The Tee Shirts THEY Didn’t Want You to See!

Never Before Seen Offbeat Mixed Media Tee Shirts

censorshipbtnBecause our first vendor has “Standards” (or is prudish), there are several tee shirts that we haven’t been able to offer you. Reasons for not accepting our designs ranged from too controversial to too cliché. Ironically, you could purchase the Seismic City tee shirt “Censorship is kinky” while these were censored, and “Forbidden” by Tavius.org has not been forbidden!

The good news is, thanks to a non-exclusivity clause, we have found a Silkscreen / Direct to Garment printer without so many qualms. So without further ado, we now offer the following shirts for sale at http://offbeatmixedmedia.com!


Villa for Vendetta by Project Pending

Tvillaforvendettabtnhis design has been in the hot seat due to the civic unrest in Mexico following the abduction and murder of so many students and others. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Mexico, so it can’t be all bad!

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Four Medical Porpoises by Project Pending

4medicalporpoisesbtnThis four part series from Project Pending was banned not because of the pun (though still illegal in China, surely), but because of the mostly subtle references to marijuana.

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Four Industrial Porpoises by Project Pending

4industrialporpoisesbtnIn certain ways, the pot references are educational combined with the images. Here the porpoises represent various industries that work with cannabis, from Farmers to Lab Technicians, Hazard Waste Disposal to Construction.

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Four Legal Porpoises by Project Pending

4legalporpoisesbtnThe Legal Porpoises are a (prescient) nod to the recent legalization for recreational use in places like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

 

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 Four Religious Porpoises by Project Pending

4religiousporpoisesbtnThese four Porpoises represent religious sects that utilize the effects of THC in their spiritual rituals. Can you name all four?

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Einstein Raspberry by Tavius.org

einsteinbtnEinstein was rejected because it “too closely resembled an existing design,” which is funny as it was illustrated by Tom Boyle, our in-house designer (Tom Boyle Media), from a photograph for Tavius.org. It looked too familiar because it was the same image posted to http://tavius.org!

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Sharing is Caring by Tavius.org

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This design has been kept from the world because of its re-conceptualization of an old cartoon character. Meanwhile, the world is covered in Pop Cultural references on Tee Shirts, from combining Blues Clues with Dr. Who by Moyshe Designs to distorted Disney characters (and we all know how litigious they can be!) like Mutant Mouse no02 by Thiago Garcia.

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Support the Arts Trilogy by Seismic City

This trilogy was rejected due to the popularity of Charlie Manson and Adolf Hitler in the Tee Shirt Industry. Sure they’re cliché, but we think the Support the Arts twist gives it enough to warrant joining the cadre of other Manson / Hitler shirts. Besides, the vendor has several Che Guevara themed designs, including our favorite “CliChé” by Snazzygaz.

Failed Musician: Charles Manson

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 Failed Artist: Adolf Hitler

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Failed Carpenter: Jesus Christ (with Project Pending)

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 Zombie like by Seismic City

zombielikebtnThis one failed due to the icon’s resemblance to a social media icon – though considerably altered into a severed arm. Too scary!

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 Beatles Crossing by Seismic City

beatlesxingbtnThis image was banned citing possible legal issues from the band, which again begs the question of why other available shirts like Zimmy Stardust by Frank Malec were accepted.

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Keeping Our Children Safe From Cigarettes… by Seismic City

Of coelegantsmokerbtnurse a Tee Shirt about Cigarettes would be banned in California, where we, and our vendors, operate! But smokers wear Tee Shirts too.

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I’m kinda Kinky, but I’m not THAT kinda Kinky… by Seismic City

This one wasn’t up to snuff, perhaps because of it’s similarity to “Censorship is Kinky” (Seismic City), CRAZY! Don’t Mess with Crazy!” (Tavius.org), and it’s sister shirt “I’m kinda Crazy, but I’m not THAT kinda Crazy!” (Seismic City).  Consider them a series.

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Tanks, Sweats, and Hoodies

Tank Tops, Sweat Shirts and Fleece Hoodies are available with Offbeat designs on them, and more products will be added ad infinitum. And not just clothing! We will be adding mugs, tote bags, canvas art prints, cell phone covers, books and so much more as we continue our quest for World Domination! Look out!


