Tag Archives: Lew

Anti-Porn Thief and Inspiration for TUGM’s “Sisters of No Mercy”, Charles Keating Jr., Dies

Keating

Hated porn but LOVED your money. (Photo courtesy: gazette.com)

by Legendary Lew

Charles Keating Jr., the central figure in the Savings and Loans Scandal of the 1980s (basically a warm-up for the Bush Depression of 2008) died on 3/31/2014 at age 90. Although he is known as the guy who bilked thousands of people out of their cash on useless junk bonds (with the preferential help of 5 US Senators), I will forever prefer to remember him for another colossal failure.

Keating, as part of a group called Citizens for Decent Literature, Inc., funded and distributed an anti-porn short film narrated by “outstanding news reporter” George Putnam in 1961. “Perversion for Profit” has been accurately described

Illustrated scene from "Perversion for Profit"

Illustrated scene from “Perversion for Profit”

as the Reefer Madness of porn. It’s a hyperbolic, homophobic ranting screed that uses similar tactics used by some porn-fighting churches, namely, showing an enormous amount of the offending material (with eyes blacked out).  This 30-minute short has more male and female sleaze ‘n’ tease as can be found in a dozen feature-length sexploitation films, which means, of course, that’s it has found a home with me as one of the best, most hilarious propaganda films ever made.

No doubt, I crowed about this movie so much that we had to include a remixed version of it as part of our feature film, Sisters of No Mercy. So as a testament to the double-misfired life of Charles Keating, Jr., I include in this post the amazing Perversion for Profit, presented by the indispensible Prelinger Archives:

And here is our feature, Sisters of No Mercy:

 

 

Elephant and Worm (EWTV) Returns to Television Tomorrow!

EWTVby Legendary Lew

Gather up the kids of all ages! EWTV, the Emmy-nominated TV show of The Elephant and Worm Educational Theater Company, is back on the air beginning tomorrow! There’s a host of new surprises in store, but the live call-in segments will return, so call in with your ideas during the show.

EWTV airs every Tuesday at 3:30pm on CAN-TV Channel 21. If you are not in the area or if you don’t have cable tv, you can tune in to live streaming at cantv.org/live.

This season’s first guest is Chicago artist Gene Bowen, whose works showed at Meinecke Studios last Friday in West Rogers Park.

Mediatrocities #10– Free Media: The Manifesto of The Underground Multiplex

LewandSophie

Legendary Lew

by Legendary Lew

Joseph R. Lewis and I were very proud to give a presentation titled “Free Media: Mending Arts When All is Broke” Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at Chicago Filmmakers.

Around 90 people attended to listen to Joe and I discuss the history of how The Underground Multiplex got started and some of the basic ideas that keep this

joe-profile-pic

Joseph R. Lewis

organization going. This is an age where there’s very little money going around for the arts, so it’s imperative that artists learn a new paradigm by which they can have works created, published and distributed. It may seem daunting to be responsible for all these aspects but it can be done and we’ll tell you how to approach it.

Give a listen:


Internet Hater Chris Dodd Wants Technology to Help Boost Sagging Theater Attendance

ChrisDodd

by Legendary Lew

Variety reports that last year, attendance for the 18-24 year-old age bracket in movie theaters dropped like a stone. It’s serious because, you know, everyone else is dead and will never benefit from films aimed toward them:

The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 21% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.

Frequent filmgoers from 12-24 are likely spending much of their previous moviegoing time watching a variety of other screens.

Well, heavens to Betsy, whatever shall a bloated, non-innovative, money-wasting, inefficient, money-gouging, hypocritical corporate entity do?!

I know! Call in MPAA head Chris Dodd to give the industry a pep talk:

“We need to keep exploring fresh ways of leveraging our new technology to drive traffic to your theaters,” Dodd insisted during his keynote address delivered Tuesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“We can embrace technology, and use it to complement our offerings,” Dodd added.

I practically shat blood laughing so hard when reading these statements. This is the same Chris Dodd that backed the SOPA and PIPA legislations–so much so that he extorted the White House to try and have its support. SOPA and PIPA would have destroyed the internet as we know it with opposition to the legislation coming from internet companies that regularly help Hollywood promote its films. The public response to Dodd and SOPA/PIPA supporters was a whole lot of this.

