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Choke On These Underground Bits

By Mike Everleth ⋅ February 28, 2009

I have a couple of big projects in the hopper, so to tide you folks over in underground film land, here are a couple of interesting bits to chew on. The above embedded video is only vaguely film related, but I found it totally hilarious. In it, Andy Warhol shows off how to “paint” an incredibly bored looking Debbie Harry using an Amiga computer.

Still, after all this time, Warhol’s deadpan interview answering skillz crack me up, especially when the interviewer is clearly not in on the schtick. Consider this video a sequel to the Stan Vanderbeek computer animation video posted up awhile ago. And all videos found via Rhizome. Thanks, guys!

Next up is this must-read piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum entitled “New Hollywood” and the 60s Melting Pot. Or, in my case, it’s a must read half, then skim, then go back to piece. It’s a dense article commissioned to examine the influence of European filmmaking on ’60s-era Hollywood, but Rosenbaum also throws in some nice analysis of the New American Cinema movement’s similar influence, or non-influence.

Given my own predilections towards trying to chronicle the modern underground, I was especially drawn to passages such as this one:

Meanwhile, the American underground — despite the recent splashes made by the first features of John Cassavetes (Shadows) and Shirley Clarke (The Connection) — was mainly regarded as marginal and parochial; Dwight Macdonald wrote sympathetically about both of these films in Esquire, a national mainstream publication, but was hostile to most other manifestations of the movement, such as Jonas Mekas‘s Guns of the Trees, and he completely (and characteristically) ignored such figures as Brakhage, Markopoulos, Breer, and Rice.

Sigh. As it was, it shall always be it seems. But also interesting is Rosenbaum’s statements such as: “we can be fairly confident that when Martin Scorsese was directing Taxi Driver several years later, he had seen Michael Snow’s Wavelength and Back and Forth.” I’ve heard Scorsese praising Kenneth Anger in the past and I wonder what his other underground influences might be. Is Rosenbaum right? I haven’t read enough on Scorsese to know for sure.

In the world of social networking and bookmarking, I recently made an account for myself at Re:Frame, a new project of the Tribeca Film Institute. I always try to jump on these things to make an underground film mark on it the way a cat will mark its territory with its urine. I’m not quite certain what the ultimate point of this site is, but I was pleased to see lots of entries for Other Cinema DVDs like the classic Sins of the Fleshapoids. However, the overall selection of films on the site is kind of small that users are supposed to make lists for and share with the world. Maybe it’ll turn into something interesting, but I think it might just be to drive sales to Amazon.

Lastly, this isn’t exactly “underground,” but for those of you out there like myself who feel they were drawn to the underground after being corrupted by sick and twisted horror movies as a child, filmmaker Mark Savage details some of his favorite horror flicks in this post at his blog, Phantom of Pulp. It’s an awesome list including many of my own favorites, such as Nightmare, Flesh for Frankenstein, The Grim Reaper and the ultimate: Doctor Butcher M.D. Plus there’s so many on here I need to see now! Savage does a great job on the blog overall, so check out the rest of the site, too.