Thrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat
By Will ("The Thrill") Viharo
By Will "the Thrill" Viharo
THIS MONTH: THE THEME TO "THRILLVILLE"; CRAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN! HOWARD DEAN FOR PRESIDENT! & SUPER SEXY SCI-FI ROCKET ROLL SHOW, PARTS 1 & 2!
A THRILLING TUNE....
I hope this is the last column primarily devoted to politics and world events for a while, because I'm sick of all of it already. But I can't just stick my head in the ground, either. This is my platform, I pay for it, and I feel the need to publicly vent my feelings about what is going on out there, because I find it all very, very disturbing and appalling. I used to be apolitical and self-obsessed. Now I'm political and self-obsessed. Apathy makes life so much simpler. Ask the General Public. But before I launch into my latest tirade, dig this:
I GOT MY OWN THEME SONG NOW!
That's right, Thrill seekers: this ultra-cool Chicago-based sci-fi spy/surf/lounge band called THE MOON-RAYS ( www.moon-rays.com) actually wrote and professionally recorded a 57 second theme called "Thrillville" that sounds like Esquivel doing beatnik crime jazz. It perfectly captures the whole Thrillville mood of mobsters, monsters 'n' martinis - and they've never even been to my show! (Though they have "surfed" my site before). You should be able to listen to it on the front page of this site by now, and if not, soon. The Moon-Rays, headed by Swingin' Scott Mensching, have an absolutely killer CD out ironically called "Thrills 'n' Chills," available on their site, and I highly recommend it (yes, I loved it long before they gave me a theme song). Their exotic blend of guitars, bongos, xylophone, theremin, sax and more is unique and extremely psychotronic, the ultimate in contemporary retro-cool. I am flattered and honored they chose to offer me this musical gift, which ironically inspires me to continue right when I sometimes feel like throwing in the smoking jacket for good. I plan on playing "Thrillville" at all my shows, at home at The Parkway and on the road, from now on.
I think EVERYONE should have their own theme song. It's out there somewhere, trust me, so go find it, claim it as your own, and play it in your head whenever you're feeling low, or high, or in-between.
Also check out this new (sorta) on-line zine: www.retroplanet.net - it's a very slick and informative source of info for hep cats and sex kittens all over cyberspace. Yours truly contributed the piece called "Cocktail Cinema" (under the link "Martini Movies"). My next assignment for them is "Mai Tai Monster Movies."
Monica, Tiki Goddess also wants me to plug a cool radio station we discovered while in LA recently, the Fabulous 570 AM, Southern Cal's version of our beloved KABL 960 AM here in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, both are controlled by the evil Clear Channel Communications. They've monopolized great radio music on a corporate level, but that doesn't mean we should tune out our collective musical heritage. We famously fought the Texas powers-that-be (friends of the Bushes and staunch war supporters) when they stupidly changed KABL's format from Lounge/Pop to Adult Contemporary - and we won. Evil corporations are a reality in a capitalistic society, there's no avoiding them. So what I'm saying is: support the Music, but boycott the Sponsors. End of commercial.
For updates on these and other thrilling matters, including Thrillville program info, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter on the front page of this site.
Now, back to my regularly schedule rant, already in progress (click here to skip it and go directly to this month's movies):
CRAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!
I grew up in the '70s and '80s wishing I were living in the '50s.
Be careful what you wish for.
That's how it goes, though. The pendulum swung leftward for four decades, beginning with the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1960. During that time, there were great strides for civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, and abortion rights (it was finally legalized in 1972). Of course we also had Watergate, Viet Nam, Reaganomics and other setbacks to contend with, but all in all, as a people, we made great progress, relatively.
That's all about to change. We're heading into possibly the most conservative era in American history. Why? How? Simple answer to both questions: FEAR.
Not long ago everyone was afraid of Iraq's alleged awesome arsenal of chemical weapons. Now it's SARS. Not long ago everyone hated Saddam Hussein. Now the poster boy to Hate is Scott Petersen. Hey, as long as we continue to fear and hate something and/someone, the masses can be controlled.