Fan Appreciation Sale!

We are offering a 20% Fan Appreciation Discount for the month of January for those of you who Follow, Like, Pin, Favorite, and in general dig us on all of our internet presence. Use Discount Code: OMM2015j12-31


Check us out (and Follow, Like, etc.) at these sites:

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Offbeat Mixed Media Tee Shirts

From the creator of Meteor Magazine:

Offbeat Mixed Media offbeatmixedmedia.com


Ted Woods, Guitar Busker

[This is part of the re-release of Meteor Magazine from 1996. If you are considering submitting work, please use these as a rough guideline for style and content. Please see our Submission Guidelines.]

The people of Mountain View, California may not know him by name, but anyone who has spent any time in Mountain View knows Ted Woods.  Just follow the sound of music to the Post Office or Double Rainbow Ice Cream Parlor, and he’ll be there to greet you with a song and a smile.  While the Post Office is undergoing remodeling, he jokes, people know where to find its temporary location by following the sound of his music.

“I tend to think I have the most eclectic following,” Woods muses.  “Any age group, race, gender, religion, sexual preference, you name it.  I have a following of all types of people who generally appreciate my music.”

As a busker, or street performer, the weather obviously can cause some concern.  “I’m kind of like baseball players.  A light sprinkle, I’ll keep going.  The umpires call the game if the rain gets too hard.”  Spending so much time in inclement weather can take its toll, but even when he comes down with a cold, Woods is reluctant to cancel an activity.

As well as performing as a busker, Woods often plays at private house and office parties, and neighborhood and town events.  He was hired on the spot to sing “Happy Trails” for an ad hoc going away party for an employee at Fiesta del Mar.  One of his favorite performances was an occasion wherein he was invited to sing for survivors of a neurological disease.  “They enjoyed me and I enjoyed them,” he recalled.  “In a positive way, they thought it was too much music.”

His musical repertoire runs the gamut from the Beatles to Hank Williams, Sr. to Stevie Wonder and includes a catalog of original songs, a CD and two live tapes.  While most of his musical inspiration comes from early Country and Western performers like Webb Pierce and Kitty Wells, Woods also plays more rocking songs influenced by early rock-n-roll stars like Little Richard and even punk rockers like the Dead Kennedys to a degree.


“Being homeless doesn’t have to be something to be depressed about.  Inventiveness and ingenuity really come into play.”


Fans of his music can listen to his 1994 “Just Left of Center” album, available now on tape, along with two live collections that Woods traveled to Nashville to record.  After saving some money for the Greyhound Bus trip, and accompanied by Mountain View violinist Athena Tegis, Woods set out to achieve his dream of recording his first album.  After the unfortunate set back of having his guitar stolen, Woods worked two jobs to pay for the studio time and musicians and slept literally in the shadow of the Grand Ole Oprey on the roof of a check cashing business.

Woods plans to take his show on the road to Amsterdam in October.  It won’t be his first attempt to travel Europe as a busker.  He once flew to Ireland with the first three nights at a hostel booked and some money left over.  When asked the purpose of his trip, he told the custom agents the truth, that he planned to travel throughout Europe playing guitar as he went along.  He only made it as far as Dublin airport.

Wood’s life experience is as diverse as his audience and repertoire, and has been an integral part of his songwriting.  The last surviving member of his immediate family of 15 siblings, much of Woods’ work has been influenced by his brother, who passed away after living some time debilitated from an accident, near their childhood home in Indiana.  The two brothers stayed close, despite the distance, until his brother’s eventual death.  “I’m gonna get up out of this bed and walk / With my Jesus someday / Dance ‘n sing, ‘n make happy talk / When I get t’ Heaven t’ stay,” Woods wrote in an ode to his brother titled “I’m Gonna Get Up Out Of This Bed And Walk.”

As well as the loss of family, Woods has also taken other hardships in stride.  Nearly half of his time in Mountain View has been spent homeless.  Still, Woods’ sense of spirituality and calm understanding of the ups and downs keep him from seeing the down swings of  life as hardships.


