Saturday Night Funnies

by Legendary Lew


Cool Apocalypse: An Engaging Look into Relationships in Flux

by Legendary Lew

Understanding and appreciating Michael Smith‘s new relationship dramedy Cool Apocalypse requires paying attention to a scene in the film that seems the least pivotal. Paul (Kevin Wehby),a writer, tells his new date Julie (Nina Ganet), a women’s clinic clerk, the plot of his new novel. Despite being a thousand-pages of streams-of-consciousnessthe plot takes only a few minutes to explain.

“It’s not about a story, it’s about the way that it’s told.” Paul states with a hint of embarrassment to Julie.

Smith’s approach matches this line as he explores the first date between Paul and Julie and the strained relationship between Tess (Chelsea David) and Claudio (Adam Overberg).

Tess, a fashion reporter for a Chicago news site, and the unemployed Claudio are a bickering couple who find some degree of solace giving each other stress, despite their relationship officially being over.

With Tess preparing a business trip to Italy and perhaps finally seeing the last of Claudio, Paul invites Julie over for a quiet evening of wine and veggie beef stew. This not-quite double date leads to eventual conflicts and revelations about the natures of the couples’ relationships and unresolved emotional suppression.

In a film that might have been slight or trite in other hands, Smith creates a funny slice-of-life expose into the lives of ordinary people trying to find love and make peace with each other. We’re voyeurs into these lives with Smith demanding patience, instead of the quick, ironic, and cynical self-indulgence Mumblecore films can wallow into.

It doesn’t always work. I found the customer/clerk argument near the beginning of the movie a cliched attempt to find a reason for Paul and Julie to find each other. I’ve seen this device used too many times to connect straight and gay couples in movies for it to be effective here. That said, the concentration and attention to the lives of Paul, Julie, Tess and Claudio, enhanced by the terrific B&W cinematography of Vincent Bolger and sparkling music by Andy Roush and Grant Winship make for an enjoyable slice-of-life viewing experience.  It may not be like the epic novel Paul created, but it would definitely make for a very good Chicago short story.

Cool Apocalypse plays at The Gene Siskel Film Center beginning November 21, 2015. Check the Film Center website for showtimes.

Mediatrocities #21: Global Girls Film Festival, a Film Fest Curated by Formerly Homeless At-Risk Women

GGrilsFilmFestby Legendary Lew

Mediatrocities is back! It’s been awhile due to moving to a new home for The Underground Multiplex (we’re now in the Bowmanville neighborhood), an accident that destroyed my laptop containing many of my media files, plus life in general for those in the arts who need several jobs just to survive.

But, we’re still doing it. My commitment to promoting media normally unseen by too many who believe entertainment begins and ends at Netflix is unwavering. You can be certain to find more podcasts in the future with those folks contributing to Chicago unique media richness.

To that end, I present an interview with Devon Freitag, one of the curators of the Global Girls Film Festival, a festival of international short films chosen by formerly homeless teen residents from The Harbor in Park Ridge.

The Harbour’s Global Girls Film Festival programs will showcase 13 diverse and empowering films from 10 countries. The New View program offers seven visually and emotionally rich films that have touched the residents who have selected them and will likewise inspire the audiences that view them.

In the Hold Your Breath program, the young curators from The Harbour treat audiences to a compelling mosaic of experiences ranging from a girl exploring her sexual identity to a family fleeing from domestic abuse.

Here’s a testimony from Ellyonna, one of the curators of the Fest talking about her challenges of being homeless:

Check out this unique film festival Friday at The New 400 in Rogers Park.

Screening info:
Global Girls Film Festival
Date: Friday, October 9, 2015
Place: The New 400 – 6746 N. Sheridan, Chicago, IL
Admission: $ 8.50; Free for residents of The Harbor

Friday at 7:00pm New View
The vibrant characters in these powerful and poignant short films may change your view of the world while facing some demons of their own. You’ll delight in Lila’s magical way of bringing joy to strangers, then take a touching look at a young girl living with Tourette’s Syndrome (Flying Anne) and celebrate the humanity of a brave teacher who protects a young Sikh boy from harm (Kush). New View features seven films from seven countries: Lila (Spain & Argentina), Drawing Angel (USA), Flying Anne (Netherlands), How to be Alone (Canada), Call her Lotte (Germany), Granddaughter (Argentina), Kush (India).

Friday 9:00pm Hold Your Breath (93min)

Sometimes, every choice we make seems like a drama. This program of suspenseful and beautiful short films shares stories of heroism and challenges that resonate with women from all walks of life. You’ll discover a secret as two friends talk about a blind date (Happiness) and explore the fragile bond between a mother and a daughter who has self-harmed (Emily.) Then meet a maverick story-teller who goes AWOL from the High Council of Fairytales (The Maiden & The Princess) before cheering on a family finally escaping domestic abuse (Just Before Losing Everything). Hold your breath features six films from four countries: Cut Off (France), Happiness (USA), Emily (Australia), Guida (Brazil), The Maiden and the Princess (USA), Just Before Losing Everything (France).

