American Films

UPDATES on A B S U R D I S T S (part 1) : COLLAPSE / TOPARTZER / ELLIOTT

Here are some updates for some of our video artists:

COLLAPSE / (AMERICAN FILMS)

This outfit has, oddly, been dead quiet lately with no new work having been sent in or posted anywhere online.

But it looks as if that’s going to change, very soon.

Stills are now surfacing from a recent short which are part of a series of works dealing with women, and blood. These will be the first in a number of short experimental absurdist works which are to be filmed and edited throughout the summer, and there’s hints of a feature film for the fall.

Apparently these will be a major departure from the satirical, corporate-political angle Collapse has penetrated forth in the past. Perhaps recognizing the limits of satire in an already over saturated doomed to likely fail situation, the guys, and new crew of gals, have risen above with a fresh focus on art for arts sake. From here on out it looks as if the gloves are off and now it’s all about fucking shit up for the sake of creative fun; adding COLOR to Collapse, rather than whimpering over the same old song and dance.

(Coincidentally, well known peak oil and Collapse activist and author Michael Ruppert, recently hung up his own doom/gloom pursuits, coming to similar conclusions, and opting for more art and spiritual based outlets.)

MATTHEW TOPARTZER

We got a release copy months back, and now CELWERY is available on Amazon for download or purchase, at least for now. Go HERE.

As he states in the description, CELWERY is an unfinished film, and likely more of an installation work better suited for screening in a multimedia fashion. Matt writes:

i’m still gonna do a multimedia film. it’ll probably be done in powerpoint and ported into the flash media format. and i’m gonna continue on divergent paths regarding both linear and non-linear film production.

So the amazon release is likely temporary, and will be taken down soon, as CELWERY will get reworked into something larger. He’s amassed a lot of other footage as well, and there are also 2 more potential films from Topartzer coming this year. Likely we’ll have one completed film this summer to share.

In the meantime we’ve learned Matt’s a prolific author and also heavy into experimental music. Here are links for his books as well as music downloads:

SCHIZOPHRENIA AND PRIMITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

THE SILENCE of THE DEMOCRATIC IMAGINATION

FANTASY, FYOO CHER ISM

HOT POT AND UNDYING IMAGINARY FLOWER

MUSIC:

http://soundcloud.com/visualgrandma

http://soundcloud.com/luckychickenaudio

http://luckychickenaudio.com/

ELI ELLIOTT

Things are beginning to emerge as well for Eli Elliott, and it appears his latest location has him in a position to get a bit more messy with “textural” based vid works; little dialogue or speaking and instead more visual, and physical, exploring. He has at least a half dozen pieces set to film, and has already warmed up with a jar of petroleum jelly.

If he can harness himself away from his riding in circle routine (see video piece below) there is a longer work he says he’d like to shoot based around one of the weirdest states of the nation currently. Besides the recent real life Zombie attack, the state offers a regular mix of oddity and stagnant nature which resonates perfect with the Absurdity of the times.

B-SIDES (The Absurdist’s Side Projects) – “DICK WHITE SPIRIT CHANNELER”

still from “Epti Spirit Channeling 2″ by Dick White

Creative impulsion is a common thread that The Absurdists featured on AVA all have in common.  It’s what drives them to continually pump out massive amounts of work usually unseen in the practice of “regular” artists. But it is also what leads many to go overboard;  creating in ways which stray them from the Absurdist Video Art side of things, in which they’re good at, and more at home with.

When they’ve immersed themselves fully in their usual outlets for creation, a holding capacity seems to be breached, and when that compulsion hits, then an overflow occurs.   They often find themselves blindly branching out to places they normally would never have bothered with, out of sheer compulsion to do so, rather than some sort of engineered “creative exploration”.

Just as water is poured into a glass reaching the rim to full capacity, it’s at this point the pouring needs to cease. But if there is a compulsion, if one cant’ help oneself, then the pouring will continue, and water will spill over the sides, down the exterior and onto a new surface, unfamiliar to the bubbled interior world of the original glass container.