“I could have kept some kind of menial job.  I could have been a whipping boy and kept my nose nice and brown.  Kept a roof over my head, basically going nowhere in life, treading water.  No. Uh unh!”


“Being homeless doesn’t have to be something to be depressed about.  Inventiveness and ingenuity really come into play. I’ve been off and on homeless.  Of course,” he is quick to add, “homeless can be a really relative term.  You think of somebody down and out with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, which wasn’t the case at all.  You can walk around homeless with a lot of money in your pocket, and that doesn’t mean you’re buying drugs.”  He recounted the time he gave a little money to another homeless man so that he could dry his sleeping bag at a laundromat, only to have his bag soaked that night in the rain.  His times camping in homemade shelters constructed from garbage bags and duct tape, and later in a cozy tent given to him by a Foothill College police officer, has allowed Woods time to reflect on life.  He recalls “laying in [the tent] on a Saturday morning when I didn’t have to be anywhere, and it was raining.  I was nice and dry and warm and it was so nice.  I put on some soft music and woke up to that.”

Despite some of the discomfort of being without a home, Woods feels it was worth it in order to pursue his goal of being a full-time busker.  “I could have kept some kind of menial job.  I could have been a whipping boy and kept my nose nice and brown.  Kept a roof over my head, basically going nowhere in life, treading water.  No. Uh unh!”

After 3 or 4 years of intermittent homelessness, a fan offered to help him get off the street and into some shelter.  “She thought I ought to be in for the winter… though I’ve survived colder winters since before she knew me.”  He would even get so hot in his winter tent that he’d have to throw some covers off to keep from sweating.  Looking back on it, Woods realizes like any experience, homelessness had a lesson or two.  “I’ve learned that people may have a roof over their head, but it doesn’t make them moral or functional people.”

Morality and spirituality, along with romance, sexuality, and even politics, factor into his original work.  “I feel [that] with the political statements there’s a statement of morality.”  Not commonly expected from Country music, Woods has worked politics into a number of his songs, including “White Man Speaks with a Forked Tongue” and “Danny Quayle and Eli Lilli.”  In “Hillbilly Philosophy,” he takes on issues from China, child molestation, the ozone and JFK’s assassination.  In another song, he sings “I can’t imagine Jesus Christ being a fan of Rush Limbaugh,” tying two of his passions together.

A devout Christian, Woods’ spirituality has clearly guided him through many tragic circumstances in his life and led him to a life of simple appreciation and joy.  “Miracles happen almost every day,” he reflects.  “Even just people appreciating the music.”  With a kind heart, warm smile and simple outlook on life, Woods has steadily pursued his goals, enjoying the journey as much as the arrival.

“Go to church, play music, listen to baseball,” he muses.  “What else is there in life?”

“He’s society’s joker,” Woods reads from The Buskers: A History of Street Entertainers by David Cohen and Ben Greenwood, “and like the fool in King Lear, is destined to be kicked around by everybody, while showing more insight than most.”

Copyright © 1996/2012 Tom Boyle, Meteor Magazine.


Unbearable Beet

by Aronne Guy
for Meteor Magazine ’96

[This is part of the re-release of Meteor Magazine from 1996. If you are considering submitting work, please use these as a rough guideline for style and content. Please see our Submission Guidelines.]

My first mental picture of a publisher came out of a children’s story of female reporter Nellie Bly. She worked for Mr. Pulitzer, and he came off as quite an intimidating figure, even in a kid’s book. Rich, powerful, ready and willing to manipulate public opinion. Quite the corporate figure. Joe Maynard is not the Mr. Pulitzer type. But he’s been publishing Beet for the past five years, an eclectic work that’s part fanzine, part rant, part literary source book. Three times a year, more or less, you can read a mix of high-quality poetry and fiction that is always crazy fun. How does he do it? “I’ve just kept a flexible format. I don’t pressure myself. Like with a real magazine I’d have to pressure myself with deadlines. Instead, I just weave it into my lifestyle.”