It’s also the same Chris Dodd that supported the arrest of Kim Dotcom, only to have the case against him implode over embarrassing allegations, not the least of which was Dotcom’s assertion that he was ready to start a legally-created IPO with MegaUpload. (Dotcom’s new company, Mega, has since created an IPO in New Zealand)

Now, Dodd wants to urge the industry to use technology, i.e the internet, to boost theater tix sales.  Never mind that he tried to explode it a couple of years ago and will, no doubt, try again, unless Dodd has some other new type of technology he wants to introduce to the world.  Oh wait, I forgot, Hollywood doesn’t have one.

Next time Chris Dodd gives a speech, I suggest this type of formal attire.

 

 

Chicago’s Dave Hoekstra Nominated for Prestigious Journalism Award for Covering Story First Presented by TUGM

HoekstraThe Underground Multiplex congratulates Dave Hoekstra, formerly of The Chicago Sun-Times, for his nomination of the prestigious Lisagor Award for  “BEST ARTS REPORTING AND CRITICISM:Daily Newspaper, News Service or Bureau, circulation more than 250,000.”

The news feature was “Souls on a String,” which made the front page of Chicago Sun-Times Sunday edition back on October 27, 2013. It told the story of lifetime marionette creator/puppeteer Ralph Kipniss and what happened to a half-century of his creations. Hoekstra’s coverage was a result of my report originating here on this blog.

Read Dave Hoekstra’s excellent coverage here.

Read Legendary Lew’s original report on The Underground Multiplex here.

BTW, the search for a home for Kipniss’ marionettes continues. Anyone with any leads for a permanent home can contact us at theundergroundmultiplex@gmail.com.

 

What You Won’t Learn from Most David Brenner Obituaries

David Brenner and Lesley Ann Warren starred in the doomed NBC sitcom, Snip

David Brenner and Lesley Ann Warren starred in the doomed NBC sitcom, Snip. Courtesy: remembermarilyn

by Legendary Lew

Master of comic observation, David Brenner, died March 15, 2014 from cancer. The greatest emphasis in remembering him by most media has been his numerous appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Gracing the stage there 158 times since his 1971 debut was quite the feat. It’s currently unmatched by any other guest.

A few obits will mention that Brenner was the star of a extremely short-lived NBC sitcom from 1976 called Snip. How quick was the demise of the show? NBC cancelled the show before a single episode was aired.  Normally, this would simply be an insignificant footnote in TV history. However, the story behind what happened is fascinating, leading me to believe that the network had some of the biggest assholes in charge during the 1970′s.

Davidbrennersnip2

Courtesy: remembermarilyn

Brenner was a very hot property by the mid-1970′s as one of the best stand-up comics around. Naturally, producers were keen to take notice and one of them, James Komack, was spinning gold as executive producer of the hit shows Welcome Back, Kotter and Chico and the Man. Komack developed a new sitcom called Snip, based somewhat on the box-office winner, Shampoo starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. Snip starred David Brenner and Lesley Ann Warren as divorcees who are reunited in a hair salon when he takes a job there. The show also starred Bebe Drake and Walter Wanderman as the salon owner.

NBC pulled out all the stops for promoting the show, saturating the airwaves with announcements of the new “hit” comedy. Although I’ve not seen them in almost 40 years, I recall seeing ads for it.  Snip was also buoyed by advance good reviews, presenting a strong case for the network having high hopes.

So why did NBC cancel the show almost literally at the last minute–so drastically that TV Guide didn’t have time to pull this spread from their Fall Preview issue?:

TV Guide's Fall Preview page announcing Snip, which had just been snipped from NBC's lineup

TV Guide’s Fall Preview page announcing Snip, which had just been snipped from NBC’s lineup. Courtesy: remembermarilyn

The answer: homophobia.

Snip would have presented the first regularly recurring gay character (played by Wanderman) in television history and NBC was not ready to take the chance. Throwing it into a strange limbo, NBC announced it would be cancelled, then it would be postponed, then it just simply died. NBC wouldn’t try having a gay character again until 1981, when they ran Love Sidney for a two-season run, but not before giving the lead a character castration so that his gayness would be quelled, lest viewers catch something.

The network’s dick move (certainly not the only one they pulled in the 1970′s–The Richard Pryor Show‘s tumultuous journey becoming legendary TV history) didn’t really hurt Brenner’s career. He continued to appear on The Tonight Show, even becoming rumored as a possible replacement for Carson when the latter showed signs of fatigue in the late 1970′s.