What really bugs me is we're renewing all the truly rotten elements of the '50s - political polarization, demonizing foreign nations and cultures, witch hunts and moral superiority from the right, weakness and "patriotic" pummeling of the left, hypocrisy, xenophobia, nuclear standoffs, etc - but none of the cultural advantages, like great movies and music! I mean, we have to deal with this oppression, and the best artistic refuge we have is Eminem. Brad Pitt and The Bachelor? Shit, if we art-lovers gotta suffer under this oppressive regime, at least give us some equivalents to Sinatra, Brando and The Honeymooners to ease the pain!!
Now that the regime has fallen in Iraq - the same one the U.S. once supported against Iran - the 60% majority of conservative Shiite Muslims are threatening to seize power, making it an anti-democracy, exactly the opposite of what they (and we) were promised. The relatively liberal Islam faction only makes up about 40% of Iraq, so the balance of power is roughly equivalent to this country's conservative/liberal ratio - and look what a mess we're in! No wonder the Bush's don't want the conservatives to control Iraq - they know just how damaging that type of power balance can be! Now - who's going to give liberals over here a boost? (Keep reading.)
Of course, Bush and company, including that traitor Colin Powell, also promised "thousands of tons" of chemical agents would be uncovered, but so far, no dice. Well, maybe dice, but not loaded dice. We were also officially and adamantly warned of solid links between Hussein and bin Laden - but where are they? Oh well, too late now! I've actually seen administration officials on TV backtracking, saying they might dig up "a petri dish" or two, but maybe not the volume of WMDs originally suspected and advertised. But no matter - we've accomplished our objective, which was setting an example to other Mid Eastern America haters not to fuck with us. We'll prove to them that democracy is the way to go - or else face total annihilation. That's the "democratic" way! At least in America, and we got the biggest guns, folks, so it's our way or the highway to hell!
Wait a minute....I don't remember that rationale being proposed as justification for a pre-emptive war. This is just part of the New Doctrine - Postwar Justification. Shoot first and answer questions later. We'll give the reasons after we've killed everyone we want to, all done in "our" name, as freedom-loving Americans.
But the bottom line is, no matter what objective they're claiming victory for now - THEY LIED TO US. Isn't that considered an impeachable offense, judging by recent historical precedents? Didn't Nixon get impeached for lying about Watergate, and Clinton get impeached for lying about Blowjobgate? What about Saddamgate, in which people actually died as a result of the President's Lie? And yet, everyone is predicting W's re-election is now a slam-dunk. He's even ahead in polls here in California against "Democrat X" The economy is in the toilet; unemployment is rising; people actually lost jobs during this administration; the #3 Republican (I can't even remember his name, he's so insignificant to me personally) insults gays like Trent Lott insulted African Americans and no one offers an official apology from the White House; abortion rights are being restricted and threatened according to right wing moral superiority; we're generating more hatred from allies than at any time since World War 2; our own government lied to us about why we had to overthrow Hussein immediately; and yet -Bush's re-election campaign is confident of success?
What country are we living in? I don't know anymore. I feel like I don't even belong to a country right now. It would be easy to just hide in Thrillville, but I can't just ignore what's going on around me. My social conscience won't let me. God damn it.
I love it when people who support Bush get all touchy when you point out his innate stupidity. They actually throw his formal education at you, in his defense, like that automatically makes one intellectually or spiritually enlightened. People: if you like Bush and his policies, good for you! But any person who graduated from an esteemed university and STILL doesn't know there's no such word as "misunderestimated," or that "nuclear" has three syllables, not two, is a natural born moron, that's the only possible explanation for this shameful exhibition of presidential ignorance. Plus W. thinks his "favorite" song, "Wake Up Little Susie," was recorded by Buddy Holly, not the Everly Brothers. True, it's not important for a Head of State to know stuff like this or even be a pop culture aficionado (like Clinton was). But it makes it awfully hard for people like me to relate to him. The majority of Americans apparently do relate to W's folksy, um...whatever. His "famous" charm and appeal are totally lost on me - as a politician and as a personality. If he ever does something right (as opposed to just "right"), I'll give him props. So far, he is without a doubt the worst president in modern history, or at least in my lifetime, and that includes his father. I didn't like his old man much, but he did exhibit some sort of leadership qualities, unlike his idiot son. Yes, I said idiot. A highly educated idiot? Okay, sure, whatever makes you feel better.