This is how the Absurdist B Sides end up being created. They are works that have spilled over the sides and onto new surfaces, where a new audience resides. An audience which wouldn’t have been reached otherwise.  This new “audience” is forced, and sometimes fooled, into experiencing Absurdism in a different way or a different medium, usually more “accessible”. This exposure would have never been accomplished if the work remained inside the familiar glass. And in some cases the real satire is revealed as such, not in the work itself but in the reaction and comments about the work.

The irony is that The Absurdists didn’t intend to “reach a new or different audience.” They basically were just restless.  In some cases, instead of setting up lights and gathering the usual co-conspirators to create, they simply pull the trigger on a cheap webcam, and warp into some other world.  In other cases they choose to create in an entirely different medium altogether. And in others the medium and the set ups are the same, but the theme and content are completely different, usually in response to something.

Here is the first round of B-sides from AV artists who’ve overflowed into different territories or immersed themselves onto different mediums.

DICK WHITE EPTI

With constant filming, writing, and editing, you’d think this American Films/Collapse co-founder would have his plate full. But somehow his compulsion for Absurd expression, spilled over and gave birth to Dick White, a mystical “medium” average joe who’s been chosen by “the other side” to communicate important cryptic messages like, everyone should start wearing yellow. 

This webcam based creation spurred thousand of views, all emanating from a new surface. And in turn it spawned dozens of comments, both siding with Dick, empathizing with his new found gift as a medium, and those who became furious with Dick, calling him out as a fraud with bad editing skills.

You are so gifted. I pray for the power to do this..

I do mediumship, this makes me want to vomit. I have had spirits come to me, and never was I not myself. never had I channeled to have to speak to them. this is ridicioulous.

Do you realise what a complete and utter fool you have made yourself look. You tried one of the most amateurish attempts at ‘attention seeking’ that i have ever seen. You dont even know how to operate editing software. BUSTED.

Watch as “Dick” responds to the negative comments received in the first video, while attempting to further convince the new audience of his channeling skills, as a strange image emerges after the 3 minute mark and he instructs followers to partake in a 3 day fast.

Bro, i dont know if you reviewed this video before uploading it and shit, but around 3:30 or so theres some sorta something hovering to your right side..its like your image and shit and its like your tryin to get the fuck away from the epti dude who’s taken over your body and all that..crazy shit man!

 

Hi Dick, thankyou for living your truth. It takes much to trust as you have done. Please do not look at people’s comments as to how consciousness is shifting from these channelings. don’t make assumptions. The toning was great, integral part of the energetic activations occurring. All I can feel from the Epti energy is love, wisdom eagerness. Consciousness is very layered, multidimensional and profound, and not linear. Having said that it’s also very simple as Epti’s instructions are.

 

ur touched in the head mate :| see a docter mayb??

“D I V O R C E” – Disseminating COLLAPSE’S Latest Spaztastic Social Critique

“Divorce,” the short video piece by director Kelly Broich (who may also be one of the strangest satirists working today), featuring Fran Valentine and Eli Elliott, is yet another astute critique of one of our social institutions. I don’t know, but after watching this video I fear that by the time the Collapse cult is through with us we’ll be stripped of all our illusions (and clothes) and forced into a nude identity-crisis.  This time the folks at Collapse have chosen to challenge one of our culture’s oldest and most sacred institutions, marriage.

Valentine repeats “Divorce, divorce, divorce” over and over again until the word seems to lose all meaning, though the emotional significance to the viewer is undoubtedly striking. The word divorce is practically a demonic word to many. Nobody likes saying it or hearing it, but hearing it reiterated in this way, combined with the short looped minimalist electronic soundtrack, achieves the effect of reminding us that it’s just a fucking word like any other.

Near the end the video flashes to an artfully done experimental fight montage consisting of quick choppy cuts showing Elliott and Valentine in a kitchen, and ends with the strong yet simple statement, “Get the fuck out of my house!” — definitively bitch-slapping  two-hundred thousand years of patriarchal oppression. On a subjective level,  roughly fifty percent of viewers will relate to being trapped like a caged lunatic in an asylum of marital dysfunction.  

Today over half of all marriages end in divorce.  The rest in death. Divorce is a pandemic sweeping our country like mouth herpes. The chart to the left cites the most common reasons for divorce.