The cancellation certainly did, however, make NBC look heartless and it must have damaged Wanderman’s career, as he only made one final TV guest spot before disappearing. The subsequent successful airing of the existing five episodes on Australian television had to have inspired an interesting phone call between Komack and NBC. How I would have been a fly on the wall for that conversation.

TUGM Guest Stars on Heave Media for the Annual Razzies Podcast

by Legendary Lew

There were more than 43 reasons to hate Worst Picture Razzie winner "Movie 43"

There were more than 43 reasons to hate Worst Picture Razzie winner “Movie 43″

TUGM’s Tyler Pistorius and Lew Ojeda were guests on Heave Media’s annual report on The Razzies, hosted by Dominick Mayer. Head on over to Heave Media to listen to this scintillating discussion and don’t say we didn’t warn Hollywood about next year.

Hey, Robbie Collin, I LOVE the Razzies. Here’s Why.

Johnny Depp (left) and Armie Hammer get sucked into the rot of Hollywood

Johnny Depp (left) and Armie Hammer get sucked into the rot of Hollywood in “The Lone Ranger.”

by Legendary Lew

Robbie Collin of the UK’s The Telegraph just weighed in on The Razzies, the 30+ year institution that comes along every year around Oscar time to chuck produce at the worst Hollywood had to offer during the previous 12 months. I now look forward with great anticipation to watching and reviewing all of the movies nominated for the golden fruit. This usually requires a concentrated effort of peering into hours of hell for a couple of months, but I feel it’s well worth it for a sense of grounding. After watching a whopping 19 Razzie nominees in just over 30 days, I’m ready for my annual ranting Razzies podcast with my co-horts.

I agree with Collin over much of what he states in his post. There are some particularly sloppy choices for this year’s Razzies. Lindsay Lohan, IMHO, was chosen for three movies, simply because she’s Lohan. Playing herself in Scary

Tyler Perry, master scammer in "A Madea Christmas."

Tyler Perry, master scammer in “A Madea Christmas.”

Movie 5 and InAPPropriate Comedy was the best thing to happen to both those films and she was terrific in The Canyons. What should stun Razzie followers is that her co-stars in the latter film (Nolan Funk and Amanda Brooks) were not nominated as they were both horrendous. I can also nitpick about choosing Halle Berry for The Call, a movie for which she had to fall victim to a ludicrous script suggesting to future serial killers they should use Tracfones and not use OnStar.

I could go on about the other acting choices, most of which are good ones, but there’s a bigger point to be made and one which I part with Collin. It’s fascinating he writes the following:

“the Razzies’ ongoing failure to train its sights on anything but the most obvious targets means it grows more tired and redundant by the year.”

I could have written the very same thing but replaced ‘Razzies’ with ‘Oscars.’ In fact, there’s a great deal of overlap between the Oscars and the Razzies, and that’s because both are  influenced greatly by the studios’ public relations machines.  Of course, Razzie voters are going to choose people like Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Brown and others who pop up all too often on our “news” homepages when we turn on our computers and smart phones. Given the over-saturation of some celebs who readily appear in easy-to-find movies at your local Redbox or on Netflix, who do you think they will vote for? Same as with the Oscars, do you think the nation’s top streaming service, top DVD rental distribution company, and top theater chains provide enough choices to the widest available audiences for most viewers to make the most informed choices? And if Mr. Collin believes the Oscar voters actually watch all the films they vote for, I’ve got the Willis Tower here in Chicago to sell him.

The biggest things the Razzies provide for me are reasons for a party (perhaps next year, not this time though) and, much more importantly, a chance to really discuss what Hollywood does very wrong and sometimes right in a yearly podcast I’ve been organizing with Dominick Mayer for the last three years. It’s vitally important to know WHY Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy and Grown Ups 2 are bad movies. Anyone can easily say it’s because of bad jokes, sexism, transphobia, racism or any number of details, but has anyone even close to Hollywood dare to openly say that the movies are essentially scams? I have during HeaveMedia’s Razzies podcasts and so have the Half in the Bag guys in what is, hands down, the best damn insightful review of Jack and Jill ever.  

No one is going to call for throwing The Oscars into the trash bin, myself included. I wish for the Academy Awards to be better, and I do for The Razzies.

