Friday, December 30, 2005

According to Today's Globe

The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square has raised 200K off their planned 400K Capital Campaign. They are therefore extending the campaign til' february 28th 2006.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to this cause can just go-here.
If it can possibly be avoided, then the Brattle must be saved...they are alone in mixing repertory titles with off beat new releases with a real zeal for community service.
We will be making a donation ourselves in the name of Channel Zero very shortly.
How about you?
I mean, where else can we see "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", "The Chimes at Midnight" or "Kiss Me Deadly" on the big-indoor screen?
Otherwise, the repertory impulse will be acted upon by the likes of Channel Zero, which while we have potent cost control factors and celerity to our credit, we DON'T have access to an ongoing big screen venue.
See my point, we need the Brattle it is a social and cultural necessity, if it were to close the arts in Metro Boston would suffer an irreparable blow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Spell Checks and Sacraments

In a certain RC Church nestled in the Hills and Hollows of Arlington Mass, the Advent Missal renders the hymn "The First Noel" as "The First Nowell".
For one brief shining moment I thought Archbishop O'Malley had been forced to lay off his proof-readers in the local religious recession, turns out though "The First Nowell" is a legit Old English form of the title.
Of course, what a local Catholic Church is doin' pretentiously using Old English in its Missal, I'll never know.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Good Night and Good Luck"

I didn't think much of George Clooney director after "The Confessions of a Dangerous Minds" this biography of veteran TV newsman Edward R. Murrow though, changed my mind.
Avoided is the first mistake of film biography, doing the whole life with relentless speed a'la "Ali".
No instead, we follow Murrow in the lead up and aftermath of a couple of 1953 television broadcasts criticizing Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. Staying on focus with respect to a few key incidents in a man's life is often good film-making IMHO.
David Strahairn impersonates Murrow to perfection, quizzical, ironic a little fatalistic...he knows one way or another the good times of "quality" TV journalism must end sooner or later.
No my only objection to the film is that it assigns a grandiose part to Murrow in McCarthy's fall. True the broadcasts did their part, but Joe was already deep into a suicidal attack on Dwight Eisenhower's Presidency when Murrow jumped ugly on him.
no Mccarthy did himself in, of course his response to Murrow's broadcasts in which he incoherently accuses the newsman of being a Wobbly stands as a sort of sad anti-classic teevee moment.
"Good night and Good Luck" is still lingering at the Lexington Cinema if'n anyone is interested.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Channel Zero Returns Tomorrow Afternoon...

Dear Friends:

Channel Zero is returning to Movies on a Menu for one last time this year. Join Us next Sunday Afternoon December 11th at 2pm sharp when we screen back to back episodes of The Jerry Lewis Show (1967) and the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (October 1968).
This time we opted for a unique clash of styles running the gamut from Tom and Dick Smothers’ controversial topical comedy to Jerry Lewis’ old timey vaudeville schtick.
Or as we like to think of it “comedy versus...even more comedy”.

Also along for the ride will the usual guest stars mostly notably The Beatles who contribute some musical footage for the Smothers Brothers. There will also be an appearance by mock Presidential Candidate Pat Paulsen and Sonny & Cher.
So please join us, Movies on a Menu (Arlington’s first “DVD Coffee House” ) is also a great place to do some holiday shopping and features a complete snack bar and coffee menu.

Presented by:
Channel Zero (Suggested Donation: $5.00)
Now in its tenth year of Genteel Video Transcendence
Movies on a Menu
148 Mass Ave
Arlington Ma. 02474-8689
"Jerry Lewis versus The Smothers Brothers"
Sunday, December 11th at 2pm (sharp!)

This one will be fun, we've got SmoBro in the middle of the 1968 Presidential campaign and Jerry Lewis in the middle of his mid-life crisis and perpetual quest for a alternate comic persona. Something...different from his deafening "dopey kid" act.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Flaming Rationality Moment:

Melissa Wentworth, local aesthete and patriot asks the following question about the original King Kong (1933:
"Why is the Door to Kong's Kingdom on Skull Island so...big?"
"If the goal is, to throw virgin sacrifices in, and keep Kong Out, then a smaller door would be job-one".

We have no answer to this entirely sensible observation.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Giving thanks

for American's Annual Familial group-high tryptophan...putting the US out of it's skull since the Glory Days of Plymouth Rock.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cultural Pronouncement #1

"Girls are the New Boys".
remember that....25 years ago, when an 11 year old girl wanted a career in medicine it was still assumed she meant nursing. Now, today, she will have nothing less than Med School and a sinecure as a neurologist.
Times change, so start saving all you parents out there.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

No Show Notes for Tonite's Screening of "The Man with a Cross"

directed by Roberto Rossellini, I don't really know enough about the neo-realist style to generate credible discourse.
I do find it interesting that viritually all the post-war Neo Realist machers got their start not only under fascism, but indeed most of them directed propaganda films glorifying Mussolini's regime.
Other than that "The Man with a Cross" is a strangely bifurcated film, it is at once a paean of praise to the coming Axis victory, yet at the same time it is curiously defensive, relying on the eternal verities symbolized by it's catholic chaplain hero rather than any ideological histrionics.
Regimes in trouble from within & without tends to fall back on such traditional values when things get tough.
Anyhow, don't forget tonight at Movies on Menu (148 Mass Ave in East Arlington MA. A few doors down from Dagg's Deli) we will be screening "The Man with a Cross" (1943) at 7:30pm sharp.
Suggested Donation" $5
Movies on a Menu is right on the #77 & #79 bus routes...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Channel Zero returns this Week!!!

Join us at....

Movies on a Menu (148 Mass Ave in the teeming heart of East Arlington) on Wednesday November 9th at 7:30pm for a rare screening of "The Man with a Cross" (1943), Fascist Italy's last real propaganda film.
Desperate to sell a war-weary population on a failed dream of world conquest, Mussolini's regime evoked religion and the defense of western civilization against the hordes of bolshevism.

An Italian military chaplain is captured by the Russians on the Eastern front, his faith is put to the ultimate test as the Soviets and the Axis battle for supremacy over a tiny Ukrainian village.

Directed in a bravura style Roberto Rosselini that suggests the coming neo-realist school, "The Man with a Cross" (aka "L'Uomo Dalla Croce") is an authentic rarity to all students of cinema in general and totalitarian propaganda in particular.
In Italian
Subtitled in English.
Presented by:
Channel Zero (Suggested Donation: $5.00)
Now in its tenth year of Genteel Video Transcendence
Movies on a Menu
148 Mass Ave
Arlington Ma. 02474-8689

C'mon folks lets try and close the year on a strong note...

