Pretty much every moment of the episode is solid gold. Waters plays up the occasion for maximum humor, while also treating viewers to a glimpse of his favorite Baltimore watering hole, the Club Charles.
John Waters is amazing as always, but some of the best lines here are intoned in Robin Leach’s patented plummy shriek: “It is the house of a man who wrote the book on schlock value and plays it for all it’s worth! ... The man who calls the shots swears he has three all-time idols: Anita Ekberg, Liberace, and Francis the Talking Mule!” (In between those two statements we see Waters’ receptionist inform him that Mother Theresa is on the line, to which Waters responds with an irritated, “Tell her I’ll call her back!”)
More Leach: “It’s a fine line between parody and the macabre: A jar of dirt from the lawn of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy sits next to polio vaccine!” I was trying to figure out the timing of this…. there is a reference to some more profitable movies Waters has made, so I suppose it has to be after Hairspray in 1987.
Here’s a cinematic drug binge consisting of segments from 41 movies in which people snort, shoot and smoke a slew of mind-altering substances. In these druggy scenes from Easy Rider to The Wolf Of Wall Street, there’s enough powder and weed to make your jaws clench, eyes water and nose twitch.
The most famous short film ever made was inspired by dreams. Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali had talked about making a film together for some time but could never agree on what the film should be about.
One day, Dali told Buñuel he had dreamt of ants swarming in his hands. Buñuel replied that he had dreamt of slicing open someone’s eye with a cutthroat razor. “There’s the film,” he said, “let’s go and make it.”
As Buñuel later explained, they compiled the script from a series of images which they took it in turns to suggest to each other. There was only one rule:
...No idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted. We had to open all doors to the irrational and keep only those images that surprised us, without trying to explain why.
When one of them made a suggestion, the other had three seconds in which to say “yes” or “no” to the proposal. This was how Buñuel and Dali wrote Un Chien Andalou (1929). Their intention had been to shock and offend, but rather than offending the public, Un Chien Andalou became an notorious success, which left Buñuel feeling ambivalent over his new found fame:
What can I do about the people who adore all that is new, even when it goes against their deepest convictions, or about the insincere, corrupt press, and the inane herd that saw beauty or poetry in something which was basically no more than a desperate impassioned call for murder
The most infamous image in cinema history?
The film had been paid for by Buñuel’s mother, but their next movie L’Âge d’Or (1930) was commissioned by the arts patrons Marie-Laurie and Charles de Noailles. This time their film achieved notoriety after Dali declared it was an attack on the Catholic church. When screened in Paris, the film caused a riot and was banned for 50 years.
After this, Buñuel distanced himself from Surrealism and became a Communist—a decision that ended his friendship Dali and led the painter to damage Buñuel’s reputation in America by denouncing him as an atheist.
Dali’s portrait of Buñuel from 1924.
It would take until the late 1940s for Buñuel to re-establish his career as a film director when he started making B-movies in Mexico. In 1950, he co-wrote and directed Los olvidados (The Young & The Damned) for which he Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival in 1951.
In 1960, Buñuel wrote “A Statement” on filmmaking for the magazine Film Culture in which explained his views on cinema:
The screen is a dangerous and wonderful instrument, if a free spirit uses it. It is the superior way of expressing the world of dreams, emotions and instinct. The cinema seems to have been invented for the expression of the subconscious, so profoundly is it rooted in poetry. Nevertheless, it almost never pursues these ends.
We rarely see good cinema in the mammoth productions, or in the works that have received the praise of critics and audience. The particular story, the private drama of an individual, cannot interest—I believe—anyone worthy of living in our time.
If a man in the audience shares the joys and sorrows of a character on the screen, it should be because that character reflects the joys and sorrows of all society and so the personal feelings of that man in the audience. Unemployment, insecurity, the fear of war, social injustice, etc., affect all men of our time, and thus, they also affect the individual spectator.
But when the screen tells me that Mr. X is not happy at home and finds amusement with a girl-friend whom he finally abandons to reunite himself with his faithful wife, I find it all very moral and edifying, but it leaves me completely indifferent.
Octavio Paz has said: “But that a man in chains should shut his eyes, the world would explode.” And I could say: But that the white eye-lid of the screen reflect its proper light, the Universe would go up in flames. But for the moment we can sleep in peace: the light of the cinema is conveniently dosified and shackled.