However, not all hope is lost. There exists an effective tool for fixing nearly any relationship, no matter how far gone. I’m talking about the how-to book entitled The Magic of Making Up, which can be purchased for thirty-nine dollars at http://www.magicofmakingup.com.

Other books make ridiculous claims, but none of them really do the trick. The methods found in The Magic of Making Up are based on years of exhaustive, peer-reviewed, focus grouped research in the field of relationship repair. I bought this book last year and it was worth every cent. I have never felt more loved.  

Don’t let divorce rip apart your marriage and drive you to drink or into a second-marriage which will statistically probably end in divorce. Remember life is short—YOU ARE GOING TO DIE—just like most of today’s marriages. I highly recommend watching “Divorce” with your mate to remind them of what can happen.

Brian Burks is a relationship critic at Healing Hearts.

Book Link: The Magic of Making Up – Only $39

Collapse: http://www.facebook.com/fran.valentine?ref=ts#!/collapsetheater

LOVE FLOATS MY BOAT – A 2012 Re-Edit From Collapse

What scares the shit out of me is that I know a Jerry Jeffers who fits our protagonist’s profile. He’s on SSI, takes psychotropic meds and always has a “business” dealio to offer. Gadzooks you fucks, get out of my head!clvngodess

COLLAPSE Theater (American Films) continues to churn out new work, while performing re-edits on often missed older works. The latest re-issue is from 2005, entitled LOVE FLOATS MY BOAT.  This piece was a gem in its original form, and now tighter and somehow even more bizarre, it made a fresh debut this New Years Eve at an art gallery in Boise, Idaho.

Featuring Kelly Broich and Brett Netson, with cinematography by Casey Broich, LFMB is about “Jerry Jeffers”, a groupie who wants to set up a concert for his favorite one hit wonder band, JACKPOT, so he enlists the help of an angel investor, “Burtrom Casey”.  Burtrom meets Mr. Jeffers  at his home on Ray Way (an actual mobile home in a trailer park where American Films shot most of their early work, now occupied by Collapse actor Sam Stimpert).  While listening to Jeffers stammer on about the concert proposal, while Jeffers dances around, plays with scissors and tries to learn Spanish from tape, Burtrom eventually calls him out as an unstable, crazed lunatic of sorts, and denies him the deal. A melee ensues where Jeffers goes from getting more and more pissed, to settling back down and trying to start over. Jeffers attempts to sit up straight, put the music aside, and talk some business, “okay, let me tighten up, we’re doing business now!” 

In typical American Films “what the fuck” fashion, the message of art versus commerce takes an absurd twist. The would be investor Burtrom suddenly switching gears, pulls out…The Book of Mormon. Passages are recited and Jeffers is carefully monitored by Burtrom for any signs that the message of Mormonism is sinking in.

“Loved the Mormon bit. Backmasking & apophenia! I knew there were references I didn’t even notice as such.”  – from demiurge, Kenneth Freeman.

One of those references is Burtrom’s vomiting cut in between his readings from the Book of Mormon. Current event relevancy is worth mentioning since an individual running for the U.S. Presidency, the barely hanging on to lead front runner Mitt Romney, has all the generic image qualities for the “President brand”; the only problem is that little purple elephant that no one can seem to get past: he’s a Mormon. The reason no one can get pass it is the same reason Burtrom’s vomiting is placed on a level playing field to that of his reciting of Mormon passage. Both acts come out as incoherent gibberish. The Book of Mormon is filled with complete and utter nonsense.

LOVE FLOATS MY BOAT does a 360 on the viewer; it initially settles us in on believing the lunatic here is the nervous poverty stricken penny saving Jeffers.  But then the true lunacy is revealed: money and religion.  There is a shot of Jeffers sitting in disbelief, glasses resting on nose, mouth open staring silent at the preaching nonsense before him; suddenly we relate to his situation, as we see the convoluted driving force behind Burtrom Casey. And eventually Jeffers does, in fact, figure out the game: Mormons don’t do business unless you’re a Mormon.

LOVE FLOATS MY BOAT (2005/2012)

More Absurd Bizarreness from COLLAPSE

AVA reviewer Brian Burks takes on the latest Absurdist endeavours from theater and video art troupe, COLLAPSE.

