It caused nausea and vomiting when first shown at the Cinephone, Oxford Street, in London. Some of the audience demanded their money back, others hurled abuse and shouted “That’s sick,” and ““Its disgusting.” This was the idea, as writer William Burroughs and producer, Antony Balch wanted to achieve a complete “disorientation of the senses.”
Balch had a hard-on for the weird, unusual and sometimes depraved. It was a predilection born from his love of horror films - one compounded when as a child he met his idol, Bela Lugosi, the olde Austro-Hungarian junkie, who was touring Britain with the stage show that had made him famous, Dracula. Film was a love affair that lasted all of Balch’s life.
He also had a knack of making friends with the right people at the right time. In Paris he met and hung out with the artist Brion Gysin and druggie, Glaswegian Beat writer, Alexander Trocchi, who was then writing porn and editing a literary mag called Merlin, along with the likes of Christopher Logue. Through them, Balch met the two men who changed his life, Burroughs and Kenneth Anger.
Anger helped Balch with his ambitions as a cinema distributor, getting him a copy of Todd Browning’s classic Freaks, which was banned the UK, at that time. Balch paid Anger back when he later released his apocalyptic Invocation of My Demon Brother as a support feature.
Burroughs offered Balch something different - the opportunity to collaborate and make their own films. This they did, first with Towers Open Fire, an accessible montage of Burroughs’ routines, recorded on a Grundig tape recorder, cut-up to Balch’s filmed and found images of a “crumbling society.” Put together stuff like this and the chattering classes will always take you seriously. But don’t doubt it, for it was good.
But it was their second collaboration, Cut Ups which for me is far more interesting and proved far more controversial. Cut Ups was originally intended as a documentary called Guerilla Conditions, and was filmed between 1961 and 1965 in Tangiers and Paris. It included some footage from Balch’s aborted attempt to film the unfilmable Naked Lunch. The finished material was collated and then conventionally edited - but the process didn’t stop there, no. For Balch divided the finshed film into four sections of equal length, and then...
‘WikiRebels’ offers some insight to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Inexplicably, I can’t find any information on this documentary other than its Youtube description:
Rough-cut of first in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it! From summer 2010 until now, Swedish Television has been following the secretive media network WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.
Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version - Openleaks.org.”
This Christmas card is part of a promotional campaign to get people to donate a percentage of their income to a Polish animal shelter.
The target audience for this ad are actually clubbers. It’s a postcard inserted in envelope with flyers promoting cultural and nightlife events, distributed in party venues and also posters placed in such venues. Christmas and first months of New Year (when you can donate 1% of your income tax to the chosen NGO) is kind of eruption period for charity campaigns. It was the intent of this piece to be different than all the rest of such campaigns and to draw attention of people who sort of became habituated seeing tear-jerking charity ads.
Siavosh Zabeti, and Alexander Kalchev create a FaceBOOK, a social network in hard copy form. De-evolution.
Bouygues Telecom asked us to come up with an idea to launch their facebook platform. They wanted us to create something that would go beyond using your profile picture in a funny way, or pranking your friends with a small joke.
We decided to look at the way we use facebook and found that even though we use the social networking site everyday, we forget our favorite moments we share online. So we created an app that could change that, and keep your facebook, in a book.
Pittsburgh filmmaker Lenka Clayton’s ‘Qaeda Quality Question Quickly Quickly Quiet’ strafes us with the ABCs of post-9/11 propagandistic buzzwords. Bush’s political oratory: a spewing of consonants and vowels with a machine gun staccato, a torrent of linguistic shrapnel.
In recent weeks (since the publication of his memoirs), George W. has been waging a media campaign to resurrect his disastrous Presidency from the hell pit of infamy. And the media has been all too willing to aid him in his revision of history.
Just as a reminder, here’s a crash course in the madness of King George.
Click here to see an interactive map of ‘the best college radio stations, in terms of freeform music programming and streaming audio quality.’
In choosing the stations, Zoomout.in’s criteria was:
*Must be non-commercial;
*Must be affiliated with a college/university and be (mostly) student run;
*Must have a full schedule of freeform programming;
*Must broadcast a live, high-quality .mp3 or .ogg stream.
I have a fear of flying, so I drive cross country quite often and find myself futilely spinning the radio dial trying to discover something to listen to other than Bible thumpers and conservative talk jocks . College radio provides some relief from the wasteland that is the American airwaves.
In the current issue of The Village Voice, Tony Ortega, who has been writing about Scientology since 1995, reports on former high-level Scientologist Marty Rathbun’s recent expose of a Scientology ‘dark ops’ program.
Former high-level Scientologist Marty Rathbun revealed fascinating material yesterday on his blog: he claims that it’s evidence of a detailed “dark ops” program launched in 2006 by Scientology to destroy a woman named Tory Christman, who had left the organization several years earlier.
