Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mondo Round-UP: The Fan Continuum

The beast that is fandom can be a three-headed monster. It's one a lot of us have in our hearts, too. Feeling fascination and passion for art is nothing to be ashamed of. Naturally, it is one of the purest things that fuels one to create, whether it is writing, painting, etc etc. Where things can get sticky is when the ugliest of the three-heads emerges; the fan ownership.

I'm sure you have seen this pop up on assorted message boards and social media sites like Tumblr, YouTube and Facebook. Someone posts a clip from a movie or concert and then instantly gets irate if someone else posts the same clip. All this despite the fact that person #1 didn't direct, shoot, produce or star in said clip. I've even seen some “fans” go so far to put ugly, cumbersome watermarks on videos that they basically got from someone else. Which is even more ridiculous when you get into the whole bootleg realm.

Entitlement isn't always just for the fans. With writers and journalists, the pissing contest can extend to subject matter, as if only one person can cover one specific thing. How boring would that be? Information is for the masses and I am more than happy to wave my proletariat flag on that. If anything, I love seeing other writers tackle films that I have written about. Case in point, the always fabulous and ultra-bright Gore Gore Girl's meticulously thoughtful write-up of Radley Metzger's “BarbaraBroadcast.” Seeing a good writer explore any subject is a joy and anyone that gets territorial in a huffy, petty way is tantamount to a small-peckered man buying a Hummer. If you're confident with your ability, then you have nothing to worry about. Any artist/writer that feels threatened by another really needs to examine their own emotions of self-worth. After all, the outside world makes it hard enough on the expressive, so the time is nigh for artists to put aside the small-minded bullshit and support each other. Save the nastiness for the printed page, canvas, sound, stage and screen.

As for the fans, if one really wants to feel true ownership of something, then create your own art. It's relaxing, restorative and will make you look less like an entitled wanker.

 Going back to “Barbara Broadcast,” it is the perfect film to start off the new monthly feature, Notes from the Back Room, over at Paracinema. There's a legion of titles that went through my head to start off these proceedings, but between Distribpix's recent super-lush release and an A+ cast that includes C.J. Laing, Wade Nichols, Bobby Astyr, Michael Gaunt and Annette Haven, the choice was obvious. (By the way, if you're Radley Metzger/Henry Paris admirer, you can also read my pieces on Camille 2000, Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, Naked Came the Stranger and Opening of Misty Beethoven.)

If you're feeling some Halloween withdrawal, check out my review of the gonzoid-monster kid underground film, “Geek Maggot Bingo” over at Dangerous Minds. This could possibly be the most overlooked and unappreciated film in the Nick Zedd filmography, so throw on your K-Tel “Haunted Hits” compilation and your “Zacherley for President” button and enjoy the show.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Blue Masks & Sister Ray: Missing Lou Reed

Literal death is something I loathe to write about. It's one of those things that overwhelms the bigger picture with big, broad strokes of sadness and loss. Yet, here I am writing about this very thing, since one of my biggest art heroes has passed away. Getting the news about Lou Reed hit harder than I expected. Other artists have passed earlier this year. Artists that I like and admire, but none were, to paraphrase Rodney Bingenheimer, godhead status. Lou Reed was and forever is, godhead status.

Growing up a complete fiend for anything Warhol and Factory related, it was inevitable that my interest would cross into Velvet Underground territory. Solo career wise, Nico was the one that entranced me first, but then Lou Reed's “New York” album came into my life and it was over.

One of the things I love about Lou's work is that even the weakest material still has something interesting and good about it. He managed to avoid the 80's pap-pop-sheen, a feat that even his occasional collaborator David Bowie did not. (Don't get me wrong, I adore Bowie, but the “Tonight” album alone is forever more cringe inducing than even a silly Lou song, like “Little Red Joystick” ever was.)

He angered interviewers, mystified fans and never sold out. Not to the rock critical elite, not to his devotees, not to anyone. As much as both Reed and Metallica fans bagged on their album, “Lulu,” it was the perfect living example of why that cat was brilliant. It's a great album with teeth and even better, its mere existence angered and upset both close-minded metal fans and even more uptight, bourgeoisie Lou Reed fans. Perfect.

Again, it leads up to my favorite adage ever. Don't give the people what they want. Give them what they deserve and Lou always gave us what we deserved.

Lou Reed was a musical maverick whose work changed the game and in its course, invented a whole new one. From “Do the Ostrich” all the way to “Lulu,” his body of work has a pulse and a soul from a man that wrote about the human condition and his own experiences with it. Lou Reed, you will always be missed in this household.