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!

The Chicago “Re-Premiere” of Essanay’s Sherlock Holmes


Michael Smith reports that he and Adam Selzer, co-authors of “Flickering Empire,” will be presenting one of Chicago’s Essanay Studio’s lost films. This feature has not been seen in its original form for close to one hundred years, so this is a major find for film history. You can hear my discussion of “Flickering Empire” with these two authors here:

Originally posted on White City Cinema:

sherlock3Grubby Victorian London? Nope, that’s Chicago, baby!

During the four-plus years it took Adam Selzer and I to research and write our book Flickering Empire, we spent a lot of time reading about films that were made in Chicago during the silent era that have since been tragically lost. For most of that time, our holy grail of “lost Chicago movies” was the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company’s 1916 production of Sherlock Holmes. The seven-reel feature was, after all, the first feature-length movie centered on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective-protagonist. More importantly, it was the only record of veteran theatrical actor William Gillette’s acclaimed performance as Holmes, a performance he had perfected on stage after playing it for more than fifteen years with the blessing of Doyle himself; it was Gillette who originated the iconic look of Holmes with deerstalker cap and calabash pipe, props that have become…

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If the TPP is Enacted, Hollywood Takes a Giant Leap Towards Throwing You in Prison for File Sharing, Even for Noncommercial Uses

MPAA Prez Chris Dodd. Still terrible.

MPAA Prez Chris Dodd. Still terrible.

by Legendary Lew

Leave it to MPAA head Chris Dodd to back a multi-national trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership, that will, according to its critics, trash the very legislation that bears his name.

But, hey, if you want to be a Hollywood whore, you do what your pimps want–and with the TPP, the Hollywood studio Macks demand two things: Dodd puts on the ho heels and anyone file sharing goes to jail.

The current language of the TPP, as leaked by Wikileaks (who would, btw, be in some major legal trouble through the same agreement) is so loose and ambiguous, you’d have to think twice about sampling music, creating award-nominated re-edits (recognized by Hollywood!) or even posting that cute video of your grandma dancing to “All About That Bass:”

She is pretty good.

Anyway, the language in the TPP portion released by Wikileaks allows for governments in the trade agreement to impose:

penalties that include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity

So what’ya say we throw you in jail for 10 years and fine you $1 million? Not enough of “a deterrent?” How about a trillion?

The draconian language of this provision is, of course, its virtual guarantee that the enforcement is going to be virtually impossible without imprisoning a shitload of people, so I have a proposal of my own.

Hollywood, if you want this deal, I want to back you up by arresting and imprisoning every single exec and producer who’s stolen ideas. Let’s start clearing them out.

Michael Bay, we’ve got a jail cell for you. Kevin Tsujihara, head of Warner Brothers, one of your execs said piracy was not a big deal. You’re a collaborator, we can send you to prison also. Adam Sandler, there’s a wing in a penitentiary going to be named after you.

It’s time to give up the fantasy that Hollywood offers any clear and personal connection to you. I love movies, but I detest the current corporate system that creates blockbusters as “deals” and then involves itself in international politics that trample on individual rights.

It’s just one more reason why my movie choices are becoming more independent and local.

If you oppose the TPP, you should contact your representative and senator right now.  A vote in Congress is imminent.




The US/Hollywood War Against Kim Dotcom was an Embarrassing Failure That Almost Toppled the NZ Government

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom

by Legendary Lew

This week Hollywood is very happy to have you turn your attentions to The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars, instead of what happened to a guy they consider their public enemy number one.  That’s because a New Zealand court just threw millions of dollars back at Kim Dotcom, former head of Megaupload and now CEO of Mega,  for legal and living expenses due to the very well-publicized raid on his NZ mansion back in 2012.

That NZ raid, carried out due to allegations of criminal copyright infringement,   went viral on video worldwide with the flashiness of a major drug bust. His mansion, art, luxury cars (including a pink Cadillac), yachts were all on display for a hungry press.

The press was also starved to hear from Dotcom after his arrest. Kim Dotcom, in no way shy of publicity, came forward with his own allegations against the Hollywood studios, claiming among other things that the raid was payment in kind for supporting President Obama’s election bid and that Dotcom was ready to create an IPO with Megaupload.

Those accusations would be embarrassment enough for the US if proven true.

Kim Dotcom posing before one of his yachts. (Courtesy:

Kim Dotcom posing before one of his yachts. (Courtesy:

However, two other damning ones certainly stuck: the illegality of the seizure and Dotcom’s claim of a planned, pre-raid espionage set up by the US and assisted by NZ Prime Minister John Key. Subsequent court rulings regarding both had the effect of making a multi-convicted criminal a folk hero in New Zealand and putting the reigning NZ government in jeopardy.

In June 2012, six months after Dotcom’s arrest, the High Court of New Zealand ruled that the estate raid was illegal because the warrants presented for the siege were too broad, thus allowing the police to grab any unrelated items they could get their hands on.  The US case began unraveling like a loose knit sweater caught in a washing machine agitator.

The US authorities were slapped in the face by the court ruling. But the next allegation would–for Prime Minister John Key–become the equivalent of a 24 hour marathon of Ow, My Balls!

Dotcom claimed Key cooperated with spying on the Megaupload mogul and planned on having him come to NZ , allowing the US to swoop in and extradite him back to the States. On New Zealand media, Key answered a question about this claim brought to him by reporter Glenn Greenwald (now most famous for assisting Edward Snowden):

The video above shows Key being an ass for fatshaming Dotcom and making racist comments about his name. The subsequent knowledge that he was lying through his teeth during the entire segment catapults it into the realm of breathtaking shamelessness.

You see, unlike the United States, New Zealanders don’t take kindly to being spied upon, even if it’s on someone like Kim Dotcom. In fact, it’s illegal. The result of having his nose grow about three feet during the interview was that on September 2012, Key publicly apologized to Kim Dotcom for spying on him. The country went ballistic against Key with one commentary comparing the spy affair to Watergate and another claiming the United States has a 51st state called New Zealand.

Keep in mind, this amazing groin bruiser to the NZ Prime Minister came after

Former Auckland City Mayor John Banks

Former Auckland City Mayor John Banks

another NZ politician, Mayor of Auckland City John Banks,  was convicted on corruption charges for failing to disclose a donation to his campaign from Kim Dotcom.  His conviction was since overturned with a possibility of a retrial. But the damage was done, as Dotcom rated higher in popularity than Banks and the former mayor had to wrangle in the courts for three years before the latest ruling. The lesson here, of course, is that if you are a politician in NZ, Kim Dotcom should probably not be in your vocabulary.

Now Dotcom has been awarded millions back to him. It might seem like he’s come full circle, but Dotcom is still fighting extradition, a divorce, legal fees and the inability to sell shares on the recently formed Mega–all of which are financial drains. However, he’s able to undertake his financial and legal battles from a stance that he was wronged by two countries and an industry hellbent on protecting copyright laws the film industry itself breaks.

You may want to think about that next time you get excited about seeing Hollywood’s next blockbusters.