A late starter, age did not diminish Buñuel’s talent as a filmmaker and his most successful movies were made when he was in his sixties and seventies—The Exterminating Angel, Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and That Obscure Object of Desire.
Buñuel said he was “An atheist—thank God,”—a line (allegedly) pinched by Kurt Vonnegut, and the only thing he equated with religious passion was his favorite drink a martini. In his autobiography, My Last Breath, Buñuel offered his recipe for the definitive martini:
To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of the dry martini. To be frank, given the primordial role in my life played by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at least a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in America it was said that the making of a dry martini should resemble the Immaculate Conception, for, as Saint Thomas Aquinas once noted, the generative power of the Holy Ghost pierced the Virgin’s hymen “like a ray of sunlight through a window-leaving it unbroken.”
Another crucial recommendation is that the ice be so cold and hard that it won’t melt, since nothing’s worse than a watery martini. For those who are still with me, let me give you my personal recipe, the fruit of long experimentation and guaranteed to produce perfect results. The day before your guests arrive, put all the ingredients-glasses, gin, and shaker-in the refrigerator. Use a thermometer to make sure the ice is about twenty degrees below zero (centigrade). Don’t take anything out until your friends arrive; then pour a few drops of Noilly Prat and half a demitasse spoon of Angostura bitters over the ice. Stir it, then pour it out, keeping only the ice, which retains a faint taste of both. Then pour straight gin over the ice, stir it again, and serve.
(During the 1940s, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York taught me a curious variation. Instead of Angostura, he used a dash of Pernod. Frankly, it seemed heretical to me, but apparently it was only a fad.)
In 1984, a year after his death, the BBC produced a documentary on The Life and Times of Don Luis Buñuel, which covered his life from eye-ball slicing to his plans for deathbed pranks to be played on his family and friends.
Eileen Yaghoobian, the director of the acclaimed rock poster documentary Died Young Stayed Pretty, has embarked on a project to adapt couples’ sext messages, for a fee, into scripts for short films. She’s established the website sendmeyoursexts.com to reach out to potential “screenwriters” and show off the results.
I’m Eileen, a filmmaker and artist who’s convinced that your dirty messages should be my next script. So I decided to create a service that turns your real sexts into on screen action. Think your phone could inspire a good web series? Ever wanted to be a screenwriter? You already are… but only if you’re brave enough to send me your sexts. It can be anonymous, but it still takes some moxie.
How it works
1. Screen shot some of your sexts. Scroll way back and send me the steamiest, silliest or most shocking ones you can.
2. Upload them here and check out using the form. Just $80 will get you up to 6 minutes of video shot professionally with cast.
3. Watch them come to life. You’ll get an e-mail with a link to the video when it’s ready.
Only $80? That seems a low fee—I can’t imagine that’s even enough to pay the actors.
The videos are audacious and often hilarious. They don’t contain any graphic sex, or even any nudity—how creative would that be anyway?—but some of them are really right on the edge, so I hope I shouldn’t even have to tell you they’re still far from work-safe due to suggestive situations and frank language (and some dry-humping). As Yaghoobian herself said in a recent Vice interview:
Everything is porn now. I don’t think there are enough websites out there that are sexy but not necessarily porn. But then again, I don’t have a problem with someone getting turned on when watching this. And even better, cause [the actors] aren’t naked! There isn’t a close-up macro-dick, or balls or ass or whatever. For me, what turns me on is great sex. For example, in Don’t Look Now, which is one of my favourite films, the sex scene is incredible! Better than any porn movie you’ll ever see. It’s so inspiring. I got the actors to look at that scene over and over again for Dylan and Kacey because it’s the best sex scene ever. And I want to get there.
Despite the sledgehammers, chainsaws and occasional police-instigated violence that became heavily associated with Plasmatics’ shows, the late, great Wendy O. Williams was first and foremost a gentle soul, with more than a touch of hippie influence. As a teenage runaway she bounced around the Rocky Mountains and sold crafts, moved to Florida to be a lifeguard and even cooked at a health food restaurant in London before making the stage her home.
