Friday, February 28, 2014
Ed Symkus who, after nineteen years, finally gave Channel Zero some positive press. Hell the last time our sainted film series even got a mention it was from a nasty NYT reporter who was inexplicably slumming it in Brookline Mass. It was his central thesis as I recall that our onetime screening of a Ritz Brothers Comedy constitutes unsubtle racism. So anway...kudos and thanks to Ed S. who managed to make me soundalmost coherent. And we are back at the Somerville Theatre 2nite at 8pm with an epic screening of "Lemonade Joe", 2014 is gonna be a fund year for us, drop on by an' see da doings...
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Ah yes, Cold War Czechoslovakia's Greatest Singing Cowboy Anti Coca-Cola Movie! In fact, "Lemonade Joe" started out as a series of short stories goofing on the ubiquitous soft drink Coca Cola from local humorist Jiří Brdečka (himself a frequent collaborator with pre-Steampunk film director, Karel Zeman) which defaulted out to a animated film, stage play and finally a motion picture in 1964. Impossibly straitlaced Teetotaler cowboy hero "Lemonade Joe" rides into the drunken western town of Stetson City to break the grip of Demon Rum. But is he a comical abstinence hero on horseback...or the agent of a certain pushy soft drink corporation? We tend to forget these days that the stolid Bolsheviki of the Warsaw Pact could indeed get as campy and zany as they liked, as long as they made fun of the "Imperialists". And who else to direct a film like this but Oldrich Lipsky, as dependable a director of comedies as could be tolerated by a totalitarian system? He was certainly adept at parodying officially proscribed western genres...westerns later on Lipsky would take a swipe at horror films and the detective genre. Ah but the rules were looser in Czechoslovakia,mostly because then Partei Secretary Dubchek was trying to give "socialism a human face"...his efforts didn't stand up for long though. Moreover like East Germany, Czechoslovakia was a "front line states" and under some ideological pressure from NATO...they had to come up with product that pushed back against the western zeitgeist. Thus..."Lemonade Joe" a film that used the western genre (itself an American Creation) as a means to satirize the Marxist Bugaboo of Corporate Imperialism. And again, it's just fascinating to me, to see millions of hours of particular entertainment genres beamed out into the world from the USA, genres that bounced off various nationalities and came back to us "homaged" and or "revised"....this time as Marxist Propaganda. Anyway this is Channel Zero's next screening...check it out tell your friends...A Communist Cowboy Movie! "Lemonade Joe" (1964) Friday February 28th 8pm (Sharp!) The Somerville Theatre, Micro Cinema 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma Admission $8 (Cheap!) Check out our fanpage on Facebook! By The Way, We've been told this particular film hasn't played in Boston since it's original run at the Brattle Theatre in the 1960's!
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Impossible!!! Otherwise... Ellen Page decloseted herself on Valentine's Day, which is what it took for this to rate as news doncha know... Hell, who am I to talk? I'm still shocked to hear that Bruce Willis is straight...
Monday, February 10, 2014
The WWE was locked into negotiations to bring back Bruiser Maximus Bill Goldberg into the Squared Circle. Normally I never traffic in hearsay...but my source was overheard in a very reputable Comic Book Shop...I mean the veracity is unimpeachable right?
Friday, February 07, 2014
My Good Friend and Longtime Collaborator Jon Haber has completed a bachelor's degree in philosophy in just one year entirely thru the agency of MOOCs, Massive On Line Courses...literally a college education you can download. Herein he details some of his adventures for Slate.Com. MOOCs are very controversial to be sure, there is a high drop out rate, and the nature of the final degree, the proverbial sheepskin is ambiguous to say the least. But that is what intrigues me to say the least. Much of education today, is merely training to enact a series of economic relationships, much of the palaver about education at the level of legislation is intimately linked a malign notion that a "good education" ends with "a good job". In effect education policy has been corrupted by the entirely dubious notion that "a good education" is a nice painless way to redistribute income that all the political factions can back sans demure. But MOOCs, maybe maybe might be a way around that whole edifice...restore scholarship to it's throne, or at least give the scholar in training some new options...in some ways the ala carte aspect of MOOCs reminds me of medieval universities where squads of students simply rented professors to deliver lectures. The formless nature of the ultimate degree is also intriguing...at what point do you stop? At what point are you certified, indeed what is the point to a terminal degree save to provide a vital datapoint on one's resume? THAT to me is the subversive part of MOOCs, the degree datapoint could well end up completely decoupled from any purely vocational context. Well, that would be my hope anyway...likely Veblen's "Regression to the Mean" will take hold and the whole thing will become one more overhyped "vocational training opportunity". Seems a shame...because all this is a marvelous opportunity for everyone out there who wants to study astronomy, gothic architecture and or German Expressionism divorced once and for all from market considerations in a "safe space" so to speak. At the very least the extremly competitive cost factor (Haber collected his "degree" for almost nothing), rebalances the cost of education scales very nicely in a era that may well be facing a "tuition bubble". I am FOR almost anything that adds to the arsenal of today's budding scholar, anything that gives him or her better faster or cheaper access to Real Learning, is aces high in my books. Anyhow, Jon Haber has struck a blow, a philosophy degree in one short year....think about that, choosing your classes with complete freedom and pursuing pure academic excellence from a pure love of knowledge, truly Aristotle would be proud.