FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
‘Slacking Towards Bethlehem,’ the incredible true story of the Church of the SubGenius
10.12.2017
08:35 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
The Church of the SubGenius’ annus mirabilis, 1998, may have come and gone (or it may be yet to come, as some of the faithful believe), but it’s never been easier to hear the word of “Bob.”

OSI 74 carries on the Church’s TV ministry. Evangelical radio programs such as Hour of Slack, Puzzling Evidence, and Ask Dr. Hal no longer splutter from our computer speakers in a pitiable dribble of RealAudio 1.0, but burst forth in full stereo at 64 Kbps, a mighty firehose of Slack. The classic SubGenius recruitment movie Arise!, which used to cost 20 whole dollars, is now just as free as an ISKCON book with Ganesha on the cover. And The Book of the SubGenius is still in print.
 

 
But a documentary in the works promises to do something new for the Church, namely, to situate its founding and founders in real, actual historical time. Slacking Towards Bethlehem: J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius will tell the story of Rev. Ivan Stang and Dr. Philo Drummond meeting in mid-Seventies Texas as young weirdos. The pair “quickly forged a friendship over a shared love of comic books, Captain Beefheart and UFO paperbacks,” in the words of the movie’s press release, before starting a religion that won converts in R. Crumb, Robert Anton Wilson, DEVO, Frank Zappa and Negativland. Directing is Austin filmmaker Sandy K. Boone, whose late husband, David Boone, directed the 1980 cult film Invasion of the Aluminum People, which might be “an allegorical testimony for the Church of the SubGenius.”
 

 
Slacking Towards Bethlehem is almost in the can, Boone says, with poster art by legendary comix artist and SubGenius saint Paul Mavrides (a/k/a Palmer Vreedeez [unless you believe he’s really Dr. Hal], LIES) to come, but first they have to fund post-production. The movie’s Kickstarter—not to be confused with the also recently launched crowdfunding campaign behind SubGenius Dr. K’taden Legume’s proposed “alien-contacting beacon”—offers tempting perks. At $11, salvation can be nearly anyone’s. There are clothes, books, and rare items from the Rev. Ivan Stang archive higher up the scale. Still more generous donations secure holy relics, suitable for framing, such as pieces of toast on which “Bob” has appeared to believers in their humble kitchenettes; for just a few dollars more, they will sell you the Breakfast with “Bob” toaster used to manufacture these miraculous apparitions. For the very deep-pocketed donor, or the crazed, impulsive superfan with a high FICO score, there is an associate producer credit on offer. Would it be too much to hope for a few Holy Seven-Bladed Windbreakers?
 
Keep reading after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
10.12.2017
08:35 am
|
Discussion
Bikini butt charms are a thing
08.15.2017
08:45 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
These terribly uncomfortable-looking bikini “butt charms” are apparently now a thing and are made by Japanese merchandiser BoDivas. I haven’t actually seen a single person sporting this butt bling so far this summer, so I’m not sure how much of a “thing” this crotch jewelry really is. To be fair though, it’s been awhile since I’ve visited a swimming pool or a beach. Maybe they’re everywhere?

They’re called “Beachtails” and they range in price from $19.50 to $22.50. The Beachtails also come in lots of colors so you can strategically coordinate them with your swimwear bottoms.

As a side note: I noticed there’s not one review for these on Amazon. Not one.


Get your Beachtail here.
 

Get your Beachtail here.

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
|
08.15.2017
08:45 am
|
Discussion
Televangelism for the jet-set: The rise & fall of the ‘World Action Singers’ of the 1970s


 
“The World Action Singers, ORU students who love to sing as they prepare for their responsibilities in tomorrow’s world.” In the 1970s Richard Roberts greeted millions of Americans on his evangelist father’s prime-time television specials and syndicated weekly programs. His group the World Action Singers flew all over the globe in a private jet to exotic locations such as Hollywood, Alaska, Hawaii, London, and Japan, earning them the nickname “The Worldly Action Swingers.” Meanwhile, back home at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma they were reportedly receiving 32,000 pieces of fan mail a day. By 1980, despite their near-perfect public image, The World Action Singers found themselves facing multiple scandals, serious financial crises, and a loss of approximately 40% of their audience.

