Tag Archives: sci-fi

Interview with Artist Dave Asher at Chicago Filmmakers

Dave Asher as Melody Nife in SCI FI SOL

Dave Asher as Melody Nife in SCI FI SOL

Friday Night VOLUME at Chicago Filmmakers kicked off it’s 2014 run with a January jam-packed with ray guns, video game car chases, super hero dance battles, and an album of music the Chicago Journal called, “a brilliant slice of bedroom pop, infectiously catchy and rough around all of the right edges”.  All of this, courtesy of featured attraction SCI FI SOL, the music video fantasy adventure.

The final screening packed an especially rare whollup, as it was announced that the original album of music that inspired and scored the movie would, in fact, not be heard.  Instead,  the movie was played alongside the upcoming new album by Sci Fi Sol creator Melody Nife.

Joseph R. Lewis interviews Dave Asher, AKA Melody Nife, AKA musical director of legendary Chicago comedy theatre iO and artist behind the music of Sci Fi Sol, the music video fantasy adventure.
Recorded live on January 31st, MMXIV as part of Friday Night VOLUME, a series programmed by Jake Weisman at Chicago Filmmakers.

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The Philosophy Behind My Approach to Facets Night School

FNS1This weekend marks the final shows of Night School presented at Facets Multimedia, which has served as the home of the most inventive midnight movie presentations in Chicago for 4.5 years. It’s been my pleasure to host a dozen film screenings during that time, including a feature-length film–Sisters of No Mercy— inspired by Night School.

Joe Lewis and Michael Smith have both written wonderful blog pieces about the demise of Night School at Facets. I’ve also read great comments from presenters Dominick Mayer and Joel Wicklund.

When Night School founder Phil Morehart brought forth the idea of having midnight movies at Facets, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. In the past, I had enjoyed thoughtful reviews of unusual rare films in such great magazines as Shock Cinema (to which I once contributed) and Psychotronic Magazine. I knew there was a great well of strange movie from which to draw.

The emergence of Night School came at a perfect time for FacetsNS2experimentation of how screenings could be formatted for independent theaters. Studios were changing to digital projection exclusively, leaving many theaters holding the bag with now outdated 35MM equipment and expensive digital changeovers. Netflix went through a nasty PR period of growing pains with the perception of unlimited streaming and the roll out, and then roll back, of Quixster, the video world’s version of New Coke. Blockbuster was evaporating from its video (and retail) dominance of the late 1980s and 1990s. All this was compounded by The Bush Depression of 2008, which threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work monthly.

From the outset, I knew that Night School had to be different from other movie series. Studios and movie chains could use their large wallets to entice viewers to theaters with larger spectacles, more advanced 3D capabilities, table-side food service and movie discount specials.

Courtesy Time Out Chicago

Courtesy: Time Out Chicago

This all seems fine for the bottom line, but the major point being missed by the chains and the studios was that they are not suited to cater to the needs of movie viewers at the community level. Sure, you can have chats online with people via Netflix about movies, but there’s also the probability you’ll never meet them in person. I used to joke about having film appreciation groups meet up at a local Redbox in the pouring rain.  And I’m very doubtful the studios will have cast members of new movies make dozens of public appearances across the country without them being paid lots of money for the trouble.

What Night School proved was that poverty-stricken creative folks can436 come up with a truly forward-thinking solution: engage with fans on a collective idea. Bring back variety with each show. Give viewers a spectacle without having to break a budget. Indeed, with a budget of exactly $0, you can actually accomplish a great deal. You can still jump out of a cake (Eat the Rich); have an interview with the mother of The Terminator and Lady Terminator (Lady Terminator); have Yor the Hunter from the Future show up for Q&A (Yor, The Hunter from the Future); have zombie whores dance and hand puppets sing (Sisters of No Mercy); uncover a lost Idi Amin toothpaste radio ad (Amin: The Rise and Fall); perform a live interactive radio skit (Wonder Women); have spectacular live music performances to such films as Haxan, The Fall of the House of Usher and A Page of Madness and more.

You can also meet and form a production partnership with an incredible talent named Joseph R. Lewis. Night School gave birth to The Underground Multiplex and the notion that you can rely on the genius of others here in Chicago to do great things. We have, thanks to the incredible presenters we’ve had over the years, the forethought of overseers Phil Morehart and Susan Doll and the hands-off policy of Facets Multimedia, which allowed the inmates to run the asylum one night per week. I’m grateful to Facets for allowing me the chance to change the way viewers experience movies.  Major unending thank yous to all the presenters, volunteers, projectionists and everyone who’s ever come out to see some craziness in action.

As our award-winning program moves on to different venues, The Underground Multiplex will continue its commitment to presenting great forgotten and underappreciated films with the ballyhoo, fun and zaniness the great city of Chicago deserves.

Lew Ojeda

RIP 2009-2013

RIP 2009-2013

Mediatrocities Minicast: Interview with Wednesday Rewind Film Series Host Katie Rife

killingofsatanThis week, Mediatrocities is proud to highlight the ongoing cult movie series “Wednesday Rewind” at The Logan Theatre in Chicago presented by film historian, author and co-founder of the fantastic site, Everything is Terrible, the wonderful Katie Rife.