Classic Teevee Conundrum...

how come Barbara Eden has to keep her belly button covered up on "I Dream of Jeannie" when Ron Ely could run around and baring his for all and sundry on "Tarzan"?
What made his more decorous than hers?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pick of the Week...

Undoubtedly it is Betsy Sherman's four week long Jerry Lewis series at the Coolidge Corner on Wednesday Nights. Tonight she is screening "The Ladies Man" which is not our favorite Lewis title but loaded up with Betsy's unique commentary (Ms. Sherman is to Jerry Lewis what Channel Zero is to Orson Welles)it will surely be an interesting evening.
I went to see "The Bellboy" last week, that has to be one of Lewis' best comedies absent "The Nutty Professor", it was $10 well spent IMHO.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Question for the week:

d'ye think Britney Spears has caught "husband" Kevin Federline schtupping the poolboy yet?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

If you find the anthropomorphized Penguins in

"March of the Penguins" more than a bit much, then definitely check out Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man".
Therein one "Timothy Treadwell" a well-meaning bear-activist spends six months out of the year living among Alaskan grizzly bears trying to save them from poachers and their ilk. Over the course of some 13 Years Tim began to believe he was living among people, took no firearms into the wilderness, convinced his girlfriend to come along and then one day in October 2003 he and Amie Huegenard were eaten by an aging starving grizzly.
Before the iron law of irony caught up with him, Tim shot 100 hours of sumptuous video footage of the bears that represents Tim's legacy. Th camera also catches Tim in a virtual fugue state of fury, ranting at the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and whatever seems to irk him that day on a far off Alaskan shore.
Tim was, sad to say, completely crazy....he lived among wild animals with little personal protection and took his girlfriend along for the ride getting her killed in the process.
Was he passionate?
Do bears and sundry endangered species desperately need passionate advocates?
Hell yes now more than ever.
But Tim? I think Tim thought he was a sort of Peter Pan of the of them so to speak.
But unlike Pan the beastie got him.
Its a sad film in many ways...Tim was an American Original but like many eccentrics, paid the price in madness.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pick of the Week...

has to be an improbable remake of the 1919 film "Trapped by the Mormons", a film none too kind to the LDS.
It is of course screening at midnight at the Brattle Theatre. Channel Zero has always wanted to screen the 1919 original but timing, good taste and the rest has as yet prevented us.
Oh well...drop us a note if Governor Romney pickets the screening...mindnight is way past his bedtime but you never know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Show Notes: "The Heart of Darkness"

At first, horror film actor Boris Karloff seems a strange choice to play Joseph Conrad's infamous "Mister Kurtz".
The part has generally falls to serious method practioners, notably John Malkovich and of course Marlon Brando by way of Apocalypse Now.
In another sense though, he is a perfect choice, his accent suggests debauched plumminess, and as a noted horror player he gets the sheer strangeness of the setting.
We ought to think of Karloff, like John Barrymore or Charles Laughton as a sort of artistic bridge from the English Classical Acting Tradition over to the Internal Rigors of the Method.
This is a process accelerated by the particular needs of sound film acting wherein voice is added to movement and there mere tone inflection and ferocity can divert, stop or speed up the action.
The method could never prosper in silent cinema...once films began to talk and once TV came in the need for intensity and intimacy became paramount.
Karloff isn't a method player but he is sufficiently intimate with his own emotions to deploy them to advantage in an intimacy-driven acting enviroment like a live television production.

Tonight's show is a happy artistic accident.
Boris Karloff had bought himself out of his contract at Universal in 1940 because he was unhappy with the shoddiness of the writing for his signature horror parts. He puttered around Hollywood for several years as a independent and then counterintuitively made his way to New York where he had several successes on Broadway (notably as Captain Hook in Peter Pan) and was readily availble for guest appearances on radio.
When TV came in, he was one of the few famous Hollywood actors unencumbered by a Studio Contract which would've otherwise restricted his ability to appear in that upstart medium.
Which is why all through out the 1950's Karloff turns up in things like Schlitz Playhouse, Lux Video Theater and tonight's Playhouse 90 Production of the "Heart of Darkness". He also hosted several anthology TV shows and appeared on shows like "Route 66".
TV was the re-making of Boris Karloff, his films where all sold to television in the mid 1950's so his old parts were suddenly widely distributed. His TV work demonstrated that his current acting skills were as sharp as ever, soon enough the phone was ringing again and the Prodigal Monster returned to Tinseltown bidding on something akin to his 3rd Comeback.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pick of the Week...

Well, any time Mickey Rooney comes to Arlingtion, that is a signal to make tracks to the Regent Theater at top speed.
I'd just like to cordially invite Mr. Rooney to get up a bit early on Saturday to sample the delicious variety of fried dough available at Arlington's Town Day.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Our Next Event:

Boris Karloff as Mister Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s

Co-starring Roddy McDowell and in her television debut, Eartha Kitt!

Armed with the best of intentions Mister Kurtz has journeyed into the depths of the Belgian Congo, only to become a Tyrant & a monster.
Now Young Marlowe (Roddy McDowall) is sent off to learn the secret of Kurtz’s madness and bring him back to Civilization.
Channel Zero is proud to Present this rare television adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s famed Novella.
Celebrating Boris Karloff’s legacy as a journeyman actor in the Golden Age of Television this is a video event not to be missed!
See Boris Karloff as the 20th Century’s Most Sublime and Elusive Literary Monster!Wednesday September 28th @ 7:30pm
Movies on a Menu 148 Mass Ave Arlington Ma.
Just a few doors down Dagg’s Deli in East Arlington
On the #77 & 79 Bus Route
Tyrant? Man or Monster? You be the Judge!

We live, as we dream - alone."
Joseph Conrad

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Farewell to a Great American

A man of Stern Incorruptible Morals,
A Friend to the Republic
A Patriot...

Goodbye "Little Buddy"

Ah but as Hegel's proverbial "Owl of Minerva" flyeth by, all that comes to mind of the original "Gilligan's Island" is the show's unabashed sentimentality. Gilligan's idiocy is never punished by the other cataways (unlike modern type program like "Survivor" et al wherein Gilligan class simplicity is coded as weakness to be crushed or exploited)and the group's loyalty to one another is firmly established.
Otherwise, "Gilligan's Island" is one of the last stops in the imperial twilight of vaudeville knockabout comedy. The comedy of reliable bits and routines, pratfalls and spritzer-set ups would stagger on until the "Carol Burnett Show" gave it a proper Viking Funeral. It would however, never be as sure of itself as it was when Bob Denver was plunging out of palm trees and Jim Backus was camping it up.

