Tag Archives: Lew

THE END…A Thanks and a New Beginning!

And changed our name

by Lew Ojeda

Eight years ago, I co-founded this website with the hope of influencing, in some small way, how we look at movies and entertainment. I’ve long been a fan of the unusual in movies, music, TV and other media. The Underground Multiplex was to become an outlet for that expression and to give a voice to film independents often lacking in media. When we created content, we kept consciously in our minds the phrase “free media,” not just because we were not charging for anything we would have posted, but as a call for eliminating the restraints of corporatism on those creating content for the Internet and for larger screens.

During these years, we took every chance we could to get our message out. In so doing, we accepted tasks beyond our original intent of creating content and towards the goals of helping other creators get noticed and not get lost in the rush for the “brand new thing.” The life work of local artists, we felt, needed attention before the fog of obscurity hid them forever. Entertainment venues with glorious histories needed to be saved and those with sordid histories needed staff changes or to be closed.

We’ve hosted award-winning film programs centering on underrated, underappreciated and just plain bad-ass strange movies. We’ve presented primitive podcasts to give voice to independent artists and filmmakers, along with their admirers and tireless supporters. We’ve even attempted a radio comedy show and aired a few episodes.

We’ve accomplished a great deal, but I feel it’s also time to expand our reach, have a more concentrated approach with a fresh site and changes to what we do.

Our new website (currently under construction) and name will be THRILLO PAD PRODUCTIONS. The name comes from the location of where the two co-founders, myself and Tyler Pistorius, currently live.

Thrillo Pad Productions (TPP) will concern itself primarily with content production. Tyler is currently working on a short film and feature film. I am currently in post-production for the political comedy album, “Donald J. Trump: A Very White House Con Job.” My main concentration for TPP will be the production of “Vital Indie Media,” the vlog podcast centering on the unusual movies, music, TV shows and other ephemera in my collection. In the future, I will continue interviewing those who make a difference locally creating great art, music and movies.

So with this post we say goodbye to The Underground Multiplex and welcome to Thrillo Pad Productions. If you’ve been following us here on Facebook or on Twitter, please join us on our new Facebook page. We will announce there when the new website is up and running along with more social media connections so that you can join us in our further adventures!

It seems appropriate to make this announcement on Thanksgiving Day, because I give thanks to everyone who has made TUGM a great blog for the last eight years. Thank you all so very much and now let’s go on for many more years at Thrillo Pad Productions!

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Film Franchises Could Ruin Hollywood Movies

FoodInc

Courtesy: AP News. From the documentary “Food, Inc.”, a food processing production line. Are Hollywood films becoming no different?

by Legendary Lew

Friend of The Underground Multiplex and contributor to Mediatrocities, Dominick Suzanne-Mayer comes up with an astute write-up of Warner Brothers’ decision to produce more DC Comics-based movies. His views parallel mine in discussion of what I’ve termed Imitation Movie Products.

You should head over to Consequence of Sound and give it a read. It’s yet another movie lover’s concern for how movies are being made and distributed to the detriment of those who can never have their films projected on the big screen.

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:

 

 

Comcast to Chicago’s Public Access TV Stations: Just DIE Already…Like the Other Thirteen We’ve Killed Off

comcast2

by Legendary Lew

The deadline has now passed for the extension of Comcast’s contract for CAN-TV and no agreement has been reached. This means that CAN-TV is in great danger of being shut down like thirteen other stations in Illinois that Comcast allowed to die.

Executive Director of CAN-TV Barbara Popovic and Kartemquin Film‘s Gordon Quinn were recently on WBEZ’s Morning Shift discussing the conflict:

Comcast is not doing you a favor by providing public access TV stations. It is fulfilling an obligation. This is most important to remember when discussing the issue of funding these low-fi stations. Comcast is candy-coating their press releases with the usual language of how they are best working with local communities to provide crucial programming for them while at the same time allowing stations to close in Illinois over the last decade.