Joining me in the interview is the “talented” film auteur Ernie Tarté. We spoke about the great rare films in store for those willing to shell out a measly $3 admission.

Playing tonight at The Logan is the craziness of Rollerblade, which combines the post-apocalyptic future with roller derby nuns. Katie joined me is discussing this and other odd finds for the Wednesday Rewind series. However, things did get a tad bit uncomfortable when the snide comments of Tarté nearly derailed the interview. Thank goodness, I was able to hold it together for the rest of her visit:

KR: We’re showing Rollerblade which is a really insane shot-on-video, sci-fi movie about a cult called The Cosmic Order of Rollerblade… They are like roller derby nuns…they cut each other with knives and then they bathe in a holy hot tub…their wounds get healed and then they skate around a post-apocalyptic landscape which is really just like a warehouse in L.A.
ET: It is called Rollerblade?
KR: It’s called Rollerblade. But, interesting fact, everybody thinks that it’s a movie about rollerblading but it’s not.
ET: Then why is it called Rollerblade?
KR: Because, it’s the Sisters of the Holy Order of Rollerblade.
ET: Oh Christ!
KR: Your attention to detail is not very good I gotta say for a film director.
ET: How dare you insult Tarte!

You can hear the rest of the interview by clicking on the link below. It’s a wild time at the movies!

Here’s the entire Wednesday Rewind roundup:

2/6    Intrepidos Punks
2/13  Fabio’s A Time for Romance
2/20 Rollerblade
2/27 Mankillers
3/6    The Killing of Satan
3/13  Boarding House
3/20 Seven Lucky Ninja Kids
3/27 Baby Huey’s Easter Adventure
4/3    Liquid Sky
4/10  Evil Speak
4/17  Nigerian Movie Night! (featuring Rad Brian)
4/24  Get Even
5/1     Exterminator 2
5/8    Raiders: The Adaptation
5/15  Turkish Star Wars
5/22  The Dragon Lives Again
5/29  Hamburger: The Motion Picture

All shows are on Wednesday nights at 10:30pm
The Logan Theatre
2646 N Milwaukee
Chicago, IL
Admission: $3

How can you resist this:

GO TO MEDIATROCITIES MINICAST #4.2: INTERVIEW WITH KATIE RIFE
 

 

 

 

When “Sex Kitten” Mamie Van Doren Met Classic Film Director Peter Bogdanovich

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It’s tough to imagine that 1950’s sex kitten Mamie Van Doren turns eighty today, but her glamour and beauty continue even as the films she appeared in after that decade became schlockier.

One notable example is by the man who may very well finish Orson Welles’ final film, Peter Bogdanovich. Working as “Derek Thomas,” Bogdanovich edited a couple of Soviet sci-fi films together with new footage shot of Doren and other beauties, supposedly on the planet Venus. To ease any transitions between Russian actors and actors in a completely different film, Doren and the Venusian beauties use telepathy to communicate. Of course, when you have buxom babes in your movies, you may already have all the body language you need.

Copyright Chaos: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Arrested as Troma Entertainment Releases a Library of Films for Free

If you want proof of the current fucked up state of copyright enforcement, you needn’t look further than a couple of headlines from the past week.

Pirate Bay co-founder, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was arrested in Cambodia with the reporting from Murdoch-owned assrag The Wall Street Journal using words like “mastermind” and “notorious” to send the boogeyman shivers down your spine. The actual crime that Warg committed, of course, is helping develop a platform on which individuals can share files and get the word out about movies and music that you may never otherwise hear about.  That’s why super rich ABBA founder Bjorn Ulvaeus can be pissed off about sharing files while struggling indie musicians depend on it for exposure.  And since the CEO of Universal Music just admitted that he doesn’t create art, that puts Bjorn, creator of soulless music in the company of a soulless music exec. Won’t help you much in the court of public opinion, guys.

Meanwhile, Troma, a film company in existence for over 3 decades, announced it has released 150 films on YouTube for free, including their signature flick The Toxic Avenger. Can you imagine a major Hollywood studio announcing they would release hundreds of classic movies online for free?

Or can you imagine them forcing Congress to pass a law allowing movie copyrights to be held for “death+70 years” and chase after people who could actually help those movies gain new audiences?

 

TUGMs Joe Lewis and Lew Ojeda on Pod People #12

Tom Cruise (on top of the world’s largest phallic structure located in Dubai) is one of the topics of Pod People #12

Joe Lewis and I made a visit to HeaveMedia‘s Pod People Podcast starring Dominick Mayer and Nico Lang. Click here to listen to us discuss the Scientology darling, how Hollywood underestimates women (again) and our “Sh!thouse Cinema Cirkus” currently playing summer 2012 at Facets Multimedia.

Lew

THIS is the Version of “Prometheus” I Want to See

This amazing recreation of the Prometheus trailer is made entirely out of colored paper. I would watch this feature-length paper version over the mega million one in a heartbeat.