Friday, April 30, 2010


Last night, I attended a preview performance of Tom Judson's auto-biographical solo show “Canned Ham”. The show documents hunky Mr Judson’s strange trajectory from Off-Off Broadway composer and performance artist to Broadway actor to this surprising career turn as gay porn superstar Gus Mattox!
In between wonderful accordion arrangements of familiar showtunes, Tom recounts working with such folks as director Rob Marshall, stage goddess Ann Magnuson (who was in attendance), actress Teri Hatcher, and porn mogul Chi Chi LaRue. Show biz stories, male escort adventures and touching remembrances of his late partner Bruce make for an evening of both laughter and tears.
“Canned Ham” is opens tonight - Friday, April 30 at 9pm and will run Fridays and Saturdays at 9pm and Sundays at 7pm through May 16. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and are available online here. The Cavern Club Theater at Casita del Campo is located at 1920 Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake.Visit Tom's blog here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


As I continually deal with my lack of free time to blog, I proudly represent one of my very first posts from way back in 2007.
So, imagine THE ODD COUPLE if Felix sometimes dressed in drag, had a crush on a hunky bi-sexual hippie Oscar and murdered every young woman who literally tries to unzip Oscar's snake-skin jeans. Well - that's what SOMETIMES AUNT MARTHA DOES DREADFUL THINGS is all about.

Set in suburban Miami, this 1971 campfest is full of slutty, horny stoned pizzeria waitresses and nurses with small tits and big Eva Gabor wigs who are trying to fuck Stanley (our sloppy roommate) and one by one, they disappear after his manly Aunt Martha pays them a visit.

You see, Paul is "protecting" Stanley from the police since he's convinced Stanley that he was responsible for killing Mrs. Johnson for her jewels. Paul has been disguising himself (with bad wigs, blouses, skirts, and orthopedic shoes) as Stanley's elderly Aunt Martha (but looking much like Stockard Channing as Rizzo), in an effort to hide from the authorities. The nosy neighbors (one who is very pregnant) are a constant annoyance to Paul - especially when they mention how attractive Stanley is.

Stanley, despite being a slob AND never changing his clothes ever (much like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character) - even though the film takes place over several days and nights - is very sexy. Paul, on the other hand, looks like the illegitimate child of Karl Malden and Judd Hirsch. Stanley, sadly never does get naked - though there are are at least three scenes where women attempt to get into his pants, but he freaks out.

Things veer off in several directions including subplots involving a blackmailing heroin junkie from Baltimore who becomes an unwelcome third roommate and several encounters with Stanley's group of beer-drinking, pot-smoking, coke-sniffing friends - one of which is totally buff and always shirtless (save for a little leather vest) and looks like Steve Perry from Journey.

There's a disturbing turn of events involving the pregnant neighbor and a predictable climax that takes place on (of all places) a movie set!!! MARTHA is a bit slow at times, but its blend of campy humor and horror shocks kept me interested despite the homophobic undercurrent. Directed by Thomas Casey.

If MARTHA is your cup of tea - you can purchase it from the incredible Five Minutes to Live website. Rating: 8 outta 10.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Hey gang, my production company Velvet Candy Entertainment's co-production of THE MIKADO PROJECT, a feature film directed by Chil Kong (SCREENING PARTY) will be premiering this coming Saturday May 1 at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival at 9pm at the Directors Guild of America Theater. I also worked on the film a bit as a designer and set decorator, and I look forward to seeing the film on the big screen.. This event marks the World Premiere of the film and cast and crew will be in attendance, and will be followed by a Q&A session.

THE MIKADO PROJECT is a musical comedy (based on the stage performance written by Ken Narasaki and Doris Baizley and adapted for film by Chil Kong) of a struggling Asian American theater company that, in a desperate publicity stunt to save their company, decides to produce a modern reconstruction of Gilbert and Sullivan’s, The Mikado, to stir controversy and jolt ticket sales.

The Mikado, one of the most beloved comedy operas by legendary collaborators, Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert, first opened on stage in 1885 in London . The story was set in Japan (considered an exotic land to the British during that era) which allowed Gilbert & Sullivan to satirize British politics. However, by doing so, Asians around the world and Asian Americans today have found this opera hard to embrace—making the notion of Asian American actors performing The Mikado controversial and palatable only through a comedic reconstruction.