Friday, September 02, 2005

No pick of the week....

too much disaster out there.
However, Fats Domino has been found alive....apparently his advanced age has not inhibited his ability to float.

Meanwhile yez kin donate some money real easy-like to the victims here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

If Massachusetts has an Empire...

then its in the Berkshires. And the jewel in the crown is Tina Packer's Shakespeare and Company who I think have had their best season in years...
Alyn Burrows as King John one of Shakespeare's lesser histories but brought vividly to life by Packer's flawless direction, and skilled performances from Burrows and Peter Macon as the King's Bastard Nephew whose lineage is corrupt as his heart is pure.

Their Taming of the Shrew stars the incomparable Celia Madeoy an actress whose speciality seems to be producing comely silk purses out of sow's ears...her Katerina is a wonder to behold and the stand out performance that anchors the show.
Ah but why shouldn't she dominate the proceedings? Did she not shine in S&C's gender reversed version of "The Shrew" a few years back? We recall that magnificent performance with pleasure. Few American Actresses say they have a serious claim to playing both Petruchio and Katerina!

In Tina Packer we have at last a pretender and a legitimate one to the vacated throne of the late Sifu Orson Welles.

Gin Notes:

Avoid the House Gin at Kappy's Liquor Store at all costs! It is a too cost effective intoxicant whose after effects reliably mimic low yield radiation poisoning. Go with Gordon's if you must cheap up but avoid this store brand...t'is brake fluid.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Pick of the Week:

Undoubtedly, it is the Tri Town Drive's in's line up:

7:45pm : "Sky High"
9:15pm" "Wedding Crashers"

This is so preemo that I'm off to see it tonight, solo...yeah it costs money but when the double feature is this good, one must make sacrifices.

The Tri Town Drive In is located:

3 Youngs Road off Summer Street in Lunenberg Mass.
Or try the handy link in the link's section.

We hope to have good news on a majot Channel Zero Event in the near future, stand by all hands for details.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Overheard at the Hair Stylist

(she was too cute to call a barber!) a blonde six foot tall amazon with a glow to her skin one normally associates with mild radiation toxicity.
She was merrily cutting my mop and conducting a conversation with a colleague on tanning products...this gem was overheard:
"I used ta use Midnight Three back in da nineties when I wuz a Wee Britney".

Health to all Wee and not so Wee Britney's today.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Greg Harney, RIP

Channel Zero was saddened to learn this weekend of the death of local public televison producer Greg Harney. Friends of the franchise will recall his electrifying appearance at our 2003 screening of "King Lear" starring Orson Welles and directed by Peter Brooks for the olde "Ominibus" live TV show.
Greg, his wife and a family friend walked in, asked if this was the "Welles" version of Lear and then airly announced he'd been the sound director for this very broadcast in 1952!
Our jaws hit the floor with an audible crack!
Greg was kind enough to share his reminiscences of the whole live TV process, mostly though he put paid to lie that Welles was difficult to work with. Greg reminded all and sundry that Welles got his start as an actor-director on Broadway and those skills stood him in good stead when live television came in.
Greg also pointed out a few technical flaws in the boradcast, PA's whose shadows lurch into frame whilst Lear rants and the like.
His memory for that particular show was excellent and his entirely unscripted appearance was a notable highlight of Channel Zero's run at the Coolidge Corner.

Our hearts go out to Mr. Harney's family at this tragic time, he was a friend to the Franchise and we shan't forget him.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pick of the Week...

Unquestionably it is "The Miracle Woman" playing tonight at 9pm at the Harvard Film Archive 24 Quincy Street in the teeming heart of Harvard Square.
This is an early Frank Capra effort starring Barbara Stanwyck as an "Aimee Semple McPherson" type preacher who is goaded to all sorts of faith-healer tricks by her unscrupulous manager. Along comes saintly blind veteran David Manners and soon our heroine has a choice to make...
It sounds overdone bu really its like a distaff flight test for "Meet John Doe" with a standout performances by Stanwick and David Manners (who is mostly known for his colorless portrayal of Jonathan Harker in the Lugosi version of "Dracula").
Check it out, well worth the nine bucks IMHO.

Many thanks and props to Eddie Shaw and

Brad Chapman at "Movies on a Menu" in East Arlington to hosting such a successful Channel Zero event last week.
We are grateful to them for taking this battered but defiant franchise off the streets for a little while at least.
We had a good crowd for "An Evening with Orson Welles", some of our regulars and some new faces from in and around Arlington.
Welcome all!
With any luck we will be back there sometime after Labor Day for another show hope to see you all there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Notes to Tomorrow Night's "Evening with Orson Welles"

Its a collection of three short films by or starring the old master himself, Orson Welles.
"Lord Mountdrago"(1955)Welles plays the stuffy British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who is somehow haunted in his dreams by a living colleague he once humiliated. Welles was living in England at the time and this weird mixture of comedy (a party sequence lurches into goofy delirium) and ghost story was pretty typical of the acting work he was doing at the time. The scipt is based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham.
"The Return to Glennescaul" (1951) is narrated by Welles and was directed by his two acting mentors Hilton Edwards and Michael MaccLaimoir of Dublin's Gate Theater. It was apparently shot during one of the many breaks in the filming of Welles' "Othello" and may represent a payoff to MaccLaimoir who was playing Iago in said film and dealing with the film's chaotic production history. As such this is a neat little ghost story, we've heard it all before and it even forms the crux of a "Growing Pains" episode. However it was rare for the artistic leadership of the Gate Theater to go in for of any type films so it remains a novel curio in the Welles videography.
"The Fountain of Youth" A chance guest appearance by Welles on "I Love Lucy" led to a hook up with Desi Arnaz who financed this pilot to a never produced Welles anthology series. As such it is a return to the sort of intimate storytelling effects that Welles pioneered on radio with the Mercury Theater of the Air. Although one suspects the emphasis with this program would be more on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" type shock stories and the like rather than the radio programs classical adaptations.
Welles pretty much reinvents television cinematography here, he make extensive use of close ups, freeze frames and dissolves on minimal sets...and by ghod it works!
A great pity that the program was never produced, it marks Welles as an innovator in film, radio and television.
We will also be screening some theatrical trailers from Welles' film career, running the gamut from his own productions to the amiable hackwork he did for the money.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Channel Zero Returns this Thursday in (Romantic) Arlington!

It Ain't over yet folks, we are not finished yet!


