dialogue and keeping the faith at screenings. Put short, it’s a cult classic, but not an unlikely one; in fact, there’s no way this movie couldn’t have become one...
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/