Sascha Ciezata’s When Herzog Rescued Phoenix is based on a true story told by Werner Herzog.
Ciezeta also made another film with a similar concept called When Lynch Met Lucas which ran into some problems.
My immensely popular animated short film When Lynch Met Lucas was pulled off Vimeo and several other sites by a certain “organization” (who claims to support the arts and artists) with a rather nebulous claim that they own the copyright to the audio portion of my film.
Here’s When Herzog Rescued Phoenix followed by Where’s When Lynch Met Lucas??, which Ciezata shot on his iphone.
We’ve sorta banned the word “rare” here at Dangerous Minds, because, let’s face it, nothing’s really rare anymore in the digital age. Nothing. Something might be “seldom seen” (we’ll be using that one a lot at DM) but “rare”? Nah, not in this century, bubbee. If there was ever more than two copies of something made, trust me, it’s out there somewhere in cyberspace, and can be located and downloaded with a little effort. Some of the seriously specialist “art house” and “cult movie” torrent trackers have shit so obscure and previously hard to find, that the word “rare,” especially when it comes to digital media just ought to be retired.
How rare or scare can something you don’t even need to move your ass off the chair for (and is normally free, for that matter) be???
It used to be that certain things were difficult to see, but no more. What about, say, the X-rated Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues. Once one of the rarest of the rare (at least for a watchable copy) during the heyday of the 80s VHS tape trading underground, you can now probably find close to 10,000 torrent files out there in the hinterlands of the Internet. It used to be on YouTube, for fuck’s sake. And again, it’s gone from “rare” to… ahem… free.
Warhol films? That’s easy.
Whenever I’m trying to get across to someone new to the idea of what bit torrent has to offer and exactly what kind of cinematic rarities are out there, the example I usually whip out is Jack Smith’s campy, pervy underground classic from 1963, Flaming Creatures. How many celluloid copies of this film ever existed in the first place? We know that some prints were seized in police obscenity raids, but considering how few places there ever were, historically, to legally be able (and willing) to screen such a confrontational film—subterranean Times Square pre-Stonewall gay porno theaters is the answer—I’d wager fewer than five prints maybe? Flaming Creatures was the limit test case for a rare cult movie. Outside of some institution showing it, or snagging a personal screening as a film scholar at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, you could pretty much forget about ever seeing Flaming Creatures.
Until fairly recently. It was even shown on French television.
When Flaming Creatures and another of Jack Smith’s films, Normal Love, were posted on Ubu website, I recall thinking that the paradigm of “rare” was well and truly dead. Another legendary movie that I’d always wanted to see was the At Folsom Prison with Dr, Timothy Leary film, and that I was able to embed in a blog post here last week. Like I was saying, nothing is rare anymore and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Which brings me to George Kuchar and Mike Kuchar, deviant twin filmmakers whose work also used to be difficult to view, but not anymore. The Kuchar Brothers were among the original indie mavericks of 60s cinema. But if you are thinking in terms of a young Martin Scorsese or Roger Corman, guess again. Troma before Troma, would be closer to the mark.
The Kuchar Brothers made silly, smutty, no budget, overblown melodramas and Sci-Fi epics that were part of the “Underground” film movement of the time. Their nearest contemporaries were Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage, but the space between a Douglas Sirk drama and Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space would seem to nicely define the campy aesthetic continuum the Kuchar’s films exist in. John Waters claims the Kuchar Brothers were bigger influences on him than Warhol, Kenneth Anger or even The Wizard of Oz in his introduction to their (amazing) 1997 book Reflections from a Cinematic Cesspool.
In a time long before YouTube, the Kuchar Brothers borrowed their aunt’s Super-8mm camera at the age of 12 and began making their films: poorly-acted, cheapo productions as much parodies as homages to the Technicolor movies they grew up watching in the 1950’s. The sweetly oddball Kuchar sensibility was also informed by the SF underground comix scene (via friends Art Spiegelman and Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith) when George ended up teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute. George, the more prolific of the twins, has made over 200 films, mostly with the help of his SFAI students, with memorable titles such as I Was A Teenage Rumpot, Pussy On A Hot Tin Roof, Corruption Of The Damned, Hold Me While I’m Naked, Color Me Shameless and House Of The White People. His best known film is probably the short, Hold Me While I’m Naked.
