Archive for the ‘Drunken Misbehavior’ Category

Rip Torn vs. Norman Mailer

May 27, 2008


Rip Torn vs. Norman Mailer

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Enjoying a DVD of ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ I was inspired to look up Rip
Torn in Wikipedia. How did I miss this weird piece of counterculture lore?

‘While filming Maidstone, Torn, apparently unhappy with the film, struck director and star of the film Norman Mailer three times in the head with a hammer. With the camera rolling, Mailer bit Torn’s ear and they wrestled to the ground. The fight continued until it was broken up by cast and crew members as Mailer’s children screamed in the background. The fight is featured in the film.’

Feast your eyes — complete with subtitles. youtube.com/watch?v=5XU4jpnJWFY — ‘Pardon, Papa.’

Image by Alan Light, from Wikipedia.

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Free Spirits (Movie Review)

September 28, 2007

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Bruce Geisler’s Free Spirits is a strange and gloriously terrifying documentary about the Renaissance Community, a hippie commune begun in 1968 in a treehouse in Western Massachusetts. It plays as part of SFIndie’s San Francisco Documentary Film Festival at the Roxie Cinema on 16th Street, Thursday Oct 4 at 9:15pm, Saturday, Oct 6 at 12:30pm, and Monday, Oct 8 at 5pm.

In 1968, led by Michael Metelica, a small group of impoverished friends started out with a retreat from the modern world and ended up growing into a huge and controversial commune, boasting 400 members at its peak as well as its own rock band, its own airplane, and ownership of real estate in five cities. Members gave up everything to the commune, working to produce income for the group while living communally in several different Western-Mass locations (the original treehouse was burned down by rednecks).

Over the years of its existence (roughly ’68-’80), the Renaissance Community becamse a model for hippie idealism, being featured everywhere from 60 Minutes to The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times to Family Circle. At the same time, members of the Community fought on two fronts — first, against townspeople who wanted to kick them out for various reasons (but mostly just for being dirty hippies) and against the deterioration of the community, as reflected by the growing drug and alcohol abuse of leader Michael Metelica. He’d started out straightedge, but when he also became the leader of the in-house Free Spirits band, he spent less and less time in the commune and more and more time on tour and in LA, recording, playing live, drinking, smoking, fucking around and snorting coke. He was eventually induced to leave by the other commune members, and the group survives (just barely, and in greatly altered form) to this day.

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 As a documentary, Free Spirits is fascinating and important; it may not hold together as stirringly as my other favorite intentional-community documentary from Docfest (Off the Grid: Life On the Mesa) but it’s still a magnificent historical document. The film’s watchability is damaged slightly by the fact that the entire soundtrack is made up of Michael Metelica’s godawful drug-addled psychedelic garage-band music (I like psychedelic music, but… ouch), but that fact only adds to its credibility, since the musical choices reflect the atmosphere of the commune and Metelica’s descent into drugs and debauchery.

I went into it expecting to see a thoughtful look at alternatives to capitalistic life. But Free Spirits ends up being less an inspiring exploration of intentional communities, and more a slow-motion train wreck as Metelica flips out and the remaining Community members struggle to keep their dream alive. They succeeded, by the way, after a fashion — though it’s no longer a commune, some original Community members still live on that land in Western Mass.

Another fascinating aspect of Free Spirits is that, at least at their inception, these hippies are PURITAN hippies — their credo is “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t fuck, don’t do drugs, and work hard — no, harder! Harder! I said harder, damn you!!!” There’s probably some message about moderation in the fact that Metelica crashed and burned so completely, but damned if I know what it is.

In Free Spirits, what we’re left with is an invigorating, frightening and at times hilarious look at a history most people have no idea ever existed. If you’re even a little interested in the alternatives to modern capitalist living and/or slow-motion train wrecks, it’s a must-see.

Images courtesy of SFIndie.

American Scary (Movie Review)

September 26, 2007

scaryposter.jpgRarely does a film come along that I just can’t say enough nice things about. It happens more often with freaky-deaky, insomnia-addled, whack-job-endowed documentaries than with any other genre, and that’s where American Scary comes in — which could not suit its subject matter better. It plays this week as part of SFIndie’s San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, or Docfest, Saturday, September 29 at 12:30 pm and Thursday, October 4 at 9:15pm, at the Roxie on 16th Street near Valencia.

American Scary is a look at the bizarre pop-culture tradition of horror hosting. That’s right, horror hosting — you know, the guy named “Professor Heewill Dismemberus” with the top hat and fangs who hits WITF-TV in Oklahoma City round about midnight on a Saturday, amid the crash and flash of lightning & thunder; he’s got a scantily-clad fortysomething assistant called Devouria and maybe one named Freako the Killer Dwarf, and together they introduce the worst f!##!*!!!ing horror movies you’ve ever seen, the perfect accompaniment for a couple of hours of hardcore vegging and/or laughing your ass off, with or without any combination of friends, bonghits and/or tequila.

5.jpgIt’s an American tradition like apple pie, baseball, Senior Prom and grisly serial murder, and one of the most twisted expressions of all-American innovation, creativity, and hamminess you’ll ever see. The horror hosts are the natural heir to the sacred crown of Vaudeville, a variation on tacky burlesque that’s family friendly, except for the bloodsucking vampires and rampant evisceration and stuff — which, let’s face it, is all meant in good fun (and what could be more fun, mUAHAHAHAHAhahahahaHAHAHAHA!!)