    “Bear Killin’,” the short video piece directed by video artist Kelly Broich, featuring performance artist Anne McDonald, is one of the strangest clown videos I’ve seen this month. The film shows a female clown knifing and then ripping apart a stuffed Winnie the Poo holding a heart that says “I Love You.” It is tempting to apply meaning to this film, even if no real meaning exists. The symbolic imagery seems to suggest a sort of deconstruction of childhood motifs common to Western culture.

    The stuffed toy bear, a source of bedtime comfort to so many children is dismembered by a clown, of all things, the traditional source of entertainment at birthday parties, fairs and circuses. This revolting clown then proceeds to try on Winnie the Poo’s head. After trying on the freshly butchered skin, we hit our dramatic finale when the heartless clown tears open Winnie’s heart.

    The video is fascinating and disturbing, unnerving and thrilling; it is painful, yes, yet it can also be therapeutic if embraced with open legs.

    Thankfully this video was short because it aggravates my coulrophobia, but a perverted, courageous side of me wanted to overcome my fear of this multicolored monster so I proceeded to watch the homicidal clown kill Winnie the Poo over and over, again and again and again.  

Just look at this thing. Notice the mismatched gloves? One for killin’ and one for fashion? Who does it think it is?

The Collapse clowns don’t stop here…

Meet Boner Salad—part of Kollapse for Kidz.

“I’m your friend!”

    This video is disturbing with the acidy pedophiliac basement feel, but easier to digest thematically… Boner Salad is revealing and demystifying the bitter truth of the world, and he’s doing it to our children: he’s waking them up to the realities they certainly won’t understand as toddlers and will probably never understand as adults.

  ”Life is meaningless, there is no God, and babies are bad,” says Boner Salad in a delightfully sardonic voice. Boner’s message to the “kidz,” and the moral of this video piece seems to be that the more babies we create the faster we eat the earth. We must accept the simple truth that life is ultimately meaningless, God’s laws are nothing short of arbitrary dogma, and His word amounts to nothing more than fairy tales with which we abuse our children. It is time to throw off the cultural and religious blinders that are directing us toward species suicide.  

    But maybe not. Maybe Boner Salad is just a dickhead who likes to scare little kids.

I fired off Facebook questions to both Broich and McDonald for more clarity as to the motives and inspirations behind these pieces. This is what I received in return:

   “Many in the Collapse cult are undergoing a metamorphosis,” said McDonald. “These are no longer costumes. Clowns are who we are becoming, who we want to be, clowns are who we really are… inside.”

    Broich sent back a clown painting made as a child with a simple “artistic statement”: “It is a 1989 self-portrait of my true inner-clown.”

From the above painting we can see that Broich’s genius was obvious even as a child, though nobody of significance noticed in time to save him from himself.

Brian Burks teaches ancient Esperanto at Carrington College and is a freelance art critic.

“TCN – THE COMMERCIAL NETWORK” A Review by Novelist Joey Goebel

Novelist Joey Goebel reviews Collapse Theater/American Films piece, “TCN – The Commercial Network”

After having watched the short film “The Commercial Network,” I find it difficult to watch TV commercials in the same way.  Ads that once seemed silly–or inane at worst–have now taken on a creepy, even sinister air.  Leave it to Idaho filmmaker/playwright/satirist Kelly Broich to take something as commonplace as a TV ad and expose it as one more symptom of the festering soul of our runaway capitalism.

The premise is simple:  Three dumb American men decide to waste the evening away in front of the TV watching something called “The Commercial Network,” which is exactly what it sounds like.  Interestingly, the commercials are real ones we are all too familiar with:  the Kia gerbils, Alec Baldwin credit cards, Carl Jr.’s, etc.  But with Broich adding a sense of foreboding that grows with each passing commercial, once innocent ads now seem sleazy and absurd.  The three viewers are perversely affected by the commercials, and with this dark new context, it hit me like a Louisville Slugger to the forehead:  Yes, that Carl Jr (aka Hardee’s in the east) commercial where the Greek gods and goddesses are worshipping a cheeseburger IS fucked up.  (I must add that Carl Jr.’s/Hardee’s have been running the worst commercials in the history of the medium, presumably due to their target demographics, which is apparently dickheads of the male variety.)