Oral Roberts was a televangelist pioneer who trained a generation of jet-setting, superstar pastors. In the sixties, he hired Oklahoma architect Frank Wallace to sculpt a multimillion-dollar dream campus in one of Tulsa’s classiest suburbs. When it opened in 1967, ORU’s space-age academy resembled Disney’s Tomorrowland and instantly became the finest example of modern architecture at any university in the world. Located in a sunken garden in the heart of the campus, a 200-foot Googie-influenced building called The Prayer Tower was topped by a gas flame which lit up the evening sky. Pylon-like columns, gold-tinted windows, CityPlex Towers, a state-of-the-art Aerobics Center, and a geodesic dome gave ORU a Jetson’s city quality. It was a building named Baby Mabee which opened in 1971 that was used as a television studio for the production of Roberts’ specials. (FYI, Elvis Presley’s live album Elvis - Sold Out! was recorded at the adjacent Mabee Center in 1974).
 

 
Oral’s third son, Richard Roberts was working as a singer at parties and pizza parlors in the Tulsa area. When it came time for college he rebelled against his father by attending the University of Kansas instead of ORU and married his girlfriend Patti against the wishes of his family and friends. Soon after, Oral called Richard and Patti into his study, sat them down by the fireplace and began to weep. Oral explained that he had a terrible dream where God told him that if they should continue living an “unchristian life” outside of ORU then they would be killed in a plane crash. Richard and Patti immediately returned to Tulsa and formed the wholesome, singing and dancing sensations the World Action Singers made up of a dozen elite ORU students including Kathie Epstein who would later become known as Kathie Lee Gifford. With flashy sets, costumes, well-choreographed dance sequences, the World Action Singers were an overnight success and reached millions of viewers every week.

But while Richard and Patti maintained a Ken & Barbie facade on television, behind the scenes their behavior was far from perfect. Richard had a reputation for off-campus smoking, drinking, and womanizing. He even maintained a difficult reputation on-set, and one day snapped at producer Jerry Sholes by exclaiming, “Is he a director or a pussy?” without any regard to the Christian students within earshot. As the 1970s went on it became increasingly difficult for Richard to put in a full work day, he was often MIA or leaving set early to go golfing. Meanwhile, ORU was knee-deep in cash: the Roberts enjoying vacations, expensive cars, shopping trips, and flying around the world in luxury, all at the expense of the school. Frank Schaeffer (son of the famous Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer) was the first to call Richard and Patti out on their behavior, describing their lifestyle as “poisonous.” According to Frank, his confrontation with the Roberts was successful, with Richard finally admitting “You’re right, you’re right, this is terrible. We need to get out.”
 

 
In 1977, Oral Robert’s prophecy came true in a shocking roundabout turn of events when Rebecca Roberts (Oral’s oldest child) and her husband were killed in a plane crash. Soon after, Richard and Patti’s marriage fell apart. Oral previously had a strict policy against divorce, however, he bent the rules and gave Patti permission to end the marriage. She later described it as “a corporate marriage designed not to upset the flow of dollars into the prized ministry.” Controversy quickly arose when the divorce went public, and combined with serious financial crises regarding construction on the campus, the Roberts began facing opposition from even their most devoted followers in the early ‘80s. Despite Richard’s fast efforts to re-marry (he wed a 23-year-old named Lindsay Salem within a year of the divorce), ORU would never fully recover. Over the next several decades the university would rake up about $52.5 million in debt which left its once beautiful campus in shambles. The Prayer Tower considered the symbol of the university, became rusty, and the tiled steps to the library ended up in complete disarray, missing almost all of its tiles.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Doug Jones
|
04.04.2017
09:37 am
|
Discussion
‘Smash the State’: Joey Shithead of D.O.A. is running for political office
03.31.2017
09:11 am
Topics:
Tags:


via Greens of British Columbia
 
West Coast punk legend Joey “Shithead” Keithley of D.O.A. is running for office in Burnaby, B.C. Keithley will stand as Green Party candidate for Member of the Legislative Assembly in the May 9 election. His promise:

