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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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Trailer for sleep paralysis doc The Nightmare visits the scariest place in the world


I’m one of those who suffers from this occasionally. Luckily, I don’t get the shadowy figures and voices that occur with these unfortunate folks. Instead, I just find it to be a pain in the ass having to wait out the paralysis. –Legendary Lew

Originally posted on Rhino's Horror:

Room 237 director Rodney Ascher’s new documentary, The Nightmare, is one of the more intriguing horror films releasing this year with its focus on the terrifying true stories of people who suffer from sleep paralysis. After a long and successful festival run, we finally have a trailer for the film and it’s one you won’t soon forget.

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The Look Back and the Look Forward to 2015

cropped-wp-index-page-header-xox.jpgby Legendary Lew

We at The Underground Multiplex wish you all a wild and wonderful 2015. It’s been a head spinning one for me personally as I’ve had to spend the latter half of 2014 searching out places to live (things are much settled now, thankfully). But we’ve had a doozy of a 2014 with a lot of accomplishments:

We kicked off the year with the promotion of the Meinecke Art Studio, where the surviving sons of Tristan Meinecke, Brad & Scott, along with their dedicated team brought about a resurgence of interest in the enigmatic, lunatic genius. I had the pleasure of interviewing one of his collaborators, Gene Bowen.

TUGM had its very first schedule of programs dedicated solely to its own output,

Paintscape no. 15: Punctum Contra Punctum

Paintscape no. 15: Punctum Contra Punctum

courtesy of  the VOLUME Series at Chicago Filmmakers, curated by Jake Weisman. Chicago had its first taste of The Lost Marionettes working draft documentary footage with Ralph Kipniss in attendance. Strike That Line!, the radio comedy podcast, made its live stage performance debut. Sci Fi Sol made a successful return engagement, topped off with an interview with director/star musician Melody Nife. And TUGM introduced The Free Media Manifesto, a TED-style talk designed to urge those in the entertainment fields to shift their thinking to new paradigms of production and distribution.

We assisted Elephant and Worm Educational Theatre Company with the return of its Emmy-nominated TV program on CAN-TV and successfully helped get the word out about inadequate funding of public access TV stations in Illinois. (Recently, Chicago made it possible to actually increase funding for necessary operational costs at CAN-TV, a victory for free speech).

scrapersTUGM began its first offshoot production, the stoner rom-com Scrapers, starring Dakota Loesch and Sally Anderson. And finally, TUGM guested at an overview of Razzies winners and nominees (we’ll be hosting yearly podcast specials on The Razzies beginning this year).

That’s a lot for a year when The Brain Kitchen Theater closed, Joe Lewis got married and I had to search for an apartment three separate times.

But 2015 has some exciting new plans in store. We’ll be hosting the next yearly Razzies Podcast very soon. Mediatrocities will begin as a weekly podcast featuring myself and the very talented actor/producer Tyler Pistorius with overviews on indie and IMP films. Strike That Line! will return as a quarterly comedy podcast and we’ll be scouting out further locations for our next live presentation. Shy City, our documentary webcast series highlighting our work on The Lost Marionettes and The Art of Tristan Meinecke, will be completed and scouted for screening locations. Finally, we’ll be scouting locations to host the next series of Night School. We’ve had a lot of requests for its return.

Here’s wishing all of you great health and happiness for this year and all to come. As always, I thank the great team at TUGM and all of you for supporting us in these last 4+ years.

Palin Drunken Brawl with Pictures (!) Found by the Strike That Line Crew!

The folks at Strike That Line! were able to find pictures from the scene of the recent Alaskan brawl involving the Palins. For the first time, see exactly what Bristol Palin was referring to in her statement to police. Please note that this video is NSFW:



New Strike That Line! Podcast Begins Production Next Week

Film genius Ernie Tarte

Film genius Ernie Tarte

by Legendary Lew

After a long hiatus to concentrate on some groundbreaking projects from The Underground Multiplex, the comedy podcast Strike That Line! resumes production next week.

In the next episode, our narcissistic hero, Ernie Tarte, delves into his most ambitious project yet: the religious epic “Savior Cash: The Story of J-Man.” It tells the tale of the making of the ultimate story of Jesus. Stay tuned for more details as the production gets underway!

And I would like this young man to evaluate the finished feature:

Is Comcast Trying to Kill Chicago’s Public Access TV Stations?


by Legendary Lew

Comcast is Chicago’s largest cable provider and wants to renew a 10-year contract with the city. Part of the licensing renewal agreement, if agreeable to the city of Chicago, would be to provide air space on their spectrum for public access.

This has always been a pesky little matter for cable giants, because providing public access stations gets in the way of important things like profits from vital, universe-changing programming like Duck Dynasty or disputing reports of their incredibly low-ranking customer service ratings.

Well, negotiations for a renewal, including budgeting for CAN-TV (Chicago’s public access TV stations) have now been going on for over a year with no agreement. Seriously. Comcast can’t seem to get it together enough to promise to do right for Chicago with a guaranteed budget to keep CAN-TV operating. The current contract with Comcast was extended for three months and expires on June 15, 2014.

That means that, conceivably, Chicago could be without public access channels after that date. This would be a travesty and would totally undermine the original goals of serving the public interest promised by the cable companies.

Comcast made $6.82 billion last year. Current operating costs for CAN-TV run about $2.7 million dollars total. The cable companies don’t even provide all that money, some of it comes from fundraising and donations, etc.

Even if cable companies were to provide all the $2.7 million. That means in terms of just Comcast’s income alone from last year, it would amount to .04% of those earnings.  This is a pittance to ensure a great service for the community.

Forty-three Aldermen signed a petition to Comcast asking the cable company to stop dragging its feet and provide for the services Chicago needs to keep CAN-TV operating at its best potential.

In a time when the cable giant is willing to put up the bucks to purchase Time Warner for $45 billion for a super cable conglomerate, it’s ludicrous to believe Comcast can’t cough up enough to provide basic, vital community programming for its local viewers.

As part of the production team of the Emmy-nominated Elephant and Worm TV show (my public disclosure), I’d like to call on others to join CAN-TV in contacting and thanking their Alderman for taking the right stance with Comcast. You can find the list of those who signed the petition here. (Find your Alderman here). If your Alderman did not sign, please ask him/her to do so.

Also, call CAN-TV and tell them you support their programming and ask how you can help. They need to hear from you, Chicago, if you value the true choices in programming that the cable lobby always promises the public.