“The Commercial Network” is an experimental film in the best possible way, and its twisted humor—a hallmark of any Broich/American Films production—is what keeps it from veering anywhere near pretentious territory.  It is a bizarre indictment of commerce at its trashiest, and in a hilarious way, it exposes idiotic commercials as for what they might potentially be:  thirty second spots of evil.

Joey Goebel is the author of the satirical novels, The Anomalies, Torture the Artist and Commonwealth.

http://www.joeygoebel.com

Goebel books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Joey+Goebel

“TCN – The Commercial Network” – a short film by Collapse Theater

AVA’s own American Films have taken their act to the stage in the form of theater, operating under the moniker “COLLAPSE THEATER”. Imagine their short films in stage play form, but much more tightly written and with a slew of additional actors, many seemingly itching to dive into the Absurdist material that Amercian Films have been experimenting with for over a decade through film.

But the films haven’t stopped. Recently they had a 2 week run for their play OUTSIDE. And premiering at the last few shows was the new short film “TCN – THE COMMERCIAL NETWORK”, featuring familiar faces from classic Amercian Films pieces.

“THE COMMERCIAL NETWORK”

Commercial making and commercial watching have grown to unreal levels. Some commercials now resemble that of short films with budgets in the millions. Others hawk unbelievable products in fast cut music video style. From Corporations to snake oil salesmen, everyone’s in on the game. And people are watching. The Superbowl nowadays is watched by millions of new viewers, but not for the actual Superbowl. For the premiere of all the new commercials in between.

It only makes sense then that the latest trend would be to eliminate the programming altogether, and instead just create a network devoted entirely to commercials. While cable producers, network execs and the like are slow to jump on this, Collapse Theater is ahead of the pack with the introduction of “TCN”, The Commercial Network.

The short begins with mind numbing 80’s nostalgia viewing by a trio of couch potato TV addicts. Yet quickly things devolve into a smorgasbord of commercials brought to you by TCN, at the insistence of the younger and dumber couch potato who seeks a stronger numbing fix of something more frantic; something that will really fuck him up. TCN delivers.

Eventually the viewers dissolve into commercials themselves; reciting one line jingles, made up commercial catch phrases. The viewer and commercial eventually become one as they allow themselves to be consumed by the visual and audio propaganda assault.

The modern Little Red Riding Hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf. – Marshall Mcluhan

If smokers could have instant downloadable easy access to x-rays of their lungs, they could see all the gunk buildup and may re-think their nicotine intake, while taking steps to detox.

Similarly if commercial TV watchers could see an x-ray of their subconscious they would be presented with a similar image of nasty gunk buildup in the brain. And likely they would reach for the bottle of bleach to pour in through the ears hoping it will reach the brain and disinfect the media mildew, unclog the mind altering buildup.

Basically, the short film “The Commercial Network”, is that x-ray.

The film shows the real effects of what commercials do to the brain. How all the highlights create that buildup of gunk. After watching “TCN” you instantly feel infected. Nothing gets neatly processed inside our heads when we subject ourselves to a barrage of visual adverts, all designed to forcefully tell us how inadequate we are, how we are lacking, how convenience should be king, and how popping a pill will make it all better.

As with smoking – we know it’s not good, it’s easy to fall into, the bad effects invisible – commercials are the same but easier to inhale and the effects don’t get a surgeon general warning.

As TCN reveals, the commercials are a drug, which eventually need to be countered by another drug in order to cope and feel better.  And if you don’t leave the room or medicate yourself to a far off island, today’s quick cut frantic back to back commercials of corporate snuff, pill popping propaganda and padded butt panties, will easily leave you suffering from similar effects to that of a horrible acid trip.

See what you are really ingesting. Watch the The Commercial Network.

AMERICAN FILMS : Market Penetrations from the Obscure Absurdists

I first came across American Films around 5 years ago.  Their films were some of the best shot, best visually looking works online;  not to mention some of the most absurdist character pieces out there.  Their early characters ranged from avant garde versions of the Trailer Park Boys to religious fanatical freaks to hopeless fruitcakes and fuck-ups; plus weirdos, wingnuts and  washed up cocaine nose candied 80’s icons.