They've got your $13 bucks when you watched "Grown Ups 2"

They’ve got your $13 bucks when you watched “Grown Ups 2″

Robbie Collin may complain that Razzie voters don’t need to watch the movies they vote for, but at least anyone can become a Razzie member by subscription, meaning that you and I could join and help influence who eventually gets those awards. To vote for Oscars, you have to be chosen which, you would think, should give Academy members pause to take their balloting much more seriously than they do.  Pity those who still believe most Academy voters take they duties with great reverence. Perhaps in the first live telecast of The Razzies, Seth MacFarlane can do a song and dance number called “We Saw Your Booby Prize.”

Legendary Lew, Dominick Mayer and Tyler Pistorius will be giving their takes on this year’s Razzies on Pod People, Heave Media’s podcast due out tomorrow.

 

 

Redbox Helps TUGM with Its “Award Nominees”

F**k the Oscars!

F**k the Oscars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Redbox sent me a neat little email announcing they have the “Award Nominees” with a graphic that looks like this:

RedboxAwards

Fair enough, but what about those other award nominees, The Razzies? Well, yes they certainly have those:

Machete Kills
Escape Plan
After Earth
Grown Ups 2
The Lone Ranger (Oscars and Razzie-nominated? Huh?)
Getaway
Jobs
The Smurfs 2
Battle of the Year
The Big Wedding
The Call
A Haunted House
Bullet to the Head
The Hangover 3
The Canyons
Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Legendary Lew, Tyler Pistorius and Dominick Mayer will be recording the 3rd Annual Razzies Podcast for Heave Media this weekend for air on a later date. You’ve got a chance to catch up on a lot of turds before then!

Listen to HeaveMedia’s past Razzies Podcasts featuring Legendary Lew:
Pod People #8
Pod People #27

The Gallery of Chicago’s Hysterical Lunatic Genius Opens February 7th

BurningAwareness

Burning with Awareness (1958-1963)

by Legendary Lew

I was trying to expand the medium of painting. Above all I wanted to do away with “good composition”. I aimed at breaking down form. I changed the shape of the work and quit relying on frames. I aspired to total hysteria.
– Tristan Meinecke

Suppose you were contacted one day by the family of a man they said was very close to international fame in the art world. Once you check out the years of art work in the small building currently housing them, you discover that the hundreds of pieces of art have a resonance, vibrancy and vitality unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. You realize you’re standing in the presence of an artist deserving a stature as great as– or even greater than–many of his contemporaries already deemed masters: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko or Phillip Guston.

This experience happened to me and now, through the help of The Underground Multiplex and the Meinecke family, you have a chance of viewing a master’s works up close and personal in his studio building beginning Friday, February 7th.

The Meinecke Family (sons Brad and Scott) are opening up the Meinecke building to the public and press for a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the astonishing work of their dad, Tristan Meinecke, an incredibly restless force of nature producing not only hundreds of art pieces during his lifetime, but also performing self-taught jazz and co-founding an architectural firm with Robert Bruce Tague that transformed Lincoln Park.

Among some of the notable traits of Tristan Meinecke’s work was the split-level paintings and shadow boxes displaying a 3D effect that were sometimes only discernible from a distance…

DangerousCurves

Dangerous Curves (late 1950s)

…and also the use of discards. Tents, stray wood pieces and even asphalt freshly poured onto the street in front of his house would be included in some of his masterworks.

The Face 5 Canvass

The Face

As Joe Lewis had written previously, Meinecke and his wife, influential Chicago radio performer and TV host Angel Casey, were a power couple of arts and culture who together were renaissance figures interwoven into the fabric of Chicago.  Learn about both of them at the Meinecke Gallery showing on the following dates:

Opening Night Reception:
Friday, February 7
6pm – 10pm
The Underground Multiplex in attendance

Gallery Shows:
Saturday, Feb. 8 at 12Noon – 3pm
Sunday, Feb. 9 at 12Noon – 3pm
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 5pm – 8pm
Thursday, Feb. 13 at 5pm – 8pm
Friday, Feb. 14 at 5pm – 8pm
Saturday, Feb. 15 at 12Noon – 3pm
Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12Noon – 3pm
Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5pm – 8pm
Thursday, Feb. 20 at 5pm – 8pm

Closing Night Reception:
Friday, Feb. 21
6pm – 10pm
The Underground Multiplex in attendance

Check with The Underground Multiplex for further developments and also check out the following sites:
www.tmeinecke.com
www.angelcasey.com
The Art of Tristan Meinecke on Facebook
Meinecke Project on Twitter