Interview with Ryan Finnigan

The Room: The Definitive Guide author Ryan Finnigan was interviewed by Rob Aldan of Backseat Mafia about his organization, The Five and Dime Picture Show, and his new book!

If you don’t know, The Five and Dime Picture Show takes place every few weeks at The Film Unit in Sheffield University. It specializes in screening cult and unusual films at affordable prices.

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

How did Five and Dime come into existence?

00127688In a pretty convoluted way… Matt and I met at the Lantern Theatre some time ago, I wrote a short film and we needed a theatre location and ended up shooting there, with Matt hosting and providing technical support. At that point, I had been shopping around a cult film night idea unsuccessfully to some local cinemas, I found out that Matt was screening some films at the Lantern including The Room and so I harassed him by e-mail into letting me get involved, although it eventually just faded out… we met again by chance when I was looking at putting together a film show with Adam Batty (of Hope Lies… ) and eventually, we resurrected the idea of working a film night together and wound up meeting with Richard Clesham, then of Film Unit, to pitch our idea to their committee… and the rest is history.

Have cult films always been a passion of yours?

I think both Matt and I have long been attracted to anything off-the-beaten track, which probably comes from each of us having seen so many films over the years. It’s refreshing to see anything “weird” or challenging. Personally, I’ve also found something quite thrilling about finding something obscure or outrageous and I think once you find other people who are like-minded, discovering oddities and sharing them has an almost addictive, competitive element akin to treasure-hunting and the more people you introduce it to, the better.

Was there one film that started it all off?

I don’t especially remember one title, but more of a feeling. I was and still am a night owl and as a teenager, late night TV discoveries were particularly influential. I vividly remember seeing late night screenings of both Videodrome and Evil Dead 2, which were so unexpected and thrilling in different ways, that they remain two of my very favourite films. Channel 4 was particularly excellent in my youth and their weekly double-bill of Troma’s Edge TV followed by a Troma film had a big impact on my passion for the independent film world and cult-trash, and with titles like Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town and A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, it was hard not to love the cut of their jib as a teenage boy. Aside from that, buying and collecting VHS and swapping them with friends was a big thing – I particularly remember the early Peter Jackson films like Bad Taste and Braindead, as well as more widely-respected titles like Leon and Blade Runner doing the rounds.

You have your third annual screening of The Room. Why is it clearly so close to your heart?

It’s completely unique. There is nothing at all like the experience of both the film and the screening environment – there’s so much energy in the room. Pun intended. We’re both ex-film students and I think for me, there’s something rebellious about The Room. Not only does it break every single rule of filmmaking in 100 minutes but it’s certainly far, far away from silently and academically pondering over say, the Bergman oeuvre and there’s something liberating and curious about interacting with the film, in a way that’s not always the same.

I think it took a while for me to analyse what it is that really motivates my own passion for the film, beyond the fact that it’s absolutely hilarious and a wild ride in company. Essentially, I think it comes down to how touching it is that Tommy Wiseau went to such great, misguided lengths to try and get the world to notice and love him, which I think is in turn both very silly but also incredibly sad. Over time, I think a lot of people find that from their initial reaction of laughing and mocking the Hollywood alien who doesn’t fit the mould, they actually wind up kind of identifying with Wiseau. I’ve definitely seen the film a lot of times and have watched it from a lot of different perspectives, which I can’t say about any other film. Also, I suppose that I just fell completely in love with Tommy and find him fascinating on a day-to-day basis, so I guess his plan worked.

Speaking of which, you’ve written a book about the film. How did that come about?

Well, I’ve been a fan of the film for years now and ahead of our last screening, I became incredibly obsessed with it for a 10th Anniversary feature for my website and contacted cast members and started to do features, with Alan Jones beginning an extensive analysis of the film too and Mute providing some graphics. The enthusiasm never really died down after and was only exacerbated by the release of Greg Sestero’s The Disaster Artist and eventually meeting Tommy and Greg in London, at which point I kind of thought, “what if we compiled all this stuff into some kind of a guide?” So, I pitched it to a handful of publishers on a whim and found myself in negotiations to produce it within a couple of days.

What can fans expect to see in “The Room: The Definitive Guide”?

A lot of our collective blood, sweat and tears! Seriously though, it’s a comedic reference guide to the film and the Room/Tommy Wiseau phenomenon. I essentially contacted as many people from or involved with the film as possible and interviewed them, from cast members to celebrity fans and the people screening the film, there’s people involved from all over the world.