With new hip-hopera versions of the Gilbert & Sullivan’s original compositions and dance numbers choreographed by members of the dance troupes, Kaba Modern and Jabbawockeez, from MTV's AMERICA'S BEST DANCE CREW, this is not your grandma's Mikado.

The talented cast includes Raymond J. Lee (from Broadway's Mamma Mia), Allen Liu (Broadway's Flower Drum Song), Rizwan Manji (Charlie Wilson's War), David Lee McInnis (Never Forever), Gerald McCullouch (CSI, Law and Order, NCIS), Erin Quill (Screening Party, Broadway's Avenue Q), Freda Foh Shen (Primal Doubt, Red Doors), Yui Tag (America’s Best Dance Crew), Tamlyn Tomita (Tekken, The Eye) and Ryun Yu (Kissing Cousins).

For more information on THE MIKADO PROJECT visit
Tickets can be purchased directly here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


For Earth Day (and my birthday week), here's something recycled from last year. Renjoy!

For my friend Tony's birthday, we got together with him and a bunch of his painfully cute friends to eat pasta and watch BLOODY BIRTHDAY, a little-known 1981 horror film directed by Ed Hunt. (The director of such gems as UFOs ARE REAL, STARSHIP INVASION and one episode of NBC's GREATEST HEROES OF THE BIBLE).    The story begins in 1970, as three babies are born during a total eclipse. Apparently when the sun and moon team up to block Saturn - any infants that a born instantly become "demon seeds" - without a conscience. Good to know.Fast forward to 1980 and the three babies have now blossomed into the brattiest kids in town. As preparations begin for their big 10th birthday party, strange things begin to happen in the town of Meadowdale or Fernwood or whatever. Think VILAGE OF THE DAMNED on a smaller scale.

First a teen-age couple are brutally killed while having poorly-lit sex in a cemetery plot, setting off a string of ghastly random and Rube Goldberg-esque deaths. Then we meet our unsavory trio : Curtis, a young Stephen Colbert lookalike; Debbie, a dead ringer for a child beauty pageant loser; and some quiet, bowl-cut blond kid who takes orders from the other two. These three madcap mini-MacGyvers manage to turn any found object (jump ropes, skateboards, shovels, baseball bats, etc.) into a murder weapon and soon the deaths begin to add up. Debbie is quite the young entrepreneur, as she charges the neighborhood boys a quarter to watch her sister Beverly (Julie Brown - who goes full T & A) dress and undress through a peep hole. Debbie's dad is the local sheriff, but not for long - as he becomes victim number two. Two constant targets of the trio's shenanigans are camel-toe sporting amateur astrologist (and sometimes school teacher) Joyce and her misunderstood little brother Timmy. The whippersnappers try to run Joyce over in a junkyard with a remote-controlled car (thanks to the bespectacled young inventor Curtis), and then try to make her seem crazy and paranoid when four-eyed Curtis makes her believe that he poisoned the birthday cake frosting with ant killer. It looks just like the Skinny & Sweet!

Daughter of acting legend Lee - Susan Strasberg of MANITOU fame- makes a brief appearance as a schoolteacher - who looks just like Andrea Thomas from ISIS, but sadly, she never gets the chance to transform into the Egyptian goddess before she's shot to death by Curtis- with the gun he stole from Debbie's dead dad. He's very clever, cause he wears glasses.There's a few other deaths, including Julie Brown's encounter with the wrong end of a bow & arrow - and another teen sex scene in bad lighting.

Overall, a pretty creepy and somewhat fun example of early 80s low-budget horror. It definitely helps to watch it with a gaggle of attractive young men. On my old scale of 10 "Huhs" - I'd give BLOODY BIRTHDAY a solid 8, just for have the moxie to show 10 year olds killing people with reckless abandon. The child acting is pretty believable, making me wonder about the trio of ten-year olds sitting at the table next to me at the Whole Foods cafe while I write this.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Time...

Hey readers, just letting y'all know that I am totally swamped - between my day job and pre-production for a new feature film (a zany STRAIGHT sex comedy!) that my production company is involved with - leaving very little time for anything else. I will hopefully be back blogging real soon. I've got so much cool stuff to share with you guys. In the meantime, ponder this...