This attempt to veer away from public responsibility is nothing new. I’ve produced and directed public access TV shows in Rochester, NY back in 1994 and I can tell you the major cable company there at the time,Time Warner, fought tooth and nail to keep from their commitments to provide public access TV stations. They finally had to relent to public pressure due, in part, to the public’s low opinion of their service. Sound familiar?

Adding insult to injury, the conglomerates, when they finally did oblige and provide stations, routinely saddled them with outdated equipment prone to constant breakdown and insufficient staffing for training and public outreach. These are money-stuffed giants willing to provide only the bare minimum for local communities to have active voices on the air and then claiming they exist to provide “choices” for subscribers. It might be cute and quaint for public access TV shows to look like “Wayne’s World,” but the lack of technical aesthetic with the stations is not an accident. It’s by design. Cable conglomerates do not want public access TV shows to compete with paid programming, because they think what Honey Boo Boo does is much more important to you than what your local elected officials do.

With today’s technology, independently produced media can muster up great and important television on public access. CAN-TV provides such programming. I’m a proud board member of Elephant and Worm TV, a public access show that was nominated for a local Emmy last year for outstanding children’s programming. An Emmy-nominated public access TV show may seem extraordinary, but it could become more common if stations were allowed to upgrade. All of Elephant and Worm’s videos presented to CAN-TV actually had to be downgraded for television broadcast.

Would it really cut into Comcast’s massive profits to help upgrade stations to HD, instead of keeping them more than a decade out of date? They’ve done so in Portland, OR. Why not here? Does Comcast think public access TV stations are part of the ratings game? Comcast is gutter-dwelling in customer service rankings and taking on an evil reputation for their bids to “fast-track” the internet. You would think they would want to do right by the public after we allow them to run their infrastructure in our communities and pay nothing to us for the privilege. But then, you may be thinking more of your local community than Comcast is.

 

 

 

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

Comcast

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.

Wild Yard Sale This Week Plus …Would You Like to Share an Apartment with a Co-Founder?

soundslikewoodstockThe Underground Multiplex moves from its current location, the Brain Kitchen, on Saturday!  History was made there as we’ve met with wonderful people, hosted jazz concerts, held interviews with TV news and radio stations, entertained partygoers with music and movies, and developed our philosophy of collectivism in art and art promotion.

The Brain Kitchen was a special place, but always a physically limited space, so we are off to plant roots in a new home TBD soon.

In the meantime, there are artifacts we will be selling in a wild and funky yard sale Wednesday 5/28 and Friday 5/30 from 3pm-8pm at our grand location at 1424 N Greenview in Chicago. Among the items being sold are Joe’s crazy artwork, some of my insanely cheap but interesting records. books, games, a super 8mm camcorder, a super 8 Sound FILM camera with telescoping mic and various other goodies.  However, please do note the following:

Please don’t ask what specifically we’ll be selling. I’m way too busy packing and working to reply. Just stop by.
NO, we are not selling marionettes.
NO, we are not selling Meinecke or related artwork.
No early birds. We begin promptly at 3pm. Early birds will be plucked and deep fried with a delicious golden brown beer battered coating.

Come on over and pick up a piece of Chicago newsmaker history!

PLUS–Lew, co-founder of TUGM, is still looking for a roommate for a West Logan Sq apartment sublet beginning June 1st – August 31st. Strongly preferring someone who will continue on with a lease on Sept. 1st. If you are serious and interested, email lewojeda@gmail.com for more details.

 

Get This Banned Danish GOTV PSA on American Media **NOW**! (NSFW)

voteman-hed-2014

by Legendary Lew

I would love to shake the hand of the person who had the wild audacity to create this pants-pissing, hilarious cartoon urging young people to vote.  It touches on so many themes: hipster culture, superhero worship, incredible amounts of gratuitous sex and violence and even dolphins. However, it also makes the point that personal involvement matters. The GREATEST political Get-Out-the-Vote Ad ever created–bar NONE.

It was, of course, yanked immediately.

To those whimpering that this is too offensive: really? Been to the movies lately? Voter apathy in this country is way too high. Any means by which we can get more people to vote and continue to be a part of the law-making process can help.

http://bcove.me/zd5fpz0b