Comedy by the Numbers Instore

On Saturday night, a couple of my favorite comedians are giving a reading for the new McSweeney's book, the awesome awesome Comedy by the Numbers. Have you seen Mr. Show? The Upright Citzen's Brigade? This is going to be so awesome that the words 'Book Reading' don't even apply. see you at 9pm on saturday. or dont. This one is bigger than all of us.

"A fake comedy manual that's actually funny," says The Onion.

posted by sammy at 11:39 PM

four films

I spend a good amount of time watching movies. Blame netflix, but I'd rather post up in my bed than go out at night lately. Here are three films I've seen recently (plus one favorite) that you should check out;

1. Hail Mary (1985)

Hail Mary was written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Godard of course was one of the influential directors of the 'french new-wave' of film making. But Hail Mary wasn't made in the 1959-1967 era like his most recognized work, it was made in the mid 1980's, a time not really popular for a whole lot of great art. I guess the best way to describe this film is to compare it to the band The Fall. My friend Nick loves The Fall and when i asked him if even the late 1980's and early to late 1990's Fall records were any good (compared to their groundbreaking late 1970's and early 1980's albums) he said "they all have at least a few good songs on them." Sometimes the last record is the best record.

Anyway, Hail Mary is a re-telling of the life of the virgin Mary and Joseph but in this film Mary is a teenage girl on her high school's basketball team who lives in France and works at her father's gas station, while her boyfriend Joseph is a cab driver. Apparently this film caused a lot of outrage with the Catholic Church when it came out, obviously, but while watching it nothing remotely bad entered my mind. The film is beautifully shot, the colors are very vibrant, and although the story is adapted, Godard did what he does (make really good art) and it drew me in until the end.

2. Monkey Damage (2000, I think)

Monkey Damage is a 20 minute film made by musician and artist Brian Degraw, who you probably know best as the keyboard/percussionist player in Gang Gang Dance, and before that, The Crainium. I was at a friend's house who had a copy of this and I had heard of it, but didn't really know what to expect until i watched it.

Basically it's a short film edited on two vcr's of random footage Brian shot while living in Washington, DC. There is a lot of band footage representative of the time, from Crom Tech, The Monorchid, and both versions of The Crainium, plus a whole lot of other random footy like a guy doing a GG Allin impersonation in his bedroom and Harmony Korine hanging out. I don't know if this will ever come out, but word on the street is Brian is hard at work on Monkey Damage II, but this time he'll be editing on a laptop with final cut pro. If you can, please go buy the new Gang Gang Dance DVD "Retina Riddim" as Brian also made this and it's a really beautiful film and a progressive step up from Monkey Damage.

3. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)

A John Cassavetes movie starring Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, yes that could be any number of movies, but it's Minnie and Moskowitz I recently saw. In it, Seymour Cassel stars as Seymour Moskowitz, a parking attendant who is drifting in his life until he meets Minnie Moore, a museum curator played by Gena Rowlands. Seymour falls hard for Minnie and spends the rest of the movie convincing her to like him. I've heard you can't convince someone to like you, and believed it, until I saw this movie.

My favorite thing about this film, much like many films of the 1970's, is that it was shot in Los Angeles, and it's really cool to see the city at the time. They even go to Pink's hot dogs on La Brea!

And what John Cassavetes film wouldn't be complete without a role played by, you guessed it, John Cassavetes. I read this article recently where he said something about wanting his actors to not know everything that was going on in the film and to use their real emotions and feelings, but if you put yourself in the film you wrote and are directing, it's kind of tough. This is all to say I really love John Cassavetes' work but sometimes good natured ribbing is in order.

4. Beaver Trilogy (2001)

Maybe you have heard of this film, maybe you raised an eyebrow when you read the title, maybe you're totally in the dark. Beaver Trilogy is one of my all time favorite movies and I'll do my best to break it down for you.

Trent Harris was testing out some camera equipment in Beaver, Utah in 1979 when he stumbled upon Gary, a local guy who on the spot started to do impressions of John Wayne and Olivia Newton-John for the camera. Fast forward to weeks later Gary invites Trent to a local talent show where Gary will perform as "Olivia Newton-Don" and of course Trent accepts the invite and brings a camera man with him to witness the magic. What you are watching is a man bearing his soul, a little uncomfortable yes, but wholeheartedly beautiful. That clip ends and then the 2nd part of the movie starts up. A black & white dramatic re-telling of the first story with a young Sean Penn as Gary. Same plot, different ending. And then finally a 3rd piece starts up starring Crispin Glover (!) as Gary, this time the film is shot to look like a movie version of the first story and yet another ending. I should note Penn and Glover made their versions in 1981 and 1985 respectively and that I have heard rumors that Penn got the idea for Spiccoli from playing Gary. Track it down if you can, as it's well worth watching and even better to show to friends to see the bewildered looks on their faces at the end only to hear them say "where can i pick up this thing?"

posted by NATE at 5:55 PM

new prints

New prints in the space where the Paper Rad Future Genies were. Those sweet dudes are sold and gone which is sort of a bummer, but we've got to look toward the future despite how bleak! It's what they would have wanted.