The book is in three parts and opens as a guide for people who have never seen the film with guest chapters from Juliette Danielle (Lisa in The Room), Michael Rousselet (the inventor of spoon-throwing), Steve Heisler (The A.V. Club/Rolling Stone) and James Durkin (the guy who introduced me to the film). Part Two is interviews with cast members and an extensive, hilarious analysis of the film by Alan Jones and Part Three covers life after the film and the fan culture that has grown around it, with loads of interviews with notable fans like Paul Scheer (How Did This Get Made?), Payman Benz (Director of the Tommy Wi-Show) and Alison Goertz (Cossbysweater).

On top of that, it’s filled with eye-popping graphics and design from Mute, which really brings it to life. We basically threw in as much fun as we could.

 

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

SWOT Analysis with Bobby Borg

Music Marketing for the DIY Musician is a comprehensive guide for up-and-coming artists who want their music to be heard and appreciated. Here, author Bobby Borg talks about one of the key points in DIY marketing: The SWOT analysis. Tune in soon for more episodes!

Listen: Scott B. Bomar on Freewheelin’ Sirius XM

Scott B. Bomar met up with with Chris and Meredith of the Freewheelin’ show on Sirius XM to discuss Southbound!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

Many of the architects of rock and roll in the 1950s, including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, were 00102657Southerners who were rooted in the distinctive regional traditions of country, blues, and R&B. As the impact of the British Invasion and the psychedelic era faded at the end of the following decade, such performers as Bob Dylan and the Band returned to the simplicity of American roots music, paving the way for Southern groups to reclaim their region’s rock-and-roll heritage. Embracing both Southern musical traditions and a long-haired countercultural aesthetic, such artists as the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd forged a new musical community that Charlie Daniels called “a genre of people more than a genre of music.”

Focusing primarily on the music’s golden age of the 1970s, Southbound profiles the musicians, producers, record labels, and movers and shakers that defined Southern rock, including the Allmans, Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, the Charlie Daniels Band, Elvin Bishop, the Outlaws, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, .38 Special, ZZ Top, and many others.

From the rise and fall of the mighty Capricorn Records to the music’s role in helping Jimmy Carter win the White House and to its continuing legacy and influence, this is the story of Southern rock.

108 Rock Star Guitars: The Lou Reed Story

Lisa S. Johnson has a story about each an every guitar she photographed on her journey to create 108 Rock Star Guitars. Tune in to her Youtube page every week to hear a new story. Here she is talking about her experience in photographing Lou Reed’s blue Bolin.

Listen: Natasha Scharf in conversation with Liisa Ladouceur

Listen to Natasha Scharf in conversation with Encyclopedia Gothica author Liisa Ladouceur! Together, they discuss “what is gothic?” along with the release of Natasha’s new book, The Art of Gothic.

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00127606The gothic look – head-to-toe black attire and extreme makeup – has been a popular one since the 1980s, with each generation reinterpreting this dark aesthetic as its own. From the staccato postpunk of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the dark rock of the Sisters of Mercy through to the industrial metal of Marilyn Manson and the funereal emotional pop of My Chemical Romance, gothic culture has strong roots in music and continues to adapt and survive. But gothic art is about more than just album covers and ephemera; it’s about fashion, book jackets, cinematography, and fine art. Its influence frequently seeps into mainstream culture too. Nowadays, “goth” comes in many shapes, sizes, and even colors, as it encompasses a myriad of subgenres, including cyber, death rock, gothic metal, gothic Lolita, and emo goths. Although each is different, followers are identified by their striking, often theatrical look, music with a hint of melancholy, and the ability to find beauty in morbidity, sometimes even in the macabre.

The Art of Gothic is the first heavily illustrated tome to explore the aesthetics of this fascinating style in great detail. Previous books on goth have given a bold overview of the music and culture associated with the genre, but this book goes deeper and hones in on the album art, intricate fashions, fantasy illustrations, and more.

Interview with Scott B. Bomar

Scott B. Bomar had a great interview featured in the online magazine, KUDZOO. Check out some of the questions Scott answered and read the rest of the article here.

Scott B. Bomar puts a face on Southern rock with the new book, Southbound

by Michael Buffalo Smith

With his new book Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock (Backbeat) writer Scott B. Bomar has delivered a fitting tribute to an often overlooked musical genre that more than deserves this type of homage. (See review this issue). KUDZOO caught up with the writer/researcher/historian/musician to find out what compelled him to undertake such a huge project

You grew up in Nashville in a “music business family.” What did your parents do?