If I am elected I will be a strong voice for regular folks, the same way I have been in DOA. These are some of the issues I will fight for: affordable housing, creation of jobs through green technology and alternative energy, lower cost daycare, affordable post-secondary education and income equality. I will also stand against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline that threatens BC’s beautiful coast with potential spills of dirty tar sands oil from Alberta. I will also work towards making the 1% pay their fair share.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
03.31.2017
09:11 am
|
Discussion
Labor of love: Writer-director-star Alice Lowe on homicidal motherhood & the making of ‘Prevenge’
03.21.2017
10:45 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Alice Lowe’s horror black comedy Prevenge, as you may have gathered from my last post, is pretty likely to be my favorite film of the year (though there’s some fierce competition, for sure.) A hilariously bleak look at motherhood and murder, Prevenge is the story of mother-to-be Ruth who, after the tragic death of her unborn baby’s father, starts to hear the child’s voice. And it is telling her to kill.

The film is packed to bursting point with wicked laughs, stomach-turning violence and, perhaps most surprisingly of all, genuine pathos, the kind of work that gives you faith that independent cinema is still capable of turning out films that are both fresh and brilliant. Written, directed and starring Lowe herself in the lead role, Prevenge was made on a shoe-string budget over the course of three weeks, all while Lowe was heavily pregnant. While it might mark her first time behind the camera to helm a feature, as an actress and a writer Lowe is a seasoned pro, lending her formidable talents to work as diverse and quality as The Mighty Boosh, Sherlock, Snuff Box, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Sightseers.

We’re long time fans of Alice Lowe’s work here at Dangerous Minds, so it was a real treat to finally nab an exclusive interview with this dark comedy powerhouse. I caught up with her on International Women’s Day to talk about Prevenge, producing films, and the trials of juggling motherhood with an artistic career.

Dangerous Minds: Which one was harder? Making a film or giving birth?

Alice Lowe: Giving birth! If I had to compare the two, making a feature film is pretty easy. No, it’s still pretty nerve wracking! But that’s one of the things that made me do it because, compared to childbirth, I thought “oh it’s just a feature film, who cares?” If I hadn’t been pregnant I would have been like: “My precious first feature!” I maybe wouldn’t have made it because I was so scared of it not being perfect. As it was, I wasn’t that stressed to be honest, I was just enjoying it.

So far the critical reaction to Prevenge has been very positive. How have you found the reception to the film?

Alice Lowe: It’s amazing! I don’t think it’s gonna hit me until about a year’s time because I just haven’t stopped. Making the film, having a baby, editing the film with my baby, finishing the film in time for the Venice Film Festival, it’s all just been a whirlwind, really. I haven’t had a chance to stop and take stock. Because it was so low budget, we just didn’t have any expectations. I was thinking: “If I can make a film then that’s brilliant, it doesn’t really matter what it’s like.” Haha! Honestly, I was just glad to get a feature under my belt, because features notoriously don’t mix well with childcare. So I didn’t really have any expectations, but I certainly didn’t expect to still be promoting it now and people to still be talking about it!
 

As ‘Dr Liz Asher’ in ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’
 
Prevenge is your first feature film as director. Was there any particular template that you were working to as a first time director, either for a low-budget horror or just more generally?

Alice Lowe: Initially I did think it would be easier to do a revenge film because you have a narrative template. You don’t necessarily need to see the preamble, what has happened before, you can just take the audience on this journey of a revenge spree, and to a set timetable. So that’s quite useful. Taxi Driver was a big influence though, as I had often thought there was room for a female Taxi Driver-type film.

Yes, there’s definitely a kind of Travis Bickle-ish aspect to Prevenge‘s Ruth. As for the comedy side of this film, which is just as important as the horror, that’s a tricky balancing act but one you’ve pulled off brilliantly. Did you have any inspirations or templates when it came to this kind of fusion of horror and black comedy?

