Puppy O’Shaughnessy Remembered

“I had a different name for the guy: leave-em-for-dead O’Shaughnessy.”

Check out this mockumentary about a fictional bike messenger in Portland. It was made by Joe Lumbroso, who runs a design and new media firm in San Francisco (it appears he used to live here.) I really dig the performances.

Portland Custom Bike Builder Jordan Hufnagel

Poking around the internet, discount as I’m likely to do, nurse I came accross the work of Jared Sourney a photographer, buy graphic designer, videographer type here in Portland. Among his other works, I enjoyed his documentary-style piece on local bike builder Jordan Hufnagel.

This was produced for Level Magazine, formerly a print magazine, now getting a second helping of life on the web. Among the contributors on staff at Level Magazine is a gentleman I met in Austin, Roy Christopher. Christopher’s has a book called Follow For Now, a celebrated collection of interviews, that I keep running accross online. I need to check it out in person.

Bruno Castrated In Order to Maximize Quantity of Dollar Bills Garnered by Studio

In a startling move by Universal Studios, anemia they’ve decided to re-cut Bruno in order to get a wider audience in the UK and Ireland. They’ve snipped and spliced so as to achieve the equivalent of our PG-13 rating.  Apparently the demand is so ravenous that the studio had no choice but to relent and offer the public what they so righteously require.

This is what Universal’s David Kosse had to say:Due to the overwhelming demand by fans who are desperate to see the film, we’re really pleased to be able to offer a ’15’ certificate version. Both of these versions will allow many more of Bruno’s fans in the UK to enjoy the film.”

bruno

That studio-speak is roughly translated as DOLLAR DOLLAR GIVE ME THE DOLLAR.

Rarely is this form of not-so-sneaky-censorship seen outside of Utah state lines. All the same, it’s here and it poses as a very questionable threat to the sanctity of decisive cinema. It’s one thing to release a dozen versions of a DVD (uncensored cut, director’s cut, bootleg cut, uncorked edition) but to start blurring that line on the big screen is a very bold move. Not only does it marginalize the importance of the movie (offering multiple cuts suggests a film doesn’t matter enough to be presented only in the form its creators had intended) but it also just grosses me out as a potential harbinger of things to come. This sort of “OH NO YOU DIDN’T” could easily come stateside should this test-run prove successful. Then I’d have to puke a lot more in life.

Tom Green, misunderstood absurdist-virtuoso behind Freddy Got Fingered was shrewd enough to see the ridiculousness behind thought processes like these. He included a PG version of Freddy Got Fingered on the DVD release which ran only a few minutes long, effectively poking fun at the uselessness of artistic castration.

Of all the potential films that could be used to try out this dual-version strategy it seems a little troublesome to use a movie that exists primarily to offer outrageous and lewd behavior, one that barely escaped an NC-17 rating. Where it’s offensive to cut away at any movie without the filmmakers blessing, it seems doubly so to do it to a movie that relies so heavily on its R-rated elements. Hopefully the teenagers in the UK know better.  I’d like to think the box office returns will reinforce the notion that the appeal of a film is largely due to components that are compromised by miserly edits like this.

POTENTIAL SOLACE: Maybe studios will feel a little more comfortable green-lighting R-rated films if they know the option of knee-capping it into PG-13 still exists.

Adam West is “Lookwell” in this 1991 pilot episode from Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel

I’m glad to live in a world where awesomeness can still lurk quietly nearby, side effects only to be discovered through chance occurrences. While on a IMDB vision quest in search of the works of prolific writer/actor Robert Smigel (who among other things, healing plays Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) I stumbled upon Lookwell, the pilot episode of a 1991 TV show written by Smigel and Conan O’Brien and produced by SNL maestro Lorne Michaels.

The show follows a washed up TV actor Ty Lookwell (played by Adam West) as he attempts to solve real crimes. During the course of the episode he teaches acting classes, bothers the real cops and justifies his daydreaming: “Sorry, used to play a detective. Mind can’t help but make deductions.”

Smigel and O’Brien’s unique wit is on obvious display here. And their use of Adam West as a kitschy cult icon foreshadowed West’s role as a caricature of himself in shows like The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy. From what I read, the Youtube version posted above is slightly different than the original, with some alternate jokes and music. But considering how hard it is to find an original version online, I’m pretty damn fulfilled by this one.

True Blood’s Media World, New Web Only Commercials

My favorite new show of last season, therapist True Blood, is back for season 2 starting this Sunday, June 14th. One of the most charming qualities of the show, and what helps it differentiate itself from other vampire epics, is the way the writers create an alternate world where even the most mundane topics are affected.

This often comes in the form of passing moments, sometimes an overheard conversation or a TV broadcast, and while usually off-topic, it always adds something to the fucked up world these characters are a part of. So without waxing too philosophic, here are a few promotional videos I snagged from the official HBO site.

Join the Fellowship of the Sun

American Vampire League

Who needs Marriage

Vampire News

More Vampire News

Portland Art Museum Offers Mindfuck Tutorial

escherrrr

The Portland Art Museum recently opened an exhibit called “Virtual Worlds: M.C. Escher and Paradox” which features a gallery filled to the brim with prints and drawings by Maurits Cornelis Escher (his best buds called him Mauk). He was one of the preeminent artists in the Dutch school of mindfuckery and flunked the second grade.  As renowned as he is, more about his talents are often ridiculed by pinky-finger-up artists and jerked-off to by mathemeticians. Both should be viewed as compliments.