00102657My dad, Woody Bomar, was a songwriter in the late 1970s and early ‘80s who wrote songs for Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Lee Greenwood, Hank Williams, Jr., and other big artists of that era. He transitioned into the business side of things at Combine Music Publishing, which represented the songs of some amazing writes like Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton. He eventually launched his own company, Little Big Town Music, in the late ‘80s. After a little more than a decade – and about fifteen #1 hits – he and his partner sold Little Big Town to Sony, where he then went to work heading up the Creative department as a Senior Vice President. After a few years, he launched another independent company, and he’s still nurturing great songwriters, which is what he loves. My dad has a lot of integrity and isn’t into playing political games when it comes to his career. I grew up thinking that was the norm in the music business, until I went into the business mmyself. That was a wake-up call! My mom was a kindergarten teacher and doesn’t fully grasp our music geek fanaticism, so I guess the “music business family” is pretty much me and my dad. My wife also works in the music department of a national daily TV show. But my mom cheers us all on!

What are your earliest memories of Southern Rock? Tell us a little about your younger years, any memorable shows you attended, favorite albums.

I was born in 1975, so I completely missed out on the big Southern rock boom of the mid 1970s. I’m an only child, so I spent a lot of time around adults when I was growing up. Maybe that made me an old soul, but I’ve always been interested in the music of the past. When I was in high school, I was really into Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and contemporary bands like that, but I was also obsessed with classic rock radio. One of my best friends and I first met in the hallway in high school because I heard him say he liked the Guess Who. This was about 1991. Nobody our age liked the Guess Who. We went out to the parking lot during lunch and sat in his beat up Datsun hatchback listening to “These Eyes” over the single mono speaker mounted in the middle of the dash. After that, we formed a band.

But I digress. Growing up in the South, classic rock radio was heavy on Southern rock. I first heard Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allmans, the Marshall Tucker Band, 38 Special, and all these groups on the 104.5 “The Fox” in Nashville. I don’t think that station exists anymore, but it was part of my education. My concert experiences were obviously after the golden era of Southern rock, but the most memorable would have to be the time I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd in Memphis. A very drunk woman passed out, fell in my lap and proceeded to pee her pants. I instinctively shoved her off very quickly and she kind of rolled down this little grass hill for several feet before getting entangled with some other concert-goers. So, I’d like to apologize to the drunk wet-pants lady wherever she is today. Maybe she’s still passed out on that grass.

A Tribute To Jan Hooks

SNL star Jan Hooks sadly passed away on October 9th.  Stephen Tropiano, author of Saturday Night Live FAQ, wrote a fitting tribute to this talented woman. Thank you for the laughs, Jan.

A Tribute to Jan Hooks

The recent death of Saturday Night Live of cast member Jan Hooks from an “undisclosed illness” took everyone by surprise last week. The fact she had been ill was never made public and she hasn’t been seen on television since 2010, when she appeared on the prime time special, The Women of SNL, and two episodes of 30 Rock as Jenna’s Maroney’s (Jane Krakowski) mother, Verna.

Liz and Candy Sweeney  (Jan Hooks, left, and Nora Dunn) butcher some holiday standards at their annual Christmas party (c/o "Saturday Night Live FAQ").

Liz and Candy Sweeney (Jan Hooks, left, and Nora Dunn) butcher some holiday standards at their annual Christmas party (c/o “Saturday Night Live FAQ”).

We often read stories about Method film actors like Robert DeNiro, Daniel Day Lewis, and Christian Bale getting “lost in a film role” and walking away in the end with an Oscar. Over Saturday Night Live’s forty year history, Jan Hooks was part of a select group of cast members—a list that also includes Dan Aykroyd, Nora Dunn, Mike Myers, and Cheri Oteri—who were the sketch comedy equivalent of Method actors. What separated Hooks and the others from most SNL performers is how they embodied the roles they played to the point where you felt like you really never knew the real person behind the comic persona.

A former member of the Los Angeles based comedy troupe, The Groundlings, Hooks never broke character because she was always in way too deep. She will be best remembered on SNL as Candy Sweeney, half of the meagerly talented singing duo, the Sweeney Sisters. They were high-energy and their performances were peppered with plenty of playful patter, yet musically Candy and her sister Liz (Dunn) always seemed like they were having an off-night.

Hooks created a few other original characters (Marge Keister and Anita), but she was also the show’s resident female impressionist for the six seasons (1986-1991) she appeared on the show. She was given the chance to play an array of famous women, like Hillary Clinton, Diane Sawyer, Sinead O’Connor, Jessica Hahn, and Tammy Faye Baker (to name a few). For five of the six seasons, Hooks, Dunn, and Victoria Jackson were the only women on the show. When Dunn left in 1990, it was only Hooks, Jackson, and newcomer Julia Sweeney.

It was talented performers like Hooks who paved the way for the other funny women who followed. Kristin Wiig, who was also in the spotlight during her seven seasons on the show (when Amy Poehler left in 2008, she was the only female regular on the show). Wiig paid tribute to Hooks on last week’s show. “She was one of the best that ever was,” Wiig remarked, “and her influence was clear in everyone one of us who has been here since.”