“I started out as a painter,” Maynard continued. “But more and more words starting showing up in my paintings. I also did a lot of free writing. Then I started helping out my neighbor, who did a little lit zine called Agog. I guess I started becoming a pain in the ass to him, because he finally told me to start my own zine.”

The first issues had only 150 copies. “That was great because I could do the Xeroxing at my work,” remembers Maynard. Over the years, he’s raised it up to 600.

“Beet is totally financed by my 9 to 5 job at Christy’s,” Maynard said. I was getting a good deal for awhile because a friend of mine was doing all the Xeroxing at her work. I couldn’t do it at my work anymore because 600 copies, well, that’s a bit much. But now I have to pay for my own Xeroxing. Plus, I pay for the cover, which is offset. I still get a good deal from my sister, who works in a print shop.”

So, through all that maneuvering, how much does this labor of love cost?

“Putting out 600 issues costs $550, not including postage. And even though the cover says $3, I only sell about 200. The rest I trade or give away. So including postage, even if I sold them all I’d only make 60 cents a copy.” Though obviously Maynard’s not in it for the money, he did try to get some advertising. Once.


“There’s a fine line between finding your voice and finding your shtick.”


“A couple years ago, when I was still young and naive,” Maynard laughed. “It was when I started to break into 400-500 issues. And I thought I’d go around to the companies I respected and supported, some book publishers and music labels. I sent out letters and mostly got no response. Some were actually kind of hostile. But then, a year after I sent out the letters, [the record label] Matador called up and started to advertise.”

“They’re real people at Matador,” Maynard added. “Not like a faceless company.”

Matador was interested because, along with the poetry and fiction, Maynard devotes a few pages of each issue to what he calls the “real zine” part — his opening column where he talks about the latest music, books and zines that have caught his attention. He’s careful about it taking up too much space.

“That column is just sort of what I’ve been consuming culturally in the past few months. But I try not to make it too much like an art journal. I don’t want to just talk about something. I want to do it. If I’m not writing something that’s alive, I don’t want to waste time and production money on it.

“I’m more interested in using actual source material — an impetus for some sort of cultural change — than I am in just talking about change. That’s boring.”

One impetus for cultural change Maynard is involved in is a group of poets called The Unbearables. They do things like read poetry on the Brooklyn Bridge and protest the AT&T sponsored Beat Exhibition at the Whitney.

“I’m not an original member,” Maynard says. “I met them through Beet. Their readings are always, well, non-traditional. My favorite reading was like a seance. It was at Shalom’s space — she makes kinetic sculptures — and they hooked up spooky lights and set up the sound so when you spoke into the mike it sounded like your voice was coming from the other side. We had a smoke machine and everyone channeled their favorite artists. Bukowski had just died so I did him. Alfred Vitale did Lenny Bruce. Tsaurah Litzky did Collette, and we all just talked as if the person was speaking to the 20th Century.”


“They hooked up spooky lights and set up the sound so when you spoke into the mike it sounded like your voice was coming from the other side. We had a smoke machine and everyone channeled their favorite artists.”


Along with his involvement with the Unbearables, Maynard gets at least one submission a day for Beet.  So as an artist in the trenches, what does he think of what’s going on with poetry?
“Well,” he paused. “I don’t want to be too negative. But there’s a fine line between finding your voice and finding your shtick.”

As a successful publisher of an independent zine, and a member of a high-profile group like The Unbearables, the question of selling out is an inevitable one. He makes some strange sound between a laugh and a snort before replying.

“Selling out??? You don’t have to worry about selling out. See, I have this theory. The anarchist types think that selling out is … to become part of the spectacle, you know, watch football, buy this type of beer, etc. So they’re out there trying to take people’s attention away from the spectacle. But capitalism works in diversifying markets and what these idiots are doing is creating new markets! Then someone else comes in and makes a million dollars off it, like they did with the whole alternative scene.

“Something happened with The Unbearables along this line. We were protesting the New Yorker, and then Sparrow got a poem published in there. So we were going to put Sparrow on trial for selling out, then decide how he should be punished. I was actually going to be a witness for the defense.