I know Christman well. In 2001, I wrote a lengthy story about her defection, which had gained notoriety because she announced it in an online forum, where for months she had been doing battle with Scientology’s critics. Her sudden about-face, followed by a frantic flight from agents of the church who pursued her across the country, was dramatic enough. But leaving Scientology was not Christman’s only goal. She almost immediately became one of Scientology’s most tireless critics.
That apparently didn’t sit well with L. Ron Hubbard’s wacky cabal.
I like Mark Ebner, he’s a ballsy guy, and a brilliant investigative journalist, who may possibly be possessed by genius. Mark is the author of two excellent books Hollywood Interrupted and Six Degrees of Paris Hilton and the writer of a thick file of highly respected and award-winning journalism, ranging from exposes on Scientology, Pit Bull fighting, and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as pieces on celebrity stalkers, drug dealers, missing porn stars, and Hepatitis C in Hollywood. For this, Ebner has been hailed as “the best investigative journalist since Hunter S. Thompson.” No doubt. But back in 2000, Mark tried his hand as a shock jock, as he told Dangerous Minds:
The year was 2000. A Bay Area start-up investor group decided “internet radio” was the ticket, so they set up a mammoth broadcast base in a warehouse in LA and started hiring up local talent to host shows: Ahmet Zappa.,“Kennedy,” Brian Whitman, Beth Lapides, Greg Behrendt, The Boone Brothers and me.
Me? Comedy? My agent negotiated me $100,000-a-year to host 3-hour show twice-a-week, having never done radio before. This was more money than I had ever seen, and I actually took the gig seriously, assembling a crack crew - all of whom have gone on to big things in their respective careers. Lesson learned: radio is difficult.
When I started the show, it was The Mark Ebner Show - just me and a microphone, trying to work the Joe Frank-style brooding confessional schtick. I ran out of material for that fast, and - when The Comedy World Radio Network went terrestrial (broke into traditional, second-tier radio markets) I flipped the format to more of a Howard Stern-inspired shock radio, hot topic groove. I hired a co-host named “Grommet” - a Venice Beach-dwelling tattoo artist / rabbinical student for second-seat duties, and, well, that didn’t work. Along shambled Peter Oddo, or Pete The Cripple - a transplanted Long Islander taking full-advantage of the American Disability Act. The guy was perfect for the show: Genuinely crippled (cerebral palsy), with a sense of humor about himself and a encyclopedia of movie facts and pop culture.
Oddo sounds a character. Ebner jokingly described him as “more insufferable than Sandra Bernhardt”, so I wrote to him to find out his take on The Mark Ebner Show. After a few emails back and forth and the questioning disbelief that anyone would take Ebner seriously, he wrote back:
Mark’s early shows were what I would call Diamonds In The Rough. He was waiting to shine through. But his Producer didn’t really believe in him or the show and quite honestly was just going through the motions. He had a co-host named Grommit that did not contribute much of anything to the show. The show needed something. The program director at the network was Terry Danuser. And he was such a smart guy. He had a lot of faith in Mark and kept working with him through the changes. I started helping Mark behind the scenes prepping the show. Doug Steindorff was brought in as Mark’s sidekick and eventually Mark found his producer in a Mexican version of Roseanne Barr named Mickey Ramos. Kidding. Roseanne is much more heinous looking.
The new line-up worked, partly because Ebner was more in control. He had also called in an old friend, the actor and writer Douglas Steindorff, as Mark explained:
Doug was funny, but coming from an improvisatory school of life and acting, he had little patience with my show’s largely scripted format. He rebelled on the air, and got himself fired. But, he will always be remembered for dropping trousers in full-frontal monty in the middle of a interview with one Carrie Fisher. Drastic Radio, along with the entire network, was finished exactly one year after it’s founding, and the talent reunion was held in bankruptcy court.
Oddo recalled the show with Carrie Fisher best:
One day, Mark secured a big guest. Carrie Fisher was going to come in and spend an hour. Being the huge Star Wars fan and movie geek that I am, I begged Mark to keep me in studio for that hour. I promised him I would bring something to the table. I wouldn’t tell Mark what I planned. I told him to just react to whatever I did. As Carrie sat there munching on donut holes that she brought in a sandwich bag, I hit her with such FANS WANT TO KNOW QUESTIONS as “What was it like doing drugs with Belushi?” or “Paul Simon? Really???” and “Is it true Harrison Ford has the best Pot in Hollywood”? It was what would come to be known as Pete The Cripple takes a bullet for the show. We were a great crew together and it all ended too fast when the Powers That Be pulled the plug.
Ebner’s radio career may have been short-lived, but his last show is still talked about with a mixture of shock and awe:
Our last show on-the-air in six syndicated radio markets found me and Pete breaking every FCC rule in the book by breaking into the insufferable Sandra Bernhardt’s pre-recorded show, and loudly snoring, swearing and taking calls throughout.
All of the team have gone on to bigger and better. And as for Ebner, what’s been radio’s loss has been journalism’s gain.