BRAINWASH FESTIVAL: The unrelenting hemorrhage of Di-ahhrea
we've had to contend with this past week has us royally sick and
tired of the mediocrity of mainstream media culture...and all
those who participate in it.
Rally instead toward a spectacle that's seldom glimpsed in these parts: The Brainwash Movies Festival, a traveling show of independent short video and film of a social satirical bent. Under the auspices of San Francisco-based Laughing Squid Productions (LSP), the two-day event features more than 25 pieces by established and emerging talents: among them, an offering by excellent documentary filmmaker Les Blank, called "Running Around Like A Chicken With It's Head Cut Off"; and "technoCASUALTY," by former Tucson resident-filmmaker Molli Simon.
The fest is a celebration of the experimental, so we offer no promises on what you'll find. But teasers like Danny Shorago's "Pancake Boy," wherein the title character "runs away and joins a tribe of pancakes," and "Karma Wash: Hare Krishna Hit and Run," by Ben Gardella, have us intrigued.
Far and away, our pick is the Friday night line-up culminating with "Portland Santacon '96," by Laughing Squid's Scott Beale. The 39-minute chronicle documents an art-for-art's-sake project that transported 666 red-suited men and women to run amok in the City of Bridges. Their drunken antics, spontaneous dog-piling and general guerrilla-style good cheer look hilarious. Check out the Squid's super-cool multi-faceted website, www.wenet.net/~squidink/brainwash.htm, for more information.
In addition to offering still images and blurbs on selected Brainwash films, the site offers unlikely links to the Burning Man project website, and an archive of paintings by deceased Bay Area surrealist painter Alonso Smith. And, if you like what you see locally, you can request LSP's catalog of independent home-video releases, which aim to "excavate culture from beneath the surface of mainstream civilization."
The indoor/outdoor festival starts at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, September 5 and 6, at Luna Loca Café, 546 N. Stone Ave. Admission costs something (the details are a bit sketchy on the hand-printed flyer). We're guessing $5. Don't be fussy, just bring a fistful of dough and plant yourself for the re-programming. It'll take your mind off Princess Dead.
MORE MEDIA STUPIDITY: Some clever guy, or maybe it was a woman...or possibly the philosopher Voltaire, but certainly somebody our short-term, Gen X memory can't pinpoint with any greater efficiency than a Yahoo! search engine on a sub-standard Mac IIci machine (which yielded 9,010 possibilities for places we might locate this information on the web, but couldn't narrow it down any further, which is kind of the same thing that happened when we hollered out the query to the collective gray matter down here at The Weekly)...this person once said (very cleverly and probably in a similar situation): "You can't have a battle of wits with someone who's unarmed."
Normally, we'd look up the attribution. But what the hell. We're just one of those twentysomething knuckleheads you read so much about, in "newspaper" "articles" like the one that appeared in the Monday, September 1, edition of the Tucson Citizen. Under the heading "Cyber.trends" (oooh, look at that clever dot after that snazzy buzzword!), a wire story from media monolith Gannett's "News Service" (that's right, they couldn't even come up with this pap locally) runs the headline "Xers find medium for message."
"Twentysomethings sick of being ridiculed and ignored by the mainstream news media are taking their hands off the remote and thumbing their noses at traditional news outlets," writes Elizabeth Wilberg. She takes as case in point cybermags like gURL, Suck and The Onion, which provide "information that's relevant, entertaining and more 'authentic' than anything they see in the papers or on TV."
She seems to be saying this new media- and technology-savvy generation is turning toward fiction in search of reality, as if making fun of the news were a viable substitute for actually reporting it.
Well geez, Lizzy, how the hell old are you? The Onion, while terribly entertaining, isn't what kids like us consider an alternative news source. We're talking about headlines like "CIA unveils new line of ghetto drugs"--c'mon, nobody's really saying these are the stories the mainstream media misses. But stories like hers, which try so hard to look cool and even harder to say nothing, sure don't encourage the effort of taking the rubber band off those state-of-the-artless dailies.
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