An Evening with Orson Welles

We are proud to Present it’s own eccentric collection of authentic Welles short films and related rarities in this one time only screening in Arlington. Celebrating his legacy as both journeyman actor and director this is a film event not to be missed!
“Lord Mountdrago” in which Welles plays a British politician seemingly haunted by a living colleague!
“The Return to Glennescaul” Narrated by Welles, this is an old Irish ghost story adapted by the famous Gate Theatre in Dublin.
“The Fountain of Youth” an unsold television pilot directed & narrated by Welles in which a cuklolded scientist exacts a fitting revenge.
Celebrating his legacy as both journeyman actor and director this is a film event not to be missed!

This Thursday July 28th 8pm
Movies on a Menu 148 Mass Ave Arlington Ma.
Just a few doors down Dagg’s Deli in East Arlington
On the #77 & 79 Bus Route
Now in Our tenth year of genteel video transcendence...

The Fantastic Four:

Kinda of a misfire if you ask me, great performances from Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans as the Thing and the Human Torch but Jessica Alba and Julian McMahon all but sink the film. The script was weak, the SPFX pedestrian and the ending utterly indistinguishable from say Mystery Men.
But it still made a hundred million so we will still hear Stan Lee's nasty high pitched self congratulatory squeak for yet a while longer.
Saw it at the Tri Town Drive, which is, the proper and indeed only venue for a film like this.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Tamer Tamed July 16th 20005

Shakespeare & Co Lenox Ma.
This is Elizabethan playwright John Fletcher's nominal sequel to "The Taming of the Shrew". As such, Petruchio (whose Guantanamo style treatment of Katerina has apparently lead to her demise) has now remarried and is in due course comically beaten down and humiliated by his new wife the frankly amazonian Maria.
Fletcher knew were all his laffs were I'll give him that (Supposedly he was one of Shakespeare's collaborators on various plays) but the play is utterly trivial and bereft of any memorable lines or meaningful poetry.
On the other hand as a meditation on male-female relations it is surprisingly broadminded in every way.
I do hope Tina Packer keeps up with this emphasis on the other Elizabethan playwrights, Massachusetts is in desperate need of a "Doctor Faustus" for the ages...and I'd love to see Jonson's "Fall of Sejanus" staged by someone with class and talent.

Up on the mainstage Celia Madeoy is playing Katerina in Packers' "all up" version of "The Taming of the Shrew".
Celia is a woman of destiny in every way, back in 1999 or so, she actually played Petruchio in a gender reverved version of "The Shrew". This was a perfectly heavy handed harebrained idea in every way, or it was until Celia strode out onto the stage and took over the play and the audience without firing a shot.
Believe me, this was a once in a decade performance combining the actor's vital trilogy confidence, technique and talent.
It was an amazing show in every way, the fact that she is now playing Katerina is a thing to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The War of the Worlds

He is the man who put the Hunk in Homonculus with a mongoloid's grin, spastic and possibly as gay as whistle...yup you know him you love him it's TOM CRUISE and he gets his ass handed to him acting wise by an eight year old girl named Dakota Fanning!
Truly whats not to like about "War of the Worlds"? It is schaedenfreude it's payback it's Tom's Waterloo or Waterworld or some damn thing!

For who else but Steven Spielberg would highlight the massacre of Mankind, the route of Humanity as a chance for a blue collar bloke to bond with his estranged kids? Who else by Steven would cast an allegedly deeply closeted gay man as a New Jersey Paterfamilias??

Okay it is a better film that I had expected although as previously noted I do decry the purge of H.G. Wells' martians and their replacement by generic "Independence Day" type CGI aliens. It is a well realized type thrill ride, and lacks only Tom's disintegration in the end to make it the family film of the summer.

Monday, June 27, 2005

No Martians Need Apply...

I had to find out from the Boston Sunday Globe's travel section that the whole martian angle has been dropped from Steven Spielberg's upcoming War of the Worlds adaptation.
I for one, am outraged...its like trying to do a Cole Porter musical without all those songs cluttering up the show.
Well, I suppose its to be expected, when a middlebrow yap like Steve teams up with a grinning spaz like Tom Cruise diresome things must be expected.
My idea for a War of the Worlds re-make involves using the original 1899 suburban London setting. Get Anthony Hopkins to play the lead (Who better to indulge that "route of humanity" emotion?,a Spice Girl to play his wife and viola' a Merchant Ivory science fiction movie!
Beats the hell out of Tom Cruise and his e-meter mentality.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Vortigern & Rowena Found...

William Henry Ireland's Infamous Shakespeare Forgery is now available on-line.
Ireland of course, claimed he had found a "lost" Shakespeare play and he almost fooled all England with the imposture until the damn thing was actually performed & exposed as utter hack work.
Still and all that, it is one of Channel Zero's lesser projects to revival and perform this play some far off day.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Upcoming Channel Zero Event:

Well its not quite the comeback we've been working on, but it is a start.
Channel Zero is hosting a private screening at Movies on a Menu, 148 Mass Avenue, Thursday, July 28th 2005.
We will be showing our own special "Evening with Orson Welles" compilation which includes an unsold television pilot direct by the great auteur, some trailers from his movies and one or two ghost stories starring the man himself!
Space is limited so contact Eddie Shaw at Movies on a Menu to secure your spot early.

We will follow up with details on this show in the weeks to come, hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Batman Begins"

a solid effort all around from Director Chris Nolan and star Christian Bales. Structurally it resembles the 1989 Tim Burton film but loaded up with way more back story (The Caped Crusader appears nigh on a hour into the film) and a more physically appropriate lead. The film feels different from its four predecessors owing to the lack of hardcore Burtonian goth-chic...but don't worry its a real Batman film all around and a cautious improvement on the Keaton films.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Picks of the Week:

Lots of good stuff this weekend, so much so I can't quite figure out how I'm gonna fit it all in.
First off, Batman Begins is at the Tri-Town Drive in on a double bill with The Longest Yard. Alas the Batman is the second feature but the latest Adam Sandler atrocity is pretty much the price of doing business on the local Drive In circuit.
Its too much trouble to try and avoid the miserable little no-talent.

Tri-Town Drive-In, Lunenberg
3 Youngs Road, off West Main Street

The Mendon Drive In though, has paired up Batman Begins with Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith...and with Bats running first I'm saying this is the prime drive in destination this weekend. Now if only the weather holds.

If the weather doesn't hold, then for ghod's sake get to the Brattle Theatre for their sumptuous and comprehensive Harold Lloyd retrospective. Old Harold was once a prime candiate for revival by Channel Zero, but we are never jealous whenever one of the repertory machers makes a big play for one of our favorites.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kevlar Kevin Karries the Day!