Alice Lowe:  Well, horror and humor has become quite a British thing, I think. I mean, going back to Ealing Studios there is horror mixed in with comedy there. But you know I also wanted to put drama in there as well, and pathos, and that to me is a bigger experiment in the film, as I didn’t know if anything else had done that successfully. And that’s about having the confidence to steer the audience into these different gears, essentially. That was a labor of love in the edit. Even though I wrote the script as a mixture of genres, I had an epiphany during the actual shooting when I realized that it didn’t have to be any one genre, we just tried to make it as good as possible. Same as with the music, really. While there are lots of influences, it has to be an idiosyncratic thing because it’s really this one person’s journey. So it’s allowed to feel quite new and strange as long as it is managed skilfully.
 

As Ruth in ‘Prevenge’
 

You not only wrote and directed this film, which is an achievement in itself - while being heavily pregnant, let’s not forget - but you also starred in it too. I found your performance really powerful, giving murderous mum-to-be Ruth a gravitas and an empathy that strangely complimented the fear and the belly laughs. It’s quite a feat. So can you tell me how you approached Prevenge as an acting gig?

Alice Lowe: I knew I wouldn’t have any time to get into character. There just wasn’t enough time! I had to channel what I was feeling, the intensity of being pregnant, through the performance. But I’ve done a lot of low budget films, not directing necessarily but writing them, and I always know what I am doing with my character and sometimes what I fear, as a director, is that I can’t convey to an actor what I want them to do. Especially when it’s a complex character that is pushing and pulling the audience’s sympathies in different directions. You have to give something for the crew to latch on to. If the central performance is wobbly, the whole thing could become wobbly! So I had to carry the whole thing through and I couldn’t have any vanity about the performance at all. We needed ten seconds of me by the window, we got it, we moved on, there was no other take, no sense of me doing it for four hours. But in a way I was confident to do that because I knew the character inside out. I had written her. I knew what I was doing. And I don’t like to watch playback because I don’t like to be too self-conscious. I had to be in the zone. and when you have a small budget and a small crew, it enables you to do good performances anyway because there was very little set-up, re-setting, lighting and all that. There was very little down time, so you’re just acting the whole time, 24/7. We were just immersed in it, the same as when we shot Sightseers. Which is quite good because you forget you’re acting. You’re just being it. That has a very favorable impact on the performance.

And I presume you were given carte blanche by the producers to do whatever you wanted?

Alice Lowe: Yeah pretty much, I mean they would look over stuff and give me help or feedback if I wanted it but really they just let me get on with it. It was me and the editor, really, pushing through with this experience of the edit. in terms of the script, we didn’t have time for re-writes or anything like that. I basically wrote the script in about a week, having thought about it and written a pitch document before that. I mean, we had to change things as we went along, like when we couldn’t get a particular location and things like that, but in effect it was a first draft.
 

As David Bowie on ‘Snuff Box’
 
Wow! That is impressive. So do you think you were liberated artistically by these low-budget/indie constraints?

Alice Lowe: Yes I do actually. I think it gave me faith in the simplicity of a narrative that people will accept. I knew that to be able to film it in such a short time it would have to be long scenes. I knew I was writing it as a series of two-handers, each scene was one other actor, one location and one long scene. It’s like little bits of theater really, and it’s funny because people don’t really comment on that. I thought we would get a lot more criticism because it is such a simple narrative. I mean we did get some criticism, but not as much as I thought we would.

For me the challenge was to write characters that felt modern and recognizable, but they’re not operating to a conventional script. I wanted the audience to feel that this was really happening. You know, how life is unexpected, people don’t do what you think they’ll do. Bringing stuff to life so there’s a vibrancy of performance. And again, that’s something that comes from the low-budget set-up, because everyone knows we may only get one take at this and it’s quite exciting. I just know the film wouldn’t have got made through a conventional development system. People would have said: “You can’t have a scene this long”, “There’s too much dialogue”, “What’s this bit about?”, “This joke doesn’t work.” There would have been so much of that. It drives me insane! Those kinds of people. You just think “Have you ever directed a film? Or written anything? Have you ever made people laugh? Ever in your life?” The kind of people you have to accept feedback from don’t know how to make a film! 

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
|
03.21.2017
10:45 am
|
Discussion
Page 1 of 116  1 2 3 >  Last ›