Sunday, August 29, 2010

Zinecon 2000 video cassette #1

     Zinecon was a gathering/convention/party/sideshow with a focus on zines, chapbooks, and other do it yourself endeavors which included but was not limited to writers, musicians, film makers, comedians, activists, and pranksters.

    This event happened twice in Las Vegas, Nevada.  That being the years 1999-2000.  I'm not sure if it ever happened again but it's definitely something Vegas needed at the time.  It was a great forum for creative types and curious onlookers.  Vegas appears to be taking it's arts community a bit more seriously as I hear there is now a monthly art walk which happens downtown.  Bonus.

    Again I have no excuse for letting this video go unwatched for about 10 years.  But I ain't apologizing for shit.  Just be thankful I fished it out from my boxes of unwatched tapes to share with you.  Just think if I had died you would never have seen these images.

    I try to interview several different people but it's quite apparent I'm not all that great at hard hitting interviews.  And yet it's a good time capsule from 10 years ago.  Seriously 10 years ago.  That's right 10 years ago. 

    Harry Fagin was a fixture on the poetry scene in Vegas in the late 90's which was centered at the Cafe Espresso Roma on Maryland and Harmon.  I used to go there a lot and drink the free water.  I never was much for poetry and it used to be funny to me when on the rare occasion I was at the Cafe during a poetry reading I would occasionally get shooshed from Mr Fagin because I was talking while someone tried to recite their soul.  Actually he never shooshed.  He would get in your face and tell you how "disrespectful" you were being.
    I used to laugh when I'd see him rollerblading around the campus of UNLV with his shirt off.  He told people his name was Rhino.  He was the Poetic Cop and at the risk of being unpopular I have to admit he was not that bad of a guy for being a cop.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers are the biggest sacks of shit to be belched up by humanity on this god for saken planet.  He must have had some balls to stand up and admit that he wrote and enjoyed poetry in front of those pieces of garbage.  It takes guts to be different in a room full of goons.  And in all honesty his poetry is not that bad.

   I have to take a moment to share a story about Mr. Fagin that's not too flattering but will illustrate my point that it's bullshit to generalize.  Not all cops are bad.  It's a safe assumption that Las Vegas cops are 99.9% human shit and they do nothing to dispel that image.  But in truth there were only two cops in all of Vegas who came off as decent people in all the years I lived there.  One was Mr. Fagin the other also worked the beat around the Cafe but I can't for the life of me remember his name.  He was slightly older but super down to earth and approachable.  Once I saw him hanging outside the Cafe sitting in his car talking to the skaters in the parking lot.  He said hi and he asked if I'd like to see what my record was on his car-computer just for kicks.  A friendly guy.  After looking me up on his console it turned out I was clean at the time.  Hopefully that's still the case.

    Fast forward a few years and my brother and I were sitting in the Cafe parking lot waiting for others to show up for a camping trip.  We were at one end of the parking lot when we saw Fagin and the cop I mentioned above come out of the pizza shop.  After a minute we heard the screeching of tires as Fagin comes barreling across the lot slamming on his brakes in front of us.  He gets out furious accusing us of pissing on the handle of the car his partner was driving.  His partner being the great guy I mentioned above.      Eventually we convinced him it was not us who did the deed but I could understand the anger and sympathized because I liked his partner.  He apologized got in his car and drove away.  

    Ordinarily I wouldn't give a shit about those fucking pigs.  I'd be more than happy to piss in their face if I could get away with it.  Just goes to show you can't be too quick to judge.  Fagin is a decent enough guy as well as his partner whose names escapes me.  I'm sure there are more good people who are also police officers in Las Vegas, Nevada but just to be safe I will spend the rest of my life avoiding those fucktards unless they accost me.  Every other interaction I've had with those bastards ends the same.  Fucked up.  Even my parents are afraid of the pigs in Vegas.  That's saying something.    

    Amy Carrelli was pivotal in making Zinecon happen the second year.  She held it together and it came off great.  She also helped me to produce a horrible movie but you can read about that elsewhere.