And beats some sense into Mike Tyson as well!
There has to be no feeling quite like it, winning big when everyone wrote you off as the bum of the month.
Such is the Monday Morning faced by Massachusetts Own Kevin McBride the fabled "Clones Colossus" who endured head butting and other nasty tricks on his way to laying the maximum smackdown on the bumptious pugilist formerly known as Mike Tyson.
Like his hero Sonny Liston, Mike went out on the stool preferring to call it quits rather than endure any more of McBride's technique-less but effective Irish haymakers.
Poor Mike...addled of wits, he needed about ten more of these bottle feeder bouts to recoup his 40 million dollar losses to the IRS and others. Now what is he gonna do? I have a sad suspicion the former champ is on the phone with Vince McMahon trying to land a gig with the WWE. If McMahon is smart he'll pass on the offer, Mike is too crazy for the carefully scripted world of pro-wrestling. One good ear-biting and the locker room will rise up on him as one man.

Ah...but McBride there is sweet vindication...what must it feel like?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sportsnerd 2005

Kevin McBride the "Clones Colossus" will make a valiant if unlikely attempt to write fini to the checkered career of that aging velociraptor Mike Tyson at the MCI Arena in Washington DC this Saturday.
I like Kevin, he is my landsman after all....but I doubt he can prevail against even an aging and increasing crazy Iron Mike.
McBride has never been able to step up in class for all his slab-footed integrity, alas that is no substitute for technique.
I saw McBride box Craig Tomlinson at Wonderland in 2002, McBride won but it was like watching a very slow moving train kept wondering why Tomlinson didn't get out of the way of those oh so deliberate hammer blows delivered with judicial slowness & solemnity.
Well what the hell, I give McBride credit for ambition...just don't say you weren't warned if the Mighty Mike Tyson National Freakshow doesn't carry the day yet again.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Superman Returns...Rumors etc

Ain't It Cool News keeps th' pot boiling in repect of the upcoming Superman Movie Starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth & Keven Spacey.
Mind the usual Ain't It Cool News harsh language and take the whole thing with a healthful grain of salt.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

You mean to tell me...

that the Nascar Testocracy was perturbed-n-upset because slender Danica Patrick's girly frame gave her a weighty advantage in this weekend's Indy 500?
I love it!
100 yrs now, American Women have been dieting away to a shape pleasing to men and now this regimen gives Danica Patrtick a potential competitive edge in auto racing, a male dominated sport???
All those Nascar drivers will have to join slenderella and start eating salads for lunch keepup with Danica!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Pick of the Week...

hands down its Babes in Arms starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland at 7pm tonight at the Harvard Film Archive, 24 Quincy Street in da teemin' heart o' Harvard Square.
We all know this one by heart, keen eyed offspring of destitute vaudvillians put on a show for the benefit of their parents.
Ah but its Busby Berkeley's show in every way.
Otherwise the Drive Ins are a risky washout this weekend, I however was lucky enough to see "Revenge of the Sith" at the Tritown last Thursday night.
For the moment I may have to let the Drive Ins languish until I can acquire a car that can stand up to the strain of night runs to Leominster & Mendon.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


The Tri Town Drive In is featuring
"xXx" starring Ice Cube dis weekend
on a double bill with...
"The Amityville Horror"
The funs starts at 7:45 or so.
This is a good double feature all told, but I'm gonna be a little more choosey in my Drive Ination this year. Certain films will be classified "must sees" (exp "Batman Begins" "Revenge of the Sith", "War of the Worlds") others will be "targets of opportunity".

Tri-Town Drive-In, Lunenberg
3 Youngs Road, off West Main Street

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pick of the Week:

Has to be "Gigi" starring Maurice Chevalier which is screening at 7pm tonight at the Regent Theater on Medford Street in Arlington tonight, FOR FREE!

Otherwise "Robots" and "Fever Pitch" are screening at the Tri Town Drive In (3 Youngs Rd Leominster)starting at 7:30pm. Alas rain is predicted but if you are a die hard Sox fan and a Drive In Mark whats a little rain to you?

Grace Note from Air America Radio:

Don Novello in his ever dependable "Fr. Guido Sarducci" character called into the Al Franken Show Monday and airly predicted the next Pope's name would be "Benedict" although he said he'd be "Benedict the 17th"...not much laughs there but a
pretty close prediction I'd say.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Either it is Patriot's Day

in (Romantic) Arlington, or else the Shriners have risen and are marching on the Town Hall to stage a military coup.

One way or another, Arlington's Patriot's Day Parade does pack a wallop...plenty of bands-clowns-re-enactors and suchlike.
The American Legion looked good the local notables ditto and the muster of klassic kars was neato keen.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sports Thought...

Since Alex Rodriguez saved a tyke from being run over on Newbury Street (Sure-n who ELSE can afford to shop on that bumptious boulevard now that the Avenue Victor Hugo has gone the way of the Wooly Mammoth and honest men in Politics?)...does this mean Johnny Damon will have to save someone from drowning in East River? I that we've reached rough parity with the Yankees then we've got to find new ways to keep the rivalry fresh.

No Pick of the Week this Week I'm afraid, nothing particularly interesting is out there. But the Mendon Drive In opens up next weekend so things will pick up.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Is it my imagination or

did Drew Barrymore get some of her tattoos lasered off? Her unsvelte self all over the local papers thanks to the local premiere of "Fever Pitch" co-starring Jimmy Fallon. Or maybe all her alleged tattoos were mere fakes cooked up to enhance her character's bad grrl image for the "Charlie's Angels" franchise?
Oh who the hell cares anyway?

Friday, April 01, 2005

I've decided that TV Producer J.J. Abrams...

is "one of us".
I mean, as the high priest of his own personal cult of television obscurity.
What is "Alias" but a straightened-out version of Stephanie Powers' old one season wonder "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E."?
"Lost" though, that has a more tangled lineage. The setting is suggestive of Aaron Spelling's 1969 flop "The New People" (screened by Channel Zero last summer as a matter of fact)...the science fictional elements (mysterious monsters, strangers on the island) evoke everything from "Land of the Giants" to more notorious stuff like "Lost in Space".
So what is old is what is new...either that or J.J. Abrams was sneaking into our old shows at the Liberty Cafe and Phoenix Landing.
Whats next for him I wonder...a reconfiguration of "Captain Nice" starring Andy Dick?

Pick of the Week...

Has to be an improbable revival of "Ishtar" starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman at the Coolidge Corner Theater at Midnight tonight.
On 35mm no less, of course I do wanna note, that Channel Zero was shown the door over ther for screening the likes of "The Gorilla" starring the Ritz Brothers and Bela Lugosi.
Yup its a strange film market we live in, and getting stranger all the time.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Drive Ins are Open! The Drive Ins are Open!!!