Mike Kuchar, often in collaboration with his brother and his brother’s students, made films with tiles like Sins of the Fleshapoids, The Secret Of Wendel Samson and The Craven Sluck. He also made an amazing short with Dangerous Minds pal, Kembra Pfhaler called The Blue Banshee and collaborated with gay German underground auteur Rosa von Praunheim.
These days, rare no more, the films of the Kuchar Brothers can be purchased on DVD, downloaded for free from Ubu’s website and are posted on YouTube. There’s even a documentary, 2009’s It Came From Kuchar, which you can stream on Netflix’s VOD. Below, 1966’s Hold Me While I’m Naked:
Métal Urbain were contemporaries of the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Formed in 1976, the French punk rock group’s harsh and noisy sound was as aggressive—if not more so—than that of their English or American counterparts (with the exception of Suicide or The Screamers). Their lead singer, Clode Panik, sounded like a French version of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith.
The group’s second single, “Paris Maquis” was Rough Trade’s first record release and influential British DJ John Peel showed his support, but they never really made it and broke up in 1979. Métal Urbain’s sound has been a big influence on Big Black’s Steve Albini and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Métal Urbain reformed in 2003 and toured the US. In 2006, Jello Biafra produced their album, J’irai chier dans ton vomi, in San Francisco.
Below, Métal Urbain lip-synching “Paris Maquis” on French TV in 1978:
After the jump, a performance of Métal Urbain’s Gallic synthpunk anthem, “Panik”!
Bold and brassy, cult figure Cherry Vanilla first came to the public’s attention playing a necrophilliac nurse in Andy Warhol’s freaky London stage play, Pork. Back in her hometown of New York City, she became David Bowie’s publicist during his Ziggy Stardust-era, working beside fellow Pork cast-member Leee Black Childers (who was the VP of Mainman, as Bowie’s then management company was called).
Later she moved to London, where RCA Records marketed her as “The First Lady of Punk.” Sting and Miles Copeland played in her backing band. Later, she went to work for composer Vangelis, running his US office, which she still does to this day. Cherry Vanilla’s memoir, Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla will be published in November by the Chicago Review Press. Lindsay Lohan would be a good choice to play Cherry in the film version!
Below Cherry Vanilla performs “The Punk” on Germany’s Music Laden television program in 1977:
Dangerous Minds pal Steven Daly sent this Hollywood Reporter article my way this morning about a novel new way the beleaguered video rental store industry is fighting the severe downtown in their fortunes. With Hollywood Video and Blockbuster getting crowed out of the marketplace by bit torrent, VOD, Netflix and Red Box, how will the “mom-n-pop” indies survive? Well, that’s an interesting question and no, it’s not April Fools Day, either:
“Please enjoy the movie. Would you like a tan with that?”
At the rate big video-rental chains are closing up their shops, the 10,000 or so independently owned stores are getting creative to ensure they don’t suffer a similar fate. Combining movie rentals with tanning beds is one popular move.
More than 3,500 independently owned video-rental stores have added a tanning salon to their stores, estimated Ted Engen, president of the Video Buyers Group, an industry trade association.
A good tanning bed—one that consumers won’t mind paying about 50 cents a minute to use—can cost up to $15,000. Despite the hefty upfront cost and fattened energy bills, rental time combined with ancillary product sales like suntan lotion translate into a profitable business.
Engen said peak hours, days and seasons for tanning coincide nicely with the slow times in the movie-rental business, so traffic is drawn to the combo stores fairly consistently. A store with a half-dozen beds typically will garner 40% of its revenue from tanning and 60% from DVDs.
Video Rental Stores’ Bizarre Survival Strategy (THR)
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.