“Who needs the internet?” I ask. I recently have been included in 4 different print projects, which, I must admit, sends a delightful retro chill down my spine. I’ve had articles published in two fantastic zines—8 Track Mind and The Molten Rectangle, and have had my work dissected (or vivisected) in two new fantastic tomes, Destroy All Movies and Radical Light. Here’s the skinny.
8 Track Mind, hopefully won’t need an introduction to most, but since it’s been 10 years or so since it’s last issue, all bets are off. 8 Track Mind was/is a fantastic zine, put together by media archeologist and all around good guy Russ Forster. 8 Track Mind has been the foremost publication willing to dig deep into the 8 Track subculture. For purveyors of discarded and forgotten technology, the zine featured some of the finest reportage geared toward 8 Track collectors and cultural connoisseurs of media and concepts abandoned to the dust heap of history. As part of the Revenge of Print Challenge issued forth from Baltimore’s Atomic Books and Chicago’s Quimby’s Books, Russ is back with a print-only issue that abandons the 8 Track theme and focuses on the pros vs. cons of the blogs vs. zine universe that we live in today. Articles from Joe Carducci, Kim Cooper, V. Vale, Lance Laurie and other luminaries, including myself, grace the pages. Hop down to Tower Records or your local zine shoppe and pick one up. If that doesn't work, send Russ $4 via paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Molten Rectangle is a film lover’s mag that is the brainchild of Gene Booth. The latest issue (number 3) features heaps of good think pieces about film and film history. Pieces on The African Queen, Burn, Pleasantville, and Million Dollar Baby fill the mag. But the standout is the oral history of Chicago’s now abandoned Parkway Theater. As an awesome bonus, The Molten Rectangle comes with a bonus DVD. How’s that for old school! The 3 film DVD contains a film by yours truly (Dumbass From Dundas), Jet Evelth’s Our Last Session (a Maria Bamford-ish trip to the shrink piece) and Booth’s own absurdist collage Skillz, wherein a trio of urban dwellers head to a video arcade only to have their dialogue stripped away and reconstituted for comic purposes. You can pick up a copy here.
Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide To Punks On Film (edited by Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly).
Have you been hankering for a movie encyclopedia about punk rock movies? Well, if so, here you have it. Destroy All Movies is the real deal. It’s monstrous, it’s beautifully laid out, and it’s expertly written. The book covers it all, from the obvious like the Decline movies and Suburbia to the No Wave Films to The Cinema of Transgression to the no budget, sub-underground shenanigans of folks like Dave Markey, Jon Moritsugu, and myself. I had no idea I was even in the book until I saw a copy at the MOMA. Like the narcissist that I am, I thumbed through the index, found my name and quickly flipped to page 179 for the review of I’m Not Fascinating. Brutal and funny. Fascinating gets dubbed as “The least likely punk feature ever shot,” and labeled as a “self-loathing vanity project”. Backhanded compliments and outright disdain for the film ensue, but I must say this is one of the best/funniest reviews of the movie ever, so I’m down. But in all seriousness the book is fantastic. It is equal parts reverential and snarky. Amidst the onslaught of reviews, the book intersperses interviews and with players like Markey, Alan Arkush (Rock and Roll High School) and Slava Tsukerman (Liquid Sky). As for the reviews, every movie that ever featured a punk in passing comes under the microscope. No shit, Hannah and Her Sisters is in this thing. Now that’s punk!
Radical Light: Alternative Film & Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000 (edited by Steve Anker, Kathy Geritz, Steve Seid).
Could there be two film books more different in tone than Destroy All Movies and Radical Light? I don’t think so, but I do know that I and am proud to be in both. I always contended that my films were a mixture of highbrow and lowbrow art. Being included in both of these books makes me feel, that perhaps, I’m not full of hot air on that account. I just picked up Radical Light at the library and am not that deep in yet, but I am blown away. Radical Light looks at the history of Bay Area experimental cinema from its roots in the 40s through the early part of this century. It’s a loving homage to the city, to its artists, and to the institutions that fostered the creativity within the Bay Area art scene. Interviews, essays and ephemera fill the pages. Reminisces and insights delivered by curators, art historians and the filmmakers themselves give the book academic and cultural heft. The book also connects the dots between the various art and cultural movements at play in the Bay. San Francisco has always exhibited a distinctive brand of counterculture, subversion, and pranksterism. The Bay Area has always been a place where experimentalism has often trumped careerism. Radical Light does much to unearth how and why that spirit of adventure has come to be and developed such strong roots. Can’t wait to really dig in.