This brand new one by C.F. titled "Deny 1" is the only one of the following online for our estranged (ie non-californian) friends:

Matthew Thurber dropped off 3 different insane posters, but here's only a photo of one:

And Dan Zettwoch starts his series of rad St. Louis folk icons with this massive Lou Thesz poster printed with gold ink on chipboard!

And these all the way from London by Will Sweeney:

Attack on Rastapopolis

Helmut's Stuka

High Speed Kumquat

Sweeney with Susumu Mukai:

and Susumu Mukai going solo:

And this last one by Andrew Jeffrey Wright is printed on a shirt, but that still counts sort of not really but it is cool (and also online for sale):

posted by sammy at 10:40 PM

Arthur Benefit


Wednesday, June 27, 2007 * 8pm

Silent Movie Theater

611 N. Fairfax Avenue


Six Organs of Admittance

with special guest Joseph Mattson

Ruthann Friedman


Elisa Ambrogio (Magik Markers)


Lewis MacAdams (poet)


Paloma Parfrey (ex-Sharp Ease)

reading with sounds by Tamala Poljak

MC: Oliver Hall (E.S.P.S.)

Plus: refreshments and silent auction.

Admission: $15

Advance tickets available via Ticketweb -- click here to order

poster by Alia Penner

posted by sammy at 2:29 PM


posted by sammy at 6:29 AM

No Age Family residency!

All this week our favorite rock band No Age (who, besides 5 truly excellent debut releases last month, have a track on this month's The Believer Music Issue CD) have been writing, recording and jamming at Family, using the space where the exploitation paperbacks usually are for a residency area between 5-8pm every night. You should come check it out, it's really really rad. Don't worry- the Goines and Slim book are now over by the new Paper Rad and Andrew Jeffrey Wright shirts, and you can still (sorta) browse the fiction section and we can give you toilet paper for ears on request if its too loud for you.

posted by sammy at 7:43 AM

summer readings starts sunday

Our first in a series of readings curated by Trinie Dalton (author of Wide Eyed, editor of the Mcsweeney's art book Dear New Girl or Whatever Your Name Is).

Sunday, 8:30pm!

These are writers of the rulingmost order and we are stoked and honored to have them read at Family.
Benjamin Weissman is an artist and writer whose most recent collection is Headless. Here's the beginning of a story called 'Marnie'.

"The first time I saw Marnie naked, she was lying on her back in an ambulance while two paramedics cut her yellow Burton shell off her torso. The zipper must've been caught on the fabric. The medical boys sliced her jacket and all the fleece underlayers right up the middle with a razor-sharp scissors as if she were a fish. They needed to get to her heart. Didn't we all? I stood a few feet from the sliding door of the ambulance in full ski gear, gawking, mouth open, the ultimate perv. Red ski patrolmen floated by, big white crosses on their backs. They nodded at me and turned away."

Joshuah Bearman is a regular contributor to Mcsweeney's and The Believer. Here's the beginning of a story called 'But Will it Bring Back the Dinosaurs?'

"In a few weeks, researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory will culminate 17 years of planning and construction and collide two beams of accelerated and highly energetic gold ions in order to probe the frontiers of physics. It will be the first experiment at Brookhaven's newest facility, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC or "Rick" for short), a long-awaited particle accelerator that will be capable of shooting bigger particles at greater energies than any of its predecessors. Within these fiery collisions, scientists hope to produce an elusive substance known as "quark-gluon plasma," a sort of ur-matter that physicists think probably existed in the first milliseconds after the Big Bang. Observing quark-gluon plasma would tell us about the nature of matter and the birth of the universe¬óbig news in science circles."

posted by sammy at 6:51 PM

Like a soundtrack for the best Russ Meyer movie never made being played by the kids next door with firecrackers.

Or what you imagine would be blasting out the of doors of a Tijuana burlesque club owned by Andre Williams in the early fifties. Soiled Mattress and The Springs were incredible. And here, in better words/pictures than I could ever say/do. Courtesy of Cali.

posted by sammy at 6:09 PM