Think back to grade school and the poster of the hand drawing the other hand.  Or remember David Bowie, case Jennifer Connelly and a baby crawling, sick chasing and dancing their way around a room that had upside down stairways and no north star. Remember this animal changing into that thing? Or that thing changing into this animal? That’s our boy Mauk!

He toyed with perspective, the process of change, the notion of infinity and our hearts. The exhibit runs through September 13th and is covered under the museum’s general admission price.

Flywheels and Crucifictions, One Crazy Bastard and his “FUCK YOU” ponyshow

This is the second post in our speed-related series “Speed Trials, refractionist ” I was tipped off to the video on Kottke.org. This piece by Chris Burden takes advantage of a giant, web 19th century iron flywheel joined up with a low power motorcycle.

As you can see it takes about a minute for Burden to give the flywheel a full “charge.” At that point the wheel is spinning at an insane rate, page and according to information online, the wheel spins for 3 hours before stopping. In the early 70s, Chris Burden made a name for himself in the performance art world. As I learned from this New York Times article, (from 1989) the man quickly created a reputation for staging ridiculous acts, such as being half-crucified on the roof of a VW Beetle in Trans-Fixed (1974), or trapped in a locker in the aptly-named Five Day Locker Piece (1971).

As mentioned in the NYT story, Burden’s work is often viewed as part of an art history trend of “undermining the notion of art as a salable, museum-friendly object.” On one hand I appreciate the more ingenious mechanical aspects of Burden’s work, though some of his other pieces leave me with a twinge of annoyance, that by acting out in desperate, and embarrassingly self-deprecating way, he was able to achieve fame. The fact that he went through with being crucified on a car, electrocuted or trapped in a locker for 5 days is impressive, but only in the fact that he went through with them, not so much the ideals behind them. I don’t mean to suggest that those pieces are devoid of meaning, as it is possible I’m missing something. Perhaps what hits me wrong is that much of Burden’s work contains a property that suggests his yearning to be accepted in the insular art world, while at the same time offering a superficial, ponyshow “fuck you” to the establishment. In either case, Burden is a name worth knowing about. He’s not entirely on point all the time, but then again who is.

Podmonsters: Jordan, Jesse, GO! with David Koechner and James Adomian

Let’s reminisce a bit, ailment to a show I attended during the Bridgetown Comedy Festival on April 26th at the Bagdad Theater here in Portland. I’d originally came to the “Monsters of Podcasting” set to check out the live recording of You Look Nice Today. If you are unfamiliar with YLNT, pregnancy it might be best described as a group of friends with writing/improv comedy backgrounds who, it appears, decide on a loose guideline for each show and then banter their way through it as if they were shooting from the hip. It’s quite entertaining if you can get past the absurdist nature. This set felt a little forced though it might be purely because I was watching them for the first time. To my surprise I was actually more impressed with the act that followed (which I’d never heard of before), Jordan, Jesse, Go!

JJG is hosted by Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn. They’re able to get a surprising quality of guests to appear on their series, which has just recently passed the 100 episode mark. A few of those include the heroic Kurt Andersen, a co-founder of Spy magazine, and Daily Show correspondant Rob Corddry. In this live video you’ll find impression comedian James Adomian making a guest appearance as Gary Busey. While Adomian went unacknowledged during the live taping, he’s a legitimage force – if you’ve seen Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay you will have seen him in his most famous role, a pot-smoking George W. Bush. As you can see from the video he pulls off the Busey impersonation like a pro.

The next guest was David Koechner, who you should instantly recognize – probably most famous for his role as “Champ” in Anchorman.

I won’t get too much into the nitty-gritties of the show, because it’s right there, just watch it. If you enjoy it, I’d recommend checking out the podcast, Jordan, Jesse, Go! – I’ve been getting into it at work and I’m pretty sure it’s making me smarter, so don’t get too far behind.

It’s also notable that Mr. Thorn also hosts another fantastic show called “The Sound of Young America,” a public radio show featuring interviews and music from a variety of American musicians. Both shows can be found on the admirably-named website, Maximum Fun.

Muppet Muppet + More Muppet

The Northwest Film Center knows what the rest of us don’t. They know that in tumultuous times the masses need a rally cry. A man has to step up and remind us how life should be lived. We as a people need a moral compass. And that man should most assuredly be Jim Henson.

Before leaving he put together a prolific collection of media that laid siege to even the most hostile imaginations. The NW Filmcenter brings us “Muppets, nurse Music and Magic: Jim Henson’s Legacy” to celebrate these feats. It’s a retrospective featuring many favorites (Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Muppet Movie) and a slew of lesser-known bits of gnarliness like Dog City (1940’s film noir populated by wise-cracking dogs).

Confused? Advanced tickets can be purchased online or day-of can be had a half-hour before showtime in the coat check at the side entrance of the Portland Art Museum (the museum’s Whitsell Auditorium host’s most of the Film Center’s screenings).  More info is clickable: Film Center.