For more information, contact The Harbor at 847-297-8540.
The Global Girls Film Festival is a program of The International Children’s Media Center (ICMC), which can be reached at

Matt Damon is Gay!

by Legendary Lew

And if you think that headline about Matt Damon is unbelievable, you need not be reminded of this:


Flashback: Director Joseph Lewis Discusses His Film “Tyler B Nice”

Cast of

Cast of “Tyler B Nice” (l. to r.) Tyler Jenich, Director Joseph Lewis, Emilia Richeson

by Legendary Lew

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the production of the Joseph Lewis feature, Tyler B Nice, the strange film about a party gone wrong. It’s gotten the critical acclaim of people like Andrew Bujalski and is really due for a discovery.

We present here comments by the director and TUGM co-founder Joseph R. Lewis. His statements from ten years ago still hold truth for those who want to get the best results in independent media.

Bernie Sanders’ Supporters are Revolutionizing Media

“Don’t hate the media, become the media.”
Jello Biafra

by Legendary Lew

Artist Mario Prado creates a poster for a recent Comic con

Artist Mario Prado creates a poster for a recent Comic con

On ABC’s This Week, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation Magazine slammed the corporate media for its saturated coverage of Donald Trump, calling it “wall-to-wall”, while Bernie Sanders barely gets a mention. She’s right. There’s statistical proof that Donald Trump, as the front-runner of the GOP race, receives substantially greater press than Bernie Sanders, who has drawn the largest crowds of any candidate in this election season so far.

Interestingly, as some of the pundits on This Week admit that Sanders could  be elected president, a remarkable development began taking off in the Vermont senator’s campaign.

John Ellis, founder of Bernie2016TV, the YouTube channel concentrating on broadcasting Bernie’s speeches, recently made a plea to gain 10,000 subscribers for leverage in using YouTube’s California studios for future broadcasts. He reached the total within days.

BerniePost, an aggregate site compiling all news reporting on the Senator, reached a goal of 2000 likes on Facebook only hours after a plea to increase their numbers. The site recently published posts on the negligence of The New York Times and NPR in covering Sanders’ campaign accurately, if at all.

What’s fascinating about the efforts of Bernie2016TV and BerniePost is that these sites and others are springing up without financing from the official Sanders’ campaign. Coders, bloggers, graphic designers, podcasters and others are giving their time and energy towards spreading Bernie’s message out of passion for his policies and beliefs.

Currently, no other candidate boasts this type of commitment from supporters, although all of them have functioning websites. Fans of other candidates have contributed comments and Facebook posts, but Bernie’s army of supporters have done much more.

With the understandable frustration that corporate media is disinterested in covering a presidential candidate that attacks their power, volunteers have countered with BerniePost, the aforementioned site dedicated to capturing all news Bernie. Daniela Perdomo’s compiles all the policy positions Bernie Sanders has taken stands on and supplies exhaustive hyperlinks to original sources for easy research. There are, of course, the multitude of Facebook pages dedicated to endorsing Bernie. Many different states, counties and towns for Bernie are represented, as well as the unusual entries such as Republicans for Bernie Sanders and even Cats for Bernie Sanders (no word yet on where dogs stand).

What truly launches the Bernie Sanders collective of alternative print and visual media into a full-fledged network, however, is Bernie2016TV. Ellis’ channel plays like an upstart version of Fox News or MSNBC. It provides live streaming coverage of Bernie’s speeches (via Shift from MSNBC and other feeds), regardless of crowd size, and just like the cable networks, Bernie2016TV has its cadre of interview hosts, pundits, guests and viewers weighing in with commentary. The live stream even provides chyrons with viewer tweets and salient quotes from the speeches.

As with any network startup, glitches occur as technical blips, inaudible sound and disconnection buffering sometimes hits the channel. However, what it lacks in million dollar polish, it makes up with priceless passion for the candidate.

What might be easily overlooked with this channel of C-SPAN level broadcasting is that an entire network devoted to a presidential candidate sprung up from volunteers alone in a span of four months. That’s quite astonishing and with consumer-level communication technology getting better by the day, Bernie Sanders’ followers are proving that home-grown media with smart dedicated people broadcasting alternative music, TV, movies and public affairs programming can reach larger audiences and influence millions. You just need the passion.

Disclosure Note: If you’ve not been able to tell already, I’m a major fan of Bernie Sanders and my opinions on him or any other candidate/issue are my own.




Mediatrocities #20: Jake Myers, Director of White Cop

WhiteCopPosterby Legendary Lew

Wow, it’s been a while, but many things–like life–have been happening with me, so my posts have been few and far between.

Here’s is an interview I had a few weeks ago with Jake Myers, director of his new film White Cop. Sorry, I was not able to complete this sooner. Seems like it’s time for Mediatrocities to take a short hiatus until a new physical home for The Underground Multiplex studios (better known as The Thrillo Pad) can be found for August.

In this interview, Jake and I talk about White Cop and two new films he’s working on, including a comedy with two White Cop actors returning before his lenses. Enjoy!