By Will ("The Thrill") Viharo
ON THIS MONTH'S THRILL BILL, FEBRUARY 2001:
At THE PARKWAY, www.picturepubpizza.com:
At THE WEREPAD, www.werepad.com
t's already been a crazy year. Asimov and Kubrick got a lot wrong, but they were right about one thing: in 2001, mankind is as backasswards morally and mentally as he is advanced technologically.
Case in point: Everyone seems to be bamboozled by the colorful range of minorities on George W. Bullshit's new cabinet. I find it hard to believe that in this savvy civilization, so few can see through this insultingly cynical and insidiously calculated move on his part. He's going around giving cabinet posts to "representatives" of all the minority groups who did NOT vote for him - leaning heavily on the African Americans. When the latina backs down from scandal, he picks an Asian dame to take her place - any non-white male will do. His tactics are so obvious and so deliberate - appeasing all the groups that didn't vote for him this time so they'll vote for him in 2004, giving him and his fellow Republicans their "mandate" - that I fear he might actually have something I formerly did not give him credit for: an agenda.
His pick for Attorney General, John Ashcroft, a position with much more impact on our personal daily liberties than most other cabinet posts, reveals his true plan: to give Republicans and the Christian Right more power by carefully tapping non-whites who share their right wing ideology and conservative agendas. That's what makes W's color-coded cabinet picks "minorities" in the true sense - they are the few people of color who actually buy his baloney.
As Monica, Tiki Goddess astutely observed: "I thought he was opposed to Affirmative Action."
Of course, in Thrillville, I have a new policy for any Republicans in my audience: "Dont ask, don't tell." I don't want to discriminate against you even if I am personally offended by your unnatural tendencies. I just don't want to hear about 'em. It isn't fair of me to hold you to my own lofty moral standards, is it?
Oh, and if you're a Democrat - I'm not crazy about those either. At least we share some common interests and goals, and believe in free choice. But liberals whine so much, and many of them have terrible taste in clothes and music. This is why I am nostalgic for the whole JFK/Rat Pack era - left-leaning swingers who knew how to dress, how to wine and dine babes, how to live. But they also worked hard for civil rights. You don't have to be a slob to be politically correct.
And no, I'm not a Nader-ite. If I was, I'd be a lot happier about this election. At first I thought Nader and his followers were against Bush. But all they ever talked about was how much they hated Gore, which led me to believe he was their true adversary. I mean, not even Nader's most ardent fans ever thought he had a Corvair's chance in Hell at winning the presidency. No, their true goal became slowly apparent to me: they just wanted to keep Gore out of office! And they did it! Right on, dudes! You got what you wanted! Now stop whining.
But enough of that; the best news of the year so far is THE RETURN OF KABL 960AM!! I guess Texas felt bad about sticking us with their idiot governor for the next four years, so KABL's Texan corporate bigwigs decided to do an incredible 180 and scrap the format change that ruined KABL last summer. If you're a Thrill Seeker you know what I'm referring to - KABL had been for years the Station of Choice for all local hipsters, of all ages, sexes and creeds. They played what programmers call "beautiful music" - because it's just that, easy on the ears: lounge, swing, exotica, with the occasional concession to 70s "easy listening." But then some moron down there decided to dump the classic 40s/50s songs that were their heart and soul and switch to a 70s and 80s "soft rock" format, hoping to appeal to younger listeners, figuring wrongly their audience was purely geriatric. They further insulted their loyal fans by marketing the change as "unique" and "by popular demand." This kind of sap is already ubiquitous on Bay Area airwaves, from KOIT to KFRC. KABL had been the only station to play Keely Smith's new album. Their playlist was the soundtrack to my romance and courtship with Monica, Tiki Goddess. It was the best GD radio station in the world, and then it vanished, replaced with an insult.
We fought back hard, organizing a boycott, protests, emails - and my letter angrily denouncing the change was the first of many to be published in the SF Chronicle Datebook. The DJs and even the program director were sympathetic - Jim Lange barely contained his mournfulness on the air - but it seemed to be to no avail; the brass had made up their minds, and there was no turning back.
But then on January 1 of this year, an astonishing reversal took place: the moron who dictated the change was, in the words of DJ Jim Lange's on-air crony Dino Donikian, "guillotined," and the original format of "standards, swing and big bands too" was completely reinstated. The ads even proclaim that "KABL is back!", like the last six months had only been a nightmare. According to our pal, DJ Joe Romagna, it was just that, a bad dream. Apparently the KABL powers-that-be belatedly discovered not only the size and varied demographics of their listening audience, but also their fierce loyalty. You have to understand - when KABL "died," we stopped turning the radio on altogether, and many, many of our friends felt the same way. Now we're all equally elated and relieved. We fought the good fight and won. It doesn't happen often enough, but we're grateful for this one major victory.
Speaking of protests, on February 1 at The Parkway I am hosting the 1969 rebel biker classic EASY RIDER. The irony is, the whole hippie revolution this film epitomizes pretty much put the kibosh on the whole lounge scene. So why am I showing it? It's psychotronic as hell, baby - bikers, drugs, New Orleans, Dennis Hopper, Captain American, and even Jack Nicholson. Sure, they all look like slobs. But you still gotta love 'em. In their own way, the Rat Pack were rebels too. But instead of hallucinogenics, they knocked back atomic cocktails. Instead of riding hogs, they drove sports cars. But they were just as hedonistic, thumbing their noses at polite society. And with the new administration already laying down its conservative agenda, the time for protest and activism has returned. Come see this landmark flick for some pointers on how to go about it - also how not to. Bikers are encouraged to bring their wheels.
On February 10th I host my first ever non-Parkway Thrillville, as part of my new on the road Revue, at the legendary Werepad in San Francisco (2430 3rd St, bottom of Potrero Hill between 20th and 22nd; call 415-824-7334). This place is like an underground swinger's pad in Greenwich Village circa 1967; a Warholian warehouse stocked with the most incredible collection of rare cult flicks that I've ever encountered. Werepad head honchos Jacques Boyreau and Scott Moffett are true crusaders for the cause of B movies, constantly adding to their voodoo vaults, and finally, the cosmos have linked us up. I'll be hosting the 1960 sci fi cheese classic ANGRY RED PLANET plus some 60s scopetones and other surprises from the amazing archives of Planet X publisher Scott Moon. Monica, Tiki Goddess will be there giving out prizes, just like at the Parkway. You owe it to yourself to come discover the Werepad, Thrillville style. This is a special Valentine's Show too, since ANGRY RED PLANET was shot in Cinemagic, a process in which the planet Mars gets filtered through a crimson lens, giving everything - including the giant Rat-Crab-Spider-Bat creature - a Valentinesey hue. Last month I ripped Val Kilmer's recent bomb, called just plain "Red Planet" - no anger. Come to the Werepad and GET ANGRY! If it ain't mad, it ain't Mars.
Back at The Parkway on February 15, I am proudly presenting Roger Corman's classic 1959 beatnik horror flick A BUCKET OF BLOOD, featuring Dick Miller as the nerdy wanna-be artist who stumbles upon a horrific method of creating stunningly lifelike - and life-size - sculptures. It's an hour of gruesome black comedy as only Corman can dish it up - but to round out the evening I'm also throwing in another HOUR of mind-blowing vintage trailers from the collection of Uncle Bill, the Trailer King. It will be yet another memorable evening of thrilling psychotronia.
Till next month, Thrill Seekers - stay angry.
COMING IN MARCH FROM THRILLVILLE PRODUCTIONS: AT THE PARKWAY:
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