“Vanity Fair was going to cover it. I thought, great! Here’s an opportunity to confront the mainstream media. But it fell through. Someone said it would be bad for his career as an anarchist to be featured in Vanity Fair. And I thought, he doesn’t want to sell out because it would be bad for his career?”


“Discussing selling-out is like wearing black. … any way that we can separate the rich from their money is a good thing.”


“And who cares if we were clowns for a day? It would be a way to reach a lot of people we wouldn’t otherwise reach. I mean, in the suburbs, they don’t have fanzines. They have Time and Newsweek. And you have to look in the corners of those magazines for a little bit of culture.

“When I first heard about Punk, it was from GQ. They did an interview with the New York Dolls. I couldn’t get any other magazine where I was living.

“Discussing selling-out is like wearing black. I have friends whose whole opinion is, any way that we can separate the rich from their money is a good thing.”

Beet . It’s not published by Pepsi. It’s not supported by Swatch. It’s not listed in the Camel Pages. But you can still pick up a copy in places like City Lights in San Francisco, Gotham Bookstore in New York, and in Tower Records everywhere.

Joe Maynard can be reached at:
Beet
411 Kent Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
An issue is $3, a three issue subscription is $7.


Copyright © 1996/2012 Aronne Guy. All copyrights retained by the author.
Copyright © 1996/2012 Meteor Magazine.


CD Review: Plastic Mikey “Cook Up Something New!”

[This is part of the re-release of Meteor Magazine from 1996. If you are considering submitting work, please use these as a rough guideline for style and content. Please see our Submission Guidelines.]

THE SKINNY
4 out of 5
Plastic Mikey are A sharp quintet and get a half note (4 of 5).
Strengths: Rockin’ Jazz or Jazzed up Rock that makes you want to dance.
Weaknesses: The occasional lapse in originality – a familiar intro, clichéd line.
Outcome: Great, high powered music that really energizes you, and despite its familiarity at times is altogether in a league of its own.
Info: “Cook Up Something New” is available for $10.00. Please contact Plastic Mikey below.

“Cook Up Something New” literally starts with an “A-Bomb” and continues to blast you with a combination of jazz and rock that is exactly what the Chicago five piece band hoped to create, “music that is modern but not trendy.” The beauty of a jazz-rock combination is that the music is invariably energizing. Plastic Mikey utilize the power of the music to inject the listener with an uncontrollable urge to dance.

Listing Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan, and The Clash as their eclectic stewpot of influences, one can also detect a tint of the Doors in the instrumental “Dance of the Clay People,” ’50’s style rockabilly in the title track, Latino love ballads in Angelita, and the faint reflection of Charlie Parker in Andy Blanco’s sax.


“Cook Up Something New” consistently provides an adept, musically tight and well produced mixture of sounds that leaves one’s ears sated.


The collection of songs are bound by these shared influences, high energy and the expression of awkwardness through the lyrics. It’s as if the listener bears witness to a broken romance. The news hits like an “A-Bomb”. The gold is in the heart of the loved one, who is asked to meet at the conundrum of the “Rainbow’s End”, which is also the beginning. “Don’t You Ever Leave Me Alone” is a straightforward plea for reconciliation of the relationship. The title track is a biting criticism of the ex-lover, charging “a night on the couch gives me an aching back, but it’s better than sharing the community sack.” “Blows: Past Tense”, an instrumental with plenty of sax, could easily be taken as a triple entendre. The listener gets a glimpse at the possible cause of heart-ache in “Angelita,” which ponders where a love of a more youthful time might be. “Here We Go Again” laments the reeling that the down-hearted are pitted into again and again. With “Pandora,” Plastic Mikey leaves the listener with slight hope (“I know you love me, Pandora”), albeit with their usual sarcastic wit – “meet my support group, they’re here to keep me humble” and “opening the locks so I can slip into Pandora’s Box”.

The only tracks that seem not to tell the tale of lost love and recovery are “Dance of the Clay People” and “The Space Above Me,” which relates the sad state of the world, where “the wicked prosper leaving noble men to carry their burdens into slaughter like innocent sheep,” to an unkept house.