Monday, April 19, 2010


I spent my birthday weekend (dubbed a "Funspree") in San Diego with some good friends at the Filmout film festival, where three films that I was involved with were programmed. On Saturday night, David Kittredge's PORNOGRAPHY, which I was the production designer on, screened to a packed house. (The film also is running theatrically in New York's Cinema Village).
On Sunday, a fun animated short (that I helped out on a bit) by my pal Dennis Hensley called DIPSHITS starring 4 notorious young "celebrities" screened. This was part of a program that included the wonderful musical BOY CRAZY by my other talented friend John Sobrack. BOY CRAZY is now on dvd as part of a shorts package that includes the wonderful DISH by another friend, Brian Harris Krinsky.

On Sunday evening, another Hensley-directed short, REUNION, which was produced in 2008 for HBO through my company Velvet Candy Entertainment screened before the acclaimed feature HOLLYWOOD J'TAIME.

But an unexpected highlight of the weekend was a little late-night screening called ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

Yup, just your average flick about a gay couple fighting religious fanatics, homophobes and a horde of zombies while a spunky Iranian chick combats prejudice and post 9/11 hysteria in small-minded, small-town America. It's a comedy, a horror film and  smart political commentary all rolled up in a bloody good time.
Add all this to non-stop laughs with good friends and an awesome thift store find - a Farrah Fawcett fashion doll - and you have a great way to spend any birthday. Support independent queer filmmaking, thrift stores and your local zombies.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dixie Carter 1939-2010

This week in TV GUIDE

While continuing my spring cleaning, I came across a couple of great old TV GUIDE ads that happen to relate to some very recent Dougsploitation posts, so I decided to scan them and share them all with you guys. I've included links back to the posts in case you need to refresh your memories.
First up, the original ad for the broadcast premiere of THE STRANGER WITHIN. You can read my post about this TV-movie classic here. And you can purchase this made-to-order dvd from the Warner Archive Collection here.
Next, Dinah Shore welcomed the cast of RHODA to spend an hour on her chat show. For my piece on Season Two of RHODA go here. You can purchase RHODA directly from Shout! Factory here.
How's about an ad for the TV Premiere of the sexy Cathy Lee Crosby dramedy COACH? For my oft-repeated review go here.
 And finally, here's a little something for my buddy Phil G., the ad for the television premiere of H.P. Lovecraft's THE DUNWICH HORROR followed by a reprint of my review from a few years ago. Enjoy!

THE DUNWICH HORROR is based on a story by horror legend H. P. Lovecraft . This 1970 curiosity stars Sandra Dee (A SUMMER PLACE), Dean Stockwell (BLUE VELVET), Ed Begley (SR., not JR.), great character actor Sam Jaffe, and Talia Shire (Coppola).

Following the trippy-iest animated opening titles I've seen in a long time (with a fantastic musical score by Les Baxter), we meet Professor Henry Armitage (Begley) and two librarians Nancy (Dee) and another one. We also learn about The Necronomicon (?!) - an ancient book filled with mystical secrets. As they return the valuable book to its display case in the library, a young man named Wilbur Whateley (Stockwell) asks to see the book and Nancy readily agrees to let him —even though she was told how rare and priceless the book is! Armitage reappears and is annoyed at everyone, declaring the book needs to be put back in it's case. Wilbur states that there had once been another copy of the book belonging to his his great-grandfather, who had been hung and burned for practicing witchcraft. After this revelation, Armitage takes a sudden interest in the young Wilbur. Then they all go out for dinner. Bennigan's?

Nancy offers to drive Wilbur home after dinner. Once at the beautiful, yet spooky house, Nancy decides to snoop around (while Wilbur makes sure her car doesn't start). She knocks over some modern glass sculpture...then he slips her a mickey and Nancy falls into a deep sleep, dreaming that she's being attacked by some sort of tribe. This is the first of many ROSEMARY'S BABY - inspired nightmare sequences.
Things continue to get creepier as we meet Wilbur's cranky Grandpa (Jaffe). But there's still some fun ahead when a snobby Christian couple gets devoured by THE DUNWICH HORROR and when a security guard battles Wilbur in a BATMAN-like POW-fest that ends with someone impaling themselves. Oh yeah, and Nancy is offered up as a sacrifice in a Satanic ritual. The monster itself, doesn't appear til the very end, reminding me very much of SIGMUND (from...& THE SEA MONSTERS fame).
Sandra Dee once again plays the innocent girl who falls for the bad boy. Though Sandy gets to show a little flesh in the climax of the film this time. Dean Stockwell sports a very bad mustache and at times is mistaken by me for Mike Brady. Begley Sr. looks too much like a cross between Garry Marshall and Commissioner Gordon to be taken seriously, especially when he uses his red bat-phone! (Honestly - he has a red phone!) Sam Jaffe bears an odd resemblance to Whitman Mayo, who played Grady on SANFORD & SON and its various spinoffs. And yes Lloyd Bochner from DYNASTY has a small role.
Overall, I found DUNWICH to be a colorful treat for the eyes and ears. It may move a bit slow for today's horror crowds, but for it's style alone I give this baby a 9 out of 10.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

TWIN PEAKS turns 20!

