“Chicago’s own premiere promoters of live post-modern roadshow entertainment.” – Alison Cuddy, NPR

Winner, “Best Late-Night Programming 2013” – Chicago Reader

The Underground Multiplex (TUGM) is a community arts organization that advocates for the local creative community through transmedia production.

Transmedia refers to the coordinated production and distribution of content across all media platforms aka VIDZ (video), PIX (pictures/memes), TXT (informational posts), and TRAX (audio).

Our transmedia advocacy campaigns have included  audio/video production, event programming, social media marketing, theatre production, street art, investigative journalism and political activism.

TUGM was founded in Chicago in 2010 by Lew Ojeda and Joseph Richard Lewis.  For our first campaign, we helped lead the fight against the closing of the historical Chicago silent movie house, The Portage Theatre.  TUGM broke the story of the theater’s possible closure and with the assistance of a re-tweet by Chicago icon Roger Ebert, a massive community battle began.

XTRACT_1 This branched out into a transmedia production campaign to advocate for the survival of local independent movie theatres and video stores.  We helped produce and program the midnight movie series “Night School” at the legendary Facets Cinematheque.  Our unique and bombastic combination of educational lectures, vaudeville performances, and exploitation cinema led to Night School being awarded “Best Late-Night Programming 2013” by Chicago Reader and the inclusion of Facets as one of the top movie theaters in 2014 by Chicagoist.  This first campaign also resulted in the production of a documentary web-series as well as a feature film, the trailer for which received a mention and hyperlink in the French-language version of Slate Magazine online. Other features presented during Night School included TUGM productions, Sci Fi Sol (which also screened at Chicago International Movies and Music Festival) and the award-winning Scumbabies.

Josh Ohms CopyrightOur follow-up campaign centered around the discovery of a vast abandoned collection of hand-carved wooden marionettes in a vacant building in Chicago.  The team at TUGM produced a publicity campaign for the collection as well as the creator, a forgotten puppeteer named Ralph Kipniss. That campaign included front page coverage in The Chicago Sun-Times by veteran reporter, Dave Hoekstra. His feature, “Souls on a String,” was nominated for a prestigious Lisagor Award.  “The Lost Marionettes” also received coverage in AP,  The Chicago Reader, Lake Shore Public RadioHEAVE Media and on NBC5 Chicago.

On the heels of “The Lost Marionettes” came the next important project for TUGM, “The Resurrection of Tristan Meinecke.” Meinecke and his wife, radio actress and TV host Angel Casey, were unknown and underappreciated (except for the elite few) Chicago geniuses of the 20th century. TUGM went to work as promotional consultants for the surviving Meinecke brothers, who prepared their father’s old studio into an art gallery highlighting his influential works (Meinecke developed “split-level” media), and his importance in helping transform the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. TUGM’s efforts garnered the attention of the Chicago Tribune for an Arts & Entertainment feature and a profile of the brothers and their studio in Chicago Reader. As a result, The Meinecke Art Gallery sold over a dozen masterworks, featured the newly discovered and rediscovered works of Meinecke contemporary, Gene Bowen and Meinecke enthusiast, Glenn Schreiner.

The Underground Multiplex continues to produce new episodes of the entertaining web series, “Mediatrocities.” Legendary Lew is the host of this podcast of alternative education exploring unusual music, discussing provocative ideas with independent filmmakers, and with co-founder Joseph R. Lewis, analyzing the creation and distribution of media in a quickly-changing world. In future broadcasts, “Mediatrocities” will assume hosting the only, on-going, yearly in-depth coverage of The Razzie Award nominees.  Our original podcast series, “Strike That Line!” presents a hilarious satirical view of life through the eyes of a narcissistic creative artist and his struggles through a corporate-run environment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.