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
Feb. 15, 2017
Richard Lester’s film work was as short and sweet as the youth culture he documented in the 60s. After A Hard Day’s Night, he made a charming, strange movie called The Knack… And How To Get It. Despite its French New Wave flourish (humorous subtitles, sudden audio commentary from bitter blue-hairs, wacky editing), Knack is a straight-forward and simple story of a young London schoolteacher trying to get laid from tips from a Michael Sheen-like mod douchebag; things go awry when a girl steps off the bus looking for a YWCA and runs into them, crying “rape” about a thousand times after the mod cops a feel in the park.

It is not a serious accusation, and does not turn the picture into a PSA (tonally, it maybe sits somewhere between the social slapstick of Tati, particularly Playtime, and Godard’s Masculin Feminin). Like the Beatles film, it’s a breath of fresh air from the modern world’s women’s studies outrage and the victim-as-hero. Spoiler alert: the kids are alright. It’s the old geezers and spinsters who are square, humorless, and as gray as the sky around them. They are sexless Scrooges oblivious to their own sexual innuendo, that frown and stare incredulously at the freedom and disorder of these three men who prevent this off-the-bus bumpkin from becoming one of them...
Justin Martinez is a playwright living in Lawrence, Kansas.  His work can be found at www.racialfacial.com.

by Chris Sutton
Feb. 13, 2017

During the 1990's I was lucky enough to be employed at an independent music/record store that happened to have a highly progressive video rental section that catered to foreign, cult, and out-of-print movies. It recieved much love and was thoroughly curated with sections dedicated to genres and genius directors of note. Every day when I would restock the returns on to our shelves there was always this one cover in the "J" section that would always stop me for at least a couple seconds and force me to ponder what was inside. The colorful box promised you that "Gross" and "Dirty" acts would be performed by puppets with the tagline "Splatstick Horror". Of course I had to find out what that phrase meant so I checked it out, went home, and got very stoned. What I saw was not just a taboo grossfest perpetuated by grotesquely deformed and maladjusted puppets, but a fully realized ensemble comedy complete with complex emotions, absent ethical boundaries, and gallons upon gallons of various bodily fluids. That movie was called Meet The Feebles, Peter Jacksons facetiously genius homage to The Muppets franchise, and it's simply a work of art...

Chris Sutton is a musician, writer, and artist who currently lives in Portland OR, and grew up in Olympia, WA. He plays or has played with numerous musical acts including Gossip, The Dirtbombs, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Spider & The Webs, Chain & The Gang, & Hornet Leg. Chris has been so obsessed with records over his life that he writes a vinyl collecting memoir/blog called Record Lections on Instagram and he is often seen Djing his new discoveries in local bars or posting mixes on SoundCloud or Mixcloud. He is also a big fan of visual art with a special passion for African American folk art, Impressionism, European New Wave cinema, and most eras of television. Most of the books he reads, whether fact or fiction, usually have drawings in them. Chris's best friends are his faithful rat terriers Juju and Queenie.

by Brian Correia
Feb. 9, 2017

For the greater part of the twentieth century (and especially in the wake of the World Wars), Italy was a hotbed for film. Whether it be the precocious kid from The Bicycle Thief, the cold hard stare of “The Man With No Name,” or the technicolor inventive gore of giallo, Italian filmmakers have produced more than their share of legendary celluloid. The singular career of Federico Fellini alone assures that Italian films will never be left out of a “best films evar” conversation among the type of people who refuse to call movies anything but “films”. And rightfully so. But like any other cinematic heavyweight, Italy has produced its fair share of films of... questionable merit. In fact, as the careers of old standbys like Fellini and Mario Bava faded to black, the late seventies and majority of the eighties saw Italian film fall into a bona fide slump. Poorly made and derivative flicks became the order of the day.

In that era, poorly made and derivative science fiction flicks were especially prominent. In the wake of Star Wars’s massive success, Italy wasn’t the only country scraping the bottom of the barrel for two bit robots, bleeps, bloops, pastel laserbeams, space aliens, and tight-fitting costumes (In fact, I’d venture to say that every movie studio in the world probably produced at least one turd in the process of trying to get that George Lucas money) but based on director Alfonso Brescia’s output alone, Italy was among the worst.

Enter today’s selection, Cosmos: The War of the Planets AKA Battle of the Stars AKA Cosmo 2000: The Planet Without a NameAKA Year Zero: War in Space AKA Red Skull Caps For Everybody...

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 Ryk McIntyre
Feb. 9, 2017

Ah, the 1980s... the global tension, the regrettable fashions, and Max Headroom. It all made so much sense to us back then. Now, looking back, it looks as absurd as wearing leg-warmers while standing in line to buy Spandau Ballet records. And yet, at the time, so many of us did just that.

For the uninitiated, Max Headroom (played by Matt Frewer) was a distillation of so much of the 1980-s zeitgeist: the slightly-edgy (read: on cocaine), stream-of-consciousness (read: borderline hip Tourette’s Syndrome), tending towards shallow smarm that encapsulated our vision of the Future (read: we were pretty sure we were doomed at the time)...

Ryk McIntyre is a Multi-Hyphen sort of person. Poet, critic, performer, workshop facilitator and co-host at both GotPoetry! Live (Providence) and Cantab Lounge (Cambridge,MA). He's been living in RI for the past 6 years, with his wife and daughter. Ryk has performed his work at Boston's ICA, NYC's New School, Portsmouth, NH's Music Hall and Lollapalooza, to name just a few. He has toured the US, performing in countless Poetry open mics and festivals.  He turned down Allen Ginsburg once.

by Robert Ham
Feb. 8, 2017

My musical interests are perverse enough that when I heard about the existence of a grand opera surrounding the 1972 diplomatic visit by then-President Richard Nixon to the People's Republic of China, I was immediately intrigued.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the music writers of the world when John Adams' work finally premiered at the Houston Opera in 1987. I would hope that a similarly perverse curiosity piqued their interest, fascinated by how the people behind the project—theater director Peter Sellars, composer John Adams, and librettist Alice Goodman—would pull it off.

Sellars was already known in the theater and opera community for his challenging stagings of famous works. During the '80s, he had overseen productions of Mozart operas that were removed from their original settings and placed in contemporary society. Don Giovanni was transplanted to Spanish Harlem, with costumes straight out of a '70s Blaxploitation film, and the most famous aria in it being performed while the singer simulated shooting heroin...

Robert Ham is a writer based in Portland, OR where he's a regular contributor to Willamette Week and The Oregonian. You can also read his work in Alternative Press and self-titled magazine. He likes black-capped chickadees and Chinese noodles.