Thursday, October 15, 2009

Manure For The Mind (July/Sept 1995)

I was at some show with Jim Burns in '95 when he turned to me and asked when's our next project together. The question was out of the blue so I was caught off-guard and didn't have an answer. He was in the midst of Sugarbush so I didn't think he meant a new band. A week later I had an answer... Manure For The Mind.

I was living in the city and watching a lot of public access television. During the mid-90's, Manhattan public access was kickin' with shows aimed at freaks and stoners...and I wanted in. I had an idea for a show that would basically be a hodgepodge of things I liked (music, film, TV) – there weren't any issues with copyright infringement back then. Like myself, Jim is a collector of rare and obscure video so I figured, between the two of us, we'd have enough crap to cobble something together. Jim was down with it so I mailed an application to Manhattan Neighborhhod Network explaining our vision. A few weeks later we had our own show... 13 episodes!

Each week we pieced together an episode – using the poor man's two VCR editing system – based around a loose theme (ie: evil, drugs, blaxploitation, custom cars, kids shows, etc.). One thing we liked to do was play a "Six Degrees of Separation" or "tag" type game with video. For example... start with the Scatman Crothers/LaWanda Page scene from Zapped! ...cut to... LaWanda Page and Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear) in Starsky & Hutch ...cut to... Antonio Fargas and Pam Grier in Foxy Brown ...cut to... Pam Grier and Yahphet Kotto in Friday Foster ...cut to... Yahphet Kotto and Isaac Hayes in Truck Turner ...and so on and so on. We also got my sister involved to shoot some live-action scenes – starring Jim and I – to pepper throughout the episodes.

(To the left is a poster I hung guerilla style around the city promoting the show.) During our three month run we aired 12 episodes of Manure For The Mind, opting to rerun Episode 6 by request from a fan at least one person was watching.

Here's a collection of just the live-action scenes we shot (which equals to about 8% of Manure For The Mind)...

When the show ended, Jim handed Manure For The Mind in as a final project for some college class he was taking. After defending why the show wasn't plagiarism, he got an "A".

Here's our list of episodes...with some vague content descriptions...

Episode 1: All Things Evil (Satan, Butthole Surfers, and more Satan)
Episode 2: Nod Scene (drugs)
Episode 3: Zebra Soul (funk and things that are funky)
Episode 4: Drag (custom cars and Robert Williams)
Episode 5: My Own Urine (Minor Threat and Graffiti/Break Dancing documentaries, plus more twisted music)
Episode 6: Connect Four (Beastie Boys, Sonny & Cher, Casey Kasem, lots of KISS)
Episode 7: One Giant Leap For Mankind (people jumping off high places, H.R. Giger, Jane's Addiction)
Episode 8: Blaxploitation and Beyond (title says it all...and beyond)
Episode 9: The Letter "P" (poets, painters, priests, Pink Floyd, and Psycho)
Episode 10: A Little Root (the blues and some funk)
Episode 11: Wake The Kids (children's shows, children's commercials, children's educational films, and weed)
Episode 12: It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times (a best of...mostly the live-action stuff we shot)

And for an added bonus... Here's an mp3 of the song Jim and I performed by the LIRR tracks, plus another version of it I recorded 10 years later in 2005. I always liked the tune so when I decided to move out of the city I wrote some lyrics for the song and got Dave Deluca to lay down some bass – he was living three floors below me at the time. Thanks Dave.

[DOWNLOAD] "LIRR" by Jim & Frank and "Leaving The City" by Franklin Mint
01- LIRR -- Jim & Frank
02- Leaving The City -- Franklin Mint (with Dave Deluca on bass)

©1995 Bubjunior Productions

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