Sunday, September 13, 2020

Nostalgia Laced Ruminations with Dinosaurs, Sleestak's, and More: Hilobrow Re-Posting on Land of the Lost, the Original Series

Nostalgia Laced Ruminations with Dinosaurs, Sleestak's, and More:

Hilobrow Re-Posting on Land of the Lost, the Original Series

William "Memo" Nericcio

Original posting on Josh Glenn's Hilobrow.com: https://www.hilobrow.com/2016/08/03/grok-my-enthusiasm-30/ | Grok My Enthusiasm (30) By: William Nericcio  August 3, 2016.


Is it still 1974? Can I get out of here? 

Or am I, like Will, Holly, and Rick (Alice? Gilligan? Neo?) trapped in a world beyond time, space, and knowledge? 

I am, of course, sitting in front of a TV set, at the fine age of 13, and I am watching mesmerized — really, I can’t move — watching Sid and Marty Krofft’s epic Land of the Lost.  

The Krofft brothers are responsible for H.R. Pufnstuf (fame), Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (ignominy), and The Bugaloos (infamy). But it is Land of the Lost that paralyzes me and my sister Josie, out in the borderlands of Laredo, Texas.  

Cute as a button (but grrl-feisty) Holly, young stud Will, and their strapping dad Rick Marshall (who will be unceremoniously dropped from the show Season 3 for asking for too much residual filthy lucre), are trapped in a bizarre world with three moons, populated with dinosaurs, furry pre-humans, sentient lizard spacemen and mucho más. Who needed marijuana or peyote in South Texas, when Krofft-fare filled the airwaves (this one ghost-penned by David “Trouble with Tribbles” Gerrold, Ben Bova, Theodore Sturgeon, Larry Niven, and Norman Spinrad)? 

The premise of the show was genius. Trapped in another world, the Marshall family must learn the secrets of this bizarre space; think Stranger in a Strange Land, but with YA-savvy. Time and again the bizarre family unit, sans Mom (who would ruin all the fun?), would be thrust into impossible situations: flying pylons in the sky spouting semaphores, hairy man boys aping Caliban (Cha-Ka with Holly) with Rick left to play a tepid Prospero. 

No doubt my urgent hetero pinings fueled the uncanny draw the show had for me, but I think many in my generation were equally touched by this ambitious show that somehow (especially the first season) found a way to transcend all the Saturday morning rancid schlock it was up against. 

No, this was not Ibsen for minors, but like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it found a way to convey notions of the cosmic to kids who had no idea they were waiting for Godot, with groovy stop-action dinosaurs and sets that look like castoffs from Star Trek.  Ah, to be 13 again. But in a way, I never left. Unlike lucky Rick, kicked off the show and replaced by his brother, I am somehow still there.  

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Logistics Posting for English 157 Comics and History: The Virus Eye/I

Greetings denizens of English 157 Comics and History, Fall 2020, @SDSU ....

Such an awful word: "homework" ... it makes the hair stand up on the back of your head, makes the toes cringe, ... and worse!

Here's the Oxford English Dictionary's take on the term:
(By the way you get the OED for free as part of your SDSU registration--that's a $90-$100 savings off of the regular cost of the best dictionary on the planet--kicks Webster's ass and makes Dictionary.com look like a playground for nincompoops!

more below this picture ...


click to enlarge

In any event,  you have homework for next Tuesday's class--and the book we are doing after that is Richard Appignanesi & Oscar Zarate's FREUD FOR BEGINNERS.  Your homework for a given class will always appear here first here on the Daily Lineup Virus Eye page.

But in addition to that, I want you to be familiar with all the main pages associated with this class:

https://eyegiene.sdsu.edu/2020/fall/viruseye/index.html
Just a gateway page, not that important

https://eyegiene.sdsu.edu/2020/fall/viruseye/home.html
The main webpage for the class that has all the information you would usually find on your syllabus--in particular, there are a couple of Nerdwriter videos on this page that I want you to screen, from beginning to end, before we meet up on Tuesday morning!

https://eyegiene.sdsu.edu/2020/fall/viruseye/dailylineup.html
Maybe the page to visit the most this term as it has your daily assignments that are updated on the fly--you will have already noticed that this page, which should be filled with day to day details, is sadly unpopulated with information. That's for a reason--I need to meet and hang out with you in class on Tuesday (sadly via Zoom and not in person) to get a feel for the kind of class we're going to have this term. Once I get that feel, I will decide in which direction we will go. In the short term, if you want to know which books to pick up, I would say the Crumb/Mairowitz KAFKA and Berger et al's WAYS OF SEEING, in addition to the aforementioned FREUD FOR BEGINNERS, should soon be in your possession.

https://theviruseye.tumblr.com 
https://www.facebook.com/pg/engl157viruseye/posts/?ref=page_internal
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23viruseye2020&src=typed_query&f=live
https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/viruseye2020Social media channels for #viruseye2020 are alive and ticking--I very much look forward to scrolling to your contributions to this growing web of semiotic amazingness.

https://tinyletter.com/viruseye/archive
Worried that you missed an important email about the class--always go here to our online archive; all official communiques/telegrams/messages/ridiculous cartoons are archived here in reverse chronological order from newest to oldest.  Great to check this regularly as tinyletter.com messages sometimes end up in gmail's spam folder.







