Friday, November 30, 2007

The KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival, December '07 by Robert Emmett

The whole world doesn't get to be Martin Scorcese, Burt Bacharach, or Jude Law. Far too often they end up being the almost-made-its. The directors of television commercials, composers of jingles or soundtracks for forgotten cartoons; actors who weren't sure what was worse: being in this low-budget movie or not being in this low-budget movie. Still, they got a shot at being involved with their chosen profession.

On Saturday night, December 8, 2007, these almost-made-its get their day, or night, as part of the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival. In a program of 16mm films (the analog of video), some of the corners of pop culture live again. Old commercials, weird short subjects, trailers from obscure films and other cinematic oddballs make up the program. So weird, in fact, you can't even find this stuff on YouTube.

The Psychotronix Film Festival shows only 16mm films, the vinyl of visuals, an archaic medium that brings us wondrous images of a near forgotten time. Antiquated commercials, neglected cartoons, previews from old movies, various short subjects which may have been intentionally educational then that are now just unintentionally funny. These films are the vox populi, not the master's voice, made by people looking for a paycheck, not immortality. The Psychotronix wants you to experience something not old enough to be precious nor young enough to be contemporary. A black and white world of irradiated, enormous insects, big hair, large cars, and happy people satisfied by the mild, mild, mild taste of tobacco. When the only worrisome foreign ownership was the prevalence of Canada Dry soft drinks.

An invisible art, this collection of films would never be celebrated by the academy. Monsters and clowns, the goofs and the gallants, products long gone and quaint notions of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. All this and more at the Psychotronix. Free snax, (with an "x") and door prizes. There will also be surprise guests as well as a roomful of people who like the same things you do- and how often does that happen?

These are films with never-weres not has-beens, though that doesn't mean that they are without talent, even if only a talent to amuse, at this point. You will want to see the Psychotronix- for the history, for the hysteria, for the histrionics. You'll laugh and wonder how it was that this corner of culture could ever have escaped your attention. See the shocking, eye-staggering truth, the follies and foibles, the catchy tunes, and the tidal waves of terror that are all part of the Psychotronix Film Festival.

Before you get too smug, remember that the distance of time allows us to see a culture's conceits. How will the future look at you, look at us? The future is now and the Psychotronix Film Festival is just days away. Previous Psychotronix have sold-out, so for best seating, get there early. Doors open at 6:00 PM.

Where? Room 5015, Foothill Community College campus, Los Altos Hills, CA (El Monte exit off of Highway 280)
When: Saturday December 8th, 7:00 to 11:00 PM
Admission: $5.00 donation benefits KFJC 89.7 FM
Why: You are a glutton for punishment and desire a cheesy door prize

Monday, November 12, 2007

On Hiatus (Yet Again)

For the most part, I will be taking a break from this blog for awhile. There will, no doubt, be an item plugging the next film show, the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival, December 8th at Foothill College. If I find a clip of Sonny Rollins, Johnny Griffin and John Gilmore riffing into the cosmos on an insanely fast hard-bop rendition of Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's In Love With You" (rhythm section: Walter Davis, Jr. - piano; Bob Cranshaw - bass; Billy Higgins - drums), I'll post it. And you may find a scholarly article (well, once I've finished writing it) which will answer that question about who was the best Polish dialect comedienne from classic pre-Code movies on the other blog I occasionally post on, Aaron Neathery's The Third Banana.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Carnival Of Stars

Hot off following blazing retro-surf band The Phantom Jets at the Sacramento Horror Film Festival, the footage-obsessed rapscallions of the Psychotronic/Lobotronic/Thrill-O-Tronic/whatever-tronic Film Fests will present next Saturday evening's show for the Carnival Of Stars event. Here's the official YouTube promo:

This event features comic book artists, belly dancers and John Stanley of KTVU-TV's celebrated "Creature Features" late night show of the 70's and 80's. We'll fit right in. Movies follow the 6pm costume contest.

We present our customary hallucinatory excursion through the irritated bowels of popular culture (in glorious 16mm): vintage TV commercials, surreal and obscure classic cartoons, campy musical shorts, well-meaning but now ludicrous educational films, indescribably bizarre short subjects, non-union actors in cheap monster suits, anything involving double entendres and coming attractions trailers from plump, Cheese Whiz-fed turkeys that would invariably make the heart of the late Edward D. Wood Jr. go pitty-pat.

Film program co-producers "Sci Fi Bob" Ekman and Paul F. Etcheverry consider the evening a smashing success when the audience starts heckling the movies before the projection lamp goes on. Mr. Lobo and the fabulous, always-fetching Queen Of Trash from KTEH-TV's Cinema Insomnia will be the hosts with the most.

The Carnival Of Stars transpires this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, November 10-11, from 9 AM to 9 PM, at Centennial Hall, 22292 Foothill Boulevard (at City Center Drive), Hayward, CA.