While the lyrics ocassionally skirt the good side of simplicity, often humorous, “Cook Up Something New” consistently provides an adept, musically tight and well produced mixture of sounds that leaves one’s ears sated. The CD is highly recommended, but the prospect of improvisation that the band would bring to live performances should be required for those is the Chicago area.

Plastic Mikey
Rich Alifantis (drums, percussion)
Andy Blanco (sax)
Kevin Dempsey (guitars and vocals)
Terri Hickey (vocals)
Brian Hutzell (keyboards and vocals)
Mike Mokry (bass)

Arranged and produced by Plastic Mikey
7100 W. 166th Street, #3B
Tinley Park, IL 60477
(708) 614-6173
aladdin@suba.com


Our Criteria
We are open to anything, but that doesn’t mean we’ll review everything. Life’s too short to write scathing reviews, so basically, if we like it and think that the music is worth what amounts to an endorsement, we’ll review it.

Our Rating System
At the risk of creating something too convoluted to make sense of, we’ve developed the following rating scale based on the musical scale.

A whole note is a 5, the best one can get, so don’t expect to see it that often.

  A half note is a 4. We’d probably buy these albums.

  A quarter note is a 3, and usually denotes a release that the staff here at Meteor play even after the review is done.

 An eighth note is a 2, and describes music that is “all right”.

 A sixteenth note is a 1. This is reserved for the kind of music that isn’t necessarily bad, but certainly appeals to a smaller audience.

Now, here’s where it becomes more complicated. Three sixteenth notes would describe music that deserves a rating of 2.5, and so on. Occasionally, we’ll add a sharp or flat for emphasis.


Copyright © 1996, 2012 Tom Boyle, Meteor Magazine


Does Sundance Mother or Smother Independent Films?

by Kelsey Kline
for Meteor Magazine ’96

[This is part of the re-release of Meteor Magazine from 1996. If you are considering submitting work, please use these as a rough guideline for style and content. Please see our Submission Guidelines.]

The nineties have seen the success of films such as Trainspotting, Lone Star, I Shot Andy Warhol, Hoop Dreams, Go Fish, Brothers McMullen, Crumb. Independent films have been rocketing their way out of the art houses to the big bucks silver screens. A lot of the production and publicity of these indies is assisted by the Sundance Institute, the camp for budding filmmakers that Robert Redford started in 1981. Sundance nurtures, advises and raises the Independent artists with the hope that they will have their films for all the world to see. But what happens when these films go big time and the filmmakers are gobbled up by the trend following studios? Do they lose the raw creativeness, fresh ideas and unique voices trying to attain commercial appeal? Does Sundance end up killing its own?


“Do limos and lunches on the lot entitle the studio to a leash?”