    The above video is snippets of random images from Zinecon 2000.  Look for your face among the crowd.  This was a pretty cool venue at the time.  They guy who owned/operated this venue seemed a bit shady but aren't all people who own arts/performance spaces?  Overall he seemed like a nice guy.   At least when I dealt with him.  I wonder if this space is still around.  I kinda doubt it since ten years is a long time for a building to remain standing in Las Vegas.

     My Barbra Walters moments captured in the next few clips are somewhat embarassing but I'm glad I took the time to try my hand at it.  Pam Prim is someone I saw regularly at shows or at that shithole the Doubledown.  I didn't realize she was associated with Anti-Racist Action until I saw her at Zinecon.
    The history of skinhead violence is deeply rooted in Las Vegas.  It found it's ultimate tragic ending in the murder of Spit and Dan which had happened a year prior to this interview being filmed.  I often wonder whether those bastards who killed them will ever be served.  I would like to hear more about whether they are in jail or not but news about the wearabouts of those assholes is hard to come by on the internet 10 years after the fact.  A recent google search turned up little in the last 3 years.  
    It is my hope there is still some faction of anti-racist people in Las Vegas.  As for myself I like to fight racism by dating non-white chicks.  Sorry that's as far as I'm willing to go although I will admit I still like seeing racist people get punched in the face whether they are black, white, asian, yeah yeah yeah it's not that funny of a joke.  I hope I never see another person get punched in the face as long as I live.  I'm kidding.  Some of these jokes just don't read well.
    You will notice I was messing with the in camera effects here.    I can't remember if I was trying to be arty or I just forgot and left the text on the screen during the interview.  It looks really stupid in retrospect and I guess I probably owe Pam and apology for stamping that writing on her forehead in this video.

    I don't know the gentlemen in the video below so I can only hope I spelled their names right.  If I didn't please tell me.  They seem super cool.  I hope they are all still pursuing their dreams as they all came across as positive guys filled with creativity.
    I was poor back then, not much has changed, so at the time I could only afford to buy Iceberg Slick's comic.  It was fucking great and I still got it.  I wanted to buy one from Vezun but didn't have the cash.  If you got any info on these guys please share.  

   Below is a short interview with Professor 8000%.  Don't know anything about the guy but I will admit he and his partner are prolific in their own unique style.  Plus I like how I framed their art.  

     The videos posted here are largely unedited but I made a few cuts and superimpositions here and there.
     This was the first minidv cassette I found.  Look for cassettes 2 & 3 sometime in the future.  Unless I die in which case no one will ever see those images.

Zinecon 2000 Tape ONE download links below

Download Harry Fagin Poet Cop
something is missing?
Download Zinecon 2000 Random moments
Download Interview with Pam Prim
Download Interview with ISlick/Mac the Ripper/Vejon
Download Interview with Professor 8000%

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Radio Las Vegas benefit at Sunset Park 4/99

    The decision to sell my video camera reminded me I've got a huge box of old miniDV videos I shot which I haven't even watched yet.  
    I move from one project to the next without much regard for screening or presenting what I've got.  Cause I don't give a shit.  Because of that attitude I guess I lose track.   I'm making excuses for being scatterbrained but really there's no excuse for having so many unlabeled or mislabeled cassettes sitting around.  It's fucking stupid.  In any event expect some surprises in the next few video posts.  I know I've been surprised to see some of this stuff.

    Free Radio Las Vegas.  
    I'm not sure where to start when describing the triumph and tragedy of that loose concept and collective of people who tried unsuccessfully to apply for a Low Power FM licence legitimately through the FCC back in 1999.  

    There were so many times I thought we were close to making it happen but I have to come clean and admit I thought the idea was a bust from the beginning.  It seemed like an impossible feat and so for me it became less about accomplishing the radio station and more about having some sort of unifying reason to do things and get people together.  