Bottom line: I DON'T LIKE GEORGE W. BUSH! All Ivy League experience aside, guy is a cultural illiterate. We share none of the same ideals or values, and he yet he claims to represent me to the world. Does this influence my opinion of the war? Slightly, I admit. The fact is, I disagree with his administration's platform on all domestic and social issues. To me, the war was a strategic attempt to distract us from these urgent causes and rally support for a president who can think of nothing better to do as Leader of the Free World than attack defenseless nations rather than taking care of business at home. Notice how, by executive order, our army risked life and limb securing Iraq's oil wells first and foremost, but when it came to the looting of national treasures, there was "nothing we could do to stop it"??! That's because Art is not this administration's priority - Commerce is. I just can't respect such a myopic worldview.
Speaking of the war against Art - I also can't believe that McCarthyism is alive and well in the 21st Century. Why the hell do people care so much that actors speak out against the war - to the point where they actually take the time and energy to put up entire web sites devoted to their vilification? ("Hollywood: You Don't Speak For Me!" - and Washington doesn't speak for us, which is our point, and actors don't make policy or enforce it, politicians do - so what's your point?). Is this bias against Bush-bashing movie stars because as celebrities they have a bigger platform than we do? Polls seem to indicate that the general public is not swayed by the opinions of their performing idols, so what's the big threat? Is it because deep down you agree with them but don't have the guts to speak up for yourself? Is it because you are afraid they ultimately will sway the tide of public opinion? Is it because you can't reconcile the fact that they entertain you but conflict with your own political and philosophical beliefs? Is it because you envy their success, and believe you put them where they are, and question where they get the nerve to publicly oppose your own ideological standards? And why don't any of you criticize the celebrities speaking out for the war - isn't that the flip side of the same issue, that actors should just stick to the script? I think a lot of it is just sour grapes -celebrities have money, position, talent (well, sometimes), and power, and yet don't play ball with the powers that be, and that really rubs the "little people" following the government like lemmings the wrong way. Personally, I just want some actors to simply stop acting, but that is also their right as a citizen. Everyone has the right - at least according to the Constitution - to openly express their views on anything, anywhere, free from persecution. It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. If you want freedom from speech, just tune out the voices that annoy you. But actively organizing movements to have them silenced reeks of paranoia, hypocrisy, and worst of all - fascism.
I guess the mainstream view is: you have the right to express your opinion as long as a) you agree with their's and/or b) not many people hear you anyway. You don't hear much criticism of Bruce Willis' public support of the war, do you? And last time I checked, he was a movie star. Hmmm, am I getting a whiff if hypocrisy here blowing somewhere from the right?
I've also seen Iraqi-American citizens on TV defending the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, as least in their case, and claiming anti-war protestors do not represent the Iraqi people's concerns, since whether the motive was oil or regime change or destruction of WMDs, the resulting freedom was worth the casualties of their own people. But they seem to overlook the fact that our people were killed over there too - people Saddam had no hold over or beef with. Sure, it's noble of them to give their lives for the cause of freedom, even accidentally. But when your own nation's citizen's are being asked to make the ultimate sacrifice, I'm sorry - the motive does matter, no matter what the outcome, and our government needs to be held accountable - at least by its own citizens. I mean, the Bush administration is so adamantly "pro-life" when it comes to embryonic stem cell research and late term abortions - but when it comes to "collateral damage" or faceless foreigners or sending their own post-birth troops into risky battle, all bets are off. At that point, murder is optional, a means to an end. I don't get it.