Wendy was also an advocate for animal welfare and a vocal vegetarian. One might understandably assume that her dietary choices were entirely ethically motivated, but this 1984 interview from Vegetarian Times (see her as the adorable cover girl above) shows she was also incredibly health-conscious—a serious urban gardener who avoided drugs and alcohol, exercised regularly and sprouted her own macrobiotic diet from a Tribeca loft. Williams actually taught a macrobiotic cooking class at the Learning Annex!
The best part? The article includes Williams’ own super-hippie recipe for salad dressing—it actually sounds like a pretty intriguing flavor profile too. Save it for your next Plasmatics themed dinner party!
Wendy’s diet is very heavy on live foods and sprouts. The salad dressing is the result of experimentation in the blender and it’s rather unique in that it includes fresh greens chopped up into the dressing. She advises that its [sic] best to use two different types of greens; one for the dressing, one for the salad.
1 1/2 cups rejuvelac (soak a cup of wheat berries in 3–4 cups of water for 3 days or until berries settle; then strain)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs. miso or soy sauce
2 Tbs. lecithin
1 Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
Fresh herbs of your choice
Mixed greens (parsley, celery, sorrel, lettuce, spinach, or green
Add seasonings to rejuvelac and whir in blender. Add, little by little, 1 pound of mixed greens, Until greens or chopped and mix well. Best when used fresh.
Below, Wendy and her fellow Plasmatics go on a safari with John Candy on SCT.
If one writes anything mean/true about Ayn Rand on the Internet, invariably the author will receive a litany of howling complaints from her fans (people who seem to have an awful lot of time of their hands for some… strange reason) in the comments. It’s absurd and hilarious to field dumb invective hurled at you by people that you have no intellectual respect for and that you will never, ever meet in real life, but dumping on Rand is a predictable impetus for attracting this sort of thing. Scroll down, I’m sure without looking that they’ll start to pile up like poorly punctuated turds under a rabbit cage before too long.
The Randroids behave as if they’re defending the honor of a saint or a great literary or philosophical genius and not a complete lunatic who wrote the most turgid prose of any best-selling author of the 20th century. I understand their psychology well, for I myself was once a teenaged Ayn Rand true believer. Oh yes, I’ve probably read 99% of every word she wrote or that was publicly uttered by her during her lifetime. Not only did I have every Ayn Rand book, I owned every single copy of The Objectivist and The Ayn Rand Letter, kept in green leather binders. I owned all of her Ford Foundation speeches in pamphlets and on cassette tapes. In the 8th grade, I managed to track down her Playboy interview. This unlikely childhood collection, mind you, was amassed by mail order in the 1970s on money earned from mowing lawns. I was really into it, I’m ashamed to say. Could quote her chapter and verse… Then I discovered drugs, punk rock and girls and promptly forget all about Ayn Rand.
Ayn Rand fanboys and girls are a unique bunch, and one trait that many of them—not all, but many—share is that by and large they are not… er… very literate people and Atlas Shrugged is quite often one of the few books they’ve ever read, so it shares an outsized place in their affections.
Ayn Rand is the Enya of fiction. I don’t wish to tar the new agey Irish songstress with the same brush as the Russian novelist with the toxic philosophy, my point being that if Enya (who sells tens of millions of CDs) is music for people who don’t like music, then Rand wrote books for people who don’t like to read. Her books are like Sarah Palin’s in that sense, but when someone who has read precious few books to begin with can wade through a hefty tome like Atlas Shrugged—which IS a page-turner to be fair, the novel’s gripping plot is truly epic—it gives them a sense of completely unmerited intellectual achievement. Problem is they’re too dumb to know that or else they wouldn’t be fucking goofball Ayn Rand fans fancying themselves world-conquering Übermensches in the first place. If you’ve only ever read five books in your entire life and Atlas Shrugged is one of them, you’ll probably think it’s a masterpiece. For those of us who’ve read more than, oh, say, ten books, you look like an absolute fucking knob going on and on about Ayn Rand in Disqus comments. It’s an admission of stunted mental growth, no more, no less. (As someone funnier than I am once said, being an Ayn Rand fan as an adult is like discovering OMD when you’re fifteen and having your mind blown and your musical tastes frozen in time right then and there.)
For the people who have heard all about Atlas Shrugged via Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or being a Ron Paul fan or Tea partier or whatever, but who’ll never, ever finish a gigantic doorstopper of a novel like that one, the news that there was going to be an Atlas Shrugged movie trilogy probably seemed like welcome news until they tried to watch it. There are three “trash compactor” cuts of the Atlas Shrugged films if you’d like to see all three parts in under ten minutes and get “the gist” of what happens.
