we are all corrupted by stupidity and lack of creativity...
we shall run through the fields of the mental silly flowers.
Here is an interview with cinema strange i found to be esspecially amusing
( courtesy of www.cinemastrange.web.pt )
Chaos Versus Silliness- the Fine Line Gallivanted Upon by Cinema Strange
by Retch Dempsey
Right here in the beginning of the article, I would normally start gushing and raving about Cinema Strange. The reason is because my finished piece would be destined for press kits and promotional packages and I had to do a lot of convincing to people who had probably never heard the band before. But now things are different. My job description has changed. Here, let me insert a quote from C.S. manager Ludo von Ecke where he assigned me the task of writing up these fluffy press articles a few years back:
"Retch, darling, we need you to do a write up that we can use in press kits, etc. We need you to give a brief history of the band, and then describe what they're up to now, and go off on how cool they are throughout the whole thing. This article needs to convince club promoters, DJs, and record labels that they have been fools not to do business with C.S. before now…"
It goes on, but you get the idea. Well, here's the note I got from Ludo just the other day:
"Hey, Dempsey! When're you coming out to see us again, eh? And I still want you to do some work for the Project! Only, the standard article-thing is no longer called for, I'd say. We don't need new material for lubricating business deals. I just want something to continue the tradition, and to post on the web site. You can have a little more fun, if you want, and do a sort of Project insider column or something."
The web site he's talking about is "the Ecke Archive" and you're probably on it presently if you're reading this. Ludo, or "Bonzo" as the kids know him, put it together in order to present an up-to-date and thorough library of information regarding the band, and it certainly does that, among other unmentionable (read: silly) things.
And the band itself? Well, von Ecke wanted "sort of a Project insider column or something" and so it has occurred to me that I should relate a recent visit I took to the Project headquarters in southern California.
I flew into Los Angeles from my current home base in New Hampshire, and over the course of the five-hour flight I had a chance to review some press clippings that Ludo had sent over. Trisol, the band's record label, had supplied them (an apparently yearly tradition from the label) and it was a good index of the Project's progress around the world. Included were interviews in several languages, including the very amusing Newgrave article, plus record reviews and other press clippings, about half of which were German. The band's singer, Lucas Lanthier, picked me up at the airport, and I commented on this international prestige that the act had started to acquire. "Yeah," he says, "we're losing some ground in the Euro-battle." "What are you talking about?" I said. "From what I've seen and heard, things are getting better and better." "That's just it," he says. "We're getting too popular." Strange complaints from a strange boy.
When we arrived at the band's secret underground lair, I was greeted by the rest of the staff: Daniel, the bass player, drinking strong coffee and wearing a yellow silk robe and wacky hair spikes, Mik, the guitar player, seated at the piano playing Scriabin preludes and dressed like a demented Mr. Rogers, with a torn cardigan and rustic-plaid pants the color of sepulchral earth, and Bonzo, wearing his typical scuba gear and monkey mask. Lucas, meanwhile, was at the height of paramilitary chic, with a surplus officer shirt and tie and ye olde armie pants. He looked like the High King of the Laibach fan klub.
We spent the next hour tickling each other and telling stories. After all, it had been about a year since I had seen any of them, and we had a lot of molesting to catch up on. But then it was definitely time for business and we discussed much the state of the Project and what its next steps were.
"I'll say it again," quoth Dan of the Yellow Order, "we should go into textiles."
"Well I'm all for it," said Bonzo under his mask, "so long as we close the deal on those Cinema Strange toothbrushes first."
"What about the C.S. lawn ornaments?" asked Lucas. "I made an appointment for us to pose for the sculptor."
"I don't want to pose for a sculptor!" said Mik.
"Now, now, Michael," said Lucas. "I rented a two-man donkey costume just for the occasion and we don't want it to go to waste."
"How will we all fit into a two-man donkey costume?" asked Bonzo.
"However we do it, or whatever the results are from that effort, it will provide, no doubt, a very dynamic model for what will assuredly end up being an interesting and very thought-provoking sculpture that no citizen would not want squatting on their green grass," was the singer's answer.
"Fine," said Daniel. "But then we talk textiles!"
"But what about the music?" I ventured.
They looked shocked.
"All of this," said Michael, "everything we've been talking about, it's all going to need a soundtrack, won't it?"
"Ah…" I said. And I guess that just about sums it up. Cinema Strange: Providing Music For Overstuffed Donkey Costume Posing, And Textiles.
Next they played some low-fi home recordings of some of the work they'd done recently with Danny Walker, a friend and very extraordinary drummer. Mister Walker plays for the prog-hardcore outfit Uphill Battle, but has been collaborating with Cinema Strange off and on for several years. Now he's apparently taking a more prominent seat in the C.S. parliament, as he's at nearly every rehearsal and will be participating in most upcoming shows, from Mexico to Deutschland. After hearing him on the recordings, mimicking drum machine patterns that seemingly should have required a five-armed human to play, and hearing the new songs that have sprung up around this collaboration, I am convinced that the new album, whenever it appears, will startle and surprise C.S. fans yet again, and the resulting international elation and joy should be able to run enough turbines to power a small nation for a year.
"And we've been doing more film work," says Lucas. "I mean, films that we intend to incorporate into the troupe's various productions."
"As opposed to the films we make to simply entertain ourselves," clarifies Daniel.
"Those shouldn't be shown to anybody, really," says Mik.
I asked if they had any of their recent celluloid dalliances handy so that I might gaze upon images that would surely disturb me. And indeed, after a quick search of the compound, I got a chance to behold "Dancing Commandos/Commandos Dancing!", a film they intend on exhibiting during an upcoming performance in San Francisco. No human language ever conceived of could properly illustrate the emotions that burst forth in my heart and soul upon receipt of this profound work of cinematic chaos. It was black and white. "Death In June meets Kipper Kids" is all I could think of. A masterpiece.
The evening degraded from there. Before dawn baptized our bloodshot eyeballs in unholy morning light we had explored the lush backyard jungle regions of the compound in pith helmets, thrown tennis balls into the local swamp, played the C.S.-invented game of "Atomic Chumkins" (patent pending), practiced three forms of voodoo trying to bring a dead moth back to life, and sung 38 barbershop quintet numbers.
Official Cinema Strange Project Agenda meetings are never dull.
Flying back to New Hampshire several days later, I felt that I alone, on that plane full of humanoids, was marinated in, and wired on, a very unique blend of chemicals and neurotransmitters that can only result from a thorough Cinema Strange experience. I felt that on that plane, I was the only one really alive. And while the stewardesses and other passengers may have perceived me as a drooling, wide-eyed spastic with a half-grin on his face, inside I was roiling with creative energy and tremendously pleased with the manner in which I could scamper and bound across a field of mental silly-flowers without… moving… a muscle. And that sort of enlightenment can occur for you, too. Just lean back against that scale model of Big Ben you just built out of fly legs and toothpicks and listen to a C.S. album. Do it for your blood and insides, do it for your brain.
Until next time,
Retch Dempsey, December, 2002