In 1969, a virtually unknown actor named Robert Redford was given a chance to play the role of the Sundance Kid in the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The movie exploded at the box-office, winning an Academy Award and propelling 32 year old Redford into the Hollywood limelight.
Redford, who had been an aspiring artist before entering into film, always has a special place for independent artistic venture. Just over a decade after his acting debut, Redford had garnered enough clout in Tinseltown to create a place where he could discover and develop new talent and preserve the voice of independent film.
Studio interest in American Independent films at that time was relatively non-existent. New filmmakers were left alone to find their own funding, talent and distribution. The major studios considered these films to be experimental, underground or alternative, with no promise a box-office pay-off.
Enter Sundance. The most prolific sections of the Institute are the Screenwriters and Film-makers Labs.
After burrowing through over 1,000 submissions, a dozen writers are invited to the Institute’s Screenwriters Labs (January and June) to have their scripts read and critiqued by top Hollywood writers, most recently including Scott Frank (Get Shorty), Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise) and Chris McQuarie (The Usual Suspects).
About half of those writers are brought back for a three week Filmmakers Lab (June) with a chance to use ‘resource advisors’ from different areas of production. Directors (James L. Brooks, Sydney Pollack), actors (Denzel Washington, Glenn Close), writers and cinematographers join to help critique the Sundance hopefuls.
Michelle Satter, head of the Feature Film Program says that gives writers and directors the opportunity to work in a safe environment. There is no financial meter ticking away, no deadlines to be met. Only the chance to have your script critiqued by the best in the business, and together, work creatively to make it the best possible piece of work.
Satter estimates that nearly 30% of the films produced as a result of the Sundance program land distribution deals. Some of the films include: Impromptu, Dogfight, Reservoir Dogs, Crush, Mi Vida Loca, Fresh, Corrina, Corrina, What Happened Was and Devil in a Blue Dress.
With such hip and fresh material being produced as a result of the Institute, it was only natural that Redford create a venue for these films to be shown. The Sundance Film Festival, now synonymous with independent film, began in 1984 when Redford brought the failing US Film Festival to nearby Park City, Utah.
Redford invited his famous Hollywood friends to Utah for the festivals, and the media followed. Each year, the festival grew in size, press coverage and popularity. There are now over 200 films shown at the ten-day festival, 500 press members and more than 6000 attendees. Along with Cannes and Venice, the Sundance Film Festival is one of the most popular showcases for the exhibition of independent cinema and the discovery of new filmmaking talent.
The most recent Sundance success story involves Lisa Krueger, a writer/director who went through the 1994 June Filmmakers Lab. Armed with her script Manny and Lo, she was introduced to a producer who agreed to make her film. It premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, and its distribution rights were quickly bought by Sony Pictures Classics.
Now all the major studios have either bought out or created divisions devoted to purchasing rights of Independent films for distribution in America. Acquisition executives flock to Utah to see what films will win the blessings of Sundance through awards and audience response.
A number of films shown at Sundance have had their distribution rights bought including: sex, lies and videotape, Slacker, Gas, Food and Lodging, Like Water for Chocolate, Reservoir Dogs, Go Fish, Hoop Dreams, Clerks, Brothers McMullen and Crumb.
At the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, the battle by studios over rights for distribution were highly publicized. It was reported by Daily Variety that Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein got into a shouting match with a rival studio at a popular Utah restaurant and was asked to leave. Days later, it was reported that Fine Line had won the rights to Shine, but Miramax secured international rights with Buena Vista. Castle Rock spent $10 million to score Spitfire Grill, a movie which didn’t even win an award at the Festival.


“The talented people with original ideas, quirky characters and non-mainstream topics can now land studio deals, but are forced to play by commercial rules.”


But herein lies the dilemma. What happens to these filmmakers when they are courted by the studio big bucks? The majors are notorious for exerting control over their films. This is clearly a contrast to the renegade, shoe-string, let’s-get-my-friend-to-hold-the-camera productions from which many independent filmmakers are born. Do limos and lunches on the lot entitle the studio to a leash?
Independent means to have a point of view, often a fresh voice, breaking the narrative structure that so often stifles creativity. Hollywood mentors in the Sundance setting can help put these into form. With few exceptions like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, studios have clearly been cuffing their new talent.
Robert Rodriguez, director of the $7,000 El Mariachi, was courted by Columbia. It bombed, as did his follow-up From Dusk Til Dawn. Kevin Smith of Clerks fame goes to the majors on a two picture deal and his first outting Mall Rats is a laughable failure. We are still awaiting sophomore efforts from both Ed Burns (Brothers McMullen) and Steve James (Hoop Dreams).
Through the Sundance Institute, Redford has given over 150 writers and directors the opportunity to work with mentors and hone their skills in a non-threatening atmosphere. And with the Sundance Film Festival, he has exposed mainstream society to the world of independent filmmakers.
But ironically he has also helped kill the very spirit that he originally sought to foster — the talented people with original ideas, quirky characters and non-mainstream topics can now land studio deals, but are forced to play by commercial rules. Sundance fosters the independent freshman, but sends the sophomores to be smothered by the studios.


Copyright © 1996/2012 Kelsey Kline – Submission Copyrights reserved by author.
Copyright © 1996/2012 Meteor Magazine.


CD Review: Orphan Moon “Have a Little Faith”

[This is part of the re-release of Meteor Magazine from 1996. If you are considering submitting work, please use these as a rough guideline for style and content. Please see our Submission Guidelines.]