4.jpgAmerican Scary director John Hudgens stitches together interviews with horror host greats Zacherly, Vampira, Ghoulardi, A. Ghastly Ghoul with amazing archive footage of TV shows from the ’50s to today, along with raves and cracks and appreciations from lunatic fans and horror writers (including friend-of-Roche P.D. Cacek — HI, TRISH!!) and ex-Roche interviewee Neil Gaiman (hey, dude!), who quite frankly seems to be the only one who’s not entirely sure why he’s there, and for most of the flick I don’t think Hudgens was sure either. All is made clear in the film’s final moments when it’s revealed that Gaiman once did a guest stint as a horror host and even rose creepily out of a coffin. Rock on. Not entirely relevant, but whatever, dude.

3.jpgThe most interesting aspect of American Scary is its exploration of the horror-hosting resurgence in the modern day. Public Access cable channels have allowed areas throughout the nation feature horror host spinoffs, and they’re the fun ones — the ubernerds of today, whacked-out geeks like yours truly whose creativity leads to the creation of a horrorshow persona and the showcasing of random effluvia from the underbelly of American cinema. They’re the people I want to high-five. Keep the faith, friends.

2.jpgAmerican Scary is a frenzied, fractured, fun and hillarious museum tour through the dark side of local television. If you are a fan of old, bad horror movies, pop culture and the vagaries of American entertainment, you absolutely cannot miss this film. Visit SFIndie for more info on this and other films playing at Docfest.

Photos below, top to bottom:

Ghoulardi (Cleveland), The Ghoul (Cleveland), Vampira (Los Angeles), Zacherley (Philadelphia), Bob Wilkins (San Francisco), John Stanley (San Francisco).

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All images courtesy of SFIndie.

Bill Murray Arrested for Drunk Driving in a Golf Cart

August 22, 2007

gopher-wince.jpgBill Murray, the caddy’s caddy, was arrested in Sweden on charges of drunk driving in a golf cart. The Stockholm police detective inspector said, “It was a golf cart. How it ended up in this predicament I don’t know. I have done this since 1968 and I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

At least Bill can still plan on receiving total consciousness on his deathbed, so he’s got that goin’ for him, which is nice.

Vicious gopher via Wikipedia.

Do Men Have More Sexual Partners than Women?

August 13, 2007

Lively discussion going on over at the Scientific American blog:

Men average more sexual partners than women, right? Wrong.

Surveys consistently report that men in the U.S. population average seven sexual partners, while women average four. Everyone assumes men are cads and women are out to protect their virtue, so this makes perfect sense, except…

“By way of dramatization, we change the context slightly and will prove what will be called the High School Prom Theorem. We suppose that on the day after the prom, each girl is asked to give the number of boys she danced with. These numbers are then added up, giving a number G. The same information is then obtained from the boys, giving a number B.

“Theorem: G(EQUAL)B

“Proof: Both G and B are equal to C, the number of couples who danced together at the prom. QED.”

In other words, unless U.S. men are having tons and tons of sex with women who are outside the survey population (trips to foreign countries? prostitutes who don’t tend to show up in these surveys?) it’s mathematically impossible for men to average more sexual partners than women.

In the comments section, there’s a rather wonkish conversation about statistics punctuated by all the lively accusations and counteraccusations you’d expect from science nerds, including such illuminating questions as “Have you been in public recently or turned on a television???” and “Am I the only one that isn’t retarded here?” — not to mention such scientific statements as “Oh stop making things so complicated. It’s pretty simple, women divide by three and men double up.”

So how about you? Do you underreport? Overreport? Or are you just a big fucking slut and have no idea how many men, women, Realdolls, watermelons and puff pastries you’ve banged? Yeah, that’s what I thought, pervert.

Beer in Space

July 31, 2007

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 In the wake of NASA’s Drunks in Space scandal, New Scientist offers a short history of beer in space, not to mention wine:

In 1969, Buzz Aldrin took communion after landing on the Moon, sipping wine from a small chalice. In the Moon’s feeble gravity, he later wrote, the wine swirled like syrup around the cup.

beer1.jpgBut it ain’t all reverent blood-of-Christ swirling; in fact, when it comes to the brewskis, the swirling may not be at all reverent:

Beyond the challenge of producing beer in space is the problem of serving it, says Jonathan Clark, a former flight surgeon and now the space medicine liaison for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute in Houston, Texas, US. Without gravity, bubbles don’t rise, so “obviously the foam isn’t going to come to a head”, Clark told New Scientist. The answer, Dutch researchers suggested in 2000, is to store beer in a flexible membrane inside a barrel. Air can be pumped between the barrel and the membrane, forcing the beer out of a tap. Astronauts could then use straws to suck up blobs of beer (see Beer balls).

Unfortunately for thirsty astronauts, beer is poorly suited to space consumption because of the gas it includes. Without gravity to draw liquids to the bottoms of their stomachs, leaving gases at the top, astronauts tend to produce wet burps. “That’s one of the reasons why we don’t have carbonated beverages on the space menu,” NASA spokesperson William Jeffs told New Scientist.

Which is not something I needed to know — I have too-fond memories of “rations of gin” from The Martian Chronicles. My fantasy of space flight will always be a ’40s and ’50s fantasy, with cocktails and cigarettes the whole way. And who can forget that the Russians, who allowed consumption of liquor during their space program, also pioneered research into sex in space? Which Violet Blue, incidentally, provides a helpful guide to here, in case you ever find yourself liquored-up and ready to procreate with uniformed Russian space sluts.

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Photos from Wikipedia; left, wooden model of ancient Egyptian beermaking, from the Rosicrucian museum in San Jose.