Somehow I missed these guys on the usual underground screening and festival circuit of the time.  Or so I thought.  When I emailed them years ago, asking where their work was showing, and had showed (festivals, screenings, etc.) the response to me was a shocker.   Essentially nowhere.   Online was their main home.

This was one of the first major signs that I realized how asleep at the wheel film and video programmers had become.  Every experimental/underground/counter-current/alternative film and video curator should have been emailing these guys, requesting work to screen.

Instead, as their work continued to amass, it continued going virtually unnoticed in all the traditional alt. screening outlets.  Yet blowing away all the content that all the traditional alt. screening outlets were showing.

Eventually screenings did pop up, but it wasn’t the curators responsible for them.  It took other artists to point out  American Films  and actually show the work themselves.  I tracked down a screening in Hollywood around 2006 put on by stage performer/actress and Mel Brooks favorite Ann Randolph who showcased an American Films piece called “Peggy” at one of her events.  A few other screenings and small festivals followed, but in the rosters of the usual spots where odd/avant/experimental film and video was normally shown, work from the AF troupe was noticeably absent.

Meanwhile AF continued to pump out more and more work; the productions bigger with what looked like upgraded sets, along with characters more developed and of course, pieces even more absurd.  There was even rumor of a feature film that had been shot and possibly completed, but nothing has surfaced as of yet.

In any event, some major penetrations have been fornicated forth by American Films thus far in 2010.   Some very good actors seem to have joined the group and possibly some added talent behind the camera and in the editing room.  The group has been participating in live shows and screenings, and online their work continues to grow.

Their latest focus  revolves around the advertising/marketing racket.  And it’s starting to gain traction.  A sort of underground minor viral send around seems to be occurring with their latest piece, ridiculously titled “Get Ready to Shift the Paradigm on Your Corporate Branding and Marketing”.

Shot in infomercial style, the piece satirically nails the heavy loaded bullshit dished out by the marketing guru firms, but goes well beyond your typical mock up hit job.  An unexpected character break down occurs near the end, and we are granted the coveted answer to the most common question of all time regarding these real life marketing machines, “do they really believe their own bullshit?”

Hopefully American Films will stick with the absurdism of the corporate marketing machine theme for a while,  giving us more pieces nailing the catastrophe and collapse of American culture aided by the polluted marketing mindset of how to turn human beings into branded brainwashed useless consumers.

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AMERICAN FILMS new online YT account with their latest films can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanFilmsDotCom

Older works - http://www.youtube.com/user/cbengine

And the latest masterpiece:

“Get Ready to Shift the Paradigm on Your Corporate Branding and Marketing”

“TRIGGERS” – Selected Triggers from Various AV Artists

It's Time

“Triggers” a term possibly first coined by Eric Fournier to describe some of his short spasmatic Shaye Saint John pieces, can also be extended to describe other Absurd Video Artists who have been employing this style for years.

Neither “short film” nor “sketch piece”, these triggers tend to exist somewhere between “test clip” and “stand alone visual art”.

To the archaic alternative and even experimental film purveyor, Trigger pieces have been discounted and swept aside as their lack of label have confused and agitated the alter-establishment (of course showing 20 seconds of mundane 16mm leader film is acceptable in the usual avant garde circles and considered part of a risk taking experimental film.  “Ooooh, he showed leader!”  Pathetic, par usual).

But Triggers can also be seen as “releases”.  Similar to a gun enthusiast feeling the heavy urge to pull a trigger and unload a few rounds, the video artist similarly experiences the necessity to unload using whatever creative arsenals on hand.

Triggers are performed without the restraint of the usual mundane burdens of visual coherency, plots, titles, credits etc.  They’re meant to trigger off some creative energy for creativity’s  sake;  the necessary high that a quick heroin street fix brings to the junkie, the video creator locks, loads,  and spews forth a premature ejaculation through the visual medium.

Here are  some random triggers from American Films, Heck Boyd, and Shaye Saint John.