Winter is finally driven out starting this Friday @ 7:15 pm EDT! Thats when the mighty projector at the Tri Town Drive In (3 Youngs Rd Leominster-Lunenberg Ma 978-345-5062) fires up for the 2005 DI season!
Word is, they are showing:
"Are We There Yet" and "Hitch".
All decent citizens are advised to drop on by and help keep alive this national institution!

This is the venue in which to see "Revenge of the Sith"...Hell this is the place to see "Catwoman"!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Downfall (2004)

As Jon Haber once said "Every generation gets the Hitler it deserves". He was of course, speaking entirely in cinematic terms.
Which brings us to "The Downfall" a lavish German recreation of Adolf Hitler's last ten days in the fabled Fuhrer Bunker where suprisingly his entourage suddenly discovers they've been working for an anti-semite all these years.
Critics have been mulling over the consequences of a German Hitler after decades of Funny Hitlers, Dancing Hitlers, English Hitlers, Music Hall Hitlers, Singing Hitlers, American Hitlers, even a Jewish Hitler (Moe Howard of course). Alas though, this is nothing new, back in the 1950's in West Germany there was a brief vogue for World War Two pictures depicting high level Nazi politics, G.W. Pabst's last film "The Jackboot Mutiny" (U.S. Title) recounted von Stauffenberg's failed 1944 coup'd'etat against Hitler.
What is different is the obvious naturalism of Bruno Ganz' portrayal, he makes Hitler seem boring and bourgeois. This is itself a bit of a break with tradition as even the comics versions of Der Fuhrer kowtowed to his diabolical pre-eminence.
Then there is Traudl Junge (kewpie doll-ish Alexandra Maria Lara) Hitler's semi devoted secretary who forms the audience's perspective on the closing hystrionics of the Nazi Era. Alas its hard for American audiences to get behind Traudl good looks or not as her proximity to power and genocide gives her a Sergeant Schultz-like "I see Nothink" air. In other words is she dope or a collaborator.-who knows? Mostly she is there to reinforce the notion of there being german victims of Hitler's regime.
And at two and half hours the film gets wearisome as it is mostly set in Hitler's claustrophobic Fuhrer Bunker.
Still and all that the acting is tight but the story is too familiar to make this a worthwhile night at the movies. The film's most riveting sequence doesnt even involve Hitler at all. Rather it is Magda Goebbel's methodical slaughter of her own children, as she could not bear the notion of them living in a world without Nazism. Sadly the spirit of Magda Goebbels is with us today in all sorts of grim homicidal ways.
My advice, Wait for the DVD wherein no doubt even MORE footage will be included a'la "Das Boot".

Saturday, March 26, 2005

"Dido, Queen of Carthage" Reviewed...

Brave Aeneas, last son of Troy washes up on the shores of Libya far from safety and wretched under the heavy disdain of Juno, the Trojan-hating Queen of the Gods. Ah but fortunately, Aeneas' Mother, Venus, casts a love spell on the local Queen, the widow Dido so that Aeneus will be properly taken care on his way to the founding of Rome and of course, glory. Ah but will the embraces of the fair Queen sway Aeneas from his heroic destiny or will he leave her in the lurch?
Such is the bare bones of Christopher Marlowe's seldom produced play and the A.R.T. gave this one there all last night. Was it A.R.T.-y? Yes with the usual incomprehensible flourishes including the whimsical choice of a bare stage for most of the show's action. Honestly I don't believe a word of the director's notes, I think the creative powers that be on Brattle Street simply flip a coin to determine if a classic is to be produced on bare stage or in a elaborate corn crib. Lets not forget the A.R.T.'s continuing fascination with transvestite chic, this time with Thomas Derrah's Juno swanning about like the late Harris Glen Milstead aka "Divine".
Ah but the acting was tight in every way, Colin Lane as Aeneas and Diane D'Aquila as Dido had the wit to let the script do its work without undue interference. I also think the selection of two middle aged actors as the leads was a interesting and suggestive idea. The easiest thing in the world would've been to cast some bimbo as Dido or some chorus boy lout as Aeneas and let that carry & distort the show but the A.R.T. made this a play by and for grown-ups-for that I am grateful.
The sex angle gets played up a lot whenever discussion turns to Dido, given the opening sequence wherein Jupiter declaims his love for Ganymede his gay cup-bearer. There is a lot of gay subtext and even over text to Marlowe's plays, but I think "Dido" is more a meditation on the perfidity and superficiality of the Gods who control everyone's fate in the play. Jupiter is an old gay lecher, Venus is a well-meaning mother in Aeneas who cannot bring herself to talk plainly with her son and whose love spell sets motion the play's core tragedy. Juno, alleged Queen of the Gids plots to murder Aeneas' son, truly Marlowe saw the Olympians as a trivial, superficial, inconstant lot.
Alas poor Marlowe, he is all but a forgotten man these days, his plays are rarely produced here in Boston. His best known work "Dr. Faustus" -a superior play in every respect has been revived a mere three times in twelve years, two of those performances were by college undergraduates. Its a shame because Kit had talent and was clearly major influence on Shakespeare. So the A.R.T. weird flourishes and all, has done us a favor, lets us hope they at least remember Marlowe.

Monday, March 21, 2005

"Was Shylock ever Funny?"

Finally broke my movie drought and went out to see Radford's adaptation of the "Merchant of Venice". And in truth it is a good film, Pacino's Shylock is pretty low key (Smilin' Al is known for his scenery chewing so this was a good thing I think), Lynn Collins did up Portia proud and Jeremy Irons moped around with the gay thing quite nicely.
However, Radford did play it entirely as a ethnic tragedy...Shylock mad with rage gets beat down by the goyim. This is pretty much the way everyone plays the "Merchant" and "The Taming of the Shrew" for that fact these days. Alas these are both comedies of a type that make fun of touchy contemporary subjects. I wonder if either can simply be played for laughs at all?
Complicating things is that "The Taming of the Shrew" has champion scenery shredder Katherina to liven things up, but "The Merchant of Venice" relies on a few ancillary clowns to make with the funny.
Maybe Shakespeare wasn't easy with Shylock's fate?
I've always had an ambiguous relationship with the "Merchant of Venice", it was the first Shakespeare play we read in High School and a perfect catastrophe all around...nobody could believe it was a comedy. And thats not hard to see why, its short on laughs even in professional hands. The nun who was our well-meaning freshman english teacher probably wanted to score some points off prejudice, but the matter ended in frustration and doubt. The whole experience put me off Shakespeare until I was well out of college. And then I waded through some four ghastly productions of the "Merchant of Venice" before the A.R.T. and Tina Packer's Shakespeare and Co delivered the good with their respective productions.
I think the "Merchant" is hard to stage or film, the ethnic angle bothers people. Still and all that it get revived locally quite that to Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus" or Jonson's "The Fall of Sejanus" they NEVER get revived!
Anyhow, Radford's "Merchant of Venice" is duly praised, just don't go looking for chuckles thats all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The National Center Jewish Film at

Brandeis University is currently trying to preserve/restore the 1939 Yiddish Film The Living Orphan. A mere one hundred dollar donation will restore about one hundred feet of film. Channel Zero has had many profitable dealings with the NCJF so we thought we'd shill for this fine project.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Pick(s) of the Week...