THE SKINNY
3 out of 5
Rich, haunting orchestral rock in the vein of Shellyan Orphan, Maria McKee.
Strengths: Great musical talents and strong lead vocals.
Weaknesses: Some lyrics are dogmatically Christian, which is not a bad thing (witness Jars of Clay), but seem to sacrifice poetic beauty for the direct approach.
Outcome: A great album whose beautiful melodies get in your head and lift your spirits.
Info: “Have A Little Faith” is available through Brainforest Music – address below.

Though a very cohesive album and a tribute to John Boegehold’s production abilities, each of the songs on Orphan Moon’s second release “Have A Little Faith” is both melancholic and encouraging, eerie and soothing, thought-provoking and comforting, spiritual and secular. Not only is the music rich with sound, intermingling keyboards, strings, percussion and vocals with superb results, but the tone of the lyrics and the music, the message and how it’s conveyed is as multi-layered.

The talent of the musicians becomes evident immediately with the hauntingly beautiful “These Days”, a paradoxically uplifting albeit melancholic cry for self discovery. Diane Boothby’s melodic voice winds through and wraps around the orchestral ebb and flow of violin and mandolin in strong driven songs like “Turn the Tide”, in doleful but hopeful songs such as “I Will Love You”.


“Have A Little Faith” is both melancholic and encouraging, eerie and soothing, thought-provoking and comforting, spiritual and secular.


While the general style of Orphan Moon is soothing and upbeat orchestral rock of the order of the similarly named Shelleyan Orphan or Lone Justice’s former singer, Maria McKee, they delve into darker, even eerie themes. “Time Blurs The Truth” conjurs feelings like Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” would, painting a picture of love lost and misinterpreted by the discovery of a flower pressed in a book of poetry 100 years later. “Rocks, Paper, Scissors” opens with the sound reminiscent of a dilapidated merry-go-round. One of the best songs in the collection, this song carries the listener into the world of childhood with the first line “London Bridge is falling down”, only to reveal are darker truth to modern childhood with the next lines “An explosion underground/Children building bombs from a kit in a magazine.” The plaintive cry of Boothby’s voice is not only echoed in Candy Lerman’s viola, but also in the almost creepy singing of children.

Everything that Orphan Moon puts into “Have A Little Faith” is evident. It’s clear and as powerful as Boothby’s voice. It’s obvious in their search for the perfect violinist, which hit pay dirt with Candy Lerman. Ed Eblen’s wide range of drumming and percussion styles lends itself to the band’s desire for experimentation and accompanies Dave Meros’s bass to create a diverse foundation of rhythms from funk to art-rock. The hours and energy Orphan Moon (especially Boegehold who wrote or co-wrote most songs, played keyboards, mandolin, and acoustic guitar, mixed, produced and promoted the album) put in have resulted in a delightful and exquisite musical voyage that, as “These Days” suggests, finds the listener “a home closer to the heart”.

Orphan Moon
Diane Boothby (lead vocals)
John Boegehold (keyboards, mandolins & acoustic guitar)
Candy Lerman (violin & viola)
Dave Meros (bass)
Ed Eblen (percussion & drums)

Produced by John Boegehold
Brainforest Music
P. O. Box 6061-225
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
brainfor@interserv.com


Our Criteria
We are open to anything, but that doesn’t mean we’ll review everything. Life’s too short to write scathing reviews, so basically, if we like it and think that the music is worth what amounts to an endorsement, we’ll review it.

Our Rating System
At the risk of creating something too convoluted to make sense of, we’ve developed the following rating scale based on the musical scale.

A whole note is a 5, the best one can get, so don’t expect to see it that often.

  A half note is a 4. We’d probably buy these albums.

  A quarter note is a 3, and usually denotes a release that the staff here at Meteor play even after the review is done.

 An eighth note is a 2, and describes music that is “all right”.

 A sixteenth note is a 1. This is reserved for the kind of music that isn’t necessarily bad, but certainly appeals to a smaller audience.

Now, here’s where it becomes more complicated. Three sixteenth notes would describe music that deserves a rating of 2.5, and so on. Occasionally, we’ll add a sharp or flat for emphasis.


Copyright © 1996, 2012 Tom Boyle, Meteor Magazine