It still feels at little long, doesn’t it?
Oh look, all new actors in part 2! Obviously part 2 had a significantly lower budget than the first one. Dig the bargain basement Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggarts…
Not wanting to disappoint, the producers got—you guessed it—an entirely new cast for the third installment, too. Except for hamfisted holdover Sean Hannity. And look, Glenn Beck…
Fans of Tim Burton’s circa 1988 horror-comedy, Beetlejuice, are sure to appreciate these striking black-on-white cameos of bio-exorcist Betelgeuse, the monstrous Maitlands, and the “strange and unusual” Lydia Deetz.
Sometimes silhouette artists would be invited to parties by wealthy patrons in order to entertain the guests by creating cut-paper portraits of them, but silhouettes were also an affordable way for lower-class families to have portraits of their loved ones made, as they were much less expensive than paintings and photographs were not yet available. Silhouettes became so popular that a parlor game called Shades was widespread in the years before the invention of the daguerreotype, where people would take turns tracing each others’ shadows, cast onto a piece of paper by a candle.
I’ve already written an item for DM on Secret Weapons, David Cronenberg’s near-incomprehensible TV short from 1972 about a dystopian state that uses mind control drugs and a rebel biker gang that opposes it—in that movie, however, despite the stated existence of a biker gang, there were scarcely any motorcycles to be seen in it. That problem, at least, does not arise in Cronenberg’s 1976 short The Italian Machine.
It’s almost jaw-dropping how much progress Cronenberg had made between these two movies. The Italian Machine relinquishes all aspirations toward big-dick sci-fi in favor of a far more nuanced, engrossing, unfussy meditation on technology, art, decadence, and, shall we say, the pet obsessions of warring subcultures. The idea of the movie, which lasts only 23 minutes, is that a bunch of motorcycle buffs, having learned that an incredibly rare and high-quality Italian motorcycle, specifically a 1976 Ducati 900 Desmo Super Sport, has come into the possession of a local art enthusiast who intends to keep it in his living room as a sculpture, take on the moral imperative of liberating the machine from its outré confines and restoring it to its rightful purpose of kicking ass on the open road.
What The Italian Machine, which first appared on the CBC television program Teleplay, most resembles is a really good short story; more specifically it reminds me a great deal of J. G. Ballard, which isn’t very strange considering that Cronenberg adapted Ballard’s Crash a couple of decades later. In The Italian Machine, Lionel, Fred, and Bug are three motorcycle nuts who enjoy the kind of nerdy oneupmanship that probably features on every episode of The Big Bang Theory. Upon finding out the identity of the Ducati’s purchaser, one Edgar Mouette, they concoct a plan to pose as a magazine crew of photographers doing a spread on Mouette’s interiors. That Ballardian angle resides mainly in Mouette and his cohorts, philosophical aesthetes to the max (when they’re not taking cocaine). Once Lionel and his buddies gain entry, it is the viewer’s task to decide which side is the nuttier of the two. Eventually they do get ahold of the bike, at which point their own ability to fetishize the machine unexpectedly manifests itself.
Truly, a top-notch piece of work, very in line with the many dark masterpieces Cronenberg would make in the years to come.
For me, it’s difficult at this point to be surprised by anything David Lynch does outside of his cinematic endeavors. What’s that you say? He’s teaching the world his quinoa recipe? Of course he is. It’s probably delicious. And now he’s designing women sports wear? I’ll bet it’s great! I’d wear a David Lynch creation to Pilates in a heartbeat. But did you know that in 2006, he personally campaigned on behalf of Laura Dern so she’d get an Oscar nomination for Inland Empire on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea, with a live cow? (He was in other locations, too, such as the parking lot of the former Tower Records on Sunset.)
Luckily, some very excited Lynch fans managed a little impromptu interview with him at the time. He was very warm and diplomatic, obviously genuinely acting on behalf of Dern, but the presence of the cow was not made totally clear. His explanation for his bovine companion was, “Without cheese there wouldn’t be an Inland Empire,” (the same text on the banner he had with him) and then, “Cheese is made from milk. Get it?” (I do not.)
Dern didn’t get the nomination, but what a nice, supportive, and deeply Lynchian gesture!