Radford's "The Merchant of Venice" is at the Arlington Capitol.
"Downfall" that West German Film about the last days of Adolph Hitler is opening at the Kendall Square.
"Raging Bull"- A film I've ALWAYS wanted to see on the big screen is at the Brattle this weekend.
And..."Dido Queen of Carthage" a rare revival of one of Christopher Marlowe's plays is at the ART.
Ach of course heavy snows are predicted this weekend now that I am back on the job and can afford movies at the retail price!!
I hate irony I truly do.
Well console yourselves with Lis Riba's review of "Dido" whilst you listen to the winds howl outside.
Apropos of nothing by the way but when is Mussolini gonna get his big budget film treatment? We've got dozens of Hitlers out there from Bob Watson and Moe Howard to Anthony Hopkins. Hell even the French did a big ass biopic on Marshal Petain of all people (Yes, Channel Zero does have this film on it's "find list" never fear!)but Il Duce gets bupkiss.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Tina Packer is supposedly...

writing a graphic novel adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" for Scholastic Books!
Damn but Tina is ubiquitous, actor, director, classical theater company chairwoman, and now comic book writer. Her energy and talent remind me of Orson Welles back in his madcap days in the Federal Theater Project.

BTW, I start my new job tomorrow, wish me luck. The posts herein mught become even more infrequent for a while. However, this is a good thing, a job allows us to pull Channel Zero out of hiatus. Soon enough, Jon Haber and I hope to have definite plans put together for our tenth anniversary show.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Books around town:

I was downtown for the first time in years last week and had a chance to drop by the Brattle Book Shop at 9 West Street near the Theater District.
Day-um, but Kenneth Gloss runs a tight ship! The outdoor cheap-books pavilion actually includes precious hardcover copies of Will and Ariel Durant's "Story of Civilization" for ONE DOLLAR!!! In particular I know I saw "Our Oriental Heritage" on the dollar pile, wait for good weather and check out this amazing collection of books!
I picked up a VHS Copy of "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" which is an animated film from Weimar suits my love of irony to buy videotapes at one of Boston's best used bookstores.
bibliophiles shouldn't overlook "Antiquarian Books of Boston" under the Old South Meeting House #2 Milk Street Boston. These guys started out as "Arlington Books" in that selfsame suburb before doing the counterintuitive thing and moving in town. Among other treasures, this store has a fabulous one of a kind collection of Stratemeyer Syndicate children's books everything from the original "Bobbsey Twins" to "Dave Dashaway" and "The Young Continentals at Bunker Hill"!
I snagged a good solid history of the Confederacy for three dollars, so there are many bargains to be found here.

Good News....

looks like I'm finally going back to work next week. A doughy little temp agency has found me gainful if none too renumerative employee for a local hulking giant of a corporation. There is even a bit of intellectual stimulus involved-yay!
If all works out well, we can take Channel Zero off hiatus and start planning our tenth anniversary show for later this year!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Casual notes on the release of "Lost in Space" to DVD

so here are my notes to Lost in Space, the series is finally creeping out on DVD.

As for the movie there are no space prospectors none of those cheapo
monster suits...and does Penny become a go-go-dancer... she does not!
And is Dr. Smith played as the superb anti-hero he was in the 1960's!?!
He is not.
I mean no wonder he's so infantile and antisocial once a top-notch spy he's
trapped on board this lumbering space camper with this berserk-o whitebread
family with a robotic father who won't ask for directions and a homicidal
pilot...frankly I would've thrown myself out the airlock! Not Dr. Smith, he tries
to rise to the challenge as best he can...but you can see the Robinson's and
their harsh puritanical colonist ways are a strain on him.

Does anyone blame Dr. Smith for selling everyone out in a vain attempt to book
passage home?
Look who he's stuck with?
Maureen: People forget that in the broadcast LiS pilot she's referred to as
Doctor Maureen Robinson M.D! Somehow despite being spacewrecked on a half dozen
world's & in constant danger she finds time to revert to a traditional sex-role
to the point of cooking and doing laundry fer heaven's sake!
Don West: About every half-hour Don threatens to kill Doctor Smith, does anyone
else think that if Major West didn't have Smith to pick on, he'd turn his fury
against some other hapless member of the flight?
Judy: Ignoring Marta Kristen's slight scandanavian accent, just why did Judy opt
for space-flight anyway? Other than a depressing thing for Major West Judy is
pretty much a cypher...she's so innocuous she pitiable.
Penny: Penny at least has spunk, shes constantly trying to escape the tyranny of
her brainy-but-bratty younger brother Will. She's also the only member of the
crew (other than Will) who has some empathy for Dr. Smith's plight. Alone of the
Robinson offspring she enthusiastically embraces both go-go dancing and
classical music. I think she'd turn out all right if she wasn't oppressed by her
father's casual condescension and everyone's middle-class in orbit mindset
Will: Okay so the kids irritating overbright and a handful for his sisters, but
on the other hand I think he subconsciously realizes that Dr. Smith is the only
source of adventure and amusement in his highly regulated life. Much as he finds
fault with his character, Will needs Dr. Smith to provide a narcissistic
alternative to his familie's arid puritan ways...Will is Prince Hal to Dr.
Smith's Falstaff.
John Robinson: Okay the guy is supposed to be a natural parental figure and a
leader of how come he never asks for directions or cannibalizes the
hundreds of tons of alien hardware the party has come accross over the years?
We're supposed to believe he and Will are extra-special close, I don't believe
it-week after week Will comes tearing back to camp insisting that the planet is
about to invaded by space-vikings space acountants and or space flower children
and what does Father Robinson do? Upbraid his son for having an over-active
imagination. Fifteen minutes later when the Jupiter II is being overrun by
monsters and extraterrestrial hippies does he have the common courtesy to
apologize to his prescient son?
He does not.
We never did get Dr. Smith's side of the story did we?...okay so he tried to
sabotage the Jupiter II that is no reason to get shirty with him especially
given the pathologies rife within the Robinson family.
After all what kind of lunatic allow his entire family to be shot into
interstellar space as part of a colonization drive? What was NASA thinking-we're
gonna colonize distant star systems one family at a time? I think there is a
secret Presidential Decision Directive ordering NASA to exile spastic dinks like
the Robinsons off the planet by any means possible.
What else explains the situation?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Stupor Bowl...