That's it--tell your friends and accomplices about this class! It's the first time it has ever been offered at SDSU and we want it to be one for the ages!

See you Tuesday at 11am SHARP!

English 157 History and Comics--Entering the Virus EYE/I
Tuesday, August 2511:00am – 12:15pm
Description:william nericcio is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting 
https://SDSU.zoom.us/j/96334588622 (Links to an external site.)
Join by H.323 162.255.37.11 


Dr. William A. Nericcio
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
SDSU

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Madmen and Madwomen at the Wheel / Prescient Moviemakers Behind the Camera: An Eyegasm/Eyegiene Chapter Focused on Paul Bartel's and Roger Corman's DEATH RACE 2000 (1975)

Madmen and Madwomen at the Wheel, Prescient Moviemakers Behind the Camera: An Eyegasm/Eyegiene Chapter Focused on Paul Bartel's and Roger Corman's DEATH RACE 2000 (1975)*
William "Memo" Nericcio

 “It’s Kung Fu,” we say, with excitement, yearning, and glee. We don’t understand synecdoche, or cultural studies, or any of that crap yet—grad school looms on the horizon like Covid-19 did a year ago for us.

That is, not at all.

We are at the Pla-Mor Entertainment Center in Laredo, Texas, 2 miles or so from the legendary Rio Grande River, north of Mexico. 

As with all pictures in this blog
posting, click to enlarge
Pla-Mor is a wonderland for Laredo: bowling, cinema, pinball, and prehistoric video games: Pong and Death Race. And rollerskating. I kid you not! Rollerskating. Picture Close Encounters but in the South Texas sun and Pla-Mor is a Spielberg location director’s wet dream.

And there playing at the cinema—for Laredo, the movie house at Pla-Mor is a cine-sanctuary, one part Shakey’s Pizza décor, one part cineaste’s memorabilia collection other—is Death Race 2000, featuring the previously mentioned Kung Fu—not Kung Fu, the megahit TV show, where David Carradine became a 70s TV star, but “Kung Fu,” the star, who comes to be called Kung Fu in Laredo owing to his tele-spectacular ubiquity.  In the same way, 8 years later, in 1983, Richard Chamberlain will come to be known as El “Thorn Birds” in Laredo.

El Kung Fu, in Death Race 2000, is a bit of a disappointment. As if the big screen allowed us to garner what was hidden on television, that David Carradine is not so much an actor as an a one-dimensional, mumbling doofus—a dime store Brando, a street-grade James Dean, with the facial expression range of a department store mannequin.

Half the time in Death Race 2000 he’s masked, or then fake-masked in a gorey disguise of facial disfigurement.

But we don’t worry about that too much for long—the riotous violence of the movie (race car drivers running down the elderly and kids; blood spatterings decapitations etc), the R-rated female nudity, are almost just enough to paper over Carradine’s horrible thespian shortcomings. 



We are a year removed from 1976’s Rocky phenomena so Sylvester Stallone’s appearance in the schlock sci-fi film does not tickle our notice.

What we did not register and only came to light as I rescreened the movie for this piece was the brilliant satire that is Death Race 2000—if there is a piece of 70s American cinema that better presages the rise of the religious right, neo-liberal infected news media, and schloch-ster politics (think Trump, but with Hannity-the-enabler there too), I don’t know it. 

Infused with the cinematic equivalent of Kurt Vonnegut’s vision (Slaughterhouse-Five appears in 1969, Breakfast of Champions in 1973), director Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000 is a lurid and lucid vivisection of America then and America now. Addicted to mindless television, prone to empty distractions on the boob tube, and equally empty violence and titillation, the television audiences parodied in Death Race 2000 hold up a mirror and the monster we see reflected is not the hideous prosthetics Carradine, our “Kung Fu,” uses on the screen, but ourselves, now, pandemic paralyzed, watching in horror as a demented old madman drives our school bus over the edge.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

David Carradine's DEATH RACE 2000 Revisited | Bill Nericcio on Hilobrow.com #eyegiene #eyegasm #schlockcinema

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Lecture on Kurt Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE or The Children's Crusade | Professor William Nericcio | San Diego State University #seductiveamericannightmares

Ever wonder what it is like to be in one of my classes? Or are you a former student, wandering down memory lane, jonesing for a blast from the past? Well wonder no more! Wander no more! Here is a ZOOM version of a class on Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. My lecture notes, with key quotes appear below the video. This is from a class on American Literature (Film, Photography, Graphic Narrative, etc) after the Civil War and to the present called Seductive American Nightmares-- you can sample the online guide to the class here.

 
First Zoom Lecture, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five | Seductive American Nightmares Class, English 250B, @ SDSU from Mextasy on Vimeo.


click to enlarge any image below