Holy shit! Where does the time go? I cannot believe that David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS premiered 20 years ago today. I'd love to do a full post about the series and show off some of the cool stuff I've collected over the years, but for now I'll just leave you with this...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nancy or The Strange Tale of Fritzi Ritz

Sorry for all the reruns lately, but chances are that newer readers have not seen many of these older posts. So while I gather up info and images for new stuff, please continue to enjoy some Dougsploitation classics.
Fritzi Ritz began life as a popular light comic strip created in 1922 by cartoonist Larry Whittington. It's heroine was a glamourous single lady, a flapper named Fritzi.
In 1925 a 20-year-old Ernest Paul Bushmiller took over the strip.Bushmiller's introduction of Fritzi's sassy niece Nancy (in 1933) brought even more fans to the strip.In 1938 Bushmiller introduced Nancy's raggamuffin friend Sluggo.Later that year, Aunt Fritzi's name was dropped from the title of the daily strip, which continued on as Nancy.Ernie's clean, bold style, and his skill of constructing surrealistic site gags propelled the strip to new heights. Nancy and Sluggo became pop culture icons, appealing to kids and their parents as well. Sluggo was soon just as famous as Nancy–or even more so, as witnessed by this rare two-pack doll set.Poor Aunt Fritzi's Sunday strip continued for a few more years before being completely taken over by Nancy.
Fritzi continued to appear in Nancy to attract male readers with her charming figure.
But it was Bushmiller's clever gags that transformed Nancy a comic strip classic.
So, Fritzi Ritz, who had once been a funny pages star, was relegated to being a bit player in the strip where she had once been the star.And Nancy and Sluggo's colorful friends soon populated the strip - forcing Aunt Fritizi into comic books to get some quality time - though she shared the bill with her unattractive beau Phil.
Fritzi's solo book continued into the 1940s.
United Feature Syndicate also launched Tip Top Comics, where Nancy's strips were reprinted alongside other UFS stars. 
When the series moved to Dell Comics, the other features eventually included Charles Schultz's Peanuts.
A Nancy and Sluggo book was soon launched.
After a stint with St. John Publishing (1955-57), Dell Comics became the home of Nancy and Sluggo. It was assigned it to popular Little Lulu cartoonist John Stanley. 
Dogs always played an important role in Nancy's adventures. As witnessed here:

After moving to Gold Key Comics, the title ended in 1963, and Nancy never again appeared in comic books.In 1942, Nancy was licensed by Terrytoons, the studio that produced the popular MIGHTY MOUSE and HECKLE & JECKLE animated shorts.Sadly, Terrytoons only produced three NANCY cartoon shorts. (Titles: School DazeNancy's Little Theater and Doing Their Bit.) It took Nancy almost 30 years later to return to the world of animation–on Saturday mornings!
In 1971, Filmation's ARCHIE'S TV FUNNIES on CBS welcomed Nancy as one of its segments — rotating with other comic strip characters like Broom-Hilda. The format was revisited in 1978 on NBC under the title FABULOUS FUNNIES - without The Archies involvement.
Bushmiller won the National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Strip Award for 1961 and in 1976, he was awarded the Reuben Award for the Best Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society.
Bushmiller continued writing Nancy with Al Plastino and Will Johnson handling the art chores. He died in 1982, and the strip was taken over briefly by Mark Lansky, who died in 1983, opening the door for Jerry Scott's modern make-over of the strip. Scott ignored Aunt Fritzi during most of his run - but when left in 1995, the new team, brothers Guy and Brad Gilchrist, returned to Bushmiller's beloved style and use of sight gags.
Even still-sexy Aunt Fritzi returned - to more prominent role in the strip!And mildly dramatic themes sometimes come into play.
Fritzi Ritz and Nancy - together again. Also In 1995, Nancy, along with Brenda Starr and several others, was part of the "Comic Strip Classics" series of commemorative stamps. You can get your daily dose of Nancy here.