But hey, these are all complex issues subject to many different perspectives based on an individual's background, belief system, life experience, etc. These are my opinions based on my own research and viewpoints. Doesn't necessarily make them valid to anyone except me. I'm just exercising my right to express myself from my own personal platform, endorsed by no organizations other than Thrillville. And I'll keep doing it as long as I can, Patriot Acts 2, 3 and 4 notwithstanding.
This whole Tim Robbins/Susan Sarandon/Baseball Hall of Shame flap was one of the most highly publicized and embarrassing debacles to result from the current "patriotically correct" (thank you, Bill Maher) climate of fear. This is a perfect example of why the prejudiced form of "patriotism" being propagated today is much more divisive than it is unifying. To me, as a humanist, I think all forms of patriotism are divisive, since ultimately it leads the "us vs. them" mentality which leads to war and all kinds of stupid things our civilization should've long ago outgrown. But even within the conservative confines of its current domestic definition, it serves to polarize the population rather than bring it together.
There are also times I hear a click on my phone and wonder if someone is listening.... but what can "they" do to me - revoke my license to "thrill"?
EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINION. How come we keep seeing scenes on TV of Iraqis celebrating this new freedom, but we can't celebrate our traditional freedom without harassment from our own people and government? Kindly explain this to me, because I just don't get it. It's all such BULLSHIT, I wanna SCREAM!!! But while that may relieve some tension and annoy my neighbors, it's no solution. You have to be proactive to affect change. Here's my idea:
HOWARD DEAN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2004!
As I've illustrated ad nauseum, the Bush presidency, rather than uniting the nation, has polarized it to the extreme. The administration's fear-mongering policies have driven people from the vast middle either rightward or leftward (and if you believe the polls, most went the other way.)
People who support Bush believe his hogwash that the greatest threat to American freedom and security comes from Outside our Borders - the enemy is always "The Other." The rest of us believe the more serious, or at least immediate threat, comes from Within our own borders.
This is probably because I've spent most of my life on the fringes of society, but the issues that matter to me most, even as a white straight male, are equal rights and civil liberties. As someone who always appreciates the aesthetics of nature, I have also become passionate about protecting the environment. None of these concerns are addressed by our current administration, at least not to my own satisfaction.
If you're satisfied with Bush's job performance so far - which to me constitutes the worst record of any American president in history - then you have no need for the alternatives I'm plugging, since you're obviously satisfied with the status quo. If, on the other hand, imperialistic doctrines, tax cuts that benefit the wealthy, the systematic reversal of most civil rights victories, patriotic prejudice, and corporate-sponsored destruction of the environment don't suit your own ideals and values, I urge you to check out this web site:
Many on the left, or even in the middle, voted for Nader in 2000 because the Democrats were so weak. And they're even weaker now. But they're all we've got against Bush, realistically, so it's up to us to make them strong again.
Howard Dean is still a dark horse, and he may turn out to be a one trick pony, or even a horse of another color, but so far, he represents my voice in the wilderness - he speaks not only to me, but for me. The current administration is about as far away from who I am, what I'm about, and what I want for this country as you can possibly get. But I freely admit, my voice is with the minority, as we are entering a new conservative era that will make previous conservative eras seem like Liberal Utopia - even the '50s (which at least had Lenny Bruce, Bettie Page, and beatniks). At least back then the hypocrisy wasn't so institutionalized.
I suppose I'll half-heartedly vote for any Democratic presidential candidate, because ANYBODY is better than Bush, and most likely, at this point, due to the rampant fear-based conservatism choking this nation, it will be John Kerry. I'm not crazy about Kerry because a) he voted for the bullshit war and b) he looks too much like the nutty professor from Re-Animator. I keep waiting for him to rip his own head off. It's disturbing. He's also basically the flip side to the same dirty coin -much more so than Gore, whom I actually liked. If Kerry gets the Democratic nod, or if Leiberman does (cringe), I can predict with certainty right now, the Democrats will lose the next election by a landslide. The reality is, if you have the choice of two conservative candidates, the Republicans will win hands down, because no one does conservatism like they do. And at least they're purebreds - what use is a conservative Democrat to anyone? What we need is a STRONG, SENSIBLE VOICE OF REASON AND POWERFUL OPPOSITION, not just a whiney version of the same sad structure already in power.