    I figured in the end we'd at least make some noise and have some sort of amplification of community voices.   There was a tiny spark of hope that maybe the whole community of Las Vegas would come to understand the importance of our efforts and maybe the community would rise up in support to force the FCC to make it happen.  Well you gotta believe in something right?  It's easy to get caught up in the excitement when you know you are in the right.  Like maybe if you yell the loudest your point will become clear to those outside.  The scales always seem to be close to tipping but it's hard to see from our angle.  Or any angle I suppose.  

    At least we had some entertaining shows.  This was one of at least three benefits I remembered being a part of.  This one was hosted at beautiful Sunset Park on Eastern and Sunset.

    Some backstory is appropriate here.  Around 1998-99 the FCC got the idea that it might be beneficial to the communities across the US to allow certain groups to hold a license for Low Power FM radio.  This coincided with recent format changes at KUNV "community" radio station wherein all underground rock and independent music was taken off the airwaves in the Las Vegas valley.  It was like a bad spinoff of the movie Footloose.   

    At the time there was also the ever increasing phenomenon of pirate radio.  There was even a pirate radio convention in Las Vegas the previous year!  I think it was a fairly romantic notion that we could operate a pirate radio station but honestly with the gear we had you could only hear the signal for a few hundred feet.  You can see them setting up the anttena in the video footage with Civic Minded 5.   At our weekly meetings we would often bounce around deciding to either spend the money raised on more gear to perpetuate the pirate station or to try and chase down a legitimate license.  

   It was an emotional rollercoaster and it pisses me off because I knew from the beginning the chances were slim.  It's important to keep trying even in the face of the insurmountable.  Eventually the money we raised was used to start a non profit organization.  And so Free Radio Las Vegas later became the corny acronym Nevadans Organized To Better Address Diversity (NOTBAD)  Thankfully the voice found an outlet somewhere.  NOTBAD's work still continues today through the free weekly film series which happens almost every tuesday at the Clark County Library on Flamingo and Maryland.  In the end the most important aspect of what FRLV was about took shape in the programs NOTBAD still promotes to this day.  Diversity.  And you got diversity from this show as well.  At least musically speaking.  I mean the only black guy there was the guy from scumbag punk group Fang right?  Once again punk is over represented.  

   Years ago they were speculating that radio will soon be irrelevant.  I think the digital revolution will also be a bust.  Only analog gear gear will be reliable when the internet goes down in emergencies.  Aren't we thinking ahead?  Well it's hard to think ahead or think at all when we can watch any TV show ever produced at the push of a button right now.         

   So this vid features: Civic Minded Five, DrumSome, an acoustic set by an attractive activist lady connected with the Shundahai Network, Orale (featuring Checko Salgado), HP Lori, Faded Grey, The Nines, and a few other performers.  There's a band on here I couldn't identify.  I've posted them below.  I think they were a band from Arizona on tour or something.  If you can identify them get in touch.  I also can't identify the electronic band posted here either.

    It's not the greatest camerawork I've done but it does the job.  Some of the performances were cut short on the video including appearances by HPLori and David Figler.  I have no explanation for this.  I think I had just gotten this camera a few days before this show.  You will notice me messing with the bad camera effects for the more psychedelic moments of the benefit.  There are also some rousing speeches given by Susie from the Shundahai Network and strangely enough a speech from Chris the old bass player from Berekley's FANG who I've already mentioned.

   In the end no radio station materialized but we did get to make some noises.  Hopefully people will still be hearing those echos over time.  One would hope.  The compression youtube adds to videos is UGLY.  If you want to see a clearer picture download the files below.  These vids are unedited from my camera straight to the internet.

Download Free Radio Las Vegas clips below.

Download Mark prints FRLV
Download Civic Minded Five play FRLV
Download ORALE plays FRLV
Kris and Susie talk free radio 
HP Lori, Faded Grey, David Figler play FRLV
Drum Some play FRLV
The Nines play FRLV
Acoustic moment -FRLV
Unknown Band ???????