Giving Fox the broadcasting rights to the Superbowl, is like feeding a hyperactive child a huge bowl of Capt'n Crunch with a half a pound of sugar dusted on top mixed in with some powdered other words it's a recipe for disaster. Granted it is the local faves The Patriots, and yes everyone wants not only victory, but the sweet vulgar vindication that only dynastic aspirations can bring. Still and all that when does does four full hours of pre-game hype degenerate into an exhausted tantrum and whiny insufferable plea for attention?
Four full hours of pre-game hype is enough to profile the entire history of the game, the NFL, the opposing squads, with time left over for a propitiary human sacrifice to Apollo the God of Competition. And if things start to drag prior to kick-off, don't for a moment think Fox WON'T hack out the heart of a cheerleader or whoever to keep everyone tuned in.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Lucien Carr, RIP

Sometimes history is made simply by making the right introductions at the right time. And so it was for Lucien Carr boy whatzis who ambled off to New York City in the 1940’s accompanied by his tragicaly obsessed tutor Dave Kammerer. Young, handsome, wealthy,blonde, beautiful, and tasteful, Lucien in short order hooked up William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and a young Allen Ginsberg, who were then nothing but a bunch of unconnected loafers at Columbia University.
Ah but somewhere along the line this bunch had magic,louche perhaps, but sufficiently debauched to indicate the seeds of greatness. Truly, even as world war two thundered over the horizon they created the world’s first hippie commune and worked their way through the pharmacist’s desk reference when they weren’t spouting poetry.
Good times never last, Lucien for all his conviviality was desperate to escape the obsessive love of Dave Kammerer...a man who followed him through the streets of Manhattan quite literally like a puppy dog. With Jack Kerouac Carr attempted to enlist in the Merchant Marine hoping somehow to beat the US troops to Paris after D-Day. Alas a “big bastard” of a bosun’s mate ran the two of them off the ship and Carr was left high and dry in New York.
So Lucien ended up stabbing Dave Kammerer to death and enlisted Kerouac’s aid in ditching the murder weapon. Having a poetic disposition and realizing he’d dragged his crowd of sybarites into something serious, Carr confessed and did a long stretch for manslaughter. Burroughs high tailed it for Texas and the life of a gentleman farmer, Kerouac got hitched, and Ginsberg tried fruitlessly to live a straight collegiate life. Their time had not yet struck as the beat pantheon.
Still and all that, the Carr-Kammerer case had it’s artistic reprocussions, Kerouac and Burroughs would fitfull collaboate on a ultimately unfinished novel based on the murder. “And the Hippos were boiled in their tanks” was never actually published but it formed the basis for one of Kerouac’s better novels “The Vanity of Duluoz”.
Carr was eventually paroled, having gone mad like a character out of his beloved Rimbaud, he then chose a respectable life as an editor at U.P.I. And of course, last week, having buried the whole of the Beatnik Leadership, Carr died quietly after a long illness-his work in so many ways being done.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A poetical gem from Julia Moore,

aka "The Sweet Singer of Michigan" and one of America's worst and most enduring lyricists.

Lament on the Death of Willie

Willie had a purple monkey climbing on a yellow stick,
And when he sucked the paint all off it made him deathly sick;
And in his latest hours he clasped that monkey in his hand,
And bade good-bye to earth and went into a better land.

Oh! no more he'll shoot his sister with his little wooden gun;
And no more he'll twist the pussy's tail and make her yowl, for fun.
The pussy's tail now stands out straight; the gun is laid aside;
The monkey doesn't jump around since little Willie died.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Johnny Carson RIP

Never one of my favorites and nowhere near as funny as his eulogists are claiming. A mediocrity with good technique is how I think of him, one whose main competition was the need for sleep and who came along at a propitious time when the big three networks were the be all and end all. He bailed out just in time in 1992, cable was about to run amuck nationally with the internet shooting its cuffs and waiting the wings for it's glorious coup.
Still and all that, he gave plenty of qaulity air-time to secular rationalist James randi (AKA "The Amazing Randi") a magician with a mission to expose frauds and faith healers of all types. And what the hell, Johnny still felt obligated to book writers and authors on a regular basis he was hardly an illiterate.
But his world is gone now and it isn't coming back just as Jack Paar's cozy video salon so warm and solicitous of all has vanished like the wooly mammoth. No mater how hard Jay Leno and David Letterman try, they can never reach Johnny's lonely eminence because the market is fatally atomized beyond hope of repair.
But I laughed every time he did that "Carnac the Magnificent" schtick.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


delivers my morning paper today deserves a Medal of Valor for chucking the damn thing up on my doorstep before 9am this morning. This amidst what has to be the worst snowstorm in eight years. But I suppose that the delivery people are liable in gruesome ways if they falter even during inclement weather. Meanwhile, I'll have to tip a bit more on the next go round.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A bit of poetry:

The Love Song of J. Roberto Benigni

This is a terrible mistake because I use up all my english!
How can now I express all my gratitude?
My Body is in tumult because it is a Colossal moment of Joy
Everything is in a way I cannot Express.
I would like to be Jupiter and kidnap Everybody
and lie down in the Firmament
and make love to Everybody.
I don't deserve this,
But I Hope to win some other Oscars.

Pick of the Week:

Anyone prepared to brave the snows tonight ought to get over to the Harvard Film Archive where they are screening "Red Squad" (1972) at 9:30pm. Directed by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher "Red Squad" examines the activities of the NYPD's famous counterintelligence unit The Bureau of Special Services". Supposedly, John Ehrlichman (Richard Nixon's domestic policy czar) used to get an informal weekly briefing from these guys on the latest radical activities. Apparently the Nixon White House couldn't abide the dreck coming out from Hoover's FBI even then.
The HArvard Film Archive
at the
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge Ma. 02138

If I can get over to the Kendall Cinema tomorrow or Monday I'll post a review of "Guerilla: The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst" but GEEZUS ! I have got to a find a job!!!

BTW can anyone out there give me the inside scoop on the proposed "Constellation Center" in Kendall Square?
Drop me at note at or post a comment here.