Anyway, that's my two cents. Take it or leave it. Can't even buy bubble gum with two cents nowadays anyway. But I still got a bargain for ya:
SUPER SEXY SCI-FI ROCKET ROLL SHOW, PARTS 1 & 2!
I'm hosting two big theme shows this month mainly because I feel like it, but also because cool stuff just came my way and I didn't know how else to package/market it all. We're celebrating Science Fiction Sexuality with two Thrillville spectaculars, both at The Parkway:
My SUPER SEXY SCI-FI ROCKET SHOW, PART 1 at 9PM sharp on June 5 features a special live performance by Oaktown's premiere rocket roll band THE PHENOMENAUTS (www.phenomenauts.com), whom we met at last year's SF Weekly WAMMIES Awards Show, where they picked up an award for Best Lifestyle Band (whatever that means). Monica, Tiki Goddess was the Awards Girl for the third year running. Anyway, they are firmly in the tradition of great rockabilly/surf bands from The Blasters to Man...or Astroman?, and they are going to fire their retro-rockets on the Parkway stage before a screening of their first short film (still untitled at press time), an episode of a surprise 50s sci-fi TV show courtesy of Buzz Bob Ekman, and a Widescreen Deluxe color 35mm print of QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1958), starring Zsa Zsa Gabor as a voluptuous Venusian. This madcap movie is the epitome of that curious and uniquely '50s sci-fi sub-genre involving horny astronauts luckily landing on a planet of equally randy pin-up babes in high heels. Other examples include Catwomen on the Moon, its remake Missile to the Moon, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars and Fire Maidens of Outer Space (the latter two I've already shown.) But none are funnier, sillier, or more colorful than this surreal, sexist space opera. All in all, this is going to be one hell of a night - and it's only the first half.
Two weeks later, on June 19 at 8:30PM, it's the SUPER SEXY SCI-FI ROCKET ROLL SHOW, PART TWO, featuring LIVE strippers from DANE'S DAMES BURLESQUE performing before a double feature of Jacques Boyreau's brand new cult classic CANDY VON DEWD and John Boorman's ZARDOZ (1974), starring Sean Connery in a futuristic fable of freaky fornication, making its Parkway premiere (I've never even seen it, so here's our chance!). I showed the wild 'n' wacky one- hour opus Candy Von Dewd at The Parkway last December as part of the Liberation Drive-In Holiday Party, but this is its premiere in Thrillville, and it is the latest and most psychedelic incarnation of the horny astronauts-on-a-planet-of-babes scenario. My pal Jacques is the mad beatnik genius behind The Werepad (where I'm scoring the 35mm print of Zardoz) and the popular Beatnik Burlesque revue at Bruno's in the Mission District. He is also the author of the highly recommended tome TRASH: the Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters (Chronicle Books), compiling one sheets from the Werepad's astonishing archives, which matches their collection of 16mm and 35mm films. Suffice to say, he knows his stuff. And Eddie Dane is bringing his delectable dancing dames to the Parkway stage for the second time, and hopefully this time the sound system will not fail us - I still remember that poor gal bumping and grinding to what sounded like technical farting from our fucked up sound system a few years ago before a screening of Screaming Mimi. Actually, we have a relatively new stereo sounds system in Theater One of The Parkway, so that won't be an issue this time. (See the SCHEDULE link for more program and admission info.)
Here's to the exploration of new frontiers, but without the colonization. We'll happily sample attractive members of the populations, though, since blending and sharing our diverse cultures is our only hope for salvation as a species....
NEXT MONTH: RETURN OF THE ATTACK OF THE ATOMIC ANIMALS!
Thrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat